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About pbphoto

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    Family Room: Klipsch Heresy III stock, Yamaha YST-SW90 sub, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amp, Schiit Bifrost 4490 DAC, Airport, iTunes, Sony SACD player
    Basement: Klipsch La Scala II stock, Rhythmic F12-G Sub, Klipsch RC-62ii center, Klipsch R-14s surrounds, McIntosh MC-58 8-channel amp, Yamaha HTR-5250 AVR PRE, Channel Islands VDA-2 DAC, VPI Scout w/Ortofon 2m blue, Airport, Apple TV, iTunes/Audirvana

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  1. Another vote for Roon. After you set up your sources (iTunes DB, music folder on a NAS share, Tidal, internet radio etc) and destinations (local Audioquest Dragonfly, Airport/Airplay, Sonos...) its interface is very intuitive and inviting - powered by a great metadata DB. You can start out playing an album then start clicking on similar artists - it really sucks you in. Sound quality is outstanding. Yesterday's release added language localization so it may help you with your English/French situation.
  2. Klipsch R-115SW boomy

    Your receiver is from 1999 before YPAO. I have a similar model from 2001. Check the output settings on page 22 of your manual. If it is just 2-channel (or even a full HT setup), I'd try setting your mains to 'large' and setting bass-out to 'both' (make sure your main level is not -10), and then use the low-pass filter on the SW to blend in with the mains to your liking - start out around 50hz. Adjust the volume control on your SW accordingly too. This setup is telling your AVR to send the full-range signal to your RP-160M's (which can play down to about 45hz or so) PLUS send all-bass below 80hz to your SW (which you will blend in using the low-pass knob on the SW to avoid boomy overlap with the mains.) Beyond this, search the internet for a room node/null calculator and input the dimensions of your room. REW is free software that has a room modeling module, but there are others out there that you can just run from your browser. You may find that you have a node at something like 30hz and a null at 55hz depending on the dimensions of your room. Or you can do the subwoofer crawl mentioned above.
  3. The coax input on the DAC supports up to 210khz so maybe those files are hi-res 176 or 192 khz.
  4. It's not the cable. Are the files that don't play some sort of multi-channel format? How are they different from the ones that play fine? Your DAC only supports 2-channel 24/96khz (max) PCM stereo on the optical input. My guess is the TGIII was able to play these files because it is an AVR able to decode multi-channel formats that the TV is sending it. Your TV assumes it's connected to an AVR that can decode just about anything. One way to check is to hook up the TGII again and play a couple of files through your TV. Look at the display on the TGII and see if it tells you what it is receiving/decoding.
  5. Agreed. The quality of the recording, mastering and mixing is much more important than the digital bucket the content is delivered in. I like HDTRACKs for a lot of albums that are important to me. However, if there is a difference versus the CD or iTunes, it's because they are different mixes not because one format is better than the other. Many times, I'll make AAC files from the hi-res HDTRACKs downloads and I can't tell a difference.
  6. Standalone DAC necessary?

    etc6849: I'm sure your system sounds awesome but I submit it isn't because of the DAC - it's because of all the other high-end digital processing going on prior to the stream hitting the DAC. The OP asked if adding a standalone DAC in front of an AVR, and then piping the analog sound directly back into that same AVR, would make a difference. I still think the answer is 'probably not.'
  7. Need Help Understanding Audio Resolution

    That's possible! My hearing is 48 years old and most things this age don't work as well as they once did. It could also be your HK is doing some additional DSP in the chain that sort of nullifies any small differences in the DAC. Regardless, I think differences in DACs are pretty fair down the chain in terms of making an audible "wow factor." I just ran a test since it is a rainy Saturday up here in Chicago. I recruited my daughter for 10 minutes - she's got 16 year old hearing and a classically trained ear from playing the viola. I played the first 30 seconds of a well recorded hi-res track several times. Path A was Airplay --> AE --> Schiit Bifrost 4490 DAC --> McIntosh MA6500 --> H3. Path B eliminated the Schiit. She asked me to switch several times A B A, then A and B. It was close with subtle differences. However she did prefer Path A (Schiit)- more open, natural, with distinct separation of instruments against a black background. The AE was good but the vocals were more front-and-center with the instruments more bunched up behind the vocals. I could hear the difference too BTW but I just wanted to make sure it wasn't a placebo, and my daughter acted as the neutral referee.
  8. Need Help Understanding Audio Resolution

    The DAC inside the AE is surprisingly decent. Some generations of AE have a better reputation than others too. With today's advanced digital technology, I don't think there is ever a "wow" moment swapping around DACs - more like 'subtle differences' due to one integrating into your system slightly better than the other. At least this has been my experience in the sub-$600-ish range of DACs.
  9. Standalone DAC necessary?

    Well said. I would wager the OP will probably not hear any improvement going through an outboard DAC and then piping that output right back through the same DAC inside the AVR he's currently directly connected to via HDMI.
  10. Standalone DAC necessary?

    Unfortunately, it is one of the "it depends" answers. You have a very simple (and good) audio path right now. If you add an outboard DAC, it may be better than the one inside your AVR on paper, but would you be able to tell the difference? Not sure. Keep in mind that if you go with an outboard DAC and feed its analog outputs to analog inputs on the AVR, the AVR will convert it back to digital, run it through its internal DSP and bass management logic, then convert back to analog again...ADA conversion. There are very few AVRs out there with a pure internal analog path, and Denon is not one of them AFAIK despite what marketing says about 'Pure Direct' or whatever.
  11. Need Help Understanding Audio Resolution

    The answer is no, Airplay and your AE are not the bottleneck here - they stream at 16/44.1 compressed lossless (Apple calls this ALAC) which is CD quality. This is also the limit of your iPhone. Pretty darn good to my ears if I may say so. Hook up your AE via Toslink optical to your HK and you should hear a nice improvement. The weak link in this chain is Spotify Premium (MP3 320) and probably the files stored on your iPhone are AAC-256 format, the standard for the iTunes store. Both MP3 and AAC are compressed lossy formats. When the Spotify app on your iPhone streams MP3 or the Music app plays an AAC file out via Airplay to your AE, Airplay actually rehydrates it to 16/44.1 ALAC. But, as others have pointed out, there is no getting back the missing bits that were discarded when the music was saved as MP3/AAC. You can save music in 16/44.1 ALAC format (from CD rips or HDTRACKS for example) to your iPhone for maximum quality (matching what Airplay is capable of) at the expense of chewing through disk space on your iPhone. There is no point in looking at higher-resolution streaming solutions if your sources are all compressed and lossy. Save your money.
  12. Mid-2017 iMac ==> Klipsch cabling questions

    Agreed - the R-15PM supports Bluetooth Apt-X which is the latest and greatest AFAIK. When you look at your Bluetooth connection on your MAC, you can see it is using APT-X.
  13. Mid-2017 iMac ==> Klipsch cabling questions

    On a physical CD, yes all tracks are 44.1Khz sample rate @ 16 bit depth. 16bits x 44.1khz x 2 channels (stereo) = 1.411Mbits per sec = 176KB per second = about 74 minutes of music on a CD which meets the CEO of Sony's requirement to fit Beethoven's 9th Symphony on a single side. If you download an album from iTunes, all tracks are also 44.1Khz sample rate @ 16 bit depth but Apple uses a lossy compression technique called AAC to "package" the music so it uses much less disk space. Websites like HDTRACKS have "hi-res" music at 96/24 and higher. If you right-click (or two-finger click) on the iTunes library column bar, you can select additional columns include bit depth and sample rate. I think iTunes does a great job if you set it up like I mention above. The main downside to iTunes is it doesn't do automatic sample-rate-switching / conversion. What you have set in Audio Midi is what gets sent to the DAC in your R-15PM, regardless of its capabilities. I use a program called "Audirvana" that syncs up with my iTunes library and does a great job - sometimes I even convince myself I can hear a difference ;-) I have no affiliation with Audirvana but I think it's worth a try. There are others as well. I'm glad I didn't get you fired searching for boutique-streamers! Search youtube for "digital audio 101" - there's lots of info out there.
  14. Preamp Owners....What Are You Using?

    Apple has crammed a lot of functionality into a $99 Airport Express. One of the things it can do is use its internal DAC to send analog out its 3.5mm headphone jack. It actually does a pretty good job at this. However, you should notice an improvement when you avoid the AE DAC by connecting an optical cable to your HK and using the DAC inside the HK.