Should Sound Quality of Computer Audio be improved

Unable to respond to, "Mach2Music and Amarra: Huge Disappointment"- Thread. Other Members take free pop-shots!
Apparently some have more Freedom Of Speech than others! I
don't know how many times I have said it, I want Computer
Audio to succeed! It will only succeed if Computers are designed from the ground up to reproduce Music (Same minimum standard applied for Equipment of ALL Audio Formats)! This is common sense Audio Engineering Design. Bandaid Modifications cannot be substituted for absence in design to produce Music! Design it right to EARN the right to become a New Audio Format- same as all other Audio Formats! No Freebee's, No Cutting Corners! Lack of design is what's causing such varied results in S.Q. between
listeners of Computer Audio. I see about 50% negative
responses here on these Threads. It will continue to happen unless you fix it! Blaming me won't help! I am an
Engineer, and I can read results! 50/50 success/ failure
rate- you have an inherit Engineering Design Flaw for the
reproduction of Music via Computers! Shock! Suprise- since
they were never designed for Music! So when is someone finally going to properly design the Equipment/Computer
(From the ground up) for Computer Audio? Do we continue
to treat any real criticism as "HERESY" in the lack of
design in Computer Audio for Music? You tell me what I am
allowed to talk about, and we will both know!
Pettyofficer, as someone who just started dabbling in computer audio 3 months ago, I relate to your message. Yes, the sound quality should be improved and there should be a clear and straighforward way to achieve it, even for the uninitiated! Even for the computer audio novice like me! (And without spending too many thousands). It is rather daunting to educate yourself on a computer audio setup that has the quality to enjoy. Just got a new Macbook Pro. I have another dac soon to be here, and another usb cable on the way. Right now I'm simply interested in (decent) good sound streaming from the internet. That is goal one. Then, I'll move forward to subsequent goals (ripping, music files, storage) once I achieve goal one. But as you get into this it becomes convuluted, with the end resulting sound, pretty much a mystery.
Here you go! Though I know you won't listen.
1. Rip your CDs to WAV using jRiver or dbPoweramp. Directions for optimization are easy to find.
2. Purchase a PS Audio DAC MK II and Bridge.
3. Purchase a router if you don't have one and connect to bridge with Ethernet Cat6
4. Download PS Audio's eLyric software.
5. Purchase an iPad and down load the EMM app for iPad.
6. Enjoy
There are any number of music servers on the market that are essentially just that - dedicated computers designed and optimized for music playback.
Foster_9- as I have said, I want Computer Audio to succeed.
Certainly NOT trying to deter you from Computer Audio AT
ALL! Just believe you deserve more bang for your buck out
of Computer Audio- same as everyone. There is real potential here , but the weakest link is the Computer. It
simply is not designed for Music, and many take offense
when I demand an actual design effort in the equipment of
a New Format. I have demanded no less with CD Players, SACD
Players, DVD-Audio Players, Turntables...etc. These earned New Format Status because the players were designed from the ground up to reproduce Music- that costs Manufacturer's money! No Bandaids, no Ad-lib, no after
thought Modifications to make a Tool (Computer) perform an
application that it wasn't designed for! Everything that we
listen to gets bottlenecked through this weakest point.
Some success with S.Q., but half of listeners end up with
failure. This is unreliability in S.Q., and lack of design for Music in the Computer is causing this hit or miss! I
wouldn't be discouraged from persuing Computer Audio, I use
it with decent results. I just know that it can be designed
with more reliable, and consistent S.Q.- and really get our
money's worth. Why everyone on Audiogon detests this with
personal attacks...??? Failure will keep happening unless you fix the Design. Do nothing, it fails enough times, and
people will learn to detest the New Format. Up to you to take the initiative to keep the New Format going. It isn't
going to succeed in a vacuum, contrary to popular opinion!
Pettyofficer, you are under arrest for using 14 exclamation points in a thread...I have no idea what you thread said, but I am sure that it was very exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whaat the audio world needs are $25,000. computers for audiophiles.
And maybe a budget model starting at $15,000.
Just like any other audiophile toy, the computer can become another golden egg for some smart startup company.
Do a ground up creation, and charge for it bigtime.
I just know that Computer Audio can be designed with more
reliable and consistent Sound Quality- and we really get our money's worth. Why everyone on Audiogon detests this with personnal attacks...??? Are you a perfect example of this, Bojack? Have you got the idea now? Can I retort, and
arrest you for using 18 exclamation points in your example above? Is this your common sense idea of leading by example? Aren't you special!
Computer audio is a lot like early computers. The PC solution was buggy, but cheap. Sometimes you had to boot Win 98 several times a day. Then there was the Macintosh. it just worked every time and was easy to use, but you paid dearly for this.

Likewise, many of the cheaper systems and newcomers to this business do a poor job of both hardware and software. Others deliver world-class sound quality and deliver ease of use. I admit that finding both ease of use and excellent SQ can be difficult, but this is improving.

One thing you must understand is that Microsoft and Apple are not interested in improving the situation for audiophiles. Audiophiles are a tiny market niche and their resources are aimed at the masses and delivering portable, inteegrated solutions, not audio quality.

If everyone had this kind of attitude towards new technologies, we would not have the personal computer we do today. Cheap and powerful.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
The Music Vault is more or less plug and play,and it's rather expensive,then you can buy an overpriced dac
That was easy
I'm a silver disc and vinyl guy, but having dabbled in computer audio, I have seen where it can sound pretty damn good. My beef is that it isn't as plug and play as other media. I disagree that one requires a dedicated computer for audio. I have gotten great results via a FireWire output of a MacBook or with the V link. Is this a band aid? I think it is more analogous to the RIiAA curve for playing vinyl.
Computer Audio is not really a new format, it's just an alternative transport. There is no way it will not succeed and also no way the SQ will not continue to improve and the devices get easier to use.
I have to say that my MacMini>Hiface>EE Tube DAC setup sounds great. It is as good as any CD player I have owned (not SACD however). I leave the computer on all the time and Pure Music or Decibel is ready to play. Just find the song and double click. I personally think its easy to use, but I may be in the minority. I like the sound of my vinyl better but the digital source is always ready to go and plays throughout the house. Plus my phone is the remote control from anywhere. Now, as to sound will improve over time but it is still a young format, but I still think it sounds great and has the potential to exceed the current digital formats as resolution and downloads improve.
I respect all responses. For every success story of using
Computer Audio, there is another story that's not so much!
This is the inconsistency in S.Q. of Computer Audio that I speak of. An inconsistency do to lack of design since there
are no STANDARDS for this New Format. Now we want to establish Computer Audio as the New Format to replace all other Formats, all the while Microsoft and Apple are not
interested in improving the situation for anyone! Obviously
no Standard for design in Computer Audio from these folks.
Sorry Audioengr, THIS is the ball and chain that I am specifically speaking of- that will drag down this New
Format! This is my warning, because I want Computer Audio to succeed! Something has to give if you seriously want this Format to take off unimpeded. The Bandaids, and
Modifications around Microsoft and Apple designs- will not
cut it for New Audio Format Status. Without Microsoft, and
Apple designed specifically to maximize Audio- you don't
really have a New Format. Your Format will remain with lack
of Audio design handicapped, and will continue to cause
inconsistencies in S.Q. results! Listener will be set against listener due to these varying results. I don't see
the same homework being done on this Audio Format, as was
done on all others. The consequences of lack in planning,
and lack of design, will be staggering! Stop hampering
Computer Audio, and try helping it instead- by designing it
right! You can start by stopping from enabling Computer
Manufacturer's. They are the real bad guy's here, not other
listeners who are trying to tell you that something is
amiss! Not trying to create enemies here.....but...Damn!
Know who your real enemies lazy Manufacturer's
in Microsoft and Apple! I am not the billionare Manufacturer here! Send all of your complaints to them, unless your just as lazy as they are! Aren't you guy's tired of constantly cleaning up after their mess-
Computer Audio design wise, unless that is how you plan on
making your money? Somebody has to pay a pretty penny for
this- any volunteer's? Why, when you shouldn't have to? We
have never had to design our Audio Formats before, so why
do they get to freeload off of us now? Convenient for
everyone, EXCEPT US!!!
First off just turn off all programs which are useless but still are started up anyway.
Set the computer resources so ALL other items get low priority except music programs.
Simple but will do a lot to make a computer a better music device.
Pettyofficer, no offense but you evoke an image of one of those confused weirdos wondering through central park ranting about the coming of the end of the world, or a conspiracy of some sort (in your case the alleged failure of the computer industry to addres the needs of audiophiles). Are you just pulling everyone's leg or are you serious?
Microsoft and Apple don't care about sound quality beyond a modest level, and why should they. We are a small niche market. It's up to us to work with their existing products (or not) to get the sound we require.

As I said before IT'S NOT A NEW FORMAT. And there are standards: WAV, FLAC, AIFF. What you seem to be asking for strikes me as the equivalent of standards for CD players (back in the day) beyond their ability to play back CDs. CDs are the format and the standard. Levinson approached CD playback a bit differently from Sony, as did JVC, Meridian, and so forth.
Pettyofficer, take some advice and calm down. Microsoft and Apple don't give a care about high end audio reproduction and likely never will. A computer fitting your description will not come from Microsoft or Apple. It will have to be from another manufacturer.
If ubiquitous audio quality is ever enabled by Microsoft, it will happen due to prodding from high-end industry leaders. However, it must be disguised as money-making proposition to them. I have made such a proposal to a Microsoft audio group Program Manager. He says that they are too involved in the release of Win 8 right now, but it has potential.

I turns-out that they already have a feature in Win 8 that can potentially enable high quality networked audio streaming called "Play-to". This does not have the multicast features of Sonos or Squeezebox, but it is an open system based on standards. It can do simple 2-channel.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio

All Hifi systems suffer the issues you mention. This preamp with that power amp, that power amp with those speakers etc etc.

As with all decent systems you have to make some effort to get it to sing. This takes experience & knowledge. Just like setting up a TT, finding a decent phono stage & the correct loading for a cartridge.
careful, someone may take you seriously.
I want to echo what Elizabeth said. There was a big buzz going around about how much JPlay improved computer audio. I tried it and was impressed. Before buying it, I removed my anti virus, I deleted any programs un necessary on my computer, I turned off all programs not used on startup, I increased my ram from 3gb to 6gb... When all that was done, the difference with or without JPlay is negligible My PC with DAC is now better than any CD player that I've had in my system.
Timlub- so you Download Music Files without Anti-Virus
protection? Audioengr- are you still going to need bandaids
like Wasapi, Asio, and Kernel Streaming with Windows 8?
Drubin- Standard only means that you set a bar of Sound
Quality for a particular Format that must be met to qualify as that Format. Computer Audio Format Standard is all over the map from lower than CD MP3 to High Rez. 24/192
compressed, not compressed, lossless compressed...etc. One could accidentally trip into Computer Audio Standard with the bar so low, instead of designing up to it. Chadeffect- all Hi-Fi Systems do not suffer from a New Format so fluid that it makes it almost impossible to design for it.
I wouldn't exactly call Microsoft, and Apple a small niche market. More than likely an unmovable ball, and chain
around the neck strangling Computer Audio! Trying to design around that, can only severely handicap the design of any New Format, more or less try to establish it as the Format to replace all others! The end result of this will always have some listeners with success in Computer Audio, the other half failure. The reason is in lack of design,
lack of consistency, and lack of any Audio Standards set forth by Microsoft and Apple- and for that matter any other Computer Audio Manufacturer. You are making it up as you go along, which is a really bad way to design any New Format. Who are we kidding, this isn't designing anything-
this is playing 52 card pick-up! I have been an Engineer
for 20 years, and I recognize when something has been designed properly. You will have Microsoft and Apple drag
down Computer Audio. Their 50% Failure Rate in Sound Quality due to lack of consistent design can only continue to discourage more listeners. Look at Alessandro1, how do you design around his discouragement? It isn't simply an
option to deal with this, it is absolutely critical to the continued success of Computer Audio! Cutting the Computer Manufacturer's more slack in S.Q. can only doom any hope
for success. It is not weird to look at how other Formats became successful- and this is NOT how they did it! Neither was their success a conspiracy theory either. Edorr- you evoke images in your own mind, not me. I have
no desire to live there rent free- this is my notice that I am vacating the premises! You have a nice day. Are we
done throwing rocks? Do we now plan on avoiding Alessandro2...3...4...5...etc? Not gonna happen by cutting Computer Manufacturer's slack in S.Q.- not gonna happen
without proper design, and certainly not gonna happen in a vacuum (Contrary to popular opinion!). I would like to see someone actually work to establish Computer Audio as a new Audio Format. I dare Computer Audio to live up to its
potential, and I will be downloading Music Files till the cows come home. You can keep the Rocks as Pets!
Yea, computer as source can sound great. But they're not entirely plug and play, because they're just not designed that way. Operating systems are designed -- gasp -- to make computers work as computers and do all those things a computer might do. So, just having an OS running on a given machine is going to task the machine with doing orders of magnitude more stuff than is strictly required to read media off of a disk and send a digital bit stream to a DAC. And physically, they are of course designed with different goals than the bare minimum, as 99.99% of the consuming public is not interested in a single-purpose computer. This shouldn't be a mystery to anyone.

That said, there is of course much that can be done to unclutter and streamline any given computer set-up, and I have seen many guides as to how to achieve this. Of course, some are more aggressive than others. Personally, I'm not interested in running a stripped down and castrated OS, as I do in fact find it quite useful to use the computer for other stuff. (A bona fide HTPC, streams music, movies, Netflix, youtube, the works). I want that, and am not willing to give it up. Yet when I play music, I turn all of the extra whistles and bells off, run through a program that provides "hog" mode (which basically shuts all other OS functions out of the loop and monopolizes the necessity bits and pieces), and there you go.

So, all of the tools are readily available to accomplish the task at hand. But you definitely have to tweak things a bit. Personally, I'm not in the least bit interested in spending anything more for an expensive, low-production-run, bespoke, music-only computer transport. Just no interest. Do I think there might be a market for such a thing? Sure, there obviously is. And unless you're willing to invest a little "sweat equity" figuring out how to optimize an off-the-shelf machine, perhaps that's the way to go. But for me, and I understand for many, and old-school Mac Mini (before they stupifyingly removed the optical drive), running a pre-Lion OS, which is just a little overly-busy (Snow Leopard, for me), does the trick with aces.

Thus, I guess, my answer is yes: sound quality of computer audio can and should be improved. But it is entirely within your (and each of our) power to do just that. And if you'd rather pay someone else to do it for you, you can of course do that, too. But if the argument is that there is some form of inexcusable, systemic failure in the market for failing to have created and offered just the purpose-built machine any given one of us might idiosyncratically feel suits our needs -- then, well, if there really were such a market worth exploiting, I'm sure it would get done. And, to the extent it hasn't, there you go. No?
Mezmo- based on everything that you just said. You expect
"THIS" to replace all other Audio Formats that "ARE"
designed specifically for Music? Oh yeah, and pay as much
for a compromised Audio Format as other specifically
designed Audio Formats. It sounds like the Computer
Manufacturer's have you exactly where they want you: begging for lower resolution, and paying more for it! What
is next, lower than lower than CD MP3 at a higher cost?
Do you really hate getting your money's worth in S.Q. in an Audio Format, or maybe you just hate having money?
My take on computer audio is that it is another source to compete with silver disc spinners and vinyl. I listen to classical music and am currently most interested in High resolution recordings, although i've got several thousand "red book" cds. Classical music lovers seeking high res are spoiled for choice because there are several thousand sacd classical recordings available. I wish that every red book recording would be remastered in at least 24 bit DSD but realize that these will be few and far between. I have noticed that fewer new sacds are coming out with the rise of downloads, and realize that sacds may disappear from this niche one day. Blu rays are becoming more frequent but are far from prevalent.
I have dabbled in downloads. They sound impressive but I don't like them because they, and the playback equipment, are buggy. I spend enough time at work dealing with unwanted IT issues and have no wish to spend my free time similarly engaged. More computer savvy than myself are undeterred by these issues.
Petty's complaints about computer audio are more relevant if silver discs and vinyl should exit the marketplace and leave computer audio as the only way to sample high resolution recordings. For the moment, however, at least in my corner of the listening world, this is not the case. I say Long Live Physical Media! and I am glad that I do not have to rely on the computer as my only source of high res listening. If the situation changes, and computer audio becomes the only high res show in town, then I do believe that it is incumbent upon the industry to make their products more user friendly.
If it were only from my mouth to Silicon Valley's ear...

Gosh, so many points of agreement, I’m not even sure where to begin.

First, THIS is definitely going to replace everything else. THIS. Right here. Agreed. THIS.

All other Audio Formats ARE. They just ARE. There’s no point in arguing about it. Yes.

I long to pay more – forget compromised Audio Formats – for everything. Love. It. Other specifically designed Audio Formats are for chumps.

Yes. Computer Manufacturers have me right in the sweet spot. I’m their bitch, no doubt. And I beg for lower resolution every day. I long for it. Can’t get low enough. In fact, I will not rest until everything sounds like a vibrating piece of twine punched through the bottom of a tin can. Remember that? Sounds like sweetness, mommy, home and victory. Back when we were strong and proud. I yearn. Sometimes it hurts a little, but I try to be brave.

The future is undeniably lower than lower than CD MP3. Not 100% sure what that is, but I feel it’s rightness in my bones, among other places. And, again, at higher cost. Imagine, the two things I yearn for most, at the same time! What could be better? Yea!

As for the things I hate, correct again. I feel like you know me. I hate getting my money’s worth – again, in S.Q. or anything else. Not too fussy on that front, really, hate value wherever it may raise its leprous, misbegotten, vile, elitist head. All of it. I’m a real generous hater like that. Value = a deep, burning hatred. And not just that sneaky, warm hatred that runs down your leg and pools in your shoe like when you’ve gotten too excited and had an accident, but I mean like full on, you know, hate. Hate it. In fact, the only thing I hate more than value for money, is having money at all. Man, what could be worse than that? Amen.
Pettyofficer - those of us who frequent this forum - and I mean frequent it with true interest and not general bitterness in no particular direction - actually do feel like we're getting our money's worth with computer audio. I doubt any of us downloads many MP3s for use in our home stereos. Most of us either rip CDs or download CD-quality or high res audio from sites like HDTracks. We'd all love to see more high quality downloads available - the only way this happens is if more and more adopt this "new format" which isn't really a new format as I explained to you in another thread.

I'm sorry but you're just not living in the real world. You can dream and dream about some magical "new format" which is released in a state of perfection with every recording ever made in history immediately available. Dream your dreams and wait around for such a magical format. You'll be waiting a long time...and we don't really care. We'll be too busy enjoying our music.
O-kay Mezmo, chill out. You have made your point. I was only being sarcastic. I am only going to say that if you
are serious about making Computer Audio the Audio Format to
replace all other Audio Formats- you have to design it for
that purpose. You, and Microsoft, and Apple, and Macintosh,
and ASUS, and every Computer Modifying Audio Manufacturer
out there. We are not just talking about Ripping for a
Music Server, we are talking about Internet Downloading- and you are going to design around these guy's or even rely
on them for the next Audio Format to replace all other
Audio Formats? These guy's who don't seem to give a crap
about your New Audio Format? Isn't it obvious that these guy's are gonna drag your New Format down? These guy's
whose greatest contribution to Computer Audio was lower than CD quality MP3 (Big money maker for them for sure!).
They don't seem to think much about your New Format to replace all others. I am not stopping you- they are! I
sure as hell wouldn't toss out all other Audio Formats
having to rely on these guy's. Why would anyone? I listen
to Computer Audio inspite of these guy's, knowing fully
well that they have painted a target on the back of this
Format. Why help them, or enable them to pull the trigger?
What a strange way to start a New Format, or slowly let it
bleed out. I am only trying to give fair warning to help
save it. Your New Format only threatens the profits of their lower than CD quality MP3 Empire. You wanted competition, guess you have it now! Do you still think that they are your friends? Profit is their only friend,
and you simply aren't profitable for them. Neither is a
High Rez. Downloading Format- watch out for stray bullets!
Now will you help try to defend it against these guy's, go
down standing or go down on your knees begging? I am not much for begging, how about you Sonzu? Heard you were
tougher! Are you really serious enough to make a go of
this New Format? Prove it by dealing with Computer Manufacturer's! If you are anything like the other geeks
on this Forum, I don't think you have the guts to make it
work! Prove me wrong, I would still like to use this Format! Seems to me that we are going to have to earn it-
certainly NOT going to be created in a vacuum.

"so you Download Music Files without Anti-Virus protection? "

Like Timlub, I do not have anti-virus on my player PC. So, I simply download files using a PC that does have virus protection then move the files across my network to the appropriate location. Not really that hard. Of course, most of my music is from my own CDs, so anti-virus software is not an issue. The idea, as Elizabeth and Timlub have said, is to minimize unnecessary software running on the system. It can make a big difference.
WOW! I write a paragraph, Mezmo, and you write three in
response. I am just baffled about the insecurity behind
Computer Audio. You not only believe that the only way to
build this Format up is to tear all other Formats down, you
also have to tear up others using those other Formats. I
would say more power to you if your Format was designed from the ground up for Sound Quality, not piecemeal adlib.
Downloading means that you are going to have to go through an Operating System somewhere. That O.S. can only come from
Microsoft, Apple, Macintosh...etc. You know, the guy's who
would rather you be buying/downloading their lower than CD
resolution MP3. Yeah, these guy's will be determining the
Processing that your Downloaded High Rez. Music Files will be going through in their O.S. They are the main reason we
need Wasapi, ASIO, and Kernel Streaming bandaids. You are
going to design around their Audio Format crippling
software, and create the Audio Format to replace all others? Sounds like a tug of War, you pulling to establish
High Rez. Computer Audio, they pulling in the opposite
direction for more Processing for more Apps- sacrificing
that processing for Music! It is not even close who is going to win here. I will draw you a picture. The only way that High Rez. Audio Downloading becomes an established Format, is if the Computer Manufacturer's decide to allow you to have it- and start designing O.S. in that direction.
They are the 800 Pound Gorillas sitting on the chest of
High Rez. Computer Audio- not me or anyone else! They don't
move, your Format doesn't is that simple. So
you are going to continue to make excuses why these
"Gorillas" shouldn't move expecting your Format to take off? The Bandaids (ASIO's) are to keep the chest from bleeding out, not to bypass the weight of these Gorillas-
as if they could! You are enabling these guy's to...
...hinder your efforts? I don't get it!!! I'm supposed to
support you, or are you demanding that I support them???
Pettyofficer, yes, but since I removed my antivirus, I have only downloaded from HD Tracks, before that, I used a few other sites also. Most my current stuff is just from redbook. I noticed you commented on Windows 8. I'd like any info out there on it. I have it saved to a dual layer DVD ready to load, but am too worried to load it. It wipes out Win 7. When Win 8 comes out, can we updated the developers copy? will we be forced to buy it?

Hey, Petty Officer,

This may Sound Crazy, but I got this really Strong Feeling that you, like, Own an entire Factory that runs Around the Clock and produces Nothing but Straw Men? If this is True, would it be Possible for the Members here to Order some?

Just Wondering...
Pettyofficer, I am a little shocked that you feel a computer cannot send a music file perfectly to a DAC. Its a tiny insignificant task in the scheme of things. Surely the DAC has been specifically designed to convert audio? A computer has been specifically designed to calculate & deal with data.

What are we taking here? Sending a file that's approx 750MB (if its a full CD) or possibly more if a high res file to a DAC. Come on. I doubt you could even find a computer that doesn't have at least 2GB ram today let alone unable to send that perfect data to another piece of hardware.I.e a DAC.

You don't seem to grasp that the "file" is totally designed for music & you can choose the type of file (I.e Wav/aiff/flac etc) & the quality of it. It is the file format used to record the music in the recording studio.

It is easy to point at MP3s. obviously these are not for an audiophile system. So forget the MP3 compression compromise in this context.

I feel I need to say for about the 5th time to you that you just have to choose & set up your system. Just like any other part of your Hifi.

If you choose a PC it means you need to turn that software off & install this playback software which will send to the DAC via USB or Firewire etc. For a Mac you run this software etc using FireWire or bolt or USB to your excellent & beautifully designed DAC.

Most of the S.Q issues will be further down the chain after that. The biggest issue will be the recording itself. It's irrelevant if it's 44.1 or 96 etc. if its a lame recording it will be at any resolution.

So switch on your computer & choose the track/s you want to play via an iPad/smart phone or on a qwerty keyboard. S.Q will be good. To get all audiophool follow the usual tweaks & tune tone to taste.

If this is beyond you get someone to help & use this forum for advice. I can give you a list if you like. If you follow it you will probably leave this subject alone & be listening to some of the finest audio you have heard.

Get over yourself. It's all already been designed. Designed to deal with far more taxing issues than streaming digital 2 channel playback. Its the 21st century! Not 1901. Find the right set up for you and Just use it. There are potentually far less compromises than any other "format" you describe.
Pettyofficer, some of the pushback you are getting may be related to your inappropriate reference to computer audio as a "format". This may be just semantics, but it is not a format. There is nothing inherently limiting SQ in any lossless formats used in computer audio. They are the same bits and just as many as the ones in the studio.
Timlub- Fine for downloading from HDTracks, but what about
downloading anything else- latest software update for your
Media Player for example? Did you purchase Windows 8 from
certified Windows Retailer? Microsoft is really flaky with
the 12 Month free Customer Service. I bought Windows 7, but
because the disk sat on the shelf for a year I was only
eligible for 6 Months. The clock for this free Service doesn't begin on day of purchase, as you would expect. Try getting Microsoft Service after it has expired- lotsa luck!!!
Chadeffect- read my last response and tell me where I referred to sending Music File to a DAC? Lets both get back
on the same page now! I am referring to Downloading of Music Files, which always have to pass through an Operating
System. "Soon all new Music will only be available as Music
Downloads"- so I have been told a thousand times. O.S.
design for Audio Downloading still the perogative of
Microsoft, Apple, Macintosh....etc. You prefer the
processing for downloading of High Rez. Music Files. They
prefer the processing for games, Apps, DVD Movies...etc.
They prefer as little Processing as possible for Music ie:
Lower than CD Resolution MP3. They design the O.S. around
their perogative, pushing yours aside. This is the reason
why you need Wasapi, ASIO, Kernel Streaming...etc. It is
like taking a swiss army knife (Computer Audio with current
O.S.) to a Samurai Sword Fight (Other Formats specifically
designed for Music only). Be sure to bring lots of Bandaids
(Wasapi, ASIO, Kernel Streaming). I would think that you
would eventually get sick, and tired of being forced to
fight with a swiss army knife- and demand some help/improvement! Instead of holding your swiss army knife up as the Tool to best/replace all Samurai Swords. Sure,
you can design the swiss knife to do this- not without the
redesign of the O.S. by Computer Manufacturer's. They just
aren't the Music type. The result is a mixed bag of S.Q.
results for different listeners due to lack of consistent design in the O.S. for Music! Well lets just ignore this
and full speed ahead with Computer Audio anyways! Many
listeners get different results, and this only drags
Coumputer Audio down. Some think that this can be resolved by ignoring the original design of the O.S. by the
Computer Manufacturers. I suggest that you remove this ball, and chain around the neck of Computer Audio. It is
the only way to make sure! There are no other alternatives.
Edorr- of course there are limiting factors like the Sampling Rate of the Music File, and the Sampling Rates that your DAC can decode. Studio's are using a DXD Format
for editing, and mixing numerous Music Sources. It is
supposed to have a higher Sampling Rate than even SACD!
Don't buy the old wives tale of "Bits are just Bits". That
was old when the first CD came out. Don't mind pushback.
Better to get these issues out in the air. Many just want
everyone to blindly accept Computer Audio, like Zombies from the Walking Dead. I remain open to Computer Audio, but
it has to earn its position by consistently providing reliable S.Q. with a Music Selection that many can enjoy.
Only one way to do that! Current solutions wont accomplish

At it again i see?

Its like food. Some is good and some not so good?

You need a good recipe. And a decent chef.

How much simpler could it be?

Are you suggesting that downloading a music file to your computer is being effected by your operating system?

Do you feel it is being corrupted somehow? I must admit I am struggling to see your point now.
Hi Pettyofficer,

Sorry if we keep crossing answers. I think there is a delay between our posts appearing.

I copied my response below to this thread because we are crossing a couple of threads now.

Any Hifi system will have variable results. Computer based or not. My understanding of your complaint is shifting slightly now over a couple of different threads.

I think your complaint still is about set up. But it's about which version of which software you can run on what operating system. If this is the issue, then I understand.

So with that in mind you fall into a couple of camps.

1 latest version of everything. So update regularly. This is easy although a pain in the butt sometimes.

2 get it all to a point where you are happy & do not update. Just enjoy.

I must admit with a PC I recommend the later point. Although keep Security updated.

The SQ differences are pretty slight once you have set up the main software issues although functionality is probably better.

Hope this helps.
Windows 8 is not yet available for purchase, I have a developers copy. You sure seem on a rampage over Computer Audio... I'd just like to know a bit more about using Windows 8 before I down load it. I am fine with no Anti Virus. Again, dedicated music server. I've never heard of a virus coming from a Microsoft windows update, Sorry, I don't have a Swiss Army knife, but strangely enough, I do have a Samurai sword.
Band aids, swiss army knives, software designers concerns or intent??? We work with what we have. I have Wasapi and KS downloaded, both work fine. I guess I'm a Zombie, just trying to get the best performance I can out of whats available. No disrespect intended, just now sure where you were going with all that...
Does anybody know of any issues using Windows 8?
Even if someone can build the greatest computer audiophile system in a box, the same sound quality can be achieved by anyone willing to put components together. That is the beauty of computers technology. Therefore, there is nothing that is stopping you right now from achieving the greatest sound quality possible, within the limitation of current technology. You could also save some money and become more acquainted with the technologies that impact of your hobby :). And things will continue to improve Window 7 is much better that XP with regards to audio playback; I hear the new JRiver can playback audio files from the system RAM.

Computer is a multifunctional device and as such, it can be made to do/automate many different things. All you need is good peripheral devices, software (OS and apps), and a little bit of technical inclination on the end-users. That's all.

My current DAC is Mhdt USB Paradesia...It sounds satisfactory nice on my PC based system. However, I understand its limitations mostly because of technological advances (i.e. it does not support asynchronous USB, no support for higher sample rates such as 96, 176.4 or 192kHz, etc). Buy the DAC is just a peripheral - a component that can be upgraded!
Pettyofficer - your complaints are directed at "computer audio" but are completely misdirected. What you are arguing is true of all formats. Some recordings sound great and others...not so much. But none of it sounds as good as the master tape or live music. This is no more the fault of "computer audio" than it is of the CD player or turntable.

It's also hard to tell at whom you are specifically ranting and railing. Microsoft? Apple? HDtracks? Other audio manufacturers? Audiogon members? Hard to tell because you're all over the place.

Give it a rest already!
Upnp streaming with a PS audio completely bypasses the computer operating system. There are others that do the same I believe.
Of course there are failures in S.Q. with other Formats.
That doesn't mean that there weren't design goals built
in to the Formats, and it certainbly isn't for lack of trying. What, pray tell, are the Audio design goals of
Computer Manufacturer's (Microsoft, Apple, Macintosh...
etc.) in designing their Operating Systems? In Windows 7,
in Windows 8? These guy's will tell you to your face, that
they have no intention of ever trying to improve anything
Computer Audio! Unlike you, THEY DON"T LIKE MUSIC! They
would rather play games, watch movies, or design new Apps.
for their Operating Systems. These guy's will always be
the Achilles Heel of Computer Audio, and can only drag
down this Format. Their O.S. designs create fluxuations
in S.Q. results for Computer Audio, because they are not
designed for Computer Audio. Customers who end up on the
short end of this, will always drag down Computer Audio.
You know what is broken, yet argue against fixing it. Are
you serious about Computer Audio replacing all other Formats, or not? Then atleast find SOMEONE who is willing
to design Computer Audio for that purpose. It is not going to fall from the sky, and you are not going to get any
"Love" from Microsoft- and the rest of the gang. So...
besides throwing rocks, what else are you going to do to
improve the design/reliabilty/consistency of Computer
You want Computer Audio, then do something about it- I
DARE YOU! Now that should do it. I happen to love Music,
unlike you know who- that you are relying on to design the
O.S. for Computer Audio. I am NOT the one holding you back!
Streaming from where, the Internet, Computer Hard Drive,
Thumbnail Memory Stick, PS Audio Memory Buffer? Downloading
is supposed to lead to "Soon all new Music will only be
available as Music Downloads". You want an entire Album
from HD Tracks in High Rez. Download, how do you get that
without downloading through your O.S.? You are still going to need some Web Browser Internet Access to gain access to
these High Res. Music Files. How do you pay for it online?
Yes it is true that the audiophile is a very small niche market for the Computer companies to care about. But this has always been true by most [mass market] audio manufactures with regards to high end gears suitable for audiophile. Therefore, slow progress is to be expected.

But things are looking good...There are many here who have abandon the CD player as a source (including the SACD!). The glass is half full.
Pettyofficer, enough already! You want computer audio to be improved, YOU do something about it!! You're complaining to the wrong people! Most of us here are actually quite pleased with the sound we're getting and don't need your "help".

Besides, you say you're an engineer. Then quit complaining already - design a "built for audio computer" yourself if it means that much to you. Enlist some help from your engineering colleagues if you have to.

But please, enough words already - we want ACTION!!
This is different, Planckscale. I don't think that we are
a very small niche market for the Computer Companies to
care about, I think that they don't need/want our
business period! I think that they resent anyone trying to
shove Computer Audio down their throats. They do just fine
business wise without supporting High Rez. Downloads! They can only sabotage Computer Audio at every turn. Glass is empty after they swallow it, and you with it. A Turntable/
CD Player Manufacturer that hates designing Turntables/CD
Players. How do you design around that? How can anyone
even suggest trying to design around these guy's? You can't design Computer Audio with these guy's dragging you down. If Pigs could fly, sure; but if the Pigs even refuse to try- what is the point! Gee, it was a nice idea/Format
while it lasted. I can't continue to fight you, and them,
even to save Computer Audio from its own worst enemies.
It is just too much! We will just have to live with no
Audio Format if Microsoft, and gang get their way! Hope
everyone is satisfied with that! Don't delude yourself
otherwise, Computer Manufacturer's are lower than lawyers!
Wow - sounds like Armageddon is coming! The end of music! And it looks as if it is our fault for adopting this New Format!

Pettyofficer, I probably should have realized this sooner but your last few posts have convinced me you haven't a clue what you are talking about. I'm done wasting my time with you...
Hfisher3380- what exactly is it that YOU want? Oh
yeah, "Someday all New Music will only be available as
Downloads", and all of our Music needs will be handled
by Microsoft/Apple/Macintosh extreme apathy team. What you
want is to help yourself to the elimination of any
competing Audio Format. You demand that "WE" buy into
"THIS", Bandaid ASIO's- this is what you are selling?
There is nothing that anyone can design around these
Operating Systems, that is my point! Only the extreme
apathy team can design an O.S. from the ground up to
improve Computer Audio, and still provide enough processing for other functions. They just don't want to spend the money doing it. It is no big secret, they will tell you to your face. We have had years of Bandaid ASIO's
for our O.S., they are just wearing too thin. You are
making Computer Audio into a Patchwork, a jigsaw with a
couple of pieces gone. Be gracious enough to pull the plug
on this terminal patient, if you are not going to try and
improve its condition! Get serious for once if you want to take over the entire Planet with a New Audio Format. With
what, a Whiffle Bat with Bandaids/Bubble Gum/and Rubber
Bands? Sure, that will make you the toughest Bully on the
Block! Still think that Microsoft, and gang, will still be
kicking your butt! Ditto on them butt kicking your High
Rez. Computer Audio downloading. I'm going to sit back and
enjoy it! They will keep High Rez. Computer Audio twisting in the wind forever- because they can, and you allow it!
Design around that- you can't! You enjoy them kicking your
butt, you enjoy the desperation of struggling to clean up
their O.S. mess? They unravel what anyone tries to design-
pathetic, and you beg for more! You beg alone.
The more you speak on this subject Pettyofficer the more I wonder if
1 you are joking?
2 you are a lillte mad?

There is nothing to "design around". Things are always developing. It sounds like you should do a little research. I don't see how any OS is "dragging you down" unless you are using windows 98!

To quote you "They can only sabotage computer audio at every turn". What does that actually mean? Is that like a CD player sabotaging your ability to play a film on DVD?