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I am really frustrated!!!


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I am about to vent!! Here goes -

I am 52 years old and have been an Audiophool for over 35 years.

My problem - very little computer knowledge and, there, lies the frustration - I don't know the difference between Bits & Bites except as a snack food while watching TV!

Many of you who have been infected with this ludicrous hobby, know that when you get an audio "bug" in your head, it is very hard to let it go.

This past week I have been trying to figure out what I need to purchase in order to be able to listen to Hires music such as the Reference Recordings 24/176.4, Linn, , etc. So, let me ask a few questions and perhaps I can get some easy answers> My assumption is that once I start to understand a little more, life will become a little easier:

1: I own a desktop PC (i may invest in a Mac Mini soon, but for now it's PC). I have a PS Audio DLIII DAC.

2: On the RR site it has been mentioned that the E-MU 1616m is a very good choice. After doing a little reading it appears that this device is not a USB item. Does this matter?

3: Is this soundcard a good idea for Hires music

4: How can I use this card in relation to my PS Audio DAC or is the DAC not needed? What I mean by that is once the 1616m is properly connected to the computer where does it go from there into my audio system and what kind of connection is need to keep the native hires stream?

5: Will I be able to keep the Audio stream at 24bit? I have read that often there is a truncation down to 16 bit which one only discovers after buying hardware and by then it is too late.

6: Will the E-MU 0404USB also do the same thing?

7: Are there other inexpensive cards (preferrably external) that will do the trick that I should know about?

8: Any other advice would be appreciated.

I know that this kind of elementary question has been asked before but I think it will be easier for me if I start a new thread so that I can comprehend the answers a little easier.

I am not ashamed to admit that I am really out of my element in regards to Computer Audio. As one previous member had written a few days ago, pretend that you are about to explain this to your wife or in my case let's assume that I have just started Kindergaten. For example , if you tell me to make sure to "load a driver" I would interpret that as telling me to aid a drunk behind the wheel. You see, gentle is the order of the day!!

Much appreciation in advance

 

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Hi Spirit. Welcome to CA. I'm 55 yrs. old and have been doing (recording and playing back) digital audio since the mid 1990's on computers. I would like to help you, and hopefully someone else here will chime in as well.

 

First, there are too many disparate questions in your post to answer cognitively at one time (some appear to be unnecessary). Let's try to 'eat the elephant' that you have on your plate one bite at a time (I DO NOT mean 'byte' there....).

 

1- you have a PC: I'm not big on PC's, but have used them for this and still use one for this as well as a Mac or two. It would be helpful to know (a) which make and model of PC it is, and (b) which windows OS you are running (windows 2000, windows XP, Vista, etc...) .

 

Now a question from me:

You state that you already have a pretty good DAC there - PS Audio's DL III. This DAC should already be a pretty great start to accomplishing what you want - playback of high sample rate audio files. You do not state what issue that you are having with your current equipment that makes you want to purchase more equipment. I think that we need to hear about your current problems before we move on to any future purchases, so what exactly is not working?

[i am assuming here that you have followed all the (meager) instructions in the PS Audio manual - http://powerplayadmin.psaudio.com/~psaudio/uploads/files/manual_DLIII.pdf - and something is still amiss.]

 

- markr

 

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Hey, 50 here. Just allowed to join, right ?

 

It is true that earlier I did not know where to start, and the real everything would require many pages I'm afraid. But now let me try to deal with one piece of it.

 

Sidenote : using SPDIF-USB converters is usually not the best for sound.

 

If your DAC has USB and SPDIF input, you have the option of using USB out from the PC obviously. However, better forget about USB transporting 24/192 (or /176.4) which is what you actually want.

So, this one is done, because it leaves you with SPDIF.

 

SPDIF out from the motherboard is again not the best thing to do for sound quality.

My advise would be using an ESI [email protected] (Juli-at) which produces good sound through what we call "SPDIF Passthrough". So, you would go SPDIF out to your DAC, and the [email protected] can do that up to 24/192. It costs a 130 euro and is supported on XP and Vista (Windows 2000 I don't know, but probably also).

 

Lateron, when you are more confident, you may hop over to an external card of your choice. External is better theoretically but only that. I currently use the [email protected] myself, but own a Fireface800 (1200-1300 euro) just the same.

 

Well, it could even be that indeed your other questions are no questions anymore.

Peter

 

 

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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I wasn't aware that the USB resolution on the DLIII was limited to resolution under what the goal is here. That is a big help, because the DLIII manual is really woefully devoid of facts in this realm. I'm pretty sure now that Spirit has 'tha dang thing working - unlike what I thought -, but it doesn't work for the resolutions that he is seeking. Spirit, please let me know if this new assumption of mine - and Peter's first one- is correct.

 

Off to do more homework now.....

 

markr

 

 

 

 

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Well Mark ... after reading about your homework I started to wonder whether actually SPDIF can take it and whether *my* homework actually was sufficient. And after some "research" ... I wonder.

 

But I am 100% sure the answer will folow here : http://www.computeraudiophile.com/node/1617#comment-13013

 

Peter

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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(I only now see that posts with a reply to it can't be edited anymore ??)

 

I started to wonder whether actually SPDIF can take it and whether

 

Sorry for being confusing, I meant ... whether the SPDIF input of the DAC Link III can take it.

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Thank you for your response. Question - Re your comment:

 

"If your DAC has USB and SPDIF input, you have the option of using USB out from the PC obviously. However, better forget about USB transporting 24/192 (or /176.4) which is what you actually want.

So, this one is done, because it leaves you with SPDIF."

 

1: Could you explain the above statement. I am not sure what you mean re the USB

2: Also, besdies the Julia do you know if the E-mu products will also accomplish what I am trying to do?

 

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Pardon me if I jump in....

 

From reading the manual for the Emu 0404 it appears that it will support up to 24/192 over USB. In normal operation there are 4 channels of I/O available, at resolutions of 96 and above this becomes 2 channels of I/O. It would appear, then, that in order to provide the higher playback resolution the Emu driver will be splitting the workload across 2 channels. The manual also states that the maximum resolution for digital output over spdif is 96khz.

 

In order to get higher resolution playback, therefore, you need to use :

 

1. The Emu's asio driver.

2. USB connection between the computer and the Emu

3. The Emu's analogue audio outputs to connect to your pre amp or amp.

4. You will probably need to set the sample rate resolution in the Emu control panel to the resolution of the files you wish to play. I don't think it likely that the resolution will auto set itself, due to the way the whole thing is working.

 

Hope this helps :)

 

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Peter is probably in slumberland right now - he lives in Europe -, and at this point I am awake and have done some more homework. Sorry, it is still inconclusive though - we are waiting for Chris or anyone else who knows directly about the DLIII's particulars before we can be definitive here. So:

 

Peter's post:

----

There is some more

Well Mark ... after reading about your homework I started to wonder whether actually SPDIF can take it and whether *my* homework actually was sufficient. And after some "research" ... I wonder.

 

But I am 100% sure the answer will folow here : http://www.computeraudiophile.com/node/1617#comment-13013

 

Peter

------

 

Now to answer your most recent questions -

1) The DLIII will only do 14/44.1 through the USB connector to the computer. We are NOT sure at this point (neither of us have direct experience with the unit) if the SPDIF will do the (up to) 24/192 resolution using a PCI card SPDIF interface like the Julia. We are going to find out though!

 

2) Yes. The EMU units you mention will work - , but they will pose some different problems and also cost more than an SPDIF card will cost.

 

Have you researched either product on the web? These units are designed for pro or semi-pro use in studios. They will work for you, but will be quite different to use than the DLIII. More layers of frustration for you as BobH mentions above, I fear.

 

Some links to them here:

The 404 is - http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?product=15185

1616M uses a PCI card installed into your computer - http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?category=505&subcategory=491&product=15189

 

It looks to me, that you might be in the same boat you are already in with the 404. I mean that it has a USB connection, but it also accepts SPDIF from your computer. Meaning that the resolution of the USB hookup might also be limited to 16/44.1 - not sure at this point. This unit appears to only support Windows XP (not Vista) and Mac OSX. That may or may not be important, I don't know which version of Windows that you use......

 

The 1616M most probably will work all resolutions directly without the SPDIF. This one also only lists Windows XP as a compatible OS - NOT Mac.

 

With both of these units, you will have to have various audio cable adapters, as these do not use consumer type connections for audio out/in.

 

I think that we ought to wait for the jury to come in on the details of the DLIII before going further.

 

markr

 

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Spirit,

 

I'm 51 but have been doing computers since I was 19.

 

I have about 30 computers here but then again this is what I do. I would suggest using a MAC. It's very simple, it's all included and your litterally done after you sign on and download some updates.

 

The MINI as well as others have SPDIF outputs, you will need a cable. I would suggest going to an Apple Store. You can sign up for a new service that will teach you what ever you want to know for like $60 a year. I forget what it's called but a customer of mine who seemed similarly challenged signed up and now feels computer literate after just a couple of classes.

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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Better than this, if you hang around at the right time they do public tutorials without the need of the fee.

 

Last time I was in the Regent Street Store in London, Mac Minis were conspicuous by their absense. I sometimes wonder if Apple realise what they've got with this little box.

 

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Here is a copy of the post that I just posted on the "0404 Beer Budget" thread:

"Well, things have changed dramatically in the last 2 hours. Call me impulsive, but I went ahead and bought a used E-mu 1820m on Craigslist here is Toronto. This is the same unit that is recommended on the Ref Recordings site just below the Media Monkey explanation. I paid the same price for it as a new 0404 so I figured, what the heck, I'll try to figure this out. I know that this was their top of the line unit and has now been discotinued and replaced with the 1616m but I believe it uses the same AtoD and DtoA's as in the 1820m.

I assume that it will be a little tougher to install this, but eventually I think I will figure it out. I know that there is card that has to installed in the back of the computer and the cabling is not by USB. If you know anything about this unit, let me know"

So, any opinions or tips?

 

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Hey Gordon,

 

The service is called 'One to One'. It is $99 per year. Do you realize that between all of us, we have over 208 years total experience between us? BEEMB and BobH didn't state how old they were though.....

 

I did not miss the fact that Spirit had mentioned getting a Mac, but I didn't want to suggest that he get one just yet. I was going to bash my head and spend some hours at the keyboard here 1st. Though........ it might not be a bad idea. A Mini and a cable would start at about $650 or so. Cheaper, possibly much cheaper, if a used one was found. I have to admit that having used both operating systems, that I prefer Mac - I want it to just work (though it doesn't ALWAYS work 1st time). It would certainly remove a LOT of the complications due to the long distance technical support logistics here.

 

That has to be Spirits decision though. We will help either way.

 

markr

 

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.. I don't know if that is the word there Spirit.

 

Opinion: I'm not sure what to say. This is probably a pretty darn good unit if it is in working condition.

 

Tips:

- In addition to using the new card natively, you can also drive the DLIII via the SPDIF out on the EMU. You might find this easier than learning the software controls the computer needs to control the EMU.

- Read the manual before installing it to be sure that you do install it correctly. It will save a lot of headaches

- It doesn't appear that this will work on Vista. No Vista driver is listed for it.

 

What I know about the unit:

The 1820M: http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=237&subcategory=239&product=9870

The 1820M manual is on this page in case you didn't get one: http://www.emu.com/support/files/download2.asp?Centric=759&Legacy=0&Platform=1

maybe someone else here knows about it though!

 

markr

 

 

 

 

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Hello Spirit,

Please don't vent yet, at least not until I throw my carrot into the stew. Hopefully this can be of help. I am 55 and started in computers back in 2000 by reworking used computers with my sons. Most of the PCs I have owned, I built myself. For my computer graphics work, and music I use a Mac as I find it more intuitive and glitch free to use than Windows XP. PC and Mac both have their advantages. On a PC you can run Media Monkey which plays FLAC files whereas Itunes will not without first using the Max converter. I believe Amarra is coming out with a program to solve this problem with the Mac so it can play native FLAC files without the conversion. Concerning the DL-III DAC, I emailed Scott McGowan at PS audio late friday to get to the bottom of this native 24/96+ question with Toslink and SPDIF input. If I hear back I will try to come back here with the answer. Last night I started a new thread asking Chris this same question, but have no reply as of yet. If you plan to keep your DL-III even if it only upsamples internally, then your PC with a high quality USB cable and a good interconnect from DAC to amp should still sound excellent. I am trying a DL-III out of USB on my Mac and find the 24/192 setting to sound excellent. If your heart is set on hi res music and the DL-III turns out not to do the job, then you might be interested in the following: Apogee Mini-Dac, Stello DA-100, Stello DA-100 Signature, Grace Design M902, RME Fireface 400, Benchmark DAC 1 USB, Bryston BDA-1 and there may be more out there. Some of these are reviewed on this site. Spirit, the beauty of this hobby (obsession?) is that it keeps our older brains exercised which I have heard is a good thing. The answer to most questions we have can be found by doing thorough research, and asking questions on excellent websites like this one. Chris is doing a great job. I hope this helps a little.

 

Rob

 

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Indeed I was referring to the USB input of the DLIII which just won't take higher than 16/44.1. So :

 

It is not important whether the EMU 0404 can do it, or any other USB device/connection can do it, it is just worthless. On that matter, Spirit, the 1820m is not going to help you. Sorry ...

 

But then of course, may you be willing to lay the DLIII aside, matters are completely different. Thus, not assuming an outboard "explicit" DAC, any soundcard accepting 24/192 (which will for sure also output that) will do. So, might it be USB connected or SDPIF, you will be using analogue out from it and you will be fine *if* you like the sound from that DAC which then will be "in" the soundcard.

 

One additional thing :

Even when a soundcard (or USB connected DAC) takes 24/192, it still can go wrong. This is in the case the device accepts *24 bits only*, while you're using a software connection that doesn't recognize that as a legit connection. I mean, when you're outputting 16 bits while the device does not dig that *and* the software connection doesn't accept 24 bits input at the other side, it is a no go.

The example is WASAPI Exclusive Mode (you know, the bit perfect one). Somewhere in the base this (Vista) software connection looks for a 16 bit device at the other side (-> soundcard/DAC side). If it can't find it, it rejects it and nothing further to do.

 

Like avoiding the explicit mentioning of what an input can take (DLIII is an example), (manufacturers of) devices which can take 24 bits only are the same here. Because note there is a disadvantage here : it now *always* needs some kind of "resampling" to change the 16 bits into 24 before you can go into such a device. This is a downside, so better not to be mentioned in specs ...

This is by itself unrelated to the WASAPI example. But on this matter you may recognize better now why the output setting of Vista like 24/96 or 24/44.1 (for soundcards able to do that) is of help. It will do the "resampling" for you, and the device taking 24 bits only, will just work.

 

Lastly and maybe superfluous : Vista allows this with the explicit remark "for shared useage only", meaning : in Exclusive Mode (the only mode allowing bit perfect output, not talking about ASIO or Kernel Streaming in certain setups) resampling is just not possible. A flaw of Vista IMO.

 

Peter

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Don't overcomplicate things - good source - recording that is not is it 16/24 or 44/192, good dac.. there are many with minimal real world differences and don't obsess about USB or optical. Do you love the music or the borderline OCD approach to the gear? Once you have made that choice computer audio sets you free if you leave the old hi end values of more = more behind.

 

yours, with less tog

 

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