HCPC Newbie, harddisk audio upsample?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Gary Palmer, Feb 18, 2002.

  1. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer
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    Hi All,

    Just building my 1st HCPC.

    Given the low price of harddisks now (£180 for 100GB) I want to use it as a music server using UNCOMPRESSED PCM (not at all interested in MP3).

    My question is ; what's the best sound card for PCM output (especially interested in Nick's comments about Jitter).

    Does anyone do any softfare to upsample PCM to 96KHz/24 Bit to be output via SPDIF ? (of course I also need DD/DTS too !)

    I'm using a Lexicon MC-1 so I don't need any analogue stuff as I will use the internal DACs and the MC-1's expansion bus if the upsampled PCM is possible.

    I really appreciate any help.

    Any suggestions for the best graphics card ? (with S-video out being very important for day-to-day TV viewing)

    I think this is the most fascinating part of our hobby right now.

    One device for a high quality music server, high-end DVD playback, games, web-surfing/email and digital pictures that doesn't cost a mortgage to upgrade and is virtually guaranteed continual upgrade paths...... :D

    Cheers
    Gary
     
  2. Branxx

    Branxx
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    Gary,

    I agree with you completely about the use of MP3. With the disk price per GB falling as fast as it does, there is no point of using any (lossy) compressing methods. I have myself settled on Sonic Foundry Perfect Clarity Audio (PCA) lossless compression. It usually produces 50% reduction on the file size without any effect on audio quality. I have setup a separate machine as a media server that contains several days worth of PCA compressed music and about 50 of my most frequently watched DVDs.

    While ago when I got my first Delta Dio 24/96 I've also bought one of the JITTER SCRAMBLING DECORRELATION devices at the cost of £350. Fortunately, it came with 2 weeks no-questions-asked return guarantee, because as much as I tried I could not hear any difference between direct SPDIF and de-jittered SPDIF. This maybe due to very low jitter in the first place of some other reasons. I returned the device and don't worry about jitter any more.

    About six months ago I had opportunity to try Delta 1010. Connected directly to Bryston power amp in produced the best audio I have ever heard on my system. This card is now selling for £468 (inc VAT). If audio is your main area of interest, than this is an excellent choice.

    As for the video card I use Radeon VE dual-head (after trying Matrox G400, Elsa Gladiac GTS 2, Radeon 64MB DDR). This card would enable you to connect both monitor and S-Video simultaneously.
     
  3. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer
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    Hi Branxx,

    Excellent reply. Most appreciated.

    Some questions for you !

    1 - Can you hear the difference with PCA vs uncompressed PCM ? (can't help some scepticism about lossless codecs).

    2 - since the jitter is not a problem for you - what card are you using ?

    3 - what processor/DAC are you using ?

    4 - How are you doing the DVD server bit ? A DVD-ROM jukebox ?

    5 - does anyone do PC based PCM upsampling (a la Perceptual) ?

    Cheers mate,

    Gary


    :p
     
  4. Branxx

    Branxx
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    Someone (knowledgeable) offered a simplistic explanation of loss less PCM compression a while ago, liking it to ZIP utility. You ZIP the file and then unZIP. Comparing the original with the unZIP-ed results in the exact match.

    I have not yet heard any difference in, say listening from CD directly or listening to a PCA encoded file. Many software players and play list packages (Jukebox) can play variety of encoded and unencoded music. Best way forward is to try it within your own confines and choose what you think is best. At the end if your music collection occupies 50GB or 100GB, it adds only £50 to the cost of extra disk space.

    As I mentioned in my previous post I use M-Audio Delta DiO 24/96. Other Delta cards would be equally suitable, i.e. Audiophile, 410, 1010.
    Yamaha DSP-A1. This is next on my upgrade list.
    DVDs are copied onto HDs. I have a 500GB configuration. I use PowerDVD to play movies over internal LAN.
    I am not aware. It is something I would like to try of to have it demoed, but I don't expect dramatic improvement.
     
  5. Mark Grant

    Mark Grant
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    Nice thread this one.

    The Audiophile souncard will do what you want for £150 Gary.

    I want to build a 500 gig DVD server myself sometime :)

    The network is installed and working, the BranxxMedia(TM) ;) server will go in the garage, out of the way.

    There is a good thread here on another forum that you might find interesting, especially the bits about up conversion to 96Khz.

    Good Luck,

    Mark.
     
  6. jrwood

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    If you want to store uncompressed audio files on a partition (for example 100gigs+) then format the partition with NTFS (use win2k/winXP) and choose to compress folders/files on that partition. In Windows2000/XP the NTFS transparent compression works really well for non-compressed files. The great thing about it is that the compression is transparent to the user, it even highlights folders/files in blue if they are compressed!.

    James
     
  7. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer
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    Great info chaps, much appreciated.

    500GB ! Cool.

    I had planned to network a small HCPC (about 100GB) to a much larger capacity desktop upstairs and use that as a server.

    It never occured to me that I could do the same with DVDs ! I guess 100 base T is fast enough !

    The more I think about this the more fun it's becoming. Who needs a Linn Arkiv system (or whatever its called)

    Cheers
    Gary
     
  8. Branxx

    Branxx
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    My House Server is in the basement along with the other electronic infrastructure (LAN pathch panel, telephone system, modems).

    Actual HTPC is stored in a separatelly ventilated compartment one floor above the media room.

    Net effect is that I got rid of all noisy bits.


    AS for 500GB server: disk drives are very cheap and getting cheaper. On the other hand projector lamps are on the other side of the scale.

    In the other thread Cliff Watson posts a simple way to do upconversion using Delta cards: lock the sample rate to 96KHz. I've tried that but my Yamaha can not handle bitstreams above 48KHz.
     

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