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Old 23rd August 2005, 12:26 AM   #31
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Last night I ordered an M-Audio 2496 pci sound card which provides unresampled spdif output as well as 24 bit 96kHz codecs so I will see how that goes...

Still waiting on the Asus AV/S and am beginning to think it will be on perpetual back order.. Still I wanted to give the onboard video a try before investing in a more expensive AGP card. If it is anything like the audio on this motherboard it will just miss the target by a smidge..

I will hold off on purchasing Sage until the time I have the hardware..

Kevin
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Old 28th August 2005, 10:21 PM   #32
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Well after a week of horrors with the Audiophile 2496 I am finally able to output a clean, unprocessed pcm stream via spdif which when HDCD encoded plays back in HDCD..

Using ASIO go to the player plugin and offset the output channels from "0" to "2" this selects the Audiophile's WavOut S/PDIF output channel.

Simply go to the Patchbay/Router panel and under HW Out S/PDIF select WavOut S/PDIF, that's it..

If successful you will see the mixer/monitor WavOut S/PDIF meters indicating signal level.

Don't use the mixer to send signals to spdif as although very good 32 bit hardware it did damage the pcm stream enough to cause erratic HDCD mode detection in my external DAC.

No one at M-Audio could tell me this, I had to figure it out on my own.

I won'y go into the various suggestions made, but I did forward essentially the same information to them.

Incidentally I am now using QCD which to my knowledge is the only player that advertises the fact that it has ASIO support. The plugin can be downloaded right from their site and installs automatically. I have always loved this player and hesitated to use it due to my uncertainty as to whether it supported FLAC (it does) and ASIO (it does.)

The Haupauge TV tuner is installed, all the stands in the way of using it is my inability to get the ASUS AV/S I need to output S-video from my mobo. The onboard video is very good for movie playback on my LCD monitor so I don't want another video card, just the adaptor..

Kevin
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Old 2nd September 2005, 05:34 PM   #33
amo is offline amo  United States
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Very nice work guys. Quick question: Can someone describe the process or the path of data from the CD to the hard drive when ripping music? For example: “the drive reads the CD, applying C1/C2 (and other) error detection. Data arrives through the IDE bus and is stored in general memory allocated to the software which is ripping the CD. The software then writes the data to file on the hard drive.” What I am looking for here is the details of what happens to the data between the CD drive and the memory. Also, is the description above even correct? I am trying to understand if this is a strict data-only transaction, or if the CD drive produces music, and the software converts the music to data, and if this is the case, then how is this done? Can there be up-sampling, etc… Does all this happen in the CD drive, or does the conversion happen in the software? Thanks for your help.
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Old 7th September 2005, 09:33 PM   #34
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Someone on Hydrogenaudio should be able to explain the process a lot more accurately than I can, or the process may already be described in a FAQ there. I would best leave it to one of the experts at Hydrogenaudio to describe in detail.

Note however that the data on the disk is not converted to analog. Everything is done in the digital domain. Drives that will play audio cd's have some hardware decoding/error correction supporting circ (cross-interleaved reed solomon code) and output a decoded serial data stream which is then written to the hard drive usually by a dma transaction. Some ripping software like EAC will tell the drive to continue to read until valid data is read and can be verified. This is about the level of my knowledge.. LOL

I can tell you from experience that sound quality can be comparable/equal to a very good cd transport with the right software and hardware.

Kevin

Edited, removed some descriptive information that might be more accurately described elsewhere.
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Old 7th September 2005, 11:26 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally posted by amo
Very nice work guys. Quick question: Can someone describe the process or the path of data from the CD to the hard drive when ripping music? For example: “the drive reads the CD, applying C1/C2 (and other) error detection. Data arrives through the IDE bus and is stored in general memory allocated to the software which is ripping the CD. The software then writes the data to file on the hard drive.” What I am looking for here is the details of what happens to the data between the CD drive and the memory. Also, is the description above even correct? I am trying to understand if this is a strict data-only transaction, or if the CD drive produces music, and the software converts the music to data, and if this is the case, then how is this done? Can there be up-sampling, etc… Does all this happen in the CD drive, or does the conversion happen in the software? Thanks for your help.

The most detailed information on reading data off the disc is in the INF/MMC/ATAPI specs but they are a pretty dense read and only cover getting data off the disc and onto the bus. For a less dense but informative article see here.
http://www.xiph.org/paranoia/faq.html#play
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Old 8th September 2005, 07:19 PM   #36
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Hi RFBRW,
very useful link, I spent some time reading it, answered a couple of questions lurking in the back of my mind.

Kevin
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Old 8th September 2005, 07:40 PM   #37
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I finally suceeded in getting the AV/S adaptor I need for my mother board. I expect it will arrive sometime next week and I will install it then.

I plan to use SAGe for the PVR function and judging from the amount of space I have already used storing CDs in flac format I will probably need to add another HD shortly. I recommend using a larger drive than the 80MB drive I am using particularly if the media server is to be used for more than music serving.

In the meantime I have suceeded in getting the system sound output via spdif and all other sources (except video player) output their audio via spdif.

Another comment I ran into frequently was that I did not need as much computational power as this machine has, however I have not found this to be true. I frequently rip and encode to flac while listening to music as I don't have time to do them independently. I have set ASIO thread priority to "time critical" and the player is set to the highest resource priority setting as well to avoid interruptions in the sound while other processing is occuring. Note that even with the Athlon XP 2600 flac encoding a single disk while playing music can take more than 5 minutes. No encoding errors have occured so far, so this is the way I maximize my time/value trade off... LOL

Incidentally to avoid ground loops the output of the 2496 is connected to a spdif transformer before being fed into the dac. To increase common mode noise rejection there is also a coilcraft cm choke between the pc and that spdif transformer.

I hope to be able to use the analog inputs to rip lps to the HD at some point as well, however this is a low priority at the moment.

I will eventually build an external 2496 dac using the crystal CS8416 spdif receiver and the bb pcm1798 dac. Plan is to use this with sample rate conversion to 96K for conventional pcm file playback and use the ultralink primarily for HDCD playback.

Once I get the AV/S installed I will provide further updates of progress if any...

Kevin
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Old 9th September 2005, 04:01 AM   #38
amo is offline amo  United States
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Thanks for the links guys, still trying to go through all the information...

Kevin- It would be great if you could go into some more detail about your spdif transformer and your coilcraft cm choke, if possible. It is interesting to see serious engineering applied to PC based audio, which I believe to have much more potential then many people would like to admit, even on this site. And I agree with what you said earlier about the PC capable of being as good as a high-end transport. I really do not understand why high-end designers are not using memory-caching mechanisms to combat jitter... And let's face it, no high-end, overbuilt, 80 lb transport (as beautiful as they are) can do anything for a gigantic CD collection if you expect to access the music with speed and precision that current technology alows. Library management is a feature that can no longer be ignored by high-end components.

Video seems to be just a little bit different, i think. First, if you are watching something, you usually do not need to change the media every 5 minutes as you would with music. At the same time, the existence of some very good DVD carousels that provide on-screen library management makes the issue easier to deal with... But with hard drive space hitting such a low price, there is no reason not to add video to the mix as wel.
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Old 9th September 2005, 09:06 AM   #39
rbroer is offline rbroer  Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally posted by amo
And let's face it, no high-end, overbuilt, 80 lb transport (as beautiful as they are) can do anything for a gigantic CD collection if you expect to access the music with speed and precision that current technology alows. Library management is a feature that can no longer be ignored by high-end components.
I totally agree, that's why I bought a mediaplayer here:
http://www.hifidelio.net
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Old 9th September 2005, 04:37 PM   #40
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I will dig up the information on the coilcraft cm choke and the spdif transformer (which came from Digikey) and post it here when I get a moment. I am not sure it is doing anything demonstrably audible, but it does break the ground loop that would otherwise exist between the server and the hifi system.

The highfidelio is available here now, but I can't find information on the importer on the hermstedt website, nor can I find it on google.

I deleted the email with the information as I had already started to build my server by the time they responded.

I am planning to use the server to record tv programs for later viewing and to infrequently download tv programs that I missed and that are now commonly available on p2p networks.

Kevin
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