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Spec an Audiophile PC With Me Using CAPS 3.0 as a Starting Point, Adding HDMI for Multi-Channel... - Page 6

post #151 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post


- 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).

The on/off witch on the SotM card does not have anything to do with the external powersupply of the card. It switches power on the USB connection itself on/off. If your downstream USB converter or DAC does not need USB power you can switch it off. Apparently, your Berkeley uses USB power, which is why you are not getting sound with the switch turned off. If you used an external powersupply with the SotM card you would still need to have the switch on for the Berkeley to work.
post #152 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyree91 View Post

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/

Tyree:

Thank you for the link very informative...
post #153 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

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).
Are you doing that to change the default output device in Windows? If so, you can also do the same in software. Go to start menu, type "sound" in the search box and then select "Sound" in the control panel section. You should see both of your output devices there. Simply select one and right click to make it the default device. This is how I do AB tests of different output devices.

I have been meaning to write a program to automate this so that you can just hit a button much like you would on a pre-amp/processor and have it change the output devices but have not found the time smile.gif.
post #154 of 639
Son of a gun.... Did a search and quickly found someone who has written this program to easily switch between output devices. It creates an icon in your tray that you use to quickly change. Here is the thread and program in there: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1656534

I only have one device in my laptop so can't test it now but it installed and worked for that. You need a program to extract the install. I used this free program: http://www.bitser.org/

Keyboard shortcuts would make it perfect but still faster than invoking the control panel and changing things.

This is what it looks like (he has his task bar on top of the desktop):

Nk2P0.jpg
post #155 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Son of a gun.... Did a search and quickly found someone who has written this program to easily switch between output devices. It creates an icon in your tray that you use to quickly change. Here is the thread and program in there: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1656534

I only have one device in my laptop so can't test it now but it installed and worked for that. You need a program to extract the install. I used this free program: http://www.bitser.org/

Keyboard shortcuts would make it perfect but still faster than invoking the control panel and changing things.

This is what it looks like (he has his task bar on top of the desktop):

Nk2P0.jpg

Thanks. This would be useful for me since I need to switch between the Lynx AES/EBU output and USB Card when going from MCH to 2 channel and back. I do this through the control panel now. You also need to create two zones in JRiver and make the switch between zones first.
post #156 of 639
Thread Starter 
VERY VERY COOL!!@@@
post #157 of 639
If you set up separate zones in Media Center for each device - one for multichannel, and another for stereo audio, you can set up Zone Switch rules which will automatically send audio to the correct devices. There's no need to run another utility to manually switch the default playback device.
post #158 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

If you set up separate zones in Media Center for each device - one for multichannel, and another for stereo audio, you can set up Zone Switch rules which will automatically send audio to the correct devices. There's no need to run another utility to manually switch the default playback device.

I looked into this, but I could not find the attribute "Multi Channel" in the tagging datamodel, so you cannot create a rule based on this. If I want to switch between zones based on Multi Channel versus 2 channel, how would I do this?

Even if JRiver switches zones, you still need to change to the corresponding output device in Windows, so some manual process is involved.
post #159 of 639
Steve

Thanks for starting this thread, I'm building a music server myself with a lot of the same requirements as yours.
I've been reading and following along to see how your progress is going.

edorr

I just wanted to pop in an add this link that I found a few weeks ago to see if it will help with the switching zone issue.

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=116780.0

I don't know if it works as I'm still building my sever but thought I would offer it as suggestion for you guys to try.
Let me know how well it works or if it works at all.
post #160 of 639
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. I'm reprinting that info below so its easy for me to come back to once I have time to try this:

________________________________________________

"Here’s a helpful Jriver configuration for those who play stereo and multi-channel hi-rez music files through different DACs. Separate zones can be set up in JRMC to send specified files to different outputs. Zone setup and configuration is found under the “Player” menu in JRMC 18.

I have a “Stereo” zone that sends all mono or stereo files to my Benchmark DAC2 via USB. A second zone called “Multi-Channel” sends all files with more than two channels to my Oppo BDP103 via HDMI.

I configured the ZoneSwitch feature to change zones based on the number of channels in the file. Now Jriver’s output automatically switches to AISO USB for stereo files and WASAPI Event HDMI for multi-channel files. All I have to do is switch to the right input on the DAC2 (USB for stereo, Analog 1/HT Bypass for multi-channel) to hear the file.

To complement stereo/multi-channel playback zones, I created views in Jriver and Jremote (as documented by Ted B) that categorize stereo and multi-channel files/formats for easy album retrieval: Stereo All, Stereo DSD, Stereo PCM 24, Stereo PCM 16, Multi-Channel All, Multi-Channel DSD, Multi-Channel PCM.

This is a significant improvement over my previous configuration that used Jriver for stereo and Foobar for multi-channel. I now get the advantage of Jremote control over all my files. And Jriver has DSP options that make the regrettable but necessary DSD to PCM conversion for multi-channel files sound more transparent.

Russ
________________________________________________

Update: Although Jriver automatically changes zones (via ZoneSwitch) when I move between stereo and multi-channel files, Jremote does not. Before I figured this out, I was confused as to why Jremote was getting out of sync with the tracks playing in Jriver.

So when Jriver switches zones, the new zone must be selected in Jremote. In Jremote the "double window" icon to the left of the play/pause buttons opens a list of zones. Selecting the zone (stereo or multi-channel) that corresponds with the file playing in Jriver gets Jremote back in sync.

I also found that each Jriver zone shows up as a "media player" on all my other DLNA devices. I haven't taken the time to figure out the whole UPnP/DLNA thing to know what to do with this, but it's there.

Russ"
______________________________



Yea, I already figured out the JRiver doesn't let you change zones or to change libraries. However, I use Teamviewer for remote desktop for all of my PCs and iPad from any one of them.
I can quickly get on my Media Server desktop with Teamviewer say from my iPad or laptop, do whatever I need to do, then I can if I want switch to JRemote! HA!
post #161 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

I looked into this, but I could not find the attribute "Multi Channel" in the tagging datamodel, so you cannot create a rule based on this. If I want to switch between zones based on Multi Channel versus 2 channel, how would I do this?

Even if JRiver switches zones, you still need to change to the corresponding output device in Windows, so some manual process is involved.
Each zone has its own DSP settings, and audio & video output settings. So you can have a "Stereo" zone that is set to output to one specific device, and a "Multichannel" zone that sends audio to your AVR.

You then want to set up Zone Switch rules like this:
7jzd80u.png
post #162 of 639
Thread Starter 
I am moving this thread up with this post so that forum member Steve Kale, who is interested in the issues discussed therein along with using with a CB3 HD SSD as I do, so that he has "no excuse" for not seeing this thread. HAAAAA!!@@@@@rolleyes.gif Steve, if you actually find and read this thread, please post below. tongue.gif
post #163 of 639
Thanks. It was easy to find: click on your username and select "Threads Started". I will peruse it later this evening or tomorrow.

PS: Had I seen it earlier I would have gladly have tried to help with your build.

My first piece of advice would have been to not use the Streacom case. Awful things. Anyone want to buy the one I have? HD-Plex have much better ones. Anyway, will try to read more later.
Edited by stevekale - 7/30/13 at 8:54am
post #164 of 639
BTW for my build I had a number of things that I considered important:

- the motherboard needed to ideally be compact i.e. mini-ITX
- it needed to be able to take an mSATA card so that the operating system was not on the data drive; makes it much easier to swap out the data drive
- it needed to be low power/TDP capable
- it needed to have an ATX power socket in order to be able to powered by a high-quality multi-rail linear power supply. (The first mobo I used was the DH61AG which did not provide for this and is consequently being tossed.) The ATX socket needed to be in a position on the mobo such that the heatsink pipes would not frustrate access.
- it needed to have an HDMI port - you've flagged the 176.4kHz sample rate capability issue which I had missed (let's see what Realtek say)
- I needed a PCIe slot for the Juli@ XTe card (and I will likely upgrade the clocks on this card with a Fidelity Audio clock and power it directly from the linear PSU) (Alternatively, I could go down the Berkeley Audio Alpha USB route that you have but I fully expect Theta to implement an isolating USB input card into the CB biggrin.gif )

I have purchased an ASRock Z87E-ITX with 8GB of memory (I have removed the wifi module) and the new Intel "Haswell" 4570T processor.

Video cards are notorious for power draw and creating noise/buzz and AMD have caused much frustration with horrible, buggy drivers. I will continue to explore alternatives for gaining multi-channel 176.4kHz over HDMI capability without having to resort to slotting in one of these "monsters". biggrin.gif

PS: I control JRiver with JRemote and use RDP to control the "PC" all from my iPad. I also have ZoneSwitch working as Chronoptimist notes above. You have to manually change the zone on JRemote though.
Edited by stevekale - 7/30/13 at 9:44am
post #165 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

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!

I believe this switch cuts all power transmission from the USB port on the card. The Alpha USB needs power from the source to drive its USB bus. From there, though, they claim to have carefully isolated the rest of the unit from power contamination from the source. (And hence my argument in the Theta thread that the use of the SOTM USB card with the Alpha USB is likely very redundant. You could test this relatively easily and if you find it so then sell the SOTM card.)

EDIT: Oops! I just read Edorr's post above
post #166 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

Thanks. It was easy to find: click on your username and select "Threads Started". I will peruse it later this evening or tomorrow.

PS: Had I seen it earlier I would have gladly have tried to help with your build.

My first piece of advice would have been to not use the Streacom case. Awful things. Anyone want to buy the one I have? HD-Plex have much better ones. Anyway, will try to read more later.

What have you found to be the issues with Streamcom cases ?

Stew
post #167 of 639
I don't like the finish on the cases. A simple touch and it leaves a smudge. Before long they simply look messy. They're a pain to clean. The brushed aluminium front panels on the HD-Plex cases are way too cool. tongue.gif
post #168 of 639
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

Thanks. It was easy to find: click on your username and select "Threads Started". I will peruse it later this evening or tomorrow.

PS: Had I seen it earlier I would have gladly have tried to help with your build.

My first piece of advice would have been to not use the Streacom case. Awful things. Anyone want to buy the one I have? HD-Plex have much better ones. Anyway, will try to read more later.

I didn't use Streacom. I used an all aluminum Silverstone case!!@###@@@
post #169 of 639
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post


Video cards are notorious for power draw and creating noise/buzz and AMD have caused much frustration with horrible, buggy drivers. I will continue to explore alternatives for gaining multi-channel 176.4kHz over HDMI capability without having to resort to slotting in one of these "monsters". biggrin.gif

PS: I control JRiver with JRemote and use RDP to control the "PC" all from my iPad. I also have ZoneSwitch working as Chronoptimist notes above. You have to manually change the zone on JRemote though.

I have no issues using the Sapphire 7750's HDMI for multi-channel. Period.

Yes I already use JRemote on my iPad3, and also Teamviewer to remotely control the Media Server whether from my iPad3, laptop or even the Dell 8500 XPS in my office. For now I use an external Fantom 4Tb ESATA - will be moving to NAS though.
post #170 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

I have no issues using the Sapphire 7750's HDMI for multi-channel. Period.

Yeah I just wouldn't want one in my build - just not the direction I want to head down, but maybe I will be forced to reconsider at some point. I only have one PCIe slot on my mobo and for now that will be used by the Juli@ XTe.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Yes I already use JRemote on my iPad3, and also Teamviewer to remotely control the Media Server whether from my iPad3, laptop or even the Dell 8500 XPS in my office. For now I use an external Fantom 4Tb ESATA - will be moving to NAS though.

Yep, looks like you've slowly worked your way through most of the key hurdles.

BTW you would get a laugh out of some of the threads on AudioAsylum. There are people there who claim that they can hear the difference between AIFF/WAVE files and ALAC/FLAC. They argue that the extra burden placed on the CPU by the decompression makes it sound different. Lord knows what they'd think of your DSD->PCM conversion on-the-fly.
post #171 of 639
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

Yeah I just wouldn't want one in my build - just not the direction I want to head down, but maybe I will be forced to reconsider at some point. I only have one PCIe slot on my mobo and for now that will be used by the Juli@ XTe.
Yep, looks like you've slowly worked your way through most of the key hurdles.

BTW you would get a laugh out of some of the threads on AudioAsylum. There are people there who claim that they can hear the difference between AIFF/WAVE files and ALAC/FLAC. They argue that the extra burden placed on the CPU by the decompression makes it sound different. Lord knows what they'd think of your DSD->PCM conversion on-the-fly.

My Silversone chassis has all sorts of slots for all sorts of crap! HA!

My research suggested that USB out, using the SOTM card and a quality USB to digital converter (BADA is Da Best) will sound better t han using the Juli@XTe. And the Bryston BDP-1 I had used for two years has a Bryston modded Juli@ card.

I demod some files, ripped SACD ICO vs converted PCM 176-24, couldn't hear a discernible difference. They can think what they want.
post #172 of 639
You should not need a separate USB card, or any kind of isolator if you are using well designed equipment.
USB Audio Class 2 uses so little bandwidth, it's not necessary to keep it on a separate controller - and your motherboard probably already has at least two separate USB controllers on it.

I would definitely want an external USB DAC rather than an internal PCI-E soundcard. Sound cards seem prone to causing ground loop issues, and I have not experienced that problem with USB.
If you are sending out a coax or toslink signal (toslink might be preferable if you want galvanic isolation) then it shouldn't matter what the device is - it's just sending data out from the PC, whatever device is receiving that signal determines the quality.

It is unfortunate that Nvidia don't appear to support 88.2 or 176.4 outputs, as I prefer Nvidia cards over AMD for all other purposes. Do the new Haswell chips still not support that over HDMI either?
post #173 of 639
Quote:
I would definitely want an external USB DAC rather than an internal PCI-E soundcard.

I think you miss the point a bit. We already have very high quality DACs in the Casablanca and, in Steve's case, the Gen 8 III. At the moment, and I don't expect this to remain so for too long, we need to feed the Theta products S/PDIF. For now, Theta does not have a USB input card. So, one either heads down the path of a high quality sound card that outputs high quality S/PDIF from the audio server or deploys a USB->S/PDIF converter such as the Alpha USB. Personally I'm not ready to jump to the expense of the latter just yet because I fully expect Theta to provide a USB input card in the not too distant future and an integrated solution (isolated USB input with i2S to the DAC) should provide a better solution than the Berkeley product. I do agree with you, as I've said above, that the deployment of a separate USB card in conjunction with the Alpha USB is likely redundant. BTW the Juli@ XTe card is galvanically isolated by design so no ground loop issues there.

Sample rate support over HDMI isn't a processor issue (as I understand it). Rather, at least in the case of the motherboards I've explored it depends on the RealTek chip and codec deployed. The Intel DH61AG uses RealTek ALC892 as does the motherboard recommended in the "Zuma" spec. The ASRock Z87E-ITX uses RealTek 1150. You can view the specs of these on the RealTek website. While they are marketed as "up to 192kHz" capable, a closer read of their specs shows they support 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 and 192 but not, strangely, 176.4kHz. Oddly, however, if you look at the data sheet for ALC898 there are plenty of references to 176.4 capability even though the marketing specs do not include 176.4 in the list of supported sample rates. Personally, I've not yet had the time to directly test 176.4kHz on my setup.
Quote:
My research suggested that USB out, using the SOTM card and a quality USB to digital converter (BADA is Da Best) will sound better than using the Juli@XTe. And the Bryston BDP-1 I had used for two years has a Bryston modded Juli@ card.

That's good - it's what one would expect! A properly isolated USB connection with the data then properly reclocked distances the Alpha (and Theta DACs) from the source device - the Alpha is the source. A direct and properly implemented USB feed into the Casablanca would be even better. An i2S feed from the audio server to the Casablanca would be even better as it would avoid the conversion to USB. But I will bet the SOTM is redundant. Remember also that the Bryston BDP is about the most basic implementation of an audio server possible. They use the older PCI version of the Juli@. It is driven by a very basic power supply - the motherboard does onboard the conversion to 5V and 3.3V - and they've made no attempt to improve on the Juli@ card (power it independently, upgrade the clocks and capacitors etc). The only "mod" they've done is to avoid the breakout cable with a jumper off the Hanrun part which provides isolation and add a 75->110 Ohm conversion board to support AES/EBU. Anyone with a soldering iron can jumper off the Hanrun to 75Ohm BNC or RCA and avoid the breakout cable. Beating the Bryston (except in shear convenience) is very easy.
post #174 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

........because I fully expect Theta to provide a USB input card in the not too distant future and an integrated solution (isolated USB input with i2S to the DAC) should provide a better solution than the Berkeley product......

Any particular reason for this expectation? To my knowledge SSP with USB inputs are non-existent. Has Theta given any indication it has plans along these lines?
post #175 of 639
None other than I think they're cognisant that many of their customers would like to see this added. They have a lot on their plate already of course but adding a USB input card would likely be, design-wise, a relatively easy addition for them.
post #176 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

So, one either heads down the path of a high quality sound card that outputs high quality S/PDIF from the audio server or deploys a USB->S/PDIF converter such as the Alpha USB.
I thought the ALC1150 on your motherboard should already support S/PDIF out, so I would not have expected there to be any need for another output device. Most people buying sound cards are using them for their analog output capabilities rather than digital. (which is why I recommend a USB DAC)
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

The ASRock Z87E-ITX uses RealTek 1150. You can view the specs of these on the RealTek website. While they are marketed as "up to 192kHz" capable, a closer read of their specs shows they support 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 and 192 but not, strangely, 176.4kHz. Oddly, however, if you look at the data sheet for ALC898 there are plenty of references to 176.4 capability even though the marketing specs do not include 176.4 in the list of supported sample rates.
That's very strange indeed. I wonder why 176.4kHz support is relatively rare now. My USB DAC does have support for 176.4kHz, but it still doesn't show up as an option in the Windows control panel - but if I output 176.4kHz from JRiver it plays correctly.

That said, high res audio is typically 96kHz or 192kHz. I don't think I've seen anything that is 176.4kHz PCM native - only DSD conversions. And you should not need 176.4kHz with DSD conversions, because anything above 30kHz or so is just ultrasonic noise that should have been filtered out. And if you have filtered out everything above 30kHz, there's no benefit to using 176.4kHz instead of 88.2kHz.
post #177 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevekale View Post

None other than I think they're cognisant that many of their customers would like to see this added. They have a lot on their plate already of course but adding a USB input card would likely be, design-wise, a relatively easy addition for them.

I agree it should not be too hard to build. Many manufacturers that ship asynchronous USB interfaces license the code from Wavelength Audio from what I understand.
post #178 of 639
Your comment re the lack of need for an SPDIF sound card when the mobo already has an SPDIF header is much like why have a SOTM USB card when you can run USB straight off the motherboard. In both cases (and with USB I'm specifically excluding the situation where a very good USB to SPDIF converter is deployed) the additional cards have been proven to add a lot of value. The Bryston BDP 1 and 2 rely on this as their basic architecture. The Juli@ card provides a solid platform for power upgrades (powering the card independently of the motherboard) and clocks upgrades (a relatively easy mod). A very large number of people are using the Juli@ card precisely because the polluting analogue side of things can be easily separated and discarded. (The card can be split in the middle.)

The Windows control panel will show the capability of the connected Playback Device. It may be 176.4kHz capable but you've still got to get the 176.4kHz to it. So your motherboard needs to be able to send 176.4kHz material, for the purposes of this discussion, over HDMI. This is where the discussion of Intel HD Audio (in the case of Intel mobos) and its use of Realtek audio codecs comes in.

The Intel DH61AG motherboard, for example, has in its specs:

"Intel® High Definition Audio (Intel® HD Audio) subsystem in the following configuration:
10-channel (7.1+ 2 independent multi-streaming) audio subsystem using the Realtek ALC892* audio codec

Internal S/PDIF header and front panel audio header"

If you look up the specs of the Realtek ALC892 audio codec you will find:

"Support for 16/20/24-bit SPDIF input and output with up to 192kHz sample rate offers easy connection of PCs to consumer electronic products such as digital decoders and speakers. The ALC892 also features secondary SPDIF-OUT output and converter to transport digital audio output to a High Definition Media Interface (HDMI) transmitter."

But further down under "features":

"Primary 16/20/24-bit SPDIF-OUT supports 32k/44.1k/48k/88.2k/96k/192kHz sample rate"

Note the omission of 176.4kHz.
post #179 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

I agree it should not be too hard to build. Many manufacturers that ship asynchronous USB interfaces license the code from Wavelength Audio from what I understand.

Well it ought to be easier to design and build than an Alpha USB. The question is whether Theta can put in place a design that gets the isolation and reclocking executed as well as the Berkeley product. Given their history with jitter jail I would have to believe that this would be a walk in the park for the Theta engineers. I for one would certainly rather they concentrated on this than building the next Oppo mod.
post #180 of 639
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

but if I output 176.4kHz from JRiver it plays correctly.

Over what path? HDMI?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

That said, high res audio is typically 96kHz or 192kHz. I don't think I've seen anything that is 176.4kHz PCM native - only DSD conversions. And you should not need 176.4kHz with DSD conversions, because anything above 30kHz or so is just ultrasonic noise that should have been filtered out. And if you have filtered out everything above 30kHz, there's no benefit to using 176.4kHz instead of 88.2kHz.

That is another can of worms. Oppo would no doubt agree with you and that's why they capped their SACD output at 88.2kHz. Others will vehemently disagree. Incoming!!
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