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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:32 am 
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Location: Ingersoll, ON, CA
I've been thinking about trying computer based audio.
I have approx. 200GB of music in iTunes. All ALAC ripped from my own collection.
I have some loyalty points that I'm going to have to use soon.
What I'm thinking about is buying a computer with a 1TB hard drive and using it for music only.
Is there a book along the lines of Computer Audio for Dummies?
I'm assuming I need a DAC as well as the computer?
Right now I rip the music to iTunes and then put it on my iPod (or at least I did until I filled the iPod) which I play back from a Pure Audio i20.
I'm in no hurry to start this experiment but I happen to have a little (a lot actually) time on my hands and would like to learn more about this.
I don't care about streaming or anything I just want to have easy access to my music and of course don't want to sacrifice sound quality.
I'd appreciate your thoughts and yes I realize that given my general computer ineptness this could be a real hair puller for me.
No risk, no reward,
Thanks.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:14 pm 
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Location: London, ON, CA
Hey: I live rather close to you, and I was going to come over to help you with something a while back ... lost track of time. If you get something going, and run into a glitch, I can help, as I am fairly savvy with computers.

I use a 1TB hard drive connected to an OPPO BDP-103 which enables me to interface with the hard drive to play music and movies. This moron thinks it is far better than a computer based system!


Last edited by L-Man on Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:17 pm 
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Location: Whitby, ON, CA
Get yourself an airplay enabled DAC - I have a Marantz.

Use the "remote" app in the Apple App Store to control your iTunes from your iOS device and send music to the Marantz

It's not FLAC but it sure is easy


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:49 pm 
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Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
There are many ways to set up computer based audio.

What I did was purchase a barebone PC from a supplier in Toronto using Ebay. I have a 2TB external harddrive with music which I access using a USB port and play the music using Jplay. The computer is connected with a dac again via USB which then feeds my amp.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:56 pm 
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Location: Newmarket, ON, CA
Lots of different opinions out there, but my input would be to look into some sort of streamer instead. Computers take work to optimize for audio playback, their noisy in the room & put noise on your line if its a shared circuit. Some streamers will just be a renderer, while other will also have a built in DAC, etc.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:08 pm 
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Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
I'll share my limited experience which has been positive. I too am fairly computer nzive. I ditched my cd player a few years ago and purchased an Acer tower computer, 1 Tb hard drive, intel core i3, Windows 7, no extraneous software, from Staples for $200 (an end ov production discount). It also has wireless connectivity to my internet. Loaded JRiver media center 18 ($50 download). Ripped my cd library (took a few weeks of on and off effort). Purchased a Simaudio Moon 100D dac ($500) and connected it via usb cable. Et voila! A digital setup is born. I also access the jriver/library via my tablet using the app called Gizmo. And i have hidden the computer in a cabinet so i dont hear the fan and have cut out the back of the cabinet to allow for air circulation.

I have since upgraded the dac and moved from usb to a usb to spdif converter running from computer to dac, but the computer has remained in place.

All in all i am very satisfied with both the SQ and simplicity of the system. I cant imagine having to load silver discs one by one in order to listen to music, but thats just me...to each his own :)

Good luck with your endeavour. I'm sure you will be able to pull it off w/o too much effort.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:14 pm 
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Location: Burlington, ON, CA
Get yourself a little USB dac, start with the pc you have the music on now and you're in business. I use an HRT Music Streamer IIB in my main setup (to play net radio off a laptop). I play my ALAC at the cottage through a USB dac built into my preamp.
I think a lot are using the Cambridge DAC magic, with good results.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:25 pm
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Location: toronto, ON, CA
Hi
I am not an expert in computers either, just the average user. From your description ,I think you need to buy an Apple mac-mini i5 and at least one external hard drive for back up. Then of course you need a computer screen (23inch HDMI monitor) a keyboard and mouse,preferably wired. Just buy the Jriver 22 for mac (50 dollars) for your playback software (but you can use build in itunes just fine) and an external USB DAC of your choice. When I rip my cd collection I prefer to use XLD ripping software (free) because I noticed iTunes ripping sometimes gives problems for me. I mean I had to re-rip some cds because they had noise. XLD is far better but it is slower.
It is not hard at all. If you need assistance I will be glad to help.
George


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:32 pm 
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Che Cavolo wrote:
Get yourself a little USB dac, start with the pc you have the music on now and you're in business. I use an HRT Music Streamer IIB in my main setup (to play net radio off a laptop). I play my ALAC at the cottage through a USB dac built into my preamp.
I think a lot are using the Cambridge DAC magic, with good results.

It seems pretty simple when you put it that way but my idiocy knows no limits.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:57 pm 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
A notebook and DAC will get you started. I use a Windows XP Netbook, must be 8 years old at least but it keeps chugging along. I use iTunes as my player out of convenience.

I make playlists so I have hours of music without having to get up.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:09 pm 
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Location: Québec, QC, CA
L-Man wrote:

I use a 1TB hard drive connected to an OPPO BDP-103 which enables me to interface with the hard drive to play music and movies. This moron thinks it is far better than a computer based system!



+1


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:10 pm 
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Location: Stratford, ON, CA
Hi,

mahatma1 - listen carefully to Che Cavalo. It is dead easy to be 'swept away' when shifting to a digital hard-drive. You want to go into this alley one small step at a time. Che is right - start with a simple external USB DAC, and I too would recommend a Cambridge DAC Magic 100. It is simple, sounds good and is flexible, so you can use it both as an external DAC with an external CD transport (via a SP/DIF digital coax cable) or use it as a USB DAC with a computer. As well, the USB implementation is asynchronous, which, it turns out, is technically important for quality digital sound. The Cambridge DAC will re-clock the digital stream from the hard-drive and hand it off as an analogue signal to the next item in the chain, usually the AUX inputs on your amplifier. Note also the post above from blakcloud - simple is best.

Because the external DAC box does all the heavy lifting, the computer you use or the hard drive source is almost immaterial. If you start with a lap-top it simplifies things because you get the screen and keys and the touch pad and so on all built into one unit. So, what you have then is an inexpensive Core I3 or Core I5 laptop, maybe with a USB 2 hard-drive attached or maybe your music files are on an internal drive, and then you put a piece of software on the laptop to sort through and run the music files (and to provide a CODEC), say you use Foobar2000, and then you have a USB cable that goes to the external DAC from the lap-top and then finally an RCA interconnect cable from the DAC to the amp. Voila!

What you are doing here is just using a cheap computer to serve up a data stream, because the internal circuits that spit music out of a laptop (or even a desktop) into earbuds are complete crap, and you don't want those junky signals going into your amp and speaker system. The external DAC is thus a god-send.

Later, when you master the basics, you can get fancy with NAS servers and all that digital gear-head stuff that isn't going to be worth even chicken scratch in two years.

Cheers,
David Neice

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:27 pm 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
I bought a 3 TB WD MyCloud NAS. Cost all of $179 3 years ago. I moved my Itunes music files to this server and continued using Itunes to import, maintain the library. The MyCloud server comes with the Twonky DLNA server. This allows access of the music from streamers, ipods touch, iPads, Android tablets, android and iOS cellphones. The server is on 24/7 so there is no need to have desktop or notebook running to play music.

It work out so well, that i bought a second unit to have the music backed up nightly. Software server programs like Twonky, allow a quick navigation of my music by Album titles, Artist, Composers, etc. My library is over 24,000 tracks and estimated over 2000 CD's, so there is no way to browse them by file names. For music only, these servers works rather well, and they are relatively inexpensive,


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:34 pm 
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mahatma1 wrote:
Is there a book along the lines of Computer Audio for Dummies?

Working on one (not a book, but in-depth technical article / how-to) hoping to send to my editor April / publish by may.

In the mean time Che gave good advice, start with a USB dac and the rest can be added later.

Feel free to PM me with any specific questions, or here for the community to see / help.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:43 pm 
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Rather than buying a whole other computer, a network streamer/DAC that does airplay will integrate with your existing stereo, even if it's in another room thanks to wifi.


Half these responses didn't even read your entire post, if you took the time to put 200Gb into ALAC you might as well listen to it.

If you want super budget buy an AppleTV and a cheapie optical DAC


As someone who has one iTunes source in the house that all mobile devices and tv's can share from setting up another computer just for streaming is really unnecessary.


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