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  1. #1
    Newbie veindoc's Avatar
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    PC or MAC for storage or streaming

    I am a audiophile with no recent purchases and want to bring music to my high end speakers from my computer. I initially thought I would sell my Jadis JPL preamp, keep my musical fidelity amp and my watt puppies, and add a new preamp that had a usb input. I have a PC in my listening room. Auditioned preamps with dac from peachtree and really loved sound of Ayre qb-9 dac but did not like it only had usb connectivity. My other goal is to transfer my 1200 cds in a lossless fashion to either a external hard drive or server. I realize I can get a new laptop(either pc or mac) and leave it on my current equipment rack and have it purely dedicated to audio storage and streaming with mog. I understand both amarra or pure music or j. river software do a nice job but I want to use something that will be fast and accurate for tranfering all my cd or any other files I add to hard drive. Went to apple store they said current mac mini has no optical drive or screen to help with inital setup.They said 13 mac book pro with ssd could come with firewire 800 or even faster with a thunderbolt. They said owc could do a 2TB ext. hard drive that could come configured with ssd with either firewire or thunderbolt compatibility. or a new pc with usb3 or esata could also provide fast tfile transfer. I would love recommendations on what is needed for setup and realize a server by w4s or ps audio may b a easier route. I just dont want to take all the effort to transfer all these cds and not have high quality sound or bad software that makes easy retrieval of music difficult. Finally any dac recommendations in the 3-4k range would be great as my current cd player's dac is over 9 years old and better sound is out there. Did love the Ayre over the peachtree and arcam that I auditioned. Finally if any other advantage exist between mac vs. pc I am very open to either.
    thnx very much, Nick

  2. #2
    Supercilious twit orgel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veindoc View Post
    Finally if any other advantage exist between mac vs. pc I am very open to either.
    As an overall approach, it might be best to first decide whether you want to go with a Windows or Macintosh off-the-shelf computer or one of the purpose-built dedicated servers. From that point, I think you can get some good, more focused advice, but as it stands, you're likely to get a lot of fruitless discussion about which platform is best.

    Any of the platforms can serve you well. Starting out, it's mostly about which one you'll be most comfortable with and find easiest to use.

    --David
    Listening Room: Mac mini > Audiophilleo2 with PurePower > Mytek Stereo192-DSD > W4S STP-SE > W4S ST-500 > Amphion Argon3 (Details)

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  3. #3
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    I agree with David. I'm also slightly confused by what you are looking for. Maybe it's too early in the morning for me.
    1. I really like Ayre QB-9. Not sure what's better in your price range. But why do you not like the USB only input? What other digital input do you want to connect to your DAC? Or do you want to have an analog input to the DAC/preamp? And when you said Peachtree, do you mean Peachtree Grand Pre or the lower end models?
    2. As Orgel said, you can get great sound from any OS, dedicated hardware and optimized software setup. I think many CA readers would even argue with a generic computer, running specific software, you can already get good to great sound. So if a PC is already in your living room, why not try using that as your starting point? Once everything is setup to your liking, you can upgrade to a CAPSv2 if that's what you want, or not.
    3. Everything you use should transfer your CDs in a fast and accurate manner, even on your current PC running J River, for example. So I'm not sure what your concern is. Are you worried about incorrect tagging with wrong metadata for your CDs? That is something much harder to fix and I'd argue a learning curve for computer audio, regardless of which system you buy into.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mav52's Avatar
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    I use both and can't tell a bit of audio difference between Apple or Win7. I guess it all depends on what you grew up with and what's you're the most familiar with.
    "Maybe you need to stop looking for what other people claim is best, and start assembling a system that's in sync with your own musical taste"

  5. #5
    Supercilious twit orgel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mav52 View Post
    I guess it all depends on what you grew up with...
    I grew up with no computers. The first computer I interacted with was when I was in high school. We had a couple of keypunch machines in our school and then once a week, everyone in the computer class would take a bus down to Central High and run our FORTRAN card decks on the IBM mini-computer (which was about the size of a large chest freezer). Debugging was kind of slow.

    --David
    Listening Room: Mac mini > Audiophilleo2 with PurePower > Mytek Stereo192-DSD > W4S STP-SE > W4S ST-500 > Amphion Argon3 (Details)

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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by orgel View Post
    I grew up with no computers. The first computer I interacted with was when I was in high school. We had a couple of keypunch machines in our school and then once a week, everyone in the computer class would take a bus down to Central High and run our FORTRAN card decks on the IBM mini-computer (which was about the size of a large chest freezer). Debugging was kind of slow.

    --David
    Very funny - the days of tabulating cards. Did you prefer the sound from 80 column cards or 96 column cards?

  7. #7
    Freshman Member Alkan's Avatar
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    As any OS can give you great sound, IMO first you should decide what Player to use: Mac, Windows or Linux based. I am a Mac user, but I choose JRiver as Player because its enormous functionality to manage my library with a large possibilities to personalize metadata (I am ripping 3k CDs to FLAC uncompressed and wanna reduce the cataloguing problem). This way I am going to Windows: now I am using bootcamp, but will go to the CAPS v.3.
    Dalton
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  8. #8
    Newbie veindoc's Avatar
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    Thnx to all for trying to get me in correct direction. My room logistics and hardwood floors make hiding long run of cables the reason I thought having a second dedicated computer in my equipment rack might b an easier setup. I was looking at the peachtree grand preamp with built in dac as it had a tube prestage like my jpl existing preamp. Nearby audio store helped to confuse me but I like the small size of mac mini, theirs had a builtin optical drive and did very fast file transfet via firewire 800 of music to an owc ext. harddrive. Sonically I did side by side listening and the Ayre to my ears was far superior sounding compared to the peachtree integra and arcam D-33. However even if I download my entire cd collection to a hard drive, it seems somewhat limiting to not occassional to have a dac that can improve anything i might play thru my cd player if my setup changes. Maybe I should just move on from that concern.
    I am a pc guy so perhaps I should stick with that even if it is a new pc for my computer. Any reasons to consider NAS vs. an OWC ext. harddrive? ALso I read 8 of ram and an ssd are desirable, does 128 vs. 256 have any advantage if this purely for music streaming and music transfering of my cd collection?
    With pc j. river seems like a very common choice. Not sure what capsv2 is or if I can start with it if I am ordering a new pc just for music. Any recommendations on pc brand or specs would b appreciated.thnx Nick

  9. #9
    Supercilious twit orgel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WLVCA View Post
    Very funny - the days of tabulating cards. Did you prefer the sound from 80 column cards or 96 column cards?
    You needed the extra 16 columns to get the good bass extension.

    Funny, but at the same time, my Dad had a darn good (or so it seemed at the time) hi-fi -- Rek-O-Kut turntable, H.H. Scott electronics (the tuner was the coolest thing I'd ever seen), DIY Altec Lansing 3-way speakers. Back then, I don't think very many people could have imagined computers being used for audio or video. I still can't imagine Facebook.

    --David
    Listening Room: Mac mini > Audiophilleo2 with PurePower > Mytek Stereo192-DSD > W4S STP-SE > W4S ST-500 > Amphion Argon3 (Details)

    Office: Mac Pro > iFi nano iDSD > JBL LSR305

    Mobile: iPhone 5S > iFi nano iDSD > JH Audio JH5

  10. #10
    Supercilious twit orgel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veindoc View Post
    Not sure what capsv2 is or if I can start with it if I am ordering a new pc just for music.
    Info on C.A.P.S. v2 is here.

    This place will sell you one that's all put together.

    it seems somewhat limiting to not occassional to have a dac that can improve anything i might play thru my cd player if my setup changes.
    The Ayre is pretty distinctive in how many inputs it doesn't have. If you feel you need more, there are many good DACs at a range of prices that offer more inputs.

    --David
    Listening Room: Mac mini > Audiophilleo2 with PurePower > Mytek Stereo192-DSD > W4S STP-SE > W4S ST-500 > Amphion Argon3 (Details)

    Office: Mac Pro > iFi nano iDSD > JBL LSR305

    Mobile: iPhone 5S > iFi nano iDSD > JH Audio JH5

  11. #11
    I heard the Peachtree Grand with Dynaudio Confidence C1 speakers the THE Show in Newport recently.

    The Grand is a good concept but I was not impressed with the sound - with or without the tube in the signal path.

    Could have been the room - shows are not the best listening environment.

    I believe the amp section is digital, too. if I am not mistaken.

  12. #12
    You may want to listen to the NAD M51 DAC/Preamp - requires a separate amp, of course.

    I also recommend J River. I use it and like it very much.

  13. #13
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    PC or MAC for storage or streaming

    Maybe others will disagree. I find the 2 big learning curves in computer audio are as follows:
    1. Figuring out how to tag and catalog the music you burnt.
    2. Figuring out how to setup your PC, e.g. Do you want a laptop or a headless PC, like a Mac Mini or CAPSv2, Do you want to access the PC with a keyboard, with Remote Desktop, or with an iPhone app that interfaces with iTunes or JRiver? Do you need to be able to see the screen of your headless PC? Is it going to be connected to your TV? Will you watch videos on that PC?
    There are many preferences and solutions yielding varying sound qualities and setup aesthetics. And ultimately, it's a personal choice we all make depending on our circumstances.
    So for a newcomer in computer audio, even though it's tempting to buy a recommended computer system, you may hate it and end up making tons of adjustments later. That's why I think it's better if people can use their existing equipment to work out what they are looking for first, before making the leap into a big computer system purchase.

    To answer your questions, I don't think 8GB is necessary for PCs but from everywhere I've read seems to make a difference in Mac's. Your SSD is probably not storing music so 128GB vs 256GB is a moot discussion as 64GB is probably enough. NAS allows multiple computer system to access your music but external hard drives are easier to setup but some would argue that you should not use a USB external drive as it may affect the sound quality of your USB DAC. But I'm not sure if the answers are truly helpful to you as I'm not sure if they are the major determinants of whether you'll enjoy the computer audio experience.
    And if you like Ayre QB-9, you should get it.

  14. #14
    Newbie veindoc's Avatar
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    thnx- I do want to be able to access easily all my music and was hoping my ipad could be utilized for any of the headless pcs. setups. I hope an ext. hard drive is not to slow or difficult for my cd collection as I would like to put money into new dac more than a music server if I can avoid it.

  15. #15
    Tone Junkie AudioDoctor's Avatar
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    If you can, get an in home audition of the Peachtree Grand Pre. I did, and I liked it very much and found it compared very favorable to my Wavelength Cosecant. I did also note that there was a pretty big difference in the sound of it based on the software being used by the playback mac mini. The Grand Pre is certainly very neutral with just a touch of warmth. Also, sound staging and instrument separation are better with the tubes engaged.
    The idiocracy is now...

  16. #16
    Tone Junkie AudioDoctor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veindoc View Post
    thnx- I do want to be able to access easily all my music and was hoping my ipad could be utilized for any of the headless pcs. setups. I hope an ext. hard drive is not to slow or difficult for my cd collection as I would like to put money into new dac more than a music server if I can avoid it.
    an iPad, with remote app, or one of the VNC apps would work very well with a Mac Mini. It is small and nearly silent, has USB for the DAC and Firewire for the external drives.
    The idiocracy is now...

  17. #17
    Newbie veindoc's Avatar
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    thats an excellent idea. I did use the tubes engaged once with the straight peachtree grand and once with ayre dac

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by orgel View Post
    I grew up with no computers. The first computer I interacted with was when I was in high school. We had a couple of keypunch machines in our school and then once a week, everyone in the computer class would take a bus down to Central High and run our FORTRAN card decks on the IBM mini-computer (which was about the size of a large chest freezer). Debugging was kind of slow.
    I started out with FORTRAN on punched cards as well, but then I built my own computer - it had a massive 512 bytes of RAM. Not kilobytes or megabytes, but bytes. Couldn't even run an assembler, so all programming was in hand-assembled hex code. Well, I think I was 15 at the time...

  19. #19
    As far as picking a dac for your computer, some of the other posters said to get the Ayre because you like it. Excellent advice. I own a lot of Ayre products and haven't found anything I like better. The analog section is really what sets their digital products apart from most other brands. Its a piece of audio equipment, not a computer. As for your CD player, the solution is simple. Just buy the Ayre 7 series CD player. I've always liked 1 box CD players over seperate transport and dac anyway. Both pieces combined don't go too much over budget. No big deal, though. I have yet to see an audiophile stay in their budget.

    As far as an OS goes, I'm sure that you will get good results with either mac or pc. I use linux and feel that it is just as good as anything else. (And its free)

  20. #20
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    A reasonable solution for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by veindoc View Post
    thnx- I do want to be able to access easily all my music and was hoping my ipad could be utilized for any of the headless pcs. setups. I hope an ext. hard drive is not to slow or difficult for my cd collection as I would like to put money into new dac more than a music server if I can avoid it.
    Okay. I used to underestimate the importance of the music server and over-emphasize on the DAC. I'm slowly having a change of heart on that. An external hard drive is not going to be "too slow" for your CD collection.

    Anyway, based on your requirements, I'd probably suggest Ayre QB-9 for DAC, a pre-built CAPSv2 from Small Green Computers as a PC music server running J River with an external eSATA drive which hopefully can also be plugged into your current PC for burning music. I'd probably start burning music on your current PC now and wait for the other components to arrive. I'd also try to make sure the CAPSv2 & eSATA drive have good separate power conditioning.

  21. #21
    Newbie veindoc's Avatar
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    thnx again-planning on auditioning naim and bryston music servers tomorrow. hope ayre dac plays nice with what ever server I get. I do have good power conditioning in place. I hope streaming my mog to this system will not be too complicated to setup-hopefully not too many choices. R most people doing it wirelessly

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by veindoc View Post
    thnx again-planning on auditioning naim and bryston music servers tomorrow. hope ayre dac plays nice with what ever server I get. I do have good power conditioning in place. I hope streaming my mog to this system will not be too complicated to setup-hopefully not too many choices. R most people doing it wirelessly
    I do not believe Ayre DAC will work wth Bryston BDP-1 as all of BDP-1's USB ports are input only. Bryston will need a DAC with S/PDIF or AES/EBU input. Unless they recently updated their specifications. I believe the same applies to Naim servers but they have many more models that I'm not sufficiently familiar with.

    I don't believe you can stream from MOG from Bryston or Naim. I don't think you can stream music to Bryston at all. I believe you can for some Naim servers but I don't believe MOG is one of the currently supported ones but once again I may be wrong. To get MOG to your music server, you'll either need a computer (PC/Mac) that can run software that can support MOG, or you'll need a commercial music server that support MOG, e.g. Sonos, Squeezebox, Apple TV. Of course, companies sometimes add services like Rhapsody, MOG, etc. to their devices...

    To remote control Bryston, I believe you have to have an Ethernet cable running into the device. I believe you can wirelessly connect to Naim devices. Some people feel that running Wifi on the music server does not degrade the sound. I have Wifi turned off when my computers are running as music servers and use Ethernet connections to connect them to my Wifi router and then use my iPad to wirelessly control those computers.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by orgel View Post
    I still can't imagine Facebook.

    --David
    All credit to you sir.
    Don't imagine, you aint missing anything at all.
    MacMini 8Gb OSX Mavericks > Pure Music / Bitperfect / Amarra (full) / Amarra HiFi (iTunes) > Stello U3 > Moon 300D > Music First Passive Preamp > Quad II/40 Monoblocks > Tannoy Sterling SE. Meier Corda Arietta Headphone Amp > Sennhieser HD650 Phones (Cardas rewire). Isotek GII Orion Power Conditioner. Cardas Clear USB Cable. Tellurium Q Black Speaker Cable. All other cables by Mark Grant.
    Vinyl still has it's place. Technics SL1200. Modified with Mike New Bearing, KAB Strobe Disable, MCRU 2 box PSU, SME M2-9 Tonearm > Rothwell Simplex Phonostage.

  24. #24
    Newbie veindoc's Avatar
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    sounds like sonos or apple tv will be my stream choice-hope wirelessly doesn't have too much drop out. I know bryston also has a compatible dac for their server.

  25. #25
    Mastiff Level Member Paul.Raulerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julf View Post
    I started out with FORTRAN on punched cards as well, but then I built my own computer - it had a massive 512 bytes of RAM. Not kilobytes or megabytes, but bytes. Couldn't even run an assembler, so all programming was in hand-assembled hex code. Well, I think I was 15 at the time...
    Nothing like getting caught out in a thunderstorm with a few thousand cards that have not been duplicated yet. Assembler or CMS-2 was always a lot more fun than Fortran though.

    THe first computer I built had 20 four bit words of storage. Tubes no less, salvaged of course. Was quite proud of it in fact.
    Burned up of course, another reason I dislike tubes so much. Wish I could have afforded a 4004.

    -Paul
    1. Main Music: AIFF Library -> Mac Mini i5 (Late 2012) -> MacOS Mavericks -> JRMC 19 -> Kimber USB -> iFi USB Power -> iFi Gemini -?> iFi DSD Nano -> Kimber PJB -> Parasound 2200 Preamp -> Kimber PJB -> Outlaw Audio M2200 Monoblocks -> Nodost Flatline MKII Speaker cables -> Large Advents
    2. Bedroom -> Macbook Pro -> MacOS Mavericks -> JRMC19 -> Audioquest Cinnamon USB -> Wavelength Proton> NAD BEE326 -> Nordost Flatline MKII -> Baby Advents
    3. Office -> Experimental System, changes when I want it to.



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