Media player for hi-res music - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-19-2012, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I'd appreciate some advice.

Currently I have a WDTV (original) with a USB HD holding all my CD rips in FLAC format. I'd like to make rips of my small DVD-A collection as well in multichannel FLAC format. Of course my WDTV doesn't support multichannel FLAC files, so I'm considering a replacement. Obviously I'm looking for something that can play hires (at least 24bit/96KHz, preferably 24/192) multichannel FLAC (at least 5.1, preferably 7.1), outputting it as PCM over HDMI. You'd think this would be a trivial thing to do these days, but it seems that a number of media players don't support anything more than 2-channel music. Or at least you can't assume they do. Support for discrete power on/off remote codes would be a big plus in my book as well.

These are the least expensive models I found that seem to meet those requirements:
  • Dune HD TV-101 (approx $150 with shipping)
  • PopBox V8 (approx $140 with shipping)
  • WD TV Live (newest version) ($65 on eBay)
    no discrete power codes frown.gif
    not 100% sure about hires multichannel FLAC support - can anyone confirm?
  • NeoTV 550 (approx $160)
    discontinued, looks like it might have been $85 on clearance recently

Are there any other players I should consider? What are the main pros/cons of the units for music duty?
Note that I do have my music organized the way I like, so just a directory view would be fine for an interface, as long as there's nothing broken about it. Album art and the like would be a nice bonus, though.

Thanks for any help,
-- Dave
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-19-2012, 02:44 PM
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Hi Dave,

I run the NeoTv-550, and am happy with it. One of the reasons I bought it was because it is the only one you mentioned that can play "gapless" music. It handles all of the files I have, which are a mix of CD rips, hi-res vinyl rips and iTunes. I don't have any multi-channel, but the Neo is supposed to handle those as well.

But if your main concern is music, than the music-centric players may be better for you, as no player does both music and video well. However, many of the music-only players only do stereo.
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post #3 of 10 Old 07-19-2012, 08:14 PM
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I doubt you'll find any support for 7.1 FLAC anywhere, but 5.1 isn't too hard to find.
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-20-2012, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

Hi Dave,
I run the NeoTv-550, and am happy with it. One of the reasons I bought it was because it is the only one you mentioned that can play "gapless" music. It handles all of the files I have, which are a mix of CD rips, hi-res vinyl rips and iTunes. I don't have any multi-channel, but the Neo is supposed to handle those as well.
Yeah, the NeoTV sounds like it does everything I want. I am somewhat hesitant given that it's discontinued, and seems to have had poor support from Netgear even before that. But if the latest firmware does everything I need it to, and I can get it for a good price, I'll probably overlook that.

FYI, here's some links to sample multichannel and/or hires FLAC files:
http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html
http://www.linnrecords.com/linn-downloads-testfiles.aspx

Since you've used yours for music, could you comment on how user-friendly the music browsing interface is? Most reviews focus on the video side of things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

But if your main concern is music, than the music-centric players may be better for you, as no player does both music and video well. However, many of the music-only players only do stereo.
Unfortunately the music players I've looked at are all more expensive than the other devices, and price is a bigger concern (assuming I can meet the hard requirements). I'd prefer to keep things under $100. It seems a lot of the dedicated music players are also more focused on analog audio and don't support multichannel. If you know of one that's in the $100 range and does multichannel hires FLAC, I'd love to hear of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

I doubt you'll find any support for 7.1 FLAC anywhere, but 5.1 isn't too hard to find.
Actually, I think the NeoTV 550 does support 7.1 (I think I read that somewhere). However, DVD-A only goes up to 5.1 anyways, so 7.1 is more of a wishlist future-proof item. Certainly wouldn't be a dealbreaker.


Thanks,
-- Dave
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-20-2012, 01:20 PM
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Hi Dave,
Quote:
Originally Posted by David_R View Post

Since you've used yours for music, could you comment on how user-friendly the music browsing interface is? Most reviews focus on the video side of things.
Music browsing is identical to video browsing. You have three views. Four, if you consider browsing by folders separate than the list view. There are some slight differences with the folder view.

The "music wall view" consists of album covers over most of the screen, 10 covers wide by 3 covers high, sorted by the criteria you are using. The selected cover is shown slightly larger and outlined in yellow.

The "single row view" puts the selected cover large in the middle of the screen, with eight smaller ones, the four previous on the left and the four next on the right.

The "list view" creates a scrollable vertical list on the left half of the screen, with the cover of the selected item on the right.

You can look at the reviews of the movie wall, and imagine the DVD/BR covers replaced by square album covers.
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-21-2012, 07:13 AM
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I bought my NTV550 specifically for bit-perfect hi-resolution gapless multi-channel FLAC. The fact that it plays uncompressed Blu-ray rips (and most other video formats) is just a fringe benefit for me.

I currently only have one minor gripe; while it can play whole albums gaplessly, it doesn't do so with playlists. Most of the time this isn't an issue but sometimes I like to put consecutive gapless songs in a playlist. I only mention this because my 7 year old Roku SoundBridge can play playlists gaplessly (but is limited to 16-bit/44.1 or 48kHz stereo). The NTV550 does work with m3u playlists but only if they have relative paths (as opposed to absolute paths).
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-23-2012, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Mark and Slosh. Looks like the NeoTV 550 would be perfect for my purposes, if overkill. I suppose I'll just have to be patient and see if I can pick one up at a good price.

It is annoying that (what I'd consider) simple music playing functionality seems to be getting ignored by most media players. I would have expected that every recent generation player could do 24bit/96KHz 5.1 channel FLAC. Something simple like a low-end Micca or Pivos player probably would have suited me. Unfortunately I just can't find any tests of what bit depths and sampling frequencies they support, I wouldn't trust the manufacturer to accurately describe the capabilities, and I don't want to be the guinea pig wink.gif


-- Dave
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-10-2012, 06:02 PM
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I was thinking about getting a 550 myself . I would be mainly using it for hi rez music. sacd, hd tracks etc. Just one question I have. How is the sq from this box ?

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post #9 of 10 Old 12-12-2012, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David_R View Post

Thanks Mark and Slosh. Looks like the NeoTV 550 would be perfect for my purposes, if overkill. I suppose I'll just have to be patient and see if I can pick one up at a good price.
It is annoying that (what I'd consider) simple music playing functionality seems to be getting ignored by most media players. I would have expected that every recent generation player could do 24bit/96KHz 5.1 channel FLAC. Something simple like a low-end Micca or Pivos player probably would have suited me. Unfortunately I just can't find any tests of what bit depths and sampling frequencies they support, I wouldn't trust the manufacturer to accurately describe the capabilities, and I don't want to be the guinea pig wink.gif

-- Dave

I bought the Micca EP600 G2 for listening to high definition FLAC up to 24/192 in 2 channel and up to 24/96 in multi-channel. Don't know if that was the low-end Micca you were talking about, but for about $140 I am very happy to report that it supports all that you say you want. Cannot report on multi-channel FLAC 7.1 channel support as I have not downloaded any multichannel 7.1. The Micca needs to continue to be improved, but progress continues. Hope my experience helps you with your evaluation of what to purchse.

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post #10 of 10 Old 12-13-2012, 12:47 PM
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Hi Curtis,
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Originally Posted by curtiswhite View Post

. . . How is the sq from this box ?
I have no idea how good the internal DACs are, because I use either HDMI or the optical TosLink to get the audio out digitally. If you use one of the digital outputs, and set the volume at 0db (unaltered), then the quality would be identical to any other unaltered digital source. It will then be your receiver that determines the audio quality.

But you now made me curious. I may open up the box to see what make/model DACs they are using for their left/right analog outputs.
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