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Computer Audio - Music Server (Read 5482 times)
maddog07
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Computer Audio - Music Server
08/28/12 at 23:26:33
 
I'm a bit new to the Decware family and this forum, but was surprised I did not find a thread on this topic - so let's start one!

anybody out there who would like to share their experience with setting up a Music server?  

The last few years out at RMAF, there were nary a few rooms where music was not served up via a laptop or some kind of computing device.  I gotta tell ya, sitting on my fat arse in a big easy chair, with touch screen access to all my music, without moving, is very appealing!  ;D

So I have been contemplating how best to accomlish this, both in terms of ease of use and sound quality.
 
I just bought a stand alone DAC that can serve as my hub for receiving all things digital (but I haven't completely retired my trusty ole CD player quite yet).  And I have an iPad 3, that with the simple installation of an app. can serve as my controller/interface wirelessly.  

Now I'm contemplating buying a new laptop with its main purpose to serve as a music server.  I have thought about going the Mac route, but I need to stay MS based due to apps I would need to run on this machine to provide office connectivity for support from time to time.  
I have also contemplated the stand alone server route, like Olive or Wyred4Sound, but a laptop is not only less expensive, but much more flexible in terms of overall functionality and usefulness I think.  Though I'm finding darn few laptops that have a spdif/coax digital out on them.

So.... Decwarian's... let's go - spill it - is anybody out there "serving" up their music collection and how are ya accomplishing it?  The good, the bad & the ugly....
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva UMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Marsh P200b, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, I'm outta room..
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sberger
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #1 - 08/28/12 at 23:35:50
 
I use a Squeezebox Touch and rip everything to FLAC. Have over 4200 albums and 40,000 tunes on it. Feed it through a Channel Islands DAC, a CSP2 pre, and my Torii. Can't imagine anything sounding better or easier to use or set up.
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maddog07
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #2 - 08/28/12 at 23:48:56
 
the squeezebox touch doesn't store the music does it?  forgive me, but I'm not familiar with the logitec products.  how does this work?  does the SB comm wirelessly to your PC, and the PC feeds digital to your CIA DAC?  give me details, details..!   Smiley
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva UMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Marsh P200b, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, I'm outta room..
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Lon
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #3 - 08/28/12 at 23:57:38
 
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maddog07
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #4 - 08/29/12 at 00:01:37
 
thanks Lon!!! digesting now.
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva UMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Marsh P200b, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, I'm outta room..
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sberger
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #5 - 08/29/12 at 00:47:32
 
My music is stored on an external hard drive but others store on their computer, NAS, etc. The SBT uses your WiFI to stream it throughout the house. Plus it gives you access to Internet radio worldwide and tons of services like MOG, Spotify, etc. Couldn't be easier.
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Donnie
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #6 - 08/29/12 at 01:50:10
 
I think that people overthink computer audio. I store my files on a Dell desktop, use a JRiver 17 player outputting by way of USB to my Wyred 4 Sound DAC. Outputting into my Torii III. No NAS, no Squeeze box, nothing but the computer, a DAC and my amp. Simple, affordable, and sounds great.
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nubz69
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #7 - 08/29/12 at 03:11:07
 
I have a dedicated HTPC I built with a Xonar ST so I could have high end audio and still drive a surround setup as well.  I also just purchased an ODAC and love it, you can't beat it for 10Xs it's cost imo.  

You can go as simple or as elaborate as you want, having your tablet work as your interface is a great convenience.  If you really want to go cheap, consider something with a raspberry Pi.
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sberger
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #8 - 08/29/12 at 03:23:05
 
Using a Squeezebox is not over thinking. It's an. External device just like your J River. It has a fantastic DAC so there is no need for a DAC if you really want to keep it simple. As for my external HD I wouldn't want to clog up my computer with what amounts to almost a TB of music. And the SBT also gives me access to all kinds of radio and music services. A fantastic product.
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maddog07
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #9 - 08/29/12 at 19:53:17
 
let me elaborate a bit about my vision of how I think I want this to work.  
#1... my computer is not sitting next to my DAC or even in the same room and I don't intend to relocate it in proximity to my stereo system, nor run cat5 cable or something between the two.  
I also would like to maintain some degree of "separation" between the computer/internet side and the music server side if possible - thank you all the over achievers of the world living in your parents basements, wasting your talent on developing malware.

I went out to the Logitech site and tried to determine exactly how the SB works, but I'm still not 100% sure.  I think I could store my music on a NAS on my home network, or simply an external drive attached directly to my computer.  I think I could then sit the SB next to my DAC, the SB could then access the music wirelessly from my PC and spit out the digits to my DAC via spdif or USB - or even use the SB's dac and analog outputs.  And I could control the SB via its screen or it's remote.  But more ideally, control it wirelessly via an iPad app. which gets me my wireless GUI touchscreen interface that allows me to listen to any of my music at the touch of a finger without getting out of my chair!  Does anybody have this setup described above?  Am I all wet in my understanding of how to make this work?  Would it work?  How well does it work?
Well actually, I know it's possible.  I saw many setups like this in use, experienced it with me own eyes, and in some cases used their iPad app interface to select demo tracks in several rooms at RMAF last year.  But I failed to gather the details of any of their setups.
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva UMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Marsh P200b, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, I'm outta room..
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sberger
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #10 - 08/29/12 at 20:50:44
 
What you described would work fine. That's pretty much how I do it.
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maddog07
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #11 - 08/29/12 at 23:21:16
 
well.. this sounds like one direction to investigate further that meets all my objectives possibly.  Anybody ever heard of a SB being impacted by malware?  Do Squeezeboxes get regular updates/downloads off the www?  
and... I just tried to find the Squeezebox on logitechs website... something is going on - it's not even there.  You get redirected to some "ue" site that does not show the squeezebox as a product under the Products hyperlink.  Surely they are not discontinuing this product..??
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva UMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Marsh P200b, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, I'm outta room..
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sberger
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #12 - 08/29/12 at 23:47:40
 
Rumor has it that they very well may be discontinuing the SBT but there is such a strong community that support for it should remain helpful. Again just a rumor for now.

There have been occasional software updates in the past but you are able to turn off automatic updating in the user settings.
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Donnie
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #13 - 08/30/12 at 00:23:46
 
I don't even have my stereo computer hooked up to the Internet. There is about 750 Gb on my hard drive, backed up by a 1 Tb external hard drive. I only use that computer for music. The computer - storage part is so cheap now I'm not going to worry too much about if everythig blows up, I'll just go down the street and buy another box and move on.
The worst part of the whole process was ripping all of the CD's into WAV files. But it did give me something to do for a couple of months.
And the best thing is that I still have the CD's as the ultimate backup.
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maddog07
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #14 - 08/30/12 at 16:00:02
 
Donnie.. agree w/you there on the PC being the inexpensive way to go, which is why I'm leaning that way.  And external usb and eSata drives are cheap too.  Now if I can just find a way to use my iPad wirelessly to control some software running on a laptop that has all my music ripped to FLAC on it, I'll be set.  I really do want the wireless, touch screen, GUI interface - that's what got me all stirred up and starting this quest in the first place.
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva UMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Marsh P200b, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, I'm outta room..
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Lon
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #15 - 08/30/12 at 16:07:58
 
One way to go wireless and control by iPad is the PS Audio PerfectWave DAC Mk II with Bridge. This would give you drool-inducing sound. But is likely far more expensive than you'd like to pay. . . .
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Donnie
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #16 - 08/30/12 at 17:17:44
 
Maddog,
You can use JRiver media player, they have a app that allows you to use your Ipad for a remote control.
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« Last Edit: 08/30/12 at 23:35:50 by Donnie »  

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maddog07
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #17 - 08/30/12 at 17:58:44
 
I am willing to pay for performance - to a point.  I've been on the audiofool merry-go-round for about 30 years now.  I've been to Levinson-land and back more than once - I hate to admit!  Which, btw, is how I found Decware - trying to get off the train-to-nowhere for good this time.  

Anyway, I recently purchased the Wyred4Sound DAC2... which is the first DAC/player, at any price, that I've personally heard that exceeds the performance of my late 90's/early 2000's vintage Theta Digital gear which cost far more back then when I bought it than the Wyred DAC does now.  The Wyred was intentionally acquired with the intent to serve as a digital input hub, spdif, usb, etc.  In retrospect I think it might have been smarter to get a good pre/pro that could accept multi-channel digital audio in any format and a player like an Oppo for a silver disc spinner.  Which BTW, I just discovered the Oppp 93 & 95's models can have external hard drives attached to them and can network to a PC and music stored there.  I am definitely going to research this in more depth asap.  Here we go again already -  stepping back on the merry-go-round.

It has been my experience, in the past 3 years or so, that the gap between good to great digital playback/sound & the very best obtainable at any price has grown increasingly narrow - the 80/20 rule for digital might be more like 90/10 now.

I am a strong proponent of the PS Powerplants and their power cords and own both and consider them "essential" components at this point.  However, I  have never owned any of PSA's source gear, preamps or power amps.  I have heard the all PSA systems at RMAF numerous times in PSA's room, but have never auditioned any in my own room.  I have kindof kept an eye on the PW DAC for quite some time now.  But I have never had a chance to hear it since its availability in brick-n-mortar stores for demo seems to be very limited - at least within reasonable driving distance in my area per PSA's dealer locator webpage.  Also, and this is just my opinion, and it is just an "opinion"(no negativity intended or implied), it appears McGowan & Co. are trying to take the PW DAC and the entire PS line "uptown", as the MK.II version with bridge is now $4790.  At this point, I think it has far exceeded the "good value" point on the ladder.  And I just don't think it is necessary to spend this much $$$ to get great digital sound anymore.  Of course, each individuals mileage may vary on this point.

you wouldn't be bringing your PW DAC to Zenfest this year would you?  I'd bring my Wyred - would be great to hear and compare and contrast the two.
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva UMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Marsh P200b, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, I'm outta room..
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Lon
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #18 - 08/30/12 at 19:51:08
 
I'm not coming to Decfest and if I were to come it would be on two wheels, not the way to travel with gear. I only own a motorcycle and I take at least one long trip a year from Texas to Ohio to visit my folks, but I "travel light."

I've discovered that with my Decware amp, preamp, and speakers the front end is very ruthlessly revealed and the best I can feed it is the best sound I can get. I have the PWD and I have a PS Audio phono preamp, and I think both are excellent. The DAC was not as expensive when I bought it and I updated to Mk II late but I find it excellent. Personally I've not really liked the Oppo players I've heard, and I've never been inclined to own one. I've had two Decware players and the PWD is much better than they are. I'm sure there are better players but I shudder to think what their costs are. I decided to try the PWD for a month "trial" and never sent it back, it's the most analog like I've heard digital and I'm very happy. The upgrade is icing on the cake. (I also have the Transport from PS Audio and that and the PWD are meant to work together, and they certainly do, very very well).Also mine is an audio and visual system combined, and the PWD allows me great sound, switching and volume and balance control for three sources (and the remote controls the Premier).

I noted that it is expensive, but I intend to have this for years and I'm very happy with it. I have ZERO interest in streaming, digital files, etc. I just want to spin my discs, of which I have probably more than you'd imagine, and the PWD has really served my needs and exceeded my expectations. With the Bridge it would do what you want to do. I just decided myself that I would get the best front end that I could afford and do the Decware products proud the way they should be, and I'm glad I did.

Best of luck!
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« Last Edit: 08/30/12 at 23:25:54 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DVD-A1UDCI, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Stradivarius, Ultra Linear+Evo ICs, Iso-Pods,Mapleshade:Double Heiix Plus,Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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maddog07
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #19 - 08/31/12 at 23:55:42
 
anybody have a Sonos system (the Sonos "Connect" component it looks like is what is needed) in use as a Music Server between their PC and DAC and controlling it wirelessly with an iPad, iPhone or Android device?
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva UMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Marsh P200b, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, I'm outta room..
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maddog07
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #20 - 09/04/12 at 18:35:14
 
I guess not? bump...?

I went to a local brick-n-mortar that installs Sonos systems this past weekend.  This is the best deal I've seen yet.  You only need the Sonos Connect box and a NAS drive connected to your router, download the iPad app. and you're in business with wireless control of your own music server - your computer doesn't even have to be turned on to use the system after you load your music on to the NAS!!!!
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva UMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Marsh P200b, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, I'm outta room..
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beowulf
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #21 - 09/15/12 at 10:54:09
 
Anybody heard of or checked out Baetus Audio?  This looks like a pretty good system using JRiver software, and the website as a whole has a lot of good pointers on what to look for in an audio server when buying or building.

Home Page: http://baetisaudio.com/

Excellent Article: http://baetisaudio.com/PDF/WhybuyaWindows-basedaudiophilecomputer.pdf

The Beatis setup is not a full blown PC though, it is limited to A/V server type activities such as streaming Netflix, Rip, Store and Playback Blu-Rays and Music and stuff like that, but I don't think you could use it in place of a PC that you would want to check email, or write a Word document, etc.  In fact, I don't think it even has Hard Disk storage, but rather you would use it with an NAS or another type of external HDD.

But I still think think it is a pretty good value compared to a lot of other servers like Sooloos, Kaleidescape, Olive and others along that line.
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beowulf
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #22 - 09/15/12 at 11:03:05
 
Quote:
I went to a local brick-n-mortar that installs Sonos systems this past weekend.  This is the best deal I've seen yet.  You only need the Sonos Connect box and a NAS drive connected to your router, download the iPad app. and you're in business with wireless control of your own music server - your computer doesn't even have to be turned on to use the system after you load your music on to the NAS!!!!


If you get a Sonos, you should check out the Wyred4Sound mod for it ... I heard a lot of great feedback on it.

http://www.wyred4sound.com/webapps/category/74030/117839/46317

I'm not sure what your budget is, but if you buy the Sonos from W4S the total is $890.00 (that include the Sonos and Mod), if you already have the Sonos you can send it to them for the Mod only and it costs $550.00
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #23 - 09/15/12 at 12:46:25
 
DECWARE can be the end of the line. Once you've reached audio nirvana you don't want to go anywhere else.
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Donnie
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #24 - 09/15/12 at 14:28:47
 
beowulf,
The Beatis looks interesting, but I have to wonder what it has over a PC with Jriver loaded in it? $600 will buy you a lot of PC, $50 will buy you JRiver, $100 will buy you a external hard drive. From what I see, that is what the Beatis consists of. Maybe the fancy solid aluminum faceplate is the selling point.
I always go back to my thought that everyone is overthinking the whole computer audio thing. All you need is a computer, a DAC, a Decware amp and Decware speakers. Simple and reasonably priced.
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beowulf
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #25 - 09/16/12 at 02:05:46
 
Quote:
beowulf,
The Beatis looks interesting, but I have to wonder what it has over a PC with Jriver loaded in it? $600 will buy you a lot of PC, $50 will buy you JRiver, $100 will buy you a external hard drive. From what I see, that is what the Beatis consists of. Maybe the fancy solid aluminum faceplate is the selling point.

I always go back to my thought that everyone is overthinking the whole computer audio thing. All you need is a computer, a DAC, a Decware amp and Decware speakers. Simple and reasonably priced.


Donnie,

I agree, this is just something that is ready to go and specifically for use a Media Center.  Some things I like about it are that unlike a regular PC, it doesn't have alot of apps going in the background and there is no special sound or graphics cards. It let's the processor and ram do it's thing and passes DSP onto the DAC and/or Preamp Processor to do their things.

The specs are pretty simple if one were to build one themselves.  I have built a few PC's in my time and find it very easy to do.

Specifications (http://baetisaudio.com/ourproducts.html):

All of our machines are custom-built. Baetis Revolution™ has the following features:

  • Case: all aluminum, 9.5” W x 10” D x 4.25” H, black or silver

  • CPU: Intel Core i3 processor with Intel integrated audio and HD2000 integrated video (the faster Core ix processors and integrated video are not needed, and just generate more heat, when you are using a quality DAC and/or pre-pro)

  • RAM:  8G DDR3 1300

  • 128G Solid State Drive

  • Blu-ray combo drive:  reads and writes CDs and DVDs; reads blu-ray discs  (note that we do NOT supply blu-ray playing software since we expect the user to rip the disc and store it before playing it).

  • Ethernet port
    4 USB 2.0 outputs in the rear, 2 in the front
    2 USB3.0 outputs in the rear
    1 eSATA output in the rear
    1 HDMI (latest hi-def version) output in rear
    1 custom-built digital BNC audio out (see the cable types you will use in photo)
    1 Toslink optical digital audio out
    1 RCA digital audio out
 
  • Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) – or Win 7 Ultimate

  • JRiver Media Center 17.


It's just a standard machine, but they add some "Pulse™ isolation transformer" and a few other do-dads like isolated BNC S/PDIF outputs.  It's almost all passively cooled which I think is pretty important to reduce sound interference.

The only thing I would do differently is maybe add a few solid state drives for more space.
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Donnie
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #26 - 09/16/12 at 02:55:08
 
beowulf,
Yep, solid state drives are the only way to go. As far as optimising the PC you need Fedelizer, a free program that shuts everything in you computer down that it doesen't need to play music. I run mine in the extreme mode, it goes as far as turning off my security program and diables the clock.
Oh, by the way, nice Bonnie. I really had to blow up your picture to see the 2 throttle cables.
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beowulf
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Re: Computer Audio - Music Server
Reply #27 - 09/16/12 at 07:06:31
 
Donnie, thanks for the program Fedelizer, I'll check it out.

LOL, good eye on the bike!  I love me some sixties era Triumphs ... I have another Triumph that I'm building into a Bobber/Custom ... it's lovingly called "The Basket Case" since all of the parts to it at this point can fit in a shopping cart Smiley
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« Last Edit: 09/16/12 at 07:09:58 by beowulf »  
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