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A

Anonymous

Guest
DLD:Octopo:
Hi DLD,

I have a 5i which I have used with various DACs including Stello and my Benchmark and hope to try the Lavry soon as it is supposed to pair well with Naim. It is not possible to turn Naim stuff off via remote control by the way, they are designed to be left on all of the time. What speakers were you using the Nait/Supernait with?ÿ

Thanks for that. Yes I know Naim kit needs to be left on all the time but I can just tell the Harmony that it should never turn it off. But what I can't see is how to change the input on the DAC if I switch to radio for example. I had hoped that the DAC would some how auto-sense the input when I changed from streaming to radio but Russ Andrews said they don't work like that. It's not a deal breaker, but it would be nice. I emailed Benchmark and they said that the sales staff have been asking for a remote control for two years and the techies won't do it.Which DAC are you most impressed with? When I spoke to Russ Andrews yesterday and they said they've stopped doing the Stello DAC due to lack of demand! That really shocked me. With the dollar as it is I'm not sure it is a good time to buy from abroad so I'm curious how/where you trialled them? My speakers are KEF Reference. Quite old now and I can't remember the model number.

So far I've been most impressed with the Benchmark though I only tried the older Stello, Harmony and a selection of lower priced DACs. I'm quite keen to get my hands on the new DA100 Signature and the Lavry, the Stello sound is very similar to Benchmark though whereas the Lavry is supposed to have a little more 'soul' (as DACs go!) making it a better companion with Naim.ÿ

Stello now have a distributor in Britain so you can buy direct from them. They are Select Audio and can be contacted onÿselect.audio@tiscali.co.uk.

Pain in the rear end trying out new DACs. Good luck!ÿ
 

Tony_R

Well-known member
Oct 20, 2008
17
0
18,520
DLD: ......With most people saying go FLAC and Ashley saying not to, it becomes more complex.

Some people swear that power cables make a difference, some don't. What I have been trying to understand is what are the factors that influence computer audio. Only I can work out whether those factors make any difference to me but I can't find that out if I don't know what those factors are. I wasn't asking Catalyst to determine my choice of music or what car I should buy. But to use the analogy of buying a car, I can't decide whether or not ABS is of any importance to me if I've never heard of ABS!

DLD, I can't help thinking you answered your own question here. Surely the simple solution is to test some different ripping methods, listen to the results and make a decision based on what you hear. Isn't this how we have always chosen Hi-Fi equipment?

So many times, you hear wonderful things about item xyz, but then you listen to it for yourself and don't like.

I guess it comes back to the old saying "one man's meat is another man's poison"...
 

Tony_R

Well-known member
Oct 20, 2008
17
0
18,520
catalyst:
Lastly wireless was touched upon and, amongst other things, I design and deploy wireless data networks. These only give the (usually very effective) illusion of working flawlessly because they work quickly and generally can recover from errors and data loss before the effects are really noticeable. You'd be astonished at just what goes on behind the scenes. If the system is designed to accommodate the many shortcomings of the wireless medium it can be very effective but if not it can sound dire. I suspect that in general price will be a resonable indication of what you will get.

Surely this is down to the robustness of TCP/IP - many times I've moved a network patch whilst a user is actively using it (unknown to them) and there is usually no interuption to service (depending on switch config of course..)

And Catalyst, congratulations on bringing some sense (couldn't think of a better way to put it) to this thread, and reviving it.

Tony.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Tony_R:
DLD: ......With most people saying go FLAC and Ashley saying not to, it becomes more complex.

Some people swear that power cables make a difference, some don't. What I have been trying to understand is what are the factors that influence computer audio. Only I can work out whether those factors make any difference to me but I can't find that out if I don't know what those factors are. I wasn't asking Catalyst to determine my choice of music or what car I should buy. But to use the analogy of buying a car, I can't decide whether or not ABS is of any importance to me if I've never heard of ABS!

DLD, I can't help thinking you answered your own question here. Surely the simple solution is to test some different ripping methods, listen to the results and make a decision based on what you hear. Isn't this how we have always chosen Hi-Fi equipment?

So many times, you hear wonderful things about item xyz, but then you listen to it for yourself and don't like.

I guess it comes back to the old saying "one man's meat is another man's poison"...

Tony, I totally agree and that is exactly what I'm doing. Using the Fubar I'm reading about computer audio on the web and playing to see what works for me and what doesn't. I can rip and listen and see what sounds best. I then try on the iPod and see what I can hear the difference with. But on the forums there are loads of people who can answer the issues that don't make sense to me and have already tried more things than I have time for. For example, I've already found I don't much like iTunes but I do like Media Monkey. I only found Media Monkey because ComputerAudiophile talked about it in a blog. But if I base things on Linux Media then neither Media Monkey nor iTunes are players. I assume Linux users have found a way of handling their iPod's but as yet I haven't found it. It's only by the forums that I can work these things out.

Then I started reading about the higher format downloads from people like HDtracks and the process starts again. Can I hear any difference here. If I can't is that down to the equipment I'm using or my ears? One website also had an article about the differences between USB and digital connections and something like "if the media player supports 20bit playing over USB it sounds better than 16bit even though the music has just 16bits of info". At that my mind just blew a fuse and refused to work!

One of the questions I've asked here is how people manage TAG's. Most people seem to use EAC but Linn says to use Ripfactory because it will rip to multiple formats and handle TAG's in FLAC. I've still yet to try that and I hoped someone on the forum would have a view?

Lastly, I have a number of headphones both for the iPod's and the hifi. I see you just answered a question about headphone amps and like you I've not been too impressed with my Grado's. So I again use the Fubar (which has a headphone amp) and listen to what I rip on all my headphones to try and see what works best. Can I notice the difference in higher formats with the better headphones or does it make no difference. But it all takes a lot of time! I just don't want to rip all my CD's until I've decided what works for me.

What I can't experiment with, unless I pay serious money, is any impact that the amp/DAC/streamer may have. Depending on the streamer I choose can I play the formats I choose? Do I need to choose a streamer that can play the higher formats? These are much more difficult to work out.
 

Alec

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2007
478
0
18,890
DLD:Tony_R:
DLD: ......With most people saying go FLAC and Ashley saying not to, it becomes more complex.

Some people swear that power cables make a difference, some don't. What I have been trying to understand is what are the factors that influence computer audio. Only I can work out whether those factors make any difference to me but I can't find that out if I don't know what those factors are. I wasn't asking Catalyst to determine my choice of music or what car I should buy. But to use the analogy of buying a car, I can't decide whether or not ABS is of any importance to me if I've never heard of ABS!

DLD, I can't help thinking you answered your own question here. Surely the simple solution is to test some different ripping methods, listen to the results and make a decision based on what you hear. Isn't this how we have always chosen Hi-Fi equipment?

So many times, you hear wonderful things about item xyz, but then you listen to it for yourself and don't like.

I guess it comes back to the old saying "one man's meat is another man's poison"...

Tony, I totally agree and that is exactly what I'm doing. Using the Fubar I'm reading about computer audio on the web and playing to see what works for me and what doesn't. I can rip and listen and see what sounds best. I then try on the iPod and see what I can hear the difference with. But on the forums there are loads of people who can answer the issues that don't make sense to me and have already tried more things than I have time for. For example, I've already found I don't much like iTunes but I do like Media Monkey. I only found Media Monkey because ComputerAudiophile talked about it in a blog. But if I base things on Linux Media then neither Media Monkey nor iTunes are players. I assume Linux users have found a way of handling their iPod's but as yet I haven't found it. It's only by the forums that I can work these things out.

Then I started reading about the higher format downloads from people like HDtracks and the process starts again. Can I hear any difference here. If I can't is that down to the equipment I'm using or my ears? One website also had an article about the differences between USB and digital connections and something like "if the media player supports 20bit playing over USB it sounds better than 16bit even though the music has just 16bits of info". At that my mind just blew a fuse and refused to work!

One of the questions I've asked here is how people manage TAG's. Most people seem to use EAC but Linn says to use Ripfactory because it will rip to multiple formats and handle TAG's in FLAC. I've still yet to try that and I hoped someone on the forum would have a view?

Lastly, I have a number of headphones both for the iPod's and the hifi. I see you just answered a question about headphone amps and like you I've not been too impressed with my Grado's. So I again use the Fubar (which has a headphone amp) and listen to what I rip on all my headphones to try and see what works best. Can I notice the difference in higher formats with the better headphones or does it make no difference. But it all takes a lot of time! I just don't want to rip all my CD's until I've decided what works for me.

What I can't experiment with, unless I pay serious money, is any impact that the amp/DAC/streamer may have. Depending on the streamer I choose can I play the formats I choose? Do I need to choose a streamer that can play the higher formats? These are much more difficult to work out.

Ripfactory?

Is this software or do you mean that £600 server thing?

If its software, do you mean it can rip more than one format at a time, or just that it can rip multiple formats depending on which you select each time?

Apologies for the interuption.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Caution: First section is techy network stuff. May contain boredom.

TCP certainly does its thing and does it well but only at the IP level and for streaming it's quite common to use UDP which is better at dealing with real-time stuff by not doing any of the clever stuff that TCP does. TCP can detect a lost packet and request a re-transmit but UDP doesn't detect packet loss and just keeps sending, ignorant of whether the stuff is arriving or not. The reason for this is that there is an overhead in doing the error-detecting and correction stuff and re-sent stuff may arrive too late to be of use. Discarding the late data and having a few 10ths of a second of silence is generally preferable to playing the content late leading to notes in the wrong order.

There's a layer below the IP layer which tries to police access to the wireless network for the frames which carry the IP packets. Wireless is a shared medium and access to it is effectively a free-for-all and this needs some work done too. It's called CSMA/CA if you're an insomniac and want to go Google it! The wired world uses something similar called CSMA/CD. There is also some additional work being done on top of the TCP protocol with the the likes of de-jitter buffers to effectively reclock the signal. The gap between frames is random so this is necessary and because of the free-for-all nature of wireless you can't even assume that your frames are leaving the transmitter regularly.

When you repatch a user they will see no interruptions for file transfers etc as TCP can detect lost packets and request retransmits but if you were streaming real-time content like audio you will notice it if the audio buffers are shorter than the outage.

Getting back to the original point about a computer as a source: I agree that in theory a computer should be as good and potentially better than a CDP but I've not found so yet in my personal experience but that doesn't mean it isn't the case or can't be; indeed I reckon it's a safe bet to say that it will take over from physical media in due course. Currenty consumer computer-based audio is in its infancy and is at the enthusiast/hobbyist level mostly with a few companies having a go at producing ready-made systems or components such as the HDX or the AVIs. It's true that the media server folks are probably not doing anything an informed enthusiast couldn't do themselves but not everyone is a computer enthusiast and has the necessary skill and knowlege or time. Yes you can do it cheaper yourself but there's a reason for people spending £3 for a cup of coffee at a Starbucks which is convenience, consistency and quality and you get those when you buy a ready-made system. Yes you can build a music server cheaper than them but if you were to charge your labour, running costs and a profit margin you'd be starting to get on up there too. You're also paying for the trial and error i.e. they may have tried dozens of motherboards before they found the right one and all of that costs time and money. They also have to take into account consistency in supply. quality and support which an individial doesn't.
 

Tony_R

Well-known member
Oct 20, 2008
17
0
18,520
I thought this might be topical.

I came across a review of the Audio Analogue Primo CD player from a 2004 copy of another publication.

Here's a pic clearly showing that a computer CDROM drive has been used, which I found quite interesting..

EDIT: pic removed by mods.

I myself have toyed with the idea of purchasing one of these kits that basically provide you with a display and interface to practically any IDE CDROM, letting you use it as a cd player. Noise is not an issue, as the drive can be slowed down to 1x speed during playback. This is part of the ATAPI command set.

For those who don't know, ATAPI is an interface standard, for interfacing drives to computer hardware.

Tony.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
al7478:

Ripfactory?

Is this software or do you mean that £600 server thing?

If its software, do you mean it can rip more than one format at a time, or just that it can rip multiple formats depending on which you select each time?

Apologies for the interuption.
Ripfactory do little server boxes but there is also Ripstation Micro software. I've installed it but I haven't used it yet so I can't comment on how good it is, but yes it seems to rip to multiple formats at the same time. So it reads the disk and you can write files in WAV, MP3, WMA, and FLAC all at the same time. I can't remember where I read about it, but the article said it's a massive timesaver if you want to rip in say FLAC as your main format but also MP3 for a portable. The article also said that it writes TAG information into FLAC files which it said EAC doesn't. As my CD library is quite large and I have an iPod Classic 80GB, I was interested in the concept that I could rip once and output in FLAC for streaming but choose smaller file sizes for the iPod. I think I read about it in a review of one of the Linn network players as the article said Linn recommends it's use.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
"but there's a reason for people spending £3 for a cup of coffee at a Starbucks which is convenience, consistency and quality"

No! There's no reason for people to spend anything in Starbucks, unless you like bucket loads of milk or water with the barest hint of coffee flavouring.

I've lived in overseas for many years and have come to the conclusion that if you want good coffee, go to France, Italy or Australia in particular. There's a reason Starbucks had to pull out of Oz.

Other than that, an excellent post and a model of clarity.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
This is just an update on my testing for those who are interested. Sorry Mr E, I guess this topic is never going to end!!!!!!!!

For a while I've played with different music formats and different headphones via my Fubar III DAC/headphone amp. I was impressed with the sound of Internet Radio fed into a Cyrus 6VS/Quad 11L speakers. Maybe this was because I was used a very bad DAB signal, maybe it was because I was listening to american blues stations and there was loads of music I'd never heard before, maybe it was that the sound was not bad. I'm really not sure.

But when I listened to music I'd downloaded or ripped from CD I was less impressed. Strangely it all sounded OK on my iPod but lacking on the Fubar/headphones. This didn't make much sense. I read the posts on this and other forums. Lots of people were searching for DAC's for their main hifi's and were often unimpressed with the results. A few were also happy. But most people seem happy with their iPod's. You see people everyday using the standard iPod earbuds and even they seem happy! I thought maybe it all sounded OK because my earphones were not good enough to tell the difference, so I've ordered some Klipsch Image X10's following Clare's recommendation, and I'll see whether that changes things.

To me the computer music lacked soul but the iPod was OK. But then I suddenly realised that when I was listening to Internet Radio it was via the Cyrus but when I was listening to music it was via headphones (the Cyrus is currently being used in another system as a test). But I'd never tried my Sennheiser HD 600's. I was not at all impressed with these with my main amps so they've been in a cupboard. Today I tried them and the music has soul! The difference between lower resolution format's and higher is suddenly massive. I can't tell the difference between AIFF and FLAC but lower resolution MP3's are awful.

So I then tried the higher resolution formats from HDTracks and no difference between these and standard FLAC. It took a while but eventually the penny dropped! I'd never taken any notice but the Fubar is only a 16bit DAC and the higher format HDTracks are 24bit. For some reason in Media Monkey all these higher resolution tracks are also showing up twice in the track listing when there is only one file for each. If anyone know's why this is I'd love to know?

I'm not sure what to make of all this except that the Fubar is obviously driving the Sennheiser HD 600's better than my Arcam, Linn or Pioneer A400 amp's can do. By comparison my Grado's don't even sound like they can be bothered to get out of bed! Jake Hughes was clearly impressed with how his Project HeadBox II improved his HD 600's and now I can see why. Also when I get a DAC for the main system I obviously need to make sure it is 24bit if I want higher than CD quality.

If anyone has any thoughts on this, or recommendations, I'd love to know.
 

Tony_R

Well-known member
Oct 20, 2008
17
0
18,520
DLD, you might want to read this article - it's extremely interesting.

You may find some of it technically heavy going, but this is some easy reading there to - honestly!

And judging by the rest of the site - this guy knows what he's talking about...

Tony.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
598
67
18,970
Grimaldi, check this response from Wadia wrt 170i Transport (I've removed my email address and real name to keep my anonymity):

Dear Mr. <manicm>,

Thank you for your interest in the Wadia 170iTransport.

The answer to both questions is YES. Both functions are bypassed, but so is the track leveler feature that helps balance volume levels of different tracks.

Please feel free to contact Wadia if you have any other questions or comments.

Thank you,

Brent Sitterley

Customer Support

Wadia Digital www.wadia.com

1556 Woodland Dr.

Saline, MI 48176

734.786.9611 x110

This is an e-mail from Wadia Digital. It is for the intended recipient only and may contain confidential and privileged information. No one else may read, print, store, copy, forward or act in reliance on it or its attachments. If you are not the intended recipient, please return this message to the sender and delete the message and any attachments from your computer. Your cooperation is appreciated.

From: <manicm>
Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2009 4:32 PM
To: sales@wadia.com
Subject: Wadia 170i Transport

Hi

I just wanted to confirm that when using the default digital output of the 170i that

1. The iPod's equalisation settings are bypassed?

2. The iPod's volume control is bypassed?

Regards

<manicm>
 

Alec

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2007
478
0
18,890
DLD:al7478:

Ripfactory?

Is this software or do you mean that £600 server thing?

If its software, do you mean it can rip more than one format at a time, or just that it can rip multiple formats depending on which you select each time?

Apologies for the interuption.
The article also said that it writes TAG information into FLAC files which it said EAC doesn't.

Thanks for that, sounds like it may be just teh thing if th earticle is right. i have minor doubts however, as the article was wrong on teh above - you can tag in EAC.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Manicm thanks for your reply re the Wadia. Whats interesting is that what I had posted earlier came from users of the Wadia and the comments they themselves made which clearly said that the DSP was not bypassed.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
al7478:Anyone know of other rippers that can rip to 2 different formats at a time...?

I know that a "RipStation" will rip to FLAC and MP3 at the same time, to give different libraries for portables and home HiFi, therefore I'd look at their standalone software to see if it has the feature too.

Failing that it's easy enough to rip losslessly and then get a batch convertor to make MP3 copies. dbPowerAmp works well, but even iTunes can convert files quickly: if you right-click on the track that you wish to convert it will give you the option to make a copy at whatever format the ripping settings are at.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
598
67
18,970
Grimaldi:Manicm thanks for your reply re the Wadia. Whats interesting is that what I had posted earlier came from users of the Wadia and the comments they themselves made which clearly said that the DSP was not bypassed.

I can only guess that they were using the analogue output? If digital then something would be very wrong...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Nah it was the digital. Lots of the guys had the wadia and bought it to use the digital out.

The DSP is not the dac, the output signal was still digital and with the eq set to off on the ipod would not alter the sound.
 

Alec

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2007
478
0
18,890
Eddie Pound:
al7478:Anyone know of other rippers that can rip to 2 different formats at a time...?

I know that a "RipStation" will rip to FLAC and MP3 at the same time, to give different libraries for portables and home HiFi, therefore I'd look at their standalone software to see if it has the feature too.

Failing that it's easy enough to rip losslessly and then get a batch convertor to make MP3 copies. dbPowerAmp works well, but even iTunes can convert files quickly: if you right-click on the track that you wish to convert it will give you the option to make a copy at whatever format the ripping settings are at.

Thanks.
 

mikeinbrum

New member
Oct 22, 2008
28
0
0
Sorry to drag this monster of a thread up again, but thought I'd let anyone that was interested know the results of my hunt to improve my FLAC based audio!I have settled on 2 options, both of which I will be trying out over the next week or so.

1) AVI ADM9.1- I'm trying to audition these in a shop near my office but they've been out on loan since the beginning of the month and aren't due back in shop until february! Have to say that seems like an extremely generous evaluation period! Maybe I'll take them for a month too!

2) Bel Canto e.one Dac 3 & S300 power amp- Everyone who has heard this combination of kit that i have spoken to has raved about it, so I want to see what all the fuss is about. I have the boxes coming in a week or so and have to admit I'm very excited about the pair. I think they'll go pretty well with my existing EPOS M16 speakers too (although I suspect the Bel Cantos my make my M16's the poor relation). I'm a bit worried that these two little boxes won't be able to meet my expectations now they've been built up so high!ÿ

I'll let you know what I think as I evaluate the 2!ÿ
 

the_dude2

New member
Aug 25, 2007
12
0
0
Hey mikeinbrum, im very curious as to what you found after testing the 2 options. Do you hvae anything to report back?
 

mikeinbrum

New member
Oct 22, 2008
28
0
0
Hi! Sure. Well, I ended up with the Bel Canto options... but instead of the S300 I went with a pair of M300 monoblocs (mainly because I was offered a nice discount on them that made them the same price as an S300). I did try to get to audition the ADM9.1s but of the 3 dealers I tried, one was out of business, one had their demo units out on an extended loan, and the third had sold their demo pair to a non-UK national who wanted to travel back with his purchase.

I got bored at work one morning and wrote my view which appears here http://whathifi.com/forums/t/210006.aspx

so that was a bit of a downer.....but..... I have rekindled my interest in the ADM9.1s now as I have just refitted my study into a 'boys room' with telly on the wall and PS3 etc. Who needs an office at home when you've got one at work eh?? I'm going to get to a dealer in London that Ashley has told me has now definitely got stock to test!

As for abandoning my CD player..... No regrets. I've kept all my CDs in storage in the loft as I can't bring myself to part with them.... but downstairs all of a sudden I've got a lot more room.....changing music is so easy, I can stream it to the study, bedroom or kitchen, and the sound quality is leaps and bounds ahead of what I had before (mind you the Bel Canto gear is certainly NOT price comparable with the ARCAM kit I had before so I would have expected a performance jump..... but the scale of the improvement iss to my mind much bigger than the price differential would suggest)

Hope this helps? What options are you considering at the moment?
 

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