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Need audiophile PC links

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Anyone have suggestions for good sites with info/forums on building a PC that is more audiophile-oriented? I've found lots of good info here and on other HTPC-oriented sites, but it tends to be optimized more around the video side of the house. I'd love to know more about what the hardcore audiophiles are doing in terms of hw and sw setup.

Thanks in advance!
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I don't know of any great sites (though I've subscribed to this thread so I can find them out, too.) I did build an HTPC for audiophile use and here's what I did: I have an RME Digi96 feeding an external audiophile DAC through AES/EBU. Works very well though I admit I didn't try any other cards. The key is keeping the thing quiet: one thing I did not do but may have if I did it over would be to use two PCs, one very low power/low heat (possibly fanless) client and a server in the closet with all the drives. The reality is that if you are using audio only you don't really need much processing power. I've used J River Media Center to rip all my CDs in lossless format (I've used APE). The one last issue is managing a large music collection. I highly recommend NetRemote ( www.promixis.com ) because then you have bi-directional control (so you can search for tracks) without have a TV or other display.
In my experience, this site is as good as any I've seen. The audio discussions tend to be buried inside other topic like "HTPC as Pre/Pro" or a recent thread on the Lynx soundcard.

There is a lot of overlap between audiophile issues and other issues, for example:

1) Noise: if the PC is anywhere near your listening position, you want a quiet PC. You can check out places like www.silentpcreview.com for recommendations on keeping your PC quiet/silent.

2) Case: I suspect most audiophiles would want a case that resembles other audio equipment as opposed to a mid-tower or tower. There is plenty of discussion here about cases and other places like www.htpcnews.com that discusses cases as well.

Here is what I'm doing. My HTPC is not close to my listening position and is going to end up in another room. This gives me the luxury of using a mid-tower, which is the most cost effective way to go if you can use a floor standing case. My case is the Lian Li 1100 which has sound insulation and large fans (120mm). The most noise is coming from the OEM CPU fan which I plan to replace with the Thermalright XP-120. I doubt I will need to do more than that.

Soundcard: the high end audiophile sound card of choice at the present time is the Lynx 2. There are other comparable cards, but this one offers individual and master volume controls. Unless you are using your HTPC with a pre/pro instead of as a pre/pro, this is a crucial feature. If you are using your HTPC with a pre/pro all you need is on-board sound with SPDIF out. No need to drop money on a sound card, the pre/pro will be doing all the heavy lifting.

If you have specific questions, I'll try to help.
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Just to be clear about the RME. I agree that it is probably not the best choice if you are using the HTPC as you pre/pro... they don't seem to be updating the drivers anymore and automating volume changes is difficult with current drivers. I've chosen to use my HTPC more as a digital transport and music database. Therefore, all I really need is a good digital output and a nice quiet box. If you go that route, I believe the RME cards may be cheaper (I got a used one on eBay cheap), but then again if you're an audiophile it's probably all a drop in the bucket. I ended up selling my CD transport and encoding all my CDs and that paid for most of the HTPC.

I guess I don't understand why anyone would spend $$$ on a soundcard if you aren't going to use the AD/DA converters in the soundcard. What is the advantage of having the RME (or any other card) if all you are going to do is pass the digital signal to the external pre/pro? If your mobo has on-board sound with SPDIF out, isn't that all you need???
For whatever reason (jitter maybe... who knows) my DAC (an Audio Logic model 34) sounds noticably better through its AES/EBU digital input than through SPDIF. You're right, though, if your DAC just has SPDIF you can probably get away cheaper (though used on eBay the RME's are decently priced... I probably would not have bought it for full new price.). I do occasionally use the A/D function on mine to digitize analog music, too.
Originally posted by ccd
If you are using your HTPC with a pre/pro all you need is on-board sound with SPDIF out.
Remember that many onboard solutions upconvert audio to 48khz. If you're going to use your HTPC for music playback you would like to avoid that.


Here's a link for you: http://www.musicxp.net
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