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Computer based audio...........better??

admin_exported

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Does anyone else on here have a high quality (bit-perfect) computer based setup?? If so, what are your thoughts on it??

What Hi-Fi - perhaps you could feature more of this is the future ? 
 

Clare Newsome

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Jun 4, 2007
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We're ramping up our coverage all the time. For example, for the second year running our Bristol Show demo featured computer-based audio....
 
A

Anonymous

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Oh great - i didn't make it this year!

What did you have setup, Claire??ÿ
 

Clare Newsome

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Some more info here.

Basically we were showing that a PC laptop could happily act as the source for a seriously high-end set-up - though adding an external DAC (we put in the Bryston BDA-1) notably improved performance over the computer's own.
 

manicm

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May 1, 2008
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Clare Newsome:

Some more info here.

Basically we were showing that a PC laptop could happily act as the source for a seriously high-end set-up - though adding an external DAC (we put in the Bryston BDA-1) notably improved performance over the computer's own.

Then again, almost any DAC would be an improvement, not just a 2k one :)
 

moonfly

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Feb 22, 2009
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Not heard about this kind of thing before, anyone care to explain. I'm assuming we're not just talking about playing cd's via WMP or iTunes, because I find those to be pretty poor.
 

idc

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moonfly:Not heard about this kind of thing before, anyone care to explain. I'm assuming we're not just talking about playing cd's via WMP or iTunes, because I find those to be pretty poor.

Basically a computer based system replaces the CD as the source. Music is stored on the computer itself or a hard drive and managed by the likes of itunes. To get the best sound CDs are imported a lossless format. The computer is then connected to a DAC either by wire or more usually wirelessly with the likes of Airport Express. The DAC is then connected to the amp with phon cables...and away you go.

The advantages are convenience over loads of CDs lying around, you can put music on shuffle and play it for hours and most importantly the sound quality. I just plug my ipod straight into my amp and its DAC does a very good job and gives me a sound I am very pleased with. I have not tried it, but by all accounts a DAC costing £200 or less will out perform a much more expensive CD player.
 

moonfly

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Feb 22, 2009
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idc:
moonfly:Not heard about this kind of thing before, anyone care to explain. I'm assuming we're not just talking about playing cd's via WMP or iTunes, because I find those to be pretty poor.

Basically a computer based system replaces the CD as the source. Music is stored on the computer itself or a hard drive and managed by the likes of itunes. To get the best sound CDs are importedÿa lossless format. The computer is then connected to a DAC either by wire or more usually wirelessly with the likes of Airport Express. The DAC is then connected to the amp with phon cables...and away you go.

The advantages are convenience over loads of CDs lying around, you can put music on shuffle and play it for hours and most importantly the sound quality. I just plug my ipod straight into my amp and its DAC does a very good job and gives me a sound I am very pleased with. I have not tried it, but by all accounts a DAC costing £200 or less will out perform a much more expensive CD player.
Sounds very interesting, especially as I dont have a dedicated CD player (currently using xbox or an old panasonic DVD-RV60) and was pondering on the investment of one as an upgrade. How do you import cd's in a higher quality lossless format though.
 

PJPro

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Jan 21, 2008
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Depends on your codec of choice. If you're an iTunes fan then iTunes will rip the CDs for you (although you need to configure it for lossless ripping).

If you want to use a codec like FLAC then EAC is an option or dbpoweramp.

I use EAC.
 

moonfly

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Feb 22, 2009
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I'm definatly going to give this a try then, in fact I'm download EAC as we speak. Until I get a DAC what options for playing my music do I have. My laptop has HDMI out and my AVR is an Onkyo 875 so I can play that way so long as there is a way of playing the ripped CDs
 

Johnno2

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Feb 2, 2009
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Would a dac like the CA dacmagic accept music files direct from a portable media player,in this case mp3 from my archos 405 via the USB link,?
 
A

Anonymous

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I have setup bit-perfect output via USB in all three in Foobar on my PC: WASAPI (Vista only), ASIO and Kernel Streaming - bypassing the soundcard and all Windows software. Let me know if you need help setting these up. I may put a short guide up if I get a chance today or tomorrow.

EDIT: Also, ASIO is easy to setup to use in Winamp.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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Johnno2:Would a dac like the CA dacmagic accept music files direct from a portable media player,in this case mp3 from my archos 405 via the USB link,?

Not directly - I think you need to get the 60 quid DVR station which has an SPDIF out.
 
A

Anonymous

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The analogue output from Apple Computers is surprisingly good and an excellent place to start, but PCs seem to sound very much worse and I'm sure this is why people can't believe computers can do audio, despite the fact that most of the music they buy has been made using one.

If you have a PC laptop and don't like the sound, the cheapest and most surprising upgrade is an M-Audio Transit, it's £50 and surprisingly good sounding, very good sounding. However there is a catch and that is the software takes some fathoming out, but it's worth it.

M-Audio is the hardware division of a huge and highly regarded Pro Audio company called Pro-Tools, so their credentials are impeccable.

Ash
 

fatboyslimfast

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Jan 10, 2008
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Hi Ash, I run a PC, but through an airport express. Am I correct in thinking that iTunes streams directly to the AE, so avoiding the inherent issues with PC-based audio?

It certainly sounds rather good...
 
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Anonymous

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Hi,

ÿI just set my self up for computer audio and the results have been amazing! I already have a mac laptop so I that took a big cost out of the equation (but you could easily build a small pc for less the £300) I bought an airport express and a cheap 1TB external disk.

I've ripped all my music to ITunes in WAV format and the sound jump is HUGE! Ok, so my setup is pretty modest, I've got a Marantz PM66KI, Celestion 100 (ever heard of them?!) speakers and a Kenwood 7090 Cd player. Despite the player being a Kenwood, it has always performed pretty well. I did a blind listening test verses a £300 Sony playing SACDs and the Kenwoodÿwon so it can't be that bad. It also performs well against my Systemdek II record deck.

The sound improvement has been huge, the detail has increased, the soundstage is better - everything in fact had improved by aÿsubstantialÿamount. I have a Beresford TC-7520 on the way so it will be interesting to see how that improves things - if I get the same jump again I'll be laughing.

I also have been looking into high quality downloads and thought I would share this link with you (not sure if I'mÿallowedÿto add links but its free!!!) they have various sample tracks - including a 1GB 9 mins track in 24 bit DXD!! I've found it a great way to test what disc based audio can really do. ÿ

http://www.2l.no/hires/index.htmlÿ

I think with my current setup I've got something I'm going to be happy with for years - all I would do to improve it is perhaps source a really good power amp of Ebay. I'm also going to get a pair of Stax or Ergo AMT's so I don't disturb theÿneighbors. ÿ

All in all I've been really really impressed. I feel this is the best value upgrade I could have made. The hugeÿconvenience of having all my music at the click of a button is just a bonus.

ÿWell worth the effort.

Hope this helps you decide.

ÿTimÿ

ÿ

ÿ
 
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Anonymous

Guest
FATBOYSLIMFAST

I believe you're correct, however the analogue sound quality from the Airport Express is good enough to get started, but can be improved with an external DAC. Apple Computers are surprisingly okay sounding, so presumably the AE suffers for having so much crammed into it.

Don't forget the most perfect music server of the all either, the Apple TV. It does everything and sounds okay as well.

Ash
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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JohnDuncan:Ooo there's a link on that website to this, which also looks interesting......

Thanks John. Some great jazz stuff on there in 16/44.1 AIFF. I am going to download one or two things later.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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chebby:JohnDuncan:Ooo there's a link on that website to this, which also looks interesting......

Thanks John. Some great jazz stuff on there in 16/44.1 AIFF. I am going to download one or two things later.

Cool. Will you be playing it through your new Beresford - I hear it's fantastic?
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
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JohnDuncan:chebby:JohnDuncan:Ooo there's a link on that website to this, which also looks interesting......

Thanks John. Some great jazz stuff on there in 16/44.1 AIFF. I am going to download one or two things later.

Cool. Will you be playing it through your new Beresford - I hear it's fantastic?

A great philosopher once wrote
Naughty, naughty, very naughty
Ha ha ha ha ha
 

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