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Are CD transports obsolete these days? - Page 8

post #106 of 144
Hmm if the SB4 had properly implemented i2s, and wasnt as butt-ugly as SB3, that could put me on the other side of the fence...
post #107 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akathriel
Hmm if the SB4 had properly implemented i2s, and wasnt as butt-ugly as SB3, that could put me on the other side of the fence...
The SB3 is purdy!

I seriously doubt that the SB4 will have i2s, but we'll see. I'd like to see them put a RCA clock jack on there myself as that is more common. I'm hoping that I can rig one myself, but have been too busy/lazy to open my SB3 and have a look inside.
post #108 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo
Read and understood. However, I don't really see what it adds to your argument.

The fact still remains that, unless the jitter is really heavy the signal can always be reclocked, especially after a buffer. So, it comes down to whatever the DAC is doing, the quality of the source clock not being nearly as important.
Re-read the second page http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/diginterf2_e.html, which clearly explains that while re-clocking is cheap and effective method, it doesn't resolve the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo
It's pretty much the same with CD-ROM drives. Consider that they need to get a 100% perfect "rip" of the data on the disc. Of course, the computer buffers it, and everything is effectively reclocked to go over the various busses in the system. So, why not just make a CD player with a tiny buffer and reclock the jittery output from the CD reading laser unit? This is, I suspect, what most CD players actually do.
I really don't have time to do searches for you. If you really want to get better understanding - all the Web and his Google at your disposal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo
BTW the Squeezebox apparently supports externally clocked I2S.
Go to here, scroll to post #33 http://forums.slimdevices.com/showth...265#post116265
post #109 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by 325xi
Re-read the second page http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/diginterf2_e.html, which clearly explains that while re-clocking is cheap and effective method, it doesn't resolve the problem.
I diagree with what it says but can't be bothered to argue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 325xi
That's a shame, otherwise the SB might have been a worthwhile investment.
post #110 of 144
When everyone is using their PC's, iPods, phones, or watches in the futures as transports, PM me with your "obsolete CD Transport" offer, and will perhaps buy up your unwanted gear...
post #111 of 144
John Swanson has hacked his Squeezebox 3 with I2S output... there is a post about it on the SlimDevices forum.
post #112 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by philodox
John Swanson has hacked his Squeezebox 3 with I2S output... there is a post about it on the SlimDevices forum.
That seems to be the ultimate thing. Too bad it isn't available commercially. Now, taking into account what John did, are there still any advantages for ultra high end transports? I mean technically, not "I believe they sound better for that money".
post #113 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo
That's a shame, otherwise the SB might have been a worthwhile investment.
It is a worthwhile investment even as it is - total jitter on its coax output is said to be 100ps, which is extremely low, you won't find many CDPs with such measurements on digital outs.

Put it into nice heavy box with thick front panel , add there Superclock (you don't even have to connect it, just put it inside to be able to wright about it) and I'm sure this thing will sell for $3K easily as a digital transport.
post #114 of 144
i still want an "appliance" to use as my transport...which is the main reason i still use a cd player. i just don't like using my "general interface device" laptop to play music. if olive had something like the opus, without dacs, with user replaceable hard drives, etc for closer to $1k, i'd be all over it.

mjb
post #115 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by 325xi
It is a worthwhile investment even as it is - total jitter on its coax output is said to be 100ps, which is extremely low, you won't find many CDPs with such measurements on digital outs.
That's interesting. Information on jitter from soundcards seems to be hard to get - most reviews concentrate on the analogue sound side of things.
post #116 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo
That's interesting. Information on jitter from soundcards seems to be hard to get - most reviews concentrate on the analogue sound side of things.
I have to ask you to refrain from insulting Squeezebox by calling it a soundcard.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mjb
i still want an "appliance" to use as my transport...
Yeah, that's where I started too... But starting to dig deeper I realized that any (except the most expensive) music server is essentially a silent PC of this or that kind, with all the EMI and RF included - for the price of high end audio component, which itactually is not, leave alone the nice case.
And you get it with usually too little hard drive, and you usually have hard time thinking how to upgrade it from 300Gb to 500Gb, etc.
Progressing this way I came to a conclusion that computing part of the music server is better to be separated from its audio component. I.e. I'm to buy/build a powerful RAID5 file server to live in my basement, where it can produce noise, EMI, RF as much as it wants, and network it to audio client sitting atop of my system, where it works in clean environment, and actually acts as that very "appliance".
And as per my ongoing research, Squeezebox is best thing audio quality wise.
post #117 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by 325xi
And you get it with usually too little hard drive, and you usually have hard time thinking how to upgrade it from 300Gb to 500Gb, etc.
...
And as per my ongoing research, Squeezebox is best thing audio quality wise.
There is the Pixelmagic Mediabox MB200 that looks interesting but doesn't get talked about yet. You can push in any size hard drive of your choice.
post #118 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loftprojection
There is the Pixelmagic Mediabox MB200 that looks interesting but doesn't get talked about yet. You can push in any size hard drive of your choice.
Actually, I asked about this thing on all forums I know, including Pixelmagic's own. Few concerns were raised:
  • It's a server-less product, i.e. it doesn't have anything like SlimServer running on PC. It accesses files directly with Samba. As a results
    • it's very slow, as nobody indexes and prepares the information for quick access
    • it deals with files, not with albums and songs, with all the horrible names
    • no plugins and extensions for new formats, etc.
    • no transcoding for unsupported formats
  • people claim the interface is horrible comparing to SB3's one
  • it deals with high res video, in such a small box it may be vary bad for audio as it emits high EMI/RF
  • the way it attempts to minimize jitter is said to be much less effective comparing to two fixed frequency oscillators in SB3
post #119 of 144

A "short" rant

As a music nut, I just want to put my .02 cents in. Reading this thread made me a bit sad as the end of transports would essentially mean the end of CD's.

Allow me to tell you a brief story with part of rant:

A few summers ago I was painting a house with my best friend. He is a bit older than me so he remembers the days of vinyl very well. I remember we got into the topic of music. One of his favorite bands just happens to be a small group of 4 guys who called themselves The Beatles. He recounted to me how he stood in line to buy Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and how he opened it and looked over the LP jacket artwork and proceeded to clean his record player, put the LP on side A and put the needle down carefully to listen to this album for the first time. It is an experience he would never forget. Remember this for later.

Many, many years ago, some people would travel great lengths to see music performed by an orchestra and others would stay home and play music on their own. This all changed with the advent of recorded music. All to often I find myself talking about music, art, movies, books and other similar topics with friends and family. This usually leads to a transition to the topic of the digital medium – usually the iPod. However, as much as I LOVE my iPod, I can not deny the fact that the main medium for human communication in the past 2,000 + years of our human history has been through oral and written forms. It comes to no surprise to me that people hold on their first editions of “The Catcher in the Rye” or more recently “The DaVinci Code”. There is just something special about having something in print.

This brings me to the current topic. Will CD transports ever become obsolete. My answer is – it depends. Like most people today, I know older folks who listened to music on something called a turntable. These relics of musical folklore were once, believe it or not, standard appliances which you could find in almost any household in the US way back when. Nowadays, the turntable is something you will find in few houses, houses that most likely contain an avid music fan or audiophile. In its place people have now put a small brick like white object which is sometimes connected to their stereos or other similar docking device so as to amplify the white bricks sound. I am obviously referring to the iPod. The iPod generation has vastly changed how most people listen and receive their music.

This could be taken as a sign of the evolution and adoption of recorded music technology. The vinyl record was able to be inexpensively mass produced but the downfall was that the players were not easily transportable. Enter the cassette tape. Most people saw the cassette tape as a new media format, but I found and still find that true music fans saw the cassette tape not as a new media format but a complimentary media format for their LP’s. The format was smaller and best of all, it was portable and anyone could make recordings on them. However, the LP was not replaced by the cassette. It wasn’t until CD’s came along that the LP began to disappear. Still debatable today, the CD was marketed as having better sound quality than LP’s. In a span of about 20 years, the global music market has transitioned from LP’s to CD’s and now – Digital (FLAC, MP3, OGG, etc). While the latest transition is still not fully understood, there are a lot of traditional issues which I feel prevent a lot of people from abandoning the CD format.

Digital formats like FLAC and MP3 have no physical form, no text, no pictures, no packaging and these new digial formats can be played on anything from an iPod to a laptop to a home theater PC. Musicians and the music industry in general are still adapting to this new technology. The methods for recording and mastering are now being experimented with in order to come up with a tailor made sound which sounds good on portable media devices. As a result, audiophiles are taking a hit as more and more new recordings and old remastered ones are made and released as hot mastered pieces of…where was I. Sorry – lost my train of thought.

Anyway, I digress – Will the CD transport become obsolete? To the newer generation of traditional music listeners – sadly - it already has. To music fans who appreciate the music as a ritual and social discourse – not for a while. I put myself in the second category. I enjoy purchasing a good album. Take for example TOOL’s new album – 10,000 Days. I enjoyed going to the store and talking with other TOOL fans. When I got home, I enjoyed taking off the plastic wrap so as not to damage the case and leave goo on it. I then enjoyed listening to the music for the first time as I held the album cover in my hands. I further enjoyed getting up, pressing play on my CD player so that I could listen to the CD again while looking at all the album art and stereoscopic images. At the end of the day, I was very satisfied with my album and considered it a work of art. I then proudly placed the case along my collection of albums and felt proud to add another jewel to my collection.

Move on to another normal 24 year old who downloaded the album. He listened to it, probably on his iPod or through winamp or itunes. Liked it and christened it “a cool album”. However, he missed out on talking to other fans, he missed out on enjoying the artwork and going through the steps of really listening to every nuance on the album (which could have altogether been eliminated through lossy compression). He merely listened to it.

So what does this ranting boil down to? Art. Plain and simple. Creating a music album is not just mish-mashing a bunch of songs into a collection. Creating a music album is an artform in and of itself. Looking at the packaging, the album artwork, reading the liner notes penned by your favorite band member and keeping that CD or LP on your shelf as a small time capsule making up part of your life’s soundtrack is what it is all about – no more than that – it is what it should be about. The ability to buy an album or download one via the web has led many to appreciate new technologies while condoning a loss in quality standards and completely ignoring the artistic impact of physical mediums. However there are those us who still enjoy the physical mediums of music and its packaging. If the CD is the end of the line of physical mediums for music then CD transports will be obsolete and the art of the album package will be long gone.

In the future, I hope my children, like my best friend, are able to recall a landmark album is their lifetime and I hope they will be able to relate to someone. Not just relate the music but also be able to relate to what a joy it was to wait in line in anticipation, to open the album and to see the art for the first time while listening to quality recorded and mastered music at the same time. Think about the first time you opened an album, be it TOOL’s 10,000 days, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper or Pink Floyds Dark Side of The Moon. Is that an experience we wish to rob future generations of by replacing it with a 75 x 75 pixel image of the original artwork? I leave it up to you but I will do my part and continue to buy albums and hold my music experience in high esteem.
post #120 of 144
lff, excellent articulation, thank you!

mjb
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