What's more important? : quantity or quality?
FLACs eat up sdcard space. that's just a fact. so why not stream it?
For those lucky enough to have UNLIMITED DATA PLANS
Oh, how sweet it is.
- Windows users, I HIGHLY recommend JRiver Media Center
as your media server. Why? First, you can't go wrong with it as a base for HTPC anyway.. but because through it's companion app Gizmo (free in Play store), it is capable of using the same audiophile grade codecs to encode / decode your lossless files through URL streaming (HTML5 I believe) and preserve a respectable amount of quality. other solutions could include Plex, Plugplayer, etc.
Of course this works almost flawlessly on a decent WiFi connection, but my main purpose was 4G streaming on the road. I'd say as long as I have a solid 3G/low 4G, buffering for tracks is under 20 seconds. Full 4G is almost seamless (YMMV, I am streaming from a FiOS connection but I see no reason why broadband cable wouldn't suffice). The CONS: connectivity, passing between 3/4G, buffering large amounts of data seemlessly... it's not perfect yet but it definately beats paying for Spotify
For the Less Fortunate! And Data Scrooges!
or you just don't wanna wait.
- Assuming an sd-card + internal doesn't satisfy, you will need to assess your device's USB host capacity. the ultimate goal in this case is to use USB storage to accommodate large collections. You will need a USB OTG
cable (they are largely universal but check the reviews). Furthermore, most devices have a different condition for enabling OTG support.
For example: SGS3 is simply plug-n-play for thumb drives up to keyboards. I have a Droid Bionic which comes with several expensive docks, but can be OTG capable with an externally powered USB hub + OTG cable.
ICS brings necessary usb storage drivers, all that's left is tuning up your operating system to produce the best possible output.
(i'll probably add as an addendum to this post in the near future if there's interest)
Signal Path Overview (mostly FYI)
if that all seems reasonable to you (music is of course a subjective experience!)- unless you have a high-end after market stereo, chances are your audio output at this point will sound terrific with a simple aux cable. People mistakenly believe their iPods/mobile devices have inferior DACs and that full digital pass through produces the highest quality. What these devices are lacking isn't conversion quality, it's amplification
. Any audio buff, or avid listener for that matter, knows that source degradation occurs when software amplification / coloration
is introduced PRIOR to gain stage(actually, at any point in the chain if you're an elitist
). it is for this reason that adjusting EQ on your car stereo will typically sound better than doing so on your phone. our aim is to output from the phone's aux jack the *cleanest source material possible*, even if the signal seems "quiet".
not surprisingly a well preserved MP3 at 320kbps can sound indistinguishable if not BETTER than a FLAC at ~800kbps played through Poweramp with bass knob turned up and various stock EQ settings on top of Beats Audio, 3D sound stage, DSP, etc etc. keep in mind that many of those audio effects are designed for earbud use
. they attempt to compensate for weak headphone playback by augmenting the strongest frequencies (like bass and high-end treble) and adding virtual "space" to the sound with reverb. this is why beats earphones, when coupled with beats audio software, sound A LOT A HELL louder and "crisper" than average headphones.. the headphones and the software component are doing similar things, just on a hw vs. sw level. (not my cup of tea, but it's a brilliant use of simple acoustics to wow consumers, eh?)
Mobile Audio Considerations
car head-units and discreet amplifiers, on the other hand, don't need as much help... depending on hardware of course. i'll use my own arrangement (though somewhat unique due to Motorola hardware) as an example of how this could play out:
- Lossless source audio is outputted by capable app (in my case, Neutron Player)
- Droid Bionic sits in Motorola Vehicle dock which features a proprietary Y-cable that carries analog audio over USB + charges
- Because of the analog signal going out through USB, the phone bypasses software DSP / volume controls (the assumption being that you are connecting to a stereo with a stronger amp!). this is for all intents and purposes the cleanest signal that Android can output without more components in the chain. the intent is more than just clear, the design of the dock+cable disables the OS from adding DSP or software amplification. this is true of a handful of manufacterer docks.
- 3.5 mm aux cable connects the terminating end of the Y-cable to head-unit Aux in
- Head-unit outputs stereo RCA to a discreet amplifier in trunk
- Amplifier drives component speaker system
Don't be afraid to turn the knob to say 30 when your CDs play at 20 (just make sure to turn it BACK down!
), but on most stock radios you don't want to crank past 70% of max volume. i like my music loud but more importantly *clear*... but i guess if you've gotten this far in a FLAC thread you're already convinced!
Links / Resources
- this is a really nifty hw hack that basically allows any portable music device to hijack iPod docks/connections. it does *not* add digital audio playback, it is simply injecting an analog signal into a pre-existing dock or stereo system.
For Motorola Users: The Y-cable for Droid 3 and up devices (?) is hilariously difficult to obtain if you have already purchased a vehicle mount from Verizon or any non Moto OEM package. For whatever reason, they loathe selling the cable as a seperate item and will likely charge you ~$20 (though best grudging investment of my life). Details:
Bionic Car Mount Y-Cable Discussion (External)
And for the truly adventurous:
[DIY] "Car Dock" Cable - USB audio out + charging - UPDATED! (11-9-11)
Potential Future Topics
Basic Android Optimizations for Audio Quality
Network / Connectivity Tweaks for Streaming
(True!) Digital Audio Output : External USB Components Overview
Desktop / Mobile Software Recommendations / Reviews
this started as a harmless reply to OP but, we can't help ourselves sometimes, heh. if there's interest feel free to suggest something, I'm no expert but im sure i'll have 2 cents at the least! i'd love to see a serious A/V resource eventually come together for Android as devices are rapidly evolving and opening new possibilities.
---------- Post added at 10:06 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:47 AM ----------
Originally Posted by polobunny
epic thread dig
it was meant to be my friend.