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deckeda
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Last seen: 6 days 15 hours ago
Joined: Feb 1 2006 - 7:41pm
Fifth Dimension, er Element

JM, keep those network-y, hires-y insights coming. Your earlier piece about how hires trumps tweaks really hit a chord (heh) so to speak with me regarding the sorts of things a listener should perhaps focus on.

Here's the setup I'd like to read about soon:

Take the hires files of your choice and convert these FLAC files to Apple Lossless. Not as many Windows users rely on iTunes as Mac users, but this would keep comparisons based on an iTunes database relevant at least up to that point.

You use a Mac, so convert to Apple Lossless using XLD or perhaps xACT. If there's a concern about the converted files not sounding as good as the original FLACs address it but for the sake of conversation let's say it's not a known problem. Files converted by XLD can be automatically added to iTunes and regardless of iTunes' import settings they will remain hires Apple Lossless files once there.

And now the other shoe drops: Using the player of your choice (Amara/Decibel/Pure Music) pipe the music to one of these network players that has AirPlay, Ethernet and hires DAC.

No USB stick silliness, and we get to see how this more realistic hires iTunes networked chain works.

The other other shoe thuds: I recall Stereophile's review awhile back of the Linn network player that relied on Ethernet to supply its DAC, and claim by Linn that a large part of why it sounded great was that lowly Cat5 supplying it. While most external DACs still rely on coax/TosLink/USB inputs, here at the low end with CD Receivers and surround sound receivers (some Marantz, Pionner etc. have AirPlay, Ethernet and hires DACs) there's a chance they, too might benefit some.

I'm not suggesting a $600 surround receiver will sound as good as that Linn. I mainly want to know if a hires file sitting in iTunes will really play without downsampling over wired AirPlay to one of these networked things, and secondly if it could sound at least as good as a similarly priced (i.e. less than $1K) stand alone DAC via USB (or USB-coax converter first for stuff better than 24/96 ...)

deckeda
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Joined: Feb 1 2006 - 7:41pm
And this is

... essentially the same scenario I outlined in my Micromega comment here: http://www.stereophile.com/content/micromegas-claim-being-future-hires-r...

BigBuck
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Joined: May 26 2011 - 9:13pm
Modern HT Receivers Sound Very Good
deckeda wrote:

....... I'm not suggesting a $600 surround receiver will sound as good as that Linn. I mainly want to know if a hires file sitting in iTunes will really play without downsampling over wired AirPlay to one of these networked things, and secondly if it could sound at least as good as a similarly priced (i.e. less than $1K) stand alone DAC via USB (or USB-coax converter first for stuff better than 24/96 ...)

I second this thought.  I've been subscribing to Stereophile during the active years of my hand-built and long-lived Heathkit AR1500 receiver - while it and Julian Hirsch's review of it earned scorn in audiophile quarters, I've been enjoying live and reproduced music all the while.  Tin ear, you might say, but I've sung in an acclaimed touring concert choir in my youth, and my children have demonstrated and ackowledged musicial talents.  (One is a professional vocalist, a bass-baritone.)

I enjoy reading about streaming digital audio devices in Sterophile, but it's all about USB or PDIF - there is little mention of the commonplace ethernet/wireless streaming capabilties that have been used in home theater for a long time.   I have a Denon 7-channel home theater AVR from a few years ag,o, it streams digital audio from my 2-GB Iomega media drive with Linux-based firmware at 96/24 over ethernet just fine, has a buffer to deal with jitter, and sound fabulous to me.  It also has a phono inpput, which can handle the signal from my old Sony PSX-55 in pure analog from input to preamp out or convert it to 96/24 digital and do lots of fun things with the sound.  Sometimes, I use the analog direct function and listen to my ML Sequel IIs through my Adcom 5802, and sometimes I listen to records converted to simulated multichannel in the 7/1 HT setup.  I can sit in th elistening position in either room ond control things completely with a laptop.

Good things abound, and thanls to JM for expanding everyone's horizons!

deckeda
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Joined: Feb 1 2006 - 7:41pm
Lacking competent USB or

Lacking competent USB or FireWire drivers to permit more than 24/96 performance from their own DACs demonstrates how far removed most high end manufacturers are from computer-based audio. (Forget S/PDIF, having to shell out for an extra box to connect the computer to that is just dumb.) 

Here's what I want, (Peachtree Audio, et al): higher than 96kHz sampling playback capability from USB or FW, because it's out there and I shouldn't have to downsample. By this time next year my library will hopefully be all hi res stuff I either purchased, stole or made myself from LP. When you consider that I'm purging my 16/44 content as soon as I can, and looking to digitize vinyl in hi res, a philosophy that's OK with USB ports still limited to 96kHz and iPod docks is just WAY out of step with me---and you actually think you've been progressive?

Ethernet is going to blow all of this wide open for computer music servers, sooner or later. That Linn, and these cheap A/V receivers on the low end are game changers because Ethernet isn't voodoo like hardware drivers are. 

And Glory Be, unlike USB (in particular) Ethernet was literally born to stream data/has robust error protection/buffering/decently long cable runs without degradation.

When the cable companies start in droves to offer pretty Cat5 you'll know USB and S/PDIF are blissfully dead from home audio.

BigBuck
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Good One!

"When the cable companies start in droves to offer pretty Cat5 you'll know USB and S/PDIF are blissfully dead from home audio."

 

I can just imagine it, inch-thick Cat5.  Those folks will be disappointed to learn that there's already Gigabit ethernet available with Cat6!!

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