Decibel or iTunes, built in Toslink or USB->Toslink

Discuss Decibel, a high quality audio player.
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bommai
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Decibel or iTunes, built in Toslink or USB->Toslink

Post by bommai » Tue May 03, 2011 8:28 pm

I am planning on using a Mac/iTunes based music playback system for my stereo listening (this room also serves as my home theater).

Equipment:
iMac is from 2007 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz, 6GB RAM)
NAD T763 6.1 channel receiver
Klipsch RF5 front speakers, RC7 center, RS35 surround.
Elemental Designs A3-300 sub woofer

Two questions:
1) Would Decibel be better than iTunes in this system? $33
2) Would something like a Music Fidelity V-Link asynchronous USB to Toslink converter help? $169

I would assume the DACs in the NAD T763 are pretty good, so I don't think I need an outboard DAC in my environment.

Thanks.

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sbooth
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Re: Decibel or iTunes, built in Toslink or USB->Toslink

Post by sbooth » Wed May 04, 2011 1:05 am

I think the term better, as always, is a subjective judgment so there is no real right or wrong answer. I would recommend that you set up your system and audition Decibel and iTunes to see if you can tell a difference, or if you prefer one over the other. Decibel has a 24-hour listening trial period which should be enough time for you to decide.

Do you plan on playing multichannel files on your Mac? If you do, TOSLink may not be the best option depending on your DAC. The Mac's builtin TOSLink and the V-Link only support stereo S/PDIF.

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callisto
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Re: Decibel or iTunes, built in Toslink or USB->Toslink

Post by callisto » Thu May 05, 2011 12:22 am

sbooth wrote:The Mac's builtin TOSLink and the V-Link only support stereo S/PDIF.
Not quite right afaik, because 5.1 AC3/DTS passthrough works just fine. But I guess you mean 6 discrete channels, which doesn't work. :)

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sbooth
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Re: Decibel or iTunes, built in Toslink or USB->Toslink

Post by sbooth » Thu May 05, 2011 1:37 am

Since we're quibbling, the consumer versions of AC-3 and DTS are multichannel formats with the surround information embedded in a two channel signal. So in passthrough mode the signal going through the S/PDIF interface consists of two channels carrying the audio information, which is decompressed to multiple channels by the AC-3 or DTS decoder. :)

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