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4heckssake

Old skool dude needs advice on this digital stuff

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Hi Surfpurple, yes, I have Googled, but I was after a few opinions of users who have had any positive or negative outcomes using both Replay Gain and compression levels. Like I said, you want to get it finally right, or as right as you can get it at the present time :D .

 

Yeah I will still keep the mp3 versions simply for using on USB sticks for the car stereo. Seeing as it's a 4WD that does go off-road into dirty dusty environments, I opted for a non mech drive model with dual USB ports. Again the problem there is that you need sound levelling so you don't get blasted out of your seat when a rather loud mp3 comes up (I generally have it set on random play. What I currently do is export the un-levelled mp3s to the thumb drive then apply audio levelling using my MP3 organiser MediaMonkey.

 

Apparently it's not the best way to do it, but for car audio it seems to be adequate. Also, although I know the stereo will play flac, I'm unsure if it can handle Replay Gain.

That's exactly how I do it.  Leave the files alone on your database and then apply leveling on usb stick via MM.  MM will only do it to MP3 tho I found so anything not MP3 has to be changed to mp3 after it gets onto the stick so it can be levelled.  Whatever, I figure I'm in a normal car not a mobile audio lab.

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Let us know what you have done when finished

 

Well it might be a long time until I am finished but I have started to do a few things including:

  • ripping my favourite cds to my itunes library on my mac mini connected to my best system (lunge room)
  • I'm using the Apple lossless format with error correction
  • learning how to change the metadata so the library order makes sense to me.
  • downloaded the remote app so as to use my iphone as a remote and not have to have the screen on or use the keyboard or mouse.
  • researching DACs
  • looking for a few gaps in diary so as to catch up with some local gurus/old SNA mates

thanks everyone and feel free to bang on about stuff that is way over my head.

 

Rod.

Edited by 4heckssake

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That's exactly how I do it.  Leave the files alone on your database and then apply leveling on usb stick via MM.  MM will only do it to MP3 tho I found so anything not MP3 has to be changed to mp3 after it gets onto the stick so it can be levelled.  Whatever, I figure I'm in a normal car not a mobile audio lab.

I just had a bit of a play with MM, and you are correct, while it won't normalise volume levels (like I have done for my car USB sticks), if you apply "analyse volume" to the file, it tags the replay gain value, which can be seen when you open the file in Winamp and look in file properties under advanced (so it is applied to the file metadata).

 

So unless my car player can handle Replay Gain, I'll need to stick with MP3 for use in that situation.

 

Actually I didn't realise "Analyse Volume" actually tagged the file previously. I thought it only stored the value in the MM DB.

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@@4heckssake good to see you're making headway. As I'm about to do it all again for the 3rd time on over 700CDs, I'm trying to really get my head around the situation this time.

 

I'm not familiar with Macs and their idiosyncrasies , but does your ripping software set Replay Gain on the files, so you don't get them playing at different volume levels? That has been one of the things that originally put me off digital music, but I'm starting to get a handle on it.

 

Keep up the good work :)

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Hi Surfpurple, yes, I have Googled, but I was after a few opinions of users who have had any positive or negative outcomes using both Replay Gain and compression levels. Like I said, you want to get it finally right, or as right as you can get it at the present time :D .

 

Yeah I will still keep the mp3 versions simply for using on USB sticks for the car stereo. Seeing as it's a 4WD that does go off-road into dirty dusty environments, I opted for a non mech drive model with dual USB ports. Again the problem there is that you need sound levelling so you don't get blasted out of your seat when a rather loud mp3 comes up (I generally have it set on random play. What I currently do is export the un-levelled mp3s to the thumb drive then apply audio levelling using my MP3 organiser MediaMonkey.

 

Apparently it's not the best way to do it, but for car audio it seems to be adequate. Also, although I know the stereo will play flac, I'm unsure if it can handle Replay Gain.

 

It's good to see another Mediamonkey user! The advantage of mp3's for the car is the smaller file size and therefore you can fit many more albums on a stick. I have a bunch of sticks from 1GB to 8GB and I fit 60 or more albums on an 8GB stick! And being only mp3 it doesn't matter a ziltch because of all the road noise etc flac would just be a waste of time in the car!

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Yeah, I bought the full version of MM, and love it for the ease of tagging and organising in bulk, but a little disappointed they don't have a Linux version, then I could give the big W the flick. I've been playing my oldies (mid 60's to mid 70's blues, rock punk etc) 32GB stick for over a month now on random, and haven't even bothered with radio. I also bought a 64GB stick that seems to work fine in the player too, so I'll be loading that up with the albums I culled from the original stick.

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Well it might be a long time until I am finished but I have started to do a few things including:

  • ripping my favourite cds to my itunes library on my mac mini connected to my best system (lunge room)
  • I'm using the Apple lossless format with error correction
  • learning how to change the metadata so the library order makes sense to me.
  • downloaded the remote app so as to use my iphone as a remote and not have to have the screen on or use the keyboard or mouse.
  • researching DACs
  • looking for a few gaps in diary so as to catch up with some local gurus/old SNA mates

thanks everyone and feel free to bang on about stuff that is way over my head.

 

Rod.

You've got a good start.

If I understood a fraction of the 'banging on' that I look at I'd be a site more informed.  I just don't get it most of the time, but then in a couple of months time talk to a 'civilian' and the situation will be reversed.

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You've got a good start.

If I understood a fraction of the 'banging on' that I look at I'd be a site more informed.  I just don't get it most of the time, but then in a couple of months time talk to a 'civilian' and the situation will be reversed.

 

Alot of people have chosen many different options, some maybe a bit trickier than others. No need to understand it all, I don't.

KISS!!

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Hi everyone

Lots of good posts since my last post. I will try to answer some questions in this post.

 

Ripping

I must confess that I did not know that iTunes can rip with error correction, well it can. It is still not checked against a database, but maybe it is not that bad. I still believe the best ripping software is dbpoweramp (windows and mac) and EAC (mac)

There are many guides on the internet as well as several posts about this by myself here on SNA on how to rip in a fashion that makes it easy to find your files.

The secret is to rip it properly the first time!

(It may be possible using the tools already mentioned or those you get with dbpoweramp to do batch conversions and get metadata) XLD can also do conversions.

 

Replay gain

I believe in it and use it

 

Format

If you rip to WAV it takes the most space and possibly cause metadata issues.

I am not that concerned in which format one rips. 

There are people that believe that playback between flac, AIFF, ALAC, WAV has audible differences. I cannot prove them wrong. I just rip to flac as I find it easier.  I would recommend ripping to the format you like.

I have read many opinions that AIFF sounds better/different from flac. I dont stress about it. 

My solution is to either rip simultaneously to WAV, flac, AIFF and MP3 with dbpoweramp. That way I have lots of backups and stuff in every format I would like to use.

Alternatively just rip into one and then use dbpoweramp to batch convert to another format of your choice

 

Playback

There are so many options.

I would do the research and use the one you like and which fits your system. 

For playback in cars, phones etc there is nothing wrong with MP3.  

 

At the end of the day - IMO make the best with what you have and ENJOY!

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How deep are your pockets?

In my system I have a NAS device with 2x 2Tb hard drives in RAID which basically means one is a mirror of the other so if one dies I don't lose my music. This has happened once in 6 years.

The NAS server plugs directly into my Cable modem so all devices on the network can see it and access it.

We have 2 laptops an Xbox one, a blu ray player, my PC, a SB Touch and Raspberry Pi which can all access the NAS via either wifi or Ethernet cable.

I used EAC to rip my CDs to wav files as HDD space is cheap these days. I stream wirelessly to the SB Touch which has a built in DAC, the Pi has a HiFi Berry I2S DAC plugged into it, both feed into my Copland.

The PC is connected via Ethernet and the optical out of my motherboard feeds into 'the battery DAC' then into a different Copland then John Blue JB3 speakers.

As you are in SA you could pop round and have a look and I can explain where and whys etc.

Also I'm sure there will be a lot more help and advice coming along here soon.

Just a suggestion , I had a similar setup but had a catastrophic failure of both hard drives at the same time. Make sure you get a NAS that has the capability to back up to a external USB hard drive that automatically backs up say weekly.

Also every month or so check that you haven't lost any files. Because in a raid array, say, if there is momentary break in the comparison procedures that raid goes through, you could backing up the drive with the lost files.

Sent from my SM-T113 using Tapatalk

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While a base level of metadata is important I would also say: don't over-think it. The same goes for file path structures. The bare minimum is the best way to start and to add data as you require it - if you start of with a lot of metadata, that's more to organise and keep consistent.

 

In fact it's more important for file structures. I'd advise the base identification and structural tags - artist/album/disc/trackpos-trackname (the structure isn't important, what's important is using no more than this data). The trouble with file paths is that changing them is really quite disruptive, unlike internally stored metadata.

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I have an external USB HDD as a backup.

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My method so far:

I use EAC in "secure mode" for error correction, to rip tracks in Windows and in Linux Mint using Wine windows compatibility layer. And have selected the E2 option (error correction level 2) as EAC reports that my drive supports it.

I automatically populating Metadata fields via FreeDB database, and write the cover image into the tag of the file, and also a copy into the folder. (no real reason to do both, I just do).

Files are ripped to the file structure Albumartist/Album/Tracknumber - Trackname, or Tracknumber - Trackname[Artist] for various artist albums.

Previously I used the User defined external compressor option, pointed to Lame 3.99 release 5, which resides in my EAC program folder. I ripped to 320Kbps Variable with user defined command line options. [-V 0 -b 192 -B 320 --vbr-new] ie. Quality 0 (highest) minimum bitrate 192Kbps maximum bitrate 320Kbps using the new vbr algorithm.

 

Currently I'm getting set up to use flac as the external compressor in EAC and apart from the metadata fields options I have  set compression to -5 medium compression because any higher gives little reduction in overall file size for the extra processing overhead, I may even go to -0 least compression when I finally start re-ripping. Also the -V option for verification may be beneficial, but I haven't tried it yet. more experimenting I guess.

 

Findings with Replay-gain:

When ripping with replay-gain option in flac, gain is only calculated on a track by track level (which is logical when you think about it), so album gain varies for each track, and is equal to the track gain (not so good).

Re-analysing those files in Media Monkey, using the "Analyse Volume" does change the track levels slightly, and gives a different Album Gain level once it has completed the individual album tracks, which is the same for each track (that seems better)

Ripping without replay-gain option in flac, and using MM to set the gain levels, gives the same values as it did when re-analysing as above. So I think I'll just batch analyse using MM.

Any suggestions or comments on this so far? (all mention of track and album volume levels in the above, is for values in the tags only, not the actual volume level of the audio data)

Edited by bob_m_54

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I discovered today that I can share my itunes library across my home computers.  You probably all knew that.

So my mac mini is the ripping and storage place but I can access all the tunes from my mac book and i can connect that to either of my other systems.

 

So I"m thinking I don't really need a streaming device.

 

But I do need a couple of decent dacs to lift the digital sound quality -  although I have read that the output of mac stuff isn't that bad and maybe i won't notice much improvement unless get a pretty decent dac.  Anyone like to comment on that from experience?

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@@4heckssake

 

So you're ripping Redbook (CD) and want a DAC to play that well - many options - what's your budget?

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Well I think I am firstly wondering how good are the dacs in built in a mac mini and mac book air. That's what I have and they actually sound pretty good so far just using the line out direct from the computers to my amps.

 

Then I am wondering would there be a noticeable jump in quality if I were to get a DAC of mid range quality - happy to look secondhand but the budget for new or used would be about $500 i suppose.

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Opinions on DACs vary widely around here. Would be great if you could borrow one to try, it will give you an idea of the difference they make (or not). Less than $500 used would get you something like a Schiit Bifrost with USB, I'm confident that would be an upgrade to line output.

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The DACs in the Macs can be vastly improved, assuming your amps/speakers are good for it.

 

I'd stretch to $600-650 and make a run at a second-hand Audio-gd DAC19 (get an early one and upgrade the USB interface) or a Klein (neither are super-ideal for Redbook but are still very very good). Spend $10 on a very short USB cable. 

 

If you're happy to be a bit more ghetto about it, find yourself a second-hand TDA1543 kit, an Amanero, an Ikea bamboo butcher's block, a second-hand linear power supply, same USB cable as above and you'd be very happy.

 

(IMHO)

Edited by rmpfyf

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The DACs in the Macs can be vastly improved, assuming your amps/speakers are good for it.

 

I'd stretch to $600-650 and make a run at a second-hand Audio-gd DAC19 (get an early one and upgrade the USB interface) or a Klein (neither are super-ideal for Redbook but are still very very good). Spend $10 on a very short USB cable. 

 

If you're happy to be a bit more ghetto about it, find yourself a second-hand TDA1543 kit, an Amanero, an Ikea bamboo butcher's block, a second-hand linear power supply, same USB cable as above and you'd be very happy.

 

(IMHO)

 

what about an Audio-gd DAC NFB 2.32? any good

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Not bad at all - really depends what you're paying for it. 

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Not bad at all - really depends what you're paying for it. 

a bit over my budget but not heaps.

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So new? I'd hold out second hand, there are some genuine gems on the FS section - or just post a wanted ad on the forums, you'll be surprised what you turn up. Even an old V-DAC and V-PSU will do (get some nice RCA's and a short USB - you'll be surprised - it's on the bright side but very palpable).

Edited by rmpfyf

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Hey Rod, I've got a Shiit Bifrost that doesn't get used much.  I don't think I'm looking to sell it but you're welcome to borrow it to try for a couple of weeks or so.  Might be a useful comparison with the ones in the MAC.  I can also lend you a Sonos connect +/- bridge if you want to try one out.

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