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Old 19th August 2012, 10:39 PM   #1
JLOP is offline JLOP  France
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Default How to connect PC to coax SPDIF DAC & questions about music servers

Hi all

I am defining a PC music server to feed my DIY AD1865 NOS SRPP DAC which has only a coax SPDIF input, but I like it a lot.

The system should
- possibly handle video but be very good for Audio (got no TV now ), so not really a HTPC
- be as much as possible low power and silent PC as will be in the lounge but with a limited budget, if possible below 500 - 600 $
- be able to serve as a (maybe limited) NAS for music, pictures and other documents. Expected 2 x 3TB Sata Wester Digital Caviar Green + external backup, preferably USB 3.0
- run an easy form of LINUX (eg Vortexbox with automated CD ripping, CMP with RAM reading instead of HDD reading, Voyage MPD, ... ?) as I have no experience with this OS, or alternatively Windows 7 or Home Server 2011, but then cash out again and the necessity it seems to disable many functions you have paid for to keep the sonics good, if you have an idea for what is the best OS for me, please tell me !

I have looked at motherboard but I need some advices :
- Most of MB have only USB out, but I would like to avoid to buy a USB/SPDIF convertor, good ones are not cheap, and keep it simple
- Some MB have a Toslink SPDIF
.. is there a way I could pick the data signal before the toslink to feed the coax ? or use some "header" on board, some ASUS boards have such things ?
.. is it better to add a PCI or PCIe board with the coax SPDIF ? (tks for reference)
.. or to buy a sound card eg ESI Juli@ even if I do not intend to use the analog output ? would be a bit of a waste...
- I could not find current MB with coax SPDIF, maybe you would have a suggestion ?

Thank you very much with your help, I am getting lost in all the chipsets, boards, protocols... and there are not a lot of synthesis and uptodate information available about music servers. Still an adventure

Kind regards

Jean-Louis
Paris, France
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Old 20th August 2012, 11:02 PM   #2
wwenze is offline wwenze  Singapore
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You never said what CPU you're using... this decides which MBs you can use
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Old 20th August 2012, 11:10 PM   #3
Einric is offline Einric  United States
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The Optical SPDIF on some ASUS MB's is a combo jack that has physical contacts inside for a 3.5mm mono jack to RCA Male adapter.
The optical transmitter is built into the tip end of the 3.5mm jack.

This MB has an SPDIF header onboard.
ASUS P8H61-M LX PLUS

Last edited by Einric; 20th August 2012 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 20th August 2012, 11:14 PM   #4
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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An adventure for sure! I ran my music server on Windoze XP and it wasn't bad at all. You do want a clean, minimal install of Windoze. I used a cheap soundcard with SPDIF out, tho I think the Dell MD had a SDIF tap on it. JRiver was my software player.

Now I use a Squeezebox touch instead. It runs its own small Linux OS. Files can be on anything else, anywhere, as long as they are shared. It does have the distinct disadvantage of not being a stand-alone player, tho.
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Old 21st August 2012, 07:12 AM   #5
i2k92 is offline i2k92  Indonesia
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There are many motherboard with spdif coax. I use msi e350 which has both coax & toslink. Some mobo doesnt have the connector but provides spdif header on the board so you can make your
own spdif connector.
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Old 21st August 2012, 11:25 AM   #6
JLOP is offline JLOP  France
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwenze View Post
You never said what CPU you're using... this decides which MBs you can use
Hi wwenze

The fact is that there are so much CPU I am getting lost. What are the recommended CPU+Chipsets for low energy/ silent PCs ? I dont care Intel / AMD, unless they have specific advantages/disadvantages for these applications.

I think I should get USB 3.0 + 2 internal SATA III 6Gbs + 1 eSATA to keep room for future evolution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by i2k92 View Post
I use msi e350 which has both coax & toslink. Some mobo doesnt have the connector but provides spdif header on the board so you can make your
own spdif connector.
Thanks i2k, but MSI E350 is no more available. I understand that I shall just install a connector to the header SPDIF, there are no additionnal circuitry involved ? That would be an easy fix, great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by einric View Post
The Optical SPDIF on some ASUS MB's is a combo jack that has physical contacts inside for a 3.5mm mono jack to RCA Male adapter.
The optical transmitter is built into the tip end of the 3.5mm jack.

This MB has an SPDIF header onboard.
ASUS P8H61-M LX PLUS

Thanks for replying einrich, I was not aware of this special connector, did not catch it on the MB datasheet I read. Maybe they have a special acronym for that kind of connector I did not spot. This board btw is not SATA 6GBs and USB 3.0

I have found also the ASUS P8H67 which is SATA 6GBs and USB 3.0 but no SPDIF header mentionned Newegg.com - ASUS P8H67-M PRO/CSM (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Could I just pick the SPDIF signal just before the toslink transmitter ?

Other point : Do Motherboard SPDIF have the same results as soundcard's SPDIF ?

Thanks a lot for your help

Jean-Louis

Last edited by JLOP; 21st August 2012 at 11:50 AM. Reason: forgot a point :
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Old 21st August 2012, 12:20 PM   #7
Einric is offline Einric  United States
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Check out usa.asus.com the motherboard you posted has SPDIF motherboard header also.

There is no difference between the soundcard and header SPDIF.
They just chose to save a buck and not put a connector on the backplane.

Many of the Asus Deluxe class motherboards actually come with the header adapter.
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Old 21st August 2012, 01:07 PM   #8
i2k92 is offline i2k92  Indonesia
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salut jean louis, just connect the header into rca or bnc jack, c'est tout. you can also put a pulse transformer in btween to have galvanic isolation.
i'm surprise that msi e350 is not available anymore. last week i bought j&w mobo with atom d2500, it has spdif header and according to some web sites it consumes less than e350.

Last edited by i2k92; 21st August 2012 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 21st August 2012, 10:41 PM   #9
Einric is offline Einric  United States
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There is now the AMD E-450
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Old 21st August 2012, 11:02 PM   #10
JLOP is offline JLOP  France
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i2k92 View Post
i'm surprise that msi e350 is not available anymore. last week i bought j&w mobo with atom d2500, it has spdif header and according to some web sites it consumes less than e350.
merci i2k92 ! MSI E350 IS and MSI E350 IA are discontinued on Newegg but can be found scarcely on amazon. I think it may be better to buy latest gen. what is your j&w atom d2500 ? what chipset(s) would be the best for PC music server ?

Einric, thanks for the info, the content on newegg was not exact.

Btw, what are the recommended websites to buy MB in US (price and choice)?

BR
Jean-Louis
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