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A poll: The future direction...


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Just a quick poll here ... which way do you see computer based audio going for you?

 

a) continuing with the current situation (for most people) of a off the shelf or custom build PC (Mac or Windows or Linux) connected via USB or FireWire (or SPDIF of some form) to a separate DAC

or

b) an Ethernet connected "streamer" device which incorporates a high quality DAC, controlled by hand held touch screen (e.g. like Linn DS, PS PWD + Bridge, Naim NDX, etc.) and fed direct by NAS.

 

This is just a straw poll, not intending to start discussion about positives and negatives of each solution...

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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B

 

but with stand-alone server that is only intermittently connected to a computer.

 

(maybe we will need to rethink the name of this forum?)

 

David

 

ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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Probably 'A'

As I have invested enough in the system I have now so unless something comes along that blows it out of the water, or something breaks and needs replacing, then I will stay as I am.

 

MacMini 8Gb OSX > Pure Music / Bitperfect / Amarra / iTunes > Synology DS215J NAS > Schiit Wyrd > Stello U3 > Naim Uniti Atom, Harbeth P3ESR. Meier Corda Arietta Headphone Amp > Sennhieser HD650 Phones (Cardas rewire). Isol-8 Powerline Axis. Isotek GII Orion Power Conditioner. Cardas Clear USB Cable. Tellurium Q Black Speaker Cable. All other cables by Mark Grant.

Vinyl still has it's place. Technics SL1200. Modified with Mike New Bearing, KAB Strobe Disable, MCRU 2 box PSU, Isonoe Feet, SME M2-9 Tonearm > Goldring 2400 >Rothwell Simplex Phonostage.

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An A for now

 

And it will be a B when 24/176.4 network player will fit in my budget (most affordable offering today is limited to 24/96)

 

MBP 15"/Mac Mini, Audirvana Plus, Audioquest Diamond USB, AMR DP-777, exD DSD DAC (for DSD), Pioneer N-70AE, Audioquest Niagara balanced/Viard Audio Design Silver HD, Accuphase E-560, Cabasse Sumatra MT420

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I don't see any solution becoming exclusive.

 

Those with the interest and the technical know how will explore all sorts of hardware and software options to suit the own particular needs.

 

Others will look for a plug and go consumer box.

 

I see greater integration between audio only and full media solutions; and I wonder how the PVR (Personal Video Recorder) will feature in this. Many of these have S/PDIF as well as HDMI outputs and have Ethernet sockets with a purpose as yet undisclosed. As mass market products they will be cheap.

 

Apple's integration policy is the true faith to some and anathema to others. Their products work well, and well together, but tie the hand of the user in unnecessary ways. Apple is expensive.

 

I do wish there were more decent domestic active speakers with on board DACs.

 

 

 

Brian

Squeezebox Classic - Beresford Caiman-Gator DAC - Quad 520f with Dada refresh - Quart 980s German Tower Loudspeakers.

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I put in a couple thousand feet of cabling for a home network last year. My vision is that, over time, everything will be connected to it. I just bought a Sonos 5 player for my wife for the kitchen and she is happy with it. She likes a radio station in Mobile, AL on Sunday mornings and another one in San Diego sometimes. Or she streams music off my computer, also connected to the network.

 

My vision is that in a couple years, when PS Audio has all the bugs worked out of their PWD, I will get that and connect it directly to a Bryston amp, using the balanced connections. Then I will connect my Denon receiver to the amp using the RCA connections. This integrates the home theater to the 2 channel system. And for the audio, I will download files from sites around the world, save them to the NAS and control playback from an ipad.

 

I think the future direction is digital audio, connected and networked.

 

 

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Eloise asked for a simple choice, not a discussion.

 

As a discussion has now started perhaps I should explain my choice. I feel strongly that we need to decouple the computer from the listening experience as far as possible. Just look at the pages and pages on this forum of folk arguing over whether or not there is a difference in sound between AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, WAV etc. Remove the (general purpose) computer and transmit the music in standard packets from a dedicated server (ethernet or wireless) so the storage format becomes irrelevant. The only issue remaining is then how well the DAC or digital speakers can handle the data.

 

I am not talking about streaming from the internet (although one day the bandwidth may be high enough to stream hi-res) - a computer is still necessary to get one's own music onto the server and edit meta data as required.

 

David

 

 

ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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Eloise,

 

I am a little bias... but I can say that two companies who offered Ethernet solutions approached me at RMAF. They both said they missed the boat with USB and wanted to talk solutions.

 

Both said the big problem is that the UPNP/DLNA specification does not match the current offering of products. Since most of these Audio devices are renders the problem seems that the Servers and Controllers do not seem to be very compliant and therefore frustrating the customer base with problems of setup and consistent play back.

 

I setup a little DLNA server at RMAF and we were able to get things rolling pretty quickly for PlugPlayer iPad into the Proton. But the problem was setting up the DLNA server so the PlugPlayer (render & controller) could see all the music, play lists and other meta data. For some reason and all of this music was AIFF... the damn application really could only see the high res stuff. Which was stupid since PlugPlayer errors out if it is anything other than 16/44.1 stereo.

 

Also being a seasoned network guy... setting up the DLNA was a bit frustrating even with the instructions. In the end dumping the instructions for a few hours on their forum board helped out a bunch. But as it is with any hours before a show... this was really frustrating.

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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mix of A & B

I believe that people will still want to decide what DAC they prefer, so I think that the "streamer" part will be used as a transport (preferably with the player software inside it) having multiple outputs to a DAC.

best regards

André

 

LDMS Minix Server>Lampizator TRP w/ VC>Gryphon Diablo>Heil Kithara

Cables: Douglas Cables 'Mirage'', (Power); Douglas Cables 'Mirage' (XLR); Douglas Cables "GLIA" (speaker cables & jumper); FTA Callisto (USB)

Accessories: Furutech GTX-D (G) with cover, MIT Z Duplex Super; Equitech Balanced Power, Sistrum (for Diablo & TRP)

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Most likely A.

 

I started off using an Apple TV/DacMagic combo and now connect directly from my iMac to a Wadia PowerDAC 151. I see myself going to a dedicated computer like the Mac Mini installed in my equipment rack using and external DAC and connected via HDMI to my HDTV. I currently use iTunes but will consider another solution like PM or Amarra.

 

...but open to B

 

"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open."
Frank Zappa
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Hi David - Using Ethernet instead of USB or FireWire will not remove the audiophile speculation over every other possible link in the chain (file formats etc...). Storage format issues do not change because of the connection between the computer or NAS and the DAC. For example, people often discuss possible issues with uncompressing FLAC on the fly during playback. No matter the connection or transfer mode this issue will still be relevant to many people.

 

I'm a fan of both choice A and B in Eloise's poll. There is no panacea as each choice has its issues.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Thanks Chris

 

OK the contents of the 'packet' transmitted via ethernet or wirelessly still has to be processed by the DAC, but surely all the hardware and software issues associated with a computer that might affect sound quality have been removed.

 

Yes there is still the issue of the translation of the packet data to the PCM or DSD format required by the DAC, but success or otherwise here should be relatively easy to evaluate. Given the power and cost of current DSP and memory chips we can reasonably hope the translation will be no problem.

 

David

 

 

ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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unless I find a B solution that sounds better than what I have and is not over 10 grand. Not that I'm looking - I'm happy with what I have except perhaps for pure DSD64/128 and DXD solutions. Anyway I believe that A is more conducive to custom builds and DIY mods to take anything beyond any stock solution.

 

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A with B being a minority.

 

NOt doscounting a DIY PC to grab/store/rip files to a NAS< though. But I have a feeling wireless or ethernet protocols will hit a ceiling soon enough if format wars and "numbers" races (eg. 32/384 - 24576 kbps) do not cease.

 

That said, it MAY be a good thing for people like us, though.

 

My rig is not an oil rig. I sometimes wish it was.

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