Audiophile digital music setup

Discussion about anything that might be of interest to MediaMonkey users.

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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by bailso » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:57 am

I use 2 devices in the line between my PC and amplifier. The first is a Xitel box which converts the USB signal in to a coax or optical digital out. (It is also a DACin itself but I just use it in the mode described.) I then use either a Musical Fidelity DAC to upsample to 192 or the digital in of an ARCAM CD player for upsampling to 24/384. This configuration seems to work OK with differences from PC to CD sound inaudible (to my old ears).


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Ripping and Tagging Process

Post by dypsis » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:06 am

Make sure you have a good ripping and tagging process.

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Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by raharris » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:45 pm

Buy an Airport Express (AE) and configure it for your network ($100.00). You actually just need a wireless card in the PC, not an entire router but either will do.

Buy Remote Speaker Output by Eric Miles ($25.00). Configure it to the AE. Under Tools-> Output

The PC can now stream to the AE from MedaiMonkey. Internet FM available, etc.

Place the PC not near where you sit ("noise begone")

Place the AE near your preamp input. Use its analog output ($2.00 for an adapter to RCA cables) -> fair quality or get a DAC ($????.??) that will accept its output -> good/better/superb quality.


For an upgrade, get a small laptop (with wireless card - ~$300-700.00 ) and configure your original computer with VNC server and the laptop with VNC client ($0.00). You can now remotely control the original PC.

Enjoy more: see lyrics, see album art, search, rearrange play list, etc

Limitation: CD resolution only

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Location: Scotland

Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by danhackley » Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:43 am

Thanks for all these tips, I'm still considering it all.

I'm thinking of B&W 804S speakers being fed by a Classe CAP-2100 integrated amp. I'm not sure which DAC to use with this setup.
Sony Vaio Laptop
Thecus N5200B NAS
Windows 7
MM3 Gold 3.2
Looking for jukebox software that manages a large collection, has good album art integration and plays flac as well as MP3


Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by mbush » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:11 pm

Drop your system and invest in a solid NAS and a SONOS system. Was the best move I ever made!

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Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:43 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by danhackley » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:16 pm

Yeah? Whats so good about that ?
Sony Vaio Laptop
Thecus N5200B NAS
Windows 7
MM3 Gold 3.2
Looking for jukebox software that manages a large collection, has good album art integration and plays flac as well as MP3


Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by mbush » Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:15 pm

The idea is to get your music out of the computer and into some real speakers. The NAS will eliminate the need for the computer (and consumption of power) and the SONOS will push music (both amped and non-amped) to anywhere/everywhere in your house. Also has streaming of Pandora,, etc. With your large of a collection, music needs to ba available all over the house. Not to pump SONOS too much but it was the best piece of equipment I ever purchased. I listen to music now 10 fold.

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Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:36 pm

Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by bruecksteve » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:15 am

My laptop currently plays all my music from the internal sound card. Eventually I'll get an external (like a Creative Audigy 2 ZS) sound card. Currently, I use an Audioengine W1to transmit my music to my receiver. One piece (the transmitter) attaches to my audio out on the laptop, the other piece plugs in to an Aux port on the receiver. I can transmit from anywhere inside the house and even from outside. My receiver has 3 zones and I've assigned Zone 2 to be my outside speakers. So I can even sit outside (or anywhere) with the laptop and control my music and the volume. It frees me from benig tied down to the stereo with a computer.

I've done some informal A/B comparisons and you really can't tell any difference between the CD and the ripped FLAC versions.

Someday I'll have a dedicated music PC, especially when I can find a sound card that supports HDMI.

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Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:19 am

Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by KitchenStaff » Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:58 am

I can't believe noone's suggested it so far...I've had a Slimdevices Squeezebox for almost two years now, and I swear by it 100%. It's also a significant amount less expensive than the Sonos stuff, and has great server software to boot. I contributed some of the original Perl FLAC code to the project back in the day, as well as Musepack support. I currently have 4000 FLAC albums managed by a linux-driven Squeezecenter installation that streams music over the network to my stereo on another floor, and it's flawless. ... rview.html

Note that I don't recommend the Radio or Boom (lower quality hardware) but the Classic, Touch and Transporter sound fantastic.



Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by waide » Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:43 pm

I have a Roku Soundbridge that is plugged into my audio receiver in another room and it used to play all of the music that I had stored on my former computer via MusicMatch Jukebox. I went to 'OPTIONS", "Enable Music Server" and "Universal Plug and Play" and I was able to see all of the music on my computer. I have a new computer and am now using MediaMonkey (preferred) and iTunes. Is there a similar setting on MediaMonkey?

Also, is anyone having trouble installing DFX. I used to use it with MusicMatch and was very happy with the sound quality. I have followed all of the directions for downloading and enabling (multiple times) but I cannot get it to show up in the DSP Plugins section.


Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by Danelaw » Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:42 pm

I use an external Cambridge DAC, to connect to my class d amp. And midrange pricy cables.. ... gic-Review
DACmagic had great reviews for its price range.. It has inputs for both optical, and USB.. I have my computer to far from my stereo to use usb, so I opted to use the optical solution. Advantage using optical is many...first and foremost, no electronic noise can creep into the optical signal, from the computer, second signal los is almost nonexistent using optical signals. My motherboard has onboard toslink-optical, so no need for an expensive soundcard..
Some of the guys on recommend a high grade studio-soundcard the 700$ Lynx AES16 card, but in theory the signal of the toslink should be exactly the same.. but hifi is often more an article of(highly subjective) fait then hard science...
Check this link for a high end DIY hifi music server.. ... For-A-Song

I just installed the new Android phone plugin to control mediamonkey, and it works like a charm.. no need to buy a sonos og squeezebox, if you have an android or an iphone imo… since both the sonos and the squeezebox still need an external Dac to produce a decent quality sound..

If you have a lot of money to spend you can go really high end and buy the Linn streamers or the Logitech Transporter. The Linns are highly acclaimed amongst audiophiles.


Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by nolabar » Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:29 am

Interesting thread with interesting suggestions.

I agree that an external head-amp /DAC really is the way to go. However, you don't need to spend a gajillion dollars to achieve clean sound. The major advantage of DACs over sound cards is that they are cross-platform, operating on basic USB audio drivers. You won't be upgrading your gear each time you change OSs or upgrade. You don't get goofy 7.1 or chintzy sound effects and childish DSPs, but you do get clean, unmolested audio that goes with you from system to system.

EBay is actually a fine place to look for DACs. Don't laugh, but the Chinese are really great in the headphone amp/dac arena. There are plenty of models with both head amp + DAC in the $100-$300 range that will satisfy all but the most impossibly finicky users (and we could even debate that much of audiophile-dom is a self-fulfilling prophecy in people's heads). EBay also features lots of hobbyist manufacturers who make really great headamps and DACs from Altoid tins, etc. Go digging around and be sure to check out sites like and hydrogenaudio for further advice on this issue.

Alternatively, if you have a decent, modern amp with optical inputs, you can just run that route. This is a very easy and generally high quality solution (depending on the quality of your amp, of course). Sadly, most amps with optical/spdif ins are HT models and not always focused on pure audio quality. However, this does make for a fine budget setup....far, FAR greater than your typical onboard --> multimedia speakers setup that an entire generation of kids consider to be "great sound."

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Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 12:36 am

Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by moonglow » Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:54 pm

I still like my xbox running xbmc setup, the PC storing/serving the media is in the spare room doing its thing, I've got a small hub that connects other computers and the xbox to the server. Digitial output from the xbox to my receiver...the only limitation at the moment is the video resolution of the xbox and that its library function doesnt talk to MM.

An even simpler option would be to put all your music on a big harddrive that is in the xbox (or possible ps3/xbox 360 - but I don't know much about these)....

Game machines are quiet, boot up fast, have good quality digital outputs, reasonable interfaces, both xboxs have remotes, and you can also play games ;)

Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:33 pm

Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by cjcrawford » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:39 pm

Thanks for the post Nolabar. Can you recommend any specific bargain Chinese DACs? What is a headamp? Is that the same as a preamp?

If one were transmitting wirelessly, I presume you would transport the digital stream to some kind of receiver node which would then depacketize the data, buffer it, and then send out a jitter-free stream to the DAC. I'm not sure what that device would be or how to control MM to send to the xmitter (is this the ASIO and WASAPI plug-ins people are talking about?)

I'll reread this thread. I'm sure there are some answers to my questions embedded there.

Any thoughts on this device:

not sure if it will work with MM.

Thanks for helping the ignorant!


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Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:26 pm

Re: Audiophile digital music setup

Post by gds » Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:02 am

-For cleanest sound, don't use internal computer DAC, send the signal out with a usb cable.
-A dedicated outboard DAC or a high end A/V receiver with a usb input is best. If no usb input available on the DAC, then use a usb-spdif converter (digital coaxial is generally considered cleaner sounding than digital optical (I have not personally tested the difference between coax & optical)).
-Bypass the Windows kmixer. With MM, I use the waveOut output plug-in and have the 'volume control' disabled in settings.
Someone please confirm this next test: I've read to test if the kmixer is bypassed, all you have to do is try to adjust the volume with the computer's volume slider. If the computer's volume slider does not effect volume from MM, then the kmixer is bypassed?

My Computer:
mobo: Gaigabyte MA790GPT-UD3H
CPU: AMD X3 720
graphics: ATI Radeon HD5750
usb-optical converter: M-Audio Sonica
format: WAV (for portable Zen device: WMA VBR 95%)

My Audio System:
a/v receiver: Onkyo TX-SR706
amp: ATI AT1506 (6 amps running 3 channels at 300 watts/channel)
equalizers: AudioControl, 1 for main speakers, 2 for subs
main speakers: JBL Studio Series S312's
subs: 1 HSU 10", 1 homemade 15"

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