XLD or Max will convert what you want and they are free.
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The track I downloaded was a Reference Recording, Exotic Dances from the Opera, which is listed on the HDTracks site as 24 bit/96kHz.
The Marantz won't play it.
Shouldn't I be able to download a flac file on a mac as a flac file and then
copy it to a flash drive and still have it be a flac file? Or does passing through the mac environment corrupt the file? Keep in mind that I am not attempting to play the file from the Mac itself.
I agree, the file should remain a FLAC file when you transfer it from your Mac to a thumbdrive. So I don't understand why the Marantz won't play it.
You know, this is likely unrelated, but I just copied my hi rez Rush and Milos Karagdelic FLAC files from my Mac to a flash drive. I also copied some Apple Lossless files to the flash drive. I wanted to see if my car could play the FLAC files, as it has a USB port. It turned out it could not. I wasn't really expecting it to. It occurred to me later though that the FLAC files may not be to blame, as I have literally thousands of Kindle book files on the same thumb drive, so maybe the car stereo got overwhelmed looking for audio files. SO, maybe we should both make sure there's not a lot of extraneous junk on our thumbdrives? I don't expect the Camaro to play the FLAC, esp hi-rez FLAC, but I do expect the Marantz to, of course.
I downloaded Decibel and it it was easy to use and now I can play the files, but not on the Marantz.
The display in the Marantz seems to be telling me that it will output only 44.1 khz. The Marantz is on loan to me from a dealer. I suspect that it may need a firmware upgrade( which is not free) to output 96 khz but when I called the dealer they were clueless and unwilling to let me make the upgrade (they had to borrow the piece themselves from another store). The Marantz also isn't capable of Air Play without the upgrade, so I can't test that feature. This is a real problem, as I otherwise am not very impressed by this piece. It sounds very laid back and uninsightful, no match for the firewire DAC that I use with my Mac Book in my home theatre system or for my PS Audio Digital Link 3 that I use in my two channel system.
Re: your car: I suspect that the USB will only play mp3 files or the equivalent
Update: after I did a firmware update that i didn't have to pay for on the Marantz, it is now playing my flash drive with the flac files. It seems to be outputting them in 96 khz.
Previously, I wasn't to impressed with the Marantz, but now I will reserve judgement until I have tried a few more High Rez files.
Audioengr: Are you suggesting that it works just as well to use Pure Music and forget downloading XLD (unless you want to rip)? I am looking at the exact same issue as the OP. A friend is coming to visit with some FLAC music but my iMac, iTunes library with Pure Music is AIFF all the way. If the OP wanted to incorporate FLAC files into his Mac based library the conversion is still necessary correct? Would he (I) convert the FLAC music into AIFF, place it in the iTunes library and then move it to an external HD if so desired? I am fuzzy on the exact way to do this.
If you want to play FLAC files using a USB or Firewire converter or DAC, or directly from the MAC, I would highly recommend using XLD to convert these files first to .wav. You will find that the sound quality of the .wav is superior, not because the FLAC decoding is flawed, but because these decoders simply cannot keep-up in real time with the datastream. Same for AIFF.
I know saying this that I will get a lot if flac from the posters here, yet I know it to be true. I recently was in my room ar RMAF playing a 44.1 track of Steven Stills "treetop flyer". Great track, but it was given to us in FLAC format. one of my roommates said it would souind better as .wav,a and I said no way. Anyway , I converted it from .wav to FLAC and played both tracks.
The FLAC track was like listening through a tunnel. The .wave file was open, airy and natural. I am a believer now. One show attendee in the room said "shit, my entire library is FLAC, I dont want to hear this"
To hear these differences, you will need a truly resolving system. Ours was.
Depends on your operating system. I did the same coparison with my Linux music server and no audible difference were heard between FLAC Vs WAV.
If you have enough CPU power and a good decoder, there is no reason to hear any difference. The only issue that may come to mind is a very poor implementation of the audio streaming that have the decoder and the streaming interface fighting for CPU cycles, resources or interrupts.
Saying that WAV is better than FLAC is a wrong blanket statement.
Have fun testing!
Achilles: you had asked about the Marantz NA 7004 player a few months ago on this thread and I just saw it now. I had discussed it on some other threads in the "Digital" forum.
It turned that my original model was defective. After obtaining an exchange, I'd give it a big thumbs up for sound. It uses the same cirrhus logic chip that the 803 and 804 SACD/CD players use . If you have familiarity with those players you will know what to expect.
It is a very versatile piece. I had originally purchased it with High Rez
Downloads in mind but have wound up playing standard Rez material from my MacBook and Internet radio at least as much.
It's has a couple of major weaknesses: the first is the interface, which is terrible and mandates that you use another device such as an iPad to control it. The iPad app is less than perfect, to say the least. The second problem is that the device itself is buggy. For example, the iPod/USB input will frequently give "no compatibility" indication, even when the same track has been played on the player before, and requires multiple overrides to work.
The application that plays the FLAC file needs to "extract" chunks of it into memory when playing. If the application is poorly written, the extraction process may use resource that will degrade the streaming output. A good example is trying to play a 1080p file on a weak CPU with slow graphics card. It is not the file but the way it is executed.
I suggest you try comparing FLAC Vs WAV with various operating systems while using different players.
I'm not sure what you mean, but I am a total newb to this, so you may be right. What I do know is that I can download the hi-res files and play them without any conversion necessary with Songbird. If I want to play them in itunes I have to convert them to Apple Lossless, but these files have a lot of static noise in them. Songbird allows me to play them without the noise.