playing lossless compressed audio and .wavs on HTPC

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Steve_AS, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. Steve_AS

    Steve_AS Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    Messages:
    412
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've messed a bit with MP3 and am contemplating tranferring all my CDs to an HTPC via lossless compression (e.g. FLAC) or as .wavs, to create a jukebox that I;d connect to my AV receiver, but something's still unclear.

    I'd like to keep the signal digital all the way into my receiver which can then do digital-based stuff like bass management and DPL II processing. My receiver can decode MP3 but not other compression formats. So I presume decoding has to be done in my computer for FLAC files. Does this *also* mean that the signal is converted to analog before being sent to my receiver? Or can a FLAC track be decoded and sent to my AVR's digital (e.g. optical) input without having gone through a D/A conversion? If so, is it sent as a 'bitstream', or what? And is there any way to do this *wirelessly*?


    One last question: I'm familiar with ID3 tags and software that reads them in order to present track info and such for MP3s. How is this done for libraries of native .wav
    files? I'd want to be able to select tracks on my PC for playback on the HT system. ..so there has to be some way to grab track info and associate it permanently with the .wav file. AFAIK .wav files do not have 'built in' tags a la MP3s...or do they?
     
  2. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Messages:
    625
    Likes Received:
    0
    .wav's don't have ID tags like MP3's and I'm not aware of any program that keeps .wav info for catagorizing, there might be one. Whatever software player you use to decode your flac files will keep it in the digital domain, your files will be converted to PCM(pulse code modulation) for digital output to your AVR which will perform the analog conversion there.
     
  3. Steve_AS

    Steve_AS Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    Messages:
    412
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, that's exactly what I wanted to know.

    Anyone who knows of file management software for .wavs, please chime in.
     
  4. StephenL

    StephenL Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2000
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm using a Hoontech Soundtrack Audio DSP24 Value soundcard with optional digital I/O bracket, which provides bit-perfect output. The soundcard is connected via TOSLINK SPDIF to an Onkyo TX-DS898 receiver. I use the J. River Media Center player, which provides gapless playback between tracks (where audio on the original CD is continuous from one track to the next). I have about 300 CDs ripped to a 160GB hard drive using Windows Media Audio Lossless compression.

    Note that some sound cards resample 44.1KHz audio to 48KHz and Windows Kmixer performs sample rate conversion, preventing bit-perfect output. This is easy to prove by playing a DTS audio CD and sending the digital output to a receiver or prossesor with a DTS decoder. Any resampling will corrupt the bit stream, preventing DTS playback. Some people claim that this resampling is audible on regular Redbook CDs. To achieve bit-perfect output you need a sound card that doesn't resample, a driver that bypasses Windows Kmixer and a player that works with the soundcard and driver.
     
  5. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Messages:
    625
    Likes Received:
    0
    Example: for MP3 playback I use an M-Audio Revolution 7.1 and Wimamp for playback. I use a MAD input plugin and a kernal streaming output plugin for perfect bitrate playback.
     
  6. Steve_AS

    Steve_AS Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    Messages:
    412
    Likes Received:
    0
    what about wireless transmission from computer to receiver?
    Are these bit-perfect implementations still possible?
     
  7. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    4,007
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can't think of a simple solution for wireless transmission to your receiver. If you had a receiver with an Ethernet jack (like some of the Onkyo AVRs), then it's a different story.

    Also, I'm not certain, but if the output stream is bit-perfect, I wouldn't think that wireless transmission would change that in any way. Whether or not there's any truly audible advantage to bit perfect output is another story. And, finally, there are some truly excellent sound cards with surprisingly good D/A conversion passed to analog outputs. Never rule out the possibility of an analog connection.
     
  8. Steve_AS

    Steve_AS Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    Messages:
    412
    Likes Received:
    0


    True, and there are wireless setups wehre the antenna at the receiver end has analog outs...do any have digital outs?
     
  9. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    4,007
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good question. I don't know the answer.
     
  10. Steve_AS

    Steve_AS Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    Messages:
    412
    Likes Received:
    0

Share This Page