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LewBurns
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Hi everyone, just thought I'd post a quick hello and say thanks to the site creator/admins.

I'm from the UK and am just starting on the road to serving my music to my Hi-Fi.

I'm getting too old eye sight wise and too lazy to browse my modestish(1000cd) collection.

I do have a few questions but thought it might be beneficial to have a quick run down

of what I am trying to acheive with what equipment.

 

Presently running a now defunct Cyrus CD6S CD Player.(The catalyst to Computer Audiophile)

Waiting of delivery of the new(ish) Asus Eeebox EB1501

http://uk.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=JEaDVvtKZ9hHhda2

 

Going to use this over my network to play Flac files that were ripped with EAC on my

Quadcore Office PC. The files reside on a WD Mybook 1tb connected by usb to my office PC.

The ASUS ships with Windows 7 and I'm tempted to keep this OS as I intend

to use MM3 with Monkeyflow ( I want a GUI that displays album Art (similar to Itunes - yuk).

The final set up will be Asus runnuing MM3 with HDMI output to Samsung LCD. (Display)

 

I also ordered a USB remote for the PC

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/USB-PC-Laptop-Remote-Control-Controller-for-XP-Vista_W0QQitemZ120522622544QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item1c0fb54650

 

Audio out - ( Not sure wether I should take USB or Optical - will audition both) to

Musical Fidelity V-Dac. V-Dac Out TO Naim NAC102/NAP180/TeddyPS to Castle Howard S2 Speakers

to hopefully be replaced with B&W DM804S.

 

Have a few queries about the signal I'm sending to the dac.

In the above setup, is there some question as to wether my output to dac is as good as can be.

ie. and forgive my ignorance, do I need to configure my audio out in Windows to by-pass the K Mixer?

Are there any other observations/thoughts/recommendations to optimize this setup.

 

Many thanks in anticipation

 

The new boy - Lew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asus Eeebox EB1501 > HiFace > MF Vdac > Naim NAC102/NAP180 > Castle Howard

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Hi Lew,

 

Not going into your very last question, but about the one before that

 

do I need to configure my audio out in Windows to by-pass the K Mixer?

 

I can say this :

 

There is really nothing to configure here. Nothing will change it. Your only options are :

 

- Use a player which supports WASAPI and be sure it supports Exclusive Mode (and uses !) for your soundcard/DAC. Or

- Use ASIO when your soundcard/DAC supports it.

 

Both guarantee avoiding the mixer.

 

Hope this helps !

Peter

 

PS: I don't want to frighten you, but don't be disappointed when you can't use that remote for everything and all. Getting such a thing to work "for just all" is not so easy for the Windows environment. Sadly.

 

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Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

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Hi Peter and thanks for the wise words. Unfortunately my knowledge was on the ropes when I asked the question re K Mixer.

I'm going to do a little googleing around and try and gen up. I gather from a cursory glance that MM3 doesn't support WASAPI and I'll need to understand something about what "Exclusive Mode" is. Not to mention ASIO.

As I said, somewhat of a newb but my audiophile hunger for quality replay is taking me down a whole new road and away from conventional "Hi-fi" Replay / Front end. Any software or web sites that you could point me to to find out more would be greatly appreciated. I gather they'll be plenty on this website. Also anybody fancy knocking together a very basic flow or description of what is happening when I decide in my naivety to stream to my new PC or indeed play a CD from the optical drive using something like MM. The reason I'm so taken with MM is its lovely graphical album art browse function that is MonkeyFlow. An essential interface in my opinion.

Thanks again for the response and making me feel welcome.

 

Kind regards,

Lewis

 

Asus Eeebox EB1501 > HiFace > MF Vdac > Naim NAC102/NAP180 > Castle Howard

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Hi again Lewis,

 

It is not about wise but merely about some more experience. That's really all !

 

Well, Exclusive Mode denotes what's happening to the sound device : the player is allowed to use it "exclusively". This of course means that no other software (like email ding-dong) can interfere. Now here the "mixer" comes in, because that tries to "mix" sounds from different sample rates. This is a bad thing because in order to let that work at least one of the sounds must resample, and to be on the safe side the Windows Audio designers thought to resample anyway (which goes as far as from 44.1 to 44.1). This happens when the device is NOT addressed in Exclusive Mode (which is called Shared Mode).

In the end Exclusive Mode avoids the mixer, because there is nothing to mix, and all the bits and bytes remain untouched.

 

ASIO works similarly, but just by going around the mixer. This is "allowed" because it is not an MS application (but Steinberg).

 

Under XP means existed to shut off KMixer (though not possible for many sound devices).

Under Windows2000 KMixer didn't exist yet.

 

Btw, under Vista and up "KMixer" is officially being called "Audio Engine" and there is no way to shut if off, unless Exclusive Mode is applied (which belongs to WASAPI, which is a means (new means for Vista and up) of audio processing under Windows).

 

Hope this gets you on the track a bit !

Peter

 

PS: I am not sure MM doesn't support WASAPI. I'd say it does. Others may know better.

 

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Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

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Thanks for the extra info Peter. I'm begining to comprehend the ideas behind the elusive

"bit perfect replay". I (think) understand that in order not to incur a deterioration of the bit stream

due to latency caused by other programs trying to utilise the windows "Audio Engine",

we have to have the windows audio engine only, allow the one (Exclusive) program to use it.

What I'm not clear about is how we "tell" windows this. Or indeed how the program we are running(for me MM3) is configured to use this Exclusive Mode. My other queries concern ASIO and how that might work with a program like MM3. I did find a few bits on the web about MM3 not having a WASAPI plug in and people struggling to get MM3 working with ASIO. I presume that ASIO is some sort of intermidiatery program/driver that

allows MM3 to by-pass the windows Audio Engine. (Oh gosh!! maybe I don't get any of this).

I'm not much PC savvy so basic stuff is what I need to get a grounding in.

Thoughts people ??? Advise peeps?

I have been looking at these :-

 

http://www.mediamonkey.comwww.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=40595&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

 

http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12304&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

 

All of this for me is preperation work. The new PC hasn't arrived yet. Next week I'm told.

It will ship with Windows 7. Then I'll slot it into my Hi-Fi rig, configure, install MM3 and hopefully be up and running with an audio output to my MF V-Dac. Wether I will have enough knowledge by then to have the setup configured for the best possible sound, we'll have to see. I have read that MM4 shouldn't be too far away and that will support WASAPI. A quote from the MM Forum from member called jiri although it was Oct 2009.

" WASAPI plug-in for MM 4.0 is currently in development and quite close to being completed, including all the features like Exclusive mode support, Gapless playback and Crossfading. So please wait some time for MM 4.0 (or at least its beta versions) and I'm sure you'll like it!"

 

If only I could find a program that had the features of MM3 that I think will be essential for browsing my music(MonkeyFlow) and the sorting/library function with "bit perfect audio" compatibility.

Mmmmmmmmmmm, dreaming ??????????

 

Asus Eeebox EB1501 > HiFace > MF Vdac > Naim NAC102/NAP180 > Castle Howard

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After writing my before post I realized I could have been more clear on ASIO. And I guess (by now) it was just necessary;

 

This is not so difficult to understand : get yourself an ASIO enabled soundcard and you can use ASIO.

and

Get yourself a Pro soundcard, and it will support ASIO (Pro is for on-stage guys). A relatively cheap solution with which you can try it out is the [email protected] (which is a PCI internal soundcard and you'd be using SPDIF-out).

 

About how to tell the system to use WASAPI exclusive mode : use a player of which it is known it uses Exclusive Mode only once WASAPI has been chosen as playback means. I know that Foobar can be trusted on this, as well can my own XXHighEnd. Notice that for the latter this means using "Engine#3". This does NOT need a special soundcard like ASIO requires.

 

Here is a maybe strange tip for you :

If you are into the best sound possible (or if you think you are :-) try XXHighEnd. Trying is free and your more orless virtual problems are solved in the mean time (because it complies without doubt to what you want). If you *then* like the interface of MF so much better that you rather use something like that, well, then you can be sure that you're not bothered by the whole "bit perfect" thing afterall.

Oh, the user interface of XXHE is just "nothing at all", so you really shouldn't try it for that.

 

Things can get solved in a strange way, haha,

Peter

 

 

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Hi Peter and thanks for your patience and advice.

Some of my thoughts and considerations are as follows.

I was rather hoping not to need to open up my new PC

And install any hardware like a sound card.

The PC is tiny and I intend to use it exclusively as an audio front end (file handler)

And maybe when required to use its optical drive to spin discs.

I don't think it has any PCI or PCIE slots.

I intend to use either the USB to my V-Dac or S/PDIF out depending on which sounds best.

 

http://uk.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=JEaDVvtKZ9hHhda2

 

The other important part of the setup is the balance between my preference for High quality

output and a good GUI. I have MM3/Mflow running on other pcs' and really like how it interfaces.

When I listen to music it's rather like a musical odyssey which begins with a notion of

" oh, I fancy listening to xyz" or whatever, this then allows me a few minutes or so to see if this piece

of music triggers any other fancies. I also peruse my cd collection at the same time waiting to see what "pops" out. I find this visual prompt a very important part of my musical journey each session.

I'm hoping that because my Hi-Fi is sharing a room with some other equipment, i.e. LCD tv/PS3.Wii etc,

I would hook the PC to the TV and use Monleyflow to visually prompt me along my journey.

Obviously, if this sounds to be lacking in fidelity then I may need to consider using a different kind of player

whilst retaining MM3/Mflow as the visual prompt. Not ideal by any means. At a push, I may still get my Cyrus CD player repaired/upgraded and continue to use this conventional front end until such time that this whole

Bit perfect/interface issue is solved. I must admit that in my naivety I was surprised to find out that the digital audio out was not perfect. I assumed that it would have to be or the premise by which data travels would render the data corrupt and therefore undermine the very idea of the PC.

My requirements seem straight forward to me but that is in part due to my ignorance.

 

Kind regards,

 

Lewis

 

Asus Eeebox EB1501 > HiFace > MF Vdac > Naim NAC102/NAP180 > Castle Howard

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Hi Lewis,

 

Maybe the tone of my previous post made you additionally explain what you just did, and I am sorry if this tone was wrongish. I only -in a very indirect manner- wanted to tell you that theories about "bit perfect" and all are not Walhalla. This can't be done by just telling you "don't bother" (well, IMO), so you'd have to listen. Next, it really comes down to what I said : if your preference goes to the conveniency of control or visuals, well, so what ? I mean it !

 

The whole bit perfect stuff is a bit over-rated in my opinion, although it is of course a first step which can be done wrong - hence improved upon. But did you ever try to "hear" that ? I did, and I think I can hear it, but it is all so much apples and oranges that it well can be the apple doing it.

 

Allright. This is nothing like a good-bye post. I only do hope you get the "psychology" message. Listen to your ears, and less to the hype. Bring in the eyes as well. :-))

 

Peter

 

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XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

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Hi Peter, you're quite right about knowing what features/quality balance is right.

Different for everybody I guess.

I've enlisted the help of my brother who, in another life was a musician and

has worked in recording studios.

His suggestion to get bit perfect is to introduce a new piece of harfdware.

Namely the M-Audio Transit. He says it will provide the ASIO layer I'm looking for to

ensure bit perfect to DAC.

This would seem to be the missing bit of the jigsaw for me.

Computer > Interface (Transit) > Dac > Hifi.

Will let you know how things fair.

Regards,

 

Lewis

 

Asus Eeebox EB1501 > HiFace > MF Vdac > Naim NAC102/NAP180 > Castle Howard

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Hope that works for you Lewis. Just be aware that the M-Audio Transit will not be bit-perfect if/when the sample rate of your music changes. The device needs to be reset in those cases. If all of your music is sampled at 44.1khz - not a problem.

 

- John.

 

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And this is with ASIO ?

How does that work then ? (what actually happens ?)

 

Thanks,

Peter

 

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Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

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With the Maudio drivers you get to choose low-res or hi-res but not both at the same time. From the manual:

 

"Transit USB’s Control Panel

In Windows, you can open the Transit USB’s control panel by double clicking on the M-Audio

icon in the system tray. On the Mac, select Control Panels under the Apple menu, and locate

the Transit USB control panel selection.

Operating Mode

In this drop down menu you can select how the Transit USB sends and/or receives audio.The

following options are available:

• 2-In/2-Out, 16-bit, 8000 – 48000 Hz • 2-In/2-Out, 24-bit, 8000 – 48000 Hz

• 2-In/0-Out, 24-bit, 88200 – 96000 Hz • 0-In/2-Out, 24-bit, 88200 – 96000 Hz

• Dolby Digital / DTS pass-through, 16-bit, 48000 Hz"

 

Could ASIO drivers change that? I assumed it was a hardware limitation also.

 

(As to what happens. When fed with a file that is not within the range selected it applies SRC if I recall correctly.)

 

- John.

 

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Ah, thank you John. It is about the latter what you said. So, only then I can understand your remark about "not bit perfect". Otherwise it just won't go (some kind of error message).

 

No, if this is so, ASIO drivers won't be "able" to change that IMO.

 

Peter

 

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Lewis, let me try :

 

With this soundcard (and assuming John is right of course) you shouldn't play mixed source formats. If you do, the soundcard may start to resample to the setting you set it to and you won't have bit perfect playback anymore. This is related to the soundcard not being able to auto switch sample rates (or at least not from 44.1 to 88.2 or 96). Thus :

 

Supposed you have set it to 44.1 because you want to play normal redbook CD. However, a next track in your playlist is a hires of 96KHz. When it's this track's turn to play, the soundcard may start resampling to 44.1.

If it doesn't resample you will receive an error message similir to "sample rate is not supported". It *is* supported, but you have to set it manually so it matches the format it is fed with.

 

If you don't like this ... the [email protected] I mentioned supports auto-switching, and goes up to 24/192. Remembert, this is a PCI card.

 

I hope this helps !

Peter

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Hey Lew, I was in a similar position. I really liked the Monkeyflow interface, and use that currently. I have an ASIO plugin for mediamonkey (the Otachan one). I have compared the sound to other players and cannot hear a difference (when tested double-blind, i.e. with a second person switching the sources without me knowing which is which). So I'm happy with this setup. I have the sound being outputted via firewire to a firewire DAC (Weiss DAC2). Automatic sample rate switching. Exclusive mode. Only thing is the gapless playback isnt gapless (doh), though like you I will see what MM4 brings.

Dan

 

There are 2 types of people in this world - those who understand binary and those who don't.

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I can see why you like the IR and it might turn out to be handy. I personally like the Remote app on the iTouch. No line of site needed and you have a bunch of browse options like genre. How does the Coverflow app work out with such a large collection to select from?

 

Peter, how do you like your player with Windows 7 vs Vista? Since it's a free download I think I'll install it on my Windows 7 machine! Does that bat file that cleans up the software in Vista work in 7?

 

Jesus R

www.sonore.us

 

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Hi Jesus - Today I am happy again, but it seems to need a high latency on the soundcard buffers (XXHE/Engine#3). I think I perceive the sound better as it never as been before, and although I have applied more changed at a time, at least I am using W7.

 

Yes, that bat file works for W7 as well. Mind you, at first I found W7 even more IOish than Vista, but after running the bat file (and three or so manual changes which keeps on being needed) it now is more dead. So, no compaints at all here.

 

I am not much satisfied about the write performance of the SSD in W7, but (!!!) I upgraded from Vista (the OS on the SSD), and this is actually a not allowed path to follow (W7, which keeps track of empty space is confused now, and I don't think it will ever go away (using it over a month now)). So, if you use an SSD, be sure to have a fresh install of W7, and never move the SSD (temporarily) to another OS.

 

Regards,

Peter

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Hey Dan, I'm pretty sure I've read a forum post on the MM forum about

somebody writing a script or developing a plugin that allows gapless playback.

Trouble is, I can't find it anymore. I trawled through for a while and found this :-

http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10051

But I don't know if that was the one. I dont think it was but it may help.

It seems to be quite a hot potatoe with people having varying hardware/software

and file types including straight ripped albums that will require a requisite gap between tracks

to playlists and DJ sets where this would be inappropriate, not to mention Classical.

Tricky one. I'm sure it's dooable, but bordering beyond my understanding at the mo.

I think that in time as my music collection starts to include varying res files, a auto sample rate swithing

interface would be really useful.

Having said all that, I haven't even got my rig up and running yet.

The M-Audio Transit turned up today and I'm promised the PC tomorrow.

V-Dac is sat at home already so hopefully get some time at the weekend.

It's interesting that you report no discernable difference in listening tests regards the various players you use.

As mentioned I really would like to use MM/M-Flow although I won't know how good it feels/sounds until I'm all set up. Because of my relevent inexperience in this new endeavour I really do appreciate all advice/pointers and apologise if I come across a bit slow.

 

Regards,

 

Lew

 

Asus Eeebox EB1501 > HiFace > MF Vdac > Naim NAC102/NAP180 > Castle Howard

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Well all the gear turned up. I initially set up the PC and MM3 to just use the onboard windows audio. One reason was, I couldn't get the M-Audio Transit to install with the install disc/drivers that shipped with it.

After some poking around I found some supposedly compatible Windows 7 drivers on M-Audio's website.

Before trying to install this device I had the hardware laid out on my Hifi stand top and had it all wired up temporarily (ie not in it's final living position). As metioned, MM3 installed amd working, Monkeyflow working, optical out to Musical Fidelity V-Dac, Flac files of my 16bit 44.1 CD collection on my network hanging off my office PC by USB. All that worked and without paying too much attention to the quality of the sound, I decided to press on. So far so good.

Decided to install the Transit Drivers. That seemed to go ok. Set it to 16bit 44.1.

Disabled the Realtek sound device that was installed and set the windows audio control settings to Exclusive for the Transit.

Opened up MM3 and changed Audio Settings for Output Plugins for both the MMDirectOut and WaveOut plugin to use M-Audio Transit SPDIFF driver.

Now at this point it's worth reminding you all that I have only limited knowledge and understanding of both PCs' and Pro-Audio things.

So, I opened MM3 and asked it to play a track. It's play button changed to pause and the Track progress slider appeared like playback was about to begin. What happened next is difficult to explain. The now playing list began to poulate itself with all of the tracks in the Library. Then I couldn't get MM3 to respond to any input. No audio output and the player just not playing. Closed it with Task Manager. Reopened it and removed the Library. Placed a CD in the optical drive of the PC and waited for MM3 to Display it, which it duly did. So I decided to select and Play a track. MM3 just locked up and displayed "Not Responding". Had to restart the PC this time to escape. Decided to uninstall MM3 and move the Flac collection to the local disk incase it was a USB/Network thing.Re-installed but no different. Decided to look at the various ASIO discussions on here and MM Forum. Thought I should find/download and copy the asioout.dll to the plugins folder but that makes no difference either.

Right now, as it stands I'm confused and frustrated and a tad annoyed that my hopes for using a PC as a front end seem beyond my capabilities. I know I'm no computing genius but I'm a willing and patient tryer and really am put off by this result.

All thought, advice and pointers/suggestion would be most welcome and please remember to keep it laymanish.

 

Kind regards,

 

Lew

 

Asus Eeebox EB1501 > HiFace > MF Vdac > Naim NAC102/NAP180 > Castle Howard

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Sounds frustrating Lew, but don't worry, I had similar computer-type frustrations which I couldn't solve, but with the right help I got there. I'm sure folk here (and try other forums like the mediamonkey one and hydrogenaudio) will be able to help. For starters, you said you uninstalled and reinstalled MM; what happens if you use a different player/frontend, e.g. Foobar?

Dan

 

There are 2 types of people in this world - those who understand binary and those who don't.

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Thanks for the positive words of encouragement Dan.

Uninstalled everything and started again. Schazzzzzzam, all seems well. Well nearly.

A couple of times the PC has reported exceptional errors with BSOD and shut down.

But before it did, there was 10 minutes or so where everything seemed to work.

MM3 using either Audio out plugin was fine and Monkeyflow worked, but all went crashy unstable before I had chance to pull the speakers to "listening position". But, encouraging.

Not at work tomorrow so will "fiddle n listen" then.

many thanks,

 

Lew

 

 

Asus Eeebox EB1501 > HiFace > MF Vdac > Naim NAC102/NAP180 > Castle Howard

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Well, the system is up, running and so far, reliable and fun to use.

As for sound quality, I believe it sounds at least as good as the Cyrus CD6SE cd player

it replaced.

However, I do have a query and it is based on what John mentioned in a post further up the page.

Quote :-

"Just be aware that the M-Audio Transit will not be bit-perfect if/when the sample rate of your music changes. The device needs to be reset in those cases. If all of your music is sampled at 44.1khz - not a problem."

 

I have posted a similar query in the "DAC Forum" and had the suggestion that the M2Tech would automatically sense and handle a file res change. However I spoke to Keith at the UK dealer and he suggests it doesn't do that and as far as he knows, Windows can do this. I am somewhat confused. I thought that by installing and using the M-Audio interface I had cut windows audio handling out of the process.

So am I supposed to change settings in the M-Audio interface. Surely this shouldn't be necessary if when playing playlist songs(files) changes from 16 bit to 24 bit?

Please help my confused state. I guess some of my confusion is born from inexperience.

Hope I have made myself clear, sorry if not, happy to clarify my requirements.

 

Regards,

 

Lew

 

Asus Eeebox EB1501 > HiFace > MF Vdac > Naim NAC102/NAP180 > Castle Howard

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Lew, something from their website looks promising:

 

"30)Does hiFace perform data resampling?

No, hiFace can’t do any other conversion operation than USB-S/PDIF translation. What

comes out of it is always same as what comes from the player. Differencies between the

original value of data and that of data coming out of hiFace is due to either the player or

the kernel mixer (or core audio on Mac computers)."

 

- John.

 

 

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Hi John and thanks for the response.

I have now downloaded a 24 bit and 16 bit version

of William Orbit "My Oracle Lives Uptown" from Linns website.

An acceptable cost for a) seeing how this setup handles different res files concurrently(playlist)

and b) if my ears can differentiate.

I'm half sure that the ui for the Transit does have an option to check which files it can handle(support).

I recall seeing two check buttons 16bit and 24bit in the output options.

I'm at work at the mo but will have a play about tonight and report back.

 

Cheers,

Lew

 

Asus Eeebox EB1501 > HiFace > MF Vdac > Naim NAC102/NAP180 > Castle Howard

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