Apple Setup :
For an Apple computer there are a few options that work with iTunes as your
music player. iTunes itself is a convenient player as not only does this software
package come pre-installed with new Apple computers, but it is easy to set up and
use, the ripping capabilities are excellent, and the program works exceptionally
well with other Apple products such as iPods.
Computer Requirements for Class 1
There are a few minimum requirements that must be met to achieve reliable audio from your
system into the Ayre D/A Converter. These requirements are as follows:
- Apple OS X 10.4.x or newer.
- A dedicated USB port, preferably with an unshared USB Controller. To learn more
on how to find out if your USB port is shared, please refer to the Going Beyond 96 kHz section below.
Regardless of whether you've chosen to play back your music collection in Class 1 or Class
2, setting up your Mac to get the best sound is quite simple. Here are the steps:
1. Apply power to your Ayre D/A converter. After applying power, connect the USB cable from
the D/A converter to your computer USB port. Click on the “System Preferences”
app on your Dock.
Then in the second row, “Hardware”, click on the “Sound” icon.
First choose the “Sound Effects” tab, which controls the various sounds your
other programs make (such as the “e-mail notification” sound). Select “Play
alerts and sound effects through: Internal Speakers” so that these sounds are not
routed through your stereo system.
Then click on the “Output” tab and select the Ayre USB Interface. This will
route the sound from iTunes through your stereo system.
2. On the Dock select the “Finder” app.
Select “Places - Applications”, scroll down the list and click on the
Find the “Audio MIDI Setup.app”.
If you are only playing CDs and MP3 files, you can just run this application once. But if you
have a mix of standard-resolution and high-resolution audio files with various sample rates,
you will need to change the settings more frequently when using iTunes as your player. Simply
drag the “Audio MIDI Setup.app” down to your Dock and it will always be handy.
3. Open the “Audio Midi Setup” application and select “Audio
For the “Default Output”, select the Ayre USB Interface and this will send
the sounds from iTunes to your stereo system.
For the “System Output” choose the “Built-In Output” and this will
send system sounds such as a “New Mail Alert” to the built-in system speakers.
There is a drop-down list called “Properties For:”. Select the Ayre USB D/A
converter and choose the appropriate sample rate in the “Audio Output” section.
Normally this will be “44100.0 Hz” for playback of CD-sourced or MP3 music files.
If you select a sample rate that is different than the sample rate of the music file itself,
OS X will perform a sample-rate conversion, and the data sent to the Ayre USB D/A converter
will not be bit-perfect. Be sure to set the “Audio Output - Format:” setting to
the native sample rate of the music file that you wish to play. You must exit iTunes first
for the sample rate change to take effect. Then restart iTunes and play the desired music
Some players, such as Amarra
offer automatic rate changing to match the recording's sample rate without
having to change any settings in Audio MIDI Setup. More information on these players may
be found on their respective web pages. Note: If you use a player that features automatic
rate switching, it is best to set your the Ayre USB Interface to its maximum sample rate
in the Audio MIDI Setup (96 kHz or 192 kHz). This ensures that the maximum rate the player
can switch to is not limited by this setting.
Going Beyond 96 kHz
Before you attempt to work with files beyond 96 kHz, please go through the normal setup
instructions with your Ayre D/A converter set in Class 1 mode. Make sure that everything
is working properly and you are familiar with your system and its software. Only then should
you attempt to work with files beyond 96kHz.
Computer Requirements for Class 2
Determining Whether a USB Port is Shared or Unshared
- Apple OS X 10.6.4 or newer.
- A dedicated USB 2.0 port with an unshared USB Controller.
While old or poorly designed USB controller chips can cause problems with Class 2 Audio,
please remember that the latest version of Snow Leopard is required to reach speeds of
192 kHz. Since Snow Leopard only runs on Intel-based Apple computers, these are all fairly
new machines and generally you should not run into any problems in this regard.
However, there is one cardinal rule—for Class 2 Audio the Ayre USB D/A converter
cannot share a USB controller with any other devices.
To ensure that the Ayre USB D/A converter is running on its own dedicated USB controller
is largely a matter of trial-and-error. Normally the physical USB port will be connected
to a "smart" controller that automatically changes from USB 1.1 (Full Speed) to USB 2.0
(High Speed or "Enhanced), depending on the requirements of the attached peripheral device.
However, there will not be a dedicated controller for each port, so sometimes it may be a
bit of a trick to find an arrangement whereby the Ayre USB D/A converter has its own
dedicated USB controller.
Many Apple computers will already have internal devices (laptop cameras, IR receivers,
Bluetooth external devices (mouse, keyboard, iPod dock, hard drive, et cetera) connected.
The more devices connected, the more difficult it becomes to ensure that the Ayre USB D/A
converter has dedicated access to a High Speed USB controller. Sometimes it will be helpful
to disable any unused USB devices to allow more flexible configuration of the necessary devices.
To determine which USB devices are connected to which controllers, go to "Apps - Utilities -
On the left side click on "Hardware - USB". On the right side will be a section labeled "USB
Device Tree". With the Ayre USB D/A converter set to "Rsrv B" (Class 2 Audio) and plugged into
the computer, the goal is to have the USB device labeled "Ayre USB Interface" as the sole device
under a controller labeled "USB High-Speed Bus".
To achieve this you may need to try connecting various combinations of USB devices into the USB
ports. Each time you change the connection, you will need to select "View - Refresh" from
the Menu Bar at the top of the screen.
Should you run out of available USB ports, you may
need to purchase a USB port expander (hub). Often these are built into peripheral devices such
as keyboards or displays. When using a USB hub, only connect slower Full Speed (USB 1.1) devices
through the hub whenever possible.
Do not connect your Ayre USB D/A converter to your computer through a hub, as this may
cause dropouts, clicks, or other disruptions. Do not share the controller labeled "USB High-Speed
Bus" in the System Profiler with other High Speed devices (external hard disk drives, iPod
connectors or docks, et cetera).
Also note that even though you have set up your Ayre D/A converter for use in Class 1, you will
have to repeat the setup steps when changing the DAC to Class 2. Even though the DAC is labeled
Ayre USB Interface regardless of mode, the two classes are handled as two separate devices by the operating
Should your Ayre USB D/A converter stop responding, go to "Apps - System - Sound". If the "Ayre USB
Interface" is not listed, try "re-booting" the D/A converter by unplugging the USB cable for ten seconds
and then reconnecting it. This is a semi-common experience when using an iPod, which is a High Speed device.
Unless it has been determined that the iPod connector (or dock) is on a separate USB controller during the
setup process, connecting the iPod will "kick off" the Ayre USB D/A converter from the "USB High-Speed Bus".
While "re-booting" the Ayre D/A converter will solve the problem temporarily, you will need to reconfigure
the USB connections to your computer to avoid future problems.
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