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starting new or go from my pc

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Hi everyone


Out of my PC I haave a Kairn preamp from Linn and two Linn LK240 mono amp. Work great with my cd player but.

Want to use a PC server for now on.


computer hardware

My PC runs on XP, sound card audiophile 2496 (M-AUDIO) analog in/out rca, in/out coaxial S/PDIF and MIDI plug to.


1) My computer is to noisy (now in the basement), looking for a portable to bring beside the HiFi (laptop) ?? Noise is the No 1 fear for me. Need to keep the interconnects short to keep quality.

Thinking of retreiving the fan and bring cool air from a pipe or something.


2) Is my sound card still in the play? 24/96 ??. Is there sound cards for laptop for audiophile if i buy one??


3) In any case, adding a DAC (to buy $?) between my PC and my preamp Kairn, connect to my 2496 coax. output would be possible? a good idea ?


Not starting from scratch but not far. I'm not sure what would be the best configuration. Laptop with good card-DAC-PREAMP....


need advices for my next moove, big money involved here for me!!! I'ts not time for improvisation.


Thank you!








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Hi tympathique - Noise is a big issue that can be dealt with easily and you should be very pleased at how quiet music servers can be. If you're looking for a portable then a Laptop is what makes sense. Portable desktops just don't cut it :-) My MacBook Pro is silent from my listening chair. Playing back music is a very easy task for many laptops, so the fans shouldn't kick in real loud. But there are those laptops that sound like a jet engine no matter what is happening. Check out the laptops with low energy consumption and certainly not the fastest processor. Heat is what causes laptops to make noise by cranking up the fans. Also I highly recommend keeping your disk storage outside your listening room by using a NAS device. That's what I do and I love it!


Soundcards are much less of an issue these days, with the exception of using a card like the lynx AES16/e in a desktop system. I'm not sure what kind of quality you are looking for and how much you want to spend, so it's hard to make a specific recommendation. On a basic level using a USB, FireWire, or SPDIF output from a laptop to a DAC, then from a DAC's analog output into your preamp will be a really good solution. Let me know if you want absolute high end, very expensive recommendations or the cheapest solutions or something in the middle that offers great performance for the money.




Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Thank you chris for your fast reply


Your comments are very helpfull. In fact I'm going for the laptop solution taking care of the fan noise level. I't a good idea to get lower processor speed. I always go for the hotest new one. If I understand, the processor speed is not an object.


However I'm not sure to understand the purpose of keeping the storage disk out of the room. But if so, could I do it with my network and connect to one of my actual PCs (lots of available space) plus external back up devices (200G each) ?


I know it is hard to recommand specific gear, the price is the name of the game in the audiophile world (I buy used). But to hanswer your question on the expected quality. It is very high. I don't want to loose a bit of my Linn equipment using a computer instead a good quality CD player.


then I think I need an appropriate laptop and an external DAC to complete my setup. I don't know which connector, USB, FireWire, or SPDIF. I think USB is not very fast on data transmission, right?. And FireWire means Apple device? Are they available on other laptops running on XP or vista?. Then the SPDIF ? A lot of questions, sorry ! :)


I'v seen that you are a Mac User. You are probably right but I'm already working (my job) in a windows world with several computers, don't want to mixt things again (I did it before) too old now.


Yes I want absolute high end, but around 1500$ for the laptop and maby a used DAC?? what could be the price?


Thanks again chris

jacques (tympathique)





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Hey Jacques - Don't worry about storing your disk in another room if all your music can fit on an internal hard drive. If you have an external drive then I highly recommend you use disk outside the listening room. Hard drives are noisy and work just as well from another room. I really solid solution is the one you suggest above. Connecting to a network shared drive on another PC is great. Then you don't have to worry about backing up from your music server.


Don't worry about the speed or bandwidth limitations of USB. It's not an issue for music playback. USB 1.1 works perfect with 24/96 albums. FireWire is not limited to Apple at all. If your PC doesn't have a FW port you can easily add a FW card. A laptop card will most likely be an ExpressCard, they are available all over. You'll have to make up your own mind on what sounds best in your system. Each connection type can perform better than the others depending on the implementation and design of the DAC.


No worries about using Windows. If that's what you like I'm all for it. Fabulous sound is possible on both platforms.


Have you browsed AudioGon for used DACs? You can probably pickup a used Banchmark DAC1 USB for a reasonable price that fits your $1500 laptop & DAC budget.


Let me know if this only raises more questions or you want to keep this discussion going. I'm all ears :-)


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Per Chris' comments, using a laptop - as long as it is one that doesn't sound like a Boeing 767 - is a good choice with a USB DAC and an external drive. If you are going the Windows + laptop route, then you might want to consider using a Windows Home Server (now that they fixed the corruption bug) as your storage server and map a UNC drive to your laptop / music server. It's pretty easy to roll your own (the hardware requirements are nearly Linux-level) and you can add storage on the fly without having to repartition, etc.




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  • 3 months later...

Hello Tympathique.


If you want to save some money on the laptop PC, allowing you to buy a better DAC perhaps, then why not consider playing with your current computer.


I have what is effectively a desktop in the living room - well, a dedicated home theatre case. The fans are always the main noise culprits but if you've got a cool running CPU there are cheap fanless options open to you. I have just one case fan running very slowly on my PC. It's barely audible unless you sit very very quietly. Depending on your case you can also insert rubber grommets where the hard disk is screwed to the case.


My only wish is that I'd gone for a better looking case. It's a bit too 80's amplifier for my liking !


HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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thanks BEEMB

I'll look for these fans for my office in the basement, two PCs running all day long, quite noisy.


you can have a look at my project update of Wed, 10/29/2008


my system:

windows XP Pro, 2002, SP 3, Celeron ® CPU 2.ooGHz

2.00Ghz, 1,00 Go RAM.

Sound card M.audio audiophile 24/96, S/PDIF cable coax, PS audio DAC DLIII mod 4 from Cullen Circuits, Linn preamp Kairn and two AV 5140 Linn loudspeakers in tri-amplification: 2 Linn power amp LK240, left and right tweeters and 2 Lk100, one for the mids and one for the base .






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