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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am wondering if someone with more experience with Hi-RES audio streaming can offer an opinion/guidance.
I want to try to take more advantage of Hi-Res music streams. I’m currently using Apple Music and recently bought a Klipsch Cinema 1200 sound bar for our listening area.
I haven't set things up yet, but I will be attaching my iPad to a DAC via USB. From the DAC to the analogue input (3.5mm port on sound bar) via 2 x RCA to one 3.5mm.
This is the recommended practice from Klipsch but my local AV dealer is suggesting that sound bar analogue inputs are often an "afterthought" and once DSP kicks in, it won’t take advantage of the higher bit rates and I won’t be able to perceive any difference. Is this a useless endeavour? I welcome any thoughts on this topic.
 

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I wouldn't go the DAC route. To get maximum fidelity, a direct HDMI connection or HDMI ARC connection would be the best source. A digital streaming device such as an Apple TV 4K would likely be the best sounding option and less cumbersome. The main issue would be the need for a display to see the music app but it could be shut off once a playlist is started. The supplied remote should provide controls such as pause, play and skip with no display.

If both devices support Bluetooth 5.0 (as the soundbar does) or higher that could be used, the sound might be diminished somewhat but would be as good as CD or higher. Lower versions of Bluetooth might be too lossy but it depends on what can be tolerated. I use Bluetooth 4.1 (which is about as good as CD) for casual listening and it is adequate. For serious listening, I would use a device with HDMI audio.

I see the soundbar supports TOSLINK audio input. That supports audio bit rates which are about as high as lossless music streaming services currently support. Optical TOSLINK digital audio would would be a better option than the 1/8" analog audio jack on the soundbar. Not sure if any devices are available that could support such output with an iPad but there may be other devices that support Apple Music and can.

Here is a Apple article that provides some options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your time and thoughts on this. I agree the higher quality option will be with the HDMI cables and my DAC (iFi Zen V2) doesn’t support Toshlink so that leaves RCA and some sort of balanced 4.4mm output, which my sound bar does not support.
I did find out that ATV doesn’t support anything beyond 48kHz at present. Admittedly my equipment probably doesn’t render the advantages of Hi-Res streams using an analog port but I did set things up and the following was observed.
The DAC recognised the stream from my iPad as PCM (PCM 88.2/96/176.4/192/ 352.8/384kHz) I sought out music in the 192kHz range because I think this is the max Apple is supporting at present. The sound bar input signal indicated PCM but I do wonder if this should indicate LPCM. Perhaps that’s a question for Klipsch.
Anyway, I was still impressed with the sound quality after numerous listening sessions of many different genres. Keep in my this particular sound bar has a "direct" listening mode which essentially is a pass through mode avoiding any DSP keeping the engineer and artist’s vision intact. That said I’m sure I’m not getting a true audiophile experience using my kit but I will still enjoy using this DAC with my iPad and headphones for more serious listening sessions. Thanks again for your time and knowledge.
 

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The best audio quality available through music services is likely to be 192kHz, 24 bit PCM for some time. I believe that's the maximum audio quality released by the music studios unless it's for use in movies or on audio discs with heavy copy protection.
 

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does your sound bar have a toslink connection? if so, and if you own a chrome cast audio, you can cast from your apple music app wirelessly to the chromecast audio, then the chromecast audio will send the signal digitally over a toslink fiber optic cable to your sound bar or what ever sound amplifier you have and it will be in its purest highest res format since its a digital signal still.

if you do not, i do not know of any other way to send audio from an ipad to a sound bar, maybe u need another device to send the audio instead of the ipad?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks very much for this. I currently only use the Apple Music service and I don’t think it supports Google casting. That said, Chromecast Audio is a neat little device and maybe someday I’ll use a different music streaming service. I haven't done much research on the Chromecast Audio device do you happen to know what bit rates it supports? I assume it supports up to at least CD quality.
 

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Google discontinued the Chromecast Audio a couple of years ago so that's not an easy option either. Any references I see to connecting mobile devices to a soundbar recommend bluetooth. I'm beginning to think that is the simplest, if not the best, way. If the iPad supports bluetooth 4.0 or higher then I would recommend trying that. It's simple and free to try. If it's good enough that's great, if not then little is lost. As mentioned earlier, I use bluetooth 4.x to connect to soundbars. Bluetooth 5.x is much better though.

The best audio quality will be achieved by using HDMI. That will require a high speed HDMI 2.0 or higher cable with compatible connectors for each end or an adapter to take advantage of any cables that are on hand. Some mobile devices include the adapters but, knowing Apple, they probably want US$60 for one. I would check Amazon for a suitable cable.
 
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