MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
It is connected via USB, and I am indeed running 11.4
OK so that sounds much like what limited iTunes all these years, you had to manually toggle the damn Audio Midi Setup setting in Utilities to get the sample rate to change, which is ridiculous.

One way around that was to purchase the BitPerfect iTunes plugin, I'd be curious if that also works with Apple Music. I'm still running macOS Catalina 10.15.7 or I'd test it, as I do have BitPerfect.

Odd that Apple would make no mention of any of this, and what they did say was you need an external DAC, which would imply thats all that you need.

I just launched BitPerfect and it does work with the version of the Music (iTunes replacement) app that I have, however that is for local file playback, I'm not an Apple Music cloud service subscriber.

If you are willing to risk the $9.99 on BitPerfect, that may just work, and even if it doesn't, it should allow for automatic sample rate switching for local file playback unless incompatible with Big Sur.
 
Got it on my phone after update, where I probably won’t use it...much.
Will check the MacMini later today.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
It is connected via USB, and I am indeed running 11.4
I updated to macOS 11.4 Big Sur today and started a free 3-month trial of Apple Music.

After getting the settings in place to play lossless, I am up and running and I see a little icon in the "now playing" pane at the top center that reveals the bit depth and sample rate of the album chosen when clicked. No where ahead of time are you able to see that information, it's just pot luck, pick an album and play it to find out.

In playing several different albums that turned out to be different source sample rates, I see exactly what you were describing the other night, that being the only way to get the sample rate to change is by physically altering it manually in Utilities ➞ Audio MIDI Setup for each album, there is no automatic change of sample rate happening in Apple Music, my external DAC's sample rate indicator confirms it.

Worse yet, even though my BitPerfect plugin seems to be functioning, it too is unable to control the sample rate, arguably the whole reason anyone would have ever used it in the past with iTunes. When BitPerfect is enabled, you do have to select the correct output device (external DAC), so for example after enabling BitPerfect the sound would still come out of the MacBook's own onboard speakers unless I select the external DAC in BitPerfect's settings, however in choosing a 24/96 album, the sample rate is still pinned to what the Audio MIDI Setting is, BitPerfect is unable to override that as it does with iTunes.

So I guess I'll send the BitPerfect developer a note and hope he responds, as I doubt anyone will ever get an answer out of Apple about this, though you'd think they know damn well it is ridiculous for them to expect customers to manually adjust for and select the correct Audio MIDI setting sample rate for each and every album (or track in a playlist). Surely they must have a plan for either Apple Music itself, or the Audio MIDI Setting of sample rate to become automatic with source file played?

Not only would an audio enthusiast not be bothered to make this manual adjustment for each and every album or track in a playlist, but you'd be speaking Martian to anyone in plain clothes if suggesting that's what is required to hear "hi-res" with Apple Music.
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
Ok, a little overdue update on my first lossless experience. After performing the update and adjusting settings, it was too late to listen at home. So my first experience was in my car. Could I notice the difference? Definitely, louder and more detailed, especially when listening to the atmos tracks versus regular ones. Because lossless takes more data, it seems to be more finicky about signal; not strong enough and it will pause(?)

Now today at home, here I sit. (iPhone wired to preamp) Please first do yourself a favor and try the “hear the difference track with “Marvin Gayes ‘What’s going on” from mono to stereo and then atmos. One word; WOW! Not sure if this is trickery or an illusion (or in my head?), but now I hear depth between instruments, versus just pin point location. Vocals were also strangely more realistic And also depth to them.
More listening ahead of me, but I’ll take one for the team. In short, I’m quite happy so far with the improvement. It also shines light on their previous lesser quality offerings though….
 
I updated to macOS 11.4 Big Sur today and started a free 3-month trial of Apple Music.

After getting the settings in place to play lossless, I am up and running and I see a little icon in the "now playing" pane at the top center that reveals the bit depth and sample rate of the album chosen when clicked. No where ahead of time are you able to see that information, it's just pot luck, pick an album and play it to find out.

In playing several different albums that turned out to be different source sample rates, I see exactly what you were describing the other night, that being the only way to get the sample rate to change is by physically altering it manually in Utilities ➞ Audio MIDI Setup for each album, there is no automatic change of sample rate happening in Apple Music, my external DAC's sample rate indicator confirms it.

Worse yet, even though my BitPerfect plugin seems to be functioning, it too is unable to control the sample rate, arguably the whole reason anyone would have ever used it in the past with iTunes. When BitPerfect is enabled, you do have to select the correct output device (external DAC), so for example after enabling BitPerfect the sound would still come out of the MacBook's own onboard speakers unless I select the external DAC in BitPerfect's settings, however in choosing a 24/96 album, the sample rate is still pinned to what the Audio MIDI Setting is, BitPerfect is unable to override that as it does with iTunes.

So I guess I'll send the BitPerfect developer a note and hope he responds, as I doubt anyone will ever get an answer out of Apple about this, though you'd think they know damn well it is ridiculous for them to expect customers to manually adjust for and select the correct Audio MIDI setting sample rate for each and every album (or track in a playlist). Surely they must have a plan for either Apple Music itself, or the Audio MIDI Setting of sample rate to become automatic with source file played?

Not only would an audio enthusiast not be bothered to make this manual adjustment for each and every album or track in a playlist, but you'd be speaking Martian to anyone in plain clothes if suggesting that's what is required to hear "hi-res" with Apple Music.
This is really unfortunate. It would have been very easy for Apple to make this work properly from square one. Most people probably won't even be aware that they're not hearing quite what they think they're hearing, in the case of higher bitrate songs.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
This is really unfortunate. It would have been very easy for Apple to make this work properly from square one. Most people probably won't even be aware that they're not hearing quite what they think they're hearing, in the case of higher bitrate songs.
I've seen developer comments that suggest Apple has no intention of offering their AirPlay2 in-home wireless streaming protocol at anything beyond 48kHz sample rate, which means "hi-res" tracks would be resampled in any event when using it.

If that holds true then I could also see why Apple would think the entire subject is moot and or not of any critical concern to the average listener, and unfortunately they are probably right about that. But that doesn't get them off the hook for simply not doing it both right and transparently from the start, they didn't need to make it a big issue with novice end users, just fix the software to automatically and transparently adjust the sample rate when connected to a compatible DAC via USB.

For me this means Apple Music simply cannot replace Qobuz, not even for local playback much less over the network. I'll be curious to see what now transpires with Spotify's lossless roll out and more specifically if Spotify Connect is fully compatible with it right at the outset or not.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Sounds like I’ll not be investigating Apple Music.
Well if you can dig up that Lightning CCK, or if your iPad has the Type C port, then you can connect it straight to a USB DAC.

Assuming it's running iOS 14.6, and you've enabled hi-res lossless in the Apple Music settings, you can then stream at each album's native sample rate, and gapless too. Apparently this is currently the only such way that actually works, not available on macOS.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Well if you can dig up that Lightning CCK, or if your iPad has the Type C port, then you can connect it straight to a USB DAC.

Assuming it's running iOS 14.6, and you've enabled hi-res lossless in the Apple Music settings, you can then stream at each album's native sample rate, and gapless too. Apparently this is currently the only such way that actually works, not available on macOS.
I don't subscribe to Apple Music, though, and don't plan to. I'm subscriptioned-out, and what Apple is offering doesn't interest me.

As for Atmos/spacial audio, it just doesn't intrigue me? I currently already get more than pinpoint location with my imagining. Stereo is truly holographic on even that Marvin Gaye album, on LP and SACD. I don't like too much trickery when it comes to that kind of thing, and usually prefer whatever was native to the original recording. But I did have a friend who is not an audio ask me about it on Saturday, so word is getting out there. Funny that he mentioned What's Goin' On as well as the album he really liked in Spacial Audio.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I don't subscribe to Apple Music, though, and don't plan to.
I don't really plan on it either given Qobuz is working out well for me at this time, however I did take the free 3 month trial on Apple Music just to play around with it and see whats what, that's the only way I even know what can and can't be done currently.

Realistically this could never work for me unless AirPlay2 is updated to stream greater than 48kHz material, or if Apple were to allow for open source networked audio implementations such as UPnP, neither of which is likely to ever happen.
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
I don't really plan on it either given Qobuz is working out well for me at this time, however I did take the free 3 month trial on Apple Music just to play around with it and see whats what, that's the only way I even know what can and can't be done currently.

Realistically this could never work for me unless AirPlay2 is updated to stream greater than 48kHz material, or Apple were to allow for open source networked audio implementations such as UPnP, neither of which is likely to ever happen.
I don’t think apple is planning on sending lossless over Bluetooth anytime soon.

Curious what my dacs will do with the incoming signal. Just need the right cable as none of my dacs are standard usb input (thinking of using my iPad as I don’t have a pc in my system).
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I think Apple will get more mileage out of this Spacial/Atmos thing than they will out of high res. I bet 95% or more don't have the gear needed to reliably tell much of a difference between resolutions. I also think that's why Apple won't really sweat the details much because they know they're not going to get much pushback about it being limited to 48khz. For the vast majority of people they're seling the idea of superiority rather than something they're going to actually experience- and really, they're only doing it because they don't want Spotify to have something over them. Spacial Audio will sound different, though- and people will notice. My friend who noticed uses a Bang & Olufsen bluetooth box of some sort. It sounds good for what it is but its hardly hi-fi. And he professed to liking the difference Spacial Audio offered.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I think Apple will get more mileage out of this Spacial/Atmos thing than they will out of high res.
Thats certainly what they've said in interviews since the big announcement.

 
I think Apple will get more mileage out of this Spacial/Atmos thing than they will out of high res. I bet 95% or more don't have the gear needed to reliably tell much of a difference between resolutions. I also think that's why Apple won't really sweat the details much because they know they're not going to get much pushback about it being limited to 48khz. For the vast majority of people they're seling the idea of superiority rather than something they're going to actually experience- and really, they're only doing it because they don't want Spotify to have something over them. Spacial Audio will sound different, though- and people will notice. My friend who noticed uses a Bang & Olufsen bluetooth box of some sort. It sounds good for what it is but its hardly hi-fi. And he professed to liking the difference Spacial Audio offered.
I think Apple’s target is the IPhone/earbud youth. They will sell more hardware with special effects than high-res.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
iPad Pro version 1 I believe, so lighting cable. The usb on both dacs is the usb “B” if memory serves me correctly. Facts are the d30 and ifi micro.
OK so you will need a Lightning CCK, and then any Type A to Type B USB cable plugged into it.

If you meant the Topping D30 that is a Type B input, but for the iFi micro which one? There was more than one iFi model that used that micro prefix, and they don't all have the same kind of USB input.
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
OK so you will need a Lightning CCK, and then any Type A to Type B USB cable plugged into it.

If you meant the Topping D30 that is a Type B input, but for the iFi micro which one? There was more than one iFi model that used that micro prefix, and they don't all have the same kind of USB input.
Thanks, got the cable and will do some testing/listening later. And correction; it’s the topping d10 and ifi nano.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks, got the cable and will do some testing/listening later. And correction; it’s the topping d10 and ifi nano.
OK so both DACs will have the standard Type B input. Any quality printer cable will do, or just use the one that came with the DAC, along with the Lightning CCK adapter and you're in business.

Use the D10 for ease of identifying the sample rate switching, with the nano you'll need the decode sheet for which color LED means which sample rate.

Also worth noting the connection sequence with the nano, for it to not draw any power from the iPad, you have to first turn the nano ON, then connect the USB cable. Doing that vice versa will result in the nano drawing a charge from the iPad's battery, which will run it flat pretty quickly.
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
OK so both DACs will have the standard Type B input. Any quality printer cable will do, or just use the one that came with the DAC, along with the Lightning CCK adapter and you're in business.

Use the D10 for ease of identifying the sample rate switching, with the nano you'll need the decode sheet for which color LED means which sample rate.

Also worth noting the connection sequence with the nano, for it to not draw any power from the iPad, you have to first turn the nano ON, then connect the USB cable. Doing that vice versa will result in the nano drawing a charge from the iPad's battery, which will run it flat pretty quickly.
Good to know, thanks! I’ll definitely start with the D10 and report back how much better these dacs are than the built in iPhone one.
 
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