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I did worked a lot in the past two months to build a serious sound system via my PC. I though that this would be usefull.

 

After many reading and questionning here and there, this is where I finally landed.

 

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 .

 

Incredible and detailed sound precision.

My friends Rick and Gerry, two oldtimer audiophyles loaded whith expensive gears are very impressed. They where closely whatching and listening. The computer taboo just vanished from their mind. I was the one who took the risk and I can say that I won.

 

now, I'll rest for a while and listen to "god" music.

Thank you Chris for all the advices you provided.

 

jacques

 

 

 

 

 

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Jacques,

 

Interested to hear a little more. I'm pleased your audiophile friends were impressed.

 

Which media player software are you using ?

 

How have you got your PC setup ? (ie: plugged into a TV or monitor - accessing from your couch or ??) ...

 

 

MAtt.

 

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

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hi MAtt

 

System setup and softwares.

Just a word before on where exactly the improvement arised. The most significant step occurred when I replaced my CD player (NAD) with the PC and DAC duo. I was still using only two mono power amp LK240 (left and right channels), a Kairn preamp and some old ELIPSON loudspeakers. This was close to be it. I went from usual musical packed image to an opened wide range and distinctive instruments and vocal sounds. The speakers where now the main limitation especially in the lows. A pair of Linn AV5140 in tri-amplification brought this system to something more decent. Tough the best power amp (LK240) are for the tweeters. Finding the right speakers position in the room was the last move. They are now absolutely transparent, no sound seams to come out of there.

 

 

My PC is setup in my office in the basement, just underneath my living-room. Needs about 3 meters of PSDIF cable (starlight 5) to reach my audio system. Absolutely no PC noises. No noise from the Refridgerator either. I’v got a remote control for that Fridge and even an automatic timer to cut off the current at my listening hours. Crazy or not?

 

This PC is dedicated to music, with a network connection to my main PC and to the WEB.

I had to install a second set of monitor, mouse and keyboard wired from music PC to my coffee table beside my chair (15 feet of coax monitor and USB cables). The cables passes through an old air trap in the floor. Everything runs perfect in double.

 

The software aspect is still a work in progress for me. Several are available and free (Foobar, Mediamonkey, Itunes, WMP and others). If you’r not at ease with computers you’ll may encounter, like I did, many annoying obstacles in your progress, configuration and other plug-ins (time consuming).

 

I’v ripped CDs at 16bit/48khz with EAC (lossless WAV) and Itunes 8.0 (AIF), can’t tell the difference right now if there is.

My experience is limited and the evaluation of playbacks is tricky “subgestive”. Rip and play Itunes gives me satisfaction. Rip EAC and play Mediamonkey need right configuration and plugins. When I play the same AIF track with Itunes and Mediamonkey, I feel that a very little something is missing with MM, impression!! The same feeling arises when playing EAC ripped WAV file in MM compared with Itunes AIF file of the same track. I know that EAC is supposed to ensure bit perfect rip and it may be right. I just say what you ear comes out further in the process in MM or other software. I will have to work on it for a while to secure myself. But at this point it is close to be perfect.

I did had interferences from other running windows applications while ripping, little sparks once in a while. Since a couple of days i ripped CDs in SAFEBOOT mode with Itunes without any problems.

My Foobar experiences got short. Tired of having noisy backgrounds problems to be fixed just like I had with Mediamonkey before. Maybe I’ll try Winamp to, not sure. To many things to work on.

 

Downloads of 24bits 96 or 192 khz files is an other aspect of my software preoccupations. I’v bought Artur Pizzaro’s Ravel complete piano works at 24bits/88khz in WMA format. I also bought Berit Opheim Versto in FLAC 24/96 format. Here Itunes dos not help anymore. Converting to Aif degrades to 16 bits. I then use Mediamonkey for FLAC files and WMP for WMA files. I would really prefer using only one software…. I’m able to convert FLAC to WAV and play it Itunes, dos it keep real 24/96 rates ?? Mainy questions.

 

A final note for melomane vs audiophiles. My actual system gives me extreme satisfaction playing good recorded CDs, precision, dynamics, ambiance (Patricia Barber’s Café Blue, Romane and Rosenberg’s Elégence, Schidlof Quartet’s Shostakovich.and many more) The opposite is also true. Bad recording are annoying on it. I’d say more then 80% of my old CD collection don’t have fun anymore. It is not the computer faults, it’s the result of bad recordings and compressed CDs. Here an example, my friend Gerry runs two conventional system at home. The audiophile expensive one is dedicated to hifi recordings of more analytical type and when he plays he’s good old rock or some other progressive music he has to get back in his living-room No 2 system. No computer there, just feelings. So pay attention on your needs and taste in music, you may be surprised while expecting something else.

 

Hops !, luch time.

jaacques

 

 

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