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Old 14th August 2008, 01:05 PM   #21
phofman is offline phofman  Czech Republic
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Quote:
Originally posted by sq225917
I'm in agreement with Owen here.

Most differences in sound quality that 'theoretcially' should not exist between digital sources can be traced back to power supply.
Yes, nevertheless it is reality. Most people do not install multiple PSUs into their PC.
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Old 14th August 2008, 03:05 PM   #22
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Exactly. and that's why i still listen to 'hifi ' and not PC...
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Old 16th August 2008, 04:28 PM   #23
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I am toallly confused as to why someone would go to extreme lenghts to setup and tweek a turntable setup for great sound and then expect to use any off the shelf Walmart PC to get high end sound. I went to great lenghts to get incredible sound from my PC. I should note that it does indeed have multiple power supplies. I got them from Granite. One on the CD ROM and one on the HD and the ATX PS for the motherboard. Nice thing is that the Granite units are retrofittable to almost any PC. They are the size of a mouse unit and easy to fit in. and it does not stop there.
Ram settings, OS tweeks and player settings all have huge impacts on digital audio.

Bits may be bits but digital audio is real time data streaming and that is the difference that opens up a big can o worms.
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Old 16th August 2008, 05:38 PM   #24
Phobos is offline Phobos  Italy
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I think all the difference lies in the PSU usage.
With low quality integrated cards you can CLEARLY (ie way higher than DAC noise) hear when the disk is working, even when it's not the one the music is being red from.
That, imho means that it has nothing to do with jitter and is related to noise coming from the HD and going into the system through the PSU.
This however does not happen with my PCI audio card (M-Audio Delta 44) listening with Sony HDR 7506 headphones.
I don't know if that is because the power is filtered in the card, or some other reason.
But i think that if an external DAC is used, all issues can be solved using an external PSU for it.
Also the idea of speed of the unit having any relevance is absurd, any HDD has at least 10 times the speed required for uncompressed PCM 24/192 7.1 audio (wich would be roughly 4.5 MB/sec, while my HDs have a sustained read speed of over 70MB/sec).
Then there are the various buffering stages, as stated by others before me: the data is stored in the ram by the player before it's sent to the sound card's buffers.
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Old 16th August 2008, 06:05 PM   #25
Nordic is offline Nordic  South Africa
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One thing I have against mechanical drives is the noise.... I can hear mine from bed at night in the room next door.
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Old 16th August 2008, 08:51 PM   #26
Phobos is offline Phobos  Italy
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A little bit OT, but there are models that sacrifice a little bit of performance for a silent operation.
Have a look at the new WD Caviar Green HDs.
A good case with rubber/elastic disk mounts helps too.
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Old 17th August 2008, 05:59 PM   #27
phofman is offline phofman  Czech Republic
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Quote:
Originally posted by dht 4 me

Bits may be bits but digital audio is real time data streaming and that is the difference that opens up a big can o worms.
Within the PC, the audio stream is split to larger chunks with relatively undemanding timing, hardly noticeable load for contemporary hardware. It is the soundcard (or USB controller) which creates the steady stream with exact timing and jitter issues. I do not believe e.g. RAM settings have any influence.
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Old 17th August 2008, 06:27 PM   #28
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Actually a low latency system is very demanding of even a high end computer. Low latency is the standard for pro recording, mastering systems and playback. Memory settings have HUGE impacts on latency and special software is available to measure and adjust systems and memory for latency. Huge buffers do reduce cpu overhead but kill sonics and have very high latency. There is a lot to be learned from the pro audio guys. I just spent a weekend with Paul Stubblebine who does the mastering for Reference Recordings and others and learned a lot . When these things are considered the Quote of mine above has much more relevance. Interesting that guys at Pauls level hold analoge tape as the highest of standards.
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Old 17th August 2008, 07:00 PM   #29
phofman is offline phofman  Czech Republic
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Low latency undoutebly places high demand on the system performance. But WHEN do you need low latency? Definitely for recording (audio as well as midi), certainly not for sole playback (I do not mean monitoring of recording). Why should I require miliseconds latency for playing CD, flacs, streamed music from internet, etc? The pros you are talking about are in the recording business, I am talking about hifii users, i.e. doing playback.

How do buffers affect the sound apart of delays - latency?
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Old 17th August 2008, 07:21 PM   #30
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Getting into all of the details is far beyond the scope of this blog. However there are detailed websites giving measurements and design notes out there. My office computer has them bookmarked.
FWIW Paul Stubblebine is a MASTERING ENGINEER of the highest caliber and does NOT do the recording and I mentioned all of the aspects that he talked about which includes playback. Obviously a mastering engineer who has won numerous awards should have ears and knoweledge that is of great value. Interesting this all sounds like the old "it is digital and therefore perfect" ignorance that we all once had before meaningful measurements came about. Even then there were the people who said "bits is bits". Try googling "the art of building computer transports" and see where that gets you, it is a good basic starting point.
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