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Old 2nd March 2008, 05:22 PM   #1
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Default Mac vs PC Encoding/Playback

Many claim that iTunes on a Mac is better than iTunes on a PC. Is this really true?

A CD track that is ripped and encoded (into an Apple Lossless file) on a Mac is the same size bit for bit as the same file encoded on a PC. Is this true?

That same file is the same size and can be played cross-platform no matter which platform on which it was originally encoded. The reason is because the algorithm is exactly the same on both platforms. So the data created is exactly the same on both platforms. Is this true?

So, if the Mac sounds better then it has to be in the playback, not in the encoding.

Take that same Apple Lossless file played on a MAC or a PC, the iTunes player decodes the file and streams the data thru your USB or S/PDIF to your DAC.

So if a Mac sound better than a PC in playback then :

1. a Mac decodes that same Apple Lossless file more accurately than a PC with fewer errors?

2. Or that the Mac streams more accurately thru the USB or S/PDIF ports?

I'm not an expert so am I missing something?
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Old 2nd March 2008, 06:44 PM   #2
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If iTunes on the PC isn't using ASIO drivers, then the bits are indeed being mangled on the way out.
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Old 2nd March 2008, 08:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by b-square
If iTunes on the PC isn't using ASIO drivers, then the bits are indeed being mangled on the way out.

I am using ASIO4ALL with iTunes in Vista. I noticed that the "IN" is enabled and the "OUT" is disabled inside the ASIO4ALL control panel when playing with iTunes.

Am I using the ASIO driver or not? I have no clue!
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Old 3rd March 2008, 02:15 AM   #4
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I use asio on my media server exclusively for high quality audio, my hardware and most of my media software support asio directly. It does not appear that iTunes for Windows supports ASIO at all. I know from my own experience that playing compatible files in J River Media center which is asio compatible as opposed to iTunes which isn't results in better performance than iTunes.

I'd use almost anything other than iTunes for high quality playback on a pc. The problem is probably windows itself, but the fact that Apple does not allow you to choose to use an alternative to the kmixer is the real problem as far as I can tell.

Foobar, QCD and WinAmp all outperform iTunes where it counts. J River will play just about any file format incidentally. My choice and highly recommended - I'm using it as I write this in fact. My lossless format of choice is FLAC which is opensource.

EAC, FLAC, ASIO, FOOBAR, are your opensource friends
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Old 3rd March 2008, 02:39 AM   #5
sek is offline sek  Germany
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Neither EAC nor ASIO are open source.

It's about the drivers! Apple doesn't feel like reinventing the wheel for windows - or rather mixing up microsoft's driver model. Sadly...
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Old 3rd March 2008, 03:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by kevinkr
J River will play just about any file format incidentally. My choice and highly recommended - I'm using it as I write this in fact. My lossless format of choice is FLAC which is opensource.

EAC, FLAC, ASIO, FOOBAR, are your opensource friends
I've got my entire library in Apple Lossless which J River doesn't support. The easiest thing for me to do is switch to a mac.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 05:12 AM   #7
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Default Re: Mac vs PC Encoding/Playback

Quote:
Originally posted by JimOfOakCreek
A CD track that is ripped and encoded (into an Apple Lossless file) on a Mac is the same size bit for bit as the same file encoded on a PC. Is this true?

That same file is the same size and can be played cross-platform no matter which platform on which it was originally encoded. The reason is because the algorithm is exactly the same on both platforms. So the data created is exactly the same on both platforms. Is this true?
I believe that is completely true. I have transferred the .m4a files between mac, pc, and back again without a hitch. Worked equally in both platforms.

Quote:
Originally posted by JimOfOakCreek
The easiest thing for me to do is switch to a mac.
Done that - won't go back. Run Parallels or Fusion if you need windows - runs faster than a pc (go figure).

Cheers.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 05:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by JimOfOakCreek
The easiest thing for me to do is switch to a mac.
You won't be sorry.

iTunes will export the Apple Lossless to AIFF (or any other format it supports)

dave
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Old 3rd March 2008, 07:29 AM   #9
glt is offline glt  United States
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You can get bit perfect playback with iTunes on a PC with airport express -> toslink -> DAC
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Old 3rd March 2008, 08:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by glt
You can get bit perfect playback with iTunes on a PC with airport express -> toslink -> DAC
Getting around poorly done windows toolbox routines, by bypassing Windows and using a piece of Apple hardware/software. Clever. I'll remember that one.

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