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Would I be better off buying audio components rather than trying to compensate with computer components?

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Great forum & website! I've spent hours hear reading all the comments and articles. I must say that I am intimidated with everyone's wealth of computer knowledge on this site!!!


With that being said, let me ask an obvious question...


In order to realize excellent sound quality in my home office, wouldn't I be better off just buying reasonably good audio components rather than spending loads of money on the computer for a soundcard, DAC, high-end computer speakers, etc., etc.?


Again, and correct my neophyte questions here, if my sole pursuit is to have optimum sound quality, it just seems logical to pursue to audio components separately from computer components.


Okay, beat me up! I want the education.






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Your computer (Windows, Linux or Mac) will only produce a high quality audio signal. You still need to convert that signal to HiFi sound, for which you will need amplifier and speakers of suitable quality.


The one stop solution is AVI's Digital Active ADM 9.1s - they take the digital stream from the Mac (or PC with care) and produce the sound.


There are other ways to do it:


Optical out to Beresford DAC http://www.beresford.me/others/main.html into a pair of Quad Actives http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/page/moreinfo.cfm/Product_ID/3859 or an Amplifier and conventional speakers. If yo don't need an analogue source you could use the Beresford vaiabale output intp a power amp.




Buy a Squeezebox Classic for £135 from Amazon - add the Active Quads or Amp and Speakers - the Squeezebox will stream your ripped CDs from a PC elsewhere in the house, and give you access to internet radio.


The Squeezebox with match the quality of all but the best CD players, and the Beresford will beat them.


There are many ways to skin a cat. It depends what you want.




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

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First, the source is the MOST IMPORTANT part of ANY audio system. The reason is that if the source signal is compromised, there is NOTHING that you can do downstream with the most expensive components that will recover it. It's simply hosed.


Once you have an excellent digital source, then the next step is an excellent low-level analog source and then finally you are on to preamp, amps and speakers.


The way I like to look at it is this. These are the big impediments in order of importance:


1) Jitter in the digital signal

2) accurate D/A conversion

3) low-noise, low-distortion volume control


It can cost $100K to solve these or maybe just $3K. You have to do your homework and determine who you can trust.


Both CD players and computer sources can provide this, but computer sources can provide it cheaper.


Steve N.

Empirical Audio


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