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Are CD transports obsolete these days? - Page 2

post #16 of 144
cd baby, no hassle
post #17 of 144
If money allows, i would have a high cdp just for the beauty of it. but for practicality, pc would win.
as other have point out, do back up. Have you ever heard of RAID?
It will take your worries away...
post #18 of 144
I'll weigh in and say that I think the CD transport is obsolete.

The problems mentioned are very easily overcome, at least I think so.

If you're worried about the BSOD, don't run Windows. I don't want to provoke an OS flamewar, but Mac OS X, Linux and BSD are far superior in terms of stability. In four years, I've never had a Linux crash. A few weird spots during initial installation and configuration, yes, but once it runs, it runs. And runs and runs and runs. The Linux box I'm using right now has about 19 months of 24/7 uptime. My mother's Linux machine (yeah, my mom runs Linux!) has been up about 30 months continuously. My Macs are equally reliable. My Windows XP machine at work goes down... oh, once or twice a day. I bring the PowerBook in for critical deadlines.

Storage is not a problem. Newegg is selling 300GB drives for about $100 without discounts. Get a pair of those and a RAID card for $50. Run RAID 1 and you'll never have to worry about backups. Other levels of RAID (except 0) will give you excellent security and performance, too. If a drive fails, the replacements will be bigger, faster and cheaper a few years from now.

If you don't like computer noise, get a fanless PSU and some SilenX (www.silenx.com) goodies. Their hard drive silencers/coolers are pretty good, too.

As for the inconvenience of ripping CDs, I only do it when I want to listen to a CD that I haven't already ripped. I rip it while listening to it. While it takes longer to get the entire collection this way, it's utterly painless.
post #19 of 144
I would walk a mile to change the CD if it improves the sound!

I use my computer setup in bed (projector) for listening to 192 kbps mp3, it's very relaxing. But for my main rig I need to brace myself in my chair to prepare for the dynamics...
post #20 of 144
I am glad that this thread is getting some attention. I have noticed that when this question comes up, the threads die quickly. Maybe it is lack of interest. Maybe it is that people are so wedded to their opinions that there is little room for dialog.

I am not an expert, but I tend to believe, along with Uncle Erik that mechanical CD transports are doomed. Some of my thoughts, in no particular order, follow.

I am not an engineer, but CDs are a series of 0s and 1s. Uploading uncompressed files, and permitting the computer to use all the time necessary for error correction, should give you a perfect file. Trying to do error-correction in real time, time after time, means that your CD transport must be both sturdy and expensive.

Information transmitted digitally should be identical to the original CD. All of that information is either a 0 or a 1. That includes timing information. Until it is translated to analog in the DAC, it is either perfect or it isn't.

So, maybe people just like looking at the pretty CD players. Certainly manufacturers and retailers would rather sell CD players than have you buy a hard drive. We have to give up one more elegant toy. I wear an "automatic" (movement turns weight which winds spring) watch because I like the idea of a mechanical movement. But mechanical watches aren't as accurate as quartz watches and, at best, can only come close.

To those of us who already have the hardware, adding audio to a networked computer system, especially an Apple System, is cheap. Maybe the choice is different if you need to buy the compter or a CD.

It may be that the industry has not caught up by providing more options, quality, and competition in DACs under $2000. It is still a lot easier to find and compare redbook CD players, than to do the same with DACs. If DACs get more numerous, and cheaper, then people might answer the CD question differently.

Finally, note the popularity of multiple format disc players. We will have to see which formats require separate hardware, and which can be played through a computer.

I think redbood CD players can come close or be better, but the only thing making them better would be their DAC sections, not the transport. I run Apple Lossless, or uncompressed AIFF files, from a central drive, through an ethernet network (or wireless) to Airport Expresses through a glass toslink cable, to various DACs (Benchmark DAC1, Headroom Max DAC module etc.). Using a CD player, with coax outs to the DACs didn't sound
better in some, admittedly quick, testing.

Frankly, I think that this issue raises a sore spot with manufacturers and retailers. Recording engineers, like Benchmark and Apogee, appear almost unanimously to believe that bits is bits.
post #21 of 144
IMO, the debate pivots more on the size of your music collection. If your collection doesnt fill a library, people tend to go for CD player. I have less than 100 cds. Therefore using a player is not that big a hassle for me. But at Hirsch's place his living room and listening room have bookcases on everywall lined with CDs (granted one wall is DVDs) but he must have well over 2000. Thats why he told me he would probably be heading for a music server (kind of a PC.) Personally if someone made a PCI card with i2s output it would be a no brainer for me. But as long as CD players continue to be technically superior and the hassle is not as big a deal for me because of my small collection, I will pick the i2s cd transport.
post #22 of 144
CDs can be irretrievably damaged too, try scratching a FLAC. If mine do get corrupted somehow, well thats half the point of back-ups.
post #23 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chri5peed
CDs can be irretrievably damaged too, try scratching a FLAC. If mine do get corrupted somehow, well thats half the point of back-ups.
Pretty much the only way to irretrievably damage a CD is to break it in half. Just like you can use raid to back up your flac files, there are a lot of great cd repair options out there.

I thought of another benefit of cds, I enjoy the kinescthetics of cds that computer systems dont have. I enjoy looking at the album art and the art on the disc itself. I know this is silly but somehow its more exciting. Also I do not like to be looking at screen while listening to music. I suppose you could use a SqueezeBox but the crux of my argument is that i2s transports are the best available and squeezebox is another step down from usb.
post #24 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akathriel
Pretty much the only way to irretrievably damage a CD is to break it in half. Just like you can use raid to back up your flac files, there are a lot of great cd repair options out there.
Odd then that I've had a number of CDs, the new Opeth album is one where various songs didn't work.
Also one of my Iron Maiden albums a complete disc didn't work.

None of those were broken in half? Giant deep scratches are pretty unrepairable damage too.
post #25 of 144
To answer the OP, no.

Here is my reasoning...

I have a Slimdevices Squeezebox 3. Love the thing, so fun to use and a great purchase. It's digital output is arguably better than any soundcard based implementation as you don't have to worry about the computer polluting the signal. I rip my FLAC files using ubernet specifications. You would think that this would be the perfect transport. It is VERY good. However, my Eastsound CD-E5 Signature Edition is a far superior transport. With them both feeding my Lavry Black DA10 there is a noticable improvement in bass response, soundstage and perhaps a slight increase in clarity. I am hoping that with a battery powered PSU for the squeezebox it narrows the gap further, but we will have to wait and see. It is also important to note that while I love my CD-E5, it is not the best transport out there. However, I challenge you to find a better computer solution than the Squeezebox.

Sonics aside, it is also nice to listen to a CD every once and a while. Computers suck as CD players IMO and I don't want to have to wait to rip it to FLAC.
post #26 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chri5peed
Odd then that I've had a number of CDs, the new Opeth album is one where various songs didn't work.
Also one of my Iron Maiden albums a complete disc didn't work.

None of those were broken in half? Giant deep scratches are pretty unrepairable damage too.
There are ways to avoid damaging CDs as they are ways to avoid losing the lossless files through backup solutions.
post #27 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by philodox
However, I challenge you to find a better computer solution than the Squeezebox.
Well, how about Apple MacBook Pro optical out, upsampled to 96K in Apple Midi software (included in OS X). Or how about airport express. What is so special about the Squeezebox? Not arguing, just asking.
post #28 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruppin
Well, how about Apple MacBook Pro optical out, upsampled to 96K in Apple Midi software (included in OS X). Or how about airport express. What is so special about the Squeezebox? Not arguing, just asking.
Well, yeah, airport express would be about as good I would expect... not as usable, but would probably sound about the same. Can't say anything about the MacBook Pro as I haven't heard it... but upsampling, never found that to be a good thing.
post #29 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alu
There are ways to avoid damaging CDs as they are ways to avoid losing the lossless files through backup solutions.
Shutting the barndoor is pretty useless after the horse has run away.

CDs are an outdated way of storing music now anyway. 1000 CDs of music can be stored on a HDD the size of a babies hand and any song can be instantly accessed.
My CDs now are another last resort back-up, plus where I originally rip things from.
post #30 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chri5peed
Shutting the barndoor is pretty useless after the horse has run away.
That's why I shut it before the horse can get out...

Well, I hope you know what I mean.

I prefer to use CDs nowadays, even though I have the option of using my PC as source, with the same music. There's something magical about shiny discs.
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