Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mac Pro, OS X & Windows Vista Ultimate 64 Bit

Windows fans can no longer say Computer Audiophile is too focused on Macs. I now have Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit installed and I'm working on getting excellent audio reproduction as you read this. I picked up a Mac Pro for my main music server and I've been configuring it for what seems like 48 hours straight. Mac OS X is no problem to configure and in fact it was up and running about 10 minutes after power on. The time consuming part is Windows Vista Ultimate 64 Bit.

Maybe I should rephrase the part about Windows being time consuming. The process of downloading Windows Ultimate 64 bit from Microsoft and creating a bootable DVD was incredibly time consuming. That may be a story for another day. I'll just say that Microsoft doesn't provide downloadable files that allow users to create bootable DVDs. So, a million websites later and a few third party apps and I had my DVD made so I could install Vista via OS X Boot Camp. If I would have only known that VIsta Ultimate in the retail box is the same price and comes with the 32 and 64 bit versions in the same package :-( A little research would have saved me more hours than I care to add up.


In addition to installing Vista Ultimate 64 I want to install Windows XP on the same Boot Camp partition. After a few mis-fires with this venture and another million websites later I think I have a good way to acomplish this. There are more than a few ways to triple boot OS X, Windows Vista 64, and Windows XP 32, but many of them are pretty unappealing.

So, my goal with the new Mac Pro music sever is to produce bit perfect sound from Mac OS X, Windows XP 32, and Windows Vista Ultimate 64. On this "journey" I will be updating everyone on the progress and let everyone know what actually works and what doesn't. I've read way to many opinions about the bit perfection or lack of bit perfection from every operating system so I've decided to get to the bottom of it all myself and post my results. Plus I'll be posting my opinions about everything along the way. Remote control options for Windows Vista and apps like MediaMonkey, J River Media Center, and XXHighEnd are one thing I am very interested in and will be writing about.

I've recently learned of a potentially very expensive flaw in Windows based playback. It involves "losing clock" which creates some very bad noise and has actually blown tweeters. If you're testing some cheap speakers in the garage then it's know big deal. If you have some new HRx files cranked up on a pair of Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers then you'll want to pay attention :-)

In other somewhat related news, I have a Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC and Lynx Stidio AES16e card both on the way. These will allow me to test for bit perfect output and give me an extremely low jitter output. That's it for tonight, or should I say this morning (3:10 AM Central Time).