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sound Vs FLAC sound of the same track

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I am searching for help on this one for sometime now. I hope I will have a few good responses.
I bought the Onkyo TXNR609 (TI Burr-Brown 192 kHz/24-Bit DACs on all channels 32-Bit DSP chip for advanced processing) because it has a USB input to be able to playback FLAC files.
1. I am disappointed to find that the play back of the ripped FLAC (44.1/16), via USB into Receiver, is not as good as the original CD.
2. My equipment: LG HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GMA-4020B ripping drive, Cambridge Audio 650BD DVD/CD player, Onkyo TXNR609 Receiver (with USB input can only plays up to 96/24 FLAC files via USB).
Q1:Which could be the weak link in the rip/playback chain? (a) Ripper drive, (b) EHD/USB output to Receiver or (c) receiver? . The track ripped by EAC gives a confidence 2 and ripped by dBpoweramp gives an accuracy of 2. Does this show I may need something like Plextor 230A or similar for ripping to a high accuracy? Or is there another reason? perhaps the Receiver DAC? I need to eliminate the cause before I rip all my CDs.
The track used as a test is U2, The Joshua Tree, Where the streets have no name.
Any help will be most appreciated.
Regards
William
post #2 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by wtaylorbasil View Post

I am searching for help on this one for sometime now. I hope I will have a few good responses.
I bought the Onkyo TXNR609 (TI Burr-Brown 192 kHz/24-Bit DACs on all channels 32-Bit DSP chip for advanced processing) because it has a USB input to be able to playback FLAC files.
1. I am disappointed to find that the play back of the ripped FLAC (44.1/16), via USB into Receiver, is not as good as the original CD.
 
Unless your extraction is absolute pants the digital data on the FLAC will actually be a bit (ha ha) better than a real-time CD playback as it has done better error checking, your accuracy checks just mean that 2 other people have submitted the same data including checksum to Accuraterip, your DVD-RAM drive is far from the worst out there ( it is a awful drive in some resepcts , I have one of them on an old Toshiba, but in extraction terms it is competent enough)  and EAC will tell you exactly what the quality of your rip is , anything above 98% is as good as you need, EAC is very picky, a 99% rip will play back with no audible problems. So I would not rush to replace it just yet !

2. My equipment: LG HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GMA-4020B ripping drive, Cambridge Audio 650BD DVD/CD player, Onkyo TXNR609 Receiver (with USB input can only plays up to 96/24 FLAC files via USB).
 
What actually remains to be established is if you really do hear a fundemental difference. 
 
Can you switch seamlessly between the two sources, if so you need to sync them so you can do rapid switching, you may find that the difference is gone.
 
I assume that you are taking the digital feed from the DVD/CD player. The single most frequent cause of perceived differences between digital sources is output level.
 
You are dealing with two senders and two receivers there are therefore 4 places where a difference could theoretically occur. I own a digital streaming audio device that does not output a bit-perfect stream, instead for whatever reason the playback is hotter ( I measured this) by about 1db c/f other digital playbacks , this bizarre effect sometimes means I get clipping on hot tracks.
 
Assuming both your CD/DVD player and computer output an accurate bit-stream they then pass into different receivers (USB and SPDIF) , the receivers will unpack the data and then decode it. Now, if both receivers send the same unpacked PCM data to a single DAC common stage then they should both be the same, however if they do their jobs independently then it is possible that they can output analog data that is at slightly different levels and a difference of only 0.3 to 0.5db is enough to be perceptily different.
 
This is easy to test. Take an analog output from the Receiver such as tape-out and record it via an ADC. Do this for both devices and then you can compare the waveforms. A fundamental dfference will show up quite plainly. I've got a USB ADC I am not using at the moment, send me a PM and I'll wing it to you...
 

 
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Jim,

Sorry I did not reply soon. Yes I received it OK-thank you. Last night I tried it but unable to compare the FLAC played via the Receiver USB and FLAC played on the VISTA Laptop by MediaMonkey out-puting to UCA202 connected to the Receiver via Optical. It was late night and could not play loud enough to judge-wife asleep! This morning I am trying test again but unable to get output to UCA202. I have to leave it for now and attend to daughter's car "Project"- simply wants to change to a different model, I believe it is just a fashion change!!!

I will get back to you when I have compared the sound quality. In the meanwhile, Jim, could you put your thought to the fact that I am using a laptop, am I dependent on the limitation of the soundcard/audio system? My understanding of the whole chain is still fuzzy.

The weather here is pretty good now-averaging 15-22 C.

William

PS: for some reason this message as a reply to you asking if I received the UCA202 could not be sent. Message said ” You have sent your daily allotment of 2 messages". I hope this gets to you.

PS2: I did try it out and I feel the sound from the UAC202 optical out is better than the USB into the Receiver. As you said UAC 202 is not an expensive piece of kit, Can this make a difference to be discernible because the Receiver has less processing to do?

It is 00:25 here in UK and hope this PM will reach you.

W

 PS3: Could not send PM hence on this open Forum. I hope Moderators can tell me what is wrong.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post
 

 

I know this is an old thread but since I started it, I thought I ought update you.

At the same time I was also contemplating video streaming. Glad to say only last week I found the best way to stream my HD videos usung Mezzmo (after many months of frustration). I am delighted.

While I was experimenting video streaming, it occured to me how convenient it would be for me to stream audio as well without any SQ loss. I was not very trusting on the "software" to be faithful. But after some reading and understanding, I was converted that the FLAC file would be truthfully re-produced as long as the Onkyo DAC was capable as the spec said. And it did the job-I had to make sure the speaker configuration was set to "stereo". Then I realised that via USB I could only play upto 96Khz sampling but on DLNA I could play 192Khz 24bit audio, which was becoming more available.


So I transferred all my music FLAC files to my Lenovo Laptop Core i7 2.7Ghz 8GB RAM and 1TB HD.
I am playing all my ripped CD tracks via DLNA and it is great! Cannot tell the difference between CD and the FLAC ripped tracks.

I have become a bit more confident and right now I am listening to my very first Vinyl "Blessed Are" by Joan Baez, which I have digitised to FLAC and sounds good. I have not yet compared the Vinyl/FLAC sound SQ thoroughly (used Behringer UCA202 a gift from one of you members).

So guys I am very happy with Onkyo TX-NR609 playing my music (approx 6,000 tracks) and happy with Panasonic DMP-BDT110 playing HD videos.

If anyone has any more to comment, please do, specially on sound quality whether DLNA maintains the full fidelity.
 regards

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