PDA

View Full Version : iTunes Playback system



hjames
09-19-2009, 08:36 PM
Saw an ad in the craigslist for a small Harman kardon hk740 receiver yesterday. Looked it up at harman and its a 30w/ch stereo receiver.
The seller wanted $39 for the receiver plus a casette deck, I have no need for another casette deck - went and listened to it today, sounded great, brought it home for $30.
Got it on a teak shelf over my monitor, next to my macMini - I'm starting to get fetishy about brushed aluminium gear these days! Got it connected to a pair of non-badged Minimus 7s - maybe I should take a wire brush to them, remove the black cabinet paint so they'd be brushed metal as well (I'd leave the grills black)

So, now I can play the local PBS station, or flip it to AUX for computer audio, web radio, or local iTunes (28,000 tracks loaded in iTunes, most at 320 kbps) ... (and feed to the other systems via Airtunes)

Beats the little Tandy amp I had here before!

SEAWOLF97
09-19-2009, 09:03 PM
I-tunes playback system ???

My PC is on 1 of 2 desks butted together in an "L" shape (the other is the rolltop desk-desk)....each one has an L-26 in its footwell (not great for imaging) , and a pair of Sonance 2 way 8 inchers suspended from the ceiling aimed at the console commander chair.....all are connected to a Technics SA-GX170 (80wpc) that sits under the monitor -for easy volume control-all 4 speakers are always on..

Got to say it makes a fine Itunes jukebox ....beats the heck out of running small powered speakers off the soundcard....:applaud: (and sounds better than many peoples main LR systems)

You seem on the right track, HJ

(those little Minimuses are one of the best products The Shack ever sold)

hjames
09-19-2009, 09:23 PM
Well, this is the local Monitor - the Mac feeds all over the house via 802.11n wireless link to other Monitors are the L200+ 3 ways with the Carver receiver, and the biamped 4341s down in the TV room ...
I just have to turn those systems to AUX to pick up the wireless feed ...

The Macmini is the little bitty box under the grey rabbit - and on the desk below it you can see 3 aluminum cases - (2 drives per case) - roughly 2 1/2 terabyte of storage in those little cases.

But the real point is that HK receiver I got today - I'm real impressed with that!



I-tunes playback system ???

My PC is on 1 of 2 desks butted together in an "L" shape (the other is the rolltop desk-desk)....each one has an L-26 in its footwell (not great for imaging) , and a pair of Sonance 2 way 8 inchers suspended from the ceiling aimed at the console commander chair.....all are connected to a Technics SA-GX170 (80wpc) that sits under the monitor -for easy volume control-all 4 speakers are always on..

Got to say it makes a fine Itunes jukebox ....beats the heck out of running small powered speakers off the soundcard....:applaud: (and sounds better than many peoples main LR systems)

You seem on the right track, HJ

(those little Minimuses are one of the best products The Shack ever sold)

jonfu@ymail.com
09-19-2009, 09:43 PM
How is iTunes behaving for you? Mine seems to have gotten real slow these past months. Real laggy when I scroll through my music collection.

SEAWOLF97
09-20-2009, 09:06 AM
Well, this is the local Monitor - the Mac feeds all over the house via 802.11n wireless link to other Monitors are the L200+ 3 ways with the Carver receiver, and the biamped 4341s down in the TV room ...
I just have to turn those systems to AUX to pick up the wireless feed ...

The Macmini is the little bitty box under the grey rabbit - and on the desk below it you can see 3 aluminum cases - (2 drives per case) - roughly 2 1/2 terabyte of storage in those little cases.

But the real point is that HK receiver I got today - I'm real impressed with that!

Sounds like an interesting system :applaud:

My PC and livingrooms systems arent interconnected....the LR has LP/CD/MD/XM as sources and really doesnt need another


How is iTunes behaving for you? Mine seems to have gotten real slow these past months. Real laggy when I scroll through my music collection.

I upgraded to iTunes 9 and everything got slower ...Do you have PC, Jon ?
if so, speed is very dependent on memory usage ...when was your last defrag ? -makes a difference-

hjames
09-20-2009, 09:50 AM
How is iTunes behaving for you? Mine seems to have gotten real slow these past months. Real laggy when I scroll through my music collection.

Seems to be fine for me, even if its a lesser processor in the macmini ...
2 gHz core 2 duo, OS X 10.6 (snow leopard) iTunes 9

iTunes Library is on an external Firewire drive (500g Seagate Barracuda)
Seems reasonably snappy ... even with most tracks at 320kbps (273gigs)

jonfu@ymail.com
09-20-2009, 03:38 PM
I upgraded to iTunes 9 and everything got slower ...Do you have PC, Jon ?
if so, speed is very dependent on memory usage ...when was your last defrag ? -makes a difference-

I think it was slow, even before the upgrade. Running a MacBook, and my PC counterpart runs fine.


Seems to be fine for me, even if its a lesser processor in the macmini ...
2 gHz core 2 duo, OS X 10.6 (snow leopard) iTunes 9

iTunes Library is on an external Firewire drive (500g Seagate Barracuda)
Seems reasonably snappy ... even with most tracks at 320kbps (273gigs)

Must be a setting on my computer then. Can't seem to dig deeper with this.

SEAWOLF97
09-21-2009, 09:03 AM
My problems started with the purchase of a gen2 Nano.

Many of the MP3s that played fine on my 1Gen Nano will not play on the 2Gen.....Many of the MP3s that I pickup will not read into iTunes.

the only solution that I've found is to read them into my audio editor -Nero Wave editor- and then immediately save again..then all is fine. BUT its very time consuming....does anyone else experience this problem ?? or have a better solution to fix files that dont want to play ?

scott fitlin
09-21-2009, 05:13 PM
Seems to be fine for me, even if its a lesser processor in the macmini ...
2 gHz core 2 duo, OS X 10.6 (snow leopard) iTunes 9

iTunes Library is on an external Firewire drive (500g Seagate Barracuda)
Seems reasonably snappy ... even with most tracks at 320kbps (273gigs)DITTO! I use Serato and Traktor as DJ software with Technics SL-DZ1200 CD Turntables to spin my digital music, and with my new computer, which has three HD cards, one dual core 500GB 2.8GHZ hard drive, and two 450 GB HD cards as well as 8GB RAM and the latest version of iTunes 9, it is fast. Even though my music is purchased from sites like www.beatport.com, and stored in Serato and Traktor's crates and libraries, they utilize iTunes to downlod, and new tracks must first be played in Itunes before they can load and be played in Serato and Traktor.

As your music libraries grow, and mine are HUGE, your hard drive and RAM will at some point not have enough free space to operate at peak speed, even though you still have free space.

As with everything, as the technology improves and expands, the computers and hard drive sizes that were sufficient two years ago, are just too small now. My original Apple G4 with it's 1GB hard drive got too small very quickly, but was fairly quick in the beginning of my use for music. Itunes loaded almost instantaneously at first, then, as collections grew, began taking time to load. Then, just as back in the vinyl days, eventually you have to clear out older titles to make room for new music. You ( IMO ) should invest in an external storage to move music your no longer playing frequently or have grown tired of. An electronic warehouse, so to speak. I have 3 LaCie 1TB external storages for my needs to clean house and store my older downloads. Just like astute record collectors that have rooms with record racks to store their vinyl. In my warehouse a few blocks from my business, I have an entire wall, 20ft L x 25ft H that has record rack shelves to house my collection of 50,000 records. So, as your computer and iTunes library grows, you hav to be able to free up space, or the machine becomes bogged down, and slows down. And external storages can be had for economical to astronomical prices. But, the good news is, there are good quality, affordably priced units available!

My old G4 was down to a crawl when I replaced it with a Macbook Pro 15, and all the goodies mentioned above. And the G4 IS NOT upgradable to to what my new machine has. Then, I upgraded my wireless modem and router to a 7 mbps DSL, and the G4 still didn't download quite that fast, BUT, the Macbook Pro downloads a 22 MB track in about 30 seconds. As compared to 5 minutes for the same size track using the G4 with the 7 mbps DSL. You know, you can upgrade some things, but if your laptop of PC can't do anymore than it's already doing, you still won't completely benefit from the higher performance technologies.

Also, music playback software has also evolved considerably in the last 2 years, and having upgraded to a new high performance laptop, the current 24 bit Serato and Traktor software and interface units, and keeping iTunes updated with their latest versions makes a MAJOR, MAJOR, MAJOR, DIFFERENCE IN SOUND QUALITY!

I mean to say, if you have a reasonably good sound system, stereo, or whatever you like, GET THE BEST PLAYBACK SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE YOU CAN AFFORD, it DOES make a difference, and IMO,sounds INCREDIBLY GOOD! ESPECIALLY through some well set up JBL drivers and speakers.

:bouncy:

Akira
09-21-2009, 05:42 PM
keeping iTunes updated with their latest versions makes a MAJOR, MAJOR, MAJOR, DIFFERENCE IN SOUND QUALITY!

How does upgrading iTunes improve the audio quality to a MAJOR, MAJOR, MAJOR degree?
Not trying to be smart here, I honestly don't know how that improves fidelity.

btw: Fabulous deal on the HK Heather...kinda makes it special.

scott fitlin
09-21-2009, 05:50 PM
How does upgrading iTunes improve the audio quality to a MAJOR, MAJOR, MAJOR degree?
Not trying to be smart here, I honestly don't know how that improves fidelity.Newer versions of iTunes load faster and read data better, hence, CAN affect sound quality. As well as having software and features previously unavailable in earlier versions, or upgraded from what was. As well as more glitch free operation.

Although, I admit, it isn't as as dramatic a difference as hard drives, due to size, and mostly HD speed, RAM size, and playback software upgrades, but, it IS noticeable.

hjames
09-21-2009, 06:04 PM
Course another real nice thing about all of this now is the web radio stations ... hundreds of channels available in iTunes, and with the Airport Extreme wireless, I can listen to all kinds of diverse stuff ... listened to KHUM radio from Humboldt CA yesterday, with a live remote at the North county fair while I was chilling in a hot tub (after all that office renovation here, my aching back!); KCRW-Eclectic24; AH.FM - electronica Trance; couple of Celtic stations; ... can't find the Klezmer station I used to listen to, but its an extra plus to be able to pump high quality DJs and beats to all the speakers in the haus ...

SEAWOLF97
09-22-2009, 05:03 PM
I upgraded to iTunes 9 and everything got slower ...

iTunes 9.0 has been out less than a week ....mebbe I'm not the only one experiencing "issues"

Apple Tuesday afternoon released updates for iTunes (9.0.1.8)


Resolves issues browsing the iTunes Store.
Addresses a performance issue where iTunes may become unresponsive.
Fixes a problem where iTunes may unexpectedly quit.
Fixes a problem syncing Podcasts in playlists to iPod or iPhone.
Fixes a problem sorting albums with multiple discs.
Addresses an issue with the Zoom button not switching to Mini Player.
Improves application syncing for iPod touch and iPhone.
Genius is now automatically updated to show Genius Mixes.

Titanium Dome
09-22-2009, 10:38 PM
There are so many variables from system to system, it's hard to nail down a specific cause for all systems. When I upgraded to Snow Leopard, iTunes was blazing fast on my 17" MBP 2.5 GHz machine, BUT, about 2/3 of my purchased music wouldn't sync anymore because "This computer is no longer authorized..." :wtf:

After pissing away a day trying to figure it out, I used Apple's online chat help to get to a nice lady who pushed an effing button somewhere, and BINGO! everything worked again. :wtf: :wtf:

Anyway, since I got the Apple Airport Extreme, things move quite nicely, even through the Apple Express on the bottom floor, so I have like five or six iTunes systems scattered at home and at work. I'm hooked into three FireWire hard drives for about 4.5 gigs of storage, plus the laptop's HD.

I still use the old 30 GB iPod Photo, but mostly it's wireless streaming now, anywhere I want it in the house, and remotely in my offices. I just put on the dance, trance, classical, or jazz stuff and access it from anywhere for eight hours of nonstop fun.

Chas
09-23-2009, 12:21 PM
Course another real nice thing about all of this now is the web radio stations ...

Yup, I am just moving into a Squeezebox feeding a Bryston BDA-1 and it's really cool to have so much available from around the world at your finger tips. Too bad it's MP3 quality feed.

I can't wait to start ripping CD's on to a mini mac.:)

scott fitlin
09-24-2009, 08:51 AM
Yup, I am just moving into a Squeezebox feeding a Bryston BDA-1 and it's really cool to have so much available from around the world at your finger tips. Too bad it's MP3 quality feed.

I can't wait to start ripping CD's on to a mini mac.:)Hi Rez digital formats should be available soon. And I hear HIGH PRAISE OF HI REZ!

Space becomes an issue, BUT, I download alot of my music in WAV format, at $1.00 more than the same track in MP3, but.........:bouncy:

Mr. Widget
09-24-2009, 09:18 AM
Too bad it's MP3 quality feed.
My entire iTunes library has been ripped from CDs in Apple Lossless... other than Apple going away or no longer supporting ALE, can you think of any good reason not to use it? WAV is likely more future proof but it is a waste of space, FLAC would be good, but Apple doesn't support it.

I am currently using an iPod with Wadia iTransport and with a good DAC (hope to upgrade to the Bryston soon) the results are sonically outstanding... a proper music server would be a bit nicer from a user interface standpoint, but the portability and flexibility of the iPod is a great asset.


Widget

scott fitlin
09-24-2009, 12:18 PM
Hi Widget, how's everything? GREAT I hope. Not everything i have is WAV, but WAV isn't a waste either, IMO. I hear a difference, WAV is better, but huge files. My three HD cards total out to 1408GB of space, then, with my external storages, when I want to clean house I move older tunes into them.

I completely agree, FLAC will be great once supported by all systems, and there is another one everyone is talking about, too. They say the fidelity is all that! But, as I said, I do have alot of MP3, too, and I think if you heard some of my stuff through my system, you would not believe what I can get out of an MP3 file. If one put's aside whether or not my music is what they like and concentrates on the sonics, which I assume most people can easily understand and do, I just think I could impress you.

And, now, they say better quality servers make a difference, and companies are coming out with high end units as well, just as you stated above. Now, when I got my new and bigger computer, I upgraded my Serato to their newest, which is 24 bit, and Traktor was already 24 bit, and this was definitely a BIG improvement, even though most of my music is NOT 24 bit! However, in the near future downloads will be available in 24 bit, and I think it will get really good.

I'll tell you this, most of the current and future music that I play isn't even available on vinyl or CD, and I do not miss my vinyl. :D

Also, just as back in the vinyl days, I feel you do have to tinker, experiment and work with the new medium to get what you can out of it, I mean, we did do exactly that with our TT's, cartridges, pre's and power amps, etc! The technology has gotten good, and they are advancing with it, and we will continue to receive better, and better.......

I will make one point, as I found this in my own situation, TODAYS music, made and recorded to be available as download sounds better than classic music transferred into the format. Classics sound best in their original format, just as was the case with CD. But, once they begin remastering music for the new format, it, too, will be good. I say this because some of my classics that were not remastered aren't great, but I have some that were remastered for the download format, and IT WORKS!

:D

jonfu@ymail.com
09-27-2009, 03:50 PM
The new update from Apple seems to have resolved the problem. Everything is as smooth as buttah...

modena
09-28-2009, 07:21 AM
How is iTunes behaving for you? Mine seems to have gotten real slow these past months. Real laggy when I scroll through my music collection.

Upgrading to iTunes 9 slowed down scrolling AND delayed playing of songs, like been a 2-3 gap between clicking "play" and sound came from speakers.
Upgrading to 9.01 AND Snow Leopard solved this problem. System and iTunes is much more responsive and faster. (managing a Library of 16.000 songs)

scott fitlin
09-28-2009, 03:56 PM
Upgrading to iTunes 9 slowed down scrolling AND delayed playing of songs, like been a 2-3 gap between clicking "play" and sound came from speakers.
Upgrading to 9.01 AND Snow Leopard solved this problem. System and iTunes is much more responsive and faster. (managing a Library of 16.000 songs)Many things released to the public have been put on the market with glitches, that got resolved later on down the road. CD,s were perfect in the beginning? How long till they got CD,s to deliver as originally promised?

At least iTunes gets updates out and available quickly, and there free of charge! And the updates work and solve the problems.

5 years ago, I wouldn't have given ten cents for a music download, now IT IS ALL I PLAY!

jonfu@ymail.com
09-28-2009, 07:53 PM
I'm really not into online downloads, especially when CD's are being offered at the same price. I'd rather have some hard material in front of me instead of a file on a computer. If I really wanted the song on my computer, I'd simply rip it into iTunes.

scott fitlin
10-06-2009, 06:49 PM
I'm really not into online downloads, especially when CD's are being offered at the same price. I'd rather have some hard material in front of me instead of a file on a computer. If I really wanted the song on my computer, I'd simply rip it into iTunes.I hear you, and completely understand your point, and I say simply you do what is good for you, each has their own.

BUT, for current dance music, YOU HAVE TO DOWNLOAD, as this music isn't widely available on CD, or vinyl as it once was. Then, downloads for extended mix versions price at $1.99, $2.49, $2.99, and $3.99. As compared to the last time I purchased 12in vinyl import dance singles, around 2003, and the price of 12in vinyl import dance singles had skyrocketed to $14.99 EACH! And the stores that were still around had no selection as they once had. Either they wouldn't take a chance on a record if they didn't know they could move their stock, or it wasn't pressed on vinyl, and wasn't available as a CD single, with multiple mixes. Now, I play dance music, as a DJ, it is part of my business as well as something I love. These days, some DJ,s prefer to download, then burn their own CD, and they will usually have a good parametric inline with the CD burner, to remaster the music to their taste. Then their are some guys who swear by the sound of whatever outboard DAC and whatever CD trasnsport. However, lets say, that one is a DJ who travels all over, playing gigs in clubs around the world. Years ago, we HAD to take RECORD CASES, HEAVY, BULKY, and if you were doing a ON Saturday, in a great club, that went to 10 am, or 12 noon Sunday afternoon, YOU NEEDED FOUR BIG CASES, to have enough music, and be able to also have big selection, as one never knows what they will play!

CD Books can be big enough for many CD,s, and if this is how you would do it, no problem from me. BUTTTT, I can go with my laptop, with 50,000 titles loaded, PLUS, lets say I am doing a Saturday in wherever, I can check all evening friday, and Saturday, for the new tunes that get put out at the last minute, or just possibly something I overlooked. OR I can easily pick up any classic house, today's house trance, or techno tune that I may decide I want but don't have in my computer, and for $2.49, and and my WiFi, what the hell? And, unlike years ago, I don't have to worry about airlines losing or damaging my record cases and records. And, take my word, IT HAS HAPPENED THAT WAY! DJ,s have completely lost record cases on flights, or YOUR spinning in a London club, but records are on a plane and went to South America, BUT your playing the next night, OR WORSE, THAT night, and your records won't be delivered to you until 2 days later. Of course, this wouldn't happen with 2 giant CD books with say, 500 CD,s, that can go in the overhead compartment, but the hours of labor spent searching your music, purchasing, downloading, then recording to CD is way too much for me.

Now, just 3 or 4 years ago, the download technology wasn't really that good, pretty poor it was. But, today is a different day, the technology actually sounds GOOD, and not only that, is continually advancing, just as the analog audio technology had for as long as it was our main format.

With my new Serato, and Traktor, which are software, and hardware systems that allow one to use CD or vinyl TT,s, and spin downloaded files like RECORDS! With either a midi encoded vinyl disc, or CD, the TT,s hooked up to the interface box, the interface outputs to your mixer, and also a USB cable from your computer to interface. The new interfaces are 24 bit, and also, in the setup page of Serato, which every time you play, you have to open to calibrate your decks, there is a box that if new software updates are available for your Serato interface unit, and once you have purchased a complete Serato, or Traktor system, the updates are ALWAYS available to you, free of charge, and same thing with the Serato or Traktor OS software updates. Now, the chips inside these boxes have algorthyms that these companies developed specifically for club sound and club use. AND IT WORKS AND SOUNDS REALLY GOOD! Midrange is spatial, and has depth, low mids are QUITE GOOD, and I consider the midrange to be critical to having good playback, highs are outstanding with a well recorded tune, and THE BASS IS MONSTER! No rumble or feedback issues, and with a system with 20 eighteen inch woofers, 16 of them being JBL, and TONS of power, feedback and rumble are issues. My turntables had what they called floating suspensions, basically, the box the TT sat on, was suspended with rubber bands and eye hooks under the console this resides, took care of vinyl rumble, but, CD,s jump sometimes with a bit too much bottom, and I got bottom end, the system has almost 40,000 watts of Crown power, most of it, in the bass and sub bass range, what can I say, in this case, SIZE DOES MATTER!

Now, these days, I don't travel or work outside the NY area, as I did years ago, matter of fact, my business is bumper cars in Coney island, with a MASSIVE monster club system, and 5 years ago, I just didn't want know about the new technology, and then one day, it was the only format, much of what I play is available in! 2 summers ago, I felt it was good enough to use, and it took me a minute of reformulating my system, and getting things to sound the way I wanted it too, BUT, man, ONCE I DID, IT GOT AMAZING! I SWEAR IT IS! I do admit, that I enjoy this format immensely. but just a few years back, would have told you it will never be worth shit, but I was wrong.

The best thing of all, is it keeps getting better by the day, week, month, and year.

And, unlike records, and even CD,s the files do NOT wear out and become unusable. records wear, CD,s get dirty, scratched, and then unreadable. Files can get corrupted, but, this too, is fixable, but a skipping vinyl, or scratched CD is not.

Jeez, this more typing than I have done in a while, :D

hjames
10-06-2009, 07:03 PM
But Scott, most of us are NOT running a massive music club/Bumper cars.
Its NOT about current Dance music for most of us.
I get great sounds by buying CDs and ripping them to disc.
It's not the same as pumped up club/dance trax, but I'm just not that into that kind of music, I don't need Serano,
and I don't buy $4 a track cuts either. I'm not a commercial DJ like you. Few of us are!

I like having the CD on the shelf if there is a problem.
If the file is lost or corrupted, I rerip. No biggie.
If a disc is damaged, I replace it, pretty cheaply.
I've got 28,000 tracks loaded into iTunes here on a number of Seagate barracuda drives.
It works really well for a system that's part of the operating system.

Sure, there are better systems for higher cubic dollars,
but for built in technology, this is awesome!

I've read your story before - sounds like a great thing for what you do.
Most of us aren't into that commercial market, its not what we want or need.

And frankly, its your business - its a pro system.
Its not a home music system,
its not an iTunes music system.
That's what this thread was about.


No flames meant, but sheesh.

scott fitlin
10-06-2009, 07:41 PM
Heather, I take no offense to what you say, speak your mind.

Let me tell you this, I also now have an iPod at home, and a Fatman iPod docking station, that has a vacuum tube, and love it. I download all the classic Salsa, R & B, Rock, and Soul, and Jazz to my hearts content. It sounds good, these days.

At home, in my apartment, I have a small system, 2 speakers, and a Bryston preamp, a Bryston 3B SST amp, a CD player, and my iPod and docking station.

It works just as well here as in pro apps. At least I am happy with it. :bouncy:

Of course, I would just rather talk about my pro system, but, I mean you could understand, I'm sure. The big system is my baby.

However, on a consumer level, I am also finding that when I take my Macbook home to download at night, and playback in the morning thru my home system, I do both loading in Serato and whatever I want to have in my personal iPod, and the newer gear just sounds better, and REALLY good, to me, at home, as well as commercial use. Now if you read Widgets post, he mentions high end servers, and this is what I have been reading about this summer, and something I too, want for the living space. They are making better digital stuff for both Pro and Consumer use these days.

Anyway, I got up one day, and things got great again, for me, as the music is happening, and we are inventing new things all over again, and THIS TIME, THE THINGS WORK, and KEEP getting better. Just my opinion on things.

Alot of technologies have trickled down to the consumer market from the pro markets. No disrespect, but, lets talk beryllium for a second, once upon a time Be was the domain of TAD, and professional compression drivers. Today Be is the material of LUST in high end speakers high frequency drivers. Both JBL and Altec developed products originally used in their pro lines, and then got used in their consumer products too.

So, my opinion is that the two worlds do actually interact with one another, even though.

Once again, I just would rather talk about my big room, but, I truly believe my posts have useful information. I mean, the Fatman docking station was not all that expensive, cost me like $600, and makes my iPod much nicer sounding. And the Fatman IS a consumer product.

:D

hjames
10-07-2009, 02:41 AM
Heather, I take no offense to what you say, speak your mind.



:D
If you are going to reply to my post that I had deleted immediately,
please restore it back in place so everyone can read it and so the thread makes sense, ok?

I know there are other mid and high end solutions.
I read about the Sonos system, as well as that high end server technology that Fred Sanford is privy to ...

I've even got an Apple TV on my big system, so I can pick and choose Albums, Artists, tunes, using 802.11n
wireless feed directly from my main iTunes server ... that works pretty well, but ...

I believe the best upgrade to an iTunes system would be to take the fiber optical datastream directly
out of the airport receivers, feed that to replacement DACs and feed their output to the amps and speakers, instead of using the apple DAC (chip) ...
I may look into that at some point, some of the folks here have written about DAC kits and such and it sounds like a grand approach.

hjames
02-06-2010, 08:00 PM
I've been playing with some new-to-me tech this weekend.
I went to a friend's place a few weeks back and he had a squeezebox Duet system in his music room.
It gives him a very smart music server running on his mac Mini [FLAC files], with a smart colorful remote in his music room.
Basically, the squeezebox system scans through your iTunes collection, builds its own index to the songs, and plays them via a small music server
running on your computer, and sends them wirelessly (or via ethernet) to a small receiver down with your music system. You get a remote so you can scan and find the music you want to play, away from your computer. Sort by Artist, genre, playlists, whatever you configure it to do.

I like the possibilities, and it seemed a step above the Airport Express that lets me run my L200plus system as remote speakers off the computer, or the AppleTV (downstairs with the 4341s) that lets me scroll through my music files and pick remotely what I want to hear while I'm there.

So I read the Slimdevices forum for a couple weeks, and when I had a chance to grab a Squeezebox Classic (receiver) at a discount, I was all over it. I had already loaded the server software on my (intel) mac mini, it scanned my itunes and gave me access to the 30,000 songs I have loaded on my computer. So when the "Classic" arrived Friday, I wanted to get it up and running with all speed.

But - the wireless networking was a true pain, couldn't get it configured for some reason, until I restarted my mini and finally "saw" it on the network. Much time spent in configuration, and I had it working ... A bit later it even had my iTunes playlists loaded - amazing ...

So I unplugged it from power in the office, carried it downstairs and put it in the living room on the Carver receiver and the L200plus speakers.
Pick "A Space in Time" - it started in, played a bit, then - halted while the buffer reloaded. I fooled with it a bit more and it rebooted a couple times!
I powered it down and let it sit.

Then this morning I worked with it a bit longer - scrolled through the Artist list and found John McCabe - The Velvet Gentleman ... figured I'd let it roll through the Erik Satie pieces while I relaxed - but - it was shuffling the album, and I couldn't find a setting to force it to play the tracks in order!

Played some of the Philip Glass Songs from Liquid Days (Thanks Seawolf! - I found a signed CD on Amazon pretty cheap!) and again, it shuffled them in a random order - not playing tracks 1-6 sequentially! I'll reread the manual and see if I can find more configuration info, but I am not impressed.

Maybe I have too many songs (30k - 266gig) , but I don't think its going to work for me ...
I called customer service this afternoon and asked for an RMA so I can send it back next week ...

Maybe I need a mini-monitor and another AppleTV or Macmini ... I'm looking into that possibility now by refurbing the Mac Mini 1.5 G4 that Emma used until last June when it crashed. She got a new Intel mini, and we put her old one on the shelf - but this week I opened it and replaced the bad hard drive with a 160g seagate, and popped a new 1 gig memory stick in. Once I get a copy of leopard (OS X 10.5) loaded I can try it further
I've got Emma's wireless Keybd and mouse here somewhere ... We'll see how that works, but i didn't want to put a (small) computer down there with the Carver and my HK CD changer ... ah well!

I've looked at other options, but the closest is the the Sonos system, and its pricier than I want to go!

hjames
02-08-2010, 12:40 PM
Worked with this thing more this weekend, but at least this model doesn't seem ready for Primetime ...
so - I just got an RMA number and boxed it up for returns. Wifi networking seemed intermittent,
and it rebooted periodically for no apparent reason.
So - as quickly as possible, I'm shipping this Squeezebox Classic back to Logitech for a FULL REFUND!

Life is too short to fool with funky hardware!

My next plan is to repurpose Emma's crashed G4 Mac mini.
We took a power hit in June in the midst of a service pack update
and it came up corrupted. She's went right out and bought an Intel mac mini,
restored everything from Time machine and barely lost a beat.

But I kept the old mini on the shelf - thinking maybe I'd make a media center server from it
So I got a new (160 gig) hard drive to replace the bad 80 that was in it, and once it was installed,
I found out the memory stick failed as well - so the new 1 gig of memory arrived and was installed
Friday night in all that snow storm. Installed OS X Tiger 10.4, configured networking, and bammo!
All is well! I can SHARE iTunes and playlists and everything from my main Mac to the G4 mini!
Now I'm awaiting Leopard install discs from Apple and once I load that, I'll be ready to try it out.

Ideas on mini-monitors would be welcome ...

hjames
02-15-2010, 06:13 AM
Continuing the saga ...
Decided to repair Emma's dead G4 mac mini into a digital music station, instead of the Slimdevices/Logitech Squeezebox Classic that I tried and decided was too creaky.

I dropped a new 160Gig 2 1/2 inch HDD ($90) into Emma's old G4 mini, ran a hardware test and it said the memory was bad. Sad, but that makes sense - she was in the midst of a software update when we had a brownout and then power dropped completely! So, I dropped $40 for a 1 gig memory stick, had that rush-shipped, and rebuilt the machine during the (1st) Friday/Saturday snow storm.
Loaded a fresh copy of the operating system, OS X 10.5 (Leopard) , and set up networking, and it was good to go. It comes from the factory with an application called FrontRow- which provides a simplified access to iTunes, Movie trailers and similar content on your computer.

I wanted to get a small monitor for it - like 10 or 12 inch, max - but while browsing the DC CL yesterday I saw a 19 Dell LCD monitor for $35 so I jumped for it ... does a clean 1280x1024 and nice colors!
The old G4 mac mini doesn't have the remote control port like the newer Intel ones do, so I ordered an aftermarket USB receiver that lets Apple remote handpieces work on the older non-remote machine - ($30).

So - now I have an extra small computer that boots directly in the FrontRow, and can be run with a small remote control to scroll up and down through the music on my main server and play it through the Carver receiver and the L200-3ways ...

I can also use iTunes to surf through internet radio stations and play them on the nice speakers!

I don't like having the big monitor there right now, but I can always sell the 19 Dell for what I paid for it if I find a good 10 inch LCD
(or keep it for a spare for Emma's and my main computers!)

Total investment, just under $200 - not counting the initial cost of the bad G4 Mac mini, of course (but I've seen them on eBay pretty cheap!).

Oh, and the picture below, the little bity silver and white box hiding behind the funky remote,
(on top of the Harman Kardon CC changer at the base of the monitor) is the mac mini - they really are very small!

hjames
12-21-2011, 06:37 PM
The system I described in the last post was too much grief - when I was sitting in my easy chair
I couldn't really see the 15" monitor to control the music ...
and with that monitor our living room was turning into a place only a geek would love ...

So I pulled the Monitor & G4 Mini and donated it ... and went back to using the Airport Express (the wall wart looking thing)
as the audio interface between itunes on my office computer and music delivered via Wifi to the living room stereo.

More recently I bought an iPhone 4S and discovered the free Apple app called "remote". It lets me log on to my
office computer from my iphone and control iTunes from my easy chair!

And most recently I've got a Jolida tube amp running the living room system (L200 3 ways) ...
It sounds quite nice - I think its time to up the fidelity on my music files!
In the past I was ripping everything at 320kbps mp3s - but as an experiment,
I'm ripping the 2009 Beatles remaster CDs with Apple Lossless (m4a) - using
the Apple Lossless (automatic) setting in iTunes. It appears the bitrate varies from song to song,
but Abby Road, for instance, shows as a bitrate somewhere between 647kb (Her Majesty) and 958kb (Mean Mr Mustard) ...

Of course, the files will be larger - less music will fit my phone or Ema's iPod, but the iTunes files are on a
Seagate 500GB Barracuda 7200rpm in my Mac, that has plenty of headroom for now!

I'll do some extended listening over the holidays and see if its an improvement ...


Continuing the saga ...
Decided to repair Emma's dead G4 mac mini into a digital music station, instead of the Slimdevices/Logitech Squeezebox Classic that I tried and decided was too creaky.

Robh3606
12-21-2011, 06:53 PM
Hello Heather

Have you tried and on the docks like the Wadia as an example?? I would like to be able to use the flexibility in ITunes but would rather not stream.

Rob:)

hjames
12-21-2011, 07:01 PM
Hello Heather

Have you tried and on the docks like the Wadia as an example??
I would like to be able to use the flexibility in ITunes but would rather not stream.

Rob:)


No - my iPhone only holds 32GB ... but I have 400GB of files in iTunes loaded on the hard drive on my office computer.
I actually do like the streaming aspect as I can play it on the Living room (stereo) system with the L200 3ways, or/and
play it in the TV room on the 4341s via an old Apple TV. The alternative would be to haul the music drive and some kind
of playback gear around to the room/system I want to play it onto ...

But the nice thing is once the files are loaded (and backed up regularly) I can change the playback system around as it evolves...

Robh3606
12-21-2011, 07:20 PM
but I have 400GB of files in iTunes loaded on the hard drive on my office computer.


Geez that's a lot of music. I use my IPod at work and use it as a source in the normal doc.


I actually do like the streaming aspect as I can play it on the Living room (stereo) system with the L200 3ways, or/and play it in the TV room on the 4341s via an old Apple TV.

That makes sense. My 2 systems are actually in the same room, the basement, so a harddock approach could work just have to decide which one to put it in.

Thanks Rob:)

pathfindermwd
12-21-2011, 11:47 PM
Nice buy on the HK! Nothing I like better than a good price, than it actually sounding good. Heck for $30 bucks though, it's hard to loose. You seem to be set up pretty well, streaming music all over the house! :applaud:


Responding to a slew of posts...

It sounds like everyone posting to this thread uses iTunes. This is because they all use an Apple computer? TD's issue with iTunes is why I won't use it, had a similar thing happen to me too. Almost 100% of my downloads are in mp3, I won't download in a proprietary format. When I pay for a song I figure that it should be mine to move around and use as I choose.... when I choose.;)

MP3's are tricky..some of my 128kbs sound better (more pleasant) than the same song in 320kbs, warmer. Generally higher is of course better. I'm not sure that lossless is equal to wav, even though it is supposed to be. I can hear slight differences in bass, with the lossless being a bit boomy. Not to say that's bad..I like boom, when it's called for.:D

Heather, you are always finding good deals, wish I had your luck!

Mr. Widget
12-24-2011, 11:23 AM
MP3's are tricky..some of my 128kbs sound better (more pleasant) than the same song in 320kbs, warmer. Generally higher is of course better. I'm not sure that lossless is equal to wav, even though it is supposed to be. I can hear slight differences in bass, with the lossless being a bit boomy. Not to say that's bad..I like boom, when it's called for.:D I use iTunes to manage my music as it is convenient and yes, I have an Apple computer, several actually... they don't seem to die. I don't own or even have access to any MP3s... why pay money for half a song? I will never purchase any music from Apple unless they start selling 16 bit 44.1KHz Redbook or better versions. As for the lossless vs. WAV or Redbook. I have performed a number of comparisons between the original CD and a lossless file both through the same DAC... by switching inputs you can do a direct AB comparison. After a careful level matching, I couldn't detect any differences between the two.


Widget

hjames
12-24-2011, 11:45 AM
I use iTunes to manage my music as it is convenient and yes, I have an Apple computer, several actually... they don't seem to die. I don't own or even have access to any MP3s... why pay money for half a song? I will never purchase any music from Apple unless they start selling 16 bit 44.1KHz Redbook or better versions. As for the lossless vs. WAV or Redbook. I have performed a number of comparisons between the original CD and a lossless file both through the same DAC... by switching inputs you can do a direct AB comparison. After a careful level matching, I couldn't detect any differences between the two.

Widget

Emma buys songs occasionally from Amazon or iTunes -
but I'd rather buy a used CD and do my own rips -
plus I get the backup media!

For the longest time I was conscious of the size different and ripped at 320kb,
figuring I would just play the CD when I was at home, and wouldn't notice the
lessened fidelity when playing back on the iphone, ipod or in my car.

But with drives so large, I've decided as time allows,
to re-rip my favs and the newer fidelity stuff in Apple lossless.

I changed my iTunes settings the other day from mp3@320kb to
"Import using: Apple lossless Encoder"
"Setting: Automatic"

That seems to give me a much higher setting on the files in iTunes ...

I just took a casual look at what I've ripped so far - the highest bitrate is
"And your bird can sing" 1000kbps - from the 2009 Remaster of Revolver

For ripping from FLAC files (like HD files of 96/24 fidelity) I've used a mac utility called MAX

pathfindermwd
12-24-2011, 03:17 PM
I use iTunes to manage my music as it is convenient and yes, I have an Apple computer, several actually... they don't seem to die. I don't own or even have access to any MP3s... why pay money for half a song? I will never purchase any music from Apple unless they start selling 16 bit 44.1KHz Redbook or better versions. As for the lossless vs. WAV or Redbook. I have performed a number of comparisons between the original CD and a lossless file both through the same DAC... by switching inputs you can do a direct AB comparison. After a careful level matching, I couldn't detect any differences between the two.


Widget


Aside from the way Apple handles iTunes and the whole DRM, I do like their hardware, it is very nice. I was thinking that the Mini would be a nice unit for the GF's entertainment system, too late for Christmas. :(

Just before the new DAC came in I recorded John Mellencamp's "Without Expression" to the new PC in wav and lossless from original CD. Using the PC sound card the difference between the two was more noticeable, though I'm not sure why, and I didn't compare it much. With the DAC the difference is less noticeable. In the beginning of the song there is a bass guitar playing and in the lossless version it is muted somewhat, the wav version brings it forward slightly and by doing so I can hear a slight improvement in tonality. The guitar also seems clearer on the wav. The lossless seems a bit warmer at higher volume, and I see this as being a result of of that slight muting effect. I have read that not all lossless versions are equal either, perhaps that is the explanation. The difference is slight though, nothing at all to complain about, and of course I can't really tell the difference in a blind fresh start, yes I've tried!:D However, I don't think that anyone can definitely tell the difference between a wav vs. a 128bks mp3 on a blind start (by starting an unfamiliar song and being asked to identify it's quality), though we know for certainty there is a difference. If anyone can do repeatedly do this, they have better hearing than me!:blink:


In the future, I also would prefer just to have the whole uncompressed version, if for no other reason that you shouldn't have to worry about formats changing. OOOPS! I just downloaded another MP3, that's convenience for you..:eek::D

Mr. Widget
12-24-2011, 04:29 PM
However, I don't think that anyone can definitely tell the difference between a wav vs. a 128bks mp3 on a blind start (by starting an unfamiliar song and being asked to identify it's quality), though we know for certainty there is a difference. If anyone can do repeatedly do this, they have better hearing than me!:blink: There are so many variables... we speak of quality as though there is some universal truth... there simply isn't anything universal in music playback. The exact same equipment will sound differently in two different rooms, and then there is placement and system setup. I sit in the sweet spot of a perfectly balanced equilateral triangle and listen carefully at the sound stage, not just whether or not I can hear a faint instrument on a track or if the bass and treble are well balanced. Seeing pics of many of the listening rooms and systems that folks have posted, I imagine many have no idea what I am experiencing when I listen to the same recording. These differences also likely play an important role in our many viewpoints on the relative importance of this or that when we talk about the importance of this piece of gear over that etc.


Widget

jerry_rig
12-24-2011, 08:53 PM
I know many here are fans of mp3s and other compressed variants, but for me, uncompressed files (typically AIFF and sometimes WAV) are the way to go. With a dedicated home listening system, and the current price of disk drives, there is no reason to sacrifice sound quality -- on my system the difference is not subtle. I'm also a fan of some of the HD download services that offer music in 96kHz/24bit or higher resolutions. And I've had amazing success ripping the stereo tracks off DVD-Audio disks.

Also, it may sound extreme to some, but I recently swapped my spinning hard drive in my Mac Mini for a solid state drive (SDD). And I've put my music on a 480Gb SSD firewire drive. No moving parts and dead quiet. It is hard to believe, but there is quite a difference in the presentation. Of course, it is best to have an outboard DAC to take advantage of the possibilities computers offer.

Not putting down anyone's system or choices here, just weighing in...

PS, I recommend the Beatles' 44.1kHz/24bit remixes - mine came on a 16GB thumb drive shaped like an apple.

pathfindermwd
12-24-2011, 09:41 PM
There are so many variables... we speak of quality as though there is some universal truth... there simply isn't anything universal in music playback. The exact same equipment will sound differently in two different rooms, and then there is placement and system setup. I sit in the sweet spot of a perfectly balanced equilateral triangle and listen carefully at the sound stage, not just whether or not I can hear a faint instrument on a track or if the bass and treble are well balanced. Seeing pics of many of the listening rooms and systems that folks have posted, I imagine many have no idea what I am experiencing when I listen to the same recording. These differences also likely play an important role in our many viewpoints on the relative importance of this or that when we talk about the importance of this piece of gear over that etc

Widget

Yes, absolutely, I was going to mention that also, that it is very difficult for us to know what the other is hearing in system equipment, and human equipment.:D I know what you are saying about sound-stage, I was listening the other day to a vocal piece with my eyes closed and could hear the voice moving around, not sure that is a good thing... I am still very novice at what and how to listen for. Often I feel as if I am listening to the speakers or the sound, judging the system, and it is difficult to change my focus and listen to the music, not the system, not an offending sound. When I am able to relax and listen to the music it is a very eerie feeling, its a completely different way of listening, and it's a bit overwhelming sometimes because Im taking it all in, not just focused on a particular sound. What would you suggest to become a better listener?





PS, I recommend the Beatles' 44.1kHz/24bit remixes - mine came on a 16GB thumb drive shaped like an apple.

That's pretty cool.. you can buy it that way? Obviously..yes! I didn't know that though.