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Playing high-res music on a Mac

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi guys - I need some advise in nailing down the source/playback aspect of my music.

The bulk of my music is 16/44.1 CD rips and that plays fine with what I have. However, I am slowly amassing a library of music from HD tracks, including 24/96 and even some 24/176.

A few questions:

1/ What would be the best way to play these on a Mac? iTunes seems to struggle with this, and when I tried running the music through Audirvana, I got a lot of hissing.

2/ I've seen some DACs refer to being able to play only 24/96 off USB output, and 24/192 off SPDIF. Is that a function of the Mac's USB output or the specific DAC under consideration?

3/ If I want to stream to my speaker-fi system, is there a consensus on whether using Airport Express is sufficient (I am ok with 24/96 for this), or whether there are any gains to using a wifi-enabled DAC?

4/ Is there a way to downsample 24/176 and 24/96 ALAC/FLAC files to 24/48, for uploading to an iPod?

post #2 of 10

Are you changing the sampling rate through the midi controller?

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Do Macs even have midi controllers?  I cannot seem to find one in my Systems app.


But to answer your question - no, i am not.   Audirvana does it automatically, IIRC.   When I look at its options, it has sampling options from 44.1 to 192 all selected.   However, when I try playing the hi-res file, it fails.


Ironically, my DX50 plays it just fine.

post #4 of 10

What's your signal chain? DAC? Digital connection type?


My 5 year old MBP has no issue with any audio files. I can run it out the line out upto 24/96 or SPDIF optical at the same. Or use the two USB external DACs I have on it to go up to 24/192. They all work fine and iTunes has no issue with any bit rate.

post #5 of 10

Yes, they have a midi controller, if you wanted to play high-res files through iTunes.  It's found under system utilities.

post #6 of 10

It's not a MIDI controller, it's an audio and MIDI utility to adjust device settings.

post #7 of 10

Whatever.  As long as you adjust to the appropriate sample rate and bit depth in the utility and have a dac that is capable of such numbers, you should be able to play the music back in iTunes with no problems.


I don't use audirvana so I can't comment on that.

Edited by TMRaven - 12/8/13 at 12:30pm
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Ah ok, thanks for that, TMRaven - found it.   


Anyway, I played around with the MIDI settings and this is what I found:

- when I play direct from iTunes, the moment I adjust the MIDI settings to a sampling rate >96KHz, I get static/hissing

- when I started Audirvana, I think it automatically sets the sampling rate to 176KHz, and I think that is what was setting off the hissing/static.   When I set it a max of 96KHz, everything was good.   However, this presumably downsamples the music from 176 to 96.


So for whatever reason, setting a sampling rate >96KHz to my DAC is what is causing problems.
The DAC is an Audio-GD 2.32, and should be able to handle up to 32/384 inputs.   I assume from the fact that my Midi settings are showing 192KHz as an option, that the Macbook should be able to output 192 via USB, correct?

Edited by vkalia - 12/8/13 at 12:49pm
post #9 of 10

Which macbook specifically is it?

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
It's 2011 15" Macbook Pro.

Ok, I just figured out what the problem was - the DAC has some settings called "Flavor", which I figured were increased warmth settings. I had it set at "4" and that was causing the static. When I brought it down to 2, all is good.

I am guessing that whatever the DAC does to the treble at the higher settings doesnt play well with higher-res files.
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