How to: Wireless - PC to USB DAC?

Hello,

I'm looking for advice and ideas on how to best setup my PC audio.

The PC and stereo are located on opposite sides of the room, about 6m apart. I prefer a wireless solution, but it might be possible to run a THIN cord under the rug if it's about 8m long.

The PC will be a cheap desktop, with an external hard drive for extra space. On the other end will be my preamp, with USB and Toslink jacks.

Ideally, I'd like to find the solution that will give me the best reproduction quality, be relatively simple to implement and of course not cost an arm and a leg.


Questions:

1. What kind of wireless gear could I use (maybe for 802.11?) on the computer side and on the preamp side? Any recommended models, brands and sources?

2. What are the pitfalls, if any, where data quality can be compromised before it gets to the DAC and do I need to upgrade any components (sound card, jacks, USB cable, etc.) in my computer to prevent this? Recommended models, brands and sources for upgrade components.

Please keep in mind, I'm not an engineer.


Thanks,

Fork
 

Rodeodave

Member
Paid Member
2004-12-26 9:38 pm
in the alps
Hi,

Here's the Stereophile review of the Slim Devices Squeezebox:
http://stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/906slim/

And here's the review of the Apple AirPort Express:
http://stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/505apple/

Right now I'm using my Laptop's analog output and interconnects (4m) and it's really annoying (the wiring, not the sound quality).
I've asked myself the same question (how to run my laptop's signal wirelessly to my CD-player's DAC) and I tend to favor the Airport Express. The drawbacks (imho): You'll have to use iTunes and the playing FLAC isn't straight forward.
 
janneman said:



Hello Jeroen,

Does the Apple Airport Express provide a wireless USB port or just a USB-printer port (one way)?

Jan Didden

Hi Jan,

I have the old (slower) express. The printer I use is a cheap (EUR60) HP all-in-one, don't think it is a real network printer. To use the scan function from the printer I need to wire it directly to my MacBook. There is an utility for OSX to send sound from all apps to the express (airfoil) so I don't think you are stuck to iTunes. I would not be surprised if something like that also exists for Windows.

I'm not sure if the new express has more functionality.

Hope this helps,

Jeroen
 
Rodeodave said:
Hi,

Here's the Stereophile review of the Slim Devices Squeezebox:
http://stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/906slim/

And here's the review of the Apple AirPort Express:
http://stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/505apple/

Right now I'm using my Laptop's analog output and interconnects (4m) and it's really annoying (the wiring, not the sound quality).
I've asked myself the same question (how to run my laptop's signal wirelessly to my CD-player's DAC) and I tend to favor the Airport Express. The drawbacks (imho): You'll have to use iTunes and the playing FLAC isn't straight forward.


Then take a look at the WMB54G. Last time I looked it was 79.95 $.
It has coax S/PDIF, TOSLINK & analog output. You run a utility on your PC and you can select to have the sound coming out of the PC speakers or stream it over the WiFi to the WMB54G. I have the WMB near my stereo. But you need to run whartever player you have on the PC/Laptop

Jan Didden
 
Jitter Issues

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. The Linksys seems to be the way to go cost-wise (a Google search shows the cost as low as $40US) and the Duet offers great convenience with the remote.

I'm wondering whether introducing either box brings any added quality issues, like Jitter. I don't know if it's even an issue, because what I've read leads me to believe that, for example with the Duet which has Jitter of 50ps (not sure if that's a lot), using the Toslink output will bypass the Duet DAC and the only Jitter will be that of the Pre/DAC unit; in other words, no added Jitter created by the Duet.

There are a handful of ways I can connect the computer to the Pre/DAC, so my question is whether certain setups are likely to produce better audio quality and why?

1. Connect the computer to the Duet or WMB with an ethernet cord and then to the Pre/DAC with a Toslink.

2. Connect the computer to the Duet or WMB by 802.11 and then to the Pre/DAC with a Toslink.

3. The typical setup used by many others, a USB cord from the computer directly into the Pre/DAC.

4. Also, for future reference, does anyone know anything about Wireless USB in this situation (any advantages or disadvantages compared to the other setups)?


Cheers
 

Rodeodave

Member
Paid Member
2004-12-26 9:38 pm
in the alps
Yesterday I got my WMB54G and I have finally managed to connect it to my router. The setup can be a b*tch, especially with Vista. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask, may be I can help.

Here's a short summary of what I did:

Use a ethernet cable to connect your Laptop/PC to the WMB, then make sure you have the right settings in your LAN IPv4: set IP to static 192.168.1.xxx since the WMB's default IP is 192.168.1.210. Then access the WBM directly by calling the default IP via your browser.
Go to the Help-Tab and install a new firmware (available @ linksys, v2.18 (Jan. 29, 2008)). The new firmware supports PSK2. With the new firmware you have to have the v1.3 Bridge Utility installed, which looks better anyway (supports my laptops's hotkeys).

The configuration can be done via the web-based setup. Give the thing a name and a new password. Set a static IP which your router will accept.

In Vista I do not have the SP1 installed.


Now I'll try to hook up the bridge utility...

EDIT: When you set the WMB's static IP, be sure to fill out the Subnet Mask AND the gateway.
 

Rodeodave

Member
Paid Member
2004-12-26 9:38 pm
in the alps
Okay, I got the bridge utility (with firmware v2.18 you need the bridge utility v1.3 which is better anyway) running. The trick is to run the utility's install.exe in compatibility mode for XP service pack 2. After installing vista SP1 the utility is still running. I had to decrease the frag threshold and the RTS by 40 each in order to get continuous streaming.

Here's the DIY-part: I first tested the WMB54G with it's analog outputs. When everything was set up properly I tried connecting it's digital coaxial output to my CD player's digital input, and, surprise, the WMB54G's coax out was fit so tightly that the digital coax cable's plug wouldn't fit. So I took the hood off.

[IMGDEAD]http://img390.imageshack.us/img390/2527/hoodoffblurgp9.th.jpg[/IMGDEAD]

some detailed shots:

[IMGDEAD]http://img390.imageshack.us/img390/9239/detailleftih3.th.jpg[/IMGDEAD]
[IMGDEAD]http://img390.imageshack.us/img390/4800/detailrighttr0.th.jpg[/IMGDEAD]

Then I re-drilled the hole by hand:

[IMGDEAD]http://img390.imageshack.us/img390/747/drillay9.th.jpg[/IMGDEAD]

Should do.

[IMGDEAD]http://img390.imageshack.us/img390/21/coaxoutbd2.th.jpg[/IMGDEAD]

And, for the sake of completeness, the bottom view.

[IMGDEAD]http://img390.imageshack.us/img390/1830/portraitbottom2tj2.th.jpg[/IMGDEAD]


And thank you janneman for pointing out this device to us.