Device to play (without a PC) 5.1 channel FLAC files? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 03-03-2012, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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My apologies in advance if this has been discussed before but I'm wondering if there is a device that can natively stream/play 24/96 5.1 channel DVD-A rips in FLAC format. Currently I own a Squeezebox Touch but unfortunately it does not support multichannel FLAC files (I know there are ways to re-encode the files to DTS but I just don't want to bother and go from a lossless to a lossy format). In a perfect world, Logitech would make a new product called Squeezebox HD with an HDMI port and that would simply solve everything.

Anyway, since I live in the real world, I'm wondering if there are any devices out there that can solve the above dilemma currently.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 34 Old 03-03-2012, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbeas View Post

My apologies in advance if this has been discussed before but I'm wondering if there is a device that can natively stream/play 24/96 5.1 channel DVD-A rips in FLAC format. Currently I own a Squeezebox Touch but unfortunately it does not support multichannel FLAC files (I know there are ways to re-encode the files to DTS but I just don't want to bother and go from a lossless to a lossy format). In a perfect world, Logitech would make a new product called Squeezebox HD with an HDMI port and that would simply solve everything.

Anyway, since I live in the real world, I'm wondering if there are any devices out there that can solve the above dilemma currently.

Thanks in advance.

Dune Players, Popcorn Hour products, Netgear NTV550
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post #3 of 34 Old 03-03-2012, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Those would require that I turn the TV on. For the record, I have an HTPC that I can use for this purpose, but again, it also requires that I turn the TV on.
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post #4 of 34 Old 03-03-2012, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbeas View Post

Those would require that I turn the TV on. For the record, I have an HTPC that I can use for this purpose, but again, it also requires that I turn the TV on.

Can't you use a tablet to control the HTPC?
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post #5 of 34 Old 03-03-2012, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Can't you use a tablet to control the HTPC?

How?
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post #6 of 34 Old 03-03-2012, 01:24 PM
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How?

A Remote Desktop App would be the least frills.
I'm assuming you have a ipad, tablet, iphone, or some type of Android device.
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post #7 of 34 Old 03-03-2012, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbeas View Post

Those would require that I turn the TV on.

Hi Morbeas,

I have the NeoTV 550, and control it through its web interface, without the TV on. I use my laptop, but any smart-phone or pad with a web-browser should work. I believe all three of the devices that Mlknez mentioned have web interfaces.

It's annoying that you need to go with a video-centric player to get multi-channel audio. I assume it's because a video player is required to support multi-channel audio.
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post #8 of 34 Old 03-03-2012, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

Hi Morbeas,

I have the NeoTV 550, and control it through its web interface, without the TV on. I use my laptop, but any smart-phone or pad with a web-browser should work. I believe all three of the devices that Mlknez mentioned have web interfaces.

It's annoying that you need to go with a video-centric player to get multi-channel audio. I assume it's because a video player is required to support multi-channel audio.

It's that the audio/video media devices support hdmi and the audio only ones don't.
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post #9 of 34 Old 03-03-2012, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post

It's that the audio/video media devices support hdmi and the audio only ones don't.

Good point.
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post #10 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbeas View Post

My apologies in advance if this has been discussed before but I'm wondering if there is a device that can natively stream/play 24/96 5.1 channel DVD-A rips in FLAC format. Currently I own a Squeezebox Touch but unfortunately it does not support multichannel FLAC files (I know there are ways to re-encode the files to DTS but I just don't want to bother and go from a lossless to a lossy format). In a perfect world, Logitech would make a new product called Squeezebox HD with an HDMI port and that would simply solve everything.

Anyway, since I live in the real world, I'm wondering if there are any devices out there that can solve the above dilemma currently.

I'd think a USB2 device; for mobile a somewhat large USB2 memory stick, for set top box (STB) player, an external 500GB USB2 HDD.

For a STB player not needing a TV to be on, you'd need a higher end STB player with a great front panel display.

A week ago I downloaded a free Windows music format converter (17MB but haven't tried it yet) from: http://www.any-audio-converter.com/a...-converter.php

Found it by googling: freeware audio converter
(and I'm not sure what else, if anything)

For some decent free samples (extensive) of multichannel hi-rez audio go to http://www.2l.no/ and in the upper right corner of the web page there's a pull down menu with a choice labeled "Test Bench HD audio files", left click on that.

You'll want/need a high speed interconnection to get all of the free 5.1 .flac audio files there.

The best is the enemy of the good. Voltaire (1694-1778)

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post #11 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

It's annoying that you need to go with a video-centric player to get multi-channel audio. I assume it's because a video player is required to support multi-channel audio.

There are 2 options for delivering high-res multi-channel audio, HDMI and multi-channel analog. HDMI requires a video signal in order to send audio. So you need a device that has either HDMI or m-ch analog output. That narrows things down.

Most AVRs are capable of allowing audio via HDMI with no display running. But most players require some type video interface in order to control playback, browse files, playlists, etc. That means either a network-based control app or a direct connected display.

In a HT setting, many folks choose to go with a small TV or LCD monitor for such purposes rather than turning on the main display for file browsing. But you can also just turn off the TV after setting up your playback, or use a "direct" playback mode that blanks the video signal. What's available depends on the player and connected hardware.
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post #12 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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So in short, there's nothing currently that matches my above criteria. Again, a "Squeezebox HD" device with HDMI out still seems to me like a no-brainer. I can't possibly be the only person with 5.1 channel flac files who simply wants to listen to them on his home hi-fi.
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post #13 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 06:43 PM
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I use a digital out for audio, and remote in with a laptop to control. No TV display needed. There are a multitude of remote options depending on your device.
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post #14 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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And you get lossless 5.1 channel audio from digital out?
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post #15 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 07:25 PM
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Yeah. I had to figure out the correct settings as Windows wants to process as 2-channel ( although, I'll bet you can get past this with AC3filter or the like), but the receiver shows "Dolby", and the channels are most definitely discrete. Not sure how the behaviour would vary with HDMI audio, I'm not familiar with how Windows treats it, but knowing the problems with my coax, I'd say the issues may very well be the same.
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post #16 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by applejax View Post

Yeah. I had to figure out the correct settings as Windows wants to process as 2-channel ( although, I'll bet you can get past this with AC3filter or the like), but the receiver shows "Dolby", and the channels are most definitely discrete. Not sure how the behaviour would vary with HDMI audio, I'm not familiar with how Windows treats it, but knowing the problems with my coax, I'd say the issues may very well be the same.

Not hi-res multichannel
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post #17 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 07:44 PM
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What part are you denying? I am set up to play multi-channel FLACs through digital coax. There are some unknowns, as I mentioned. Perhaps I will play. But not tonight. WASAPI may help us here as well, not sure.
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post #18 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by applejax View Post

What part are you denying? I am set up to play multi-channel FLACs through digital coax. There are some unknowns, as I mentioned. Perhaps I will play. But not tonight. WASAPI may help us here as well, not sure.

No, you're most definitely not getting 5.1 channel 24/96 flacs through coax. The bandwidth is simply not there. Please stop posting rubbish.
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post #19 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 07:52 PM
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Hi Applejax,
Quote:
Originally Posted by applejax View Post

. . . but the receiver shows "Dolby", and the channels are most definitely discrete.

Yeah, the FLAC is being transcoded to Dolby-Digital 5.1, also known as AC-3. The six channels are discrete, but AC-3 is a lossy compression.

Quote:
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. Not sure how the behavior would vary with HDMI audio . . .

HDMI is the only medium that can handle the bandwidth of multi-channel lossless audio. The common approach would be for the player to decode multi-channel FLAC into MLPCM to send over HDMI. Or some receivers might be able to decode multi-channel FLAC. There aren't a lot of options.
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post #20 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

Hi Applejax,

Yeah, the FLAC is being transcoded to Dolby-Digital 5.1, also known as AC-3. The six channels are discrete, but AC-3 is a lossy compression.

HDMI is the only medium that can handle the bandwidth of multi-channel lossless audio. The common approach would be for the player to decode multi-channel FLAC into MLPCM to send over HDMI. Or some receivers might be able to decode multi-channel FLAC. There aren't a lot of options.

oh crap, that's depressing. The receiver shows 96 kHz and there is discrete sound to the speakers, I never considered the signal was being compressed before it left the computer, Looks like I may have to invest in an HDMI card.
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post #21 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbeas View Post

So in short, there's nothing currently that matches my above criteria. Again, a "Squeezebox HD" device with HDMI out still seems to me like a no-brainer. I can't possibly be the only person with 5.1 channel flac files who simply wants to listen to them on his home hi-fi.

My Oppo players and Dune player all play 5.1 FLAC. I can simply turn off the display after setting up playback.
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post #22 of 34 Old 06-27-2012, 10:01 AM
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Hi,

I am looking for something described in this thread, the only things I can find of note are the Oppo & Dune players previously mentioned by rdgrimes, the Boxee Box, which I have heard has questionable sound quality, and I believe this year's Onkyo AV receivers will stream 5.1 Flacs too. I just find it annoying having to put an SACD in when I want surround. I have a PS3 capable of ripping the SACDs on the way but now I need to find the player that suits my needs the most. I think it will have to be an Oppo BDP-93EU and trade in by Cambridge Audio 650BD or sell it!

Tom
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post #23 of 34 Old 06-28-2012, 02:45 AM
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I've just started exploring something similar myself. I use foobar, which has decoders for DTS and AC3, and I use an android app to control foobar on my PC directly connected to my receiver. While untested (I haven't ripped anything yet) it may be an option for you.

I'm just doing this to see if I can, I'm perfectly happy with my Denon setup and DL3.

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post #24 of 34 Old 06-28-2012, 11:32 AM
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Hi,

Please can I ask what the benefit is of playing 5.1 music files?

I am looking for a solution to get 24bit 96KHz audio (stereo) files from my iMac upstairs to my hi-fi downstairs. I have been using an Apple TV 1 but this down samples to 16 bit 44.1KHz output so I need another idea.

I currently use iTunes to manage the files and the Apple TV is synched using ethernet through those adaptors that allow you to use the electrical mains circuit in the house.

So what would be the simplest solution at reasonable cost?

Thanks,

Rich smile.gif
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post #25 of 34 Old 06-28-2012, 01:32 PM
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My Panasonic DMP-BD77 Blu-ray player plays FLAC at up to 192khz/24bit 7.1ch's of a flash drive, over ethernet, or off a DVD (so basically I invent m own DVD-Audio spec using FLAC instead of MLP biggrin.gif)...Was sorta shocked a $90 Blu-ray player did that! It decodes to LPCM in the player then sends it over HDMI but the player also has a 192/24 DAC for stereo analog out (I'd KILL if this thing had multichannel output!). I just turn the TV off at night and listen to my Blu-ray rip of The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd in Quadrophonic or 5.1 biggrin.gif sounds quite beautiful I must say biggrin.gif

Side note: I know DTS and Dolby have to market their lossless codecs but can you image if FLAC was in the Blu-ray spec!!? FLAC achieves outstanding compression thats on par and sometimes better than even Dolby TrueHD with no AC-3 core! Plus FLAC decodes with very very little CPU power in comparison to DTS-HD and TrueHD....
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post #26 of 34 Old 06-28-2012, 01:40 PM
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Yeah, amazing what you can do. My buddy sent me a 2TB hard drive filled with mostly Flac. It has multiple copies of some things (SACD rips, Vinyl rips, hi-res downloads, MFSL rips). My Oppo decodes stuff his Squeezebox won't. Was browsing around and pulled up a random track and was suprised to hear a 4-piece band surrounding me. It was a multi-channel flac of Bela Fleck.
The 5.1 SACD of DSOTM is incredible (I have the disc for that).
Without using a computer, I think some of the blu-ray players may offer the highest resolutions available, followed by the Squeezebox system.
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post #27 of 34 Old 06-28-2012, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nateo200 View Post

My Panasonic DMP-BD77 Blu-ray player plays FLAC at up to 192khz/24bit 7.1ch's of a flash drive, over ethernet, or off a DVD (so basically I invent m own DVD-Audio spec using FLAC instead of MLP biggrin.gif)...Was sorta shocked a $90 Blu-ray player did that! It decodes to LPCM in the player then sends it over HDMI but the player also has a 192/24 DAC for stereo analog out (I'd KILL if this thing had multichannel output!). I just turn the TV off at night and listen to my Blu-ray rip of The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd in Quadrophonic or 5.1 biggrin.gif sounds quite beautiful I must say biggrin.gif
Side note: I know DTS and Dolby have to market their lossless codecs but can you image if FLAC was in the Blu-ray spec!!? FLAC achieves outstanding compression thats on par and sometimes better than even Dolby TrueHD with no AC-3 core! Plus FLAC decodes with very very little CPU power in comparison to DTS-HD and TrueHD....

That's interesting. I have a BDT110 Panasonic Blu-Ray player. I wonder if that will work? Did you burn the DVD-Audio yourself and if so what did you use?
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post #28 of 34 Old 06-28-2012, 11:17 PM
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Its not officially the DVD audio spec keep in mind, its just a DVD with lossless audio which is the same deal but not "official". I mostly use stuff off a flash drive as I can re-write (and the Panny Blu-ray player doesn't like DVD+-RW as a side note), I use DVD+R, but DVD-R is probably the best since SOME formats like AVCHD MUST be finalized on DVD+R but 5.1 192Khz/24bit FLAC will play off a DVD+R...I am well aware of the peak bit rates that FLAC rarely spikes or what standard WAV has as a constant bit rate since it will play both FLAC and WAV but FLAC is much better for bandwidth and space, I think that unless your using high quality DVD's like Verbatim, TDK with at least 16x speed you will get stuttering with high res audio (especially if you include high bit rate video)..I use Sony Accucore(sp?) DVD+R's and they hold up very well...I have been playing The Dark Side of the Moon 5.1 96khz/24bit with ease, this version was a Vinyl Rip that someone did for me and I mixed in 5.1 for fun and discovered that I ended up creating a pretty decent surround mix, I played allot with panning on songs like "On the Run" and manually removed all the pops and crackles...., no delay in loading, pausing or playing. Just pay attention to bandwidth constraints of your media like DVD's for example with audio I would not go over 9.6mbps because then your really pushing it with even 16x Verbatums that will spin faster than they are rated or at least handle higher bandwidth than stated.

I posted a thread about the Panny DMP-BD77 under the blu-ray players section on here, you can find it by looking at my profile and going to "threads" or "all posts" something like that and doing a search of that model and it'll come up. I posted a ton of details about what audio codecs and video codecs do and do not work and I have personally tested a variety of combinations and bit rates because yes I am that much of a tech nerd biggrin.gif Just take a standard DVD-R or DVD+R and throw FLAC onto it either by its self or in an MKV container with a video of equal length that shows maybe the songs or is just blank, I don't care much for adding any video because I usually just turn off the display. I would test both ways out on a flash drive first to see if it works and if it does go ahead and take a look at your user manual, you can find it online if you don't have it. Again disk quality is very important as the player wants to spin the disc much faster than your average DVD-Video from what I'm guessing...some of my older DVD backups with HD video are either unplayable or must be played with the lowest bit rate audio track in order to not stutter like hell.

My Panny was made in March of this year so its relatively new. I was at Target just looking around in electronics while the women looked at clothes (its torture!) and came across several crappy blu-ray players, most of them didn't even decode DTS-MA or TrueHD! Then I came across the panasonic marked down from 89.99 to 75.99 and it was the last unit left in the box! Right on the box in big letters it had the logo's that made any tech nerd/audiophile/whatever grin! Decodes "Dolby TrueHD/Dolby Digital+, DTS-HD Master Audio, FLAC and more!" It had FLAC and MKV container written in big letters too and I just said out loud panasonic must have read my mind!


I also have several of my archived videos on DVD's that I archived in FLAC and/or DTS-MA and I can say that with HD video the Panny BD player handles it well...The DTS-MA can be bit streamed or internally decoded....though bit streaming stutters more often than not with DTS-MA and FLAC is always the best choice, I just like DTS-MA because of the DTS core which means I can play back the video on any computer and any receiver wherever I go to present a video without trouble (I have a MacBook Pro). If you have any specific questions go ahead and post in my thread about the Panny DMP-BD77 or PM me and Ill be happy to respond. If enough people start grabbing Blu-ray players that will play FLAC and want to know how I could write up a more detailed cleaner typed how-to-guide... Sorry about the grammar...I'm a bit scattered brain today on top of rheumatoid arthritis which makes typing a pain to begin with mad.gifsmile.gif
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post #29 of 34 Old 04-07-2013, 02:20 AM
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Originally Posted by nateo200 View Post

My Panasonic DMP-BD77 Blu-ray player plays FLAC at up to 192khz/24bit 7.1ch's of a flash drive, over ethernet, or off a DVD ...
Does it play FLAC files gapless?
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post #30 of 34 Old 02-20-2014, 12:11 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm assuming such a device still doesn't exist? frown.gif
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