1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

copying CD to computer to play through hifi

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by taimur, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
    I'm about to buy an AV system, through which I'll be wanting to play music too. I'll probably spend about £2500 on the whole setup (not including TV).

    I have a large number of CD's which I've copied on to my computer in MP3 format. I think I'm going to delete them all and re-upload them as WAV files, to avoid loss of quality.

    What will the quality of the WAV music file be in comparison to a good quality CD player?

    I would have thought that one of the requirements of a computer CD drive is to perfectly transfer information from the disc to the computer. If a computer programme had the wrong information transferred, then it wouldn't work. So, presumably a computer will read the music CD absolutely correctly too, with no loss or change of information.

    Does this mean that sounds played from computer to hifi should be excellent quality?

    Taimur
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,895
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,674
    The quality of what you get from this sort of system depends to a large degree on the quality of the CDROM drive,the DACs in the PC or the digital output circuitry.
    Generally speaking,the internal environment of most PC's is awful in terms of digital noise,RF noise from cheap switch mode power supplies,and generally poor attention to screening and jitter levels.
    If you look at dedicated hard disc server systems such as the Linn Kivor,you'll see the lengths needed to ensure true quality.
    Certainly by converting to WAV's,the sound will be better than MP3.
     
  3. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
    why would the quality depend on the quality of the CD drive, if all computer programmes can be read with 100% accuracy? Presumably the same can be said about music CD's too?

    I can understand how the sound card would effect the quality of music pre-amp output

    Thanks for the quick reply
    Taimur
     
  4. MartinImber

    MartinImber
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Messages:
    3,851
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Worcester
    Ratings:
    +21
    I have been able to copy some CDs at PCM level but I do have a top end sound card, however it is inconveniant
     
  5. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
    why is PCM mode a hassle? I just downloaded WinDAC to try this and it seems to be fine. What am I missing?

    Thanks
    Taimur
     
  6. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,895
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,674
    The drive supplies the data to the digital circuitry...if it ads high levels of jitter to the data,or adds power supply noise/transport related noise,you can see how the drive may influence the overall picture.

    The bigger part of it all is the PC's internals,and the sound card though.
     
  7. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
    presumably, though, if that were a significant problem, then CD-ROM drives would have difficulty in reading computer programme files and other data. I haven't experienced that problem, though I understand the concept of jitter.

    I can see how the PC internals and sound card would affect the sound. I see that there are some sound cards out now which can output digital optical data - I read about one at the creative web site.

    From a more pragmatic point of view, clearly the only way of confirming this is to compare different CD-ROM drives, sound cards and computer set-ups with a reference CD system. I haven't seen any reviews of anything like this, though.

    Cheers
    Taimur
     
  8. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,895
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,674
    Can only tell you what I know,and have heard...I know for a fact I can tell the difference between my CDROM drive,my DVD player and my Linn CD transport playing the same CD...if all drives wre the same,I wouldn't be able to!

    There are lots of supporting reviews in the HiFI press,especially HIFi News...and from the likes of Paul Miller and Martin Colloms.
     
  9. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
    I do believe you. I just wonder whether keeping the data within the CD as "computer-like" rather than music-like for as long as possible would make a difference.

    Thanks for the interesting information
    Taimur
     
  10. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,895
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,674
    Thats an interesting idea....but at some point the music,digital or otherwise has to be extracted from the PC,and then the real problems begin as listed previously.

    Basically you'll notice flattening of dynamic range,coarsening of sound and loss of stage depth.....all depends on the transparency of your system as well.
     
  11. Jeff

    Jeff
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,489
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Basingstoke
    Ratings:
    +256
    As long as you take a few basic precautions and invest in a good quality sound card there is no reason why you can't put a very good audio system together using a PC. Don't forget PCs are often used to master the music in the first place. The CD rom or DVD drive does have some importance but there are plenty that can take perfect copies of the CD, all you need is good ripping software such as EAC. The most important component is the sound card even if you wish to output the sound digitally. Most of the cheaper sound cards resample 44.1 kHz PCM to 48kHz and do a bad job of it. Next are the cards that can do 44.1 kHz but route the sound through the Windows kMixer which also resamples. A few pro sound cards have drivers that bypass the windows kmixer, RME cards can do this. A careful choice of PC components is needed to not to affect the sound cards performance. In my audio PC I use a Asus TUSL2 motherboard, a very high spec PSU with tight voltage regulation and apart from the sound card I have no other PCI or AGP cards in the system. The analogue output from the RME Digi96/8 PST easily beats the digital output to my Denon AVC-A1SE amp. As well as the very good quality of sound, a good audio PC has several advantages over conventional audio equipment, you can store a large number of CDs on the hard disk, you can compile new compilations and write then back to CD. You can have a large dedicated display (I use a 15" LCD screen with mine). You can even alter the sound of the music to suite your own taste. The sky is the limit.


    Jeff
     
  12. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thanks for the reply. I was thinking about investing in the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Platinum eX (at http://www.soundblaster.com/products/audigy2_platinum_ex/), which has digital output as well as what seem to be high quality DAC chips, and taking the output of that to plug into the amp. What do you think about this card for music playback to an amp?

    In fact, now I'm thinking about buying a cheaper DVD-player (eg Toshiba 220E) and spending some of the saved cash on a good quality sound card. The better DVD-players (eg Arcam DV88+) make quite a big deal about their better music quality playback.

    I do like the idea of choosing songs to play from a selection on my computer, rather than from an album CD - it's just the way I prefer to listen to music.

    Taimur
     
  13. Jeff

    Jeff
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,489
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Basingstoke
    Ratings:
    +256
    Taimur,

    I don't have any personal experience of the Audigy 2, but I do see a few problems with it. Firstly no 44.1 kHz, so CD music will get resampled. The DAC performace at 48kHz probably isn't that good either. Performance at 24bit 96 or 192 kHz is good so DVD-A should sound very good. For a bit more money the MAudio revolution and the Terratec Aureon 7.1 are better choices.

    Jeff
     
  14. dave48

    dave48
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    Messages:
    252
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Germany
    Ratings:
    +2
    I believe that the CD standards used for error checking on Music CDs and computer CD-ROMs are different - they obviously need to be much better on a CD-ROM, since a single bit error on a CD-ROM could render the entire disk useless. For music CDs, it is not a major problem if there is a bit or two wrong - the worst you would probably get is a click or something like that.

    Something like Exact Audio Copy does do a very good job of getting a near perfect copy of the CD onto the harddisk.

    Once it comes to playback, the soundcard becomes the key factor, as discussed previously. I doubt an Audigy 2 would sound as good as a decent CD player, but a very good soundcard can sound very good indeed.

    Other factors come into play - for me I currently have a big physical separation between my PC and amplifier, so I am using quite high quality balanced leads between my soundcard and amp (both of course support balanced connections!). Also my PC is not "silent" so it still produces a small amount of background noise.

    The soundcard is also good as a recorder - for example if I record records at high resolution / sampling rate, the playback sounds indistinguishable from the original. Also if you use Windows Media Player you can get HDCD decoding. So all in all the sky's the limit.
     
  15. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thanks for all the suggestions. I see, also, that IDE hard drives for PC's are about £1 per 1GB, at the moment, which means that a CD stored on disk would cost about 70p

    There's no reason NOT to try this out, really!

    Taimur
     
  16. dnrc

    dnrc
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    300
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Near Norwich
    Ratings:
    +0
    Your best bet, if your amplifier can handle it, or if you have a DAC, is to get a card with digital out.

    That way, the music will not be converted by the PC, but by a much better quality DAC.
     
  17. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
    I thought as much - and in fact I'm pretty certain that the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Platinum eX has a digital output for connection to an amp with a suitable connection

    At least, that's my interpretation of "SPDIF coaxial and optical connectors " which is written on the website that I listed in a previous message.

    Cheers

    Taimur
     
  18. MartinImber

    MartinImber
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Messages:
    3,851
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Worcester
    Ratings:
    +21
    It does - however it seems a it quiet!
     
  19. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
    do you mean you have to turn the volume up in an amp connected to the sound card?

    :)

    Taimur
     
  20. Jeff

    Jeff
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,489
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Basingstoke
    Ratings:
    +256
    You might bypass the sound cards DAC, but if the sound card isn't good it will still sound bad since the PCM will get resampled (probably twice) and the digital connection will suffer from jitter.
     
  21. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
    Oh I see - I didn't realise a PCM could suffer from jitter. I thought that processors these days were fast enough to prevent that happening.

    I thought jitter occured as a result of CD data being read in a kind of "wow and flutter" kind of way

    Taimur
     
  22. dave48

    dave48
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    Messages:
    252
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Germany
    Ratings:
    +2
    I would get a decent soundcard and use the DACs in that. The DACs in my M-Audio 1010 are vastly better than in my Denon 3802. Doing this you also get rid of most of the jitter problems - since if you are reading off the hard disk, all the data is just going over the IDE bus. I have never really understood the point of getting a decent soundcard and then using the digital out!
     
  23. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
    I looked up the M-audio 10/10 sound card on the internet to see if I could find the price of it, and I see it costs £350 from sub.co.uk (http://www.sub.co.uk/index.php?sec=proddisplay&mcat=1&mscat=6&mid=75&category=257#)

    I think I might add that on to my list of things to save up for, in that case! Alternatively, I could buy a cheaper DVD player (eg Toshiba 220E) instead of what I was thinking of buying (Arcam DV88+) and use the savings on a sound card.

    Taimur
     
  24. dannyc

    dannyc
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    The price you got there is for a 1010LT, you actually want a 1010 which should be around 450 plus Vat. However, you my want to look at the RME Pad24/96 which may be better for you.

    Dan
     
  25. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
  26. ukaudiophile

    ukaudiophile
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2001
    Messages:
    439
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Lancashire
    Ratings:
    +55
    Hello,

    This thread really caught my interest as I've been playing with this technology for a few months and looking at it even longer.

    The theory is utterly sound. You're only looking at moving 150KB/s around, so pretty much any PC can do this. Theoretically a soundcard can just take a full bandwidth .wav file, push it out of the analogue outputs, and your PC suddenly becomes a CD player and jukebox all in one. It looks simple, but there are lot's of problems.

    The first one is simply that soundcard designers are great at designing PC accessories, but are god awful at making HI Fi equipment. The DAC's used are frequently the cheapest (or close to) as they can get their hands on, the power supply on the PCI bus is appalling, not only in terms of voltage, but also in the area of current delivery, immunity from noise, the huge amount of spurious RFI and EMI noise flying around in a PC case, noise from the video circuits in the video card, not even a basic understadning of how to build a decent analogue output stage (let's face it, not that many HI Fi companies do that well) and this is without mentioning the foul KMixer that wrecks the sound quality of the vast majority of sound cards on the market. I've not even touched on the lousy 3.5MM mini jack used for line level output on these soundcards and the noise that a PC plugged into the same circuit as an amplifier or pre/power combination will cause.

    There are a lot of problems, but with some care they can be overcome. The key here is getting the DAC circuit outside the PC and working with a decent power supply. AFAIK the M-Audio Delta 1010 has the actual outboard 'box' powered from a separate supply. This relegates the card in the PC to a control and I/O function. This was very, very smart of the M-Audio design team. They managed to remove the biggest enemies of the ADC and DAC stages in one stroke. The other way of doing this is to use a high quality card (one that can truly handle different input rates and does not rely on KMixer) as purely a digital output card and have it followed by a DAC with excellent jitter reduction / clocking circuits. Now have the PC plugged either into a different circuit to your Hi FI equipment or have the equiment running through a good mains filter and you've shut out the noise from the mains supply. Now extract the audio data to your hard disc with a really good ripper (the best for me is Exact Audio Copier) and you're well on the way to having a first rate jukebox with good sound.

    Of course the new contender in this field is the USB sound card. From what I've heard the analogue outputs of these still leave a LOT to be desired, but the digital outputs are good and it's an easy way to convert a laptop to this kind of application, and as laptops are quieter and run of batteries you avoid the mains noise problem.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Regards,

    Dave
     
  27. Jeff

    Jeff
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,489
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Basingstoke
    Ratings:
    +256
    Dave,

    External PC solutions aren't any better than conventional PCI cards, in fact they are usually worse. The only real important factor is the design of the card. People talk about PCs being very noisy and no place for audiophile or videophile equipment but it's a myth. Its simply down to the quality of the components like anything else. The Lynx 2 card certainly doesn't suffer from a poor noisy environment, neither does my Digi 96/8 PST.

    Jeff
     
  28. taimur

    taimur
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +0
    so do I really have to spend £500 upwards to get good quality sound out of my PC. Unfortunately, unlike hifi, listening to equipment before buying it isn't an option.

    How about a reasonably priced PCI card with digital coaxial output going into an amp with a good quality DAC - is that a reasonable compromise?

    Taimur
     
  29. Jeff

    Jeff
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,489
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Basingstoke
    Ratings:
    +256
    Why not go for something like the Terratec Aureon 7.1? It has good DACs, not too expensive. It will even support DVD-A once software players become available.
     
  30. mbbx0bbr

    mbbx0bbr
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2002
    Messages:
    407
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    UK- North
    Ratings:
    +11
    One is preesuming that u own the original of these MP3's.

    because if u convert from the MP3 file (to whatever format), the quality will be only as good as what the MP3 was ripped at.

    If u have the original CD then this isn't a problem,, as one assumes that the CD is the best quality available to urself.
     

Share This Page

Loading...