Computer audio seems to generate emotions when discussing what products to use that really are odd. Ideally one would take a computer, connect a good DAC and play one’s favourite music using one’s favourite app.
If only it were that simple. The more I experiment the more I realise that CA is absolutely similar to analog audio or indeed any audio when taken seriously. Every change is audible.
Of course, just because a change is audible doesn’t mean it matters.
The expression bandied about on forums about Computer Audio is bit transparent. The theory is simple: it’s getting the bits from the Hard Drive out of the computer without them being manipulated/changed in any way.
I’ve tried many music playing apps and they all seem to sound subtly different. Even different releases of iTunes are reported to sort different. Life is far to short to bother to try different releases. As they say tried it once and didn’t like it.
For convenience for quick playback I tend to use VLC www.videolan.org. It seems to play almost everything audio and video and can even stream stuff over my network. It works well for Radio Paradise too.
Decided to use Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, but slightly more unusually the DVD-A rip so the source is 24/96. Unlike quite a few DVD-A’s this one appears to have some content above 22k. Amazing though that given the total available dynamic range they still needed to ‘clip’ the recording. Still sounds rather good though.
To start I compared the standard power supply with the MaplinL54BR. Pleasant surprise, the Maplin delivers a subtlety of delivery that doesn’t emphasise any particular instruments. The original in comparison seems to make the bass line and the hi-hat a little more obvious in the mix of Dreams and decreases the importance of Stevie Nick’s voice.
The experiment was to move the PC outside my listening room and then to use a 5m Chord HDMI and 5m USB cables to control and monitor the PC.
The worry was running a good monitor at 1920 by 1200 over a 5m HDMI cable. Would the image quality be reduced? The image was absolutely fine and so much so that I temporarily tried a 10 m cable which worked just as well.
I’ve had a Cambridge Dacmagic for maybe a couple of months now and it’s not disappointed. For two hundred pounds it’s fabulous value.