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Astell&Kern AK380

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by Dopaminer, Apr 22, 2015.
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  1. Uncle Monty
    ThomasHK mentioned there were different qualities of FLAC - the FLAC files from the Ripper being (I estimate) about 30% bigger than FLAC or ALAC ripped on a laptop. If there are no SQ benefits in having a larger FLAC file, why bother? Or is it that the tech in the AK Ripper isn't up to compressing the files as much - Or is it something to do with the AK Ripper making the FLAC files easier for the AK players to play them? As ever, I'm confused.
     
  2. Uncle Monty
    Not 30% - my mistake - more like 50% 
     
  3. ThomasHK

    The whole process of ripping a cd would take a lot longer with fairly small advantages in file size. I imagine that's the trade off chosen.



    I'm sorry but that's simply incorrect. The conversion from FLAC to PCM would happen before the DAC stage. The data signal the DAC sees is identical to WAV, there will be absolutely zero difference.
     
  4. Uncle Monty
    ThomasHK - strangely, the AK Ripper (on 'Normal' setting - there are faster settings) takes much longer - considerably longer, in fact -  to rip a CD to FLAC than my MacBook takes to rip the same CD to ALAC in iTunes, yet the AK Ripper file is 50% larger. 
     
  5. ThomasHK
    Well it shouldn't really come as a surprise that a full blown powerful pc can do more work quicker than something with a low power CPU.
     
  6. Uncle Monty
    I know  - but why does it produce such large files? Is it the low power cpu can't compress the files as well as a laptop? 
     
  7. bflat

    This is interesting. I didn't look at your numbers carefully but based on your experience you are seeing 30-50% larger FLAC sizes from the ripper? That's a lot more than the difference of FLAC 0 to FLAC 8 compression which is around 5% on average. FLAC 8 takes a considerable amount of extra processing to achieve that extra 5% so most don't bother.
     
    There must be something else going on with the ripper. You may want to contact AK support. Surprisingly, they respond pretty quickly using their new online store.
     
  8. rbalcom

    I'm glad you got your files moved. Why AK chose to develop their ripping application like they did is not something I have any idea about. It is what it is. I do not think the ripping speed setting has anything to do with file compression, but rather how fast it reads the CD (like high speed dubbing from the magnetic tape days). The potential for noise at the fastest speed setting is the basis for my opinion since that would not be true if faster was due to less compression of the file. Whatever their reason, you cannot select the degree of compression when using the Ripper so you get larger files. I'm guessing they are uncompressed, but that is only a guess.

    If you can not hear any difference in SQ I don't really understand why you would expend the effort to rip the CDs into FLAC rather than just using the Apple Lossless files. You can get an application in the Mac App Store called Dapper that will transfer your iTunes library tracks and playlist to various DAPs, BUT you would have to use SyncMate or a similar application to get the AK380 to show up in Finder for it to work. That is what I used when I bought my first AK player.
     
  9. rbalcom
    Setting the FLAC compression to 0 is not the same as uncompressed. Take a look at this to get an idea of what the FLAC compression settings do:

    http://z-issue.com/wp/flac-compression-level-comparison/

    At FLAC 0 you already get 25% to 50% compression.
     
  10. haiku

    Monty 
    AK took the technology for the ripper right from their AK500N. As stated on their website, they highly optimized the ripper engine. Take a look. It should come as no surprise that the quality should outclass any laptop.
     
  11. TaylorDawe
    Yes, Monty. From an earlier post of mine: 'The only time I had similar issues was way back when I first got my 380 and used the 'internal' file operations on the player. This simply didn't work and would corrupt files, lose music and at times make an SD Card unreadable (by the player). So I reverted to hooking the player up to the PC and using my file software.'
     
    Hope this helps.
     
  12. bflat
     
    Let's quote fact here. Ripping a CD to FLAC is a digital to digital transfer and error detection/correction is built in to ensure a bit perfect transfer. Both FLAC and ALAC are lossless compression so they are both bit perfect. Furthermore, the CD medium has redundant data built in to deal with external scratches. The bits are physical pits in the CD medium and completely immune to sub atomic particles flipping bits like they do in semiconductors.
     
    If you do hear a difference it would be due to whatever "extra enhancement" processing AK has built in during the ripping. Assuming they do, it would be adding or deleting bits and can no longer be labeled bit perfect.
     
    An example of this was early versions of Apple iTunes. During ripping, it was long suspected that iTunes normalized the volume by tossing out what they considered insignificant bits and artificially increasing the dynamic range. Since AAC is lossy to begin with, this was perfectly legitimate to do. However, people complained so now iTunes stores the volume matching data separately and only applies it during playback in iTunes and leaves the original rip unaltered.
     
  13. haiku

    Just read Monty´s writings about his famous cd paranoia software. Then you´ll see that despite all the claims, perfect data extraction from a CD isn´t that easy. And no one who knows Monty would claim his views to be esoteric. He´s really a science guy.
     
  14. bflat

    Never said it was easy. My post is quoting your statement that AK "outclasses" any laptop. That is a fairly broad statement to make and I don't think it is factually accurate. Just want to be clear on opinions versus fact for other folks that have an interest in this topic. It is entirely possible to get bit perfect rips, however the amount of time and expense to do so it up to each individual to decide. Furthermore, detecting errors is easy, fixing is the hard part and in some cases impossible (e.g. physical damage). We are also talking errors here which produce a very obvious audio effect of scrambled playback and/or random pops. I personally do not believe a digital-to-digital, lossless, bit perfect transfer can produce a better or worse subjective sound outside of error artifacts.
     
  15. laurencewayne
    Really enjoy all the helpful advice I have received in this thread. Two observations and two questions. I could not transfer music of a file I downloaded. AFT messaged me that it cannot transfer a file larger than 4GB. Than I still couldn't transfer and after hours of trying lots of fixes I noticed a tiny, really tiny circle in the upper left of the notifications bar. Under a magnifier (really) I caught this symbol:"!", taped it and I was out of storage on internal memory. Sheesh, they could've made it larger for Monty & me.
    Now the questions: can I easily transfer music from internal to my sd card, or can I use an external card drive? And, any danger, and should I start a media scan. Seems scary! Thanks to all who are always patient. A truly helpful thread!
     
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