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Opinions on Imerge hard disk audio player

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Ash007, Oct 17, 2002.

  1. Ash007

    Ash007
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    Considering buying the Imerge 80gb hard disk audio player. Has anybody had experience of this product (or similar products) before I splash out and buy one.
    Any advice or opinions appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Ash
     
  2. graham.myers

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    Not heard of it. Is it an MP-3 player. Got a link?
     
  3. Ash007

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  4. graham.myers

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    Looks nice. It is an MP-3 player.

    I've got a traxdata mStation. This is a lower end machine. It sits in a drive bay of my PC and I use RealAudio to copy my CDs to its (10gb) hard disc in MP3. It then slides out and slides into a bay in the boot of my car.

    It allows selection by album/author/or pre-defined playlist generated from realplayer.

    Just like the imerge. Cost me £250. Theres a home version for a similar price but I think it only does single room.

    The hard disk can be any size. I just picked the one with the smallest hdd on the assumtion that when I'd filled it the hdd to replace it would be a lot cheaper. You can now get 250Gb for just over £300.

    I've compressed at 192kbs and have got 2289 tracks with just under 1gb free.
     
  5. mjn

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    have a look at the yamaha cdr-hd1000

    a steal at about £480, comes with CDR and 80gb hdd
     
  6. Branxx

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    How expensive is the 80gb player?
     
  7. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    The newly updated Xiva software is nice on the imerge. The original sounded pretty ropey to me but their new unit looks like it could be lot more useful in that department.

    Gordon
     
  8. graham.myers

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    The problem with any MP3 player (including the one I have) is compression.

    The no. of hours quoted will be at the lowest compression, you really need to record at 192kbs to get anything near CD quality which will reduce the number of hours of playuback.

    Even then some CDs just don't sound "right", while some sound OK at 128kbs
     
  9. Ash007

    Ash007
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    With 80gb I could fit 100 cds on with no compression. I presume with no compression, they will play back with exactly the same sound quality as if playing directly from the cd.
    The unit costs £1500.
     
  10. graham.myers

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    Well if you can get a no compressions" option then, yes there would be no drop in quality.

    so presumably it would store them as wav files rather than MP3

    no matter - no compression is good news. £1500 isn't :(
     
  11. Branxx

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    For £1,500 this is good unit. I would assume Imerge would offer lossless compression (that reduces the file size for around 60% of original without any sound deterioration).


    Imerge is in a fact a dedicated Music PC with an embedded operating system. The ultimate sound quality is (assuming lossless compression) dependant on the quality of sound card they are using. So get some more info on that. Modern PC professional soundcards produce quality way beyond any consumer hardware below £2,000. My RME DIGI96/8 has a better 2-channel analogue audio quality then Lexicon MC-12B and SPDIF audio quality that closely approached Theta David DVD transport (and cost less then £300).

    Other alternative is to build or by a Music PC yourself and operate it as CD JukeBox (that is what I am doing).
     
  12. graham.myers

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    When I had my PC company, we used to build In-Store Music Jukeboxes for a well known record label subsidiary.

    It was a custom desgined case with an LCD front - just like the imerge.

    It basically ran Win95 and Winamp. The LCD was programmed via the parallel port and thats al the user saw.

    We used on-board sound and VGA motherboards and the lowest spec processor we could lay our hands on.

    cheap and cheerfull, but look the muts nuts
     
  13. ReTrO

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    I managed to do a good comparison of the Imerge with the Linn Kivor HDD system. I'm sure Gordon's done the same. :)

    The best way to improve the Imerge was to use the Linn's Oktal DAC, which made a huge difference. If you do get an Imerge, which is very good, use the digital output to your amp or an off board DAC, makes a huge difference.
     
  14. TheDufster

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    Has anyone got the Yamaha Hard-Disk recorder?

    I have a load of mp3s on my PC, what I want to do is copy them onto CD and load them onto the Yamaha. Can I keep them in mp3 format or do I need to put them onto CD in WAV format as if I was burning a normal CD?

    Can you organise the tracks on the Yamaha into categories and create playlists?
     
  15. Branxx

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    TheDufster,

    May I ask what possible advantage would you gain by goint through with this process, i.e. moving you mp3 files from PC to Yamaha hard-disk pleayer?

    PS. What resolution are the MP3's?
     
  16. mjn

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    the yamaha is no-compression, so you'd have to burn your mp3's to CD as a normal audio Cd, then copy these to the hdd on the yamaha.

    The yamha can be had for £440 at www.unbeatable.co.uk, which is a bit cheaper than £1500!!
     
  17. Guest

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    I've heard that Meridian are bringing out an 800 series hard disk product which will cost a few bob...

    I believe it's the Meridian 880...

    Adzman
     
  18. TheDufster

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    My PC is upstairs in the study and my a/v setup is in the lounge. I want to be able to play (and control) the music on my PC, in the lounge.

    A hard-disk player seems the best solution.
     
  19. TheDufster

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    Hmmm, I like the idea of the Yamaha, but it would be handier if I could just take my MP3s from my PC and load them on without converting them. An uncompressed tune is a large file size, it wouldn’t take long to fill the disk. MP3s at 192kb/sec is enough quality for what I want.

    Aren’t there any other Hard-Disk MP3 players out there apart from portable/car ones? The Imerge unit looks perfect but I can’t see why a unit like this has to cost £1500. It would be cheaper to get a laptop with winamp, trouble is I am not sure about the quality of soundcards in laptops.
     
  20. TheDufster

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    Anyone got any thoughts on doing the following:

    Build the smallest PC possible, with the basic elements, i.e. PSU, motherboard, CPU, hard-drive, CDRW, soundcard, videocard with ‘TV out’.

    Hide the PC base unit in or behind the TV cabinet in the living room.
    Connect it to the TV and to the amplifier.

    Hey presto, the ability to play/record tunes through my audio setup, using the tv screen as a display to navigate through playlists etc, using a mouse.

    I reckon I could build a cheap PC that would do the above for less than £500.
     
  21. ReTrO

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    Ideal solution to your problem will be a Mini-ITX Mobo. They cost less than £100 have onbaord CPU, sound, video, LAN. Take a look at www.mini-itx.com for more info, very useful site.

    There are new EPIA-2 based ITX boards due soon which are much mroe powerfull than the current EPIA boards.
     
  22. TheDufster

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    ReTro, you're a star!

    That website is superb. I'm gonna give this some serious thought. I can build a tiny PC using their kit, hey - it may even sit niceley on top of my digibox, or next to my amp.

    Thanks very much for the link - I will let you know how I get on.
     
  23. hornydragon

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    Anyone got experience of using a PDA Dell Axim etc with an Imerge???
    Xvia software will fit but how easy to use etc is it???
     
  24. ReTrO

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    I've used one PDA with an Imerge. I think it was very basic Palm that came with a Dell PC. It was connected to the serial port so the range was limited. Control was very good though.
     
  25. kryten

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    A couple of things.

    Re mini-itx it appears that the onboard spdif output is only capable of outputting at 48khz so anything you record 'lossless' is going to be upsampled (and badly according to reports) to 48khz at the output stage.

    Does anyone know what is used to do the ripping in these integrated boxes? On the PC it seems generally acknowledged that there are _many_ apps that can rip CDs but only a couple produce truly 'lossless' rips and that's dependant on your CDROM drive and the number of times it 're-reads' which usually reduces times from about 10x to 4x (with EAC generally being held as 'the best'). The same for MP3 encoders, where LAME is favoured by those after quality.

    Due to the nature of CD Audio, getting the exact data off the CD isn't exactly trivial, so it would be interesting to know how accurate the solutions are (ie by doing byte comparisons of separate rips of the same CD).

    Just got myself an audiotron so I'll be doing some a/b comparisons with different CD players next month when I get the a/v installed after a room redecoration.....
     
  26. hornydragon

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    Retro was that using IR serial or cabled??? Am looking at using Zire 71 for an imerge install!
     
  27. ReTrO

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    That was through a serial cable. It was the first version of the Xiva PDA software that was available. No doubt it is far more flexible down the line now, this was approx 18months ago.
     
  28. gilesm

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    I too have been looking at the imerge box looks very good altough a tad expensive. I've got 40 Gb of music on my PC ripped to MP3, mainly for my iPod, MP3 sounds great on the move but I created an MP3 cd and played it through my DV89 - the sound was hopeless, lifeless and very flat compared with the normal CD. So if I was to get the imerge box i'd rip as .wav. Has anyone ever really copmpared the sound out of the imerge none-compressed compared with something like an arcam cd82? Is it really as good?

    Also 6 months ago read something about imerge media centre that supported photos and video as well, although all the articles seem to have vanished now - this would be really useful - the photo side of things especially.

    On the other point of itx boxes have been looking at these too - my only problem with them really is the fact you run windows xp on them and thus have to navigate through a dodgy pc front end - possibly with keyborad and mouse, this is a huge turn off. Even the linux solutions i've seen you have to nasvigate through a linux type interface, i really want something more akin to sky plus
     
  29. Gary Palmer

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    HiFi choice recently did a comparison between 6 or so hard disk music servers (including the Yamaha and Imerge).
     
  30. ukaudiophile

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    Hello,

    Gordon's being polite about the sound quality. It was awful, I know, I heard it, then I took a look inside it. It used the same basic chipset that's used in entry level sound cards. The new S2000 uses a chipset closely related to the one M-Audio uses in their sound cards. Given that this soundcard is capable of excellent sound quality I would suggest that the S2000 has a fighting chance of sounding pretty good as long as the analogue output stage hasn't been badly implemented.

    However, at £1500 you can buy a very nice mini ITX pc, put an M-Audio Audiophile USB on it and give it something like Win Amp or Musicmatch jukebox and you pretty much have a fully operational jukebox ready to go for well under £1K.

    Best wishes,

    Dave
     

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