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Hi Everyone!......can you spare some advice for the new guy?


shizam
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I am a "long term" high end audio and high end PC guy, but I have just started to meld my PC into the stereo.

I am looking for a logical next step for hardware and this looks like a great place to get some idea of where to go next, and to share the experiences, trials and errors.

 

My system is currently PC or denon 3910 > Sim Audio preamp > bel Canto Amps> Vr4jr speakers ( or a set of AKG headphones from the crappy pc mini jack)

I have heard great sound from the Denon, especially on HDCD or SACD. The Sim has a very nice sounding internal 20bit dac and I am looking to use that for now. The challenge is how do I repeat this with the pc.

 

The PC, with foobar2000 and wasapi sounds quite good using digital coax cable, but I am not sure it is as good a digital output as possible ( ASUS rampage formula). When I run an HDCD, the Sim pre amp HDCD detection cuts in and out, even though all pc volume controls are maxed.

 

....and finally the question...

 

What would be the next piece of gear to buy for an external sound card if my goals are to use only digital out to the pre amp. excellent 2ch sound is my priority but mullti channel such as 5.1 will be used somewhat as well. If I get a good enough card, I should be able to decode the HD audio formats as well as have excellent 2 channel sound.

From what I have read so far, there are excellent usb cards, but they can not manage the bandwidth for several sound channels. Can you use more than one external card?

I eventually would like to at least try DRC for multi channel. An external device would allow for an input mic for generating FIR? files and more importantly, I would like to use it for headphones.

 

Sorry for the long winded intro!

Cheers

S

 

 

 

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Hi Shizam - The multi-channel part is going to be the toughest. There are firewire to AES converters like the Weiss Vesta that will take a firewire signal from your PC and output it AES/EBU to your DAC. Or there are products like Sonic Studio's Model 204 that is firewire and can output multi-channel. Neither of these are cheap. How much are you willing to spend?

 

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Hi Chris

 

I am mostly interested in getting good quality 2 channel although I may want to integrate a good sub later. The other speakers aren't that important as they will only be used for movies( sub centre and surrounds). I want to be able to use them, but perhaps I dont need the very best gear for their signal.

I am thinking that perhaps a good digital co ax output would work. My Sim Audio processor can already handle the multi channel, provided I can send it the correct signal from the PC.

Using my current, ASUS on board digital co-ax out, the processor does not recieve a solid HDCD signal. The HDCD light flickers on and off using WASAPI and it doesn't light at all with ASIO (both through Foobar2000). Am I correct in thinking there is a benefit to be had by upgrading the digital output?

Is there a good option to add a better quality soundcard be it internal or external?

I would also like to be able to process the next generation of audio signals for when they start coming out with whatever the replacement is for HDCD and SACD, DVD-A. I do not think my processor can do the newer signals, but I could decode them in the PC and then do Analog pass through the pre amp.

I suppose then I need a piece that has a very good digital out, and also at least 3 good analog outs to run left right and sub channels...........does that sound right to you?

Any recommendations?

Thanks

S

 

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The new ASUS card does look like an interesting option...although I am not sure what the street price will be.

Headphone amp, solid spdif that will likely have the drivers to run multi channel or high quality 2 channel

My pre amp uses burr brom DAC's but they are older technology..1720k's I believe.

I saw another thread where there was discussion on older very high end gear vs new technology cheaper gear. I wonder which would sound better...my sim audio moon attraction dac, or the output from this card/or another outboard DAC..........too many options!!!

 

on another note....

Can anyone tell me why I would be getting the HDCD light intermittantly on my pre amp during foobar2000 wasapi playback? With ASIO through either winamp or foobar I get no light at all. I am using the main board spdif out with digital coax cable. I think there is still some windows (vistax64) monkeying with the bit output. Also the volume slider in windows is adjusted to full, because it still does work. Does that mean wasapi is not getting bit perfect output?

Cheers

S

 

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The Lynx cards seem to have an excellent spdif out and I can get 2 balanced analog outs from them as well, all with excellent sound quality. I think this may be the best way to go initially as 90% of my listening is 2 channel. Later on, I can get an outboard card that can run headphone, can use a 48v mic for DRC and can also process the less important other channels.

 

The only thing I think this solution may be missing is high res multi channel. I would like to have the PC do all the processing and send the signals analog to my processor as it can not handle the new higher res formats such as 24/96 or24/192.

 

Does this sound like a good way to go? Can you run say a lynx 2 channel card and another outboard or pci-e at the same time? Is this a huge headache to set up?

 

Thanks

S

 

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With ASIO through either winamp or foobar I get no light at all. I am using the main board spdif out with digital coax cable. I think there is still some windows (vistax64) monkeying with the bit output. Also the volume slider in windows is adjusted to full, because it still does work. Does that mean wasapi is not getting bit perfect output?

 

ASIO bypasses all of the OS audio, it is supposed to communicate directly with the soundcard.

Maybe a driver problem?

 

Can you run say a lynx 2 channel card and another outboard or pci-e at the same time? Is this a huge headache to set up?

 

No, only a head bangers ball. There are programs like JACK or Pulseaudio able to accept multiple input streams and send them to multiple devices. However, this is Linux /MAC and a little bit Windows but most of all buggy.

Windows 7 is rumored to have the same functionality but at the present I’m afraid the answer is no.

 

 

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