Ideal Set-up for listening to iTunes Music

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Bodhi395, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. Bodhi395 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #1
    Since I've got iTunes Match I've upgraded my entire collection to much higher quality 256 kbps ACC files. Since its higher quality, I'd like a nice sound system set up to listen to that music in the highest quality possible. What ways can I get the music on my Mac, iPhone, or iPad into a sound system without losing any quality. Would a stereo with an iPhone dock connector play the exact digital files on my iPhone without reducing the quality? Would an Apple TV stream the exact digital files from my Mac into a stereo with an HDMI cable?
     
  2. PAPO macrumors 6502

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    Aug 24, 2009
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    Australia
    #2
    don't worry I doubt you'll miss out on much whatever you do, 256Kb/s AAC isn't as high quality as you seem to think, but on the convenience front TV will do just fine
     
  3. Bodhi395 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Wirelessly posted

    If 256 Kbps is not high enough quality, what should I be using? There must be a point before you use lossless that making it higher bit rate doesn't matter. What is that point?
     
  4. Bodhi395 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Wirelessly posted

    Also, if anyone wants to describe their current audio setup please do.
     
  5. Destroysall, Mar 29, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012

    Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Destroysall

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    #5
    Apple Lossless is the best alternative for Apple OS users. It's just like FLAC. AAC can not be high quality as it is still a lossy format. I don't believe iTunes Match supports lossless codec. Even if you have lossless files, it will stream them in AAC format. Bit rate and sample rate allow for a larger frequency range. Everyone's hearing range is different, so it really doesn't matter. Plus, most CDs are produced at 16-Bit/44.1KHz. The other thing to note on why lossless is important for high quality listening is because of the fact that it is CD-quality sound.

    The best thing to do in order to not lose any quality is to use lossless files and use an external DAC. What's your budget? Are you planning on using a home theater system with this setup? Or just the computer? One company to look into for desktop speakers is Audioengine. They are known for the famous A5/A5+ speakers. Pair it with the Audioengine D1 and you are good to go.

    www.audioengineusa.com

    The A2s are great, but aren't exactly on par with the A5 series. These both have decent amount of bass. If not, you can always grab the S8 subwoofer later on down the line.

    Another thing you can do if you wish to stick to iTunes and not steal another $100 bucks out of your wallet for another music playback interface is to purchase and download an app from the App Store called BitPerfect.

    http://www.headfonia.com/tim-murisons-bitperfect-for-osx/

    Hope this helps; cheers!
     
  6. Bodhi395 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Interesting, seems like using a DAC is the best way to get the perfect digital audio from a computer to a sound system.

    Can you hook an iPhone or iPad up to a DAC?
     
  7. PAPO macrumors 6502

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    Aug 24, 2009
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    Australia
    #7
    I'm not saying not to enjoy your 256k AAC music, just that there's no need to go overboard to get any more out of it, in fact I chose 256K AAC myself a while back because that was the minimum quality required to match CD's on my crappy laptop speakers so from a size/ quality standpoint, I decided to live with it, but now that I'm on a newer computer, once I get a new HDD I'm going to go lossless
     
  8. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Destroysall

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    #8
    Yes and no. Apple made it where iDevices cannot use MOST external DACs. The DAC has to be for iDevices specifically usually. There are only a few options as far as I know. Instead of the Audioengine D1, you could consider the HRT iStreamer DAC instead if you plan on using your iDevice as a source.

    http://www.amazon.com/HRT-iStreamer...2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1333077475&sr=1-2

    HRT is a really great company and their DACs give them a good name.
     
  9. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

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    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #9
    The Pure i20 is about $99 and gives you a couple options. It will take the digital stream from your iOS device and send it through its own DAC or give you the option of sending the digital signal to a better outboard DAC.

    The iPad with the camera connection kit will allow you to send the digital signal to a powered DAC that has a USB input.

    In my opinion, the iOS devices works better if you choose your music on the device and send it to an Airport Express or Apple TV via Airplay. The Airport Express has its own DAC or you can send a digital signal out to a DAC with an optical input. The Apple TV converts everything to 48khz, so it is not bit perfect, but it will show your iTunes Match library on your TV which would be a huge benefit for your Match collection. It would give you the option of playing directly from the AppleTV or using Airplay from your iOS device.

    I have several different setups with Apple products that you can see here.
     
  10. davidsdiego macrumors member

    davidsdiego

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    Aug 16, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #10
    From Audioengine's FAQ:

    Can I use the D1 with my iPhone or iPad?
    Sure, the best way to do this would be with a iDevice Dock with an optical out. It's important to note that in this configuration the D1 would still need USB power. An easy way to do this would be with a USB power adapter

    http://audioengineusa.com/Store/Audioengine-D1#faq

    I'm considering purchasing the Audioengine D1 in lieu of the Nuforce iCon iDo...
     
  11. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Destroysall

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    #11
    No, I don't believe you can, which is why I recommended the HRT iStreamer instead. Only a few DACs on the market are iDevice approved.
     
  12. davidsdiego macrumors member

    davidsdiego

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    San Diego, CA
    #12
    Then why would Audioengine say you could with the couple ad-ons? http://audioengineusa.com/Store/Audioengine-D1#faq
    They also provide a 30-day money back guarantee. Have you tried it for yourself with the D1 and an iPhone to confirm it does not work?
     
  13. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Destroysall

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    #13
    My apologies, I somehow managed to have over looked that. Then yes, it seems to be entirely possible.
     
  14. davidsdiego macrumors member

    davidsdiego

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    #14
    It seems you have to have a trade-off or add an accessory (like a separate amp) to use it with headphones on an iPhone. In my opinion, the only one that seems ready to listen with a nice pair of headphones is the Nuforce iCon iDo, although I read some bad reviews. I keep hearing the D1 is the best bang for the buck; I'm still deciding. Thanks for the info though!
     
  15. EvilC5 macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hanover MD
    #15
    I have 2 mini's I listen to music from, one in my office at home, and one in my family room. I recently gave the Audioengine D1 a try, and was very pleased, so much so that I got a 2nd for my other mini.

    my office setup is mini>itunes with bitperfect>D1 DAC>Audioengine A2's. im very pleased with this setup for a smaller room, and a lower volume level.

    my family room is:
    mini>itunes with bitperfect>D1 DAC>Onkyo TX-NR709 via analog input>2 Adcom GF555 amplifiers (bi-amped)>Martin Logan Accent I's

    as was stated, everyone's level of hearing is different, and im certainly no expert, and probably have done damage to my ears from concerts, and years of loud car stereo. but with that said, I certainly noticed a difference adding the DAC to the itunes match library. it seems that there is a bit more depth feel to the music, almost as if the staging/imaging was altered somehow. I have done some reading on digital audio and probably am more confused now than before. but in the end, I know what my ear likes, and thats what I go with. then decide what your budget is and work from there.
     
  16. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Destroysall

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    Feb 28, 2012
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    #16
    I am not seeing anything on the FAQ page of having a trade-off or adding a seperate amp. It's as simple as plugging it in it seems.
     
  17. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #17
    From what I understand AirPlay is bit perfect (for 44.1kHz/16bit). It will bypass the iDevice's DAC. Just stream it to an AppleTV or Airport Express and the output using the mini-toslink optical out.
     
  18. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

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    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #18
    Airplay will send the Appletv (2nd gen) a 44.1 signal, but the Apple tv converts it to 48 kHz before it outputs to a DAC. Not sure if the 3rd gen has the same issue.
     

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