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09/02/14 at 03:45:30


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Computer streaming as a source (Read 4662 times)
Fireblade
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Re: Computer streaming as a source
Reply #30 - 02/08/12 at 21:07:25
 
Thanks, will.  I just ordered the chip to increase my RAM to 4 Gb, which is the maximum allowed for a 32 bit Win 7 configuration.  It turns out you have to re-install a 64 bit Win 7 OS version if you want more RAM than that (up to 16 Gbs), so I'm sticking to the 32 bits version  for now, as I cannot warranty the compatibilities in all the stuff I have put together so far.  I don't want to risk starting over again, with non-clear advantages stemming from the 64 bit configuration, at least from what I've been able to read.

Thanks for that interesting thread, Brett.  I went over the whole story there, and I could tell how those ideas were evolving in the direction of where we are today.  It's amazing how many things change in a short time span in this field.  What I read from it, corroborates what I've researched in the past 3 months or so.

I'm very encouraged to see some real tangible progress being achieved finally, and the curiosity and anticipation to listen to all this sound structure in practice, is killing me!  One thing I can say is I've never heard my existing SS setup sound as good as it is today.  This is a testament to the huge leverage the computer sourcing concept brings to the playing table, along with the USB/DAC.

It takes a while to get the juices flowing, the inertia of overcoming the initial threshold of the learning curve, but once you're on the go, things just start clicking in place and are either processed, digested and adapted, or simply discarded, with relative ease.  In the beginning, the task was seemingly unsurmountable, at least for me, with all the jargon and technical wrap making me dizzy.  That doesn't mean I feel comfortable or satisfied, but mainly encouraged to continue this quest and get to the bottom of it, at least up to my own level of complacency.

Have a great listening, guys ...   good job!











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MichaelHiFi
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Re: Computer streaming as a source
Reply #31 - 02/13/12 at 21:36:15
 
Thought I'd chime in here. I mentioned in another thread, I've been working with computer audio for many years starting with Squeezeserver. I still have my hot-rodded Squeezebox 3. That system worked reasonably well but you still had to put an effort in order to keep things tidy. And often the case when the software/hardware handshake wouldn't happen, then a long evening(s) sorting through the mess. I moved on to the PS Audio gear. But it was the same story (I was an early adopter). I simply grew tired of fixing software, rebooting computer, server, my brain...

I'm currentlu using a BDP95 connected to a hard drive. Easy. Only wish the hard drive didn't have a proprietary USB cable. I'm still curios whether the performance orientated USB cables have sonic attributes?

In fact, now that I think of it, it may not be such bad idea to disassemble the hard drive and dampen as many parts as possible (jitter reduction?). That's it, the worlds first audiophile hard drive! (don't be stealin my idea)
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will
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Re: Computer streaming as a source
Reply #32 - 02/14/12 at 14:39:35
 
Proprietary hard drive USB cable? Odd.

I have to reset the handshake from within Pure Music on very rare occasion, but it is an easy menu command. Other than that, I have had flawless interaction between the Mac Mini and Tranquility. This is a NOS (no async) DAC, and there are notable difference in cable sounds in this setup, enough to make it worth exploring good cables, both USB and Power. The thing is that the USB cables carry digital data, but they have analog attributes too, so noise management is as important as with any cable.

My other front end (Music FidelityV-Link/ZDAC/Zstage) works fine connecting with sources too when it is working correctly (my ZDAC had some degenerating problem internally...it works great for a long time, then all the sudden, just won't connect to any source. A new board and all is fine). But even with the async, it too is effected by cables. For it I prefer the Wireworld Starlight USB and for the Tranquility, I prefer the DbAudioLabs Essential USB.

I have no knowledge of the workings of the Oppo, so can't comment on it and how it interacts with the hard drive. I did hear improvements from moving music files off my Mini internal hard drive, and onto to an external firewire drive though, something you are already doing.
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« Last Edit: 02/14/12 at 14:57:25 by will »  

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Fireblade
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Re: Computer streaming as a source
Reply #33 - 02/14/12 at 17:49:34
 
HRT's CTO, Kevin Halverson, told me to stay away from USB-based external hard drives, as these would compete for resources from the host's USB root, with the HRT MS II + USB/DAC.  He's all for having the external drive on NAS or FireWire, as is already common knowledge in compuer audiophilia.

I don't currently have any of these two choices available, as my laptop is Windows-based and without FireWire ports, and I do not have a LAN either.  Yet, when I explained to him my playback procedure (which BTW has provided excellent results with my current MS II), he agreed.

Essentially, I'm leaving a time period separation between the two processes ('in' file data to the player from either drive through one USB Port, and 'out' player-processed data to the DAC from the other USB port).

This is possible because I call a selection of files from the hard disk, and have Foobar2000 convert them to WAV (takes only seconds), and with the big file buffer all these files go to RAM.  Then, I just stream those files to my audio system through the DAC.

Non-concomitant USB-IN and OUT processes allow me to use the only available method, presently, to play WAV files remotely and reduce internal noises and jitter to the minimum possible, within my setup constraints.  I tell you, with my internal drive the sound is great now, so I 'm expecting further improvements when my self-powered 1.5 Tb HDD arrives, along with the new MS II+.

With 4 Gbs in RAM and plenty of available hard disk space (storing the bulk of files on my future remote Drive) and running WAV files (EAC- no error compilations) through the upgraded MS II+, will take this cybernetic sourcing concept to a higher level than it deserves in the current market, given the total investment.

So, it may be more comfortable to buy the best there is, at much expense, but I'm having fun and getting great sound for a much more reasonable cost.  I'm betting, of course, on the delightful Mini-Tori/DM945's combo to crown this sourcing setup.

I've spent many hours doing research on this, almost from scratch, but I can see this time investment is as precious as putting all that money into fancier equipment.  Decware's philosophy is one I share innately, as getting best bang for the buck and still meet a sonic threshold of sorts is more appealing to me.

It's like riding my bike:  I could never afford (nor would I, if I could) a car with the performance specs of my 'jap crutchrocket'.  It's just exhilarating, and it does not require to be rich to enjoy high tech engineering in a pure sports thoroughbred.  Of course, I've invested in all kinds of accessories and stuff, to make it even better, but at incremental investment levels.

Life is great, you have to enjoy it, one way or the other.  Take care now ...










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MichaelHiFi
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Re: Computer streaming as a source
Reply #34 - 02/14/12 at 20:08:39
 
So, using an external hard drive connected directly to a source unit such as my Oppo can be detrimental to sound quality in the from of jitter maybe? I'm not understanding the impact of using the root USB hub of the Oppo and the effect it may have on SQ. You seem to have some serious knowledge about this, way beyond me Smiley

I have my Oppo wired (not wireless) to my home network and have a D-Link storage array of 4ea 1.5 TB hard drives. The actual process of accessing my music files (FLAC ripped through EAC and DBPoweramp) is often painfully slow. Thus my brilliant (or not so brilliant) idea of procuring a 3 TB "My Touch or book" drive just for direct connecting my library to the Oppo. First mistake was that I needed to reformat to 2TB to get a MBR that the Oppo can see! Second mistake was that this external hard drive has a different style of connection at the hard drive, perhaps due to it's 3.0 USB specification. I screwed up bad on that purchase...

Lately I've been reading about how even FLAC files are somewhat compromised compared to a WAV file. The whole idea started out as "getting a bit perfect file compressed in a FLAC wrapper". Now I want to revisit and compare files on my system, or NOT!

Then I read about all types of audiophile software that one should use to play files through the computer. It all gets a little unnerving.
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will
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Re: Computer streaming as a source
Reply #35 - 02/14/12 at 20:55:30
 
Michael, It occurs to me that if your hard drive has no serving capability..IE, is not a computer, but is a drve only, that the USB cable would theroetically have much less effect than in a computer-USB cable-DAC setup. This is since the computer has a lot going on that can generate noise, and also, because jitter is caused by clocking between the computer and the DAC. It sounds like you have an external hard drive hooked to the Oppo for it to access files. In this case, presumably the Oppo is doing all the clocking and processing work that a computer might. Is this true?

If so, you are probably not going to hear problems from the drive or drive cable anywhere near like you might from a computer-USB cable-DAC. Also, I don't really think you need a firewire, or whatever non-USB connection since in your case, the USB to hard drive is already independent from the "computing" in the Oppo. It is when you are using a computer as a server that using a different buss for the USB DAC and the external hard drive can be better. So I am guessing you have no real worries with the USB in your particular setup.

The main thing is the sound! And if you are getting good sound, if you feel like going further in time, you have time to sort it out.

Try the Flac versus WAV thing and see if it matters. It does to some (like me) and not to others, and I think this can be effected in a pretty big way by gear or software too. So you may have no issues at all with your setup.

Also, if you dive back into computer audio some day, there are effective ways to do it (gear/cables/software) that just work and you don't have to reinvent the wheel. There is enough fun in just refining things to tastes without bending the brain too much!

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« Last Edit: 02/14/12 at 20:58:46 by will »  

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MichaelHiFi
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Re: Computer streaming as a source
Reply #36 - 02/14/12 at 22:36:41
 
I simply have a hard drive connected to the back of the Oppo. That's it. Fast access, and a simple Oppo interface. The BDP95 will get modded pretty soon, getting some finer clocks, some power supply work, and a new output stage.

Can one rebuild a FLAC file back into a WAV file without actually damaging the file?

I hope I'm still on topic.
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will
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Re: Computer streaming as a source
Reply #37 - 02/14/12 at 23:18:35
 
Right, so all the "computer part" is in the Oppo, meaning jitter and primary noise potential is in the Oppo. And Oppo has done the homework. So if you like it, I think you are good. What modder are you going to use.

Flac files are "bit perfect" with the compression coming from subtractions of non music data and spaces if I am not mistaken, so you can decompress them to WAV with no loss to the music. I think you may have lost other information data in the compression, but not sure if any of it will matter to you. If you Google around you can figure this out. It may be that your Ripping software can batch convert Flac to WAV. If not there is software out there that will.

There are a lot of serious music heads, like those you listened to before making Flac files, who swear there is no difference in sound, Flac to WAV. There was for me, with my first tests between Apple Lossless and AIFF, so I stayed with AIFF, Apple's WAV. Also AIFF is highly compatible with iTunes, my background library that PureMusic takes over for playback, so I used it over WAV.

I wonder about waiting for your mods to test the Flac to WAV sound difference. I bet they are designed to deal with some of these issues, and also will probably make your sound more transparent, making the differences more clear if they are there for you.

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« Last Edit: 02/14/12 at 23:20:47 by will »  

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Fireblade
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Re: Computer streaming as a source
Reply #38 - 02/15/12 at 01:55:42
 
MichaelHiFi:  

I'm glad will has replied before I could, as he's even more familiar with this topic than myself.  The way I understand this, is exactly as he explained.  

Let me stress that the issue is only the overburdening of the USB root at the host (computer), when having to satisfy high-level competing demands at the same time.  This creates a situation where neither party can be fully satisfied.

The described event can affect the SQ significantly, when one of the USB-Root demanding parties is, in effect, a USB/DAC like the MS II+, which for example requires 80% of the total possible current allocation from any USB 2.0 computer port.  This is 60% higher current demands than my current MS II (simpler version).

Although current may not be directly linked to the mentioned overloading problem, it correlates with the level of translation and internal conversion demands and processes generated at USB Root levels from the MS II+.  

For the described scenario, some people even recommend using a self-powered USB hub to assist the USB-Root at the host computer by providing load relief from the HS to FS translations, for example.

If something I've learned so far, is the simpler and more redundant the components are, the better sound, ceterius paribus.  So, don't worry with the Oppo setup (BTW, great reviews all over), as this is not the problem I was refering to in my previous message.  

Salute!





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Pale Rider
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Re: Computer streaming as a source
Reply #39 - 02/15/12 at 15:10:37
 
I echo Will's question. Who will do our mods for your Oppo? I have considered modding my BDP-95, but the problem I have is that 99% of my music comes through my PWDAC, and not my Oppo, so I am not a all sure I want to spring the $.
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