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kmixer, windows and a pain in the head!


koogook
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Hi there, my first post so please bear with me for my naivety!

 

I have read an awful lot lately regarding this subject although it is not a new subject to me, but i have had a lot of time to go through this more with a fine comb and root out the best options for me!

 

There are lots of mixed and contradictory opinions and i some cases statements to opinions that have made it hard to understand and process whether or not certain setups will do as intended, which is first and foremost;

 

rip cd's as bit perfect copies, to ...

 

reproduce this as is present to the dac, in the best possible way!

 

I have nothing against mac OS but would prefer to use windows as its more relevant to my needs (in this guise), it is the preferred opinion that windows XP/ Vista cannot faithfully reproduce bit perfect rips every time to play back as such because of kmixer?

 

As i have undertood from another source as below this is not an issue as long as the obligations setout are adhered to, bit perfect reproduction will be enabled every time successively?

QUOTE FROM BENCHMARKMEDIA:

Sample-rate capabilities

 

Kmixer is theoretically capable of over 192 kHz, though we have only proven its capabilities up to 96 kHz. With sample rates up to 96 kHz, we have tested and proven that Kmixer is bit-transparent under normal operating conditions. That is, it will not affect the audio whatsoever, as long as the volume is set to 100% and only one application is playing audio.

 

Kmixer does not convert the sample rate of the audio unless streams of different sample rates are being mixed simultaneously. When this occurs, all audio streams of lower sample rates are sample-rate converted to the highest sample-rate being mixed. The stream with the highest sample rate is never converted.

END QUOTE

 

This is obviously set out by a company who many people have as there main dac unit for this very thing, so im just trying to gauge a response for a more accurate understanding from those with more practical knowledge then myself!

 

Thank you for such a great source of information, reviews and enjoyment into this topic and forum!

 

ben

 

thou art a compuder, make haste and compude

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Hi Ben - Welcome to Computer Audiophile. I have music servers with several operating systems. Windows Vista 64 bit, Windows XP 32 bit, OS X, and openSuse Linux. You can go down any path you chose and get great sound. With OS X it is extremely simple to get bit perfect output with iTunes. As long as the iTunes volume is at 100% it is bit perfect out of the box.

 

Since you prefer Windows I recommend XP. If you use the right application(s) and setup the system correctly you can output bit perfect and fabulous sound. I don't recommend counting on KMixer to work as long as no other sounds are made from the PC. Bypass KMixer with an ASIO driver. All of this can be explained in vast detail or in layman's terms depending on what you need.

 

Let me know what you're thinking and we can take it from there.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Hey Chris,

 

Thank you for such a prompt reply, and for your detail in addressing my concerns!

 

hahaha.... Chris are you countering against the designers of benchmark, in their suggestions about kmixer working.......... how very daring of you its nice to know you stick by what you say which i appreciate greatly??????

 

If i were to not use windows but instead make a pc like a mac mini with mac OSx, that would be built specifically for music output are there any draw backs to this from a component or hardware point of view, as im not to familiar with its compatibility?

 

I have heard for instance that although only small(though obviously subjective in music), that the latest soundcards are appreciable in sound quality because of the way in which they handle and output the sound to either digital outputs by way of processing( regardless of it being a digital code) , and if this is as they say, to output to your dac through a soundcard rather then motherboard would you then say it is or is not a relevant or reasonable inclusion for the cost?

 

Also is there anyone making such devices specifically countering the premade apple's and finding success?

 

thanks once again for your advice and guidance

 

ben

 

thou art a compuder, make haste and compude

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Hi Ben - There are pros and cons to both Windows and Mac OS X. If you're familiar with one and not the other you can stick with what you know. Macs tend to be easier, but easy is a subjective and relative term.

 

I recommend outputting a digital signal with a Lynx AES16 card. Add-on cards con give much better output and more options such as sample rates up to 24/192. There are also fabulous USB devices that don't require any sound card. Since you're familiar with Benchmark, I will say the DAC1 Pre and USB have great USB 24/96 implementations. No sound card needed.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Thank great advice as usual

 

although the lynx card is a bit more then i need, i was wondering if i was to concentrate on the dac, whether you could summise the differences between 3 different types (unfortunately i cannot easily compare in my country) and if there was a clear and decisive option?

 

If as you have said no one unit is particularly better then the other, i hope that you could underline the key points as to what and how they will introduce music into my system, so that i could make a more informed choice based on this!

 

i would love to use my ears but i cannot easily do this where i live!

 

the three dacs are;

 

Cambridge audio dacmagic - $400 (budget dac but rave reviews)

 

lavry da 10 dac - $750 (the reason for this is that ive heard its a lot more controlled and lean and transparent)

 

weiss minerva $4500 (the ultimate in dac cnversion?)

 

thank you once more for your dedication to helping others

 

much appreciated

 

ben

 

thou art a compuder, make haste and compude

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Hi Ben - Wow, that's a wide budget! I would first look at the features and see if you can rule out any of the three because it won't work with your configuration. I haven't heard the Lavry stuff yet, but the other two will certainly make you happy. If you can afford it the Minerva is the way to go because it not only sounds great it supports high resolution from a laptop or desktop.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Ben,

 

I have to totally agree with Chris about sticking with XP. Vista is a concern for compatibility. I used to be on a Vista Rollout team. You should bypass the Kernal Mixer and use ASIO4all. That with J. River media Center and a great USB/SPDIF cable to your Dac wil make you very content.

 

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First of all, Kmixer has nothing to do with ripping. If you rip with EAC on a PC and set it up correctly, you should get perfect rips every time. I like Toshiba laptops best.

 

Now bypassing kmixer on playback is a big concern. There are generally three methods with XP:

 

1) Kernel streaming

2) ASIO

3) unmapping the device

 

I have tried 2 and 3.

 

2 is only available with custom drivers that support it I believe and it tends to add its own coloration.

 

3 can be done with most all devices, particularly USB, like the Benchmark DAC-1 or my own Off-Ramp 3 USB converter. The difference in sound quality is significant.

 

Now with Vista you can also get bit-perfect playback, but it requires either kernel streaming or 24-bit operation, meaning 24/44.1. My own devices and Benchmark deliver 24/44.1 over USB.

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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