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Lossless 24/96 from my factory car stereo


new_media

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While looking for a way to fit an entire 90 minute album in lossless onto a single disc I can play in my car, I stumbled upon a very handy open source app called lplex.

 

lplex

 

lplex allows you to burn a DVD with PCM audio where each track is a different chapter, so it functions much like playing back a standard CD. The great thing is that the audio can be 16 or 24 bit, 48 or 96 kHz. So you can burn lossless two-channel 24/96 onto a disc that will play in a standard DVD player, which I just so happen to have in my dash.

 

You can also include cover art that is encoded as DVD video, though this isn't particularly useful in the car as my in-dash unit won't display video while the car is in motion.

 

The app isn't particularly user friendly. You have to feed it WAV or FLAC files already encoded with the desired bit depth and sampling frequency, so any source material that isn't 48 or 96 kHz has to be converted in advance. The app is run from the Windows command line and the syntax is a bit cryptic. You also have to format your own anamorphic cover art in the 720x480 DVD standard, which requires a bit of geometry.

 

The results are fantastic though. I was able to burn a disc directly from 24/96 FLAC and it plays back flawlessly in the car. I was also able to create a 90 minute disc from redbook WAV files, though I did have to manually convert them to 16/48 first.

 

If anyone is interested in trying it, I can post a bit of a tutorial. I know it seems to be going backward to disc-based media, but it's a good solution for my car for now.

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my in-dash unit won't display video while the car is in motion.

 

Damn control-freaks! Telling you that you can't watch a movie whilst driving on the Autobahn is fundamentally anti-American.

 

The results are fantastic though. I was able to burn a disc directly from 24/96 FLAC and it plays back flawlessly in the car. ...

If anyone is interested in trying it, I can post a bit of a tutorial. I know it seems to be going backward to disc-based media, but it's a good solution for my car for now.

 

Definitely interested. How do you know the DVD player's DAC is outputting 24/96?

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How do you know the DVD player's DAC is outputting 24/96?

 

Well, 24/96 is part of the DVD standard so I assume that it can, but I'm not going to try to take apart my car stereo to measure it. I can play the disc using VLC on my Mac and the output is 24/96.

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An alternative way to get the same result currently would be a laptop and portable USB DAC into the auxiliary input to your car stereo. By the end of the year your source could be a Pono or Geek Wave rather than a laptop.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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So lplex is pretty straightforward to use, but it's a command line app and the syntax is a bit cryptic.

 

The first step is to prepare the WAV or FLAC files for burning. Files that are 16 or 24 bit, 48 or 96 kHz are ready to go. Anything else will have to be converted. Any good WAV editor should be able to do sampling rate and bit depth conversion. I personally use Peak on a Mac with good results. All of the tracks in a title must have the same bit depth and sampling frequency. lplex burns all of the files in a given folder in alphabetical order, so it's best to rename them 01 TrackName1, 02 TrackName2, 03 TrackName3, etc.

 

For the best results, cover art should preformatted to 720x480. This will get "stretched" to 16:9 during playback. I started by opening 600x600 cover art in Photoshop, then using the "resize canvas" feature to widen the image to 1066x600, which is a 16:9 ratio. Then fill in the space on either side of the cover art with black (or any color you choose). Use the "resize image" tool to resize the image to 720x480. This will obviously distort the geometry of the cover art, but it will be restored during playback. Export to JPG and the image is ready to go.

 

Path commands have been confusing to me since the days of MS-DOS. The simplest solution is just to place the folder with the FLAC and cover art files directly in the root directory on the C: drive, in this case, I've used...

 

c:/stvincent

 

Now, fire up the Windows command line and navigate to the lplex directory.

 

On the command line, type...

 

lplex jpgw=c:/stvincent/cover.jpg c:/stvincent

 

The jpgw switch indicates that we are using widescreen (16:9) cover art and the last switch points the app to the directory the FLAC files are located in.

 

This should generate a folder with both audio and video subfolders, as well as an ISO file. The ISO file is a disc image and is ready for burning. There are plenty of third party apps for Windows that will burn a disc image. I personally just transferred the ISO file over to my Mac and burned it to disc using the Disk Utility app.

 

That's it, you're done. The DVD should play back in any standard DVD player.

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I used my fiio x3 to play hi res music in my car.

 

Same here. I own the X3 and that is what I use to play back all of my music. I even have some old iTunes 256k purchases that sound halfway decent on it.

 

-------

 

But I was of the understanding that a DVD will not play in a car stereo because the laser in them is designed for reading a CD, not a DVD.

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