Vinyl-quality sound on the go
Jan 4, 2009 at 12:41 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

Overheat

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Okay, okay, I've been hoping to acheive something similar to this for quite some time now and I've been doing a lot of research on the subject. But now I need to ask some questions to this almighty forum and pick your audiophilic brains.

My ideas are as such:

An ultra-portable laptop -> Firewire sound card (24bit/192KHz) -> Sexy cans

OR

A PDVDP -> Portable Micro Amp w/ DAC via optical -> Sexy cans


Those seem to be the best options I can think of, and I intend to use vinyl-rip FLAC files either from HDD on option 1 or on DVD-A via option 2. Pros and cons of the options that I can think of are as follows:

Pro: playback of 24bit/192KHz audio (near vinyl-perfect)
Pro: firewire sound card can be used for recording as well as playback.
Con: Will the PDVDP be a good enough source to justify the 24bit/192KHz?
Con: 24bit/192KHz from HDD will be approx 4.5GB per album, so would either require many external HDDs or drop quality to 24bit/96KHz.

Anyway, I want to know your opinions - are either of these options feasible and are they capable of producing a vinyl-quality sound on the go? Are there any other options? Would this be a signficant upgrade from my 90s CD-Player setup (sig)?

Please let me know so I can put my number crunching to rest. Thank you.

btw if you want examples of setups:

Dell Latitude D400 -> TerraTec Producer Phase 24 -> Sennheiser HD650
Toshiba SDP1707 -> Headroom Micro Amp w/ DAC via optical -> Grado RS-1

Not necessarily what I'm going to get, but just to give an illustration, perhaps.


Any comments are very welcome!!!
 
Jan 4, 2009 at 1:09 PM Post #2 of 14

doomlordis

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All you need is an mp3 player ,a pocket radio and 2 pairs of headphones.
Put one ear bud from the mp3 player in one ear and one from the radio in the other, play a song on the mp3 player and tune the radio to some mild distortion, job done.
 
Jan 4, 2009 at 1:13 PM Post #3 of 14

Meliboeus

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I'm jsut going through the process of digitally recording my vinyl collection...frankly,with my gear, i haven't noticed much difference even between 24/96 and 16/44.1, so i think 24/192 will be overkill, consider that 96khz recordings will contain information up to 44khz, which are completely useless...IMHO 96khz is way more than enough, if you have all new high quality vinyl,it may be worth it, but if you have used records, even 44.1khz will do...
 
Jan 4, 2009 at 1:53 PM Post #4 of 14

brandnewgame

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Headphone out of any sound card can suck, read up opinions on the HP out of the specific card regardless of other quality-factors. Even with the best external sound card I don't think the headphone stage will match that of a good USB DAC amplifier (they've got to save money on production costs somewhere). Considering human hearing limits are below 20KHz, 96KHz is unnecessary (a safeguard for the minute chance humans can be affected by sounds they can't consciously hear) and 192KHz to be overkill (can you really hear at 96KHz? that would be impressive (nyquist)). KBit is more important than KHz, but still, if sound quality is what you're after than I don't think that a firewire sound card/recording solution is going to spend that much per card on headphone quality.
 
Jan 4, 2009 at 1:55 PM Post #5 of 14

TheMarchingMule

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This is a trippy thread already. Anyway, I have heard vinyl rips before, and they are amazing compared to their digital counterparts. Even if they were MFSL songs, the source itself made all the difference to my ears. But of course, it also does depend on what it was ripped with.

44.1 is indeed enough; some like to go 96 just because they can, and with vinyl recording, you might as well get the most you can. But I really don't see any real practical uses of that, and especially if you're going to use them for portable use, I don't know of any portable player that can take 96, only 44.1.
 
Jan 4, 2009 at 3:39 PM Post #6 of 14

Overheat

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I think I might have to rule out the Micro amp option as I can't find any that support 24bit/192KHz, and that was the main reason for wanting to use a PDVDP.

I'm finding some interesting repsonses so far, it seems most don't value the extra range of 192KHz, so I may consider dropping down to 96KHz - though I want more than 44.1KHz as I'm wanting an improvement on my PCDP setup.

Does anyone know if the Cowon players support 96KHz playback without downscaling?

Keep the responses coming please, this is helping muchly.
 
Jan 4, 2009 at 4:25 PM Post #7 of 14

Uncle Erik

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You might want to look at some of the threads debating Red Book/SACD/hi-rez. Some guys here really have interesting opinions on this and compelling arguments that the main difference lies in the recording itself. It might be best to get a turntable (
smily_headphones1.gif
) and learn to do your own needledrops. Quality can be outstanding. Then I'd put them on an iPod (or DAP of your choice) and pick up a pair of custom molded IEMs. That would give you the sound you want. I'm close to doing this myself - I have the hardware for needledrops but haven't started learning how to do them yet. Also been thinking hard about having impressions made. The e3c IEMs are good, but not on par with the rest of the collection.
 
Jan 4, 2009 at 6:52 PM Post #8 of 14

Overheat

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Hmmm... I think my best bet after extensive research might be a laptop using a Audigy 2 ZS PCMCIA card - it can play back DVD-A at full 24-bit/192KHz and can also record at 24bit/96KHz. All at a pretty reasonable price - I think it might be the thing for me.
 
Jan 4, 2009 at 7:58 PM Post #9 of 14

Kicksonrt66

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TheMarchingMule /img/forum/go_quote.gif
.
I don't know of any portable player that can take 96, only 44.1.



Some, I have one, can do 48 kHz because that's used for digital tape.
 
Jan 4, 2009 at 8:21 PM Post #10 of 14

mape00

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Overheat /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'm finding some interesting repsonses so far, it seems most don't value the extra range of 192KHz, so I may consider dropping down to 96KHz - though I want more than 44.1KHz as I'm wanting an improvement on my PCDP setup.


Woof woof woof. Woof woof woof? Woof woooooof woof!

(If the above didn't make sense you're not a dog and will probably not benefit from the ultra-sonic stuff present in digital recordings with higher sample rates than 44/48 kHz.)
 
Jan 5, 2009 at 12:40 PM Post #11 of 14

Overheat

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If tht were true then analogue sources wouldn't be superior, and clearly they are. Just because you can't hear the sound doesn't mean you can't be affected by it or feel it. Those who think that usually haven't listened to a decent vinyl system.
 
Jan 5, 2009 at 1:42 PM Post #12 of 14

mape00

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Overheat /img/forum/go_quote.gif
If tht were true then analogue sources wouldn't be superior, and clearly they are. Just because you can't hear the sound doesn't mean you can't be affected by it or feel it. Those who think that usually haven't listened to a decent vinyl system.


Have you considered the possibility that the reason you think vinyl sounds better is the different mastering compared to cds (which today are often mastered to be too loud) and not the formats themselves? (This is basically what Uncle Erik tried to say.)

You could rip a couple of vinyl songs @ 44.1/16 and 192/24 and use foobar to ABX them. It wouldn't take many minuted, and then you'd know for sure whether your sound quality is affected by ultrasound (which also doesn't contain useful information on an LP, because of physical limitations).
 
Jan 5, 2009 at 2:32 PM Post #13 of 14

qusp

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sorry but I beg to differ with a lot of these guys. the difference between 48khz and 96khz IMO IS audible and I highly recommend you get at least a 96khz capable device. sure play a wave at above 20khz and most people would have trouble hearing it. but there's a lot more going on than a specific frequency. harmonics come into play and thats the difference between vinyl and most digital these subtle complex harmonics are missed. and if you are planning to use a card to sample vinyl then you definitely need to be getting a card with 24/96 at least. and of course the AD conversion matters a great deal as well. as for your options I would get the laptop and a USB or firewire based interface. stay away from the audigy. the specs may sound good if you dont know what you are looking for, but they are a consumer product that could be bettered by a used pro-sumer interface by apogee, presonus, echo or M-audio to name a few. make sure you get one that has a preamped input otherwise you will get crap recordings as they wont be hot enough because turntables dont output a line level signal, they need pre-amping . then if you get one of the cards from digidesign or waves (not TDM) you may get some really nice software plug-ins that can add further warmth and analogue feel in real-time; using the processor in the card as opposed to the CPU.
 
Jan 5, 2009 at 3:51 PM Post #14 of 14

ILikeMusic

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Overheat /img/forum/go_quote.gif
If tht were true then analogue sources wouldn't be superior, and clearly they are. Just because you can't hear the sound doesn't mean you can't be affected by it or feel it. Those who think that usually haven't listened to a decent vinyl system.


I spent the first two-thirds of my life listening to more-than-decent 'vinyl systems', thank you very much. It's true that some original LPs were mixed/mastered better than some CD re-releases, but other than this factor vinyl is sonically inferior in just about every way to good-quality digital.

If you've found a particular recording where you really like the original production better than a CD remaster then there might be some reason to go with the LP version, but otherwise the pursuit seems kind of silly to me.
 

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