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post #121 of 639
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newb2012 View Post

No one. Is there a problem you have-?confused.gif
Your silverstone case has fans- or there are no fans used? I will contact SmallGreen about this. I am familiar with Zuma but that case streacom had heatsink and as previous poster Bulldogger asked you have indicated it does not use any heatsink or cooling? confused.gif

So you cannot confirm that your CPU is bare or uses some cooling- and you boast of $$ in your system so that makes one golden or not answerable? I think a man of your vast experience and thousands of posts on this forum can show more reasonable reply.

My Silverstone case came with some fans - but Andrew at Small Green Computer said he wasn't connecting the fans because with the components used fans were not necessary! I defer to Andrew, and my ear-brain concerning the outstanding sonics. If I knew so much about PCs I would have built it myself - again, I deferred to Andrew. Its pretty clear you don't know much about PCs, either, as I see in your whole 18 posts here at AVS Forum that you are retrofitting an old computer rather than using a new one!!!@@@ Bottom line is by all means check with Small Green Computer on your questions, or the Computer Audiophile forum. I do not have all the answers. I told Andrew what I wanted, and that my demoing with a Dell 8500 XPS showed that the Intel board didn't do 88-24 and 176-24 but the AMD/Sapphire video card does, and Andrew advised that the Silverstone CW02 case would work as well as the Streacom - later after building it Andrew said that my CW02 PC measures cooler/better heatwise than any PC he's built including the standard CAPS 3.0 Zuma.
Edited by Steve Bruzonsky - 7/3/13 at 12:11pm
post #122 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

I really don't understand what you're getting at here.

I forwarded your question to Andrew over at Small Green Computer, and he advised that the question confused him somewhat, but that a cooler like that could well be used for a high power gaming PC.

My understanding is that due to the video card having heat/cool pipes and the CPU not overclocking that measurements support not using the fans that come with my Silverline CW02 case. That's all I know!

I relied on Andrew over at Small Green Computer as they build and sell the CAPS systems.
Steve all CPUs require coolers. Yours is obviously a passive cooler. You paid for it in the build so I assumed it was included with the invoice.

I know you just want it to work silently so aren't really concerned. The large case you have just gives you a lot of expandability in contrast to a "pocket server," designed with different goals.I am curious as the the course the builder took. He chose a fanless power supply that has the best specs while at the same time being cheaper than the Silverstone model. Seeing the choices he has made so far, I was curious as to the passive cooler he chose. If it is the coolest running system he's built,, I damn sure want to know what CPU cooler he chose.
post #123 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by newb2012 View Post

This belongs to HTPC forum :-)
At first glance that might appear to be the case. However, it would get lost there and not be seen by those with similar goals and equipment. For example, when Theta first released the Casablanca HD it didn't work well with all Blu-ray players. I'd like to know what works to save some time. Also, many are interested in Steve's subjective comparisons of his HTPC vs various others digital sources with similar gear to the stuff they own. I am personally very glad to see this here. I am one that may not have seen it in the HTPC forum and do value Steve's listening test. If others don't, I hope they can respect that some may.
post #124 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

At first glance that might appear to be the case. However, it would get lost there and not be seen by those with similar goals and equipment. For example, when Theta first released the Casablanca HD it didn't work well with all Blu-ray players. I'd like to know what works to save some time. Also, many are interested in Steve's subjective comparisons of his HTPC vs various others digital sources with similar gear to the stuff they own. I am personally very glad to see this here. I am one that may not have seen it in the HTPC forum and do value Steve's listening test. If others don't, I hope they can respect that some may.
Totally agree. This is a Fraternity ,of sorts. The gear here is much more revealing of things like a music server build as a source in a High End System. Norm
post #125 of 639
Perhaps smiley use was forgotten smile.gif.

A much better response from you Steve smile.gif. I have a streacom case with me but reviews in silentpc and anandtech have not been spectatcular. It runs a bit warm for me. Good choice about Silverstone case- it is airy and I think it is 'hummer' of all PC cases. I have kept my old PC for "archiving" blu rays (thank you slysoft) and have this as music only media server (with usual suspects Jriver/iPad).

Looking forward to more impressions.
post #126 of 639
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newb2012 View Post

Perhaps smiley use was forgotten smile.gif.

A much better response from you Steve smile.gif. I have a streacom case with me but reviews in silentpc and anandtech have not been spectatcular. It runs a bit warm for me. Good choice about Silverstone case- it is airy and I think it is 'hummer' of all PC cases. I have kept my old PC for "archiving" blu rays (thank you slysoft) and have this as music only media server (with usual suspects Jriver/iPad).

Looking forward to more impressions.

Yea, the Silverstone case that I got is ALL ALUMINUM!!@@@ I figured that would be the best vibration damping case available, that it is indeed the "hummer" of cases available at this time. Case hardly gets warm above room temperature!

Nice to know I'm back in school, after all these years, and that my grades are improving!smile.gifcool.gifbiggrin.gif:D:)smile.gif
post #127 of 639
Thread Starter 
Here's the final build of the Customized Music Server I've been using the past few weeks:

Customized Music Server, by Small Green Computer, based on Computer Audiophile Series 3.0 (CAPS 3.0), with upgrades, fanless, quiet, will play ripped SACD 2 & multichannel ripped SACD ISO files at 176-24 over HDMI (to Theta Casablanca HD SSP) and also 2 channel music files up to 192-24 over USB (to Berkeley Audio Alpha USB, which converts USB to digital bnc coaxial and AES/EBU), using the latest version of JRiver Media Center, and using a 4TB Fantom Pro 7200 eSATA Drive for music storage (in near future plan to use NAS – network attached storage):

Case: Silverstone Crown Series SST-CW02B-MXR-USB3.0 (black) (all aluminum chassis)
Memory: Crucial 16GB DDR3 1600 kit (8GBx2), 240-pin DIMM (Model CT2KIT102464BD160B)
128GB SSD Samsung SSD MLC
OS: Win 8 Pro 64-bit configured for low latency
Motherboard: Intel DH77EB / BOXDH77EB (2 USB 3.0 and 1 eSATA port)
Processor: Intel Core i7 i3770S
Sapphire HD 7750 1GB GDDR5 Ultimate video card
Power Supply: Kingwin Stryker Series STR-500
SOtM Power Noise Filter
SOtM tX-USBexp
Blu-Ray/DVD/CD player/burner[/quote]

The Berkeley Audio Alpha USB is being shipped to me right now and I'll have it soon!!!@@@
post #128 of 639
Before we are getting too carried away let me just give a quick update on my HTPC project.

Upon arrival, Lynx card did not work. After 6 hours of troubleshooting, found out the PCIe slot that was used for the card was defective. Moved to other slot - problem solved. Lets just call it sloppy QA from smallgreencomputer. Oh well.

Next week end, spend 6 hours trying to get Dirac to work on 44/16 files. It does not work, and no one can explain why. I now upsample to 96/24 to play back 44/16. We'll reinstall Dirac later this week and see what happens.

This week-end tried to get the Lynx card to actually output sound on all channels. No joy - DAC connects, mixer shows signal, but no sound. Meanwhile, switching back from Lynx card to USB, I get error message. Need to reboot server to get USB soundcard to work again.

Bottom line: This HTPC is NOT for the faint at heart. You may be lucky and it all works on first attempt, but you may be unlucky and spend endless hours trying to sort stuff out. Just a word of caution....
post #129 of 639
Thread Starter 
I have spent some time learning JRiver - still more to learn.

I spent some time figuring out how to get into the "BIOS" so I could set the display output on when I want to use it.

I spent some time figuring out how to use "Teamviewer" to control the PC and JRiver remotely. Also hardly any time to setup
JRemote via iPad to also control JRiver remotely.

But I am simply doing the Music Server bit - no blu ray - and everything works like a charm!!@@@
post #130 of 639
Trust me, this is not a learning issue. What I am trying to do is beyond what the various bits and pieces of software are capable of. Form example, Dirac with USB output works ok, switch to lynx card and back to USB and it no longer works. Too many drivers working together, just not stable.
post #131 of 639
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Trust me, this is not a learning issue. What I am trying to do is beyond what the various bits and pieces of software are capable of. Form example, Dirac with USB output works ok, switch to lynx card and back to USB and it no longer works. Too many drivers working together, just not stable.

Which is why I let you be the "guinea pig" for the lynx card, and I am simply using HDMI for multi-channel and USB for stereo.

Good luck on your endeavors of course!eek.gif
post #132 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Which is why I let you be the "guinea pig" for the lynx card, and I am simply using HDMI for multi-channel and USB for stereo.

Good luck on your endeavors of course!eek.gif

Had I know what problems I would run into, I would have bought a plain vanilla CAPS 3.0 with Powersupply, keep the Trinnov and continued to spin discs for MCH on my Oppo (and get the forthcoming Vanity103 board for MCH). If I cannot get the Lynx card, SotM card and Dirac to behave nicely together, I may cut my losses, sell the lynx card and revert to that setup. Too early to throw in the towel though....

Keep in mind once I have this figured out I have to unbox my PS3 in storage and figure out how to rip SACD, so more fun lies ahead.....
post #133 of 639
Thread Starter 
My Berkeley Audio USB Converter arrives today! Yea!

Funny thing is that if I simply had to live with using HDMI to the CB3 HD SSD I would be very happy even for two channel!

But the Berkeley unit, using USB out from the PC for two channel, will certainly be a killer!!@@
post #134 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

My Berkeley Audio USB Converter arrives today! Yea!

Funny thing is that if I simply had to live with using HDMI to the CB3 HD SSD I would be very happy even for two channel!

But the Berkeley unit, using USB out from the PC for two channel, will certainly be a killer!!@@

It is unfortunate you don't have Dirac installed so you cold join the guinea pig program. I am getting the impression Dirac has not been completely tested on Windows 8, and simply does not work with USB + 44/16 on Windows 8. I may end up having to run Windows 7 on a separate server for 2 channel with my USB card, if I decide to continue to use Dirac. Relatively small outlay for the additional server (about $700), but incredibly annoying, and wasted days figuring this out.
Edited by edorr - 7/17/13 at 10:59am
post #135 of 639
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

It is unfortunate you don't have Dirac installed so you cold join the guinea pig program. I am getting the impression Dirac has not been completely tested on Windows 8, and simply does not work with USB + 44/16 on Windows 8. I may end up having to run Windows 7 on a separate server for 2 channel with my USB card, if I decide to continue to use Dirac. Relatively small outlay for the additional server (about $700), but incredibly annoying, and wasted days figuring this out.

Unfortunate for those that would prefer I be a guinea pic using Dirac with Windows 8 and JRiver Media Center.

I don't think I have the patience or even interest to do that at this point!!@@
post #136 of 639
Isn't Nylor running Dirac?

So Win 7 works? (Just trying to avoid the guinea pig program before buying the OS'es for some htpc builds.... wink.gif )

Have you looked at the motherboard's interrupt assignments with the hardware?

And updated to the latest bios fro the motherboard? All drivers and patches up to date? (www.secunia.com 's free PSI might be turn up some old driver and programs)
post #137 of 639
Win 7 works fine on my caps 2. I think Dirac on win 8 is just not stable. I may just reimage my caps 3 with win 7 and start all over. Lots of work and reinstalling software, but probably my best bet.
post #138 of 639
Thread Starter 
Took me some time, but got the Berkeley Audio Alpha USB (USB in, AES/EBU and BNC Coaxial Digital) working. For now, hooked up by AES/EBU direct to the Theta Gen VIII Series 3 DAC. So for now I am listening in plain vanilla stereo. No subs. No center or surround.
(I will later on hook up to CB3 HD to use all channels) For now am just playing stereo stuff. Using a cheap USB Cable (just ordered Straight Wire USB-Link 1.5M which I'll have next week some time).

Had problems getting it all going. First, couldn't get the Windows 8 driver for USB 2.0 audio to load on my new Media Server. Eventually, it dawned on me that the SOTM USB card has a switch for turning power from the PC power supply off when using an external power supply for the SOTM. I hit the switch, presto, software loaded. YEA!

Anway, listened to some 2 channel stuff I just listened to the othe night. My new Media Server over HDMI sounds outstanding. But the Berkeley in stereo is taking it to another level. WOW! I noticed it right away. And that's with a cheap USB cable - I just ordered a StraightWire USB-Link 1.5M for like a whole $50. This cable is recommended by Berkeley when I called them.

More later!@@
post #139 of 639
Thread Starter 
All nite long I've been listening to music, 2 channel SACDs, DVD-Audio, HDTracks stuff, etc all ripped onto my 4TB Fantom Drive. Don't know if I will ever get to sleep!!!@@ Yea, really sensational.

Using my Theta Generation 8 Series 3 DAC connected via digital AES/EBU to Berkeley Alpha DAC, connected via el cheapo 2M USB cable (all I have, my Straight Wire USB=link will be here hopefully by late next week)..Theta Citadel 1.5 monoblock pair. Two PS Audio P5 Power Regerators, with the Media Server PC plugged into one of them, and the Theta Gen 8 DAC & Berkeley Alpha USB Converter plugged into theP5 at the other end of my component racks.

Using Teamviewer to remote control the Media Server PC from my laptop, works like a charm!

Tonite I've played some James Taylor 192-24 stuff, Shelby Lynn SACD, Emmylou Harris DVD-Audio 96-24, Gram Parsons SACD, James Taylor SACD - so far - and currently, Patricia Barber Companion SACD.

Companion is such a killer. Its so dynamic,pure jazz, and Baber sure can sing. I can feel her lungs exhaling her sound in my room.

From memory,compared to the Bryston BDP-1 Media Player - WOWEE! The Bryston is a phenomenal performer for the money. But my custom Media Server PC with the Berkeley Alpha USB Converter (and PC has SOTM USB Exp card(
is a giant slayer! I can easily hear and feel the difference. Vocal and instrumental range is easily and effortlessly extended in comparison to the Bryston - which has been a fantastic performer.

As the songs on Companion switched to the 4th song "Let It Rain", the live clapping surprised me so much that I jumped a bit in my chair!

Keep in mind that my Media Server PC sounds great over HDMI to the CB3 HD SSP. But via the Berkeley Alpha USB Converter direct to the Gen DAC, it is simply really sensational.

I have tried for DSD all three filter settings for the JRiver DSD Plug-in, plus a few AVSers recommended using the
"Permissive 50 kHz 24 dB/Octave low pass filter setting but adding to it a Parametric low pass filter at 30 KHz 48 dB/Octave. Although I am still listening and experimenting both over HDMI and stereo only via the Berkeley,
for HDMI I seemed to prefer the Permissive setting & the low pass parametric filter noted above - whereas with the Berkley USB, I find myself preferring only the Permissive with no additional filtering, I am finding that adding the parametric low pass filter may detract a bit the dynamics/microdynamics of the music!!@@@ Of course, need to keep on listening and demoing And when I get the Straight Wire USB-Link, that's when my listening will decide on the DSD filter for stereo with the Berkeley, as the sonics should even improve some more using that USB cable, per folks on some of the web forums, and per my discussion with one of the Berkeley Audio owners today, as he recommended the Straight Wire cable.
Edited by Steve Bruzonsky - 7/18/13 at 11:18pm
post #140 of 639
Thread Starter 
Oh my - HDTracks 192-24 set of The Eagles first six albums is phenomenal. It sounded great with the Bryston, But the sonics now are clearly like a home run compared to a double before!!

I may never ever get to sleep again! SCARY!
post #141 of 639
Thread Starter 
Also, redbook of Halie Loren on "A Whiter Shade of Pale" had me up front in a small nightclub and I could feel her breath (ok, I'm exagerating a bit for the sake of artistic license here).biggrin.gif
post #142 of 639
Great to hear you enjoying the system Steve! I have been a believer in Music Servers for more than a decade. Used to have to use pro audio cards in the past to get the best performance. But now with the advent of async USB, we can use the DACs we like and get the performance we want.
post #143 of 639
Thread Starter 
Amir, I am especially enjoying my new Media Server, not only over HDMI, but even more so two channel via the Berkeley Alpha USB converter.
I first became interested in the Berkeley in reading your take on the top notch build of the Berkeley and why from an objective engineering standpoint its performance would be exceptional. And it is.
post #144 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Amir, I am especially enjoying my new Media Server, not only over HDMI, but even more so two channel via the Berkeley Alpha USB converter.
I first became interested in the Berkeley in reading your take on the top notch build of the Berkeley and why from an objective engineering standpoint its performance would be exceptional. And it is.
Same here. I am impressed with the engineering at Berkeley Alpha.
post #145 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

All nite long I've been listening to music, 2 channel SACDs, DVD-Audio, HDTracks stuff, etc all ripped onto my 4TB Fantom Drive. Don't know if I will ever get to sleep!!!@@ Yea, really sensational.

Using my Theta Generation 8 Series 3 DAC connected via digital AES/EBU to Berkeley Alpha DAC.
If you get a chance, compare the BNC output of the Berkeley to the AES for sound quality into the Gen 8. I was hoping to use BNC for music as the Theta Digi out card for the Casablanca is all balanced and there is only one AES input on the Gen VIII. If the Berkeley is better via AES/EBU then I'll just use a converter on the AES out of the Theta Digi out card to convert it to SPDIF so that I can use another input on the Gen VIII.

I found the answer, "Berkeley Audio Design strongly recommends using the balanced AES output of the Alpha USB when possible. In theory a true coaxial 75 ohm S/PDIF connection is better, all things being equal. However, all things are not equal in practice. Given that balanced AES does not use true 110 ohm connectors I inquired into this recommendation a bit further. The answer I received from Michael Ritter was mainly voltage, and some noise rejection. Even though S/PDIF when implemented with 75 ohm BNC connectors is a true 75 ohm coaxial connection its limitation is that it delivers .5 volts peak to peak. Balanced AES on the other hand benefits from a 2 to 7 volt signal amplitude. In fact the Alpha USB's AES output delivers 4 volts or eight times the signal level of the S/PDIF output. This higher voltage is key to maximizing data receiver performance and reducing effective jitter. The balanced AES connection also offers common mode noise rejection. In addition to recommending the balanced AES output Berkeley Audio Design also recommends using a 1.5 meter AES cable and USB cable when possible. This recommendation has everything to do with reflected versus original digital signal energy caused by return loss. A cable and its connectors is not a perfect transmission line as it suffers from reflected energy. When a 1.5 meter cable, 3 meters round trip internally, is used this reflected energy is delayed enough to minimize confusion with the original signal at the data receiver. These may be small or insignificant details to some, but are important and critical details for those seeking the highest level audio reproduction."
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/437-berkeley-audio-design-alpha-usb-review/
Edited by Bulldogger - 7/21/13 at 9:36am
post #146 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

If you get a chance, compare the BNC output of the Berkeley to the AES for sound quality into the Gen 8. I was hoping to use BNC for music as the Theta Digi out card for the Casablanca is all balanced and there is only one AES input on the Gen VIII. If the Berkeley is better via AES/EBU then I'll just use a converter on the AES out of the Theta Digi out card to convert it to SPDIF so that I can use another input on the Gen VIII.

I found the answer, "Berkeley Audio Design strongly recommends using the balanced AES output of the Alpha USB when possible. In theory a true coaxial 75 ohm S/PDIF connection is better, all things being equal. However, all things are not equal in practice. Given that balanced AES does not use true 110 ohm connectors I inquired into this recommendation a bit further. The answer I received from Michael Ritter was mainly voltage, and some noise rejection. Even though S/PDIF when implemented with 75 ohm BNC connectors is a true 75 ohm coaxial connection its limitation is that it delivers .5 volts peak to peak. Balanced AES on the other hand benefits from a 2 to 7 volt signal amplitude. In fact the Alpha USB's AES output delivers 4 volts or eight times the signal level of the S/PDIF output. This higher voltage is key to maximizing data receiver performance and reducing effective jitter. The balanced AES connection also offers common mode noise rejection. In addition to recommending the balanced AES output Berkeley Audio Design also recommends using a 1.5 meter AES cable and USB cable when possible. This recommendation has everything to do with reflected versus original digital signal energy caused by return loss. A cable and its connectors is not a perfect transmission line as it suffers from reflected energy. When a 1.5 meter cable, 3 meters round trip internally, is used this reflected energy is delayed enough to minimize confusion with the original signal at the data receiver. These may be small or insignificant details to some, but are important and critical details for those seeking the highest level audio reproduction."
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/437-berkeley-audio-design-alpha-usb-review/
I arrived at the same conclusion subjectively. See http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?4160-Review-Berkeley-Audio-Alpha-USB. And have spoken to Michael and heard the same response. One of these days when I have time, I will measure the difference smile.gif.
post #147 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Amir, I am especially enjoying my new Media Server, not only over HDMI, but even more so two channel via the Berkeley Alpha USB converter.
I first became interested in the Berkeley in reading your take on the top notch build of the Berkeley and why from an objective engineering standpoint its performance would be exceptional. And it is.
Oh, I had no idea I was the guilty party here smile.gif. What a relief that it met your expectations.
post #148 of 639
Steve:

Great thread. After reading through this I decided to give my Vidabox Pre-configured HTPC a go as also an audio player using Jriver and I like the results so far. I am running only HDMI and just wanted to check my initial Jriver audio settings here. The HD graphics card is an Intel HD Graphics 2000. Windows 7.

I am running WASAPI output mode, Output format sample rates no change, Channels: source number of channels. Bitstreaming Yes (HDMI). I am ripping CD's using Flac Encoder.

Any comments or suggestions regarding Jriver audio setup?
post #149 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by LJG View Post

Steve:

Great thread. After reading through this I decided to give my Vidabox Pre-configured HTPC a go as also an audio player using Jriver and I like the results so far. I am running only HDMI and just wanted to check my initial Jriver audio settings here. The HD graphics card is an Intel HD Graphics 2000. Windows 7.

I am running WASAPI output mode, Output format sample rates no change, Channels: source number of channels. Bitstreaming Yes (HDMI). I am ripping CD's using Flac Encoder.

Any comments or suggestions regarding Jriver audio setup?

Chris at CA has a real good overview for the setup of jRiver for bit perfect audio. See:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/436-jriver-media-center-17-detail/
post #150 of 639
Thread Starter 
With my custom PC, I am finding so far

- if I want to play multichannel via HDMI, then I need to either hit the SOTM USB power button on the back to off ( for now I am powering the USB via the PC, not a separate power supply) or simply disconnect the USB cable from the rear of the PC (easy to do since I have the PC at an end component rack with plenty of space behind and to the side to see and reach).

- if I want to play stereo via USB out to the Berkeley Alpha USB converter, then digital to Gen VIII DAC, then disconnect the HDMI from the rear.

Not a big deal for me in my setup.

Also, I am using digital AES/EBU from Berkeley, but also use digital AES/EBU for CB3 HD's digital out to the Gen VIII DAC. Again, the Gen VIII DAC is at the other end of my component racks, and its easy to switch the AES/EBU from one to the other.

I will be hooking up the Berkeley's digital coaxial BNC output to the CBe3 HD and compare that to using HDMI for two channel (if I want to derive more channels than just two). But despite the great signal that will come from the Berkeley, as the CB3 HD's coaxial/bnc/ & /aes/EBU digital inputs are on an old technology board from some years ago, my guess is that it may be hard to discern a difference.
But some day, hopefully sometime late this year or next year, Theta will come out with the new DSP processing so that on board processing can be at 96-24 or even 192-24, and once this occurs, I may find that going from the Berkeley digital AES/EBU to the CB3 HD will give me equal sonics to what I am doing now, Berkeley AES/EBU to Gen VIII Series 3 DAC.
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