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8 Questions: Settings, Servers, Workflow?

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#1
(Cross posting this from the Noob section. Hope that's ok)

Over the past year I've been collecting equipment for a most excellent home listening experience :cool:

Currently I have the following kit:

- JDS Labs Atom Amp.
- SMSL SU-8 DAC
- Massdrop THX AAA 789 Amp (unopened)
- Senheiser HD 58x (stock cable)
- DIY interconnect RCA cables (Connectronics Deluxe RCA & Canare L-4E6S Star-Quad)
- DIY interconnect XLR cables (Neutrik NC3MX-B & Canare)

(Into 3D printing? Link to my file here: RCA / XLR soldering 3rd hand)

I'm slowly working on building back up my CD collection and hope to archive them at the highest quality to my unRAID server. I mostly listen via USB to the SMSL DAC at my Windows 10 desktop. So here are some questions:

1. How do I know what settings to use in Windows 10 for the "proper"quality? (example: windows sound settigns? XMOS USB DAC Driver Control Panel settings?)

2. What is your recommended software to use in to archive CDs? (I have 26TB or free space so file size is no concern)

3. What is your recommended workflow to archive using that software?

4. Is there a way to monitor the audio output quality of the track currently playing?

5. Is is bad practice to listen to files that are on a remote server? Should I expect any bottle-necking with 1GBs network?

6. How do I know if the DC I'm copying is a "good" recording? (I've been finding many at Goodwill for .99 cents.)

7. There are a few "Filter" and "Sound" settings in the SMSL SU-8 DAC. Which one should I use for the most natural/original sound?

8. I like the HD 58x so far. But I'm would't mind having a deeper / more bass heavy set. Any recommendations?

Thanks and have a wicked awesome day! :)
 

amirm

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#2
7. There are a few "Filter" and "Sound" settings in the SMSL SU-8 DAC. Which one should I use for the most natural/original sound?
Play with them but I think you will find that they make next to no audible difference. Just avoid the ones with very slow response.
 

amirm

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#3
6. How do I know if the DC I'm copying is a "good" recording? (I've been finding many at Goodwill for .99 cents.)
You should use dbPoweramp for ripping. It will compare your copy against the ones others have made and determine if you copied them correctly or not. I have bought a lot of goodwill discs and occasionally have found one or two that were so dirty and scratched that did not rip correctly.

Now if you mean that what is recorded on disc is good or bad, then you should use your ears and search online for other versions.
 

amirm

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#4
2. What is your recommended software to use in to archive CDs? (I have 26TB or free space so file size is no concern)

3. What is your recommended workflow to archive using that software?
I rip them with dBpoweramp into flac format and put them on my NAS. Then play them using Roon player from multiple machines.
 

amirm

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#5
1. How do I know what settings to use in Windows 10 for the "proper"quality? (example: windows sound settigns? XMOS USB DAC Driver Control Panel settings?)
You should use software music player that supports Wasapi. Once there, you don't need to install anything on your machine with most DACs, and don't need to worry about any settings in Windows. Be sure to select "Exclusive mode" for WASAPI in your player software and you are golden.
 
OP
H
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Thread Starter #6
You should use dbPoweramp for ripping. It will compare your copy against the ones others have made and determine if you copied them correctly or not. I have bought a lot of goodwill discs and occasionally have found one or two that were so dirty and scratched that did not rip correctly.

Now if you mean that what is recorded on disc is good or bad, then you should use your ears and search online for other versions.
Brilliant! I'll give dbPoweramp a go. RE: "Good disk" I mean maybe it's a lower quality version. Some say "not for sale" LOL. So I will find out with dbPoweramp I assume.
 

Kal Rubinson

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#7
1. Avoid using Windows Sound Settings. Use ASIO or WASAPI or whatever your USB driver supports.
2. I prefer JRiver for library management and playback. dbPowerAmp for ripping.
3. I store in directories by date of archiving because JRiver doesn't care.
4. Listen or let JRiver tell you the resolution.
5. No. I prefer it and, for CDs, a 1G network is more than sufficient.
6. See 4.
7. None of these will do anything than alter the sound. You can choose whatever sounds best to you (or not).
8. Nope. Don't use headphones much.
 
OP
H
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Thread Starter #8
1. Avoid using Windows Sound Settings. Use ASIO or WASAPI or whatever your USB driver supports.
2. I prefer JRiver for library management and playback. dbPowerAmp for ripping.
3. I store in directories by date of archiving because JRiver doesn't care.
4. Listen or let JRiver tell you the resolution.
5. No. I prefer it and, for CDs, a 1G network is more than sufficient.
6. See 4.
7. None of these will do anything than alter the sound. You can choose whatever sounds best to you (or not).
8. Nope. Don't use headphones much.
Wonderful. Thanks. I'll take a look into JRiver as well.
 

Fluffy

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#9
You should use software music player that supports Wasapi. Once there, you don't need to install anything on your machine with most DACs, and don't need to worry about any settings in Windows. Be sure to select "Exclusive mode" for WASAPI in your player software and you are golden.
1. Avoid using Windows Sound Settings. Use ASIO or WASAPI or whatever your USB driver supports.
I'm still kinda of convinced the need for WASAPI or ASIO is a myth. I've been using Windows sound for ages without any issues or degradation in sound quality.

You can do what you want, but going through Windows sound while enabling audio enhancements allows you to use useful applications like EqulizerAPO. Just remember to disable any specific enhancements appearing under speaker properties in the playback device settings.

As for recommended headphones – ooh boy, that’s a hefty topic. My usual recommendation is to go to as many stores, shows and friends with equipment as you can, and listen to as many different models by different manufacturers, and pick whichever one sounds best to you.
 

Eirikur

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#10
6. How do I know if the CD I'm copying is a "good" recording? (I've been finding many at Goodwill for .99 cents.)
If you mean a good mix or mastering, you might visit the Steve Hoffman forum, usually after first googling something like "best version love over gold".
You may also have a look at the DR loudness war database, but tread with caution as these values are too coarse to tell the whole story.

Anyway, at $.99 a pop just buy it, give it a listen and then decide whether you should look further!
If you like the music very much you will probably end up with several versions anyway.
 

KozmoNaut

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#11
1. If you want absolute bit perfection, use wasapi and have all software volume controls at 100%. Or set the Windows audio settings to the bitrate you use the most (probably 44.1KHz for CDs) and be happy. The mixer/resampler in Win10 is perfectly adequate, and as long as you're not playing other sounds, the player will be in exclusive mode, which has no resampling.

2. I use Exact Audio Copy. Even on Linux, I use with Wine (an "emulator" for Windows software) because it's simply the best I've ever used.

3. Rip CD, get tags from CDDB/FreeDB, do minor tweaks as necessary. Follow up by perfecting tags in Quod Libet or Foobar2000 and use their built-in functions to arrange files properly according to artist, year, album etc.

4. By listening, I guess? Or you can use one of the multitudes of visualization plugins available in your player, if you think that gives you a better "view" on the quality ;-)

5. I hope not! I'm playing back everything from my networked hard drive, connected via 1Gbit/s network. Full uncompressed CD quality is 1.44Mbit/s, so even a 10Mbit/s network from the 1990s is plenty. A 1Gbit/s network can theoretically fit ~694 simultaneous CD-quality streams!

6. You could check the loudness database,but that doesn't tell the full story. Read reviews on discogs.com if there are any, otherwise listen to them. For 99¢ you're not exactly investing a huge amount of money to try it out. In general (it's not a hard and fast rule), avoid releases that say "remaster" or "digital remaster" or similar things on them. I'll make an exception for remasters done by someone like Steven Wilson, but as good as his remasters sound, they are certainly a different sound compared to the originals.

7. Whichever setting is the most neutral/does the least to alter the sound. For the SU-8, use "Standard" everywhere.

8. Start by playing with EQ, to see if you can put a small bass boost in there. If you like everything else about the HD58Xs, that's the easiest way to do it.
 

Eirikur

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#12
2. I prefer JRiver for library management and playback. dbPowerAmp for ripping.
Remember to always create and store a CUE sheet for your ripped CD, it describes the layout and some hidden attributes if present. Even if you rip to separate files, create the CUE sheet and just keep it as reference.

dbPowerAmp is a good choice for many reasons, but it also properly detects and stores pre-emphasis flags. A list with CDs that have pre-emphasis can be found here, the linked page also references the Steve Hoffman thread with much of the source content.

2. I use Exact Audio Copy. Even on Linux, I use with Wine (an "emulator" for Windows software) because it's simply the best I've ever used.
I used this in the past, but pre-emphasis detection was dropped after version 0.95prebeta3 <= EDIT: not true!
Some time ago I ripped a couple of my CDs with pre-emphasis using EACv1.3 apparently (FLAGS PRE)
Code:
REM GENRE Soundtrack
REM DATE 1985
REM DISCID EB091B12
REM COMMENT "ExactAudioCopy v1.3"
PERFORMER "Klaus Doldinger"
TITLE "Das Boot"
REM COMPOSER ""
FILE "Klaus Doldinger - Das Boot.wav" WAVE
  TRACK 01 AUDIO
    TITLE "Anfang"
    PERFORMER "Klaus Doldinger"
    REM COMPOSER ""
    FLAGS PRE
    INDEX 01 00:00:00
Great music by the way, and a good movie.

You may also try CUEripper, another freeware tool and open source to boost.
 
Last edited:

KozmoNaut

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#13
I used this [EAC] in the past, but pre-emphasis detection was dropped after version 0.95prebeta3.

You may also try CUEripper, another freeware tool and open source to boost.
They only removed the subcode detection, AFAIK because a lot of CDs (such as Quake 1 with its soundtrack as CD tracks) mistakenly indicated pre-emphasis in the subcode, despite it not actually being there. A commonly used sound editing software package at the time added pre-emphasis subcode by default, even when no pre-emphasis was used.

EAC still detects pre-emphasis in the TOC.
 

Eirikur

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#15
I am curious: What would I do with it?
It's a great place to store the basic information about the album, and you can simply rip the entire album in one file for which the CUE sheet is the index. Admittedly, there are far too few tags for CUE sheets...

I usually embed them into the FLAC and keep the originals in case I do something stupid and destroy the embedded one. Just put it in a sub-folder with the artwork and other release information.

Oh, and I'm a hoarder.
 

Kal Rubinson

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#16
It's a great place to store the basic information about the album, and you can simply rip the entire album in one file for which the CUE sheet is the index. ..........................................
OK. Thanks. Nothing I would do
 

zermak

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#17
@Kal Rubinson
It is also useful if you rip your CD audio tracks without gaps (EAC has an option for that) but want to burn a perfect CD copy later (kinda useful if you wanna play a CD on a car without ruining the original CD; yes I don't have a USB port on my old car XD).
I never used dBPowerAmp but does it have the same driver/reading options that EAC has? And does it check the copies, if presents, on AccurateRip database?
 

Koeitje

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#18
If Exact Audio Copy is still a thing, use that. It is one of the few tools that can make a 100% copy and verify it. If the disc is damaged it will slow down and try and read it that way, other rippers just skip it and let error correction handle it.
 

Kal Rubinson

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#19
@Kal Rubinson
It is also useful if you rip your CD audio tracks without gaps (EAC has an option for that) but want to burn a perfect CD copy later (kinda useful if you wanna play a CD on a car without ruining the original CD; yes I don't have a USB port on my old car XD).
Got it, thanks. I don't need to do any of that.
 
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