A couple of newbie questions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-05-2014, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I just purchased my first pair of decent speakers and have rediscovered my CD collection (~200 CDs). smile.gif

As a result, I'm thinking it would be a whole lot easier to rip my CDs to my computer, create playlists, etc., and run those through my AVR (as much fun as it is to flip through all my CDs, and even kind of cool putting them in the CD tray, just not very convenient). Yes, I realize everyone's been doing this for like 15 years. wink.gif

I have a couple of (assuming) very basic questions:
I ripped the first CD using WMP on Windows 8.1. I set the options to WMA (lossless). Is that the "ideal" approach? Or, should I be using something else (Exact Audio Copy or Media Monkey?) that would allow me to rip to FLAC and then playback through something like foobar?

Will a DAC (something like the Musical Fidelity V90-DAC) give me significant improvement in the quality of the music as it is played through the AVR and speakers?

General "how does it work" question: When I select my computer as my Media Server from my AVR to play the ripped music, does WMP play the music back (stream it), through the soundcard, and then that goes over the Cat5 cable to the AVR, which then plays the music? Or does it not go through the sound card at all? Or neither? Just trying to understand the connectivity/signal path from my computer to the receiver.

Components:
Dell XPS 8700 SE (3 TB hard drive; 2 TB USB external drive); Windows 8.1; Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D PCIe
Marantz SR 5006 AVR
Parasound 275 Amp
Monitor Audio Silver 6 speakers

The computer and receiver are on the home network (ethernet).

Thanks in advance.

- Rob
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-05-2014, 01:52 PM
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1) Forget you ever heard of Windows Media Player or WMA.

If you're serious about ripping hundreds of CDs, use a dedicated program for this purpose. I really like dBpoweramp. It rips to any format, adds album art and all the tags, and verifies an accurate rip.
Use FLAC for lossless music compression, or just use WAV if space is not an issue. dBpoweramp also has a batch processor if you change your mind about that. FLAC is not universally supported by players and devices like AVRs, but support is pretty common. MP3 can also be used with very little loss of quality if you use VBR at max quality settings. But the point is that WMA is poorly supported, and lossless WMA support is almost nonexistent.

Foobar is an excellent audio tool, and also offers a plugin for DNLA streaming. If your AVR has USB input support, it may also be able to read files direct from a thumb drive.

A DAC is a waste of money in your situation, your AVR has a good enough DAC for CD quality audio.

Any connection between PC and AVR will be via the LAN, your AVR will read files directly, so the PC is just a storage device and has no impact on something like audio quality. What you can and can't do with your AVR is a topic for the dedicated forum/thread for your AVR.
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post #3 of 6 Old 06-05-2014, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
When I select my computer as my Media Server from my AVR to play the ripped music, does WMP play the music back (stream it), through the soundcard, and then that goes over the Cat5 cable to the AVR, which then plays the music? Or does it not go through the sound card at all? Or neither?

Neither, the raw digital PCM stream is sent to the AVR over ethernet which uses it's internal DAC to convert the digital stream in analog sound. Like rdgrimes posted, the DAC in your Marantz is high quality so no additional DAC's are needed. You don't even need to have a sound card in your computer to serve the files to your AVR, it's basically at that point acting as a Network Attached Server (NAS).

Personally I recommend ripping into FLAC, as it's becoming the preferred lossless audio codec in devices...for example I know that Android version 3.1+ support FLAC, but doesn't support WMA without additional software...not familiar with iPhones, but I assume it's similar for them too.
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-05-2014, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick replies - this will get me headed down the right path! Much appreciated!! smile.gif
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-06-2014, 09:16 PM
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Agree with all that has been posted. Run from anything Windows. If you have the space I'd rip with a higher bit rate, though you get to the point of diminishing returns if you go too high.

As for playing the files with your AVR you may want to review that decision in a month or two. I tried that years ago, but the OSD of music files on my Onkyo receiver was sorry at best. I too have hundreds of CD and thousands of tracks. I generally don't play a whole CD through, prefer certain tracks, and it was a chore to find what I wanted. I strongly suggest picking up a media player and stream your ripped CD through that. In addition to ease of selection you get other goodies like album art and such. My player of choice is the WD SMP, it a very good general player for music and video, you may find others that are more geared to music if that is your main focus. Streamers are great too if you move to ripping your DVDs and BDs, plus stream music from Pandora, slacker and many others.
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-09-2014, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, Matt.

After playing around with everything for a couple of days, I now see why "a lot" of people stream from their source, as opposed to using their receiver to pull the files...the user interface with the receiver is poor at best (at least in my setup), even using the iOS app like deRemote.

I downloaded MediaMonkey, didn't care too much for the user interface. I'm going to try dBpoweramp next. I will take a look at WD SMP, as well.

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