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Old 14th August 2009, 07:06 PM   #1
PJPro is offline PJPro  England
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Default Computer based Hifi

I'm very much into computer based music (as opposed to traditional hifi).

My file format of choice is FLAC. I use EAC to rip copies of my CDs to my HDD. I use Foobar2000 for playback using the WASAPI plugin. I use an optical connection between my Xfi Xtreme Gamer soundcard and my modded Beresford TC7510 DAC. Amplification is curtesy of my DIY GS Novo to a pair of Grado SR80s.

Have to say, it all sounds pretty good to me. The best news is, there should be plenty of room for improvement.

Do you listen to music from your PC? How do you go about it?
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Old 14th August 2009, 07:52 PM   #2
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I use an old PowerBook. Still working to find a DAC that gives the same quality as my CD-player. It may not be the DAC but limits currently built into Core Audio, (Don't get me wrong iit does sound good, just not as good. A copy of Amarra software may be in my future ... from the buzz this is a dramatic upgrade and has people switching from PC.

I am ripping CDs using Max into AIFF and playing back in iTunes.

I currently have an Edirol U-25 USB DAC, an Edirol FA66 Firewire DAC, and am playing with a Grant Fidelity DAC-01 with tube output stage (i'll have to give the last up next week win someone wins it as a prize at the upcoming VI diyFEST)

dave
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Old 14th August 2009, 08:15 PM   #3
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I use a seriously overpowered PC running 64 bit Vista. Quad core CPU 8GB ram 3 TB HD. I have a dedicated 1TB HD for music, and another for a DVR. Vista gets its own 500GB drive and all other programs get their own 500GB. 1TB drives are $68 now from Newegg, so why not? The whole PC was built with sale items from Newegg.

I rip CD's to the HD using EAC and keep the data in WAV format. Playback is through an EMU 1820M sound box that keeps all of the analog audio outside the computer. I even have my turntable plugged into it so I can rip vinyl at 24/96.
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Old 14th August 2009, 08:20 PM   #4
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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Quote:
Originally posted by tubelab.com
I use a seriously overpowered PC running 64 bit Vista. Quad core CPU 8GB ram 3 TB HD. I have a dedicated 1TB HD for music, and another for a DVR. Vista gets its own 500GB drive and all other programs get their own 500GB. 1TB drives are $68 now from Newegg, so why not? The whole PC was built with sale items from Newegg.

I rip CD's to the HD using EAC and keep the data in WAV format. Playback is through an EMU 1820M sound box that keeps all of the analog audio outside the computer. I even have my turntable plugged into it so I can rip vinyl at 24/96.

do you run RIAA EQ and gain on a "proper" phono pre, or use digital?


What Dave didn't make entirely clear is that he's talking about iTunes as the music software. While I quite like the user interface myself for file management, etc., it is my first computer based music software.

I've been searching myself for a solution for my iMac that sounds half as good as my 8 yr old Jolida CD player. I spent an hour or so with the little Grant Audio DAC Dave referred to in another post, which has Toslink, USB and coaxial inputs, as well as 2 analog line levels, so it makes for relatively easy comparison. I was very disappointed with either of the digital outputs from iTunes, but when using the coaxial output or tube buffered anlaog out from the Jolida, the sound was too close to call between the two.


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Old 14th August 2009, 08:40 PM   #5
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I use a G4 mac mini (1.5 Ghz) using Itunes running into a Headroom bithead for now. Everything is ripped using the lossless setting. Check out the Wavelength Audio page on computer audio for a noobie's guide to the settings.

I was using a DIYparadise usb Monica that sounded great until noise in one channel forced the swap. It may just be one variable resistor but who knows. Gonna pony up for the "Mojo" upgrade when time and funds allow.

While the combo was up and running, nothing digital in my house would beat it. I don't know what that was worth due the comp being two low end DVD/SACD players and a Laserdisc player( don't snicker, it plays ANY CD. Even some really messed up ones and it doesn't sound that bad doing it.) The bithead sounds pretty good given the price and multi-use functionality but there's no contest between it and Monica. Going on memory, that combo sounds better than many "salon" players that cost upward of $1k.
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Old 14th August 2009, 09:09 PM   #6
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I use PC audio exclusively as my source. I've got a M Audio Revolution 7.1 card that I take the I2S lines from. I then feed the I2S into a PCM1794 + THS4031 as I/V and OPA627, the PCB sits in the bottom of my PC.

It sounds fantastic and I highly recommend this approach.
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Old 14th August 2009, 10:08 PM   #7
ChrisA is offline ChrisA  United States
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Default Re: Computer based Hifi

Quote:
Originally posted by PJPro

My file format of choice is FLAC. ....

Do you listen to music from your PC? How do you go about it? [/B]

I keep all my music in Apple Losses Format. This, like FLAC is bit for bit just like the what came off the CD.

Then I have an Apple router. It's the "Airport Express" model. The thing is about the size is a normal "power cube" and it plus in directly to a wall AC outlet. The good thing about this router is that it has an optical SPDIF optical audio jack, a digital output. It's a bargain, $80 for wireless SPDIF.

Apple's iTunes is able to send my lossless files wirelessly to the SPDIF jack on the router and from there the signal goes to a conventional stereo system and finally to a pair of 1970's vintage Infinity "Quantum" speakers.

Yes I wil improve this. Plan to replace the current solid state power amp with a tube amp. The amp will be based more of less on the Dynaco ST70 or Mk III but with current production parts. But building a stereo amp is three or four projects away.
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Old 14th August 2009, 10:17 PM   #8
Key is offline Key  United States
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Default Re: Computer based Hifi

Why WASAPI and not the ASIO plugin? Just wondering I only tried WASAPI very breifly before going back to ASIO.

But yeah my PC based system kills every other system I have had. Usually use foobar with ASIO and SoX upsampling to 192 - 24-bit.

Case: Antec Sonata III
Mobo: Foxconn P45A-S
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 (Yorkfield)
RAM: 8GB DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) g-skill F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK
Chipset: P45
Display Adapter Interface: PCI Express 2.0 x16
Display Adapter: MSI R4850-512M w quad cooler/heatsink
Monitor: KDS 21" LCD 1680x1050 @60Hz 6500k (DVi: Computer 1, VGA: Computer 2)
Colorometer: Greytag Macbeth i1 (calibrates colors/white point/contrast icc profiles)
OS #1/Disk #1 Windows XP SP3 32 Bit
SATA AHCI Seagate Barracuda ST3750330AS 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache
Dedicated Audio/Project Disk/Disk #2 (No OS): Internal SATA Seagate Barracuda ST31000340AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache
OS #2(64-bit)/Disk #3: Vista Ultimate 64-bit Sp2
SATA IDE Seagate Barracuda ST31000340AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache
Optical Drive: LG SATA Internal Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Model GGC-H20L
NIC: PCI Express D-Link DWA-556 IEEE 802.11n (draft) IEEE 802.11g IEEE 802.11b
Onboard LAN disabled in BIOS
Audio Device #1: Mackie Onyx 400f
Speakers: (4)Wharfedale Diamond 8.2 Active Pro, (2) Wharfedale Diamond 8 DFS, and some generic Harmon and Kardon sub (needs replacing)
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Old 14th August 2009, 10:24 PM   #9
Glowbug is offline Glowbug  United States
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I use FLAC from a Dell Poweredge 600SC server, running Foobar w/ ASIO. Just using a Creative external SC for right now, still sounds pretty good

Interested to see what going to Windows 7 might do.
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Old 14th August 2009, 11:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Glowbug
I use FLAC from a Dell Poweredge 600SC server, running Foobar w/ ASIO. Just using a Creative external SC for right now, still sounds pretty good

Interested to see what going to Windows 7 might do.
I'm currently using the Windows 7 x64 Release Candidate. There are a few problems with regards to drivers, most of the ones are for Vista or XP that happen to work. For my card Foobar will work with kernel streaming and it does indeed bypass the windows mixer. However cPlay doesn't work claiming there's no ASIO support.

Either way foobar sounds just as good as it did using 32 bit XP.
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