Author Topic: Sound Cards for Music Server PC  (Read 16761 times)

RoadRunner

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2009, 07:32:59 PM »
Any users of the KECES DA-151 series.  Fits Carls  preferences for USB connected external DAC. 

Feedback on this unit would be appreciated from personal use.

Offline Carlman

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2010, 08:05:15 AM »
I've never heard of Keces... how is that pronounced? ;)
There are reviews out there.. http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0808/keces_da151.htm
and
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f46/review-keces-da-151-dac-800-hours-burn-297021/

It's too bad it's an either/or design.. you either have a USB (151) dac OR a spdif DAC (131)... but not both.. I like having both in 1. 
I really enjoy listening to music.

mgalusha

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2010, 11:31:24 AM »
I have a Keces 131 fed by a hiFace USB/SPDIF on my desktop at work. The Keces isn't bad, not great but not bad either. Works nicely for my office setup. :) Listening to it now in fact.

Offline djbnh

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2010, 09:41:42 AM »
I'm wondering if I require a dedicated sound card. My new system is as follows, note pertinent sound mobo information:

CD: Sony 20X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive
CD2: Lite-On IHOS 104 4X Blu-Ray Player
CASE: CoolerMaster Storm Sniper Mid-Tower Gaming Case
CPU: Intel(R) CoreT i7-920 2.66 GHz 8M L3 Cache LGA1366
FAN: Xigmatek Thor's Hammer Gaming CPU Cooling Fan
FLASHMEDIA: INTERNAL 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer
HDD: Extreme Performance with Data Security (RAID-0+1) with 4 Identical Hard Drives (1TB (500GBx4) SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)
MOTHERBOARD: (3-Way SLI Support) GigaByte GA-X58A-UD7 Intel X58 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX Ultra DurableT3 Triple-Channel DDR3/1600 24 Phase Power ATX Mainboard w/ 7.1 HD Dobly Audio, Dual GbLAN, USB3.0, 2 x SATA-III RAID, 4 Gen2 PCIe, 2 PCIe X1 & 1 PCI
MEMORY: 6GB (2GBx3) DDR3/1600MHz Triple Channel Memory Module (Corsair Dominator)
OVERCLOCK: Extreme OC (Extreme Overclock 20% or more)
OS: Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 7 Professional (64-bit Edition)
POWERSUPPLY: Corsair Power Supplies (950 Watts CMPSU-950TX - Quad SLI Ready)
VIDEO: ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB DDR5 16X PCIe Video Card [DirectX 11 Support] (Major Brand Powered by ATI)
VIDEO2: ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB DDR5 16X PCIe Video Card [DirectX 11 Support] (Major Brand Powered by ATI)

I'm gathering information regarding gear I'm considering on the main audio side (ex: Modwright Transport, Squeezebox, etc.) and am wondering if my choice of mobo might let me get away with not going for a dedicated audio card. Opinions are solicited and welcome.
“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”   C.S. Lewis

Offline richidoo

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2010, 10:31:50 AM »
Hi Dave! In my opinion, if you have a DAC that can deal with jitter, then you can use the stock SPDIF output on any soundcard or mobo if it has one. If you don't have a jitter reducing DAC, then a sound card which is audiophile aware or at least pro audio aware is probably needed to get really good sound out of the computer.

Do you already have the Transporter / Squeezebox, or are you considering buying one of those?

Supposedly the Transporter can accept an external SPDIF stream for decoding, but we've not been able to make bigfish's digital input work yet. Other owners say it works. How well it removes jitter when direct connected to SPDIF I don't know. When receiving data over the network there is no jitter until the transporter receives ethernet packets and converts them into a digital audio stream, but that path is short and well controlled, so jitter should stay low. TP can also accept an external word clock which is used to synchronize all parties of the digital audio conversation and eliminate jitter, in this case PC and DAC. But all parties must be able to accept external word clock, only a few pro audio sound cards can do that.

Offline djbnh

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2010, 11:35:11 AM »
Do you already have the Transporter / Squeezebox, or are you considering buying one of those?
Considering, been doing research as time permits.
“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”   C.S. Lewis

Offline satfrat

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2010, 01:10:59 PM »
Dave, with all those bells and whisles inside that PC case comes added noise & other nasties (IOW, there are better options IMHO than internal soundcards). Don't know what you have for a Dac but if you already have the Dac of your choice, I'd recommend the Empirical Off-Ramp 3 with an Ultraclock option, especially if you are only interested in NOS (non over sampling) CD quality downloads. Maybe one of these days, we could get together for a day of listening with my own Off-Ramp & a few other toys that I could bring along,, as time permits of course.  :thumb:

Cheers,
Robin
Butler 3150 amps, Sunfire Theater Grand 4 processor, Mhdt Havana w/Vitamin Q cap bypass, HTPC, Empirical Off-Ramp 3 w/Ultraclock & Hynes PS, Odyssey Audio Lorelei's, Usher X-616's, Ridge Street Audio Poiema!!! IC/SC, BPT & UberBuss power conditioners

RoadRunner

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2010, 07:53:13 PM »
I have to  return to the topic of the  Asus Xonar Essence STX PCI Express  card.
Now Steve Guttenberg (The Audiophiliac) at Cnet has taken on the card. 

Doesn't seem like he has actually done a hands, er, ears on approach yet, but what he has read piques his interest.   I hope to see his review soon.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-10440755-47.html?tag=mncol;txt

Offline sleepyguy24

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2016, 08:32:16 AM »
Anyone have any sound card recommendations now for a Music Server PC? I'm thinking about building a music server from an old PC build. Thanks in advance.

Offline jessearias

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2016, 09:36:20 AM »
Now you guys have me all curious.  :shock:

I have been toying with the idea of building a music server.

From what I have read, I will need a high quality MB like an Asus, MSI etc. in addition to memory (8 GB) and good processing power. (not overkill, as I am not playing World of Warcraft, but speedy)

My question is: I have a built in DAC in my Parasound P5 (Burr-Brown PCM1798) and it would seem logical to just use an Audioquest Jitterbug (to get rid of any jitter) and feed the USB stream to the P5. ( I know not the best DAC in the world, but that's what it has)  :(

OR

Would it be better to use the Asus soundcard and RCA it to the P5?  :shock:

ALSO: What is a good program to manage the music? I am looking for a program that manages and allows ripping of the CD onto the computer in full cd audio quality? I want to stay away from MP3, kind of  defeats the purpose

« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 11:37:43 AM by jessearias »
Parasound A21, Parasound JC2BP, Oppo 205 BR/SACD Disc Player, Marantz ST6000 Tuner, GoldenEar Triton 2 speakers and Supersub XXL, Triode Wire Labs interconnects, power cables and speaker wire, PI Audio Uber, Mini and Digibuss, Border Patrol DAC

Offline HAL

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #25 on: June 28, 2016, 10:16:32 AM »
If it has a USB2 port, the Meridian Audio Explorer2 DAC is a very good sounding external unit for $299.  It has an asynchronous USB2 interface with ASIO USB driver.

All minimum phase filtering and the capability to decode MQA files for sites like Tidal streaming High Fi channel.

Good luck with your choice.

Offline richidoo

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #26 on: June 28, 2016, 12:28:27 PM »
Anyone have any sound card recommendations now for a Music Server PC? I'm thinking about building a music server from an old PC build. Thanks in advance.

Dean, Asus Xonar Essence STR and Creative ZXR are among the best consumer PCI audio cards. ($300) Whether these are good enough for audiophile use I don't know, they are targeted to high end video gamers. But there have been audiophile reviews of them. They probably sound better than most so called "pro audio" hobby musician interfaces in the same price range.

Moving up to true professional quality you have Lynx E22 (600,) or anything from RME ($$$ - german - the best.) Lynx is good build quality, good sound quality, but probably not as good as an audiophile bred DAC and not a good value unless you need the pro audio features like signal routing, hardware dsp, ultra reliability, etc.

The PCI format is less popular now, USB is taking over. Make sure your old PC can handle the PCI formats used in the new cards.

If your old PC has USB 2.0 ports, you're probably better off choosing a $400-600 USB DAC since that is the rage now and there are a million of them with modern DAC chips and low jitter clocks. This would be the best resale value too.  If you buy it used then it's "free disposal" when you're done. ;)

I think you would get similar or better sound quality as the PCI cards or $500 commercial USB DAC by using a Raspberry Pi 3 (RPi3) and HifiBerry DAC+ Pro. Low jitter, nice DAC chip, simple output stage for $100, includes the server (RPi,) the DAC (Hifiberry) and free linux audio OS and software player (Rune, Volumio, Raspbian, etc.)

The only reason to need the processing power of a PC for audio playback nowadays is if you want to do convolution dsp like low frequency FIR crossover, EQ and room correction. But to just spin the tunes from web or local files, you just need a little Raspberry Pi.

The nice thing about the HifiBerry audio accessories for RPi is it is all extremely minimalistic, so the price is kept down and simple to assemble and use. There are also other brands of RPi DACs and such.

If I get my DAC mods working I'm getting a RPi for silent USB source.

Offline richidoo

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Re: Sound Cards for Music Server PC
« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2016, 12:54:33 PM »
Now you guys have me all curious.  :shock:

I have been toying with the idea of building a music server.

From what I have read, I will need a high quality MB like an Asus, MSI etc. in addition to memory (8 GB) and good processing power. (not overkill, as I am not playing World of Warcraft, but speedy)

My question is: I have a built in DAC in my Parasound P5 (Burr-Brown PCM1798) and it would seem logical to just use an Audioquest Jitterbug (to get rid of any jitter) and feed the USB stream to the P5. ( I know not the best DAC in the world, but that's what it has)  :(

OR

Would it be better to use the Asus soundcard and RCA it to the P5?  :shock:

ALSO: What is a good program to manage the music? I am looking for a program that manages and allows ripping of the CD onto the computer in full cd audio quality? I want to stay away from MP3, kind of  defeats the purpose



You don't need a powerful PC to stream music from web or to play tunes from local or network drive. Even high res PCM will play easily from today's smallest appliance computer or cell phone.

Any ripper program can rip to PCM (*.wav) What you want to look for in a ripper app is that it produces "bit-perfect" rips. This requires the app analyze the bitstream coming from the CD-R and construct the file correctly, filtering out errors, scratches, whatever problems. A simple ripper like iTunes or Windows Media Player does not prevent errors being written into the ripped files.

I use dBpoweramp ($) software for ripping CDs to flac. It does all that analysis and even compares the ripped file's CRC result to a database of previously ripped songs to verify your rip is exactly the same as other people's rips, which assumes it is bit perfect. But it also does hard way verification and error correction, etc.  It can reconstruct a bitperfect file from a scratched or error filled CD of you give it enough time. This kind of ripping of scratched or error filled CDs is very intensive on the optical drive, so it might shorten the lifespan of that periferal if you rip a lot of bad CDs. Exact Audio Copy (EAC) is a good free bitperfect ripper.
mo info: http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Secure_ripping

The flac file format is a lossless compression format (similar to alac on apple) that sounds just as good as uncompressed wav format, but takes up only about half the space. mp3 is only 5-20% of the original file on the CD, but SQ suffers to varying degrees.

Many of us ripped our music library to flac over the last 10 years, but nowadays hard drive space is so cheap, it is probably just as valid to rip to wav and avoid the decode file conversion during playback. I used to imagine that wav file sounded slightly (barely) better than flac when the decode was being done inside a Squeezebox 3 streamer. I'm sure I could not succeed at a blind comparison, as it was too close. And if decode was done on a more powerful host I might not be able to tell. Could be just a little more jitter was added through the flac signal path. Also I'm 10 years older now so I don't care anymore. ;) ymmv