What extra do I need to stream music from laptop

admin_exported

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Hi all, I am finding all this streaming really confusing but do want to embrace it. Based on my kit in sig what extra would I need to get to ensure I get best sound quality from music stored on my laptop.
 

MajorFubar

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What laptop have you got?
You'd probably need an outboard DAC, either USB or optical, depending on what your laptop offers in terms of connectivity.
The reason you would want an external DAC is because the DACs built into most laptops are usually pretty naff.
You can't even go off their specs as an indication of qualty: the DAC in my Toshiba laptop can apparently decode 32-bit/96kHz files, which you'd think makes it pretty decent, but I can state with a great deal of experience that its SQ is nothing to write home about.
 

SteveR750

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If you want to find out what is possible, the key is the software, especially if you use a PC. Apple make it nice and easy to get hi fi lossless music providing you use itunes on a Mac. Itunes on a pc is no better than windows media player, bioth of which are no better than mp3 quality. There are third party programmes (I use J Rivers Media Centre 15) that can bypass any windows programmes that modify the signal but you will need an optical s/pdif output or a usb capable DAC. Macbooks have optical outs, as do the expensive Sonys. I have to be honest, I won't ever bother looking for a new source ever again, simply a DAC that can process the signal better, or higher res music files - currently have a few 24/192 tracks from HD tracks and they are stunning.
 
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Anonymous

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Well based on your kit I'd say you need to get a Rega DAC and connect it to your laptop via usb. I wouldn't worry about the software just yet, most of your files are 16/44k1 anyway which any player can do.

As an added bonus, you can also connect the Apollo to the DAC, that should improve CD sound as well.
 

MajorFubar

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SteveR750 said:
Itunes on a pc is no better than windows media player, both of which are no better than mp3 quality.
Really? That's news to me. I wasn't aware either of those apps compressed or down-sampled say a raw 16/44 WAV file before playing it. Or are you talking about their ripping ability? Certainly WMP can be preset to rip and store CDs as 16/44 WAVs.
 

SteveR750

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I wasn't referring to any cmpression of the music files sorry, what I meant was the key is using software that allows for bit perfect streaming to the DAC. WMP and itunes (when used in windows) cannot do this, and windows generally screws the data around. Itunes on a mac is a different proposition. To my ears, wmp and itunes on my pc sounded pretty average, nowhere near as good a source as the cyrus I had. Once I installed MC15 and set it up properly, the difference was pretty huge, to the point where I preferred the sound of the pc and sold the cyrus. The software that you use on a PC is critical to the SQ you can get off it - there are plenty of threads about it from a few months ago.
 

MajorFubar

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Ah thanks for the clarification Steve, I get you.

I'm still new to this side of digital music :)

EDIT: just thinking, you've probably confirmed something I always thought was just my imagination. I always suspected Sony Sound Forge played 16/44 WAV files clearer than WMP, even through just my PC's native DAC. Yet somehow I thought I must be imagining it, as I figured one player was much like the next in terms of SQ.
 

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