Apple TV Set Up

I would appreciate some advice on my digital streaming issues. 

My system consist of Vandersteen Treo CT, Mimas with DAC, and the older AppleTV Streamer (model A1469). The AppleTV is connected via Ethernet cables. I digitally stream with Tidal from a MacBook Pro via Wifi. The download/upload speed  for my MacBook is about 230/11 Mbps.

The AppleTV has the latest software update. 

Question 1
Every-time I wish to play, I open my MacBookPro, open the "System Preferences", then "Sound", then choose "Apple TV".
Is there a shorter path or can I set up my MacBook differently?

Question 2
My MacBook sometimes looses connection (AppleTV gets disconnected). I then have to manually connect "AppleTV" again. Why does this happen?

thank you all in advance!
Why can’t you go directly to Mimas from MacBook?  I don’t understand why the AT is in the chain.
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As far as I can tell after having done some research, the AppleTV device must be selected as the Sound Output device each time the MacBook is restarted or shut down. You can do this from the loudspeaker icon found at the top of the Finder screen, or from the Control Center, in addition to your method.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe the AppleTV can be set as the default Sound Output device (my MacBook always reverts to internal speakers after selecting an AirPlay device).

You have a nice system. To take advantage of its capabilities, I believe you might be happier with a dedicated streamer. Why? You’d be able to set it as the default Sound Output device. You’d get better sound due to AirPlay’s audio limitation of 16-bit/44.1kHz, unless you’re streaming from Apple Music, in which case it will play 16-bit/44.1kHz, 24-bit/48kHz, and hi-res 24-bit/192kHz formats.

More in-depth info here:

Wifi signals can drop out. Using Ethernet will get you a more stable connection.  
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I would bet )I'm not sure) that an ordinary college computer science major could write you a script for $30 that would probably fix problem 1 and maybe fix problem 2 (via brute force).
I used an apple TV in the same manner quite a while ago. A dedicated streamer is a much better way to go and will give you a nicer interface as well. Something simple like a Bluesound Node 2i would be a good place to start. 
thank you for the detail reply.
My AppleTV is connected to the wall ethernet jack. My Macbook is connected via wifi to the AppleTV - I don't want cables running from my MacBook to AppleTV while I'm on the chair listening 10 feet away. My dog also might not like it! Is there something in my setup that I should do differently that I'm not aware of here?

I have considered getting the Bluesound Node 2i - anyone has a similar setup? Any other streamers that I should consider without going too $$$?

Thanks for all the help from everyone.
If your MacBook is losing connection to your wifi, then it’s a wifi problem that needs to be addressed. Perhaps a good mesh wifi router system. Hardwiring is best, but you state you don’t want extra wires. 

I think the Bluesound is a good suggestion, and worth a try, especially if you can hardwire it like the AppleTV.

I agree with everyone who says the ATV shouldn’t be in the chain at all, but if you wish to keep it there, try downloading the “Home” Apple App and see if that allows you to designate the ATV without having to change it with each usage 
First, why stream Tidal from your laptop? They have an app for your Apple (but now I see that it's an older model so maybe not). 

So, OK second instead of changing your laptop audio out use Airplay for the output choice in Tidal prefs and your Apple should show up.

Now third, if you have an iPhone, iPad, iPod, iPatch, whatever, after starting the music playing, leave you MacBook closer to the router and use your iOS device to control playback. 

...and crap I can't try this out now because for the first time in 6 years I don't have Tidal (dropped it last month). 

Here's another thought. If this is your only way to play Tidal, drop it and use the Apple Music service, easier to use, control and cheaper. No matter how you use the Apple it's output is 16/44 or 16/48, so no MQA or any other Hi-res and Apple now plays (almost) as high quality as Tidal (at least up to 16/44) 

HOWEVER if you switch to Bluesound Node (I have a nice pair of Nads so....ok, that sounds like I'm bragging but Nad uses the same software) stick with Tidal for the higher quality sound (if you can tell the difference...and can stand Tidal's library preferences which I finally got sick of). 

Good luck!!

There are quite a few Bluesound Node 2i listed on various sites. A newly listed Node 2i on USAudioMart today. Not sure why so many are for sale, but trying one seems worth investigating. It would likely be an upgrade from the AppleTV in your system...particularly considering your use of Tidal.

Moving up in price:
Cambridge Audio CXN V2 - $1099
Innuos Zen Mini - $1399
Bricasti M5 - $2400

Hi Op, 

I believe it's admirable you are looking achieve the casting life. I have opinions on your streamer, device, and music subscription, and I have some thoughts about your WiFi. 

It sounds like you are heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem. One quirk of the Apple casting protocol is the fact that rather than use your laptop/phone as remote for the music, Apple is placing your laptop in the signal chain--the music stream goes from your router to your laptop via wifi, then from for laptop back to the router via wifi, then to the Apple TV--think screen mirroring, but for sound only. (I wrote a little article on it here if you'd like to read more: 

The downside to this audio mirroring is that if your laptop disconnects from your wifi, or otherwise looses connection to your Apple TV, the music stops. If you were using Google casting instead, the music would continue, although reconnecting your device would still be annoying. A couple possibilities for your issue may be that you have a poor wifi connection, or that your laptop and Apple TV box are having handshake issues. I don't have a solution for the latter, and a fix may not be coming if one or both of your devices are no longer receiving software updates from Apple due to their age. If your issue is poor wifi, however, I recommend a mesh wifi system. My understanding is that the Google/Nest systems are still the best ones on the market because, last I checked, Google was the only consumer system offering smart router steering. The whole point of having a mesh system is for your wifi devices to automatically connect to the strongest router signal as you move around your house.  Amazon's mesh system doesn't do this and the other boutique router companies can't keep up with Google's software prowess.

With regards to your Music service, for you I strongly recommend trying Apple Music. Try this before spending any money on a new streamer or wifi setup. The main reason is because Apple may only allow you to AirPlay out of your laptop with ease. At least on phone, Tidal is set to Google Cast, but your Apple TV isn't compatible with Google Cast. Apple TV should be compatible with Apple's AirPlay Casting (I haven't checked your specific device to verify). In Apple's walled garden, you will be punished for deviating. Apple is often simple, but not when your mixing and matching. I currently have subs to Apple Music, Qobuz, and Spotify. I'm going to ditch Qobuz for sure, and once Spotify gets a CD quality tier later this year, I'll end up either on AM or Spotify myself.

Like others here, I believe you should upgrade your streamer. If you have your stereo connected to a TV, you could use a video streamer for your music too. For video streamers, I recommend the "Chromecast with Google TV"--it's the one that comes with a remote. My family is full of Apple people, and yet Chromecast is changing their life. Chromecast is the best video streamer on the market hands down. Start with this video streamer upgrade for ~$50 and run optical from the TV to your DAC. I believe you can cast Tidal from your laptop/phone with ease. Done. The downside to this recommendation is that if you use an Apple phone and go with Apple Music, you won't be able to cast to the Chromecast--Apple will force you to find an AirPlay compatible streamer only. I still recommend the Chromecast for video content since it's the best, but you should consider the latest Bluesound Node. The latest Bluesound Node has compatibility with basically all the music streaming protocols and streaming services to make music streaming about as simple as its going to get. The Node also has eARC if you'd like to run audio out of the TV via HDMI rather than optical. 

If you like casting from your laptop, keep doing it. (Presumably you do laptop things while listening.) But if you haven't tried casting from a phone, you should give that a shot. The casting may be easier depending on the streamer and music service you use. One of the benefits to Spotify is the ability to control the stream from all your devices. And Spotify is like Google cast in that the signal path goes directly from your router to the streamer. 
Here's some good reads:


My bets are that (Google) Cast and AirPlay will win out as the top two streaming protocols. And I believe that Spotify and Apple Music will win out as the top two lossless music streaming services. I'm shifting my system in those directions. 

The reason there are so many Node 2i's for sale is that a month or two ago Bluesound came out with an updated Node model they now simply call the Bluesound Node.  Apparently it has a faster processor and updated DAC, and sells for exactly the same price as the Node 2i it replaces. 
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Why is apple tv used toview stuff on a computer?

apple tv has an ap.

this all very hard to follow
I've been a dedicated Apple user since the '80s, and as much as it hurts me to say it, they're just not an audio company. 

There's no point in paying for Tidal only to degrade the signal downstream, as others have said. 

I'm still 'new' to this hobby and come here for advice, nearly always, not to give it. But when I ditched a 'beginner' tool like my Emotiva XDA-2 connected to an earlier AppleTV, and replaced it with a used Lumin D1, the change was massive. I control the Lumin with an iOS tool, but the signal stays ethernet into Lumin, RCA to amp. 

Best of luck. 
If you don't have the sound icon in your menu bar, I'd add that; it's a faster way to send the sound to your Apple TV.  Open System Preferences/ Sound, and check the box at the bottom of the dialog (it says it's just for volume, but it also lets you choose Apple TV as your audio source)
+1 on dumping ATV, its junk, especially the older stuff.
I used it for years and it was a never ending headache.  Take the recommendations here and get a dedicated streaming device.
Had a friend going through same issues with ATV and I finally got him off of it and he is much happier person.
Have you considered Roon to manage your streaming requirements?  Paired with a dedicated streamer it might fit your needs. It can be managed from numerous OS' including iOS, MacOS, Android and Windows.  Roon ready streamers come in all shapes sizes and price points starting with Raspberry Pi options under $100.   The Bluesound suggested above is another viable option.
ATV to me is an amazing steamer. I have the newest model which does require you to buy a splitter box to get optical out and be able to connect a monitor for the visual part. Then use Apple Music or tidal or whatever directly. No computer needed. If you don’t want the visual part, all apple devices control Apple TV’s really well. Even my watch controls the stereo. Very slick if you like the freedom to play whatever strikes your fancy. The UI is very user friendly. If you use the visual part then the remote will do it all. 
Not sure if the Apple TV is capable of this or not. Can you down load Roon to the mac book and Apple TV? Then the atv to an external dac? The Roon app should solve all of this if compatible with the Apple TV.
Good for you Kuna ! obviously there are Apple and competitor experts here to help you. As you know i have the NAIM streamer and also a Node2i. IF you do go with additional investment in a dedicated streamer ( i agree w this recommendation btw ), check input compatibility with your fine Aesthetix DAC. You might be shocked what a different cable costs…

i would loan u my 2i but it’s up North

PS Kuna has a great dog, let’s not get him tangled up in ethernet to the laptop..

What is the best way to listen to Apple Music?  Are any streamers compatible with it or does one have to use Air Play?  Currently I am using Air Play with my Apple TV, which is the previous generation ATV, and it sounds similar to my old iTunes downloads played on the same device.  Does the newest version of ATV allow for a higher resolution experience?  I can’t get the answer by plowing through the Apple advertisements.
Darko has very helpful videos. This one demonstrates a method to connect an Apple iPhone or iPad to a USB DAC using Apple’s Lightning-to-USB adapter.

I am not aware of an audiophile streaming device that allows the option of installing the Apple Music app. Therefore, to play Apple Music, one needs a device that runs the app or the Apple Music web browser ( Devices can be: iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet, Mac or PC computer.

Another option, as you know, is Airplay from a compatible device to an Airplay enabled streamer.

I use a Mac mini as a server/streamer that’s connected to my DAC via USB, and wirelessly via WiFi/LAN. I rarely listen via USB, however. Most of my listening is via WiFi/LAN since my DAC has a network card. If I wanted to use Airplay, then I could use Roon, although I never use this method either...but it’s available.

Jim AKA tomic601 is a fantastic guy!

He helped set up my Vandy speakers in its ideal listening position and spend hours in my house in San Diego. I've seen his system in his summer Carlsbad home. He's in Seattle now, his other home. And he has quite a few systems. Jim knows company founders ie Vandensteeen, Aesthetix, by first names and helped me purchase accessories also. He does this for the genuine love of music and spreading the knowledge. A big shout out to him - I know many others have benefitted from his kindness. We have a session with wine coming up soon.

There is a lot to consider from so many great responses here and I'm going to analyze a little. Your thoughtful /critical responses is very much appreciated. 
You can run directly from your Mac to your Mimas via USB directly however you will need a software program such as Audirvāna. It sounds absolutely amazing actually. 
Apple Music consumer and generally a mac person so i’ve experimented with various options.  TLDR, quality directly correlated to the quality of the DAC i was using.

Apple Music app on Apple TV connected to marantz NR1509, pre-outs to 2.1 system (Rega integrated and magnepan 1.6s).  OK for some casual use, but sound seemed colored.  Tried the marantz option to bypass any EQ applied (can’t recall the name, Pure maybe).  Eh.

Airplay to Bluesound Node2i directly connected RCA to the integrated.  Quality improvement, poor user experience.  Had to reboot the Node2i quite often to connect via Airplay, even on the latest version.  I’d see the Node2i as a airplay option, but wouldn’t connect unless I rebooted it.  Could have been some weird wifi issue (run a Google mesh), but i gave up after awhile as it was frustrating (didn’t really have any other airplay issues in the house).  Might revisit this one.

post Apple Music Lossless/Hi Res upgrade…

iPad Pro with usb-c port (circa 2019 maybe) with an Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt, direct connect via Dragontail usb-c with a 3.5mm to RCA cable into the integrated amp.  Also tried the Dragonfly with a macbook pro directly to the integrated.  Can also use the dragonfly with the apple lightning USB camera dongle (I wasn’t a huge fan of this with the smaller screen and stacked dongles, just awkward).  Soundwise, definitely an improvement over airplay through ATV, and felt like it was better than airplay to the Node2i before i boxed it up (although i didn’t do A/B listening on that option)… i actually liked the ipad better from a user perspective as using the Remote app to control the macbook just wasn’t for me, do too much browsing/listening outside of my catalog, and the donglegate using an iphone was a little off putting.

”What if i had a real DAC (compared to something meant for mobile use with headphones)?”  Although my impression was positive, the dragonfly tested terrible at audioscience review (cobalt in particular).  Made me wonder.  Wondered for about a week and ordered an RME ADI-2 DAC (was going to add one later this year anyway and well… we’ve all been there).  USB from ipad to DAC, RCA into integrated.  Turned it on with defaults figuring i’d read the manual with something on in the background.  Well, maybe a page of the manual was read in the next hour or 2.  Sounded that good.  Clarity, definition, had grip on the mids and bass that wasn’t there before, basically haven’t had the TV on in the last week.  I don’t have sensitive ears, kind of feels like end state as I don’t think i’d get much chasing that last couple percent improvement that might be there.

Side comment, that RME ADI-2 DAC… really impressed.  Literally only complaint would be, wish the remote was backlit.  That’s it.  EQ and balance adjustments on the remote if you want to tweak something, loudness button.  Makes me want to go buy a good set of IEMs to check out the headphone amp.  That said, the Dragonfly USB DAC showed me enough that if you were looking for a budget Apple Music option to integrate high res into a system vs airplay option, the mobile USB DAC option is worth looking at, might just want to look at other options as the Dragonfly Cobalt doesn’t seem to be a value choice.

Feels like there will be some Apple audio announcements this fall.  Lossless AAC or high res Airplay 3.  We’ll see
Oh, and to connect your mac directly to your external DAC via external USB.  Need to configure Audio Midi Setup on your mac (should be in your Utilities folder iirc, i just put it on my dock).  Darko has a nice post on it here

your mac will not auto change sample rate with Apple Music based on the stream quality, so you need to set the sample rate..l which means you will be upsampling/downsampling depending the the stream quality, so pick your poison.  If you don’t have sensitive ears (like me), me not be noticeable… but you may.

An iPad and iPhone will change the sampling rate automatically