A question Re Different Music Files - HD Music

Jason36

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Ok this may be a very silly question :oops: but whilst I enjoy my music I have never really been to bothered with regards to the techno babble that goes along with listening to music stored on a laptop / iPod etc etc. I knew that if I use iTunes (which I do) the best file quality would be Apple Lossless (AIFF I believe this is called).

So I am about to purchase a DAC for use with my laptop at work with headphones...this is likely to be the Firestone Fubar IV Plus (as they will be having their December sale soon on this product).....I intend to connect this via USB for use with iTunes and Spotify with my Grado SR80i's and Sennheiser IE6's.

The Firestone supports 16 Bit - 32/44.1/48Khz music via USB (although I have no idea what this information means if anyone could enlighten me that would be great)

The question is If I want to download music onto my laptop from say HD Tracks or the Linn HD store.....what should I be downloading for best quality and for use wth the Firestone (AIFF, FLAC, 96/24 or 88.2/24)

Also how do I store these files? Obviously they are not compatible with iTunes so do I just save them elsewhere on my laptop under say HD music or do I need to use a media player like Songbird, MediaMonkey or WinAmp. Hence running two music media's....1 for Appe Lossless with my iPod / ipad and 1 for use with my laptop and DAC? Are these likely to conflict with each other?

If I go for DVD-Audio quality (96/24 or 88.2/24) with say MediaMonkey and then play them through the DAC would I be right in saying that the highest quality I would get would be 16/48 or would they not play, as they are not compatable via USB. Obviously this question relates more to the fact if I connected the Laptop via Dac to my home system (listed below) vis Co-Axial or Toslink I would want the highest quality possible.

Sorry for all the questions and I hope they make sense.......just trying to get an idea of what I should be downloading and into what for best sound quality and playback via the Firestone.
 

krazy_olie

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You might be better off with a more usb friendly DAC. or somehow cnnect it via coaxial/optical.
Playing 24/96 music could end up (int theory) being worse than the cd resolution if using that setup
 

nads

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TBH dont bother with a DAC yet.

Get a Squeeze box touch. It will handle 24 bit / 96 kHz will play spotify and ay music on a Hard drive or NAS anywhere in the house. the DACs in it are as good as the Dac Magic. you can control it by iPhone and others.

Have fun play with it and the music and then may be add a DAC later or just some good Powered speakers......
 

Trefor Patten

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First things first Apple Lossless is similar to FLAC (especially now that it has become open source) but is NOT the same thing as AIFF. AIFF and WAV are uncompressed formats (i.e. they copy the data from the source as is) FLAC and ALAC (Apple Lossless) are lossless compressed formats and in theory, when correctly decoded 'unpack' into the original file. All files can be converted into other formats using a software package such as switch, but when you convert (for example) MP3 to AAC, which are both lossy formats, you can have problems. Down-converting is always possible, but up-converting is always pointless as you cannot put back what has been taken away.

SO download the highest bitrate you can (AIFF or WAV 16 or 24 bit) you will be able to play them in iTunes and if you have better equipment at a later date you can appreciate the higher quality.
 

Jason36

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nads said:
Get a Squeeze box touch. It will handle 24 bit / 96 kHz will play spotify and ay music on a Hard drive or NAS anywhere in the house. the DACs in it are as good as the Dac Magic. you can control it by iPhone and others.

This was the reason for asking about 24 bit / 96KHz downloads....ideally I would like to listen to them via my laptop at work during the day. However if I saved them to my Western Digital HD and connected that to the Squeezebox directly at home I would also get the higher quality sound downloads through my home system.

Just trying to kill two birds with one stone here....as any music downloaded to the laptop is saved on the WD HD as a matter of course.
 

Jason36

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nads said:
TBH dont bother with a DAC yet.

Get a Squeeze box touch. It will handle 24 bit / 96 kHz will play spotify and ay music on a Hard drive or NAS anywhere in the house. the DACs in it are as good as the Dac Magic. you can control it by iPhone and others.

Have fun play with it and the music and then may be add a DAC later or just some good Powered speakers......

Thanks for that NADS,

However the DAC is predominantly for an office based system whilst I am at work and will be connected to my laptop for itunes and Spotify. As is usual the souncard in the laptop sounds terrible...even with lossless files.

I am getting a Squeezbox Touch which will be connected to my home based system....my office isnt connected to the house or in fact near it...hence looking at a DAC.

So by thesounds of it the options are.....bypass itunes store at the moment becasue the are rubbish quality downloads and opt for 16/44.1 downloads from sites which will be the correct quality for the DAC. Alternatively buy a S/PDIF converter to plug into the USB socket on the computer and then connect to the DAC with a CoAx cable.....which I believe would allow me to download 24/96 tracks.

So would I be right in saying that 24/96 will be FLAC files and I would therefore need to run MediaMonkey for instance for these, as well as iTunes for my ALAC files?
 

The_Lhc

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Jason36 said:
However the DAC is predominantly for an office based system whilst I am at work and will be connected to my laptop for itunes and Spotify. As is usual the souncard in the laptop sounds terrible...even with lossless files.

Odd, my laptop sounds great with (16-bit) lossless files and headphones straight from the onboard jack and certainly good enough for the work environment.
 

Jason36

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The_Lhc said:
Jason36 said:
However the DAC is predominantly for an office based system whilst I am at work and will be connected to my laptop for itunes and Spotify. As is usual the souncard in the laptop sounds terrible...even with lossless files.

Odd, my laptop sounds great with (16-bit) lossless files and headphones straight from the onboard jack and certainly good enough for the work environment.

:oops: I'm getting myself needlessly confused here mate and probably trying to talk myself into buying something I dont actually need. You're right the majority of my music in iTune sounds fine via the Grado's and IE6's.....theres just a few tracks of poor download quality from iTunes which sound terrible. Its my laptop speakers which are rubbish :roll:

So that really answers that question and I should stick to downloading 16 bit - 24bit AIFF / WAV files to play in itunes and then also via the WDHD connected to the Squeebox Touch I will be buying at home. Then as NADS has suggested look at buying a better DAC for the Home System if I need it at a later date.

Thanks for all the advice guys and for shining a bit of light on everything :)
 
A

Anonymous

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Trefor Patten said:
FLAC and ALAC (Apple Lossless) are lossless compressed formats and in theory, when correctly decoded 'unpack' into the original file.
In practice too.
 

TALON1973

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Do you have a budget in mind mate ? might be able to offer a few suggestion then

quick fire offer ...whf 5 stars ..... furutech adl gt40 £400 rrp dac with built in headphone amp

not tried it myself
 

Jason36

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TALON1973 said:
Do you have a budget in mind mate ? might be able to offer a few suggestion then

Not really after any advice on the DAC at the moment so budget isnt really an issue...it was generally a question more geared to the Fubar IV Plus and the limit on data conversion via USB for this.

As it happens I had decided to leave the DAC for the time being and just use headphones out of the laptop, however I have had a NuForce uDAC2 offered to me for a silly price and have decided to get this, especially as it works up to 96KHz 24 Bit via USB :)

It's a nice size for my work desk and I believe they have an excellent Headphone out on it....as well as RCA and Optical outs if I decide to try it with my amplifie at home.
 

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