Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Is a computer a good source?!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Is a computer a good source?!

post #1 of 106
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

I was watching a video on youtube about USB dacs and computer as a source of music and I came across this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmsJ6l8DtZw&playnext=1&list=PL0A746E5ACBB3772C&index=3

 

basically this gentleman says that computers are meant to do computation and they are not for streaming audio. and he explains about all the electromagnetic interference and jitter and so on.

I was wondering if there is any truth to that, in which case I would like to ask: then what should you do if you want 192kHz/24 bit music from HDtracks, because you cant do that with CD players (as CD quality is only 16 bit 44.1kHz.

I know there are some very experienced computer audio specialists and I hope to recieve some informative guidances.

thanks.

 

post #2 of 106

What only I can say is computer will be a good source, there are too much affect sounds, and how to resolve them is most important .

But I also think for most people, pc source is nearly equal to tranditional hifi.

post #3 of 106

Nothing has ever been proven regarding noise inside the PC.  It's just a way for purists to sell more unnecessary crap.  They think because there is audible noise inside that it means electrical noise.  A computer does billions of cycles per second, wouldn't that be affected by some supposed electrical noise before a kHz level sound card?

post #4 of 106
Thread Starter 

thanks for the response.

what you guys are saying makes sense. mylaptop is a 17 inch Core i7 with 1 GB of graphics card and 8 GB of RAM, so it runs hot and the fan is absolutely audible.

I was thinking of making a fanless low power computer with used old parts (775 celeron processor and 1 GB of DDR2 RAM) and run use that to stream audio.

do you guys think that is a sensible thing to do?

post #5 of 106

Cheap parts such as a motherboard is going to introduce noise, so don't skimp there.  Good motherboards condition their own power regardless of the power supply, and a good motherboard is going to have their PCB traces tuned for electrical timing.  Fans aren't going to introduce noise, either.  They are brushless.

post #6 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

Cheap parts such as a motherboard is going to introduce noise, so don't skimp there.  Good motherboards condition their own power regardless of the power supply, and a good motherboard is going to have their PCB traces tuned for electrical timing.  Fans aren't going to introduce noise, either.  They are brushless.


thanks for the advice on the motherboard, but how do you mean "Fans aren't going to introduce noise"

even my laptop fan has noise. I
 

post #7 of 106

a computer or laptop is a great source when coupled with a nice DAC and amp. my computer setup completely blows my portable player out of the water.

post #8 of 106

Acoustic noise, not electrical noise.  You're not going to hear a fan when you have headphones on and are listening to music.  Even an old, colder computer like that is going to need a fan of some sort unless you build it without a case and just leave the components sitting on a table or desktop.  You'll still need a ceiling fan to get air moving in the room normal_smile%20.gif

post #9 of 106

I've yet to hear a computer source that matches the higher end CD players. That's just been my experience. Maybe there is something to this. I don't know. 

 


Edited by robm321 - 12/11/10 at 7:44am
post #10 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by robm321 View Post

I've yet to heard a computer source that matches the higher end CD players. That's just been my experience. Maybe there is something to this. I don't know. 

 

 

    That is interesting and I am really wondering why. I am not very experienced either but a simple explanation would be that CD players are meant to stream audio only, so all the interference and that jazz is minimized.

the other twist to the story is though, the fact that there are HD quality music at better resolution that CD, the Standard CD quality is 44.1 kHz, whereas some tracks are avalible at 192 kHz and more typically 96kHz. this would mean that at least in theory CDs dont offer the highest end quality, which has got me puzzled as well.

 

give me a shout when you figure out the reason for sure!!

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

Acoustic noise, not electrical noise.  You're not going to hear a fan when you have headphones on and are listening to music.  Even an old, colder computer like that is going to need a fan of some sort unless you build it without a case and just leave the components sitting on a table or desktop.  You'll still need a ceiling fan to get air moving in the room normal_smile%20.gif


yes, I was talking about acoustic noise!
trust me, open headphones, listening to opera, classical music (or any genre with moments of silence) and the noise of the fan ruins your musical adventure. I dont listen to very loud volumes either, so the fan noise easily disrupts.  

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonb View Post

a computer or laptop is a great source when coupled with a nice DAC and amp. my computer setup completely blows my portable player out of the water.

     Nice! what DAC are you using?!

post #11 of 106

i've never heard a high end CD player. i guess it's kind of the old ignorance is bliss thing in a way. we wouldn't know the difference until we heard it for ourselves.

 

a CD player wouldn't make sense for me as a source though. i haven't bought a cd in probably about a year. i do most of my listening online now. i stream music from rdio.com, Lastfm.com and Shoutcast.com. it allows me to listen to so much more new music and only costs me 10 bucks a month. if i had bought every CD i have listened to in the past month alone i'd be broke. these streaming services like Rhapsody, Spotify, Mog, and rdio are a very good inexpensive way to go. i also have an android smartphone, so i can easily listen to the same music services in my car as well. it works very well for me.

 

i have been ripping my currently owned CD into flac though lately as well. the rdio.com streams seem to be of high quality, and i only listen to shoutcast stations that broadcast in the higher bit-rates and codecs. i've read that lastfm is a low bit-rate, but most of it doesn't sound to bad at all.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robm321 View Post

I've yet to heard a computer source that matches the higher end CD players. That's just been my experience. Maybe there is something to this. I don't know. 

 

 

post #12 of 106

The one in my sig, HeadRoom's Desktop Amp/DAC.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by danielghofrani View Post


 Nice! what DAC are you using?!
post #13 of 106

A fan doesn't need to be screaming to be effective.  The smaller the fan the faster it rotates and the louder it is going to be.  A nice slow 120mm fan is going to do as much cooling or more as an 80mm screamer, but with no noise whatsoever.  I wouldn't even bother listening to music if you're going to stick with quiet volumes.

post #14 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

A fan doesn't need to be screaming to be effective.  The smaller the fan the faster it rotates and the louder it is going to be.  A nice slow 120mm fan is going to do as much cooling or more as an 80mm screamer, but with no noise whatsoever.  I wouldn't even bother listening to music if you're going to stick with quiet volumes.



understandable, but with a heatsink like this: http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=2273

and a celeron processor, there really is no need for a fan, or maybe I would use a fan that will only turn on when a critical temperature is reached (just in case).

also there are fanless power supplies.

if I run one DDR2 RAM module, one LGA775 celeron, an SSD, no graphics card and no optical drives, I can have a stable PC at 0dB of noise.

above all, this is an engineering feat more or less, and I enjoy doing it (I am a computer engineering student by the way).

 

however I dont understand why listening to music at quiet volumes does not make sense to you. it is not tiring, it doesnt damage your hearing and it created less distortion in the headphones (I dont have an amp to power the headphones well).

post #15 of 106

I thought I could put a passive heatsink with headpipes on my video card and it died because of how hot it got.  Inside a case air needs to move, period.  Listening to music loud doesn't kill your hearing.  I listen to music loud but not too loud.  You can feel hearing damage.  Badly mastered loudness war crap is what kills hearing because it's constant loud.  A track with good dynamic range varies the levels of sound at your ears.  Listening to music quietly makes no use of dynamic range.  You might as well use speakers.  A computer will never hit a pure 0 dB of audible noise.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Is a computer a good source?!