Computer as main source? - diyAudio
Go Back   Home > Forums > Source & Line > Digital Source

Digital Source Digital Players and Recorders: CD , SACD , Tape, Memory Card, etc.

Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.

Ads on/off / Custom Title / More PMs / More album space / Advanced printing & mass image saving
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 21st June 2008, 06:28 PM   #1
DaveCan is offline DaveCan  Canada
diyAudio Member
 
DaveCan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Moncton NB
Default Computer as main source?

I'm not so savvy with all the computer speak ,and wondering if it's possible to use a computer as a music source that would be audiophile quality instead of a cd player?

Would Mac be better than PC for this?.. For a $1000 I could get a very nice cd player (Zcd by Decware), and wondering if a computer could compete for sq for the same or a bit more $$$.?

It would have to play cd's at a very high level of sound quality, plus dvd's, and stream music stations plus serve as a main household computer..

I only use a computer for web browsing and purchasing items sometimes, I don't game or do much movie watching on it other than checking out YouTube sometimes etc.. I'm a very basic user that would love it if audio could be done at a very high level if possible?
Dave
  Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2008, 10:43 PM   #2
Jambo is offline Jambo  United Kingdom
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Easy to acheive using a decent sound card or an external USB DAC. I now have kits available for my USB DAC, http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f6/jambo-dac-288159/
  Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2008, 11:13 PM   #3
rossl is offline rossl  United States
diyAudio Member
 
rossl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Central Ohio
You don't necessarily need to use USB or a sound card either.

A lot of us bought a box on ebay for $30 or $40 and connect with ethernet and a free server program on the PC. The SMC box needs a simple mod for SPDIF out.

see the thread:

SqueezBox substitute
  Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2008, 11:50 PM   #4
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Blog Entries: 2
The simple answer is yes, it's entirely possible.

I have a cheap Dell laptop which in many ways I hate, but whose internal sound chip has excellent SQ and it will easily drive a pair of Shure in-ear phones to deafening volumes with outstanding clarity.

Since, however, this is one laptop among many, you may prefer to go with an aftermarket internal or external soundcard of established reputation.

You will find people going to extraordinary lengths to isolate their computers from their DACs, but you will find few serious engineers among their numbers. The installation of an internal sound card is more fraught with problems with potential noise pickup, and issues are sometimes experienced. You will also hear a lot about jitter, but again, this is, for the large part, overplayed.

Keeping the computer free of other tasks (dedicated) will decrease the likelihood of glitching, but this is a comparatively rare occurrence with recent operating systems and hardware.

PCs are cheaper than Macs and there's more freeware and independent development. Linux is cheaper than Windows but trickier.

The one fly in the ointment can be the computer fan.

w
  Reply With Quote
Old 22nd June 2008, 05:36 AM   #5
diyAudio Member
 
hifimaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: San Jose
Default Re: Computer as main source?

Quote:
Originally posted by DaveCan
I'm not so savvy with all the computer speak ,and wondering if it's possible to use a computer as a music source that would be audiophile quality instead of a cd player?

Would Mac be better than PC for this?.. For a $1000 I could get a very nice cd player (Zcd by Decware), and wondering if a computer could compete for sq for the same or a bit more $$$.?

It would have to play cd's at a very high level of sound quality, plus dvd's, and stream music stations plus serve as a main household computer..

I only use a computer for web browsing and purchasing items sometimes, I don't game or do much movie watching on it other than checking out YouTube sometimes etc.. I'm a very basic user that would love it if audio could be done at a very high level if possible?
Dave
A good CD player has the convience fast turn-on and play.

A computer is an outstanding alternative, especially if you have an external DAC. A hard drive has error correction builtin and therefor possible to get a "bit perfect" data stream to your DAC. This is almost impossible with anything other than an exotic transport.

I'm biased about using external DAC's. I'm a strong believer in seperating the music from the electronic noise of the harsh computer environment. TOS link is OK and ethernet is better.

There's the added benefit of having your entire library on the HD to build your own playlists or easily find the musicn you are looking for.

SqueezeBox is another good alternative for taking music from a PC anywhere in the house and having TOS link or SPDIF out to a good DAC. The DAC in the SqueezeBox is too congested, so an external DAC becomes essential.

Buy a great DAC for the $1000, like the Lavry DA-10 or build one of your own from a manufacturers demo board. The Analog Devices AD1955 is excellent!

-David
  Reply With Quote
Old 23rd June 2008, 01:44 PM   #6
OzMikeH is offline OzMikeH  Australia
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Quote:
Originally posted by wakibaki
The simple answer is yes, it's entirely possible.
..........

The one fly in the ointment can be the computer fan.

w
I use a Mac mini, virtually silent. I paid a bit extra for the Wireless aluminium keyboard and mouse. I use the plasma TV I already had as the monitor.
Standard hard disk is only 80GB so I use a 300GB USB hard disk (full size drive for reliability, not a notebook drive) that sits on a foam mouse mat to keep it quiet. For absolute silence you could put the music on a drive in another room and connect by wireless.

I use an external DAC which is called USB Monica. Only a small part of it's circuit is powered by the USB port, the rest has its own power supply and has no digital noise at all, even at full volume with my ear next to the speaker.

For best quality do not use the computer's volume control.
I just use Itunes and .WAV files. The album art cover-flow makes it very natural to look for a particular CD. I have set it up so that I put a new CD in the drive, it automatically rips it, downloads the cover art then ejects the disk when finished. I don't have to do a single click. This makes it very easy to rip your entire cd library.

If you already have an old monitor and a USB keyboard and mouse you can buy a mac mini, a USB hard disk and an external DAC for the $1000. (I do like the USB Monica, much better sound than M-audio Transit and Edirol UA-1EX)
__________________
Help some guys with funny hair bang two rocks together really hard.
http://athome.web.cern.ch/athome/LHCathome/whatis.html
  Reply With Quote
Old 25th June 2008, 03:24 PM   #7
DaveCan is offline DaveCan  Canada
diyAudio Member
 
DaveCan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Moncton NB
Thanks for all the info.. I'm still kind of confused as to how it all works, and it would seem more has to be added to the signal chain compared to just using a cd player.

I think I will give the Mac a try as I've always wanted to see what they are like ,and only use my computer very basically anyway.. Perhaps I'll just use the computer for internet radio and keep using cd's, but not sure as it's all complicated to me..
Dave
  Reply With Quote
Old 25th June 2008, 04:20 PM   #8
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
diyAudio Moderator
 
kevinkr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Blog Entries: 6
I built an excellent media server for serving music and handling a number of other media telated tasks. The whole story is chronicled here on this hoary old thread: Digital Audio Music Server

Performance continues to be excellent and the bit perfect spdif output from it holds its own against my recently completed ShigaClone transport.

I use asio to avoid the well known issues with the windows kmixer. I also recommend avoiding onboard sound as many (realtec) have hardware resampling to 48kHz that cannot be defeated. I used an M-audio Audiophile 2496 PCI for analog in/out and spdif to my external dac. Mediaplayer software is the excellent JRiver product which is trialware and costs about $40 to register. I have tried most of the other media players and prefer this one. I use Flac lossless file compression to somewhat reduce the size of files in my music library.

I don't feel like I have given up anything in sound quality, and the convenience and versatility is hard to beat. It was not an easy path to follow when I started this 3 yrs ago, but the results have been worth it, and the machine has been very robust. No real problems at all.
__________________
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." - Carl Sagan
  Reply With Quote
Old 25th June 2008, 09:16 PM   #9
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Nice job! It's really nice link that you have shared with us.
Thanks!
  Reply With Quote
Old 26th June 2008, 04:48 PM   #10
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Melbourne
Well if you want to give Apple a try you wouldn't go too far wrong with any of their Macs. My girlfriend has one. They are apparently fairly fuss free and very quiet as well. To begin with you could try the sound quality straight from the computer, and if that's not good enough for you then they also all have optical out so you can add whatever external DAC you like later on.

As someone mentioned above you can use iTunes for ripping your CDs as it's easy to use and comes already installed. If you want the highest possible quality without wasting space on your hard disk, change the import settings in iTunes Preferences to use Apple Lossless. If you've got a lot of CDs you might need to use compresssion to save space, in which case I recommend AAC over MP3.
  Reply With Quote

Reply


Hide this!Advertise here!
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Main Speaker Kits (Which Ones?) NicolasGaal Multi-Way 17 24th August 2010 09:11 AM
Buzz Hum Aleph 5 with computer as source, no good results with GLI zigo3 Pass Labs 3 20th February 2008 12:26 PM
Melos triode and computer as source: BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ zigo3 Tubes / Valves 4 28th November 2007 02:11 AM
Help for SE Main Transformer baikostov Tubes / Valves 4 24th September 2006 08:01 AM
Simple DIGI Computer audio source question Layberinthius Digital Source 0 5th April 2004 06:24 PM


New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT. The time now is 10:35 AM.


vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 1999-2014 diyAudio

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2