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Using a Digital Music Library

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I still listen to CD's, SACD's and DVD-A's. I want to convert over to listening to a digital music library. I would like to rip all of my physical media onto a computer or NAS. I don't want to give up on quality. I would also like to purchase music from places like HD Tracks and store the files on a computer or NAS.

I am looking for a audio media player that can can play high quality audio files (192kHz/24 bit) and ripped SACD/DVD-A (if I can rip them) files. I want to use my iPad or Android device, search my music library and hit play. I don't want to have to turn a TV on to listen to music. I would prefer to have my music stored on a computer or NAS in a different room than my stereo. I would prefer the media player device have analog outputs for a 5.1 system.

Does such a product exist?
post #2 of 10
Hi RGlass,
Quote:
Originally Posted by RGlass View Post

Does such a product exist?
By "analog outputs", do you mean line-level outputs to connect to amplifiers? Or do you mean outputs for speakers? The former would require a pre-pro, the latter would just need an AVR.

There is no media-player that does what you would like, as the 5.1 analog outputs are limited to the high-end video players. Ironically, those players are pretty poor at playing music.

I think what you need to look for is an AVR that has good network capabilities. Unfortunately, that market is not very mature yet.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
What I am looking for is a device that is equivalent to a CD player; but instead of playing physical media it plays digital files off a network hard drive. The output of this device would input into my pre-amp processor (Lexicon MC-8B).

The user interface for this device would be a tablet, phone, or iPod touch device.

So far I haven't been able to find a device. Something that is as simple to add to a system as a CD/DVD player.
post #4 of 10
Hi RGlass,

What you describe is a media-player. Unfortunately, there is none that meets your requirements. All players that support multi-channel audio are designed for video, and the vast majority require HDMI.

All media players that are geared toward music are only stereo.

My first solution to get multi-channel digital music into my analog amps was a Technics SH-AC500D surround-sound processor, but it only supports Dolby-Digital 5.1 and DTS. I currently have a media-player that can decode multi-channel FLAC files (and most other audio formats), but the analog outputs are stereo only and multi-channel requires HDMI.
post #5 of 10
I've just begun to think about this process again. I started down the path a year or so ago of ripping my DVD-A (using DVDAExplorer), and unfortunately was not very pleased with the result. I stumbled upon a discussion on using DenonLink to interconnect devices which led me to finding a used Denon 2930 multi-disk player (it supports both DVD-A and SACD, and this line of video players is one that deviates from being "pretty poor at playing music") and I found the quality to be superb. Since I only listen to multi-channel music in my HT I have no problem with using the physical disk. That said, because everything else is served by NAS I have a stubborn streak.

I'm with Mark on the confusion of justification for analog inputs. If you get rid of this stipulation I believe you will find that what you want is doable. You can look into the Denon AVR-2113 as a reasonably priced AVR that includes good networking capabilities and support for 192/24, and there are any number of music management platforms that can be remotely controlled (I use Squeezebox and Foobar directly connected extensively) such that you never have to leave the Lazy Boy.

Here is an interesting thread, maybe you can derive some value.

By the way, I believe there is only one solution to ripping SACD and it involves PS3. If you continue to mention it you will likely get a PM from a gent here who provides such a service for a fee. This was another reason for my sticking with shiny disks for multi-channel.
post #6 of 10
Hi Nethawk and RGlass,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

. . . a used Denon 2930 multi-disk player (it supports both DVD-A and SACD, and this line of video players is one that deviates from being "pretty poor at playing music") and I found the quality to be superb.
Yes, let me clarify: The disc players do not fall into my category of "pretty poor at playing music". I meant to describe the diskless network media-players, like Dune and Popcorn-Hour. Some of the disc players are actually pretty wonderful at playing music, but not many of them are very functional on a network.

Quote:
By the way, I believe there is only one solution to ripping SACD and it involves PS3.
Yes - You get a particular vintage PS3, and add some modifications, and it can then rip a SACD. There is no other way, yet.

And then you need a player that can play the resulting DSD files, or convert those files to LPCM. DSD data is said to be comparable to 20-bit, 96kHz LPCM as far as sound quality, for sake of conversion.
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

... If you continue to mention it you will likely get a PM from a gent here who provides such a service for a fee. This was another reason for my sticking with shiny disks for multi-channel.

...hmmmm, might I be that gent?


You can mostly do what you want by building an HTPC, running jriver media player on it and using jremote on your ipad/android/ms tablet/phone. You probably want to output via HDMI as your pre/pro or receiver probably does room correction and you want to keep things in the digital domain rather than doing another analog to digital conversion. HDMI jitter has gotten MUCH better on recent equipment.

You can also use foobar2000 with their remote application if you prefer that system. computeraudiophile.com has instructions for building several great audio-centric htpcs. If you want a pre-built unit, http://baetisaudio.com/ makes great units too.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
First off I want to thank everyone who has replied in this thread.

My equipment includes:

Lexicon MC-8B
Dennon DVD-3910

I am (was) interested in 5.1 analog outputs to use the analog pass-through in the Lexicon. The Dennon is connected via analog inputs and S/PDIF. When listening to multi-channel disks the Dennon will not output over the S/PDIF digital connection. That was my reasoning for analog output support.

The Lexicon doesn't have any HDMI inputs. I looked in the manual and the Lexicon S/PDIF digital inputs support up to 24 bit 96Hz. I would rather use the S/PDIF connection into the processor so I can take advantage of the bass management and processing in the Lexicon.

I think I am looking for a device that:

Outputs 24 bit 96kHz over S/PDIF, up to 192kHz/24 bit
Can connect to a computer/NAS over a network for audio content
Can be controlled using an android or iOS device; the device would navigate the music library and play any selection
The device connects as easy as connecting a DVD/CD player into the system; I realize the setup will need to include setting up the network interface and pointing the android/iOS app at the device.
post #9 of 10
Hi R,
Quote:
Originally Posted by RGlass View Post

I think I am looking for a device that:

Outputs 24 bit 96kHz over S/PDIF, up to 192kHz/24 bit
A word of warning about S/PDIF - it was originally specified for 96kHz/24-bit stereo, and not multi-channel. The spec has been pushed by some manufacturers to also include 192kHz.

For multi-channel, S/PDIF also supports DTS-core and DolbyDigital-5.1, but both of these formats use lossy compression to be able to fit in S/PDIF's limited bandwidth. Neither format is very common for music.
post #10 of 10
I know many people will scoff at the idea, and from a purity standpoint, rightfully so. But the slight quality loss is made up for by the convenience, IMHO.

Anyways, I've ripped my rather small (~25 discs) DVD-A library using DVDAExplorer and encoded those as DTS 96/24-encoded FLACs, which I play back with my Squeezebox Touch (connected via coax to the AVR). When the output level is locked to 100% on the Touch, it's essentially bitstreaming the DTS stream to the AVR for decoding. By doing this, I have my entire library (CD rips, stereo 96/24 DVD-A rips, and DTS-encoded DVD-A multichannel rips) playable pretty much as the OP is looking for, complete with iOS and Android remotes. I've also retained the full multichannel rips on my HTPC, which I can play back over HDMI using Foobar if I ever want to hear the full-quality versions.

Again, not perfect from a purity standpoint, but it's as close as I've been able to get using dedicated audio hardware.
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