Spec an Audiophile PC With Me Using CAPS 3.0 as a Starting Point, Adding HDMI for Multi-Channel Hi Rez Audio!!! - Page 26 - AVS Forum
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post #751 of 776 Old 06-06-2014, 05:09 AM
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There are some new scripts around this problem that might be worth a try

http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=89627

This looks interesting. I'm going to give this a try. I have about 15 concert BRs that are non DTS HD that I need to create particles for.
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post #752 of 776 Old 06-29-2014, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to Bulldogger for telling me how a friend of his is finding the Linksys WRT1900AC fantastic for streaming, etc.

I have a gigantic home, very extended main floor west to east (theatre at very east), home office upstairs just north and up from living room (at center of home), and basement below the west part of the main floor.

I had been using Monster Cable powerline and Apple Airport Express stuff, all wireless N, not the newer Gigabit. Had issues streaming 1080p video in my theater.

For my Media Server I have both USB drives (2) and also Western Digital network server (WDMyCloudEX4 16TB).

So long as I install the Western Digital software onto the media server in my theatre room, JRiver Media Center 19 works fine, even on multi-channel SACD ISO files. The WD software does a better job of recognizing and utilizing the WDMyCloudEX4 network drive than does the standard Windows 8.1 Pro software in my Media Server, apparently. But even so, stuff can load a bit slowly at times.

Just got done installing a Linksys1900AC system. Due to size of home, using one Linksys1900AC router as the router in upstairs home office. An ethernet cable thru walls and attic to west main floor hooks up to another 1900AC on a closet at the very west main floor, with that 1900AC programmed as an access point. And I have a Linksys PLEK500 Homelink AV,
which uses home wiring, one in upstairs office, one in theatre, because the wireless signal from my office upstairs router
is very weak at 2.4GHz and no signal at all for 5.0 GHz, but using the PLEK500 the signal is very strong. And then in my theater a 3rd 1900AC used as an access point as well.

Throughout my home, we are getting 35 - almost 50 mbps.

So EDORR, now no excuse for you not to go wireless to your media server.

And after spending more time recently listening to USB connected, vs wireless over my new speedy Linksys wireless, I think that the wireless is more "open", dynamic, better clear voices, etc - though the wired USB is darn good.

"Doug Winsor" used to troll at some AV Forums as "Steve Bruzonsky"! My home theater at:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1158431
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post #753 of 776 Old 06-29-2014, 04:49 PM
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So EDORR, now no excuse for you not to go wireless to your media server.
why would I? I have cat 5 from my router into my basement, which works fine. Don't fix it if it aint broken.
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post #754 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 07:37 AM
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Sound quality-wise:


Wired Gigabit (Best)
Wireless AC (OK)
USB (Worst)


Ok, the differences are not major, but if you have a really high-end system, they are noticeable. We have done a lot of testing of this at Blue Smoke. Just as we have tested playback from the various lossless codecs.


WMA Lossless (Best)
FLAC (OK)
Apple Lossless (Worst)


Done double-blind on several occasions, with the same results. Differences are again small, unless you have a really good system, but they are there.

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post #755 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by PeterS View Post
Sound quality-wise:

WMA Lossless (Best)
FLAC (OK)
Apple Lossless (Worst)

Done double-blind on several occasions, with the same results. Differences are again small, unless you have a really good system, but they are there.
I can understand why there are differences in how the data get to the DAC based on bandwidth etc. (I would expect a gigabit wired connection to fair better than wi-fi in almost all cases). But can you explain how WMA and FLAC could possibly differ in sound quality? Assuming that a well-spec'd PD (like the CAPS 3.0 rig discussed in this thread) is being used?
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post #756 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 09:20 AM
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You have to first understand that LOSSLESS does not equal LOSSLESS when it comes to audio playback. When you are looking at static file contents, they all decode to the same exact, lossless data. Thus you can easily move the data back and forth between these formats without loosing any information. However, when playing back audio you have to remember that there are other factors involved. These are primarily TIME and CPU LOAD.


CPU LOAD is the easiest to understand. The more the CPU works the greater the thermal noise of the CPU. This thermal noise permeates the system and affects the noise-floor of the audio output. Removing it can be difficult. However, it will only be noticeable as a collapse of space, sustain, etc. You do not experience this the same as you do noise as in the SN ratio.


The other factor it TIME. How long does the codec take to decode? Is it symmetrical or asymmetrical in its encode/decode? Does it introduce "jitter" into the stream? Etc. You can reduce jitter through a variety of means, such as buffering and re-clocking (though you can not truly eliminate it). The problem is that the clock in the PC is generally a division of the Master Clock used by the CPU, and not nearly available or accurate enough for our use. WMA Lossless uses less CPU and we have found is much better. FLAC lets you determine the amount of compression at the encode - more requires more CPU to decode and thus worse sound. Apple Lossless is a mess in this area.


We have done a lot of experimenting and work on many $100k systems and have worked with MSB to develop the 384/32 digital output device for the PC, MAC and Linux to get around many of these issues. It is a completely external sound-device with a high-precision clock of its own. However, even then, these issues will and do affect the sound-quality in an audible fashion. You just have to have a system capable of resolving such fine detail.

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post #757 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 09:25 AM
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You have to first understand that LOSSLESS does not equal LOSSLESS when it comes to audio playback. When you are looking at static file contents, they all decode to the same exact, lossless data. Thus you can easily move the data back and forth between these formats without loosing any information. However, when playing back audio you have to remember that there are other factors involved. These are primarily TIME and CPU LOAD.


CPU LOAD is the easiest to understand. The more the CPU works the greater the thermal noise of the CPU. This thermal noise permeates the system and affects the noise-floor of the audio output. Removing it can be difficult. However, it will only be noticeable as a collapse of space, sustain, etc. You do not experience this the same as you do noise as in the SN ratio.


The other factor it TIME. How long does the codec take to decode? Is it symmetrical or asymmetrical in its encode/decode? Does it introduce "jitter" into the stream? Etc. You can reduce jitter through a variety of means, such as buffering and re-clocking (though you can not truly eliminate it). The problem is that the clock in the PC is generally a division of the Master Clock used by the CPU, and not nearly available or accurate enough for our use. WMA Lossless uses less CPU and we have found is much better. FLAC lets you determine the amount of compression at the encode - more requires more CPU to decode and thus worse sound. Apple Lossless is a mess in this area.


We have done a lot of experimenting and work on many $100k systems and have worked with MSB to develop the 384/32 digital output device for the PC, MAC and Linux to get around many of these issues. It is a completely external sound-device with a high-precision clock of its own. However, even then, these issues will and do affect the sound-quality in an audible fashion. You just have to have a system capable of resolving such fine detail.
I am curious to hear others' thoughts on this. With as inexpensive as storage is, I have still yet to see a high-end server (Meridian, Bryston, etc.) that advocates .wav over .FLAC.

I buy noisy power supplies affecting sound quality, and of course an under-powered computer with present problems. Again, just my thoughts.
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post #758 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 11:33 AM
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You have to first understand that LOSSLESS does not equal LOSSLESS when it comes to audio playback. When you are looking at static file contents, they all decode to the same exact, lossless data. Thus you can easily move the data back and forth between these formats without loosing any information. However, when playing back audio you have to remember that there are other factors involved. These are primarily TIME and CPU LOAD.


CPU LOAD is the easiest to understand. The more the CPU works the greater the thermal noise of the CPU. This thermal noise permeates the system and affects the noise-floor of the audio output. Removing it can be difficult. However, it will only be noticeable as a collapse of space, sustain, etc. You do not experience this the same as you do noise as in the SN ratio.
How exactly does "thermal noise* permeates the system?" Yes the thermal noise increases as the CPU gets hotter but do you realize how small that is in relation to all the other RFI inside of a PC? What would concern me more is the spectrum content of RFI changing as the CPU runs through the code instructions. This will be clearly more measurable and possibly detrimental to the recovered audio signal. That is of course only possible if it has an influence on the analog section of the DAC. A DAC inside the computer case is surely a good candidate for this degradation. But an externally wired DAC is not so likely. Especially with an Ethernet network connection that is transformer coupled.

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The other factor it TIME. How long does the codec take to decode? Is it symmetrical or asymmetrical in its encode/decode? Does it introduce "jitter" into the stream? Etc. You can reduce jitter through a variety of means, such as buffering and re-clocking (though you can not truly eliminate it). The problem is that the clock in the PC is generally a division of the Master Clock used by the CPU, and not nearly available or accurate enough for our use. WMA Lossless uses less CPU and we have found is much better. FLAC lets you determine the amount of compression at the encode - more requires more CPU to decode and thus worse sound. Apple Lossless is a mess in this area.


We have done a lot of experimenting and work on many $100k systems and have worked with MSB to develop the 384/32 digital output device for the PC, MAC and Linux to get around many of these issues. It is a completely external sound-device with a high-precision clock of its own. However, even then, these issues will and do affect the sound-quality in an audible fashion. You just have to have a system capable of resolving such fine detail.
This has been discussed before. It doesn't matter how accurate the clock in a DAC is made. You still have to lock to the incomming audio stream. Now you can buffer the data and put a low pass filter in the DAC clock PLL which many devices do. But there will still be drift.

Noise is easily measured these days. Rather than get this $100K audio system why can't we see some quantified measurements before and after these suggested upgrades? Surely such data would be much more valuable to sell a product versus these faith based performance reports.

* P.S. I know thermal noise well working for a time with microwave RF. Why are commercial satellite dishes always painted white? Why are sensitive antenna preamps measured in degrees kelvin for S/N versus a db ratio? It seems that once again the audiophile accessories market has read some engineering paper mentioning thermal noise in a system and blindly applied the theory and practice to high priced consumer audio.

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post #759 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 12:01 PM
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I can understand why there are differences in how the data get to the DAC based on bandwidth etc. (I would expect a gigabit wired connection to fair better than wi-fi in almost all cases). But can you explain how WMA and FLAC could possibly differ in sound quality? Assuming that a well-spec'd PD (like the CAPS 3.0 rig discussed in this thread) is being used?
But consider how low in terms of modern bandwidth numbers even 192k audio is. It's a walk in the park getting that into a DAC even over a commodity WiFi system. People stream HD video at 10-20mbs over home WiFi networks these days without incident. Streaming compressed audio is even less of an issue.

Now I too like hard wired networks for reliability reasons. But other than data loss (dropout) due to outside traffic or RFI, I don't see why there would be any difference in audio quality, especially with compressed data. But I do understand there are marketing interests that want you to think there is.

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post #760 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 12:08 PM
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But consider how low in terms of modern bandwidth numbers even 192k audio is. It's a walk in the park getting that into a DAC even over a commodity WiFi system. People stream HD video at 10-20mbs over home WiFi networks these days without incident. Streaming audio is no big deal.

But I do understand there are marketing interests that want you to think it is.
I was being a bit diplomatic. What I meant to convey was that, at least in theory, I see how there could be bandwidth issues that would make a wired connection sound better than a lousy wi-fi connection. But I can't for the life of me fathom how a .wav, .wma, and .flac could sound any different (assuming there we no read errors and the lossless files were generated from the .wav).

I guess we all have different tolerances for this kind of stuff; I for one have spent a fair chunk of change on cables and know some folks think I'm an idiot for it. But when I hear arguments about one file format being worse than another, my eyes glaze over. I was going to drop a few grand on a new amp at a local dealer, but in the course of describing my system to him I mentioned that my collection was all in lossless .flac. He then proceeded to lecture me about how it wasn't really "lossless," but was "loss" "less" as in, less loss-y. I don't mind being lectured, but he lost all credibility in my mind and I took my $$ elsewhere.

Again, this is not intended as a criticism on those who hear a difference in the file formats; just doesn't make any sense to me.
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post #761 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 12:15 PM
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.....What I meant to convey was that, at least in theory, I see how there could be bandwidth issues that would make a wired connection sound better than a lousy wi-fi connection......
Why? Yes the WiFi connection may drop out or limit bandwidth based on traffic but how would that change the sound quality? If the buffer in the receiving device runs out, the audio stops, you get at a minimum a hit or gap.

Any idea that a wired network has a "better sound stage", "deeper inner spacing", "darker noise floor", or other popular audiophile lingo is bunk! And even more so with compressed data. If there is any corruption the the FEC can't undo, you get completly invalid data. Compressed data is either right or it;'s not. Toggeling a LSB in PCM can certainly cause some audible distortion. But in a compressed file, it's disastrous if beyond the error correction system.

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post #762 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 12:17 PM
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Why? Yes the WiFi connection may drop out or limit bandwidth based on traffic but why does that change the sound quality? If the buffer in the receiving device runs out, the audio stops, you get at a minimum a hit or gap.
.
That's what I was referring to; drop-outs, stutters, etc.
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post #763 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 12:22 PM
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That's what I was referring to; drop-outs, stutters, etc.
OK I agree, that is poor "sound quality". But in reading above there are others that don't believe in such a simple explanation.

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post #764 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 02:11 PM
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The interesting part is that this debate will rage on forever. I come from a "logical" computer engineering background and would agree with almost everything here, except that I haves indeed heard the differences on high-end equipment.

Now if you like what you have and it sounds good to you, that should be enough. The reason WAV is not promoted by these companies is that they want to promote that number of songs they can store, and WAV would limit that entirely - oh, and the mass bulk of their audience does not have the equipment or ears to notice the difference anyway.

In the end, it is about music, not technology. Whatever makes you happy - wether you believe or not it not important.

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post #765 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 02:23 PM
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The interesting part is that this debate will rage on forever. I come from a "logical" computer engineering background and would agree with almost everything here, except that I haves indeed heard the differences on high-end equipment.

Now if you like what you have and it sounds good to you, that should be enough. The reason WAV is not promoted by these companies is that they want to promote that number of songs they can store, and WAV would limit that entirely - oh, and the mass bulk of their audience does not have the equipment or ears to notice the difference anyway.

In the end, it is about music, not technology. Whatever makes you happy - wether you believe or not it not important.
I don't have an issue with the idea that *.wav sounds different or better than *.flac. It's all the other noise and jitter FUD. Now if someone can show us a proper test outcome where the noise induced by fans, heat, mediocre digital side power supplies, makes a difference then it does deserves further consideration. The next step is if this measured noise/distortion is in fact audible in the listening environment.

If the products one promotes or reviews here are indeed worthy of the claims, then the manufacture should be proud to show the measured performance increase. And let's not get into the old "proprietary information" rag. I am simply asking to see the results of competent testing, I am not asking anyone to disclose how they achieved the results - which is the proprietary part.

So far I have not seen such evidence presented in this thread, and to be clear I mean quantified measurements. Not artist illustrations or scope captures with the time and voltage scales missing. That generally rules out most audiophile magazines.

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post #766 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 02:47 PM
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I don't have an issue with the idea that *.wav sounds different or better than *.flac. It's all the other noise and jitter FUD. Now if someone can show us a proper test outcome where the noise induced by fans, heat, mediocre digital side power supplies, makes a difference then it does deserves further consideration. The next step is if this measured noise/distortion is in fact audible in the listening environment.

.
We obviously come from very different technical backgrounds (as in, you have expertise and I have none!), but to me this is the hardest part to grasp. Power supplies, etc. sound at least plausible in terms of affecting sound quality. But the idea that you can rip a track to .wav and then compress that same file to a .flac and a .wma and have all three sound different? Do not get that at all. Obviously some bias of mine is creeping in because I spent a long time ripping 600 CDs to lossless .flac because every single person I talked to told me SQ was identical to .wav.

Then again, I have a $25k system, so it's probably not resolving enough to matter
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post #767 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 03:10 PM
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We obviously come from very different technical backgrounds (as in, you have expertise and I have none!), but to me this is the hardest part to grasp. Power supplies, etc. sound at least plausible in terms of affecting sound quality. But the idea that you can rip a track to .wav and then compress that same file to a .flac and a .wma and have all three sound different? Do not get that at all. Obviously some bias of mine is creeping in because I spent a long time ripping 600 CDs to lossless .flac because every single person I talked to told me SQ was identical to .wav.

Then again, I have a $25k system, so it's probably not resolving enough to matter
Don't kid yourself, a $25K system is more than good enough to resolve the differences being discussed here.

That's just what gets thrown in your face when some expensive accessory you buy doesn't deliver what was claimed. "It's not burned in yet", which translates to owning it longer than the return period, is another.

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Don't kid yourself, a $25K system is more than good enough to resolve the differences being discussed here.
I guess that brings me back to my original question: putting aside all of the talk about jitter, power supplies, thermal heat, etc... Did I (and many many others) made an unnecessary compromise on sound quality by opting for .FLAC instead of .WAV when converting our collections to digital?
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I guess that brings me back to my original question: putting aside all of the talk about jitter, power supplies, thermal heat, etc... Did I (and many many others) made an unnecessary compromise on sound quality by opting for .FLAC instead of .WAV when converting our collections to digital?
I don't have any experience comparing the two but as .flac is still compressed, there's a chance something is lost.

It's easy though to prove this. Just make a .flac copy then decompress it back to .wav. Do a file compare. If there is any difference whatsoever, even 1 single bit, it will be found. But that still says nothing as to the change being audible or not.

I'm sure this has been done by now. Google it.

P.S. Note too that there is a difference in the marketing terms "lossless" and "mathematically lossless". The file compare above will prove if the compression process is mathematically lossless. But even if it fails, the compression still could be lossless audio wise as human hearing is, well rather poor from what I have read.

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post #770 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 05:01 PM
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I guess that brings me back to my original question: putting aside all of the talk about jitter, power supplies, thermal heat, etc... Did I (and many many others) made an unnecessary compromise on sound quality by opting for .FLAC instead of .WAV when converting our collections to digital?
I compared flac and wav on a six figure system and could not hear a difference.
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post #771 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 05:09 PM
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For all of those who do not hear a difference. I would invite you to our listening room in Chicago to hear the variance between the different codecs (all used in J. River) and in a blind listen tell me what you think you hear.

I don't wish to belabor the point, but I was once where you are now, and was very much of the mind that any difference was impossible. But, I've heard it.

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post #772 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 05:36 PM
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For all of those who do not hear a difference. I would invite you to our listening room in Chicago to hear the variance between the different codecs (all used in J. River) and in a blind listen tell me what you think you hear.

I don't wish to belabor the point, but I was once where you are now, and was very much of the mind that any difference was impossible. But, I've heard it.
I did blind comparison on my system between flac and wav of the same track in Jriver. Could not hear a difference.
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Originally Posted by PeterS View Post
For all of those who do not hear a difference. I would invite you to our listening room in Chicago to hear the variance between the different codecs (all used in J. River) and in a blind listen tell me what you think you hear.

I don't wish to belabor the point, but I was once where you are now, and was very much of the mind that any difference was impossible. But, I've heard it.
I may take you up on that next time I'm in the area. I will also do my own test at home.

By the way, I wasn't trying to single you out and I respect your view and experiences. And I am obviously coming from a somewhat biased position because I don't want to feel like I have to re-rip my entire collection AGAIN...
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post #774 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by justin42 View Post
I may take you up on that next time I'm in the area. I will also do my own test at home.

By the way, I wasn't trying to single you out and I respect your view and experiences. And I am obviously coming from a somewhat biased position because I don't want to feel like I have to re-rip my entire collection AGAIN...
You can batch convert your flacs to wav. It is like unzipping data files. If you hypothesize that the real time unzipping degrades the sound, this would be the ticket. You get the exact same bits as reripping.
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post #775 of 776 Old 06-30-2014, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post
You can batch convert your flacs to wav. It is like unzipping data files. If you hypothesize that the real time unzipping degrades the sound, this would be the ticket. You get the exact same bits as reripping.
Good point.

This is worth a read: http://www.computeraudiophile.com/bl...l-results-155/
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post #776 of 776 Old 07-06-2014, 02:27 PM
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Man, give me some of that stuff PeterS is smoking! If a file is loaded in memory prior to playback and converted to LPCM in memory prior to playback, how can the container it was in make a difference? CPU load? Give me a break. My audio server barely registers activity playing multichannel SACD iso converted to multichannel LPCM let alone simple 44.1kHz stereo.

On a more interesting note, did anyone notice that JRemote no longer allows playback of DVD ISO? Today I had to remote onto the pc with VNC viewer to play a DVD. one other annoying thing I have with JRiver DVD iOS playback is that often I a small screen within my display ie large borders all round rather than just top and bottom. Ideas?

Egglestonworks Andra III, Andra III Centre, Rosa (as surround). Rel Stentor II. Theta CB IV. Krell FPB 200 and two KAV 150a amps. Custom-built audio server. Oppo 103EU. Apple TV. Pioneer PDP-LX608D. Synergistic Research "Element Copper" front speaker cable. Cardas Clear Light bal interconnects.
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