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Hi folks, Firstly, wishing everyone here a very Happy New Year's Eve tonight! I've only recently started posting here, and am really grateful for the expert advice so far. This new "problem" is one that's been bugging me for a while, and I'm sure I'm missing a simple solution! THE BACKGROUND I currently have my main "Hifi" (Macbook/Audirvana/Hugo/Amp/Speakers) setup in my Living Room, have my music housed on my home server (Mac Mini/RAID) in my Study Room, and sometimes also listen to music at my Home Theater setup (Mac Mini/Plex or iTunes/Bose LifeStyle 535), which also serves to pipe music throughout my home in ceiling speakers. Everything is connected via Gigabit Ethernet. My home theater setup is a simple one, just a TV and a Bose LifeStyle 535 V35 receiver connected to both a local 5.1 surround sound speaker set and also to my home-wide speakers (ceiling speakers). In addition to the Mac Mini running Plex or iTunes mentioned above, sources for this also include my Blu-Ray player, Cable TV, Satellite TV, etc, and a: Toslink Optical from an Airport Express, which in turn gets its input from my main Hifi setup in my Living Room via AirPlay from Audirvana Plus 2.0 (in standalone mode). THE ISSUES The music coming through my home-wide speakers via the above last setup (Living Room Hifi Audirvana -> Airplay -> Ethernet -> Airport Express -> Toslink Optical -> Bose V35 Receiver -> Homewide amps and speakers) is pretty crappy at the moment (very muddy across the entire range). Just to be clear, I control the music via the Living Room Hifi Audirvana, i.e., I set the Bose V35 Receiver to channel the Airport Express source in "passive mode" (that is to say I turn the Bose on, set the source, and then go back to the Living Room). While the Bose V35 and the home speakers aren't fantastic by any means, the "normal" quality (e.g. from the local sources - Blu-Ray or even the local Mac Mini running Plex/iTunes) is still much better than what I am getting from the above path from my main Hifi. POSSIBLE CAUSES 1. Lack of a discrete DAC in the above path? 2. Downsampling by AirPlay/Airport Express of all files to 44/16? 3. Ethernet cabling quality (the contractor was supposed to have used Cat 6 GigE cabling but I haven't been able to verify...)? POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS CONSIDERED 1. At the Home Theater setup: Insert a DAC between the Airport Express and the Bose Receiver - But will not fix the AirPlay/Airport Express downsampling issue. 2. At the Living Room Hifi setup: change the source of the music going to the Home Theater, from Audirvana/Airplay, to Audirvana/USD/DAC (I'm currently using a Hugo) - But how to get the signal from the Hugo to the Home Theater system? 3. At the Home Theater setup: Get something like an Auralic Aries, with input via Ethernet and output via Toslink optical to the Bose Receiver - But from what I understand, I won't be able to simply "play" my music from the Living Room Hifi Macbook/Audirvana (where I have all my playlists etc set up, and control via Parallels on my iPad), i.e., I am guessing that the Aries would only allow me to control it via its own specialized (Lightning) App, to connect to music on my Study Room/Mac Mini/RAID. Or am I mistaken here? Can the Aries be set up to simply act as a passive conduit between my Living Room/Macbook/Audirvana and the Home Theater/Bose Receiver - in essence an "upgrade" to my existing Airport Express/Airplay connection? YOUR ADVICE REQUESTED My apologies for the long question! However I would really appreciate any advice, as to which of the above 3 solutions would be best - or if there is another fix that I haven't considered! Many, many thanks in advance! Art ____________________________________________ SETUP DETAILS Study Room (Home Server Setup) LaCie 5big Thunderbolt 2 RAID -> 2014 Mac Mini 8GB RAM OS X Server (Music Files stored here) -> Gigabit Ethernet -> Cisco Switch Living Room (Main Hifi Setup) Cisco Switch -> Gigabit Ethernet -> 2014 Macbook Air 13" 8GB RAM -> Audirvana Plus 2.0 in standalone mode -> a) Hugo -> Woo Audio WA5 SET Class A -> Audeze LCD-XC / KEF Speakers b) Airplay -> Gigabit Ethernet Home Theater TV and Bose LifeStyle 535 Receiver, with inputs from: a) Gigabit Ethernet -> Airplay -> Airport Express -> Toslink optical b) 2014 Mac Mini 8GB RAM -> iTunes / Plex c) Blu-Ray / Satellite / Cable etc The Bose Receive outputs through local 5.1 surround speakers and also to the home-wide speakers. NOTES - All Macs running OS X 10.10.1 (Yosemite). - Assume I can't run RCA cables from my Main Hifi system DAC to the Home Theater (2 rooms away).
DAC-ing Hugo with Suitable Cables hello everyone, nearing this season of giving, thinking Hugo may appreciate some higher-end cable-livery that will result in better sounding music. considering: 1) USB cable (MBP/iPad) + toslink cable (CD player), or 2) USB cable (MBP/iPad) + coaxial cable (CD player). a) seeking: relevant experiences/feedback/advice please. b) also seeking: guidance on appropriate/specific cables (@USD100 apiece would be a good place to start). c) not seeking: sermon on why/how cables do/should not make a difference to digital playback chain >> because will listen before handing over cash (hard-earned). TQ x 2.