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Apple TV to 2.1 Setup

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi

My set-up isn't incredibly fancy, but I like it, and am trying to make sure I'm utilizing everything the best way I can.

I have an Apple TV (the most recent one) wired via ethernet to a server which has a combination of compressed (128-256, mostly) plus uncompressed (Apple Lossless) music on it. The Apple TV connects via HDMI to a Pioneer VSX-819H Receiver, which has two Polk RTi A1 "Bookshelf" speakers (on stands) and an Emotive Ultra Sub 10 Subwoofer for output (actually, there's a third Polk center speaker for when I watch movies/tv, but that's not as relevant here).

First, looking at the Apple TV as a way to get my music to the receiver, am I losing anything by doing it via HDMI? Am I better off going out from the Apple TV's optical audio output and using that for the sound? Is there a dramatic difference between music quality over HDMI and music quality over Optical?

Second, am I better off replacing the Pioneer Receiver with something like the new Nuforce Dia Integrated Amp, which at $300 is pretty much in my budget (see here: http://www.nuforce.com/hp/products/dia/index.php )? Will I really notice the difference over what I'm hearing now?

I do use the Apple TV to watch movies and TV, but I'm less interested in the perfect surround sound set-up then I am in getting the most out of my music.

Many thanks,
Nick
post #2 of 24
there shouldn't be much of a difference between the optical and hdmi... both are digital audio. mayhe check to see if you receiver uses the same dac for either option?
post #3 of 24
either will be fine and produce the same result...

no, save your 300 and use it to start your "better speaker fund"...

no, the avr doesn't use a different set of dacs dependent upon input... i doubt that any avr or pre-pro does...
post #4 of 24
You'd likely be using the same internal DAC in your receiver whether connecting via HDMI or optical. If the NuForce piece had an optical input, I think that would be an upgrade in sound quality since I'm quite sure the DAC is better in that than it is in your Pioneer.

Are you not happy with the sound? Or are you just looking for the peace of mind that you're maximizing what you have?
post #5 of 24
a theoretically "better" dac won't make a spit of difference...
post #6 of 24
The internal DAC of the Apple TV and most low to mid-range consumer AVR's is pretty basic.

If you want the best quality for your music streaming from Apple TV, I'd recommend running the digital output into an external DAC and then the analog outputs from the DAC into your amp or receiver. It made a world of difference for me.

The disadvantage is that you lose the 5.1 surround sound from movies -

unless your DAC has a digital pass thru.

The Cambridge DAC Magic has this so that I can have the best of both worlds. The Apple TV connects to the DACMagic by digital and then outputs analog to the AVR up sampled to 192.

But the DacMagic's digital pass thru output connects to a digital input on my AVR which decodes the 5.1 surround for movies. I just choose Apple TV Music (the analog output from the DACMagic) or Apple TV Movies (the digital pass thru output from the DACMagic). Works great.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugith View Post

The internal DAC of the Apple TV and most low to mid-range consumer AVR's is pretty basic.

If you want the best quality for your music streaming from Apple TV, I'd recommend running the digital output into an external DAC and then the analog outputs from the DAC into your amp or receiver. It made a world of difference for me.

post #8 of 24
^^^

+1... even the cheapest dac is essentially transparent... someday, people are going to catch on to this...
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugith View Post

The internal DAC of the Apple TV

I'm under the impression that the Apple TV doesn't have an internal DAC... HDMI and optical are digital feeds. aren't those the only outputs?
post #10 of 24
^^^

the previous gen did... the current gen does not, it's a digital only device....
post #11 of 24
and, the atv2 only outputs 16/48 - if you are listening to 16/44.1 cd resolution it get interpolated to 16/48
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post


I appreciate that fact that you guys who are in the "all dacs and amps sound the same" club contribute to the knowledge base of a site such as this, but the whole condescending, smug, rolling eyes thing is both tiresome and uncalled for.
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

.............but the whole condescending, smug, rolling eyes thing is both tiresome and uncalled for.

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post


Probably hard to stop doing that after eight billion posts.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Huh. There appears to be a rift... so says the newbie who started this discussion.

Here is, perhaps, another way to ask my question: Am I better off saving my money for a better set of speakers or a higher-end DAC? At this point I'm thinking speakers. Am I wrong?

Let's everybody be nice.

(PS thanks to everyone who took the time to reply!)
post #16 of 24
^^^

speakers. zero doubt about that.
post #17 of 24
+1 to speakers
post #18 of 24
Quote:


Here is, perhaps, another way to ask my question: Am I better off saving my money for a better set of speakers or a higher-end DAC? At this point I'm thinking speakers. Am I wrong?

You are not wrong. Well done!
post #19 of 24
Yep, I have an outboard DAC that I'm very fond of, but if I were not happy with my system I'd look at the speakers before anything else, too. Just so happens my speakers are perfect
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm learning something!
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ngaffney View Post

I'm learning something!

that's the goal

I got my speakers about three years ago. I bought my dac just over a year ago, and I dont regret buying the speakers first.

since you already have a good sub, you should stay with bookshelf speakers. you should get the most bang for your buck that way

my experience and $.02
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaphile View Post

that's the goal

I got my speakers about three years ago. I bought my dac just over a year ago, and I dont regret buying the speakers first.

since you already have a good sub, you should stay with bookshelf speakers. you should get the most bang for your buck that way

my experience and $.02

Speaking of DACs, you'll never believe THIS Schiit!!
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

Speaking of DACs, you'll never believe THIS Schiit!!

*yawn*

there is another AVS thread mentioning this shciit. I already made plenty of schiity puns
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaphile View Post

*yawn*

there is another AVS thread mentioning this shciit. I already made plenty of schiity puns

lol, my bad...just trying to show him the DAC
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