Monday, April 09, 2007

Get dedicated! And why computers are your friend.

I had a long weekend and decided to spend a little time installing a couple new electrical circuits in my house.

Being rusty with house wiring, I took it easy, and expected it to take me all morning, and maybe a little of my afternoon. Took me all day! Multiple trips to the electrical supply, a lot of drilling in masonry, and a chunk of change later, a filthy me had installed the new lines.

One feeds the computer on my porch, which is a recent addition. Was having to run an outlet strip from another circuit for that, not ideal. So it got a dedicated line for the case, monitor, router, and modem, one box with 2 duplexes, bye bye to junky power strips and bad layout!

The other is a more complex beastie, feeding my 'big rig' (which I've been stuck with having on a pretty poor line prior to this). The 20A circuit feeds a pony box, which has a leadout consisting of five conductors, a ground and 2 pairs of L/N, in a twisted quad arrangement. This is all sheathed in PET braid for protection, and run into the music room, where it feeds a 2 duplex outdoor style box, with each pair feeding a different outlet (emulates 2 dedicated lines, to some extent) but a common ground.

There is a nice improvement in overall system performance, leading to a blacker background and better resolution.

Now: Why computers are your friend.

The above mentioned porch computer has a couple purposes, but one is the most important. It is my music server. Also functions as a web browser and other such pedestrian tasks, but its important function is ripping, encoding, storing and serving .flac files (lossless compression) through a Roku Soundbridge. The M500 is the baby of the roku line, now discontinued.... it also was available quite affordably, and doesn't do the hellacious upsample to 48kHz that it's big brothers do. This, fed from the network (primarily the linux file server discussed above) is giving me access to a flac-originated bitstream pcm, which goes into a digital eq and dac. I use cdparanoia for the rips, which is the linux equivalent of Exact Audio Copy.

Short version, it's awesome, the accessibility and speed of loading different music, and jukebox features, make it all lovely. And the sound is quite good too!

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