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The Missing Link: for the non-geeky Audiophile


OllieUK

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I apologise if anything I asked is covered already-but all my searches on here haven't really answered my questions. I will be eternally grateful for any straightforward advice!

 

I am updating my Hifi system into the 21st century and need advice. I will do my music collection at the same time! Here is what I have now:

 

Music: a ton Vinyl and regular CDs

Sources: Project Perspective Turntable/Sony CD player (started as an X303 heavily modded into a Transport)

DAC: Meridian 24 bit

Amplification: Musical Fidelity preamp - Korato valve power amp

Speakers: Dynaudio Contour 1.3 MkIIs mounted and marble/concrete acropolis

Wiring: custom BBC grade interconnects, Audioquest Forest speaker cables

4 year old PC with expensive sound card and Windows Media edition (slave to be?) also have a Mac Mini

 

What I want to achieve: the user-friendliness of MP3 with sound quality I am used to, all accessed via remote control!

 

Proviso: at the moment, I do not really have funds I want to work with what I've got. So advice could come into 2 streams: (1) what I can do now and (2) what I could buy later to make it even better

 

Next is the bit I want help with as I am still fairly oblivious to all the possibilities... please forgive all ignorance!

 

My plan: (A) to find a way to write all my CDs (maybe vinyl afterwards) onto the PC or an offboard hard drive BUT in original size no compression. (B) find a way to manage/access playing those easily-ideally using the Media centre which works off my PC remote control. © connect the PC to my Meridian DAC using optical or coaxial cable. (D) enjoy high quality music/playlists without getting up to load CD after CD in the dark/whilst making love etc...

 

So many possible questions spring out if it: Am I on the right track? Is this all possible? How much of a drop in quality will I experience playing from a computer? How much difference would a newer sound card make? Might my Mac Mini (similar age/spec) be a better tool for the job? Can software to do what I need be found free? Will it take ages to write them all as "raw" full size files? Once I have it all on the hard drive full size, would it be easy to convert it all to MP3 to go on my mobile phone etc? What new technologies, SACD/Blu-Ray/DVD-A would be worth looking into, and do these transfer well onto hard drives or are the files too big? I'll stop now...

 

Wow! Lots of questions people, I hope I have not overstepped the mark. Rather I hope that any advice and answers here will help others, who might also have recently joined CA or in a similar predicament!

 

PS. I ALSO have a network backup power supply (damned heavy!) which I picked up clearing out an IT company that went bust. It has a lot of kettle 3-pin outputs. So if appropriate, I thought of running all/some of my system off/through this might reduce power contamination and improve the sound?

 

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My plan: (A) to find a way to write all my CDs (maybe vinyl afterwards) onto the PC or an offboard hard drive BUT in original size no compression. (B) find a way to manage/access playing those easily-ideally using the Media centre which works off my PC remote control. © connect the PC to my Meridian DAC using optical or coaxial cable. (D) enjoy high quality music/playlists without getting up to load CD after CD in the dark/whilst making love etc...

 

So many possible questions spring out if it: Am I on the right track? Is this all possible?

 

Yes, there are many lossless or uncompressed formats like wav, flac, aiff.

 

How much of a drop in quality will I experience playing from a computer?

 

It depends on the software and interface. It can be more or less than the best cd transport.

 

How much difference would a newer sound card make?

 

That depends on the soundcard. Some expensive ones do a lot of things well, while others do one thing excellently.

 

Might my Mac Mini (similar age/spec) be a better tool for the job?

 

It will be easier to get a bit perfect output from the mac, but it is possible to use the PC as well. If you just want to start up itunes and go, all you have to do is uncheck some boxes in the preferences. The PC software will require WASAPI/ASIO/KS to get optimal sound.

 

Can software to do what I need be found free?

 

Yes, look at MAX, PLAY, Foobar, others...

 

Will it take ages to write them all as "raw" full size files?

 

No, no longer than compressing them on the fly into MP3.

 

Once I have it all on the hard drive full size, would it be easy to convert it all to MP3 to go on my mobile phone etc?

 

Possibly. The only thing to watch is how to organize the files when you have identical file names except for the extension.

 

What new technologies, SACD/Blu-Ray/DVD-A would be worth looking into, and do these transfer well onto hard drives or are the files too big? I'll stop now...

 

The files aren't too big, but the technology is rare to rip SACDs. DVD-A is more labour intensive than cds but very possible with your current setup.

 

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