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With apologies to William Graves - I got microsoft'd - streamers?


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So this is a twofold question really. And forgive the dramatic title, I couldn't think of a better way to put it. And for Mr. Graves - I got after you in a different thread and defended Windows unequivocally and after today, I'm embarrassed to say I too have fallen victim to Windows' wonderful driver structure and USB implementation.

 

Short version (will still be long): Server2012R2, JRiver + Jplay, with an Aqua La Voce S2 DAC and their own proprietary ASIO USB driver.

 

I've been auditioning this DAC for about 5 days now and while I was "happy" with it, it does sound better than my Schiit Gungnir (and should, it's 3x the price) but it didn't sound 3x the price better. I realize DACs are really not "smack you in the face" kinds of changes, at least not at this price level, but still, I expected more out of a Ladder DAC, especially one of such praise from reviewers.

 

Moderate volume listening was uninspiring, as if I went from a 100W amp to a 25W amp with no current to speak of. This is untrue, as at the same time I am also demoing a very good 150 x 2 amp, lol.

 

So after thinking too long that something else was going on, I figured it out this morning. I hit Play on a Youtube video and to my surprise and dismay, the sound went out through my DAC and into my speakers. This, despite using ASIO + Kernel Streaming, somehow my DAC was still sitting behind the Windows Audio environment, and yes I could control the volume of my music with the Windows control. I disabled the device in the Audio snap-in and suddenly, on my next track, life was good. So good. This amazing imaging and depth I've been hearing about, and all of the detail retrieval this DAC is capable of washed over me. I can't believe the Windows Mixer is such a heinous detriment to SQ but it's unmistakable. Literally a "smack you in the face" moment.

 

So with all of that said, I'm about tired of using Windows for my audio playback. For one, I have to dedicate an entire PC to the purpose and that seems wasteful in the grand scheme of things. I'm thinking about dedicated power supplies for the SSD, my Regen, a Paul Pang USB card, and licensing for all this stuff - I've practically paid for a streamer/renderer already. And that can live in my room. So, what is one looking at, price-wise, to get into a reasonable network streamer that I can bid fare thee well to Windows and go back to using my PC as just that - a PC. I know of Aurender, Antipodes, Sonore, but I honestly have no idea where to start on these things. My La Voce has a galvanically isolated AES/EBU input so if said streamer were to offer that, I think that would be my best bet, assuming that has all of the sample rate and bit-depth compatibility as USB (at least up to 24/192, I don't need more than that).

 

And lastly, again, my apologies to William.

 

Thanks!

Todd

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> iFi Zen Stream NAA

Holo May KTE, Benchmark LA4 preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dynaudio Confidence C2 Platinum speakers

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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This is what happens when I post from memory. It's not William, it's George. Derp.

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> iFi Zen Stream NAA

Holo May KTE, Benchmark LA4 preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dynaudio Confidence C2 Platinum speakers

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

Link to comment
So this is a twofold question really. And forgive the dramatic title, I couldn't think of a better way to put it. And for Mr. Graves - I got after you in a different thread and defended Windows unequivocally and after today, I'm embarrassed to say I too have fallen victim to Windows' wonderful driver structure and USB implementation.

 

Short version (will still be long): Server2012R2, JRiver + Jplay, with an Aqua La Voce S2 DAC and their own proprietary ASIO USB driver.

 

I've been auditioning this DAC for about 5 days now and while I was "happy" with it, it does sound better than my Schiit Gungnir (and should, it's 3x the price) but it didn't sound 3x the price better. I realize DACs are really not "smack you in the face" kinds of changes, at least not at this price level, but still, I expected more out of a Ladder DAC, especially one of such praise from reviewers.

 

Moderate volume listening was uninspiring, as if I went from a 100W amp to a 25W amp with no current to speak of. This is untrue, as at the same time I am also demoing a very good 150 x 2 amp, lol.

 

So after thinking too long that something else was going on, I figured it out this morning. I hit Play on a Youtube video and to my surprise and dismay, the sound went out through my DAC and into my speakers. This, despite using ASIO + Kernel Streaming, somehow my DAC was still sitting behind the Windows Audio environment, and yes I could control the volume of my music with the Windows control. I disabled the device in the Audio snap-in and suddenly, on my next track, life was good. So good. This amazing imaging and depth I've been hearing about, and all of the detail retrieval this DAC is capable of washed over me. I can't believe the Windows Mixer is such a heinous detriment to SQ but it's unmistakable. Literally a "smack you in the face" moment.

 

So with all of that said, I'm about tired of using Windows for my audio playback. For one, I have to dedicate an entire PC to the purpose and that seems wasteful in the grand scheme of things. I'm thinking about dedicated power supplies for the SSD, my Regen, a Paul Pang USB card, and licensing for all this stuff - I've practically paid for a streamer/renderer already. And that can live in my room. So, what is one looking at, price-wise, to get into a reasonable network streamer that I can bid fare thee well to Windows and go back to using my PC as just that - a PC. I know of Aurender, Antipodes, Sonore, but I honestly have no idea where to start on these things. My La Voce has a galvanically isolated AES/EBU input so if said streamer were to offer that, I think that would be my best bet, assuming that has all of the sample rate and bit-depth compatibility as USB (at least up to 24/192, I don't need more than that).

 

And lastly, again, my apologies to William.

 

Thanks!

Todd

 

 

Aside from the fact that my name is George, an apology while hardly necessary, is heartily accepted nonetheless (I see you corrected my name, below). And aside from whether or not people have problems with the clumsy Windows lack of Audio 2.0 USB support, the big issue (at least, as I see it) is why Microsoft (seemingly) refuses to fix this and other problems. It's simply primitive in this day and age to have to require a separate USB driver for every USB audio device. In my experience, though, this is an old problem with MS. Things that users complained about since the days of Win3.0 hung-on forever (things like the registry, The DOS file system, etc.). Even when MS swore that they removed all vestiges of DOS from Windows, some of it is still there peaking through!

 

I have a Windows laptop for two reasons. 1) Windows has proven to me that it sounds demonstrably better than OSX, therefore I put-up with Windows' shortcomings as an OS. and 2) I think that even though Apple products are very good and are superficially much better made than most Windows machines (I say superficially because, ultimately, they are no more reliable and have no more performance than much more cheaply made products from a number of Windows manufacturers), there is simply no excuse for their pricing and Apple's repair costs are so astronomical that if your Apple equipment needs repair, it's often just as expensive (or close to it) to chuck the broken device and buy a new one! So much for case work machined from solid billets of aluminum. It looks nice, but it doesn't make the computer any better! Were it not for Apple's years-ahead OS, I wouldn't drink one drop of Apple's Kool-Aid!

 

My Toshiba laptop, OTOH, I've had for at least three years. It's made of plastic, not metal, it was cheap (I think I paid less than US$250 for it, new) and it has never given me any problems. I bought it to take to clients with me (if it gets stolen, or lost, it's nowhere near the big deal that losing a Mac Book would be). I mostly use it these days as a computer music server connected to my system via USB.

 

After the US$400+ bill to get my Mac Mini repaired (bad mother board after only 3 years) I've decided that my next computer will be a Windows laptop or desktop purchased solely because some expert on one of the "HackenTosh" websites has certified that Mac OS can be successfully installed on it!

George

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Yea, I have no idea where I got William from. By the time I realized my error, it was too late to edit my post (I despise forum software that does that, but I can see the purpose). But yea, I've calmed down since my initial resentment of Windows - it was purely a matter of how different this all sounds after fixing it. Funny enough, the stuff I'm demoing was handicapped but my original gear wouldn't have been. Well, the amp was the same regardless, but in any case. I'm still considering turning this setup into a headless, core mode server. I just need to build another PC in order to pull that off. But then I'll have the best of both worlds, a dedicated, low-resource audio machine and a legit gaming PC in a different case. Thinking more on it, it's not that wasteful, the audio PC won't be pulling that much power out of the wall, at least not that much more than something like a streamer. So anyway, carry on everyone, I'm good :)

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> iFi Zen Stream NAA

Holo May KTE, Benchmark LA4 preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dynaudio Confidence C2 Platinum speakers

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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I have a Windows laptop for two reasons. 1) Windows has proven to me that it sounds demonstrably better than OSX, therefore I put-up with Windows' shortcomings as an OS. and

 

If you insist. :)

 

2) I think that even though Apple products are very good and are superficially much better made than most Windows machines (I say superficially because, ultimately, they are no more reliable and have no more performance than much more cheaply made products from a number of Windows manufacturers), there is simply no excuse for their pricing and Apple's repair costs are so astronomical that if your Apple equipment needs repair, it's often just as expensive (or close to it) to chuck the broken device and buy a new one! So much for case work machined from solid billets of aluminum. It looks nice, but it doesn't make the computer any better! Were it not for Apple's years-ahead OS, I wouldn't drink one drop of Apple's Kool-Aid!

 

You are simply deluded here, and have drank too much Windows Kool Aid... (grin)

 

 

My Toshiba laptop, OTOH, I've had for at least three years. It's made of plastic, not metal, it was cheap (I think I paid less than US$250 for it, new) and it has never given me any problems. I bought it to take to clients with me (if it gets stolen, or lost, it's nowhere near the big deal that losing a Mac Book would be). I mostly use it these days as a computer music server connected to my system via USB.

 

After the US$400+ bill to get my Mac Mini repaired (bad mother board after only 3 years) I've decided that my next computer will be a Windows laptop or desktop purchased solely because some expert on one of the "HackenTosh" websites has certified that Mac OS can be successfully installed on it!

 

Gads- I have a 10 year old Mac Mini still chugging faithfully along in my office. It sits in a corner and does little each day, except it acts as a remote database for some Cobol programs, and I test patches and fixes to PowerPC software on it. Nothing major. But it still runs.

 

I have seven or eight contemporary PC's that are just junk, and I really need to get rid of, including some IBM servers that just finally "gave up the ghost."

 

On the other hand, I have a Fat Mac from the 80's that still boots up and runs - still fun to play this evil shuffleboard game on, though the screen is pitiful compared to modern machines. And the 680x0 processor is kinda dated. (grin)

 

Seriously though, to claim that PC's are in the same league build wise with Macs is definitely not something I would tend to agree with in general. There are exceptions of course.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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So with all of that said, I'm about tired of using Windows for my audio playback. For one, I have to dedicate an entire PC to the purpose and that seems wasteful in the grand scheme of things. I'm thinking about dedicated power supplies for the SSD, my Regen, a Paul Pang USB card, and licensing for all this stuff - I've practically paid for a streamer/renderer already. And that can live in my room. So, what is one looking at, price-wise, to get into a reasonable network streamer that I can bid fare thee well to Windows and go back to using my PC as just that - a PC. I know of Aurender, Antipodes, Sonore, but I honestly have no idea where to start on these things. My La Voce has a galvanically isolated AES/EBU input so if said streamer were to offer that, I think that would be my best bet, assuming that has all of the sample rate and bit-depth compatibility as USB (at least up to 24/192, I don't need more than that).

 

And lastly, again, my apologies to William.

 

Thanks!

Todd

 

Hi Todd.

 

For curiosity, what was the DAC chip that you choose for your dac?

 

Here in the CA it seems that i2S is generating interest and it seems you have a i2S input on your dac. That connection is very direct.

 

So I wonder if a device that converts Ethernet to I2S in your format could be in the making at Sonore, for instance.

 

Meanwhile, I keep my interest in listening to Aqua DAC's following a very good experience outside my system.

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Hi Todd.

 

For curiosity, what was the DAC chip that you choose for your dac?

 

Here in the CA it seems that i2S is generating interest and it seems you have a i2S input on your dac. That connection is very direct.

 

So I wonder if a device that converts Ethernet to I2S in your format could be in the making at Sonore, for instance.

 

Meanwhile, I keep my interest in listening to Aqua DAC's following a very good experience outside my system.

 

I went with the dual Burr Brown unit. I may swap out boards down the road but am so overly happy with the BB setup, I may not bother :) I do agree with you that if I had a transport with I2S output, I'd sell off all my USB gear. I have signed up for updates on the uRendu from Sonore, is that the device you're referring to?

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> iFi Zen Stream NAA

Holo May KTE, Benchmark LA4 preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dynaudio Confidence C2 Platinum speakers

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

Link to comment
I went with the dual Burr Brown unit. I may swap out boards down the road but am so overly happy with the BB setup, I may not bother :) I do agree with you that if I had a transport with I2S output, I'd sell off all my USB gear. I have signed up for updates on the uRendu from Sonore, is that the device you're referring to?

 

yep, I will keep an eye on this exciting topic and on the Sonore "pico"Rendu..

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