Does the choice of a PC influence sound?

My layman understanding is that the audirvana software does bypass the PC, so does the PC have any influence on sound quality?
And if yes, is there some kind of PC recommended for audirvana?
Many thanks in advance for your inputs!

It does to a certain extent. Go for a Mac Mini.

Guess it’s down to the soundchip/card that’s being used. My Windows laptop has a build in Realtek soundchip, but it sounds nowhere near as good as the external USB soundcard I’m using.

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Oh boy, that’s the answer I dreaded…I am since ever married to the world of Windows PC and at my age I do not want anymore to hassle with a new system…but among windows PC’s are there any audible sound differences? I for instance use a basic Acer Aspire 5…

That’s gonna be a quick and painless divorce. :wink:


It really depends… Are you using an external DAC or the internal DAC that comes with the PC?

If you’re using an external DAC, then not so much. However, cheap OEM components (motherboard, USB interface, etc.) may cause some audible issues with the signal path. Most modern mid to higher end desktop and laptop Windows PCs should be fine using a decent external DAC.

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Many thanks for your inputs and opinions, I viewed this afternoon on youtube the interview of Damien Plisson at the Paris Audio Video Show 2021 and my novice understanding is that he explained Kernel Streaming will bypass the PC and connect directly to the DAC…so the influence of the PC should be of no harm to the audio signal…is my interpretation correct?

It will bypass the OS, if that’s what you mean. As will WASAPI (exclusive) & AISO, and what they do is keep the OS from changing the stream before it’s sent to the DAC hardware.

Do not you thing that it doesn’t matter at all?. And all the rest is marketing crap only?

As long as hardware meets the requirements of the OS and application software of course.

Thanks, modestly I prefer with my setup KS…the soundstage seems to me somewhat more open and nicer reverbaration…must I admit this is highly subjective, being alone I cannot test blindly but anyway I am more thank happy since I came across audirvana…

After many tests and changes I stay for the moment with ASIO: the instruments and stereophony sounds fantastic, especially if it’s a good recording and Qobuz. A bit hyper-realistic but cool. That’s my case. Windows 10 LTSC, stock drivers, inLine USB DAC. ASIO with 24 bit, not 32. 32 sounds worst for me. Than WASAPI, than KS. All with DoP 1.1, no upsampling or other settings, low buffer (+/- 2 GB). And a stereo amplifier + classic speakers.

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If you are using Windows try to see the difference using apps like Fidelizer. Let’s say that the pc influences so much that the big audiophiles use dedicated music servers restricting the services running on Windows to the maximum in purist mode and controlling everything with apps like Fidelizer and others.

There is a free version option that will give you an idea:

Hmmm. I have really a slow and old computer. So for me almost everything disabled/removed makes a difference. At least in performance/stability. Tried Fidelizer last year. At that time Audirvana Studio was very unstable, at least for me. But with Fidelizer pure hell - every quit followed by a bsod and restart. So I prefer to optimize myself my system using dedicated software and manual. But you need some knowledge to not break things + I don’t do many things with my PC, so it’s safe for me to disable most of features/services (word, excel, power point, firefox, vlc, pdf and of course Audirvana). When I used Fidelizer probabily I observed a difference, I’m not sure. Maybe was placebo.

It’s like the audio formats (mp3, flac, 16 or 24bits). The differences can be seen depending on the audio setup you have. The better the setup, which doesn’t necessarily mean more money, the clearer the differences.

I’m not sure about this. I can hear the difference between audio formats. And the difference between 16 and 24 especially on live recordings/heavy tracks. But with Fidelizer is something different. I can do those optimizations. I don’t know all, but the main point is to have minimum system fingerprint, right? Maybe for someone less tekkie with a full of bloatware os like standard Windows is Fidelizer counts much.

I have two outputs on the RME Adi 2 DAC. One optical output goes to the iMac where I run Audirvana or Jriver to listen to music with headphones and VST plugins. The other output from the USB DAC goes to a Windows 10 server running Roon Server, HQPlayer and Fidelizer Pro. Via cable from DAC I play the music on a Naim audio system. I’ve tested this setup quite a few times without Fidelizer. The difference is very noticeable, perfectly audible. The prioritisation of processes and the closing of services to the indispensable ones improves the signal notably. The Naim and the speakers notice this. But I also get good sound in the headphones running Audirvana or JRiver on my desktop mac, with dozens of apps and processes open, although the sound is worse than Roon + HQPlayer + Fidelizer if I use Audirvana or JRiver to play music on the Naim.

The Fingerprint of Fidelizer I think is just an excuse to link your paid licence to a specific computer and system.

I don’t understand what you want to say. No excuses. I’m glad to hear Fidelizer helped you. Maybe I will try again the free version in the future, especially after buying a new computer. I guess even with free version should be differences. Then maybe I will buy Pro if I’m satisfied. Remember, perception is subjective, I first believe in what I hear myself. And I don’t say anything about the fingerprint of Fidelizer - I said about all the bloatware from Windows. Maybe should not use the word “fingerprint” to not create misunderstandings.

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I have bought Fidelizer on my NUC. Fidelizer makes a ‘Fingerprint’ of your computer the first time. That means it will only run on the NUC from now on. When I remove it from my NUC and move it to another computer it will simply say “This version of Fidelizer is not compiled for this computer”.

Also, maybe to clear things up: It is a misconception that standard Windows has bloatware. When you buy a Surface Device from Microsoft with Windows on it (or also a NUC from Intel) there is no bloatware at all.

Blame the computer manufacturers like DELL, HP etc. They install lots of extra software (bloatware) on their computers, probably because they have commercial deals with software makers or to push their own products :grinning: The first thing I always do when buying a DELL or HP (or other brands) is to de-install all the bloatware or reset Windows to factory settings.

Another thing: The NUC I have is configured to run music only (basically it is a dedicated streamer). I also optimized it (fanless housing, Fidelizer and other stuff) to do this as optimal as possible. For all other computer tasks I have laptops and a desktop computer.

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“Bloatware” it is a way of speaking. Let’s say I have a computer used for Firefox, VLC, Audirvana, MS Office. Period. Really period. So I will have much more resources, especially on my poor laptop if: uninstall most of the Windows features, no need/no care about them using DISM or other scripts from GitHub / uninstall all Windows Store apps except App Installer / disabling most of the Windows services / disabling Defender and Smart Screen. Of course you have to not go too deeply and understand/read about various things to not break important tasks. But the result is wonderful, at least for me. Very quiet and stable like a rock (no restart for days) and much better than stock Windows. It is only my opinion, I do not advice anyone to do this (can end with Windows reinstallation or Antoine help😊). And for powerfull computers, like most of you have, the difference is not so big like in my case.

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