i have only tried iTunes and Jriver. At first, I liked iTunes interface better, but Jriver is much more sophisticated for a tweaker like me. You can run scripts to change the filenames of thousands of tracks at once, its just easier to manage the 14,000 or so tracks I have in Jriver. I'm a PC by the way. When I switched to Jriver about 2 years ago, iTunes had no way to bypass the bad things that Windows does to an audio signal on its way to the USB port. Jriver and Jplay made a huge difference, one you can hear. I used to have a Rotel RB-1080, when I swapped that out with the A23, there was a lot more detail, mostly in the high end. I am hyper sensitive to high frequencies, so once I added the acoustical treatments, the brightness calmed down. If I went back to the 1080 today, I am certain the sound would lose detail and sophistication.
Congratulation on your upgrades. Really like your PC-based system. I would like to try JRiver myself to see how it my work with my system. Have you tried different media player and if so, can you hear the the difference.
I see you have the Parasound A3 and the 23. How does it sound? Thanks and happy listening
I typically use beach, but have been toying with Xtreme as well. My acoustic treatments are just simple foam factory 2 inch pyramid for now, tacked to the wall with finishing nails. Made a big difference in reducing high frequency ringing and improving imaging. Kind of jaw dropping what $100 of foam did. People who visit my room often usually can tell something is missing when I accidentally use the wrong driver in jriver, and jplay doesn't get activated. That's how important it is. These aren't experienced audiophiles, either.
I love your PC based setup. I am getting ready to try out Jplay myself. What engine are you using? Also very curious to know what room treatments you used? I recently started to add treatments myself and have been very impressed with the results. The sound is more clear, dynamic, detailed, and organic. I have a mix of products from RealTraps, GIK, and Vicoustic.
Hi Realremo, you have a sweet looking system setup and room. Totally agree with others about acoustic treatments and speaker placement. These are no-brainers.
Moving on from there, I'm looking at your source as the next candidate, cause there are certainly lots of options to improve fidelity.
I was also looking at the Small Green Computer CAPS-based solutions to replace my current Squeezebox Touch front-end. Digital source does really make a difference to end sound quality. USB, SPDIF, jitter, power supply and computer noise still require lots of effort to combat. But looking at the cost and ergonomics, you may also be interested in the upcoming Auralic Aries streamer. It seems really cost-effective and looks preferable to me to having a CAPS.
Highend, I have been looking at the systems provided by SmallGreenComputer.com, they produce designs created per specs from ConputerAudiophile.com, still more expensive than entry level laptop, but possibly a guide for the future. Might start messing around with sound treatments. I can do those DIY much cheaper than an amp upgrade.
System edited: Got rid of the CD changer. Upgraded digital cabling and converter. Running J River 17 with JPlay plugin. Added a set of AntiCables. Might upgrade one of the following: Amp, Pre-amp, USB converter or even speakers.
System edited: A couple of updated pics to show some subtle changes this year, the sub woofer is now a permanent addition, updated the converter, added some software. Also borrowed a set of AQ Type 8 from a friend, this made a big improvement in sound.
Hi Highend, this is definitely one of the places to set sampling rate. I have set mine to 24/44.1, I don't have an option for 16/44.1 or I would use it. I would rather my Vlink and my DAC do upconversion, than have my computer do it. If you ever get a USB DAC, you need to go to that device in this same dialog box and set your preferred rate, it is different for every playback device. Another place you should check is in the playback properties of the software you are using. JRIver, windows media player, iTunes, foobar, I think they all have settings for bit depth and sampling rate on playback. OK maybe not windows media player, but I know JRiver can upsample bit rate and sampling rate, dunno about iTunes. If the settings in the playback software are different than in the windows dialog, I don't know what happens, but I think the windows setting rules. I just have JRiver set to "source" for all music, so it doesn't do anything to the signal.
Realremo, since you are familiar with the setting for up sampling audio, where do you set it on the PC? I right click the speaker icon and the playback pops up. In the playback section, there is a place where you adjust the sampling rate and depth. Is this the place because my PC laptop has the 24/192k option. Thanks
I auditioned the Pangea PC against the Audioquest Forest USB, and the Pangea aounded better in every regard. my system is a little bright on most recordings, and I was thinking the copper-only Forest would roll off the highs a little. Well, it did roll off the highs, as well as the mids, and the lows. it sounded like my Quads were covered with wet blanets. this was my first experience hearing the difference a USB cable could make. I am toying with several ideas for my next upgrade, haven't made a decision yet. but I am certain the Vlink 192 would be an improvment over my current Vlink 96, how much of an improvement? Only one way to find that out...
Highend24, took a look at the Vlink192. It does feature 2 independent clocks, one for each sampling family, and it is galvanically isolated. However, it still relies upon USB power. Fluctuations in this power supply coming from the computer can affect sound quality... At $200 from audio advisor, this would seem to be a distinct upgrade from the Vlink96, and also a good value, compared to the more expensive converters out there. Audio Advisor has a 30 day audition period, so it is easy to try a Vlink192 out, and it is light so shipping it back would be cheap.
Milpai, agree that the quads are excellent, trying to pair them with better gear, specifically thinking about upgrading the USB converter and the amp. thinking JKSPDIF MKIII for the converter and either Odyssey, McCormack or PrimaLuna for the amp.
A fellow quadophile!!! Hard for me to believe you have a bright sound with the Quads in place. I am thikning that some other component up the chain is bright and the Quads are revealing that. You should try some room treatments and you will be surprised what the Quads are capable of. The MAs might be even brighter, if you feel the Quads are bright.
Highend64, welcome to the world of PC audio. I use my work laptop, an HP, it is a core i7 with 16GB of RAM. This is overpowered for audio applications, but i work on it as i am playing music. I have not considered a Vlink 192, but I will research it. i guess sub-consciously i wanted something different. I require certain things from a USB converter, it must have two clocks, one for each sampling family, it must be galvanically isolated, it must have its own power supply, etc. if the vlink 192 meets my specs, it would be in the running. I like the JKSPDIF MK3 because it is a quite elegant application of a battery powered converter, it does not require a wall wart. The DLIII upsamples everything to 24/96, i cannot remember what sample rate i was feeding it from my laptop, also cannot remember if this dac is asynchronus, but that point is moot because i am using a converter.. the DLIII's optical and digital coax inputs sound much better than its USB input, i don't know why, i simply bought more gear to solve the problem (Vlink 96), isn't that the audiophile way?