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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys,


Been awhile since I've posted...I heard the Linn Acurate system yesterday but before I got out and spend $7K, I want to see how well my old Accuphase DC 90 and DC 91 DAC compare..More specifically I want to test out my DAC and play FLack thru the digital input.


I have tested it this morning and it's off to a very good start..Not as good as the CD but promising..


I ripped a couple of songs using Flacer and played back with Singbird..These were not the newest versions...Flacer was a powerpc version not Intel.


I've heard Rip Station is supposed to be great but have been unable to find it for the Mac.


If the Mac does not have the best Flac software I suppose I could use a PC that I have.


Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
 

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Why not Apple Lossless? Basically the same thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall /forum/post/15587155


Why not Apple Lossless? Basically the same thing.

joke?


If not, I hope you are...I compared Apple LossLess (which I have my entire CD library on), to a couple of Flac tests and with my system (Wilson WP7's, Watchdog Sub, CJ 140 Tube and Shindo preamp,) both thru the Accuphase DC91 DAC the difference was night and day.


The Flac so far sounds really good but I am looking for the best possible Flac solution, (hopefully via Macintosh) sound to avoid having to get the Linn system..unless I have to that is...
 

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Either you've screwed up somewhere, or the software or hardware you're using screwed up somewhere. Apple Lossless and FLAC are absolutely identical sonically if they are decoded properly. But note that it really is possible that there is something screwed up in your processing chain. Getting bit-perfect audio right is not trivial.


So let's try and narrow it down. When you conducted those listening tests, what hardware and software did you use for Apple Lossless playback? for FLAC playback?
 

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Don't know who has 'the best possible Flac solution', but I don't know how one bit-perfect lossless codec can be night and day different from another. If that were true, I'd highly recommend AIFF which has no lossless compression at all for you to "hear". Also, the FLAC and Apple Lossless are simply storage formats - the signal going to your DAC is an identical PCM stream. Your DAC would have no way of knowing how it was stored, let alone the ability to produce a different sound from them. Keep in mind that the paucity of Flac for Mac software is likely a matter of there being absolutely no redeeming value in having one lossless codec over the other and iTunes with Apple Lossless is free. Hard to compete with that unless there is an advantage, which there isn't.
 

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I also have a MacPro and understand your dilemma.

If you can I suggest to use a Windows machine and this software that is well worth the cost for it's ability to rip, get quality metadata and album covers: http://www.dbpoweramp.com/


For a Mac you might try: http://sbooth.org/Max/

Or if you have (or want to get) Roxio Toast 9 you can try that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Grant /forum/post/15587365


Either you've screwed up somewhere, or the software or hardware you're using screwed up somewhere. Apple Lossless and FLAC are absolutely identical sonically if they are decoded properly. But note that it really is possible that there is something screwed up in your processing chain. Getting bit-perfect audio right is not trivial.


So let's try and narrow it down. When you conducted those listening tests, what hardware and software did you use for Apple Lossless playback? for FLAC playback?

I played the Flac tests using Fluke through iTunes as well as another Flac player..Differences were dramatic as said.


But I will re encode the test in Lossless and makes sure set up was optimal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by focker /forum/post/15587468


I also have a MacPro and understand your dilemma.

If you can I suggest to use a Windows machine and this software that is well worth the cost for it's ability to rip, get quality metadata and album covers: http://www.dbpoweramp.com/


For a Mac you might try: http://sbooth.org/Max/

Or if you have (or want to get) Roxio Toast 9 you can try that.

Thank you, will look into this.


I learned today that the digital connection via the cable I bought has a Toslink on the other end. According to my high end guru, the coaxial connection is superior to it...More work to do now...


I would prefer to stay in the Mac realm but will consider PC's if I must.


I will add that during tests today at the high end dealer near my house. I compared the Linn Acurate to a dCS Purchini and it was very close..Really as much personal preference as anything, at least that was my first take on the comparison. Not bad for a $7K Linn (plus computer) to do this well against a $20K CD/Dac..


The journey continues..
 

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I use SONOS connected to my Cambridge DacMagic into my McIntosh (not Macintosh) PreAmp.

SONOS allows me to play my all of FLAC music and anything else in my iTunes Folder from my Macintosh iMAC. I can also play Sirius, Rhapsody, Pandora through SONOS as well.


Works well. Nice solution and I can control the whole thing with my iPhone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by rydenfan /forum/post/15588740


This is the streaming device I use
http://www.modwright.com/pdf/TransporterMusicServer.pdf


It was far superior to the Linn in my home

That is a very interesting unit...Will look into it for sure..


This is all giving me a headache...spent a few hours comparing and listening to the dCS purcini to the Linn Acurate...it was interesting until we put on an LP and that was the end of the day , just listening to vinyl over tubes...just no comparison and made the differences between the Linn and the dCS seem meaningless as the vinyl recordings completely blew away the best results from both of them.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by controlit /forum/post/15588757


I learned today that the digital connection via the cable I bought has a Toslink on the other end. According to my high end guru, the coaxial connection is superior to it...More work to do now...

Not much work there, just use a 75 ohm video cable. SPDIF digital is built around the video standard, so by definition, a standard video cable is a digital cable and vice versa. So hopefully your guru isn't trying to sell you an expensive 'digital' cable when you probably have them lying around unused. Unless they're purposely deviating from the standard which would be bad. Also, while coax is marginally better as a connection, unless the optical receiver/transmitter is very poor (very high jitter) or the optical cable is bad (lots of correction going on), the difference will be slim to none. I spend hours doing direct A/B of this and *think* I heard *some* differences *maybe*. But then, I knew which was which.


I'll put this delicately, but consider the idea, if you're just learning these things now, that you might be a bit susceptible to the placebo effect because you'd assume that FLAC was better than Apple Lossless when, by definition, it is not.
 

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Quote:
I played the Flac tests using Fluke through iTunes as well as another Flac player..Differences were dramatic as said.

Well, again, if there are any differences at all then something is flat wrong. There is absolutely no reason that Apple Lossless should sound any different than FLAC. So there must be some sort of additional processing going on with either of the two formats, extra processing that shouldn't be there, that is affecting sound quality. If I had to guess I'd say that the Apple Lossless playback is being attenuated, and the FLAC is not.


Now, having said that---if you can't figure out what the problem is, then who cares? You can convert your files back and forth between FLAC and Apple Lossless as many times as you want without a single bit lost. So if for some reason FLAC is just sounding better, use a program like Max (linked above) to convert everything from Apple Lossless to FLAC and enjoy. You won't have lost a thing, and you haven't spent a dime, and you'll benefit from the apparently superior playback processing that FLAC is providing somehow.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by controlit /forum/post/15588956



This is all giving me a headache...spent a few hours comparing and listening to the dCS purcini to the Linn Acurate...it was interesting until we put on an LP and that was the end of the day , just listening to vinyl over tubes...just no comparison and made the differences between the Linn and the dCS seem meaningless as the vinyl recordings completely blew away the best results from both of them.

If you record an album to a CD-R or music file properly, it will sound virtually identical to the vinyl and if you record a CD digital master to vinyl, it will sound....like vinyl, if you want to chew on that factoid for a bit. If you're having a hard time swallowing the sound of CD over vinyl, I suggest a Meridian surround preamp as Tri-field makes CD sound very much like vinyl. Of course, that does require a center and is helpful to have a couple of rears for ambience.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Grant /forum/post/15589054


Well, again, if there are any differences at all then something is flat wrong. There is absolutely no reason that Apple Lossless should sound any different than FLAC. So there must be some sort of additional processing going on with either of the two formats, extra processing that shouldn't be there, that is affecting sound quality. If I had to guess I'd say that the Apple Lossless playback is being attenuated, and the FLAC is not.

Or maybe some of the iTunes EQ or compression/leveling features got engaged somehow or the files are actually AAC or something like that.
Quote:
Now, having said that---if you can't figure out what the problem is, then who cares? You can convert your files back and forth between FLAC and Apple Lossless as many times as you want without a single bit lost. So if for some reason FLAC is just sounding better, use a program like Max (linked above) to convert everything from Apple Lossless to FLAC and enjoy. You won't have lost a thing, and you haven't spent a dime, and you'll benefit from the apparently superior playback processing that FLAC is providing somehow.

Alchemy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Noone is trying to sell me anything...but I do appreciate the advice.


If you think vinyl is going to sound as good as it does after being recorded to CD, then while I really appreciate you posting in this thread, we'll just have to disagree on much of the differences that are very apparent to me. Including the differences between Flac and Lossless which I confirmed today...


Thanks for the posts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall /forum/post/15589053


Not much work there, just use a 75 ohm video cable. SPDIF digital is built around the video standard, so by definition, a standard video cable is a digital cable and vice versa. So hopefully your guru isn't trying to sell you an expensive 'digital' cable when you probably have them lying around unused. Unless they're purposely deviating from the standard which would be bad. Also, while coax is marginally better as a connection, unless the optical receiver/transmitter is very poor (very high jitter) or the optical cable is bad (lots of correction going on), the difference will be slim to none. I spend hours doing direct A/B of this and *think* I heard *some* differences *maybe*. But then, I knew which was which.


I'll put this delicately, but consider the idea, if you're just learning these things now, that you might be a bit susceptible to the placebo effect because you'd assume that FLAC was better than Apple Lossless when, by definition, it is not.

You cannot connect a 75 ohm coaxial cable to the Mac I am using or any Mac that I know of. There is only a 3.5mm headphone jack that outputs analogue for headphones or digital if it's a digital cable with Toslink on the other end.
 

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Hi


There is something to be said about DE-compressing the lossless files... Some Algorithms are not as efficinet as others in this phase. The one in which we are actually interested when playing music. Various schemes can be used but the OS and the processor do work and depending on the OS it needs to continue to perform some other duties, the most basic of these being basic Computer housekeeping.. I am not certain they are all the same when it comes to that... I have read that Vista does a good job on this front... The processing and the efficiency of the de-compressing process could account for a perception of one sounding better than the other, the bits in the Audio files are not changed but the way they are delivered to the DAC could be..


I work in a different environement and have experienced how some codecs tax processors ( G729 in VOiP for example compared to G711...) I am not implying that G729 is lossless by the way, simply drwaing a comparison to the processing required. If the OS is not tuned to allow it to dedicate itself to the task at hands, de-compressing the Audio Stream and passing it to the output without, devoting a good portion of processing cycles to other duties then we may have a not smooth transfer of the bits, even when they are all there and what they should be, to the Audio processes... There is much to study in this field so I would take a diferent approach.. rather than , as I have done in previous posts, postulating that all lossless format would sound the same reagrdles of the hardware AND software involved..
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by controlit /forum/post/15590287


You cannot connect a 75 ohm coaxial cable to the Mac I am using or any Mac that I know of. There is only a 3.5mm headphone jack that outputs analogue for headphones or digital if it's a digital cable with Toslink on the other end.

You can use a USB audio card to change to coax, but given you're streaming from a computer, the toslink gives you total electrical isolation and that probably trumps any other differences.
 
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