You are here

Log in or register to post comments
JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 15 hours ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Way off topic but, McAffee and Norton are about the worst programs I have used...Try Spyware doctor on XP machines...and remove the bloat that is McAffee.

cdfr
cdfr's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 23 2009 - 1:17pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Coming back to the topic of quality and convenience.

Inspired by some word to mouth, posts and Stereophile's article "cd player vs computer hard drive system", I bought an Airport Express (AE) old gen (802.11g) and imported all my CD collection to my computer (Mac) via EAC as full resolution WAV. I use iTune with an iPhone as remote and this is for me great. I don't want to use my CD player anymore, BUT...

On the quality side the AE alone is not very good, plugged into a DAC it is much better but not audiophile quality.
(My original source is pro Swiss equipement: Studer D730 CD player + Studer D424 DAC)
I then started to mod the AE and things are getting very good (I posted the mods on a diy audio forum), quality on par with a good system but still my CD player + DAC combo is better.

I have friends who have jumped on the bandwagon ditching their CD player (Old YBA or Rega) for a ZardoZ ( http://www.db-system.fr/bd_system/Airport_Express_modifiee_ZardoZ_-_WiFi.html ) or Rosita ( http://www.larosita.eu/english/ ). In their case they have better sound than with the CD player. I have not been able to compare since we live far away, but I would like to be convinced to make the final jump.

It would also be interesting for Stereophile to make the test of the new 802.11n AE or one of the two equipment above.

pinkmonk
pinkmonk's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 23 2009 - 1:44pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

@ andy c

I was considering the EMU XX/XX cards for basic music playback. Have had any issues with your 04/04?

Also, what kind of hardware do you have in the "almost" silent PC? I have a machine without moving parts (not even a fan ) and just want to know if it would be powerful enough to handle what you are doing before investing my time in it.

Thanks for your thoughts.

andy_c
andy_c's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: Dec 25 2007 - 12:48pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
I was considering the EMU XX/XX cards for basic music playback. Have had any issues with your 04/04?

The 0404 PCI has been OK. Like most people, I hate the Patchmix software that comes with it. It cannot change sample rate on the fly, as Patchmix requires that you configure it to match the sample rate of the files you're playing. This is not an issue for me, as I only use 16/44.1, but would be for someone wanting to switch automatically between 16/44.1 and other sample rates. I would not advise using the 0404 USB model, as it took up 45 percent CPU on my laptop just playing tunes. The PCI version only takes up about 1-3 percent CPU.


Quote:
Also, what kind of hardware do you have in the "almost" silent PC? I have a machine without moving parts (not even a fan ) and just want to know if it would be powerful enough to handle what you are doing before investing my time in it.

I mainly went for "relatively cheap and quiet" rather than "expensive and totally silent". I run an Athlon X2 4850e CPU (2500 MHz clock, 45W max dissipation). Motherboard is a Gigabyte microATX form factor with AMD 780G chipset (integrated ATI graphics). Hard drive is a WD "Green Power" 500 GB (it was cheap). Memory is 2 GB, of which some is stolen by the video chipset. The CPU has a Scythe Ninja Mini passive heat sink. Right next to it is the case fan, which I replaced with a Scythe S-Flex ball bearing unit with max speed of 1400 RPM at 12V. I run this fan from the mobo's CPU fan power header, which sets the voltage based on sensed CPU temp. The voltage is 4V during normal operation, so the fan is almost stalled. You can't hear the fan unless you literally press your ear right up to it. The case is an Antec NSK2480 cheapo HTPC case, but its power supply has been replaced by a fanless 400W Fortron Zen unit, which is excellent.

This machine is total overkill for this application, but using (mostly) mainstream hardware like this keeps the cost down relative to the more exotic totally passive systems. It also makes any future repair more straightforward, as no non-standard or vendor-specific component form factors are used. I use the AMD "Cool 'n' Quiet" feature, which reduces the CPU voltage from 1.4V to 1.0V, and the CPU freq from 2500 MHz to 1000 MHz under light load. When playing tunes, it's always in the low-power state, with 1-3 percent CPU load as mentioned. The only thing that makes audible noise is the hard drive, but because all the music is on my RAID5 machine in the other room, data access is over the network and the "almost silent" machine rarely accesses its HD. I have the indexing and system restore services turned off to prevent unnecessary HD access, but otherwise no tricky WinXP tweaking.

daverich4
daverich4's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Feb 17 2009 - 9:27am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

I started with a Squeezebox, then a Duet and now I have a Transporter. My computer setup isn't nearly as exotic as some in this thread have described. I have a Mac Pro with about 600 CD's ripped to a dedicated hard drive. Time Machine backs up all the internal drives to an external drive once an hour. The cd's are in boxes out in the garage and the external drive goes in a fire proof safe if we're going to be away. I use iTunes and Apple Lossless for most of my playback but for those that prefer FLAC files, the Squeezecenter software that drives the Transporter will play them directly. I've bought a number of 24/96 albums as FLAC files from HDTracks, and while I could easily convert them to Apple Lossless and play them through iTunes, I've chosen for organizational reasons to keep them separate and just play them as FLAC files. For what it's worth, I have tried converting them so I could compare the sound quality and if there is a difference between Apple Lossless and FLAC as played through a Transporter, I'm not able to hear it.

I have a Sony SCD777ES SACD player and I still use it from time to time but mostly I use the Transporter. It makes it so easy to find the music that I have. I use the Duet controller which displays the CD covers and the system has given me the opportunity to rediscover albums that I hadn't listened to in years. A lot of the music that I own I've bought due to a mention in an equipment or music review and as a result, when Art or Wes mentions during a review that they heard such and such a thing while playing a specific song, a quick spin of the thumbwheel on the controller lets me find the same cut to see if I can hear the same thing.

Besides outstanding sound quality, the Transporter has made listening to my rig fun again. I find that I'm spending a lot more time listening to music and less time looking for it.

pinkmonk
pinkmonk's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 23 2009 - 1:44pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Thanks for the info. I guess I will have to do some testing now. the MB I am using is one of those super cheap, all in one, Celeron mini ITX boards Intel came out with right before the ATOM CPUs hit the market...so its good to hear there is close to nil CPU utilization.

I was looking for something to replace an aging M-Audio card, and wanted to avoid getting another X-Fi card. I don't know what it is, but everything that comes out of the X-Fi seems either over processed or completely dead. This looks like it fits the bill.

That is a really good idea about turning the indexing and restore off. I always did that for space, but that makes sense too.

Thanks again.

andy_c
andy_c's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: Dec 25 2007 - 12:48pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
I was looking for something to replace an aging M-Audio card, and wanted to avoid getting another X-Fi card. I don't know what it is, but everything that comes out of the X-Fi seems either over processed or completely dead. This looks like it fits the bill.

The main attraction of this card for me was that the S/PDIF output is transformer-coupled. This gives galvanic isolation between computer and stereo system grounds. I'd love to find a card that has this feature but also allows automatic selection of sample rates based on what's requested by the file being played. That will come in handy if and when I start getting high-res downloads.

agillis
agillis's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 23 2009 - 5:39pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Hi everybody, this is my first post to this forum. So I figured I jump right into a heated discussion. I have been running a computer based transport for about 5 years. I also build and sell a computer based transport system. So I

Demondog
Demondog's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 2 hours ago
Joined: Feb 22 2009 - 5:01pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:

Coming back to the topic of quality and convenience.


The original post was indeed about quality (but specifically not about convenience), and I don't see how quality of music from a hard drive can be in doubt, depending on the quality of whatever DAC is used. But then the the quality of the DAC in a CD player is just as much of a determining factor.

As for the noise emitted from a computer that was mentioned, my own experience is that I don't hear any noise from my Asus netbook from six feet away, even if the fan is running. But I don't live in a convent under a vow of silence either. I assume a CD player spinning is generally quieter though.

A computer has sort functions, but for most of my CD organization, I'm using the Discgear storage units with printed catalogue lists.

To me, these three issues between CD player and computer hard drive are mostly a wash. Comparing convenience though, I'm undecided. There is selecting and playing individual CD discs on one hand, but using Foobar with playlists, as I'm now doing, is almost as much bother. I think this is the area that I need to work out before I can really move away from the CD player. It's just that I find pulling a Cd out and popping it into the player is pretty easy.

btw- I'm playing ripped 16/44 files from Foobar with an ASIO driver, fed by USB to the Grace m902's DAC. I have started downloading some 24/96 files, but need a USB to S/PDIF converter to be able to convert these with the Grace. (I'm eyeing the Bel Canto 24/96 USB link)

jmsoto
jmsoto's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Feb 5 2009 - 10:04am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Buy a Mac!
I switch after 20 year. I feel like I divorced an alcoholic, cheater wife.
The Mac is a dream. I got a MacPro, with 3 hard drives, and an external 1TB for backing up music.
The Mac doesn't even need anti-virus!
Rip all your cds in Apple Lossless format...
Then, buy a Grace M902 DAC...
You will be in heaven...

goldstarsteve
goldstarsteve's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 24 2009 - 2:38am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Hi

As a computer savvy music lover I wanted to clear up a couple of points;

1) Reliability - there has been a lot written here on computer reliability and some posters seemed to have set up RAID systems on there music servers. This is madness. All you need to do is periodically to back up your music to an external hard disk and put it in a safe place. If you are completely paranoid then buy two external disks and put them in different places. We are talking here about $130 for a drive with a TB of storage which is probably more then you are going to listen to in this lifetime.

2) Noise/Aethetics/Lovelife - if you work with a PC and want to listen to it thats one thing but if you are talking about music in a living or sleeping room area do yourself a favor and buy yourself a streamer such as Logitechs Squeezebox. You work with the streamer and the PC is in a different room - no noise or space wasted - better for your health, blood pressure and your significant other will thank you!

I gave away my LP and sold my CD and am not looking back...

Steve Rogers

ramus
ramus's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Joined: Mar 24 2009 - 6:01am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Very simple perfectly working in real life solution: cheap new netbook (as Asus eee, Acer, or other) + external hard drive (everytime You can get another one for back up) + external DAC. I'm currently using Asus without external dac, with Foobar software player, which is free and supports all popular lossless formats, with kernel streaming or ASIO plug-in, and I don't need to think about servers, RAID, or other complicated computer problems. And... it's dead quiet.

worldofsteveUK
worldofsteveUK's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 10 hours ago
Joined: Mar 24 2009 - 6:41am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

What I found of interest was a "server" of sorts v a not very good cd player. I tried HDTRACKS free FLAC download using MediaMonkey on my HP laptop (out through a Griffin iMic external soundcard) to the stereo and the Mozart violin concerto sounded very alive and real, far more so than my mid range NAD CD player, the interesting thing being I already have the laptop, so no new hardware costs and a quantum leap in sound. And HDtracks Plant/Krauss FLAC download compares pretty favourably with the CD cost in the UK.

Bromo33333
Bromo33333's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 months 3 days ago
Joined: Mar 22 2009 - 4:05pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Let me state for the record - I believe network music playback will be the dominant media form in the future, and will be an audiophile's primary choice eventually. Right now, it is in the heady early days - where the fundamental playback issues are identified and solved, but there are a number of technical and archival issues yet to be resolved before I would see this becoming the dominant media. (I am an Electrical Engineer by trade, so realize I have a network music player, and am usually a bleeding edge early adopter).

There are a many new technical issues that have to be solved in the network player before it hits the value target.

I bet there are some issues which we don't even have a clear understanding of, yet (To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld "Known unknowns and Unknown unknowns").

Solving/Rendering inaudible SPDIF & USB jitter is still expensive enough that you will spend a bunch of the budget of a DAC minimizing it (how about eliminating it, you designers out there? Isn't this what Audiophilia is about?) that won't be spent on other aspects of sound reproduction. We have new issues of EMI/Electrical computer noise, audible hard drive noise and the infuriating regularity in which hardware must be upgraded or breaks in computers compared to most other audiophile gear (a typical computer and/or hard drive is designed to last 2 years of use).

There are big issues with the Graphical User Interface - I don't see many good solutions out there yet that either have you squinting, big and confusing text menus or TV screens involved.

And once you have your discs on a hard drive locally or in some other room - you will have issues of data corruption, crashed hard drives (regular HD replacements, and RAID arrays etc. and eventually large Flash drives with finite read/write cycles), ever changing formats and other issues you MUST keep up with if you are to be able to play your music in 5 or 10 years. I bet it will take awhile to sort these out, too - and they really need to be resolved. (And gut check, how many people use the same files on the computer they had 10 years ago? How about a 10-20 year old CD? How about a 30-50 year old record? Given the expected archival quality of music is longer than a word or excel file, the hardware it is stored upon has to be able to preserve it!)

Here is a link talking about preserving digital data in the long term: Data Rot Overview

I am being a bit of a gadfly here - just keep in mind that this really *is* the future of music, and the enthusiastic early adopters plus the designers toiling away will help make this become a preferred medium!

[Also note, that I have a SB2 that I dutifully set up and play in my system regularly, but because of the ergonomic issues, I set up a smart Randomizer to play server music rather than go through the tedious menus either on my laptop or the front screen of the SB. The future is quite powerful, and once the GUI issues are resolved, will allow you to interact with your music in a new way - this is the power of it. Until then you can do the "Random" thing. And if DRM free you can burn the file to a DVD-A and play it in a universal player.)

mjazz
mjazz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 5 days ago
Joined: Feb 4 2009 - 12:06pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:

Quote:
JAnd while you're right about the fact that there is no DRM when one rips CDs or converts files to the ALAC format, I wasn't referring to DRM but to the fact that Apple owns the rights to the ALAC format and can charge either the end user or another vendor (such as Logitech) a fee for the rights to decode their proprietary format. In fact this is exactly the reason why SqueezeCenter decodes ALAC files on the server and then streams the higher bit rate, i.e. uncompressed, wav file whereas with flac files the lower bit rate, i.e. compressed, flac files are streamed to the Transporter or SqueezeBox and converted to wav at the device. This is not an insignificant issue since streaming the higher bit rate wav files puts more strain on one's network and one also loses the ability to fast forward and rewind within a file or song.

I noticed that during the conversion of apple lossless to the format that is transported to the transporter, the bit rate most of the time is lower than the bitrate shown in iTunes. I can't listen to apple lossless over either the squeezebox or transporter. To my opinion this sounds totally bad. More like MP3.

Bromo33333
Bromo33333's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 months 3 days ago
Joined: Mar 22 2009 - 4:05pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:

I noticed that during the conversion of apple lossless to the format that is transported to the transporter, the bit rate most of the time is lower than the bitrate shown in iTunes. I can't listen to apple lossless over either the squeezebox or transporter. To my opinion this sounds totally bad. More like MP3.

If you download or install LAME, you may be streaming MP3's to the Transporter very possibly ... and if you use WiFi, I have no idea if it will compress the music to fit the environment. I usually go hard wired, and haven't really heard any problems WAV vs ALAC myself. But I didn't install LAME to be able to stream MP3's natively. Could this be your issue?

PaleBlueEgo
PaleBlueEgo's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 12:36pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
Hi

As a computer savvy music lover I wanted to clear up a couple of points;

1) Reliability - there has been a lot written here on computer reliability and some posters seemed to have set up RAID systems on there music servers. This is madness. All you need to do is periodically to back up your music to an external hard disk and put it in a safe place. If you are completely paranoid then buy two external disks and put them in different places. We are talking here about $130 for a drive with a TB of storage which is probably more then you are going to listen to in this lifetime.

2) Noise/Aethetics/Lovelife - if you work with a PC and want to listen to it thats one thing but if you are talking about music in a living or sleeping room area do yourself a favor and buy yourself a streamer such as Logitechs Squeezebox. You work with the streamer and the PC is in a different room - no noise or space wasted - better for your health, blood pressure and your significant other will thank you!

I gave away my LP and sold my CD and am not looking back...

Steve Rogers

Steve, yours is sanest post in the whole thread, and it accurately reflects my experience as a longtime Squeezebox owner. I have 5 wired Squeezeboxes running off a dedicated Linux server. The system is essentially problem-free. Wired networking gives me speed and security. I reboot the server maybe once a year, otherwise it runs 24/7. I have multiple backups of my music library. Everything works smoothly, sounds great, and the whole thing - 5 players, server, networking, backup drives, etc. cost me less than $2000. The Squeezebox brings audio into the 21st century.

jazzfan
jazzfan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 20 hours ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 8:55am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

It's been a few days since I've posted to this thread and reading and rereading through the posts I've come up with one very important observation:

Most, if not all, of the arguments against computer based audio and music servers have nothing to do with sound quality but rather are focused on what I would call general computing issues. For example, data backup, archiving and viruses. Yes there is still the issue of file formats but that issue is more about corporate greed than anything else - both Microsoft and Apple are pushing their own propriety lossless formats (WMA Lossless and Apple Lossless) when a perfectly functional open source lossless format (flac) exists and is widely recognized and used.

Sure there are ultra-expensive CD players out there which outperform, sound quality wise, many of the music servers currently on the market but there is also one networked only DAC, the Linn Klimax, which is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best, digital component ever made. Plus the digital output of almost all networked music players can be fed into an external DAC and will rival the sound of even the best CD transport.

What things really boil down to is this: there is NO penalty, sound wise, when using a computer based audio system, be it the hard wired or networked variety. That's the bottom line. All the rest are just issues which will be resolved as computer based audio moves into the mainstream.

Bromo33333
Bromo33333's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 months 3 days ago
Joined: Mar 22 2009 - 4:05pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
[...] That's the bottom line. All the rest are just issues which will be resolved as computer based audio moves into the mainstream.

This is like saying Betamax is better than VHS, and it is a matter of time before it goes mainstream (in that case that Sony held onto the rights too hard).

I will say that the potential is there sure enough, but we cannot passively wait for these technical issues to be resolved. We must DEMAND it, or this format will burn too many people and will be abandoned irrationally, or be just the format for people with some IT chops or gobs of cash (as it stands now).

1. The GUI (way you interact with your music) has to be improved and substantially. Sooloos is making great progress, and we will see how Olive handles it - but it needs to be in the lower end solutions, too. If the SB based systems have any failings it is this one, and for most this will be a deal breaker.
2. Ripping - You have to transfer your entire CD collection over to listen to it now, which takes a lot of time - or pay loads of cash to rebuy it, or have someone do it for you.
3. Storage (curating your music in an archival manner - short term, backups, long term you have to migrate your data every couple of years to new computers and platforms to avoid bit-rot). If you do #2 and then have critical files corrupted in 5 years time, and are forced to rebuy it ... ugh. And how stable are the companies supporting this music - can they GIVE you another copy?
3. High Resolution DRM & Ever changing file formats/standards in this medium. WMA is popular, so is FLAC, so is ALAC - but HRx? What about a SACD based file? What about formats we havent' heard of yet that are not PCM based? What about DRM ... schemes change, and the decoders may go away leaving your file encrypted for all eternity ... (Here I think Open Source would be good, but everyone is making proprietary readers. But try to open a 30 year old file today from program that no longer exists, some can be some can't.
4. Reliability of computer gear (upgrades, file formats, operating systems (I use Linux), etc.). Replacing your Player (now part of a computer) every couple of years may be an issue. Look at archiving Video Art from 1980 to today - some is unplayable becasue at some point it couldn't be migrated and the playing mechanism broke.
5. Acquiring high resolution files is less than the DVD-A and SACD (merchant network, DRM and compatibility with platforms)

So yes, as a Squeezebox user, I would say that with the right DAC, you can get perfectly acceptable playback. For me it is a great secondary source to turn on in smart shuffle and go about my business.

And realistically, it is the potential of high resolution formats that attracts, as in all digital media, CD Playback is the main resolution on offer in most cases.

Unless and until we address the above I don't see it taking over entirely ... and I want us to, because when we do we will we get to address the sound IMPROVEMENTS that the outboard DAC on a network has to offer. I built my career on this sort of technical system improvement - but we have to recognize the areas in which it must improve if we want it to stay anything other than a curiosity!

And like it or not, the key to the kingdom rest in the hands of the average consumer. The "failure" of DVD-A and SACD was not in the audiophile community, but in the consumers at large. (Because there are thousands of titles in those formats in audiophile catalogs even today after it "died."

atomicAdam
atomicAdam's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: Mar 25 2009 - 7:38am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:

Quote:
Hi

As a computer savvy music lover I wanted to clear up a couple of points;

1) Reliability - there has been a lot written here on computer reliability and some posters seemed to have set up RAID systems on there music servers. This is madness. All you need to do is periodically to back up your music to an external hard disk and put it in a safe place. If you are completely paranoid then buy two external disks and put them in different places. We are talking here about $130 for a drive with a TB of storage which is probably more then you are going to listen to in this lifetime.

2) Noise/Aethetics/Lovelife - if you work with a PC and want to listen to it thats one thing but if you are talking about music in a living or sleeping room area do yourself a favor and buy yourself a streamer such as Logitechs Squeezebox. You work with the streamer and the PC is in a different room - no noise or space wasted - better for your health, blood pressure and your significant other will thank you!

I gave away my LP and sold my CD and am not looking back...

Steve Rogers

Steve, yours is sanest post in the whole thread, and it accurately reflects my experience as a longtime Squeezebox owner. I have 5 wired Squeezeboxes running off a dedicated Linux server. The system is essentially problem-free. Wired networking gives me speed and security. I reboot the server maybe once a year, otherwise it runs 24/7. I have multiple backups of my music library. Everything works smoothly, sounds great, and the whole thing - 5 players, server, networking, backup drives, etc. cost me less than $2000. The Squeezebox brings audio into the 21st century.

See, now this is what I would think is the way to go. A Linux box is the perfect way to server music assuming the drivers have been written for your choice audio card. Like you said, less than $2000. There is an article over on BAASnotes right now about music servers and the gent used Windows Pro for some very strange reasoning.

One thing that gets me in the data conversion arguments and computer 'jutter'.

These seem a bit like false arguments to me. First, if you can't hear the 'jutter' than what does it matter. And data conversion, if you have a 24bit DAC and processing card but are only playing 16bit CDs ripped files you are actually making the computer work to fill in the extra bits with zeros. The other issue, is what is the freq range versus amplitude of the 24bit audio. What is the point of having a 24bit file if you can't hear above 16khz anyways. Like many of you/us older people can't.

Now I can see a use for 24bit audio if it is filling in more information in the frequency spectrum you can already hear within, but if it is just filling in data you can't hear anyways what is the point?

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 15 hours ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
3. Storage (curating your music in an archival manner - short term, backups, long term you have to migrate your data every couple of years to new computers and platforms to avoid bit-rot). If you do #2 and then have critical files corrupted in 5 years time, and are forced to rebuy it ... ugh. And how stable are the companies supporting this music - can they GIVE you another copy?

I do not understand this part..I remember bit rot in defective early CD's but what is bit rot in this circumstance. If you are saying that your computer saved data is going to deteriorate over time, like a VHS videotape, then this idea dies a well deserved death

?????

Bromo33333
Bromo33333's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 months 3 days ago
Joined: Mar 22 2009 - 4:05pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:

Quote:
3. Storage (curating your music in an archival manner - short term, backups, long term you have to migrate your data every couple of years to new computers and platforms to avoid bit-rot). If you do #2 and then have critical files corrupted in 5 years time, and are forced to rebuy it ... ugh. And how stable are the companies supporting this music - can they GIVE you another copy?

I do not understand this part..I remember bit rot in defective early CD's but what is bit rot in this circumstance. If you are saying that your computer saved data is going to deteriorate over time, like a VHS videotape, then this idea dies a well deserved death

?????

Whether you want to take care of your data really depends upon how long you want to have your music collection if on a computer. Most people clean their prized vinyl, put in good sleeves and store upright in cool dry conditions. This is no different only a little more complicated.

So called bit-rot in computers is one of several things:

You have problems with both changing standards causing subsequent generations of computers to be unable to read files (most obvious is DRM encryption placed upon some music files). For some hardware examples, look at the changes from SCSI, SATA, SATAII for examples on hard drives. Look at parallel, to serial, to USB, USB2.0, firewire, ethernet, WiFi -- standards that appear to be ubiquitous will be changed quickly to ones that are not. Sometimes a new computer system will require considerable effort to migrate valuable data to a new standard. And sometimes data has to be converted into a new format as well - and we also find out some DRM will be computer, operating system or program specific - how to you data migrate it over a period of years before you hit some sort of "copy limit" or simple refusal to migrate? (WMA with DRM, AAC with DRM are two popular exmaples)

You have issues with data corruption over time - such as on old hard drives, Dye based CD-R, and flash memory. You have to have a program of refreshing the data on new hardware or face possible and eventual data corruption.

You have issues with hard disk crashes/wearout requiring active continuous backup and continuous data migration.

I have dealt with data integrity of important records over long periods of time, and these are real issues being experienced on data digitized on computers that are 15 years old, the worst being corruption on old floppy disks, hard disks, and program incompatibility.

No, you really cannot dismiss this, if you want to have a long lasting music collection, these are all important considerations.

They should not stop you from having a network music collection. It has not stopped me, but like records, CD's and other media, you have to learn how to manage the data to avoid nasty surprises.

My rules:

Every 4 years, transfer my music to a new hard drive, and back it up to a long lasting disc media as data (Or hold the discs on hand).

Make regular back-ups of the contents of the system. I am also looking onto internet based servers for this - to keep the physical location different.

Only have non DRM based music in as open a standard as possible (WAV, MP3, SACD and maybe Ogg Vorbis or FLAC -- but sometimes if you stick to the formats studios are using, you will have access to tools so you can update) Be prepared to or make sure you can transcode it to another standard if it looks like the standard you have it encoded in is becoming obsolete.

And also keep in mind, that, all of this is using a physical media - ALL OF IT. Just in the next room, and usually in a single point of failure.

SAS Audio
SAS Audio's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: Jun 6 2007 - 6:56am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
What I found of interest was a "server" of sorts v a not very good cd player. I tried HDTRACKS free FLAC download using MediaMonkey on my HP laptop (out through a Griffin iMic external soundcard) to the stereo and the Mozart violin concerto sounded very alive and real, far more so than my mid range NAD CD player, the interesting thing being I already have the laptop, so no new hardware costs and a quantum leap in sound. And HDtracks Plant/Krauss FLAC download compares pretty favourably with the CD cost in the UK.

Hi Steve,

I also have a NAD player (521 but 525 ok too) and bypassed the analog and mute sections, DAC chip output is of course impedance protected, and upgraded the power supply. The sound is simply incredible, I mean incredible. I don't know if that can be accomplished on a sound card due to space limitations.

I also upgraded an old Rotel with great success as well.

A major problem with both audio cards and CD players are the analog sections after the DAC chip. Not well made using inferior parts etc.

Take care.

Demondog
Demondog's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 2 hours ago
Joined: Feb 22 2009 - 5:01pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:

A major problem with both audio cards and CD players are the analog sections after the DAC chip. Not well made using inferior parts etc.


Quick question. Am I correct in assuming that running the digital out from my NAD C542 to my good quality external DAC alleviates the need for the NAD upgrades you mentioned? I will look elsewhere for information on any potential benefits of switching the NAD for another transport.

Sorry for the side track question, but all doubts about the quality, and reliability of hard drive music are settled for me.

edit: I'm not sure I understand this statement, "What is the point of having a 24bit file if you can't hear above 16khz anyways". I can only hear to about 11 khZ myself, but I assumed that a 24 bit format would affect more than just the highest frequencies?

This thread for some reason seems to lead to many related issues.

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 15 hours ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Thank you...shudder...I'll stick to a real disk as long as possible.

Demondog
Demondog's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 2 hours ago
Joined: Feb 22 2009 - 5:01pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
Thank you...shudder...I'll stick to a real disk as long as possible.


I don't see the CD player and hard drive as being mutually exclusive. I switch back and forth at will. Probably 80/20 these days, but I'm pretty sure the hard drive sourced music will get to 50% soon.

I'm going to download the Kinks-Muswell Hillbilies 24/96 album from HDTracks in a minute. Can't get that on CD. A large part of my motivation to play music from my PC is the potential of getting higher resolution scource material.

SAS Audio
SAS Audio's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: Jun 6 2007 - 6:56am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
Quick question. Am I correct in assuming that running the digital out from my NAD C542 to my good quality external DAC alleviates the need for the NAD upgrades you mentioned? I will look elsewhere for information on any potential benefits of switching the NAD for another transport.

Hi Denydog,

Yes as the analog/mute stages are also bypassed in the NAD. The question then becomes if the analog stages in the external DAC are optimum. Bypassing the analog stages in the NAD (or external DAC) eliminates analog problems but loses approx 6db of gain. This is no problem as most systems seem to have more than enough gain to begin with. Kinda like duplication of stages that one does not need.

If one checks the number of analog stages in a system, Cd players usually have a stage or two of inferior stages, external preamplifiers have one or two (with basic amps), integrated amps combine the preamp with the amp. The total number of stages adds up quickly. If one eliminates redundancy of stages one reduces distortion.

Hope this helps.

Demondog
Demondog's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 2 hours ago
Joined: Feb 22 2009 - 5:01pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Thanks. The NAD digital signal is feeding the Grace m902, which I'm using as my system pre-amp going directly into a power amp (section of a C372), so it looks like I'm good.

atomicAdam
atomicAdam's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: Mar 25 2009 - 7:38am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Bromo-phile -

All your points are very correct. I've personally in the last couple years have gone from only digital hard drive based music back to CDs.

I've found CDs to be easier than dealing with the mess you've described and i've experienced.

The computer based storage and hardware is forever changing.

But in all honesty, it isn't really that hard to deal with. It is kind of like owning a car or home. Sometimes you've got to spend money to repair, and sometimes you've got to take a weekend out of your life to deal with updating everything.

I think the key to what you are pointing out is to not completely drop out of the 'game' once you have set up your music server. Keep and ear/eye/whatever out for technology advances, always backup your music (I find mirrored drives to do that the best) and as you said, every four/five years switch to new drives or hardware if need be.

Some folks are lucky enough to spend as much as a nice car on their speakers, so a couple thousand every half decade isn't a big deal to make sure your prize music still plays.

Plus if you do everything yourself instead of shelling out way too much for propriety music servers than you will know what needs to be fixed and updated when the time comes and more importantly will have extra money left over for new gear or some fine drink.

struts
struts's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 15 hours ago
Joined: Feb 1 2007 - 12:02pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Hey atomicAdam,

Welcome to the forum. I'm afraid there seem to be a couple of fundamental misconceptions in your post.


Quote:
One thing that gets me in the data conversion arguments and computer 'jutter'.

These seem a bit like false arguments to me. First, if you can't hear the 'jutter' than what does it matter.


No false arguments here, jitter produces audible artifacts. If it weren't audible it certainly wouldn't matter. The problem people have relating to jitter is that it is not like many analog forms of distortion that have recognizable sonic signatures (e.g. wow/flutter, rumble, tube rush, clipping etc.), it messes with the signal in quite strange and sometimes quite subtle ways. Different jitter components (correlated, non-correlated, ...) can have different effects on the signal, but common results are losses in detail and definition and sometimes the masking of spatial information, in short things that many folks outside the high end don't listen for and couldn't care less about.


Quote:
And data conversion, if you have a 24bit DAC and processing card but are only playing 16bit CDs ripped files you are actually making the computer work to fill in the extra bits with zeros.


The computer doesn't 'work' to zero-pad the LSB. You could say the zeros are for free, they're 'there to start with'.


Quote:
The other issue, is what is the freq range versus amplitude of the 24bit audio. What is the point of having a 24bit file if you can't hear above 16khz anyways. Like many of you/us older people can't.


You seem to be confusing frequency and amplitude here. The bit-depth limits the dynamic range, it has no effect whatsoever on the frequency range (how could it??). The frequency range is limited by the sampling frequency, according to Nyquist's Theorem the maximum audio frequency that can be encoded is half the sampling frequency. To encode a 16kHz signal requires a sampling frequency of at least 32kHz absolutely regardless of the word length.


Quote:
Now I can see a use for 24bit audio if it is filling in more information in the frequency spectrum you can already hear within, but if it is just filling in data you can't hear anyways what is the point?


Per above I'm afraid this question, even if rhetorical, makes no sense whatsoever.

rickth1
rickth1's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: May 1 2006 - 7:11am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

I had a McCormack UDP-1 and went to a Wavelenght Cosecant USB DAC w/ a Mini Mac and external HD. The best decision I have made in audo.. absolutely. As others have mentioned, you simply back up. Apple makes this very simple. In fact, it can be much safer since you can store the backup off site. Your house burns and you loose the CD's, but not an external HD stored off site. With a Mac you can control the "stereo" computer from any other computer through "screen sharing" (and Airport wireless.. which also can serve as a continuous backup). So, when I want to hear music, I wake up the Mini Mac, and my laptop, and control it from the laptop. Very handy. I noticed a fuller, more open and detailed sound with the Wavelenght over the highly rated McCormack CD played. It is a totally different way to enjoy music. No more tethered to a CD at a time. I rarely listen to a whole CD now. I make playlist and most often just put one on shuffle and let it go.. and go.. and go. It really changes the way you can enjoy your music. I highly recommend it. I can't imagine going back to CD's:) The irony is the quality improved too (based on the above). Wavelenght is not cheap, but very good equipment. I am sure there is more equipment as good, but I don't follow this too much these days.

flohmann
flohmann's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: May 20 2008 - 3:06pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Rather than diving into the various flame wars here, let me contribute my experiences. YMMV.

I've been comparing a server system (CD - ALAC - Drobo - iMac - Airport Express - Benchmark DAC-1) to my existing Mark Levinson 390S CD player. The rest of the system is Aesthetix Calypso - BAT VK-75SE - Quad 988 or Calypso - Headroom Blockhead - Sennheiser HD-650 headphones. All the power conditioned by a PS Audio PPP regenerator.

So far, here's what I've observed. The server-based solution is very nearly as good as the ML CD player. I *think* I can hear a bit more presence, a bit more of that "real people in a real room" through the ML, but it's not something I can pinpoint every time. In other words, it's close. Maybe close enough!

Interestingly, I've also plugged the Airport Express directly into the ML CD player, which accepts optical inputs. That is more clearly inferior when compared to the CD in the tray (otherwise, same everything!). I'm guessing that's the jitter rejection built into the Benchmark making up for the jitter-prone Airport output stream. So, based on my experience, it seems that the DAC can make a substantial difference.

I haven't decided whether I'm going to give up my ML player, but the future is certainly headed in the server direction, so re-ripping all my CDs in a lossless format seems a worthwhile long term investment.

The real dividend, however, is in having easy access to playlists and shuffle mode for my entire library. Sometimes, late at night, having to decide what to put on is enough to send me to bed instead of to listening. So if iTunes can relieve me of that decision, it means more music listening!

atomicAdam
atomicAdam's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: Mar 25 2009 - 7:38am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

struts - thanks, good to be welcomed to something -


Quote:
jitter produces audible artifacts.

I understand what you are describing, I just would have never called it 'jitter'. But that is here nor here. I am in agreement with you on what you described as a problem with computer audio.


Quote:

The computer doesn't 'work' to zero-pad the LSB. You could say the zeros are for free, they're 'there to start with'.

Ok, the computer might not work to pad (fill in at time of play) the audio when it is playing, but it is working to read/process those extra zeros when reading/processing the file through the CPU. What is the point? If it is just nothing anyways. Extra work for the CPU.


Quote:
according to Nyquist's Theorem

Thanks, guess I was confused.

What my last question should say than, would be, I can see a point for 24bit audio if more detail is being filled in. That would require than that the original source been recorded and encoded at 24bit and that at no time does it ever drop below that. If on the other hand, as most CDs are 16bit, what is the point of up converting. It is just filling in nothing information. You can't create something that isn't there just by up scaling from 16bit to 24bit. Unless you are using something to alter/add data there. Basically coloring the music.

jazzfan
jazzfan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 20 hours ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 8:55am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
What my last question should say than, would be, I can see a point for 24bit audio if more detail is being filled in. That would require than that the original source been recorded and encoded at 24bit and that at no time does it ever drop below that. If on the other hand, as most CDs are 16bit, what is the point of up converting. It is just filling in nothing information. You can't create something that isn't there just by up scaling from 16bit to 24bit. Unless you are using something to alter/add data there. Basically coloring the music.

Here again I believe that you are confusing bit depth with sample rate. 24 bit is used by most recording studios because of the extra dynamic range resulting from using 24 bits. Everything is then edited using the 24 bit files and then the 24 bit master is converted to a 16 bit file for use on a CD.

Upsampling refers to converting the 44.1khz sampling rate of CD to a higher value (which is usually, but not always, an exact multiple of the 44.1khz sampling rate, e.g. 88.2, 176.4, 352.8) in an effort to achieve better sound. Some people feel that upsampling accomplishes this goal while others do not feel that any audible difference results from upsampling.

However, upsampling is quite different from recording using a higher sampling rate, such as 96khz instead of 44.1khz. Material recorded (or converted from analog) using these higher sampling rates is usually referred to as "high resolution". The main draw back with high resolution is the vastly increase sized of the resulting digital file which is why SACD and DVD-Audio discs both have a much greater storage capacity than an ordinary audio CD.

I hope my somewhat less technical explanation helps to clear things up. If not then I apologize in advance for making things worse.

Curly
Curly's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jan 18 2009 - 9:06pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

+1 to Fred.
W/o going into details about my system (I'll just call it a $10,000 system), CDs sound better than music off the computer. But, not much better. And, unless there is something I am unaware of, Redbook CDs aren't going to get any better, while computer audio is getting better all the time. And, IMHO, computer audio will overtake CD SQ within 2 years at the outside.
Mike

gkc
gkc's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Feb 24 2006 - 11:51am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Ramus, do you know what "foobar" MEANS ??? It is a military acronym. Properly put, it is spelled, FUBAR. It means, "Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition."

Anybody who would buy and take seriously any product dubbed "foobar" would send money to Bernie Madoff. As in "Made-Off with your jack, stupid."

For Jim Rogers and Jimsoto, and all you others who have gone cyberspace-gonzo, please DO keep us apprised of all your problems. There is no heaven in cyberspace, as hip as any theoretical version might sound.

I, too, have an Apple. It is as much of a piece of shit as any OTHER computer I have ever owned was or is. There are no MIRACLES in cyberspace, either.

One of the big problems I have with all of this computer bullshit is the illiteracy of the hip technofreaks who pimp it. Too many bad acronyms, too much jargon. I already know Italian, French, and German, and a smattering of Spanish. And, of course, English. Geekese is NOT high on my priority list. Complete sentences and the King's English are . When "they" start speaking and writing in clear prose, I MAY start to listen and read. Until then, I'm not playing.

JIMV, obey your instincts. Anybody who shuns good vinyl for ANY of this gibberish-laden technoshit deserves the clangs and whangs of chaotically colliding bits and bytes. I agree with you. Music is to be enjoyed, not jargonized, and EVERY server I have ever heard not only exposes you to infinite tons of cyberbother, but sounds like clabbered shit as well.

Anybody who pimps this shit over vinyl is publicly expressing the fact that he or she doesn't know a fugue from a frog, nor a screech from a howl.

Happy tunes, y'all. Now, run off and play with your menus.

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 15 hours ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
One of the big problems I have with all of this computer bullshit is the illiteracy of the hip technofreaks who pimp it. Too many bad acronyms, too much jargon. I already know Italian, French, and German, and a smattering of Spanish. And, of course, English. Geekese is NOT high on my priority list. Complete sentences and the King's English are . When "they" start speaking and writing in clear prose, I MAY start to listen and read. Until then, I'm not playing.

That is a big bit of my problem as well...music discussed in the language of gibberish geektalk. There are posts on this thread that pretend to be in English.

Not wanting to throw stones...but this


Quote:
I run an Athlon X2 4850e CPU (2500 MHz clock, 45W max dissipation). Motherboard is a Gigabyte microATX form factor with AMD 780G chipset (integrated ATI graphics). Hard drive is a WD "Green Power" 500 GB (it was cheap). Memory is 2 GB, of which some is stolen by the video chipset. The CPU has a Scythe Ninja Mini passive heat sink. Right next to it is the case fan, which I replaced with a Scythe S-Flex ball bearing unit with max speed of 1400 RPM at 12V. I run this fan from the mobo's CPU fan power header, which sets the voltage based on sensed CPU temp. The voltage is 4V during normal operation, so the fan is almost stalled. You can't hear the fan unless you literally press your ear right up to it. The case is an Antec NSK2480 cheapo HTPC case, but its power supply has been replaced by a fanless 400W Fortron Zen unit, which is excellent.

Is a long series of phrases run together that means nothing to anyone who is not in the computer building, selling, or repairing business...or the folk who tinker with the machines.

Then there is this


Quote:
Only have non DRM based music in as open a standard as possible (WAV, MP3, SACD and maybe Ogg Vorbis or FLAC -- but sometimes if you stick to the formats studios are using, you will have access to tools so you can update) Be prepared to or make sure you can transcode it to another standard if it looks like the standard you have it encoded in is becoming obsolete.

DRM? Ogg Fobis?? Transcode?...I also speak more than one language but when heard such language translates into English...this translates into gibberish to all but the Cognoscenti...

I want a music system that someone without a doctorate in electrical engineering or intimate experience in computer repair and theory can use. The back of my video system receiver is already a mass of spaghetti cables odd tweaks, and connectors. I have to figure out what goes where and why. learning a new language to use a system based on the hated computer is simply too much. Put the disk into the tray and hit play...That is a music system. This:


Quote:
It's worse than that, jazzfan. Afaik Apple has never released any specifications for ALAC, under paid or free license. All third-party implementations of ALAC (i.e. everything apart from QT itself), both encoders and decoders, are based on David Hammerton's reverse-engineering of the codec from the file format which he released into the public domain for free under the MIT License.

Is a cross between computer gibberish and cryptography.

I was an early adopter to CD...Before that I bought a Sony PCM F1 digital recorder when the very idea of digital was unheard of in the real world. I refuse to take a giant step back in terms of simplicity and compatibility.

ncdrawl
ncdrawl's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: Oct 18 2008 - 9:18am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

I hate to be the one to say it, JIMV...but there is nothing in any of those paragraphs that isn't very, very basic. common knowledge, almost..

If you don't know computer language, I suggest you start speaking it. Computer based hifi systems arent going anywhere.

Get one of those "computers for dummies" books. Learn.

it can't hurt you to learn, can it? Refusing to educate ones self in matters with which they are unfamiliar *is* a step backward. Especially with this computer/hifi thing. the impact computers have on playback systems will grow exponentially in the next 5 years or so..

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 15 hours ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

When such systems are reliable, not obsolete in a couple of years, standardized, and are understandable by the average music lover, I will invest. Till then I will go with what works...every time.

You sound like a devote of early automobiles...If you cannot build the thing yourself, understand all the language involved, have all the tools, well, just skip transport and stick to the horse. I think simply waiting for the mess to settle out and become user friendly is more rational.

If that gibberish is the new music speak, I'll stay with CD's and Vinyl.

This will be the very first time we have ever gone backwards in simplicity and quality in this hobby...

JoeE SP9
JoeE SP9's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 5 days ago
Joined: Oct 31 2005 - 6:02pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Although this is a reply to JIMV, this also applies to Clifton. Well said gentlemen! There does seem to be something lacking in current technical education. An inability to write and punctuate properly is prevalent throughout the Internet. Those who are the most technically competent are usually the worst offenders. It's gratifying to know that I'm not the only one who is "turned off" by second grade writing skills.
I understand the jargon and know what all the acronyms mean. Knowing them doesn't make poor writing skills any easier to digest. If you guys think internet correspondence is bad, take a look at what passes for English when cell phone text messages are exchanged. I'm reminded of a Mac Donald's cash register. There are no prices or numbers on the keys. Pictographs of a Big Mac and Quarter Pounder is what you'll see on the key tops. Maybe we should be glad there are some who can read and write at all.

I apologize for any grammatical or punctuational errors. I have a cold!

Listener
Listener's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Joined: Jul 28 2006 - 12:45pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

> Clifton says
> Anybody who would buy and take seriously any product
> dubbed "foobar"

Foobar is free. The developer chose the name. Since he created something useful and gave it away, I'd say he is pretty far from Madoff.

> One of the big problems I have with all of this computer
> bullshit is the illiteracy of the hip technofreaks who
> pimp it.

You seem to have a lot of stored venom about technology. You probably aren't a candidate for computer based anything, including web surfing.

> JimV says
> I want a music system that someone without a doctorate
> in electrical engineering or intimate experience in
> computer repair

You do need to learn some basics about computer based audio. Get good advice and stay with "on the beaten path" choices. You won't need to learn all the details about computer hardware or master too many and you don't need to delve into all thew details you find incomprehensible.

> JimV says:
> I was an early adopter to CD...

You were younger then and probably more willing to plunge into something new.

> I refuse to take a giant step back in terms of
> simplicity and compatibility.

You are perfectly free to do that.

Ripping CDs is a hurdle. With some knowledge, sound choices and a flexible, problem-solving approach you can get good results from computer-based audio without a lot of pain.

Bill

jazzfan
jazzfan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 20 hours ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 8:55am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Gentlemen (and ladies, but, alas there does not appear to be any ladies involved in this seemingly endless discussion. They may be the weaker sex but give up nothing in the way of brains.) I am personally very offended by the tone of several of the more recent posts on this thread. I take pride in my writing skills and try very hard to keep the technical mumbo-jumbo to bare minimum. Not only do I try to keep the techno speak in check, when I do have to resort to technical jargon I often go out of my way to try to explain things in layman's terms, even if doing so becomes tedious.

The sad part of these posts is once again they appear to just a deflection from the meat of the matter, i.e. computer based audio is sonically equal to, and very often better than, CD based audio. So let's keep the discussion focused on audiophile matters and stop the whining about cell phone text messages. Note to Clifton: I'm comparing computer based audio only to CD/SACD/DVD-Audio based audio since these are all forms of digital audio. LP playback is analog and outside the realm of this discussion.

As for standardization, things are standardized: digital audio uses PCM (pulse code modulation) and PCM is very clearly defined. Where things become non-standardized is where corporate greed takes over and various companies try to impose their own proprietary formats. Some examples: Sony development of DSD, which is used instead of PCM on the now abandoned SACD. Apple's and Microsoft's use of their own lossless encoding schemes when flac, a completely functional and widely accepted open source lossless encoding scheme, already exists.

And yes, computer based audio is still in the early stages of development but things are improving and maturing very day and will continue to do so until the ease, convenience and power of computer based audio make it appealing to the overwhelming majority of music lovers.

returnstackerror
returnstackerror's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 4 days ago
Joined: May 17 2007 - 8:32pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
...I rarely listen to a whole CD now. I make playlist and most often just put one on shuffle and let it go.. and go.. and go. It really changes the way you can enjoy your music. I highly recommend it. I can't imagine going back to CD's:)..

Not a criticism of payne, but I relegated my Transporter to my living room, out of my main system for this very reason.

It became too easy to listen to the best of what I had (either in terms of sound quality or artistic content).

I was no longer challenging myself by maybe listening to a great track, musically speaking, that had shitty quality or visa versa. Sometimes the artistic merit of a track takes time to appreciate.

Now I could overcome this and still have the Transporter in my main system by being more disciplined with my Transporters remote control but this was the way I handled it. The logic I use is

andy_c
andy_c's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: Dec 25 2007 - 12:48pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
Not a criticism of payne, but I relegated my Transporter to my living room, out of my main system for this very reason.

It became too easy to listen to the best of what I had (either in terms of sound quality or artistic content).

I was no longer challenging myself by maybe listening to a great track, musically speaking, that had shitty quality or visa versa. Sometimes the artistic merit of a track takes time to appreciate.

I understand where you're coming from, but there is a flip side of this coin with computer audio. One can just configure the software to play random tracks from one's collection. When I first did this, I was pleasantly surprised to find a number of fantastic tracks I'd completely forgotten about.

I seem to recall a Stereophile letter to the editor with the same message as yours. Are you the one that wrote it?

jazzfan
jazzfan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 20 hours ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 8:55am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
Not a criticism of payne, but I relegated my Transporter to my living room, out of my main system for this very reason.

It became too easy to listen to the best of what I had (either in terms of sound quality or artistic content).

I was no longer challenging myself by maybe listening to a great track, musically speaking, that had shitty quality or visa versa. Sometimes the artistic merit of a track takes time to appreciate.

Now I could overcome this and still have the Transporter in my main system by being more disciplined with my Transporters remote control but this was the way I handled it. The logic I use is

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 15 hours ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
You were younger then and probably more willing to plunge into something new.

True....but, My Sony CDP1 is 35 years obsolete and my Sony digital recorder is as obsolete as the dodo...

The PCM F1 cost in 1980 version bucks about what Meridian costs now...

Today folk are rushing off to the equivalent of Beta Tapes and DVD audio...there are too many conflicting formats and systems and too many completely different ideas of how to do this to make any investment in gear problematic...and then we have the PC inherent computer problems...

I am not telling folk not to buy whatever they want. I am not even saying they are wrong.

I AM asking folk to pretend the average audiophile is NOT a computer engineer and to speak in English. I am also suggesting that reviewers try running new types of gear by normal audiophiles...can Clive of the Upper West Side set it up and use it without access to a computer degree or a manufacturer set up team hook it up and properly use it?

andy_c
andy_c's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: Dec 25 2007 - 12:48pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
I AM asking folk to pretend the average audiophile is NOT a computer engineer and to speak in English.


I'd like to ask you to consider that some posts in the forum aren't addressed to you specifically. Your flame post of the previous page quoted a post of mine which was full of computer jargon. That post was not addressed to you though. It was addressed to another user who demonstrated a high degree of computer literacy by virtue of having built a computer with no moving parts. I've been building my own computers since 1987, and I have never done that. If I were to do so, I'd probably need to first ask the advice of someone who had already done it. He asked me for specific details of my system, and I gave him the information he requested. If someone with a strong technical background asks me a question requiring a highly technical answer, I'm not going to adjust the answer so it makes sense to the least technically-inclined person who might come across it. Doing so would belabor the obvious and insult the intelligence of the very person who asked the question.

Not every post in the forum is for your benefit. Try to understand that different people may obtain enjoyment from the hobby in ways that are very different from how you do. That's a consequence of the diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds of the various posters to the forums here.

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 15 hours ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

I am sorry...I was not attacking your post, for it was in response to a series of specific questions, but noting that computer jargon is infesting our hobby and your post was the one I found most chock full of such stuff.

It was not a swipe at a specific post but a lament as t the state of the hobby and the gibberish that often passes as audio speak today.

ncdrawl
ncdrawl's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: Oct 18 2008 - 9:18am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Jimv , how hard is it to read a bit about computers? Computer based audio is coming. hard copies of media will be obsolete some day. Learn about the new technology... it does not require any sort of degree to use foobar. all basic stuff.

refusing to learn /clinging onto old technology is a bit like being on a innertube in floodwaters when everyone else is speeding by in bass cats. I dont have the same sort of connection with computer based media now, i feel that it doesnt' have the same emotional connection...but id be a fool to refuse to educate myself on things that will become the status quo down the line.

get one of those "computers for dummies" books. (How I learned). read, man. it isn't bad at all, really. weve got tobacco farmers using computers down here for tobacco farming. livestock dealers... if those guys(some of whom dropped out in school well before high school started) can learn the ins and outs of basic computing...hell, you can too.

what conflicting formats?

computer jargon is more prevalent because computers are the future of this hobby. get used to it.


Quote:

Quote:
You were younger then and probably more willing to plunge into something new.

True....but, My Sony CDP1 is 35 years obsolete and my Sony digital recorder is as obsolete as the dodo...

The PCM F1 cost in 1980 version bucks about what Meridian costs now...

Today folk are rushing off to the equivalent of Beta Tapes and DVD audio...there are too many conflicting formats and systems and too many completely different ideas of how to do this to make any investment in gear problematic...and then we have the PC inherent computer problems...

I am not telling folk not to buy whatever they want. I am not even saying they are wrong.

I AM asking folk to pretend the average audiophile is NOT a computer engineer and to speak in English. I am also suggesting that reviewers try running new types of gear by normal audiophiles...can Clive of the Upper West Side set it up and use it without access to a computer degree or a manufacturer set up team hook it up and properly use it?

ncdrawl
ncdrawl's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: Oct 18 2008 - 9:18am
Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:
"Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition." [snip]

Clifton, that was one of the most ignorant posts ive seen from you.

Pages

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading