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Old 11th June 2014, 06:40 AM   #1
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Default Is a 2 PC Setup better ?

I want to make an Audio Pc and I wonder what`s best ?
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Old 11th June 2014, 07:06 AM   #2
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Not sure what exactly you mean and in what respect you search for "best". The only two PC setup i've tried is Jplay on 2012 in text mode, controlled from another PC. Sounded different but not better than Jriver on Win 7. Apparently your mileage can vary wildly
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Old 11th June 2014, 08:19 AM   #3
phofman is offline phofman  Czech Republic
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2 PCs for audio playback make sense.

One works as properly backup-up well cooled NAS possibly with SW raid in a different room/storage room/cellar. Such PC is very difficult and expensive to make silent and reliable at the same time. The best is not having to worry about noise and use proper fans.

The other one, at best without any moving parts, low power, tiny, absolutely silent works as a playback device close to your amplifier, reading files over ethernet. Controlled via tablet/touchscreen/... Can be a small ARM board with USB/I2S DAC running linux, with decent power supply.
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Old 11th June 2014, 05:12 PM   #4
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I want the best Soundwise and I`m not shure which way to go really.I already ripped all CD to WAV,which lastet a couple Days.Now I have to decide which way to go,to get the best out of it?

analog_SA So,the Solution with Control and Audio PC wasn`t really better than normal Win 7 +Jplay-Jriver?
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Old 11th June 2014, 09:34 PM   #5
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Right out of the box it wasn't even close. I had to run a couple of scripts in order to disable hundreds of services and processes in server 2012 before it became listenable. As much as i liked the idea of separating the tasks of decoding/streaming and playing, it didn't quite work for me. It doesn't mean it won't work for you - different hardware, different sonic priorities... lots of folk love the 2 PC setup.

In short, the sound gained advantage with respect to soundstage and imaging but lost in high frequency detail and immediacy. As it was just a matter of swapping SSDs, changing back and forth was a breeze and took less than a minute.

Control PC was running win 7/64 with Jriver, but was not optimised at all.... it probably matters. Wifi was disabled and control and player connected through ethernet router.
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Old 11th June 2014, 09:36 PM   #6
phofman is offline phofman  Czech Republic
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There is only one advice - use your ears and your brain, do not believe in choices of others. Always compare in blind tests and do not let your mind be influenced by others subjective opinions.

Compare the two PCs setup in a blind test - all it takes is just a friend for an afternoon. Compare jriver with and without jplay in a blind test. Compare jriver/foobar/etc in a blind test. Test your ears in your room. Make your own decision, the one you will know why you chose. And very likely you will end up with quite some money spared...
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Old 11th June 2014, 09:40 PM   #7
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i use pure player on my PC with windows 8/sonar essence stx and it sounds almost as good as my transport / dac , so i dont bother looking for anything better
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Old 11th June 2014, 09:57 PM   #8
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Sorry, didn't realise you were asking about a comparison with win 7 - jplay - jriver.


So, let me explain. My reference was win 7/64 + jriver, no Jplay. Adding Jplay did not change things in a way i liked and this was the reason i embarked on the entire 2 PC experiment. After spending a couple of days to get things working perfectly, the sound did improve very substantially. I still preferred listening to a single PC without Jplay. Not sure if this is helpful, clearly i am not a Jplay fan.
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Old 11th June 2014, 10:21 PM   #9
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Personally, I'm no fan of Windows. My music system consists of my old Pentium 4 laptop running Ubuntu Linux, with MPD, Ecasound, and such. All free. Music is all stored on Network Attached Storage upstairs. I'm very happy with the results. This system also does active crossover duty.
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Old 12th June 2014, 09:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taccodude View Post
I want the best Soundwise and I`m not shure which way to go really.
People always want "the best" - too bad they typically don't have a clue what that means.

Are you aware of the concept of audible transparency? (I'd add a criterion for the periodic component of passband ripple - approximately +/-0.001 dB or better.)

DACs have generally gotten so good that even comparatively modest specimen such as these in onboard audio may qualify as transparent. (This goes even more so for playback software, individual setup quirks notwithstanding. The important part is that it does all you need it to do, and that you get along with its operation. This may mean iTunes for some and Foobar2000 for others.)

Which level of performance you need will depend strongly on the rest of the playback setup, which you have not bothered to mention so far - you may find that a direct connection of the DAC to a power amp with sensitive speakers (and then using purely digital volume control) requires significantly more DAC dynamic range (and particularly, lower noise floor) when compared to a setup that runs a full line-level signal into a preamp or integrated amp. Maybe >= 110 dB vs. <= 95 dB. You might also find that the maximum output level (particularly of integrated and some USB-powered sound solutions) does not quite reach power amp input sensitivity, i.e. you do not reach full output power.

The best DAC in the world also is of no use if you've got a *******' ground loop in your setup that happens to run across the unbalanced connection of your DAC to the rest and contributes all kinds of phunni noises that you don't want to hear. A far lesser model on a lowly (but galvanically isolated) Toslink connection may be infinitely preferable under such circumstances. And trust me, catching a ground loop with PCs is pretty easy.

Likewise, unwanted acoustic noises emanating from the PC itself can be quite annoying - so as phofman already wrote, the ideal playback system is approximately silent. (If, however, the listening space is super-sensitive to noise because it has the fantabulous room acoustics of a gym, then I'd rather work on that problem first.)

Oh, and the best soundcard in the world only is as good as its drivers, too. No such thing like fun with driver quirks. Well, chasing occasional sound hiccups can be fun, too - which other component's driver might be driving up DPC latency there? MMCSS does help - even if my stationary system barely gets 1/8 of full gigabit throughput then (and half that in the other direction). Even before that, expect some effort before hardware sample rate reliably matches the played material (hint: WASAPI exclusive).
This applies to Windows systems, but I bet other operating systems are good for at least equal amounts of fun.

I'm currently listening to my trusty Sennheiser HD590s on a FiiO E11 connected to the Realtek ALC269 based onboard audio with current drivers in a Lifebook that runs Foobar2k with WASAPI output. Sounds plenty fine to me (save for the fan noise and a bit of harddrive noise, that is).

Quote:
Originally Posted by taccodude View Post
I already ripped all CD to WAV,which lastet a couple Days.Now I have to decide which way to go,to get the best out of it?
I'd suggest converting to FLAC (or ALAC if need be), and then a little MP3Tag session (with automagic generation from file names and maybe some help from online sources) to get your tags in order. Basically, the usability of any digital music collection that deserves the name greatly benefits from good tagging. There is no standard way of tagging for WAV, and besides it typically is needlessly large uncompressed PCM.

Oh yes, and you may want to run a Replaygain scan, too.

Other than that, I advise reading phofman's posts again, let it all sink in, and think about what you really want and need.

BTW, this is an apostrophe: '
And this is an accent aigu: `
Use them appropriately in order to avoid looking like a dumbo on the interwebs.
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