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Greetings and a question

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Hello all,


First of all, I want to introduce myself as a new member here. I started out this little journey a while ago after having a discussion with a friend of mine wherein it dawned on me that our generation are the first, by and large, whose music actually sounds worse than our parent's music did. Digital giveth, and digital taketh away, it seems. Although I'm happy to see that it may finally be coming into its own.


While admittedly still very much a newbie, I'v starting to get a very good idea about what sort of a set I will want to build for myself in the near future. Somewhere in the last decade or so I went from dropping a CD into the machine with the express purpose of *listening* to it, to having my music become the 128K MP3 disaster wallpaper that fills in the silence. I would like to change that.


Anyway, hello. :)


My question for the group of you is this: There's a lot of information about ripping CDs here. I already know I'll go with AIFF for my tunes, but even then, the CDs by and large are sampled in at 16/44. That's not, as I understand, anywhere near as good as it gets. So, for the sake of argument: If I were to go out and pick up a hybrid SACD copy of Dark Side Of The Moon for instance, how do I rip the SACD information so that I can stream that? And can iTunes even handle it? I assume that it can, but I don' think I've read anything about that yet.


I haven't tried yet, so it could be that the point is moot, and that it's so easy the reason no one's said anything is that it's a given.


Anyway, any thoughts?


Cheers, everyone.




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This would not be possible. As far as I know, the encryption (Physical) as well as data does not allow for ripping of music from SACD.


All please correct me if I am wrong.


The only avenue is to wait for a DVD-Audio release of The Floyd tape, hopefully not encrypted one.



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From what I know you can not. SACD is encoded in DSD, and can (legally) only be decoded and converted to analogue in SACD players. If you want higher resolution, there are websites that will sell high resolution music files for download or as an optical disc mailed to your door, mostly in FLAC (lossless compressed). However, there is still a reduced range of titles available. Nevertheless, a good recording well ripped from the CD, to WAV or a lossless format, will sound very good (e.g. BIBER Unam Ceylum - John Holloway, Dire Straits and Pink Floyd albums, for studio, also sound very good). I guess that the major recording companies will take a lot of time before allowing a music in high resolution to be handled as a file that you can illegally copy to your friends or make available for torrent download.


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Thank you for your feedback. I wondered about this.


See, part of the reason I thought that going the iTunes/External DAC/Amp route is that at the end of the day, with digital music, the storage method is bits and bytes. Doesn't matter if it's CD, SACD, DVD, whatever. It comes more down to storage than medium, and a hard disk doesn't care what it's storing, it only cares about the space. However, if you can't GET the information to your hard disk, then you're limited to what you can store. There's nothing really one can do to improve upon the original source. A CD will always only be 16/44. So I suppose I'd have to figure a way to get a SACD player that'll plug into the DAC as an alternate source to enjoy the fidelity of these sources, at least for now. :)


I guess that's the Achilles heel of this sort of setup. But, that isn't to say this ruins the whole thing for me--it does not. Regardless, it's still an extremely economical way to store and listen to all my music in the best sound it can be without all the clutter of jewel cases. In my particular situation, that means about 400+ of them. Organization and storage of that many CDs into the space of a terabyte drive is attractive indeed.


Thank you for the feedback. I'll let everyone know what I go with when I do. Seems that the audio places in my town are only capable of blank looks when I mention external DACs. There's only one place, and he's pushing the Cambridge Audio one. I may well go for that.






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"...it dawned on me that our generation are the first, by and large, whose music actually sounds worse than our parent's music did. Digital giveth, and digital taketh away, it seems."



Actually, it seems to me that digital just gives us more choices. With physical media, everyone was 'stuck' with the same format for delivery, i.e., don't like 8-track cartridges, switch to something else. With digital, we can easily choose more or less 'bits', which equates to levels of quality. The fact that most are choosing less is surprising to those of us who choose more. we should hardly be surprised that less, uh, discriminating listeners are choosing less considering the 'debate' even amongst the audiophile community as to what level (kbps) is necessary to reach seriously diminishing returns, if any even exist (above a certain level).


another thought, does the preferred music of the younger generation even benefit from higher resolution?

I know when I listen to 'pop' music, I wish my preamp had a 'resolution level' control, and I don't mean for increasing resolution. :0







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Thanks for your thoughts. And you know, I never thought of it that way. You certainly have a good point. In my understand though, it's still a little off. Forgive me if the following is picking nits or showing my still obvious ignorance of all things audiophile. :)


I agree with you in that right now, we have ways to enjoy music that our parents never dreamed of, particularly in that we can select the level of quality we want to enjoy. I expect that comparatively, we now have the ability to capture sound at fidelity and quality that far surpasses anything they had before. So yes, you're absolutely right. There's a choice that people make when listening to stuff at a 128k MP3--one that few of the people on this site would make given what they know about the potential of sound (and for the record, I couldn't agree with you more--I can't imagine how pumping Brittney Spears up to 24/96 could possibly make her sound better).


My argument, however, is that up to now, the standard is that we don't. At the end of the day, an analog signal is still more smooth than a digital one, particularly one that has been sampled down to 44Mhz. 44 thousand samples a second is probably a little like watching a desaturated television of the 70's compared to the 1080p high def we get nowadays, and I know that CDs are still the standard. So to use your own argument, our choice of what level we get to enjoy is limited before it even gets to us. I don't know enough about upsampleing and how it works to argue this point well, but it seems to me only logical that you can't create something from what isn't there. If you have a digital image, for instance, and you enlarge it in photoshop, it pixellates simply because the information isn't there to work with in the first place. If what we get on a standard CD and consequently rip to our iTunes libraries is only present on the disc at 16/44 then it won't matter at what level you save it... even a perfect AIFF copy will still only be at that level. If I'm wrong about that, then someone please correct me!


So my argument would be that we need to USE the technology we have and start recording and delivering stuff at higher samples straight from the source and onto the delivery method. Then we will truly have the choice you allude to. Until then, any analog vinyl album will sound better when delivered over a good system than a CD does, and that makes my dad's music sound better than mine. :)







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Machei, a few pointers:


1. I use the Cambridge 840C as a DAC. It sounds good to my ears. However, I do not believe it would take the digital stream from an SACD player so I would urge caution if that's the route wou want to take. (Easier to look for the DVDAs instead).


2. If you really want to understand upsampling you are in for quite some reading. I would start with Wikipedia and then take it from there.


3. If your Dad has a decent turntable, you really should rip some vinyl at high-res from there. It can get very close to the real thing and it's a good way to build your inventory of hi-res material. I can also reccomend Linn, HDTT and HDTracks.


Good luck with your new set-up.


- John.



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Hey John,


Thank you very much for that. That's the sort of feedback I was hoping for. :) I didn't have any route in mind, save the best quality I could get out my music again. I only used SACD as an example because I'd recently read about it. I decided for reasons of both quality and economy of space to go with a full digital setup. What I didn't appreciate was how much a good DAC can cost until I started looking. If I want to get something like the Bryston that folks are gushing about, it'll be some time before I can scrape together everything I need. However, if the Cambridge audio one sounds good, then I'd be happy to go that route. It's tough because I don't think there's any place around where I live I could actually hear what these sound like at all--I'd need to go into Toronto. Maybe a road trip. :)


Yeah, I guess spending a few hours online with research about upsampling is advisable. We'll see what I can learn before I get into any real debates.


Alas, my dad's turntable is long gone. After he passed away, everyone was all about CDs and so all that stuff went away, too. As I recall though, it wasn't all that hot in any case.


Thanks again for your advice!





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I can't disagree with your comments about using better technology (i.e. higher sampling rate and bit rates) to record, at least to the extent that it yields improvements. Yes, we've been limited by Redbook 'physical media' all along, about which the point of my earlier post was definitely 'inclusive'.


OTOH, it seems that the recording/mastering/producing 'industry' are moving in a different direction, what with compression and the 'loudness' wars. That is to say, they are reducing the dynamic range of the music, rather than taking advantage of 32-bit capabilities.


As regards 'upsampling', it's not as clear to me what benefit it provides. I can report from my own limited experience, that it is NOT as beneficial as progressive scan was to non-HD video material, sadly.


The most commonly touted advantage of upsampling redbook material is it's apparent benefit in jitter reduction, if the pundits are true, that is, and it does in fact reduce jitter.




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No computer drive can read the SACD layer.


But you can grap the analog output of your stationary SACD player or have it modded with a custom made board. The board provides 3x SPDIF out for all 6 channels converted to 24/192.


Unfortunately I cannot find a link to it, but the price for board+mod was around $6,000 last time. This makes it rather irrelevant, as SACD is a dying technology.


Good thing is that you can rip all other high resolution materials:


DVD-Audio: DVDAExplorer

DAD/DVD-Video LPCM: DVD Audio Extractor

HDCD: DBpoweramp


But be aware that high resolution does not automatically mean good quality:

- HDCDs are usually compressed.

- Many DVD-Audio come with a 5.1 and a 2.0 high res track. Sometimes the 2.0 track is sourced from a CD and heavily compressed. Here are a few examples: T.Rex Electric Warrior, Fleetwood Mac Rumours, Santana Supernatural.


Often you need to find an old unremastered version without compression and noise reduction for the best version. These can be expensive and hard to find.


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