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View Full Version : For sound quality, how important is the computer that connects to Touch?



Kellen
2012-04-11, 09:36
Hello, I am wondering if the quality and caliber of the computer that I use to connect to my Touch is important to the sound quality that I ultimately hear?

I ask because I am currently using an acer aspire netbook that I have installed 7.7.2 on and to which I have connected a 1 GB external USB hard drive. The acer is then connected, via ethernet cable, to my Touch. This functions and seems to work great!

The acer is plenty powerful enough to run all I want but I am wondering if the sound quality I hear will improve if I get a better (say less noisy) computer in place of the acer? Or, does it not matter what computer I use so long as it's powerful enough to run whatever software I install?

TIA.

w3wilkes
2012-04-11, 09:47
The only affect that the computer running LMS can have on the quality of the music is dropouts. If the computer is powerful enough that you're not getting dropouts then you're good to go. Bits are bits, they either get to the player or they don't. There's no such thing as a "cleaner" 1 or 0. If the computer is noisy (fans and things) it may distract from the music so move it to a location where that won't be a issue.

Soulkeeper
2012-04-11, 09:50
There are two conceivable ways in which the computer can affect sound quality. In tha vast majority of cases, both are negligible.

The ethernet cable can in theory transmit noise from the computer's network interface card. But ethernet is designed not to do that (using galvanic isolation and whatnot). Anyway, a switch or other component between the computer and the Squeezebox would isolate the SB further from the computer. Using wireless would eliminate that potential problem altogether.

The power supply unit of the PC may be bad and noisy, and inject noise into the mains (or not). Such noise could be picked up via the mains cable of the amp or other analog component in the analog sound signal chain. If they're on the same fuse. But then again, your house is probably full of electronic equimpent with the potential to do the same thing, so it doesn't necessarily make sense to focus on the PC in this regard.

You'll probably gain a lot more, with much less effort, by focusing on the acoustic properties of the room, and your speakers. And/or consider digital room correction.

aubuti
2012-04-11, 10:16
There are two conceivable ways in which the computer can affect sound quality. In tha vast majority of cases, both are negligible.
I agree with those, and add one more conceivable way, especially as the OP specifically mentioned the possibility of "a less noisy" computer: the sound of the computer itself (fan, hard disk, etc) may be annoying. It doesn't affect the sound quality of the music per se, but it can affect your enjoyment of the music. If that's the case, the simple answer is to move the computer to some place out of the listening room, where you won't hear it.

SuperQ
2012-04-11, 12:59
Put the computer in a closet, basement, far far away from the Touch. Then you won't have to hear the fans in the computer. Other than the physical noise the computer makes, it makes no difference.

pski
2012-04-11, 15:50
The only affect that the computer running LMS can have on the quality of the music is dropouts. If the computer is powerful enough that you're not getting dropouts then you're good to go. Bits are bits, they either get to the player or they don't. There's no such thing as a "cleaner" 1 or 0. If the computer is noisy (fans and things) it may distract from the music so move it to a location where that won't be a issue.

++++1111

Completely true, dispelling various other stupid claims. SCIENCE ! (I saw Thomas Dolby a couple of weeks ago.)

P

pski
2012-04-11, 15:57
There are two conceivable ways in which the computer can affect sound quality. In tha vast majority of cases, both are negligible.

The ethernet cable can in theory transmit noise from the computer's network interface card. But ethernet is designed not to do that (using galvanic isolation and whatnot). Anyway, a switch or other component between the computer and the Squeezebox would isolate the SB further from the computer. Using wireless would eliminate that potential problem altogether.

The power supply unit of the PC may be bad and noisy, and inject noise into the mains (or not). Such noise could be picked up via the mains cable of the amp or other analog component in the analog sound signal chain. If they're on the same fuse. But then again, your house is probably full of electronic equimpent with the potential to do the same thing, so it doesn't necessarily make sense to focus on the PC in this regard.

You'll probably gain a lot more, with much less effort, by focusing on the acoustic properties of the room, and your speakers. And/or consider digital room correction.

1. The room and your speaker placement are vastly more important (as above.)
2. Any argument that involves "noise" is by definition incorrect because the TCP part of TCP/IP makes sure the "haul" over the network is flawless and the NIC hardware/firmware does the same for the data to hardware interface <in both the sending and receiving network "card.">

Anyone who claims TCP/IP does not deliver bit perfect just does not understand the way it works.

P

Stratmangler
2012-04-11, 16:08
I have switched over to running Logitech Media Server on a Zyxel NSA310 http://www.zyxel.com/products_services/nsa310.shtml?t=p and it's a barely sufficient headless machine.
Prior to this I was using a Win7 computer, with much, much greater processing capability.
The files the NSA310 delivers to my Squeezebox players sound great nonetheless.

So machine quality is of little consequence.

Chris :)

Soulkeeper
2012-04-12, 02:27
Any argument that involves "noise" is by definition incorrect because the TCP part of TCP/IP makes sure the "haul" over the network is flawless

Don't get me wrong, I was talking about EMI (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_interference), not data corruption (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_corruption), but anyway. The issue is purely academic. The data is not being corrupted. And EMI is not only properly suppressed in the Ethernet standard, it can also easily be eliminated altogether (by using wireless).