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Advice on Build Needed


colonel_forbin
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Hi,

I am brand new to the forum but have been reading furiously in the last few days. Just joined. I am very curious as to what you guys think of my plans, as well as advice and constructive criticism. I have built pc's countless times, but this is my first audio specific build that will be designed for high quality digital out.

Okay into the meat of things. Here is the main use:

My dad has an extremely nice stereo room in his basement and a very refined ear. The room is very acoustically pleasing and I am unsure of his current equipment because he is always switching between his favorites, but for any of you skeptics out there, the last set of speakers he owed and sold were a set of ATC SCM 150 Active Speakers in a custom birds-eye maple finish that were purchased by a recording studio in Nashville. Look them up if you are unfamiliar, made me well up with tears the first time I heard them running with tubes.

Anyways, I have a huge collection of 'lossless' audio we would like to play on his stereo and my father has been interested in joining a service like tidal to stream lossless but currently has no dedicated equipment to handle these tasks.

I have bought parts to build something to take on the challenge and hopefully please his ears.

 

Motherboard:

I prefer MSI motherboards. Also I wanted something with a low power consumption. Small form factor was also a goal initially (before I found out the size of my CPU cooler). I went with a mini ITX MSI H110i Pro AC. Will not be taking advantage of the wireless guys, I know better. I already have a ethernet cable run direct from the source through the wall to where the finished product will sit.

https://us.msi.com/Motherboard/H110I-PRO-AC.html#hero-overview

 

CPU:

Low TDW for less heat Intel I5-6400T. This is decently powerful but also only consumes 35 watts maximum. It is compatible with the choices I have for software in the end and networking reliability is supposedly better on Intel for pulling from a NAS than any AMD equip.

https://ark.intel.com/products/88187/Intel-Core-i5-6400T-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-2_80-GHz

 

CPU Cooler:

I forgot to mention that I would like a fanless design...well actually let's say no moving parts. I chose a huge Zalman FX70 cooler that should get the job done no problem. Completely passive and after some very enlightening talks with one of their engineers, I was assured that with my CPU this build would be very possible.

ZALMAN - FX70

 

Memory:

I had some newegg credit and found a really good deal on some highly rated 8gb stick so I just went with 16gb of Geil Evo Potenza. Also like that the memory has heat fins on the top to dissipate heat since I will not have fans.

DDR4 EVO POTENZA DUAL CHANNEL Kit - Products - GeIL Memory

 

Storage:

I obviously want solid state for numerous reasons. I can use M2 with my motherboard but prefer 2.5" so I still have the ability to power it separately. I will only store the operating system on this most likely. I will stream predominantly and sometimes plug in with a separately powered external ssd drive. Since my collection won't be stored locally on this build, I did not need huge capacity and chose the Crucial MX300 525GB SSD which should be ample.

Crucial MX300 525GB SATA 2.5" 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal SSD | CT525MX300SSD1 | Crucial.com

 

Power Supply:

For starters, my mini itx board does not take a direct 19.v input like most. It has standard ATX power. Additionally, I have a system that peaks at 86 Watts, so I don't need anything major. I considered linear first and got scared away by the cost being so high. Then I looked at picoPSU and found that some users experience noise introduction and scared away. I made a small mistake and bought a Seasonic 400w fanless PSU because of good reviews from fellow audiophiles, but then quickly became reluctant and cancelled the order and instead chose the HDPlex 100W Linear Power Supply coupled with the HDPlex 300W HiFi DC-ATX (NanoATX Series). The 400W version includes the ATX conversion but was just too expensive for me to justify. I additionally could have picked the HDPlex 160W DC-ATX but it did not include the audio specific capacitors that are used in the 300W Hifi unit.

HDPLEX Fanless Linear Power Supply for PC Audio and CE device

HDPLEX-300W-Hi-Fi-DC-ATX-Power-Supply (16V-24V Wide Range Voltage Input)

 

DAC:

We already own a Resonessence Concero HD which I am very pleased with. I will be using this for the heavy lifting.

CONCERO HD - Resonessence Dacs - True Audio Clarity

 

Case:

Welp....you got me there. I have been unable to find something that I like. I have a friend who has a precision CNC machine though and he said we can design and build something with that to meet my needs exactly. I have put only a little though into it but I am thinking about bottom mounting the motherboard next to the LPS which will be internal. Have a roughly 14 inch long face, 10 inch deep sides, and a height of approx 8 inches. Just rough measurements. Cut the sides and base out of wood. Vent the sides nicely and use thin pieces. Have the back side cut for the ports and power. Stain the wood and put a power button on the front. Place half inch rubber nubs on the the corners on the open top. Have a piece of glass cut to size that sits on the rubber nubs. So it would be stained wood on 5 sides with venting and then a half inch top gap between the sides and the glass top to allow heat to rise out in all directions easily. Clear glass top to see components. Ideally have the top of the cpu cooler sitting a quarter inch or so away from the glass so its top is slightly visible from the sides of the box. It is a precision cnc so I can have it draw a logo into the front as well.

 

My Questions:

Is it good practice to simply run USB out to the DAC for power as well as digital audio or do I need to seriously consider getting a card that has S/PDIF out and powering the DAC from the wall or the HDPlex linear supply?

How should I run the power? Please help here!

Is Tidal streaming truly lossless?

What software should I use? I need it to be controllable by phone or tablet. Once this pc is setup it will not have visible video out. The controlling of audio playback needs to be done on the phone or tablet. Also the interface needs to be pretty simple. I have seriously been considering roon labs because it seamlessly incorporates Tidal into the library and my dad will predominantly stream from Tidal if it is truly lossless.

Should I be worried about clocking?

Am I capable of Asynchronous USB?

 

For the money I have spent (before DAC), is there a roon-ready recommended player that I can afford that will produce better quality? (around $1000)

In the past I have only used usb out to a headphone DAC with an ASIO driver using foobar for playback. School me up people. Please help me along the way. I know some of you have been where I am at and now have a ton of experience to share.

Ethernet Direct > Passively Cooled, Fanless, Motionless HDPLEX H1.S w/ MSI H110i Pro, i5-6400T, 16GB DDR4 (powered by HDPlex 100W Linear PS > HDPlex 300W DC-ATX HIFI PS) Asynchronous USB Out > Uptone Audio Regen USB > Resonessence Labs Concero HD

 

Happy Listening!

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Welcome to CA!

 

Your hardware configuration will handle all PCM formats from 16/44.1 to 32/384 easily.

DSD upto DSD128 should not be a problem but you may struggle with DSD256 and above.

 

My Questions:

Is it good practice to simply run USB out to the DAC for power as well as digital audio or do I need to seriously consider getting a card that has S/PDIF out and powering the DAC from the wall or the HDPlex linear supply?

How should I run the power? Please help here!

 

Do not use the power leg from the USB cable.

Basically you don't want the noisy power from your computer power supply to travel to the DAC.

Use the LPS to power the computer.

Power the DAC separately from the wall.

 

What software should I use? I need it to be controllable by phone or tablet. Once this pc is setup it will not have visible video out. The controlling of audio playback needs to be done on the phone or tablet. Also the interface needs to be pretty simple. I have seriously been considering roon labs because it seamlessly incorporates Tidal into the library and my dad will predominantly stream from Tidal if it is truly lossless.

Should I be worried about clocking?

Am I capable of Asynchronous USB?

 

Roon is highly recommended.

Other alternatives are JRiver and Foobar.

 

Don't worry about clocking as your DAC will control the clock via Asynchronous USB.

Asynchronous USB is when the downstream device controls the clock.

 

Enjoy the music!

Win10 Transport + Fidelizer 8.7 + JRMC 28 & HQPlayer | Mutec MC-3+ Smart Clock USB |  Job INT | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

 

 

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Hi,

My Questions:

1. Is it good practice to simply run USB out to the DAC for power as well as digital audio or do I need to seriously consider getting a card that has S/PDIF out and powering the DAC from the wall or the HDPlex linear supply?

2. How should I run the power? Please help here!

3. Is Tidal streaming truly lossless?

4. What software should I use? I need it to be controllable by phone or tablet. Once this pc is setup it will not have visible video out. The controlling of audio playback needs to be done on the phone or tablet. Also the interface needs to be pretty simple. I have seriously been considering roon labs because it seamlessly incorporates Tidal into the library and my dad will predominantly stream from Tidal if it is truly lossless.

5. Should I be worried about clocking?

6. Am I capable of Asynchronous USB?

7. For the money I have spent (before DAC), is there a roon-ready recommended player that I can afford that will produce better quality? (around $1000)

8. In the past I have only used usb out to a headphone DAC with an ASIO driver using foobar for playback. School me up people. Please help me along the way. I know some of you have been where I am at and now have a ton of experience to share.

 

Welcome, and a bunch of good questions ... I will give you something to start on.

 

1. Most modern motherboards will have adequate USB ports. Usually comprised of both USB 2.0 and 3.0 and maybe even some 3.1 as well as other ports that you might not need so much. There are threads here that talk about the need for power in the USB line to the DAC, this will depend on the DAC although my understanding is that the power line is used as a signal line and does not actually power the DAC. USB is the most capable digital interconnect although coax and optical are also very good. You can utilize onboard digital audio to drive the SPDIF ports, or you can add a good sound card like an Asus XONAR or something like that.

 

2. Power, plug the computer into the wall and don't use a power conditioner. You can substitute an upgrade power cord if it pleases you do to so. Hopefully, the AC circuit supplying the PC and all the other audio gear is a dedicated circuit with NO other devices on that leg.

 

3. Tidal streaming is lossless if you pay for the HiFi grade of service. This will now include software decoding of MQA audio and provide access to a growing library of MQA enabled audio. I am not sure but my guess is that Tidal is streaming compressed FLAC which is a lossless format.

 

4. Software, that is an ongoing and somewhat complex question. I would start by exploring JRiver Media Center which will provide good library facilities, excellent audio control and can be controlled remotely. You will need to read, explore and build a system that suits your needs.

 

5. Clocking, no worry run it stock, maybe even underclock if it's an unlocked cpu.

 

6. Asynchronous USB will be a factor of the DAC that is used.

 

7. Roon is a whole nuther ball of wax, get a 1 year account and learn if it meets your needs.

 

8. Well, this is a start and ComputerAudiophile.com is a good place to learn. Slowly you will absorb enough to ask more good questions and things will eventually gel into what you seek. You might be surprised by what you already know because to ask a good question, you have to already know most of the answer.

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For the money I have spent (before DAC), is there a roon-ready recommended player that I can afford that will produce better quality? (around $1000)

 

If you are going to build the advice you have received so far seems good. My advice is to consider a simpler yet potentially much more satisfying route.

 

Microrendu>Mojo DAC for audio

Amazon Fire TV with Plex and Kodi apps>AfterMasterPro>HT Receiver/processor for home theater

 

I think both of these formats would provide fantastic SQ and Fire TV has great video quality as well (including 4K). You can even stream Tidal to Fire TV using Roon. You can store your media on a local NAS to access with either setup.

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Why not go the dedicated audio-style case. The top HDPlex case is very good and has built-in heat management hardware. I used this for my build and am very happy with it.

 

I struggled with power for my board. I use the HDPlex 100W LPS but didn't like the HiFi DC-ATX unit. At the time there was forum talk about the noise of this unit. Also didn't care for all that wiring inside the case. I use the picoPSU-160-XT which has better caps than the 150 watt unit. Where did you read about noise issues with these units?

 

I don't recommend using the mobo USB outputs. Instead use a dedicated USB card which can be had for about $125 (but up to almost $500). There are also various external devices that clean up USB to a perfectly acceptable level.

 

I use a higher-power unlocked CPU but it runs underclocked. This way for most tasks it runs cool and quiet, but if heavier lifting is required the power is there in reserve.

 

Be wary about being being steered toward cheap AV equipment. Given your father's appreciation of the SCM 150s, he is used to SQ in a totally different league than devices like that can provide. I run ATCs as well and wouldn't consider putting those toys in the signal chain.

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Hi, as an active ATC owner I would volunteer that those wonderful 150ASLs deserve at least an Aurender server.

Source:

*Aurender N100 (no internal disk : LAN optically isolated via FMC with *LPS) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch - split for *LPS) > Intona Industrial (injected *LPS / internally shielded with copper tape) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > W4S Recovery (*LPS) > DIY 2cm USB adaptor (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > *Auralic VEGA (EXACT : balanced)

 

Control:

*Jeff Rowland CAPRI S2 (balanced)

 

Playback:

2 x Revel B15a subs (balanced) > ATC SCM 50 ASL (balanced - 80Hz HPF from subs)

 

Misc:

*Via Power Inspired AG1500 AC Regenerator

LPS: 3 x Swagman Lab Audiophile Signature Edition (W4S, Intona & FMC)

Storage: QNAP TS-253Pro 2x 3Tb, 8Gb RAM

Cables: DIY heavy gauge solid silver (balanced)

Mains: dedicated distribution board with 5 x 2 socket ring mains, all mains cables: Mark Grant Black Series DSP 2.5 Dual Screen

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DSD upto DSD128 should not be a problem but you may struggle with DSD256 and above.

Do not use the power leg from the USB cable.

Basically you don't want the noisy power from your computer power supply to travel to the DAC.

Use the LPS to power the computer.

Power the DAC separately from the wall.

 

Don't worry about clocking as your DAC will control the clock via Asynchronous USB.

Asynchronous USB is when the downstream device controls the clock.

 

1. If I do not power the DAC from the USB, then I am forced to use an audio card with S/PDIF out. My DAC only has the option of receiving power from USB. It will however accept digital in from S/PDIF. When it only receives power over USB, it will switch over to S/PDIF IN mode. I however thought that I would be wise to send audio over USB. Based on my limitations, what do you think is my best method of powering the DAC and sending it digital audio.

 

2.Why would powering the DAC with my HDPlex Linear Power Supply introduce noise into the system? It is a separate out on the LPS and I thought the purpose of buying an audio grade LPS was so that it could power sensitive audio equipment without introducing the noise that a SMPS is known to introduce.

 

3. Does Asynchronous USB have correction or is it unilateral?

 

Thanks for your help.

Mike

Ethernet Direct > Passively Cooled, Fanless, Motionless HDPLEX H1.S w/ MSI H110i Pro, i5-6400T, 16GB DDR4 (powered by HDPlex 100W Linear PS > HDPlex 300W DC-ATX HIFI PS) Asynchronous USB Out > Uptone Audio Regen USB > Resonessence Labs Concero HD

 

Happy Listening!

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1. Most modern motherboards will have adequate USB ports. Usually comprised of both USB 2.0 and 3.0 and maybe even some 3.1 as well as other ports that you might not need so much. There are threads here that talk about the need for power in the USB line to the DAC, this will depend on the DAC although my understanding is that the power line is used as a signal line and does not actually power the DAC. USB is the most capable digital interconnect although coax and optical are also very good. You can utilize onboard digital audio to drive the SPDIF ports, or you can add a good sound card like an Asus XONAR or something like that.

2. Power, plug the computer into the wall and don't use a power conditioner. You can substitute an upgrade power cord if it pleases you do to so. Hopefully, the AC circuit supplying the PC and all the other audio gear is a dedicated circuit with NO other devices on that leg.

3. Tidal streaming is lossless if you pay for the HiFi grade of service. This will now include software decoding of MQA audio and provide access to a growing library of MQA enabled audio. I am not sure but my guess is that Tidal is streaming compressed FLAC which is a lossless format.

4. Software, that is an ongoing and somewhat complex question. I would start by exploring JRiver Media Center which will provide good library facilities, excellent audio control and can be controlled remotely. You will need to read, explore and build a system that suits your needs.

5. Clocking, no worry run it stock, maybe even underclock if it's an unlocked cpu.

6. Asynchronous USB will be a factor of the DAC that is used.

7. Roon is a whole nuther ball of wax, get a 1 year account and learn if it meets your needs.

8. Well, this is a start and ComputerAudiophile.com is a good place to learn. Slowly you will absorb enough to ask more good questions and things will eventually gel into what you seek. You might be surprised by what you already know because to ask a good question, you have to already know most of the answer.

 

1. A little confused here, if you don't mind elaborating. Are you saying that if my DAC is well designed and designed for USB power and Audio in simultaneously, then I will not experience noise introduction using this setup? Also if you would recommend a card you know of with dedicated USB out around $150-200 that I could power separate from the motherboard with my linear supply. Also let me know in your opinion, how much difference would doing this make versus using using the stock motherboard USB outs?

 

2. What is a power conditioner? And no there is nothing but our audio equipment on that leg.

 

3. I will have to read up on MQA. I am unfamiliar with it or its importance. If Tidal is streaming "compressed" flac, doesn't that imply that it is not lossless? Are there compression methods that are not lossy? I heard one of the lossless protocols mac uses can reduce file size by half without loss. Is there an audible degradation of sound from a standard flac purchased from HDTracks and the compressed flacs I will hear on Tidal's streaming service?

 

4. JRiver has been highly recommended. Does it have the ability to control different rooms? Is it much more intensive setup than something like roon?

 

5. I have considered an underclock, but my CPU is such low wattage at peak, I may just leave it be.

 

6. Asynchronous USB includes checks and correction or is it unilateral?

 

7. Thinking seriously of starting here with roon for a year but your initial comment of getting into Jriver and some other posts have me curious of using that as an alternative.

 

8. Thanks for all the advice and any additionally help you provide. Have a good one.

 

Mike

Ethernet Direct > Passively Cooled, Fanless, Motionless HDPLEX H1.S w/ MSI H110i Pro, i5-6400T, 16GB DDR4 (powered by HDPlex 100W Linear PS > HDPlex 300W DC-ATX HIFI PS) Asynchronous USB Out > Uptone Audio Regen USB > Resonessence Labs Concero HD

 

Happy Listening!

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Microrendu>Mojo DAC for audio

 

 

How does the microrendu interact with roon or other audio services? Does it have a OS? What configures it? What controls its playback?

 

Thanks for help.

 

Mike

Ethernet Direct > Passively Cooled, Fanless, Motionless HDPLEX H1.S w/ MSI H110i Pro, i5-6400T, 16GB DDR4 (powered by HDPlex 100W Linear PS > HDPlex 300W DC-ATX HIFI PS) Asynchronous USB Out > Uptone Audio Regen USB > Resonessence Labs Concero HD

 

Happy Listening!

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Why not go the dedicated audio-style case. The top HDPlex case is very good and has built-in heat management hardware. I used this for my build and am very happy with it. I struggled with power for my board. I use the HDPlex 100W LPS but didn't like the HiFi DC-ATX unit. At the time there was forum talk about the noise of this unit. Also didn't care for all that wiring inside the case. I use the picoPSU-160-XT which has better caps than the 150 watt unit. Where did you read about noise issues with these units?

I don't recommend using the mobo USB outputs. Instead use a dedicated USB card which can be had for about $125 (but up to almost $500). There are also various external devices that clean up USB to a perfectly acceptable level.

I have not checked out their solutions. I may consider but it sounds like they will need to support the addition of a sound card because that seems to be recommended above versus that stock mobo USB outs.

 

Really?!?! That really annoys me because I spent more money to avoid dealing with less than audio quality power and not deal with noise. You have personally experienced and heard of others experiencing trouble with the HDPlex Hifi DC-ATX unit? I would strongly consider the picoPSU-160-XT if that is a standard among users here and is vouched for. I read on an ebay auction that was for a linear to ATX kit something that said that their supply was superior because it had super low noise introduction unlike the picoPSU which was reported to buzz and whine with certain hardware and applications.

 

How do you wire your system. Explain the setup with the HDPlex 100w Linear and the picoPSU 160W DC-ATX supply. Thanks.

 

Please recommend some different cards with USB out at various price stages. I would be willing to spend $150-220 on something if it will have a genuine effect on cleanliness of digital output.

 

This unit is actually not for the ATC's. He will still most likely use his existing equipment for solo sessions when he desires the most pristine sound, however he has been wanting a solution for when guests and people are over, not having to switch cd's constantly and find what he wants. So he understands not to expect the world from this. Plus when guests are over or we are casually hanging around the house, the background noise is at a level that makes it reasonable to not worry about such things.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Mike

Ethernet Direct > Passively Cooled, Fanless, Motionless HDPLEX H1.S w/ MSI H110i Pro, i5-6400T, 16GB DDR4 (powered by HDPlex 100W Linear PS > HDPlex 300W DC-ATX HIFI PS) Asynchronous USB Out > Uptone Audio Regen USB > Resonessence Labs Concero HD

 

Happy Listening!

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Hi, as an active ATC owner I would volunteer that those wonderful 150ASLs deserve at least an Aurender server.

There is a good chance that as time goes on and my dad explores this realm of audio, he will upgrade to more expensive audio specific equipment that meet his goals. But for now, we want a more budget solution to learn and try. I am sure with his addiction to quality and to components, he will quickly out grow this and seek a new DAC and delivery system and when that happens I will get this build which is right in my budget and will sound great with my stuff. I can not afford to graduate to the elitist equipment as quick as he can so this will be good for trial and error with his stuff and then great for me to take on when he upgrades.

Ethernet Direct > Passively Cooled, Fanless, Motionless HDPLEX H1.S w/ MSI H110i Pro, i5-6400T, 16GB DDR4 (powered by HDPlex 100W Linear PS > HDPlex 300W DC-ATX HIFI PS) Asynchronous USB Out > Uptone Audio Regen USB > Resonessence Labs Concero HD

 

Happy Listening!

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1. If I do not power the DAC from the USB, then I am forced to use an audio card with S/PDIF out. My DAC only has the option of receiving power from USB. It will however accept digital in from S/PDIF. When it only receives power over USB, it will switch over to S/PDIF IN mode. I however thought that I would be wise to send audio over USB. Based on my limitations, what do you think is my best method of powering the DAC and sending it digital audio.

 

2.Why would powering the DAC with my HDPlex Linear Power Supply introduce noise into the system? It is a separate out on the LPS and I thought the purpose of buying an audio grade LPS was so that it could power sensitive audio equipment without introducing the noise that a SMPS is known to introduce.

 

3. Does Asynchronous USB have correction or is it unilateral?

 

Thanks for your help.

Mike

 

Clean usb from the server to the DAC can be done by one of the many add-on devices for that purpose on the market; then you don't have to worry about being "legless" in USB. There are also internal specialized USB cards just for audio (By SotM, Paul Pang, and JPlay) that give you electrically clean USB outs to your DAC. In general, these devices/cards eliminate the deficiencies of USB audio and give you very good sound.

 

There are also USB>SPDIF converters (digital to digital converters) that do much the same thing from your computer to the SPDIF input of your DAC. The better ones also galvanically or in some other way electrically isolate the DAC from the computer.

 

Asynchronous USB is what almost all modern DACs use. It means that the clock on the DAC controls the stream, and not the clock in the PC sending the signal. Generally considered a superior method for sending audio over USB. USB doesn't have correction like some other protocols.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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I have not checked out their solutions. I may consider but it sounds like they will need to support the addition of a sound card because that seems to be recommended above versus that stock mobo USB outs.

 

Really?!?! That really annoys me because I spent more money to avoid dealing with less than audio quality power and not deal with noise. You have personally experienced and heard of others experiencing trouble with the HDPlex Hifi DC-ATX unit? I would strongly consider the picoPSU-160-XT if that is a standard among users here and is vouched for. I read on an ebay auction that was for a linear to ATX kit something that said that their supply was superior because it had super low noise introduction unlike the picoPSU which was reported to buzz and whine with certain hardware and applications.

 

How do you wire your system. Explain the setup with the HDPlex 100w Linear and the picoPSU 160W DC-ATX supply. Thanks.

 

Please recommend some different cards with USB out at various price stages. I would be willing to spend $150-220 on something if it will have a genuine effect on cleanliness of digital output.

 

This unit is actually not for the ATC's. He will still most likely use his existing equipment for solo sessions when he desires the most pristine sound, however he has been wanting a solution for when guests and people are over, not having to switch cd's constantly and find what he wants. So he understands not to expect the world from this. Plus when guests are over or we are casually hanging around the house, the background noise is at a level that makes it reasonable to not worry about such things.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Mike

 

You don't need a sound card for this application. The DAC becomes your external soundcard.

 

I have not experienced any bad things from the HiFi unit as I did not install it. There was some negative forum buzz somewhere about the sound quality a year or two ago. Like I said I didn't want all that wiring in the case anyway.

 

The 160-XT I have experienced, and use, and have not heard any buzzing and whining. The setup is a HDPlex 100W LPS, 12V out to the pico. Could it be better? Sure. How about the HDPlex 400W LPS with the full ATX cabling setup to the case using their modular bridge setup.

 

USB cards: Paul Pang Audio SHOPPING AREA Cheapest of the bunch, 3 models available. Research carefully, there have been quality issues.

JCAT: JCAT – reference computer audio accessories | JPLAY Sonore: tX-USBexp – SOtM – English

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1. If I do not power the DAC from the USB, then I am forced to use an audio card with S/PDIF out. My DAC only has the option of receiving power from USB. It will however accept digital in from S/PDIF. When it only receives power over USB, it will switch over to S/PDIF IN mode. I however thought that I would be wise to send audio over USB. Based on my limitations, what do you think is my best method of powering the DAC and sending it digital audio.

Go ahead with a good USB cable and see how it sounds.

However, most of us have observed an improvement with the 5V wire disconnected.

The USB Regen from Uptone Audio offers cleaning up both the USB signal and the power.

 

2.Why would powering the DAC with my HDPlex Linear Power Supply introduce noise into the system? It is a separate out on the LPS and I thought the purpose of buying an audio grade LPS was so that it could power sensitive audio equipment without introducing the noise that a SMPS is known to introduce.

You got me wrong. I did recommend the HDPlex LPS for the PC.

 

3. Does Asynchronous USB have correction or is it unilateral?

 

No USB does not have correction.

Win10 Transport + Fidelizer 8.7 + JRMC 28 & HQPlayer | Mutec MC-3+ Smart Clock USB |  Job INT | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

 

 

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"My dad has an extremely nice stereo room in his basement and a very refined ear. The room is very acoustically pleasing and I am unsure of his current equipment because he is always switching between his favorites, but for any of you skeptics out there, the last set of speakers he owed and sold were a set of ATC SCM 150 Active Speakers ..."

 

Welcome to CA

 

You mentioned in the op that your Dad already has excellent equipment so if I was your position I would also look at how best to stream content (TIDAL) using software such as Roon and further improve the rooms acoustics and experiment with speaker placement (Jim Smith's book "How to get better sound") before spending any more money on gear.

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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1. A little confused here, if you don't mind elaborating. Are you saying that if my DAC is well designed and designed for USB power and Audio in simultaneously, then I will not experience noise introduction using this setup? Also if you would recommend a card you know of with dedicated USB out around $150-200 that I could power separate from the motherboard with my linear supply. Also let me know in your opinion, how much difference would doing this make versus using using the stock motherboard USB outs?

 

2. What is a power conditioner? And no there is nothing but our audio equipment on that leg.

 

3. I will have to read up on MQA. I am unfamiliar with it or its importance. If Tidal is streaming "compressed" flac, doesn't that imply that it is not lossless? Are there compression methods that are not lossy? I heard one of the lossless protocols mac uses can reduce file size by half without loss. Is there an audible degradation of sound from a standard flac purchased from HDTracks and the compressed flacs I will hear on Tidal's streaming service?

 

4. JRiver has been highly recommended. Does it have the ability to control different rooms? Is it much more intensive setup than something like roon?

 

5. I have considered an underclock, but my CPU is such low wattage at peak, I may just leave it be.

 

6. Asynchronous USB includes checks and correction or is it unilateral?

 

7. Thinking seriously of starting here with roon for a year but your initial comment of getting into Jriver and some other posts have me curious of using that as an alternative.

 

8. Thanks for all the advice and any additionally help you provide. Have a good one.

 

Mike

 

Hi Colonel_Forbin, I will try to add more information to answer your questions:

 

1. I did not initially understand that your current DAC is USB powered which pretty much means you must use USB output that is powered. It could be a motherboard port or it could also be an add-in USB card. It may be that some benefit could be realized by using an add-in card, but only testing will really answer that question. I would start using onboard USB and get comfortable with software and methods before using advanced setups.

An add-in card can be added at any time and it may require a very resolving system to hear differences.

 

2. Power conditioners come in various formats, all are intended to clean the AC power source. It is like using expensive add-on power cords, some benefit can be realized if the system is good enough. My thinking is that it is better to get used to what a system sounds like using standard cabling before investing significant funds on after-market cables. If you know your system then any improvements will be more apparent. This is true for all power related issues so some caution is advised.

 

3. FLAC is considered a lossless compression method ... when files are played they are first rebuilt using information present in the file then they are rendered or played by the DAC turning the digital information into analog output. There are other lossless formats as well and they are likely more alike, than dissimilar. It's just that FLAC is a non-proprietary format (free), it is effective and widely used. Finally, you can create non-compressed FLAC files which makes those files more like WAVE files only with rich tagging abilities.

 

4. Roon is meant for more dedicated local playback and as such, I don't believe it has any secondary zone controls. JRiverMediaCenter (JRMC) has many abilities making it rather a jack of all trades including controlling devices in other zones. This technique will require some study and learning as well as making equipment choices that are in keeping with what JRMC can control. How well this will work is dependant on configuration.

 

5. Underclocking is perhaps a bit geeky and may be something to be explored but is not done typically.

 

6. USB is a device connection protocol not unlike a network connection. The protocols utilized will in general assure that as packets of data flow between devices they will communicate with each other confirming or denying that any given packet was sent and received correctly. Most computer systems employ similar technique for pretty much everything they do. .. Send -> Receive -> Acknowledge -> Good or ReSend.

 

7. Roon use may depend somewhat on your music tastes, what your library is composed of and how you like to listen to this music. I use a number of different players but so far I have not felt compelled to spend the money involved with using Roon. Search and read comments and questions from Roon users to gain more insight into what it offers and to help deciding if it is something for you.

 

8. Very welcome, hope this is helping some ... personally, I find JRMC to have a very good library management ability that can be setup in any number of ways to suit individual uses. It can help establishing a library making it and keeping it in a condition that is easy to use, and to manage. Of all the modestly priced player tools, it is probably the best in this regard, although ... be warned, there is somewhat of a learning curve.

 

Having a plan is probably the best thing you can do ...

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