advice on playing hd tracks

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Hi all . i haven't done this much so bear with me and thanks in advance, I have a rotel 930 amp and want to start downloading hd tracks and playing them , how do they get from the computer to the amp at opposite ends of the house and are dacs neccesary for everything nowadays it used to be just cd player - amp - speakers im finding it quite confusing all the options , ihave itunes and pod but want better . ps sold my cds .
 
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Anonymous

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Ouch. So many option possible... Actualy that is probably your biggest challenge. Found out what suit you best technicaly and also sonicaly to your taste and to your budget.

At some point, for sure you need a DAC. The data is digital in your system and needs to be analog at the end. Today all computer have DAC included, but usualy not good enough to take advantage of HD audio files.

Off the bat I would say that if you can't conect by wire your PC to a DAC (if not already using PC DAC) then to your amp, you will need to stream wirelessly. Logitech Squeezebox Touch is suppose to be cheap and very good. (Well in a blind group test it was choice number one over other 4 time more expensive)

You could buy a NAS to connect to a DAC then Amp (some NAS have UPnP included).

Personnaly I have learn a lot by reading previous post. And http://www.computeraudiophile.com/ helped me to.

Just take your time. Again their are many possibilities, as you learn you will define your own goal.http://www.logitech.com/speakers-audio/wireless-music-systems/devices/5745
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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The simple answer is to buy a Squeezebox Touch, install squeezebox server on your PC and leave your PC running when you want to listen to music.

The complicated answer is, well, complicated, and depends somewhat on how much you want to spend, how you want to control it, whether you want to untether it from your PC etc.
 

paradiziac

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So many ways to do it, I'd also recommend a Squeezebox touch (SBT). You can pick them up new for about £150 if you wait for the online offers that appear from time to time. You install software on your PC and then the SBT streams the music files on your computer to your hifi. You can start by using the built-in DAC in the SBT direct to your amp. Then later if you decide to upgrade your system you can maybe add a better DAC (though you'd have to spend quite a lot to beat the one in the SBT).

The other way, if you don't mind changing your amp, is to get one of the new all-in-one products like the Onkyo that's the subject of the record-breaking thread on this forum. These just connect into your home network and you hook your speakers and you're away...you have a remote for everything, no fiddling. I'm sure you could get a lot of advice on these products from other people.

I wouldn't bother with "hi-res" or "HD" tracks, you won't notice any improvement over the CD-quality. If you want a better sound it's simple, you have to spend more on your amp, speakers and streamer/dac. Just make sure your music files are in a lossless format like Apple Lossless or at least high-bit rate mp3 files at 192kb/s or above (128 is clearly inferior and was the default setting in iTunes last time I checked--adjust this in iTunes settings).

Good luck!
 

SteveR750

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paradiziac said:
I wouldn't bother with "hi-res" or "HD" tracks, you won't notice any improvement over the CD-quality.

Good luck!
Just to balance this out, my experience is different. Some (though not all) hi res tracks do sound much better than the original CD version, at least 24/96 does compared to 16/44.1 I haven't tried anything at a higher sample rate. As ever, try a couple, they are after all only around £12
 

paradiziac

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SteveR750 said:
paradiziac said:
I wouldn't bother with "hi-res" or "HD" tracks, you won't notice any improvement over the CD-quality.

Good luck!
Just to balance this out, my experience is different. Some (though not all) hi res tracks do sound much better than the original CD version, at least 24/96 does compared to 16/44.1 I haven't tried anything at a higher sample rate. As ever, try a couple, they are after all only around £12
Fair point Steve, but I was trying to keep things simple and relevant within the context of the OP's system and knowledge.

I don't doubt a well-mastered 24/96 track sounds better than a badly mastered 16/44 track, in the same way that a badly mastered CD sounds worse than badly mastered vinyl, and vice versa.

Problem is, as a consumer, some sites don't tell you if the master is different or not. In fact, often it isn't. £12 might not sound much but it's a lot to pay if you already own the CD and the 24/96 file is the exact same file just upsampled.

Funny thing is, the upsampled file might still sound better on your DAC (I've experienced this) so in a simplistic way you convince yourself that "hi-res sounds better" and you part with your cash. Only if you upsample your CDs and realize that the increased quality you hear is just a peculiarlity of how your particular DAC performs better with 24/96 than 16/44 (some DACs do, some don't), would you realize that UNLESS THE MASTER IS DIFFERENT, 24/96 is yet another big fat record industry/hi-fi industry RIP OFF.

Mass ignorance is the only way the unscrupulous ones can get away with it and if a single person reads this and is sufficiently curious to go off and research for themselves I'll be happy.
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks , have to be honest here uploaded ac/dc whole lotta rosie on itunes at 128 and wav and couldnt here any difference using grado sr80 , there is always a miising step with computers you dont know about .
 

paradiziac

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Most people would notice a difference between mp3 @128 v wav, but it depends on the track, the system and your ears.

160 can be borderline, personally I can pick it in a blind test but whenever I've done a proper test I struggle with 192 and above.

That's kind of why I advised you not to worry about hi-res/HD -- if you can't hear much difference between mp3 at 128kbps and wav, you'd really struggle with 16/44 CD quality wav and 24/94 wav.

But not to worry, enjoying the music is what counts.
 

SteveR750

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Some DACs (the damagic plus does) automaticaly upsamples all audio in any case. I've not been able to compare an upsampled CDA track to the original so cant comment, unless one of the hi res tracks is just that, but I don't have many (just one) albums in both CDA and HD.
 

daveg56

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John Duncan said:
The simple answer is to buy a Squeezebox Touch, install squeezebox server on your PC and leave your PC running when you want to listen to music. The complicated answer is, well, complicated, and depends somewhat on how much you want to spend, how you want to control it, whether you want to untether it from your PC etc.
I also agree that this is a really cost effective way to get into HD and the streaming world. I am running the server on my laptop which connects wirelessly to the SBT. Am currently converting my CD library to lossless FLAC. Next step will be to invest in a NAS for storage, so not having to have a PC on. Though I use a DAC, to my ear there is little discernable difference between that and the SBT analogue output. I paid £135 for my SBT when it was offer in early December, superb value. Good luck!
 
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Anonymous

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Hi , my itunes some are 128 most are 256 , downloaded a track from hd tracks , ripped the same one on lossless then 256 and i cant hear any difference , so thanks for the help cause i thought i was losing it .
 

paradiziac

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:) cool -- enjoy the music, stay away from low bitrate mp3s and you can't go wrong unless you have really expensive gear and golden ears, and even then it's proabably all in the mind.

Just found this article casting serious doubts on some of this HD music:

http://www.itrax.com/Pages/ArticleDetails.php?aID=32

It's pretty easy to test for yourself. Download a 24/96 track. Using a software resampler like Audacity (or SoX which is better quality), downsample the track to 16/44 and then upsample back to 24/96. Compare the 2 files. Only the first file is "hi-res" because once you downsample you can't recover the data by re-upsampling.

I've done it and could hear no difference, neither could the subjects in a double blind trial in a well known experiement by Brad Meyer and David Moran.
 
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Anonymous

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paradiziac said:
It's pretty easy to test for yourself. Download a 24/96 track. Using a software resampler like Audacity (or SoX which is better quality), downsample the track to 16/44 and then upsample back to 24/96. Compare the 2 files. Only the first file is "hi-res" because once you downsample you can't recover the data by re-upsampling.

I've done it and could hear no difference, neither could the subjects in a double blind trial in a well known experiement by Brad Meyer and David Moran.
+1 on that.

It can still be fun to talk about it and have friendly fights, but at the end of the day no matter if it's true or not that hi res files, cables, PC player, upsampling, etc, are making differences. Just test and see if does sound better to you or not.

No matter if it's in our mind or real as long as we enjoy music! :grin:
 

paradiziac

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mrox said:
Talk about it and have friendly fights, but at the end of the day no matter if it's true or not that hi res files, cables, PC player, upsampling, etc, are making differences. Just test and see if does sound better to you or not.

No matter if it's in our mind or real as long as we enjoy music! :grin:
I agree with most of that, I think people are free to spend on whatever they choose if they think they hear a difference and the cost is worthwhile to that person.

But I draw the line at hi-res files that are being sold fraudulently.

It's not a matter of if I think I can personally hear a difference on my gear, in fact I CAN hear an improvement with "hi-res" files, but that's simply because my DAC does a better job on 24/96 than 16/44. I can get exactly the same effect by software upsampling prior to the DAC's own upsampling...which is just what HD Tracks appear to have done on at least some occasions.

To be clear, I'm not against hi-res per se in cases where the master is superior to the 16 bit version. Just the misleading advertising...
 

SteveR750

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All well and good advice, but hearing is in the mind.

Paradiziac said:
I've done it and could hear no difference, neither could the subjects in a double blind trial in a well known experiement by Brad Meyer and David Moran.
You'll be suggesting next that a £250 receiver with every conceivable trick also sounds better than most things costing 4/5 times as much! ;)
 

paradiziac

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SteveR750 said:
All well and good advice, but hearing is in the mind.
With respect, I'm not talking about hearing a difference or not.

I'm talking about the simple fact that some, by no means all, of the "hi-res" on sale is nothing more than upsampled 16/44. That is a pure scam, whether it sounds better or not is irrelevant.

If people really don't care, I think I'm going to start a business where you send me your mp3s or 16/44 lossless and I convert them to "hi-res" for £5 a pop. I guarantee they will sound better on your system or your money back. I bet at least 75% of people would hear clear improvements. So half the price of HD Tracks to you and I'd make a nice living. Though if you watched me you'd see that all I was doing was a simple software sample rate conversion using freely available software--wouldn't you feel a bit cheated?

Any takers? ;)
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[/quote]

I think I'm going to start a business where you send me your mp3s or 16/44 lossless and I convert them to "hi-res" for £5 a pop. I guarantee they will sound better on your system or your money back. I bet at least 75% of people would hear clear improvements. So half the price of HD Tracks to you and I'd make a nice living. Though if you watched me you'd see that all I was doing was a simple software sample rate conversion using freely available software--wouldn't you feel a bit cheated?

Any takers? ;)

[/quote]

TRIG: "Alright Del-boy? Heard you talking to Dave and Denzil just now and I want a bit of that. I've got 4000 tracks on my iMup that you sold me, and they've never sounded very good on it come to think of it. When can you do them for me? I want them as good as it gets though so how about a tenner a pop for 24/192............ it's mainly Chas & Dave which I've copied over and over again to try and find one that sounds better, does that matter....?"

DEL: "You know it makes sense Trig, listen, I can do you a cracking deal on audiophile grade cotton buds as well if you want, for a mere 50p extra per track........................."

:grin: Not having a pop you understand, will definitely make up my own mind in due course but I think SteveR said it all when he posted elsewhere that he thinks some are just upsampled and all agree the master source file quality is key.
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
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paradiziac said:
SteveR750 said:
All well and good advice, but hearing is in the mind.
With respect, I'm not talking about hearing a difference or not.

I'm talking about the simple fact that some, by no means all, of the "hi-res" on sale is nothing more than upsampled 16/44. That is a pure scam, whether it sounds better or not is irrelevant.

If people really don't care, I think I'm going to start a business where you send me your mp3s or 16/44 lossless and I convert them to "hi-res" for £5 a pop. I guarantee they will sound better on your system or your money back. I bet at least 75% of people would hear clear improvements. So half the price of HD Tracks to you and I'd make a nice living. Though if you watched me you'd see that all I was doing was a simple software sample rate conversion using freely available software--wouldn't you feel a bit cheated?

Any takers? ;)
You sir, are the Emporer's tailor ;)
 

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