A nice PC upgrade


I just added a maple shades platform (4 inches) under my PC (with the iso blocks and brass footers). I really did it because I had some money burning the usual hole and figured worse case, it gets the puter off the floor and less dust to blow out every other month Well, when I sat in front of the speakers, no kidding... I can hear deeper into the music. Deeper soundstage and wider in the back and even a bit more air around the instruments and vocals. Really glad I can cross this one off as I have been eyeing it for a while know. Your milage may vary but strongly suggest not overlooking isolating the noisey beast.
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" I really did it because I had some money burning the usual hole and figured worse case, it gets the puter off the floor and less dust to blow out every other month Well, when I sat in front of the speakers, no kidding... I can hear deeper into the music."

Are you sure the difference isn't due to the lower seating position you now have from taking all the money out of your pocket to buy this collection of brass and butcher blocks for your PC?
Cerrot, what kind of PC do u have? Is it a purpose CAPS?
It's a custom gateway, intel quad core, 16 gigs ram. PCI sound card and three internal 10,000 rpm drives. 10 meter apogee spdif cable ifrom pc (in next room) and into esoteric G25u clock/upsampler and into esoteric k03sacdplayer for dac. Jrivrr19 and I'm pinching myself.
worse case, it gets the puter off the floor and less dust to blow out every other month

Thanks for sharing your experience.
Where did the PC use to sit before? From the quote above it could be on the floor and that would kill this hypothesis: could it be you have now taken a vibrating device off a shelf where you have other sensitive equipment? That PC must be vibrating a fair amount, with 3 HDD and a fan or two.
My PC was previously under the desk in the office, on an oak wood board with 8 symposium fat pads under it. Replaced the oak board and symposium with the mapleshade system. There is definitely something to it. Computers are definitely the noisest place in the world.
I believe improved sound has something to do with the wood vapors seeping into the hard drive and coating the internals. I hope it is a maple wood and not a sycamore platform. Eventually sycamore tweaks can cause hearing issues.
If you can get our head out of your butt, you are welcomed to come over and actually hear it yourself.
"08-16-14: Cerrot
It's a custom gateway, intel quad core, 16 gigs ram. PCI sound card and three internal 10,000 rpm drives. 10 meter apogee spdif cable ifrom pc (in next room) and into esoteric G25u clock/upsampler and into esoteric k03sacdplayer for dac. Jrivrr19 and I'm pinching myself."

Does having a powerful computer like the one you list really offer better sound quality? I never thought playing music on a PC was very resource intensive. What about AMD processors? Do you think it would really sound different than an Intel?

Getting back to your original topic, have you ever considered upgrading your case? If the brass feet and wood blocks really make a noticeable difference, I don't see why a better case wouldn't be an upgrade as well. Have a look at Corsair's Obsidian series cases. Not only is it very well built, but its actually designed to be quiet. I have one myself, and if anything ever happened to it, I would definitely buy it again. Its not too expensive (150-175), and Tiger Direct usually has them in their stores. Everything's standardized, so whatever you have in your Gateway will fit in a new case.
08-22-14: Zd542
Does having a powerful computer like the one you list really offer better sound quality? I never thought playing music on a PC was very resource intensive. What about AMD processors? Do you think it would really sound different than an Intel?

It depends. Playing music is not resource intensive, unless you do digital signal processing. But even for just playing music, it also depends. For example, for JPlay people have found quad-cores sound better than dual-cores, which in turn sound better than single-cores, but none of these was running hard to start with. So don't know why, but that is what is being reported.

For most applications, however, a low-processing power processor is enough. Example: Intel DM2800, like in CAPS v3 Lagoon.
I think the ability to use an audiophile USB card is more important than processing power in a mobo.
I believe you need as powerful a computer as possible (set up properly, isolated, keep away from USB) for computer audio. Kind of like big powerful amps. They do make small scale music sound btter, even though you dont think you need the power. In puter audio, you need all the help you can get. I'm sure I can get good results from an AMD chip (if it decides to behave) but I'm an Intel guy, and no need to save a few bucks to go over to AMD. I did look at the case but the way I would go is actually just putting everything on a wooden board (hey, violins are made from wood) and replace all the power supplies. Not sure if I will take that on as I am really enjoying the sound from my computer right now. I dont believe playing music is necessarilly resource intensive, but it is a dedicated resource and you need to make sure you have alternate resources available to do all the other things a computer does while you are playing music. Even turning off all "unnecesssary programs" leaves a bunch on that will take resources away from what you want to do, so, more heavy lifting requires a stronger computer.
If using a more powerful computer results in better sonics in some or many systems than using a less powerful computer, I would not assume that the reason has anything to do with computing power in itself.

The details of the designs of more powerful vs. less powerful computers will differ from each other in a vast number of ways, a great many of which might cause differences in jitter on the S/PDIF output that is being used in this case; and differences in the amplitude and frequency characteristics of noise that may be riding on that signal, or coupled into the AC wiring, or radiated through the air from the computer or the cable to other parts of the system; and differences in ground loop effects that might occur between the computer and whatever it is connected to in the system.

So chances are that whatever sonic differences may result between the two kinds of computers in a given application have nothing to do with computing power per se. IMO.

Regards,
-- Al
I would agree, Al. I think the chipset and the bandwith on
any applicable busses (I don't think Intel uses a frontside
bus any longer) (and USB bus, if one was unfortunate enough to
use it) and implementation of everything else are more
critical, assuming, of course, you do have a CPU fast enough
to handle the maximum tasks at hand effectively, without lag,
to begin with. These small atom boards, I don't believe do,
if they are running a standard windows OS, due to its bloat.
Problem is puters start running more and more processes (and
other things) in the background if not constantly maintained
which tax the CPU, which is why I recommend the biggest you
can afford - and constant cleaning! The larger, faster CPU's
come with the faster (better) chipsets. The motherboard is as
important as the cpu and its relationship (chipset) is
critical.
Hi Cerrot,
You need to try out the new Marantz NA8005 network player from a usb flash drive out to the coax input of your K-03. It may just blow the pc set-up away.
You can see my review of this affordable but excellent product in the Reviews section.
J.
Cerrot, I'm using the Bryston BDP-2. With that unit I have attached 2 2tb external hardrives and 14 usb 32 GB flash drives.
My whole music collection at my finger tips. I control it with my Ipad.
Has anyone noticed any differences in sound quality using an external HD, as opposed to using internal SATA drives?
Zd,

I have not tried it myself, but several people at other fora tried it time ago and it is a sort of an accepted fact they do sound different, with the SATA sounding "better" because it doesn't introduce additional jitter on the USB bus. This is assuming the DAC in use is asynch USB.

USB stands for universal serial bus, so all processes run in series. So when streaming audio data to the DAC and retrieving data from the HDD those processes are in series. Data retrieval has no timing aspect related, but it seems to add some jitter that affects the audio data stream going to the DAC, and sound quality appears to be affected that way. At least this is the way I've come to explain it to myself :-)

I used to run a laptop with a USB drive and asynch USB DAC and it worked fine. Then moved to a CAPS like server which sounds much better, but honestly many things changed from one server to the next and I have been to lazy to try connecting a USB drive to the CAPS and check it out. I should do it, but it's a little cumbersome because my CAPS runs headless.
USB stands for universal serial bus, so all processes run in series.
A clarification: "Serial" in the context of a data bus such as USB doesn't refer to processes. It refers to the fact that the bits are transmitted through the USB interface one after another, on the same wire. Or more precisely, on each of two wires, since USB utilizes a balanced pair of signals, which are the same except that the polarity of one is inverted relative to the other.

The opposite of a serial bus would be a parallel bus, in which (to cite a hypothetical example) the 16 or 24 bits of audio data (per sample per channel) would be transmitted simultaneously on 16 or 24 parallel wires (or balanced pairs of wires). That is not done for reasons of practicality, cost, etc., given that serial bus technology is available with sufficient speed to communicate the bits one after another.

That said, it is certainly conceivable that the amount of noise and jitter on the USB interface to a DAC could be affected to some degree by the type of drive and drive interface that is being used.

Best regards,
-- Al
Thanks guys. I have seen the marantz and bryston. I think if I make a change, will custom build with linear power supplies or just buy a baetis. Thanks.
Thanks Al. Very pointed, clear and helpful explanation. As usual!
I always thought people were using external HD's to get them away from the other components in the computer. I guess the real reason lot of people are using them because they have computers like laptops and Mac Mini's where you have no choice. Its good for me because I have a full size case, so in they go.