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How important is the source? - Page 2

post #16 of 66
Get a good source. Best move I've made so far. You won't regret it.
post #17 of 66
I think the source and amp are equally important, and how well they mesh together is going to determine how good your system is going to be. I think you should get the best source and amp that you can afford, as long as they are both up to par.
post #18 of 66
I have a fellow head-fiers solo amp with the PSU-1. Basically the PSU-1 is holding it back because I could't tell much difference between sources. It wasn't until I upgraded the capacitors and wiring in this power supply that it shows what the source is really like. I recommend getting another power supply or modding the one you have.
post #19 of 66
Thread Starter 
If I am using Apple lossless, and I'm running the sound directly through a decent DAC unit why will the source still be poor? If I use an airport express will this solve the problem? Basically I'm asking, is there ANY possible way to turn my laptop into a good enough source to get the most out of say a 200 GBP amp like the White Noise, or the Grahm Slee?

Thanks all,

Target
post #20 of 66
There are ways to improve PC audio but there is no way that a sound card or portable source component will ever transcend the features and sound/video quality of dedicated components...ever. The source component will always be the most critical and vital chain in an AV system.
post #21 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Target1
If I am using Apple lossless, and I'm running the sound directly through a decent DAC unit why will the source still be poor? If I use an airport express will this solve the problem? Basically I'm asking, is there ANY possible way to turn my laptop into a good enough source to get the most out of say a 200 GBP amp like the White Noise, or the Grahm Slee?

Thanks all,

Target
Spend about $129 on an airport express, a decent dac for under $300 used, like a CI DAV-1 or something equivalent. Use apple lossless files and it will sound as good, and better than any source of equivalent cost and some at least double. I have only compared my set up to a couple of different sources so what I am saying is opinion only based upon my experience. Get a decent amp, your HD-580's and you will have no problems. I am far from an expert, but my set up sounds pretty good to me.
post #22 of 66
I had less than expected results, both sonically and also from a practicality point of view from soundcards, so I stuck to going via the Squeezebox -> Musical Fidelity Trivista DAC method for my home Lossy/Lossless listening. I don't think Apple Lossless run through a decent DAC this way is poor... although my DAC is not that portable In fact it's what I tend to use more often for 'not background but not foreground' listening these days. I will admit that sometimes, just sometimes, you get a sense that something's missing. I haven't bothered to find out what that is because I have no plans to spend any more on my lossy/lossless listening 'rig' at the moment and it bothers me hardly at all. AL from lesser DACs (I've tried three) also came out perfectly OK.


I suppose what you're looking for is a transportable system, seeing as you're considering mains powered amps only. In that case, you could look at external boxes like the M-Audio Firewire Audiophile, take a listen out of the headphone socket and decide if you want to end it there... or go down the slippery route to Head-Fi ultra-geekdom
post #23 of 66
Get a good source first. I went from a portable guys to the SACDmods C555ES guy and I have listen to my portable discmen (except my Iriver IHP-120) for almost a year!
post #24 of 66
Thread Starter 
A couple of people have been reccomending getting an airport Express and a decent DAC. Why exactly is this better than just hooking the DAC right up to the computer through say the M audio transit?

Thanks,

Mark
post #25 of 66
I know nothing about sound cards. I assume they are bit perfect like the airport express. Assuming this is correct the advantage to the airport express is you are not tied to done by a wired connection between your computer and the dac. I use a notebook and can be in any room, not that I need to do this too often and play music through my wireless set up. I typically sit about 10' from my setup and I have no wire going across the floor. I do not have to get up to change music of which I have about 80 gigs on my external hardrive, the majority of which are lossless. It is just so convenient for me. If you are using a desktop, with you setup in the vicinity then the airport express may not be as important to you. There a guys that have more knowledge regarding this stuff that can give you a better explanation in terms of the technical differences between the airport express and a soundcard.
post #26 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Target1
A couple of people have been reccomending getting an airport Express and a decent DAC. Why exactly is this better than just hooking the DAC right up to the computer through say the M audio transit?
It isn't better, only different. I use the Airport Express because it creates a wireless network. This morning I stopped across the road from my apartment, took out my PowerBook and checked my email while in the car. I also like the AirPort Express because I don't have to have peripherals dangling off my computer, which is always on the lounge room coffee table. I stream my music wirelessly across the room. The downside for me is that I have two external firewire drives so i need a cable for that. The Airport Express is just another way to get audio out of the computer, but it has some other useful features that I use. If you have no need for going wireless just get a Transit or something similar and plug a DAC into it. Some people at this place seem to like the Benchmark DAC1.
post #27 of 66
Thread Starter 
So will an airport express with a good DAC (say the piccolo) and a good amp (say the grahm slee) be a good system, or will the source still be too weak for the other componants.

Mark
post #28 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Target1
So will an airport express with a good DAC (say the piccolo) and a good amp (say the grahm slee) be a good system, or will the source still be too weak for the other componants.

Mark
I've used it with an Eddie Current HD300 tube amp, an xp-7 ss amp and through my preamp and it's great.
post #29 of 66
Target1:

I have the apple iBook, M-Audio Transit, AOS Piccolo DAC combo you conjectured, and it is a major upgrade in source. For a portable Apple laptop source, it might be hard to beat for the price and portability. I felt it worthy enough to buy an SR-71 amp. All of these things fit in my laptop bag easily, and I take them back and forth with me to work everyday and enjoy. I also take them with me when I travel. The quality is amazing.

I am sure I will eventually get a home setup with a monster DAC or CD player, but for now I couldn't be happier with this laptop setup. The quality is very comparable to my old Nakamichi CD player at home (although I haven't hooked up my SR-71 to that yet).

I researched your very questions and pondered for a month or so and this was the best setup I came up with which maintained portability and affordability.

Hope this helps.

dshea
post #30 of 66
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much. I saving as we speak, and will begin the setup you just described, but I was wondering. Are there any advantages at all to getting a Transit, or even the M-audio Audiophile over the airport express. Puting the portability aside, which of these componants will the quality be best with, or doesn't it matter?

Thanks again,

Mark
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