Using a computer as a DAC, DVD, CD Player and a preamp?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Jesse Sharrow, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. Jesse Sharrow

    Jesse Sharrow Supporting Actor

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    Has anyone done this yet? Maybe Im in the wrong section. But I have been looking at some really high end krell, etc. Cd players, and someone suggested using a wireless setup from my computer. That go me thinking. What if I just built a high end computer with an awsome sound card, and used the computer as a pre/pro/cd/dvd player? Would that even compare to a $2000-$3000 Cd Player and a $2000-$4000 integrated amp? Becuase I would make sure to get a high end amp to hook up to it. Well just wanted some opinions. Thanks again.
     
  2. John S

    John S Producer

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    I believe there is an HTPC section on here.....

    The high end HTPC is probably the highest performance way to go out there. The scale capabilities alone make it worthwhile, even though I don't currently run one, many on here do.
     
  3. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    I don't think you are 'high end'. I have never seen a high end Disc transport for a PC. Those alone can run in the $1000s. Most of the PC CD/DVD drives would measure up to low end audio players. Maybe they are out there but I am not aware of any
    What type of inputs would you use for the switching preamp functions for say a DSS optical input.
    Most of the equalizing SW for PCs seem very basic compared to the higher end preamps
     
  4. John S

    John S Producer

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    I dunno Grant B, even fairly "high end" players these days have these ultra week transports. I'm just not sure how much of a factor a great transport is these days anymore.

    Got an example of a high end transport available for a PC at any cost? I admit, I really have not looked into it to much.
     
  5. Tony Loewen

    Tony Loewen Stunt Coordinator

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    Check out the htpc sections here, and over at http://www.avsforum.com to find out what you can do with them. One of the reasons that people use HTPCs is for their jukebox capability. When you consider that you can rip your entire collection to a lossless format, the transport becomes irrelevent. There are utilities, like EAC that will scan as many times as it takes to make sure every bit that is on the disc ends up on your hard drive. Lossless formats are just that, absolutely lossless. So you could have a megachanger that you have to wait for between discs, or you can have a completely customizeable instantaneous jukebox. PCs can very easily transport music bit-perfect via digital coax or optical to a receiver or amp with a
     
  6. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

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    jesse:

    i've been watching your threads evolve. this is just my opinion so take it with a grain of salt. i seriously doubt that you can make a high end htpc that will compete with the high end two channel system you were previously contemplating. however, let us know how it turns out whatever you decide to do.

    kevin t
     
  7. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    These days nothing is impossible and I have mixed feelings on how important a transport is to the sound but when you talk about high end; the transports are not like anything I have seen in the PC world.
    I am not sure about using a computer as a Preamp
    I have my phono, tuner, 2 CD Megas, 2 DVD Megas, LD including AC3 RF and my DSS connected to mine.....plus one of my DVDs I use for SACD. I don't think most you can decode SACD on a PC as of yet and a low level phone input might be a problem.
    I have my PC interconnected to my AV system which I like but it is a long way from high end
     
  8. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member

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    Just use the PC as a digital storage device. Rip all your CDs to the hard drive using a lossless codec (FLAC, APE, etc.), get a soundcard capable of bit-perfect S/PDIF digital output, then connect it via Toslink/coax to a quality DAC/processor.
     
  9. Jesse Sharrow

    Jesse Sharrow Supporting Actor

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    I acctually wasnt even going to respond to this post, my own post. I was gonna let it drop off but I noticed I acctually got a good amount of info from you guys and you acctually care.

    Well I have all but decided against the HTPC. I have decided its going to be way too complicated. I have decided that I just want a cd player and integrated amp. I just want to be able to pop a cd in and listen. Plus Im looking make my system as audibly transparent as possible. A computer wouldnt do that.

    I may still add one later on, but the price I was getting through In the case was going to be about $2000. BTW Thats my brother in law. If you ever need anything pc related, he is the man to go to.
     
  10. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

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    Plinius 9200 int amp
    Level 1 modded Jolida with reference clock, or Cary CD player.
    external DAC
    PS Audio AC regenerator for the Jolida/DAC
    BAT Balanced Isolation Tranformer for the amp.
    Cardas Nuetral Reference cables...

    That's my final answer. Good move to forget the HTPC for 2 channel

    And to answer your question about your Monster power conditioner, ebay it.
     
  11. Tony Loewen

    Tony Loewen Stunt Coordinator

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    In your case, I would say yeah, separates are the way to go. They are much simpler to set up than HTPCs, and for the most part, work right out of the box. I imagine you can tweak them just like anything else, but I'm not that familiar with them. HTPCs do require a fairly good working knowledge of computers, and *alot* of patience to get everything set up just right. If you do know your way around a pc, and like to tweak things to get the absolute max performance out of them, then they are the way to go. For just 2 channel, it's not likely worth the effort. As far as transparency, running bit-perfect sound digitally out of the computer, using kernel streaming to bypass any windows-applied mangling, and having the computer a room or two away, that's about as transparent as it gets. I have mine as simply a source, not as a preamp, running into an Onkyo TX-NR801. My computer is in a closet in another room. Just the remote receiver is in the theatre, and it's about as far away as it can be, not that it makes any noise at all.

    And your right, for $2000, if you want just a CD player, then get a high end cd player. For that same $2000, though, you can have everything mentioned above and more. That's when it starts to make more sense. I personally think the strongest reason to set up a HTPC is for an upscaling, post-processing DVD jukebox, and I have mine connected to a digital projector shooting a 98" picture with full 7.1 sound. That's what I mainly use mine for, but I am insane about movies. I like music alot and have played many instruments in many bands, so believe me, my HTPC can play music just as well as most of the high end stuff that I've heard, but for me, that's a secondary function (albeit a very close second).

    Good luck in your decisions, and its conforting to know that at the very least, it won't be a Blose.
     
  12. Jesse Sharrow

    Jesse Sharrow Supporting Actor

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    "its conforting to know that at the very least, it won't be a Blose. "

    /
    ||

    Amen to that! [​IMG]
     

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