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  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Need help for DIY HIFI music server on PC

    I want to make a hifi music server on a PC. I would like to know some opinions and sugestions. The format I'm look to use is FLAC.
    1)For the quality of the sound, is it better to use an external sound card (ex. M-Audio Audiophile) or to go wireless (ex. Slimdevice Squeezbox)?
    2)Does the software make a difference? (Winamp ou foobar 200)?
    3)For the hard drive of 200G, Is there some specifications to respect?
    4)Does the optical input on the amp offer a real advantage?
    5)Before doing the expense, is there some already tried setups that you could tell me?
    6)I'm I in the good way in regard of some available system like Cambridge Azur?

    Thank you

    (sorry for my wording, English is not my first language)

  2. #2
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    1. I almost exclusively use a PC based system for my serious listening. I use the Squeezebox 3 device in conjunction with an external DAC (Lavry DA10) and find the quality outstanding. (I briefly tried out the Slimdevices "Transporter." It was also excellent but I couldn't justify the $2,000 price tag.)

    2. Software on the computer side shouldn't make a difference as long as it is only streaming lossless data with no modifications. (No equalization, normalization, etc.) Some software programs have a settings where those can be turned off/on. With the Squeezebox you will need to use their "Slimserver" software.

    3. Any good quality, reliable hard drive should be fine. Hard drive speed is not critical in audio playback. Even a 5400 RPM drive will deliver data many times faster than needed, and most 3 1/2" IDE hard drives are 7200 RPM these days.

    4. If I read your question correctly, the optical input of an amp means the amp is doing the DA (digital analog) conversion for you. Whether that is better depends on your other DAC alternatives.

    5. Here is my setup. I have a dedicated PC running the Linux OS with Slimerver. It has 460 GB of storage in lossless FLAC format. This streams over a CAT5 connection to the Squeezebox 3, then into a Lavry DA-10 DAC. That directly feeds the amp (Bel Canto S300) without a preamp through XLR cables, which in turn power the speakers. The computer is located in a different room so the fan/hard drive noise of the computer box is not heard in the listening area.

    6. I haven't heard one of the all-in-one packages such as the Azur. It would probably be convenient to setup and use, but it might be more difficult to have the device out of the listening room. I also don't know offhand what the cost comparison might be. Finally, an all-in-one system is going to be more difficult to change or tweak. For me it is very easy to add hard drive capacity if I need it, use a different DAC or upgrade software as Linux or Slim Devices refine and improve their software.

  3. #3
    Oldest join date recoveryone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    I too, have the Squeezebox 3 and I just stream regular Mp3's (128 and up) bitrate. The cost can vary depending on what you already have. I turn a old PC (800mhz P3 running Win2000 NT with twin 20gig HD and 1 gig ram) into my server and placed it in the garage. Streaming wirelessly with no problems. I had a Netgear Mp101 for a while but the quality was not even close to the Squeezebox.
    Pioneer Elite SC lx502
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  4. #4
    Forum Regular royphil345's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    For audio playback there's probably no difference between going wireless with the Squeezebox or using a computer with the M-Audio Audiophile hooked up to your system.

    The Audiophile / computer route gives me the option to record digitally from vinyl or tape and use different media players. Can also play DVD-quality video files from another computer on the network that has a tuner card and and TIVO-like software. I use a mini wireless keyboard with suitable range to control the HT computer.

    If you have no interest in digital recording from vinyl or tape... or viewing video files / music videos... I'd go with the squeezebox to keep things inexpensive, neat and simple.

    After a few upgrades I had almost enough spare parts to build another computer, so I figured why not build a HT computer...

    The USB 1.1 interface on the Audiophile USB does seem dangerously close to too slow at times. Especially when using a non-ASIO player or recorder. They also suggest turning off any anti-virus programs. Not good if your computer is on the internet. I'd go with the firewire or internal model of the Audiophile if going the HT computer route...

    If you happen to have a computer in the same room as your home theater... No reason to go wireless... Just pick up the Audiophile Firewire or internal and possibly a video card with a TV-out... You'll be in business. Sound-quality will be excellent.
    Last edited by royphil345; 02-22-2007 at 11:11 PM.

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