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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Preface: this is for my father's ultra high end audio syste, including:


B&W 800 Diamond

Bryston BP-26 pre-amp

2x Bryston 7B SST amps


I want to get him to go digital. Now, in theory, digital is digital is digital. So, I'm going to ask a few questions:


1) With EAC storing the music in bit perfect representation shouldn't be a problem, correct? Is there a list of drives out there that can rip the CDs with minimal error? As I understand, the CD audio format has very little error correction and does allow room for misinterpretation of the data, so a good drive would seem important.


2) Digital out should normally suffice as long as the receptive DAC has a buffer and controls the timings, right? Or are DACs even more primitive than I think they are and don't even use a buffer? In that case, I would assume I need to make sure the timing is controlled by the DAC and not the PC or media device's digital out. Any clarification on this point would be greatly appreciated.


What are my device options? I'm a big PC guy, and would love to build him a high end PC, but if there is a standalone device that can do what he needs, he would probably prefer that.


As for storage, I assume the device would either have built in storage, or I could get a NAS and set a few drives in RAID 1/4/5 for data redundancy.
 

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I use a Silent Pc setup using 2 x 500gb SSD Hard discs, going out via a Lynx AES16 PCI digital audio card through to a MSB Signature Platinum DAC IV , I use a I-Pad for control with Media Monkey software. The Total outlay was significant but the sound quality is amazing. Similar systems can be obtained from http://www.bluesmokesystems.com .


I have only had this setup for the last month but the sound quality is out of this world. The rest of the Kit is a Krell FBI and PMC MB2 Speakers.
 

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I use a Mac Mini running Twonky server and the PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC with Bridge. Sound is the best I've accomplished and/or heard in my 30+ year audiophile hobby. The Mini is dead silent and small so it integrates well with an audiophile system; the PW DAC is simply incredible.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd /forum/post/19647430


Perhaps the new Brsyton DBP-1 might be a nice fit?

That seems like a perfect match, although my BRYSTON customers also have the BDA1 (dac)


What a system "that" would be for Pop.


Oh, and it is BDP-1 (for Bryston Digital Player)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex0du5 /forum/post/19646071


Preface: this is for my father's ultra high end audio syste, including:


B&W 800 Diamond

Bryston BP-26 pre-amp

2x Bryston 7B SST amps


I want to get him to go digital. Now, in theory, digital is digital is digital. So, I'm going to ask a few questions:


1) With EAC storing the music in bit perfect representation shouldn't be a problem, correct? Is there a list of drives out there that can rip the CDs with minimal error? As I understand, the CD audio format has very little error correction and does allow room for misinterpretation of the data, so a good drive would seem important.


2) Digital out should normally suffice as long as the receptive DAC has a buffer and controls the timings, right? Or are DACs even more primitive than I think they are and don't even use a buffer? In that case, I would assume I need to make sure the timing is controlled by the DAC and not the PC or media device's digital out. Any clarification on this point would be greatly appreciated.


What are my device options? I'm a big PC guy, and would love to build him a high end PC, but if there is a standalone device that can do what he needs, he would probably prefer that.


As for storage, I assume the device would either have built in storage, or I could get a NAS and set a few drives in RAID 1/4/5 for data redundancy.

Here are your options (assuming you are looking for a music server based system and want audiophile quality sound):

Integrated turnkey music server - This will be your best bet in terms of the ease of use and configuration. You can however get better Sound Quality and capacity per $ spend if you build your own system. You can anything ranging from a $2000 Olive HD to very expensive Meridian sooloos system.

If your father is very computer illiterate I would go this route.

PC with soundcard S/PDIF out into DAC - The soundcard to get it the Lynx AES16 PCI digital audio. DAC options are many. Excellent results can be achieved as attested by IAMPADDY.

PC (or Mac) with USB out into USB Dac - If you go USB, the DACs to get are asynchronous. Current price performance leaders for USB DAC are Ayre and Wired4Sound. Quality of PC / Mac appears to have little impact on Sound quality with this setup. Mac Mini's are popular computers for this application.

PC (or Mac) with USB out into USB to S/PDIF converter into S/PDIF DAC - USB to S/PDIF converters are many, and rapidly improving. HiFace EVO is highly acclaimed, but there are many others. Advantage of this setup is you have many more choices of good DACs, and you can also run this into a SSP if you want to integrate 2 channel and multi channel

Audio streaming over network - Only game in town are PS audio perfectwave DAC + Bridge, and Linn. I own the PS audio and could not be happier. Linn is far more expensive if I understand correctly. In this setup, you store your library on a NAS and stream into a network interface card that is installed in your DAC. You control the library with an iPhone application.


Comparisons between SQ of these architectures are far and few between, but excellent results have been reported with all approaches I outlined individually.


Plenty options as you can see. I would keep in mind the convenience of the controller. I personally would never want to have to control playback from a PC (or Mac) monitor/keyboard, and for me a good 2 way remote control application is critical.
 

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I replaced my Ayre DX1 (that I used as a transport with an external DAC) with a Logitech Squeezebox Touch.


I was a bit skeptical at first when I read its Stereophile review, but to my surprise this $300 device turned out to be as good (used as a digital source) as my 10K Ayre deck, which is now for sale.


And the server software is quite nice. There is no turning back for me to regular CD players.


I use dbPowerAmp to rip CDs to FLAC format, it's just perfect. It uses a database of CRC values for most CD tracks, so you actually now that the rip is bit perfect most of the time.


Edit: this streams audio over the network, which is the more convenient solution. All you need is a PC somewhere in the house.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bioforce
That seems like a perfect match, although my BRYSTON customers also have the BDA1 (dac)


What a system "that" would be for Pop.


Oh, and it is BDP-1 (for Bryston Digital Player)


I know that! It's my typing skills that are suspect...


And my proof reading.



The BDP-1 is on my radar and might displace a music htpc. Can the BDP-1 feed a multichannel prepro and use it's internal DAC?


Bryston had a local dealer instore demo but I found out about it too late. The BDP-1 is a neat little device, but there's little connectivity information on it, for those who don't want to use it with an external DAC and stereo preamp. I am thinking IPad control, and feeding a multichannel prepro where I apply DPLIIx for a multichannel acoustically treated theater.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by robena
I replaced my Ayre DX1 (that I used as a transport with an external DAC) with a Logitech Squeezebox Touch.


I was a bit skeptical at first when I read its Stereophile review, but to my surprise this $300 device turned out to be as good (used as a digital source) as my 10K Ayre deck, which is now for sale.


And the server software is quite nice. There is no turning back for me to regular CD players.


I use dbPowerAmp to rip CDs to FLAC format, it's just perfect. It uses a database of CRC values for most CD tracks, so you actually now that the rip is bit perfect most of the time.


Edit: this streams audio over the network, which is the more convenient solution. All you need is a PC somewhere in the house.
This is very similar to what I do. dbpoweramp to rip CDs on a standard PC. Then into a Sonos system -> tube DAC (TADAC) -> Halo C2 processor -> Bel Canto Reference mono amps - > ML Summit/Script speakers. I did extensive A/B testing with my CD player, couldnt hear any difference and threw the CD player away.


I have personally loved it but keep wondering about the following:

a) Are bitstreams perfect? I have a lot of CDs that dont play well. I assume that its because the original CD was scratched but havent tested.

b) Is Sonos a weak link? The convenience is insane. But I've been considering upgrading to a Cullen Modified Sonos.


would love experiences shared about the above


To the original poster, my advice would be:

a) If you want a turnkey, risk free solution in ONE room, also consider the Music Vault II for about $1500k. or any of the Olives. Burns, stores etc wth a simple PC interface

b) If you want a turnkey slution in multiple rooms, add the SONOs system to the above. Squeezebox is similar - there are many threads comparing the two

c) If you dont mind tinkering a little, already have a PC, do what is suggested in this and the quoted email
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the replies.


I'm sure my dad would be interested in the Bryston, since he's big into that brand.


As for the PC route, although he is computer illiterate, I am not. I build systems often enough, and I already have a system in mind. I'd probably go for a low power AMD, passively cooled PSU, and passively cooled video. Hopefully the whole thing could run with a 120mm case fan at very low RPM, making it inaudible. I'd probably put in an SSD for OS boot, but I don't really see the benefit for music/media storage, so I'd probably just put in 2x WD Greens or Samsung F4 in RAID 1 or something of the sort.


As for the media control...it is a concern. However, I do have a spare iPhone 3G lying around, so I figure it would be a good way of controlling the music. Alternatively, my father could always purchase an iPad if he wanted a bigger control device.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex0du5 /forum/post/19651582


Thanks for the replies.


I'm sure my dad would be interested in the Bryston, since he's big into that brand.


As for the PC route, although he is computer illiterate, I am not. I build systems often enough, and I already have a system in mind. I'd probably go for a low power AMD, passively cooled PSU, and passively cooled video. Hopefully the whole thing could run with a 120mm case fan at very low RPM, making it inaudible. I'd probably put in an SSD for OS boot, but I don't really see the benefit for music/media storage, so I'd probably just put in 2x WD Greens or Samsung F4 in RAID 1 or something of the sort.


As for the media control...it is a concern. However, I do have a spare iPhone 3G lying around, so I figure it would be a good way of controlling the music. Alternatively, my father could always purchase an iPad if he wanted a bigger control device.

Building the system is only part of the issue. If your father is computer illiterate STAY AWAY from a custom build / configured system. These system will invitable have issues during operations, which require basic (sometimes not so basic) trouble shooting and remediation skills. I used media monkey, J rivers, windows media player, iTunes, various iPhone controlling apps, an M-Media USB to S/DIF converter now PS audio bridge and PlugNPlay. NONE of this stuff is 100% stable and foolproof during operations, not to mention and a plain PITA to get to work. Now if you want to spend more time on the phone with your Dad (providing remote technical support) this is a different issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr
Building the system is only part of the issue. If your father is computer illiterate STAY AWAY from a custom build / configured system. These system will invitable have issues during operations, which require basic (sometimes not so basic) trouble shooting and remediation skills. I used media monkey, J rivers, windows media player, iTunes, various iPhone controlling apps, an M-Media USB to S/DIF converter now PS audio bridge and PlugNPlay. NONE of this stuff is 100% stable and foolproof during operations, not to mention and a plain PITA to get to work. Now if you want to spend more time on the phone with your Dad (providing remote technical support) this is a different issue.
Yeah that's kind of my concern. If it were my own system, it's the way I'd go, but I'm not necessarily in the mood to provide remote technical support, as you'd say.


The BDP-1 is looking pretty attractive. From the product panphlet, it doesn't sound like Bryston is bs'ing too much about the specs/capabilities of the device. Their arguments are sound, and seem to stray away from the snake oil of it all.


Of course, I'm thinking it could probably be matched by a $600 PC in a nice enclosure. My main concern is that it will depreciate like crazy over the next few years and essentially be a much bigger sunk cost than most audio components. I guess that's the price to pay for bleeding edge.


It's a shame none of these devices control the ripping aspect, as that's likely to be the more painful part of the setup at this point.


edit: hmmm, I am seeing a nagging issue with the BDP-1...it's not networkable. That means that if we want to add songs, the external HDD must be plugged into the PC and then back into the Bryston. I wonder if I can get an enclosure that would support simultaneous access through both Wi-Fi and USB...that would solve that issue.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex0du5 /forum/post/19651673


Yeah that's kind of my concern. If it were my own system, it's the way I'd go, but I'm not necessarily in the mood to provide remote technical support, as you'd say.


The BDP-1 is looking pretty attractive. From the product panphlet, it doesn't sound like Bryston is bs'ing too much about the specs/capabilities of the device. Their arguments are sound, and seem to stray away from the snake oil of it all.


Of course, I'm thinking it could probably be matched by a $600 PC in a nice enclosure. My main concern is that it will depreciate like crazy over the next few years and essentially be a much bigger sunk cost than most audio components. I guess that's the price to pay for bleeding edge.


It's a shame none of these devices control the ripping aspect, as that's likely to be the more painful part of the setup at this point.


Forget about the depreciation of the PC. The bigger worry is you will not have a foolproof operationally stable PC based system , and the this will frustrate the hell out of your dad.


Based on what you're telling me you should get something like the the Olive HD. If you want the Bryston DAC, you can use the Olive's digital outs into the DAC, but you are probably just fine using the analog outs. Other benefit of the DAC would be you can use it for your TV receiver digital outs, which will greatly boost SQ from the TV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr /forum/post/19651774


Forget about the depreciation of the PC. The bigger worry is you will not have a foolproof operationally stable PC based system , and the this will frustrate the hell out of your dad.


Based on what you're telling me you should get something like the the Olive HD. If you want the Bryston DAC, you can use the Olive's digital outs into the DAC, but you are probably just fine using the analog outs. Other benefit of the DAC would be you can use it for your TV receiver digital outs, which will greatly boost SQ from the TV.

I was talking about the depreciation of the Bryston.


Anyways, all options are being considered, so I will present them to my dad and he can make the decision. I'm going to get him over to a buddy's place, since he has a high end setup with a cheapish Sonos box. He can at least get a feel for how the setup can work.


The main reason I was leaning to the Bryston is not specifically its capabilities as a player, but the fact that it'll be a much easier sell to my dad.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex0du5 /forum/post/19651859


I was talking about the depreciation of the Bryston.


Anyways, all options are being considered, so I will present them to my dad and he can make the decision. I'm going to get him over to a buddy's place, since he has a high end setup with a cheapish Sonos box. He can at least get a feel for how the setup can work.


The main reason I was leaning to the Bryston is not specifically its capabilities as a player, but the fact that it'll be a much easier sell to my dad.

I looked up the BDP-1. I complete wast of money in my opinion. It is neither a music server nor a DAC, but a $2000 "gateway" device that sits between the DAC and USB storage device. It can't rip CDs so you still need a PC, and you also need a library controller app. You would be much better off getting a Mac Mini and a good USB DAC if you want to build something like this.
 

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The BlueSmoke product is terrific.


Very high performance, and great support.


You can feed your Processor/DAC from it, which gives you flexibility to play with and change out those components over time. It also includes a well integrated, high quality ripping engine, which is a nice plus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucemck2
The BlueSmoke product is terrific.


Very high performance, and great support.


You can feed your Processor/DAC from it, which gives you flexibility to play with and change out those components over time. It also includes a well integrated, high quality ripping engine, which is a nice plus.
What's the price tag on it?


edit: gulp $7k. No way I could ever want to spend that much on what is essentially a PC. This isn't an amp with a 20 year warranty. It's a PC, which means far shorter warranty, and huge depreciation. All they're basically selling is the software front end and setup. The software front end doesn't seem to be worth the $6k overhead. Maybe to someone with a lot of cash, but money certainly is an issue in this case.


edit2: I don't want to disrespect the setup though. I'm sure it's an amazing solution if you have the cash.
 

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I concur with those proposing the PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC/Bridge. It can be controlled via intuitive iPad/iPhone app (which might be appreciated by your father) and the price is a comparative bargain considering the resolution it's capable of rendering.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex0du5
What's the price tag on it?


edit: gulp $7k. No way I could ever want to spend that much on what is essentially a PC. This isn't an amp with a 20 year warranty. It's a PC, which means far shorter warranty, and huge depreciation. All they're basically selling is the software front end and setup. The software front end doesn't seem to be worth the $6k overhead. Maybe to someone with a lot of cash, but money certainly is an issue in this case.
The Olive HD is 2K and will do everything you need. No the final word in SQ I'm sure, but a nice all in one package.
 
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