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Help with music players

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

Do all portable music players also run on AC power? Want only for home use.

Can I purchase a portable music player without an integrated amplifier or DAC? So I can purchase them separately.

Can I transfer my Cd's through a computer onto a music player? Will they be the exact same quality/bps if this is even possible?

 

Hi, I've been into audio for the past 25 years on and off, and I am not familiar with any of the current music players of today, If someone can help me with a little knowledge on these music players and possibly some recommendations on some I would greatly appreciate it. I have over 300 Cd's I would like to transfer, (if this can be even done) so I don't know if this helps with any suggestions on players or this brings me to a specific price range.

I know there are very well made audio products that can compete with others costing 2-3 times as much. I understand the diminishing returns with audio, and I understand the small gains with expensive audio also. Please keep this in mind if you have any input.

Thank you.

post #2 of 35

Hi Joseph, welcome to the forum.

 

There are better informed people than me on here but I'll try and answer some of your questions.

 

1.Yes, pretty much all portable music player are rechargeble and can be used while plugged in to AC power if desired.

 

2. (I might be wrong but Im sure someone will soon correct me) They will have their own integrated amp/dac but some players have a pre-amp line out function which will output a cleaner analogue signal from the units DAC prior to the Amp. The Ipod Classics and the Sony X-1060 32Gb springs to mind and I can vouch for the X having an excellent line out when an LOD adapter is used. If you dont want the onboard DAC to be used It sounds like you just want a 'transport' ? A pc soundcard will often have an optical out a will provide a pure digital signal via toslink to an external DAC/Amp, Digital coaxial may also be another option with some soundcards... or you can also connect some DAC's directly via USB. (USB DAC)

 

3. Yes you can... rip your cd's using ripping software and saving in Wav format on your PC... although there are compressed 'lossless' file types that some players use that can save you a lot of space without degrading quality and would be what I,d use.  This should help-  http://www.zeropaid.com/news/6243/getting_to_know_your_audio_files/

 

And this thread might also interest you-  http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?t=18599

 

Would you be connecting it to your home hifi?  


Edited by Ari33 - 2/2/13 at 6:49pm
post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 

Yes, exactly, I would be using this player with my home audio equipment. I want to connect this to my 1990 Meridian DAC, and then through my Adcom GTP-400 pre-amp/tuner, which I will plug my SR325is headphones into, if this is possible. Thank you for the info, I will look into the sites you posted, also the music players you have mentioned.

 

BTW, I didn't quite understand your comment on the question I asked about the quality when transferring my Cd's to the music player.

Will I get the exact same sound quality as my Cd's?

 

I was looking at the Hifiman HM602, if anybody has any input on this player, or knows if I can incorporate this into the equipment I mentioned above, I would appreciate any comments.

 

Like I mentioned above my equipment is older and I use a Sony CDP-C701ES and enjoy the sound quality very much, but would also like to have a music player, because Cd's are going to be a thing of the past, and it is getting harder to purchase them. I know nothing about newer sound sources.

Thank you.


Edited by joseph69 - 2/2/13 at 8:51pm
post #4 of 35

Hi Joseph69. About transferring your music. You can compress files which degrades their quality depending on how much you compress them. This is fine for IEMs/earbuds but with a good setup with full size headphones you need at least 256kbps preferably 320kbps. With excellent media players/amps then it is even possible to notice the difference between 320kbps and WAV or lossless compression. If you wish to play through your hi-fi then you don't want any compression. Lossless is like a zip file. You don't lose any data but the file is a bit smaller than the WAV file. I have a similar sized music collection to you and have converted most of it to flac. Each album takes 200-250MB. I've still got my collection at 320kbps for IEM listening outside. The software I used for converting to flac was a program called Exact Audio Copy (EAC). It is rather strict and some of my old CDs couldn't be converted. A QLS QA660 is an SD card player that sends a high grade digital signal that you could run through a DAC into your hi-fi. Alternatively their QA350 is a portable WAV player utilising the rather good Wolfson WM8740 DAC. The difficulty you come accross with hi-fi players is capacity. Many only have 8-32GB which means only part of a lossless collection can be stored. My collection was 20GB at 192kpbs mp3, 30GB at 320kbps and I estimate will be 60-70GB at flac. Many mainstream products with high capacity HDD will be difficult to plug into your hi-fi although good for outdoor use. You could stream music from a PC/laptop into a Cambridge Audio Stream Magic rack. Cambridge Audio did have a HDD player the 640H which compressed your CDs while you played them onto a 160GB HDD, this is quite an old player. I don't know whether they have a model which plays lossless or perhaps uses flash memory.

post #5 of 35

double post


Edited by Sefelt103 - 2/3/13 at 2:37am
post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sefelt103 View Post

Hi Joseph69. About transferring your music. You can compress files which degrades their quality depending on how much you compress them. This is fine for IEMs/earbuds but with a good setup with full size headphones you need at least 256kbps preferably 320kbps. With excellent media players/amps then it is even possible to notice the difference between 320kbps and WAV or lossless compression. If you wish to play through your hi-fi then you don't want any compression. Lossless is like a zip file. You don't lose any data but the file is a bit smaller than the WAV file. I have a similar sized music collection to you and have converted most of it to flac. Each album takes 200-250MB. I've still got my collection at 320kbps for IEM listening outside. The software I used for converting to flac was a program called Exact Audio Copy (EAC). It is rather strict and some of my old CDs couldn't be converted. A QLS QA660 is an SD card player that sends a high grade digital signal that you could run through a DAC into your hi-fi. Alternatively their QA350 is a portable WAV player utilising the rather good Wolfson WM8740 DAC. The difficulty you come accross with hi-fi players is capacity. Many only have 8-32GB which means only part of a lossless collection can be stored. My collection was 20GB at 192kpbs mp3, 30GB at 320kbps and I estimate will be 60-70GB at flac. Many mainstream products with high capacity HDD will be difficult to plug into your hi-fi although good for outdoor use. You could stream music from a PC/laptop into a Cambridge Audio Stream Magic rack. Cambridge Audio did have a HDD player the 640H which compressed your CDs while you played them onto a 160GB HDD, this is quite an old player. I don't know whether they have a model which plays lossless or perhaps uses flash memory.

Thank you for the information. Right now I'm reading

 a website that Ari33 recommended I read,which is quite interesting because it explains about the different music files, which is what I needed to understand. As of now I'm still not sure if I can use my early equipment with a music player. Thanks again.

post #7 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by joseph69 View Post

As of now I'm still not sure if I can use my early equipment with a music player. Thanks again.

 

If its the Meridian 203, it has both optical and digital co-axial in doesn't it?, so no issues there. You may be a bit limited in potential compared to modern DAC's as I cant imagine it will be able to deal with the higher resolution tracks ie; 196/24 recordings that can be downloaded these days.

 

If you rip a cd it will contain ALL the information that is on the CD and store it in a Wav file format, so no loss in quality at all. It just makes more sense to find a player that can play FLAC or another lossless file type... just to save you HD or SD card space.

 

I play wavs using my Sony X-1060 personal player as the source. I use an LOD cable for a clean pre amp (anologue) out signal which goes into my Creative X-Dock which does something very unusual and creates a DTS 5.1 digital audio signal sent via Toslink to be decoded by my Onkyo 5.1 surround sound Amp.  It may sound a bit strange to be converting an analogue signal back into a digital 5.1 DTS signal but it doesn't affect the sound quality negatively, sounds incredible....  the soundstage, the detail, the clarity... wow!

I ripped the audio from my Roger Waters 'Remember that Night' DVD and play it this way... totally mind blowing hair on the back of your neck standing on end stuff I just cant imagine another set-up sounding any better.

 

Sefelt103  has covered it really well. I hadn't seen that QLS model before and was hesitant to recomend the smaller ones due to their screen size limitations. I'd also suggest going down the non portable route as a home seperates type transport wont have any design/component/layout compromises that a personal player might due to their compact size.. 

 

I'd ask what the best digital transport would be for your budget in the 'dedicated Source Components' section providing all the info you mentioned above... you should get good advice there.

post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 

ARI33- Thanks for all of your knowledge and input.

You mentioned above about non-portable, I had no idea there were home audio music players, besides a computer, I thought there were only portable players, remember I have not moved forward in 25 years with my system. This puts a whole new light on things, I would much rather have a piece of home audio equipment that does this instead of a portable player.

So in other words this would just replace my Cd player, correct?

BTW, I really don't understand most of the electronics that you are mentioning as of now, but I am doing my research so I understand the conversations.Thanks for recommending the website explaining the different music files, it's my first understanding of it besides Cd's.

Enjoy your system, I'm sure it sounds awesome, but I'm sorry I have no idea what you have, unfortunately right at this time.

post #9 of 35
I didn't catch what your budget is, Joseph, but one solution if you are techie minded could be an Android tablet. Some of the newest tablets that use the 4.1 Jelly Bean version of Android support USB out. So you can put your music on the tablet, and then use the tablet's music player and output to a DAC. Since most of the Android tablets have a micro SD card, you should be able to add 60gb of storage with a card.

The one main disadvantage of this solution is that you have to charge the device through the same plug for the USB out. So can't charge while it's running. Also support is varied. For instance, some DACs draw to much power for some devices--apparently the FiiO E17 is one that's problematic. Here's a list of devices to look into, both phones and tablets: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1393599/enable-usb-audio-on-any-android-4-0-smartphone-tablet/60#post_22410396

Strangely enough, the Nexus 7 doesn't support it without having root the tablet and jump through some technical hoops to get it working. Here's the process on the Nexus 7: http://www.head-fi.org/t/627459/use-a-standard-usb-dac-with-a-nexus-7-step-by-step-guide

Anyway, if you are interested in it, definitely worth checking out. Nice big display on a tablet for managing your music collection.
post #10 of 35

You're welcome. :)

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by joseph69 View Post

So in other words this would just replace my Cd player, correct?

 

 

Yes, absolutely. No more cd's cluttering up your lounge. It will take a while to convert your existing CD collection, It's definately the way forward. You'll probably never buy another CD again and just download your favourite individual tracks. You might find this Wiki article on Ripping helpfull- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripping

 

My home system is not an expensive one at all, just carefully considered. If you ever consider replacing your Stereo Amp be sure to have a listen to a decent seperates 5.1 audio system for a more 3D audio surround demonstration before making a decision, its a more natural listening experience Imo,


Edited by Ari33 - 2/4/13 at 2:21am
post #11 of 35

I think there are few options to choose like you can buy multimedia hardrive with dock to give digital out or buy Archos 500GB 5 series multimedia mp3 player with dock to connect with external DAC or buy cd/dvd player with hardrive to rip cds and store on it.

post #12 of 35
Thread Starter 

Thanks everybody, I appreciate all of your knowledge about the music players and music files that I'm not up on yet, I will do extensive further research on these subjects and from there I will make a decision. Thanks again.

post #13 of 35
Thread Starter 

What's up guy's, it's been a few weeks since I've been on the forum due to my old IBM laptop finally taking it's last breath (unfortunately). I did research on a couple of portable music players that I was interested in so I could make a choice and purchase one. I have noticed a lot of people on this forum use a Mac book pro to listen to their music, so I decided to take the plunge and kill two birds with one stone buy purchasing the Mac as my new computer and my music player. I've been reading about the different types of music files and would just like to get some input on iTunes. From what I understand ALAC is a lossless file, and I believe it is the same as a FLAC file, where as they both have Cd quality. So before I purchase anything from iTunes, I just wanted to know if (ALAC)  was the correct way to go, also is this of Cd quality?

 

Also instead of listening through the headphone jack on the Mac, I intend to plug my Mac into my Adcom GTP400 pre-amp/tuner and listening through that, does anyone have a setup similar to what I would like to do? Thank you , I appreciate your replies.

post #14 of 35

As far as I know iTunes does not sell ALAC files, they are compressed to 256kbps which is fine for headphones but not hi-fi speakers. ALAC and FLAC should be identical to the CD they were converted from. As you probably know ALAC only works on Apple products (unless a player supports m4a). Other players use FLAC. There are apps. for mobile devices to play FLAC files on some Apple players. Whether there is software for a laptop to do so I don't know. There are also converters from FLAC to ALAC and vice versa. If you like Apple then convert your CDs to ALAC using iTunes. If you want compatability with a wider range of devices then go for FLAC. Certain sites sell music converted to FLAC.

post #15 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sefelt103 View Post

As far as I know iTunes does not sell ALAC files, they are compressed to 256kbps which is fine for headphones but not hi-fi speakers. ALAC and FLAC should be identical to the CD they were converted from. As you probably know ALAC only works on Apple products (unless a player supports m4a). Other players use FLAC. There are apps. for mobile devices to play FLAC files on some Apple players. Whether there is software for a laptop to do so I don't know. There are also converters from FLAC to ALAC and vice versa. If you like Apple then convert your CDs to ALAC using iTunes. If you want compatability with a wider range of devices then go for FLAC. Certain sites sell music converted to FLAC.

I may have been mislead...but I read that ALAC was Apple Lossless Audio Codec. So I believed it was a equal in sound quality to a FLAC file but it was from Apple, so all iTunes were ALAC files, correct me if I'm mistaken.

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