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noob: gett'n the best out o a given system


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Hi there,


first post here - wohoo!!!


I have a question on optimizing a given (low to medium grade) system - as opposed to spending obscene amounts of money ....


my current sys is:

- a 2001 dell latitude D600

- a generic ext. HDD

- foobar 0.9.6 (mostly using flac and some ogg)

- a Xitel Pro Link dac (run via USB)

- a RCA cable (hehehe)

- a NAD 320BEE amp

- Paradigm Monitors (forgot exact model name of the speaker)



well - you can tell I am a cheap bastard by now ;-) ...


the system does however sound quite sweet and good ... I am really happy with its performance ... very relaxed and laid back, but with good dynamics and surprisingly strong but controlled bass. The black triangle's version of PinkFloyd's "Us and them" on still gives me goosebumps



I hook the Xitel directly into the NADs power in stage, bypassing the pre and changing volume via foobar. Nothing in the signal path - we dont need no stinking pre-amp :-) ... but I am rambling ...



starting from the signal origin and following its path, what would be some things to look out in order to get the best audio ...???


- is foobar the best sounding audio player (are ther better ones, or is it a wash?)

- i seem to have read that there are some plug-ins for foobar (bit-exact kernel or so) that should improve sound - any word/ideas on that?



well - in short - is there anything on the software side of things (iow: without spending $$$) that I could improve (or at least double-check)?


again, thx for your patiance and the willingness to share thoughts and ideas




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Welcome to C/A


I would think the place to snoop first would be the soundcard. Also would think if using RCA you are relying on the Dell's Dac. Might want to try to get to USB or a digital output and seek the bit perfect output stream.


Search around here for bit perfect Windows threads and you can read some thoughts.


Chris also has some system suggestions where you can study the soundcard treatments.


Holler when you have questions - you will find this a great resource.


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I don't know anything about that DAC, so I can't comment there. There are some things that need to be done in Windows to ensure a bit-perfect output, but I'm a Mac guy, so I'll let someone else help you with that. I personally think that once you get a bit perfect data path, the software is a wash, sonically, though not all agree. I'd personally use the software with the interface and features I like best. I just came into the thread to say there is nothing, IMO, low-end about your analog system. It may not be expensive, but it is very good stuff (I'm sure you already know this and are just being modest). I'll bet that NAD and Paradigm monitors make a great combination, even if those are just the small, but excellent Atoms. If the path is bit perfect and the DAC is well-implemented, I suspect the most dramatic improvement would come from a well-integrated subwoofer.




I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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You can't obtain bit-perfect output if you use the volume control in foobar. Whether this matters could be debated.


Try listening through the pre. If it sounds no worse than straight to power then you could try can bypassing the foobar volume control by using the volume on the integrated, and outputting bit-perfect from foobar using ASIO4ALL (Google, download and install) then select ASIO playback in your foorbar settings.


If you don't want to use the pre section then stick with your current setup as it is. You like the sound now because you already have a good setup.




hFX Classic fanless i7 SSD > Locus Nucleus / SW Diverter HR > RWA Isabella LFP-V Pro / New Sensor Genalex Gold Lion E88CC > ALO Sennheiser HD 800 balanced[br]

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thx, tim ...


i had a looksee tonight and those are paradigm mini monitors v2 (prob. phased outby now)... I DO like what I hear - and a lot ... (would the phrase "its a low-end - high-end stereo" be too awkward??? ;-)


I guess what I really try to achive is to drive all inefficiencies out of my existing system - starting on the software-side (which is free!)


I agree, a subwoofer would bang-for-the-buck-wise be the next step to take ...


again, thx


Santiago de Chile


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thx olive for the asio info - and the bit perfect info on the foobar - I didnt know that one.


I will A-B the setup w the "ASIO into pre" vs. "foobar volume into power" - and report back.


would the bit-imperfections - iyho - matter *more* if I run the foobar volume rather low (-15 to -20dB as I do into the power) vs. -2 to -3dB ... something along the lines of the least significant bit or so?


again thx.



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It's not hard to believe that you have a very good and controled low freqs with that set of Paradigms. They are indeed very good speakers.

I have a Nad like yours in my comp system and like you i'm very content with it. I also try avoiding Nad's preamp but i ended up using it because i like to use some eq. in some music and also because of the headphones output.

For software, actually i'm using JRiver with asio driver which is similar to Foobar but with a nicer layout and as i like to say it's kinda like Foobar on steroids...:) IMHO, you should try it. ;)


PC / Pro-Ject USB dac (modded)/ Musical Fidelity X10-D (modded)/ Musical Fidelity X-A1 (modded)/ B&W CDM1 SE/ Supra Power Cables/ Nordost Flatline Speaker Cables

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