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You can still control a streamer via uPnP in most cases so the interface shouldn't be an issue for most. This requires a little more work but can get you where you want and get the computer out of the way.For what its worth, the noise of a computer might not be apparent in some systems. I used a generic PC for about a year, but it took me a while to find a DAC that actually sounded better than the Pioneer BDP-51fd I was using at the time for CD playback. I felt like it was the best I could do at the time, but this was also before decent 'budget' streamers were on the market. You couldn't hardly find one under four figures at the time.To the OP - have you considered a Raspberry Pi solution?
Avoid putting a computer in your system if you can. A few years ago I kept looking at streaming devices and what they were comprised of and thought to myself that I could build a better solution for the same or less with much higher grade components. I tried it. I was happy with it. Over $2,000 invested in a dedicated PC with 1.5 TB SSD storage, no moving parts/fans outside of the BD-ROM, and an external power supply.After 18 months, I decided to pick up AURALiC as a product line. I put the Aries in my main system and it was like a revelation. The electrical noise floor dropped so substantially that I couldn't comprehend what was going on. I still use my PC, but I don't use it in a 2 channel system. It was a big waste of $$$ and I tell customers constantly to avoid making the same mistake.Not every streamer is a good fit though. While the AURALiC gear does exceptionally well with the noise, I have not heard the same about another big entry-level streaming device on the market. Their device was a direct competitor to the Aries Mini and I've had nothing but complaints from those who have owned the 'other' brand. Unfortunately the Mini is discontinued so the 'other' brand has no direct competitor on the market at that $500 target.If you are thinking like I did and believe you can best a well designed, well thought out and optimized streamer, please, PLEASE get that idea out of your head. It will only lead to a poor investment that you will regret if you ever get a dedicated streamer in the system.
The lesson isn't avoid a PC. The lesson is focus on the power supply. A dedicated streamer isn't any better unless its power supply is better.
Power supplies are important in how much noise they generate and put back in the mains, but that's not the only thing important thing for a streamer, especially that will be near a DAC and other sensitive components. EMI is also of concern. For example, putting a linear power supply on my iMac or Macbook Pro will be helpful, but it still won't solve EMI. Traditional computers will put out quite a bit of airborne interference.
First of all, I believe people are making this too hard and expensive. Your PC can be in another room and use JRiver as a server as long as you have an Ethernet connection. You can use a Raspberry Pi as a renderer with Rune Music Player. http://www.runeaudio.com/The Raspberry Pi is cheap and you can add a iFi power supply. The usb out from the Raspberry Pi to your Pre/dac. You get rid off all the PC noise. This works extremely well and will sound better than you PC usb out to your Pre/dac. You can also upsample from JRiver to the Pi. You can control your JRiver server from your listening chair. Total cost under $150. You will notice a instant difference and your PC/Server is still being used. I have owned 3 different servers and they are over rated IMO. My laptop/JRiver server always works and sounds good. My 2 cents.....
mdean109, I just move to the latest Roon and the improvement in SQ from the others I tried was very nice. I started with Pure Music then went to JRiver then HQPlayer with Roon than to Daphile and now the latest Roon each one was a step up in SQ with the latest Roon being a real step up. Yes you can control Roon with a tablet.
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