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linden518
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Custom-built Quiet PC with Lynx L22 soundcard as Source?

Hi, guys, I need some expert opinion on this matter, as I'm a total luddite. I'm building a system from scratch (if you've read my posts in the Entry Level: I'm deciding between Pathos Classic MK III or Leben CS600 integrated amps, coupled with Devore Gibbon speakers, most likely.)

At first, I was leaning toward Cambridge Audio 840C as source, using it also as a DAC for Squeezebox. Then I started trolling around in the various forums, and I thought about using the Transporter as source. Then, since I also need to get a new PC, I thought maybe I can kill 2 birds w/ one stone, and have a custom-built quiet PC with Lynx L22 sound card with 2TB as source, connected directly to my amp w/o running it through an external DAC (I heard a lot of good reports on this, that it also eliminates excessive jitters...) The system would almost be identical to the following, except that I'd have the Lynx L22 instead of M-Audio soundcard:

http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/std/sku=digital_audio_workstation.html?id=VGhJLyE6

I'm willing to experiment, since I need a new PC anyway, and if it doesn't sound as great as expected, I can always use it for what it is, and attach some quality active speakers to it and it'd still be a killer computer audio system and media server. Then I can bring my amp away from the PC area (my original and eventual intent, anyway) and run the music through Transporter or Squeezebox via Cambridge Audio 840C (which sounds like the safest option to me right now.)

But still: I'd LOVE it if this quiet PC media server could work out as a great source, and so I turn to you guys for advice, warnings, etc. (Struts & Elk: are you reading this post?)

CharlyD
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Re: Custom-built Quiet PC with Lynx L22 soundcard as Source?

I'm sure the PC described in the link you included with a Lynx sound card would sound outstanding. The only issue as I see it is that the PC would then be a part of your sound system, and you'd still need a PC. I have never been able to wrap my head around the idea of a dual-purpose PC where it would serve as a central component of your entertainment system as well as performing all those normal PC tasks like email, browsing, work, etc. As a part of your entertainment system, the PC would still need a keyboard and display which might be awkward to integrate on the rack and won't interoperate with any other component. But, if you can make it work, you'd have a great digital source for around $2k. Purchasing the PC as well as a Transporter, however, would net you a great PC for work and listening at your desk as well as an outstanding digital source that integrates well into your system.

linden518
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Re: Custom-built Quiet PC with Lynx L22 soundcard as Source?

Thanks for the reassurance, CharlyD. I don't see too many pro-audio components discussed by audiophiles, so was a bit uneasy about it. I do most of the heavy computer work on my Powerbook G4, so I'd be using the PC almost exclusively for audio, and possibly for Bluray disc viewing. I might go for one of those media server cases like Zalman, which would look more like an audio component, and where there's a touchscreen LCD so I don't have to have the monitor on all the time.

Also, my ultimate goal IS to move my audio component out of the set-up, and I'd go with the Transporter, most likely, unless the PC-high end soundcard combo somehow bests the sound out of the Transporter. This way, I get to bide some time and save up for a proper CD source, and lets me buy the speakers I want right now.

By the way: in the December 07 TAS article on building media server and using it as source, Karl Schuster, who makes excellent cables & interconnects as president of Empirical Design, raved about the good sound achieved by Echo Gina3G card. Said the sound from his PC rivaled Goldmund, Ayre, etc., higher end CD players, and that his audiophile friends agreed. Do you know much about this card? This method would move the interconnects & chassis out of the PC, which seems like an ingenious solution, while still interacting w/ the PC via PCI. If I use the Echo Gina instead of the Lynx, I'd save roughly $400... any thoughts? There's a great deal of positive feedback on the Lynx, but not much info on Echo Gina. The Lynx is also capable of 24/192...

BlackstoneJD
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Re: Custom-built Quiet PC with Lynx L22 soundcard as Source?

Good question. I'm not sure I really have an answer but I can tell you what the issues are.

In my view, the ideal hard disk based music setup is a Squeezebox or Transporter feeding an audiophile grade DAC.

There is no doubt that there are very good soundcards on the market. The problem is that computers have fans and moving parts and even if you move to a passively cooled computer you still have the harddrives which spin and churn.

Some have suggested that one of the advantages of the Squeezebox's wifi interface is that the audio system is not directly connected to the computer and thus there is less mechanical or electrical noise. By connecting your PC directly to your audio system you are coupling your audio system to a whole system of components that has not really been designed with audiophiles in mind.

My experience building and working with computers tells me it is better not to connect one to a real high-end audio system if it can be avoided.

In some cases you can't avoid it. If you want to run your PC games through your stereo rig or play movies through your stereo rig then some sort of wired connection is probably unavoidable.

My point is simply that HTPC is probably not the best sounding solution available for hard drive based music. Or put another way, if music reproduction is your main concern, you will probably get better results with a Squeezebox and DAC or the Transporter than an HTCP.

I recently replaced a Goldmund transport with a Squeezebox and even though in some respects the Goldmund might have been better, I am not looking back.

ChiDave1
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Re: Custom-built Quiet PC with Lynx L22 soundcard as Source?

hi, have you already pulled the trigger on this? I'm sure it would be great but you could probably get that performance for a lot less.

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