11 Replies Latest reply: Oct 9, 2013 3:51 PM by paulisdead
catalyst9 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I have some high-definition audio files (24-bit/44.1KHz and 24/96) in Apple Lossless format. I also have what I thought was a simple question: Does the AppleTV support bit-perfect playback of such files? In other words, will the AppleTV stream them without downsampling them? Posts on other forums suggest that the AppleTV downsamples everything to 16/48 (which would be absurd on Apple's part, as every other link in the audio chain, including iTunes, Mac, DAC, etc fully supports 24/96). Can anyone confirm either way? The technical specs are conspicuously silent on this issue...

MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • 1. Re: Does AppleTV(v2) output 24-bit audio through TOSLINK port?
    Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (17,035 points)
    catalyst9 wrote:
    I have some high-definition audio files (24-bit/44.1KHz and 24/96) in Apple Lossless format. I also have what I thought was a simple question: Does the AppleTV support bit-perfect playback of such files?


    No
    Posts on other forums suggest that the AppleTV downsamples everything to 16/48 (which would be absurd on Apple's part, as every other link in the audio chain, including iTunes, Mac, DAC, etc fully supports 24/96).


    AppleTv2 converts to 16/48 which seems just as daft daft for 16/44.1 source material

    Can anyone confirm either way? The technical specs are conspicuously silent on this issue...


    It's not marketed as an audiophile product BUT I see no reason it couldn't do the job!
  • 2. Re: Does AppleTV(v2) output 24-bit audio through TOSLINK port?
    catalyst9 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for this, Alley Cat. Very helpful reply. Have you indeed confirmed that the ATV2 outputs everything at 16/48, no matter the source? If so, how?

    Daft is exactly the right word! Does anybody at Apple read these forums? Why would Apple make the ATV the only weak link in the chain?! iTunes fully supports high-def audio files, and the ATV obviously should too... As you've noted, the ATV can and should offer bit-perfect playback, period.
  • 3. Re: Does AppleTV(v2) output 24-bit audio through TOSLINK port?
    giovanni lugato Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    iTunes supports what ?

    From my understanding iTunes does not support hd files at all. You need software such as Amarra to do that ! I wish though that it did.
  • 4. Re: Does AppleTV(v2) output 24-bit audio through TOSLINK port?
    Patrick Dubby Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Aaaargh, I was thinking of getting one of these as a more convenient way of getting 24/96 sound out of my macbook than a long TOSLINK cable to my amplifier.

    Looks like another wasted opportunity.

    What I don't understand is that according to other reports, digital audio from a DVD is passed through no problems. Why would a 5.1 digital signal be untouched, but a similar signal from iTunes be screwed up?
    There must be some sort of workaround?

    And why, in 2011, is 24/96 still considered 'audiophile'? After 30 years of 16/44.1 you'd think we would have moved on somewhat to a new standard.
  • 5. Re: Does AppleTV(v2) output 24-bit audio through TOSLINK port?
    catalyst9 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Yes, Giovanni, iTunes supports hd audio files. You can add them readily to your iTunes library, and iTunes will play them bit-perfectly... You might need to change your settings in the Audio MIDI Setup app (on Mac), then you should be good to go. I have all the Beatles songs, for example, in 24/44.1 Apple Lossless format, and they play perfectly in iTunes. The problem comes when I stream such files to the ATV, as the ATV apparently converts everything to 16/48. Which obviously defeats the whole point of getting high-def files in the first place...
  • 6. Re: Does AppleTV(v2) output 24-bit audio through TOSLINK port?
    catalyst9 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I'd just wait a bit, Patrick... I've gotta believe Apple will solve this problem. The ATV can certainly accommodate 24/96 audio files, and that's exactly what it should output, whether through TOSLINK or HDMI! As you've noted, it's unfathomable why the ATV would pass through a DD 5.1 signal, yet mangle a 24/96 or 24/44.1 signal. Meantime, alas, I'm not aware of any workaround. If there is one, I'd love to know what it is.
  • 7. Re: Does AppleTV(v2) output 24-bit audio through TOSLINK port?
    Giovanni Level 1 Level 1 (130 points)
    Well, I was thinking 24/96 or more. Sorry, my mistake. But I still hope Apple will indeed incorporate that capability ...
  • 8. Re: Does AppleTV(v2) output 24-bit audio through TOSLINK port?
    catalyst9 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    iTunes does support 24/96, as well as 24/44.1 audio files... Which is why it's all the more bizarre that the ATV (apparently) does not.
  • 9. Re: Does AppleTV(v2) output 24-bit audio through TOSLINK port?
    Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (17,035 points)
    catalyst9 wrote:
    Thanks for this, Alley Cat. Very helpful reply. Have you indeed confirmed that the ATV2 outputs everything at 16/48, no matter the source? If so, how?


    Not personally (my older AV processor doesn't show the detail) but I've seen reports here from others that it upconverts/downconverts to 16 bit/48 kHz.

    I was hoping when it came out that it would support at least up to 24/96 as AppleTV 1 output everything at 16/44.1, and I remember several thrteads relating to this.

    Apple developers do not generally read these fora - send feedback to:

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/appletv.html


    Daft is exactly the right word! Does anybody at Apple read these forums? Why would Apple make the ATV the only weak link in the chain?! iTunes fully supports high-def audio files, and the ATV obviously should too... As you've noted, the ATV can and should offer bit-perfect playback, period.
  • 10. Re: Does AppleTV(v2) output 24-bit audio through TOSLINK port?
    Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (17,035 points)
    Patrick Dubby wrote:
    Aaaargh, I was thinking of getting one of these as a more convenient way of getting 24/96 sound out of my macbook than a long TOSLINK cable to my amplifier.

    Looks like another wasted opportunity.


    Yep


    What I don't understand is that according to other reports, digital audio from a DVD is passed through no problems. Why would a 5.1 digital signal be untouched, but a similar signal from iTunes be screwed up?


    Personally I think they don't see beyond the iTunes store purchase/rental model.

    As you know you can't even buy true CD quality audio from iTunes let alone anything better.

    When we're able to download/buy 4GB HD movies, I see no practical reason why we couldn't have CD quality or better encoded as Apple Lossless audio.

    There must be some sort of workaround?


    No. I ended up buying a Mac Mini.

    The majority of other media boxes I looked at previously also were limited and even though some supported FLAC they couldn't output 24/48 ot 24/96.

    I'm sure some of them must do it now, but it's a shame AppleTV can't - I doubt it's a hardware related issue, simply one of support.

    And why, in 2011, is 24/96 still considered 'audiophile'? After 30 years of 16/44.1 you'd think we would have moved on somewhat to a new standard.


    Truth being most people don't care. MP3/portable players have killed many people's appreciation of what good quality audio sounds like. I use these devices all the time on the go, but for home listening I do not want lossy compressed audio to play on the hi-fi, and in this day and age we should be able to ditch the silver discs easily.

    AC
  • 11. Re: Does AppleTV(v2) output 24-bit audio through TOSLINK port?
    paulisdead Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    "And why, in 2011, is 24/96 still considered 'audiophile'? After 30 years of 16/44.1 you'd think we would have moved on somewhat to a new standard."

     

    Because most commercially released music is originally recorded at 24bit at either 48k, 96k or 192k.

     

    When digital audio was first being taken up by studios in the 1980's, 16 bit/44.1k was the standard until the early 90's when they upgraded from 44.1k to 48k.  Then 16 bits were raised to 20bits then finally 24bits by the mid-late 90's.  96k and 192k were later introduced in 2002.  Recently Pro Tools (most commonly used recording professional program) has only just moved to a 64-bit based platform which offers a 32-bit Float recording, however no processor has ever been released by ANYBODY that will handle a 32-bit audio signal. 

     

    So 24bit/192k is still THE HIGHEST professional standard you can get.