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Audio Quality Question

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have a question whether the source of an audio file has any effect on the quality that you hear. For example, if I stream a song from my iphone to my stereo could it possibly be of lower quality than if I stream the same digital audio file from my computer to my stereo? Being that they are both the same digital audio file you would think it would be the same, but I think I can hear a difference. Is it the quality of the decoding of the file, the wireless connection, or something else entirely? Thanks a bunch.
post #2 of 16
depends what you mean by "streaming"
are you going from the phone through bluetooth? digital (ipod/usb connection) connection? or minijack/headphone port --> stereo?

if the digital to analog conversion is done on the phone, and it's pushing out an audio signal to the stereo, then the amplifier of the phone is likely worse than that of the sound card

and if such is the case, also check the volume levels ... the playing source should typically be set at 80% volume or less. if its too low, youre decreasing the signal-to-noise ratio. if its too high, you m ight be amplifying a distorted signal..
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
In both cases I am going through wifi and the wifi is connected to the stereo via toslink cable so the digital to analog conversion isn't done until the signal hits the DAC on the stereo. I am just curious if the signal differs coming from a phone than it would the computer even if the digital file is the same and they are both getting to the stereo via the same toslink cable.
post #4 of 16
What exactly is your setup? You have some device (that isn't a computer) with a wired connection to your DAC... what is that device?

If you are actually "streaming" audio, poor audio quality could be the result of errors in the stream. A real-time stream consuming device prioritizes timing above all else and will output whatever it sees on the stream without acknowledging that it is actually the correct data.

My guess, though, is that you don't have a stream but instead a file share. Or, possibly, the difference you hear is because your computer is using a file share and your phone is actually streaming.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have a Peachtree Audio Nova. I have a Apple Extreme wireless router that has a toslink output so I can play music from itunes through the stereo wirelessly. I am not saying that I truly have a difference in audio quality. I am a nut and it could be in my head that when I play a file from my iphone through it it doesn't sound as good as when the file is played from the computer. I am not streaming anything from the internet. It is the same file on two different devices.
post #6 of 16
The short answer is yes. Any reduction in the encoding quality of the source degrades it.

Can you hear the difference? Depends on how you play it back. On a paid of iphone headphones, no, not a chance. But on a top class stereo system that has exceptional resolution, yes, you can.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
No, no, no, no it is the SAME file on two different devices played through the SAME stereo.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

No, no, no, no it is the SAME file on two different devices played through the SAME stereo.

I see. The answer remains yes. While the source for both is still digital there is still a decoding and an amplification stage that has to boost the digital signal into something the next stage can use.

A unit like a sonos using optical and with the volume set to passthru is virtually a clean signal, but that has to be passed to a dac to decode and amplify it. That is where the meat is and it makes a big difference at that point. An iphone for example cannot run with a Levinson DAC.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Is there a way to set volume to passthrough from itunes? I don't like the fact that I can control the volume from both the stereo and the computer. This is an issue, correct?
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Is there a way to set volume to passthrough from itunes? I don't like the fact that I can control the volume from both the stereo and the computer. This is an issue, correct?

Passthru takes place at, for example on a PC, at the network card. Its not a software configuration. Turning your PC volume up to 100 is not the same thing.

What you want to bypass is the opamp stage and get a raw digital signal to a quality DAC. Then the original source makes no difference.
post #11 of 16

Quote:

Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

I have a Peachtree Audio Nova. I have a Apple Extreme wireless router that has a toslink output so I can play music from itunes through the stereo wirelessly. I am not saying that I truly have a difference in audio quality. I am a nut and it could be in my head that when I play a file from my iphone through it it doesn't sound as good as when the file is played from the computer. I am not streaming anything from the internet. It is the same file on two different devices.


How do you like the Nova.  I was looking at them yesterday and trying to decide if I need the Nova or Decco in the i version of each.  Considering Paradigm Studio 10 or Peachtree DS 5.5 speakers and a  REL T-5 sub-woofer.

 

lefty

 

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by idfnl View Post


Passthru takes place at, for example on a PC, at the network card. Its not a software configuration. Turning your PC volume up to 100 is not the same thing.

What you want to bypass is the opamp stage and get a raw digital signal to a quality DAC. Then the original source makes no difference.

So basically there is no way around this when playing music through itunes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lefty View Post

Quote:


How do you like the Nova. I was looking at them yesterday and trying to decide if I need the Nova or Decco in the i version of each. Considering Paradigm Studio 10 or Peachtree DS 5.5 speakers and a REL T-5 sub-woofer.

lefty





I love the Nova! Analog recordings at lossless sound so smooth through it. I have my DVD player going through it as well. I have the matching speakers; i wish they had a sub to go with it, but it really isn't needed imho. I would definitely go for the Nova over the Decco. More wattage (there isn't a lot in either) and apparently the DAC is much better on the Nova.
post #13 of 16
How are you playing the iPod through your audio system? If you are using its analog outputs, then you will be comparing the DACs and digital input receiver in the Peachtree against the DACs and analog stages of the iPod. It is not clear which one will be better because different generation iPods have had different quality outputs.

Both will be bit-accurate to the original file if you're playing 44.1kHz/16-bit sources.

iTunes can be made bit-accurate up to 96 kHz if you set it up right. How to set it up depends on whether you're using Windows or OS X.

--Andre
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
I don't play an ipod through my Nova. Like I said it gets streamed to an airport express via wifi then digital toslink from the airport into the Nova so the Nova's DAC converts the audio not the computer/airport if it was connected via analog connection.
post #15 of 16

Quote:

Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

I love the Nova! Analog recordings at lossless sound so smooth through it. I have my DVD player going through it as well. I have the matching speakers; i wish they had a sub to go with it, but it really isn't needed imho. I would definitely go for the Nova over the Decco. More wattage (there isn't a lot in either) and apparently the DAC is much better on the Nova.


I listened to the matching speakers but was more impressed with the Paradigms, though Peachtree is running a special right now on speakers.   I'm a bit of an audio idiot so there is a huge learning curve for me, but I'm not sure if I need the extra power for my needs or if the higher quality DAC will make that much of a difference for the extra $700.   I did notice an enormous difference with and without the SW.

 

I'm happy I walked into the right audio store as I set out to buy a Zepplin Air.

 

lefty

 

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