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Young J. Putt
2004-11-13, 15:33
I'm considering moving my approx 500 CD collection to a hard disk system.

I'm currently using a CD changer system connected to a laptop running

software which catalogs my CD's and allows for control of the changers,

playlists, etc. I came across the SLIMP3 device and it seems like an

economical way to do the hard disk thing. Is there an easy to to conver my

CD's to a format that SLIMP3 can use? Also, what's the sound quality like

compared to a CD player? Can I run the digital outs of the SLIMP3 into a

outboard DA converter to improve the quality? Thanks for any advice you can

provide.

Jack Coates
2004-11-13, 18:24
> I'm considering moving my approx 500 CD collection to a hard disk system.
>
> I'm currently using a CD changer system connected to a laptop running
>
> software which catalogs my CD's and allows for control of the changers,
>
> playlists, etc. I came across the SLIMP3 device and it seems like an
>
> economical way to do the hard disk thing.

I put my 300 disc Sony CD changer up for sale the day after my Slimp3
arrived at my house. It's like comparing a Model T to a Miata.

> Is there an easy to to conver my
>
> CD's to a format that SLIMP3 can use? Also, what's the sound quality like
>
> compared to a CD player? Can I run the digital outs of the SLIMP3 into a
>
> outboard DA converter to improve the quality? Thanks for any advice you
> can
>
> provide.
>
>

There are ripping programs with automated batch modes, the specifics
depend on your OS and your preferences, and I can't say much for either. I
rip CDs one at a time these days, using Grip on Linux or CDEX on Windows.
Both do a good job.

Sound quality is very good. The audiophiles on the list may have more to
say, but please don't encourage them :) Seriously, I can't tell the
difference between this and a CD player, but there are some serious
audiophiles on this list who seem to be happy with the quality of the
Squeezebox. You can hook it up to a DAC.

--
Jack At Monkeynoodle.Org: It's A Scientific Venture...
"Believe what you're told; there'd be chaos if everyone thought for
themselves." -- Top Dog hotdog stand, Berkeley, CA

Pat Farrell
2004-11-13, 20:47
At 05:33 PM 11/13/2004, Young J. Putt wrote:
>I'm considering moving my approx 500 CD collection to a hard disk system.

Do it, you'll be happy. I had two jukeboxs both dusty since I got my Squeezebox
See my http://www.pfarrell.com/music/killthecd.html

The sound of the RCA outputs is fine, and if you are wacko like me,
get an outboard DA, see above link.

It took me about three weeks to move 600+ CDs to
hard disk.

The only downside is that I listen to tons more music,
and need to get more CDs to feed my habit.

Pat


Pat Farrell pfarrell (AT) pfarrell (DOT) com
http://www.pfarrell.com

Young J. Putt
2004-11-14, 02:48
Thanks for the responses. Ok, now I'm really interested, but I have more
questions. I don't know much about PC based music formats. I never enjoyed
listening to MP3's other than to audition new music, and even with higher
quality formats, I've always found the PC to be too noisy for any serious
listening, but with this system, it seems that my PC could be in another
room at the other end of the house from my listening area. Since the music
is transmitted digitally and decoded at the other side, it seems to mitigate
the problems I had with PC playback.

I'm not looking forward to manually ripping all my CD's. My dream would be
to be able to connect a cable to my changers, hit a button, and have the
software rip and catolog my music, but something tells me it's not going to
be that easy. Is there any alternative to feeding them in one by one?

Also, I am pretty fussy about sound quality. I use some outboard Audio
Alchemy gear with my changers now, that works pretty well. Is anyone unhappy
with the sound quality? Do external DA converters help? While doing a little
research, I noticed that there are some fairly expensive hard disk solutions
available, including one from Linn which sells for $20,000 including
dedicated storage unit and seperate DA converter. Of course that one is not
an option for me, (I have this funny hang up about my CD player costing more
than my car!) but I saw some other options selling for a couple of thousand
bucks. The Squeezebox seems like a very budget-friendly alternative. Is it
too good to be true? Is there a sacrifice in sound quality? Are there
specific PC hardware upgrades that help?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

Mark Bennett
2004-11-14, 02:59
Just to be clear, SLIMP3 as a box is now out of production
and is more limited that it's successor, the Squeezebox.
Only the Squeezebox has digital outs, and only the
Squeezebox natively supports uncompressed audio (important to
us "audiophiles" :-)

The Squeezebox will support *almost* every music format that you
care to encode your music to, the exceptions tend to be
proprietary codecs, e.g. Sony's ATRAC. I would recommend using
FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Compression) if you are an audiophile,
or a high bit-rate MP3 if you are not.

With FLAC my, roughly 500, CD's occupy around 200GB of storage,
which these days is fairly cheap. (I then transcode to Ogg
Vorbis for portable players, but that's another story.)

Ignoring the compression losses, the sound quality out of the
RCA connectors on the Squeezebox itself is not bad. It's probably
equivalent to a $100 CD player. However, making use of either
optical or electrical digital outs to a good quality external
DAC has equaled several $2000+ CD players for sound quality.
(Note that there are some older DAC's that seem to be unable to
lock to the SqueezeBox output, and no-one knows why.)

Technically it's great, there are several people that report of
dropouts on a wireless network, and I do get the odd dropout of
a couple of seconds, maybe once every couple of weeks. Some
of this is probably down to local interference on their WiFi
network. Go for a wired network if you can, otherwise I would
recommend buying a wired squeezebox and an ethernet bridge to
get better network bandwidth (at least in the UK the price is
roughly the same as buying a wired SB).

The biggest thing for me, is the way the Squeezebox has changed
the way I've listened to music. It's now so easy to play something,
and to create random selections within Genres/artists etc, that
I end up listening to stuff I haven't heard for a long time.
Sometimes this isn't such a good thing, but on the whole it is.

I've bought quite a few gadgets/toys in my life, and I think the
SB is the best one so far (by quite a long way).

Young J. Putt wrote:
> I'm considering moving my approx 500 CD collection to a hard disk system.
>
> I'm currently using a CD changer system connected to a laptop running
>
> software which catalogs my CD's and allows for control of the changers,
>
> playlists, etc. I came across the SLIMP3 device and it seems like an
>
> economical way to do the hard disk thing. Is there an easy to to conver my
>
> CD's to a format that SLIMP3 can use? Also, what's the sound quality like
>
> compared to a CD player? Can I run the digital outs of the SLIMP3 into a
>
> outboard DA converter to improve the quality? Thanks for any advice you can
>
> provide.
>
>
>
>

Young J. Putt
2004-11-14, 23:19
Great information. Thank you! I have a few more questions below.
>
> Ignoring the compression losses, the sound quality out of the
> RCA connectors on the Squeezebox itself is not bad. It's probably
> equivalent to a $100 CD player. However, making use of either
> optical or electrical digital outs to a good quality external
> DAC has equaled several $2000+ CD players for sound quality.
> (Note that there are some older DAC's that seem to be unable to
> lock to the SqueezeBox output, and no-one knows why.)

My DAC is an Audio Alchemy unit, which have been out of production for quite
a few years now. Is there a list anywhere of which DAC's don't work?

>
> Technically it's great, there are several people that report of
> dropouts on a wireless network, and I do get the odd dropout of
> a couple of seconds, maybe once every couple of weeks. Some
> of this is probably down to local interference on their WiFi
> network. Go for a wired network if you can, otherwise I would
> recommend buying a wired squeezebox and an ethernet bridge to
> get better network bandwidth (at least in the UK the price is
> roughly the same as buying a wired SB).
>
I have a wireless network in my home now, so I'll probably go that route.
The ethernet bridge seems like a smart approach. I'd like to have the option
of controlling the playback with a networked laptop sitting in the same room
as the Squeezebox, but have the server with all the data cranking away in
another room. Can the playback software support this?

> The biggest thing for me, is the way the Squeezebox has changed
> the way I've listened to music. It's now so easy to play something,
> and to create random selections within Genres/artists etc, that
> I end up listening to stuff I haven't heard for a long time.
> Sometimes this isn't such a good thing, but on the whole it is.

I hear you. That's the thing I love about my CD-Changer system that I have
now. I'm not very organized or tidy, so my living room had cd cases and cd's
out of their cases laying all over the place. Finding the right cd to play a
song I was itching to hear was often a daunting task. With the system I have
now, I can browse through my complete collection on my laptop, and play any
song on the fly. It's a blast at parties, as my guests can add their own
selections (sometimes dangerous.) My biggest complaints with my current
setup are the delays between songs on different disks, and the fact that
I've had a hard time getting a switching system to work so that I can route
the digital outputs from 2 changers into my single DAC. These problems are
non-issues with the Squeezebox.

>
> I've bought quite a few gadgets/toys in my life, and I think the
> SB is the best one so far (by quite a long way).

Don't worry, there will always be more!!