Apple Lossless. A journey to?

optimus

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I have also cancelled my Tidal subscription in favour of Apple Music. I find the Apple content much more enjoyable to listen to, which is strange as Tidal supposedly has the superior quality. Something just more pleasing to my admittedly very unrefined ear.
 

Camissa

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I also around with streaming, the Brinkmann Nyquist, Roon over the last 2 years. I made sure I have the music as an officially produced CD, as a payed download in 44.1 kHz / 16 Bits and available via Tidal and Qobuz. Here is in a nutshell what I have learned:

I love Roon! It's a convenient way to unify my local collection (my Roon core watches my NAS filer for new music) with streaming services. I use a MacMini in my server room to run the Roon core and stream to all those Apple HomePods that somehow appeared in bathrooms, kitchen etc. I had hoped to use the Brinkmann Nyquist with Roon (after reading your very own enthusiastic report here!). It is an awesome DAC with an almost analog sound but the streaming via Roon or another UPnP controller did not convince me. It did not matter whether my streaming source was a local NAS Server or a streaming service like Qobuz. Isolating the streaming device from network noise with a short fibre lead helped a bit. But once I used a high end music server like the Aurender as a source, the Nyquist started to sing. As a matter of principle I disconnected the Nyquist's ethernet connection. Last year I bought a pair of B&W Formation Duos. These are active wireless speakers, fully Roon compatible. They make clever use of the fact that todays wifi radio chips have 2 channels (2.4 and 5 GHz). One channel is used to connect to my local network and the other channel is used to synchronise the wireless speakers. They are in our bedroom and this is a very convenient and good sounding setup. Not high end but very nice! Roon is a convenient system for all those devices but NOT for my main system.

I think the Aurender or other high end digital players with locally stored music are currently the best options as a source. The Aurender streaming quality from Tidal and Qobuz, the streaming sound is only slightly worse than locally stored music.

Connecting the DAC to the source via USB sound much worse than AES or even RCA. I would prefer to use USB as it allows me to stream all kind of exotic formats to satisfy my curiosity. But I tried the best USB cables on the market and the difference is clearly audible within the first few notes.

As a streaming service I prefer Qobuz to Tidal, but I stream very little with my main system. If I like something, I buy it and download a high resolution version. With the Qobuz subscription this is not expensive at all. It gives me the best source and format now from a local music server.
 
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Agaton Sax

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Camissa

I respect your exposure to superior equipment and experiments in digital sound. However, I dislike CDs intensely. My first exposure was with the launch in this country when I found the sound mediocre and probably developed a prejudice against the medium. I think it was Julian Vereker who, in the early days, said that unless they stick a lot more bits in a lot more often, they will never get the sound right. That has been pretty much my personal experience. I can sort of live with 24 bits at 48kHz but not really and get comfortable at 96k and 24 bits. This in CD or archived albums. I have tried it, I really have and I think I must have listened to 2 dozen players but just don't like it. Think I have about 500 CDs and several thousand files at 16/44.1 and still dislike them all. Prejudice? Maybe. I am not saying it can't be done, just I have spent 4 decades and lots of money and sorry but "No". So far and no further. I can listen to CDs (but not enjoying it) if upsampled but it seems silly to me.

My problem with streamers comes from my healthy dislike of computers. Reeman has told me I really must get a streamer for the superior quality of sound it delivers. Andy Stuart (whose ears I really trust) wanted me to buy a Bryston box that I don't understand what it does but he says it will improve my sound and I have yet to find him wrong. My response has been that I will never again spend a fortune on something that is already obsolete when I buy it. I have not spent much on my Roon Core or on my endpoint, but add LPS, cabling, etc. and it comes to a neat sum. My Roon endpoint stutters like a lovesick schoolboy and according to its maker must be upgraded but they happily sold the sh*t to me but won't sell the upgrade to this country. Thus I stuck to the Brinkman as Roon endpoint and hoped Pierre's box of tricks wards off the evil. But now I have abandoned Roon (have I?)My Core and megabuck LPS is obsolete because I don't like Roon anymore. You are lucky that you have Qobuz. Here again, my philosophy and pigheaded, born in Africa, pride hits and make me say " If I, as a South African am not good enough to deal with Qobuz, they are not good enough for me."

Am I too critical? Should I just forget and move on? At the moment I have a DAC I like a lot, a computer that works and next year will be as obsolete as a steam train but at least didn't cost me the price of a new Mercedes. However, your experience made me think and I'll have to have that talk with Reeman again.
 
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Agaton Sax

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A simple question for which Google seems to have no answer: Maybe a guru or user here? Is it possible to connect a Macbook or Mac via ethernet to a streamer, then streamer via whatever connection, but say AES, to Brinkman DAC and play Apple Music Lossless? It seems the answer is no but is it NO?
 

chrisc

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The only device I've known that accepts audio via LAN is a Devialet. I'm sure there are others

I presume that certain streamers cannot resolve Apple Music Lossless, hence your question. But there would not really be any benefit to inserting a streamer in the audio path, unless this acted as a DAC. The way I would do it is to connect the MacBook via a USB cable to a DAC

Here are the instructions for connecting a computer to a Devialet. A bit involved but it might point you in the right direction


On the Configurator side you do want to enable the ethernet port on the Devialet, and under Ethernet settings ->Advanced Settings:
DHCP - OFF
Fixed IP address ( this is an example ) 192.168.0.77
Network Mask - 255.255.255.0
Click OK.
Download the settings to your SD card.
Put SD card into Devialet and re start.
Ensure Ethernet input is selected on the Devialet
On your Mac choose System Preferences from under the Apple menu ( Apple icon top left on your screen )
Select Network.
Then select Ethernet ( it probably indicates it is connected and has a small green circle )
If you have not done so choose Configure IPv4 - and set to "Manually"
IP Address - set to 192.168.0.78 ( note this is exactly the same as you set for the Devialet except the last number (.78)
Subnet Mask - set to 255.255.255.0 ( note this is exactly the same as you set for the Devialet )
Router - doesn't really matter - put 192.168.0.1
If you already have this setup properly then under Status: it should be as follow:
Status: Connected
Ethernet is currently active and has the IP address 192.168.0.78 ( or however you configured it on your Mac )
If you are doing this again then click the APPLY button.
 

Neil

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I have also cancelled my Tidal subscription in favour of Apple Music. I find the Apple content much more enjoyable to listen to, which is strange as Tidal supposedly has the superior quality. Something just more pleasing to my admittedly very unrefined ear.
I also have subscribed to Apple music....R59 / month without any stupid adds is not a pain - good quality music to!
 

Agaton Sax

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Thank you Chric. I have a Macbook running Apple Music high Res at 192Hz directly through Nordost Heimdal USB to the Nyquist. It is totally painless as the Mac MIDI picks it up as Nyquist immediately. The only snag is that on initial setup it must be set as Lossless in Apple Music and on the MIDI. Thereafter it is automatic. If not set in Music, one may happily listen to AAC (Applespeak for mp3) and think it great.

I have enormous respect for what Cammissa says as though I have not heard his system, I have heard the Burmester components, Kef Blades, and Inakustik wire separately and have little doubt that had I not opted for horns, that is the exact system I would run. He says that Nyquist sounds best with an external streamer and then spdif or AES to Nyquist. I have very expensive Cardas Clear AES and am dying to use that. On a purely philosophical basis, I have a problem with a DAC directly connected to a computer as some grunge may get through and dirty the pure waves of sound. . However, I have no engineering grounds to say it on, and Apple Lossless, directly from the computer does sound better than Roon/Tidal through "Audio approved" channels. It is an asynchronous connection but that word is sooo last decade. But that is me and others may prefer the Roon route.

I have come to accept that, to me at least, Apple Lossless is my future. The only question is a streamer or not? I will have to buy another Macbook (not a headless MacMini) as I am convinced one needs a screen to make full use of Music. The Remote is OK for running what is playing but not for browsing. Initially, I thought it was an impediment but now see it suits my personality better as it does not give me the option of endless browsing and hopping from this to that. And that, I think, is what really bugs me about Roon as I page from this to that on the Phone remote, never engaging the music, as Analog (or Apple) does, as the latter makes it difficult to hop up and down like a demented housewife.
 

Agaton Sax

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My Dad always wanted me to wear a white coat and work in a lab. However in my first year I set the Chemistry workbench alight and was more interested in turning the Air tracks in Physics into a tonearm than Physics. My colleagues pull faces at me because I always tell an anecdotal story instead of quoting some study.

So in the true spirit of Science I have renewed my Tidal and Roon and like the true Scientist I try not to be but am I shall sit down and try Apple Lossless against the other and decide in a proper way. Only need to get a streamer? I read across an interesting piece of deciding if you need a streamer or not . Play your laptop thru your dac using the Laptop's battery. Now run it on mains. If there is a significant difference between the two, you need a Streamer. True?
 

Agaton Sax

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PRAT: Probably the most ridiculed concept in audio by objectivists. In other words, those interested in audio for nonaudio reasons. Is there another hobby like audio?

Still, you know it when you hear it and I heard it for the first time many years ago, Ironically it was not in one of those haloed and more than ridiculous British systems. No, we were listening to one of those 5 sided Canadian speakers driven by Spectral Electronics. It was boring beyond belief. Then the host, in desperation, substituted the mega buck Spectrals for a lowly Luxman tube, and suddenly grins appeared and feet started tapping. I had a friend with a mega Krell Apogee system. It was really great sounding but had zero PRAT. No matter how much my friend bopped his head and snapped his fingers, it never bopped. From the look in his eyes, I knew he was missing his Linn/Naim system. I knew he knew I knew but neither said anything. It was too painful, for in all other aspects the current system was better but it missed what made music, music and not a conglomeration of beautiful sounds,

Nowhere was I reminded more of this than by Apple Music vs Roon Tidal. In my carefully curated Roon-system music is beautiful. In my thrown-together Apple Lossless Music system, it Swings.
 
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Music_Lover

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PRAT: Probably the most ridiculed concept in audio by objectivists. In other words, those interested in audio for nonaudio reasons. Is there another hobby like audio?

Still, you know it when you hear it and I heard it for the first time many years ago, Ironically it was not in one of those haloed and more than ridiculous British systems. No, we were listening to one of those 5 sided Canadian speakers driven by Spectral Electronics. It was boring beyond belief. Then the host, in desperation, substituted the mega buck Spectrals for a lowly Luxman tube, and suddenly grins appeared and feet started tapping. I had a friend with a mega Krell Apogee system. It was really great sounding but had zero PRAT. No matter how much my friend bopped his head and snapped his fingers, it never bopped. From the look in his eyes, I knew he was missing his Linn/Naim system. I knew he knew I knew but neither said anything. It was too painful, for in all other aspects the current system was better but it missed what made music, music and not a conglomeration of beautiful sounds,

Nowhere was I reminded more of this than by Apple Music vs Roon Tidal. In my carefully curated Roon-system music is beautiful. In my thrown-together Apple Lossless Music system, it Swings.
You mention "Roon Tidal" sounding beautiful but slightly sterile. What about straight Tidal Connect or "non Roon Tidal"?
 

Agaton Sax

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You mention "Roon Tidal" sounding beautiful but slightly sterile. What about straight Tidal Connect or "non Roon Tidal"?
The answer to that, I'm afraid, is not simple. So I'll have to settle for 42. But seriously, in my situation, the only reason to use Tidal is Roon. Tidal as a medium does not reach beyond 44.1 and 16 without resorting to some trickery. Its native app, I find, to be inferior to Apple's and there is music on Apple, that is not on Tidal. Although low in price, it is still double that of Apple. As my family and I are already in the Apple equipment trap, Tidal without Roon is not an option. I do Tidal because of Roon, not the other way around. If Qobuz was here, Tidal would not feature in my options. Hopefully, I can try a Roon endpoint that will elevate Tidal beyond Apple High Res in sound quality as Cammissa suggests. I have no idea why I do not simply plug in my Macbook and listen to good sound for cheap minus all the add-on paraphernalia. The horror of that is that I may have become the hated Audiophile snob and do not want to do away with all the black boxes.
 

seanjammy

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Agaton Sax, get rid of that laptop feeding your system. In my experience the key to streaming is a super efficient streamer, with the best clocks possible, and lowest noise. The difference between PC as a streamer and a bespoke box is not small.

The Aurender is head and shoulders the best I’ve had, has the subtlety of the other bespoke boxes, but much more weighty, correct, cohesive (describing sound with words is such an infuriating thing). I’ve started to have success with other devices. Pi running the Pi2AES hat (hoping to get the mercury streamer soon, too).

Qobuz remains the standard. But a ballache. Tidal is only convenient, otherwise average.

I have turfed Roon for Audirvāna Studio. Kernel streaming is a massive step up. I miss Roons ‘just works’ and simplicity but sense they are to software what Tidal is streaming services. More convenient than cutting edge.
 

Agaton Sax

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Thanks Sean . That answers exactly what I need to know. Alan said it ,Reeman said it, you say it. I think I need to hear what I need to hear,not what I want to hear. Qobuz remains the missing elephant in the room !
 

creichman

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Agaton Sax, I have listened to Nyquist MkII DAC in a client's system, streaming Tidal via the MConnect App on his Iphone and it is sublime. The Nyquist is using its inbuilt streamer running DLNA. I have listened to his setup on a number of occasions and it never ceases to impress me. His network switch is the Innuos Phoenix NET ( PhoenixNET – Innuos – High-Fidelity Digital Music Servers and Streamers ). I could loan you one of these to try.

I have a fair amount of experience with streamers, servers and network switches in that I am a representative for some of the best streamers, servers and switches on the market.

I enjoy using Roon and personally I believe Roon can be setup to sound amazing using the right Source and network equipment, cables etc. I thus loaned him a Grimm Mu-1 ( MU1 - Grimm Audio ) to try. I could loan you this to try if you so wish.

The Grimm MU-1 only runs Roon. It actually uses an Intel NUC internally with a good switched mode power supply. The magic however comes from its Digital Outputs which are reclocked and provide exceptionally low jitter. You would thus for example then connect via AES to your Nyquist.

Another exceptional Server/streamer is the Rockna Wavedream NET ( Wavedream NET | Rockna Audio ). This Server is very similar to the Grimm MU-1 in that it also has a reclocker built into it and can output an exceptionally clean signal via AES/SPDIF/I2S to the DAC. It has actually been measured by reviewer ( Goldensound ) in the UK as having the lowest jitter of any digital source he has measured so far ( Rockna Wavedream NET Review and Measurements - GoldenSound )

If however you prefer to use a USB connection or stream to the inbuilt streamer in the Nyquist I would look at something like the Innuos Zenith MKIII ( ZENith Mk3 – Innuos – High-Fidelity Digital Music Servers and Streamers ). It can run as a Roon core or it has its own operating system ( Innuos Sense ) which is extremely user friendly and is optimised for sound.

Your DAC is an exceptional piece of equipment but needs a source of equal calibre in order to shine. I believe either your network or source is letting you down.

Most of the time I have demo units that you could loan to try, as I am a strong believer in being able to test before you buy.
 

Agaton Sax

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Thank you for your detailed reply. As regards Switches, I use both Croak and Watts switches. These were both developed by forum members so my loyalty lies there.

The Wavenet and Grimm products both look superb, although as far as I can see retail in Europe for 9500 to 11500 Euro. This is a little more than I would comfortably spend on digital.

The Innuos products look superb. I have a remote Roon Rock with Teddy Pardo linear supply and need a Roon endpoint via the mentioned Switches. Is there anything that would meet those criteria? Prices can be in PM if you are more comfortable with that. All PMs stay confidential. I only look like a blabbermouth.
 

creichman

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All the Innuos Servers can actually also be run as Roon endpoints if you so wished.

However, Innuos are bringing out a new range of streamers called the 'Pulse Series' ( PULSE Series – Innuos – High-Fidelity Digital Music Servers and Streamers ). These are dedicated streamers that can either run as a standalone streamer using their Innuos Sense operating system or as an endpoint for either an Innuos Server, Roon, Server, Hqplayer Server or any LMS based server.

These will only be available from September and there are three variants : PulseMini, Pulse and Pulsar.

Based on what you have I would advise either the Pulse or Pulsar. You can find more detailed info of their differences at the link above.

I will also PM you some pricing on these and the Rockna Wavedream NET. I believe you may be pleasantly suprised at what I can offer.
 

creichman

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Hi Agaton Sax.

Your Forum Account does not allow me to PM you ( start a conversation ). How would you like me to send you the pricing?
 

Agaton Sax

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Reeman brought me a streamer he designed and built. It has computer things, and a nice screen and serious linear supply. It has a beautiful cabinet with all sorts of mechanical shielding. It is his but I needed it to answer my question: Is Apple Lossless straight from a Macbook better than Roon with paraphernalia? Yes, Apple is better if you don't use a streamer. NO, it is not better if you use Roon and paraphernalia and a streamer. It is not even close. Make no mistake, Apple Lossless is very good, probably better than Tidal but you need the HiFi bits and to get the Macbook out of the picture and you can't do that.

So yes, everybody is right: You need a streamer but what and who? In my limited experience, you need Roon somewhere far away on a dedicated Roon Core AND you need a Roon endpoint and both these things should do only Roon. In my circumstances A Roon core alone, even with the best do-dahs does the work but not as it should. You need that endpoint, too. And that seems to be directly related to the depths of one's pocket? Or is it? I have a sneaking suspicion that Reemans job as a systems engineer and his passion for hi-fi and hi-fi circuits puts him in an enviable position.
 

xumbug

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Agaton Sax, I have listened to Nyquist MkII DAC in a client's system, streaming Tidal via the MConnect App on his Iphone and it is sublime. The Nyquist is using its inbuilt streamer running DLNA. I have listened to his setup on a number of occasions and it never ceases to impress me. His network switch is the Innuos Phoenix NET ( PhoenixNET – Innuos – High-Fidelity Digital Music Servers and Streamers ). I could loan you one of these to try.

I have a fair amount of experience with streamers, servers and network switches in that I am a representative for some of the best streamers, servers and switches on the market.

I enjoy using Roon and personally I believe Roon can be setup to sound amazing using the right Source and network equipment, cables etc. I thus loaned him a Grimm Mu-1 ( MU1 - Grimm Audio ) to try. I could loan you this to try if you so wish.

The Grimm MU-1 only runs Roon. It actually uses an Intel NUC internally with a good switched mode power supply. The magic however comes from its Digital Outputs which are reclocked and provide exceptionally low jitter. You would thus for example then connect via AES to your Nyquist.

Another exceptional Server/streamer is the Rockna Wavedream NET ( Wavedream NET | Rockna Audio ). This Server is very similar to the Grimm MU-1 in that it also has a reclocker built into it and can output an exceptionally clean signal via AES/SPDIF/I2S to the DAC. It has actually been measured by reviewer ( Goldensound ) in the UK as having the lowest jitter of any digital source he has measured so far ( Rockna Wavedream NET Review and Measurements - GoldenSound )

If however you prefer to use a USB connection or stream to the inbuilt streamer in the Nyquist I would look at something like the Innuos Zenith MKIII ( ZENith Mk3 – Innuos – High-Fidelity Digital Music Servers and Streamers ). It can run as a Roon core or it has its own operating system ( Innuos Sense ) which is extremely user friendly and is optimised for sound.

Your DAC is an exceptional piece of equipment but needs a source of equal calibre in order to shine. I believe either your network or source is letting you down.

Most of the time I have demo units that you could loan to try, as I am a strong believer in being able to test before you buy.
Craig you are 100% correct, as you know, I have the Innuos Zenith MK111 and it was head and shoulders better than the Aurender. In fact it is so much better that it sounded more detailed, punchier and has beautiful air to it using Roon which the Aurender does not support. Changing USB cables has also helped a lot.
I can not wait to hear the Rockna Wavedream Streamer using I2S to my Rockna DAC. So far my streaming experience has improved 1000 fold. Thanks mate!
 
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