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Audio System

About Me

Found 3 results

  1. I built an HTPC/music server/server a few years ago using a mid-2010 Mac Mini and I love it. Elgato's EyeTV and Turbo.264 record and transcode all my tv as 1080p that I can easily stream across the LAN, etvcomskip marks all commercials for automatic skipping, I have an extensive iTunes library that can be streamed to multiple rooms with airplay, and I run my own mail/calendar/address/web/VPN/VNC/LDAP/Profile Manager/file/etc. personal cloud server using Server.app. I've configured it with 8 GB memory (boy do I wish the 2010 models supported 16 GB), and have replaced the original 1/2-TB dual drives with 1 TB drives, all fast. The mini sounds good -- I run a mini-tos audio cable into a very nice dac -- but I've never pushed the audio envelope on the mini because I'm fortunate to have a really good transport that I use for serious, rather than passive listening, which is what I really use the mini for. I'll pop a cd into a Linn player if I want to sit down and listen to it, or a blu-ray into an Oppo if I want to watch a good movie. Otherwise I'll let iTunes (or EyeTV) play or stream and accept the good, but not excellent, audio that comes with these. Though I am happy with the mini's audio -- it's as good as (even better than) I expect it to be -- I'm wondering if it's reasonable to expect any more from it. What would people recommend to improve the audio that comes out of the mini? A few relevant questions: Has anyone configured a mini's audio and achieved what they consider a rival to a decent high-end system? Is there anything to internet rumors that the quality of the mini's digital output was improved in the 2011+ models? Anyone actually listened before and after? Listening experiences on lossless flac or equivalent versus 256 kbps AAC? I created my iTunes library using the cdparanoia ripper and OS X's afconvert command with AAC at 256 kbps. I arrived at this decision by performing my own listening tests on CDs I created by transcoding from WAV->AAC->WAV at various bitrates and confirming that 256 kbps is indeed excellent. On several very nice sounding systems, my fellow enthusiasts and I had difficulty distinguishing the re-transcoded 256 kbps AAC tracks from their originals, though this test is admittedly a little different from decoding AAC on-the-fly. In practice, my iTunes AAC library sounds good, but not really superb like the same track out of a Linn transport. Is there any hope that lossless compression would improve anything? Would using the mini's USB perform any better? I hear good things about Bel Canto's USB-S/PDIF converter. Any experiences pairing this with a mini? I'm sure this is a high-performing unit, but I'm honestly a little skeptical that it could do anything to turn the mini's water into wine, and hesitant about the price of a converter that's the same as the base mini itself. Any direct experiences improving the audio above that provided by toslink on 2010 or later models?
  2. I am a new member of the CA community and have searched for any threads that may already be discussing this or a similar topic to no avail. I was initially planning on going with something like a Logitech Squeezebox Touch but then I started thinking about using a PC based solution for audio streaming. I am a Network Administrator by trade and also an avid PC gamer. Because of this my home network is very robust (HP and Enterasys GB managed switches all behind a SonicWall router/FW) and the pool of spare PC hardware I have sitting around is extensive (as a PC gamer I upgrade often). I currently have 5 active PCs as well as 2 ESXi Hosts running on the network and over 35TB of unused storage space. My managed network is running several different VLANs and regardless of which approach I end up taking the streamed audio (and eventually video) will be on a dedicated and prioritized virtual network. I have been an audio enthusiast for almost 30 years and my main system consists of the following (not state of the art but better than an old Realistic console): Aragon 8008ST and 8008x5 Anthem AVM 30 Kuzma Stabi turntable with a Kuzma Stogi tonearm and a Benz Micro Glider cartridge Michael Yee PFE-1 phono preamp OPPO BDP-95 Cambridge Audio Azur 640C 6 Wharfedale 9.6s with a Wharfedale 9.CM center speaker 2 custom made subs based on Peerless 10” drivers powered by an Acurus A250 So now that I’m finished with the long winded preface here’s my question: Knowing that I want to get as close as possible to bit perfect streaming of my downloaded HD and ripped CD files (mostly in FLAC format) and the plan for now is to use the DACs in my Anthem AVM 30 would I be better served getting a standalone streaming device like the Squeezebox Touch or using a USB to S/PDIF converter and a PC? Either way I’ll be building a virtual media server and storing the files on a GB networked server and sound quality is the most important aspect to me. I have also looked at USB DACs like the Audioquest Dragonfly, Halide Design DACs and HRT Music Streamer Pro but figured maybe I’d be better off using the slightly dated but good quality DACs (AKM AK4382 24-bit/192-kHz) in the Anthem AVM 30 with a converter. But, I may be way off base here so please let me know if I am. Another option is using the digital out on a good sound card but I figured the converter would be a more flexible and future proof option. Plus I’d like to start off for $400 or under if possible and then after I have a little more experience I can upgrade if necessary (the U-bug hits pretty regularly of late). If anyone knows of any threads already covering this please let me know but as I stated, I searched and didn’t find anything. I don’t want to annoy anyone by starting a duplicate thread. Thanks, Carl
  3. I am investigating the sometimes poor performance of my usb audio (occasional clicks and pops). My setup is USB output from port 5 of one of my two mobo based usb hubs (Intel 6 series/C200 series usb enhanced host controller) to a Musical Fidelity V-Link II (96 kHz) usb to spdif to one of my Integra DTR-40.2's optical inputs. I downloaded a program called USBlyzer in order to capture the stream and see if there were any anomalies (or at least what I perceive to be anomalies). In doing so, I discovered a couple of things: 1) my transfer mode is isochronous (i thought the MF Vlink supported async?) 2) when "stopping" the music via a "stop" button in my music software (jRiver or Rdio), I see that there is a problem with this as reported by the USBlyzer software. Specifically, I get a "cleanup" request from "audiodg.exe" whose supporting driver is "usbaudio" that results in an "Invalid Device Request". I next get a "cleanup" request from "audiodg.exe" whose supporting driver is "ksthunk" that results again in an "Invalid Device Request". The capture output is attached for those interested (jpg form). My question is this... what am I doing wrong here that I am having driver issues and that I am not transferring in async mode? I apologize ahead of time for my ignorance regarding usb transfer protocols, but I would sure like to understand this better. Thanks in advance. Bob W