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tomjtx
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Clifton,

thanks for confirming that you are an idiot as well as a bigot.

Seguro que no hablas otra idioma. Nadie puede ser tan tonto como tu y hablar varias idiomas.

andy_c
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


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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.


I think that for people who aren't computer geeks, computer audio just may not be appropriate for them - at least until some major changes come about in terms of standardization and ease of use. As a computer audio buff myself, I'd rather the CD not go away. In case my best efforts at backing up my data somehow fail, I want to have the physical media to fall back on. Having CDs not copy-protected is a big bonus too. I don't trust the record companies to not mess around and introduce some new kind of copy protection to computer audio files that limits my access to them. Since the brick and mortar stores that sold CDs are mostly going under or switching to video, the internet vendors have really picked up the ball and provided low prices for CDs. I'm quite happy with the status quo and hope people will continue to buy CDs for the remainder of my lifetime.

JIMV
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Or exactly like clinging to vinyl....a pastime that is both growing and becoming almost a cult. The issue is not the means of getting good sound but getting that sound. Some folk like to play with tracking forces, exotic cartridges, and fabulously expensive turntables. Others like to deal with digital to analog converters, a few cables, and a reliable transport...then there are the folk who like to play with computers...they like to delve into exotic software, odd languages, and strange methods of producing the music...each and every one can and does produce magic, but only one requires a new language and infinite patience for computer quirks...I'll stick with the easiest to get good results and leave the tinkering, debugging and language learning to folk who actually enjoy such things...sort of like folk who think Rap is music.

JoeE SP9
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Were you aware that prior to the switch to DTV most TY stations were using Betacam's as their portable camcorders? The chief engineer at a local station told me it was because Beta has a higher resolution than VHS. I still use a Beta HiFi VCR although it has become rather difficult to obtain blank tape.

I downloaded some 24/96 and 44/16 audio tracks last night. They are the same tracks in different formats. The 24/96 files are rather large so it was a lengthy download even with a DSL. Running them through a SB X-Fi Pro using analog out to my system sounded quite good.
Through the SB's DAC the 24/96 tracks sounded much better. The difference was immediately noticeable. I haven't used the SPDIF ports yet. My system is working perfectly and I'm too lazy to start disconnecting a bunch of cables right now. I will be using my trusty old full boat MSB DAC when I get around to it.

www.hdtracks.com The Chesky people put the site up.

ncdrawl
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


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Or exactly like clinging to vinyl....a pastime that is both growing and becoming almost a cult. The issue is not the means of getting good sound but getting that sound. Some folk like to play with tracking forces, exotic

cartridges, and fabulously expensive turntables. Others like to deal with digital to analog converters, a few cables, and a reliable transport...then there are the folk who like to play with computers...they like to delve into exotic software, odd languages, and strange methods of producing the music..

what about those folks(like myself) who enjoy music to the fullest and won't subscribe to some dogma whereby the only way of listening is through certain delivery mediums??

from a technical standpoint, computer audio is less strange than cd players and their extra circuitry. transport mechanism, onboard buffers, etc..not to mention that computers have the upperhand in that they are not confined to lower-resolution word length and sampling rates...(redbook cds!/vinyl)..


Quote:
only one requires a new language and infinite patience for computer quirks

what about maintenance issues, difficulty setting up turntables/vta/tracking force/bias, etc?? what new language is required? if one can read at all, hell... the functions that allow one to access audio on the computer are not accessed via some higher-order crypto-language..


Quote:
i'll stick with the easiest to get good results and leave the tinkering, debugging and language learning to folk who actually enjoy such things...sort of like folk who think Rap is music.

odd...ive never had to tinker, debug or learn any language(outside of english which I suspect you know?) to play audio from the pc.....

"sort of like people who think rap is music" degrading those who enjoy computer based audio? silly.

gkc
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Ncdrawl, like it or not, that is what foobar or fubar means. If you had ever "served" in the military (do not pardon the pun), you would have understood immeditately.

FUBAR leads to the mis-trademarked Foobar. The coiner of the latter probably liked the vowels. Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. The acronym speaks for itself. Repeat -- anyone who would buy into such a naming deserves what he gets.

Ignorant? Moi? At least, I know the etymology of the term.

For all of you who have abandoned your vinyl for this modern miracle, I would like to buy your records. IF you have anything that I want to hear. Post 'em, and I'll look at 'em, and I'll get back to you if there is anything I don't already have or deem worth listening to.

Meanwhile, continue with your delusions. They are, after all, so eloquently penned.

ncdrawl
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

I was in the Army for a good portion of my adult life, just shy a decade(army 11B2O- infantry grunt, e5P HQ V Corps and Allied Mobile Forces (LAND)) and I never heard "fubar". it is apparently an old old miltary thing, but noone says it anymore.
you have eloquently shown that you are more ignorant than I thought.


Quote:
Ncdrawl, like it or not, that is what foobar or fubar means. If you had ever "served" in the military (do not pardon the pun), you would have understood immeditately.

FUBAR leads to the mis-trademarked Foobar. The coiner of the latter probably liked the vowels. Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. The acronym speaks for itself. Repeat -- anyone who would buy into such a naming deserves what he gets.

Ignorant? Moi? At least, I know the etymology of the term.

For all of you who have abandoned your vinyl for this modern miracle, I would like to buy your records. IF you have anything that I want to hear. Post 'em, and I'll look at 'em, and I'll get back to you if there is anything I don't already have or deem worth listening to.

Meanwhile, continue with your delusions. They are, after all, so eloquently penned.

BillPA
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

I am new here and just read this interesting discussion. I think the original poster's question has been answered quite some time ago when Linn introduced the DS media players.
I know that there are many Linn haters out there dismissing everything Linn produces as overpriced crap but I simply suggest: take the time and listen to the cheapest Linn DS.

The Sneaky DS music player will beat about 90% of all CD players. The Akurate DS probably all of them in terms of sound quality and musicality. I have them both and can tell you: finally CDs (ripped to the NAS connected to the DS) can sound as good as my vinyl. Definitely better than the CD itself played on a very very good CD player. HighRes downloads sound as good as or better than vinyl... For me the question has been answered.
Go to a dealer, ask for a in-home demo, live with the DS for a few days and you'll hear it for yourself.

Anybody here who has experiences with a Linn DS and would like to chime in? (But please don't get into the control issues. That has been solved and the latest iPhone/iTouch software to control the DS is already really good. Let's just talk audio quality as this was the original question)

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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


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from a technical standpoint, computer audio is less strange than cd players and their extra circuitry. transport mechanism, onboard buffers, etc..not to mention that computers have the upperhand in that they are not confined to lower-resolution word length and sampling rates...(redbook cds!/vinyl)..

But all those issues are absolutely transparent to the user. You put the disk in and press play and you get music 100% of the time. The technology might be very complex but to the user is is the essence of simple. All the quirks and complexity of server based systems slops over onto the user in that playing or recording music is not a two button process that never varies but is infinitely variable by product.

Read the reviews...each piece of gear requires a different series of steps and processes to get that admittedly good sound.

JIMV
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


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odd...ive never had to tinker, debug or learn any language(outside of english which I suspect you know?) to play audio from the pc.....

"sort of like people who think rap is music" degrading those who enjoy computer based audio? silly.

All that means is that you were blessed with being born bilingual, complete with English and TechnoGeek. Mozart wrote his first symphony at 8. That does not mean the average resident of Salzburg could.

I noted Rap to highlight the universe of ideas and taste out there. You do realize there are folk out there who think Rap is music...

I have tried pretty hard not to attack folk who are more devoted to their computers and like to mix such play with the reproduction of music at home. I am just noting that the world of such gear is fluid to the extreme and does require a host of new skills to do what anyone with a good CD player or class vinyl rig can do without the same skills...play music.

My contention can be proven really easily. Have an average audiophile not immersed in computer technology try to use the owners manual to set up one of these systems and then see if that fellow believes this is either easy or better.

Go to 'Sound by Singer' or 'Upscale Audio', snag the first person to wander through the door. Hand him a box as normal folk receive such gear and ask him to set it up in his system and use it...That would make one heck of a story, realizing that one would have to do it several times to make any conclusions. Guy one could be delivering pizza and guy two could be from Best Buy's geek squad.

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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Hi Bill and welcome to the forum.

I want to thank you for keeping the focus of this thread on the real issue: sound quality. It's unfortunate that so many others insist on discussing all the negative issues related to computer based audio storage and playback. One of the things that I find most interesting is how many of the same audiophiles who defended LP playback against CD playback in the early days of digital are now using the ease of CD playback (just put the disc in the drawer and hit play) versus the complications of computer based audio as the reason for wanting to stick with CDs. Back in the early days of the CD it was the ease of CD playback versus the complications of LP playback, such as turntable/tonearm/cartridge/VTA/phono pre-amp/tracking force/anti-skating/etc., which lead to popularity of the CD. Funny how time changes things.

While I've never heard any of the Linn DS products I am glad that at least one well respected high end manufacturer seems to have gotten computer based audio playback right. With Meridian's recent purchase of the Sooloos brand I suspect that soon there will be another high end manufacturer to "get it" and that many more are sure to follow, since R&D money is better spent on developing products for the future rather then on products for the past.

This is not to say that CD playback will completely disappear but rather that will become more like the way LP playback is today: a niche market with a limited but devoted following. Products, as in hardware and software, will still be available but most new music will distributed by means other than black vinyl and shiny plastic discs.

The good thing with computer based audio is that those who do not want to use a computer to playback their music will not have to since they can just burn the music from their computer onto a blank CD for playback via their beloved CD player. Peace and harmony will once again be upon the world of high end audio.

Edit: forgot to add proper record storage, handling and cleaning to the complications of LP playback.

JIMV
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


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This is not to say that CD playback will completely disappear but rather that will become more like the way LP playback is today: a niche market with a limited but devoted following. Products, as in hardware and software, will still be available but most new music will distributed by means other than black vinyl and shiny plastic discs.

we are at that point already with MP3 downloads dominating already...the problem is...MP3 is the walkman of music quality...

Listener
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


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My contention can be proven really easily. Have an average audiophile not immersed in computer technology try to use the owners manual to set up one of these systems and then see if that fellow believes this is either easy or better.

Go to 'Sound by Singer' or 'Upscale Audio', snag the first person to wander through the door. Hand him a box as normal folk receive such gear and ask him to set it up in his system and use it...That would make one heck of a story, realizing that one would have to do it several times to make any conclusions. Guy one could be delivering pizza and guy two could be from Best Buy's geek squad.

There is some irony in your suggestion. Outside the audiophile ghetto, ordinary folks (including pizza delivery guys)are buying iPods and downloading music with iTunes. They seem to manage just fine. The cries of anguish about the difficulty of computer audio seem to be coming mostly from traditional audiophiles.

There are simple approaches to computer based audio but audiophiles love to make things more complicated than necessary for beginners. Five year olds can do this stuff.

Some simple approaches:

1. Sonos with dBpoweramp for ripping CDs to Flac lossless file format,
2. Squeezebox with dBpoweramp for ripping CDs to Flac format,
3. Mac with iTunes (has ripping, tag editing capability), ripping to ALAC lossless file format,
4. PC with J. River Media Center (has ripping, tag editing capability) and a PCI sound card that has an ASIO driver. Ripp to Flac lossless file format.

Others could add more simple alternatives.

Bill

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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


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we are at that point already with MP3 downloads dominating already...the problem is...MP3 is the walkman of music quality...

What goes around, comes around or 'round and 'round we go:


Quote:
It's not that a computer based music system (be it through a server or straight from a computer) is inherently "better" than a CD/SACD/LP based system but rather that computer based music is the way of the future. And right now that "future" is rapidly destroying the overall sound quality of the music because of its reliance on lossy compression (mp3s and iTunes). So until the audiophile community gets on board and begins pressing for lossless compression and higher resolution things are not going to improve but, and here's the kicker, CDs and SACDs are still going to go the way of the LP and become a small little market with limited selection and inflated prices. So the sooner we, meaning those of us who care deeply about the sound quality of the music we love, get with the program the better that "future" will turn out to be.

and


Quote:
I know that you're a big supporter of Logitech's Transporter and SqueezeBox, as am I, but I don't understand your almost blind devotion to Apple, MACs and iTunes. Sure MACs are much less troublesome than their Windows based counterparts but Apple is completely devoted to proprietary formats and flatly refuses to make iTunes compatible with the open source and non-proprietary flac format. As an audiophile running a computer based music server system this is a totally unforgivable transgression. My extensive hard drive based music library consists almost entirely of flac files and Apple's continued insistence on using it's own proprietary formats is, at this point, doing much more harm than good as far as losslessly compressed music is concerned.

and finally


Quote:
So basically what I'm saying is that audiophiles need to be pro-active and help guide these "standards and conventions" so that our needs are addressed. Needs like making high resolution downloads readily available, developing music management software which goes beyond the overly simplified "artist/album" structure and more useful metadata instead of cute little tricks like "cover flow". Of course the best way to be pro-active is with our wallets and if audiophiles are going to cling to physical media while everyone else embraces downloading then the future does not look very bright for those who enjoy good sound.

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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


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Outside the audiophile ghetto, ordinary folks (including pizza delivery guys)are buying iPods and downloading music with iTunes. They seem to manage just fine.

Never a truer word said.

And the way to overcome all the doom and gloom issues that have been raised is to use a DEDICATED PC/Laptop to serve up your music. Don

BillPA
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


Quote:

Quote:

There are simple approaches to computer based audio but audiophiles love to make things more complicated than necessary for beginners. Five year olds can do this stuff.

Some simple approaches:

1. Sonos with dBpoweramp for ripping CDs to Flac lossless file format,
2. Squeezebox with dBpoweramp for ripping CDs to Flac format,
3. Mac with iTunes (has ripping, tag editing capability), ripping to ALAC lossless file format,
4. PC with J. River Media Center (has ripping, tag editing capability) and a PCI sound card that has an ASIO driver. Ripp to Flac lossless file format.

Others could add more simple alternatives.

Bill

Sure, let me add another alternative.
Let somebody else do the hard networking work!
My dealer set up all the network components (NAS, access point for control and controller). He installed the Ripfactory ripping software with all the parameters set for a Linn DS, showed me how to do it... That's what I call customer service. All included when buying a Linn DS. It doesn't get easier. Buy and play!

struts
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


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struts - thanks, good to be welcomed to something -


My pleasure. This board can be a slightly intimidating place for new joiners and one needs to look no further than this thread to see why. I think it is incumbent on the 'regulars' to be a bit welcoming if we want anyone else to stick around!


Quote:
I understand what you are describing, I just would have never called it 'jitter'.


You raise an interesting point. I had never reflected on this but many of the nouns for analog distortions are onomatopoeic, e.g. 'wow', 'flutter', 'rumble', 'rush', in other words they actually describe the sonic symptom rather than the electrical or mechanical cause. 'Jitter' describes the cause, which I visualize as being like the graduations on a ruler 'jiggling' back and forth and therefore not being exactly the right distance apart. Maybe this is the reason many folks seem to have such a problem relating to it, the name simply bears little or no relation to the resulting sonic effect.


Quote:
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.


I'm afraid that what you seem to be imagining is just not what is going on here. The samples are converted by the DAC (not the CPU) and it works equally hard to convert a word of any length up to its limit, regarless of its value (i.e. how many bits happen to have value '0'). You could think of a word as a crate in which some of the bottles are diet coke (0s) and some are regular (1s). It takes the same amount of effort to lift the crate regardless of the mixture of drinks in it.


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.


Your assertion is reasonable and your question a good one. Upsampling can be used to increase both the bit depth and sampling rate of a file although as you say it cannot possibly add musical information that was not there in the first place. Rather than adding 'nothing information' the actual process adds something called 'dither', which is another particularly unhelpful term for the uninitiated but simply put means 'the statistical application of random noise' (a slightly more detailed explanation can be found here). Upsampling is an extremely controversial technique for exactly this reason, and even its proponents can't provide completely watertight explanations of how it does what it appears to do. The most eloquent attempt at an explanation I have seen is this (the rationale is quite technical but the conclusion is clear enough).

pinkmonk
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

I just thought I would throw this out there...in response to the original post.

I currently run my music through my PC to the preamp (bypassing everything else) on an old Sansui 9090db. For the purpose of this post I went and dug up a late 80s Sony CD player (pretty nice for the time, I think) I had in storage, and did a little back to back comparison. The only variable was the source of music; CD player and PC. What happened? there was no difference between the two. I tested multiple CDs and their Lossless FLAC counterparts on the computer and everything sounded exactly the same. If all of your hardware is of decent quality, there will be no quality loss with either.

The only real difference, and one that many have pointed out, is ease of use. Pick what you like most and what is comfortable for you. I do a lot with PCs so listening to music becomes an extension of that.

ncdrawl
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system


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Upsampling can be used to increase both the bit depth and sampling rate of a file although as you say it cannot possibly add musical information that was not there in the first place. Rather than adding 'nothing information' the actual process adds something called 'dither', which is another particularly unhelpful term for the uninitiated but simply put means 'the statistical application of random noise' (a slightly more detailed explanation can be found here). Upsampling is an extremely controversial technique for exactly this reason, and even its proponents can't provide completely watertight explanations

I see some misunderstanding here, dont know where to start, really..

Upsampling is a process to convert a data set to a higher frequency data set. The process is done by inserting null values and then filtering the results. The filtering process results in a re-drawn waveform through the data set right where the sample values would have been had they been sampled at the higher rate. This is basic Nyquist/Shannon math at work. There is really very little reason to upsample data. It is perfectly acceptable to leave the data at the lower sample rate - the samples at the lower sample rate still perfectly *represent* the entire waveform. That means that the entire original waveform can be re-drawn from the lower frequency sample set. But certain types of digital signal processing do benefit from first upsampling to a higher sample frequency before running the math. Most digital signal processes do not.

as for your "extremely controversial" comment..upsampling is not controversial at all, really. The mathematical laws that underpin it were published in the 1930s and 1940s.

Dither is a completely different animal with a different application. It has nothing to do with increasing the sample frequency. Dither has to do with DE creasing the bit depth.

struts
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Re: cd player vs computer hard drive system

Hey ncdrawl,

You're quite correct on all points so I guess I have some explaining to do!

1. Yes, the strict definition of upsampling is 'increasing the sampling frequency'. However, when used in audio it is commonly used in conjunction with requantization to increase the bit depth (e.g. 'upsampling' 16/44.1 -> 24/96) and so the term is sometimes (mis)used to refer to both processes. dCS claim to have been the first to do apply these techniques in consumer audio (this is where I first came across it) and you will find references in their literature to 'upsampling' from 16/44.1 to 24/44.1. This is indeed sloppy use of the terminology.

2. I agree, upsampling is not controversial per se, it is after all mathematically speaking just interpolating to fill in 'missing' samples. What I believe to be controversial is the beneficial effect on sound quality that proponents of upsampling claim. Since upsampling (either definition) can't add musical information that wasn't there in the first place many people have quite reasonably asked how it can possibly make the resulting audio sound better. Refer back to the letters section in 'phile following the review of the dCS Purcell to see what I mean. I have heard the SQ improvements myself but I can't provide a simple watertight explanation why. Mike Story's paper is the best attempt at a rationale that I have seen.

3. You are quite right, dither is only relevant when requantizing to reduce the bit depth. When increasing bit depth you would indeed just zero-pad at the LSB. Where did I get that from? Temporary brain-fade.

Thanks for pulling me up on these.

Allen Fant
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IMO, we are still a long way

IMO, we are still a long way off, prior to any laptop or server bettering a high-end CD Player!

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