I've started to store my blu-rays discs on my hard-drive. Not having physical discs floating around is a big +. My focus is concert BDs and the storage/playback has to be lossless. IMO, these concert discs, along with good quality audio (and video) are a great experience. ATM my primary concern is whether or not I am obtaining lossless audio.
I'm new to this, but I want to share what I've done so far and hear from others who have/are progressed/ing along a similar path.
I only have a stereo system, and it's the main listening system. I have a pull-down screen and projector. I do not have a pre-amp, and do not have a receiver. I don't have a blu-ray player as such, but have a blu-ray drive (Samsung SE-506) connected to my Mac Mini. The projector is sitting on a movable stand a couple of meters behind the sofa. Viewing distance is ~4.25m. Screen is 133" 16:9. As the screen and projector can dissappear I'm comfortable not having a segregated home theatre system.
This article on ripping blu-ray audio and some of the comments in it are where I've started from Computer Audiophile - Ripping Blu-ray The Easy Way
To backup the entire BD or rip part of it I use MakeMKV MakeMKV - Make MKV from Blu-ray and DVD. Ripping (part of the disc) allows one to select which titles to copy along with the various audio choices in each title.
To play the contents (usually from the hard drive and not the disc) I use Mac Blu-ray Player The First and Best Mac Blu-ray Player Software, Apple video/DVD/media playback Software The Player sees the DAC (Weiss 202) and I select that as the output device and manually change the sample rate. The HMDI from the mac mini feeds the projector the video and the FireWire handles the audio.
It all seems to work rather well.
My first area I wanted to check is does MakeMKV keep all lossless audio lossless. I asked on their forum and it seems to be the case. www.makemkv.com • View topic - Does Lossless Audio remain Lossless after ripping/back-up? I did a bit more delving into it using MediaInfo and MediaInfo_Mac (Media Inspector).
There's three lossless formats on BDs to explore; LPCM, Dolby True HD and DTS-HDMA.
Using John Mayer's Live in LA BD which uses the first two audio formats, and the two Media programmes I'm certain that the audio tracks are lossless (and those are 24/96) - there's no need to tick the 3/2+1 box (it's a sub-box of the various audio options and ticking it just produces an extra lossy audio file).
Using Adele's Live at the Royal Albert Hall BD (which uses the third format DTS-HDMA), and ripping the main title three times for each audio option there: (DTS-HDMA, DTS 3/2+1 (lossy), and both). MediaInfo's (both of them) show something multichannel but with a bit-rate that is inconsistent to the bit-depth, sampling frequency & # of channels (i.e. something is wrong, either the math ... or the output(s)). MediaInfo_Mac doesn't display a bit-rate in those cases but shows VBR, so I think it's just a 'display' issue in MediaInfo. If you are using MediaInfo, it adds the text descriptor to the end of it's output, which says "lossless" - but it's just text - but I do believe the text despite the bit-rate 'flaw'. Again, there's no need to check the 3/2+1 lossy boxes.
The second area I wanted to check is does Mac Blu-ray Player support hi-res audio. It seems to from their website they do (How to Play DTS5.1 in Mac Blu-ray Player? and Experience Superior Sound Quality with Bluray.) but I wanted to check that outputting to a DAC wouldn't upset anything and also if multichannel was downmixed to stereo that resolution would be maintained. I've asked their tech support these questions and they haven't yet replied. To my ears the answers are yes and yes. One thing I overlooked is the Player doesn't yet handle 3D. Their support says it will in the future.
One assumption I am making re MakeMKV and ripping is that the decryption becomes irrelevant once files are made. The benefit of ripping is that you only select the A/V and audio types you want, and in the Blu-ray Player the various audio choices are all described the same "English". The Player people are aware of their GUI feedback.
Also, using MakeMKV it's not possible just to select the audio files.
So, do I really need an Oppo? I'm thinking not. This setup seems to work fine.
I would be very interested to hear what others think, , what your set-up is, which hardware / software you are using (does it work on Mac), and also particularly interested regarding thoughts etc on the audio quality.
Here's Gaga in full flight. I wouldn't recommend that disc - it was too much like an aerobics class in parts with average audio.
BTW I bought a Panasonic AE8000 (aka 6000 in US), along with a Grandview (Deluxe) Cybertech 133" screen. A fixed screen is better but I have windows where the screen goes. It's not a proper theatre setup (i.e. I have white walls, no curtains, no surround etc). The Panasonic seems to be the best machine atm for this type of setup but if you're looking for something slightly more pro then a JVC X35 (and up) is the way to go. Feel free to PM me on this aspect - I've spent days researching.