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Help someone new to all this


biggranty
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Ive just come across the site and have to say im well impressed and was hoping someone could put me in right direction.

 

I currently use a few squeeze boxes throughout house but in main lounge i have an asrock ion pc to stream my 1080p stuff to a projector.

 

Ive messed about in past with HTPC and toyed with throwing together a machine again purely for audio as i dont want to put projector on just to see what im doing while changing album tracks.

 

I have an auzentech card thats been modified lying around but i also have the chance of picking up a macbook for £200.

 

The rest of the system is Onkyo 875 amp and mission elegante speakers.

 

What direction do you guys suggest i head in as any help would be appreciated.

 

cheers

 

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Macbooks are a popular choice for a music server, but you should make sure it has an digital optical out (toslink) - some of the older models do not. Also, does your amp have an available digital optical input? If so, you might be able to get decent sound with that combo. That would be pretty effortless.

 

Another popular option is a headless Mac Mini, which may be somewhat less (refurbished), but you'll need a controller - iPhone/iTouch are most commonly used. And setup is a bit more complicated.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Rascal

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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Others on here are more qualified to than me to discuss computer setups, so I'll leave that to the experts. Certainly you could use a second PC for audio and the possibilities are endless as far as internal sound card, external dac, player software, etc.

 

You may be happy with the sound from the asrock ion and your current setup, in which case you just need a display and not a second PC. You can control the ion from an old laptop running VNC, an Ipod Touch, or a small 19" LCD monitor instead of turning on the PJ. I also have a PJ in my main room and only turn it on for major computer maintenance, or for movies. I use VNC from my laptop to get the music player running, then control things from my Touch (apps available for most software you'd want to use).

 

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Thanks for the replies guys. Im just looking to get as much out of the sound that i can for a reasonable amount of money. I dont know anything about VNC to run the current pc or how i get an ipod touch working. The ion has hdmi output but i dont know what sort of sound that would give compared to mac etc with a dac. I would like the ease of use that i had with a previous sonos system i had and the squeeze box in other rooms. The soundcard i have auzentech meridian 7.1 was a top card a wee while back and it had mofication caried out which was all the rage at the time. This cant be added to the ion though so it may have to be sold on and the funds used for what ever avenue is recommended. So again any comments are most appreciated.

 

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VNC & iPod Touch are options if you have a wireless network. Not hard to set up either one - VNC allows you to control the desktop of another computer, while the "Remote" iPod/iPhone app allows you to control iTunes (and I believe there are other apps that allow you to control other media players). However, purchasing a laptop or even an iPod/iPhone just for the purpose of remote controlling may seem a little steep.

 

I'm a bit biased toward Macs, but it seems to me, the easy/cheap way is to wire a MacBook to your amp (again, assuming it has an available digital input). I'd guess it would sound as good as other music played through your amp, since it would by-pass the Mac's internal sound card and would be using the internal DAC of the amp. You would not need any additional sound card in this setup.

 

Btw, can't you simply get another SB receiver and run that through your Onkyo?

 

Rascal

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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