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    My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

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    sKiZo

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by sKiZo on Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:45 pm

    Or put everything on an HTPC and hide the CDs in the closet?

    I put a couple TBs of CDs on a hard drive using jRiver Media Center's internal ripper (EAC Lite) and haven't fumbled with a jewel box for years. Especially nice is the "library" front end that keeps everything organized and gives you one click listening.

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    CletusB

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by CletusB on Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:02 pm

    What are your thoughts KT-88 vs KT-120 and in that context tube vs Weber WZ68?
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    deepee99

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by deepee99 on Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:28 pm

    CletusB wrote:Now I have to design a big plywood rack-space for all those CDs Shocked
    ....and will do a simple catalog database with excel I guess.
    Save your wall space, Cletus, and get a good CD ripper. I have some ideas we could discuss in a PM. Skiz has some experience with ripping as well, and prolly others on the VTA board.
    I ripped my entire CD library and now the discs, residing unused in the basement, are a lending library for people who donate to our local Pet Rescue. No need for Excel; just use an iPad, iPhone or anything else that runs iPeng, and it will catalogue and control on the fly. Way cool.

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    sKiZo

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by sKiZo on Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:28 am

    CletusB wrote:What are your thoughts KT-88 vs KT-120 and in that context tube vs Weber WZ68?  

    I really like the KT120's and the ST120 is plenty strong to drive them. Kind of a tight fit on the stock chassis, but they WILL work as evidenced by Mr. Bob's example on his own rig - not sure if he's still running them, but he posted up some pics a while back.

    As far as rectifiers go, I'm a fan of the big bottle GZ37. Kinda pricey, but excellent results here. I got a real deal on a pair some time ago figuring a spare would be nice to have - been running the first one for several years now.

    PS - here's what my tube temps look like. The extra ventilation and wider spacing make a world of difference.

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    CletusB

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by CletusB on Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:02 am

    Excellent, sounds really interesting guys and I will PM Skiz in a bit regarding a good CD ripper. And we can certainly discuss a building a “Music Server”, Android compatibility would be perfect (not interested in Home Theater in this context).

    However, here’s the present system configuration so you know what’s goin on with my rig.

    First there’s my recording/playback console (input mixer, guitar effects processors, keyboard, 32-track software recording, blah, blah, blah) where we work with  multiple .wav files and mix down to a master stereo .wav file, etc. This is run by a dedicated PC with Windows 7 and a couple 2TB of hard drives. I also have some CD’s ripped to MP3 and saved there. Monitors are bookshelf powered Edifier.

    There is a stereo feed from this recording console to the VTA ST-120 / VOTT via my A/B switch and stepped attenuator (Source A)

    My good old Pioneer PD-4500 CD deck (was a factory production sample built by me personally at the plant way back) feeds directly as “Source B” of my A/B switch to the stepped-atten, VTA ST-120 / VOTT

    One other thing to note, the whole damned house (all lights, A/Cs, TVs, etc) is automated with Samasung SmartThings and controlled by shouting at Alexa (we have not touched a lightswitch in over a year). I have Amazon Prime and  Alexa is further linked via Bluetooth (may change to a hard-wire interconnect) to the recording console and thus easily be routed to the VTA ST-120 as “Source A”.  Given the Alexa thing, I can shout at her to play virtually any song from Amazon Prime Music and I believe we have a Pandora account too.


    Last edited by CletusB on Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Roy

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by Roy on Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:09 am

    https://www.freac.org/  easy peasy program  Has CDDB https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CDDB support so should render album artist and track titles on the fly every time.

    Another great one is Exact Audio Copy http://www.exactaudiocopy.org/ which has an additional benefit - as well album/artist/track info on the fly it will provide some indication of the quality of the rip/cd: others who have ripped the same track will hash them and this hash is then compared to your own and it will show a % of accuracy using Accurate Rip http://www.accuraterip.com/ as well as provide some settings to make EAC perform best with your dvdrom drive in your pc..

    Have a look at the various dacs on offer from Allo Cletus - combined with a little raspberry pi 3 it makes for a pretty good sounding connected solution which you can operate from your smartphone and just stick that pi and dac somewhere out of view. I have the Allo Boss dac - has a very nice output stage which gives my beloved old Denon DCD 2560 a run for its money.. https://www.allo.com/sparky/boss-dac.html
    https://www.allo.com/sparky/piano-dac-2-1.html is a nice one if you run something with a subwoofer or two - fully programmable active crossover in it.
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    CletusB

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by CletusB on Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:39 am

    Roy wrote:https://www.freac.org/  easy peasy program  Has CDDB https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CDDB support so should render album artist and track titles on the fly every time.

    Another great one is Exact Audio Copy http://www.exactaudiocopy.org/ which has an additional benefit - as well album/artist/track info on the fly it will provide some indication of the quality of the rip/cd: others who have ripped the same track will hash them and this hash is then compared to your own and it will show a % of accuracy using Accurate Rip http://www.accuraterip.com/ as well as provide some settings to make EAC perform best with your dvdrom drive in your pc..

    Have a look at the various dacs on offer from Allo Cletus - combined with a little raspberry pi 3 it makes for a pretty good sounding connected solution which you can operate from your smartphone and just stick that pi and dac somewhere out of view.  I have the Allo Boss dac - has a very nice output stage which gives my beloved old Denon DCD 2560 a run for its money.. https://www.allo.com/sparky/boss-dac.html
    https://www.allo.com/sparky/piano-dac-2-1.html is a nice one if you run something with a subwoofer or two - fully programmable active crossover in it.

    Yes, the raspberry pi 3 solution is very appealing indeed
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    CletusB

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by CletusB on Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:06 am

    Ok this may be a stupid question (no morning coffee yet), but I seem to be missing piece of the puzzle.
    In the RPi solution, where are the CDs ripped to / files stored? There must be a hard drive somewhere  ....with that, I will proceed to brew a cup of the finest coffee I can find in the kitchen! What a Face
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    Roy

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by Roy on Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:44 am

    hehe ^^  same here  Near 1500hrs now and I need that pep..

    Oh yes - you would need to hook up a drive to sómething.. Could be to your router if it has usb ports - this way any device in your home can access it. Or directly to one of the four usb ports on the rpi3 - you can leave that running 24/7 pretty much as it uses very little power and  other hardware could access that too when set up properly.

    400 cds would amount to about oh I reckon 120gb if you rip to flac



    Sorry to hear about your brother by the way. Some people give a shine to life and from what you wrote it seems your brother did just that
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    Roy

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by Roy on Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:52 am

    I have not looked into it myself but I think the software I use on my pi, https://osmc.tv/ ,  in its Music menu has an option to scan áll music in the music library and render normalizing values for all of them without actualy altering the music files themselves - can set the attenuator on the vta to something you like and then just  sit back. the https://volumio.org/ software might be more expansive in its options though Music wise - OSMC is an all round sort of thing.
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    CletusB

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by CletusB on Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:08 am

    I have a Rpi running OSMC/Kodi for my home theater solution.   .....having had some GREAT Colombian Dark Roasted coffee:

    I will like to build a dedicated Rpi / Allo DAC stuff probably sourcing the files from one of the Studio Music computer's 2TB hard drives. I have a Nexus 7 Android tablet that can be dedicated as the wireless GUI I guess.
    ......Am I on the right track here or too much coffee?
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    Roy

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by Roy on Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:32 am

    ..sorry what was that? The bubbles in my La Chouffe are véry loud XD
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    Roy

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by Roy on Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:40 am

    yeah pretty much the only thing we still use our old nexus for too ^^ that and roland piano software


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    arledgsc

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by arledgsc on Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:47 am

    CletusB wrote:Ok this may be a stupid question (no morning coffee yet), but I seem to be missing piece of the puzzle.
    In the RPi solution, where are the CDs ripped to / files stored? There must be a hard drive somewhere  ....with that, I will proceed to brew a cup of the finest coffee I can find in the kitchen! What a Face

    I have literally spent 100s of hours ripping CDs and LPs to my NAS drive array (Synology DS214).  The two disc array is in mirrored configuration so if I lose a drive I always have a backup.  Each drive is 2TB but have only used up 1TB of capacity in 6 years of doing this.  About once per year the NAS is backed up to an external drive.  Never needed it though.  

    An older (but not terribly slow) computer is employed to access the NAS drives (Ethernet) and playback the files via USB to a DAC.  Access is near instantaneous when selecting files randomly after everything was converted to gigabit Ethernet speed.

    Need to find a better CD ripper to properly extract the CD metadata (artist, title, album, etc).  Some of my 80s CDs do not have this info so each track is manually edited to add.  In the end it has been well worth the effort.  Playback SW is via Foobar2000 with an Anamon skin for looks.  Foobar2000 is free and the skin cost me $15.  The Anamon wrapper allows remote control via an iPhone or iPad on a shared network.

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    Roy

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by Roy on Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:32 pm

    Then try Exact Audio Copier arledgsc - it is as good as it gets. Saying yes to the accurate rip and cddb in that should give you 99% coverage on most cd's for metadata and rip accuracy comparisons. What remains would be obscure and interesting enough to manually enter album artist track by hand and uploading to the databases for others to enjoy the fruits of your labour

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    deepee99

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by deepee99 on Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:01 pm

    IMHO, Flac is the way to go. Most of the other formats have some "correction" software built into them.
    I have an Innuos Zenith:
    http://www.innuos.com/en/catalog/go/zenith-mk2-std
    Comes stock with a 1 TB ss drive. There's an output for extra drive capacity/backup if you want. I have several hundred CDs ripped in Flac and haven't even made a dent in the storage, maybe 12 percent.
    To really do it justice, you'll need a decent DAC as well. I use an Aqua Hi-Fi La Scala:
    http://www.aquahifi.com/la_scala.html
    The tubes in there aren't just buffers: they're actually part of the volt-amp circuitry.
    Both are made by very small companies but built like tanks. The Innuos line is from Portugal and the Aqua in Italy. The list prices are way over-stated as they include the European VAT which at least in the western hemisphere we can dodge. Customer support (Innuos in the UK and Aqua in the U.S.) is superb. You usually get the CEO who designed the machine on the first hop, and both have dealers and product support in the U.S.
    I think sKiZo uses Flac as well.
    This is one area where I have splurged a bit on cabling and terminations. The ripper and the DAC are ideally connected by decent USB 2.0, then the DAC to the preamp via XLR. You can use standard RCA between the DAC and the preamp, but XLR is slightly recommended *if* you have the capability. I've run it both ways and do prefer XLR, but only by a little tiny bit.


    Last edited by deepee99 on Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:03 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added info)
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    arledgsc

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by arledgsc on Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:20 pm

    Roy wrote:Then try Exact Audio Copier arledgsc  - it is as good as it gets

    Found it and it looks great.  Has many options for configuring and formatting CD metadata.  Thank you!

    Exact Audio Copy download...

    Yup, FLAC is the way to go to conserve disc space.  No loss and the data can be fully recovered unlike MP3.
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    Roy

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by Roy on Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:30 pm

    Another usefull program for those who want to keep their data/music safe and recoverable
    http://www.quickpar.org.uk/
    good practice 10% recovery volumes of any given set of data
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    CletusB

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by CletusB on Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:38 pm

    I've downloaded and playing with EAC   .....me likee so far! Cool .....and using FLAC as my standard
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    Roy

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by Roy on Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:47 pm

    That la scala look nice Deepee - should feel good too with that Nextel coating ^^ too rich for my blood though I might just order some Nextel grey to lather onto my rpi3 for fondle factor
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    deepee99

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by deepee99 on Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:04 pm

    Roy wrote:That la scala look nice Deepee - should feel good too with that Nextel coating ^^ too rich for my blood though   I might just order some Nextel grey to lather onto my rpi3 for fondle factor
    @Roy, as I mentioned, these are small companies and prices (absent the VAT) are negotiable.
    @Cletus, please do expound upon EAC. How does it sound?
    The Innuos software imports all the metadata, which are then visible on your iPhone or whatever.
    I eschew all Apple products generally, but iPeng appears to have the upper hand. I've heard rumours that Innuos will have their own control programme sometime later this year that will be cross-platform.


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    CletusB

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by CletusB on Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:22 pm

    Have a bunch of Rpi stuff here and available (the Pi, WiFi dongle, Power Supply, 8GB SD card, 32GB Flash drive, case). Want to experiment with an Rpi, HiFiBerry DAC+ – Pro, 2TB USB Hard Drive and Nexus 7 tablet solution.
    Only thing I need to order is the HiFiBerry

    Looking at this with great interest
    https://pimylifeup.com/raspberry-pi-music-player/
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    CletusB

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by CletusB on Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:26 pm

    NICE! ....the EAC app is ripping away making FLAC and jpg files in the background! ......I think I'm falling in love again! Very Happy
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    Roy

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by Roy on Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:56 pm

    not the dingleberry - boss ! =}
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    sKiZo

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

    Post by sKiZo on Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:35 pm

    deepee99 wrote:
    I think sKiZo uses Flac as well.
    This is one area where I have splurged a bit on cabling and terminations. The ripper and the DAC are ideally connected by decent USB 2.0, then the DAC to the preamp via XLR. You can use standard RCA between the DAC and the preamp, but XLR is slightly recommended *if* you have the capability. I've run it both ways and do prefer XLR, but only by a little tiny bit.

    Yup - FLAC is lossless and stores tags internally, eliminating the need for "sidecar" files for tags and covers.

    Don't forget the other end of the USB cable. Lots of competition on the USB channels built into a computer that can result in noise, so I went with an "audio grade" expansion card here. Creates a unique channel, and only thing plugged into it is the DAC and an ADC that I use for ripping vinyl.



    Actually paid more for that than I got into the DAC if I include the separate power supply. That bypasses the computer's power rail (another common source of noise) entirely.



    Add a nice high end cable, and difference is night and day.

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    Re: My VTA ST-120 is on the way .....and other loose ramblings of an old fart

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