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Thread: Apple Music lossless vs ALAC streamed to Squeezebox

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jul 2011

    Location: Alberta

    Posts: 9
    I'm Dan.

    Default Apple Music lossless vs ALAC streamed to Squeezebox

    So I set up an A-B best I could.

    My Squeezebox Touch, Ethernet connection to main Mac in office hooked up via Ethernet network.
    Touch to Beresford Caiman via coax digital audio connection

    IPad Air 2 via USB/Card reader/connector to iPad. Plugged into power via iPad charger into card reader connector. USB from connector to Caiman USB input. iPad volume was set to full output.

    Caiman to Rotel integrated amp via RCA connectors.

    With both inputs into Caiman, I just had to switch between input 1 and 4.

    Teed up Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon on the home network and Apple Music, lossless

    The home network is all CDs ripped to ALAC lossless, 16/44.1. Apple Music feed was 24/96 I think ( or whatever is the closest standard, not 88.2)

    Listened via AKG 704 headphones. Plugged into my Cambridge amp. Neutral, not bass or treble heavy. For the most part, letís the music do itís thing without a ton of colouration.

    Went through Money, Time and The Great Gig in the Sky

    First off, the feed from the Squeezebox was definitely a snick louder, so that is a risk to accurate perception. However, first punch, the Apple Music version did not grab out of the gate. Whereas the CD rip via Squeezebox was immediately engaging. Snap, highs ring, punchy bass, extended decay. The Apple 24/96 was definitely lighter on dynamic range, immediacy was lacking, little snap or decay of cymbals. I tried to listen to it for more extended segments before switching back, and the ears did become somewhat acclimated, but going back to the Squeezebox input made the differences stark.

    Not super scientific. Both sources were synched at the start point, but the mixes obviously had some timing differences as occasionally I had to re-sync mid-song. But I was never out by more than a second or two.

    I also have some ripped hi-res DVD and Blu ray audio files (Doors LAWoman, etc) that are in 24/96, so when I get a chance, Iíll try another comparison. But I am pretty sure a 2008/09 implementation of USB in a then budget, though quality DAC is far surpassed today.

    I have been looking to upgrade the TV in basement and AVR in main basement viewing room, as well as considering a revamp of the upstairs audio system. Thinking of a new streamer (Cambridge CXN or other equivalent), a little more oomph from ampÖpossible a made in Canada Bryson unit, and for sure a DAC upgrade. The original thought was a new Schiit Bifrost 2 but am leaning to a Topping 70s MQA. Those internal fights are ongoing. (I know the Schiit Bifrost doesnít get a lot of love here, but I have loved my original version I just failed to upgrade the DAC chips before the module was gone. So I would get the Bifrost 2/Uber USB and multibit option. Since it would be for the computer based headphone listening.

    Anyways, will update when I have a chance to compare with hi-rez rips.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Join Date: Aug 2008

    Location: notts uk

    Posts: 278
    I'm Pete.


    many years ago I did something similar ......comparing various file formats. Apple lossless [?] always sounded lacking in body in comparison with many other formats ...settled on flac in the end as it darker silences and seemed more dynamic. Stuck with flac ever since.

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