My PC as a pre/pro

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Boris_V, Oct 15, 2002.

  1. Boris_V

    Boris_V Agent

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    I am not sure if this is the right place for posting this. If not the mods have the permission to move it [​IMG].
    Now, currently i own an Onkyo 595 receiver but in recent times it is more and more evident to me that it's power isn't sufficient to drive my speakers at higher volumes so i have decided to make an upgrade. Because i want the upgrade to be future proved and i heard that even high end receivers can't compete against a separate set i want to go with separates but since my means don't allow me to get all at once (i even have to sell my receiver) i've got the idea of getting the amps first (probably the NAD stereo amp C270 which is conservatively rated at 2x120W for the fronts and one for the center in bridged mode which would give me 300W for the center channel and the 2x50W rated C320BEE for the rears) and using my PC for processing (at the moment i'm using my PC only as a DVD player and have it digitally connected to my receiver). The sound card for my PC would be the new Audigy 2 which is THX certified and according to reviews has an excellent sound quality for a sub $150 card. Now i ask you how would that sound, compared to my current Onkyo? Can the sound quality (quality of DACs - the Audigy 2 has 24/192 DACs and gold covered connections, the DD/DTS decoding of software DVD players etc.) of a modern sound card compete with that of a $500 receiver? Or should i go with an Onkyo TX-SR800 (or any other receiver in the same price range) considering that my speakers are only the B&W DM303s (LCR3 for center) - but in the near future will be the 600 series - and that my room is only 18 square meters small? But as i said, at some movie scenes i can clearly sense that the power of my current receiver is lacking (bright sound, distortion) despite of the spekars with high efficiency (which will be lower with the soon to acquired 600s) and small room. Would that be gone with an Onkyo 800 or should i invest in separate amps to be certain?
    Please share your thoughts on this topic.
     
  2. Han

    Han Second Unit

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    The Audigy 2 certainly makes a PC more of a consideration to be used as a pre/pro... if that card is what I hope it'll be. There are practical issues with using a PC as a pre/pro, DVD player, or music server.

    The main issue I can't ever get past is boot-up time. With a "black box" like a pre/pro or receiver, once you turn it on, it's instantly on. When you turn it off, it's off and doesn't consume much electricity if any. It takes about 20 seconds to boot up with a 2GHz pc with Windows XP Home (minimal services), 512 MB RAM, and a 7200 ATA hard drive. I think a little faster with a RAID 0 setup for the hard drive(s). I'm always kind of skeptical about "Sleep Mode", as I'm not certain how much electricity is being used.

    Other issues include, remote controls and how to set it up to interact with the applications that you'll be using. The size/shape/color of the computer to sit in your rack and match other components (if this is important). The noise level of the fans. The interference it'll cause if you're using a separate tuner for radio. Chances are, the number of inputs and outputs will be less than what black boxes offer. Maintenance is potentially higher with crashes, bugs, and driver updates.

    The plusses... no layer pauses for DVDs during layer changes, if you're using the DVD-ROM drive. The virtually unlimited music/mp3 server thing. You can play games on your HDTV if you have the necessary card, output, and resolution modes.

    As far as audio quality, that's still unknown I suppose.
     
  3. Boris_V

    Boris_V Agent

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    I'm aware of all the issues you mentioned as i'm a long time PC user and as i wrote above am using it as a DVD player and have it digitally connected to my receiver. What i am interested in is the sound quality of such a setup compared to that of a receiver in the $500 price range. Have nobody done that before?

    Thanks anyway.
     

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