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Expert advice required!

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After a bit of web research I decided this looks like the place to get the latest on what to do, so just joined this forum in the hope of some good advice from folks here who really know the current products / technologies and options. I have decided to move into the present and have a go with a music server. What I want to be able to do is control my entire digital music collection (and ideally download his res music, listen to internet radio and access streaming service like Tidal) from a tablet on my lap.


Current system is dCS Elgar Plus DAC, Krell KCT preamp, Krell FPB 400cx Power amp and Wilson Audio Watt Puppy (series 7) Speakers. This new digital system needs to be in line with the quality of the overall system and I THINK the initial task would be to choose a USB to SPDIF converter to convert the USB signal from the computer (possibly mac mini) to SPDIF into the Elgar. I have read great things about the Berkeley Alpha USB on the web (and here) but most of those articles are a bit old now so not sure if this is still the case, plus I am not sure I can get one of these in the UK (Berkeley do not appear to have UK distributors).


Once I have a USB to SPDIF converter, I think I then need a dedicated music computer and I was thinking mac mini as it's small, I already have a spare keyboard, mouse and screen and I read it makes a decent solution. However my main PC is Windows and I guess it would be more convenient if I could find an equally good (or better) Windows solution. Finally I would need a tablet to control it all. That solution is likely the easiest but would not give me internet radio or a streaming solution. Unfortunately I cannot afford to upgrade the current dCS kit (also have a CD transport) to a Rossini, so interested to hear what the current options might be if anyone has suggestions?

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A few suggestions... First check out the CAPS articles Chris (the site founder) has written over the years. These offer lots of options/thoughts for good Windows powered computers.


J.River is the usual starting point for music software on Windows, but you might also like to check out the new Roon software.


Another alternative would be to check out something like the Aries from Auralic which utilises network streaming from a NAS (or PC).


Just a couple of starting points.



...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 for that. I have seen this thread and been in contact with ExD, but ideally want a USB to SPDIF conversion solution that is readily available / supported in the UK in case I have issues. The Berkeley Alpha USB seems to fit the the bill (even if I upgrade to a Scarlatti DAC - which also has no USB), but does not seem to be readily available in the UK. I was wondering whether there are other products available in the UK that are as good as, or even better than, the Alpha...

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Computer audio is easy or hard depending on your computer skills. Berkeley + CAPS would be a fantastic way to go for the DIY computer savvy. For simpler setups, I also agree with Audio_ELF with Auralic Aries. Either way, you need to start burning CDs and learning how to tag the CDs, where to store them. It may be worthwhile buying JRiver and putting it on your PC to play around with it to get more experience. If you have lots to burn though, dbPoweramp is a better tool for Windows.

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