Originally Posted by Aaron Friedman
There is a whole professional site used by audio professionals devoted to tweaking the computers in order to eliminate interrupts in order to obtain better audio performance and reduced jitter. A leading engineer with E-mu referred me to it. It is:http://www.musicxp.net/index.php
Which is irrelevant to the topic at hand. That site discusses the recording of sound using a computer, and synching the computer to the input device(s) and setting it up to minimize drop-outs and interruptions caused by the hard drive doing virtual memory swaps and other such nonsense. It focuses on how to strip down a Windows computer to make it reliable so it doesn't crash or do other stupid stuff. I see nothing there regarding jitter and playback quality, which I might remind you is the topic under discussion.
Speaking of which, playing back digital media, be it from a hard drive or CD drive is not the way to do it, both are inherently flawed processes. Both involve lots of drive control lines, servo feedbacks, and phase-locked loops, all of which create lots of RF noise which then contaminates everything. This is true of everything from a computer CDROM to a hard drive to TEAC's VRDS mechanism.
If you're really serious about accurate noise-free reading & playback, you'd do the following; use EAC's read until right system to pull the data off the CD or hard drive and load it onto a flash memory chip, an SD or CF card will do nicely. Then shut down the drive and physically disconnect it with relays before reading the bits of the SD card and into the DAC and output stage. The jitter, noise, and data error specs will be at least an order of magnitude better than any CD drive.