Media pcs as music servers

admin_exported

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Aug 10, 2019
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In the five years that ive been into hifi and ive been through a fair few cd players, going from a £50 second hand NAD player all the way up to a £1400 Densen player. however i cant stand allways haveing to change the cd or clean tiny bitts of fluff and grease off of them. the easy answer to this is to buy a music server. however the problem with that is most of the time music servers are so expensive that you could by a cd player for a third of the price that would sound as good if not better. the other answer is to use your current pc as a way of playing and storeing all your music. lots of audiophiles would advice people to stay clear of this soloution since most pc soundcards sound like crap plus all the noisy components in the pc ruin the listening experience.

but i think i can say now with confidence that ive dicovered the solution and without any compromiseses. i came across a website called niveusmedia.com . they where selling on there website a $15,000 media pc called the k2. this media pc used heatsinks to get rid of all its heat without the use of any fans and sported a soundcard with balanced xlr outputs and a signal to noise ratio of 117 db. the case was absolutly gorgeous, made completly from thick cut alumium. it looked like a highend power amp with a little slot to slide your dvds and cds in.

after a bit of searching around with google and a few emails to the company i managed to find out what sound card they where useing and with a little luck i managed to pick one up off ebay. the card is the lynx l22 (£600 rrp by lynxstudios.com). after getting hold of the sound card i managed to find a company that sold completely silent heat sink pc cases (hifiatx.com around £600 with cooling and silent powersupply). after buying all the other components i had spent around £2000 but built the ultimate media machine.

My two grand bought me a completely silent media pc with 7 inch touch screen, balanced xlr audio outputs, hdmi video output with hdcp. it also has enough computing power to handle hd content with ease and so much storage that everyone of my cds is stored uncompresed on the hard drive as well as buckets of hd content. my media pc also sounds so good i sold my £1400 densen cd player without a second thought and have yet to see a highend dvd player that looks better than it.

i only post this thread because the huge effect building this pc has had on me as hifi enthusiast, i think every one should have one of these in there home. if any one reading this has any questions about it or any sugestions to make my htpc better please post. thanks alot for reading these and sorry it so long.

cheers

ryan
 

Clare Newsome

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Jun 4, 2007
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Hi Ryan

Thanks for this - you really have gone the extra mile. Superb!

A long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away), I worked on computer magazines and saw the potential for media servers. But it's only now there's the power, performance and pricing - plus the software and networking - to make them a home entertainment reality.

We use a high-end PC as one of our HD source components in the WHF test rooms - it's an excellent resource.

However, having spent this evening struggling with the hard-disk of my Sky box, I'm also all too aware of the frailties of HDD and PC systems. Hope you've got a really good back-up drive....

PS The PC's great for convenience, but I'm not parting with my CD, DVD or even vinyl collection just yet....
 

Razz

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Jun 25, 2007
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Many many thanks Ryan! You did a little bit of research but the solution you've found is very clever! And I am sure that your setup rivals very expensive high-end setups sound-wise - not to mention the convenience you've acquired... I'll keep your post saved for future reference - someday I might follow your example. :)

Again much obliged.

Razz
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi Ryan,

Excellent work with your PC! I recently set about upgrading an old laptop so that it could be used as a Media Centre, and quickly realised that changing PC components isn't actually as difficult as people might believe. Seeing as individual components tend to be fairly cheap, I've decided to build a new system from scratch to see just how feasible it is, and how much money can be saved. I will post my progress as soon as I get started!

Tom
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Sounds like a beautifull system!

Did you ever try (or consider) using a more simple computer with a good quality off-board DAC?

I've stashed my HTPC in a (well ventilated) cubboard to get rid of the noise. With 600GB of harddisk space I don't need to change CD/DVDs very often...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
hi there, i did try the card with an external dac but the dac on the card sounded miles better. the card uses a pair of crystal CS4396 dac chips. these chips are used in Audio researchs cd3 mk2 player as well as a good few other high end players.

i thought about stashing my pc in a cubboard but when i saw the case i just couldnt help myself. i had to have it and display it proudly. the pc now sits next to my musical fidelity amp flanked by a 7 inch touch screen lcd that slides in and out of a tiny little case with the touch of a button.

if you really want to take your media center to the next level you really need to pick up one of lynxstudios soundcards. there designed for music studios and mastering but work equally as well in a media pc, i talked directly with a tech from niveus and they said if they where going to rerealese there signature k2 pc they wouldnt put anything but a lynx card in it. my card feeds a musicalfidelity x150 with a pair of monitoraudio gs10 speakers and a rel stampede sub. i invited my local dealer in when he delevered my sub and he was so blown away by the sound of the card he stayed for nearly an hour just trying diferent music through it. it really is that good!

cheers

ryan
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Hi there,

Im very interested in setting up a music server such as the one you have. I have many questions, can I contact you via email?

Thanks!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
hi there, im more than happy to answer any questions you have about pcs as music servers. just drop me an email at bartsmoonparty@hotmail.co.uk and i will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

cheers

Ryan
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I too am very interested in the system you have put together. Would it be possible for you to include as part of this post, a full list of the components you used to put the system together?

Mike.
 

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