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Old 01-01-2008   #13
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Default Re: iTrax now online (Finally!)

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Originally Posted by deacongreg View Post
Music servers, I - pods, downloading, are the wave of the future, like it or not.
I completely agree that music servers, portable media players (e.g. iPod) and downloading are the wave of the future. But I don't see how that can be a bad thing. There is no technical obstacle to delivery of audio content equivalent to studio master quality over the internet. The data rates for home broadband connections are steadily increasing (maybe we'll eventually catch up to the rest of the world) and mass storage prices are plummeting. The part that I feel is sorely lacking is that last step of rendering those bits into sweet music in the home. The only way I know of to play back 24-bit/192kHz 5.1 content (stored on a hard drive) with something approaching audiophile quality is with a high-end media center PC. I am eager for an A/V receiver/processor vendor to offer a device that includes network connectivity, high-quality data paths for all six channels (at least a 24-bit data path and sample rates up to 192kHz) and a user interface that allows easy selection of content with display of album art and other meta data. While several A/V receivers/processors have been recently introduced that include network connectivity, they limit their support for streamed audio to compressed formats or, at best, CD quality.
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Old 01-01-2008   #14
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Default Re: iTrax now online (Finally!)

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Originally Posted by CharlyD View Post
I completely agree that music servers, portable media players (e.g. iPod) and downloading are the wave of the future. But I don't see how that can be a bad thing. There is no technical obstacle to delivery of audio content equivalent to studio master quality over the internet. The data rates for home broadband connections are steadily increasing (maybe we'll eventually catch up to the rest of the world) and mass storage prices are plummeting. The part that I feel is sorely lacking is that last step of rendering those bits into sweet music in the home. The only way I know of to play back 24-bit/192kHz 5.1 content (stored on a hard drive) with something approaching audiophile quality is with a high-end media center PC. I am eager for an A/V receiver/processor vendor to offer a device that includes network connectivity, high-quality data paths for all six channels (at least a 24-bit data path and sample rates up to 192kHz) and a user interface that allows easy selection of content with display of album art and other meta data. While several A/V receivers/processors have been recently introduced that include network connectivity, they limit their support for streamed audio to compressed formats or, at best, CD quality.
Well, there is a lot of work to be done. And, I`m with Jerry about the majors. We need them, to get on board to help this process. As far as the internet and web goes, I don`t know if I`m ready for all that. That my sound old school, but, just like the integration of Blu-Ray players with firmware updates. While, for customer service related issues, it may be a good thing, I`m not cool about integrating computers with AV equipment. It may be inevitable, but............. Comouters crash, freeze up, have viruses, I don`t know, I would like to leave the AV equipment alone, by itself.

But, thats just me.
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Old 01-01-2008   #15
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Default Re: iTrax now online (Finally!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlyD View Post
I completely agree that music servers, portable media players (e.g. iPod) and downloading are the wave of the future. But I don't see how that can be a bad thing. There is no technical obstacle to delivery of audio content equivalent to studio master quality over the internet. The data rates for home broadband connections are steadily increasing (maybe we'll eventually catch up to the rest of the world) and mass storage prices are plummeting. The part that I feel is sorely lacking is that last step of rendering those bits into sweet music in the home. The only way I know of to play back 24-bit/192kHz 5.1 content (stored on a hard drive) with something approaching audiophile quality is with a high-end media center PC. I am eager for an A/V receiver/processor vendor to offer a device that includes network connectivity, high-quality data paths for all six channels (at least a 24-bit data path and sample rates up to 192kHz) and a user interface that allows easy selection of content with display of album art and other meta data. While several A/V receivers/processors have been recently introduced that include network connectivity, they limit their support for streamed audio to compressed formats or, at best, CD quality.
Well, there is a lot of work to be done. And, I`m with Jerry about the majors. We need them, to get on board to help this process. As far as the internet and web goes, I don`t know if I`m ready for all that. That my sound old school, but, just like the integration of Blu-Ray players with firmware updates. While, for customer service related issues, it may be a good thing, I`m not cool about integrating computers with AV equipment. It may be inevitable, but............. Computers crash, freeze up, have viruses, I don`t know, I would like to leave the AV equipment alone, by itself.

But, thats just me.
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Old 01-01-2008   #16
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Default Re: iTrax now online (Finally!)

As you're probably aware, almost any device that plays digital content contains a computer. However, I also do not wish to include a PC (or a Mac) as a permanent fixture of my home entertainment system. These are complex, general purpose computers and while it is possible to configure these boxes for hi-end audio/video, the skills required to acheve an optimum configuration fall easily into geekdom (what is ASIO and why do I need it?). And you will still likely need and A/V receiver/processor for switching and amplification. Of course there are the issues of virus protection, OS updates and all the other trials of running a PC. Advanced A/V receivers/processors, however, are almost there. Many are including advanced 24-bit/192kHz D/A's and at least as much signal processing horsepower as a Vista PC. What's missing is support for streamed, multi-channel, high resolution audio over a network. The only part missing from the Logitech Transporter is multi-channel, and I'll bet that could be added easily. If an A/V receiver/processor vendor like Integra could add the codecs for decoding hi-rez, multichannel audio (e.g. WMA Lossless), they'd have a complete solution.

DVD-Audio and SACD, while not dead (well maybe SACD is still alive), have appeal to only a small niche comprised of those of us who still care about fidelity. It's exciting to see sites like iTrax, Linn, MusicGiants and others offering Hi-Rez audio, but the hardware to fully take advantage of this format needs to be more generally available. As I described above, I don't think the development costs or added cost of goods would be substantial to add this capability to current designs. The only way the majors would consider making their content available in hi-rez formats would be if there was clearly a market for it. I'd like to think that audiophiles would snap up A/V receivers/processors/servers that allowed them to play back multi-channel content over a network that is bit for bit identical to the studio masters. Such sales, of course, would be a boon to sites offering hi-rez downloads, and would soon get the attention of the majors.
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