Audiophile in training. Help?
May 10, 2012 at 8:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 27

RcasMavs

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Hello, all. I'm new to the world of high end audio. This includes headphones, digital audio, and home stereos. My dad has always been an audiophile when it comes to his stereo at home. He's constantly trying to build on it and make it sound better. So, ever since I was young, I've been exposed to it. Now that I'm older and can realistically start building my own systems, I've developed a huge interest in all things audio.
 
I've been doing a lot of research online lately in regards to what I want to do first. The problem is, there's so much information out there that doesn't directly pertain to what I want to do. I'm sure if I search the deep, deep caverns of the internet, I can find something. But, I have pretty particular questions that I sense will be child's play for the people of forums such as this. 
 
My initial question is: Would it be okay if I used this thread on this forum to ask specific questions regarding where I want to start (headphones, portable amplifiers, and high end computer audio)?
 
Thanks, look forward to the discussion.
 
May 10, 2012 at 11:09 AM Post #2 of 27

RcasMavs

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Well, I'm bored at work so I'm just going to post my questions and if anyone that can help me out, I'd really appreciate it.
 
Right now, I'm strongly leaning towards purchasing the Sennheiser HD598s. My listening environment will be in a quiet room by myself free from any noise distractions. The 598s have gotten rave reviews and seem to be generally loved by audiophiles. 
 
I am a Mac user and up until recently have been satisfied with the AAC files from my CDs and the v0 downloads. I'm learning all about FLAC and ALAC. Now, I want to get an external hard drive to store all of my flac files on there. 
 
So, which HD would you recommend? I'm looking for a TB of storage around the 100 dollar range.
 
Furthermore, I got the program "Fluke" for my computer and looked to drag my FLAC files to there in order for it to be played through iTunes. I did that but to no avail. I only got some incredibly loud, painful, and inaudible noise. Anyone have any idea why? What is the recommended way to play FLAC files on a Mac? (Keep in mind, I'm not the most audio-literate, so try to keep your answers in the simplest of terms, please)
 
When I have all of these instruments, I'd like to purchase an amp in order to fully recognize the power of the headphones and the music files. Would a portable one such as the FiiO E11 do the trick? If not, what would you suggest in the same price range?
 
 
Thanks again to anyone who takes the time to help me out.
 
May 10, 2012 at 11:10 AM Post #3 of 27

landgreen

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Quote:
Hello, all. I'm new to the world of high end audio. This includes headphones, digital audio, and home stereos. My dad has always been an audiophile when it comes to his stereo at home. He's constantly trying to build on it and make it sound better. So, ever since I was young, I've been exposed to it. Now that I'm older and can realistically start building my own systems, I've developed a huge interest in all things audio.
 
I've been doing a lot of research online lately in regards to what I want to do first. The problem is, there's so much information out there that doesn't directly pertain to what I want to do. I'm sure if I search the deep, deep caverns of the internet, I can find something. But, I have pretty particular questions that I sense will be child's play for the people of forums such as this. 
 
My initial question is: Would it be okay if I used this thread on this forum to ask specific questions regarding where I want to start (headphones, portable amplifiers, and high end computer audio)?
 
Thanks, look forward to the discussion.

Hello
 
Can't see how there'd be any issue with this thread. I'll happily leave the technical questions you might want answers for to others but might just reinforce this one tip from personal experience. If you're pursuing this to enhance the enjoyment of listening to music that you like, don't lose track of that. If you're more interested in the pursuit of equipment for it's own sake for whatever reasons, that's cool too. Just remember that for many, and perhaps you, it's all about the music and that can get lost a bit in the equipment upgrading jungle.
 
Enjoy!
 
May 11, 2012 at 3:49 AM Post #6 of 27

silwen

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Or download the trial version of the Amarra and then decide if it's good enough to want to buy. I like Decibel too though. 
 
 
Amarra can convert FLAC into AIFF for playing in iTunes but Amarra is on the expensive side. 
 
Also, for equipment, you could look to buying used.
 
May 11, 2012 at 7:18 AM Post #7 of 27

obzilla

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Quote:
Or download the trial version of the Amarra and then decide if it's good enough to want to buy. I like Decibel too though. 
 
 
Amarra can convert FLAC into AIFF for playing in iTunes but Amarra is on the expensive side. 
 
Also, for equipment, you could look to buying used.

 
Or you can just install fluke and play FLAC natively in iTunes (16/44 only).
 
http://code.google.com/p/flukeformac/
 
May 11, 2012 at 7:24 AM Post #8 of 27

obzilla

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I guess I didn't read everything. Sorry.
 
Were the files you plaid using fluke higher than 16/44? That would cause problems for sure.
 
I'm using Audirvana Plus it's my favorite player on the mac, but in conjunction with iTunes... on it's own there is zero library management.
Bit Perfect is another one I like, but again, it's only an iTunes plug. Personally I like using iTunes and a plug to ensure the proper output is sent to the DAC.
 
I have ripped all my CDs to uncompressed AIFF, same as WAV really, because harddrive space is so cheap. I have a 1TB drive attached to my Mac Mini, which I back up to a 2TB Time Capsule so everything is redundant. You'll save around 20-50% on space if you go with ALAC. Likewise with FLAC, it's just on as easy to use in the "Apple Ecosystem"
 
IMO this thread would do better in the Computer Audio section than in the High End Audio forum.
 
May 11, 2012 at 7:58 AM Post #9 of 27

RcasMavs

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I guess I didn't read everything. Sorry.
 
Were the files you plaid using fluke higher than 16/44? That would cause problems for sure.
 
I'm using Audirvana Plus it's my favorite player on the mac, but in conjunction with iTunes... on it's own there is zero library management.
Bit Perfect is another one I like, but again, it's only an iTunes plug. Personally I like using iTunes and a plug to ensure the proper output is sent to the DAC.
 
I have ripped all my CDs to uncompressed AIFF, same as WAV really, because harddrive space is so cheap. I have a 1TB drive attached to my Mac Mini, which I back up to a 2TB Time Capsule so everything is redundant. You'll save around 20-50% on space if you go with ALAC. Likewise with FLAC, it's just on as easy to use in the "Apple Ecosystem"
 
IMO this thread would do better in the Computer Audio section than in the High End Audio forum.

If I can't figure it out here (sorry again for the amateur questioning and the wrong thread placement), I'll move it on over.
 
But, I wouldn't mind using ALAC. I have two programs on my Mac at this point, Max and Fluke. I have grabbed a couple of FLAC albums online and just would like to be able to play them through iTunes without sacrificing the sound quality. As I understand, the way to do that is by using Fluke, but it just can't seem to work. Would either of these programs be appropriate to convert the FLAC to ALAC? Or am I just way off here?
 
May 11, 2012 at 10:35 AM Post #10 of 27

obzilla

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If I can't figure it out here (sorry again for the amateur questioning and the wrong thread placement), I'll move it on over.
 
But, I wouldn't mind using ALAC. I have two programs on my Mac at this point, Max and Fluke. I have grabbed a couple of FLAC albums online and just would like to be able to play them through iTunes without sacrificing the sound quality. As I understand, the way to do that is by using Fluke, but it just can't seem to work. Would either of these programs be appropriate to convert the FLAC to ALAC? Or am I just way off here?

 
You can use XLD (free) to convert your FLACs to AIFF or ALAC, then you are all iTunes/Mac friendly. I think Max can as well, but I'm not sure because I don't use it.
Lossless is lossless, there is no degradation in sound quality. You can transcode back and forth infinitely between lossless formats so long as you never introduce lossy compression or sampling. Just insure that your input info (sample rate, bit depth, etc) is the same as your output, and you're good to go.
 
May 11, 2012 at 10:39 AM Post #11 of 27

RcasMavs

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You can use XLD (free) to convert your FLACs to AIFF or ALAC, then you are all iTunes/Mac friendly. I think Max can as well, but I'm not sure because I don't use it.
Lossless is lossless, there is no degradation in sound quality. You can transcode back and forth infinitely between lossless formats so long as you never introduce lossy compression or sampling. Just insure that your input info (sample rate, bit depth, etc) is the same as your output, and you're good to go.

Awesome. And I promise, this will be the last question (for now), although it may be the stupidest. How do I make sure that the input information is the same as the output in iTunes?
 
May 11, 2012 at 10:48 AM Post #12 of 27

obzilla

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Awesome. And I promise, this will be the last question (for now), although it may be the stupidest. How do I make sure that the input information is the same as the output in iTunes?

 
I meant in your transocder (max/XLD), auto will work, you just want to make sure not to up or down sample the files when transcoding. I'm only talking about file format conversion.
 
May 19, 2012 at 5:24 PM Post #13 of 27

RcasMavs

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Bump.
 
Here's an update. I've been using XLD and it seems to work beautifully. Very simple.
 
However, I have a question. I have downloaded a torrent of Ok Computer by Radiohead in FLAC. I have also ripped the same CD onto my hard drive using Apple Lossless Encoder in iTunes. So I put of the albums onto iTunes. My question is, why are the files of the songs from the torrent significantly larger than the files from the songs I ripped onto my computer? For example, the first track of the file from the torrent download is 108 mb, while the same track from the actual CD itself is only 34 mb.
 

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