PC as source component

Discussion in 'PCs & Music Servers' started by RobV, May 26, 2005.

  1. doctorcilantro

    doctorcilantro Member

    It cropped up on another forum. I can pm you the name.

    Peachtree had to mod the firmware on their Novas to allow the N to be compatible (allowed more jitter on input 2), then the Eastern Electric DAC seemed to have a similar issue for many users.


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  2. TwoHardCore

    TwoHardCore So Long AK, and Thanks

    Today I just got a piece that will be the last one I buy for pc sourced stereo, a good quality receiver. I run .flac, .wav and .mp3 through foobar2000 from my cheap ol' Chaintech soundcard w/optical out on my work PC, through an Arcam AVR100's VCR optical input to my PSB 40R's. Love the sound quality of the Arcam!!!

    I love the rip it & store it method of a pc server, as I'm quite often too unsure where much of my collection is currently stored. I put all the CDs I've ripped into a pile/box and so the other CDs I will rip will become easier to find. It'll be a long process, but well worth my time I think.

  3. oneinchside

    oneinchside Openly Baffled


    gotstalovedem Flac bubbas

    and a good point, and a good reason to stretch beyond the 24/48 DACs I guess.
  4. doctorcilantro

    doctorcilantro Member

    Actually, it does have a lower bit rate. Identical bit depth, identical all around, but it is compressed, and when streamed for example you will see a lower number of bits per second streamed before decoding compared to wav.

    i use J. River Library Server to feed my hifi client PC, and usually leave the decoding to the client to save bandwidth. One says A2 because the .wav doesn't have metadata.

    Here is the same song WAV vs. FLAC:

    • [​IMG]
    • [​IMG]
  5. Nikkoholic

    Nikkoholic Active Member

    St. Louis, MO
    First post to this forum catagory. I run all vintage basic components and want to utilize the convienence of digital music. My digital music library is downloaded from iTunes and ripped CDs. I very basically run a headphone out of my iphone to RCA into AUX of my preamp to listen. I know I'm losing a lot of quality. However I don't know what direction to take.

    Here is what I'm considering. All my music is on a new laptop. Outputs consist of HDMI, and USB. Had my eye on the Cambridge Dacmagic or Emotiva XDA-1. They both have USB inputs. That seemed pretty straight forward...I think. But then I though about the Cambridge 840C which is a CD player (which I thought I needed to upgrade) but also can be used as a DAC, but only has Toslink and Coax inputs. So don't know how I'd get from the laptop to the CD/DAC since I don't have compatible outputs.

    Second option is (after reading through most of these posts), getting a ROKO? or a component that communicates with the laptop remotely through a network? That's where I get lost.

    I may be posting in the wrong area, if so direct me, but I'm very weak in this technology but really want to put together a system that will feed a quality signal to my vintage equipment. Thanks
  6. bilboda

    bilboda Active Member

    You need a usb to spdif converter. There's quite a few and some relatively inexpensive ones too. I am looking at the Musiland Monitor 02 US as it includes a dac (what I need) and it also has toslink and spdif outputs. There is a highly regarded usb to spdif only converter but it's name escapes me. I think it was around $60.
  7. oneinchside

    oneinchside Openly Baffled

    Maybe one of the modules by twisted pear?

    The only problem with going the PC>usb2spdif>CD player is that you have 2 clocks involved-- one in the usb2spdif and one in the CD player-- and no way to set one of them as the master clock: e.g. jitter city. I think I'd rather have a good USB DAC, and run the CD player to another channel on the pre-amp.

    After futzing around with digital sources I finally ordered DAC, and will be ripping all my CD's with Exact Audio Copy (software) and possibly up-sampling them to 24/96... after the DAC gets here I'll get to find out which I prefer. I admit, I am spoiled rotten by the convenience that comes with the PC as the "tuner" and the DAC as the "pre".

  8. Dlaska

    Dlaska New Member

    I'm back in this world after a 20 year hiatus and was wondering if I should put a DAC between my Imac (primary source) and my Preamp? Would it help? Also any suggestion on interconnects from the Imac to the DAC or Pre.
  9. hjfischer

    hjfischer New Member

    This thread occured to me as a good place to get an answer to a problem. I have two 500 gb external hard drives which store my music collection-both identical for backup purposes. One is connected to my notebook for music server use. It failed last week and had to be reformatted, losing all the files and requiring copying everything again. Another model failed last year and had to be replaced and re-loaded with 300+ gb of stuff. The question is, would copying what I want to play direct to the notebook save wear and tear on the external drive since it would not be spinning all the time I'm listening to music? Any suggestions will be appreciated.


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  10. mjdupuis

    mjdupuis Be not rash

    You would then be putting that wear and tear on the notebook drive which will eventually fail as well, and not because of the increased use, all drives fail eventually. My advice would be to use an NAS (netwrok attached storage) device that has RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Discs) built in, or some scheme to automatically mirror (copy) drives. For instance, depending on the RAID scheme used (there are many types) an NAS would contain multiple hard drives and any data copied to one would automatically be copied to the other. You would not have to manually backup any data and any drive failure would simply involve replacing the bad drive with a working one. My office uses a Pegasus RAID (not inexpensive but very good quality) and four drive are used. Two of those drives are just mirrors of the other two. If one drive fails we replace it and lose no data.
  11. John James

    John James "Bob's your uncle" (Stolen) Subscriber

    Piney Flats, Tn.
    I hope this is the right place for this question. If not, feel free to move it.

    I got a new laptop that uses Windows 7 as the OS. My old laptop used XP. I found a couple of years ago how to bypass the laptops music handling software and go straight to the USB port and then to my outboard DAC. Does anyone know how to do this with Windows 7? By the way, I'm using Mediamonkey to read the files.

    Thanks for your time,

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  12. Ωωεη G

    Ωωεη G potty mouth

    Any one else using their PC as source? What are you using?


    i have a saffire 24 card- 16 in / 8 out

    still trying to figure out the "best" way to hook it all up -

    but have basically come to the conclusion - that there is no best way, and each application - ( ie record mic - record 2 tape - record from tape ) will require some plugging and unplugging the pieces ( deck, card, eq, amp, ... )

    overall - it is fine - sound is good

    and YES - i can sometimes see that i type very badly-

    sometimes i will go back to a old thread - as say

    so - i will, maybe, try ....
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2012
  13. DaveS

    DaveS Active Member

    Seattle Area
    Do I need a soundcard to run usb -> dac?

    I've been enjoying sound from my 5yr old Dell PC
    from the "Audio Out jack' at the rear of the pc
    to rca cables to the input of my integrated
    Tonight the sound suddenly became grossly
    distorted and continued about half volume,
    both r and l channels.
    I plugged into the headphone jack on the front panel
    of the pc, and got identical sound.
    I changed the input jack on the amp to Aux and
    got the same.
    Sound card's done?
    Was thnking about getting an outboard DAC anyway,
    do I even need an onboard sound card
    if I use an out board DAC?
    I'd really appreciate some light on this particular
    question please.
  14. rwartner

    rwartner Super Member

    Scottsdale, AZ
    You can use PC USB out to DAC and avoid soundcard.

    How is sound from PC without using Amp? I am wondering if your amp has problems.
    Can you hook up CD player or some other source to make sure amp is working properly?
  15. DaveS

    DaveS Active Member

    Seattle Area

    I restarted the puter tonight and
    Viola! Restored all the previous quality
    i had from both headphone jack and audio out
    on rear!
    Now you've told me usb DAC's can use the
    usb output to by pass the sound card,
    do you know if I just hook up the DAC
    to any usb port, of if i need to alter settings on
    audio in the puter?
    Also then looking into which DAC's are likely
    to make a noticable diff over the sound card.
    Sound card is a dedicated one which came with
    this 5 year old Dell.
  16. rwartner

    rwartner Super Member

    Scottsdale, AZ
    When you connect DAC via USB the computer should recognize it like anyother USB device and load the driver.

    Sometimes the music software doesn't recognize the DAC. Before connecting DAC close your music software. After hooking up open the software. It should automatically recognize the DAC.

    What operating system and what music player? With Windows Media Player there are simple settings to make sure the DAC is hooked up.

    (in WMP) Tools/Options/Devices - highlight speakers, click properties, select USB from list (Direct Sound USB Device)
  17. rwartner

    rwartner Super Member

    Scottsdale, AZ
    Also, I can't tell you if DAC will improve your sound. I was looking for clarity, mine works fine.

    I would check out Grant Fidelity forum and their DAC offering. One thing I do like about outboard DACs is mobility. A soundcard might only work in certain computers.
    For instance PCI only works if you have PCI slot. With outboard DAC you can move if you buy new computer.


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  18. Gang-Twanger

    Gang-Twanger Resident Wharfedaliophool

    Hmmm.... Don't think I've ever noticed this thread. It's sorta' buried, you know?

    Anyway, I'll keep it going here...

    When I got started in the PC-as-music-server game, I was using an old Dell desktop as my digital source, but I'm currently-using my Compaq Presario laptop along with an HRT MSII external DAC (It sends/receives data via asynchronous-usb... I'm VERY-happy with it). I then run a pair of AUVIO rca cables. AUVIO is Radio Shack's high-performance audio line. Really-nice cables with impressive build-quality. I like them better than the Monster rca's, I've used. I'm a musician, so I've seen my share of rca's and 1/4" cables over the years, and the AUVIO's are a good "get it and forget it" cable for people who don't want to pay $120/ft for some overpriced designer-cable.

    The AUVIO rca's run out to the "AWKS"-in on my Sansui 2000x receiver (From 1972... 39wpc). From there, I run Radio Shack 14ga speaker wire out to a pair of Wharfedale W60E's (From the early '70's as well... Intro'd in '71... 3-way acoustic-suspension design with a 12.5" woofer, 5" mid-woofer, and a mylar dome tweeter).

    For music-storage, I'm currently-using WD My Book Essentials (I have two 1TB models and one newer 2TB model, and I connect them via an external usb hub that connects to my laptop. With the new 2TB drive especially, I unplug it from my laptop when not using it (I heard that it doesn't completely go to sleep when connected to a laptop, and supposedly that puts more wear and tear on the drive... I only plug in what I'm using, and then I unplug it from the external usb hub when I'm finished... I'm also unplugging my DAC from the external usb hub as well... The LED stays on if I merely disconnect the hub cable from the laptop). The external usb hubs take the strain off my laptop's usb hub, plus I get much-better sound with the DAC plugged into the external hub (The DAC performs a lot better if I give my laptop a little help). I use one hub for the DAC and the other hub for the external drives, and I plug the external hub cables into my laptop's usb ports. These extra steps seem to make a big difference with my low-powered laptop, and I get better performance from the DAC.

    For playback, I'm currently-using VLC Media Player along with a plug-in called Virtual Audio Cable for bit-perfect playback. Works really-well on my cheap laptop (I was having a hard time getting either WASAPI or ASIO to work properly, but V.A.C. worked fine right off the bat and it's plug-and-play with VLC Media Player).

    In my digital music collection, I have all sorts of audiophile stuff... MFSL gold and silver CD's (I like the early silver ones the most), DCC/AF gold CD's, Sony Mastersound gold discs, hi-rez FLAC, test CD's, Japanese black triangle and 2nd-pressing CD's (The AC/DC Japanese 2nd-pressing CD's are great), vinyl-rips (I have a ton of really-great vinyl-ripped stuff taken from 1st-pressings), old-school rap CD's, jazz, classical, plus I've been putting together a movie collection as well (separated into individual genres). I've spent the last 4 years putting this together, and I've been backing it up as I go along (I do physical backups... I don't like the idea of using online servers, especially after seeing what happened to MU and all there customers recently). Your source material is just as important as the source gear IMO.

    At the moment, I'm getting surprisingly-good digital sound. The MSII DAC sounds incredibly-analog. It's transparent in the way that it DOESN'T sound digital, and it integrates extremely-well with my vintage setup (especially for a $150 DAC). Now I'm just looking to upgrade things on the computer side (as well as the external hard drive side) and build a desktop computer that can handle the wear and tear of multitasking while simultaneously-surfing the web and all the other basic things people do with computers. It's a lot to ask of an entry-level laptop, so I'd like to put together a custom setup that can handle the job without flinching.
  19. gggvan

    gggvan Well-Known Member

    Cohasset, MA
    My setup is very close to Gang-Twanger's.

    I have an HP Mini 1000 running Itunes, with MP3/MP4 files being read from a WD 1 TB MyBook--->HRT USB Music Streamer II---AUX of my SX-1250

    I like the small size of the Mini, it doesn't overpower my rack, even open. For now I am "compelled" to use Itunes and the Remote App is so darn useful with my IPOD. I can adjust volume/display current song/play next song etc from anywhere in the house.
  20. Kneedeepinit

    Kneedeepinit Super Member

    calgary alberta
    I need soome help. I have a windows XP laptop with an external HD and a HRT Music Streamer II DAC. Using Foobar, the audio is excellent.

    When I try internet radio (Songza), I get no output volume at all. What am i doing wrong?

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