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Questions from a neophyte


rancew

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I'm a long-time audiophile trying to make the leap to a music server. I've been reading various discussion forums on this subject over the past few months, but just recently stumbled onto this one which I think is just great.

 

Here's my situation:

-I have a fairly revealing system (all Bryston electronics, B&W 802D's). I've got the new Bryston BDA-1 DAC on order based on the outstanding performance of the new Bryston BCD-1 CDP, which I've had for a few months now and which employs the same DAC. The point is, I'm looking to do this server thing with no compromise whatsoever in sound for my main system.

-Music in other rooms - either streaming or via ethernet - will eventually be a goal, but I'm going to start with my main system.

-I'm not a "computer guy". I've used PC's for years, but don't consider myself all that savvy in terms of computer knowledge/lingo, troubleshooting, etc.

 

Here are the initial questions I have (I'm sure there will be more to follow):

1. It seems like the overwhelming consensus is that a Mac-based system is the way to go, especially without spending many thousands more on one of the "big-boy" proprietary servers (think QSonix and Sooloos) which may have a few more bells and whistles in terms of GUI. Is this correct? (I've never used Mac's, but have absolutely no problem with this as I've been wanting to make the switch from PC at home anyway).

 

2. If #1 is correct, then I've pretty much decided that I'd like to use a MacBook to control iTunes. (I like the idea of having a larger screen than, say, an iPod touch/iPhone, having a mouse and keyboard, and being able to surf the web while listening to music. Also, I actually have small trays that are built in to the arms of my listening chairs that are almost exactly the size of a laptop, so I don't have to keep the Macbook literally on my lap.) Are there any forseeable downsides to using a Macbook as a controlling device?

 

3. If I'm controlling iTunes from a MacBook, do I need a second computer - e.g. Mac mini - or can all my music files simply be put on a hard drive - e.g. Time Capsule or whatever - (with a second backup drive with either of these configurations, of course) and the music sent from the hard drive to my DAC, controlled by my MacBook? In other words, what is the best configuration for the components to follow the MacBook?

 

4. What type of lossless file format is best to rip my CD's to for iTunes and why? If I'm going to rip hundreds of CD's to hard-drive, I only want to do it once! Maybe the appropriate, related question is this: Can one type of file ever be converted to another type once on the hard drive if the need arose sometime in the future? (Maybe this last question is irrelevant or ridiculous - I just don't know enough to know what I need to know, if that makes sense.)

 

5. I have read quite alot of comments (including Robert Harley's entire article stating this point in the December 2007 TAS) that a hard-drive sounds better than a transport, all else (i.e. DAC, associated components) being equal. This, in addition to the convenience factor, is what really gets me excited about media servers. However, I've also read comments - including right here - from those who haven't been able to acheive the same quality of sound from their hard drive using the same DAC. Any suggestions for making this work/avoiding mistakes would be greatly appreciated. (More specific question on this next.)

 

6. It seems to me that most of the discussions and subsequent troubleshooting/advice dealing with sound quality referenced in #5 are related to the type of connection utilized (e.g. wired vs wireless, Toslink vs. USB vs. firewire, etc.). Can someone explain to me the basics as well as the pros-cons of the various connections and/or direct me to a "primer" on this? (I keep thinking of the line repeated by Denzel Washington in the movie Phiadelphia: "explain this to me like I'm six-years old" - ha!)

 

7. What are the considerations regarding high-resolution downloads? Can a Mac-based system deal with/output these? Just how much more disc space to these files require? What else to consider?

 

I know this is alot, but I believe these are the basic questions that anyone in my situation would have, so hopefully many will benefit from the answers/discussion.

 

Again, this is a great site, and I'm glad I found it. I'm quite sure you guys can get me going.

 

 

Rance

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Hi,

 

I'm far from the best voice on these topics, but, I'll chime in my thoughts on some of your questions and you can go from there:

 

1) If you're not a big PC guy, I can't see any reason not to buy a Mac. I'm in the IT business and I still choose a Mac everytime, the quality is there, and, they're extremely easy to use. With it being your first time, you'll have no problems picking up iTunes et al.

 

2) No, the MacBook will give you massive scope for whatever you need to do. I'd suggest getting the cheapest one available, and, upgrading the RAM to 2GB. I'd always reccomend not getting the RAM upgrade from Apple because it's so expensive, however, in your case, this might be appropriate if you don't want the hassle of getting it done later. I'd also advise against the DVD-RW upgrade, you can buy a cheaper external device that you can upgrade in the future.

 

3) Yes, you can't store the soundfiles on the TimeCapsule, and, you'll need more than a NAS to connect to your DAC. The MacMini is an obvious choice, but, it depends on how your home is laid out. If you going to put the component in with the rest of your kit, the MacMini will be best (as it's small and comes without a display). If you can route the sound via another device and store a machine in another room, something like the iMac is a great option. You get a great desktop computer and it will obviously do the business for you in terms of a home for your music files.

 

4) There's three real options for you here; AIFF, FLAC and Apple Lossless. I'm really in no position to advise of the audiophile benefits to one over another, other than, you can change formats easily in the future if need be (as they're all lossless).

 

I went for Apple lossless, this may preclude you from using non Apple-technology in the future, but, if you're going down the Apple route, it's extremely easy to work with. It sits right in iTunes, you can tag and categorise, and, they're around half the size of a non-compressed file.

 

As for ripping, I'd suggest not using the standard drive that ships with a macbook/mac mini. I'd buy an external enclosure and go for a USB connected device. This is more about speed and accuracy of the rip than the quality, I've just ripped 300 CDs and found the external device much better suited to the job. These types of things can be had for very little money from almost anywhere, in the UK I paid the equivalent of around $50.

 

I'm going to skip 5/6 as I don't feel sufficiently experienced to offer good advice, however, I'd say that if you've already invested in a good quality DAC, the Mac can do optical (TOSLINK) out, this may be all you need.

 

The other option is a USB DAC, this presents itself to the Mac as a new sound card. This may be overkill with you having a DAC already.

 

7 - I'm not quite sure about this, I'd imagine the limiting factor would be the output type of the Mac. With a SPDIF output this would not be an issue, I'm not sure about the TOSLINK.

 

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I think Andrew gave you some great directions.

 

1) I use both and feel the Mac is easier for music. No K-mixer issues, ASIO, etc. Just turn on and go with iTunes. There are a few settings to tweak then somewhat forget it.

 

2) Just cost comes to my mind.

 

3) See Andrew above! I would add one thing here. Most folks seem to put their music files on a hard drive away from where they listen. It's quiet and unobtrusive. Then the music is sent to the computer via wire or wireless. Fine quality. The music storage device generally mirrors itself so you have a backup. If that makes little sense, go read about a Drobo. I'm not saying use one, but it's a simple way to get the concept. Then you can decide how much storage you really need / want. Others here can get technical on storage alternatives.

 

4) If you're setting it all up and going to get the storage space, why not just go uncompressed so you always have that format intact - AIFF. FLAC and Lossless save some space, but who cares? FLAC is not native to iTunes.

 

5) I use USB. There is discussion about TOSLINK versus USB. You can study that, some say TOS isn't as good. Some argue that it's fine. Nobody bashes USB, yet. Overall, your concern is valid, but it's theoretical so a bit hard to answer. For tips, write down exactly what you are going to do before you buy it and let everyone share thoughts. Cables, which wireless devices, your storage, etc.

 

6) http://www.computeraudiophile.com/node/691. Wired is good, but generally puts louder fans closer to the listening area. Wireless is good but costs a bit more. There is some debate about Toslink versus USB. If you just use stereo audio USB is fine.

 

7) I don't think USB can max out on speed for hi res audio. Never tried that math, but Chris would likely know that one. Wireless video is a bit different. Probably want to go wired there anyway. 7.1 audio might be different. Point is for stereo they all can work. iTunes can handle many hi-res formats and there are other specialty players. As far as space how big is your collection? How much do you want to add at what resolution? Math again. Simple expandability of drives, and hot swaps for failed drives are things I find nice.

 

I'd suggest starting with 4-6 TB mirrored, that gives you 2-3 TB of usable storage to start. Hi-Res files can get very big.

 

Regards and enjoy

 

 

 

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A-1. Hopefully you've had a chance to read my article on reference music servers. It is totally possible to use Windows or OS x. Most people think OS X is a much easier platform to use and to obtain bit perfect output. I don't consider music servers like Sooloos as reference quality systems. Granted the interface of the Sooloos system is currently unsurpassed, but the system is very limited as a whole.

 

 

A-2. Using a MacBook to remote control your music server is an awesome way to go. I use a MacBook Air and an iPod Touch. Both have their place, but the Air provides everything I could ever need. I know you used the terminology, "use a MacBook to control iTunes" and I'm not sure if you really mean iTunes the program or your music server in general. This kind of leads into the next question.

 

 

 

A-3. If you're looking for convenience you can get buy without a second computer. You did mention no compromises so I can't recommend the single computer with wireless music streaming approach. You will want a dedicated computer as a music server directly connected to your DAC.

 

 

A-4. AIFF has always been my preferred format. It is uncompressed and supports tags and album art unlike WAV. I don't use any lossless compression because the need for it has largely passed (cheap storage now) and there is a greater chance for sonic compromises while decoding on the fly. Any lossless format will work well to download music and will save time and bandwidth. Converting these to AIFF is totally benign in my opinion. It's only the decoding on the fly during playback where myself and many people in the industry see potential problems. In fact the user manual for Wadia'a new iTransport 170 suggests uncompressed music as well. Wadia has no incentive to push any format yet they recommend uncompressed. In reality there is no right or wrong file format. whatever you want to use is cool. If it sounds goo to you then it's good.

 

 

A-5. Use the best connection method you can. I've settled on AES output from the Lynx AES16e. whatever sounds best to you in your specific system may be totally different from what I or anyone else recommends. System synergy is critical.

 

 

 

A-6. I am running short on time at the moment, but can come back to this one. I've used all of them and as I said above settled on AES. This is not the little primer you're looking for I understand. Just a little snippet for now.

 

 

A-7. Hi resolution downloads will only continue to expand. Nothing beats downloading a 24/96 album from your listening chair. Macs can playback 24/192 through iTunes without a problem. I do it regularly. Disk space requirements vary, but I can assure you the HRx albums are huge. A few GB can be taken up by one album.

 

 

 

I'm sure this will only raise more questions than provide answers. We can certainly keep the discussion going as long as needed. Just keep raising the questions.

 

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Thanks, guys for the detailed feedback. This helps start me in the right direction.

 

Chris - I did read your article on reference music servers, but must admit that it quickly gets a bit over my head in terms of lingo/descriptors used to talk about the various hardware. I'm sure I'll ramp up my knowledge base on all this in a bit (pun purely accidental). Maybe you should publish a "computer music servers for dummies" primer...I'll buy the first copy.

 

Just a couple of follow-up questions:

1. What is meant by "NAS". Sorry - I know this is a basic term and I've seen it many times in these discussions but don't have a clue.

 

2. If I'm understanding everyone correctly, there's a difference between a computer vs. an external hard-drive that is controlled by a computer sending music files to a DAC, and that for the best possible performance I need to have a computer of some sort directly wired to the DAC - correct? But then if I need a multi-terabyte hard-drive and backup, how/where does that fit in the configuration? Sorry again, but I just don't have any experience with this sort of thing and don't have a full grasp of how it can all fit together. Maybe someone could point me to somewhere that give a diagram of a few of the most commonly used configurations. (I did say "neophyte" didn't I...?)

 

Rance

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Hi Rance - No worries, this is a laid back site and there are thousands of other readers with the same questions. They are just holding back their questions hoping someone else will ask them :-) Trust me, the site stats don't lie :-) Anyway for a quick primer on NAS check out this review I did on the QNAP TS-409 NAS device. The first part of the review has a pretty basic layman's description.

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/qnap_ts-409_turbo_nas_review

 

Your second question has me a little confused, but I'll give it a shot. We'll get to the answer one way or another. Yes, I highly recommend connecting your computer directly to your DAC via some cable. Whether or not your disk is attached via USb or Ethernet or wireless doesn't really matter. your still sending the music from the computer to the DAC. I have a 5 TB NAS drive connected to my Airport Extreme router via Ethernet. My music server is also connected to my router via Ethernet. The connection works very well.

 

Let me know if this only raises more questions once you've looked over the linked review. I'm happy to help.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Ok...so NAS=Network Attached Storage. Alright, then, I get it.

 

Now, armed with that knowlege --- in my second question above here's what I'm trying to ask:

-Can music files be sent from a "NAS" device directly to a DAC with a computer controlling this (in my case, a MacBook), or is it the case (as I think I'm reading from the comments above) that the files have to be extracted from the NAS by a computer that is positioned in between the NAS and the DAC, even if one has a computer contolling the whole thing?

 

In other words, does the configuration have to look lke this:

NAS-->computer (Mac mini or whatever)-->DAC

even if the whole thing is being controlled by a laptop?

 

Rance

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You can pull files right from a NAS with a DAC, but it has to be something like a Squeezebox or Transporter. I'm not a fan of them, but many people are very happy with them. I did test a Squeezebox Duet in here a little while ago and it does offer bit perfect output to an external DAC as well as analog out using its own DAC.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Thanks, Chris.

 

OK...so I need either a computer (e.g. Mac mini, etc.) or a device like a squeezebox to pull my music files off the NAS. Then I need help trying to decide exactly what I need here.

 

In order to move ahead, here are my next questions:

1. I've read comments from a few digital "experts" that the coaxial connection sounds best. I realize that it boils down to "system synergy" and personal taste (if it doesn'a sound better to you, then it isn't better...). However, let's say I want to have the option of comparing Toslink, USB and coaxial. What type of device can I use in a Mac based system that will give me all three connections? If I'm thinking of going the Mac mini route, I believe this has only a USB and Toslink out -- If that's correct, can this be modified to have a coax output? Or am I off base, and should really not be concerned about having a coax output?

 

2. What type of device will support/output high-resolution, i.e. 24/192 (this ties in to the next question)?

 

3. Chris - I tried reading your article on Audiophile Reference Music Servers. Once you start talking about "drivers", "firmware", "cards", etc. it gets a bit out of my grasp of understanding, as I really have not messed around with computer hardware all that much. In the OS X portion of the article, you talk about "FireWire" being "another way to output 24/192 music streams from a Mac". Here are a few questions I have related to your article:

a.) I'm not sure I understood what the first method for outputting 24/192 was and

b.) Can you explain to me in simple terms what "FireWire" is and exactly how this is incorporated into the whole system? It sounds like this involves a hardware modification (inserting a special card) - is this correct? If I understood you correctly, this can be configured to allow the use of an AES/XLR connection to the DAC (which mine has), correct?. Can this be done to a Mac mini?

c.) You also mention "something coming out toward the end of the year that may change the game for iTunes on OS X". Can you give us anymore information about this?

 

Sorry to keep pummeling you with questions...it's just that my computer knowledge is limited, and - while I'm willing to spend the $$ it takes to have a truly high-end music server - I don't want to buy the wrong hardware (or hardware that is quickly outdated).

 

Rance

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Hi Rance,

 

1) The Mac will come with TOSLINK and USB. You plug a USB DAC into the USB port which will then give you COAXIAL out.

 

2) Bit beyond me

 

3a) I'll leave this one as well :)

 

3b) Firewire is just like USB, it's a method of connection. As well as USB DACs you can get Firewire DACs, the Mac Mini comes ready with a firewire port, so, it's just a case of choosing a DAC which supports Firewire or USB to XLR. I'm sure Chris will be along shortly with some specific device advice.

 

Andrew

 

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Hi Rance - No worries about the questions. That's what the site is for!

 

1. I don't think you should be that concerned about coax output from a computer based solution. There are converters, but you may risk losing resolution converting from USB to coax or something similar. Very few computers have coax. For what it's worth, I have many DACs around here and access to coax audio cards and converters, but I use USB, Toslink, and AES (preferred). If you're really set on all three connections let me know and we can continue down the path .

 

 

2. 24/192 is supported by FireWire and AES for sure. M-Audio makes an audio card with coax that supports 24/192 as well. Toslink can be tricky to get output above 24/96 even though it should be supported. Nobody is doing 24/192 via USB yet.

 

 

3. a. AES and FireWire can output 24/192 easily on Macs. The Weiss Minerva is FireWire and the Berkeley Alpha is AES.

b. FireWire is pretty simple. It is just another port on the computer. Similar to USB, it is just a different shape and involves drastically different technology behind the scenes. To the end user FireWire just uses a different cable than their USB printer. You can convert FireWire to AES through the Weiss Engineering Vesta. There is another very good device coming out in the near future that will allow this as well (hint). So, you could use FireWire to go to AES.

c. I can't say anything more than what I've already mentioned. Sorry. It's hard to bite my tongue on this one because it is pretty cool.

 

 

Let me know what questions this brings up. I'm sure I caused some additional confusion.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Thanks, again for the answers, guys. Things are beginning to make a little more sense to me now.

 

Chris -

Piecing together what you have said above and in your article on high-end music servers here's what I understand: You favor the AES/XLR connection into the DAC (assuming it has that input, which mine does) over USB and Toslink. This is accomplished in one of two ways (that have been discussed here...there may be more): either using an AES PCI card or using some type of FireWire to AES converter such as the Weiss Vesta FireWire interface (which looks to be a stand-alone box/separate chasis type of converter from the description and pictures on the Weiss website). Do I have this right?

 

Furthermore, I'm understanding that the AES PCI card can only be accepted/installed in a Mac Pro in terms of Mac/OS X devices (i.e. not a Mac mini or MacBook, which makes sense due to space considerations) - correct?

 

And when you talk about the "AES16e as my digital I/O method connected to the DAC via HS26 pin to AES (XLR)" - does that mean that there's actually a cable that has the HS26 pin connector on one end and an XLR connector on the other end? Or, if not, how is this accomplished? I'm still at the "Hardware 101" level...

 

Lastly, here's a fundamental newbie question regarding iTunes libraries: In the process of moving entire music libraries from one hard drive to another (e.g. backing up or just changing primary drives), I'm assuming there's absolutely no loss/manipulation of data of any significance, correct?

 

Rance

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Hi Rance - Yes, the Weiss Vesta is a standalone component that will convert FireWire to AES. Yes, you'll need a Mac Pro or an older Mac desktop to use the Lynx card AES16e. There is an external method of using the card with a MacBok, but it is less than ideal in my opinion. Yes, there is actually a cable with HD26 to AES/XLR terminations. Lynx sells one on their site, but theirs has many cables in one. Moving a library is no problem. There will be no loss or manipulation of data. No worries.

 

Note: There is a big different between PCI (AES16) and PCIe (AES16e) cards. You use one that your computer supports. Mac Pro only supports PCIe AES16e.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Thanks, again Chris for both your answers and patience.

 

I got my Bryston BDA-1 DAC a few days ago, so I'm anxious to move forward with my other hardware.

I think I've decided to use a MacBook Air to control things. The Screen Sharing app you've talked about elsewhere seems like it was custom made for this purpose...

 

I may start with a Mac mini feeding into the DAC via USB, though suspect I'll end up moving to the Mac Pro/desktop to get the AES/XLR connection a little further down the road, particularly to support high-res downloads.

 

The only remaining peice is the NAS. As you've stated elsewhere, the ideal situation is to have automatic (as opposed to manual) backup of your music hard-drive. So here are my questions about this:

 

1. Am I understanding that the "RAID" configuration is what allows you to automatically backup/mirror your drive containing your iTunes library, and that this is why you recommend a disc storage device such as the QNAP and Thecus? And using two external hard-drives, such as two Time Capsules, would not allow you to do this?

2. You use the term "built in fault tolerance" in your article on the QNAP. What exactly does this mean?

3. Any other advantages of the RAID array?

 

Thanks again!

 

 

 

Rance

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Hi Rance - Good to hear things are going good. I should have my BDA-1 review unit fairly soon.

 

1. "Am I understanding that the "RAID" configuration is what allows you to automatically backup/mirror your drive containing your iTunes library, and that this is why you recommend a disc storage device such as the QNAP and Thecus? And using two external hard-drives, such as two Time Capsules, would not allow you to do this?"

 

To be 100% correct i have to mention that backup and RAID/Mirroring are very different things. Backing up data implies a second copy of the data that can be used to restore to the original state. RAID is the gold standard way of reducing the risk of losing data. RAID and backup are not mutually exclusive and in 99.999% of datacenters the RAID array is backed up.

 

That said, right now I don't use any backup hardware or software. I minimize the risk of data loss with a RAID5 array. The Thecus 5200B Pro contains several hard drives with the data spread out across all the drives. If any one drive fails there is a "copy" contained on the other drives that is used to recreate the failed drive when it is replaced. Losing two drives means all data is lost. Not all RAID works this way, but my choice of RAID5 does.

 

I suppose I should answer your question in a more concise way. Yes, RAID automatically protects the music in my iTunes Music Folder. The Thecus has several drives inside, but my computers see the Thecus as one very large 5 terabyte drive. I point iTunes to this location for ripping and storing music and the Thecus unit automatically stripes the data across all the drives inside the unit. I don't touch anything. Two Time Capsules will not work like this. Two external drives can be used to mirror the data, but it's a completely different setup.

 

Please let me know if I butchered the response :-)

 

 

 

 

2. "You use the term "built in fault tolerance" in your article on the QNAP. What exactly does this mean?"

 

Built-in fault tolerance means the unit can sustain a drive failure and not lose any data while continuing to operate. If you lose a drive in the QNAP or Thecus and they are setup as RAID5 arrays you could continue playing music and be totally fine.

 

from Wikipedia: "In engineering, Fault-tolerant design, also known as fail-safe design, is a design that enables a system to continue operation, possibly at a reduced level (also known as graceful degradation), rather than failing completely, when some part of the system fails. The term is most commonly used to describe computer-based systems designed to continue more or less fully operational with, perhaps, a reduction in throughput or an increase in response time in the event of some partial failure. That is, the system as a whole is not stopped due to problems either in the hardware or the software. "

 

 

3. "Any other advantages of the RAID array?"

 

Fault tolerance is the big one. Depending on the type of RAID used there can be increases in performance in terms of read/write speed. RAID0 is the most common way to increase speed, but then you lose the fault tolerance with RAID0.

 

Let me know if this helped or hurt. I'm here to help.

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Ok, Chris. So RAID - while not technically a backup (since you use it as your primary drive) - gives you an automatic "backup" copy of your data. Got it.

 

The more I think about it, I may go ahead with a setup that will let me get true high-resolution from the get-go. Since my Bryston DAC doesn't have FireWire input, it'll have to be via AES/XLR.

 

So...my options would seem to be:

a.) get a new Mac Pro and use the Lynx AES16e card (seems to be overkill for what I need, unless you know something I don't)

b.) pick up an older Mac desktop and use the AES16e card (then the question is how much processor/memory is needed/recommended)

c. ) buy a Weiss Vesta (about $2500 if I'm not mistaken) to convert FireWire to AES/XLR. Certianly more expensive than option b, and maybe silly if there's something better and/or cheaper on the horizon...

d.) or, all of the above may be unecessary, as you said "You can convert FireWire to AES through the Weiss Engineering Vesta. There is another very good device coming out in the near future that will allow this as well (hint). So, you could use FireWire to go to AES."

 

While I'm eager, I'm certianly not in a dead sprint to put this all together...so my main question at this point is do you think I should just wait a bit longer? (Yeah, I know...there's always something better just ahead, and at some point you have to take the plunge. But if it's a big leap ahead...)

 

e.) any other options or suggestions?

 

Sorry to keep pestering you...I'd rather get it right the first time than kick myself for not being thorough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rance

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Hi Rance - If you can wait until early 2009 there will be other options for you (hint).

 

A good option now is the Mac with AES16 card. It is very tough to beat this card with anything else available now or in the near future. You should be able to pickup a used Intel based Mac Pro for pretty cheap. I would try to stick with the Intel Macs because there is talk about the next version of OS X (Snow Loepard) not supporting the old PowerPC Macs.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK...got my Macbook Air and Bryston BDA-1 DAC and ripped a few CD's to try things out (via Kimber USB).

WOW! Without going into detail, the sound is noticably better in all aspects than for CD played through the Bryston BCD-1 CDP, which uses the same DAC.

 

Now I just want to make sure that I'm following all the right steps for optimal sound when ripping to and playing back from iTunes. Based on what I've gleaned from others' postings/comments, here's what I've got so far:

 

Ripping:

-import using AIFF (I'll follow Chris and other's lead on this, though I realize other options could sound just as good to some)

-use error correction

-make sure equalizer is "off"

 

Playing:

-make sure volume in iTunes is set to 100%

-make sure sound enhancer is "off"

 

Is that It? Any corrections or additions?

 

Also, as far as Album Artwork is concerned...my understanding is that iTunes only imports album artwork from the iTunes store, and if the store doesn't sell the album, then there's no artwork. Of the five albums I ripped so far, two apparrently are't available (and these are fairly popular pop and jazz albums).

 

I tried going to amazon.com and gracenote.com and copying the album cover into iTunces (via iPhoto), but all this gets me is somewhat fuzzy, lower-res pictures. The display on the Macbook is so nice and the high-res pics imported from the iTunes store look so good (particularly when coverflow is on full screen) that I'd love to have all my covers lood this good. So how can I get nice, high-resoluiton artwork for all the albums iTumes can't get?

 

Rance

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Alright. Part of the problems is solved...After closing and I restarting iTunes I was able to get artwork for the albums that were in the iTunes store.

 

I did, however, rip a few that weren't in the store. So how to get high-res artwork for these?

 

Rance

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If you're on a Mac, these AppleScripts from dougscripts.com will come in handy for finding album artwork:

 

HTH,

 

Bill

 

Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.

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Thanks, Bill. The google search program worked well.

 

Anybody have any thoughts/feedback on my earlier post above about proper procedures to follow when ripping to and playing from iTunes. Just want to make sure I'm doing everything correctly before embarking on the "big journey". (Sorry, I posted three posts in a row as my thoughts came to me while I was sitting there.)

 

Rance

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Thanks, Chris.

 

I remember seeing this in the past, as I've been all over the website reading most of the threads, but wasn't sure where I saw it. I couldn't seem to find it through the search, which really doesn't distinguish between just a passing mention of an item or an in-depth discussion.

 

Maybe there should be a section on the site where these type of articles or discussions of the basics are located called "primers" or something to that effect. It would make it easier for those just starting out to get knowledge and answers without making you and others re-answer the same basic questions over and over in the threads.

 

Just a suggestion...the site is great!

 

Rance

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