Jump to content
IGNORED

New kid on the block


Jon-3
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

Another newbee here looking for a spot of advice.

 

Ok, I’ve officially been a computer audiophile for a little over two weeks. I’d decided to upgrade my source and up until this point had been looking at Cdp’s, however upon coming across various threads on other forums, I noted that lot’s of folks were now using their computer’s to send streams to Dac’s. During an e-conversation regarding a possible amp upgrade with a fellow enthusiast, I learnt that said chap favoured the computer/dac approach and could loan me a Dac so I could carry out my own evaluation. Anyway, to cut the story short, I was quite impressed and subsequently bought the Dac – a Weiss Dac2. Many thanks to Keith at Purite (top-bloke), and Daniel Weiss for answering my many queries.

 

So now I have a Dac, and at the moment looking at the best way to rip, manage, back up and stream the data to the dac….

 

I will be using my pc, rather than a mac, for sending of 1’s and 0 duties. A mac will probably come sometime next year when availability of funds will be improved. I’ve downloaded EAC and J River Media. At the moment, with my extremely limited experience these both look like good solutions if I can get them to do what I think I want them to do, so rather look at others, I’ll concentrate on these.

 

So, here’s what I’ve learnt in the last fortnight:

 

Ripping:-

 

Computer Audiophile’s ripping strategy is a very useful resource. And I would very much like to set up for success….

 

EAC is complicated to understand for a rookie. Some of the sub menu’s might as well be written, as far as I’m concerned, in ancient Swahili.

 

Notwithstanding last comment, discs ripped in EAC (wav) sound much better than discs ripped in secure mode in J River (wav). (no idea why, something to do with EAC optimising the CD-Rom device / EAC interface maybe)

 

EAC uses something called ‘Accurate Rip’ to compare rips with an on-line database. This seems a very good idea.

 

Ripping to wav, EAC finds track names/album/artist/date etc, but places them in the file name, so in J River I get loads of tracks in a long list under an album entitled ‘unassigned’. Ripping to Wav in J River, the tracks are neatly stored in the album names with all the fields (tags?) filled automatically, so in the main audio playing screen I can choose a particular album, rather than ‘unassigned’ and then have to go searching through a great long list - which has very quickly reached hundreds of tracks – which is a pain in the proverbial.

 

Filling the fields in J River, of wav files ripped in EAC is less than successful. J River doesn’t find info on all the tracks in a particular album. So I end up with some fields filled and others not.

 

…based on rips simply sounding better, I’d like to use EAC to rip in wav, but is there a way to configure this so the fields are filled automatically with embedded metadata (learnt that one from the CA ripping strategy) just like J River does with Wav.

 

EAC can rip into FLAC. SQ wise, is this really the same as uncompressed wav?. Can’t make my mind up from listening. The playback bit rate is shown in J River is shown in the view pane. On wav it’s 1411 kbps, on flac it varies, but is somewhere around 900kbps. I know flac is lossless and all the bits are present, but surely a lower playback bitrate means lower sound quality, right?

 

In summary, based on the various reading up I’ve done, I would like to…

 

1. Use EAC to rip into WAV with all field fields filled with embedded metadata.

2. Create a backup, using Flac, ripped in EAC

3. Make sure I’ve got the ability to change to a mac based playback system in the future (noted that wav won’t work, hence flac backup for converting to AIFF)

4. Playback in J River (btw I thought wasapi sounds the best)

 

This is getting rather long so I think I’ll pester you all for advice on optimising playback, and backing up etc in another thread.

 

If you’ve got this far, many thanks for reading my ramblings. Any advice would be gratefully accepted.

 

Cheers

 

 

Jon[br]XP/JRMC ---> Weiss Dac 2 ---> Django TVC ---> SAC Glowmaster ---> B&W803S

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Although it is possible, to a certain extent, the 'wav' file format was not designed to take metadata. When you scan the files using JRiver, it creates a database of what it has ripped and puts the relevant information in it, linked to the wav file. What you see in the JRiver interface is this database information, rather than information culled directly from the file. When you rip using EAC and then just point JRiver at the new files it isn't able to update its database to make everything look neat and tidy. Flac, on the other hand, is designed to take metadata. This data can then be read by other programs, provided it has been written properly, and used by the program to build the database it will use to populate its interface. This is the way most media players work. How well they create the database they use for their interface depends on how well they have been written and how good any metadata is, in your files.

 

2. See 3!

 

3. If you plan to get a MAC, then rip in a MAC native format now, either AIFF or Apple Lossless. Both will take metadata, so that solves that problem! If you are gong to go to a mac then you will, in all probability, end up using iTunes, so why not use it now? The only thing you will then need to do is to import your existing library into the copy of iTunes you get with the Mac. Job done.

 

4. See 3!

 

Hope this helps.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aaah, so that's what's known at 'associated' metadata that's described in the CA ripping methodology. That pretty much makes wav a non starter for me. Half the point of using a computer as a source seems to me, is the improved interface with one's music collection. So, I now understand the formats, thanks to your post bob, and re-reading the CA ripping strategy.

 

When I mentioned going for a mac, I was actually considering running windows on it to make use of all the additional options such as bit-perfect ASIO and WASAPI. Noted that - for using Itunes - Ammara offers the same, but costs exponentially more than J River: I guess that's a whole other debate though. Assuming a a windows based ripping and playback system for now, and using eac to rip (I'm keen on this as it the rips really do sound better than J River secure mode rips), I would...

 

Rip a working copy in Flac

Rip a backup copy in Flac (to an external usb hard drive)

Rip a copy to AIFF (to another usb external hard drive) - for covering 'all the bases'

 

Would you say this is a robust and sensisible methodology?

 

If so, is it possible to simultaneously rip multiple copies to different file formats in different folder locations in eac? and is there a AIFF codec that can be imported into EAC to acheive this?

 

And lastly, could I have thoughts on Flac playback bit rates in terms of SQ i.e. all the bit's are present, but playback bitrates are lower than uncompressed.

 

Many thanks, once again.

 

Jon[br]XP/JRMC ---> Weiss Dac 2 ---> Django TVC ---> SAC Glowmaster ---> B&W803S

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your ripping strategy seems fine and dandy to me - belt, braces and gaffer tape!

 

As for ripping in two formats simultaneously, I'm not sure if EAC does this. dbPoweramp does, with the use of a free plug-in, because this is exactly what I do. I rip to Flac and Apple Lossless, to two locations. The downside being that this will only work in the paid-for version AFAIK.

 

The bit-rate you are seeing reported in JRiver, from your Flacs, is the bitrate of the file before it is converted back to wav. In other words JRiver is reporting the bit rate of the source file rather than the bitrate of the 'unzipped' file that gets played out to your system. Nothing to be concerned about!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

"When I mentioned going for a mac, I was actually considering running windows on it to make use of all the additional options such as bit-perfect ASIO and WASAPI."

 

Not my place to comment here, but I can't help but wonder why you would want to run Windows on a Mac for audio purposes, when it's much easier to get 'bit perfect' on a Mac, AND that iTunes on a Mac sounds pretty darn close to Amarra.

 

Moreover, the virtualization software (to run Windows) will put a significant load on the Mac which might (likely?) result in poorer quality sound.

 

Said another way, if you plan to run Windows, I don't see an upside for trying to do so from a Mac. Personally I wouldn't even rip music this was (in virtualization mode), let along play it.

 

YMMV,

Clay

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Clay,

 

tbh I thought Itunes didn't output bit-perfect, and Amarra was the medicine to fix this. And that a windows application such as J River outputting ASIO or WASAPI was the optimum, and that windows runs best on a mac. I'm a total novice, I really have no idea at the moment, so have been doing as much reading up as poss before I embark, on what it clearly a fundamental in computer audiophillia, that being ripping all one's musics collection (in my case circa 600 cd's) in a method that...

 

a) sound the best

b) is backed up

c) is protected (as far a possible) against future format changes

 

...and uses the best possible interface with one's collection.

 

....er, I'm veering off.

 

I derived the mac with windows notion from the 6moons review on the Weiss Minerva which pretty much slated Itunes and extolled the windows on a mac scenario with J River as the interface, so that's what lead me to look at this solution.

 

But thanks again for your post. Right now, I feel a bit like a youngster learning to walk as this is all new to me.

 

Jon

 

 

 

Jon[br]XP/JRMC ---> Weiss Dac 2 ---> Django TVC ---> SAC Glowmaster ---> B&W803S

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I derived the mac with windows notion from the 6moons review on the Weiss Minerva which pretty much slated Itunes and extolled the windows on a mac scenario with J River as the interface, so that's what lead me to look at this solution."

 

Please be advised that NO published traditional audiophile reviewer has sorted out computer audio to the extent that ANY of their advice should be followed explicitly. Indeed, IMO, quite the contrary. :)

 

EDIT: Dave Clark, who posts here (and presumably reads) occasionally, is perhaps an exception to my comment above.

 

As for your plans, I would suggest that when you're ready to move to a Mac, start with iTunes, and fine tune from there. There are many posts here which detail how to get bit perfect from iTunes on a Mac, but basically, you just turn off any sound 'enhancement' options, and set the proper sampling rate in Audio Midi Setup (or Sound preferences panel).

 

Don't forget to do a head-to-head comparison before you switch over, and report back to the group here. :)

 

clay

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share



×
×
  • Create New...