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PC Based Computer music servers, crossovers, and equalization

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Old 24th November 2011, 02:12 AM   #11
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Location: 12km off the alaska highway in northern BC
Quote:
Well when I posted this I had no idea that the response would be so one sided favoring Apple hardware.
Because the PC guys have their system set up and running, enjoying their PC based server likely using foobar2000 for anything from library management to tagging and playlists, that was developed based on the windows system and beats any other player out there. They don't need to boast.

Al you need for PC is a machine with enough storage, rip your cd's in flac, ( I have close to 40k songs on a 1.5 TB hdd internally, backed up by a 2 TB external unit just for the music files and another 8TB rackmount raid based storage to backup 2 more computers, all wireless)
40k songs in flac use about 900GB storage, so tailor you machine accordingly. Get a good soundcard and install foobar2000.
With foobar you can run your main machine as a server for other computers without the need to download anything to the secondary machines.
You can run foobar as uncomplicated or as loaded as you want. My player runs with roughly 60 or so foobar2000 components, from biography display to lyrics display, vst wrappers to run various vst based equalizers and spectrum displays, to ambiophonics.

I run in asio, bypassing the windows stack, but you should use a soundcard supporting that format. Or you use winsapi, which does the same.

I also upgraded from xp to windows 7, and have no problems with anything.

I actually went one step further and run spdif directly to my kef 104/2 powered by hypex amps with build in converters.

But you can also feed from your soundcard analogue out to an amp.

For better info about server based systems check out Hydrogenaudio Forums (Powered by Invision Power Board)

Way better info on all things PC or apple related than you will find here.

as to foobar: foobar2000

I have run PC based for the last 2 1/2 years and no looking back to analogue.
I have tried the lot of players and found what I need. I even run my TT's through my soundcard through foobar streaming so I can use the ambiophonics decoder on record playback.

If you have more questions away from the apple hyper fanboys - use the messaging system. No interest in further discussions here.

Last edited by audio-kraut; 24th November 2011 at 02:16 AM.
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Old 24th November 2011, 02:29 AM   #12
GloBug is offline GloBug  Canada
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OK , you answered all my questions except one, maybe you can clear this up for me. Do I need a DAC?

I have a 3 year old HP with 1.2TB, Windows 7, 2x20" LCDs and the FACTORY sound card. It has digital out or analog split up into stereo/surround/sub-center.

Would there be much of an upgrade in sound with an external DAC? I think I want one, but don't really need it lol, however lot's of people are using them.

So DAC, better soundcard or just leave it alone and install foobar?

One of my tube amps is pretty high gain so it picks up a bit of noise from my Nvidea GT-9800, it's right beside the soundcard. Not the end of the world, I was going to tweak the amp a bit or install shielding, although I'de rather not do the latter.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 24th November 2011, 03:11 AM   #13
GloBug is offline GloBug  Canada
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I should add that my soundcard is an "On board" Realtek job.

I also have various portable apple devices, I hear foobar can sink my iPad 2?
No big deal if it does not , I can keep iTunes for that.
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Old 24th November 2011, 04:17 AM   #14
GloBug is offline GloBug  Canada
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Well I just installed foobar2000 after a bit of research, looks like I can use apples remote app with it so that's cool beans.

I already like that I don't have to "add" music to foobar every time I download something new, I was surprised that when I edit folders in Windows 7 it's updated instantly in foobar.

I like the equalizer better. Itunes distorts if you don't turn the preamp down. No foobar can sound a little funny if you crank one of the sliders up, but used in moderation it's much better the itunes. I can finally add a touch of bass without messing up the higher frequencies. If you added a bit of bass(in iTunes) it seemed to really cut the highs out. With the foobar EQ the highs seem to be unaffected, which is how it should be.

I'm glad I tried it.

I will see if syncing with the iPad works tomorrow, but like I said earlier, I don't mind keeping iTunes to manage my portable devices. Don't really want to go all "3rd party" on my iPad yet, it's to slick as it is.
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Old 24th November 2011, 04:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GVSparkchaser View Post
Well when I posted this I had no idea that the response would be so one sided favoring Apple hardware. I had imagined that both camps would be equally represented. Both of the servers I mentioned in my previous post were PC based. I had hoped to re-purpose one of the many microsloth windoze machines I have lying around. These are readily available raw material just waiting for a project to dust them off. I would prefer not to purchase another computer and have to learn it's intricacies as well as the playback software if I can avoid it. I have been tinkering with Intel based hardware since before their was such a thing as windoze and have never owned or used any of the Apple offerings or their phones. Perhaps someone from the same side of the trailer park as me will chime in with some guidance.

Scott
The truth of the matter Scott is that Mac thought a wee bit more about audio playback than the Windows camp. That's not to say you can't achieve comperable or equal performance, it just takes some more tweeking to get there and we all know what tweeking brings....instability.

Repurposing a windows machine as an audio server is fine, especially if you already have most of the hardware. If you're going to use an external USB DAC (highly advised) there's the added advantage of HDD storage on the SATA ports, keeping the USB bus clean for the outbound data stream. That's how i'd approach it. As for processors, even the oldest duo cores can handle audio processing.........in their sleep.

Just keep the USB bus as clean as possible and the software minimal, shutting down as many unused services as possible.

And please DON'T ignore the user interface! Being able to operate the system without a display is really the key to PC audio.....convenience.
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Old 24th November 2011, 04:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GloBug View Post
Well I just installed foobar2000 after a bit of research, looks like I can use apples remote app with it so that's cool beans.

I already like that I don't have to "add" music to foobar every time I download something new, I was surprised that when I edit folders in Windows 7 it's updated instantly in foobar.

I like the equalizer better. Itunes distorts if you don't turn the preamp down. No foobar can sound a little funny if you crank one of the sliders up, but used in moderation it's much better the itunes. I can finally add a touch of bass without messing up the higher frequencies. If you added a bit of bass(in iTunes) it seemed to really cut the highs out. With the foobar EQ the highs seem to be unaffected, which is how it should be.

I'm glad I tried it.

I will see if syncing with the iPad works tomorrow, but like I said earlier, I don't mind keeping iTunes to manage my portable devices. Don't really want to go all "3rd party" on my iPad yet, it's to slick as it is.
Best not to do ANY DSP/EQ in the software side of things. Let it happen outside the machine in the playback gear if you must. None of these front ends have what it takes to do this properly. And as always a rule of thumb, max volume from the PC. Control the analog volume outside.
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Old 24th November 2011, 05:35 AM   #17
i2k92 is offline i2k92  Indonesia
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External DAC will be better than onboard sound card. I also recommend to install WASAPI component on the Foobar, it will help to produce better sound quality.

To control foobar from ipad/iphone/android, install the foobar web interface or even better install the uPNP component. That's the way I built my headless server. It is possible to play the music directly on the server, it can also stream music to other uPNP compliant device (like my plasma TV). Read the whole story here : My poor man music server

Quote:
Originally Posted by GVSparkchaser View Post
I imagine that I will now find that the consensus is that my caveat of being PC based is incompatible with being user friendly.
Not agree.... it can be done on Wintel machine, you don't have to be a geek but you must invest some time to find an easy (and cheap) way to achieve that.

Last edited by i2k92; 24th November 2011 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 24th November 2011, 06:00 AM   #18
GloBug is offline GloBug  Canada
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Great thanks for the tips guys.

I will stop using the EQ, I have open baffles and free air woofers in boxes for speakers, not really ideal but it's pretty good. I will be changing that soon enough.

Thanks for the advice and the links, and to the OP, sorry for jackin your thread!
Al
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Old 24th November 2011, 06:09 AM   #19
GloBug is offline GloBug  Canada
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Opps, just to clarify, I will crank my "media players" volume, but if I crank my "Master" volume, I won't be able to control it with a remote if it is pinned all the time. Plus my amp does not have a volume control. I suppose I could add one, I guess I will just have to try it see how it sounds. Not sure how to get around that yet.
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Old 24th November 2011, 08:05 AM   #20
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audio-kraut View Post
If you have more questions away from the apple hyper fanboys - use the messaging system. No interest in further discussions here.
real funny Kraut, so people that enjoy their computer and recommend it as a clean, attractive, simple, purpose built and pretty much ready to go out of the box solution to the OP are fanbois, but you who feel the need to also rubbish the other side are not?

hilarious and so typical

btw foobar also runs on mac, either native or...i dunno...by running windows on the mac.....
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