Air and Magic

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Gerrardasnails

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Sep 6, 2007
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fatboyslimfast:chebby:fatboyslimfast:Clare and team - pretty pretty pretty please can someone put the AE with a top-end DAC and see what happens? I think there might be some surprises...

I would echo this but question why the AE is always mentioned as if it were an essential part of every single DAC + computer set-up. The Airport Express merely (a) substitutes for a cable in this context (b) allows non Mac users without optical outputs to use an optical cable into a DAC. It is simply a connectivity option.

I think it could be mis-leading for people reading these types of threads to get them believing every computer + DAC arrangement has to have an Airport Express.

But yes, let's have more reviews of good DACs at all price levels being used with lossless computer music replay as a primary source rather than as an afterthought.

Oh true, but unless you are using a Mac, there are tweaks to be made to avoid Windows re-sampling things and losing quality. Whilst I agree that these can be done, and are not overly tricky, the AE bypasses this by streaming the file to the player, not the resampled digital audio stream, as with the digital out of most soundcards pre-tweak.

As mentioned before, I have the Linksys Media Center extender (DMA2100). I have not experienced any problems setting up like some with AE. It cost me £150. It connects to my tv via hdmi (component and S Video also). It has coaxial and optical and RCA audio connectivity. I stream wirelessly from my pc in my bedroom to downstairs in my lounge all my files on my desktop. I rip WMA Lossless using WMP and I get a jukebox on my screen. Coaxial to my DacMagic and XLR to my 840A. Fantastic sound, no re-sampling from windows (to my knowledge) as I'm sending files and not playing them - my soundcard is redundant. I also stream videos and photos with it too and could (I don't) watch and record streamed tv through it. Oh, radio and internet as well if I could be bothered.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
chebby:fatboyslimfast:Clare and team - pretty pretty pretty please can someone put the AE with a top-end DAC and see what happens? I think there might be some surprises...

I would echo this but question why the AE is always mentioned as if it were an essential part of every single DAC + computer set-up. The Airport Express merely (a) substitutes for a cable in this context (b) allows non Mac users without optical outputs to use an optical cable into a DAC. It is simply a connectivity option.

I think it could be mis-leading for people reading these types of threads to get them believing every computer + DAC arrangement has to have an Airport Express.

But yes, let's have more reviews of good DACs at all price levels being used with lossless computer music replay as a primary source rather than as an afterthought.

Yes I agree the AE is only a connection thing I tried one and didn't like it at all,

So now I play flac lossless file from my windows laptop, into a USB soundcard and and then to an optical cable straight into my Naim Supernait which has an onboard DAC and it sounds fantastic..........
 

chebby

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John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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Right, few points here to answer.

I mention an Airport Express in all my threads because it's what I happen to have. Of course any PC or Mac with an optical out (or USB) can take advantage of the DAC, but mine is in a different room and it's just an elegant solution (it also means I can use my laptop as a remote control, since it points at the same files on the network). It's been 'proved' elsewhere that it produces a bit-perfect optical ouput, so to me it has zero detrimental impact (though I didn't cart the Mac through to the living room to find out).

I do think that without the DAC an AE has advantages because, while it has quite a high noise floor (as I found out while plugging headphones into it the other day), it's much less noisy than the average audio output from a PC.

To the question of does it work with anything other than iTunes, the answer is no by default, unless you buy software called airfoil (about $25), which allows you to stream anything to it. I have it, but didn't try it last night to see if audio quality is any different.

And to Joel - black looks better. Replace the lot.
 

Gerrardasnails

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Sep 6, 2007
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JohnDuncan:Right, few points here to answer.

I mention an Airport Express in all my threads because it's what I happen to have. Of course any PC or Mac with an optical out (or USB) can take advantage of the DAC, but mine is in a different room and it's just an elegant solution (it also means I can use my laptop as a remote control, since it points at the same files on the network). It's been 'proved' elsewhere that it produces a bit-perfect optical ouput, so to me it has zero detrimental impact (though I didn't cart the Mac through to the living room to find out).

I do think that without the DAC an AE has advantages because, while it has quite a high noise floor (as I found out while plugging headphones into it the other day), it's much less noisy than the average audio output from a PC.

To the question of does it work with anything other than iTunes, the answer is no by default, unless you buy software called airfoil (about $25), which allows you to stream anything to it. I have it, but didn't try it last night to see if audio quality is any different.

And to Joel - black looks better. Replace the lot.

You are happy though JD?
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
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For PC/Notebook users without optical output, one of these will provide optical connectivity (via a 3.5mm mini Toslink jack like on the iMac) straight from USB....

http://www.maudio.co.uk/products/en_gb/Transit.html

It will not restrict what you can play and will provide (up to) a 24 bit 96khz bit stream to the optical connection on a DAC. They cost around £45 normally althought the website claims £59.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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Gerrardasnails:JohnDuncan:Right, few points here to answer.

I mention an Airport Express in all my threads because it's what I happen to have. Of course any PC or Mac with an optical out (or USB) can take advantage of the DAC, but mine is in a different room and it's just an elegant solution (it also means I can use my laptop as a remote control, since it points at the same files on the network). It's been 'proved' elsewhere that it produces a bit-perfect optical ouput, so to me it has zero detrimental impact (though I didn't cart the Mac through to the living room to find out).

I do think that without the DAC an AE has advantages because, while it has quite a high noise floor (as I found out while plugging headphones into it the other day), it's much less noisy than the average audio output from a PC.

To the question of does it work with anything other than iTunes, the answer is no by default, unless you buy software called airfoil (about $25), which allows you to stream anything to it. I have it, but didn't try it last night to see if audio quality is any different.

And to Joel - black looks better. Replace the lot.

You are happy though JD?

It's the best source I've owned and it costs 200 quid (ex AE), how could I not be?!

Just need an iPod Touch now. Oh, and to rerip the 80% of my music collection that's not lossless...
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
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18,890
JohnDuncan:Gerrardasnails:JohnDuncan:Right, few points here to answer.

I mention an Airport Express in all my threads because it's what I happen to have. Of course any PC or Mac with an optical out (or USB) can take advantage of the DAC, but mine is in a different room and it's just an elegant solution (it also means I can use my laptop as a remote control, since it points at the same files on the network). It's been 'proved' elsewhere that it produces a bit-perfect optical ouput, so to me it has zero detrimental impact (though I didn't cart the Mac through to the living room to find out).

I do think that without the DAC an AE has advantages because, while it has quite a high noise floor (as I found out while plugging headphones into it the other day), it's much less noisy than the average audio output from a PC.

To the question of does it work with anything other than iTunes, the answer is no by default, unless you buy software called airfoil (about $25), which allows you to stream anything to it. I have it, but didn't try it last night to see if audio quality is any different.

And to Joel - black looks better. Replace the lot.

You are happy though JD?

It's the best source I've owned and it costs 200 quid (ex AE), how could I not be?!

Just need an iPod Touch now. Oh, and to rerip the 80% of my music collection that's not lossless...

It took me a while but I've got about 500 albums ripped WMA Lossless. Now whenever I buy a cd it goes straight upstairs to the computer.
 

JoelSim

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Aug 24, 2007
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I heard that if you crumble a new CD directly into the speaker terminals on the AVI 9.1s it sounds magnificent. Even better if you do this whilst sitting on the Heathrow Express.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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I am ripping complete classical and jazz albums and filing them accordingly.

I am also cherry picking hundreds of favourite rock/pop tracks for a huge 'jukebox' playlist. I am adding to this all the time.

I seldom rip entire rock/pop CDs because I hardly ever played whole CDs anyway. It is not the way I listen and I hate 'concept' albums anyway (Bloomin hippy cr@p) so there is no need.

I love being able to access stuff via flicking through cover art or sorting by genre, artist, album etc etc. Only ever takes a couple of seconds to find anything I want. I can use my mouse as a 'remote' from anywhere in the room.

For listening whilst I am working I just shove it on 'shuffle' and let it go.

It is not all iTunes though. I am loving internet radio and youtube, Sonic Bomb etc etc via the DAC. (Listening to Radio Paradise at 128kbps right now. V nice)
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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Gerrardasnails:It took me a while but I've got about 500 albums ripped WMA Lossless. Now whenever I buy a cd it goes straight upstairs to the computer.

I've got about 70 i think. I've been loading them straight away for a long time, but have gradually stepped up from 128 to 192 to 320 to (only very recently) lossless as disk space has become cheaper and more plentiful. I first started loading albums on my PC when my hard disk was a massive 8gig.....
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Yep pretty much what I do, I use EAC ( exact audio copy) to rip my CDs to flac lossless files store them on USB 120 gig external hardrives and play them via foobar player.

I have to thank the guys on here for providing me with the info to do this.

Although I still like to actually take the CD out of the box and play them on my Naim CD5 player, I think there does not have to be one or the other, you can actually do both, I tend to play the flac files or listen to internet radio when I am working on the computer and play the CDs when I am relaxing..........
 

John Duncan

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Yeah, I'm not really that bothered about the "CD out of box" thing. In fact, my wife would love it if there weren't CD boxes strewn all over the place after I've been in on my own all night.

Record out of sleeve and big pictures to look at is another matter, obv.
 
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Anonymous

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Hmm I dunno John, I prefer when listening to a quiet section of an orchestral piece I think I can do without the snap crackle pop and surface noise you get from the needle in the groove method.........
 

John Duncan

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MENISCUS:Hmm I dunno John, I prefer when listening to a quiet section of an orchestral piece I think I can do without the snap crackle pop and surface noise you get from the needle in the groove method.........

I'm not saying vinyl's better sonically, it's just a more fulfilling experience.
 

crusaderlord

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Apr 29, 2008
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I have read this thread with interest.

Personally i love CD as a source and never thought id be remotely interested in digital media but this is now sparking some interest.

I have recently added an I-Touch to my kit which i run through an Arcam rdock through VDH cables to the Arcam Amp - i use it to stream internet music (from a wifi router) and it surprisingly sounds very good (especially when i added the rdock). CD is still noticeably superior though.

I am interested in whether running the I-Touch through a DacMagic will improve things for the I-Touch (either internet streaming or ITunes downloaded files). I have very little knowledge in this area but its good to learn. I do also use ITunes sometimes to grab tracks where i really dont want a whole CD of songs from an artist. I wonder if this may warrant a new purchase.
 

chebby

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crusaderlord:Personally i love CD as a source and never thought id be remotely interested in digital media....

This statement is interesting and (unconsciously no doubt) highlights the problem with many objections to computer sourced music.

Lots of people just don't think of CD as 'digital media' after all these years, at least not in the same way as files being played from a PC or an MP3 player.

CD has been around so long that it's digital nature has been subsumed by it's now 'traditional' status as THE primary source of domestic music over the last 25 years.

I see similar confusions all over the internet regarding DACs. So many people just don't know/care that every CD player ever made has had a DAC built in and that all we are seeing now is that the very same DACs have come 'out of the box' (not for the first time) to play with the very same binary digits but with PCs and iPod docks instead of a spinning disk. (Only a tiny minority of CD users in the last 25 years have ever used a specialised, seperate DAC for their players so most people probably think it is a new idea now they are beginning to be employed with PCs, iPods, servers, DVD players and games consoles etc!)
 
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Anonymous

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JohnDuncan:
Just need an iPod Touch now. Oh, and to rerip the 80% of my music collection that's not lossless...This might be answered elsewhere, but why is lossless the best?

I mean obviously you don't want to to loose any data quality, but are cd's not about 192kbps? How does ripping at higher than that help?

Sorry if thats a really stupid question.
 

John Duncan

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Adding a DAC to an iPod Touch won't work, it doesn;t have a digital out - there are a couple of devices which allow you to do this, but they're quite dear. However, since you have all the music on your PC, you can get the music from there to a DAC via an optical out, or something like Airport Express, which has an optical out and is relatively cheap.

If you went the latter route though, you can use the iPod as a remote control by attaching it to your wifi network and controlling iTunes, complete with cover flow.
 

John Duncan

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fast eddie:JohnDuncan:
Just need an iPod Touch now. Oh, and to rerip the 80% of my music collection that's not lossless...This might be answered elsewhere, but why is lossless the best?

I mean obviously you don't want to to loose any data quality, but are cd's not about 192kbps? How does ripping at higher than that help?

Sorry if thats a really stupid question.

No, CDs are traditionally stored at a flat 1411kbps - the actual bitrate varies depending on content - it can be as low as half that for very simple music.

So any compression throws away some of that information.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
JohnDuncan: you can use the iPod as a remote control by attaching it to your wifi network and controlling iTunes, complete with cover flow.

I love this function IF you can get airtunes via your airport express you will spend hours flicking through your favourite tracks and rediscover some old forgotten faves (whilst eating biscuits).
 

Audiofoolius

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Aug 12, 2008
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fast eddie:JohnDuncan:Just need an iPod Touch now. Oh, and to rerip the 80% of my music collection that's not lossless...This might be answered elsewhere, but why is lossless the best?I mean obviously you don't want to to loose any data quality, but are cd's not about 192kbps? How does ripping at higher than that help?Sorry if thats a really stupid question.

Music on CD's has about 1400 kb/s (Edit: as JD says :)). If you want to have the same soundquality on a harddisk you have to rip into WAV (no loss of quality whatsoever). Second best are FLAC and Apple Lossless (about 800 kb/s). These are excellent too.ÿ

ÿ
 

John Duncan

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Audiofoolius:If you want to have the same soundquality on a harddisk you have to rip into WAV (no loss of quality whatsoever). Second best are FLAC and Apple Lossless (about 800 kb/s).

No - FLAC and apple lossless are decoded at runtime to produce the equivalent PCM that WAV would, but with the advantage of reduced storage cost. The bitrates displayed in iTunes for apple lossless (700-1000kbps, say) are an indication of the complexity of the music, but they produce exactly the same quality as WAV.

I can prove this with a home computer.
 

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