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is this digital solution a way to replace cd/dvd player

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
before i start i have to say im a lot over internet and this community and people are one of the best and serius forums all over. it is a friendly oriented and really profesional. you guys always try to help it is like one big family and you hooked me up. im addicted darn you

this thinking is going in my mind for quite some time>

for example if you took computer and cd media, u can simply made image copy of the cd or transfer the songs without errors into wav of aiff file or aac format from dvd.

now what i was thinking. with getting hi end digital out (sound card or some usb to digital converter like midiman sonica) you can use computer /laptop as hiend transport. No problems with transport quality no mehanical parts just pure digital thing.

if we look at modern time of mp3 s it wicked that no one has done something poratable of even think about this. rember that like ipod from apple have 10/20 giga mini drive and if we take that one cd is like 700mb this is quite some of the albums.

so a nice computer plus hi quality digital out and outside converter can make really interesting combination. mybe if this computer have allready analog outs we can hook up the phones directly (something like midiman sonica).

like i mention in other post regarding grace audio headphone amp digital convertor this combination would make a killer setup..

im really interesting what you experienced guys have to say for this thinking
post #2 of 41
Yeah, some people on this board have considered using their PC as a transport or jukebox. Some of us already did

Audio CD data securely ripped and stored in the hard disk should have no jitter when played back. What you need though is a high end sound card, preferably external, with digital out, and native 44.1kHz sampling throughout the card (as against upsampling to 48kHz and back).

You can also use the PC as a transport by playing CDs in the CD-ROM drive and using something like the CD player plugin in Winamp (the one that allows you to use DSP plugins with CDs ) to do error (and maybe jitter) correction before sending the audio data for processing and playback.

And then of course you can use DSP plugins and digital EQ

I wonder how such a setup would compare to a good old component CD player though. But I use neither of these things

Oh, and the case fan and stuff are usually a bitch for open headphones. Might be less of a problem for a speaker system if you listen from far away or if you use a notebook but we use headphones here () and with notebooks you're usually looking at a USB to optical solution, which is less flexible than a sound card, but still ok, I suppose, if you don't need to have head-fi while playing games, I suppose
post #3 of 41
Using a computer as a source is not so easy...and not cheaper than a high end CDP.

first of all, you need a good CD-Rom, they are not all created equally. CD audio extraction is very demanding on the CD-Rom, and not all will do a perfect (or not even reasonable) job. SCSI Plextor drives are some of the best out there. But this option in more expensive and difficult to setup (esp for someone with little experience with scsi).

next, you need a good sound card. For performance equal to that of a real high end CDP, a professional sound card is needed. Since these are usually used by larger recording companies, they don't come cheap. The difficultly with making a good sound card is all the EMI within the computer, so an external (more expensive) card is important.

I guess a DAC is not really an issue since it is needed when using a transport anyways, so I won't talk about this...

I'm not saying that a computer cannot act as an extremely high quality source, just that it would not be cheaper than more conventional means. Actually, I use my PC as my primary source (with an Audiophile 2496 and Art DI/O). I find this to be much more convient than any other means. In other words, I feel a computer based source is a convient alternative that does not cost more than other means (but not less either).
post #4 of 41
I am in the process of doing this with my CD collection. I use Media Jukebox for storing and categorizing the tunes. Right now I transmit the audio wirelessly with a US Robotics soundlink device. The quality is not that great.

Some day soon I will establish a wireless lan in my home and then hook up a laptop to a Sound Blaster Extigy or something similar, and connect that to my stereo. The laptop becomes the remote control for selecting the tunes.

The thing that I like most about this arrangement is that I can easily select for play, tunes from say, a particular range of years, genre, tempo, etc. It's great to take yourself back to your college years for a while and pretend you don't have a care in the world.

Also, I don't know about anyone else but my CD's are all over the house and cars and It's hard to find something when you want it. Having everything stored in one place will make it much easier. But the task of ripping and categorizing everything is a huge task.

post #5 of 41
Thread Starter 
dear markjia...

there is a program called toast titanium i dont know if it is done for pc (i think it is).

this program make images of audio cd. it mean image so data is 100% the same and when u want to play it it just mount the image and act like u have cd in drive.

this make jitter freee error free and 100% same copies. it also works that way that if u have like program disc or for example 2nd disc for game u dont have to burn it.. u just make image and it is recognised by program itself.

i think this i quite a good solution if not the best...


post #6 of 41
But my PCDP or home CD player can also read discs error free. Simply...feed the digital out of a PCDP or home CDP, compare it with an EAC extracted digital output. In fact the transport of my audio devices are better than the cheap EIDE cdroms on my computer on some hard to read discs.

Jitter isn't eliminated...the soundcard will produce it amongst other things. A USB audio device using power from the USB port might produce more than average. Wheter or not it is a big factor or not is up to you. Sometimes jitter is caused from power supply pollution...this is something that is typically worse in computers.

I'm actually using a laptop right now(for surfing not really listening). It is 10x quieter than my desktop in ambient noise. However either my PCDP or home CDP is many times quieter than my laptop to the point of inaudibility. An issue for open headphones or speakers.

Sure you can make a decent transport for Mp3's and other digital audio out of your laptop or computer. But I'd only want to use it for computer audio. I'd also never put forth so much investment into computer audio since there are still limitations and bottlenecks to deal with.

But I wouldn't mind investing in computer audio for the sake of better computer audio.

I also was eyeing the new Sonica...and also found a CD mini-system I found that also has USB connectivity. But given just the limitations of computer audio itself on my laptop, I find the built in sound and jack on my Dell laptop to be good enough for my purposes. Also if you make your own rips or encoded music from your CD's you have better quality control...but if you just want to listen to internet radio or download Mp3's you are at the mercy of that source and that is clearly one of the largest limitations right there. Downloading Mp3's can be "convenient"...sure, but I wouldn't exactly consider ripping my entire CD collection as a fun and "convenient" activity but an almost obsessive compulsive one.

BTW here is an interesting mini-system that includes USB input and supposedly optical/analog outputs.

I actually tried a cheap USB audio device before, and although slightly better in terms of sound, I didn't consider it worth the extra bulk, cpu drain, and poorer USB audio latencies to be worth it. A nicer PCMCIA soundcard however would have been overkill at a high price to boot. And CDP's typically just have less ambient noise since they don't sport hard drives and burning hot CPU's. Sadly I heard of one person's attempt to create their ultra-quiet computer resulted in eventual meltdown.

Moore's law should also state that besides computer speeds doubling...how about total fans or fan RPM's increasing too.
post #7 of 41
I think for me the most practical solution for using the computer as source (if I decide to do it) would be feeding CDs into the CDROM drive to be read on the fly using CD Reader, rather than ripping the CDs...

BUT if I had a larger hard disk, most of my CDs would already have been IN there ALREADY, thanks to my old EX70EQ effort... well, most of the CDs I listen most often to, anyway...
post #8 of 41
In my work system, CDs ripped via EAC and encoded to .APE (Monkey's Audio) sound better than CDs played directly from the CD ROM drive. This is likely due to the fact that when playing at normal speed, the CD has errors and the CD ROM's software has to use error correction where as the data in the EAC file as been repolled and sounds closer to the original data. Also, I'm sure not having a large drive spinning in the box helps a little.
post #9 of 41

As far as I know, Toast is only for Mac. I have it, and don't think it can create disc images from audio cds and still allow you to play them back. Consider that CD player programs always (at least for mac) require you to choose a source CD-Rom, whether it be SCSI or IDE.

Still, even if you could, that is no guarentee that it can extract the audio error free. HFS or HFS+ (mac data cds) uses a lot of the space on the disc for error correction, and even then extracting CDs is very demanding on the drive if you want 100% accuracy. Audio CDs are even more difficult to extract as 100% error proof. I also don't know of any program like EAC for mac.
post #10 of 41
Thread Starter 

i just did what i said.. toast can make image of audio cd and play them back/mount them so it plays like cd 100%. really
post #11 of 41
Originally posted by markjia
As far as I know, Toast is only for Mac. I have it, and don't think it can create disc images from audio cds and still allow you to play them back.
Yes it can.

Consider that CD player programs always (at least for mac) require you to choose a source CD-Rom, whether it be SCSI or IDE.
Not sure what you mean here. iTunes will play AIFF/WAV tracks from a disc image just fine.

Still, even if you could, that is no guarentee that it can extract the audio error free. HFS or HFS+ (mac data cds) uses a lot of the space on the disc for error correction,
Not sure what you mean here, either.

Audio CDs are even more difficult to extract as 100% error proof. I also don't know of any program like EAC for mac.
Toast Audio Extractor, which is free with Toast, does exactly the same thing as EAC.
post #12 of 41
I have not actually tried using toast's audio cd disk image feature, so what I said is based on experience with toast's other file formats (eg. HFS, HFS+, ISO 9660, etc). That in mind, I tested it myself...

What I found is that Toast is not capable of making an "exact" track-to-track copy of an audio cd. what it does is extract the audio and saves it as an audio file in Sound Designer II format (at least that is what SoundApp says). In other words, it does not store the tracks bit for bit and still needs to convert the tracks. In effect, it is no different from other CD extraction programs. There is one program for mac (i don't remember its name) that I know of that will extract tracks bit-for-bit from CDs, but even then, I don't believe those tracks are in a format readable by any audio player.

I looked at toast's audio cd extraction process, and found that it is capable of verification...but I doubt that that is to the same extent as EAC. I can't be sure since Toast Audio Extractor's docementation regarding this is very limited, but my belief is that toast might make a few attempts at verification, but not with as much emphasis as EAC. If it fails, it would probably just let it go through anyways. considering that even EAC does not guarentee 100% accuracy even though it will verify its extraction upto 82 times for perfection, does it really seem likely that toast will be 100% accurate?

As a side note, I personally really like Toast. It's the most convient and functional CD burning program I've ever used, bar none. No program for mac or pc will let you burn an HFS or ISO 9660 (respectively) as quickly, yet still allow for some other formats. Nonetheless, it is not the most powerful program out there...for instance, Nero allow more customization and is more versatile. What I'm saying is that while toast is an exceptional program, it does have it's limitations.
post #13 of 41

Re: jitter

Hard disk drive actually have higher jitter than CDROM. This is because the file on the hard disk could be fragmented. You'll need to defrag the drive to get the most out of HD system. Bit error is not a good indication of jitter.

I would recommend using an Ethernet connection like the Turtle Beach Box (don't remember the name). Supposedly, they transport the data at a higher speed and buffer them. If there is a data error the PC will retransmit.

Try to get a HD with low seek time, this will reduce the need of defragging the drive.
post #14 of 41
Um...hard drives have a fraction of the seek time of CD-Roms...

For instance, the Plextor UltraPlex 40 (which is arguably one of the best CD-Roms out there) has an average seek time of 85ms. Hard drives have a seek time of around 10ms (or less).

The actual impact of fragmentation on hard drives is not black and white. Take high-end digital video. Drive fragmentation is not even necessarily an issue with this format (assuming you're using a decent hard drive). Audio is completely insignificant in comparison. Don't forget that hard drives also have buffers, and are even several times the size of those of CD-Roms.

When it comes to audio playback, the CPU's decoding speed is more influencial on quality than the hard drive. But since even this is not a concern with a relatively modern computer, you really don't have to worry about drive speed or moderate fragmentation.
post #15 of 41
No disagreement here on seek time od HD vs CDRom. However, music on CDROM are not fragmented but on HD they could be fragmented.

Assuming you are doing real time listening to the HD, a heavily fragmented file would have higher jitter. Buffer could help moderately fragment file. In this scenario, the HD playback will be similar to an anti-skip buffer in PCDP. But seek time in HD still is in ms, the SPDIF spec for jitter is in 35 ps. There is about a 12 order of magnitude here.

If you use the computer playback system, it will be okay. But if you use it as a transport, then fragment could make a difference. An Ethernet playback system is not realtime. Packets are buffered and delivered at a higher speed. Any error and jitter can be corrected and buffered out. (The Ethernet packets are converted back to digital audio data).

CPU power is important. Some CPU can't support USB because of processing power, you'll hear drop off etc.
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