PC - HDD Based Transport, Music & Media Players

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thevortex

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No doubt that the PC medium is fast gaining ground as far bit perfect audio reproduction is concerned.

In this regard one of the best articles I have read is the cPlay instruction guide which walks us through disabling a few Windows' 'features' which might come in the way of the audio experience. Very hands on article that.

http://db.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.mpl?forum=pcaudio&n=31286&highlight=cplay

Computer Audio Asylum - cMP - the open source high-end Memory Player - cics - December 30, 2007 at 05:42:01
 

suri

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Hi moserw,

read all the articles, makes for very compelling reading, and then I read this-


Hardware tuning:

* Get the best power supply you can afford. PC- Computing 860, Corsair HX1000 makes clear sonic difference.
* E7200 or E7300 for lowest power consumption
* Underclock as much as possible. Using E7200, the difference between 2.53Ghz and 1.2Ghz is clearly audible.
* Use fastest possible RAM at 3-3-3-9. RAM clock at 3-3-3-9 and 5-5-5-15 is audible difference. Prefer to get Kingston HyperX top model 4G RAM.
* More RAM will help reduce pop/click.
* Use as many ???? as possible
* Use lowest clock and power consumption graphic card, e.g. ATI 4350/4550/4650 sound card only.
* Best motherboard you can afford. I feel Asus P5Q Deluxe sounds better than Gigabyte GA-G31M-S2L
* Overvoltage South Bridge and North Bridge for about 5%


Sound Card

* Interface PCI-E better than PCI better than Firewire better than USB
* Digital Output Interface: AES dual wire > AES > coaxial > Firewire > USB
* Use computer as digital output only and use external DAC for analogue.
* Use of Sound Card Analogue output interface is not recommended
* Uses external Word clock > Sound Card internal clock


Software configuration and playback

* Smallest sound card latency (32 samples)
* Deploy "Art of building computer transport" to clean up XP. Ie. take away all unnecessary services
* For playback software, Cplay > Foobar.
* Offline upsampler > online upsampler
* Native 24/192 material > Native 24/96 material upsample 24/192 > Native 24/96 > 16/44 Upsample 24/192
* Turn off Anti-Virus and firewall (at your own risk) to prevent pops and clicks

DAUNTING TO SAY THE LEAST!

So, if I am looking at the one to buy, what should i be looking at - THE BEST?
 

spirovious

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Though PCI-ex 1X is better than PCI-reg, while discussing abt Xonar,someone recommended PCI reg for Xonar as it can deliver better power than 1X slot.
 

moserw

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Depends...
Hi Suri,

What's mentioned here is like the audiophile holy grail in some instances and in some instances stuff that's easily available and does not cost the moon either. In fact in PC h/w most of it is affordable and not really exorbitantly priced. Most of the settings mentioned here are to make the PC consume less power and make less noise, but it's not really an issue. Most modern day HDDs, SMPS, and other parts of the PC are noiseless to begin with. Power consumption though is a bit of an issue, but depends from person to person I suppose.

If you're looking to build a HTPC or a PC for music then let us know. There are lots of PC gurus on this forum and also PC rigs to fit every budget and every need.

Hi moserw,

read all the articles, makes for very compelling reading, and then I read this-


Hardware tuning:

* Get the best power supply you can afford. PC- Computing 860, Corsair HX1000 makes clear sonic difference.
* E7200 or E7300 for lowest power consumption
* Underclock as much as possible. Using E7200, the difference between 2.53Ghz and 1.2Ghz is clearly audible.
* Use fastest possible RAM at 3-3-3-9. RAM clock at 3-3-3-9 and 5-5-5-15 is audible difference. Prefer to get Kingston HyperX top model 4G RAM.
* More RAM will help reduce pop/click.
* Use as many ???? as possible
* Use lowest clock and power consumption graphic card, e.g. ATI 4350/4550/4650 sound card only.
* Best motherboard you can afford. I feel Asus P5Q Deluxe sounds better than Gigabyte GA-G31M-S2L
* Overvoltage South Bridge and North Bridge for about 5%


Sound Card

* Interface PCI-E better than PCI better than Firewire better than USB
* Digital Output Interface: AES dual wire > AES > coaxial > Firewire > USB
* Use computer as digital output only and use external DAC for analogue.
* Use of Sound Card Analogue output interface is not recommended
* Uses external Word clock > Sound Card internal clock


Software configuration and playback

* Smallest sound card latency (32 samples)
* Deploy "Art of building computer transport" to clean up XP. Ie. take away all unnecessary services
* For playback software, Cplay > Foobar.
* Offline upsampler > online upsampler
* Native 24/192 material > Native 24/96 material upsample 24/192 > Native 24/96 > 16/44 Upsample 24/192
* Turn off Anti-Virus and firewall (at your own risk) to prevent pops and clicks

DAUNTING TO SAY THE LEAST!

So, if I am looking at the one to buy, what should i be looking at - THE BEST?
 

suprateep

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Hi Suri,

What's mentioned here is like the audiophile holy grail in some instances and in some instances stuff that's easily available and does not cost the moon either. In fact in PC h/w most of it is affordable and not really exorbitantly priced. Most of the settings mentioned here are to make the PC consume less power and make less noise, but it's not really an issue. Most modern day HDDs, SMPS, and other parts of the PC are noiseless to begin with. Power consumption though is a bit of an issue, but depends from person to person I suppose.

If you're looking to build a HTPC or a PC for music then let us know. There are lots of PC gurus on this forum and also PC rigs to fit every budget and every need.

dude underclocking is a good idea for an HTPC - a better processor gives you better flexibility wrt to rips etc. Underclock like i do (down to 800mhz for amd 7750 hence processor runs cool at 32-25C and good for music and 1200 mhz for dvd rips). HDD (seagate makes no sound), OD (just for ripping), the stock smps is decent in my case, graphics is inbuilt, optical out works great for my mobo Asus m3778em. Plus it can also pass 8 channel LPCM via hdmi.

A internal Xonar can beat a n external budget/middle range DAC even if you upgrade. Options are limitless. You can get a cabinet too that fits in the HT setup.

Flexibity is the name of the game here. For a DAC you may (usually does not happen) face some HW issues, repair etc - for a HTPC if a component goes wrong - just replace it. But seriously setting up a HTPC is work and requires patience. So tread on this slowly.
 
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