Is Windows Media Lossless Lossless???
Like many of you out there I've been building my own music server on PC, with the goal of remote controlling it over wireless home network by Pocket PC. IMHO the servers available commrcially right now are either way too expensive, don't support uncompressed, or require you to use a TV to view your entire library in any useful, sortable fashion unless you add an even more expensive control system like Crestron. I don't know about you but I don't want the TV or computer monitor on when it's music time, and I don't want a hardwired touch screen on my coffee table, so for now it's Pocket PC for me.
OK, starting with a spanking new 300 Gig drive, my CD Favorites library was first copied in as WAV's. Then I discovered WAV's don't support tagging, at least not in a uniform standard (the jukeboxes I'm trying to remote control with pocket PC, either J. River, Windows Media or WInAmp, don't recognize MusicMatch WAV tags). This means, to the jukeboxes I can control with PocketPC, my WAV libray is 2000 INDIVIDUAL SONGS, not groupable by artist or album, which means the list is HUGE.
So, I put everything in again as Window Media Lossless, which has built-in tags and sorts by album, artist, even has album cover info embedded. J. River Media Center reads the tags, so does WMP 9 or 10, so does MusicMatch. Everything shows up and works on a Pocket PC running NetRemote running J. River. Very elegant GUI. 80 Gigs becmae 40 Gigs. Great, right? EXCEPT I can hear the difference between WMA Lossless and WAV or the original CD!!! Think I'm nuts? Here's what I hear, tell me if you agree:
-Big nasty screeches from either physical disc read errors or when I had my PC doing something else intesive while ripping. The same song ripped to WAV has no screech!
-Pops at beginnning of albums or individual songs
-And it's not a volume difference!!!
This is playing the same song as WAV and WMA Lossless back to back out of the PC, which eliminates the possiblity of extra jitter coming from the Creative Labs PC soundcard digital out (although does not eliminate the possiblity that WMA lossless generates more jitter than WAV on playback). I also hear the same differences when WMA Lossless is compared to the original CD using digital outs of various Sony gear. My system:
Musical Fidelity CD Pre 24 (multiple digital ins)
Musical Fidelity A308 CR Amp
Harbeth Compact 7 ES-2's or
Creative Soundlabs Digital PC Output set at 44.1 KHz, but can run up to 96 kHz/ 24 bit.
I'm very interested to hear if anyone else hears what I hear. Or can suggest a better lossless (although you'd best be sure as this will mean ripping it all again!).
Thanks for listening.