DCS Audio From Apple TV

Hi There

I appreciate we are in the middle of a global meltdown and this issue is low down the list, but I’d appreciate any help and wondered if anyone had a solution for getting sound from a TV to the DAC.

I am running an Apple TV into a monitor, I connect to Bartok and Apple TV using Airplay which seems good, the problem is that if Bartok is switched off or selects another source, apple tv then forgets the connection and you need to reconnect it each time through the apple interface which is a pain.

Apple TV only has HDMI out, no optical. I could get an HDMI audio splitter and then connect in via SPDIF. These units start at £20. Do you think this would work and would the quality be as good as Airplay? Or would I need crazily expensive cables to get a good connection? I understand that TV probably has inferior sound to music Streaming but wanted to get as good a connection as possible.

If the above looks questionable I was wondering if anyone might know of a better way to connect these devices seamlessly.

Many thanks and like I say in the grand scheme of it, not a big issue but would love to get it working properly.

Many Thanks, Graham

My (Samsung) TV actually has an optical S/PDIF out, so I run that to the Rossini. The Apple TV runs HDMI to the TV - and the TV conveniently acts as the splitter and puts the audio signal on the optical out…

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Thanks Paul

I like the simplicity of that solution and a good reson to get a new box as well. I’ll have a look at the Samsungs.

Many Thanks

It would be a different matter if you were to use the Apple TV as purely an audio streaming device and not have the TV on - but why would you do that when the dCS box does it all direct, and better :wink:

So, given that setting, I only use the Apple TV for video content - and then I would obviously also use the TV.

(Possibly, if you’re heavy into the Apple ecosystem, for Apple Music. But I find enough content in Tidal already.)

Hi Paul

Many thanks, indeed that would be an odd system. I use the Tidal through the Mosaic app and it’s very good indeed, I love that you can find anything. I also like films, the Apple unit was free with a phone so trying to make the best of it.


There are a variety of devices on Amazon like this, but as they essentially need to decode the Dolby Digital signal and reencode it as PCM, I can’t imagine they sound very good.

Nevertheless they would allow you to make the connection you desire.

4K HDMI Audio Extractor, HDMI to HDMI + Optical Toslink SPDIF + 3.5mm AUX Stereo Audio Out

HI Bill

I see, many thanks. Do you think doing that is essentailly the same as what Paul said above, using the TV’s inbuilt audio out to via optical would also be a Dolby - PCM comprimise.

Would you say that using Airplay as a transport is the best quality over connecting? This is how I have it.

I think this is this essence of where people, myself included get confused, there is the assumption that anything digital has no quality deteriation until it hits conversion to analogue.

Many Thanks Graham

Since the DCS DAC can only accept PCM format, any of these options should have very similar sound quality. They all need to convert the signal to PCM along the way. PCM is uncomressed/lossless and any of these format can be decoded into PCM with loss in quality.

If the source it Dolby Digital that is a lossy compressed format, similar to MP3. Any of these appraoches will get you pefectly acceptable output.

If the source is Dolby True HD or one of the other lossless formats I think copy protection may require the output to be downsampled to something like CD quality (not sure on this though). But again, all of these connection methods would have the same limitation.

It’s most likely the quality of the hardware involved that would have the most impact on sound quality. For watching TV/Movies though I wouldn’t sweat it and just go with whatver is easiest.

Hi Jeff

Many thanks, the TV outputs uncompressed LPMC as default this is what it’s been on over Airplay.

There are these choices on the ATV.

  • Auto (recommended): Audio will be sent as uncompressed, multi-channel LPCM (up to 7.1 channels and 24-bit)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1: Audio will be sent as Dolby Digital (up to 5.1 channels and 16-bit)
  • Stereo: Audio will be sent as stereo (2.0 channels and 16-bit)

I will try stereo 16 bit as I didnt know it could do that, I assume Dolby is for different decoders but preumibly LPMC is best.

I watch a lot of events, the likes of performances at Glastonbury Festival. I appreciate the sound quality is limited by the fact it’s not as good as a dedicated Audio such as MQA, but it’s okay, with the Bartok and the Sytem I have it’s the next best thing to being there, which is obviouly off the menu for a while at least.

Some DACs have a built in HDMI passthough however the Bartok doesn’t, for good reason no doubt. I’m wondering is there a way I can get a bit more out of this setup. I’ve heard of installing a linear power supply to the ATV but this does involve a hammer!