So let me get this right...you've burned 7000 CDs from downloaded MP3s?
Daft question, but why? And yes, the quality of the MP3s will determine how good they're going to sound (or not).
I'd be inclined to think that the quality of the underlying recording and its subsequent mastering is the real benchmark of how good the resulting rip's going to be, not the MP3 rate per se.
Well, there are some factors that might be an issue.
No error correction
Low bit rate (sub 128Kbps)
Old mp3 encoder using outdated algorithms
Failing optical drive
All of the above can contribute to less than optimum mp3 rips, with various audible artifacts.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
Yes, this I get, but all things being equal, and with a decent rate (128kbps upwards), the recording quality and mastering is the real barometer, not the format you choose. But this is more like an infrstructure issue than anything else - the physical media is scratched, the drive is flaky, the bitrate is too low, etc.
Onkyo TX-8050 / Tannoy Revolution DC4 / Marantz SA7001-KI / Apple TV 3 / Sony PS3 320Gb / Denon DVD-3930
I listen to a lot of 128kbps electronica (more background music than anything else) and it sounds fine, although I wouldn't recommend it for rock. I agree with RS.
David @Frank Harvey Hi-Fi, Coventry
Mitsubishi HC7000 / Oppo BDP103 / Audiolab 8200AP / Rotel RMB1575 / kick ass speaker system
Fair enough, so you're saying the quality of the hardware has an impact in the transference? Or the bitrate that you choose?
Neither really, well not directly. I'm just saying that I've heard some MP3s on friends/colleagues devices that they think are absolutely fine, and to my ears they would be unlistenable. The quality can be really variable. But you're absolutely right that you can't just tie it down to bitrate. I heard what was purportedly a 320k MP3 on someone's MP3 player a few months ago but IMO it had been upsampled from about 96K or maybe 128K at best, but he thought it sounded brilliant.
Main gear: Mac Mini > HRT Streamer II+ > Marantz PM66 KI > Mission 794
Also cluttering-up the place:
Thorens TD160 no cartridge; Marantz CD63 mkII KI; Technics SL-P777; Cyrus 2 + PSX; Cyrus Tuner; Nakamichi DR-1
I just ripped a load of my cds onto cds for demos on my computer and I could not tell the difference between the 2, also got some free tracks (mp3) off Amazon and they were fine also. The only thing that did not seem to work was fast forwarding.
Forgetting all the legal implications etc etc, in a word yes it's a waste of good hifi, because even if you burn CDS from uncompressed/lossless audio it is still highly susceptible to the brand of discs you use, and the burning software as well. I've done this for years, I know.
Having said that, use your ears! So your burned CDs may still sound good!
Arcam Solo Mini/Monitor Audio RX1/Cambridge Audio 751BD/Samsung 37” LCD
I agree, but I'm not sure that the OPs 'collection' can be considered as having any consistency. It looks to me like there are a lot of factors that need to be mitigated and I think the only way to do this would be to run through with iTunes match. At least then the collection would have some consistency.
The OP never said in what format the CDs were ripped into iTunes. Some of them might be in a lossless format - who knows.
I agree with a couple of posters here. You need first of all to get everything you've got onto a computer in one form or another. This is a lot of ripping if you do it manually. The CD collection is of inconsistent quality, prone to loss, damage, or destruction, and is basically illegal contraband (LOL). But there are solutions to each of these problems.
I think the best move, if you are getting a nice hifi system, would be to either use iTunes Match (as suggested above) or Spotify. You still have to rip your 7000 CDs back into iTunes to use iTunes Match, but once you do, you will enjoy a minimum of 256k quality, you can put the songs on all your (Apple) devices, and you'll have some legal cover, since iTunes Match is, in some ways, an amnesty provision, and some of what you pay goes to the artists. This programme is designed for people like yourself.
Despite that, Spotify Premium is a better choice (though more expensive). It gives you 320k quality, which is really good, you can listen to it on anything, and it gives you fully legal access to not only the stuff on your CDs but just about everything else, too. The best part is that you don't have to rip anything - it's all already there.
So to answer the original question, no, you should not buy a fancy CD player. You should buy a nice DAC. A DAC will make your computer sound like a fancy CD player. You can also, if you have a lot of bootleg or indy CDs that you need to keep, buy a cheap CD player and plug it into the DAC, and it too will sound like a great CD player.
Go for the amp though...that part is easy.
Digital sources: Benchmark DAC1, Cambridge DACMagic, Oppo BDP95EU
Amplifiers: McIntosh MC150, Balanced Audio Technology VK-50 SE, Pathos Logos, Naim Nait 5, NAD 326Bee
Speakers: Homebuilt based on Scan-Speak 15W/8530K00, ProAc Response D18, PMC DB1i, Boston A25, B&W PV1D subwoofer, Homebuilt based on Fostex 4" full-range drivers
Cables: QED speaker cables, Van den Hull XLR interconnects, among many others
Under construction: Tripath 2020-based class T amp, Mini-TL speakers based on Seas W15LY001 drivers
Recently sold: KEF Q300 speakers, AudioEngine D1 DAC
Yes spotify is good but does not have everything, some big groups are virtually missing, like Pink Floyd/Led Zepp, it is good for jazz, OK for classical. As for premium which is £9.99 a month, not sure you need that as sound on the ordinary one is pretty good and only £4.99 a month, you get a free 6 month trial for that nad then you can get a free 1 month trial for thye premium, so just try and see.
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