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Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions (Read 1044 times)
Mark
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Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
09/20/13 at 23:23:50
 
I would like to stream Pandora and a local radio station from my PC to my audio system... I was wondering what my options are...

I know I can simply run a cable from the back of my desktop to a free input on my Decware amp... And that is what I might do right off to see what kind of sound I can get...

So for now, my question is, what is the best cable for this?... I know I need to get an adaptor to go from the 3.5 mm stereo mini jack output on the back of my computer to two RCA plugs, right?...

I figure I need about 20 ft. of RCA cable... So, what is the best long-run cable for this?... Can you even get a good signal with 20 ft. of audio cable?...

...and beyond that, what are my options for better sound?...

So many questions, so little time... Please get back... (m.)  
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If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)
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beowulf
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #1 - 09/21/13 at 02:32:48
 
I would not go direct from your PC into the amp (you could but you won't get the best sound out of it).  A good DAC should be in between your PC and Preamp and/or Amplifier and will improve the sound (drastically in some cases) as most DACs that are implemented into a PC's motherboard or soundcard are really just an afterthought.  DACs are all over the place budget wise and you can find some good ones from $100 and up (really up $$$ in multiple thousands $$$).

You could either go:

1. PC --> USB Cable -->DAC with Asynchronous USB port --> Decware Preamp/Amp.

or

2. PC --> 75 Ohm Digital Cable --> DAC with SPDIF port --> Decware Preamp/Amp (if your PC has a SPDIF output - which most do).
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« Last Edit: 09/21/13 at 02:37:12 by beowulf »  
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Mark
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #2 - 09/21/13 at 03:02:52
 
How about this?:  http://www.audioquest.com/usb_digital_analog_converter/dragonfly-dac

I have no SPDIF output on my computer... (m.)

Added later: And I would still need a 20ft. analog cable to go from this to my Decware amp, right?...
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« Last Edit: 09/21/13 at 03:05:22 by Mark »  

If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)
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beowulf
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #3 - 09/21/13 at 10:00:56
 
I believe I read somewhere that the max USB cable should go is 5 meters or below, but you could try experimenting with a 20' USB and the results may be good. (SPDIF Coax ... by the way can go long distances, but as you've already stated you have no SPDIF.)

Even though they say the max is 15 feet, I would still try a 20' USB first and my reasoning is that as long as the DAC is USB Asynch it should clean up most problems with the digital signal coming into it before it sends the signal to the amp.  It would also allow you to have the DAC right next to the amp and purchase better quality interconnects.

I'm just thinking out loud here though as there may be some forum members who have more experience with this type of long distance setup than I do.

I've heard some good things about the DragonFly, but IMO that's more of a laptop on-the-go sort of DAC and I think (if your not planning on going mobile) you could do better than that in the $200 range.
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deucekazoo
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #4 - 09/21/13 at 14:05:19
 
I would go the external DAC route. I have tried the phono jack out on laptops and desktops and I don't know what it is but they don't output the whole frequency range. I could not even get my subs to turn on using the phono jack. Hooked up an USB DAC and they kicked right on.
Now if you don't want to spend a lot of money on a DAC look at the Schiit Modi. For $100 USB DAC it is great.
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Lon
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #5 - 09/21/13 at 14:18:28
 
In your situation I (as a Mac user) would look into the Airport Express, a friend uses that and really loves it. I've heard it, sounds okay. I'm not into PC audio at all but rather than 20 feet of cable I'd look into a wireless DAC route.
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Mark
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #6 - 09/21/13 at 14:39:01
 
I'm still here and listening... Just for illustrative purposes, I picked up a cheap 25 ft. TRS mini to RCA (x2) audio cable...

I plugged in the thing, not even bothering to route the cables yet, and got a pretty acceptable sound...

Of course, I optimized my computer as much as my tech knowledge would allow... The sound in my computer is a high def audio VIA sound card... It does all the way up to 192K audio...I'm not sure, so is that the sampling frequency?...

At any rate, It's a cheapo 25' cable that is sold for this type of application, and cost me just short of $9.00... The sound I would describe as 'slightly burnished,' but not wholly unacceptable...

This will at least give me some time to research the whole thing, and come up with a better solution...

What I didn't say is this has all been precipitated by my loss of the only viable HD Radio channel in my area... The local public station had HD 1,2, and 3, but their equipment went down about a month ago, and they just don't have the funds to bring it back up... Talking to the head engineer, he said that they may never put HD Radio back on line...

Note: I can not get FM in my bldg. because of the steel girder frame...

So I can stream audio from the same station(s) on my computer, and also add things like Pandora, which, IMHO, is a much better and diverse medium... (m.)

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If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #7 - 09/21/13 at 16:23:01
 

Mark, that sounds like you have the best interim solution.

What Beowulf said above was word for word what I was going to say. Depending on the sound quality of your sources (Pandora and streamed radio) a better quality cable might be the best solution for you as there is a point of diminishing returns with streamed (compressed) audio.

Another solution, if you really want to squeeze streamed audio for all it's worth, is a dedicated streaming device that has Pandora, Internet Radio, Slacker and all that stuff in it. Put it with your gear and connect it up like any other source. I'm seriously considering this myself as I find a lot of Internet radio stations lead me to "discover" new music I would never have stumbled into otherwise. I'm all about learning from stumbling into stuff.   Roll Eyes
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Mark
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #8 - 10/04/13 at 18:03:53
 
Okay... So I have a Schiit Modi on the way, and I will be soon streaming Pandora into it via USB, then on to my amplifier... I do have a problem, however: I'm trying to install Fidelizer in my Windows 7 desktop computer, and I already have the zipped file in there and ready, but every time I try to 'fidelize,' it returns a message saying that there is no default program to run it, and I should 'associate' a program to run it by going to my default program control panel... Well, I can't find the file there, and don't know how to proceed... Any help at all will be appreciated here...

Would I have to 'unzip' the file... And what else do I need to do?... It just won't recognize the file and initiate the fidelizer... ???... (m.)
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If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)
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deucekazoo
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #9 - 10/04/13 at 19:07:26
 
Yes you have to unzip the file. If you double click it it should automatically unzip, if not then you need a program. Find something on the web for free to do it. Winzip or something like that. Once unzipped you should just double click the icon and it will do the rest.
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Mark
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #10 - 10/04/13 at 21:02:52
 
Nothing doing... I still get a window that tells me that I need a program associated with it...  ???... (m.)
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If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)
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beowulf
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #11 - 10/05/13 at 08:06:14
 
If the file is zipped you need to unzip it first before you can install it and it seems like you may need to set the default program to unzip downloaded files ....  I use 7zip as my defualt file unzip/zip, but there are many good ones out there.  If it needs to be unzipped try this ...

1. Right click on the file and under the list of options choose

2. -->Open With -->Choose Default Program

and when the new window opens up:

3. Click on 7zip (or WinZip is the default program that comes with Windows Vista and 7) and check the option -->Always use the selected program to open this type of file.

4. Click -->OK and the window will close.

5. Go back to the file you're trying to unzip and Right click again on the file again and this time under the options choose -->Run as administrator

Let me know if that works ... if not, I may have a couple other things you can try.
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« Last Edit: 10/05/13 at 08:26:37 by beowulf »  
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Mark
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #12 - 10/05/13 at 13:46:42
 
Thanks... I'll give it a try later today... I'm also left wondering, if I'm using the Schiit Modi USB DAC, whether anything significant is to be gained by, let's say, just using the first level of Fidelizer... Which I may end up with because the processing power of my present computer is not all that fast...

Pandora does run without any hang-ups, however... This computer audio stuff can be daunting... But it sure beats an HD tuner that no longer has any HD stations to pick up!... (m.)
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If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)
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Mark
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #13 - 10/06/13 at 22:03:14
 
Received the Schiit Modi last night, and hooked it up this morning... It's going to need some break-in time... The sound is good, but a little grainy... That is slowly going away as I use the unit...

Loading was automatic... It loaded its own drivers, and even set itself as the default sound device... I also got the Schiit USB PYST cable, which is very nice for $20.00... Equal to, I would say, about a $100.00 'audiophile' USB cable...

I'm going to try the fidelizer again... More later... (m.)
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If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)
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Mark
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Re: Streaming Audio From My PC: Questions
Reply #14 - 10/20/13 at 00:46:23
 
Follow-up: Well, I've been streaming Pandora from my PC through the Schiit Modi for over 100 hrs. now, and I want to say that the results are very satisfying to my ears...

I originally thought that running a long length of USB cable to where me HiFi system was, was the way to go; however, the best way is to keep the Modi near the computer, running a high quality USB cable for a short distance... This necessitates a long run of RCA cable, but since the output of the Modi is rated at 75 ohms, it doesn't seem to be a problem... No discernible loss of high frequencies... Note: The break-in time is important here...

The sound is open and articulate... And the voltage gain out of the Modi is more than needed... Once again, thanks for the recommendation!... (m.)
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If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)
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