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Digital Music (High Quality)

I have spent about a week in man hours over the last two months trialling and testing various high end digital music solutions for one reason or another.
By digital music I mean computer based music played via a hi-fi or listened to on proper headphones at home (or other fixed location) not on the move or in the car etc. Like we used to with LPs.
By high end I mean 320kbps mp3s or lossless eg FLAC / ALAC etc not crappy mp3s downloaded illegally.

The conclusion.
UPnP/DLNA remains full of flaws. Absolutely rubbish playlist management. I must have tried two dozen apps. Very few devices that properly support gapless playback if any. No real standard and no likelihood of there ever being one.
Apple too tied to iTunes with codec limitations on AirPlay - max 44.1khz/16bit. Seriously broken by Apple Music.
Sonos. Control is good but it isn't really high end sound wise. It's mostly MP3 support.

On MP3s. Perceived wisdom suggests that only about 10% of people can tell the difference between a 320kbps MP3 and a CD or FLAC. As the encoding rate falls the higher the %. ie. 256 Kbps MP3s can be detected by more than 10% of people. 128kbps even more etc.

I still can't find anything that comes close to my Squeezebox environment. Yes Logitech have ceased production but a Raspberry Pi with an onboard DAC can handle 192khz/24bit FLACs with no issue whatsoever. I accept its a bit Geeky but isn't that the nature of Hi Fi anyway?

I accept that a good UPnP/DLNA receiver can output at 192/24 but it's the control that lets it down. My squeezeboxen can output HD files, gaplessly if required and has brilliant playlist management apps.

Is there anything out there that can compete on all fronts?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggreenzebra View Post
Sonos. Control is good but it isn't really high end sound wise. It's mostly MP3 support.
Not sure what you mean by this? Sonos supports FLAC, Apple Lossless, Aiff, Wav and other file types.
I use a Sonos connect with my main system (good quality amp and speakers) and am very happy with the sound.
I also have 2 x Sonos Play 5s as a stereo pair in the kitchen which also sounds great to me. Maybe I have cloth ears?
Sonos does support many file types though:
https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answe...-audio-formats
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(Post Link) post #4 of 8 Old 21-08-15 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chrishendrix View Post
Not sure what you mean by this? Sonos supports FLAC, Apple Lossless, Aiff, Wav and other file types.
I use a Sonos connect with my main system (good quality amp and speakers) and am very happy with the sound.
I also have 2 x Sonos Play 5s as a stereo pair in the kitchen which also sounds great to me. Maybe I have cloth ears?
Sonos does support many file types though:
https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answe...-audio-formats
I mean Sonos does not support 24Bit - it will only go to 16/48.
CDs are 16/44.1 but newer downloadable HD can be 24/96 or even 24/192
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I mean Sonos does not support 24Bit - it will only go to 16/48.
CDs are 16/44.1 but newer downloadable HD can be 24/96 or even 24/192
Ah, ok. My ears (and/or maybe the rest of my kit) aren't good enough to worry about that!
I did try William Orbit Hi def download from Linn once, and couldn't personally differentiate between the files converted to cd standard.

I've heard sound engineers claim that recording at high bit and sample rates keeps quality and definition high during the 'multi-track' part of the process, but once mixed down to a master the value of higher bit and sample rates is questionable.... but if you can hear the difference it must make sense
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Ah, ok. My ears (and/or maybe the rest of my kit) aren't good enough to worry about that!
I did try William Orbit Hi def download from Linn once, and couldn't personally differentiate between the files converted to cd standard.

I've heard sound engineers claim that recording at high bit and sample rates keeps quality and definition high during the 'multi-track' part of the process, but once mixed down to a master the value of higher bit and sample rates is questionable.... but if you can hear the difference it must make sense
I agree about your ears ! Well not yours particularly but people's.
I think it all depends on the equipment you are using. The other day a mate and I were setting up his 6k BeoVision 11:46. We played a 24/96 FLAC through it and WOW. We then played the same track down sampled to 16/48 and you could seriously tell the difference. 16/48 is DVD quality - more space on a DVD than a CD.
I have one piece of equipment where you can hear a difference but not to the same extent.
I ought to add that I am not in the Audio Fool camp. Generally speaking a well made 5 cable is as good as a 50 one to me.
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I agree about your ears ! Well not yours particularly but people's.
I think it all depends on the equipment you are using. The other day a mate and I were setting up his 6k BeoVision 11:46. We played a 24/96 FLAC through it and WOW. We then played the same track down sampled to 16/48 and you could seriously tell the difference. 16/48 is DVD quality - more space on a DVD than a CD.
I have one piece of equipment where you can hear a difference but not to the same extent.
I ought to add that I am not in the Audio Fool camp. Generally speaking a well made 5 cable is as good as a 50 one to me.
Also don't forget, the quality of the DAC might be more important than file resolution, and the quality of the software used to convert from one format (bit/sample rate) to another needs to be considered too.
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Also don't forget, the quality of the DAC might be more important than file resolution, and the quality of the software used to convert from one format (bit/sample rate) to another needs to be considered too.
Agreed. The digital path is not important at all - as long as it's stable. It's the conversion that counts at both the creation stage and playback stage. That said there are really only two players in the DAC chip world that I know of Burr Brown & Wolfson. The BeoVision I referred to earlier was doing some clever processing which would disgust a true Audio Fool!
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