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Studio Au 2nd March 2010 05:56 PM

nVidia ION, Asus Xonar as active XO, DAC and source
Hi, I have seen a fair few threads about pc based active crossovers but none seem to answer my requirements.

I want to create a low cost primarily one source PC based active XO. I am currently using the Behringer DCX2496, it is great, however as i am in the process of building new speakers i would love to keep both systems active.

I bought my DCX b-stock for 120, but would be happy enough to spend 200 on the new media server with DAC capabilities that on spec beat the Cambridge Audio dacmagic, and for essentially less money, will be digital source, DAC and active XO. Fed direct to stereo gainclones power amps.


A silent, fanless nVidia ION motherboard, uses the Intel D945GSEJT. No fans, PCI slot, can handle HD video.
Intel Desktop Board D945GSEJT - Overview

Asus Xonar D2 7.1 very highly rated soundcard with software to output up to 4channels of split crossover frequencies, would output to 2.5way.
ASUSTeK Computer Inc.

Either a good very quite power supply, in separate enclosure or a switching one

Maximum RAM

A keyboard and mouse, iPhone as itunes remote

An old 17" monitor for itunes/Songbird or other options, HDMI or DVI out to projector with XMBC

2.5" drive with music, or wifi connect to my Netgear Duo nas for movie collection

Utilise gainclones as the amplifier modules, lm3886 or lm3875. 3xStereo or 6 overall channels.

It seeems very achievable, and for a low price under 250 excluding gainclones, and on paper sounds good.

Thoughts much appreciated.

human.bin 2nd March 2010 06:14 PM

i've been working with an ION based pc. keep in mind those are really slow computers, so if you plan to use 64bit linearphase eq or similars that rely on cpu it can be a problem unless checked... it will not have any problem with full-hd hometheatering for it has hardware acceleration

also i'm not sure the sound card will drop in the slot of the intel motherboard, just doublecheck it before you buy

indeed those computers are very silent, but their different cpu architecture is largely slower than comparable clock pentium architecture, i repeat, give it a check if you can.

i'm curious what softare will you be using for XO purpose? bundled with asus drivers? will it be system wide? allowing you to use itunes and watch movies? (on a matter of output channels also the ION built-in will be doing 7.1 or 5.1 at least via spdif to external dac solution)

anyway i really like the idea and i'm looking after something similar, it's time to gather opinions and understand which would be the best-cost-effective solution... i'm more after something like the miniDSP at the moment, maybe following a good usb dac or maybe with their digital input when it will come out

Studio Au 2nd March 2010 06:36 PM

I was reading a thread last night, but kinda find it for the life of me. Found it:

There are a few recommendations for software. They do mention its CPU intensive.
Asus offer a PCI and PCI-e miniexpress version. Full PCI seems easier that is if it physically fits.

Here is the link to computer audiophiles C.A.P.S itx computer.
Computer Audiophile Pocket Server - C.A.P.S. | Computer Audiophile

At the moment my main source is my macbook, I have a dab tuner and dvd player used for the odd cd. If I was to add a DAC there would be 5 elements in the chain.
MacBook - DAC - Pre - DCX - 6ch power amp. Seems kinda noisy at the moment.

I would like to have an almost self contained system with less components for my workshop.

All ideas welcome.

human.bin 2nd March 2010 06:58 PM

i think the biggest part for you to understand is if the software you'll be using will operate system wide, passing anything that is playing to the XO...

really only a test can judge if the atom dual core (atom 330) will suffice in computational power, if you use asus software that operates trough the audiocard it will for sure. for example i don't find my 64bit equalize to be cpu hungry on my macbook at all... atom architecture is just different so comparison based on cpu clock is useless.

trd1587 2nd March 2010 08:27 PM

If you want to reconsider Atom Processor and you want Really no noise Computing, You can go to NO-HD config with external USB Mem Modules in RAID 0, 0+1, or 5 Array For your OS and run a Faster CPU "Underclocked" with a Heatsink and heatpipes with the fan disconnected.
That way no Sound at all.

That's what I did but with a real HD in an isolated encolsure.


gooki 2nd March 2010 09:41 PM

That motherboard (D945GSEJT) isn't an nVida ION board, it's a plain old Atom board.

If it was me, I'd get a true ION or ION2 board, skip the additional sound card and use the HDMI out either to a suitable receiver or HDMI DAC. Look up the CUDA based FIR xover, this way your CPU isn't burdened with the xover task, and you can get a much steeper xover slope.

If you want to cut down on noise, SSDs are nice provided you can get the size you need within your budget.

Studio Au 2nd March 2010 10:45 PM

@trd1587, did you use usb flash drives as your boot disk? in raid aswell, any good?
I did a little research into those SATA compact flash adapters, they don't seem very fast, most are slower than 2.5" 7200rpm drives but i could load on windows 7 or xp perhaps a lite version and stream all my music from the NAS. No moving parts and fairly cheap.

@human.bin what is the 64bit equalizer you use, recommended?

From what I have read, the soundcard specs are so much better than most budget DAC's, better chips, noise floor, sampling rates etc.... The CUDA FIR looks interesting, ill have to read through tomorrow, doesn't seem the most intuitive though.

Any apple software to split up audio signals. Mac minis i believe can output 5.1 through the optical. This would be a really elegant solution, but then you have to have multichannel preamps or overly techy recievers, and it all seems to get too complex again. Still in love with Stereo 2.0

human.bin 3rd March 2010 01:35 AM

i'm using this: AiXcoustic Creations: Electri-Q - posihfopit it was suggested on this forum in a foobar related diythread, it really cuts the job for me with foobar and vst wrapper plugin

the CUDA thing is pretty impressive... and intel has already announced its 256 parallel cores gpu with x86 instructions! thing are really going to get better and better soon!

when it comes to a DAC how important are the specs? and how much the components? i fear it is like judging a speaker over it's watt and exstension specs...

human.bin 3rd March 2010 01:37 AM

to do what you want on OSX with the audio signal you have to install something like hi-jack pro, then vst and do whatever you want. the same you can do directly from foobar under windoz

human.bin 4th March 2010 12:38 AM

hey studio this thread is of your interest too, take a look

atom pc there :)

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