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Things (about computer audio) I should know, but dont


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I imagine there are threads that address my questions, so please feel free to point me in the right direction.

 

I finally am abandoning my analog system. This makes me very much a computer audiophile newbie. I have just purchased, and am now waiting for delivery of, a new Windows laptop w/ largish SSD and an exaSound e12 DAC. This unit has one input, that being USB. This solution appears to me to be the most budget friendly, and yet will yield a considerable improvement in SQ, not to mention native DSD capability. I am wondering:

 

-- If I still wish to get an FM radio signal to my amps I suppose I have the option of adding a high quality passive preamp downstream of the e12. Is this the equivalent of turning gold into lead?

 

-- My daughter is back from college as of earlier this week. She will want to plug her iPhone into the system to play all her tunes. Can I route that signal through my laptop and thus through the e12? These will only be mp3 files.

 

-- I know nothing about NAS devices. The modem and router are in the back office. I have no interest in running an Ethernet cable from the office at the back of the house to the listening room near the front of the house. There is a wireless signal to the listening room, but I am reluctant to access Flac or DSD files wirelessly. May I tether an external hard drive, (solid state or otherwise) directly to the laptop via USB and access files from this hard drive?

 

I thank you.

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-- If I still wish to get an FM radio signal to my amps I suppose I have the option of adding a high quality passive preamp downstream of the e12. Is this the equivalent of turning gold into lead?

You could do this, but you might do better abandoning FM and looking what is available as Internet radio.

 

-- My daughter is back from college as of earlier this week. She will want to plug her iPhone into the system to play all her tunes. Can I route that signal through my laptop and thus through the e12? These will only be mp3 files.

She should be able to do this if you install https://www.rogueamoeba.com/airfoil/speakers.php on your laptop and then using wireless from the phone.

 

-- I know nothing about NAS devices. The modem and router are in the back office. I have no interest in running an Ethernet cable from the office at the back of the house to the listening room near the front of the house. There is a wireless signal to the listening room, but I am reluctant to access Flac or DSD files wirelessly. May I tether an external hard drive, (solid state or otherwise) directly to the laptop via USB and access files from this hard drive?

Yes a USB drive can be attached to your laptop for storing audio files. Given you are a novice I would recommend this method over fighting with a NAS...

Eloise

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...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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I have the option of adding a high quality passive preamp downstream of the e12. Is this the equivalent of turning gold into lead?

Just remember that with a high quality Passive Preamplifier, you need to keep the output cables quite short or you may get severe HF roll off.

 

Yes a USB drive can be attached to your laptop for storing audio files. Given you are a novice I would recommend this method over fighting with a NAS... - Eloise

 

Ditto.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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If you will be using an SSD for storage externally, you can just pick up a USB 3.0 SATA 2.5" hard drive enclosure and pick up an SSD and pop it in there and use that as an external drive. It'll work nicely.

 

Have you checked out TIDAL? You should try the one month free trial. They haz all the Flacs.

 

For a solution which is free and quite epic to your FM radio problem may I suggest a free Spotify account? Streaming from Spotify will give you about the same audio quality as FM radio, and you can make your own playlists or listen to one of the thousands of playlists or radio stations on Spotify. No talk, no commercials, no nonsense. Just music.

 

Make sure you use Chrome with Adblock if you use Spotify.

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Another option if you don't want to run Ethernet cables but prefer a wired connection, is the Homeplug system (Ethernet over power lines).

 

That creates a MASSIVE amount of electrical noise which will be transfered to the audio equipment unless significant power cleaning is employed.

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