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If I were to WIPE my desktop and use it ONLY for music, what OS? what Media Player? etc..

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I have been looking into Amp/DACs for my Sennheiser HD598s for awhile now

 

I discovered (with help from howzz1854) that my best bet is to get a Xonar Essence STX sound card, rather than an external DAC.

...I use a Macbook Pro though. (laptop)

 

I've decided to take my old desktop Windows computer Gateway 838GM (2006) and

> wipe it clean.

install the STX in it.

> make it into a dedicated Music Player.

------------------------------------

The purpose of this thread is to find out:

  • Best operating system to use
  • Best media player to use
  • Anything else that might be helpful to the process

 

edit: it's pretty obvious that I should upgrade the memory

It's got 512MB of RAM, with a maximum allowance of 4GB, which isn't great, but it's certainly better.


Edited by chimmycham - 2/10/13 at 9:44pm
post #2 of 20

I am using an older Asus laptop for this.

 

Windows 8

JRiver 18

ASIO to MF 192, the XLR to Audio Note DAC

Fildelizer at max setting to stop all non-vital processes. Yes, it's malware as it hijacks your home page, so I'd never run it on another machine but this machine is only used to feed music to I live with it.

 

KP

post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by chimmycham View Post

edit: it's pretty obvious that I should upgrade the memory
It's got 512MB of RAM, with a maximum allowance of 4GB, which isn't great, but it's certainly better.
No, it isn't obvious.

My first computer had an 80MHz Intel 80486 DX2 CPU and 32MB of RAM. It was sufficient to play CD quality .wav files in Winamp 2 under Windows 95 and slightly too slow for realtime mp3 decoding. IIRC mp3 became usable after upgrade to a 90MHz Pentium.

Anything bigger than this is already a huge overkill for audio playback and doesn't need further upgrading. Install Linux or Win2k/XP (depending on driver availability) and all will be good.
post #4 of 20

Linux + foobnix (looks to be a native port of Foobar).

 

Pick your favorite *nix distro.  Ubuntu is easy to install and configure, as is Mint.

 

There are lots of good music players for Linux, you will have to experiment.

 

Quodlibet

 

DeaDBeeF
 

Amarok is installed by default by a lot of distros.

 

atunes

 

Foobar will run within Wine, but that's adding another layer that you don't need.

 

Also, most of the newer USB DACs (I know the Schitt and O2+ODAC combos do this) will be recognized and properly installed on most linux distros.

 

The beauty of running linux is that you wouldn't necessarily even need to upgrade your memory if you ran one of the lighter weight desktops.

post #5 of 20

This place looks interesting

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/

 

KP
 

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post

Linux + foobnix (looks to be a native port of Foobar).

 

Pick your favorite *nix distro.  Ubuntu is easy to install and configure, as is Mint.

 

There are lots of good music players for Linux, you will have to experiment.

 

Quodlibet

 

DeaDBeeF
 

Amarok is installed by default by a lot of distros.

 

atunes

 

Foobar will run within Wine, but that's adding another layer that you don't need.

 

Also, most of the newer USB DACs (I know the Schitt and O2+ODAC combos do this) will be recognized and properly installed on most linux distros.

 

The beauty of running linux is that you wouldn't necessarily even need to upgrade your memory if you ran one of the lighter weight desktops.

So you are suggesting Linux over Windows..

Is this becuase Linux will run less components, allowing the music to flow more smoothely?

post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by chimmycham View Post

So you are suggesting Linux over Windows..

Is this becuase Linux will run less components, allowing the music to flow more smoothely?


In the past Linux was far more stable than Windows.  This is still the case, but it's not as prevalent.  Windows really has come a long way.

 

The reason I suggest it is because of better memory management and fewer things running in the background and much lower system requirements, thus as you said allowing the music to stream with less interference.

 

Plus, Linux systems are really stable, especially in a server-type environment.

post #8 of 20

If you want a cut down operating system running on 512MB

 

Stick with linux.

 

OK,

 

some linux distros may be slower to load up than having 1GB or 2GB

but overall linux run time is only because the components running need to use the total ram to load themelves up and sort out config sets,

after that they will release the memory back to the system and some apps stay closed.

 

you can get by on 128MB ram fine on most linux distros but it wont be fast navigating around as opposed to 512MB.

 

Although I did run server 2008 on a pentium 4 compared to linux this was stable and had network connection but it definitely didnt win any awards for speed.

 

as far as windows is concerned, thats your choice but i would not consider the background processes that cannot be removed from windows to be first choice for a dedicated system that is independant of windows systems.

 

also, linux components only get updates as and when required so its not like every 5 days you must update.

decent anti virus software? All good and you'll have no big issues.

 

set up vs windows?

Variable, linux can be a POS to set up if you get it wrong because of the way components interelate but its no biggy theres plenty of documents out there and

you can always start out with the build you want and tweak later.

 

to kill windows you gotta do some pretty serious mis configurations to make that happen or fundamental mistakes.

post #9 of 20

You dont need to add more ram just for a music player. All you need to do is reformat and install whatever OS came with the PC. No need to add cost when it's not needed. Or use Linux but it'll be much easier to just use windows. And use whatever media player you like best. Foobar, Winamp, ect,

post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thank you guys so much for all of your help!

 

I am going to wipe it clean, and install some version of Linux.

post #11 of 20
Glad to help. As I said earlier, Ubuntu or Mint are going to be the most user friendly for installation and administration, but the choice is entirely up to you.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post

 

In the past Linux was far more stable than Windows.  This is still the case, but it's not as prevalent.  Windows really has come a long way.

 

The reason I suggest it is because of better memory management and fewer things running in the background and much lower system requirements, thus as you said allowing the music to stream with less interference.

 

Plus, Linux systems are really stable, especially in a server-type environment.

 

It also makes it possible to avoid the buggy and/or outdated proprietary drivers of some internal sound cards (e.g. the Xonar Essence STX suggested in the first post).

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post

Also, most of the newer USB DACs (I know the Schitt and O2+ODAC combos do this) will be recognized and properly installed on most linux distros.

The Schiit stack or the ODAC/O2 would be my choice over the STX because of the flexibility to also use it with your laptop if you choose. If your old desktop breaks, you'll be out a DAC/headphone amp.
post #14 of 20

If using linux I would go with mpd+gmpc.

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 

How big would the difference in clarity/overall SQ be between the Xonar Essence ST(X) and some stack like O2+ODAC or Magni+Modi?

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