I downloaded high-res files and...

My best player is my Audio Research Ref CD9. 

The Reference CD9 incorporates four digital inputs: Asynchronous USB 2.0HS, AES/EBU, RCA, and Toslink. All inputs handle 24 bit / 192k resolution.

I recently downloaded a few albums in FLAC and WAV files that I would really like to play via the CD9.

But how? 

Try 1. I purchased some 700MB TDK CDR, with a view to burning the tracks onto the discs to become standard cd's.

But, as you know, traditional cd players, esp this one, ONLY play Redbook cd's. And the files of these cd's are .CDDA. So I started to convert the files using an online service and it delivered me a .cdda file. All good, I guess.

Then I went to 'test it' by trying to play the single .cdda track I had back on my Mac. Nothing would play it. Nothing. Not VLC, Not Apple Music. Nutz. Test 1. Fail.

Probably, I need to convert whatever the CDR will hold, probably 18-20 tracks and then burn them onto the CDR, run over and insert into the cd9 in the living room, and push play...

Now I am thoroughly sick of thinking about what will it take to play these great tracks through the CD9.

As far as the digital inputs in the CD9, the only media player I have right now is a spare Apple Macbook Air that I could probably use. I have a nice USB cable... but the MBA is not an ideal and potentially noisy digital player. It is what it is... I also have an Apple 4K tv not in use, if that helps?

Does anyone have any thoughts about driving this pursuit to completion? Especially how this can become a longer term solution for all my digital files to play through this analog (and DAC) CD9 unit? 

The options seem endless yet the experience is also start-less! Oh, I do have my LG tv optical connected to the CD9 to play Tidal, not too badly.  




Quick fix is to use your Mac Book but your CD9 will operate on WAV or FLAC. I don't know if Apple can play WAV and FLAC, it uses AIFF and ALAC.

Maybe you need a Windows emulator?

Long term solution is to get a server/streamer something like an Aurender N200 or similar and use your CD9 as a DAC. Then you can play Hi-Rez WAV, FLAC and DSD via DOP.

Review here may help: https://6moons.com/audioreviews/arc5/1.html

It can be very frustrating because you have to make sure the type of files that you want to play are compatible with both your player and your DAC. One additional variable is the hand off between the DAC and the player if they are separates.

The CDR experiment was doomed from the start for the reasons that you cited. Most people will play these files from a flash drive or some other hard drive. I also tried using a spare MBA from circa 2009 and it didn’t end well. Macs can be made to play FLAC but it’s a lot of work and you are better off using an Apple Format, another hassle, and the MBA just isn’t a high end player. It also tended to stop playing when an email would come in.  A program like Audirvana Plus might solve all of these issues, but it needs a fair amount of computer processing power to work well, and my MBA used to get hung up a lot

@lordmelton hit the nail on the head. Life will be easier if you get a streamer, one that can handle external storage such as a flash drive, and that can handle various resolutions. You could get one without a DAC if it has outputs that are compatible with your DAC. Something from the iFi lineup will probably fit the bill for a few hundred dollars. Obviously try to do a home audition or get a return policy that will allow for the possibility that the player and the DAC don’t play nice

I have been looking to create digital files from my purchased cds and store away the originals.

Since I do not have the time, nor the patience, to run around finding the “best” way of doing that on site, I have been lately looking into services that do that for you into flac or wav.. (probably would do wav and I have a NAS and hundreds of cds.) such as :


Has anyone had any experience with this type of business?

I own a ARC CD9SE which I use as my DAC… the best sounding DAC I have heard by the way.

The device you play them from (streamer) will have more to do about the sound than the format in most cases.

You need a streamer. I recommend an Aurender. You can put them on the internal storage or play them from NAS, or attach a USB drive to it.

I have experimented in my system and the same recording sounds exactly the same from a CD, from the streamer storage, NAS, or from Qobuz streaming service (this is a function of my top notch streamer). FLAC sounds better than WAV. The most important thing is the streamer. PCs do not make great streamers. Single purpose streamers sound the best… the higher level ones sound much better. My Aurender sounds as good as my high end vinyl side.

My systems are shown under my USERID.

As others have said a good streamer is your easiest/best solution, and if you don’t already have Qobuz I’d highly recommend getting it as for $13/month you’ll have access to tons of music — a lot of it in hi res — and likely never deal with downloading and conflicting formats ever again.  Life’s too short.