Fresh off the CD is the easiest way!
Buying a hi-res download from a site such as HDTracks definitely doesn't guarantee a great sounding sounding recording. I've had some very disappointing ones and some great sounding one's - it's been a crap shoot. I now try to find reviews of the specific downloads before buying.
Alright. I'll stick to CD rips mostly as with many of the vinyl rips I've downloaded it really cuts the volume and with my X3 it's just not loud enough.
I just compared my Muse - 2nd Law Vinyl rip to HDtracks sample it it sounds identical with equal volume. I'm going to load it on my X3 and give it a whirl.
I record my music from Spotify Premium which I think is 320kbps ogg format. I record it on the program Audacity and save it as a 320kbps Mp3 so it takes up a little less space on my X3. I always find the sound quality on Spotify to be extremely good.
I have lots of CD rips on my X3 too as well as a few vinyls that I recorded with Audacity.
The X3 sounds so good that it just makes the click and crackling from the records much more obvious!
Alright. Just transferred Muse - 2nd Law 24bit/96 album to my X3 and at low gain its blaring loud. Sounds good to boot. A little bit of crackling, but that adds to the experience. :D
Guess I'll just have to go through my albums and replace the quiet vinyls with CD rips.
What I would love to see happen is music publishers issue 48kHz/24bit wav format albums. It would be sufficient for most listeners and reasonable file size. Then the albums could be available for download, although kind of long download times. Or they could be sold on micro SD cards.
The albums would best be re-mastered but this is not new. Lots of music that was originally issued on vinyl had to get re-mastered for CD. Hopefully the cost of publishing would come down too and albums would be less than on CD. Only maybe not for the card version. The quality and loudness would then be as the label and producer intended.
Could happen. Publishers ought to keep up with cutting edge audio, IMO.
I set forth on a quest to determine the size of data used by ID3v2 tags. Just because of the question of how large in bytes a Media Library for X3 might be.
The specification for ID3v2 states that the maximum size for all tags, per track, could be 256MB.
WHAT????? 256MB??? Oh, this makes a lot of sense considering track size.... NOT!
OK, so I have been tagging wav files that were modified and exported by Sonar Studio X3 , using Tag&Rename. To get a grip on reality I just went through the process using the song I posted a waveform for, called St. Thomas.
The original rip file is 79,544,876 bytes, and has 'Artist Name' 'Track#' and 'Genre' in what seems to be ID3v1 format. (not sure)
The wav file exported by Sonar Studio, un-processed and still 16bit/44.1Khz is 79,548,876 bytes.
The wav track from Sonar Studio with tags added by Tag&Rename is 79,549,006 bytes. ID3v2 is selected in Tag&Remane and has 'Artist Name' 'Year' 'Track#' and 'Genre'
So what we have is:
Sonar's exported wav track is 3,824 bytes larger than the original rip. If Sonar studio is adding a broadcast wav header (4,400 bytes) then it must be throwing out 576 bytes of tag data from the rip tool.
Tag&Rename tagged track is 306 bytes larger than the exported wav. If the broadcast wav header is what Sonar Studio added to the wav file then Tag&Rename may be using part of (180 bytes reserved for expansion), but not all of the space in the header. This could mean tag data amounting to 486 bytes.
WHEW! What a relief. This of course does not indicate what happens with mp3. So it seems not unreasonable that a 1K byte allocation for each entry in the Media Library table could be used. Space for other tags and file pointer still being available.
If Media Libraries are added to the microSD cards in future fw, space requirements would not be critical. Considering the capacity of these cards.
I hope you're all glad I geeked out on this. Does anybody really care?
BTW St. Thomas play time is 7:30 so it's about twice the size of an average track.
Thank you very much.
What a relief, I'm going to order one !
I will let you know as soon as I receive it.
Does it deserve to update the firmware to the latest one?
No, didn't factor in those album covers did I. Now there's a chunk of data that clearly trashes the 1K byte assumption. Still, the tags will survive. And I use wav's since that's what my rip tool generates. Totally OK with me since the capacity of micro SD cards makes it irrelevant. As I pointed out in an earlier post, even with 24bit wav files you can put more songs on an 8GB card than you can play before X3 runs out of juice. Compression ratio is made moot by the advance in storage capacity.
TrollDragon: You got me curious so I checked out the FLAC spec. What gives FLAC a real advantage over WAV is STREAMING! Faster transfer of files at half the size and most important CRC check sums to insure against corrupted data. So I see that my dream for high quality publishing of music would mean FLAC format tracks, or even entire albums because of the support for CUE files. Best of all, no additional royalties on music. From my POV the musicians deserve it all.
Nah it's not EU limiter (i'm aware of that with the clips also), I just listen very loudly. To get an idea, use Poweramp with any android device, full volume is not nearly enough, I tried a little preamping in the settings but it makes things sound yucky. On a clip (rockboxed) I would listen +6>+12db most of the time (6db seems to be a cap for clips, whereas I can get +12 with the Fuze+).