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sound card i/o cards ?

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hi gents

first off im so glad i found this forum , what a great knowledge data base this is . i really like the feeling of the group and it is the only one i found that makes newcomers with little experiance feel safe to contribute .

so onto my request for knowledge , i am looking to build a music server after not being too inpressed with the canned ones on offer ( sonic wise and price wise ) . i want it to just be a music server and so here is my equipment


MF KW250S AS system for cd replay radio etc


what id like the server to be is a system to rip and store my cds and dowwnloads that will relay this to the musical fidelitys onboard dac ( s/pdif optical and coaxial conectors on mf) . iwould like to use i tunes and make use of the remote on my i phone .


i am looking at either stripping down my old dell dim 2400 an upgrading the ram , stripping the xp down to the bare bones to just run i tunes and fitting it all in a new case :- ie zalman htpc style case and working on the fan and hdd nosie probs ( poss heatsink and sdd route )


building from new a system around the hfx mcubed series with new hardware fanless system new os , but still meeting the purpose of the server .

gents i know i have many more considerations for this project ie:- wifi network etc and i am scanning all your forum to gather and educate myself on all the needed considerations .


both systems bring me to my main question ..........

either dell route or new sytem route i still need to get the digital data to the mf dacs preferably without interferance on the way . i dant need multi channel and have been reading your forums on soundcards and i/o card that will achieve this .

my old dell mother board has no spdif connectors so a card to do this is needed , the new system mobo would need spdif but why would i need a soundcard . any info or recomendations ????


please feel free to pile in and kick some knowlege into me ....... if i have missed forums covering this i appologise , please point me in the direction .

also if i am going about this completely wrong , yet again please boot me in the right direction .

any input that corrects my lack of knowlege will be welcomed and once again what a great academy .


thanks for taking time to help




musical fidelity kw250s , avid volvere turntable sme 309 arm ,SONY MDS-JB930 MiniDisc Audio Deck Recorder , Ruark Epilogue 2 speakers.

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ok let the games begin....

I like the idea of keeping your old machine especially if it has a single core processor. I am one that believes that more speed is more noise. Some will argue, but for me less is more. You can strip down the machine as much as you want, but at the end of the day its a computer with a bunch of stuff happening behind the sceens that you are not even aware of.

In using your old machine and saving a few bucks I can now recommend the top dog in sound cards. The lynxs aes 16. http://www.lynxstudio.com/product_detail.asp?i=13

Trust me its the real deal and its usually paired with a very expensive dac. It does not have a spdif, but we can convert with an inexpesive passice device called AES to spdif converter (duuuuh right).


If you like so far I will dig out the info on the converter and post it later.




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jr .. thank you for getting back to me . sorry for the waffle . i will definately lokk into this . the old dell has a pentium 4 processor 3 pci 120 pin connectors and the ram can be upgraded to 2 gig so your coment on simple system makes sense as this will be only aa music server with network connectivity running i tunes and no vidio or game appps . although some of the htpc boxes do have mini displays so i dont know wether i need that if i control i tunes with my iphone ..... my god so many decisions and considerations .

the lynxstudio look great but if you do have info on spdif out connectors i will read up and learn more . will this card allow my musical fidelity dacs do the conversion ie- no dacsinterferance from board ( istillhave so much to read up on)

thanks again for your time jr .

all the best


musical fidelity kw250s , avid volvere turntable sme 309 arm ,SONY MDS-JB930 MiniDisc Audio Deck Recorder , Ruark Epilogue 2 speakers.

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eventually your going to need a monitor and keyboard. As you may know computers have a mind of their own and they due what they due.

The output of the lynxs is AES via their supplied cable. Its a digital output for the pros with higher voltage and resistance rating. The converter drops the volatge and resistance. Some have hooked it up directly to spdif (the data is the same), but this wrong even if it works. The adpter is the correct way to avoid possible issues (burning your gear up ;) I looked at the MF and its nice!


link to adapter and only look at the SAP XF BF



also look at this post for some alternate lower cost options



I am in that one as well.




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To answer the question you asked to JR, with the Lynx card all the digital to analogue conversion will be carried out by your KW250S.


One thought I did have was that starting with re motherboard, etc don your Dell might be more difficult to convert to silent than beginning from scratch. If you buy new components you can choose a low powered "laptop" processor, etc.


If you are reusing your existing PC I would ensure that you reinstall window from scratch, and when choosing anti-virus make sure you only install the AV software not a full Internet Security Suite which tend to use alot of system resources.


Hopefully without sounding like I'm ramming the idea down your throat, you may find an Apple MacMini is a good solution for you. Just another possibility to look at.


Hope these thoughts help you





...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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thanks mate it certainly looks to be a more audio bias set up



thanks for info lads plenty to think about . i should have been clearer with what i want from my end product ( my fault , tend to waffle and miss important points ) i want this to be an audio unit to sit in my equipment rack that can be used without the need for my laptop to be running , the keyboardand monitor points are good points lads but i was hoping to get a system that after setup would not need these things . as i said lads i am a inexperienced computer person so if some of my questions seem rediculous i know you boys will be gentle . i was hoping to control the unit without the need for keyboards and monitors ( via iphone ) along the lines of a cyrus linkserver so that when powered up itunes would run from start .... am i being missinformed or naive as to what can be done .


this is just a fact finding and price comparrison excersise at momoent to find cost and quality difference before build goes ahead and i must admit i have been looking more down the newbuild hfx fanless route with ssd as this seems more audio sensitive than try to quiet down a fannned box ,plus newer lower power boards and cpu would maybe give me a better design choise to cover my systems needs without other bells and wistles ie:- put cd in rip to disk... play contents through hifi , but have connection to home network for updates, editing and maintainence with my laptop ( many a day i dont want the laptop running and out , but still want convienience of music libraray to listen too . any ideas gents am i being unrealistic or just poor at wording lol. an


have been scanning forum and reading posts on canned servers and am at beggining of steep learning curve so if you lads can nudge me when im straying off the course i would be so greatfull .

you guys are a godsend and this forum is great

as i move and learn from this project i hope i can contribute more to it and help newbies avoid any mistakes i make lol

any more ideas or post you think would help

thanks so much guys


musical fidelity kw250s , avid volvere turntable sme 309 arm ,SONY MDS-JB930 MiniDisc Audio Deck Recorder , Ruark Epilogue 2 speakers.

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have iphone that has 100 od tracks ripped from cd in aiff and just connected via line in on the musical fidelity and it sounds great lads so was hoping to extend this flexibility with stand alone system that would give sme flexibility with playlist and random play but store more and make use of mf's dacs qualities without using laptop etc

sorry lads more waffle lol


musical fidelity kw250s , avid volvere turntable sme 309 arm ,SONY MDS-JB930 MiniDisc Audio Deck Recorder , Ruark Epilogue 2 speakers.

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You may find that for your situation - a system to put in rack then not touch as a computer - that either a Logitech Squeezebox / Duet or the Sonus system might be preferable to a system with a computer in your rack. With the Logitech (or Sonus) you have a separate PC which you use to rip the CDs on, then a separate unit, controlled either via app on your iPhone/iTouch or a dedicate controlled, connects to your HiFi and to the computer via networking (wired or wireless).


Or buy an apple airport express, plug the optical output into an optical input of your KW250S and control iTunes on your PC with your iPhone/iTouch device. You may well find this less complicated than a PC based playback system. Chris posted some articles on using the Airport Express a short while ago you may find helpful.


A third option I've thought of for the less computer savy (sorry if I've misrepresented you here) is to look at the Wadia Transport which allows you to connect your iPod digitally to your KW250S which (should) give you better playback quality.


These options are not the last word in Computer Audiophile quality - opinions vary from a load of crap to 99% of Computer Audio Nirvanna depending who you ask - but may be simpler and don't result in a PC in your HiFi rack.


Also note none of them will allow you to use high resolution downloads which may or may not be important to you.




Edit ... here are links to Chris' articles on the Airport if you are interested

Part One - http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Wireless-Music-Distribution-Part-One

Part Two - http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Wireless-Music-Distribution-Part-Two

Part Three http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Wireless-Music-Distribution-Part-Three




...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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thanks eloise

still looking at going down hfx fanless system route and instal hardware and software around audio needs with ssd and network capability the sonus and logitech have never sounded that strong on any of the auditions i had at my dealer . thanks for your time replying i will keep you updated on my progress and decisions ......

oops ps should i have posted this thread in the music server forum .

still stumbling round in dark finding my feet lol



musical fidelity kw250s , avid volvere turntable sme 309 arm ,SONY MDS-JB930 MiniDisc Audio Deck Recorder , Ruark Epilogue 2 speakers.

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great site great options vortecjr , sorry for time delay replying but out and about this week . like the minimalist aspect of design . one thing jr if you get a moment , beeen looking at the audio design link you pointed me too earlier in the thread and am confused to which adaptors i would need for llynxs i/o and how it would connect up ( ie anyother connector or adaptor) like lynxs idea as more audio bias without other junk allowing my system dac to do good work outside the system , taking more workload off server profect . thanks for all you time and priceless knowledge .




musical fidelity kw250s , avid volvere turntable sme 309 arm ,SONY MDS-JB930 MiniDisc Audio Deck Recorder , Ruark Epilogue 2 speakers.

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hi muffbumfy,


interesting, you are making the same considerations i did couple of months ago. i was also looking at many different pc-systems with kind of the same requirements and limitations. this is what i ended up with (for the time being):


small shuttle k45 PC with Intel Celeron dual 1.6 MHZ, 1GB ram (more than sufficient), external 100 W PSU (no fan, no noise), 2x hdds (for the music + backup) and a wlan usb stick (+ the shuttle comes with a 100 mbit LAN card).


internal soundcard: RME 9632 (PCI version: http://www.rme-audio.de/products_hdsp_9632.php). This a pro soundcard with similar specification as the lynx. the good thing about it: you can use both spdif or aes!


the shuttle does not have a cd or dvd player, nor do i have screen / keyboard attached to it. i control it over the i-touch using VNC (Jaadu VNC, really great app!!). it works flawlessly! the shuttle is already very quit. it only has 2 fans: one for the cpu, one for the case. they both run at less than 1200 rps and you can barely hear them. hdds? i only hear them if i fire up the computer, otherwise NOTHING! i am not considering sdds for a while now.


next step may be to find a good fanless system but i did not see anything where i would say its really worth the money. for me an atx tower is too large and you really don´t need it, most of the desktops/htpc are also either huge (with touchscreens, volume knobs and other stuff i don´t need) or they do not have the height / space for the soundcard. a cube would be the right format but i did not find any fanless ones, yet. i think the shuttle will do the job for quite a while! ,-)



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when you enter the audio design website its the first catagory of items. Its the silver adapter model SAP XF BF - XLR female with level adjustment 0,5 Vss / 75 ohms (SPDIF).


The connection is as follows: You screw a bnc to male rac connector on the audio design adapter and that connects to your dac. Then the Lynxs provides a cable that connects to the xrl side of the audio design adapter. Its passive, simple and inline and does not take or add anything to the sound. I just pretects your dac for the higher voltage and wrong resistance rating of the aes/ebu signal.


An alternate pci card (but not as good) would be the e-mu card 1010:









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yet again my friends i start by appolagising for delay as shedule is busy and all over place at moment .


thankyou again my friend for your explaination in laymen terms i can see the benefits of the connectors as i know nothing about balancing and safty limits when joing a computer to home audio . i also took a look at the emu 1212 and have some questions .

a) it covers my needs ( ie simplified conection , just nees coax from comp to home sterio) but after your link on the protective qualities of the sap xf bf conectors would i be putting problems onto my hifi dacs ( sorry if theres an obvious answer ) also i read the download manual and then took 2 painkillers and retired to dark room haha . i know the software has to cover a multitude of applications so all consumer needs are met in one unit but can this hardware and software be set up juast to pass signal to dacs from itunes without volume , eq or anyother studio interventions ( as i say i am a man of few need and even fewer brain cells when it comes to hard/software... but i am learning lol ). thanks again jr


thanks for passing on your info you seem to have the same objectives as me .

with regards the hfx fanless system , was the micro cube not viable as it says box will take standard mother board and add aditional cards via card risers ( as i have said before i am new to this so i have no idea what a standard atx board mounting problems and additional card would be) also the hfx classic is bigger , was that no good .

just to show my level of comuter knowledge and give moore clarrity on what im trying to do heres my attempts so far .

have purchased new laptop for computer needs so was left with old desktop.

1) old dell 2400 with pentium 4 512 kb ram with 60 gig hard drive ( all circa 2003)

2 ) re loaded xp home to get rid of junk and reloaded itunes with 10 cd ripped to aiff with setting done as suggested in forum for best results -error cor etc . i tunes to open onstart up

3) set i phone to control itunes wia wifi

4) set power button to shut down mode

all this above has turned this into a haedles system

5) installed log me in so can tinker via laptop if need be ( but this system is so i can enjoy endless music when i dont want laptop out or tvs on and no keyboard/mouse clutter )


the desktop box is now sitting next to my hifi rack and i am listening to my tunes in shuffle all controlled on my i phone and it all works. unfortunately it is connected via 3.5 jack tto rca BUT DAMMIT MAN IT WORKS lol.


now before you all start wetting yourself laughing this project was for me as i have only ever added a dvd drive to a computer and only ever laernt to reload xp drivers and web programs and all done monkey see monkey do fashion .

this was as much a project in laerning more about the equipment i use as it was to explore the possabilitys of building a music server to my needs .

all my info has come from you guys and a project at http://www.overclock.net/hard-drives-storage/459310-inspirado-converting-old-pc-into-nas.html

so i cant thank you guys enough ( lads this project only started in my head 3 weeks ago so look how far you have helped a newbie come , again thanks not once have i ever been made to feel lacking or be blinded with jargon )

next step is looking into going down johniboy route and i have so much to consider and find out about hence the question on i/0 cards to connect to my ext dacs.

also need to find out if viable to transplant dell hardware into a hfx bow and turn into fanless system .

ie external psu and only running few apps through processor so would heat be major prob if heatpipe cooling was used .

128 gb ssd drives or multiples against sata2 drives ? ( more web surfing lol)

software upgrades ( does it need it ) keeping in mind i love the control my i phone gives me


so ther you go gents my drunken stumbling journey so far (feel free to taken a toilet break and clean yourselves up haha)

thanks again and please keep any sugestions coming and i will try to reply as so as i can

cheers x



musical fidelity kw250s , avid volvere turntable sme 309 arm ,SONY MDS-JB930 MiniDisc Audio Deck Recorder , Ruark Epilogue 2 speakers.

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will that VNC (Jaadu VNC, really great app!!). integrate with my set up or do i need it ??



musical fidelity kw250s , avid volvere turntable sme 309 arm ,SONY MDS-JB930 MiniDisc Audio Deck Recorder , Ruark Epilogue 2 speakers.

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the atech cases / computers do look interesting. its too bad shipping to europe costs more than my shuttle altogether... i am not a big fan of the hfx mini system. you need a riser card for the sound card and then the card is positioned parallel and very close to the mainboard over its whole length with all its electro-noise. i did not try it but read in some forums that it does not sound that good. the atech vortecjr posted has the soundcard positioned away from the board. thats good! the price looks reasonable, too. not a 100$ shuttle but will be more silent and looks better...


i am not sure whether you need the jaadu app. i do not use itunes for playback so i need some kind of remote for the computer. the app allows to control your computer over VNC (see http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Network_Computing) just as with a note or netbook. you are not limited to controlling your music but also your backups or other software you may need on your music server. hope this helps.


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I have a spare computer case.....what is the form factor of the motherboard you have? MoDT Micro ATX, Mini-ITX, DTX or what ???




this is the case I have in black....its very nice:




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really nice case! curious what you will make out of it.

i have a mini-ITX board but you can take any board that has a pci or pci-e slot (depending on your soundcard). also depends on what processor you want to use. my philosophy: the less the better (less power, less electrical influence resulting in better sound).


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yet again gents sorry for delay . thanks for offer jr will keep that in mind but for now project for fanless server on hold due to work commits . still looking at hfx case as front runner so for now just a matter of raising funds while learning more about audiophile components and best software for the hardware .

you gents have been very kind helping me and im sure ill be bugging you more as project moves on .

will keep thread updared as project moves but this could be slow .

cheers all




musical fidelity kw250s , avid volvere turntable sme 309 arm ,SONY MDS-JB930 MiniDisc Audio Deck Recorder , Ruark Epilogue 2 speakers.

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