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Thread: Building a dedicated audio computer

  1. #1
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    Building a dedicated audio computer

    I want to put together a simple dedicated stand-alone computer to play my music files.

    The basic idea is to have the music stored on an external hard disk (in flac format) and play it through an external DAC into my hi-fi amplifier. Any new music would be added to the external drive by simply plugging it into my main computer and copying the files over.

    The computer would need to be fairly quiet and could be quite low powered - I wouldn't need to connect to the internet or anything, so I was wondering about a simple Atom based barebones system, possibly one without a fan? I'd just need to add minimal memory and a small hard disk for the operating system (might even get away without a hard disk and just use a flash stick instead?). Does anyone have any experience of doing something similar? If so, what worked for you?

    Or would it be easier just to get a cheap netbook or laptop and use that instead?

  2. #2
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    Re: Building a dedicated audio computer

    I was thinking about something similar, although I haven't done any research yet. I was thinking smaller, though, with something based on the Sheeva Plug or similar.
    None but ourselves can free our minds

  3. #3
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    Re: Building a dedicated audio computer

    Check out http://www.mini-box.com/ they have a good selection of Atom Mini-ITX boards and accessories. I am using one of these as a music computer.


    I am not an employee of Mini-Box and I have no connection to them.
    Moderation in all things; including moderation.

  4. #4
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    Re: Building a dedicated audio computer

    I think that LPCM over HDMI has more potential an external stereo DAC.
    These are expensive & over-rated.
    The HDMI output is basically free.

    HDMI LPCM can support 192KHz/24bit multi-channel.

    For audiophile type performance you do need to have a AVR HT amp with HDMI input re-clocker (HDMI = high jitter)

  5. #5
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    Re: Building a dedicated audio computer

    Too late BicyclerBoy - I've already ordered my USB DAC!

    What are you using, JRV?

  6. #6
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    Re: Building a dedicated audio computer

    I'm just to cheap to buy a USB DAC.

    There are HDMI audio breakout boxes with McI2S or multi-analogue outputs but they don't seem to have good audio specs..
    Last edited by BicyclerBoy; August 11th, 2011 at 08:46 PM. Reason: spelling

  7. #7
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    Re: Building a dedicated audio computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Beach View Post
    Too late BicyclerBoy - I've already ordered my USB DAC!

    What are you using, JRV?
    I am using an out of production Atom 330 board hooked up to my television and stereo.
    Moderation in all things; including moderation.

  8. #8
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    Re: Building a dedicated audio computer

    Quote Originally Posted by jrv View Post
    i am using an out of production atom 330 board hooked up to my television and stereo.
    os?

  9. #9
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    Re: Building a dedicated audio computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Beach View Post
    os?
    Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
    Moderation in all things; including moderation.

  10. #10
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    Re: Building a dedicated audio computer

    Well, I'm used to that OS so it should be OK! Probably shouldn't mention it here, but I was wondering about Voyage Linux? (it is, after all, Debian based.)

    I'm tempted towards a Shuttle XS35 with an 8GB SSD and 1GB of RAM. Should be ample and within my budget.
    Any thoughts?

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