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Thread: PC-Based Audio Equipment for Classical Music

  1. #31
    Senior Member Ralfy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eljr View Post
    What I was asking is why would you not stream radio?
    Yes, I can do that. It's just that some local stations might not have online streaming or sometimes go offline.
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  2. #32
    Senior Member Ralfy's Avatar
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    It looks like there are more features and configurations available! Thanks to everyone who has contributed. Here's what I gathered so far:

    I can choose from a variety of DACs, but in some cases even those that cost around $30 can do well, together with sound cards of some computers. But external ones look more practical as they can be used for other machines.

    Depending on the DAC, I can choose from different speakers as well, but is there one that's, say, less than $200 and will do well for a room size of around 24 sq m (258 sq ft)?

    I might have to consider the software as well, and they might even make an external DAC unnecessary. I will look up the ones mentioned earlier.

    I'm not sure if it's possible to separate sound in computers (e.g., I can browse or type and any computer "dings" can still come out of speakers attached to the audio port while a software music player sends sound to the DAC attached to the USB, and to speakers attached to it), but I wonder if devices like music players (e.g., I have a FiiO X1) can be used in place of computers.

    Also, what about laptops, tablets, or smart phones coupled via BlueTooth to speakers?
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  4. #33
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralfy View Post
    ... Also, what about laptops, tablets, or smart phones coupled via BlueTooth to speakers?
    I have three relative small Bluetooth speakers that I use interchangeably with an iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. It's worth it to me because I'm a musician who's usually listening to something marvelous during the day, including many of the excellent BBC broadcasts. It's not exactly what I would call audiophile sound but the speakers are conveniently portable and I've greatly enjoyed the sound anyway because relatively inexpensive Bluetooth speakers have come a long way in quality... I also sometimes use a hybrid/tube headphone amp with those three items, which add an additional fullness and richness of sound without distortion. Some of the speakers are so inexpensive (one was only $18) that one can have fun experimenting. I use Amazon so if I don't care for the item I can send it back within 30 days. I never keep anything I don't like. I like the fuller sound of an external Bluetooth speaker compared to listening to the internal speakers of those particular items. Just make sure you're in range for the speakers to work. As the years go by, don't shortchange yourself. For me, there's nothing more satisfying (other than female companionship ) than enjoying the greatest quality in music, comedy, and drama. I am currently listening to the superb BBC broadcast of CP Snow's Strangers and Brothers on one of my Bluetooth speakers and thoroughly enjoying it.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Nov-16-2019 at 07:10.
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  6. #34
    Senior Member eljr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    I have three relative small Bluetooth speakers that I use interchangeably with an iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. It's worth it to me because I'm a musician who's usually listening to something marvelous during the day, including many of the excellent BBC broadcasts. It's not exactly what I would call audiophile sound but the speakers are conveniently portable and I've greatly enjoyed the sound anyway because relatively inexpensive Bluetooth speakers have come a long way in quality... I also sometimes use a hybrid/tube headphone amp with those three items, which add an additional fullness and richness of sound without distortion. Some of the speakers are so inexpensive (one was only $18) that one can have fun experimenting. I use Amazon so if I don't care for the item I can send it back within 30 days. I never keep anything I don't like. I like the fuller sound of an external Bluetooth speaker compared to listening to the internal speakers of those particular items. Just make sure you're in range for the speakers to work. As the years go by, don't shortchange yourself. For me, there's nothing more satisfying (other than female companionship ) than enjoying the greatest quality in music, comedy, and drama. I am currently listening to the superb BBC broadcast of CP Snow's Strangers and Brothers on one of my Bluetooth speakers and thoroughly enjoying it.
    and in the end it is about the music anyway, not the shiniest amp or speaker!
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  7. #35
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    Hello...i would like to share my setup details. I use a pair of Acoustic Energy AE22s and they have been a revelation. I have a reasonable classical collection, including the first Living Stereo and Mercury Living Presence box sets, and am yet to be disappointed. I have no room modifications, treatments or anything. Just well positioned speakers and a passive preamp hooked up to my CD player and it sounds wonderful.

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  9. #36
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    Those are Active speakers, right? Is there a Bluetooth connection?

  10. #37
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    I recently addressed a similar problem as the OP.

    I have hundreds of Gb of music in FLAC files on a USB drive. And I have an old Yamaha stereo receiver feeding two KEF Q100 bookshelf speakers and an old Omni 8 sub. The receiver & sub are almost 20 yrs old: workhorses. (The speakers are babies by comparison, just 3 or 4 yrs old.) But the receiver does have digital inputs (optical and coax), along with the analog inputs.

    The old stereo equipment can fill up the family room with a nice sound. But how to get my FLAC files to output thru the speakers?



    If you have a slight DIY streak, you can build a simple network streamer with a Raspberry Pi and a sound card like this one from HifiBerry:
    The card outputs a digital signal, which I'm taking to the optical-in on my old receiver. Leave the digital-to-analog conversion to the more expensive equipment at the end of the chain. It works great. Sounds lovely.

    I'm using stock Raspbian; the key piece of software is upmpdcli, which acts as the "renderer" and controls the output to the player. Handles gapless perfectly, which is crucial for classical music.

    The guy who wrote upmpdcli has a good write-up of "the four building blocks in a network audio solution". Well worth a quick read if you're not familiar with what each piece of the puzzle is doing:
    He has a slight bias toward "open" solutions; but I do too, so that doesn't bother me.



    Hope this is helpful. Please ask if you want any details on how this all works. I'm so happy with the way this has brought my old stereo system to life, that I'm eager to talk about it.



    NB The HifiBerry card ships from Switzerland, and it took about six weeks to ship this past December-January to America (the Baltimore-Washington corridor). I didn't pay extra for tracking, so for a few weeks there I didn't know if it was coming, or if it was lost in the mail. Annoying.
    I think they offer upgraded shipping; also the same card is available on Amazon for a few dollars more.

    NB2 I'm not trying to push any particular product. If doesn't have to be HifiBerry. There are competitor card-HATs too. I don't know how any of these compare – for all I know, some of these are better than what I have:
    Allo DigiOne
    IQaudio
    JustBoom
    PecanPi
    other?

    NB3 For that matter, there are competitors to the Raspberry Pi also. Same note as above – for all I know some of these are better than what I used:
    Arduino Mega
    Asus Tinker
    BananaPi
    Latte Panda
    Le Potato (yes)
    NanoPi
    Odroid
    Onion Omega
    Pine A64
    Pocket Beagle
    Rock64
    RockPi
    other? Search for Raspberry Pi alternatives

    The point is that with these inexpensive single-boards, we've entered a golden age for modest little DIY projects. A simple network streamer is very easy and affordable today.

  11. #38
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    My system covers both external speakers and headphone amplification. I use the excellent Burson Playmate 2 for digital input. I can also plug my Edifier 2.1 speakers (including subwoofer) into the Burson. The sound is very good.

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