For me definitely.
For you? IMHO probably
On the whole, most people will agree that a hard drive based transport will out perform all but the very best CD transports.
While the devil is in the details, all computer based systems basically work the same way:
- a CD is ripped to a hard drive at pre-determined resolution and format - this tends to be along PCvsMac lines.
- the metatags for the CD are populated (name, title etc) automatically from a web database accessed by your software
- the files are organized in any number of browser or player metaphors - Squeezebox includes a web browser
- using the file organizing software, the files are retrieved from the hard drive. Most often the file is moved out of the computer via USB, SPDIF, Toslink, Ethernet or WiFi to a DAC
- The same DAC can be used with either type of transport - hard drive or platter based (the Squeezebox comes with a built in DAC so in addition to SPDIF it can also output analog to a suitable input)
It is very important to understand that a single set of files (ie a hard drive full of rips) can be accessed by multiple kinds of software and hardware. It is very common to access one library with both a Mac and a PC running iTunes, an iPod and a Squeezebox. This is why closed proprietary systems and formats have largely failed.
This is a transitional period - there are certainly lots of people who have both a traditional CD player and a computer based system in various rooms of their house
I tend to think about the decision to go to computer based audio as a lifestyle choice as much as a technology choice. Most often people who select computer audio solutions do so because:
- they can achieve better audio quality for the same or less money
- they enjoy being able to access every nook and cranny of their collections, make playlists etc
- they are thrilled to remove the physical presence of a large CD library from their living space. I would say filing but some people really enjoy the tactile experience of managing their collections
- they already have music on hard drives for their iPods and other devices and they have experienced the benefits.
- they like to listen to Internet radio
- they want to be able to distribute a single library to one or more locations in their home or office. They do not want to maintain multiple copies. Nor do they want to constantly ferry CDs from room to room. The Squeezebox is particularly well suited to distribution.
The mantra of this movement is "rip once, use many"
So - if lower cost, higher quality and greater flexibility is appealing, then this might be a logical way for you to go.
Depending on your very specific situation and plans, it may or may not also be true that a Squeezebox is the best solution for your system.
You probably need to do some homework - there are a million threads on the by now very broad subject of computer based audio.
You'll never get a consensus in regard to which setup sounds best, so the basic decision you have to make is how you want to listen to music. If you like the perceived convenience of a hard drive based system, then there are computer/DAC options that can sound very good and arguably equal to comparably priced CDP's. Otherwise, a good CDP is the simplest and most direct method to top quality sound. I use a bit of a hybrid approach. I have 20-30 "desert island" discs on my hard drive. For everything else I rely on the CDP.
Assuming you use uncompressed or lossless audio files and you use error correction (built into iTunes or other software) you will probably get as good if not better results out of the Squeezebox than most CD transports. I found it to be a suitable replacement for a $6,000 Goldmund. It is not a PERFECT solution because the power supply and circuitry could stand to be improved, but it is a fantastic entry level solution that is comparable to a very good CD transport.
I've got to say we are loving the squeezebox.. it, with a DAC, sounds as good as either of our CD players and the "fun" factor is right up there. Add the internet radio for learning about new genres of music and it's downright hard to leave the listening chair!
Grab the remote and access each song from a multitude of artists as you think of them, one leads to another and another and another...bored with that, access the internet radio systems and listen to something you've never heard before at pretty good quality, not as great as the cd but good enough to know if you want to purchase it....Sunday I went from my own favourites to String quartets, jazz fusion, alternate country and back again.....really puts the fun of discovery back into the music.
Am getting tired of ripping those cd's though...almost done - ripping to apple lossless with error correction this time!
Get one, hook up a DAC, and enjoy!
I have a Roku Soundbridge, which is similar to Squueze Box and an external DAC. I currently have about 3800 tracks in multiple genres ripped to my laptop as a wireless music server.
The sound is very good but the most enjoyable feature is to put the Roku in random track play mode and let it queue up the tunes like a jukebox. Its a great way to listen to tunes in a different way and to learn to appreciate tracks that might get overlooked otherwise.
Roku also provides a web site and the Roku a web page that can be accessed by browser to select playlists, adjust volume, skip tracks, etc from a laptop anywhere in the house.
Its just a totally different way to listen to music that also happens to sound excellent.
HIGHLY recommend you use .aiff and not apple lossless, by the way.
I would say let's slow down on saying a hard drive equals or exceeds the world's best transports. I just took the plunge into PC audio and am having trouble equaling the performance of my 15 year old $100 DVD player as a transport into my high end DAC. Now I am doing it all, ripping with EAC to wav, using Media Monkey with the right plug ins, using a high end RME sound card, ASIO drivers you name it. But right now I would give the edge to the old crappy DVD player. I will say I have some tweaks to do to my PC setup, so I won't say it is fully optimized, but right now PC audio is NOT delivering 100% of an old fashioned transport. We are about 95% of the way there, maybe with my final tweaks we can get 100-110% like people claim.
Three things must happen well for good sound regardless of technology:
1. Read all the bits correctly (source/transport)
2. clock them so they get converted to analog at the right time (clock, usually on transport but sometimes on DAC, particularly DACs that upsample)
3. convert them to analog (DAC)
Using a computer as a source can provide very good results usually for 1 but 2. can be rocky depending. 3. seldom ever takes place on the computer TTBOMK.
With a Squeezebox or Roku or similar network player, 1 occurs on the server, 2 is performed by the network player and 3 by either the internal or an external DAC, depending. Then some DACs may also upsample and re-clock as well.
Building a music server has literally breathed new life into my enjoyment of music. For me, this is more about the music than the equipment. In other words, I won't argue about which methodology sounds better. All I know is that I now listen to my music EVERY night. I don't even consider turning on the TV. I'm not even into my music DVD concerts as much as I used to be. I turn off the lights and sit in my chair with access to more than 5,000 songs from my library. I can listen to any song in any order. I have been listening to songs and albums that I haven't listened to in years. I can select the "jewels" from old CDs that Ive nearly forgotten about and play them along side my brand new tunes. This is absolutely the coolest thing I've done with my music. Building a music server/library has been great fun too. It takes a while, and Im not nearly finished ripping my CDs, but it is a process that, like tweaking, allows a physical interface with the music. I haven't even mentioned the possibilities of internet radio
Once you set up your server, you'll know what I mean. You should definitely strive for the highest fidelity possible though. Use good ripping software (I still recommend EAC), rip in lossless (I recommend .flac), utilize a good DAC if you can swing it, and also use a really good digital cable between the DAC and Squeezebox.
You nailed it. I feel the same way about my music server. There is a lot more to it than just top notch sound reproduction. It's about new and flexible ways to enable maximum enjoyment of music!
Those hesitant to join the club due to reservations about digital versus analog sound quality or whatever are missing out on a great thing. Stop complaining about digital, figure out how to get it right and JUST DO IT!
I enjoy it for the internet radio aspects..........I listen almost exclusively to classical....... the number of radio stations available to me is astounding and the sound quality is pretty darn good as well..........
Sounds like Mapman is pushing and pushing for some reason I can't explain. You need to be honest in these forums and don't take offense when someone says they are trying out the path YOU recommend and it does not sound as good as the old fashioned route. I am hopeful that with tweaks I can reach the nirvana Mapman has reached, but I owe it to the poster to provide honest results.
Believe me, I WANT PC audio to sound better, just right now it does not. Honest and truthful......so stop beating the drum here and let people post honestly and stop trying to drown out their posts.
I agree somewhat with what acurus just said--technology has a steep learning curve. I am about to go this route too, since I need a new computer anyway, and I just got a Bel Canto DAC3 hooked up and a squeezebox is sitting on my shelf. I know it is going to be a lot of work to set it up, load and rip the CDs, figure out the software/hardware interface, and get everything sounding right. We rely on each other here to share the good and the bad and take it all with a grain of salt. Also, I just got one of the new HD videocameras that uses AVHCD codec (blu ray) and it takes amazing video but my darned computer is too wimpy to process the video. Another reason I am going this route--I want to be *fairly* future proofed if I can help it, and want a computer that can be a media server--audio and video. Seems that every time I get a new gadget there is such a learning curve, but that's why we do it! Part of the adventur. Thanks for everyone's input and keep the advice coming!
Its true that it is not easy to work through "computer audio" related solutions like this.
The best way is to follow a model that has worked already for someone else and tweak from there if needed.
Sorry if it sounds like I'm pushing. My intent is to relate the benefits and encourage those interested not push someone into a zone of discomfort.
The model that I can relate which produces good results in line with the best digital and vinyl I have heard on my system is the one I've implemented in my virtual system built around a Vista PC, Roku Soundbridge, wireless connection (from PC to Roku), Windows Media Player, Windows lossless file format, and a good sounding jitter-resistant DAC of your choice.
I hope that you are giving serious consideration to a Mac... what you want is what they are built to do.
If you haven't you owe it to yourself to go to your nearest Apple store and spend some time at the Genius Bar.
I have avoided this subject like the plague, but this one has finally pushed me to ask the question.
But if I have a Mac/PC with Itunes or similar, a DAC like a Wavelength Brick, WHY do I need a Squeezebox or similar ???
You don't necessarily need a network player if you can connect from PC/Mac to DAC via a USB interface and are happy with the sound and control features.
The advantage of a network player device like a Squeezebox or Soundbridge is it connects to a network like a computer but is designed specifically as a cost effective but quality audio component and all that goes along with that compared to a general purpose computer.
It takes some guesswork out of which computers might sound good and which will not since that is what these devices are designed for.
They also provide useful control features that will vary from device to device like a remote control, random playback mode, etc.
While you could hook up your computer via a digital cable or USB cable to a DAC, the Squeezebox allows you to have physical separation of the computer and the stereo system. This allows you to have the computer in your home office, and the stereo in the basement, for instance. Also, the Squeezebox has analog outs (in addition to digital outs), so a DAC is not required. Of course, you can use a DAC and presumably be able to get better sound.
Things really get neat when you have multiple Squeezeboxes. So if you have a couple different rigs throughout your house, simply put a Squeezebox on each one. Then using the web-based server software, you can designate which songs to play for each Squeezebox, or you can synchronize two or more of them so that they play the same thing. I have 3 of them; one on my 2 Ch system, one on my HT system, and one on my little office system. They're all controlled via the same Linux-based server in my basement. It's really slick.
Hope that helps.
Wayne, thanks for those points.
I have a second system that I well may try a Squeezebox on at some point for comparison to Roku.
This is exactly why I want to go this route: Have all my music in one place, not worry about the type of computer or the sound card, and be able to have music anywhere I want in the house! Thanks for everyone's responses. PS, have not decided to go Mac or PC yet, but I can get a PC with screaming processing speed for a fraction of what an equivalent Mac would cost. I believe I'd have to go MacPro and spend about 4K to process AVCHD files. Not really in the budget! I know PCs are far from elegant, and I love Mac products. I'd rather spend my money on the stereo!!
Toshiba Satellite Vista laptop with Windows Media Player as the server program and 300 Gb disk or larger and 3 Gb memory like mine costs about $800 and works well. My family uses it for other things while it is serving up music over the wireless connection to the ROku. Very cost effective!
I'm sure a Mac could work as well or even better perhaps but they are pricier.
One note of caution: A music server has the potential to really impact an already obsessive personality (i.e.: audiophiles). You WILL obsessively spend, or want to spend, time on setting up your system.
MapMan(or anybody who wants to pitch in), I don't know what you mean by what computers may sound good ? If I am using a PC, to a good USB DAC like Benchmark or similar,the hard drive based music files, thru a program like ITunes or similar should sound, well great no ?
I understand the extra features from something like the squeezebox, but I also wonder about another compotent in the chain and the wireless part, if that will/could have any negative impact on sound ?
I also see there are more then one version of the squeezebox, and just now see it is a logitech product ? I thought it was slim devices ?
Thanks again, Wayne
"If I am using a PC, to a good USB DAC like Benchmark or similar,the hard drive based music files, thru a program like ITunes or similar should sound, well great no ?"
I think the answer is maybe, depending on exact computer configuration. My understanding is that not all computer USB setups are equivalent in terms of sound quality for various reasons. Variability with USB connections is a key problem area as I understand it from others.
"I understand the extra features from something like the squeezebox, but I also wonder about another compotent in the chain and the wireless part, if that will/could have any negative impact on sound ?"
No impact. Only the Squeezebox (for the clock) and DAC are involved in producing sound, similar to a transport and DAC. The computer is just a file server serving up bits to the Squeezebox and has no impact on sound quality. You just need a wireless or other network connection that is strong enough to get the bits to the Squeezebox in time prior to conversion otherwise re-buffering will occur and the sound will drop out until the needed bits are re-buffered in computer memory on the Squuezebox.
Two reasons why this particular configuration is a particularly reliable one for good sound:
1) the computer is not part of the process that creates the sound and
2) the bits needed are retrieved from physical memory on the Squeezebox or Soundbridge, which is faster and a more reliable process than reading from optical drive as in a CD transport.
So Mapman, you are saying that files retrieved from the hard drive via wireless or network cable using the SQueezebox and it's internal DAC to my preamp, MAY/COULD/WOULD sound better then a Computer via USB to something like a Benchmark or Wavelength Brick USB DAC to my pre ? Forgetting the price difference for a second, just the basic question, as we know there is quite a difference between the DACS I mentioned and a Squeezebox. I am just back do I really need the Sqeezebox or similar ? This is all new to me and I am just started thinking about this and saw this thread.
I own a Roku, not Squeezebox, and can only speak about the sound of the Soundbridge's internal DAC. A good external DAC clearly adds value for better sound with the Roku. In my case, I started with the internal DAC and moved to the mhdt Paradisea....a big improvement.
I've read Squeezebox internal DAC is generally considered better than Roku, but I suspect a major improvement there still as well with the right external DAC.
Again, sound quality with different computers and USB configurations may vary as a result largely of jitter produced so it is not possible to say which will sound better in general. The devil is in the details.
In the end, the key to good sound is to have a handle on jitter either at the source feeding the DAC or at the DAC itself, as is the case with the Benchmark, but also use a DAC that sounds good to you.
Not all will like the sound of the Benchmark despite its technical acumen regarding jitter, particularly those that may levitate to the often less fatiguing world of analog and vinyl.
Other DACs that produce a smoother more analog-like sound, like the tubed Paradisea in my system or the better Bel Canto's for example, would appeal more to those listeners I suspect.
There is an old phrase, horses for courses. The bottom line is you don't need a Squeezebox unless you want music where you don't have a computer.
As I tried to point out in my first post, all computer audio works basically the same but there are many variations.
Let's deal with a few that have cropped up here.
1) Computers are not created equal. This is especially true in the PC world where they are assembled to many price points with no particular concern for this type of application.
The biggest problem with most computers is that they are electronically very noisy. That is why you have to get the music data out from the computer before converting it to an analog signal. And why almost no one who is serious does this with a sound card (with the exception of some very expensive cards from Lynx and Apogee).
2) Computer speed as measured by MIPs, RAM, GHz or whatever you like is a moot point with audio. Audio files are very small and require virtually no processing by the computer - the processing is done outboard by a dedicated piece of hardware called a DAC...
3) There are significant differences between PCs and Macs. In addition, many PC users are not that happy with the quality of iTunes especially when compared to using EAC, FLAC etc. On the other hand with a Mac, iTunes is great and EAC is not even available.
4) There is some debate about which cabling format is the best. Many people will argue AES/EBU followed by SPDIF followed by USB. But as in all things audio the devil is in the details. That is why an unmodded Squeezebox can't touch a Wavelength Brick - though one uses Ethernet and SPDIF and the other USB.
But keep in mind that because USB is a global computer standard it represents the biggest market for a manufacturer by an enormous margin. This is why you see so much activity in USB DACs.
Plus USB is good to 15 feet at a reasonable price. A 15 foot SPDIF cable would break the bank.
5) SLIM Devices developed the Squeezebox. They were recently purchased by Logitech.
6) What to do and why. The unique selling proposition that Squeezebox offers is that it is a two-way node on a computer network. Michael and Mapman both addressed this.
Let me try paint a picture.
If you use USB to connect your computer to a DAC in the other room (which could be done), you cannot control the content. Meaning that if you want to change tracks or pick a different playlist you will have to go back to the room with the computer, make the change on the computer then go back to the other room to listen.
ERGO USB devices are best suited to systems where the computer and the audio system are in the same space and can be used simultaneously. That is one reason the MacMini is so popular - it is small and quiet.
On the other hand, if you put a Squeezebox (Roku etc) in the other room using either Ethernet cabling or WiFi you can sit in the listening room and using the remote and the display on the device access the computer - wherever it is - to change tracks, select playlists etc. (How much fun that is with a large library and a single line display is a different question.)
ERGO A Squeezebox or similar device is only necessary if you want to control the content (interact) from the listening area that does not have a computer. Or as Michael describes his rig, if you want to distribute your content to multiple rooms simultaneously (which of course requires multiples of all the hardware)
Now to be clear there are alternative strategies. In the Apple world you can look at distributing your audio via Airport Express. Or controlling a remote computer using your iPhone with the free remote software.
And a Squeezebox can be controlled on small PDA type devices using specialized software.
Both these solutions utilize larger displays making the browsing experience more pleasant. Both these solutions have limitations because they are wireless devices - as does a wireless Squeezebox solution. It is location specific - you'll have to try it in your space to know.
AND FINALLY The Squeezebox can be used as a cost effective DAC in the same room. Or it can be used as an analog source. What this means is that you would then control it from your computer using the free browser based software that SLIM provides instead of something like iTunes.
In this scenario you would be using a Squeezebox instead of a USB DAC. If you are a PC guy there would be an advantage because the Squeezebox will decode FLAC.
Which brings us back to the beginning. The bottom line is you don't need a Squeezebox unless you want to control your music where you don't have a computer. Or you want a low cost DAC or analog source.
Ckorody and Mapman, great text book info, just what I needed, this really clarifies.
I own both a Transporter and Squeezebox, which Slimdevices gave to me when I ordered the Transporter...but were behind in production.
1. The Transporter DAC is by far superior to that of (the original) squeezebox.
2. The Transporter's DAC is a bit too analytical (less warmer). less 'musicality'
3. For the longest time I used my Audio Aero Capitole DAC with the Transporter and was very happy
4....Until I got an Anthem D2 and this DAC has been the best, so far.
Now, prior to the D2, CDs sounded better on the Capitole than from my computer (Apple G5, on Lossless, error correction) than even from burned CDs on my computer. No comparison; just much better.
Since, with my D2, the comparison is such that I have not listened to a CD in many months. What I don't know is
1. Have squeezecenter downloads made the improvement or is it the D2.
I think it is both.
Either way, I have finally gotten my computer-based library to sound so good that I no longer feel I have to go to the 'source', the original CD to get the 'best' rendition of my songs.
One note with Roku is that the Soundbridge uses a a very simple and conventional remote control device. You have to be within eyesight of the Soundbridge to use it. It won't work from a different room.
To control the Roku from a different room you access a web page provided by the Soundbridge via a web browser from any computer on your network or you log into the Radio Roku Website (www.radioroku.com) via internet from same browser and use that web site to control your Soundbridge(s).
Note that the Soundbridge has no controls on the device itself, you must use either remote control or web browser to control it and actual control functionality varies significantly with each approach. Eventually, I would like to see each approach (remote, Soundbridge-provided webpage, RadioRoku site) provide similar complete functionality for both internet radio and music servers, but that is not the case currently.
I love my cd player, my turntable and my FM tuner. However, my unmodded Squeezebox with no external DAC has become my number one source of listening to music. It's just too easy to access nearly unlimited amounts of music instantly. With vinyl, there's the whole cleaning ritual, with cd's you've got to find the one disc among over a thousand and put it back in its place when done listening, and my FM tuner is tuned to the only jazz staion in town. The Squeeezbox, for a miniscule fraction of the price of all of the aforementioned components does all of those functions much faster and it is much more convenient. I'm not quite ready to give up my other sources just yet, but I can see the handwriting on the wall. Once I pull the trigger on a Modwright-modded Transporter, the cd player and the tuner will have to go. I cannot afford that kind of redundancy.
I'm in same boat as Mitch4t only with server, Roku + external DAC. I use the Roku for ~ 80% of my listening currently between music server and web radio. Most of the rest is turntable, with occasional use of FM tuner or CD player, but I tend to rip a disk to server now first to listen so the Denon player is geting very little play time these days.
If I could find a way to convert my vinyl to digital faster and easier for access off the server when needed my time with vinyl could be in more jeopardy as well.
Just a year ago, prior to the server/Roku, my listening was perhaps 60% CD, 25% vinyl, 15% FM tuner.
"unmodded Squeezebox can't touch a Wavelength Brick"
I certainly hope the $1750. Wavelength Brick sounds better than a $300. Squeezebox.
"A 15 foot SPDIF cable would break the bank."
You can get a 15' SPDIF cable for under $50. see
Insight- If you don't already have small PDA or iPhone/iTouch, take a look at the Logitech Duet.
Are you using the Transporter into the Anthem D2 or the Squeezebox? Wondering if your choice of transport makes a difference.
Are you using the ARC system in the D2 for room correction?
Bluejean delivers great value for the money. And I suspect they will build you a real 75ohm cable.
That said, no one runs SPDIF that far - the implementation at both ends would have to be near perfect.
Once you get into the fact that there is tremendous variation in the sound of SPDIF cables (is it the cable? does one cable do a better job overcoming problems at one end or both? no one knows) My point is simply that most of us could not afford a "name" 15'. And there is no compelling reason to run one to connect a computer rig to a DAC.
I agree with your comment on Wavelength versus SB quality. Wayne posited the question. But the actual reason that it is better is not cost but the fact that Gordon Rankin has invested an enormous amount of time in perfecting the implementation of his solution.
High quality upsampling DACs have been shown to work with up to 500' of high quality true 75 ohm cable. The jitter reduction in these DACs is so good that it becomes a non-issue. That said, wi-fi seems to be a good way to go with the Squeezebox, et al
If you have to run a very long cable from your computer, then it might definitely be time to consider a wireless network player like the Squeezebox line and save having to worry about whether your sound quality is impacted. With this approach, only a short run from player to DAC is needed and you can use most any decent quality cable you like.
"That said, no one runs SPDIF that far - the implementation at both ends would have to be near perfect.
Once you get into the fact that there is tremendous variation in the sound of SPDIF cables (is it the cable? does one cable do a better job overcoming problems at one end or both? no one knows) My point is simply that most of us could not afford a "name" 15'. And there is no compelling reason to run one to connect a computer rig to a DAC."
I run a 5 meter Analogresearch-Technology Ubyte cable (BNC on both ends) between my Duet receiver with Analogresearch-Technology's Duetta upgrade and my digital processor. See the link below for the "compelling reason."
BTW- I don't know what you consider to be a "name" 15' cable,
but a 5 meter Audience Conductor SPDIF(RCAs) cable retails for $192., $228. with BNCs.
Bill, to answer your question(s):
I am using the Transporter to the D2. Slimdevice people tell me that, with an external DAC there is no difference between the Transporter and the Squeezebox...but I disagree as the Transporter also has the AES/EBU output.
No, I have not upgraded to ARC, although I really want to. I am finishing a (years long) addition to my house and will go ARC when I finish my room.
Over at AVSFORUM.com, there is a year's old thread on Anthem and the ARC is close to pure perfection amoung people who are otherwise very critical/opinionated.. I can't wait for my 'first time...'.
Kana - I don't want to get in a pissing match here and as long as you are happy, that's all that matters. BUT for the newbs out there, please consider these quotes from the Analog Research website - or should I say sales pitch:
...when it comes to RF interfaces, and ones as poorly conceived as SPDIF, it is essential that cable (and equipment ) designers have a thorough knowledge of the subject. Alas, few do.
ED I feel better already
OK, now the bad news:
The cable is around 16' long, and is only available with BNC connectors.
Why so long, you ask.
Well, let us say that a detailed explanation would give too much help to the competition. There is a reason, and that reason is to minimise the effects that reflections. The good news is that you don't have to stretch it out, all over your listening room. It can stay rolled up, in a neat coil, and tucked away.
ED because coiled cables are not very good antennas??? you can find any number of threads here arguing that 1.5m is the perfect length for a SPDIF cable. An equal number suggesting that you never coil a signal cable.
But, your equipment has those nasty RCA jacks. Once again, this shows how poorly conceived the SPDIF interface is. However, all is not lost. We can supply BNC - RCA adaptors. Will this will have a somewhat deleterious effect, it will still allow you to utilise most of the benefits of our cable.
ED yes, coax - which is what we are talking about here - uses BNC - a great connector - who knows why more people don't use them - maybe because Cardas and WBT don't make them so they can't figure out how to charge enough???
We will proudly match our cable up against any cable, regardless of price. Even those costing 10 times as much. We believe in it that much. (The ironic part is: the better the equipment design is, the less difference there is between cables. So why pay over $1000 for a cable when you can have one that is just as good, and costs substantially less?) ...Even if the equipment wouldn't pass the muster at our lab or uses RCAs, you will still hear a marked improvement.
ED wow - not only can these guys save me money but they can overcome all the design flaws in my crappy gear
After making a statement like:
"My point is simply that most of us could not afford a "name" 15'. And there is no compelling reason to run one to connect a computer rig to a DAC."
It's very obvious that you have a closed mind when it comes to PC audio set up.
If you like having PCs in your listening room, great, but please don't tell people they shouldn't use and can't afford a high quality long SPDIF cable.
I have been at this for five years now - in that time I found one SPDIF I liked - it was $350 used for 1 meter - the old Stealth Varidig
I have helped an awful lot of people figure this out - literally hundreds of posts here and hundreds more on AA -
Perhaps more relevant to our mutual readers is that I have read thousands of posts - you are the first and only person advocating a 15' SPDIF - and the only person who has ever mentioned this supplier.
As I said, the main thing is that you are happy - but you are certainly not representative of what most people have experienced
Plus with no PC in your listening room, SPDIF like USB and Toslink has the huge disadvantage of being one way - no easy way to control your source -
If removing the PC from your listening environment is the goal, Squeezebox/Roku is probably the best solution
enjoy the music
Glad to read that you found at least one SPDIF cable in five years that you could recommend to people.
I'm not advocating that everyone use a 15' SPDIF(Some people may need a shorter run),I'm just taking issue with your statement that "there is no compelling reason to run one to connect a computer rig to a DAC." I know lots of audiophiles that don't want PCs in their listening room.
There are lots of easy ways to control a remote PC Music Server connected via a long digital cable to a DAC in the listening room.
Also, there are lots of posts about analogresearch-technology on the audiocircle lab and slimdevices DIY forums. If you're an outside the box plug and play guy, you probably wouldn't run accross them.
I agree. The Squeezebox is an easy way to get started
in PC Audio.