Schon seit der Gründung von Peachtree Audio haben wir versucht, das traditionell, audiophile Denken, bei dem die Klangqualität immer an erster Stelle steht, mit der Nutzung moderner, digitaler Audio Quellen in Einklang zu bringen. Das Resultat sind eine Reihe preisgekrönter Verstärker, DACs und Lautsprecher, die weltweit bei Musikliebhabern begehrt sind.
Mit dem bahnbrechenden Vollverstärker Decco* stellte Peachtree 2007 sein erstes Produkt der Öffentlichkeit vor. Die Urgesteine der Audio-Industrie Jim Spainhour und David Solomon erkannten, dass Musikliebhaber sich stetig in Richtung Computer basierter Musik als Quelle zuwandten, einer Entwicklung, der viele der herkömmlichen Hersteller kaum Rechnung trugen. Da die zugegebenermaßen, außerordentlich komfortablen Nutzung digitaler Daten unter keinen Umständen die Audioqualität beeinträchtigen sollte, entwickelten Sie eine völlig neue Gattung von Vollverstärker. Dieser sollte bereits einen DA-Wandler enthalten, der in der Lage ist, den digitalen Audiodaten vom Computer und aus Steaming-Clients wie Sonos und Apple TV die größtmögliche Lebendigkeit zu verleihen. Aus diesem Bestreben heraus entstand der Decco, der damit schnell Kultstatus erreichte – er erhielt große Zustimmung seitens der Kritiker und legte den Grundstein für die Reputation von Peachtree Audio bezüglich innovativer Produkte mit großartigem Klang bei gleichzeitig bodenständigen Preisen.
* Der Decco war der weltweit erste Vollverstärker, der mit einem USB-Eingang ausgestattet war, und dessen internem DA-Wandler erlaubte, digitale Audio-Daten direkt aus dem Computer zu verarbeiten
** oder ist es nur, weil einer unserer Gründer aus Atlanta, Georgia stammt?
Schließlich ist „Standing Peachtree“ der Name für die alte Indianische Siedlung auf dem Gebiet von Atlanta.
Falls Sie ein iPhone, iPad oder iPod Touch mit Aiplay-Funktion* haben, empfehlen wir, den Apple TV (99 €) als AirPlay Dock mit Ihrem Peachtree zu verbinden.
**iOS 4.2 oder später mit Wi-Fi Zugang, iOS 4.3 unterstützt zusätzliche Features.
Außerdem benötigen Sie ein Fernsehgerät oder einen anderen Bildschirm mit HDMI-Eingang, um die Grundeinstellungen am Apple TV vornehmen zu können.
Anschließend können Sie den Apple TV direkt an Ihr Peachtree Gerät anschließen, ein Monitor ist dann nicht mehr nötig.
Stellen Sie sicher, dass Ihr Apple Device und der Apple TV mit demselben WiFi-Netzwerk verbunden sind.
Wählen Sie „Apple TV“ als Wiedergabe Ziel für Ihre Musik aus.
Ihre Musik wird nun von Ihrem mobilen Apple Device via AirPlay zum Apple TV gestreamt. Wenn Sie, wie in den vorangegangenen Schritten beschrieben, den Apple TV mit Ihrem Peachtree Gerät verbunden haben, brauchen Sie nur noch den optischen Eingang als Quelle auszuwählen – genießen Sie die Musik!
Eine Verbindung zwischen iDevice und Peachtree Verstärker, Vorverstärker und DAC ohne WiFi: Benutzen Sie ein für Ihr Apple-Device passendes Anschlussdock (z. B. PURE i-20). Beachten Sie, dasss dieses Modell für den 30-Pin-Apple Connector konzipiert ist, für eine iDevice mit Lightning-Anschluss wird ein zusätzlicher Adapter benötigt.
Wir empfehlen hier den Original-Adapter, da er optimal für die Belastung des Docks ausgelegt ist. Weil der Lightning-Connector kein analoges Video unterstützt, ist dieses auch nicht an den Peachtree Komponenten verfügbar.
The latest Apple iOS devices* are equipped with a new connector (named "Lightning") in place of the traditional 30-pin connector. If you have a Peachtree amplifier or DAC with built-in dock, an adapter available directly from Apple allows you to connect your iOS device to the dock.
*Lightning-connector iOS devices compatible with adapter:
We prefer it to this adapter, which can put additional strain on the built-in dock.
Video will not be available at your Peachtree's component video outputs, because Lightning does not support analog video output.
Thank you to Chris Connaker at Computer Audiophile for allowing us to reprint here his Frequently Asked Questions. From the introduction: "The questions and answers below range from beginner to advanced. Many of the topics addressed could consume a complete chapter in a book about computer audio. The answers provided are just the tip of the iceberg and a single data point for the reader to consider."
I'm a total beginner I don't even know what I don't know, where do I start?
First and foremost computer audio is not rocket science. Although some Computer Audiophile readers are rocket scientists this level of skill and education are not prerequisites. CA is a laid back site where increasing enjoyment of our wonderful hobby through the use of music servers and high end audio equipment is paramount. The Computer Audiophile discussion forum is a great place to ask questions. Usually beginners have so many questions they list them all in their first forum post along with their life story from vinyl records to CD players. Before going down this road step away from the computer and take a deep breath. Read some existing forum threads to gain familiarity with the terminology and to see how things work around here. Then ask a question or two of your own. You will get out of the site what you put into the site. In other words, keep asking follow up questions and asking for clarification if you have trouble grasping a concept. Keep in mind that your questions are likely to help thousands of other computer audio beginners.
What are the bare necessities or minimum requirements to use a music server with my audio system?
- A computer running nearly any operating system.
- A connection between the computer and the audio system. This can be USB, S/PDIF (optical TosLink or electrical coaxial), AES/EBU, FireWire, HDMI, Ethernet, or wireless. The computer's output ports and the audio system's inputs dictate what type of connection is needed. All Macintosh computers built today have an S/PDIF optical output port hidden inside the headphone jack. Some PCs offer S/PDIF output as well. Nearly all computers have USB ports but not all audio systems have an available USB input. Analog output is also an option. Running a 3.5mm mini to RCA cable from the computer's headphone jack to a preamp or receiver's AUX input is not recommended but does work.
What's better for a music server Apple OS X or Microsoft Windows?
Neither of the two most popular operating systems is better than the other when it comes to music servers. There are major differences between the two platforms. Both are completely capable of producing audiophile sound quality. The most important factor when determining what operating system to use for a music server is the end user's level of comfortability with the operating system.
- Easier to output bit perfect audio
- iTunes on OS X is bit perfect right out of the box
- iTunes / Apple Remote application is very good
- No known viruses
- Highly structured system that doesn't allow or need much customization
- Built-in digital audio output via S/PDIF on all new Macs
- Very good build quality but no options other than Apple hardware
- Very stable operating system
- Support for Class 2 Audio (This enables 24/192 audio via USB using native operating system device drivers)
- Very limited support for FLAC files (iTunes does not support FLAC without third party add-ons)
- A bit more difficult to output bit perfect audio
- Infinitely customizable
- Many audio playback applications to choose from
- Thousands of hardware options
- Many remote control options including support for UPnP remotes
- Nearly all audio devices support Windows (Metric Halo is Mac only)
- Support for ASIO, Kernel Streaming, and WASAPI audio output modes
- Software updates and operating system notifications can be annoying
- More playback support for FLAC files
What is an audio codec?
An audio codec is simply an algorithm or program that COmpresses/DECompresses audio data. Codecs can be lossless or lossy. Each codec has its own method of compression and decompression. Thus the audio quality varies greatly from codec to codec.
- Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC)
- Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC)
- Windows Media Audio Lossless (WMA)
- MPEG-1 or 2 Audio Layer III codec (MP3)
- Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)
- Windows Media Audio (WMA)
- Vorbis/Ogg Vorbis
What is metadata?
In general metadata is data about data. In the context of audio metadata is information describing an album, artist, track, etc... There are major differences in how metadata support is implemented in audio applications. The most important difference is between associated metadata and embedded metadata.
This metadata is frequently stored in a proprietary database or file used by playback applications. When looking at an album within the application users will see all the information available such as album art, artists, track title etc... For example, when iTunes automatically finds album art it only associates this art with each track of the album. The problem with associated metadata is its lack of transportability. This metadata will only be available when using the specific application that associated the metadata with the files. If an iTunes library file is lost or an application's database of associated metadata is lost or if a file with associated metadata is moved to another application all the metadata is gone for good.
This metadata is stored as chunks inside the the audio file's container such as AIFF or FLAC. Containers / file formats such as FLAC, AIFF, M4A (ALAC) support embedded metadata that is readable and writable by many audio playback applications. These containers/file formats have guidelines or standards for embedding metadata and they allocate space within the container for this data. Once this metadata has been embedded into a container/file like AIFF the metadata is there until removed. None of the three problems described above are an issue with embedded metadata. Loss of an iTunes library file or proprietary application database or moving a file to another application have no effect on the metadata. Looking at a file with embedded metadata in iTunes will display album art, artist, track title etc... without manually entering anything or without iTunes gathering the metadata from an Internet database.
What's the difference between WAV, AIFF, AIF, MP3, FLAC, WMA, ALAC, M4A etc ...?
First a little background information. 99% of music played on our computers is formatted as PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) audio data or sometimes as LPCM (Linear Pulse Code Modulation). LPCM is PCM with linear quantization. PCM and LPCM will be used synonymously in this description. PCM is a digital representation of an analog signal. Very few music playback applications support playback of raw PCM data. Playing raw PCM data may seem like a great idea to audiophiles but in reality it's less than ideal. Raw PCM data contains only the digital representation of an analog signal. No album art or metadata like artist, album or track information and no information providing instructions to the playback application. In an effort to support file interoperability between many applications created by many companies file Containers / wrappers were developed decades ago. A container simply describes the enclosed data to the application opening the file.
Think of a container as a CD or DVD case. The case describes what's inside. It should contain a logo stating the enclosed material meets the Compact Disc, SACD, Dual Disc, or DVD-Audio standard. Liner notes inside the case frequently describe even more about the specific music contained in the case. The disc itself contains the actual music.
Container / wrapper = CD or DVD case Metadata = Liner notes Music data = Music on disc
Over the years many audio specific containers have been developed. These containers are frequently, and correctly, referred to as file formats such as AIFF, WAV, FLAC, and MP3. Each container or file format typically holds one of three types audio data. The three types are uncompressed, lossless compressed, and lossy compressed.
Uncompressed PCM audio is stored as a one for one copy of the original. Popular containers for uncompressed PCM audio are AIFF and WAV. Most people refer to AIFF and WAV as file formats and that's also 100% correct. Note: These uncompressed file formats are not the same as codecs.
AIFF is an acronym for Audio Interchange File Format. The format was developed by Apple in 1988 as an extension of the IFF format created by popular video game creator Electronic Arts. AIFF files were originally used on Macintosh computers as the equivalent of WAV files on Windows based computers. Today AIFF files are supported by most popular music playback applications on Windows and OS X. AIFF files support embedded metadata such as album art, artist, and track title. Many popular playback applications can read and write embedded metadata in AIFF files. AIFF and AIF files are exactly the same. Using the technical description from above, the AIFF container / wrapper stores the metadata (album art, artist, track etc...) and any additional information required and simply holds the uncompressed PCM audio data inside this container. During playback the AIFF container is opened by the playback application to access the uncompressed PCM audio data.
WAV is a short name for Waveform Audio File Format. WAV was developed by Microsoft and IBM and released in 1991. WAV files are supported on nearly every operating system and turnkey music server available. Contrary to popular belief and experience WAV files can store metadata. However, very few playback applications can read or write embedded metadata in a WAV file. For example iTunes cannot embed album art into WAV files. Using the technical description from above, the WAV container / wrapper can store metadata (although not in most end user systems) and simply holds uncompressed LPCM audio data inside this container. During playback the WAV container is opened by the playback application to access the uncompressed LPCM audio data.
Lossless compression involves a codec and a container/file format. The codec and container usually go hand in hand. An audio codec is simply an algorithm or program that COmpresses/DECompresses, frequently PCM, audio data.
Popular combinations are:
Codec - Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC)* Container/File Format - M4A
Codec - Free Lossless Audio Codec Container/File Format - FLAC
Codec - Windows Media Audio Lossless* Container/File Format - WMA
* WMA and ALAC are proprietary codecs. FLAC is open and royalty free.
The above combinations usually start with an uncompressed audio file, remove the container (AIFF, WAV, or cda directly from a CD) compress the PCM audio by removing redundant and predictable data then package it into a container such as M4A, FLAC, or WMA. During playback of a lossless file the container is opened, the PCM audio data is uncompressed and reconstructed into the identical PCM audio data that existed before it was compressed. There is much debate in the audiophile community about whether lossless compression results in deteriorated sound quality. The debate centers around the playback application and computer's ability to decompress a lossless file on the fly during playback. Regardless of one's position on this issue the fact remains that lossless compression as a data storage file format does not alter the original data. For example a WAV file can be compressed into FLAC and decompressed back into WAV countless times without altering the original data. The original WAV file is identical to the decompressed WAV file. Taking it one step further, it's entirely possible to start with a WAV file, compress it into a FLAC file then decompress it into an AIFF file without altering the PCM audio data. The container will have changed but the encapsulated PCM audio (song) remains the same. Two main benefits of lossless compression are smaller file sizes and really good support for embedded metadata.
Lossy compression also involves a codec and a container/file format. The most popular combination is the MPEG-1 or 2 Audio Layer III codec and MP3 container. The major difference between lossy and uncompressed and lossless audio is lossy compression removes PCM audio data, with no ability to recreate this data, to reduce file size. A 10:1 compression ratio is fairly common when using lossy compression. This compression results in the permanent loss of much of the original PCM audio data. Lossy compression uses perceptual coding to throw out parts of the original audio data that are said to be beyond audibility or less audible to most people. Other popular lossy formats include AAC and WMA. AAC and WMA can use the same containers as Apple Lossless and Windows Media Lossless (respectively) but are vastly different in that AAC and WMA are lossy.
What are some playback application choices for a Windows or Mac music server?
- J River Media Center (highly recommended) [Link]
- Winamp [Link]
- MediaMonkey [Link]
- Windows Media Player / Center [Link]
- XXHighEnd [Link]
- iTunes [Link]
- VLC [Link]
- Foobar2000 [Link]
- Songbird [Link]
What's the best Windows or Mac playback application?
There is no best playback application for everyone. On Windows J River Media Center is consistently rated very high for usability and its support of several bit perfect audi output modes. Foobar2000 has been a long time favorite of very technically oriented audiophiles. On Mac OS X iTunes is frequently considered the only game in town. Enhancements to iTunes via Amarra or Pure Music have also received favorable ratings.
What does bit perfect or bit transparent mean?
Bit perfect and bit transparent are synonymous terms. Bit perfect simply means the audio sent out of the computer has not been altered in any way. Ideally the audio signal should reach the digital to analog converter unaltered whether the converter is within the computer or external to the computer. Once the audio signal has been altered there is no way to regain bit transparency within the computer or in the audio system. The two most common ways audio is altered before exiting the computer are sample rate conversion and volume controls.
Sample rate conversion usually happens unbeknownst to the user. One example of sample rate conversion is when a 16 bit / 44.1 CD quality track is played through iTunes on a Mac and the OS X Audio Midi output is set to 24/96. This upsampling alters the original audio on its way out of the computer. Note: Setting the bit depth / word length to 24 bit does not ruin the bit transparency of the audio as long as the track is 24 bit or less. In other words the bit depth must be equal to or greater than the music being played. The sample rate must be identical for the audio to remain bit transparent.
Volume controls are the other way audio is frequently altered on its way out of the computer. To be safe all volume controls on the computer should be set to 100% or maximum volume. Especially critical are the volume controls within the audio playback application. These must be set to 100% or maximum volume. It is possible to output bit perfect audio if some operating system volume controls are not set to 100% because these controls do not effect the audio output from the playback application. When in doubt set all controls to 100%. Only experienced users should change volume control settings. Depending on the audio output method some volume controls may be appropriately disabled by the operating system.
Do I need a sound card in my computer if I have a USB DAC or any external DAC?
Simply put no. However you may want a sound card for increased audio performance depending on the audio output interface. If using a USB DAC there is absolutely no need for an internal sound card. The USB DAC becomes the sound card in that it shows up in the Windows Control Panel as a sound device and in Audio Midi on OS X as a sound device. An actual add-in sound card can be advantageous or even necessary if outputting an AES/EBU audio signal from a computer to an external DAC. Coaxial S/PDIF outputs frequently require either an add-in sound card or a sound card built into the motherboard with a coaxial output.
What is a DAC and do I need one?
DAC is short for Digital to Analog Converter. A DAC is required for humans to hear an audio signal as we cannot hear digital 1s and 0s. Our ears only hear analog. When outputting audio through a computer's built-in speakers you are using the DAC inside the computer that's built into the motherboard. When outputting digital audio via USB, S/PDIF, FireWire, Ethernet, etc... an external DAC is required. External DACs are found in many integrated amplifiers, AV receivers and of course standalone DAC units. Frequently a well designed standalone external DAC offers the best sound quality. The DAC inside a computer almost always offers the worst sound quality.
Stream music and video directly from your smart phone and make it sound better than you ever dreamed.
This is all you need for a very high quality music system. No computer required.
- Download to your smart phone or tablet any of the many streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, Last.fm or our favorite, MOG. There are many more available, too.
- Get Apple TV for $99.
- Hook it up to the Peachtree decco65 or nova125 integrated amp with an optical cable.
- Stream any of these music or radio services from your smart phone or tablet to Peachtree via the Apple TV AirPlay.
AirPlay the right way…
The Apple TV® gets our strongest recommendation for AirPlay technology.
Here's why: Apple TV does so much more than AirPlay built in to a receiver!
Whereas built-in AirPlay streams music only, the Apple TV streams both music and video from your computer, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or even Android and PC. It also directly streams content from Netflix, Apple Movies, YouTube, and many more. Additionally, it allows you to stream photos from your computer that rarely get viewed.
Better news? It’s only $99.
When you own a Peachtree, you can utilize the Apple TV optical digital out so everything sounds great. Every aspect of streaming music is immediately transformed and dramatically improved because the digital signal goes directly from the Apple TV to the Peachtree’s onboard ESS Sabre DAC.
Once the digital music has been converted to analog, the signal is routed through a vacuum tube (on Peachtree integrated amps and preamps) to further smooth, improve and enhance your digital music. You can switch it on and off via the remote control and go from solid-state to tube on the fly.
I already have an Apple TV and an iPhone. What else do I need?
- For a simple solution, go with one of our integrated amps. Just add speakers. All of the Peachtree integrated amps are 5 products in one: Amp, Preamp, Tube Buffer, Headphone Amp and ESS Sabre DAC - built for a hostile digital world.
- If you already have a system that you like, use it. Just add an outboard DAC, like the iDac or DAC•iT.
- If you have an older set of separates with an analog preamp, the novaPre or Grand Pre is an excellent replacement and will give you all of the digital inputs you’re ever likely to need.
Network note: As with all streaming devices and control devices, we recommend a good, strong network to prevent dropouts or slow downloads and to control latency.
Here's all you do:
- Set up Apple TV following Apple instructions: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4437. You'll need a television or monitor with an HDMI input for initial set up, but afterward your Apple TV can be moved to a system without a monitor.
- Use an optical cable to hook up Apple TV to a Peachtree amp, preamp or DAC.
- Time to AirPlay. Whip out your chosen smart phone or tablet, pull up MOG and select the AirPlay icon. Now you have full 320kbps streaming up to 12,000,000 tracks from your device - and sounding killer.
The optical out on the Apple TV provides outstanding sound quality.
Why Apple TV instead of AirPort Express: The new Apple AirPort Express is very similar to the Apple TV, except for the advantage of being able to set it up with your computer. However, at present, the AirPort Express has excess jitter that prevents the DAC from properly locking onto the signal. The Apple TV, on the other hand, works fine.
Peachtree Power Trio
Peachtree's $2K System at T.H.E. Show Newport 2012
“[Here] was a jewel of an affordable system, being operated here by Peachtree’s David Solomon. Peachtree’s new decco65 D/A integrated amplifier ($899), which uses a 24-bit ESS Sabre DAC and offers 65Wpc into 8 ohms, drove Dynaudio DM2/6 bookshelf speakers, the system being completed with an Apple TV and cables to give a total cost of $2000.”
John Atkinson posted on June 8, 2012
“This was one of the best and smartest systems of the show, in my opinion, because it offers sound that an audiophile can love while providing the simplicity and versatility that everyone wants - all at a real-world price. I think it's also important to note that Dave Solomon and Peachtree's "Ambassador of Awesome," Jonathan Derda, provide outstanding demonstrations - clear, comprehensive, and fun.”
Stephen Mejias commented on June 8, 2012