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Hi-Fi PC Sound Guide - Page 2

post #16 of 133
For those who don't want to shell out $29 for iZotope, Naoki Shibata's EQ plugin for Winamp is a great free plugin with high quality and almost unlimited customizability (of the EQ curve). It really is, I've said this for the hundredth time
post #17 of 133
It would be great if you could post a link to it on this thread.
I don't use EQ 99% (only parametric btw, no graphic eq) of the time, I just like oZone for the room simulation (crossfeed), but I'm sure other people would like to try a free EQ.
post #18 of 133
Audio&Me - You could still tell the difference at 319kbps?? Damn, you must have exceptional hearing and very good equipment, or else you may have found a problem with the codec. Did you know that the Dolby Digital AC3 compressed audio on most DVDs is encoded at 384 kbps? And that’s 5.1 channels, not just 2 for stereo.
post #19 of 133
Probably explains why I like DTS (1.5mbps) much better.
I wouldn't say that my hearing is exceptional (can hear above 22khz, but have trouble @ 18khz), but I'd say that my equipment is pretty good (not too revealing, I'm very satisfied).
post #20 of 133
Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bloggs
For those who don't want to shell out $29 for iZotope, Naoki Shibata's EQ plugin for Winamp is a great free plugin with high quality and almost unlimited customizability (of the EQ curve). It really is, I've said this for the hundredth time
He's not kidding, I've counted.

Alright, yes he is.
post #21 of 133
Awesome post, A&M, you should start a web site. (seriously)

Some additional stuff that'd be nice to see--
external DACs
more info on software players/decoders (is there a software HDCD player?)
what to look for when buying a CD ROM/CDR
pc speaker guide

Kelly
post #22 of 133
Alright, for the 101st time:

Naoki Shibata's Winamp EQ plugin:

http://www.winamp.com/skins/reviews....rOT=C&rOI=4591
post #23 of 133
External DAC

I have no experience with such products. From what I've read, the ART (Applied Research & Technology) DIO (Digital In/Out) is highly regarded, however seems to be a hassle to use.

Capable upto 24bit/96Khz (switchable)
S/PDIF (digital) Coaxial in and out
¼" phono (analog) output

http://www.artroch.com/products_detail.asp?PRODUCTID=75


HDCD

There is no software playback of HDCD. For HDCD support, there needs to be a HDCD decoder chip on an onboard/external DAC that can handle 20bit data streams.


CD-ROM Drive

Any decent 4x or higher rate CD-ROM drive is fine for digital audio extraction when using good software like EAC. Matsu****a/Pansonic OEM drives are affordable and work great for this. I'd say that the Kenwood TrueX (SCSI or IDE) and Plextor UltraPlex (SCSI) drives are the best for DAE.

The ideal drive would have digital audio output because it's not sensible to use a CD-ROM drives analog audio output as most of them come with cruddy 12bit DACs and probably have noise problems. If you want to use your CD-ROM drive as a source, S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) connection to a high quality sound card is essential to either use the onboard DAC of your soundcard or send it out to a reciever or external DAC. Also, must have superb stability (jitter-free), low seek time and low cpu usage, and have the extremely low error rate.

Here are some of these "ideal" ones:

ASUS 34X Max CD-S340 (34X IDE)
Panasonic CR-588-B (32X IDE)
Philips 32X-Max PCA323CD (32X IDE)
Sony CDU-711 (32X IDE)

Notice how they are all ATAPI based drives, I don't know of any SCSI CD-ROM drives that support digital output, however some have native support for digital audio extraction through the SCSI bus, like the Panasonic CD-508-B and Plextor UltraPlex 40Xmax.

It is a good idea to have only one drive per IDE/SCSI channel to prevent any bandwidth issues (performance).

PC Speakers

I personally would never buy multimedia speakers. Any audiophile should know why to avoid such things.

If you really want to get a speaker system (home theater I assume, if you just want stereo, your choices open up a lot) for the computer, but can't spend more than $1000, I'd recommend the Infinity HTS-20 provided you have a soundcard with digital out and Dolby Digital/DTS capable reciever. Or you can take a step higher and go with Infinity Entra System which goes for $1,149 @ crutchfield.com (I've only purchased Infinity Reference car speakers from them)

If you are super low on budget ($200), my best friend, who's a freshman @ University of Miami, has the Logitech Z-560 and he absolutely loves it (he listens to a lot of electronica and rap, some classical). I won't comment on the sound, lol.

I don't like the Klipsch ProMedia system if that's what's on your mind.
post #24 of 133
Um, A&M, although I have no idea what drives have this, it is essential for a CD-ROM drive to have C2 error correction in order for it to be usable for bit-exact copy of CDs in not-so-good condition by rippers with secure modes, like EAC.
post #25 of 133
It's much harder to find a CD-ROM drive that doesn't report C2 errors than it is to find one that does. Even old 4x drives support this also including the jitter free feature (Accurate Stream). If a CD is badly scratched, it's going to sound fuzzy regardless of error correction. If you burn it, but doesn't sound bad on a home cd player, that's because it's being oversampled and go through addition error correction by the cd player fixing minor errors, and masking major ones.

Remember, CD-ROM drives don't actually apply error correction, they can only report errors. It's upto the software to put the input to good use.
post #26 of 133
A&M, great stuff so far--tons of stuff I didn't know. If you're not up for a web site, write a FAQ.

One thing to note about PC Speakers. One reason people want "multimedia" speakers is that they're shielded. Throwing perfectly good sounding main speakers next to your PC's monitor is not only impractical for deskspace reasons but in some cases can cause both video and audio distortions just from the magnetic interference, let alone the RF.

If you get a chance, head to a musician store (like Mars Music) and check out their studio monitors. Some really high end shielded monitors can provide 20-20khz or better and a response more flat than what you'd see in almost any consumer speakers. Some of these are actually more ideal for home theater because they have no "personality." Personally, if we're talking about music, though, we're talking about 2 channel systems.

If you were writing a FAQ, I might also give a little verbage to the notion of bass modules and to explain that they aren't subwoofers and for the most part do a poor job of making up for poor speakers' shortcomings.

Kelly
post #27 of 133
I've been spoiled by Infinity, so I've neglected to mention that. Thanks for the reminder, that's very important.

I think the audiophiles are separated into two groups when it comes to speakers. One that strives for pure neutrality, while the others (including me) goal is to find the most enjoyable coloration (some like warm, some like cold, some like wet, some like dry, some like dark, some like bright, etc.)

Bass modules are generally used (come with) for speakers that only have a tweeter and small midrange (satellites) driver, no bass driver. They don't produce LOW frequencies like subwoofers do, rather just provide mid/upper bass response for typically a three piece or more theater system.
post #28 of 133
Quote:
Originally posted by Audio&Me
HDCD

There is no software playback of HDCD. For HDCD support, there needs to be a HDCD decoder chip on an onboard/external DAC that can handle 20bit data streams.
Why? Undecoded HDCD is 16 bit.
post #29 of 133
The decoded data is 20bit.
post #30 of 133
Quote:
Originally posted by Audio&Me
The decoded data is 20bit.
Yeah, but there are no computer plug-ins or anything that decodes HDCD (again, "...yet"), so if you've ripped something HDCD, and want to play it back, you only need 16 bit output. The external, HDCD-capable DAC will do the decoding.
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