Options for playing digital music ... now that Oppo is out of business

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by robert_kc, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. tmtomh

    tmtomh Active Member

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    You're completely missing the point. This is silly.
     

     

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  2. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    In 2009 when Oppo released its first "audiophile" player, the BDP-83, sales of media was 59% of the market according to RIAA - already 7% lower than the previous year. That declining trajectory has continued every year since with physical media being only 17% of the market in 2017.

    In related news, Best Buy has pulled compact discs from its shelves nationwide after a more than 18% drop last year alone.

    The data and trend line speaks for itself. Oppo gets it. Best Buy gets it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
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  3. N8Nagel

    N8Nagel Addicted Member

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    I'm sure that CDs are currently the province of weird people like us who blather on about compression and how anything less than 44.1/16 is shortchanging your ears. However, it's easy/possible to rip CDs. Where I see media players still having a role is for playback of BDs and 4K discs which due to copy protection strategies are not so easy to rip, as well as things like SACD. Anyway you're probably right and it's sad to see Oppo pull out, especially when their BDPs are such problem solvers for those of us using old quad receivers or separates (the aux HDMI input is important for this use - can use cable box, Roku, Chromecast etc. and use the Oppo to send the video to the display and audio to the audio gear.)
     
  4. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    MKV.

    It's *not* about me being right - just don't shoot the messenger!
     
  5. N8Nagel

    N8Nagel Addicted Member

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    I don't know if I currently have a drive that can rip BDs... not that I'm really into that. SACD is damn near impossible, because Sony (although my Oppo 103 apparently will do it)
     
  6. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    What you need is a $55 drive.

    Yes.
     
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  7. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Please explain what you mean by your statement that digital content “can be” stored on a hard drive. Do you have Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray surround-sound audio/video loaded on your hard disc drive, with no degradation in quality? What about SACDs featuring surround-sound? If so, how did you get the content loaded onto the hard disc, while preserving all of the features and quality that the disc provided? What software did you use? How much effort was required to install and configure the software? How much effort was required to load a Blu-ray movie, or SACD?

    Let’s use this Blu-ray box set as an example:

    Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Danish NSO

    Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1–9
    Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez
    Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
    Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), Op. 64, TrV 233​


    [​IMG]


    These Blu-ray discs feature 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and HD video - and they deliver excellent audio and video quality. (And this is just one example of many classical, opera, and ballet recordings available on Blu-ray.)

    Can I buy this box set as a download – with full-quality DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround-sound audio, and full-quality video? If so, please provide a link. How long would it take to download?

    OTOH, if the content must be copied from the Blu-ray discs, how would you get the content onto a hard disc drive? How much effort? How much time? I have read about copying Blu-ray (and SACD), and I learned a new word: “faff”.

    My limited experience is that metadata is an inconsistent mess for classical music, and often requires editing. (I have a download of Beethoven Symphony 9 wherein the “artist” is listed as the soprano - not the composer. What about conductor? Orchestra? Soloists?)

    How are multiple movements of a classical composition concatenated - in the right order?

    Suppose for the sake of argument I was able to get the content of all of my Blu-ray and SACD discs installed on a hard disc drive, with no degradation in quality, with suitable metadata, and multiple movements properly concatenated. How would I play this through my vintage tube amps in uncompromised 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio? What DAC will handle all of these formats in 5.1? (I refuse to listen to classical music with a solid-state AVR in the equipment chain.) How much does such a DAC cost?

    This box set includes 12 major classical works on 3 Blu-ray discs that provide the convenience of dropping a disc in the tray and hitting the Play button. Disc #1 of this box set contains Beethoven Symphonies 1 - 4; that’s a lot of music on one disc before I have to walk over to the Oppo player and change discs. To me this is not a problem worth solving.

    The future may not favor discs, but I want to enjoy music today.

    Copying classical SACD and Blu-ray discs to a hard drive does not appear to be a practicable answer (except perhaps for PC hobbyists who are willing to invest significant effort).

    If in the future there is a reliable streaming service that provides all of the content I want with hi-res audio/video featuring surround-sound, then I might consider it. (I.e., no smartphone/tablet apps that freeze or loose synchronization, no degradation in audio or video quality, and no drop-puts.) Based on my experience with Spotify Premium and Netflix streaming, they’re a long way from equaling the quality, reliability, ease-of-use, and content offered by Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray, and SACD discs – at least for the classical music that I enjoy.

    I’m still waiting to discover a machine other than the Oppo UDP-205 that does everything I want. Therefore, I’m taking delivery of another UDP-205 tomorrow.

    As I’ve said before, everyone’s situation is different. If you’re consuming recorded music as audio-only (i.e., no video), in stereo only (i.e., no surround-sound), and limited to CD audio quality or lower (i.e., not high-resolution), then your circumstances are different from mine. To each their own.
     
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  8. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Many on BR, yes. Don't have any of the Ultra flavor.

    That's called a DSD format. You first rip to an ISO image, then convert it. The process is well documented. Google if you're interested. As I mentioned previously, Kal Rubinson of Stereophile stores his SACD MC content on his NAS.

    Most likely not.

    Refer to answer in post #44.

    I have previously answered that question while still waiting for the answer to mine: Since a disk -or boxed set - occupies but one space on the shelf, what single choice do you make for a collection?

    The type of power amp used is irrelevant as for any other digital format. Yes, you would need a suitable player and DAC.

    Understood. Perhaps you appreciate the fact that ALL content produced today originates from digital workstations. The media you purchase is merely a copy containing the data.

    You have likely found your Dodo Bird.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
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  9. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have a few quick questions for now. Later I'll read the links you've provided. What I'm trying to determine is all of the software and hardware required to copy multi-channel Blu-ray and SACD, and then play from a hard drive (NAS?). And the level of effort required to learn about these various hardware and softare components, and then install, and configure - and then copy the discs - and then play from the hard drive. Again - I'll read the links you've already provided - but a summary of the total configuration would be helpful.

    Sorry - I don't understand your question. Please rephrase.

    Please list examples of "network players" and/or DACs (or other components) that have 5.1 analog outputs for connection to my vintage tube amps, and my subwoofers. What software would be required to manage playback from the networked hard drive?

    P.S. In order to meet my needs, the "network player" and/or DAC must have "pre-amp" functionality built-in, including remote controlled volume, and bass management (subwoofer connection). (This is how I use my UDP-205, BDP-105, and BDP-95 to connect directly to tube power amps, or integrated amps.) Would there be NAS for storage, and then an "audio/video player device" that has 5.1 analog audio outputs, including bass management, and volume control - plus an HDMI connection for the 4k HDTV?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
  10. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Understood. Since I have not ripped DSD content, I will continue to refer you to Google for specific answers.

    Yes, ripping content does take some time initially. For me, that's the first thing I do when I (must) get music on physical media.

    You complain about the perceived inability for metadata to provide multiple cross references, yet with physical media the answer is always the same- you get one choice. It sits in a single spot. Here's an example. I downloaded a really nice set of piano works in 96/24 by Martha Argerich of both Ravel and Prokokiev content. How do I find it? Since I bought it primarily for the Ravel content, I placed it in the Ravel folder. I prefer the Michel Beroff version of the Prokofiev.

    It appears when I search for "Prokofiev":

    [​IMG]

    It appears when I search for "Ravel":

    [​IMG]

    It appears when I search for "Martha" - along with the Vandellas :)

    [​IMG]

    Where on your shelf would you find the jewel case? Indexed by what single criteria?

    Some include models from Exasound, Danville, etc. I will repeat (from post #36) that much of this knowledge can be found by reading Kal Rubinson's "In the Round" column as he is a multi-channel enthusiast.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
  11. 0Hz

    0Hz Active Member

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    A lot of stuff going on here but thought I would throw my two cents in.

    I rip all my BluRays with MakeMKV there is 0 degradation because it's not re-encoding anything it's just remuxing the source files with the criteria I specify. A lot better than just dumping the whole disc as well, space-wise. The only thing you tend to lose with this method is BluRay Menus. Even with a full disc image rip and mounting it on a virtual drive, not all software handles BD Menus well anyway, unless you wanna pay specifically for BD focused software players.
    MakeMKV should also be able to rip 4k content on some drives / discs.

    J.River Media Center is also very adaptable to personal situations. You can feed it a source file with multichannel audio and it can modify the channels any way you wish. Or feed it untouched over whatever output you tell it to. It has a pretty robust DSP which can do all sorts of stuff. I can't speak to what's involved with SACD's or hardware based network players unfortunately.

    I did see mention of something about linking movements, etc from classical stuff. If you have done your rip properly, and you listen to your albums in track order - what is the issue here? Just select your album and hit play. As long as the tracks are tagged with the correct track number - it plays fine. Just like a hardware player. One neat you can do in J.River Mediacenter is use custom tags, and a powerful internal scripting language to form your own expressions - so you could potentially create a new category called "Movements" or whatever, and set a view expression to index your whole library and show you an organized view of symphonies in movement order, etc. Any time you want to listen to a specific movement without wading through your main library view, you could switch over to that view and then select what you want "add to queue" and you're off.

    It's all about how much time you are willing to invest I suppose.

    Metadata is only as good as the database you source it from. There are a few competing databases out there, I know J.River maintains their own database for lots of stuff. You can also correct Metadata and submit it from your own files as well., depending on how a database is setup that could be easy or painful. I don't like editing metadata any more than the next guy.

    I completely understand people being worried about learning to do stuff a new way, investing time, and initial frustration with learning the process. But honestly building a home server based storage pool and setting it up with software to output directly through the computer's analog or digital outputs (or a device of higher quality, connected to the computer), or streaming it over networks. It's really the way to go.

    Once J.River finally catches up and implements AAC-HE v2 stream encoding I'll be a golden goose while out of the house. You can really do a lot with modern software and inexpensive hardware, and it doesn't mean having to throw your old stuff out, sometimes integration is pretty painless.

    Centralized digital libraries really are the future, and a huge convenience once you get over the initial hump and learning phase

    p.s
    No I don't work for J.River, lol
     
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  12. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    This is what I'm saying!
     
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  13. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    0Hz: Thanks for sharing. What do you use to play surround-sound movies and music from you central library? Some sort of network capable Audio/Video pre-amp (or AVR) with 5.1 line-level RCA outputs?
     
  14. 0Hz

    0Hz Active Member

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    I actually do not deal with surround content playback anymore. I went back to stereo for several reasons, mostly practicality on space. So I let any playback stuff do the downmixing, etc.

    However back a few years ago, what I used to do was output everything over SPDIF or TOSLink optical, to a capable receiver. In general I didn't bitstream anything because I owned a sound card for my computer which was capable of encoding dolby and DTS on the fly (some motherboards have onboard chips which can do this now as well). In truth, the DDL/DTS was more about surround sound gaming for me, than anything else. I was using a Pioneer receiver (don't recall the model) which had Analog, Digital, and Optical inputs, and speaker level outputs. I don't recall if it had analog RCA outputs or not but it was nothing high end.

    As far as the actual media device, I used my computer for playing back movies, video files, audio, etc. I don't own any fancy network gear like that. I can't really speak to the network-player side of things, especially as far as which software supports what. But if your device can See or be played to as a DLNA device, you should be able to find something that works, as far as network playback goes.

    I'm not all that knowledgeable about the specifics, I just have a passing/working knowledge of some of the basic ideas and such.
     
  15. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Sorry if I'm being dense - but in order to play audio and video from a central library (presumably NAS?), I would expect a "network player" (I'm probably not using the right terminology) to have an HDMI output to connect a 4k HDTV, and RCA line level outputs for:
    • L&R Main
    • Center channel
    • L&R surround
    • Subwoofer (with configurable crossover)
    And a volume control. And the ability to pay all digital audio and video formats.

    I don't see these connections on the devices you have referenced. (Frankly I only read the descriptions of the devices you referenced briefly. I found them inscrutable.)

    Can you provide a link to the relevant article from Kal Rubinson's "In the Round" ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
  16. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Yes, this is obviously a limitation of physical media - i.e., I have to remember what I own, and I have to find the disc. But this isn't a problem for me. I know where my Blu-ray for opera and ballet reside. I know where my Blu-ray symphonic music resides. Etc. Bottom line, I can find the disc I want quickly.

    P.S. The problem of implementing search criteria for classical music is a big enough problem that someone has created a front-end for Spotify: http://getconcertmaster.com/ This isn't directly relevant to this thread - but might be of interest to someone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018

     

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  17. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    You would be using a powerful PC sending signal via USB to a multichannel DAC. In that world, there aren't position specific labels - just channels and usually eight of them. Here's the back of the Exasound E38. Those outputs would go to corresponding inputs on your power amplifier(s).

    exasound.png

    The Merging+ unit also has balanced connectors:

    back.jpg

    Volume control and content selection would be handled via a PC application like JR River.


    You're not going to find a wiring diagram if that what you expect. Spend some time using the link I've already provided. Here's his take on the Exasound.
     
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  18. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Ok. Then don't keep worrying about editing the metadata! You've got none today. :)
     
  19. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    How do you connect the TV? How is bass management performed, including setting crossover frequency, and connecting a subwoofer?

    I'm trying to understand how to use this technology to play movies on a 4k HDTV, with 5.1 surround-sound audio. And play audio-only surround-sound SACDs.
     
  20. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The same way you connect a monitor - HDMI.

    The former is handled by the software. Returning to post #57, an LFE feed is just another channel output. Line out to powered subs and line out to power amp for those that aren't.

    Perhaps you need to untangle the concept of "special video" and SACD with the basic concepts of video output and multiple audio channels that are all controlled by computers.

    Clearly, you're good with your current setup for some time especially if you've ordered a backup unit. I've owned a couple of Oppo products and they have proven to be reliable and the company's service (needed only once) was superb. Transports, however, are the domain of eventual unobtainium.

    My intention was to inform you of the alternative that will most certainly be the only way in the future - will all manner of benefits that I enjoy today with my two channel music and 1080p video setup via LMS. I can play any music content to the main system, garage, in house audio in multiple rooms and out by pool, HT via Oppo 103's streaming, iPad in bedroom using iPeng app and have about 300 movies, both home and commercial ripped to the server than I have instant access to via Roku players in two rooms. Adding more rooms just involves buying another Roku.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
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