Unsure what to do...DAC or CD?

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by SpicySammich, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. SpicySammich

    SpicySammich Active Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Greetings,

    As happy as I am that many new titles are being put to vinyl, many for the very first time. there are more still that will never get this treatment. More specifically, releases on Cleopatra and Cargo/Reconstriction that were cd only and most likely wouldn't be good investments for a repress.

    As I would like to own these again, I am unsure about how the best way to go about it.

    A) Buy a CD player (Looking at used CD6005) and pick up the cd's for $1-2 each on amazon, ebay, discogs.

    B) Buy a cheap laptop and a DAC to run itunes, then buy cheap cd's, rip and chuck them into the cloud.

    I haven't owned a cd (other than my own self produced album to which I have the final copy) in 15 years but then DAC's can be expensive and I would need an outlet to fire the files into the sky.

    I am an Apple Music subscriber but none of these titles are on there. Many are on Spotify but am not looking to have 2 payments every month.
     
  2. jusmee

    jusmee Active Member

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    286
    My opinion is that the days of physical spinning digital media are over. I converted all my CDs, most to flac, and have them on various local storage. I do my own backups, but maybe using the "cloud" is viable these days. I just don't relish paying for data everytime I want to play my own music so I haven't used the cloud much yet.

    I bought a cheap $250 laptop with a 32GB SSD, and use that via an external DAC (Fiio E10K) using foobar2000 and WASAPI event driven 24bit output. I play the files over my LAN from a small NAS. Some software can't handle that well and you get dropouts, but foobar2000 does well and you can adjust the buffering. Alternatively, I could have just added some local storage to the laptop via it's card reader or USB ports and copied the music library there. Storage is so cheap these days.

    I found a really nice skin for foobar2000 to play my library, and it looks the part sitting in my rack. Importantly my wife likes using it too :) The Fiio E10K DAC/headphone amp is not expensive but IMHO sounds great. My music sounds better than I remember it sounding before.
     
    RobRoy likes this.
  3. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    Location:
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    The answer I think is in this post. jusmee says his opinion is that spinning physical media is over, and then laments the technical hurdles and pay to play stupidity that can go with computer based systems.

    I have both, and I will NEVER let my physical media leave me. Hard drives crash, files get corrupted.

    The cds I bought as a kid still play just fine.

    Have them both!

    and p.s. - no offense, jusmee. Yours was a full and thorough answer, no disrespect meant. I have 27k songs on my hard drive (nearing a terabyte) but also 2000 cds and as many records.

    Cds are today's bargains. Mostly, the vinyl hunt is greatly reduced.
     
    stish likes this.
  4. jusmee

    jusmee Active Member

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    286
    No offense taken. Hard drives crashing and data corruption are a concern, hence I do my own backups and have multiple copies. These days, a small NAS with RAID drives is cheap and easy to set up though.

    Beware old CDs though. I have been buying heaps of very nice classical CDs from charity stores and a lot have had little fungus eaten pinholes through the top layer. These are CDs that are new or played once by the look of them. A lot still in the cellophane wrapper. I really doubt that they will last forever. I wonder what they'll be like after a decade or so more.

    Hey, when all this digital stuff is superceded or corrupted to non-usability , I'll still be playing my records (all 5000 odd of them :) )
     
  5. PAGS

    PAGS AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm not sure Jusmee is suggesting not to buy CDs, but just that there may be no need for a CD player if CDs are copied to a hard drive and played from there.

    As much as I like my CD player, I'm doing a lot of Spotify listening lately. Two reasons: a. A lot of variety, and b. I'm lazy. If I had my CD collection on a hard drive it would be easier to listen to them without getting up. But alas, I'm lazy, so no copying in the near future.
     
    Bodyblue likes this.
  6. SpicySammich

    SpicySammich Active Member

    Messages:
    305
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    To be honest I don't have a computer at home anymore. I've had one since the late 80's up until 3 years ago. After I gave up my design biz and composing music, my machine would sit idle for months at a time as my phone handles my day to day stuff.

    I've been pretty happy with Apple Music (though a higher quality tier would be good) but some are f these albums won't be pressed to vinyl.

    While I agree that files in the cloud is most likely the most convenient, me having to buy a laptop, DAC and more cloud space puts me way past a used CD player.

    Not sure what to do
     
  7. arclight73

    arclight73 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    4,196
    Well I was gonna suggest using the DAC in the Marantz but it looks as if that was sent back. However for less than 500 you could put together a computer based system with external storage. No cloud needed if your keeping multiple backups.

    Computer -

    Use a cheap 2-300 dollar laptop or maybe a netbook of some kind for a little less.

    HD -

    1tb and 2tb drives can be found dirt cheap. I recently picked up a 2tb WD My Passport for 62.00.

    DAC -
    Schiit Modi or Audioquest Dragonfly Black. Both can be had for 100.

    It's a simple system that is easily upgraded as time goes by.
     
  8. SpicySammich

    SpicySammich Active Member

    Messages:
    305
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I still have the Marantz. Currently my AppleTV's optical out is connected to it.
     
  9. N8Nagel

    N8Nagel AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I would buy all the cheap CDs you can but rip to FLAC and use a high quality DAC for playback. I do have disc spinners that have good DACs and analog audio sections but that's really a retro-grouch affectation in my opinion.
     
  10. woofmytweets

    woofmytweets AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Location:
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    by far my favorite 2 formats are vinyl and digital files. if i get a CD, i will rip it to FLAC so that it becomes part of the media library, a click away. i also like that this system has no moving parts. dealing with an old R2R right now, and while it's a fine machine, it's ALL moving parts. i love the files for the ease of access and that you can play them a million times and they don't wear out.

    if you're going that route, be sure to backup your files, a 1TB usb hard disk is something like $50 now. well worth it to protect hours of disc-ripping.
     
  11. arclight73

    arclight73 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    That's good to hear. However it only has one optical input so that will make it difficult. You would still need an external DAC since your using Apple TV. Unless you can figure out how to use the COAX with a computer.

    Who knows you may know someone with an old PC they want to get rid of. Might be a way to a shave a couple hundred off the cost. Nothing fancy needed if your just streaming music.
     
  12. jusmee

    jusmee Active Member

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    286
    There is payback in buying a new device like my laptop with no moving parts. 32GB SSD, no fans, very low power, super quick startup. I like the silence for the music room, and I am saving a heap on power bills compared to an old PC especially if you leave it on because of slow startup times.
     
  13. jusmee

    jusmee Active Member

    Messages:
    286
    Good point. Even though the original CD's are their own backup to some extent, it is time consuming to rip them and you don't want to have to do it again. I wasd saying a cheap NAS with a couple of RAID disks is a nice way to have backup AND network available files to play, a copy on a standalone usb hard disk is also good.
     
  14. jusmee

    jusmee Active Member

    Messages:
    286
    You can play music from phones/tablets through external DACs and have the same brilliant sound. Not sure how Apple does it, but with Android you just plug them into the micro USB port via OTG. I was playing music via an older tablet to the Fiio E10K for a while before I bought the laptop.
     
  15. woofmytweets

    woofmytweets AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    i have a raid nas myself, which is protects me from disk failure...but if the device itself dies, or i get some kind of cryptolocker infection, you really need an offline backup. it's always best to have many backups.
     
  16. rwartner

    rwartner Super Member

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    1,047
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Get a laptop and DAC. Get 2 USB external drives (min size 2 TB). One to contain your music files, the other to back it up.
    Because external USB drives are big, cheap etc. you no longer need a huge internal drive in your laptop, saving a bit there.
    If your laptop is strictly a music player it does not need much disk space.
    Get a decent laptop, it does not have to be super powerful. At least 4 GB memory and internal CD/DVD.
    Rip your CDs to files LOSSLESS.

    Consider whether you will purchase hires files. LOSSLESS CDs are not hires. I don't think Apple or Spotify is hires - (I don't do that) This may make a difference in DAC purchase. I don't think you need the most super-duper DAC if you have no hires.

    The only problem with all of this is you might like it a lot.
     
  17. techguy0192

    techguy0192 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I've shifted to using Tidal a lot. With streaming, I just don't see the point of messing with ripping CDs and then having to then worry about backing up the external drive(s) to safeguard the time investment of ripping discs.

    I think the best advice is to put the majority of funds towards a great DAC. Get one that has a USB port so you can use it with your computer if desired. Buy a reasonably priced CD player to use with the DAC as a transport.
     
    stish likes this.
  18. ginny

    ginny New Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Chicago suburb
    techguy,
    i am new at this and am putting together a new streaming system. What i currently have is an old Nakamichi av-10 5.1 HT soon to be replaced with a 2.0 system starting with a Decware SE34I.5 integrated amp and Tekton Pendragon speakers just purchased and arriving wed. I currently stream Pandora from my iphone to my reciever via y-cable (iphone headphone jack to reciever aux. input), sounds terrible which is why i am building a new sys.

    My question is this:
    I am condidering the Oppo Sonica for streaming Pandora and a future Tidal subscription, but the Oppo only has 1 optical input and I need 2 optical inputs, 1 from my PS3 that will be the cd / dvd transport to the Oppo and the second optical input from my 65" Samsung. Is there a audio grade optical switch that i can use to switch between the 2 inputs to the Oppo? And if yes, your recommendation on a couple options would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you in advance
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
  19. techguy0192

    techguy0192 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Yes, there are switches to do what you want.

    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p...MI-f-G7sT61QIV1DqBCh2oZA1WEAQYAyABEgLuVfD_BwE

    Or....you could use this as an opportunity to upgrade your DAC. :thumbsup:
     
  20. ginny

    ginny New Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Chicago suburb
    Thx for the switch recommendation.

    I have yet to purchase a DAC due to various reasons. Two that i found to do the desired streaming are now discontinued, the Decware ZCD240 (which is a modified Tascam CD240) and Oppo BDP-105D. So far, the only other DAC i have found in my price range of $2K max is the Oppo Sonica which is a consideration.

    But if you don't mind, i would love to hear your recommendation of a streaming DAC ......$2K max. Must have 1 pair of analog output.

    I really appreciate the advice.
     

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