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Help on PC to DAC to Stereo

 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 16
Registered: Oct-07
Thinking of adding/playing with the PC to DAC to Preamp approach for a music server.

I've been doing some searching, but would apprectiate any links or references for more reading.
Especially the following topics...

How to get a high quality sound file from CD to PC.

Ethernet vs. USB vs. WiFi.

On-screen (TV) selection and creation of playlists, etc...

Cable quality.

Anything else you've learned that I need to learn.

Thanks to all in advance.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 17
Registered: Oct-07
http://extra.benchmarkmedia.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 26
Registered: Oct-07
OK.
This post maybe should be in the other area:
MP3 and Digital Audio Players. I'm not sure.

This is what I'm going to look into for further learning.

Approach 1:
Solidlogic fanless pc as a server.
Run pc via LCD tv connection with wireless mouse.
Use either EAC with Accurate Rip or purchase dbpoweramp reference (likely) to burn cd's to lossless FLAC (or maybe WMA lossless).
Keep looking at the following DAC's (Benchmark USB DAC1, Scott Nixon NOS Tube USB DAC, Stello DA100, Wavelength Brick NOS Tube USB DAC).


Approach 2:
Escient ZP-1 controlling external hard drive via ethernet thru a router which also can get internet radio. The remainder is the same.
Use either EAC with Accurate Rip or purchase dbpoweramp reference (likely) to burn cd's to lossless FLAC (or maybe WMA lossless).
Keep looking at the following DAC's (Benchmark USB DAC1, Scott Nixon NOS Tube USB DAC, Stello DA100, Wavelength Brick NOS Tube USB DAC).

Primary differences:
Graphical interface pc vs Escient.
USB (pc) vs. optical digitial-in (Escient) for the DAC - probably can't use either of the Tube DAC's - both have coax or usb only (based on what I have found online).

Questions:
Anyone have preferences for USB vs spdif connections?
Other recommendations for lossless rips?
Pros/cons for GUI choices?
Any chance of getting close to the Apollo?

Thoughts? Anyone interested?
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 726
Registered: Feb-07
Here is an overview of my PC-based setup.

I run a server in my basement that contains all my music files. A lot of crappy files, but slowly building up a respectable FLAC collection. The SQ diference between 320 kbps MP3 and FLAC is substantial.

Connected to the server is a USB DAC. I use this one:

http://www.obadimports.com/catalog/item/4377355/5226912.htm

From the DAC I run analog RCA's to the inputs on my receiver. For playback on the server I use Winamp with the AjaxAmp plugin running:

http://www.ajaxamp.com/

In my living room (where my system is) I have a laptop, where I can connect to AjaxAmp and control the music library this way.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 32
Registered: Oct-07
Thanks for the info David.

I'll be checkin into the ajaxamp plugin.

Another question: how long is the USB cable to the USB DAC?
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 737
Registered: Feb-07
I have my server in my rec-room (directly under my living room). I run a USB cable up through a small hole in the corner of the room to my DAC. In order to do this I had to use a USB extension. All together I'm using maybe 12' of USB cable.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 9906
Registered: Dec-04
I ran a spdif coax from the puter to the dac downstairs, likely 13' or so, but the coax can go much longer.
Card was a CL XP pro with a sound suite that I didn't use.
Straight into the Classe DAC. Never got around to using wireless keyboard and mouse, with video out from the puter to widescreen downstairs.
Worked very very well.
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 750
Registered: Feb-07
The Classe DAC must have sounded pretty darned good. How much do one of those run?
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 751
Registered: Feb-07
Snapcat, you could take a look at a Squeezebox. I'm more of a DIY'er, so I went the PC/Winamp/DAC route. But the Squeezebox may be more convenient.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 33
Registered: Oct-07
Not looking for convenience as top priority. I want something a step up from squeezebox - don't know if Scott Nixon and Stello da100 are or not...opinions vary and I've heard none of the above.

Another question: My laptop has neither coax nor toslink; just usb, ethernet, rgb and headphone jack out. Are there any usb or ethernet to coax or toslink cables? Is that possible?
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 762
Registered: Feb-07
I have no idea. Why not run a USB DAC from your laptop like the one I'm using, then whatever sort of connection you want to your receiver?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 34
Registered: Oct-07
oops.
I omitted part of my post.

I want to play around with the burning/flac software then transport signal from laptop to avr dacs prior to buying the external dac and server.

I have discoved a few.
This one is way too much - might as well get a used dac and use usb.
http://www.forvus.com/3270_usb_rel.htm

This one is reasonable for goofing around
http://www.amazon.com/TURTLE-BEACH-Audio-Advantage-Micro/dp/B0002ICGDY
 

Silver Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 768
Registered: Feb-07
Ah... gotcha. What are you gonna use for ripping your flacs?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 35
Registered: Oct-07
Not sure really...I'm still leaning toward the dbpoweramp software .
http://www.dbpoweramp.com/dbpoweramp-reference.htm
Reference or regular (I think reference is ~ $28)

I looked at the ajaxamp link...thanks. It looks perhaps more versatile in some ways, but the dbpoweramp has the accurate rip error checking. Also, it seems ajaxamp requires continuous connection to the web??

I found a discussion about the dbpoweramp within a discussion about the exact audio copy freeware - which also couples with the accurate rip.
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Exact_Audio_Copy

EAC was my planned original approach. I haven't done anything lately due to other life demands.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 9921
Registered: Dec-04
https://www.ecoustics.com/pcw/howto/130536
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 37
Registered: Oct-07
Thanks Nuck.
I may take the EAC approach yet...
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 46
Registered: Oct-07
OK. I downloaded EAC and used the beginner settings for now.

Copied one of my blues cd's in both FLAC and uncompressed wav. The disk is 1 hour; the FLAC file size was 387 Mb, wav was 647 Mb. The ratio is what the EAC stated ~ 60% smaller file with FLAC. I'm not convinced that FLAC is the way to go. I can get an external drive for under $200 (250 Mb); that's about 333 disks at 750 Mb per disk.

I should get the turtle beach usb/toslink adaptor next week. We'll see how it sounds with the avr dacs.

I'm also still trying to figure out how to play the flac file. I may need something else downloaded. stay tuned.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 47
Registered: Oct-07
oops that was 250 GB for the external drive...
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 48
Registered: Oct-07
I got the turtle beach usb/toslink in and installed. Must disable other sound devices to get it working. I listened to some Coltrane and Rusted Root wav files via Windows Media Player thru the AVR DACs. The sound was not bad. Not too far off from my low end Denon DVD player thru the Denon AVR DACs. However, near the end of each song/tune for each disc (Coltrane & RR), background popping began. Not sure what is up. Also listened to a wma file (I think that one was lossless - compressed sounding compared to the wav.) To be continued...
 

New member
Username: Killmoms

Hollywood, CA United States

Post Number: 1
Registered: Apr-08
If you're ripping with EAC's Test & Copy feature in Secure Mode (not burst) with a correct read offset for your drive, you're getting bit-for-bit copies of your CDs (check for CRC match and AccurateRip results). And FLAC loses nothing, so it will sound identical to a WAV file. I'd suggest using foobar2000 as your playback platform, personally.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 49
Registered: Oct-07
Thanks Matt,

I haven't done anything in several days. Reading Hydrogen Audio stuff for now.
Yes foobar2000 looks good.... not as sexy as Winamp if you want to display on tv, but may be better functionally. I don't know yet.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Pcstockton

Post Number: 24
Registered: Apr-08
Use this guide to set-up EAC, it is the "bible" of proper ripping.

http://jiggafellz.isa-geek.net/eac/

Just follow each procedure, download anything needed, links provided.

For example, it has the link to the page for drive offest correction etc...

If you are going to use EAC and I HEAVILY endorse it, use this guide. it is a must. Then you NEVER have to do it again.

Configuring your drive's "Write" offset is a different matter and not included in the above "ripping" guide.

I can teach you how though.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Pcstockton

Post Number: 25
Registered: Apr-08
and yes Foobar is by far the best player and converter out there IMO.

It is so customizable it is silly.

go here:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showforum=42

there are more "skins" than you could possibly want.

I use FooTunes. But highly modified.

It is fun as well.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 10134
Registered: Dec-04
PS, thanks for the links! I have needed this tool to work forever, and now it responds.
I have a fresh terrabyto to be filled.

Cheers!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 50
Registered: Oct-07
Thanks Patrick!

It'll be a couple of weeks before I can get back into it, but these links will help. I've uninstalled EAC to start over for now.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Pcstockton

Post Number: 27
Registered: Apr-08
nuck and snap,

I am an expert of sorts on the subject and have treid, demoed and researched everything for the last 2 years as i slowly moved into digital music.

In fact I am no longer even really using a CD player.

99% of my music is FLAC to DAC.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 10154
Registered: Dec-04
And 99% of us will do the same thing in very short order.
I like WMA files...easy to sort, and good quality.
Need to reboot a puter for the really good stuff.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Danyal711

Post Number: 11
Registered: Feb-08
I have been doing a lot of research on this as well. It seems that a Slim Devices Transporter is a really good option. However I had a few questions myself and just started a thread. If I find anything out, I will be sure to report back. I do know that the Transporter with the Truths Mods by ModWright was Reviewed at 6moons as better than really expensive DACs/transports. -- http://6moons.com/audioreviews/modwright3/transporter.html
 

Bronze Member
Username: Pcstockton

Post Number: 31
Registered: Apr-08
The transporter will work....

Just keep in mind that playing the files is one thing. Ripping them correctly is quite a different issue.

But taking the philosophy of "source first" to its logical end, means if you rip it right, you can mess around with streaming options and DACs to your hearts content.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Pcstockton

Post Number: 32
Registered: Apr-08
Danyal,

The transporter, stock-out-of-the-box, is not inexpensive in my opinion.

Especially when you consider it was developed by a company that makes keyboards, remotes and mice.

I would look at Empirical Audio.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 61
Registered: Oct-07
Patrick,
Thanks for the great link.
I've setup and created several flac cd's. Used foobar to playback.
Sounds great thru earbud from earphone pc outlet. I still have the tick-tick-tick after about 2-3 minutes thru avr dacs or thru earbuds and turtle beach together. I think it is the turtle beach... it appears to be for dvd only; 48 not 44 khz. I suppose that could be part of the issue...
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 65
Registered: Oct-07
Latest update.

I now have a PS Audio DLIII to use with the flac files. No more tick-tick. The issue above seems to be directly related to use of the turtle beach adaptor (usb to toslink).

Now for the PS Audio DL III. Big change. About the same amount of detail as the Apollo (with USB and computer). Not that much change using Apollo as transport with coax cable. With usb and computer, more bass and mid-bass. Better imaging (bigger sweet spot). It's louder than the Apollo, a bit more emphasis on vocals, strings, and horns than the Apollo. Overall I'm happy with it. I haven't heard the Benchmark, but have a suspicion it'll be a bit too analytical for my ears with the Bryston amp. I haven't heard the Bel Canto 2 or 3 either. The BC 3 is too pricey for me and the 2 has no USB. If the PS Audio behavior between coax and USB is common for other DAC's, then USB is the only way to go for me. Makes me want to listen to more stuff.

The 96/192 kHz sampling differences on the PS Audio are slight but somewhat noticable. I preceive a bit more space with the 192 (maybe, if I concentrate and convince myself), but the 96 seems more focused and tight. So far, I prefer that.

The above changes are with the NAD as preamp. I also have a Bryston preamp now. More on that in the preamp section.

WRT the flac/wav question... I still may go all wav files and just buy more storage. Easier to burn a cd for the car and keep the original unscratched that way.
 

Silver Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 314
Registered: Oct-07
I am now sorting thru all the options...
FLAC WMF and more.

I will use my CA 840c as the DAC, while probably not up to snuff as compared to a good dedicated, it'll do for now.....

Now, the question::
What do I use to feed from the confuser to the DAC? I can use either optical or Coaxial...
1. Which is better for longer distances?
2. Which provides best fidelity?
3. For a 40 foot run, should I make the extra expense of real Corning Glass Fiber? Plastic OK?
4. For coax, any good, long cable of good quality? Does HF rolloff / hi capactitance play a role?

...........thanks.............
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1253
Registered: Feb-07
I'm sure the DAC in the 840 is quite good.

Even if the CDP doesn't work...

What are you gonna use as an interface between PC and CA? Are you running from the PC soundcard?
 

Silver Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 318
Registered: Oct-07
I currently have 'on board' sound, so a sound card is 100% negotiable. CDP now up and running, after pushing in a ribbon connector dislodged in shipping.

Just curious if I should look for Optical or Coaxial output, considering the distance of 40ft or so from confuser to DAC.

I just checked the MOBO box and found the board comes with a SPDIF header and plug for the board.......I'm in, I guess, at least for experimental purposes....now on to the connecting cable and IF coax is really where I need to be.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 72
Registered: Oct-07
leo,
nuck's post above says he has 13' coax but could go much further. don't know if a 40' toslink is a good idea. lots of opinions on coax vs optical sound.

I'm planning on getting a coax and usb out for the computer music server I'll be getting.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 10707
Registered: Dec-04
Sure, the coax spdif can go many metres.
I didnt find any difference between Ratshack coax and the 6m of Zu cable that I borrowed.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 10868
Registered: Dec-04
http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/100906-open_baffles__set_system/
 

Bronze Member
Username: Snapcat

Post Number: 73
Registered: Oct-07
Interesting alternative for the computer to AVR Dac's

http://www.goodsound.com/equipment/blue_circle_usb_thingee.htm
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