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Doing away with the computer - Page 2

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bangraman View Post
A myriad of small stuff I really, really don't want to have to deal with any more. I want it to be like my CD player. I pick what I want to play, I turn it on and hit play.
This is Pc audio as close as it can get to Cd player, and Audiophillia,

But if you want Media Center or Theatre view, then its not your solution,
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bangraman View Post
My issues mainly stem from having to look after and deal with a computer as opposed to a single-purpose device, when all I do on said computer is a single purpose anyway. Everything from j.River crashes and irritations to needing to decide whether I want to listen in j.River or Media Center, working around the kinks in software for the ten-foot modes, etc etc. A myriad of small stuff I really, really don't want to have to deal with any more. I want it to be like my CD player. I pick what I want to play, I turn it on and hit play.
Just get an old computer, and dedicate it to audio. Something like the Olive 4HD may appear to be simpler, but the only thing complicated about a dedicated PC/Mac is the software updates; if you're not connecting to the internet for album art or metadata, you don't even have to do that. Content management is much simpler on a PC/Mac than on something like the Olive 4HD, which gets excellent reviews and has 2TB of storage, but costs $2K !

You can use your main PC/Mac for ripping your content and transferring and converting a larger files if it's more convenient, just use the old dedicated machine for music playback and it doesn't even need an internet connection, just an LAN hookup if you want to serve music files at home.

So without "taking the bait" (this time) on which platform is better, I think that the simplicity of the stand-alone server/players is an illusion; you give up the superior interfaces of the more capable and flexible content-management and file sharing solutions that you can use on a dedicated PC. Sure, you need a keyboard and a screen to use it, but those two things, along with a mouse-type interface, is part of what makes the PC/Mac solution superior.

I personally like to clone my main music hard drive and set up various listening stations on old Macs, mainly G4 Powerbooks. I have a huge lossless library and don't want to tax my network with sharing it wirelessly at the moment, but will be hard-wiring the house with 10/100 cable soon so that may change. I do have Airport cards in most of them, but many of them and the and the Airport itself are the slower "G" speed

I've got a few PC's in the mix, but haven't gone through the effort to bypass the Windows audio codecs, which are crippled and noisy thanks to Microsoft's "love of latency". Anybody know how a simple way to do bypass the Windows ASIO and still use iTunes? Will Foobar do this? I use Windows 7/Vista. Don't want to hijack, just appreciate a PM or a link.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones13 View Post
Apple TV will do what your asking for. Digital out to the dac. Remote control with iPhone/Touch, and never turn the TV on. It won't play FLAC files though, and the HD space can be limited. I never tried to see if you could hand a USB HD on it for additional space. I know that they have been hacked to use bigger disks.

I do too much on the computer to go away from them. In my home office I have the computer audio + CD player + burgeoning LP setup on my speaker system. My good headphone system is a my work office, and I would never try and mess with vinyl there.
My Apple TV has been my music server for a couple of years now. My favorites in lossless.
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bangraman View Post

my issues mainly stem from having to look after and deal with a computer as opposed to a single-purpose device, when all I do on said computer is a single purpose anyway. Everything from j.River crashes and irritations to needing to decide whether I want to listen in j.River or Media Center, working around the kinks in software for the ten-foot modes, etc etc. A myriad of small stuff I really, really don't want to have to deal with any more. I want it to be like my CD player. I pick what I want to play, I turn it on and hit play.
??? I'm running a HTPC, running windows 7 and foobar. I turn it on, load foobar, press play done (you can even have it load foobar at startup). Its never once crashed or messed up. I even have it to automatically load up dbpoweramp when it sees I have put in a audio cd and rip it. Even the case I'm using blends right into the rest of my setup. I have it all going to a Benchmark DAC1 USB. Always sounds amazing. Perhaps your over doing the HTPC because you can? Take everything off, load up your OS, put on foobar and leave it alone I deal with people on other forums who want decent music/HTPC and I always run into other people who try to negate what Im trying to help with. Saying add bigger this, that cpu cant run a music server while playing a blue ray while playing a video game while ripping software (exaggeration but you get my point). I run a low powered CPU on purpose damnit, not because I'm cheap. It runs cool, takes less power and can be left on all day.

I just got myself a Turntable to be able to partake in the ritual loading of the music and enjoying an complete album.

Just trying to save you a few bucks since you aleady have an HTPC, also nothing wrong with just having a stand alone SACD/TT combo I just like having both.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bangraman View Post
I'm getting a bit fed up of HTPC's, or rather more specifically audio playback PC's. Sure... it's more versatile, but what I want out of them is pretty simple: I want them to play back music. And it seems I invest a huge amount of time and money into making them to do that in a way that fits into the rest of the separates...
in terms of noise, proper/reliable function, etc.
The problem isn't of course that they continually cost money, the problem is that you keep building things that don't give you what you want.
One question is, is it possible to build a cheap, quiet PC for audio. Well, yes, you can build one that is completely passive, based one of those Intel mini-itx atom boards.
More difficult questions are: how do you want to control it? If you're not using video then maybe it's not attached to a TV in which case you'll need a monitor in which case you've got a workstation and that is overkill for just audio.
Quote:
I've tried systems which rely on a PC like the Transporter, but these are not that much behind in terms of potential complexity. I want digital audio playback to work like a CD player used to, or perhaps more appropriately, the way an iPod works... that I can turn it on, decide what to play and have it play without any other complication whatsoever.
1. You can attach an ipod-like device. Storage will be limited to 64Gb (solid-state currently) or else whatever the max size of a 1.8" drive is now, but those will be noisy.
2. You can use a network device like the squeezebox (I haven't kept up with what's out there) and store the music on a NAS/home server - for simplicity a NAS. Sounds like this might be the best option for you.
post #21 of 28
Most have at least on PC in the house, or laptop. Control a J. river install with that, or just use your iPhone (riverMote or Xptunes). Hell, my PC just starts playing audio in the morning, or I use my iPhone while making coffee in a zombie like state.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by tfarney View Post
That's iTunes on a Mac. Of course all it really does is condense storage and make picking what you want to play a lot easier. CDs will do the same thing, with a lot of manual management.

Tim
Tim, you are still around? I have not seen you post in ages, hope you are doing great in 2010.
post #23 of 28
How about those nifty SD-card players that are being developed at diyaudio.com? Sure you can't load your entire music collection on a single card, but you could organise them like CDs with 16gb capacities.

Alternatively, the new SB touch allows you to play directly out of a harddisk.
post #24 of 28
I went from a single-disk CD player (JVC 1050TN) to a Squeezebox/server setup mostly because dedicated CD players seemed to be a dying breed, and the DVD players I tried as transports while capable of playing CD's are slow to load and not well set up for pure audio use.

Now I use my daughter's old Win XP laptop as a server. A USB hard drive holds all of my CD's, and another for backup sits nearby but unplugged. The laptop sits in the hall closet next to the cable modem and router, out of sight and hearing but easily accessed when needed. One Squeezebox in the living room feeds digits to an HT receiver, while another in the den feeds a Scott Nixon Tubedac, a passive attenuator, and whichever of various home-made amps and speakers are in the system that week. Headphone listening is generally from the desktop PC / web surfing machine I'm sitting in front of now, via Foobar and an integrated amp. The tape out of the integrated is patched across the room to the preamp, so I can send Foobar or the PC sound to the big system too should I want to.

BTW, you can run the Squeezecenter (or whatever the latest version is called) on some NAS boxes, but an old XP laptop seems ideal for the purpose. Fairly cheap, easy to set up, quiet and low power draw - what more do you need? Even better (from my geekish perspective) would be a Linux laptop, but getting the Squeezecenter running in Linux takes a little more work. I did it, but on an old tower that I have since given to my son so he could learn some Linux.

Would I go back? No way! Once the music is on a portable drive I have my choice of playback routes and interfaces. In the summer, I've pulled a SB into the back year with an amp and some speakers and set up hours of music I don't have to tend for a BBQ. Should something better come along, it should be no trouble to move all of those files to the next format (Solid-state hard drives, anyone? Terabyte flash cards?). And no need to get up and change CD's. If I have a new CD I've just got to hear now, I can still play it directly from the PC's DVD drive without ripping it first.

I do still play the CD's themselves, but only in the car.

I hope you find what works for you!

Bill
post #25 of 28

Just re-visiting this old thread.

 

I recently took my first steps into computer Hi-Fi with the purchase of a 2TB Vortexbox and a Squeezebox touch. So far, I have ripped about 20% of my CDs to FLAC (automatically handled by the Vortexbox for the most part) and am enjoying what the Squeezebox has to offer.

 

Once everything is ripped, I envision this will be about as simple as you can hope for. Except trying to figure out what to play blink.gif

post #26 of 28

While it's very limited in capacity terms, I still think the QA350 is a step in the right direction. Allowing you to start with a cheaply priced one-box solution and progressively replace your DAC and amp as funds permit - it needs improvements to the interface, support for FLAC and more storage capacity, but all of this will add to that all-important upfront cost.

post #27 of 28

A different kind of "Mac" music server, simplicity and quality defined:

 

108mac1.jpg

http://www.stereophile.com/mediaservers/108mac/


Edited by grokit - 1/6/11 at 9:06am
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

I transitioned from a PC as source to a SACD player and a turntable.

I might pick up a media server of some kind to avoid having to deal with a computer, but I'm awfully content with the current setup.

I only listen to one recording at a time and usually the entire recording. A computer seems great with endless options and storage, but it seems like overkill and too complex for listening to a few discs each day.

The one limitation I've run into is storage space for physical discs. I'm running out. I might get around that with some sort of server, which is why I'm considering one.

But for convenience and simplicity, a standalone CD player and a turntable suit me fine.


Do you notice a significant quality increase from SACD?  I dabbled with it a few years ago (along with DVD-A) - but with an HTiaB that was set up for it.  I was mostly interested in the surround sound features, not the audiophile quality recording.

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