01 December 2011

Loseless audio formats at home

First, lets clarify the basics: Lossless data compression is a class of data compression algorithms that allows the exact original data to be reconstructed from the compressed data. The term lossless is in contrast to lossy data compression, which only allows an approximation of the original data to be reconstructed, in exchange for better compression rates.

Lossless compression is used in cases where it is important that the original and the decompressed data be identical, or where deviations from the original data could be deleterious.

  • MP3 and AAC (=the fruit company) are lossy compression. 
  • FLAC and APE are generally used loseless formats.

Be aware, that some cheapest media players and also mobile phones cant play these formats. APE is supported by only few media players, so be aware!

Usually FLAC-s are ripped from CD-s at 12bit/44kHz resolution. Some FLAC-s are HD audio capable 24bit 48 kHz, 96 kHz or even higher definition. This is also too much for some players.

AIFF is widely used uncompressed high-quality sound format widely used in Apple world, but is not supported in any media player I know and had.

Last, but not least - good (= high bit rate) MP3 is generally more than enough for enthusiastic listening. High bitrate means generally 160, 192 or 320 kbps.

My recommendation: If You are leaning towards to audiophile listening and are enthusiastic to play studio master quality stuff, choose Your media player (or transport / DAC) wisely. It should support APE, FLAC and at least 24/96 D/A conversion.

16 October 2011

Todays Piano playlist

1. Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
2. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major - Johannes Brahms
3. Piano Concerto in A minor - Robert Schumann

15 October 2011

Fostex FE206EN back-loaded horn speaker project

My Fostex FE206EN back-loaded horn speaker project. 21mm thick plywood is used for main section and side panels to ensure a strong enclosure.

13 October 2011

Seagate tries to enter into media player market with GoFlex

Seagate GoFlex looks nice on the paper, still I don’t really believe in them. Their main objective is to sell HDD-s. True good media player is very much about software and constant development. It's about community and customer feedback. In these areas are guys from Seagate, WD and Dlink not so good. I personally had to thow away one WD Live and one Dlink box, because of their bad UX, incompatibility with some HD MKV-s, poor sound quality and sluggish UI.
But We’ll see….

11 October 2011

My hybrid digital + tube audiophile system

Popcorn Hour C-200 transport (internal 1,5 TB storage + wired connection to media server and Internet) in the rack (top left); Pro-Ject DAC box, incorporating Texas Instruments TLV320DAC23. 24Bit/96kHz, 8x oversampling chip (small box, top shelf, right); single ended valve amp (bottom shelf); Fostex speakers, Thomson LED display on top. 

C-200 track info is displayed on 26" Thomson LED display. Note, that FLAC loseless track is playing. Both actual file name and embedded tag data is displayed.

Full-range Fostex speakers with 2.2 m long exponential horn design and 94 dB (1W, 1m) sensitivity!