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NauticusLX
2007-06-09, 17:25
Attention audiophiles: I want to put about 20 of my CD's on an ipod (or similar device). What's the best device for this, and how can I copy my CD's onto it? How many gigs would I need to store 20 CD's, while maintaining maximum fidelity?

blessingx
2007-06-09, 19:54
Well you have the option of continuing with the Apple firmware on the iPod or moving to Rockbox (depending on iPod model). Those two give you different options and advantages (FLAC and customized EQ on Rockbox, Apple Lossless and better battery life on Apple). What you use to rip and encode will somewhat depend on this choice. Also definitely your OS/platform. Personally lossless files take down the battery life enough, that I don't want to drain it any faster, so I stick with Apples firmware. I'm also on OS X, so can extend iTunes with Applescripts. So in my case I use iTunes to rip and encode to Apple Lossless. You may want to also consider (if using Windows) EAC to rip and encode in the lossless format/container of your choice. How many gigs will depend on the songs complexity if using lossless, but as a very rough guess consider about 8GB. Again I suggest you start with iTunes and see if you need to change from there. iTunes makes it easy to do all in one application and has other convenience advantages for album art, ratings, play count, etc. If you're unsatisfied you have several other choices.

If you go with a 'similar device' things change. Decide on the player first and just make sure it supports lossless or uncompressed audio. That said these portables don't have the highest output quality so since it's already about compromise you may in the end choose a high bitrate AAC/Ogg Vorbis/LAME MP3/etc. Then a great deal of what I said above goes out the window. There was I confusing enough? ;)

Finally portability v. quality if going to be a question as you consider phones and potentially headphone amps. Some players have line-outs some do not. You may not want to have an amp doubling the size of the player, if you're concerned with quality you may. There are some very efficient phones like the UE10 or LiveWires T1 and others benefiting more with an amp like the Etymotic ER4S, etc. That moves likely beyond the scope here, so head over to Head-Fi.org of more info. You can throw a lot of money at this problem. ;)

NauticusLX
2007-06-09, 21:53
Wow, that's a headful. Actually, I discovered on my own, just after posting my initial, that I can rip straight to an ipod (read about it at dbpoweramp.com) or can use the services of Awaken.com, who can put 100 CD's on a single DVD, which I can then use to upload to an ipod or similar.

I was hoping to put about 20 CD's onto a "nano" (all my Rippingtons CD's and a few other smooth jazz fav's. Imagine all that played back in random order, without hassling with CD's). One CD being about 150 MB at 320 kbps (in the MP3 format), that's about 3 gigs for 20 CD's. Since the nano comes with 2, 4, or 8 gigs, looks like the nano will put me in business. And if 3 gigs holds about 20 CD's, the 8 gigger will hold about 50 CD's of music. This could present an attractive substitute for my favorite internet smooth jazz radio station when I'm away from my Squeezebox. Does this math look right? Will my music sound good at this bitrate (320 kbps) on the nano? Is the nano a good choice, or is something else better?

Steven Moore
2007-06-10, 06:39
I think from a usability point of view the ipod-itunes combination is excellent. I've had a few mp3 players before buying an ipod and the software for some of them is dreadful.
itunes also handles ripping and re-encoding so you can experiment with different quality settings and find a quality/storage combination that suits you best.
It's also an excellent music library.

blessingx
2007-06-10, 09:13
I was hoping to put about 20 CD's onto a "nano" (all my Rippingtons CD's and a few other smooth jazz fav's. Imagine all that played back in random order, without hassling with CD's). One CD being about 150 MB at 320 kbps (in the MP3 format), that's about 3 gigs for 20 CD's. Since the nano comes with 2, 4, or 8 gigs, looks like the nano will put me in business. And if 3 gigs holds about 20 CD's, the 8 gigger will hold about 50 CD's of music. This could present an attractive substitute for my favorite internet smooth jazz radio station when I'm away from my Squeezebox. Does this math look right? Will my music sound good at this bitrate (320 kbps) on the nano? Is the nano a good choice, or is something else better?This is a now an outdated test I did on another site and is but one CD example, but it might be of some rough value for file sizes. If you're thinking of 320 kbps you can see using the AAC setting (which would be an option in iTunes, but if you use MP3 it would result in a very similar size) was 130MB. You could multiply that by 20 or 50. If you used lossless you can see it was 373MB.

I like iTunes as a media player and the iPod/iTunes combo and it's ease of use is why I usually recommend it by default, but there are certainly lots of options. I will say I felt the full-sized iPods had better sound quality out of the headphone jack than the nano. The output is stronger and has more overall body. The nano was more tinny and treble focused. I never compared the line-outs on them. So even within the iPod family there's a decision to be made on SQ versus size. Also be aware if you go the iPod route they show up on Apples site often refurbished and a deal can be found there. Just go to Apples store and type 'refurbished' in the search box.



Original: Radiohead's Hail To The Thief 56.4 minutes 570.6 MB

Base size comparison: LAME "-alt-preset fast standard" 78.1 MB

Format: Setting, Size, Percent Difference From Lower Setting, Percent Difference From Base.


MP3 iTunes-LAME 2.0.5, LAME 3.93

--alt-preset insane (320 kbps), 129.4 MB, 45.5%, +65.7%
--alt-preset fast extreme (average kbps 169-260), 89.0 MB, 14%, +14%
--alt-preset fast standard (average kbps 154-243), 78.1 MB, 8.8%, (0)
--alt-preset fast standard -Y (average kbps 158-216), 71.8 MB, 11%, -8.1%
--alt-preset fast medium (average kbps 125-205), 64.7 MB, (0), -17.2%


AAC iTunes 4.1, Quicktime 6.4

320 kbps 44.1 kHz stereo, 130.1 MB, 24.9%, +66.6%
256 kbps 44.1 kHz stereo, 104.2 MB, 14.1%, +33.4%
224 kbps 44.1 kHz stereo, 91.3 MB, 16.6%, +17%
192 kbps 44.1 kHz stereo, 78.3 MB, 19.7%, +.3%
160 kbps 44.1 kHz stereo, 65.4 MB, 24.6%, -16.3%
128 kbps 44.1 kHz stereo, 52.5 MB, (0), -32.8%


Ogg OggDrop X 1.0b31, Ogg Vorbis 1.0

Quality 10 (VBR traditionally averaging ~500 kbps), 186.8 MB, 41.3%, +139%
Quality 9 (VBR traditionally averaging ~320 kbps), 132.2 MB, 29.9%, +69.3%
Quality 8 (VBR traditionally averaging ~256 kbps), 101.8 MB, 15.8%, +30.3%
Quality 7 (VBR traditionally averaging ~224 kbps), 87.9 MB, 15.1%, +12.5%
Quality 6 (VBR traditionally averaging ~192 kbps), 76.4 MB, 19.4%, -2.2%
Quality 5 (VBR traditionally averaging ~160 kbps), 64.0 MB, 26.7%, -18.1%
Quality 4 (VBR traditionally averaging ~128 kbps), 50.5 MB, (0), -35.3%


FLAC (lossless), MacFlac 2.1.2, FLAC 1.1

Quality 5 (default- there is little reason to change this), 373.1 MB, (0), +377.7%

adamslim
2007-06-10, 10:45
Get an iPod (probably a none for so little music) and rip to AAC lossless for best quality. Once you have lived a bit, you might want to try Rockbox, which is open source firmware and can play FLAC files - this frees you from Apple, if you care about that kind of thing.

Once you have lots more music, consider MP3. Decide for yourself whether you care about (or can hear) the quality drop (I use lame 3.97 -V3 for my iPod, which gets me a good 75% of my music collection onto my 40GB iPod).

It sounds to me like you want an easy, non-techy solution - the iPod plus iTunes is it. Once you get fussy and anti-big-companies-even-Apple, then you can try a more time-consuming solution, but for now get an iPod and enjoy the music :)

Adam

NauticusLX
2007-06-10, 18:12
I decided to get the Sansa e280. 8 gigs of solid-state memory, so no moving parts. The 8gig version is normally $199 but on sale this week at BestBuy for $149. That's $100 bucks less than the 8 gig ipod nano! And the Sansa also has an FM radio and can record. It also has a "liquid metal" back:o So cool to discover something you're prepared to buy for $199 marked down $50! New in box! Should I film the "unboxing"? I'll let you know later how it works out. If it will store 50 CD's, as per my earlier calculation, that would be nice. (I bought the 2 gig nano last fall but returned it - I'm not anti Apple, there's just so much "culture" around the ipod - it's a money pit.)

aubuti
2007-06-10, 21:02
If it will store 50 CD's, as per my earlier calculation, that would be nice.
If you're going to rip (or better yet, transcode from existing lossless files) specifically for your new portable you might want to experiment with the bitrate at bit. Given the less-than-ideal audio quality of most portable devices and especially the earbuds, plus the often noisy environments where you'll be listening, you might find that 320kbps provides more fidelity than you can hear. No harm having the extra fidelity, except that if you scaled it back to 192 or something you might not hear any difference, and you'd fit more CDs on.

Enjoy.

NauticusLX
2007-06-11, 00:42
Good point, but I'll be listening to this at home on my main stereo as much as anywhere else, and probably never in a "noisy" environment. Actually, I'm never in a noisy environment. Listening to music in a randomized order will be a uniquely enjoyable experience that I wouldn't expect to be deprived of just because I happen to be home. In fact I expect to get most enjoyment out of it at home. I know larger devices designed for the home are available, but I would expect the sansa e200 to provide a comparable experience, with the added and not insignificant benefit of being portable, at a much lower cost.

aubuti
2007-06-11, 05:07
Aah, my misunderstanding. I would have thought that you'd use a Squeezebox at home on your main system (this being a Slim Devices forum and all). Even so, since disk capacity is a potential constraint, it's worth testing whether you can hear the difference between 320 and lower bitrates on the Sansa.

dSw
2007-06-12, 13:41
I decided to get the Sansa e280.

Good choice with the Sansa (I also bought one recently) but I would seriously recommend that you install Rockbox. The Sansa firmware is OK at best - format support is poor and the "shuffle" function just doesn't work!

Rockbox has transformed my Sansa into everything that I could ever want in a DAP. Amongst other things, it gives you full control over playlists, audio settings and has support for many different audio formats.