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Journey into a pc based source

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A summary of experimenting with PC as primary source for anyone who is interested....


I have read these forums for some time; encouraged enough by what i read i started to look into using PC as a source. Primary motivation being the convenience of having all my music on a HDD but initial concerns of a quality trade off..

Didn't want to jump in head first with dedicated media pc and high end dac, had a use for a sound card / mic pre for SMAART live use / DRC experiments, decided to try a high qulaity fire interface with decent dac's. After much research and extensive A/B testing at home between of the TC Electronics Studio Konnekt 48 and Steinberg MR816X setteled on the Steinberg.


Sound card cost £570, providing digital out from laptop via fire wire and 8 channels of DAC (forgetting the hig quality mic pres and AD).

Getting to the point i am very impressed witht the quality of the sound i am achiving with foobar / media monekey asio output to the Steinberg, i have extensively compared to my current front end a Linn Ikemi / Bryston BP25 and 9/10 cant clearly state one is better than the other, ocasionally the Linn / Bryston fractionally improves but its very subtle. I'm impressed. Some pro reviewers are comparing the MR816 with Lavry DA10..


FYI my two playback systems used for testing are: Bryston 4BSST and PMC IB2's and a pair of ATC PA65's, SL bass driver, latest spec Seas tweeter, identical guts to SCM150ASL, soon to be re housed in 150l reflex cabs.


I have read much about the effects of digital volume control; recently experimented with MR816 driving both setups direct and throught the BP25, the test didnt last long, sounded better direct to AMP / ATC's at any listening level...i understand the Yamaha hardware used in the MR 816 has software controlled volume so in theory their should be a difference.


Out of curiosity i opened up the stienberg and founf it uses the TC Electronics DICE JET chipset for the fire wire interface.


Looking forward to building a dedicated media PC and trying it with a high end dac, initally using the firewire / MR816 as the digital out.


In summary i can highly reccomend the MR816 as a reasonably priced option for getting your music out of your PC and to your speakers.


i7 930 / Asus Gene2, 6GB ram, Seasonic PS, Lynxe AES16 -Foobar - Acourate DRC - Buffalo 2 with dual mono placid shunt regs - Bryston BP25 - ATC SCM150ASL

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