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Best Spotify Setup


JR4321

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Suggestions on the best SQ for a Spotify setup, please?

 

Current setup:

 

Windows Vista Desktop-->AudioEngine D3-->McIntosh preamp/amp-->Joseph Audio Rm22si

 

I can't eliminate a hiss/feedback when playing Spotify through the Windows desktop. Eliminating the D3(direct to onboard sound card), moving the computer location, insuring power wires aren't crossing the signal, etc... I even installed a new wall outlet. Nothing changes.

 

Switching to an Apple MacAir-->Audio Engine... fixes the problem. But I can't dedicate the Apple to the sound system.

 

I could just get another Apple Laptop, but am wondering what other changes would be recommended to get the most from this setup.

 

Thank you.

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It hisses/crackles/pops. Not a hum, but... If I pause the song and turn up the volume, it's loud. If the computer is selected through the preamp and nothing is playing, it still makes the hiss. If I turn the computer off, and use the same preamp setting, it is quiet. Something about the Windows Desktop...

 

Playing through the Apple at the same volume is dead quiet.

 

No mic is plugged into the desktop, so nothing to disable.

 

Thank you for the assistance.

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If the problem occurs with a Windows Desktop and Mac Mini, but not with MacBook Air, maybe it's a power ground loop issue, even though that usually generates hum, rather than cracks, hiss and pop. How is everything plugged in? Does turning off the computer monitor or unplugging it stop the problem? Do you have any external devices plugged into the desktop, other than the D3?

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Maybe, but:

 

1. I replaced the wall outlet, as it was a little loose.

2. Everything is plugged into the same Monster power strip (amp, preamp, computer, etc).

3. I unplugged the monitor and operate it with a remote mac air.

4. no other component has the same hiss/crackle (tuner, cd player)

5. I switched the rca plugs to a different location in the preamp.

6. when tested on the mac air, I tried both battery and power connection (plugged into same Monster outlet).

7. I tried all 4 different USB ports on the mini.

 

No changes for all of above.

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It does seem to be a vulnerability within the power supplies of both the desktop and Mac mini to some sort of interference. Whether or not it's from the mains power or airborne RF and similiar is hard to tell given the information at hand. Lifting the ground from the system will limit some variables though. An oscilliscope would be the better tool but given the circumstance, trial and error seems to be the only available option.

 

You can do some isolation on your own. Use the more audible PC for the test platform. If possible, try turning off all of your home's circuits except for the one for the audio system. Does the problem stop? If so, have someone turn them back on individually giving you to time to identify if a change in the sound occurs. If and when it does, you may have some insight into what's causing the problem......a flourescent light ballast, a refrigeration compressor, a cordless phone, electric heater, AC step down transformer ( those used for doorbells can be very troublesome) a DC power supply?

 

I could only add that if you do find the problem is in your home's AC mains, seek the help of a certified electrician as the underlying problem could be far more serious than just clicks or pops from your audio system.

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Another thing to try is a good power filter and importantly using a separate isolated bank for your Pre. You do not want the Pre on the same power bank as the computer gear.

 

Monster tends to be a hit and miss, with mostly misses in doing anything. Monster power strips will introduce noise themselves...avoid.

 

The cheapest filters I found that actually filter were Furman AC-215A and APC C2. Balanced power filters are good but quite expensive. Furman and Panamax have good affordable non-balanced units also with isolated banks and filtration. It is good practice to have isolated power banks separating anything analog and anything that has computer chips.

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