Porsche offers it’s cars with two high-fidelity audio options. One from Bose and the other made by German exclusive hifi manufacturer Burmester. A car equipped with one of these options comes with the Porsche PCM-System. This is an integrated Tuner (FM, AM, optional DAB+ and digital TV), DVD Player or DVD-Changer, Navigation-System and Media Player.
There is an optional USB-Port and a Jukebox with a 40 GB HDD. With the „Universial-Audio-Interface“-option it’s possible to connect an Apple iPod/iPhone.
Of course you can play your standard MP3 files, kick in some surround effects and enjoy your Bose or Burmester speakers. But to me that’s like eating french-fries in a michelin-star restaurant.
So we want something better than MP3. Preferably some lossless codec. So let’s take a look at the PCM’s manual to see what kind of file-types and codecs our PCM can play.
mp3 – wma – aac – wav (LPCM) – DTS – Dolby Digital AC-3 – MLP
At first glance we’re missing some of the „new (like 2001 new)“ lossless codecs like FLAC or ALAC. So we’re stuck with .wav (LPCM), MLP and maybe DTS 5.1 for surround music as an acceptable lossy-compressed alternative.
Surely a big turndown is handling and metadata. Basically with all lossless, high-quality audio formats, that Porsche PCM supports, you have to live without metadata. LPCM (.wav) files on your USB-Stick or on the PCM’s Jukebox have at least the filename to identify a track, media on a DVD or a DVD-Audio only give you a track number. That’s back to 1980 folks!
If You really want good handling, metadata, albums, track numbers in the right order on albums you need to plugin your iPod/iPhone. Only with these media-players as input you have a good handling of your music library in your car. The downside: iPod/iPhone only support lossy-compressed formats, i.e. MP3 or AAC-LC (.m4a) up to 320kBit/s.
Jukebox and USB-Stick downside
In my experience mp3 or m4a titles on the Jukebox or on an USB Stick do have metadata, but are listed and played in alphabetical order. Sucks with albums.
HighRes Music on Jukebox or USB Stick
I’d say *not* possible, but we don’t want to exaggerate. From Jukebox and USB-Stick you can at least play CD-Quality (16bit/44.1kHz LPCM – .wav) and even 16bit/48kHz files are accepted. I’ll experiment with other resolutions soon but at least highres like 24bit/96kHz are not supported.
The built in DVD-Player can do better. It’ll play your DVDs with different filetypes, has high-resolution capabilities and even real 6 channel surround is supported.
MLP 2.0 Stereo and MLP 5.1 Multichannel (only commercially produced DVD-Audio, because as of today there is no authoring-software available to burn MLP to DVD, unless you get a cracked version of Minnetonka Audio Discwelder Chrome II)
LPCM (.wav) up to 24bit/192kHz 2.0 Stereo
LPCM (.wav) up to 24bit/48kHz 5.1 Multichannel
DTS 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 Multichannel
Getting highres media files
If you own some DVD-Audio Discs you can extract the highres files to your computer. See this article on how to rip DVD-Audio Discs.
There are quite a few websites who sell highres music in „Studio-Master“ quality. They use the lossless FLAC codec and the Music is mastered and encoded in 24/96, 26/192 up to crazy 24bit/352.8 kHz. I personally have made good experiences with LINN Records and HIGHRESAUDIO.
Burning the media to DVD-Audio resp. DVD
I found two Mac OS X Progs which can do the job: Burn (LPCM 2.0 only) and Discwelder Bronze from Minnetonka, which can burn the PCM 5.1 24bit/48kHz files and create multichannel discs.
“Burn” can also convert from different formats to LPCM 2.0 (.wav) on the fly, so you can burn formats like FLAC to a DVD-Audio.
There should be quite a few windows programs. The english DVD-Audio Wikipedia Article references DVD-Audio authoring software. If You own an Mac, „Burn“ is the easiest way to bring your highres music to disc.
This blog-post copyright Rainer Leidl, Rainer@leidl.de – all rights reserved. All trademarks, trade names, or logos mentioned or used are the property of their respective owners.