Some Questions on Computer (Mac) Audio Listening with Sprout

I am getting ready to order a Sprout to be initially used with my iMac for listening to music. My plan is to connect the Sprout to my iMac with a good USB cable and my speakers will be Dynaudio X12s. Here are my questions and I appreciate any help you can provide…

  1. Most of the music I will be listening to initially will be Apple Lossless files that I have ripped from CDs. However I have considered buying some music from HD Tracks or even trying something like Tidal. Will the Sprout be able to take full advantage of files from HD Tracks / Tidal or am I just as well off buying a CD of new music and ripping? (I am not really clear on the 24/192 ability of the Sprout and what that really means.)

  2. Which music player should I be using on the iMac? iTunes or something different?

  3. I have been using XLD to rip my Apple Lossless files. Is this program OK to use or should I be looking at other programs?

Thanks for your help!!

Use iTunes and don’t download anything from HD Tracks in FLAC because Apple doesn’t support that format. Also, get a copy of Bit Perfect for $10. Best $10 ever.

With the set-up Paul suggests (and you do need BitPerfect for this unless you want to manually change your iMac’s output same rate) you should have no problem playing PCM files up to 192/24 from the iMac to Sprout over USB. I don’t use XLD but it should be fine. If you need to convert file formats (e.g., somebody only offers FLAC downloads), I suggest Max for Mac, a handy free program.

For some reason, I’ve never been able to fall in love with iTunes and I prefer an open format for archiving my music, so I settled on FLAC as my container of choice years ago.

As such, my desktop Sprout is connected to my mid-2011 Mac Mini via USB, which is running Roon as both the Core and as an Endpoint. Roon is accessing FLAC files over NFS and wired Ethernet from my home-built NAS. FLAC files are predominantly 44.kHz/16-bit ripped from my personal CDs, but I also have a handful of high-res 96kHz/24-bit files from HDTracks.

After attending the LA Audio Show (mainly to see Paul speak as part of the Legends of High-End Audio panel), I finally got hooked on the idea of TIDAL, so now have a trial subscription being accessed by Roon and played through the Sprout.

I primarily listen via headphones (B&W P7’s), but previously had a pair of B&W Matrix 805’s connected and they sounded great.

Enjoy your Sprout!

Dan W.