Originally Posted by HPiper
Wow, this is some interesting stuff here, I am kind of in the same situation, switching from a dedicated cd player to using the computer for my music. I do have a question, you say that when ripping a cd to the HD the computer will do error correction to get a 'clean' file. Is this automatic? Does it depend on the music player used, for example Windows Media vs Winamp? I am currently using WMP and ripping using windows lossless format, if it is better I could switch to Winamp (which supports flac) if that would make any difference in the resulting audio quality. From what reading I have done they are pretty similar, but I don't recall seeing anything about error correction for either.
If you don't want to buy a dedicated ripping program, read up on how to use EAC (exact audio copy) with Secure Ripping, and AccurateRip to verify the results. (there are a number of guides available online)
If you can afford $38 and have a big collection of CDs, I strongly recommend dBpoweramp, as it requires considerably less set-up, and has a number of useful features. (first-time setup with dBpoweramp
I don't know that programs such as Windows Media Player, Winamp or iTunes are capable of Secure Ripping.
Originally Posted by Golfnutz
I have two transport systems. One sounds the same as the computer system, the other sounds better. All three are feeding the same DAC (2 transports and coomputer).
Then something is going wrong with at least one of the devices. CDs are digital audio - there is only one correct sound for them. Computers are capable of spending the time necessary to extract the original data exactly
and storing that in a losslessly compressed format - provided that you use software capable of secure ripping. (primarily dBpoweramp or EAC)
CD players may or may not grab the audio stream exactly, and certainly do not do that with all discs 100% of the time.
So there are potentially differences between how a CD player is reading the data (i.e. incorrectly) compared to a computer.
The next potential difference is the output from the player. If your PC is configured correctly (24/44.1 output) and you are using a good player (iTunes is fine, but I recommend JRiver - I don't have any experience with others like Windows Media Player or Winamp) then you will have a bit-perfect output of the original data on the disc - you cannot get any better than this - and it is bit-perfect 100% of the time because the file is decoded in advance of playback, rather than being read in realtime.
A CD player may or may not be upsampling, may not have read the disc accurately, or may be processing the audio in some other way before outputting. They are essentially a "black box" and you don't really
know what is going on inside them. With a digital audio output, that should be less
likely, but I certainly wouldn't trust the analog output to be accurate. (just like I wouldn't trust the analog out of a PC)
If a CD player sounds different, this is the likely cause. And if they sound different, then they are inaccurate
- potentially they are changing the audio in some way that you prefer - or at least think you do, because you spent X amount on this high-end device so different must
The final potential difference is jitter. This is something PCs have traditionally been quite bad with, but newer devices should not be as bad as they once were, and you will find many sources that argue that jitter on the level that we see from most outputs, is completely inaudible.
And there are several different ways that modern DACs go about it, but all good DAC designs should be completely immune to jitter these days, so that it doesn't matter how much jitter your source has, as the DAC removes it anyway.
There should not be a difference between Toslink, Coax, USB etc. If there is
a difference, something is wrong with your DAC - or it's in your head.
Originally Posted by Golfnutz
As a matter of fact, there are occasions when the music is interputted by the processing of the computer. I've never had this with either of my transport system.
I'm not sure how you have music skipping on the computer, that really shouldn't happen these days. How old is your hardware, and what player are you using? (on Windows, I recommend JRiver MediaCenter, though I did not have any problems with iTunes)
Originally Posted by hodgjy
If you are feeding the same dac different sources, but they sound different, the sources are coloring the information being sent and/or the dac is having issues with reclocking the information. As far as I'm concerned, this is normal. My dac sounds different when sending it usb, optical, or coaxial. Usb needs the most reclocking correction, then optical, and coaxial needs the least reclocking correction.
If your DAC is performing this correction, then there should be absolutely no sound difference between the three formats because
they are all running off the same clock.
Originally Posted by Golfnutz
Hodgjy, I agree with you. However, this guy is saying computer source beats any other source everytime - that I don't agree with.
Perhaps I was being hyperbolic. Correctly configured, a computer will have 100% bit-perfect playback of CD audio, 100% of the time.
A CD player can potentially also have 100% bit-perfect playback of the CD, but it will definitely not
be 100% perfect all of the time - no CD player can do this.
So you either have a relatively inexpensive source that is perfect 100% of the time, or a potentially very expensive source (once you start going high end) that is never
going to be bit-perfect 100% of the time, and under ideal conditions (brand new disc from a good pressing etc.) can only sound exactly the same
as the computer at best.
I don't know about you, but I would rather use a source that is inexpensive and guarantees perfect playback, rather than an expensive source that is inconvenient and does not
guarantee perfect playback.