Author Topic: MediaPC  (Read 5544 times)

Offline ozmillsy

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MediaPC
« on: September 02, 2010, 12:51:57 PM »
I have a MediaPC I use for casual listening,  and for storing backups of my CD library (in flac form).   On this machine I use the Hiface USB-Spdif output connector, and MediaMonkey software with kernel streaming output plugin installed (for bit perfect playack).

The Hiface has made an improvement over the standard soundcard spdif out.    But this MediaPC just does not cut it I'm afraid.   If you havent heard anything else, then it's a perfectly fine mate to the KillerDac.  But compared to the CDC or Phillips CD960,  it sounds flat and lifeless on my system.  It's not until you hear something better, until you realise how much you can be losing with the transport. 



The picture at the bottom right captures the quality of this PC as a transport.   "Take it off Daddy !!!!! "
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: MediaPC
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2010, 12:53:40 PM »
Quote from: Upfront
Have you tried different types of files? Are some better than others as far as your system goes?

Quote from: ozmillsy
I compared native cd on cdc, to flac ripped from the same cd on the mediapc,   CDC wins.   Was it a bad rip?  OK then.......

I compared flac download played back on mediapc,   to flacs burned to cd-r on CDC,   CDC wins. 

There is no comparison really,  the CDC just murders the MediaPC,   it really does.

I havent given up on the PC concept though.   More research and more work is required,  and I'd rather divert that time into other areas at this stage  (ie: into dacs, cables etc).

Quote from: Upfront
It's an interesting one. I have thought about a mediapc but decided against it. To many different programs and file types to choose from. Too much for my little brain. I'd rather just enjoy the music. But in saying that I'll be following this thread. Cause it means that you'll be doing the hard work for me! Good luck mate

Quote from: ozmillsy
Quote from: Upfront
But in saying that I'll be following this thread. Cause it means that you'll be doing the hard work for me! Good luck mate
haha  :lol:

Not for awhile,   in the transport space I'll be doing mods on the Philips first. 

PC mods are low on the pecking order, but is on the distant horizon.   :idea:  I'm interested to do a PC with an SSD drive and totally fan-less,  so waiting for awhile might see SSD's come down in price?
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: MediaPC
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2010, 12:54:41 PM »
Quote from: treblid
Quote from: ozmillsy
PC mods are low on the pecking order, but is on the distant horizon.   :idea:  I'm interested to do a PC with an SSD drive and totally fan-less,  so waiting for awhile might see SSD's come down in price?
You may want to try something like http://vip.asus.com/forum/view.aspx?SLanguage=en-us&id=20100605075717734&board_id=21&model=Xonar%20Essence%20ST&page=1&count=33

Quote from: kajak12
i hope that treblid or ozmillsy come up with a pc that will match my cd94.but before you people do let me sell some of my cd94's.

Quote from: bhobba
Interesting.  Have you tried J River?.

That said forget about media PC's - what you want is a Mac Mini.  The issue is RF pollution of the digital signal (and this was verified by double blind listening tests).  The mac mini is carved out of a solid block aluminium so it won't radiate and an audiophile grade USB cable such as the one designed by the Tranquility dac people will prevent it travelling down the cable.  Also as an interface USB is hopeless (but to be sure for audio SPDIF is even worse) but the Tranquility guys found it better than anything else - even I2S - but it needs to be done correctly.  Firewire may have been slightly superior, but then you need proprietary divers which is a whole another set of headaches.

When I send the Tranquility DAC over for you guys to check out and compare to your killer DAC's you can check this stuff out with its matching USB cable.  Interesting to see if what the Tranquility DAC guys found out applies to the Killer DAC.  Basically they have not found a transport to even get close to the mac mini.  A bold claim that needs to be investigated.  We will find out.

Thanks
Bill
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

DanFi

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Re: MediaPC
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2010, 05:38:00 PM »
I dont think different music containers (wav, aiff or whatever) will make any difference. Its all the same file. It could make a difference in how the file is handled by a program though.

Ultimately i dont think thats the problem, its the output from the computer thats the problem. If you use a soundcard, its inside a very 'noisy' case and will always be hurt by this. Also there are very few very high quality soundcards becasue its a very small market once you get to 'audiophile' country that want to use a computer.

Now some one could play with building a box that can take the usb signal and turn it into coax that is then fed into your dac. This way you can control how the signal is handled, ie. clean power, processing etc well past my knowledge though.

I thought you could take the i2s signal strait from a device like the squeezebox into the chip of the dac, this way quality of the transport/signal would less rely on the quality of the component (squeezebox). But i want to start a diff thread about this.

The way i use my music i couldnt have a cd player, i have friends come over and plug a playlist into the squeezebox and have exactly what we want all night. Poor neighbours.

So im on a mission to get a transport that is as good as a cd player but uses my computer.

question: how much would output quality of the signal from a good cd player and bad cd player be if the pure signal (i2s) is taken and used? Would it be reliant on power quality?

Offline treblid

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Re: MediaPC
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2010, 05:59:42 PM »
I dont think different music containers (wav, aiff or whatever) will make any difference. Its all the same file. It could make a difference in how the file is handled by a program though.
It depends.. The timer on computers can be very imprecise.. Modern computers have something call HPET (High Precision something Timer) which apparently is very accurate, but only Windows 7 and Linux supports it.. And so far I have no idea what they meant by accurate.

The only chance IMO to ever hope of a good PC solution is to get this working is to use Windows 7 or Linux..

Ultimately i dont think thats the problem, its the output from the computer thats the problem. If you use a soundcard, its inside a very 'noisy' case and will always be hurt by this. Also there are very few very high quality soundcards becasue its a very small market once you get to 'audiophile' country that want to use a computer.
The Essense (the card I'm using) has a very low noise, compared to on board sound card anyway... For me the issue isn't the normal "hiss" noise, it's the EMI or RFI noise from HDDs, etc... And this only happens when you have another CE that's earthed.  For my setup it's really PITA as I like the flexibity of a PC but am limited by the equipment I can use. :(

Hopefully this weekend I have some spare time to try Linux and see if it's better than Windows7+foobar for my mediaPC.

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: MediaPC
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2010, 06:32:38 PM »
question: how much would output quality of the signal from a good cd player and bad cd player be if the pure signal (i2s) is taken and used? Would it be reliant on power quality?
If you are talking traditional cd players,   the different transport mechanism designs are a significant part.

There is already an usb input device, with i2s or coaxial output.   Problem is, it's too expensive. The Hiface Evo.

Scoll down this webpage,  to see the description and pic  (the picture at the top is an ad for another device): http://www.m2tech-hiface.com.au/index.php/hiface-evo

I'd be interested in following a thread on Squeezebox mod's too,  if that is something you play with?   I2S out of the squeezebox is interesting,  I wonder if its ever been done ....  [wanders off to google]
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

DanFi

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Re: MediaPC
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2010, 06:49:52 PM »
I have seen it done at least once before, and saw a thread on it a while ago. I will search it and let you know when i get back.

I saw someone had made a pcb that had space for the duet receiver to be put on it (without plastic case) which ran through the dac (their own) so they went to a lot of trouble, makes me think it may work.

Offline kajak12

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Re: MediaPC
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2010, 11:42:02 PM »
question: how much would output quality of the signal from a good cd player and bad cd player be if the pure signal (i2s) is taken and used? Would it be reliant on power quality?
If you are talking traditional cd players,   the different transport mechanism designs are a significant part.

There is already an usb input device, with i2s or coaxial output.   Problem is, it's too expensive. The Hiface Evo.

Scoll down this webpage,  to see the description and pic  (the picture at the top is an ad for another device): http://www.m2tech-hiface.com.au/index.php/hiface-evo

I'd be interested in following a thread on Squeezebox mod's too,  if that is something you play with?   I2S out of the squeezebox is interesting,  I wonder if its ever been done ....  [wanders off to google]
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Offline davewantsmoore

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Re: MediaPC
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2010, 02:32:36 PM »
My transport is a media PC  (Mac)

Currently PC > SPDIF > DAC (Paradisea3)

I think the only future solution (for when I make a significant DAC upgrade) will be PC > USB (I2S) DAC
Currently looking(thinking) about DIY USB-I2S converters... and/or the HiFace Evo.

Offline kajak12

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Re: MediaPC
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2010, 07:59:55 PM »
My transport is a media PC  (Mac)

Currently PC > SPDIF > DAC (Paradisea3)

I think the only future solution (for when I make a significant DAC upgrade) will be PC > USB (I2S) DAC
Currently looking(thinking) about DIY USB-I2S converters... and/or the HiFace Evo.
yes they work but they have limitations i2s is best to get from the player no converters at all less in the path
still discovering the link between electronics and audio reproduction.so much to learn and so little time