Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor
Thanks for the awesome and helpful response! You seem very knowledgeable regarding this subject.
- I like the suggestion of getting a video card to see if there is a lower cost option to the Lumagen.
- So Dirac Live works no prob with JRiver? Good to know. I would expect it to be better than Audyssey. From my time doing calibrations I have not had one example where an alternative room correction approach did not yield better sound quality.
- Do you use an external USB soundcard? If so which one?
- Rather than DIYing (lack of time and better things to spend it on!) I would like to get an off the shelf HTPC. I like the idea of getting an Assassin - they have obviously optimized their builds, are a young company trying to grow and put a lot back into the community. Do you think this spec is good, or what would you advise changing? If there are other company's who make good off the shelf HTPCs for <1k I would look at those too. I am based in US.
Case: Premium Slim (17.32" x 13.39" x 4.13") w/ 300w Bronze Rated PSU (- $30.00)
Processor: Intel i5 3570k 3.4 GHz Ivy Bridge w/ HD 4000 Graphics
Motherboard: H77 (Intel) / A75 (AMD)
SSD (Recommended for OS Installation): 64GB
Hard Drive: None (- $120.00)
RAM (DDR3 1600): 8GB
Graphics Card: None (** will change this to include a card for MADVR)
Power Supply: Included w/ case
Optical Drive: Blu-ray Drive*
TV Tuner: None
Wireless Internet: None
Heatsink / Fan: Standard
Pre-Configuration Options: None - I'l try to configure all the software and codecs myself
Operating System / Windows 7 (Required if purchasing Assassin Ultimate Setup): None?
The proposed config is reasonable.
If you plan on adding the video card
1)Power supply should be upgraded to 500W
2)Check the PC case can house a dual slot 10" long card and keep it adequately cool
3)Optionally consider 128Mb SSD as they are the sweet spot price wise and you get some room for future expansion.
As for a video card the Nvidia GTX660 or AMD7850 if you plan on using the MadVR anti-ring filters.
If realtime DSD->PCM conversion is useful, the i7 processor something like an i7-3750 should be considered
If you plan on getting the Orpheus, check for and/or add a Firewire interface to the build, preferably something with a Texas Instruments (TI) chipset .
I build my PCs from partially constructed setups with the motherboard and case such as the ones from Shuttle. Assassin's offering looks like a good starting point.
USB audio is a great idea but the market for high quality USB multichannel DACS is still quite immature, I suggest taking the time and moving one step at a time.
The guys at Jriver reviewed the Exasound e18 and it works reasonably well, this is a 8channel USB DAC.
When adding proaudio gear, you will need a mapper, typically with an ASIO interface to aggregate, route and map the output channels, this is the biggest stumbling block to HT use in the home. RME has the most widely used with Jriver's ASIO mapper. Lynx (AES-16) is another option. USB is not the best route with the proaudio gear, right now. Firewire is more mature and is viable provided the ASIO interface supports it, this is relevant for the Orpheus.
I am looking at the Lynx Aurora8, Mytek 8x192 and the Orpheus.
You mentioned in another response about interest in merging the 2ch and Multichannel setup, JRiver has a lot of good features here and is one of the few frontends that can playback DSD and convert to PCM.
The latter is important as room correction only works on PCM.
Direc Live RCS is nicely integrated into windows, it shows up as an audio interface, just pick it in Jriver. If you go down this route, i would be interested to know how it compares to the other options in the market namely an outboard Dirac Live processor, Tact/Lyngdorf and Trinnov.
Both Jriver MC18 and Dirac Live RCS are new, but they offer try-before-you-buy options. This is the preferred method to see if it will work for you. The later is a $650 package.