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#122739 - 01/08/06 08:49 PM Re: CD changers again
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8290
Loc: Tacoma
Sorry, Mike, no. The Sony serial interface is proprietary.
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#122740 - 01/09/06 11:42 AM Re: CD changers again
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3904
Loc: Up yonder
Onecall.com has the 455 (400 CD capacity unit) on sale today for $196 and they have the 355 (300 disk capacity) on sale for $155. I’m not trying to beat a dead horse here, but I’m still just not getting the whole D/A conversion thing. I understand the standard that Burr Brown has set, but, what does it mean when some specs say 1 bit, others are 20 bit, and others are 24???

The 455 and 355 spec sheet says 1 “Hybrid Pulse D/A Converter”.

The 955 (universal CD/DVD 400 disk capacity unit) is also on sale at Onecall today for $299. It’s D/A spec is “192kHz / 24-bit”.

At these prices, I’m going to go ahead and get two. But am wondering which two? The I’m a frugal (cheap) SOB is telling me to just get two of 355’s cause a hundred bucks here and there starts to add up. And, two 300’s would have plenty of storage capacity for me. But if the 955 is going to have better sound processing to the point that one could tell a difference, I’ll get one of those. If I did, couldn’t I use it’s D/A converter as the master and one of the others as a slave? I dunno??? What do you guys think I should do?

Oh, yeah, can you plug any of these into a lap top for music sorting and cataloguing ease? I know you can use a keyboard, but those screens are pretty small to me and I do not have a TV anywhere close to this particular system.

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#122741 - 01/09/06 12:34 PM Re: CD changers again
Capn_Pickard Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 1056
Loc: Arlington, VA (NOVA)
I'll drop my 2 cents in for good measure, if anyone cares.

I jumped into the mega-changer forway about a year ago. I have a 400 disc player daisy chained with a 200 disc player. While I enjoyed listening to all of my pcds on random, often the mix was just too random to be enjoyable... I also never got around to making up groups so that I could listen to different types of music on random.

I like the IDEA of the megachanger, but I don't like its application. I find that I rarely, if ever, play a single cd through anymore. Mostly, because it is too difficult to locate the cds. Also, I never take any of the cds out and put them in the car to listen to, which I liked to do periodically. Its just too much of a pain in the butt to reload the discs when it is all done.

Recently, I've been researching buying a 120 gig hard-drive and an inexpensive pc, with capability to hook it up to my TV. I plan on eventually getting rid of all of my cds and going all digital. That day has yet to come. It also, is not without its problems (Not looking forward to spending several weeks ripping all of my cds).

Anyway, the mega-changer is a great solution if you take the time and energy to set it up properly and learn how to use it. For the more casual user, it might be more of a burden than it is worth.

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#122742 - 01/09/06 03:02 PM Re: CD changers again
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3904
Loc: Up yonder
That’s one reason I asked if the Sony’s could talk to other brands. I too like to pull a few CD’s for road trips and load up the changer in the truck. I also just like to pop in a CD every now and then, and the tray (mini) changers are very easy to use. – I haven’t so much as touched a mega changer, so I have no idea what its ease of use is.

You know what would be cool, is PC interface with the mega changers. Just hook up a cheap old lap top and use your favorite software as the jukebox control. No ripping, no big assed hard drives and easy to find or sort the CD’s. Plus, no searching through shelves (or boxes in my case) for that particular CD you get the itch to listen to.

I’ve got most of my CD’s on the computer already. I screwed up when I ripped them though. I used WMA format and find that it is very lacking when I burn a CD and listen to it through the home system. I don’t like any ripped music, other than standard lossless and that takes up way too much hard drive space. But I sure do like the jukebox software………

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#122743 - 01/09/06 04:31 PM Re: CD changers again
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8290
Loc: Tacoma
Well, Mike, it does exist. BrotherBob and I recently exchanged some messages on this topic. I do not know how his implementation is working out, but my experience has been mixed.

There used to be something called a Slink-E, I think by a company called Nirvis (it is no longer produced). I found a similar product called a SAVR, manufactured by Black Box Designs. They are both serial interfaces; they plug into the AI II jack on the back of your Sony player(s) and into the serial port of your computer.

You also need software (there are links on the Black Box page). My understanding is that Panther Studios bought out Titletrack (which was a Mac engineered product). I got my SAVR and the Music! software from them. HOWEVER, it appears from their website that they are no longer selling the hardware device. You may wish to contact Black Box directly to see if it is still in production. William C. McCain still seems to be selling them, but I would ensure that he actually HAS THEM before ordering. I honestly do not remember why I went with Music! instead of McCain's product. It may very well have been completely arbitrary. I might buy his software some day just to see if I prefer the interface to the one I have now.

You can probably see that both Black Box and the software developers are pretty small outfits.

The software is fully-featured; you can sort things any way you want, and have playlists and just about anything you can think of.

As I said, my experience has been mixed. It "works" but is not all that elegant. The software works fine and the developer at Panther has been really gracious and responsive. Primarily, my problem is that I have to turn on too many devices and wait for the PC to boot up before doing "anything". And my PC is not IR capable at the moment, so the mighty MX-700 doesn't give me any love. My problems may very well be insignificant to your system.

It is pretty damn cool, though. The Music software searched the players, and found and loaded all the titles, tracks and most of the lyrics and cover art from the internet. It is fun to be able to see that stuff on the screen. Another problem I have (that you probably do NOT have) is that the OSD for my PC is hooked up to a standard def TV, so the resolution is not as legible as I'd like. Running the HTPC to a HDTV and using this kind of interface could be pretty darn sexy.

It did take some time to manually update the database with unrecognized disks and cover art, though. One other thing that the SAVR/Music combo allowed me to do was upload the results to the changers themselves. That is, now that the computer knows the title of a disk, and that information has been uploaded to the changers, even if I'm not using the computer, I still get the CD text on the players (not at the Track level, however). That helped a lot, and might be worth the price of admission by itself.

The one quandary that I continue to struggle with is the connections. Developers of the software that guides the SAVR devices are emphatic that you "should" connect each player directly to the SAVR, and I do believe that doing so improves the functionality and reliability of the software. But there are additional costs and consequences. Namely, you MUST buy and install some kind of mixer device (either an audio mixer or a digital switch of some kind) to sum the outputs of the two players into the one input on your receiver or preamp. Secondly, since the players are connected to the SAVR and NOT TO EACH OTHER, this configuration completely loses the "no delay" slave/master functionality natively built into the Sony. They become independent devices except when controlled by the software/SAVR thing.

So, to get optimal functionality from the SAVR, you have to abandon the Sony linkage and introduce another device between the player and the preamp. Personally, I was unwilling to do that - partly because I could not find a cost-effective digital switch solution and I was unwilling to add yet another analog cable (and cost) to the chain between the disk and the amp. Consequently, I cannot do fades with the SAVR and have had intermittent problems with shuffle functions.

Likewise, I have a (basically crappy compared to most folks) Denon 1804 receiver. With the DVD and DirecTivo using the optical inputs and the HTPC using the coax digital, I have to use the DACs in the CD player. I'm out of ports. Furthermore, the Denon inexplicably does not pass digital signals to its zone2 amplifier (which I am currently using to power speakers in the kitchen). I want tunes in the kitchen. I do not want to buy more stuff. So, there it is. Again, I do not believe that using the DAC’s in the Sony degrades the audio quality, and I certainly don’t believe that doing so could provide lower quality than ripping them to a lossy format.

Until I can get my PC built to the point where I can press about three buttons and get music to happen, the SAVR is not my every day solution. I am not an expert in this area, so understand I am not saying it can't/shouldn't be done, it just poses some challenges for me right now.

I have all my disks assigned to groups, but most of the time, if I am not listening to something specific, I just play the whole damn library on full random (no delay between players) and just hit skip if there is something I don't want to hear at that moment.

It kind of depends upon how closely interfaced your computer is with your HT. In my case, I have not yet taken the time to work out all the operating system nuances to make it convenient enough to use on a daily basis.

I've got to say, I LOVE having all my CD's loaded and ready to go. I listen to stuff now that I had not heard in years.

Despite the software and SAVR device, I still maintain an Excel spreadsheet with the catalog in it. I make changes and print it out as necessary, and have it in a small folder in the living room. Sometimes, a pencil is the right tool for the job.

I believe Escient makes some devices that use real CD player technology to manage disks, but that they are expensive.

I can't imagine having the time to rip ~600 CD's to MP3 or FLAC or AAC or whatever. And I am skeptical that I would savor the results. I like the disks.

I did a lot of research on this, but found that ultimately, the world seems to be going to MP3's, so there is not a lot of technical support for what we are discussing here. It seems like there are the vinyl people, the one-disk CD people, the MP3 people and a very few megachanger people with this vision.
_________________________
bibere usque ad hilaritatem

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#122744 - 01/09/06 11:00 PM Re: CD changers again
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3904
Loc: Up yonder
Holly crap Tom!

I've got to digest that one for a while. Thank you for the informative reply.

So what do you think about DA bit difference between the two 400 disk units?

I did a count on my CD's and need to go with two 400 disk units. We've got close to 1000 CD's.
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#122745 - 01/09/06 11:03 PM Re: CD changers again
RickF Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 5210
Loc: Vero Beach, Florida
>>> I did a count on my CD's and need to go with two 400 disk units. We've got close to 1000 CD's. <<<

Looks like you just may have to go with three of the 400 disc units then Michael.
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Rick
Our Room

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#122746 - 01/09/06 11:23 PM Re: CD changers again
RickF Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 5210
Loc: Vero Beach, Florida
>>> Attemptatsubliminalimprinting………sierradenali……seirradenali…….seirradenali……seirrradenali……. <<<

Didn't the Denali have the all wheel steering? I'm curious to know if GM discontinued this option or is it still offered in the new trucks.
_________________________
Rick
Our Room

smile

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#122747 - 01/10/06 01:04 AM Re: CD changers again
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3904
Loc: Up yonder
Well, about a couple hundred or so are the little lady's damn movie soundtracks. They wont get loaded. I hate sound tracks.......

The quadra steer isn't available with the Denali package. They dropped it when they put the LQ-9 engine in it. I don't like the looks of them anyway, looks like a fat chic's hips. And them stupid cab lights.....yuck.
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#122748 - 01/10/06 10:08 AM Re: CD changers again
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3188
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
mdrew,

Stop worrying about whether there are "sound quality differences" in D/A converters. There aren't. Nada. DACs and ADCs from any of the competent manufacturers are indistinguishable. The ones used in the Sony mega-changers (I have the CX-355) are utterly transparent. I've compared D/A converters costing between $20,000 and $100, and when you run duplicate CDs, synced to each other and at identical playback volume, and switch between the two units, there are no audible differences with music programming.

I agree with Capn Pickard on the annoyance of extracting CDs from mega-changers to use in the car. I hardly bother or I keep a stack of recent favorites just for the car changer.

However, because of my eclectic tastes in music, I love the surprise factor when you play in random mode. Yesterday, my CX-355 went from a Ray Charles track to Louis Lortie playing Ravel, to a symphony by Jongen for organ and orchestra to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, then to Thelonius Monk, and finally, Renee Fleming doing an aria from the opera based on "Streetcar Named Desire."

If the shift in musical genres is too jarring, I just hit the "next disc" or next track button on the remote and it cues up a new random selection.

Regards,
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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