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Old 05-21-2010   #8
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 44
Default Re: CD, SACD & DVD-A

A couple of points/questions:

Your speakers/receiver aren't as relevant as your DVD player as far as getting the audio out of your computer, but the receiver IS relevant to getting the audio into it.

24/96 processing capability specs don't mean that any audio format is supported, you'll have to see if your Denon plays FLACs or other format high-resolution files. It may only read DVD or Blu-Ray audio at those rates.

CDs don't really get holes; but the dye that they capture data on fades after time, and anything on them becomes unreadable when that happens. You'd see disk errors and your data will be irretrievably lost. This is why you need to capture to a hard disk and THEN burn copies to optical media, so your original data is safely stored.

RE the above point: if you're smart, you will start using a backup drive that mirrors the content of your computer's internal disk. You got burned once, don't let that happen again! If you're REALLY smart, you'll have a daily backup disk and an archive disk that you update weekly or monthly for new material, and keep that one separate from your PC. I use two 1TB internal Seagate consumer (Barracuda) drives, one in my computer, a Mac in this case, and one in an external case I bought for $50. The internal drive backs up twice a week, the external drive backs up every hour using Time Machine, a nice backup app included in Mac OS.

By a realtime rip, people mean your PC can't pull the data directly from your disks (computer drives don't read SACD or DVD-A formats). A "real-time" rip is when you connect an RCA-minijack cable from your stereo to your computer and record the output as the material is playing. You'd also have to do this to record record LPs, for example, as they are not digital sources. Usually you'd connect from a tape pre-output from your receiver to the stereo input of your PC audio card and use recording software such as Audacity to capture and adjust levels..

As I said before, any CD or DVD drive can write FLAC files (as data, not music) but they can't be played in most consumer CD or DVD players. Check to see if yours WILL read these formats and play them for you before you go further.

As far as the backup system, I personally think an enterprise-level backup drive like the one you mentioned is overkill for a consumer, but you have been burned before, so I understand the decision. Honestly, the choice of good backup software and the discipline to make regular backups is a lot more important than how bulletproof the drive is. I do usually buy Seagate drives because they often have longer warranties than their competitors, but any drive can fail at any time. It's just rare, and almost unheard of for multiple disks to crash unless they are in an environment which is exposed to a major electrical incident (thus, the need for offsite/offline secondary storage).

I mention the computer points and issues because I have a lot of computer experience in addition to my interests in music gear, and the fact that I buy a lot of the hardware we've discussed. I also have a Denon DVD player (a DVD-1920) that reads SACD and DVD-A. As far as I know, however, it won't read FLAC files.

late edit: I forgot to mention, most free or inexpensive recording software for PCs and Macs is mono or stereo only, besides which your receiver won't have multi-channel recording outputs; if you have a surround SACD, for example, it's not going to copy to your PC except as a stereo capture unless you buy and use professional mixing software (Pro Tools or Adobe Audition, for example) which is pretty expensive and complicated for a hobbyist. And to get all the channels, you'd have to connect your DVD player directly to the PC sound inputs, possibly pre-amplify each channel (which the receiver normally does), and get RCA-minijack adapters for each channel output. And...even after all that, you may not be able to output the multichannel mix into a format that can be played on your system, once again, since these multitrack programs are generally for film and video production, not surround audio and, of course, you cannot burn an SACD or DVD-A with most drives/software. Bottom line: multichannel audio is not designed to be backed up, to the contrary, it is designed NOT to be duplicated for copyright protection reasons.

Good luck.
"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone."
Bjarne Stroustrup (creator of C++)


Last edited by GrtGrfx; 05-21-2010 at 01:25 PM.. Reason: Added content details.
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