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Old 14th December 2011, 02:02 AM   #1
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Default Help: Fast tracking knowledge of digital audio

Hello All,

After completing my Electrostatic Speakers i mow hear EVERYTHING differently. I now am focusing on the quality of my electronic media i.e., mp3/AIIF/FLAC files.

I have been playing music through my laptop's audio output, and although seems to be a good as the recording, I can now can understand the realized benefits that either a good sound card or DAC usb converter could possible provide....and that where it gets a bit overwhelming and the confusion comes in....

Like Tommy Lee Jones said...I really "don't want to by the white album again". If I understand, the SACD is one of the best factory recordings one can buy, but I understand it can not be copied/ripped onto my computer, and a computer can not play this format in 24/96k? and I really don't want to purchase a SACD player or disc...

And although 24/96k resolution is available in high quality sound cards, I could only benefit its use by making a high quality FLAC or AIIF recording.

I would ultimately would like to build or buy a media server and there seems to be a plethora of information in this regard also, I am also open to either MAC or PC.

Suggestions?


Thanks in advance,
Doc
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Old 14th December 2011, 04:14 AM   #2
boris81 is offline boris81  United States
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There's a famous study showing that people can't tell the difference between 16/44.1 and a high-resolution recording.
http://drewdaniels.com/audible.pdf

I made the choice to stick with a CD-quality system until high resolution recordings become mainstream and there are better implementations of 24/96 audio for USB.
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Old 15th December 2011, 07:31 AM   #3
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Great read Boris.......Thanx! I've been spreading the word without this report on deaf ears for quite some time now.
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Old 24th December 2011, 03:05 AM   #4
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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Consider creating discs that are compatible with DVD or Blu-ray players. All DVD players should handle 16 or 24 bit, 48 or 96k PCM audio, stored on "Audio DVD" which is essentially a video with a still picture or blank screen. "Audio DVD Creator" is the easiest software to use. You may be able to get the same result by authoring a slideshow DVD with software you already have. Nero's slideshow creator ought to work; set the slideshow duration to match the audio file, and tell it to keep it as PCM. "GUI for dvdauthor/MuxMan" (GFD) GUI for dvdauthor/MuxMan (Version 1.07) claims to create audio-only DVDs. Not sure which kind, but it's free.

DVD-Audio is much more flexible when it comes to audio formats, but only a minority of DVD players support it (sometimes it's an undocumented feature). Best for creating anthologies of CDs since it supports 16/44.1

Blu-ray audio is similar to regular DVD but better: PCM can be 16/20/24, 48/96/192. There's also lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, but creating those won't be as straightforward and compatibility isn't guaranteed on all players. BD5 ought to support the full range of BD audio, but is an unofficial format. AVCHD or AVCREC are officially supported on DVD media, but with a subset of audio... maybe no better than 1.5 Mbit/s for two channels. Maybe the best idea is "Pure Audio", http://www.pureaudio-bluray.com/ since they came up with a menu that doesn't depend on having a display connected to the Blu-ray player, and it doesn't require any extension to the Blu-ray standard.

MultiAVCHD must be capable of creating audio discs. Figuring out will take some patience.
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Old 24th December 2011, 04:01 AM   #5
skunark is offline skunark  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boris81 View Post
There's a famous study showing that people can't tell the difference between 16/44.1 and a high-resolution recording.
http://drewdaniels.com/audible.pdf

I made the choice to stick with a CD-quality system until high resolution recordings become mainstream and there are better implementations of 24/96 audio for USB.
Sadly that report didn't detail the systems used and the photo of the gear didn't provide any details either. It's really a useless report even if someone published it in AES, most of those folks get a company bonus to publish papers.

I've done a few non-scientific tests with friends with mixed results but the younger crowd fairs better. I've done the same tests hirez vs vinyl and that's mixed as well. In the end it's going to be price for me as vinyl and hirez prices increase the more CDs I will buy. Also I only have one current album recorded in the hirez era so theres not much to compare. I am loving the rolling stones hirez files but nothing to compare to.

The gear used is important for a test like this but the debate has existed for all formats even the cd quality mps are felt to be as good as a cd.
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Old 24th December 2011, 05:48 PM   #6
boris81 is offline boris81  United States
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BAS Experiment Explanation page - Oct 2007
This is a more detailed explanation of the test and equipment used by the authors.
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Old 25th December 2011, 12:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boris81 View Post
BAS Experiment Explanation page - Oct 2007
This is a more detailed explanation of the test and equipment used by the authors.
I have read a person's review on the Legato which is a USB-Spdif converter that only operates at 16/44. In the review, a person compared it to a modified Hi-face using clocks/batteries/etc. and stated that his 24/96 recordings put into 16/44 were far better than the modded Hi-face at native 24/96. Doesn't say a lot, but it told me: 1) Recording/software/etc. all matter of course to get the best high rez though if he was already comparing his reference 24/96 recording that kinda negates this. 2) How well done the USB-Spdif setup is done as it sounds like the Legato gave him a sound nothing else could do and that was more important especially that it could beat out a modded device he felt already good at the native higher rez setting.

I know you mentioned not doing the computer audio thing just yet. What are you using for your digital setup and what all have you heard computer based that tells you that what you are using is still better if not just equal to computer based playback? I ask because I cannot find anything computer based as a transport that I absolutely know is 100% better than even using an older but decent dvd deck spdif to my reference pre-dac. Convenience is everything with computer playback, but it's nothing if my dvd player that I'm sure can be bested by a better dedicated transport only based top loading machine, is still doing as well as some $600 USB-spdif converters.
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Old 30th December 2011, 09:26 AM   #8
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I have a HTPC with a Cambridge Audio DAC Magic to a Cambridge audio Azur 740A Amp via RCA I also use the pass through of the DAC Magic to my Sony AVR, on top of that is a 640C via the DAC back to the amp, the thing in my opinion which was the best investment was the DAC Magic, the next which I think made a big difference to the sound quality was the J River Media Centre, after much tweaking and following the guides downloading the right drivers for the motherboards sound card if blew me away. My bottleneck now with computer based media is the AVR once that is sorted I will stop buying/modding for a long time. As for SACD , I have to say Dark Side of the moon SACD on my set up Via the HTPC .. well I get goose bumps it feels like a total emersion of sound, I wish they would follow with a HD version as so many people now have AVRs that sound great.
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