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Media Players for Multi-channel Audio and Music Video

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quicksrt

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I am taking notes. I am obsessed with gathering info on the whole subject at hand.
I do the same - take notes on each piece of the puzzle and work within your budget. A used Oppo player is coming next to run hdmi through, I am budgeting $650 for that.

I spent 6 years using an old Dell computer and my music server, while I built up the 10 TBs of flac and video files. I want to hit the ground with the new system and not be bothered with cd or SACD ripping, or any of that - already did the hard part.
 

Spock

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After looking for a reasonably priced but high quality HTPC to serve as my media player for a while now, I finally found and settled on one of these.

For under $200 shipped, I have a 4th gen quad core i5, SSD with Windows 7 installed, 4 gig memory, WI-FI, HDMI out, and an HDMI capture card, all in a decent looking box. Its supposed to be new. I did some research and this looks like an OEM hardware box made for a WOW TV collaboration suite that has been re-purposed as a HTPC. The specs seem more than up to the task, and the price was very reasonable compared to a similarly outfitted NUC. I'm not sure how I might use the HDMI input yet, if at all.

The seller is still listing them with 3rd gen processors and no HDMI capture starting at $100 if anyone is interested.
That looks like a nice cheap htpc.

I have the same processor on my self-built desktop: intel 4570, but without the "S" - with intel 4600 graphics. I can watch 1080p video with hd surround on one screen and work with photoshop on another, at the same time - without problems, but I do have 8 GB ram - and Win 10.
 

LuvMyQuad

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I'm going for something like this except I am looking at i7 with 16g of memory. I want to be able to pump video through it, and will need fast search through 10 TBs of media files. So it might not be overkill with the 16 Gs of ram. Looking at JRiver as my player.
An i7 processor would cost me more than the $200 I spent on the entire, fully outfitted i5 box I purchased. I already have compatible memory modules I can use to upgrade to 8GB RAM if it seems like its warranted (my guess is its not for my application). There is also still a free upgrade path to Win 10 available (a win version I never liked).

I did try out JRiver for a while. I found a plethora of problems with it, not the least of it was not having a decent 10' interface, and even worse, it has little to nothing to offer with respect to lyrics presentation. Both of those items are very important to me. Kodi has a great 10' interface (especially with the skin treatment outlined by Garry elsewhere on this board) and a lyrics presentation that is decent (but could be improved). You would think that a paid product like JRiver would have an edge over a freeware product like Kodi, but I found it to be the complete opposite. In my mind, JRiver lags Kodi in many areas. If I were to move away from Kodi at some point in the future I would look to Roon. It is a bit expensive at $140/yr for the subscription, but I like their philosophy of creating an interface to imitate the feel of playing an LP with all the associated liner notes and artwork and such. I plan to audition it using the free trial on this new machine at some point.
 

LuvMyQuad

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I am taking notes. I am obsessed with gathering info on the whole subject at hand.
I did that for a while. The advise I offer is to take the plunge and get into it. I just cant tell you how great it is to be able to cherry pick music from your listening spot without having to deal with changing disks. I play more music, more often, and get more enjoyment out of it than I ever have.
 

dr. simple

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You really drove my comments right off the tracks. Of course the 16 g of memory is used for a lot more than media searches, yet you don't comment on that.

Of course I am using much faster drives than 5400 rpm speed. And of course I have the major paths of potential resistance hard wired.

Hummmm.
I believe HomerJAU (Garry) was trying to be helpful, not critical. He has been incredibly helpful to myself and many others here in this regard. And, frankly, I was thinking the same things that he posted.
 

LuvMyQuad

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I believe HomerJAU (Garry) was trying to be helpful, not critical. He has been incredibly helpful to myself and many others here in this regard. And, frankly, I was thinking the same things that he posted.
Agreed. If it weren't for Garry's contributions to this forum I doubt I would have gotten this far down the path. Many thanks.
 

quicksrt

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I believe HomerJAU (Garry) was trying to be helpful, not critical. He has been incredibly helpful to myself and many others here in this regard. And, frankly, I was thinking the same things that he posted.
Yeah, I simply did not get that he offered me anything I didn't know already, no cost savings, or anything. Like this sentence, "HD video decoding is done on modern processors not in software" I never said otherwise, and if that was just a tip offered, it felt empty. I know that already. It would be like me telling him that speakers are one of the most important parts of getting great sound from your music server. Sure true, but why even comment.

Perhaps a better explanation of how I am wasting money on a i7 might get me to consider an i5 instead. I have big plans for the i7 box, and did not write any of it in detail.

Craig's List has a ton of used i7s in the $270.00 range. I plan on buying a used i7, and then do the upgrades with new stuff.
 

marpow

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OK, I better start asking questions even though I feel dumb. I know the #1 piece of equipment is the laptop ?, then people have software to play and sort there music files like Jriver ,? then the hard drive ? that would be external storage of files and also act as a player with an app ? like Sony's http://store.acousticsounds.com/d/94814/Sony-HAP-S1_500GB_Hi-Res_HDD_Player_System-Hi_Res_Audio_Player ?

Then I need software for ripping different discs in my collection, SACD, MCH, etc ?

Am I getting close ? And yes, HomerJau, has the best info I can tell, but a lot to read and I get overwhelmed. I agree I just need to put my toe in the water. Maybe with a designated laptop for music only ? Back later, have to go to work.
 

quicksrt

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I'm thinking desktop computer with internal 2 X 5TB drives = 10TBs total. Any reason to not have the drives internally installed and be done with it, other than the USB backups I have elsewhere.
 

ubertrout

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I built myself a HTPC with the specific intent of having a playback unit for multichannel high-res audio about 6 years ago, using foobar + HDMI (discussed here: https://www.quadraphonicquad.com/forums/showthread.php?19191-PC-for-Multichannel-Music-Playback-What-s-your-Setup&p=327943&viewfull=1#post327943). It works pretty well, but I never ripped most of my collection and my Oppo 93 remains my primary playback unit. I recently added a Sony 6700 to my setup (got it used for $10), and it functions perfectly - backup disc spinner for blu-ray and SACD, flawless audio playback including DSD downloads over HDMI - even streaming the DSD straight to my AVR. I could even hook up an external hard drive to the unit (although I haven't bothered). The only thing is won't play is .iso files. At least for me it's difficult to imagine a Kodi player being as capable and low-cost (even at the player's new price).
 

quattroatl

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I built myself a HTPC with the specific intent of having a playback unit for multichannel high-res audio about 6 years ago, using foobar + HDMI (discussed here: https://www.quadraphonicquad.com/forums/showthread.php?19191-PC-for-Multichannel-Music-Playback-What-s-your-Setup&p=327943&viewfull=1#post327943). It works pretty well, but I never ripped most of my collection and my Oppo 93 remains my primary playback unit. I recently added a Sony 6700 to my setup (got it used for $10), and it functions perfectly - backup disc spinner for blu-ray and SACD, flawless audio playback including DSD downloads over HDMI - even streaming the DSD straight to my AVR. I could even hook up an external hard drive to the unit (although I haven't bothered). The only thing is won't play is .iso files. At least for me it's difficult to imagine a Kodi player being as capable and low-cost (even at the player's new price).
Your Sony can stream DSD files over network? That's impressive! I use my Oppo 93 for dvd-audio ISO's and bluray ISO's. I can only dream of sacd ISO capability in any player.

The thing that I don't understand is why one would have DSD files on a server. The files are huge! I'm too lazy at this time to convert my sacd collection to flac. I'd rather just burn my sacd ISO's and play the backups on the Oppo 93 or my Sony BDP780.
 

LuvMyQuad

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I'm thinking desktop computer with internal 2 X 5TB drives = 10TBs total. Any reason to not have the drives internally installed and be done with it, other than the USB backups I have elsewhere.
I think it all depends on where the PC is located.

If the PC is located in your listening area, the noise can become a problem. The drives will make noise and you may hear them from time to time. How much this bothers you may depend on the actual drives used, the nature of the enclosure, and how close you are actually sitting to it. Also, the average desktop PC is not nearly as quiet as you might like for a HTPC due to the power supply fans used in most of them. But again this may not bother you in your setup. Some equipment is louder than others and most now have fan profiles you can set in the system bios to limit the fan speed. If the PC is way across a large room you may not be able to hear it at all anyway. The noise issue is one of the reasons dedicated HT boxes use lower performance devices (other than cost of course). An i7 desktop processor creates some significant heat that has to be dissipated somehow. An i7 mobile processor creates a lot less heat.

If the PC is located at some other location you won't have the noise problem but you will need a more sophisticated way to control it. You can go with one of those remote IR pickups and a wireless keyboard or you can also control the PC with an android or apple phone, assuming your software has a remote function that allows it. I know both Kodi and JRiver do. Not sure about Foobar.

Lastly to do it properly most would recommend that you put the two 5TB drives in a RAID configuration where one mirrors the other to address any fatal data loss. If a drive fails, its mirrored backup is ready to go. But RAID cuts the actual storage in half to 5TB. On top of that, the recommendation is to still have some type of external backup that is located off site.

In my situation the media box does not have power supply fans. In fact the power supply is an external brick. Hence, my media player is in my equipment rack and its pretty silent (only a small processor fan). I use a mini bluetooth keyboard with touchpad. It allows full control of the PC with all video routed to the TV. I keep the drives in a NAS that can be located anywhere as long as it is network connected. I don't do anything with Wi-Fi in my main system. All components are connected via Ethernet to my home network. The only thing that gets streamed is low fi stereo going to Wi-Fi connected devices.
 

ubertrout

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Your Sony can stream DSD files over network? That's impressive! I use my Oppo 93 for dvd-audio ISO's and bluray ISO's. I can only dream of sacd ISO capability in any player.

The thing that I don't understand is why one would have DSD files on a server. The files are huge! I'm too lazy at this time to convert my sacd collection to flac. I'd rather just burn my sacd ISO's and play the backups on the Oppo 93 or my Sony BDP780.
I picked up a 128GB USB Key for $20 or so and just use that, I haven't tried network streaming. It works on the Sony 6500 as well.
 

LuvMyQuad

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Your Sony can stream DSD files over network? That's impressive! I use my Oppo 93 for dvd-audio ISO's and bluray ISO's. I can only dream of sacd ISO capability in any player.

The thing that I don't understand is why one would have DSD files on a server. The files are huge! I'm too lazy at this time to convert my sacd collection to flac. I'd rather just burn my sacd ISO's and play the backups on the Oppo 93 or my Sony BDP780.
I believe both JRiver and Foobar can play SACD ISO files directly. Of course they will convert the DSD to LPCM. I suspect that is also what's happening when ubertrout says he is streaming DSD. Its being converted to LPCM first.
 

ubertrout

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I believe both JRiver and Foobar can play SACD ISO files directly. Of course they will convert the DSD to LPCM. I suspect that is also what's happening when ubertrout says he is streaming DSD. Its being converted to LPCM first.
No, the Sony can take DSD downloads (NOT .iso files, I mean .dsf files) and send the DSD signal over HDMI.
 

LuvMyQuad

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No, the Sony can take DSD downloads (NOT .iso files, I mean .dsf files) and send the DSD signal over HDMI.
OK I see. I think some media players now can handle dsf files as well. Kodi can play .dff files (the Phillips version of DSD) but because you cant tag them they wont show up in the music library. I just convert them to FLAC and play those.
 

Kal Rubinson

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I'm thinking desktop computer with internal 2 X 5TB drives = 10TBs total. Any reason to not have the drives internally installed and be done with it, other than the USB backups I have elsewhere.
I prefer a NAS as multiple drives can be noisy and better placed remotely.
 

Kal Rubinson

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I believe both JRiver and Foobar can play SACD ISO files directly. Of course they will convert the DSD to LPCM. I suspect that is also what's happening when ubertrout says he is streaming DSD. Its being converted to LPCM first.
Both foobar and JRiver can play SACD ISO files directly with or without conversion to PCM.
They and ROON can also play DSF and DFF files directly with or without conversion to PCM.
They can do all this streaming from a remotely located NAS.
..............and in multichannel, too.
 

LuvMyQuad

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After looking for a reasonably priced but high quality HTPC to serve as my media player for a while now, I finally found and settled on one of these.

For under $200 shipped, I have a 4th gen quad core i5, SSD with Windows 7 installed, 4 gig memory, WI-FI, HDMI out, and an HDMI capture card, all in a decent looking box. Its supposed to be new. I did some research and this looks like an OEM hardware box made for a WOW TV collaboration suite that has been re-purposed as a HTPC. The specs seem more than up to the task, and the price was very reasonable compared to a similarly outfitted NUC. I'm not sure how I might use the HDMI input yet, if at all.

The seller is still listing them with 3rd gen processors and no HDMI capture starting at $100 if anyone is interested.
UPDATE:

After receiving the unit and spending a day with it, here is my update.

The unit came with Windows 7 SP1 installed, but Kodi won't install on that OS due to missing framework

I attempted a Windows update to get the needed framework, but each time I hit a roadblock forcing me to conclude (via the error codes returned) that it is probably a non authorized or non updatable version of Windows. Time to buy a new OS.

I purchased Windows 10 and made a bootable USB drive. During install, I also ran into some minor difficulty in that the SS drive was partitioned using an MBR scheme instead of a GPT scheme, which Win10 requires. I had to wipe, re-partition, and reformat the drive. Im glad its a clean install anyway.

I also had an issue with getting the OS activated, in spite of getting and using a valid activation key at purchase. To their credit, MS support took care of it very promptly via on line chat. I had to search for drivers for the video capture card, which I found and installed from the manufacturers support site.

I finally got Kodi 17.1 to install without issue. It loaded the library and is playing as we speak. A few more tweaks and settings and ill install it in the main system and load up skins and add-ons and configure the audio settings.

The unit itself is all I had hoped for. No run issues so far. Bootup is lightning fast. Very quiet, and an attractive box. Too bad I had to spend an extra $100 on the OS. But I feel it was still a great deal.
 

jimfisheye

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Recommending Kodi eh?

What will it do for me that Songbird doesn't?

I figure there sure should be something better available than this old app now but...
Everything plays out the correct channels and I can mix and match formats in the same playlist. What else is there?


PS. Always always format your new drives yourself! You'll know it's done right and if anyone tried to get away with some shenanigans pre-installing something, it will simply be erased.
 
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