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Windows Server love needed


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New to the forum, great site! I need some help. Much of what you have here is Mac oriented, very understandable, but some of us need to make do with Windows. I am getting killed trying to understand the formats and ITunes settings one must use to have a high end music server when Mac is not an option. I am also a guy that gets a heck of a lot more satisfaction by building something cheeply that blows away that which costs much more. Last note; I am a recent digital convert. Historically the only utility I have had for computer sourced music was for my IPOD, but now the convienence has won, my cd's and LP's are getting boxed up. With that being said; this is where I am at:

 

I bought a cheepo IBM refurb at Microcenter for $199, xp pro license included, runs nice and quiet.

just ordered up the FUBAR II DAC, havent received it yet but looking forward to checking it out.

I downloaded both Itunes and JRiver

moved my music off of my primary dell pc to a Western Digital worldbook 1TB network drive (what a pain in the ass that was, plenty to discuss there.. DO NOT USE MIONET).

for now i am using a monster cable out of the crappy soundcard in the IBM, plugged directly into the RCA's on my processor. it sounds as would be expected, not great, but I am sure the DAC will help.

bought the rocketfish bluetooth keyboard from best buy. go buy this now, greatest purchase I have made in a long time. works flawlessly from 20'. I can work and listen to tunes...wee!

 

My problem is with the audiophile settings for windows users. what format do I rip my additional disks too? Chris you talk about AFF throughout the posts, same for windows guys?

you guys are killing me with all this lossless bit perfect stuff. what does this mean and more importantly what does it mean to a windows user? somewhere in here somebody mentioned JRiver as bit perfect for windows, what "lossless" format does a windows guy use to capitalize on bit perfect? does this mean no Itunes? my wife swears by Itunes can I use both? we also need Itunes "best practices" for dummys. Many of us are psedo-audiophiles that are new to this digital stuff. throw us a bone.

 

the rest of my home system is mid-range stuff, emotiva and outlaw amps, emotiva processor, cambridge CD, dual mirage subs, athena and energy 9 speaker surround, 120" dalite, optoma projector

 

How about some real world windows advice for a fat guy trying to get some pc sound?

 

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Hey racecar2 - Thanks for the post. I love your attitude about all this stuff! I am working on some Windows centered systems for my Audiophile Music Server series. I've been talking to some PC component manufacturers who sell extremely quiet or silent parts. It sounds like you have the hardware side licked, but are seeking software guidance.

 

The equivalent AIFF format on a Windows PC is WAV. They are both uncompressed. You can certainly rip to flac or windows media lossless if you want to save space.

 

Lossless simply means that the music has been compressed but the exact original data can be reconstructed after decompression. Hence the name lossless. Nothing is lost. There is much debate right now as to whether lossless files sound the same as uncompressed files.

 

Bit perfect in simple terms means the music is played back without being changed by the operating system or anything else. In Windows the KMixer is what everyone tries to evade, as it causes imperfect playback.

 

You mentioned JRiver and this application is capable of native ASIO. As long as your soundcard supports bit-perfect playback and you use JRiver you "should" be in business.

 

iTunes on a PC is only bit perfect when using an Apple Airport Express to stream your music to your DAC or processor. This is because the audio is sent out your network card, not through the soundcard.

 

Here is a link to my audiophile iTunes settings article. It should pertain to you just as much as a Mac user http://www.computeraudiophile.com/node/255

 

This is just a start when it comes to Windows. Let me know what you think or if your knew this stuff already and are seeking more details etc... We're here to help and will make sure you have audiophile sound quality.

 

Thanks again for the post!

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Hi Racecar - welcome to round here

 

You can use iTunes for sure. I use that on Mac. On PC I use Winamp. Either way, I think you should consider two things. First, if you don't want to get more external storage, and just intend to rely on your PC internals, you probably should rip with some degree of compression. Try a test and rip a CD AIFF, lossless and then maybe try AAC or MP3 and pick a middle rate. That stuffs under preferences importing in iTunesI think. Be sure to turn on error correction. Then play them and if you like the sound of them all choose the smallest file size. Point being, if you just use an internal drive you will need to conserve space.

 

If space is not an issue, then you can just start with an uncompressed format - AIFF in iTunes or WAV in Winamp. Can always convert later.

 

If you load up your iPod it will not hold as much WAV or AIFF, but you will see that once you try a little testing and compare the file sizes.

 

Good luck

 

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ok..now we are talking. question on this comment:

 

"You mentioned JRiver and this application is capable of native ASIO. As long as your soundcard supports bit-perfect playback and you use JRiver you "should" be in business."

 

ASIO means what? and If I am using the DAC how does the sound card come into play? I had hoped I was bypassing that whole mess but now that I think about it I have a feeling this is a really stupid question..but guess what? I just dont care.... :). If I am dependent on a sound card I assume USB? If not how do I find out if my soundcard supports bit-perfect? I found the USB creative labs sound card at circuit city for 50 bones. Is this the way to go? If I need the soundcard, does the chain go; usb to soundcard, usb soundcard to dac, dac to pre-pro?

 

Sounds like you are in mpls..come over. 3000 watts of Guitar Hero on 120" screen with flashing lights and disco balls makes for big fun!

 

Last note: I had built a gaming rig a few years back that was whisper quiet. I was gunning for silence first, performance was a slight backseat. Its been a while but I seem to remember it was an Antec case with a single huge fan, the fan was a replacement (I will dig out the box and tell you who made it) and made zero noise, I kept the processor smallish to keep the heat down, but cranked the RAM. For pure audio I assume you dont need much in the way of video, but what do I know. I still call vinyl records LP's... Also check out some of these remanufactured workstations (HP, Dell, and IBM), these things are designed to be silent. I literelly cannot hear that IBM unless I put my ear within a foot of the case. You dont have to spend a ton to make it run!

 

Thanks for the help!

 

Racecar

 

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what do you know about the JRiver? somebody on here also mentioned that JRiver in combo with another ripping utility (xact... something or another) was the way to go. how does winamp stack up to that?

 

I am not as concerned with storage as I probably should be so it sounds as if uncompressed is the way to go... and given this, I assume bit perfect goes out the window as from Chris' post it appears bit perfect only relates to compression/decompression. yea or nay?

 

you mentioned "pick a middle rate". what does this mean? and if I were a "middle rate" how would I pick myself? does high rate mean "best" quality? what does "rate" mean for the DAC i bought? (which i just got today I might add. I will give you the scoop when I test it out, I will try to do it sober for you...) the fubar dac is 16 bit44.1khz/48 KHz... does this play into the "rate" equation as i noticed most of the higher end DACs are 24 bit, 384..etc. do these things tie together? I used to want to be a dog or a cow when I grew up.. now I think I want to be a bit....

 

thank you very much for your help!! I am sorry for the stupid questions, this is second nature to you guys, frikn bulgarian to the rest of us. Believe it or not, I am smart in some stuff.. :)

 

racecar

 

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I started digging through the forum some more. there really is a ton of information here. there is a setup section on your usbdacs link that really helped. http://www.usbdacs.com Now I understand what you were talking about with ASIO. the "kmixer" I assme is the windows audio settings box. this thing sucks. combine that with the "soundmax" mixing board that I am trying to get around and I think I am ready for a Mac. :) But, to save all of you from those of us that are computer morons, you should have a couple drop downs built into your website that mirrors the tutorials on "USBDACS" for both windows and mac users on best practice configs on the software side. Most audiophiles get the audio part, put the word "computer" in front of it and all hell breaks loose. We need to understand how the audio card, dac, player and ripper settings all need to work. Once we get "sound" coming out of the end of our RCA's we can take it from there. Best practices for management of music librarys would also be helpful.

 

Anyways, I am trying to get the driver download to work that was recommended on that link and hopefully that will clear this up. Last note, the fubar did not install as clean as I had hoped. It loaded fine, the drivers seemed to have been found autmatically, it loaded several including the Brown Burr DAC, but windows did not recognize the device other then "USB speakers". This may be normal (I think I noticed that the distributor for this device pops on the forum.. is this normal??) but no sound at first, I was dinking around with what I learned to be the "kmixer" and I "fixed it"..... I have no idea what I did but "sound" came on eventually. But, in all fairness this may have had something to do with my amp, my 7 channel amp has 7 individual power modules, each kick on only when it receives a signal. I manually "triggerd" all of the modules, jacked with Kmixer some more and got sound. It was almost as if the FUBAR put out a different electronic "signature". This doesnt really make sense to me as analog signal is analog signal, or does it? I am going to play with this some more. Another thing that freaked me out at first with the FUBAR, the power supply was noisy as hell for the first hour. Very odd deal and I had never heard anything like it, but after an hour it went away.

 

Initial take on the Fubar II sound was that there was a dramatic improvement. i still dont think I have this all set up correctly but from what I have heard initially, much of the "hiss" is gone, the clairty is up, bit more bass, and low behold there was actually a bit of a soundstage. Not quite what I am used to, we still have a ways to go, but a dramatic improvement. all impressions were made after 12 beers, so take it or leave it.

 

I am still somewhat determined to try to make ITunes work but really does appear that JRiver may be the way to go for a windows box. but they want me to upgrade to vista and thats not going to happen. If I do go with JRiver then ITunes would have to go. I am not smart enough to manage both. Or maybe Mac?..ugh. It does beg the question, what rules, software or hardware? Not a question most audiophiles are used to asking themselves.

 

thanks again for the help!

 

rc

 

 

 

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Flashing lights and disco balls. Add women, Pink Floyd and it's a party at Racecar's house!

 

ASIO as I understand it is primarily a way for a Windows computer to send out sound and the pc thinks it's data. Hence, it doesn't mess with the signal using Kmixer or other. The cards I've hunted up are around $150 or so as I recall. M-Audio audiophile stuff and a few others:

 

ASIO solutions for internal sound cards:

 

Juli ~$140

http://www.esi-audiotechnik.com/download/ESI/[email protected]/[email protected]

 

CardDeluxe ~$400

http://www.digitalaudio.com/DIGITALAUDIO/myarticles.asp?P=5210&S=75&PubID=4401

 

LynxTwo ~$1000

http://www.lynxstudio.com/product_detail.asp?i=12

 

Once you have the card, you should just need a player (JRiver) than can send to the card the rate you want. Then it's to the DAC which will likely be external. You can get fine sound I believe with Mac or PC. My opinion after using both is that Mac is just easier to work with and generally better on WAF unless it's a custom pc box. I never had a Mac before Christmas and just use it for music. I don't like it for Excel.

 

Or, get a Mac and don't need the card(s) above. I've heard different things about Creative Labs stuff and have no real experience other than with Xbox.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good advice innertuber. You are exactly right. Great sound is possible on both platforms, but the Mac is much easier. I highly recommend the M-Audio Audiophile cards.

 

The Lynx cards were talked about at CES in some of the suites using music servers. They are spendy, but one particular manufacturer said the AES card blew away everything else.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Chris and Innertuber,

 

thanks again for the help. Innertuber, I like the way you think, flashing lights, disco balls, women, pink floyd do make the world go around. along with a stripper pole. god bless america.

 

I ordered up the benchmark DAC. moving the fubar to the office. A mac is in my future as well. I am going to set both up and do some side by side comparison stuff. ragingly curious at this point. I have an old Mac + plus in my basement, 4mb ram, 40 mb hard drive. think that will work? ..... kidding.

 

racecar

 

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Wow, another audio enthusiast with a sense of humor. Let's see, 1...2...3...4... I almost need to start using my left hand to count. Woohoo.

 

Just kidding of course. Although it does seem like so many people in this hobby lose sight of the fact it is supposed to be fun.

 

Thanks for the posts Racecar2 and Innertuber, you guys certainly help keep things laid back around here!

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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