Is the WDTV an audiophile player? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 124 Old 05-10-2009, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Since the WDTV can playback FLAC lossless audio, can this little thing output audiophile quality audio just like a high end CD player.

Can someone clarify how those the WDTV output its audio when playing flac lossless audio? Is the audio chip onboard good enough to output audiophile quality sound or the WDTV just output the audio in bitstream format and the receiver will do the processing.
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post #2 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 03:47 AM
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I have the WDTV hooked up to a DAC (DacMagic from Cambridge audio) via optical out and then to my receiver and my FLAC files sound superb.

P.S. Onboard chip sucks
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post #3 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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So if the connection is via optical cable, then the WDTV will bypass the onboard sound and just send the raw bitstream to the receiver? If that is the case then, we should get lossless audio quality.
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post #4 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 11:40 AM
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i dont know if i should cry or laugh at this question ...(no disrepect to you)

there are two main reasons to stay away from the WD if youre an audiofile:

1. the wd's primary function is play video's, the fact that it plays audio (and photos) is just a bonus really. it doesnt have many options as a musicplayer and is thus limited. no way to organize your collection, not may ways to search etc. i dont see this getting better through software updates. WD team has enough trouble even getting other basic (video) related stuff working without troubles.

2. from launch, there is an audio clipping bug reported by many (audio) users....and still is not resolved. this does not only effect analog output, but even all digital audio as well. IMHO this should'nt have been there to start with...and i find it suspicous its still not fixed. how hard can it be really? you really dont want to hope and wait for this to be fixed


If youre an audiofile, i recommend the squeezebox. its very good and flexible and aimed at the music enthousiast in mind. you could consider the WD dor playing video's, but do the music through a capable player.
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post #5 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toolman2k10 View Post

i dont know if i should cry or laugh at this question ...(no disrepect to you)

there are two main reasons to stay away from the WD if youre an audiofile:

1. the wd's primary function is play video's, the fact that it plays audio (and photos) is just a bonus really. it doesnt have many options as a musicplayer and is thus limited. no way to organize your collection, not may ways to search etc. i dont see this getting better through software updates. WD team has enough trouble even getting other basic (video) related stuff working without troubles.

2. from launch, there is an audio clipping bug reported by many (audio) users....and still is not resolved. this does not only effect analog output, but even all digital audio as well. IMHO this should'nt have been there to start with...and i find it suspicous its still not fixed. how hard can it be really? you really dont want to hope and wait for this to be fixed


If youre an audiofile, i recommend the squeezebox. its very good and flexible and aimed at the music enthousiast in mind. you could consider the WD dor playing video's, but do the music through a capable player.

So, are you saying it can't provide lossless playback or not? You don't really give any reason why we should stay away except it's made for video and there's an audio bug. I haven't had any problems.
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post #6 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exander View Post

So, are you saying it can't provide lossless playback or not? You don't really give any reason why we should stay away except it's made for video and there's an audio bug. I haven't had any problems.

well it seems lossless, but i guess its not since it has clipping on all audio. that combined with the fact its not really meant to be an audioplayer should be enough for an audiofile to look elsewhere. any audiofile would not accept that....

so yes it plays flac and stuff, but its all crippled due to the bug. not all people hear it though, but its definitely there and some are more sensitive to this. if youre not and are fine with the player as it is, well then sure enjoy it
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post #7 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toolman2k10 View Post

well it seems lossless, but i guess its not since it has clipping on all audio. that combined with the fact its not really meant to be an audioplayer should be enough for an audiofile to look elsewhere. any audiofile would not accept that....

so yes it plays flac and stuff, but its all crippled due to the bug. not all people hear it though, but its definitely there and some are more sensitive to this. if youre not and are fine with the player as it is, well then sure enjoy it

Why do you say it wasn't meant to be an audio player? Isn't that one of the features????
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post #8 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exander View Post

Why do you say it wasn't meant to be an audio player? Isn't that one of the features????

well...they may advertise it so, but reality is different. these kind of player focus on video playback, hence the name WD TV HD. sure it plays audio files...and yes its a feature, but not primary feature and very simplistic in workings.
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post #9 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 01:25 PM
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Can it play FLAC as is? or must make mkv flac?
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post #10 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by vanylapep View Post

Can it play FLAC as is? or must make mkv flac?

It plays them as is.
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post #11 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by vanylapep View Post

Can it play FLAC as is? or must make mkv flac?

It plays FLAC, and it plays it very well. I played a FLAC cd from my colection last night and it sounded extremely good.

Quote:


well...they may advertise it so, but reality is different.

No, the reality is it plays them very well.
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post #12 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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So what toolman2k10 is saying is that the WDTV can only be an audio player if it is branded WDAudio Player?

I personally don't care how a product is branded. To me if it can play audio then its an audio player.

So far I can play my flac lossless file and the quality is awesome. I don't know what bug is he talking about. Anyone else hear the clipping?

Anyway, my post hear is asking whether the WDTV send the flac audio signal untouched in bitstream format via the optical cable so that our receiver signal processor will process them and finally produce the lossless audio quality that audiophiles always wanted.

Btw, even an audiophile CD player requires you to change CD and there is absolutely no way it can organize the CD for us.
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post #13 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightning69 View Post

So what toolman2k10 is saying is that the WDTV can only be an audio player if it is branded WDAudio Player?

I personally don't care how a product is branded. To me if it can play audio then its an audio player.

So far I can play my flac lossless file and the quality is awesome. I don't know what bug is he talking about. Anyone else hear the clipping?

Anyway, my post hear is asking whether the WDTV send the flac audio signal untouched in bitstream format via the optical cable so that our receiver signal processor will process them and finally produce the lossless audio quality that audiophiles always wanted.

Btw, even an audiophile CD player requires you to change CD and there is absolutely no way it can organize the CD for us.

And what setting in the audio option?
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post #14 of 124 Old 05-11-2009, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Set it to digital.
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post #15 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 03:44 AM
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Listen, just run the bit stream from the player to your receiver or DAC. The sound will only be as good as the DAC on your receiver or an external DAC (digital audio converter) like mine.

TOOLMAN doesn't know what he's talking about...(no disrepect to you Toolman). The WDTV is only sending 1's and 0's its the converter (DAC) that makes all the difference. Like I said, my system sounds superb.
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post #16 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 04:18 AM
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My HK254 says it's streaming from the WD TV at PCM 44Khz. Is that good/bad/ugly?
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post #17 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 04:40 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks
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post #18 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 04:42 AM
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The simple answer, IMO, is a definite NO. But it's not such a simple question. First of all, I think you're confusing "lossless" and "audiophile". Sure, the WDTV plays FLAC, and those are lossless files. But what makes something "audiophile" is completely different, so first you'd have to define that . Second, you have to have the age-old debate about whether digital music is truly just 1's and 0's; what I like to call the "bits is bits" crowd. I'm not going to have this argument yet again, because it is widely debated here and elsewhere, ad nauseam, but I don't happen to think so. If you think there's nothing to digital output but 1's and 0's, then your argument is that 5-digit transports, or anything above $100, are pure folly, because a $100 CD player can output the same 1's and 0's a $10,000 transport does. I, obviously, don't happen to think so; yes, most of digital music's "sound" comes from the DAC, but I also believe there are pieces to the digital-out sound path that can make the 1's and 0's different, and produce a garbage-in, garbage-out situation. Again, make your point against if you must, but you won't get an argument from me because the truth is it's what I believe, and others, but no one is going to be able to prove otherwise, one way or another.

But the real argument, against WDTV or any of the all-in-one media players for that matter (I am the proud owner of an A-110, but wouldn't ever use it for audio), as a music player, is navigation. No "audiophile" in his right mind wants to have to turn a TV or monitor on to listen to music; to move around and change tracks or albums. I don't know, maybe Kal with his SooLoos might disagree, but that's at least like a giant, touchscreen remote. The navigation on these all-in-ones is clunky and ugly; hell, on my PCH, I don't even think you can play one song and browse around for another...I think you have to stop and then browse. Completely unacceptable. That's why the Squeezebox and Sonos, in all their forms (Classic, Duet, Transporter, ZP90, ZP120, etc.), are considered to be the best audio streamers right now (unless you're looking to spend 4-5-figures on something like the aforementioned SooLoos, or the new PS Audio Perfect Wave line). I mean listen OP, if you're talking about streaming FLAC into your $300 AVR...and you don't mind having the TV on while you navigate...go for it. But that hardly makes it "audiophile".

CD

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post #19 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 04:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

The simple answer, IMO, is a definite NO. But it's not such a simple question. First of all, I think you're confusing "lossless" and "audiophile". Sure, the WDTV plays FLAC, and those are lossless files. But what makes something "audiophile" is completely different, so first you'd have to define that . Second, you have to have the age-old debate about whether digital music is truly just 1's and 0's; what I like to call the "bits is bits" crowd. I'm not going to have this argument yet again, because it is widely debated here and elsewhere, ad nauseam, but I don't happen to think so. If you think there's nothing to digital output but 1's and 0's, then your argument is that 5-digit transports, or anything above $100, are pure folly, because a $100 CD player can output the same 1's and 0's a $10,000 transport does. I, obviously, don't happen to think so; yes, most of digital music's "sound" comes from the DAC, but I also believe there are pieces to the digital-out sound path that can make the 1's and 0's different, and produce a garbage-in, garbage-out situation. Again, make your point against if you must, but you won't get an argument from me because the truth is it's what I believe, and others, but no one is going to be able to prove otherwise, one way or another.

But the real argument, against WDTV or any of the all-in-one media players for that matter (I am the proud owner of an A-110, but wouldn't ever use it for audio), as a music player, is navigation. No "audiophile" in his right mind wants to have to turn a TV or monitor on to listen to music; to move around and change tracks or albums. I don't know, maybe Kal with his SooLoos might disagree, but that's at least like a giant, touchscreen remote. The navigation on these all-in-ones is clunky and ugly; hell, on my PCH, I don't even think you can play one song and browse around for another...I think you have to stop and then browse. Completely unacceptable. That's why the Squeezebox and Sonos, in all their forms (Classic, Duet, Transporter, ZP90, ZP120, etc.), are considered to be the best audio streamers right now (unless you're looking to spend 4-5-figures on something like the aforementioned SooLoos, or the new PS Audio Perfect Wave line). I mean listen OP, if you're talking about streaming FLAC into your $300 AVR...and you don't mind having the TV on while you navigate...go for it. But that hardly makes it "audiophile".

CD

Pulled this from Wikipedia:

An audiophile, from Latin audio[1] "I hear" and Greek philos[2] "loving," is a person, who typically listens to music on high-end audio electronics. A audiophile is someone who tries to listen to music at a quality level that is as close to the original performance as possible using high-fidelity components.


I'm most concerned about the quality of the sound. No doubt, the UI leaves a lot to be desired. For me it's fine because I just hit "shuffle" and let it do its thing.

I guess it doesn't matter how we define the terms. The big question is does the WDTV provide quality playback in some measurable value?
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post #20 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 05:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exander View Post

Pulled this from Wikipedia:

An audiophile, from Latin audio[1] "I hear" and Greek philos[2] "loving," is a person, who typically listens to music on high-end audio electronics. A audiophile is someone who tries to listen to music at a quality level that is as close to the original performance as possible using high-fidelity components.


I'm most concerned about the quality of the sound. No doubt, the UI leaves a lot to be desired. For me it's fine because I just hit "shuffle" and let it do its thing.

I guess it doesn't matter how we define the terms. The big question is does the WDTV provide quality playback in some measurable value?

Define "quality playback"...lol. Seriously exander, what do you want people to tell you; it sounds OK to them? The only thing that matters is it sounds OK to you. What if some 17 year-old, streaming the thing into his $300 Pioneer AVR says "yeah dude, this thing sounds awesome. Audiophile all the way"! Does that mean it'll sound up to your standard, on $50,000 worth of electronics? What do you have now? What's your DAC? Probably the only way to know if it's "acceptable", is to try it out for yourself. Might sound OK, but does it sound better than the $150 Squeezebox SBR? Is the extra money worth it? Will the naviagtion be a 1,000 times better? I think, so...but if you want to question it, why not try for yourself. That's one of the things Wikipedia left out of its definition of audiophile; they listen to gear, and trust their ears.

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post #21 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 05:15 AM
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I just got a new receiver (HK 254) and the WDTV. The receiver is fed through HDMI from the WDTV. Haven't had a chance to really listen yet so I can't really say what sounds good/bad.

I'm not sure how the squeezebox would sound better (I don't know anything about them). Can you explain? Although I'm moving to lossless all of my current mp3s are 44khz . . .
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post #22 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exander View Post

I just got a new receiver (HK 254) and the WDTV. The receiver is fed through HDMI from the WDTV. Haven't had a chance to really listen yet so I can't really say what sounds good/bad.

I'm not sure how the squeezebox would sound better (I don't know anything about them). Can you explain? Although I'm moving to lossless all of my current mp3s are 44khz . . .

Not really. Just enjoy your WDTV.

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post #23 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 07:40 AM
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I listen to at least as much music as I do movies using the WD and to my ears, very high bit rate compressed and uncompressed music sound as good as their CD counterparts. What the WD lacks with current firmware is gapless playback and the ability to make playlists on-the-fly. If they ever can enable those capabilities, IMO the WD can rival almost anything for music.
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post #24 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightning69 View Post

Since the WDTV can playback FLAC lossless audio, can this little thing output audiophile quality audio just like a high end CD player.

Can someone clarify how those the WDTV output its audio when playing flac lossless audio? Is the audio chip onboard good enough to output audiophile quality sound or the WDTV just output the audio in bitstream format and the receiver will do the processing.

No, because of this, as already mentioned in prevoius posts.
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post #25 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by dv08 View Post

No, because of this, as already mentioned in prevoius posts.

Is this something that could be fixed in a firmware update or are we pretty much stuck with the clipping?
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post #26 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 09:42 AM
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It is true that the music playback interface offered as a default in the networked media tank is quite unacceptable. There is no gapless playback, you cannot browse your music library while one song is playing, etc.

However, there are a number of user-developed applications that make all of this possible.
  • Music Player Daemon or MPD: This daemon offers gapless playback, shuffle, playlists, etc., with a suitable client. The client can be loaded on your Windows or Linux PC, as an add-on for Firefox. You can also use a client on an iPhone or iPod Touch.
  • Music Jukebox: A very nice application that goes through your music and classifies it by creating htm files for the various albums. You can then browse these htm files on your TV, using the NMT remote control.
    In the default mode, any time you select an album or song to play, control is handed over to the default playback mechanism of the NMT. This means that when a song is playing, you cannot browse your music, or add more songs to the playlist, etc.
  • MPDMOD: This is a skin for the Music Jukebox application. It modifies the music jukebox htm files so that control of playback is passed to the music player daemon (MPD) instead of the default playback mechanism of the NMT. What this means is that you can browse your music library while the songs are playing - something you could not do with the default playback mechanism of the NMT. Gapless playback is achieved, and there is developing support for playlists and other features.

In summary, use MPD as the guts of the playback. Music Jukebox with the MPDMOD skin can be used if you want to view the jukebox on the TV and use the NMT remote control.

If you do not want to use the TV, control MPD from your iPhone or iPod touch or from a suitable client on your laptop or other PC.

Pretty flexible, don't you think?

This works quite well for me - I use the digital co-axial output on my NMT to feed an external DAC, and then to my stereo. Music is ripped in WAV, and compressed (in size only) and tagged using FLAC.

I am not quite sure how multi-channel audio is handled, or how much support MPD has for playback via HDMI.

If you are interested in high-definition audio (24 bits, up to 192kHz in stereo), the NMT can do it.

If I am not mistaken, there is still an issue with WDTV if the source sampling rate is higher than 48kHz. This may have changed in recent firmware releases, I am not sure.

Is the setup an "audiophile" setup? Who knows? I certainly do not worry about it since I am happy with the way it sounds in my stereo.

Of course, it is not a plug-n-play solution, and a lot of tweaking is necessary to get it to work right, but it is possible.

The NMT forum www dot networkedmediatank dot com has a lot more information.
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post #27 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 09:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CD View Post

I don't even think you can play one song and browse around for another...I think you have to stop and then browse.

With the WD you can navigate away from the current track all the way to the root directory, and into other option menus, and it will continue sequential playback until another option is selected.
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post #28 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 11:35 AM
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I own this device exclusively for music playback. I use it with a high quality, high-powered DIY switching mode power supply. And a trick: I take the output just before the optical receptacle, at TTL level and feed my DIY highly-modded DAC (CS8412 / CS4390), which accept TTL-level spdif signal.

Excluding very high-level music pieces (where the aforementioned bug is referred to), the sound is PHENOMENAL, beyond high-end (!), easily surpassing my heavily-modded Sony 50ES transport. Believe me.

Some characteristics of the sound I perceive: extreme stereo effect, disappearing act you name it, tremendous bass, clear, analog-like tops, natural full-bodied mids. NOTHING seems to be missing.

I'd like someone else citing his/her audio experience in this tread!
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post #29 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stry View Post

I own this device exclusively for music playback. I use it with a high quality, high-powered DIY switching mode power supply. And a trick: I take the output just before the optical receptacle, at TTL level and feed my DIY highly-modded DAC (CS8412 / CS4390), which accept TTL-level spdif signal.

Excluding very high-level music pieces (where the aforementioned bug is referred to), the sound is PHENOMENAL, beyond high-end (!), easily surpassing my heavily-modded Sony 50ES transport. Believe me.

Some characteristics of the sound I perceive: extreme stereo effect, disappearing act you name it, tremendous bass, clear, analog-like tops, natural full-bodied mids. NOTHING seems to be missing.

I'd like someone else citing his/her audio experience in this tread!

I'm not sure you are aware, the WD TV was not made for music.

Could you repeat what you said there but do it in a little simpler terms?
Are you saying it sounds so good because of the DAC you introduced?
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post #30 of 124 Old 05-12-2009, 11:47 AM
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The WD TV was made to sell ... WD hard disks, I think

Beyond that, I found the aforementioned just BY LACK!

And finally, I say that yes, WD TV can make the most of your folowing DAC. If you can make the mod I mentioned, even better ..
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