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And how about computer audio?

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And how about computer audio?

Postby cafe latte » 19 Sep 2017 05:49

This is kind of linked to my other thread, but different too, what is needed for a good set up ie making a laptop into a serious source.
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby rich12 » 19 Sep 2017 16:18

All you need is a good USB DAC. I favor DSD, but PCM can be good too.
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby JoeE SP9 » 19 Sep 2017 16:34

A "good" DAC with a USB input connected to your laptop is my recommendation.

Personally, I use an inexpensive HP laptop (AMD E2-7110, 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, Windows 10 14-an013nr, Silver) feeding an Emotiva XDA-2 DAC via a USB port. My music files (All FLAC) are stored on a 1TB USB HDD also connected to the laptop via USB. I used an Asus with an 11.1" screen for two years or so. The smaller screen was a problem for me.

I strongly recommend FLAC for a storage file type. It uses lossless compression and supports metadata tagging. FLAC files decode to be bit perfect to the original. IME MP3 files do not sound as good as the originals. The 320Kbps MP3's come close but they get no cigar.

I've been thinking of switching to a dual drive NAS for primary FLAC storage.
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby tcolegrove » 19 Sep 2017 17:20

Absolutely agree with the folks above recommending a USB DAC (Dragonfly is my preferred brand).

In addition to your own files there's streaming services with great content available. I subscribed to a premium account from Spotify that I'm constantly impressed by. Doing A/B listening tests between vinyl and Spotify, I'm hard pressed to pick one over the other. For $10 a month I can access millions of titles! Not a bad deal in my mind.
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby cafe latte » 19 Sep 2017 22:47

I already have loads of flac files on a hard drive, I never really bothered with Mp3.
So totally over the Cyrus, 5 times now it has failed on me so thinking about what to do for digital on that system hence my question.
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby JeffS7444 » 20 Sep 2017 23:31

Quality digital sound from a computer is the easy part: Making it un-frustrating and non-distracting is another matter.

FWIW, I just bought an Fiio X3 Mk II music player, and it seems that some of these Fiio devices can also serve as USB DAC, so you can think of them as multipurpose audio gadgets, offering SPDIF, line-out and headphone-out - or you can simply use as a portable music player. Headphone amp has enough moxie for my Fostex orthodynamic headphones. The sound? Wonderful as you'd expect of any well-engineered product these days. NWAVGUY's old blog contained bench test results of an Fiio product:

http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/03/fiio-e5-headphone-amp.html

I gotta laugh at my music PC projects over the years: My earliest was total overkill and ended up costing far more than expected. Current Raspberry Pi setup and Fiio player would both fit inside a shoebox, with room left over for the shoes! Neither had any real impact on my finances.
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby jspink » 21 Sep 2017 12:33

All my music files (flac, mp3, DSD) are stored on a Qnap NAS. I have a Gigabyte Brix fanless and headless PC with Windows 7 and a Teac USB DAC. The software I use is JRiver Media Center 23. I can remote desktop to the PC while I'm home to control it but it also has a neat app for Android devices (not sure about Apple) called Gizmo which can control the playback. Playback can be sent to the player (ie USB DAC) or, and what I think is a great feature, it can stream to the phone/tablet wherever you happen to be in the world! This effectively means that I can carry my entire music collection with me wherever I go! The streaming quality of course depends on the data connection quality, but MP3 seems to be no problem for it.
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby raphaelmabo » 21 Sep 2017 13:08

I use optical out from my Mac to a DAC (Alchemist TS-1D) so no need for a special USB-DAC if you have an optical out. I'm very happy with the sound of my Alchemist. :)
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby cafe latte » 21 Sep 2017 20:47

Some interesting solutions. Now I need to decided which way to go. Either get a separate DA converter or build a PI with a da board. too many options :D
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby JeffS7444 » 22 Sep 2017 17:37

With Raspberry Pi + DAC card, you can laugh all the way to the bank!
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby cafe latte » 22 Sep 2017 20:35

JeffS7444 wrote:With Raspberry Pi + DAC card, you can laugh all the way to the bank!

I think I will give one a go, it might be fun anyway and not a lot of cost if I am not happy with the results. Question is what is the best spec DA card? Also how does this "headless" idea work, how do you control which tracks you want to play?
I am also considering options with my Pad as it has a huge battery if I am not happy with the Pi a decent separate DA converter will be the next option.
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby Bonzo_Dog » 27 Sep 2017 21:16

I prefer not to play music on the PC for listening only: It takes too long time to start a PC just to play some music, and the PC is not in my listening area. However, I do a lot of work on a PC to fill up my music server (Synology NAS) with new content (FLAC-files 16-bit/44,1 kHz or better). When editing needledrops with RX6 or ripping CDs with dbpoweramp (or EAC, or CUEripper) I listen to music with my headphones through my headphone DAC (HRT HeadStreamer). It's not real listening for enjoyment but to check if the new content is OK.

If I play music through my PC at a party or maybe even as a DJ I'm using Foobar2000 with files from my music server copied to a 64 GB USB-disk or to the PCs hard drive. I have a 'Henry Audio USB DAC 128 mk II' for that purpose. It can easily be connected through RCA to an external stereo/PA. When DJ-ing I can connect the DAC to one portable installation of Foobar2000 through WASAPI for playback and picking what to play next from another portable installation of Foobar2000 connected to my headphones. You can drag-and-drop the files from the picking window to the playing window. If it's a party I can just play a suitable playlist in random mode from my Foobar2000 playback.
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby Lazarus Short » 04 Nov 2017 17:35

I use a USB made-in-Canada DAC Destroyer - it cost twenty-five bucks and sounds great.
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby hippyeverafter » 05 Nov 2017 09:13

I have tried various solutions over the years including several DAPs. The biggest problem I found was on board memory size as my music is ripped to FLAC 16 bit , 44.1 Khz Stereo along with mp3 and normaly these products do not have nearly enough free space for all my music to be stored together this also included an iPad 128Gb ( Unless you started purchasing separate memory cards to fit into a lot of these devices, To much hassle in my opinion. ). So I recently decided to acquire either an iPad Pro 500Gb or MacBook 12inch 500Gb. I decided against the Pro ( Fed up constantly cleaning the display from finger marks on the iPad. ) and purchased a MacBook. Installed Audirvana Plus which I use on my other Mac and software called InsomniaX that prevents the system from going to sleep when the lid is closed. I select an album set the InsomniaX for a set time usually 5 minutes longer than the album, Close the lid play via a pair of AKG bluetooth headphones then control the music play back from an IOS app on my phone :D .

This in no way meant to be a portable solution just to play music when in bed or the front room. Can always drag and drop files onto my iPhone for when I am out and about as the mood takes me?. The quality of playback sounds good to my ageing ears as the Audirvana Plus indicates playback at 24bits ( Whether this is an audible improvement over 16bits is another debate!. ).
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Re: And how about computer audio?

Postby GrumpyBob » 06 Nov 2017 14:52

In my opinion, the best solution is to have the music files on a NAS with a central music server from which you stream to a multitude of devices. Examples include Sonos, Bluesound, or the one I use, the sadly discontinued Logitech Media Server (LMS). I am running LMS on a Raspberry Pi3.

I stream to my HiFi via a Squeezebox Touch or a Raspberry Pi, to a couple of portable Squeezebox Radios, to a Raspberry Pi based player for headphones, and to my iPads and Android phones.

For a truly portable system, I installed LMS on a Wifi enabled WD MyPassport drive. Or you could hook up remotely via a VPN connection.

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