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#1 JazzDoc

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 12:50 PM

I have had a computer audio installation as a part of my system for the past nine years. I started with a very simple single PC/JRMC/JRemote installation and over the years have progressed to dual PC/JPLAY Femto/AO 3.30 Beta/Process Lasso Server/Fidelizer Pro/BubbleUPnP. In the time that I have used computer audio, I have used Windows 10/2012 Server (GUI and Core)/2016 Server/2019 Server. I have always used my Naim Audio DAC, powered by a Naim Audio XPS power supply. I recently changed my S/PDIF converter from M2Tech HiFace Evo to Singxer SU-1. The sound that I am able to achieve now is without doubt, superior to the sound quality achieveable with my original Windows 10/JRMC/JRemote setup. Had JRiver not prevented the use of JPLAY with their software, I might still be there. Although JRiver referred to JPLAY as 'a hoax', my experience was that it did indeed significantly improve sound quality. My current setup is good. It is largely stable and reliable and it enables me to enjoy music although I have always felt that something just isn't right.

 

On Saturday, I went to my local vinyl store for the first time in years. It was Record Store Day and I wanted one of this year's available RSD releases. When I brought the record home and played it, I realised what was wrong. ith digital audio, both CD and DAC based, the sound seems recessed and flat. With vinyl the sound comes into the listening room with the listener, offering an almost holographic presentation of the music. I tried a few more digital vs analogue comparisons and found that my initial experience was consistent. Playing a vinyl album offers a quality of sound that is vastly superior to either of my digital sources.

 

I am aware that my computer audio equipment is long in the tooth. I have never heard a really good high end computer audio setup. It would I'm sure, make for an interesting comparison. I can't afford to get myself a high end computer audio setup. Having retired from work, my upgrading days are gone. I wonder though if it is the case that digital sound cannot rival its analogue counterpart. There are many who will tell you that this is the case.

 

As previously mentioned, I would be really interest to hear a comparative listening test between a high end computer audio setup and a high end vinyl setup.

Each has its relative advantages. CD is low maintenance, computer audio is mostly low maintenance and vinyl, by comparison, is relatively high maintenance. The listener is required to turn or change the record every twenty minutes or so, styli need to be treated with utmost care and kept clean. It can be a hassle.

 

I have a friend who is a devotee of analogue sound. For many years, he has built his own turntables and has frequently attempted to explain to me in technical terms why digital recording and replay can never equal analogue. He does not have and has never had, a digital source component in his system. I wonder if he is right and that a reference sound can never be achieve with digital components. The lack of general availability of vinyl will of course, influence equipment choice. I am most certainly glad that I have retained my vinyl collection of around 3500 albums, mostly purchased in the 1960s and 1970s.

 

Wonder where the audiophile market will go from here.


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Acer Windows Server 2016 (x64) Laptop (Intel i5/8GB) (Audio PC) / Lenovo Windows Server 2016 (Intel i3/4GB) (Control PC) / Audiophile Optimizer 2.20 (GUI Mode on both PCs)  / JPlay Femto / JPLAY Femto Streamer /  Process Lasso Server Pro / Fidelizer Pro 8.2 / M2Tech Hiface Evo, Paul Hynes Power Supply / Naim Audio DAC with DSD Firmware Update / Naim Audio XPS, Linn Sondek LP12 / Naim Audio ARO / Linn Troika / Naim Audio Armageddon, Naim Audio CDS2 / Naim Audio XPS, Naim Audio NAT02, Naim Audio NAC52 / Naim Audio Supercap, Naim Audio SBLs


#2 Rob

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 06:19 PM

Hello, I read your post and it reminded me of something that happened a month ago but the opposite of what you found, I put a record on and it didn`t sound as good as the digital, pretty much the same difference as you describe. My wife came in and said 'Oh, is that vinyl' and I said 'yes', she also thought the same.  I started 3 years ago with computer audio and what I like about it is the music is at your fingertips, and I now use a duel PC setup with a DDC and DAC. I built my PC`s and linear power supplies and cables but the best bit is I don`t listen to how it sounds I just listen to the music. 

Best Regards Rob



#3 JazzDoc

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 01:26 AM

I take your point Rob. The convenience of computer audio is undeniable. I was surprised by how much better vinyl sounded in my system. It's interesting that your experience and that of your wife's, is different. Might I ask what turntable you are using? I agree that listening to music is what it's all about rather than comparison. Don't get me wrong. The sound of my computer audio system is good, better in fact than my Naim Audio CDS2 compact disc player. I just find the listening experience with vinyl to be more engaging. It is however, a hassle!


Acer Windows Server 2016 (x64) Laptop (Intel i5/8GB) (Audio PC) / Lenovo Windows Server 2016 (Intel i3/4GB) (Control PC) / Audiophile Optimizer 2.20 (GUI Mode on both PCs)  / JPlay Femto / JPLAY Femto Streamer /  Process Lasso Server Pro / Fidelizer Pro 8.2 / M2Tech Hiface Evo, Paul Hynes Power Supply / Naim Audio DAC with DSD Firmware Update / Naim Audio XPS, Linn Sondek LP12 / Naim Audio ARO / Linn Troika / Naim Audio Armageddon, Naim Audio CDS2 / Naim Audio XPS, Naim Audio NAT02, Naim Audio NAC52 / Naim Audio Supercap, Naim Audio SBLs


#4 Rob

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 09:56 AM

Glad your enjoying your record player, mine is not as high end as yours, mine is an Origin Live ULTRA with a mk2 silver arm and a Nagaoka MP500 cartridge with a Trichord Delphi mk2 phono amp
Best Regards Rob

#5 JazzDoc

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 12:11 PM

That's a nice turntable nonetheless. I'm surprised that you are not achieving more satisfying results with it. I guess I've always been a vinyl person at heart. I only bought a CD player back in 1985 as there were albums that were being released only on CD. I reached a stage when I had no more room in my house to store vinyl and CDs and set up a computer audio system to facilitate easier storage of new music. 

 

I recently had the good fortune to hear a very high end vinyl system. It was a current fully equipped LP12. The only deviation from standard was thet it had a Naim Audio ARO tonearm rather than the Linn Ekos. Amplification was the Naim Audio Statement (I actually met someone who owns one!) and speakers were the top of the range Focal. I've never heard anything remotely that good. It was breathtaking. I would love to hear a really high end computer audio system but there seem to be no dealers in the UK that specialise in computer audio.


Acer Windows Server 2016 (x64) Laptop (Intel i5/8GB) (Audio PC) / Lenovo Windows Server 2016 (Intel i3/4GB) (Control PC) / Audiophile Optimizer 2.20 (GUI Mode on both PCs)  / JPlay Femto / JPLAY Femto Streamer /  Process Lasso Server Pro / Fidelizer Pro 8.2 / M2Tech Hiface Evo, Paul Hynes Power Supply / Naim Audio DAC with DSD Firmware Update / Naim Audio XPS, Linn Sondek LP12 / Naim Audio ARO / Linn Troika / Naim Audio Armageddon, Naim Audio CDS2 / Naim Audio XPS, Naim Audio NAT02, Naim Audio NAC52 / Naim Audio Supercap, Naim Audio SBLs


#6 Rob

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 06:45 PM

Hello don’t get me wrong I do get a great sound with the record player and a couple of years ago no contest vinyl was best, I was using an Exposure DAC at the time and had to get Gustard u12 as the usb on the Exposure was rubbish, big upgrade, then I heard about the X20 pro “next best thing to sliced bread”,so I bought it and was not disappointed the sound balance was like the record player, then I come across jplay at the time I thought this gets me halfway there, then I got a SU1 as I had problems with Jplay which sorted it out and another big jump up, then the lines get a bit blurred I made many hardware changes Xeon processors ecc ram which sound better etc and so many changes to power supplies but I’m not finished yet.
Best regards Rob




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