Apple TV sound quality blind tests - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-09-2012, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
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I've taken it upon me to re import all my music into iTunes using Apple Lossless Audio vs. the 128 kbps I stored my entire library with previously. Currently I have a little NAS with all my music I use to stream to Sonos for the whole house and a 720p Apple TV in my reference system. My system includes a Denon AVR 4306 Sonos Faber Concertino speakers and a Pioneer BDP 51FD.

After reading that sources don't really matter as long as it's the same bitrate etc., I decided to test if it makes a difference whether the file is lossless and stored on a NAS and streamed to an Apple TV or if it's on a CD. In blind testing, there was a difference. Apple TV sounded slightly flatter and not as dynamic as the CD in addition to a slight volume difference.

Now, why is that happening? The Pioneer is hooked up via HDMI, in theory the AVR would do the decoding of the CD files and the Apple TV would be as a "wireless" transport for the files. I took some suggestions from other users and removed all equalizers with no change. In theory there should be no difference in sound or if it is, it shouldn't be audible to the extent I am hearing. I desperately wish the sound quality would be the same, is there some setting I am forgetting or something I might have omitted? Perhaps there is more of an explanation, for example, the way Apple TV streams/converts the lossless files.

Any help, input, or experiences would be great!\
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-09-2012, 08:49 AM
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It is important to remember that the ATV upsamples/downsamples everything to 48khz. This resampling can have a very profound effect depending on your equipment. That said, I have tried numerous other 'bit-perfect' media players against my CD player and often find that they do sound different. I can only attribute the difference to the transport mechanism within the CD player as being the variable.

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post #3 of 5 Old 07-09-2012, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Up-sampling should not make a difference since this is 44.1khz in 16 bit.

Thanks for your input. Basically you're saying the CD/DVD player has some sort of circuit that "enhances" or changes the output?
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-09-2012, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockstar0215 View Post

Up-sampling should not make a difference since this is 44.1khz in 16 bit.
Thanks for your input. Basically you're saying the CD/DVD player has some sort of circuit that "enhances" or changes the output?

Actually, upsampling is involved. As I said previously, all material is output at 48khz. Even though your material may be 44.1khz, the ATV is outputting it at 48khz. Because this is not an even multiplier upsampling (i.e. 44.1khz -> 88.2khz) there are additional "noise" factors introduced. This can sometimes "flatten" the sound due to sample rate conversion errors. As for the circuit within CD players, what I am actually referring to is the pickup (optical) conversion to electrical interface within the transport mechanism. This varies from player to player and can introduce its own signature to the sound. In most cases the the difference is miniscule or nearly undetectable. There are many factors that could ultimately lead to the difference, but without a doubt the difference does exist.

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post #5 of 5 Old 04-25-2014, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
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I know that this is an old post but now I am curious about the Sonos connect. How does that perform when it comes to up sampling? I have all lossless and want to connect it to the main set up and want to preserve quality. Does it have similar up sampling as the Apple TV?
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