Channel D Pure Music Software...???

JIMV -- Mon, 12/13/2010 - 19:45

Once again the Computer God's are against me. I have an iMAC (OS Leopard) that I was not using. I removed 90% of the software and files from it and loaded Pure Music Software (and got it at a discount from Pure Music)....I understand my iMAC has an optical output hidden on it somewhere (I do 99% of my computer stuff on PC's and am a MAC novice). I plan to run a Toslink cable about 25 ft to my DAC (I cannot relocate either the iMAC or DAC)..
So, I read the review of Channel D in the Holiday issue as 'Pure Heaven'...
Then I install the software...The 40 page Users Guide refuses to be printed and is written not in English but in Geek...They assume one is not only intimitely familiar with MAC products but with computer lingo as well...
I suffer through its refusal to let me print the users manual...I suffer through the secret language of the manual...I expect computer based music to be hell to figure out or set up. Then I get to the Absolute Sound review....
"This option reserves the audio device for Pure Musics exclusive use while Pure Music is running. To use this feature the audio device selected in Audio MIDI Setup should be set to a diffeerent device than the one used by Pure Music, to allow iTunes to fully access an audio device if necessary . Accordingly, by default, HOG mode cannot be used for the audio device selected in Audio MIDI setup"....
1. What is an 'audio device'? me that is a turntable or CD player
2. Audio MIDI...perhaps middle sized audio??
3. 'Different device'...???...perhaps the amp??
4. iTunes accessing an audio device...???...perhaps iTunes wants to speak to my phono amp??
Pure gibberish...Now I know that this is a quote from the previously mentioned and denigrated 'user manual' but still, the reviewer could translate that to English for folk who do not speak MAC fluently much less Geek.
I am waiting for my 25 ft Toslink cable to arrive and in the meantime plan to try as hard as I can to get that stupid users manual to print (what is with the printing problem)

Steven Stone -- Mon, 12/13/2010 - 23:30

 1. An audio device is an OUTPUT device such as a DAC or the internal Toslink output.
2. THere is a MIDI control program in utilities. Put an alias on your dock. You will need to access it regularly.
3. Again an output device such as a DAC.
4. In the Settings menu you can choose both an output and input device.
Jargon has a purpose. It is not jibberish once you understand the intent.
DONT USE A 25 foot Toslink cable . That is insane. Humongous jitter and a low output signal due to loss because of the long run.
Just as you can't drive a 80 dB efficient speaker with a 3 watt SET amp, you can't set up a computer audio system without LEARNING a bit about computers.
There is no computer God, only a learning curve. Use Apple's forums in the support sections of

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications -- Thu, 12/16/2010 - 13:17

I have everything installed satisfactorily, but have one glitch i can't seem to resolve. 96/24 files from HDTracks play fine, but 88.2/24 files flip to 44.1. Anyone else having that issue and is there a solution? Bob

JIMV -- Mon, 12/27/2010 - 18:24

The purpose of Jargon is to keep the cognoscenti special while keeping happy peasants at arms length. I note you managed to translate the odd language into English,,,I am reasonably competent on PC's. The special language for Mac is another thing entirely..It is one thing to explain a function, it is another to explain it in language no one but the folk who already know how to use the machine can understand.

Oh, my first 25 ft toslink try worked but sounded like an MP3 on pablum...the second with a 10 times as expensive glass toslink cable worked FAR better, though not quite to the level as my transport.

Steven Stone -- Mon, 12/27/2010 - 18:43

No, the purpose of jargon is too speed up communication between individuals with a similar technical skill set.

Depending on how much the 10x Toslink costs, you may be better off using another connection method. Wired Ethernet or wireless into the Squeezebox Touch might give you better sonic results. And then there's Firewire...and Firewire DACs.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

JIMV -- Mon, 12/27/2010 - 19:25

True, I could BUY a firewire connector and BUY a new DAC and not use the product I already own, but a few thousand extra bucks is not in my wallet...As to jargon, remember, I originally wrote that translating the jargon into human speak for the review might be in order as all ones readers are not Mac geeks...some of us are poor PC folk.

Steven Stone -- Mon, 12/27/2010 - 20:20

The Squeezebox Touch is $300, not thousands. It gives you two ways to connect to your Mac - Ethernet or Wifi. It has both Toslink and S/PDIF outputs for your DAC.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

JIMV -- Mon, 12/27/2010 - 21:38

I would still need another long length of some cable and the $300 for another machine I do not understand...why when I already have a good DAC and a sufficient cable..

As an might check out the difference in sound from your gear of these two different Toslink cables...

Your point on the second cable is 100% on target but the first sound completely different. It works in my system.

JIMV -- Mon, 12/27/2010 - 21:59

Please understand my point...I was trying to remind the author that his audience is the universe of audio lovers, not computer geeks or Mac devotee's. Writing the review in the language 99% of readers can understand would have been nice...I finally have everything up and running though it took an additional 2GB of memory in my 3 year old iMac 25 ft of good glass toslink, an adapter to get the optical signal from the iMac to the toslink cable, and a lot of guessing where the software is concerned.

When it was all done I ended up with a system that sounds almost as good as my system from a transport into the same DAC. The only disappointing bit was the paucity of music art for my CD's (the software cannot find artwork for a good 25% of my CD's).

So, the article was timely and interesting, if written in geek.

Steven Stone -- Mon, 12/27/2010 - 23:55

A couple of tips on artwork.

When GraceNote can't find the art I try Amazon, then Google. By then I've usually found the art. Then play a selection and drag and drop the art into the left-hand bottom square in iTunes.

Another tip. If you plan to use anything besides iTunes "embedding" the art is a good idea. You'll see a "scripts" section along the top list of actions in iTunes. Under Scripts should be "embed art". If you click that while a song is playing the sound will drop out for a second while the jpeg file is appended onto the music file. iTunes keeps its art separate from the music files and only links to the files. Both Sonos and Squeezebox won't find the album art unless it's embedded.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

JIMV -- Tue, 12/28/2010 - 13:57

When I drag and drop from Amazon the art zips back to amazon and I get a gibberish note that says.."art not modifiable"


Where does one find 'scripts' in the iTunes actions???

Steven Stone -- Tue, 12/28/2010 - 14:28

Hmmm. If the files are FLAC or WAV you will not be able to add art, but with AIFF,MP3 and Apple lossless that won't be an issue.

Try moving a jpeg into the art box and see what happens - you can delete it from the info box in iTunes.

Between Window and help along the top is a funny squiggly figure - click on it and check its options - scripts and embed art should be there.

You could also try copying Amazon art to your desktop and then drag and drop it to the art box in iTunes.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

Sam -- Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:06

Steven, for avguide or TAS u or someone from your staff could make a video and post it online showing a Mac setup physically and the basic software features just related to hi Rez music server doing an overview of the basics. That might help some of the new music server crowd new to computers. People who don't use computers much should not be punished with either cough up $$$$1000's or tough luck. A basic walk through would help all ur readers. Same could be done for windows. Just an idea...

JIMV -- Tue, 12/28/2010 - 15:22

WAV files all...There is no funny squiggly figure between windows and help on my screen. When I copy amazon artwork I get some bizarre archive file, not a jpeg...I would have zero problem if the thing was a PC but apparently the Mac needs some new steps I have not figured out...

Steven Stone -- Tue, 12/28/2010 - 16:04

WAV files. That's the incompatibility - you can't attach art to WAV files.

try doing the same thing with an MP3 or Aiff or Apple Lossless file - it should work.

As for the embed art feature - try googling it to see if you can get more info directly - I'm pretty sure its an Apple-approved add-on since I've been using it for multiple gens of iTunes without the feature being deleted or grayed out.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

Steven Stone -- Thu, 12/16/2010 - 13:30

 Without knowing the signal chain after the computer's sound panel it's heard to know the exact reason.
Some possibilities: Your DAC doesn't support 88.2. Some DACs don't.
Have you tried "forcing" 88.1 via your Midi control panel/program.
The Midi program should reveal what bit rates your DAC supports
It looks like this:

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications -- Thu, 12/16/2010 - 13:39

Thanks for the quick reply. I am using my Assemblage DAC with the Jitter filter, both support 88.2. The Jitter thingy takes care of some of the TOS issues. I have tried forcing 88.2 and get chipmunks. I should have added that I use Max to convert the FLAC files to Apple Lossless, and iTunes shows them as 88.2. I do not have the computer in the audio system at the moment, but will try using MIDI as you suggest next time I do. BTW I have new Maggie 1.7's driven by Van Alstine Utra+ 550 Double Die and a Transcendence 8. Wonderful system for reasonable $$$ and the Ultr + Double is a GREAT Maggie driver.

Bound4Sound -- Sun, 12/19/2010 - 23:30

 Interesting review on the Pure Music software.  I have a few questions for Steve Stone:
1.  I noticed that your DAC of choice had firewire capability.  I'm assuming that this is the reason that you were able to take advantage of sampling rates in excess of 96 Khz.  Most outboard DAC's, including my Cary Xciter DAC, do not offer firewire connectivty and the Mac's optical output is limited at 96Khz.  I believe the DAC will upsample it anyway, but does this limit the Channel D software to some extent?
2.  If using an iTunes library with SqueezeCenter for utilizing a Squeezebox Touch, does this type of software offer any advantages, or will it not work with SqueezeCenter software?

Steven Stone -- Mon, 12/20/2010 - 00:28

 Hello Bound,

1. Some USB DACs do have up to 192 capability, like the Wyred4Sound DAC 2. It uses a proprietary driver that will go up to 192/24. "Regular" USB DACs that don't have their own drivers are limited to 96/24. Channel D's Pure Music and Sonic's Amarra both are capable of whatever resolution up to 192 that a DAC can support. The Hardware and drivers determines the upper limits.
2. Your second question is difficult to answer since it demonstrates a lack of familiarity with how Squeezebox sorftware and iTunes work. The iTunes library is one library choice for SC software. Any library from any music player can be used by Squeezebox, and even multiple libraries on different drives can be used by SB software. The advantage is being able to work with existing music libraries so you don't have to start from scratch.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

Bound4Sound -- Fri, 12/24/2010 - 17:51

Thanks for your reply Steve. I do understand that the Squeezebox software can utilize different libraries. But isn't the Sqeezebox software essentially the player, replacing the iTunes player and just using the iTunes library? If so, then how can Pure Music be used?

Steven Stone -- Mon, 12/27/2010 - 18:47

Squeezebox Center is the music selector and streamer. And you are correct Pure Music, Amarra, and even i-Tunes, do not come into play when streaming to another network device. If I gave you the impression that Pure Music was used WITH a Squeezebox device or a Sonos device, I'm sorry, since that is certainly not the case.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

Sam -- Fri, 12/24/2010 - 13:21

Steven, does puremusic or amarra require I tunes running in the back? Can one delete I tunes completely from the computer and only install these specialized softwares? If I tunes is running in the back how exactly is it interacting with the puremusic software and how does one make sure everything coming out is it's best. i.e are there 2 or 3 things you check to make sure that everything is bit perfect from the hard disk to the deliverypoint/while playing?

Steven Stone -- Fri, 12/24/2010 - 13:35

 Amarra offer a stand-alone function. 
Even if you don't use it,  iTunes is not a program that you should attempt to delete.
Check Apple's midi program to see the output rate and see what your DAC will support.
Weiss has some digital music files you can download and run to see if the output is bit-perfect. I've used them with the DAC 202.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

olson_jr -- Fri, 12/24/2010 - 13:52

I am running my IMAC optical out through a 25 foot toslink cable to the input on a Cambridge 840C CDP and enjoy the sound. Are you sure the 25 foot toslink induses jitter and produces a loss of signal?
Since the Cambridge Upamples to 24/384 would there be any advantage to using Pure Music?
Thanks and happy holidays

Steven Stone -- Fri, 12/24/2010 - 14:39

 I do not recommend a 25 foot Toslink cable. It doesn't matter what it's hooked up to, that's too long in my book.
Why don't you download Pure Music and find out for yourself - it's free at first. If you like it, you can buy it, if not, don't.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

Sam -- Fri, 12/24/2010 - 15:31

Steven, do you use a didicated ripper software to rip your CD's bit perfect to your hard disk? Whats the name of it?

Steven Stone -- Fri, 12/24/2010 - 15:55

 It's name is iTunes, with the error correction enabled.
Aiff Files. No compression.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

JIMV -- Wed, 01/05/2011 - 17:39

I just downloaded the new 1.7 version and cannot find the Hog Mode...
I have a cobbled together system which seems to develop a new quirk whenever I fix an old one...The plastic LONG toslink from my iMac to my DAC has been replaced with a better glass cable resulting in a lot less grit in the high end and a more punchy low. I replaced the $2 mini Toslink to Toslink used to get the optical signal out of the iMac with a far better Startech adapter and cleaned more grit from the signal...Now the only issues I seem to have is in a few files that appear to have not been ripped well (anoying).
Am I correct in assuming that a track that crackles consistiently when played while other tracks do not is in fact a bad track and not a sympton of some other evil?

Steven Stone -- Wed, 01/05/2011 - 17:50

 For Hog mode, look under "Advanced" audio settings.
If crackling is limited to one track, try re-ripping that track.  If the problem persists, then it's something else. What that something is, well, that's not easy to tell...

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

JIMV -- Wed, 01/05/2011 - 18:02


andypaul -- Sat, 04/16/2011 - 04:35

Some of my friends are using same Channel D, their remarks are good about it, that thing inspire me for using it atleast one time.

CD Replication, DVD Replication 

ToshikoMonomita -- Mon, 11/14/2011 - 22:32

I search this problem and find your text ,Thank too

MikeMercer -- Wed, 05/02/2012 - 13:15

 Just wanted to add (Steven Stone is rockin' it here as he always does) that I use the full Amarra suite (current version) on my Macbook, and I CAN (and are, right now) stream wirelessly to my office system, using Amarra + the Audioengine D2 24-bit Wireless DAC (it uses its own Wifi connection - with a sender and receiver). The receiver has an optical output (for another DAC if you choose) or analog RCA outputs, so you can use the D2 as a full DAC.
It's a nice combo, I find, for streaming music wirelessly (and not only with iTunes/Amarra, but I stream all audio from my Macbook using the Audioengine D2).
I've never heard bass defintiion like this from another wireless DAC - just fyi!
Yours in Sound,

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