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One Person's Journey: The Software

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As I mentioned in my previous post, I bought J River Media Center as part of my grand computer audio experiment. About a third of my music collection is classical and there is no doubt that J River offers greater tagging and data retrieval flexibility than other software options.


I stuck with J River for about a month. I ran J River in WASAPI mode as recommended by Ayre and others and detected no significant sonic deficiencies (or advantages) compared to iTunes. However, I just did not have the patience to learn a new program that I found somewhat less than intuitive and that forces its users to rely on an internet Wiki for user questions. Maybe I didn’t relish the prospect of learning a new program combined with long sessions of tagging music. I don’t feel like I gave J River a fair chance; my previous experience with iTunes and my desire to just listen to music and avoid the role of full-time music librarian/wiki researcher tipped the balance in favor of iTunes.


So I’ve been listening to plain Jane iTunes and I am happy. Music is easy to find in my system; cover flow shows off album art on my large monitor; software bugs are nonexistent; and I use the little white Apple remote from the listening chair. Yes, I have to change the sampling rate with Audio Midi when I want to hear hi-rez files. Is it a pain? Not really; I’m a vinyl enthusiast and I don’t mind the pomp and circumstance that comes with getting a record ready to play on a turntable. This is far easier. Besides, we all need to get our butt out of the listening chair once in a while during listening sessions.


Could I be happier with Amarra or Pure Vinyl? Maybe. As an avid reader of Computer Audiophile, I’ve read too many stories about bugs and various headaches associated with these programs. I’m willing to wait until these programs mature or other programs emerge. And I won’t pay full freight unless there is a clearly audible sonic improvement in my system. We may be living in the early days of USB DACs and other hardware, but it feels even earlier on the software side. I’ll monitor things and see where we are a year from now.


Almost all of my files are AIFF. I converted my Apple Lossless files to AIFF using XLD, the nifty little program for Macs that rips disks and converts various file formats. This program is great for converting FLAC downloads to whatever format you need. Everything is backed up on a separate 1 GB hard drive in my office. I’d feel even better if everything were backed up off-site; I imagine this option will become more ubiquitous and affordable in the future.


I use iTunes for most of my ripping even though I can avail myself of XLD, which provides much more information with respect to the accuracy of the rips. In some admittedly brief listening comparisons of music ripped in the two programs, I have been unable to detect any differences. iTunes is simply a faster and thus more convenient ripper. I have also noticed that XLD will get stuck with certain disks, presumably because of scratches or other flaws with the disk, whereas iTunes rarely does; maybe this means that iTunes is interpolating its own bits into the process but I’d rather have music with a few interpolations than no music.


Next post: the music and how computer audio has changed the listening experience.



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"Besides, we all need to get our butt out of the listening chair once in a while during listening sessions. "


Well said!


After my experiments with the Amarra Demo, I too am willing to wait a bit for more mature software. I am looking forward to what Audiofile Engineering comes up with (aka: Twilight).


SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 512-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical with Well Tempered Clock--DIY DSC-2 DAC with SC Pure Clock--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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Your next post is what has impacted me the most, how this world of computer audio has changed my listening experience. I'll be interested to read what your feelings are.




Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Mac Mini->Roon + Tidal->KEF LS50W

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