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Experienced audiophile, new to computer audio, requests some advice!


GeorgeM

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Hello Computer Audiophile folks,

 

I have just joined this community and would love to hear your opinions and shared wisdom on what do do next.

I apologise for the long post and thank you in advance.

 

Some background:

I have been a music lover, collector and audiophile since I can remember and over the years, I have invested seriously in my hobby.

I have always owned & used high-end CD players with high quality cabling for my digital front end but I in recent years, I formed the opinion that the CD player's days are numbered.

 

Four years ago, I sold my expensive CD player and made a determined effort to set up a dedicated computer digital source. I used an Apple Air laptop with a solid state drive, ran it on DC, and installed Pure Music software to assist with sending the signal to the DAC. I followed lots of advice from Computer Audio devotees, tried every type of cable under the sun, etc....but no matter what I did, the sound wasn't even close to what my CD player was achieving. I was using a nice DAC and was very familiar with its capability, having used it with various transports and my old CD player. After 6 months of trying, I got rid of the computer front end and reluctantly, bought another very expensive (but satisfying) CD player. So not a positive experience of computer audio....

 

Recently, I received an offer for my CD player that I couldn't refuse so out it went and I thought that this is a great opportunity to re-visit the concept of a computer or server digital front end. So here I am...ready to do it again!

 

Before I get to my questions, I would like to preface my post by saying that I am asking you these questions because I am extremely time-poor at the moment. With crazy demands at work, children at sport every night and occasional work travel, I rarely get a chance to spend quality time to research these topics like I used to. So I'm hoping that with your experiences, you may be able to share some wisdom with me and save me making some silly mistakes.

 

Also, in giving me your advice, please note that I have a highly resolving music system with Ypsilon amplification and highly modified Avantgarde Duo horn loudspeakers and sound quality is the highest priority. Ease of use and cost are important, but slightly lower priorities. So any 'glare' or harshness is immediately evident. My vinyl source is extremely enjoyable & I'm hoping that I can achieve a digital front end that has a similar sense of realism, openness and liquidity. Note that I have a DAC that I am happy with.

 

So....some questions:

 

(1) I have Apple computers at home with a reasonably large iTunes library. Naturally, I am hoping that I can achieve a great sound within the Apple environment but I am prepared to move to PC if it proves to be the better choice in the long term. Given that I am at square one and have not committed one way or the other, which format do you recommend?

 

(2) Within the Apple sphere, I am aware of software options such as Pure Music, Amarra, Bit Perfect and Audiorvana. Given your answer to (1), what software have you had a positive experience with and what do you recommend?

 

(3) What do you recommend in terms of hardware? A laptop or a solid state drive with a monitor, etc, etc.

What cables do you recommend to achieve my objectives?

 

Any advice is welcome. I know that it's difficult to give advice without knowing more information but even some 'bigger picture' advice is appreciated.

 

Thank you and I hope to be able to share what I learn with this community one day.

 

Cheers,

 

George.

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George, welcome to CA. A couple of questions:

* what is your DAC?

* what inputs does it accept, and which have you tried?

* you say you are happy with your DAC, but yet you have been disappointed with the sq of computer audio. What makes you think it is not your DAC (assuming your beautiful sounding cd players were full players, not just transports to this DAC)?

* do you have an internet connection in your listening room (in order to understand whether you might easily accept a couple of product recommendations)?

* where are your music files stored, for computer audio (realize your best sound has been with physical discs so far)?

Ted

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Hello Computer Audiophile folks,

 

I have just joined this community and would love to hear your opinions and shared wisdom on what do do next.

I apologise for the long post and thank you in advance.

 

Some background:

I have been a music lover, collector and audiophile since I can remember and over the years, I have invested seriously in my hobby.

I have always owned & used high-end CD players with high quality cabling for my digital front end but I in recent years, I formed the opinion that the CD player's days are numbered.

 

Four years ago, I sold my expensive CD player and made a determined effort to set up a dedicated computer digital source. I used an Apple Air laptop with a solid state drive, ran it on DC, and installed Pure Music software to assist with sending the signal to the DAC. I followed lots of advice from Computer Audio devotees, tried every type of cable under the sun, etc....but no matter what I did, the sound wasn't even close to what my CD player was achieving. I was using a nice DAC and was very familiar with its capability, having used it with various transports and my old CD player. After 6 months of trying, I got rid of the computer front end and reluctantly, bought another very expensive (but satisfying) CD player. So not a positive experience of computer audio....

 

Recently, I received an offer for my CD player that I couldn't refuse so out it went and I thought that this is a great opportunity to re-visit the concept of a computer or server digital front end. So here I am...ready to do it again!

 

Before I get to my questions, I would like to preface my post by saying that I am asking you these questions because I am extremely time-poor at the moment. With crazy demands at work, children at sport every night and occasional work travel, I rarely get a chance to spend quality time to research these topics like I used to. So I'm hoping that with your experiences, you may be able to share some wisdom with me and save me making some silly mistakes.

 

Also, in giving me your advice, please note that I have a highly resolving music system with Ypsilon amplification and highly modified Avantgarde Duo horn loudspeakers and sound quality is the highest priority. Ease of use and cost are important, but slightly lower priorities. So any 'glare' or harshness is immediately evident. My vinyl source is extremely enjoyable & I'm hoping that I can achieve a digital front end that has a similar sense of realism, openness and liquidity. Note that I have a DAC that I am happy with.

 

So....some questions:

 

(1) I have Apple computers at home with a reasonably large iTunes library. Naturally, I am hoping that I can achieve a great sound within the Apple environment but I am prepared to move to PC if it proves to be the better choice in the long term. Given that I am at square one and have not committed one way or the other, which format do you recommend?

 

(2) Within the Apple sphere, I am aware of software options such as Pure Music, Amarra, Bit Perfect and Audiorvana. Given your answer to (1), what software have you had a positive experience with and what do you recommend?

 

(3) What do you recommend in terms of hardware? A laptop or a solid state drive with a monitor, etc, etc.

What cables do you recommend to achieve my objectives?

 

Any advice is welcome. I know that it's difficult to give advice without knowing more information but even some 'bigger picture' advice is appreciated.

 

Thank you and I hope to be able to share what I learn with this community one day.

 

Cheers,

 

George.

 

Hi George and welcome to Computer Audiophile!

 

Know from the start, as you already might know, that if you ask three audio folks a question, you will get at least four different answers (five of which may well be wrong). With this in mind...

 

My take is that you can have absolutely state of the art, doesn't-get-better-than-this sound from a properly set up and configured Apple system. This may well be true of a PC-based system too. (I use both types of computers but do all my audio, including my recording, mixing-when needed, and mastering on my Mac.)

 

From your description, I'm wondering why the computer-based system did not outperform the CD player. (My experience has been that in terms of sounding like the master from which the CD was made, the computer wins every time, regardless of the transport or player. Again, others will have different perspectives but ever since the first CD I mastered in January of 1983, I've been saying that the discs that come back from the replication facility, when played via a transport or player, do not sound like the masters from which they were made. However, properly extracted to hard drive in a raw PCM format, such as .aif or .wav, they *do* then sound to me, indistinguishable from the masters used to make them.

 

All that said, after reading your post, I have a few questions:

1. What format is/was the music in your music library stored?

2. How was the music drive connected to the computer?

3. How was the computer connected to the DAC?

 

For items 2 and 3 above, I have found that each should use a different bus. In other words, if one is USB, it is good to use something other than USB (such as Firewire) for the other.

For item 3, if the DAC feed was USB, do you know if the DAC used adaptive or asynchronous USB? (The former is not something I'd recommend.)

 

In the end of course, what is "good", "better", or "best" depends entirely on what one seeks. Not everyone wants the sound of the master. Some folks prefer what I call "enhanced detail" and others want everything to be "silky smooth", regardless of what the source sounds like. Knowing your preferences can help you achieve what you seek.

 

If you are interested, see a blog entry I wrote called Listening to Tomorrow.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

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Hi George and welcome.

 

I would say the most sensible thing would be to first establish the conditions of your first failure with a computer front end. This isnt going to be easy given the time elapse but essential to advancing your position. What was the offensive quality? How best to describe it terms understandable? It's clear you enjoy the SQ of vinyl. Would you like a similiar listening experience from digital?

 

So without reservation i would offer that offering recommendations at this point would be a bit premature on my end. I CAN say that as a loudspeaker designer in my spare time and commercially prior i have moved away from horn systems in my own listening spaces as the tradeoff of a rough, diffracted response at the limits of the driver's pass band did not balance against the benefit of efficiency and near constant directivity. Digital sources to my ears and IME we also annoyingly glaring and to put it best, fatiguing in even short listening sessions. I've since moved back to properly implemented Ribbon tweeters and dedicated midrange drivers from ScanSpeak and SEAS.

 

But take my final input with caution as with full disclosure, i'm not a small signal guy and have always looked at speakers,room and amplification as 99% of the reproducive chain.

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But take my final input with caution as with full disclosure, i'm not a small signal guy and have always looked at speakers,room and amplification as 99% of the reproducive chain.

 

Agree totally, but I don't see where any of that changed between cd sq and computer sq. His quality issues lie somewhere in the myriad of computer setup tasks , and why I am currently putting all that on hold (for my own system), and finding total harmony in a high end ethernet renderer and NAS-based setup.....of all things. It's simple, it's musical as all get out, it's silent and it's perfect for someone entering the hobby who has $$ but little time.

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Welcome George, try this:

 

1. HQ Player with straight USB connection to your DAC.

 

2. Put HQ Player in up-conversion mode so that it sends DSD128 to your DAC.

 

Hopefully your DAC consumes DSD either DoP or native, but for native so far, only exaSound DACs have the proper Mac drivers. You may also run a test setup with a PC (win or Linux) which provide easier access to higher-rate native DSD streaming using either HQ Player or setting up Foobar2000 on Win with some of the relevant plugins like ascd-input, ASIO_proxy, etc...

 

If you don't have a DSD-capable DAC (above DSD64), try one.

 

3. Get acquainted with HQ Player's up-conversion, filters and dithering options, especially for RedBook. You can up-sample by staying in PCM or up-convert to DSD (I prefer PCM->DSD128 in my system).

 

4. Once you're acquainted with HQ Player and how it works, you may want to try something a little further up the SQ level by using HQ Player in client-server mode. This entails using HQ Player on your main computer, connected via Ethernet to a smaller device (with Ethernet and USB), which itself runs Miska's Network Audio Daemon and which is then connected by USB to your DAC.

 

This will help with isolation from the main computer where all the big processing is done.

 

Another thing you can do apart from this, or in addition to this, is to use an SSD. There is a recent thread where using an SSD through the Thunderbolt ports if you are equipped provided great SQ benefits.

 

Additionally, there are several threads where using linear power supplies as much as possible have been reported to greatly help with SQ.

 

Using optical Ethernet can also help greatly.

 

Good luck, and let us know how things go for you!

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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YashN,

No offfense, and I love Miska's work...but responding to a newbie who wants to start off simply... by telling him to try HQPlayer and DSD128 (he probably doesn't even know what an HQPlayer is, let alone how and where to install it, set up the filtering, etc) is risky, and likely to dissuade all but the experienced computer audiophile. Linear power supply discussions, NAA discussions, SSD discussions...these are (IMHO) step 9 of a 10 step process to be a black belt in computer audio, not step 1. But who knows, maybe he will embrace your cutting edge ideas. Don't just stick your toe in the water, scuba deep dive at 500 feet. :)

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George,

 

I made the coversion from CD to Computer audio a couple of years ago. I sold a dCS transport and replaced it with a Mac Mini running Pure Music. Before I did that, I had all my CD's ripped to FLAC files by a service that could do that with automation (over 1000 cd's). I tested the system with the 5-10 CD's (now files) that are my standards for evaluating equipment. I could not hear any reduction in sound quality. Something is amiss in your system. Try the simple stuff first.

 

1) Pure Music Setup - read the manual. I didn't at first and struggled until I did. There are some settings that can make a difference.

 

2) Clocks- Were you using an external clock to sync your transport and DAC? Different music file sample rates required different clock frequencies (or multiples). I screwed this up at first. I had to change between 44.1Khz and 88.2Khz depending on sampling rate of the file. When the clock frequency is wrong, the whole sound stage collapses and the file sounds really bad. My dCs Vivaldi clock now makes this selection automatically thank God.

 

Hopefully this helps. I love the convenience of files. You should not have to sacrifice SQ to enjoy it.

 

Cincy

dCS Vivaldi DAC, Upsampler and Master Clock

D'Agostino M400 Momentum Monoblocks

Magico S1 Mk2 speakers

Mac Mini running Audirvana

Transparent Opus Gen 5 Speaker Cables

Transparent Ref XL Interconnects

Shunyata and Furutech power cords

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YashN,

No offfense, and I love Miska's work...but responding to a newbie who wants to start off simply... by telling him to try HQPlayer and DSD128 (he probably doesn't even know what an HQPlayer is, let alone how and where to install it, set up the filtering, etc) is risky, and likely to dissuade all but the experienced computer audiophile. Linear power supply discussions, NAA discussions, SSD discussions...these are (IMHO) step 9 of a 10 step process to be a black belt in computer audio, not step 1. But who knows, maybe he will embrace your cutting edge ideas. Don't just stick your toe in the water, scuba deep dive at 500 feet. :)

 

There's nothing risky in in trying HQ Player at all. In fact he can even start with pure PCM playback if his DAC doesn't do DSD.

 

The rest are all gradual steps and he can reference my post in the future if he feels like going further.

 

I assume readers of my post are intelligent when writing.

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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Hi Ted,

Thanks for responding to my post.

 

If I go back to a few years ago when I first tried computer audio, I had a Weiss Medus DAC and an AMR CD77 CD player with its own built-in DAC. When I used my Mac to play music through the AMR's DAC, it didn't sound as satisfying as the AMR CD transport feeding the signal (by a long way). I also experimented with using the AMR as a transport feeding the Weiss versus using my Mac computer to feed the Weiss DAC. Again, the results were conclusive in favour of the AMR. I tried USB and Toslink.

 

Please note that although I installed Pure Music and had high quality cables, etc...I am quite happy to accept that I may not have set up the Mac computer in the most optimised way.

 

Today, I have a Line Magnetic LM-502CA DAC, with modified parts (caps, relays, per supply) and although its only a fraction of the cost of my previous equipment, I find it to be beautiful.

 

I do have an internet connection into my listening room. Currently, all my electronic files are stored in iTunes on a Mac computer in another room. I also have over 2,500 physical CD's with more than half of them not ripped. Of the ones that I have ripped, the format is AIFF.

 

George.

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Hi Barry,

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Yes, there are certainly differing opinions! I asked the same question on a digital forum here in Australia and almost all of the answers were "forget computers, buy a dedicated music server, along with myriads of recommendations..... But diversity of opinion is fantastic and each presents an opportunity to learn something from a new perspective.

 

I also read your piece "Listening to tomorrow" and really enjoyed it. Thank you!

I do a lot of travelling with my work and I try to incorporate a music or hi-fi visit to every trip, weather it's a concert or visiting an audiophile with a reputed system, so I've been fortunate to have listened to a few high-end music systems from around the world. I have to admit that I'm actually 90% passionate about music and not particularly obsessed with equipment, even though I have achieved a very satisfying sound at my home. So when you mention that hi-res music files can sound equal to or better than analogue, I am particularly interested to know more, as I have never experienced that.

 

OK, so you think that I can build an Apple based system. That's great as I am already familiar with that environment. I'll need to work out how to achieve it though. You make a good point about CD's not sounding like the master. I agree and have to say that I have rarely found the CD format to be satisfying, hence my enjoyment of analogue. Your suggestion that the raw PCM format will sound closer to the original is heartening, especially coming from someone like you who has experience in mastering/recording/producing music. Your questions:

 

1. AIFF

2. I'm not sure what you mean by this. I used iTunes on the computer to rip my CD's.

3. I tried toslink, then USB direct into the DAC. I cannot recall if it was adaptive or asynchronous.

 

As a listener, I am moved by the emotion in music. I love to get drawn in to the story, or the intention of the artist, the 'moment'....

I find that most high-end audio systems are impressive in a 'hi-fidelity' way. They do detail and soundstage, etc and tick all the audiophile boxes but leave me cold. I find that I 'respect' the achievement of the designers but rarely do I get emotionally connected. When it does happen, it's amazing and fuels my passion for this hobby. I have found that it it's not a function of component cost, or reviewers reputation, or popularity of sales, or anything like that. The quality of the recording is paramount, the listening room, the synergy between all the parts of the system and there are simply some topologies/designs that seem to connect me with the emotion in music more than others. So going back to the question, I don't want enhanced detail or silky smooth, simply bringing me closer to the original recording is fine with me.

 

Best regards,

 

George.

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If OP wants to stick to the Mac ecosystem, one option is to buy the Berkeley Alpha USB to convert the USB output of the MacBook Air to AES into the Line Magnetic DAC. This maybe a superior solution to modifying a Mac Mini. And the BADA USB should improve upon the USB input of the Line Magnetic, in terms of isolating the DAC from power ripples and improving jitter performance.

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Hi Barry,

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Yes, there are certainly differing opinions! I asked the same question on a digital forum here in Australia and almost all of the answers were "forget computers, buy a dedicated music server, along with myriads of recommendations..... But diversity of opinion is fantastic and each presents an opportunity to learn something from a new perspective.

 

I also read your piece "Listening to tomorrow" and really enjoyed it. Thank you!

I do a lot of travelling with my work and I try to incorporate a music or hi-fi visit to every trip, weather it's a concert or visiting an audiophile with a reputed system, so I've been fortunate to have listened to a few high-end music systems from around the world. I have to admit that I'm actually 90% passionate about music and not particularly obsessed with equipment, even though I have achieved a very satisfying sound at my home. So when you mention that hi-res music files can sound equal to or better than analogue, I am particularly interested to know more, as I have never experienced that.

 

OK, so you think that I can build an Apple based system. That's great as I am already familiar with that environment. I'll need to work out how to achieve it though. You make a good point about CD's not sounding like the master. I agree and have to say that I have rarely found the CD format to be satisfying, hence my enjoyment of analogue. Your suggestion that the raw PCM format will sound closer to the original is heartening, especially coming from someone like you who has experience in mastering/recording/producing music. Your questions:

 

1. AIFF

2. I'm not sure what you mean by this. I used iTunes on the computer to rip my CD's.

3. I tried toslink, then USB direct into the DAC. I cannot recall if it was adaptive or asynchronous.

 

As a listener, I am moved by the emotion in music. I love to get drawn in to the story, or the intention of the artist, the 'moment'....

I find that most high-end audio systems are impressive in a 'hi-fidelity' way. They do detail and soundstage, etc and tick all the audiophile boxes but leave me cold. I find that I 'respect' the achievement of the designers but rarely do I get emotionally connected. When it does happen, it's amazing and fuels my passion for this hobby. I have found that it it's not a function of component cost, or reviewers reputation, or popularity of sales, or anything like that. The quality of the recording is paramount, the listening room, the synergy between all the parts of the system and there are simply some topologies/designs that seem to connect me with the emotion in music more than others. So going back to the question, I don't want enhanced detail or silky smooth, simply bringing me closer to the original recording is fine with me.

 

Best regards,

 

George.

 

Hi George,

 

By my second question, I was assuming your music library was on an external drive and I wondered how it was connected to the computer (e.g. USB, Firewire, etc.). If the music is on an internal drive rather than an external one, the question doesn't matter. However, if the music is on an external drive and your DAC is using a USB connection, I would not recommend also using a USB connection for that external drive to the computer.

 

I'm not surprised if Toslink doesn't sound good. I think it is a convenience format and not one I would want for serious listening.

As for USB, I think it makes a big difference whether the DAC is adaptive (where not so good sound would not surprise me) and asynchronous (which I consider necessary). The difference is that with the former, the computer acts as master clock and with the latter, the DAC acts as master clock. I'd want the DAC in control of the clock and not the computer.

 

However, even with asynchronous USB for the DAC, if the music is on an external drive and it too is connected to the computer via USB, I would not be surprised if the sound was not great.

 

I agree with you in terms of "high fidelity" sound from many systems. Personally, I consider very good sound from a component or system to be a liability and not an asset. I want the gear to just get out of the way. (I want the recording to get out of the way too.) The sound, in my view, should come from the players and the space in which they are performing.

And like real music, if a system leaves you cold, I'd say it is a bad system, regardless of its price. (I too have heard a lot of systems, some quite pricy, that would seem better suited to ridding the vicinity of insects than they are to exciting a music lover.)

 

***

Other considerations:

When you compared the CD vs. the computer, were the computer files ripped from the CD?

If not, it is possible you were comparing different masterings and not the different formats.

 

You can use iTunes to rip files from CD (make sure "use error correction" to checked in the Preferences for import settings) to make a fair comparison of playback from computer vs. the CD drive.

 

Check the filter setting options on the DAC too.

 

Lastly, I forgot to ask you to describe the differences you hear between the CD player and the computer. Of course, if the computer files are not rips from those CDs, the question is moot because they are probably different masterings, created by different engineers, using different gear and making different adjustments.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

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George,

My first recommendation is to get off iTunes. Install a free trial of one of the leadin mAC players like JRIver (I have two 20 min video screencasts explaining in detail how to set it up, tweak it, etc). Just point the player to your iTunes music files. Find/borrow a decent USB cable (your Line Magnetic DAC is asynchronous so it should be a very good input). And next step is Barry's main point, get the external hard drive of music off of the same bus that the DAC is on (some MAcs have separate USB buses so you can go in to system info and see that. On a MAc Mini an ok combination is USB port 2 and 4, but a firewire connection would be better, and an ethernet connection to a NAS even better.

 

I personally find the Sonore Signature Rendu (ethernet to SPDIF or I2S) to be several steps up from a Mac Mini playback but that is for your eval down the road. In that scenario you simply have a NAS that houses your music and your music server app (ethernet), a Signature Rendu (ethernet) and your DAC...period.

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Some really good suggestions already so here is just a little more food for thought:

 

1. I found it very difficult to get non-fatiguing sound out of a Mac Mini as you can see in the Mac CAPS thread. Without customizing the Mac it does not surprise me your CD player, essentially a dedicated-for-audio-source, sounds better.

 

2. Amarra on a Mac in cache/memory mode sounds the least fatiguing in my setup and will use your iTunes library.

 

Audivarna and Jriver have their own library management but to my ears a bit more fatiguing. HQ I have not played with yet but many love the sound.

 

3. AIFF rips are good but using iTunes to do so is not recommended as it loses bits and does not tell you. Use a tool that does error correction and AccurateRip checks of the rip.

 

http://www.accuraterip.com/software.htm

 

4. As mentioned, check to make sure your DAC has asynch USB. If not, do not use USB.

 

5. Berkeley Audio Alpha USB-SPDIF converter is the best I have heard and I still use it. But it is dear.

 

6. As mentioned use USB only for the DAC or USB-SPDIF converter not together with USB hard drives.

 

7. To eliminate that the DAC is not the issue perhaps you can borrow a good one from your local shop

 

8. For a different tangent, and possibly a potentially less frustrating and time consuming path is the streamer path. Ted_b has the current top setup here. A streamer is a essentially a computer already optimized for audio.

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  • 2 weeks later...

cincy2- hi-what ripping service did you use? what was the cost? and are you statisfied? the only service i really investigated was 'pickled productions' outside of chicago-ended up doing it myself(also about 1000 cd's) with decent results but am reconsidering doing it-i went to pickled productions and their web page is for sale so i assume they went out of businees bobbmd

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YashN,

No offfense, and I love Miska's work...but responding to a newbie who wants to start off simply... by telling him to try HQPlayer and DSD128 (he probably doesn't even know what an HQPlayer is, let alone how and where to install it, set up the filtering, etc) is risky, and likely to dissuade all but the experienced computer audiophile. Linear power supply discussions, NAA discussions, SSD discussions...these are (IMHO) step 9 of a 10 step process to be a black belt in computer audio, not step 1. But who knows, maybe he will embrace your cutting edge ideas. Don't just stick your toe in the water, scuba deep dive at 500 feet. :)

 

totally.........

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I got better sound when I:

1) Got a music server (Cambridge Stream Magic 6 v.2)

2) Connected it directly to the internet with a Powerline ethernet cable. This plays music services such as Rhapsody, Spotify, Pandora, Sirius, etc., all internet radio stations (with presets), music on the network.

3) I put a NAS hard drive on the network connected directly to the router with ethernet cable. I ripped my CD's to the NAS. The Stream Magic will recognize the NAS and play the music stored on it.

4) That way you can turn on the Stream Magic and stereo system and don't need the computer. You can operate the Stream Magic from the front panel, but it is much easier to use the available app for Apple or android phone or tablet. The direct ethernet connection and music streamer give me much better quality.

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