Hardware How-To

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 11, 2013 6 comments
This article originally appeared in the October issue of our sister publication Sound & Vision

If you haven’t taken the dive into computer audio, you may be asking yourself a very simple question—Why should I? The very simple answer is accessibility and sound quality. Computer-based audio allows you to store all of your music in one central location on a computer network, making it accessible from virtually any network-attached device. And when your network is connected to the Internet, you have access to the largest source of free (and legal) and paid music on the planet. Unlike disc-based music, computer-based audio is not restricted to any particular format. You can have CD quality, DVD-Audio quality, SACD quality, and even music in greater resolutions than disc-based formats allow. With computer-based audio, you can have your cakes and eat them, too, in as many rooms as you’d like.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Sep 05, 2013 21 comments
Here's a (growing) list of DSD-ready DACs:
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Sep 19, 2012 27 comments
Jumping into Computer Audio can seem daunting. How and where should you take the plunge? Do you want a server or streamer? Or how about one box that does it all? And how do you get your file-based music to play through a hi-fi? What if they're in different rooms? In Part 1 of 3 we're going to talk about the pieces of hardware you'll need to play back file-based music whether its through a server, a streamer or an all-in-one device. Part 2 will cover the software side of the equation and Part 3 will touch on the most important piece—the music.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 27, 2012 19 comments
This was a long time coming and I've altered my initial plans somewhat and simplified the approach for the remaining parts of our NAS Series. Why? Because I'm going to recommend a few NAS devices and using them is so simple, you won't really need much help from me. I'm also working under the assumption that you've read the first three Parts of our NAS Series.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 17, 2012 31 comments
Each week another press release crosses my Inbox announcing another receiver, preamplifier or dedicated device with streaming capabilities, i.e. an Ethernet connection and DLNA/UPnP support. There are a few things you need to know (and have) if you want to play your ripped or downloaded music through a Streamer. Here's a down and dirty guide to the basics.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 13, 2012 8 comments
NAS Topologies
Sometimes a picture saves words and as you can see a NAS device connects to your Router with an Ethernet cable (hey that was much less than a 1,000). The next point of interest is since a NAS sits on your network and is attached to your Router via Ethernet, and Ethernet allows for cable runs of up to 100 meters, your NAS can live in another room leaving your listening room that much quieter. While some NAS devices are quieter than others, none are silent.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 13, 2012 0 comments
Anatomy of NAS (What makes a NAS not a HDD?)
When buying a NAS device, you'll want to pay attention to a number of specifications including CPU Speed and Installed Memory/Maximum Memory. These two features along with the fact that the majority of NAS devices come pre-installed with a version of the Linux operating system tell you why a NAS is more than a "drive". As a matter of fact, some NAS devices come without any hard disk drives at all (more on that below).
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 22, 2012 9 comments
Welcome to Part 2. of our NAS Series. This Glossary is a work-in-process for a number of reasons the least of which being the ever evolving nature of this technology coupled with the idea that this list will grow as we dig further into NAS in Parts 3 and 4 (and it also gives me a handy out for those terms I've missed). I have also focused on the aspect of a term's definition that is most relevant to our focus on using Network Attached Storage as a media server in a typical home Local Area Network.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Feb 13, 2012 16 comments
An Introduction to NAS
This is the first part of an ongoing series that will cover the ins and outs of Network Attached Storage (NAS) with a focus on how to use a NAS device as a music server. I've created a rough outline for the series and it goes something like this:
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 29, 2011 42 comments
This question comes up often enough so it seemed to make sense to make a list. Here are the DACs that according to their manufacturer handle 24 bit/192kHz via USB input.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Oct 10, 2011 31 comments
In the coming weeks and months (and years), we'll be looking at various aspects of the How To's of computer audio. Today, if you look at any computer setup and optimization guide whose focus is music playback, the word you're likely to see as much if not more than any other is "disable". My point brings us back to something Charles Hanson of Ayre Acoustics said in our The Future of Computer Audio article, "The biggest problem with computer audio is the computer."

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