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Thread: Physical media or digital rip/download?

  1. #1
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    Default Physical media or digital rip/download?

    In the topic about the Blu-ray's in 'The Early Years' box set deteriorating (link) we started going off topic about physical media (CD, DVD, LP, Blu-ray) versus digital media (a rip to hard disk, digital download).

    I said that I have mixed feelings about digital media. I associate MP3's and MKV files with Limewire, Napster and The Pirate Bay and I don't take it seriously. On the other hand, on the go I'm very pleased with it. I can take my favorite albums with me everywhere I go on my smartphone. Can't live without it anymore. But for the "feeling" I like physical media. And I think that you can not listen to albums like 'The Wall' without the double LP album in hands. The wall gets higher on every label of the 4 sides of the LP's, the wall opens up when you open the album. And you have no idea "what" exactly the Judge is if you only have the digital download of the album. Same goes for DSotM. Open the grate-fold and you see the heartbeat going through every every song, just like the audio suggests.

    @Roscoe59 argued that he rips every physical media to a large capacity NAS and plays his audio and video via Plex. He also owns physical media and can enjoy artwork, lyrics, concepts etc. like that. The NAS has backups to separate HDD's so there's no fear of CD and Blu-ray rot.

    I'm not ready for that yet. I like to play physical media via Kodi Media Center software. I can zoom in on movies that are a bit "too" wide screen for my liking etc. However, media players like that change every few years which I cannot get used to. And playing audio on Kodi is a horrible experience that I wouldn't do to my worst enemies. @Roscoe59 recommended the Plex player because it's bound to stay a standard for years to come and probably won't change too much. Hmmm. If there's a Plex player for Linux I might covert...

    How do y'all play music, videos etc.? Do you like digital stuff, or are you an avid physical media fan and do you take meticulous care of your collection?

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    Quote Originally Posted by meneerjansen View Post
    [...]I'm not ready for that yet. I like to play physical media via Kodi Media Center software. I can zoom in on movies that are a bit "too" wide screen for my liking etc. However, media players like that change every few years which I cannot get used to. And playing audio on Kodi is a horrible experience that I wouldn't do to my worst enemies. @Roscoe59 recommended the Plex player because it's bound to stay a standard for years to come and probably won't change too much. Hmmm. If there's a Plex player for Linux I might covert...

    How do y'all play music, videos etc.? Do you like digital stuff, or are you an avid physical media fan and do you take meticulous care of your collection?
    You mention being a Linux user who would like a better music player than Kodi.
    There are many options for that.
    From the command line, two that work just fine are mplayer and mpg123.
    For a GUI, Amarok is very nice, as are Audacious and XMMS.
    There are many others out there.
    "I don't know; I was really drunk at the time." - Henry McCullough

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    I use a Synology DS420+ NAS. Here's a great in-depth review:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK4A...el=NASCompares

    I also created a 10-minute video tour of my NAS set up and how my media is all organized on PLEX just for this group.
    Here's the link. The password is Yeeshkul

    https://vimeo.com/566672214

    I rip my Blu-rays and DVDs with MakeMKV when I want a lossless rip (DVDs are always ripped lossless). When I need to rip and compress a Blu-ray (to my own specs) I use DVD Fab 12 (it was worth buying the full license for this one only for the Blu-ray ripper). Wait for a sale.

    https://www.dvdfab.cn/blu-ray-ripper...ckid=headmenu2

    A NAS set up may not be right for everyone but hopefully this will offer folks some educated choices. Thanks for starting this thread!
    Last edited by Roscoe59; 2021-06-23 at 06:21 PM.

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    My take on the topic is this...

    For audio, for some years now I pretty much never play physical media and, more recently, more often than not I don't buy physical media when a legitimate downloadable source is available. Any CDs I buy are ripped to FLAC, and I play the FLACs. My preferred (audio) media player has changed over the years. I used to use Cog on macOS, but am now settling on DeaDBeef on macOS. Don't listen on the phone so much, but when I did, I settled on Foobar 2000 for iOS, because I didn't like any of the other FLAC player apps, even when I could find ones that did gapless playback.

    I've never got around to setting up a media server. Way back in the day, it was difficult to determine which ones actually properly supported gapless playback. These days, I don't have the time to wade through tech specs and documentation to (a) set one up and (b) figure out whether or not the server end is transcoding to something less than desirable just to haul it over the home network.

    For video, I never got around to adopting BluRay, and given current reports I have no inclination to. I'm more a consumer of audio than video anyway. Any movies or TV shows we watch these days in the household are via various streaming services. I understand other people's mileage is going to vary on this one, because it's not my main area of interest. But for the old DVD collection, no I have never gotten around to ripping that and I guess I should. I did rip my entire collection of CDs several years ago, which may be part of my motivation for buying lossless downloads these days.

    Everything ripped / download is copied to more than one external hard drive. I've started backing up some of that into the cloud. At least one of the external drives travels with me. I don't currently have a permanent secure off-site backup location, hence the carting around with me of one of the external drives. I used to be not quite paranoid but at least concerned about the loss of my physical collection, but now that the music is all ripped, I'm no longer particularly concerned. It would be sad to lose the physical artifacts, but ultimately for me it's audio that's important.

    I don't take meticulous care of my physical media. Most of the CDs are in a set of cupboards. The older part of the collection is sorted, but once I ripped everything, all the newer ones are just getting piled up in the end cupboard, rather than carefully creating gaps and shuffling everything around. The DVDs are in a different set of drawers. All the vinyl is on some bookshelves, which is less than ideal for vinyl purists. While almost all of the records are in protective plastic covers, it seems that hasn't stopped mould.

    <teasing>
    As for watching the wall grow, well I gotta saying I'm one of those who listened to The Wall so many times when I was younger I can no longer bear it very often. Sacrilege, I know. And I found vinyl tedious to deal with many years ago, so that's not a consideration for my listening enjoyment.
    </teasing>
    Last edited by snagu; 2021-06-24 at 03:26 AM.

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    Fully agree with snagu audio wise.
    I still do buy CDs if they come in a special packaging like those Jethro Tull book editions.
    Otherwise I prefer hi rez downloads wherever possible.
    I have a tiny flat so no need for a complex set-up - I play everything from my hard disc through Foobar (still my favourite player with all its configuration options) and a good external soundcard.
    And of course all my music files are backed up twice with one hard drive stored with a friend in a different house!

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    I've recently bought a Hifiberry DAC for the small Raspberry Pi computer and using moode (https://moodeaudio.org) as an interface. It's a Linux distribution based on Raspbian (Debian for Raspberry Pi). In the background it's using MPD as music player which has been my audio player of choice for the last 15 years. With moode you can use any device with a web browser to access the music. But it's music only, no videos as in Plex.

    Otherwise, I enjoy physical media and the specifics of the format. Remember what Lou Reed said about Metal Machine Music: it defeats you. Because it has a locked groove in the end, so you have to get up at some time and stop the record.

    Similar thing with The Wall (don't like the record that much, either). The breaks between the sides are so important there. Especially after Goodbye Cruel World, but also between Comfortably Numb and The Show Must Go On. It adds to the drama of the record. You lose that with digital media.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldpink View Post
    You mention being a Linux user who would like a better music player than Kodi.
    There are many options for that.
    From the command line, two that work just fine are mplayer and mpg123.
    For a GUI, Amarok is very nice, as are Audacious and XMMS.
    There are many others out there.
    You're right. The ones I like the most use the skins from good ol' WinAmp (QMMP, Audacious). Those skins are low on resolution but very clear in use. Problem are the multichannel mixes I have of certain favorite albums of mine ('Meddle' springs to mind). They are on DVD or Blu-ray and sometimes in MKV or AC3 files. Video players are a nightmare for those (no playlist etc.). But audio players won't take multichannel audio files.

    I used to use a Raspberry Pi for Kodi (Media Center). But a Pi is slow. However, I could attach a USB-DVD player to it to have a "one stop shop" to listen to all my Pink Floyd albums, be it on ripped Blu-ray (i.e. MKV), physical DVD/CD, MP3 etc. Now I use the Xbox One S for Kodi (on my network is a Linux PC with NFS shares that it'll access). But Microsoft won't let software like Kodi access the Blu-ray/DVD/CD player on an Xbox. Aaaaaarrgghhh. And Kodi is horrible for audio files anyway. So I have to switch back and forth from Xbox to PC to listen to music.

    I'm afraid I'm gonna have to go the way of a NAS and a silent PC in my living room. And rip all physical media. Pity. I love shoving a CD in a player and not having to worry 'bout things.


    BTW What are the minimum specs for a PC to play Blu-ray disks? I have a very old used PC w/ 4 GB of RAM (CPU is I think approx. 2.5 GHZ).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roscoe59 View Post
    I also created a 10-minute video tour of my NAS set up and how my media is all organized on PLEX just for this group.
    You're too kind. Thanks for the video. There are a few things other people should know when watching this. On the NAS (network attached storage device) by the company Synology there is/must be installed an operating system called DSM (DiskStation Manager). One can access a NAS running the DSM OS via a webbrowser (e.g. Chrome, Edge, Safari) by typing in its IP address (and port number) or with a special file browser called File Station (well known general file browsers are Windows Explorer and Finder). Plex indeed is a very nice Media Center.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roscoe59 View Post
    I rip my Blu-rays and DVDs with MakeMKV when I want a lossless rip (DVDs are always ripped lossless). When I need to rip and compress a Blu-ray (to my own specs) I use DVD Fab 12 (it was worth buying the full license for this one only for the Blu-ray ripper). Wait for a sale.

    https://www.dvdfab.cn/blu-ray-ripper...ckid=headmenu2

    A NAS set up may not be right for everyone but hopefully this will offer folks some educated choices. Thanks for starting this thread!
    MakeMKV is available for Linux too! see http://www.makemkv.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1053.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newyorkpf View Post
    Similar thing with The Wall (don't like the record that much, either). The breaks between the sides are so important there. Especially after Goodbye Cruel World, but also between Comfortably Numb and The Show Must Go On. It adds to the drama of the record. You lose that with digital media.
    OK, that's a fair point.

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