I use a very simple setup:
- Computer i7 7700k (4,6Ghz), lots of memory and disc
- Roon running locally on computer
- DragonFly Red conected to USB (I use it exclusively from Roon)
- My AudioEngine 5+ speakers connected directly to the DAC, and an AudioEngine S8 sub.
The sound from this is surprisingly good, especially considering how cheap it is (about $1000 with some sound absorbents, but not including the actual computer).
I heard that its supposedly better to separate the DAC form the computer due to electronic noice, but I wonder how much benefit you get from that? My computer chassi is sturdy and of metal so I imagine most electrical noice will stay inside, and the DAC is on the outside.
Maybe it would be beneficial to use a USB extension cable between the computer and DAC, and place the DAC away from the computer? I could always nail it to a wall, it looks cool and colorful
Or maybe just stick a jitterbug between the computer and the DAC?
Btw, just for fun I tried connecting the speakers directly to the audio outputs from the motherboard, and even though its supposed to be a good Audio chip in it (SupremeFX/ALC 1150), the difference was quite huge and the sound with the DragonFly Red was much better.
The rabbit hole of USB decrapification is a deep one. Personally, I used a setup similar to yours (different dac) for the first six months or so of Roon ownership and it worked just fine. Once I decided to roll out Roon to other parts of the house, I went for a standalone NUC with endpoints dotted around,which also works great and is a far more flexible setup.
If you simply want local playback and want to avoid the (alleged) vagaries of USB, you could go with a Raspberry Pi and Digi+ Pro connected to your network, but then you’d need a dac that allows spdif or similar input.
Honestly, if you don’t need playback outside of your local machine, I wouldn’t worry about anything as you already have a nice sounding setup.
Do you know of any simple test I can do to see how much electronic interference I have (if any)?
Btw, I forgot to mention I have the DAC connected with a DragonTail, which is basically a shielded but short USB extension.
I’d quit worrying about it and enjoy the music as you work.
If you can’t hear anything dodgy, you’re probably fine
Sorry to be flippant, but personally I feel there’s far too much audiophoolery in this hobby. A decent DAC connected to a decent computer can sound great.
I can’t have a fan where I listen to music and that was the primary driver for passively cooled gear. Other than that, what you have gets the job done and if you like the sound then stick with it.
[quote=“pedalhead, post:5, topic:22513, full:true”]
Sorry to be flippant, but personally I feel there’s far too much audiophoolery in this hobby.[/quote]
Yea, I agree, but on the other hand i would still use Logitech speakers without a DAC if I hadn’t read about others opinion
For this issue though, I’ll stick with my current setup. I will do room correction though, just got a UMIK-1 so hopefully it will result in a little improvement.
Ah well, my opinion on audiophoolery doesn’t extent to transducers. Imho, spend as much as possible on those (within reason!)
The rabbithole of ethernet decrappification devices is even deeper, it just isn’t opened yet.
Ha oh dear, please don’t say that. You’re probably right though.
I’ve been through all the USB pain and ended up going back to Toslink and a Dac that eliminates jitter (Chord) and it’s the best combination I’ve had. No EMI, RFI, electrical noise or jitter to worry about. Only downside is the limit to 24/192 (so no DSD or up-sampling) but I can easily live with that.
The problem I had with USB sources and noise is I didn’t even know it was there till I started to peel back the layers of noise but that was expensive with constant upgrades and can be like a dog chasing it’s tail.
Well, I have an AudioQuest DAC (DragonFly Red), so maybe I should just buy their Jitterbug thingie. If it works good on anything, it should be on their own DAC, and its not like its expensive (around $50). Probably won’t hear any difference though
It got some good reviews though, so who knows: What HiFi jitterbug review
Great device and a nice cheap and more importantly effective addition.
I run Roon Server on a similar general purpose computer. Whatever USB audio gremlins actually are, I certainly couldn’t hear them until I added a device (Schiit Wyrd) that allowed me to hear their absence. The Schiit Wyrd is in my opinion great bang-for-buck when it comes to USB decrapification. I can’t justify the higher end offerings in my sub-$1000 per component system, but to my ears it made a striking difference and at $100 felt commensurate to the rest of my setup. They have a good return policy. Personally I didn’t care for the effect of the Jitterbug in my system.
Overall, the bigger difference was moving that same computer to another room and feeding the dac with a little Cubox computer. But I still use the Wyrd to great effect in that configuration as well.
Did room correction today, both in trial version of Dirac and in REW + Rephase (the results was very similar), oh boy what a difference that made. And I thought my sound was good before
Its nice that its possible to use convolution WAV from REW + Rephase directly in Roon, works excellent!
I just have to accept it, I am an audiophile n00b
I have essentially the same system you do
Wyrd by Schitt
Audioqest Dragon Fly Red
I agree with Lorin that the Wyrd help the sound a good deal.
I have ordered a Sonore Microrendu and plan to use the dragon fly with that for Roon
I will let you know what the extra $ does to improve by removing computer.
I am considering checking out Kef LS50 wireless and ELAC ub5 active whenever it is released as possible replacements for the 5+'s
Will be fun to hear if the Sonore makes any difference. But why no sub? I find that while the AudioEngine 5+ has deep enough bass in some cases, some tunes sounds a little thin and boring without a sub, for example Pink Floyd - The Wall (or similar).
Its a pain to setup though, but with room correction in place and some bass traps + other absorbents, my sub now behaves very good (no rumbling etc). I did manage to place my sub + speakers so they don’t produce any apparent nulls, so room correction could fix it all with only -gains.