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Old 18th February 2008, 03:00 PM   #1
jim is offline jim  Belgium
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Default Tube amps & MP3's

Hi All,

I was wondering who of you guys/girls only listen to MP3's
with his/her tube amps.
I believe for some of you this is pure heresy but...
as I've collected more than 5000 mp3's I like the only source
currently connected to my amp is my 30gig I-pod.
That way I can listen for hours to various type/styles of music.

Anyone using a special docking-station?

Greetings,
Jim
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Old 18th February 2008, 03:27 PM   #2
Pyre is offline Pyre  Canada
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Hi there,

I play my ipod though my tube amp all the time. You have to be really picky about the quality of mp3s though as lower quality rips sound very dull. I do not use a special dock but had a guy who makes cables make me a silver interconnect.

I used to have a 30 gig video and had some problems running it through the tube amp. ipods have the feature that when the source is disconnected it pauses the song. For some reason when hooked to the tube amp it kept pausing randomly. Also when the ipod was connected and amp turned on if you touched the metal back of the ipod you could feel current. Not sure if it was just my ipod or something with the grounding on the amp but it was kinda scary. I have a ipod touch now and it does not exhibit this strange behavior.
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Old 18th February 2008, 03:39 PM   #3
wicked1 is offline wicked1  United States
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I'll 2nd that I use my mp3 player through tubes all the time. And yeah.. quality of recording makes a huge difference. So does the DAC your player uses. Ipods DAC sucks. Zune sounds good (best DAC on the market in an MP3 player), but its interface is worse than the ipods.
Other than that I've used a sandisk e200 w/ rockbox and it's my favorite. Same sound quality as the ipod, but at least rockbox lets you manage your music and player the way YOU want to, and not the way Steve (blow) Jobs wants, or Billy Gates wants.

Sorry for the jaded nature of the post, but this MP3 player stuff is something I've just spent the past week dealing with. I really wanted the Zune to work for me because of the DAC it's got, but the software is just unusable. It does sound a little more full than the other few players Ive used, but 1/2 of my music doesn't work with it. There's no way to browse the collection through a file browser. It does everything by tags, and 1/2 my music isn't tagged!

Edit - just reread your post and noticed you have an ipod. If you're up for some experimenting, load rockbox on it! It turns a limited MP3 player into an awesome open source linux media player w/ countless options. Anything you ever wished you could do with your ipod, you will be able to do w/ rockbox on it. www.rockbox.org. (oh yeah, except itunes, if you use that)
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Old 18th February 2008, 03:43 PM   #4
JoshK is offline JoshK  Canada
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I don't use mp3s, but I have my CD collection ripped to a file server in flac and served to multiple Squeezeboxes as sources.
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Old 18th February 2008, 04:02 PM   #5
Pyre is offline Pyre  Canada
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I am going to check me out that rockbox as soon as I finish assembling this Ikea furniture.

I am in Canada so we have not got the zune yet. When they hit stores here I will go have a look at them.

Do you guys hook your mp3 player right to your amp or through a preamp? If you use a preamp do you use the volume on the mp3 player or on the preamp? Do you find any volume settings on either make any differences in your sound?

Shane
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Old 18th February 2008, 04:05 PM   #6
wicked1 is offline wicked1  United States
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I must admit, I use the mp3 player as my preamp. So, I use it to control the volume. If your levels are flat, I don't notice much difference in the sound at different volume levels. If you use the players eq, then louder volume seems to increase the effect of the EQ as well, to the point of distortion on my player. (but again, thats rockbox.. it doesn't really limit what you can do, so if you want to drive your levels into distortion, it will be happy to let you)

Also, thought I'd add that rockbox doesn't run on the Zune. It runs on most Ipods, and it runs on the sandisk. There's a list of supported devices on their website. If it DID run on the zune, that would be by far the best player out there.. but no one's cracked the zune yet.
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Old 18th February 2008, 04:23 PM   #7
wicked1 is offline wicked1  United States
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all of this talk about playing low quality recordings through these nice tube amps makes me wonder...... how many other people built a nice tube amp just for the coolness factor of glowing tubes and the future/retro look of the amps?
I must admit, that's why I originally started, but now that Ive heard the thing, there's no turning back.
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Old 18th February 2008, 04:39 PM   #8
kuroguy is offline kuroguy  United States
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I've got two tube amps. A 6AU6/6AQ5 at the office and an 832 pp at home. both use a Kuro Box as the source. The Kuro is a network attached storage device that runs linux. I have set it up to play mp3, FLAC, etc. One has a 300 GB drive and the other has a 250 GB drive. These little boxes work great.
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Old 18th February 2008, 04:50 PM   #9
wicked1 is offline wicked1  United States
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what software do you have on it for playing music?
How do you control it? Can you choose music from your the device, or from your main computer?
Any issues w/ background noise? I have major issues playing music directly from a computer because of all the high frequency noise.

Thanks!
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Old 18th February 2008, 05:17 PM   #10
Pyre is offline Pyre  Canada
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My setup for listening to music electronically

In my basement I have a 42u rack with an 8 Xeon CPU Compaq 8500 hooked to a Compaq raid array with 14X 18.1 GB 15k rpm drives. It runs Fedora core 3 with your basic LAMP setup. For the interface I use PHPnuke with Zina (highly recommended). The server is hooked to a Gigabit 1000baseSX network that runs throughout my house. I just use a web browser to login from anywhere. Zina lets you make playlists and save as many as you like for later use. You can also download the song to your local computer or device. For listening to the stream I use winamp on a windows box or Xmms on linux. I generally just run it from my laptop to my preamp using the same cable I use for my ipod. I have not noticed any problem with high frequency noise.

and if your wondering yes, I really need to get out of the house more.
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