Best format for ripping CD's? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 73 Old 12-23-2011, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm not really sure if this is the correct place for this type of question or not, I really could not find much on.



I'm looking to re-rip my CD's onto my computer and I'm looking to try and get the best quality I can from them so they sound better when played on my 5.1 home theater system then the 128bit mp3 version's I play on my computer. Beyond the mp3 128,196,256,320kbps format I really don't know much about the different types of formats out there. I see there's AIFF, AAC, Flac, SACD and a few others in 24/44.1, 24/48, 24/96,16/44.1, then see some written as 88/24, 96/24 but it's mostly Greek to me. I've read a few older tests between the different bitrate's and they seem to say that the mp3 256kbps and 320kbps pretty much match that of the recorded CD. Can a CD be saved as an HD track or is that just for audio DVDs? In all honesty I'm looking to just re-rip my CDs in the best way I can so I can back them up and never have to go through this whole process again. Should I look at going with a different format or just stick with the 256 or 320kbps MP3's?
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post #2 of 73 Old 12-23-2011, 02:02 PM
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The best format to rip CDs is FLAC in its native resolution 16/44.1, each track into its own file. But do not forget to tell ripping software to create cue sheets for you. That way you can play either individual tune, or album as a whole.
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post #3 of 73 Old 12-23-2011, 08:39 PM
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I really think that WAV files are the best method. FLAC files provide the same lossless capability as WAV files and use less space. IPOD's don't play FLAC and ITunes doesn't decode FLAC.

WAV uses more space, but a 1 TB hard drive can be bought for under $100, and memory just keeps getting cheaper. I think file size is the least important issue. WAV files will likely always be universally compatible.

I think files should be saved with the idea that they are to be used for decades. Formats such as Apple lossless, while Apple is popular now, who knows if they will be relevant in 10 years. WAV files, I believe, will always be used.

You will not want to re-rip these files in the future. Rip them as if they will be permanent files.
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post #4 of 73 Old 12-23-2011, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieheels View Post

I really think that WAV files are the best method. FLAC files provide the same lossless capability as WAV files and use less space. IPOD's don't play FLAC and ITunes doesn't decode FLAC.

WAV uses more space, but a 1 TB hard drive can be bought for under $100, and memory just keeps getting cheaper. I think file size is the least important issue. WAV files will likely always be universally compatible.

I think files should be saved with the idea that they are to be used for decades. Formats such as Apple lossless, while Apple is popular now, who knows if they will be relevant in 10 years. WAV files, I believe, will always be used.

You will not want to re-rip these files in the future. Rip them as if they will be permanent files.

The problem with wav files is that you cannot embed metadata and album art into the file. This makes it less convenient to use, search and navigate. You can simply make a flac file with 0% compression if you would like. The good players all recognize flac. ipods can use add-ons to play flacs if desired.
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post #5 of 73 Old 12-23-2011, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieheels View Post

You will not want to re-rip these files in the future. Rip them as if they will be permanent files.

Changing file formats is not much of a hassle. With foobar2000 and other players, you can turn a collection of FLAC rips into WAV, ALAC or whatever in just a few steps using a batch method. This retains metadata, and a simple Windows "Robocopy" move process can quickly mirror your desired folder directory structure for the new rips.

As for WAV, while some software players like foobar do support a metadata tagging system for WAV files, I don't think there is any support for artwork embedding.
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post #6 of 73 Old 12-24-2011, 01:23 AM
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If you use iTunes just go with Apple Lossless.
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post #7 of 73 Old 12-24-2011, 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Geremia P. View Post

If you use iTunes just go with Apple Lossless.

Also ALAC is now open source.
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post #8 of 73 Old 12-24-2011, 07:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieheels View Post

I really think that WAV files are the best method. FLAC files provide the same lossless capability as WAV files and use less space. IPOD's don't play FLAC and ITunes doesn't decode FLAC.

That is why I do not and will not have any Apple branded devices unless they accept industry standard solutions.
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post #9 of 73 Old 12-24-2011, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geremia P. View Post

If you use iTunes just go with Apple Lossless.

There are two problems with Apple Lossless.

1) Only a limited number of media playing software can decode Apple lossless and,

2) While Apple is wildly popular now, in 10-20 years who knows how relevant they will be. These proprietary codecs sometimes go to the wayside. You may have trouble finding players that play Apple Lossless. You need to think long term. WAV files will likely be around for good.


Regarding metadata, I believe metadata is highly overrated. All the media players I use allow me to pull up any album I wish by searching. I cna find any song or recording in the amount of time it takes me to type the name of the album.

FLAC is great, but some media players don't decode FLAC. Why would you rip thousands of recordings into a format that is not universally compatible?

If you anticipate that you will still be listening to your recordings 20 years from now, I recommend the WAV format. The final advantage to the WAV format is that you can convert files into any codec from a WAV source. Try taking a FLAC file and converting it to an mp3. It can be done, but every media converter won't be able to complete that conversion. Every media player I have ever used can handle WAV files.
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post #10 of 73 Old 12-24-2011, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieheels View Post

FLAC is great, but some media players don't decode FLAC. Why would you rip thousands of recordings into a format that is not universally compatible?

FLAC is still widely accepted, and is accepted by my method of playback. If I need to convert my collection from FLAC to anything else, I can do it with little effort using software that will continue to exist. A few months ago, I created 320kbps MP3 files from my FLAC collection with ease using the LAME encoder with foobar.

There is no way I would go with WAV. My 1.5TB+ collection of FLAC rips would suddenly turn into an unruly 3TB+ of space. High-resolution, multichannel files would especially take up a ridiculous amount of space. Plus, metadata and artwork tagging that is inherent in the format (like with FLAC and ALAC) makes things much neater for those who use certain playback methods.
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post #11 of 73 Old 12-24-2011, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by MSmith83 View Post

There is no way I would go with WAV. My 1.5TB+ collection of FLAC rips would suddenly turn into an unruly 3TB+ of space. High-resolution, multichannel files would especially take up a ridiculous amount of space.


http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=3tb+hard+drive&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-USfficial&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=9701777521932815087&sa=X&ei=rCj2TuWBFs2CtgfEnfjPBg&ved=0CFoQ8wIwAQ

Space should not be a concern. A 3TB hard drive costs less than $200. Prices will only go down. I remember when 200 GB was that price. I love FLAC and have many high res FLAC titles and many high res WAV files. In an era when I can get TB external hard drives and hook up to my PC via SATA for around $100 per TB, the least important issue is space.

Either way, FLAC or WAV, will be fine. Downloads, esp high res downloads, are generally in FLAC anyway. 10 TB hard drives are right around the corner.

Whatever you do, back up your collection periodically. The most important thing in a digital audio collection:

Use external hard drives
- I use a 2 TB network hard drive connected via ethernet to my router and have two passbook hard drives that are used for back up. If you use a hard drive enclosure you can have SATA interconnects. If windows crashes or your computer gets a virus, your data will not be lost. If you get a new computer, just hook up the new hard drives and no copying necessary. Do not store media on your main computer hard drive.

Your whole collection can be lost in an instant if it is not backed up. Since all hard drives eventually die, this is important. A lot of work goes into creating these files. They can be gone is an instant.

Look at the network hard drive option. This way you can access your music anywhere in your house via your home network without your main computer being on. If you have a good signal you can stream high res files wirelessly throughout your home. You can also access it via the internet.

Understand people using FLAC over WAV, just don't use Apple Lossless for your lifelong library. Cost and file size should not be a reason for your decision.
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post #12 of 73 Old 12-24-2011, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieheels View Post

There are two problems with Apple Lossless.

1) Only a limited number of media playing software can decode Apple lossless and,

2) While Apple is wildly popular now, in 10-20 years who knows how relevant they will be. These proprietary codecs sometimes go to the wayside. You may have trouble finding players that play Apple Lossless. You need to think long term. WAV files will likely be around for good.


Regarding metadata, I believe metadata is highly overrated. All the media players I use allow me to pull up any album I wish by searching. I cna find any song or recording in the amount of time it takes me to type the name of the album.

FLAC is great, but some media players don't decode FLAC. Why would you rip thousands of recordings into a format that is not universally compatible?

If you anticipate that you will still be listening to your recordings 20 years from now, I recommend the WAV format. The final advantage to the WAV format is that you can convert files into any codec from a WAV source. Try taking a FLAC file and converting it to an mp3. It can be done, but every media converter won't be able to complete that conversion. Every media player I have ever used can handle WAV files.

ALAC is now open source so it will be included in more (not less) devices in the future. As for FLAC/ALAC becoing unsupported legacy formats in the future the same can be said for WAV or CD's for that matter. You will always have plenty of time/opertonity to convert FLAC/ALAC/WAV to whatever format the future holds.
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post #13 of 73 Old 12-24-2011, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieheels View Post


Whatever you do, back up your collection periodically. The most important thing in a digital audio collection:

Cost and file size should not be a reason for your decision.

I do back up my music collection on some 2TB 5400RPM hard drives, with one of them off-site.

I don't like to spend much on hard drives that are merely used for backing up music. The more space the files take, the more I would have to spend on these drives. Cost might not be a concern for some, but it is for me.
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post #14 of 73 Old 12-25-2011, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieheels View Post




Look at the network hard drive option. This way you can access your music anywhere in your house via your home network without your main computer being on. If you have a good signal you can stream high res files wirelessly throughout your home. You can also access it via the internet.

Understand people using FLAC over WAV, just don't use Apple Lossless for your lifelong library. Cost and file size should not be a reason for your decision.

How would the external or network hard drive work to play music to a home theater system if the computer wasn't on? Would one use something like AirPlay on an iPhone to control it or would it be accessible through the receiver?
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post #15 of 73 Old 12-25-2011, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevea2be View Post

How would the external or network hard drive work to play music to a home theater system if the computer wasn't on? Would one use something like AirPlay on an iPhone to control it or would it be accessible through the receiver?

You can use NAS device, which is a highly specialized computer to manage disks. As an additional benefit, they all offer one or another sort of redundancy protecting you from disk failure. Most of them offer DLNA service for network media players.
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post #16 of 73 Old 12-26-2011, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by nevea2be View Post

How would the external or network hard drive work to play music to a home theater system if the computer wasn't on? Would one use something like AirPlay on an iPhone to control it or would it be accessible through the receiver?

I use a Lacie 2-big:

http://www.lacie.com/us/products/pro...FcNo4AoddQEDmA

This connects directly to my modem/router via ethernet cable. Therefore it is on a network, and via a DNS server I have access to it, through my router, via the internet. It is not practical to listen to music via the internet with this, but it serves also as a place I can back up, files, pictures, and documents etc. As you can see it comes with plenty of storage space.
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post #17 of 73 Old 12-26-2011, 06:10 AM
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I should also mention a this particular network storage device takes no level of expertise to set up on the home network. Literally plug into your router and insert the setup disc. Tech support people did help me a little getting the dns server up and running for internet access.
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post #18 of 73 Old 12-26-2011, 11:40 AM
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I've played around with a lot of different formats and eventually came to the conclusion 320kps MP3's using LAME is the best for sound quality, space and compatability. Most cannot tell the difference between lossless and 320. MP3 is still more universal then any other format.
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post #19 of 73 Old 12-26-2011, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieheels View Post

I really think that WAV files are the best method. FLAC files provide the same lossless capability as WAV files and use less space. IPOD's don't play FLAC and ITunes doesn't decode FLAC.

Yep, I do wav also and since I'm not a heavy user of extended meta-data (even though I'm a database developer) FLAC doesn't hold a lot of value for me personally. My collection sits under a TB of data so storage is cheap.

I think you are fine with either FLAC or WAV.

What I would like to take a look at is something like a networked EQ that would read the metadata and adjust accordingly on the category that I associated with a UDF. That would be slick.

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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post #20 of 73 Old 12-28-2011, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by SKoprowski View Post

I've played around with a lot of different formats and eventually came to the conclusion 320kps MP3's using LAME is the best for sound quality, space and compatability. Most cannot tell the difference between lossless and 320. MP3 is still more universal then any other format.

I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference in most cases. I stick with lossless mostly for the sake of having the exact same content that is on the disc. It is almost the same reason why I also create CUE sheets that contain pre-gap information, in the sense that it's not necessary but provides extra peace of mind.
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post #21 of 73 Old 12-28-2011, 11:05 PM
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I have my entire collection in Apple Lossless and I stream via iTunes. I absolutely love both the convenience of it and the sound quality via my usb-to-spdif adapter into my DAC. I have absolutely no concern whatsover that I would at some point be "stuck" with these files and have no means by which to convert them should there ever be a need to do so.
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post #22 of 73 Old 12-29-2011, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your advise I'm still trying to read up and figure out what will work best for me and my setup. I did just buy a LaCie Minimus 2 TB External Hard Drive for storage of my music and downloaded dBpoweramp to take a close look at it. Still not sure which way to go between FLAC and Apple Lossless. I do use iTunes but don't have music on my iPhone but want to easily play it through my Denon 4311CI into my new home theater system I'm in the process of setting up.
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post #23 of 73 Old 12-29-2011, 02:11 PM
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dBPoweramp is a good way to go. With it you can write more than one copy of the rip in different formats. So, you could makeFLAC copies w
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post #24 of 73 Old 12-29-2011, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevea2be View Post

Thanks everyone for your advise I'm still trying to read up and figure out what will work best for me and my setup. I did just buy a LaCie Minimus 2 TB External Hard Drive for storage of my music and downloaded dBpoweramp to take a close look at it. Still not sure which way to go between FLAC and Apple Lossless. I do use iTunes but don't have music on my iPhone but want to easily play it through my Denon 4311CI into my new home theater system I'm in the process of setting up.

As others have said, storage is cheap and you don't want to do this job more than once. FLAC is an open standard and is more likely to provide a path to future standards than a closed format. With its handling of metadata, it's a great archive medium. DBPoweramp will let you write more than one copy as it rips so you could make one copy in FLAC for long term storage and another in .wav or ALAC, or whatever. And you can always make new copies from the archive copy if want to convert to a new format later.

I'm unable to post a URL but if you google ''Computeraudiophile - CD Ripping strategy'' you should find a great article to help you.
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post #25 of 73 Old 12-29-2011, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevea2be View Post

Thanks everyone for your advise I'm still trying to read up and figure out what will work best for me and my setup. I did just buy a LaCie Minimus 2 TB External Hard Drive for storage of my music and downloaded dBpoweramp to take a close look at it. Still not sure which way to go between FLAC and Apple Lossless. I do use iTunes but don't have music on my iPhone but want to easily play it through my Denon 4311CI into my new home theater system I'm in the process of setting up.

As others have said, storage is cheap and you don't want to do this job more than once. FLAC is an open standard and is more likely to provide a path to future standards than a closed format. With its handling of metadata, it's a great archive medium. DBPoweramp will let you write more than one copy as it rips so you could make one copy in FLAC for long term storage, with as much or as little metadata as you want, and another in .wav or ALAC, or whatever. And you can always make new copies from the archive copy if you want to convert to a new format.

I can't post a URL but if you Google ''Computer Audiophile CD Ripping Strategy and Methodology'' you'll find a really helpful guide.
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post #26 of 73 Old 12-29-2011, 03:08 PM
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...FLAC is an open standard...

So is ALAC.
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post #27 of 73 Old 01-11-2012, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieheels View Post

There are two problems with Apple Lossless.

1) Only a limited number of media playing software can decode Apple lossless and,

2) While Apple is wildly popular now, in 10-20 years who knows how relevant they will be. These proprietary codecs sometimes go to the wayside. You may have trouble finding players that play Apple Lossless. You need to think long term. WAV files will likely be around for good.


Regarding metadata, I believe metadata is highly overrated. All the media players I use allow me to pull up any album I wish by searching. I cna find any song or recording in the amount of time it takes me to type the name of the album.

FLAC is great, but some media players don't decode FLAC. Why would you rip thousands of recordings into a format that is not universally compatible?

If you anticipate that you will still be listening to your recordings 20 years from now, I recommend the WAV format. The final advantage to the WAV format is that you can convert files into any codec from a WAV source. Try taking a FLAC file and converting it to an mp3. It can be done, but every media converter won't be able to complete that conversion. Every media player I have ever used can handle WAV files.

I must make a qualification to this statement about the possible benefits of metadata.

Google Music is a new music service that allows you to upload up to 20,000 songs onto your music cloud for FREE. Yes for FREE. It accepts WMA, FLAC, mp3, WAV,and FLAC files. It even uploaded my hires flac files from HDTracks. The WAV files, however, since they had no metadata, could not be grouped together as individual albums, and were just in a huge folder of individual tracks with no way of searching them by album or artist.

My other files had metadata and are sorted similar to they are on my IPOD.

Why I am alerting you to this site is that during playback it transcodes the files to 320 lbs mp3. The sound quality is quite good. I was able to do A:B real time comparison between the lossless files on my computer and the internet streamed files and they were close, but the computer based files sounded better. However, these are the best sounding streamed files I have heard. What is better is that this cloud allows you to cue up different songs with only about a one second delay to playing a new file. I have to believe this will be the future. It allows up to 8 other computers to have access to the account and they can all upload songs.

Unfortunately, only one computer can listen to files at a time.

Open an account and upload a song or two that you are familiar with and tell me what you guys think. I am interested in the opinions of members of this forum.
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post #28 of 73 Old 01-11-2012, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I went ahead and got DBPoweramp and I'm in the process of ripping all my Cd's to FLAC format. One thing I found out quickly was that I didn't have anything on my computer to play a FLAC file so I downloaded Winamp to check out the rip version of a song or two. What are people using to get the FLAC files from their computer to their home theater? I know I can convert my FLAC files to a format supported by iTunes and just use AirPlay but I'm wondering if I could skip this step by using what I already have; computer, Denon 4311CI receiver, network.


Aggie

It sounds like a great idea being able to upload 20k worth of songs and stream them back in 320bit with an android phone but for us with an iPhone and home theater setups it doesn't seem like the best option nor really supported.
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post #29 of 73 Old 01-11-2012, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevea2be View Post

What are people using to get the FLAC files from their computer to their home theater? I know I can convert my FLAC files to a format supported by iTunes and just use AirPlay but I'm wondering if I could skip this step by using what I already have; computer, Denon 4311CI receiver, network.

You can use Airfoil to stream anything via Airplay. You won't be limited to only using iTunes. So, you can use Winamp, Foobar, VLC, etc., to playback your FLACs. It wouldn't surprise me, though, if there are plug-ins available for those apps that allow it, too. I'm just not up to snuff on the "latest, greatest". If you like Winamp, maybe you could post a question at their forums regarding this.

You WILL have to purchase Airfoil (I forget the cost; $10 or $20, I think). The demo version allows 30 minutes of continuous streaming (granted, an unlimited number of times) before it overlays an obnoxious sound over whatever you are streaming.

But, frankly, if you have the hard drive space to have both a FLAC and ALAC library, or if ALAC will suffice, the convenience afforded by being able to use iTunes and remotely control it with your phone may be worth it. (And, btw, there may be apps for your phone that will allow you to control Winamp, Foobar, VLC, etc., too.)

Also, does your AVR support an external USB hard drive?

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post #30 of 73 Old 01-11-2012, 12:38 PM
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FYI, nevea2be:
http://www.winamp.com/plugin/remote-...ut-v4-0/222465

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