Portable Media Servers

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Re: Portable Media Servers
« Reply #20 on: 17 Jan 2012, 06:42 pm »
Last I knew, sigma-based converters like the WDTV resampled all hi-rez audio to 16/48khz. They don't tell you this, you have really search for the info. Also their 1st gen WDTV was found to have additional processing on both analog and digital out (someone did some testing on avs a few years back) -shortly afterwards WD released upadated firmware removing the processing. I have demoed MANY of these media players and they sound very poor. Be it due to jitter or what have you all I know is coax/optical sq was terrible and they all sound a little different. It's difficult to get the real scoop on how audio is being dealt with because most just get the stock chip from Realtek and then just slap on some minor aesthetic, functional changes, a price tag and call it a day. Realtek themselves have never divulged any info as far as I know. So there is more going on than meets the eye. Ironically, I found the wdtv (post-updated firmware) to have the best sound quality of the half dozen or so players I tried out. One piece of the puzzle is power supply. Swap out the cheap smps for a linear and quality gets a big bump. Sigma-based in general are/were considered higher quality in general to Realtek, but Realtek offers more format compatibility. Personally, I think Realtek designs their chips with some dsp thrown in to appeal to 'home theater' sound' (smile-face boom/sizzle FR).

Edit: I do see WDTVs now do 24bit, but the downsampling 'bug' for 88.2 and higher still persists five years later despite repeated promises to 'fix' it...


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Re: Portable Media Servers
« Reply #21 on: 17 Jan 2012, 08:36 pm »
Great reply!  Thanks for the additional info.


Re: Portable Media Servers
« Reply #22 on: 1 Feb 2012, 07:23 am »
The difference between wav and flac is the difference between an uncompressed file and a zip file. Unless you have an issue with your decompression algorithm...

TAS has an interesting article on FLAC this month: says WAV is better; FLAC is not in fact lossless. Also, it's gung-ho on upsampling, in contrast to NOS... Thoughts?


Re: Portable Media Servers
« Reply #23 on: 16 Feb 2012, 07:00 pm »
We are the only ones that care about sound quality, the mass market is about convenience. I buy CDs and rip to FLAC to be served up to my SB3->coaxial out->DAC. There is no reason for me to change from this, the DAC is where all the magic happens. What do I care about a media streamer? The mass market has no interest interest in high fidelity audio. For Christmas I bought my Mom a bunch of mp3 albums from Amazon, she could never hear the difference between mp3 and lossless.

If I get a 10,000kbps bitstream from Spotify over WAN, I still need a killer DAC to get it to my amp/speakers.

And, I still want my music, tagged my way. This is something all these companies making proprietary hardware based music servers overlook - J. River for example gives my the freedom I desire - some don't need that freedom - but I wouldn't consider them serious collectors, audiophiles? ....possibly.

Spotify just bumped up their "high" setting to 320kbps iirc.


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Re: Portable Media Servers
« Reply #24 on: 15 Mar 2012, 12:36 am »
TAS has an interesting article on FLAC this month: says WAV is better; FLAC is not in fact lossless. Also, it's gung-ho on upsampling, in contrast to NOS... Thoughts?

Edit:  My thoughts?  Like MicroSoft, Apple, and Amazon.  Some of the biggest online internet music stores that sell music have to implement DRM Digital Rights *RESTRICTION* Management code into the music...  So of course Microsoft is going to tout it's system is better and to hop into the hollywood drm scam they are going to spend craploads of $ to prove it.  FLAC is open source, free, almost universally supported, non DRM and does everything (aside of DRM I think) that lossless WMA can makes FLAC superior.

I thought about getting a SB BOOM.  It has a class D 30 watt amp built in and a sub out.  Tho, for STREAMING music like SOMA FM, the highest they go is 160K.  They once offered 192K but removed the streams for some reason.   

It may be awhile for "INTERNET" streaming to catch up to ripping a CD to FLAC but... The time for that has been here for a LONG time.  ONE of the biggest reasons is ... Flash memory 16Gigs is like 10 bucks.   You can put a good amount of music in lossless format. 

For those that can honestly say they can tell the difference between 192K MP3 between original CD are pulling out the BS card.   Half the crap you hear that the audio quality is this vs that is propaganda put out there by the recording industry to scare people into buying CD's...  I've seen the results of double blind tests and very few people can get it right and they are in there 20's!

Listen if you under 30 you'd have to have magical ears to hear the difference.  Over 40?  unless you have not exposed your ears to loud music or have never been to a movie theater / rock concert and living in the country with no loud machines or cars you might have a chance.  But for the rest of us?  It's just plain BS.  Go get your ears checked before you make these claims.  I'm not saying that NO ONE can't determine the quality... Just the select few and if you can great!  Enjoy it while you can!   I know I don't have golden ears that's for sure.  But I'm glad I found the tripath chipset before I turned 50-60!  :) 

Sometimes I think maybe why old folks still prefer that tube sound is because the brain perceives that it was good when their hearing was good... Even tho at 80 you know the dude can't hear worth a crap. Maybe when tripath chips go way of something better...  and all of us are old.  We'll remember how great the old tripath sound was and keep it alive till we pass on! :)

Back to my story... If we can take the 30Watt Amp out of the squeezebox boom and pop in a Virtue amp... I wouldn't need anything more!  Of course you'd have to have an option of playing external speakers on it. :)

For me, I'd think you'd would kill the market if one had a high quality amp connected to wifi and a decent dac to tap into the internet stream of over 5000 radio stations and stream your high quality Flacs via USB flash or wifi would be candy on top of candy....  :drool: