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my airport express is hooked up via the optical cable to my denon receiver. sounds great. or i should say it sounds as good as the source files do.


i really hate when people incorrectly discuss it (ipod/itunes/etc.) as being an "mp3" player as they play full fidelity files, including 24 bit files. (which i use since i am an audio engineer). or if i am going to use compression, it's the totally decent apple lossless compression. ok for casual listening. i am getting in the habit of checking mixes on my rec room stereo (which the AX is attached to) from my personal studio in the house when i just take a file from my DAW and stream it from itunes to the rec room. brilliant, and i don't have to burn extra cd's or anything just to preview a mix.


so the quality aspect of this is totally up to the user. full fidelity, apple lossless, or take your pick of other stuff. mp3's always sound the worst to me, even at higher encoding rates. but an airport express with an optical out to the denon is a beautiful thing, and it works flawlessly.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fulusu
Is there any way to get iPod to output PCM in digital format? I would like to use a high quality DAC for my system.


Larry
Not direct from the digital stream...

The entire iPod marketing program is based upon keeping the content in a protected digital form (AAC) and when providing an output it will be analog...

All part of the DRM program plus the requirement for one to make a purchase from

the iTunes store..
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fulusu
Is there any way to get iPod to output PCM in digital format? I would like to use a high quality DAC for my system.


Larry
Not direct from the digital stream...

The entire iPod marketing program is based upon keeping the content in a protected digital form (AAC) and when providing an output it will be analog...

All part of the DRM program plus the requirement for one to make a purchase from

the iTunes store..
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fulusu
Is there any way to get iPod to output PCM in digital format? I would like to use a high quality DAC for my system.


Larry
Not direct from the digital stream...

The entire iPod marketing program is based upon keeping the content in a protected digital form (AAC) and when providing an output it will be analog...

All part of the DRM program plus the requirement for one to make a purchase from

the iTunes store..
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Code
Not direct from the digital stream...

The entire iPod marketing program is based upon keeping the content in a protected digital form (AAC) and when providing an output it will be analog...

All part of the DRM program plus the requirement for one to make a purchase from

the iTunes store..


well, the computers and airport express both have the digital outs. the ipod is the only one with an analog out only. and you can certainly have music in there that wasn't purchased via itunes. for instance, thousands of songs from my cd's which i have in itunes now and can stream via airport express to my denon receiver. no problem. nothing to do with drm or itunes store, all to do with the intended applications for these devices.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Code
Not direct from the digital stream...

The entire iPod marketing program is based upon keeping the content in a protected digital form (AAC) and when providing an output it will be analog...

All part of the DRM program plus the requirement for one to make a purchase from

the iTunes store..
pounce already addressed this somewhat, but to be perfectly clear:


what m code says applies (partly) only to music purchased at the iTunes Music Store. However, there are many other sources of music outside of the iTMS. the iTunes application and iPod can handle many formats at many quality levels, including fully uncompressed music from CD or other sources. by extension the Airport Express can also handle these formats, outputing in full digital quality through its optical out to the receiver, including DRM'ed songs purchased at the iTunes Music Store.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Code
Not direct from the digital stream...

The entire iPod marketing program is based upon keeping the content in a protected digital form (AAC) and when providing an output it will be analog...

All part of the DRM program plus the requirement for one to make a purchase from

the iTunes store..
Not necessarily true, any song purchased from the iTunes store can be burned to CD free of any DRM. I don't think the PCM output of the Airport Express employs any form of DRM either.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Looks like if I have cleaned-up CDs on my computer (e.g. EAC), stream the PCM data to a high quality DAC via AirPort Express and I have winner here.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pounce
well, the computers and airport express both have the digital outs. the ipod is the only one with an analog out only. and you can certainly have music in there that wasn't purchased via itunes. for instance, thousands of songs from my cd's which i have in itunes now and can stream via airport express to my denon receiver. no problem. nothing to do with drm or itunes store, all to do with the intended applications for these devices.
Yes..

The Airport Express and the PC may have a digital out...

But you missed my point their original input source is analog which is digitized a 2nd time..

First the signal is digital into the PC from the master CD, then it is outputted as analog from the analog Line Out, but now they have added a Digital Out jack but its source signal is the analog stream redigitized..

Run through another analog-to-digital converter... :rolleyes:


Everytime a signal is redigitized, the quality drops down a step as noise is added...

Another way to understand my point is to consider the iPOd and then one takes the HeadPhone Out which is analog and then runs it into the digitizer ..

Now the output is digital but its source was digital (within the iPod) but when exported.. The output is analog..

If the signal is always kept in the digital domain but once it goes through a converter to analog noise is added..



Apple strongly supports the studios and their protection of content so their hardware does not provide a digital out...

Unless it first ...

goes through an analog-to-digital converter..
 

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mcode


this article http://stereophile.com/accessoryreviews/505apple/ is one that confirms that the digital out from an airport express is bit identical with the original files. so there is a proper digital out provided here.


that said, if i take tracks from a cd, import them into itunes in a full fidelity or at least aac (lossless compression) format, and then stream them to the airport express there is no loss. and while the analog out of the airport express ain't great, the digital out does what it is supposed to do. so in my case, my music only undergoes one conversion, a d/a conversion at the denon amp. the same as if i was playing the original cd.


so while i perfectly understand why one wants to avoid additional a/d or d/a conversions, i don't see any reason why addional conversions are inherently necessary with the use of an airport express. you should be able to stream it to the airport express and use the digital out with no problem. only the ipod is stuck with strictly analog outs, but my computers all can stream digitally to the airport express and provide accurate digital audio without other conversions. i mention the computers and itunes as ipods are all managed by computers running itunes, so all the music on an ipod is likely also on a computer that can be used to stream audio with no further conversions necessary. i keep my itunes library on my main laptop computer and can play audio to my rec room stereo from wherever i am in the house, or on the porch. works perfectly. one single d/a conversion. good quality. anyone who sets their gear up properly can do this. i don't see where additional a/d or d/a conversions to enter into the picture. it's avoidable by setting up the system the way that i described.
 

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m code


why does the analog out of a computer come into play. the digital cd data is pulled into the computer as digital and then streamed wirelessly to the airport express where the output cable is a toslink cable to the receiver where the only conversion takes place. in my instance, no a/d conversions happen, and only one d/a conversion happens, which is the same as if i was simply playing the original cd.


just re-read what you had been typing and i'm still not sure why you would have to have two conversions.


and while i fully appreciate apples relationship with artists and labels (MY music is on itunes, go and buy some :) ), you can do this with one conversion the way i described above no problem. in that scenario, it sounds pretty good. the analog out on the airport express is clearly much lower quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
In fact, if the CD get processed on the computer, one can use software to fix scratches, jitter, etc. to produce better digital signals.


I only wish that iPod can send out digital out so that I can use it as a portable jukebox...I am waiting.


In view of cost, Apple can always offer a separate device to directly stream PCM from the iPod, if they offer AirPort Express for $129.99, I am sure that Apple can offer something at or below that price. I do not see any copyright issue here at all.
 

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it would be cool if you could use a digital out directly from an ipod. what i'd want to see is a dock station for the ipod with a toslink out and a little remote for the ipod. i did a quick search and didn't find any such thing.


i've already described my "workaround", which is to use the computer with itunes on it and the airport express. since the computer is a nice 17" powerbook using the airport express, i can simply select anything i want to hear in itunes (the same audio as is in my ipod) and play. so the laptop computer is close to me instead of a remote. but the audio quality is better by using the digital out as opposed to the analog out of the airport express. i more recently switched to the digital out and the difference was extremely obvious. the denon receiver i have has a much better d/a converter.
 
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