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Old 31st May 2007, 10:24 PM   #71
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I recently installed the latest version of Apple iTunes (V7.2) in order to be able to download the latest episodes of BattleStar Galactica which I missed during the season. Surprisingly, perhaps for the first time the upgrade went smoothly, and no video or audio settings needed to be changed after the upgrade.

An added bonus is that the latest episodes have much better video quality than the first two seasons, but the files are roughly twice as large. There are still occasional discontinuities in scenes where panning is frequently used, but overall the quantization noise levels are much lower, particularly noticeable in low light scenes. The audio is not great, which is a shame as the off air recordings in SageTV have very good audio, and the picture quality is very good too. (3.2GB/HR)

I recently upgraded to SageTV 6 and there seem to be considerable improvements here too over v5.. Again no settings were lost, and the program loads much faster than before. The addition of features like burn to dvd are welcome additions. Overall seems more stable.

I am using the Zhaolu dac with the media server when I am not using my turntable. The media player is still the J River Media Player V11.1, however I am thinking of upgrading to v12 as there are still some stability issues with this version.

I am also going to add additional memory, (upgrade to 1GB) and add external USB2 HD. The biggest lesson is you can never have too much hard drive capacity.. Were I to do it again, (and I will be eventually) I would use a minimum of 250GB for the primary drive, and possibly go to the pain of using Linux.
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Old 12th August 2007, 12:10 AM   #72
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Latest update in this long and dull saga.. Upgraded to JRiver Media Center 12 which surprisingly was not a very smooth process.

None of the media files ripped with MC11 were recognized because there is no m3u file associated with any of them - so I used an m3u editor to add the index file which allowed me to play those files. (15Gb and still a lot of files to be done.)

Installing the flac decoder was a cinch, installing the encoder for ripping was a problem - none of the recent encoders worked and I ended up installing the oldest version for MC12. (I'm not sure that I don't need to upgrade some of the windows media player components as MC12 does seem to run on top of IE and perhaps uses other Microsoft libraries.)

Streamzap remote still works poorly with media center. I wish someone would write a plugin for it.

Have added a 160GB external USB drive for backup of media files, my current library, all flac encoded takes up 50GB of space.

Note that you can get high bit depth/sample rate music online from Linn - up to 24 bit/96kHz FLAC, but it's not cheap. I'm going to try it once I identify something I would like to pay for..


Czech Radio now has Brandenburg Concertos in flac format that you can download, about 490MB in total here:

http://www.rozhlas.cz/d-dur/download_eng
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Old 12th August 2007, 12:46 AM   #73
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Default few good examples

here are a few good examples



AmPC

Blue Plate

WIN XP
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Old 12th August 2007, 06:26 PM   #74
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Cool, I used a quiet case from Antec which has worked out pretty well.
Adding the second hard drive did raise the noise levels significantly, but at some point I am going to replace both with a larger single drive. Currently I have 250GB and an 80GB internally and a 160GB externally on USB2. Next machine will support esata as well. I currently (sometimes concurrently) use this server to record cable tv programs as well as serve audio, it supports separate concurrent audio streams as well as video..

Other than the small headaches here and there I would never go back to a conventional cd player.
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Old 20th November 2007, 11:59 PM   #75
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Wink New iPods/JRiver Media Center

Well I thought I would provide an update as to what I am currently doing with my media server which continues to evolve.

I got rid of the PS Audio Ultralink II and replaced it with a slightly modified Zhaolu 2.5A dac. I am using the coaxial spdif interface as before. Now I can support 24 bit, 96kHz audio.

I am currently using the latest version of J. River Media Center 12.0.375 which supports the latest iPods and the new database format introduced with iTunes 7.5.

I have one of the new iPod Classic 160GB models which is still somewhat buggy. (You might want to hold off until the next firmware update before buying one of these. If you are curious look at my iPod thread.)

J River Media Center sounds far better playing AAC and Apple Lossless music off of the iPod than the current version of iTunes does, although the drm module, and the AAC codec are shared, compared with iTunes there are other differences in the audio processing - and it's not subtle.

In purely subjective terms AAC at 128K is nowhere close to the original source material, 320K sounds very good through headphones, and acceptable through speakers, Apple Lossless is better still, however I find FLAC sounds much better still. (Not that I ever seriously contemplated switching to something other than FLAC.)

I've also been downloading 24bit 96K flac encoded pcm from Linn, and while it sounds very good the musical selection is rather limited. I'd love to see someone provide 2496 with a library of more popular material..

Naxos offers downloads in several formats as well. Something I am going to check out soon.
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Old 21st November 2007, 01:59 AM   #76
Ipanema is offline Ipanema  Malaysia
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Guys,

Does anyone have experience in using NAS as music server?

Thanks.
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Old 21st November 2007, 02:06 AM   #77
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i cant think of any nas servers with built in audio facilitys off the top of my head.

i'm running a 566 celeron with Gentoo linux installed and MDP for music play pack
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Old 21st November 2007, 01:32 PM   #78
rossl is offline rossl  United States
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Hi Kevin,

have you tried the HDCD decoder?

A thread on the decoder:
http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=129136

download the latest version:
http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~cjk32/hdcd/
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Old 21st November 2007, 02:36 PM   #79
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Hi Rossi,
Yes I have the decoder, just haven't had much time to do anything with it. Frankly the Zhaolu sounded so much better even without HDCD decoding (on 16 bit pcm and 20bit HDCD) than the dac it replaced that I have not been very motivated to convert these files to 20bit format. One of these days I will convert a few.

I guess in the converter world the march of time has made old dacs a questionable value compared to a lot of very inexpensive new dacs using more modern chip sets. The difference isn't all that subtle.
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Old 25th June 2008, 04:29 PM   #80
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by kevinkr
Hi Rossi,
Yes I have the decoder, just haven't had much time to do anything with it. Frankly the Zhaolu sounded so much better even without HDCD decoding (on 16 bit pcm and 20bit HDCD) than the dac it replaced that I have not been very motivated to convert these files to 20bit format. One of these days I will convert a few.

I guess in the converter world the march of time has made old dacs a questionable value compared to a lot of very inexpensive new dacs using more modern chip sets. The difference isn't all that subtle.
The Zhaolu got replaced a couple of months ago with a dac loosely based on TPA modules. The TPA stuff is good - in fact way better sounding than the modified Zhaolu 2.5A particularly at higher bit rates. I bought a built up receiver and blank cod dac, and IVY boards. I am using PCM1798 in mono mode, and a heavily modifed IVY driving transformers for I/V conversion. (The transformers do balanced to unbalanced conversion and work a treat.. ) Power supplies are custom design.

I still have not converted any HDCD to 20 bit format.. Oops...

Server keeps chugging along.. Only recent upgrade is 1GB of ram.
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