Another Audiophile Question

vbimport

#1

I’ve begun converting a bunch of my dad’s old vinyl records using a vinyl converter/turntable I got cheap at a secondhand bookstore.

I’ve been converting to 24/96 FLAC. I’m wondering if there’s a way I can put these files on my iPod, but enjoy them at full 24/96. I have Golden Ears and FLAC Player for iPod Touch, but the iPod still cuts them down to 16/44.1 because that is the limitation of the iPod’s hardware.

I have seen people use something called a DAC, which I assume stands for Digital Audio Converter (sort of like an amplifier).

I would be willing to spend ~$200 on a portable player that can play back these files as well at their full resolution, if such a player exists. Is there a way I can tear apart an old iPod and “build” a player that will support 24/96, sort of like how some people build small HTPC’s?

I realize I have asked about this in the past, but I’m not ready to spend $750 or more on a portable player. I’d like to keep my costs ~$200 if possible.

The main question I really have is how do I enjoy these files at their full fidelity? Either through my computer, my iPod, or using some kind of converter equipment on either of those? Preferably I would like to have a portable player that can play it back at its full quality.

I know some people say you really can’t notice much of a difference, but when I play these vinyls on the audio system at my parents’ place, I can tell the difference between it and a CD or some of the iTunes AAC versions of the songs that I have - especially on some of the Beatles and Pink Floyd albums where the sound is well mastered.

I think the higher res music is worth it and I’m ready to set out on my odyssey to enjoy it to its fullest.


#2

Until you have a top flight turntable with a high quality arm and cartridge together with a similar quality RIAA preamp there is probably little point in storing your files at anything higher than 16 bit 44.1kHz. The differences you hear aren’t due to the sample rate but are really down to the differences in mastering between the old records and the new CD’s and downloads. Modern mastering emphasises volume over sound quality because record company people seem to like things louder.

If you are de-clicking and restoring the recordings then there is possibly some point to recording at a high sample rate, doing the processing and then reducing the sample rate down to 44.1 as some de-click algorithms work better at high sample rates.

James.


#3

[QUOTE=jamesp;2677534]Until you have a top flight turntable with a high quality arm and cartridge together with a similar quality RIAA preamp there is probably little point in storing your files at anything higher than 16 bit 44.1kHz. The differences you hear aren’t due to the sample rate but are really down to the differences in mastering between the old records and the new CD’s and downloads. Modern mastering emphasises volume over sound quality because record company people seem to like things louder.

If you are de-clicking and restoring the recordings then there is possibly some point to recording at a high sample rate, doing the processing and then reducing the sample rate down to 44.1 as some de-click algorithms work better at high sample rates.

James.[/QUOTE]

I guess basically I’m looking for a way to play back my files at their native resolution. I know iPods won’t do it as the hardware limitations are 16/44.1.

Can I build my own player to do it? Like do a chop shop job on an iPod but install higher end hardware that can play the 24/96 files? I also have some 24/88.2 tracks from HDTracks FWIW.

I’ve also heard of some people using devices that bypass the iPod DAC? What exactly is the purpose of that? With a third party program installed on the iPod (such as Golden Ears), could one use one of these devices to playback 24/96 audio at its native resolution? I assume though that such devices are also limited to 16/44.1 resolution.

What about a setup like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psnZmoNznpU


#4

99% or more of whatever loss you’ve had in quality is due to the analog conversion process using your vinyl converter turntable.

If you had used a really expensive turntable/pick-up/AD-converter, then it’s arguable that you might get a better result from a 24-bit 96kHz digital format, but that ship has already sailed, so in my opinion you should just play at whatever bit-depth and sampling rate your current player supports


#5

I remember a turntable discussion we had here at Myce.
I think in the end it was decided that the best method for the price &
maybe the best conversion was to :
Buy a good analog turntable (used).
Replace the cartridge with a new good quality one.
If the turntable doesn’t have a built in preamp ( most won’t).
Connect the turntable to a Home stereo system Amp or Receiver amp.
Then connect that to your computer sound card .

There is a company that makes a preamp that seemed good that could also be used . It would be as good & possibly better.

Basically “Best” in will result in best out.

For converting the iPod that is beyond my knowlege level .

I wonder if there is software or hardware that would detect the actual input “quality”?
Meaning is the input 16/44.1 or 24/96 or somewhere in between.

I also remember some discussion on whether a digital optical out on an amp to a digital optical in on a sound card would produce the best quality copy.

This is the turntable discussion:


This is the turntable preamp posted by Mr.Bill .
http://www.dak.com/reviews/2020storyT.cfm
This is a sound card with a Optical digital in & out(Toslink):
Just a good example I don’t have it but would like to.
http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-meridian2g.php


#6

Is there a way I could simply piece together my own player from a used iPod or something like that? Basically part it out and replace it with parts that will play the audio files I have?

I think the closest I’m going to get in a reasonable price range are the Hifiman players.


#7

[QUOTE=hogger129;2677537]
What about a setup like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psnZmoNznpU[/QUOTE]

Yeah that looks nice and sounds like its nice. However you have potential for jitter from that iPod to the middle piece/CyberAlgorhythm Solo connection.

Secondly, the whole setup stretches the definition of “portable” to the limit. I’m reminded of a hot August day back in 1988 when I was finishing up my dinner and suddenly heard a loud, cacophonous sound emanating from across the dining hall. A 6’6 guy with arms that stretched almost to the ground was holding a giant “portable” stereo. Or as we called them in those days, boom boxes. That man with the boom box, whowould become part of the 1989 Final Four team nicknamed “The Flyin’ Illini”, was Mr. Kenny Battle.


#8

I’ve done some digging and I can’t find any DAP/mp3 player that will not downsample a 24/96 file to 16/44 or 16/48 that sounds good for under the price of a HM 801 or iBasso.

Frankly, and people have already said this but I think it bears repeating, you are making your life overly complicated/hard in trying to get native 24/96 playback. You’re deluding yourself and enriching HiFiMan or iBasso for negligible gains in sound. Not only that but 24/96 files are huge. I’ve got a few concerts in 24/96 FLAC and they are massively sized concerts (1-3Gb at least).

I would suggest finding a DAP/mp3 player that sounds good when it downsamples FLAC files. The Cowon J3, O2, Z2 or X9 are good examples. iRivers supposedly are nice. The Samsung Galaxy Player is also supposed to sound pretty good.


#9

[QUOTE=yojimbo197;2677631]I’ve done some digging and I can’t find any DAP/mp3 player that will not downsample a 24/96 file to 16/44 or 16/48 that sounds good for under the price of a HM 801 or iBasso.

Frankly, and people have already said this but I think it bears repeating, you are making your life overly complicated/hard in trying to get native 24/96 playback. You’re deluding yourself and enriching HiFiMan or iBasso for negligible gains in sound. Not only that but 24/96 files are huge. I’ve got a few concerts in 24/96 FLAC and they are massively sized concerts (1-3Gb at least).

I would suggest finding a DAP/mp3 player that sounds good when it downsamples FLAC files. The Cowon J3, O2, Z2 or X9 are good examples. iRivers supposedly are nice. The Samsung Galaxy Player is also supposed to sound pretty good.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for your input.


#10

A bit late to the party :wink:
Fwiw, I have a Galaxy Player 5.0 (YP-G70) and it sounds as good as my older iPod Nano. Just so you know where I’m coming from, I have a large LP collection, in addition to 1,000+ digital albums. I’ve done some analog -> digital conversions, but honestly I find that the more particular you are hearing-wise, the more work it takes to make a good conversion.
Anyway, my conversion process includes .flac files for home audio system casual listening playback, and 192kbps mp3s (yes <gasp>) for portable devices. The primary factor for the portable files are the sonic limitations of the listening device, the earbuds or headphones.
For serious (late night or otherwise) listening I don’t like digital. It’s not “worse” than analog, but rather “different” sounding to my ears, ymmv.

Happy listening. :smiley:


#11

for portable listening playback I personally "Standardized"
on 160kBit Sec mp3 files.

Why so low? consider the fact of listening through “Ear buds” or cheap headphones
in often noisy ambient environments.

but more importantly with my ANALOG ears.

For HOME listening I don’t bother with FLAC I have my entire collection at 320kBitSec. that is for listening with GOOD speakers in a controlled environment…

I use FLAC or WAV only for archiving, and that only for saving myself the aggravation of digging through my entire CD collection or RE-Ripping DVD audio for the rare occasion when I find a corrupted file.

Reality is simply this, you CANNOT tell the difference.

If you believe you can? then you are likely either mistaken or delusional,
(I will regard the possibility that you have either had a dog’s ears transplanted or you are posting your inquiry from the flying saucer that you flew here to earth (say “Hi” to Elvis for me:) and your alien ears are better than mere human ears)
there are no other possibilities, typically the “Weakest link” in
the whole listening experience is more often than not your analog ears.

IF you even understand the concept of "acoustic masking"
on which the idea of mp3 compressed audio is based on this requires
no further explanation. and if more explanation is required it is
beyond my patience to type it.

The other issue is that a Vinyl LP is a fundamentally flawed “ephemeral” source
material, that IS subject to mechanical wear… let me put it this way, if you were starting from virgin (never previously played) records the very best you will get out of them is the first time they are played.
Even played on the best equipment money can buy if a stylus is involved the record
deteriorates with each additional play… (never forget that vinyl is soft and Diamonds, rubies, sapphires and even Zirconium Oxide crystals are not)

So I’ve gotta ask, how many times was the record played previously?


#12

With the right equipment and listening environment it is possible to hear the difference between 320kbit/sec MP3 and a FLAC file. I’m talking a true double blind level matched ABX test passed with statistical significance like 20 for 20. I’ve done it myself.

MP3 compression damages the phase component of the audio and it can be audible depending on the phase data in the source.