The December 2007 Benchmark Media Systems newsletter is out. It discusses some real technical details about sample rates, word lengths, volume control, and DSP functions. In addition the newsletter provides yet another rehashing of "How To Setup iTunes" to playback music with the highest quality. Readers of the site know we have covered this a few times, but for those requiring proof from a very "nerdy" source Benchmark engineers have it all on their site. Benchmark is proving to be a leader in the area of operating system optimization for computer based audiophile playback and information dissemination. Everything I read from Benchmark suggest that its Wiki page has all the details of their testing, but I find the page rather primitive and awkward to use for a Wiki. Here are some clips from the newsletter.
The age of computer-based media storage and playback has brought innumerable conveniences and features to the music-lover. With inexpensive hard drives and configurable media players, your entire music catalog is never more then a few clicks away.
Unfortunately, computer-based playback comes with its own set of unknowns and variables that can be very difficult to analyze and trouble-shoot. Beyond the typical vulnerabilities of computers, problems may exist where you least expect them. For these reasons, Benchmark is providing leading research to determine the limitations of computer-based audio playback systems and the effects of different configurations within these systems. This article discusses the parameters that impact the quality of computer-based audio playback.
iTunes has made great improvements with version 7 under both Mac and Windows platforms. The sample-rate conversion, word-length handling, and volume control are all greatly improved. If the correct settings are applied, iTunes 7 can achieve very high quality playback for resolutions up to 24-bit, 96 kHz. This application note discusses the performance and inner workings of the latest version of iTunes (version 7), and also includes specific instructions for achieving the best quality audio playback. complete article
via [Benchmark Media Systems]