Notice: DirectStream and MACs


#1

Howdy

We have figured out one thing that is affecting some of you folks who use MACs.

It appears to be common that a MAC will default to the highest bit rate an instrument is capable of.

The DirectStream “lies” that it can handle 352.8kHz. It indeed does handle double rate DSD via DoP which looks like 24/352.8. It doesn’t handle PCM at 385.8kHz - It sounds like crap with the music barely recognizable.

Not being a MAC user I don’t know exactly where to set the maximum rate (or default rate) to, say, 192kHz, but don’t let the MAC upsample to 352.8kHz.

I’d appreciate someone who uses a MAC giving more explicit instructions.

-Ted


#2

It is located in Audio Midi. To access go to: Finder->Applications->Utilities->Audio Midi.


#3

Don’t BitPerfect and similar programs bypass Audio Midi Setup and put out whatever resolution the file is recorded in? So I assume this issue is limited to the few people who don’t use such programs and use the Mac to upsample and play at a fixed rate (unless they go to Audio Midi Setup to change it every time they play different resolutions). Yesterday I noticed that BitPerfect thinks the DS can handle 352.8 kHz but it played 192-24 and lower resolution files fine (in my brief test, before going back to foobar2000 on a PC).


#4
stevem2 said Don't BitPerfect and similar programs bypass Audio Midi Setup and put out whatever resolution the file is recorded in? So I assume this issue is limited to the few people who don't use such programs and use the Mac to upsample and play at a fixed rate (unless they go to Audio Midi Setup to change it every time they play different resolutions). Yesterday I noticed that BitPerfect thinks the DS can handle 352.8 kHz but it played 192-24 and lower resolution files fine (in my brief test, before going back to foobar2000 on a PC).
Yes, but there were enough people running into the problem that it was worth highlighting. I'm sure a few people will run into this problem on Windows too when they use WASAPI or play with upsampling in their players, but in that case they'll have to explicitly choose 352.8k somewhere along the path. Some might have it set that way for a previous DAC and not even remember that that's how they set it up.

#5

Hehe. Just ran across this. Made the Indigo Girls sound like the Devil.devil_gif Impressive. Fixed it with Paul’s directions.


#6

What would the ideal suggested setting be in audio midi? 192?

it ranges from 44.1 to 352.8


#7
gordon said What would the ideal suggested setting be in audio midi? 192?

it ranges from 44.1 to 352.8


Well you probably don’t want to be resampling so you could leave it at 352.8 so it sounds like crap if you accidentally resample :)

The real issue is that if people don’t know about it they think something is very broken rather than a little broken.

If you mostly do CDs and 88.2 I’d set it to 176.4 - if you mostly do 96 and 192 I’d use 192.


#8

Since it says “using PSA clock” does it mean it is bypassing the default setting?

Also notice that it only allows me to select the “built in output” and perhaps this is why the Bridge sounds so much better in my rig than the USB does?

Could this be connected to the USB cut-outs some are experiencing?

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#9
gordon said Since it says "using PSA clock" does it mean it is bypassing the default setting?

Also notice that it only allows me to select the “built in output” and perhaps this is why the Bridge sounds so much better in my rig than the USB does?

Could this be connected to the USB cut-outs some are experiencing?


I don’t run a MAC so correct me if I’m wrong but:

Using PSA clock means asynchronous USB which is in general a good thing.

I don’t understand your reference to “build in output”. That’s the output you click on to configure the built in hardware, which has nothing to do with the PWD or DS.

Some claim that the newest versions of JRiver on the MAC are the root of all evil.

In any case, I suspect that many people are somehow allowing their player or the OS to fiddle with the sound. Before comparing SQ they should that check their configuration passes the bitperfect test.


#10

If you look at the pic, the “built in output” has a speaker icon indicating that it is selected for audio-out.

Usually a right click on the PSA driver allows it to be selected instead. In my case, the selection does not stick and reverts to built in output.

Is this the same for everyone?

Clicking +, add aggregate device, adds more options, especially if you select the input as well as PSA output.

More mystery, at least to me.


#11
gordon said If you look at the pic, the "built in output" has a speaker icon indicating that it is selected for audio-out.

Usually a right click on the PSA driver allows it to be selected instead. In my case, the selection does not stick and reverts to built in output.

Is this the same for everyone?


You don’t want the nominal computer audio to go to the PSA - that can only make things worse when you are using a player that lets you select PSA as it’s output.

#12

You don’t want the nominal computer audio to go to the PSA – that can only make things worse when you are using a player that lets you select PSA as it’s output.

Agreed, but it will not allow me to select the PSA driver as output.


#13

Hi all. I’m new to this forum and not yet a PSA customer, but I do know Macs and digital audio. Maybe I can help a bit.

If you are using an audiophile music player on Mac, such as Amarra, Audirvana+, BitPerfect or Fidelia then for the most part the settings in Audio MIDI Setup do not matter. This is because the audiophile apps are all capable of independently selecting your DAC as their output device and setting an appropriate sampling rate. For the DirectStream you would want to configure the software for bit-perfect output, with the output sample rate changing automatically to match the track being played.

The settings in Audio MIDI Setup are only relevant when you have audio from multiple apps being mixed in the OS by the CoreAudio subsystem before the result is sent to the sound hardware. CoreAudio will do on-the-fly sample rate conversion (SRC) so that audio streams at different rates from different apps can be mixed together and output at the rate you’ve specified.

iTunes - when used on its own - will take note at launch time of the current Audio MIDI settings and will subsequently perform its own independent, higher-than-default quality internal SRC and volume control before passing the audio out for mixing and playback. So if you want bit-perfect playback from iTunes by itself you have to quit it, set the playback rate in Audio MIDI Setup, then re-launch iTunes. Repeat every time you want to play something at a different rate.

Amarra, Audirvana and BitPerfect can all be used as companions to iTunes, where iTunes is your music library manager and primary user interface but the audiophile app takes over the role of actually playing the audio. I currently use Audirvana in this way because my Metrum Octave DAC performs best with high-quality upsampling (44.1/88.2 -> 176.4 and 48/96 -> 192) and I like the iZotope SRC. But if I end up taking the plunge with a DirectStream, I’ll switch to using BitPerfect.

BitPerfect can only be used as a companion to iTunes. It does absolutely nothing if you’re using some other player. It can do SRC but only with the free CoreAudio and SoX libraries. Its big claims to fame are (a) nearly-invisible operation, (b) automatic sample rate switching for bit-perfect playback and © iTunes-compatible support for DSD audio with DoP output. No FLAC, but you can batch convert FLAC to ALAC using XLD and then you’re up and running in iTunes world. For most people, this is the least-complicated way to get everything you want out of a Mac and a DirectStream DAC.

Audirvana, Fidelia and JRiver also function as standalone players. I have not used JRiver, ever. Audirvana has no library management of its own: if you’re not in iTunes-integrated mode then you’re manually managing audio files in the Finder and creating playlists. Fidelia has pretty basic library management but mostly relies on using your existing iTunes library in a read-only mode. For bit-perfect playback to DirectStream, any of these players should be able to do the job and won’t care about Audio MIDI Setup.

Clear as mud? smile


#14

Thanks for the post Dvorak and welcome to the PSA forum.

Your info will surely answer as well as perhaps raise some questions for Mac users. That’s what the forum is for.

I presently use Jriver but loved Audirvana+ when I used it.

Question: When Audirvana+ is open in “hog” mode, does it have any effect on another pgm like JR? I mean, do the hog settings remain active so another player takes advantage of them?


#15

Indeed, this is very helpful and appreciated. Good explanation.


#16

Thanks Dvorak. Very clear and helpful. Hope you stick around the forum (and become a PSA customer, but it’s great to have your voice either way).

Gordon, I’m also using JRMC Mac with USB (when not streaming to the Bridge with foobar2000). Yesterday I was fooling around trying to get iTunes to play radio stations when I discovered that Audio Midi Setup would not let me select PS Audio as the output (like you). It seems that BitPerfect does not work with internet radio so the system defaults to regular iTunes and thus Audio Midi Setup needs to have PS Audio selected as the output. I rebooted the Mac (without starting JRMC) and was able to get the speaker icon to stick PS Audio. I just checked and once again PS Audio was not selected and couldn’t be selected in Audio Midi Setup. I restarted the Mac and was again able to select PS Audio. I tend to blame JRMC (I’m using the latest “stable” build, 19.0.124). After starting JRMC, Audio Midi Setup still shows PS Audio as selected but who knows how long that will last.


#17

Steve.

I did the same and with the same results.

I am also using JR124. I googled a bit to see if there was any advice out there but found nothing. Maybe a post on the JR forum might get a response.

Edit: I just checked the midi, after not doing so since my previous post.

My mac, JR and DS have been rebooted a couple of times since then and…guess what

The speaker is on the PSA driver.

Go figure.sorry_gif

Ah…this is while playing via the Bridge. When I switch to USB the speaker reverts to built in output.

I think we need a “removing all my hair” emoticon.


#18

Gordon, “hog mode” aka “exclusive access” is an OS X feature where an audio application can bypass the SRC, mixing and volume control that’s necessary for multiple apps to share the system default output, and take direct control of the specified audio device.

If Audirvana is playing to a device using hog mode then JRiver - or any other app - will be unable to play to that device at that time. That’s the point. Once Audirvana stops playing then the device becomes available for any other app, or the operating system’s mixer, to play through it again.

From the reports here it does sound like there’s a firmware/driver issue that’ll need to get smoothed out on the USB interface for the DS.

In the meantime, try this: connect your Mac to your DS using both USB and optical. Set the optical as your system audio interface for things like streaming radio and youtube. Leave the USB as the audiophile music interface for BitPerfect or Jriver etc.


#19

Steve, if JRiver is active it probably takes exclusive access of the DS USB audio device and when that’s the case the system can’t also be using it. So Audio MIDI Setup will show that the system has switched to using some other device - I think it goes back to the most-recently-used one.

Remember, what Audio MIDI Setup shows should not have any impact on the functionality of an audiophile player. I don’t know JRiver personally but from what I read online it’s probably going to do its own thing.


#20

Dvorak

You seem to be well informed on all this.Thanks so much for popping in and I hope we can pick your brain on some of these issues.

I did play around with the Midi vs JR and I suspect you are correct that JR is overriding the Midi.

Another member suggested that a USB2 cable [cheap one] cured his handshake issues with the USB to PC input. Is it conceivable that an older “audiophile” USB cable is less compatible than a generic USB2 cable? IOW is the cable also different or just the jack?

Also to clarify the Audirvana+ question…

If A+ is open and sysoptimiser is engaged but A+ is NOT playing, is there any benefit to JR SQ or id JR totally locked out?

Seems that it shuts down as selected.

thanks

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