Should Sound Quality of Computer Audio be improved

Unable to respond to, "Mach2Music and Amarra: Huge Disappointment"- Thread. Other Members take free pop-shots!
Apparently some have more Freedom Of Speech than others! I
don't know how many times I have said it, I want Computer
Audio to succeed! It will only succeed if Computers are designed from the ground up to reproduce Music (Same minimum standard applied for Equipment of ALL Audio Formats)! This is common sense Audio Engineering Design. Bandaid Modifications cannot be substituted for absence in design to produce Music! Design it right to EARN the right to become a New Audio Format- same as all other Audio Formats! No Freebee's, No Cutting Corners! Lack of design is what's causing such varied results in S.Q. between
listeners of Computer Audio. I see about 50% negative
responses here on these Threads. It will continue to happen unless you fix it! Blaming me won't help! I am an
Engineer, and I can read results! 50/50 success/ failure
rate- you have an inherit Engineering Design Flaw for the
reproduction of Music via Computers! Shock! Suprise- since
they were never designed for Music! So when is someone finally going to properly design the Equipment/Computer
(From the ground up) for Computer Audio? Do we continue
to treat any real criticism as "HERESY" in the lack of
design in Computer Audio for Music? You tell me what I am
allowed to talk about, and we will both know!
If ubiquitous audio quality is ever enabled by Microsoft, it will happen due to prodding from high-end industry leaders. However, it must be disguised as money-making proposition to them. I have made such a proposal to a Microsoft audio group Program Manager. He says that they are too involved in the release of Win 8 right now, but it has potential.

I turns-out that they already have a feature in Win 8 that can potentially enable high quality networked audio streaming called "Play-to". This does not have the multicast features of Sonos or Squeezebox, but it is an open system based on standards. It can do simple 2-channel.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio

All Hifi systems suffer the issues you mention. This preamp with that power amp, that power amp with those speakers etc etc.

As with all decent systems you have to make some effort to get it to sing. This takes experience & knowledge. Just like setting up a TT, finding a decent phono stage & the correct loading for a cartridge.
I want to echo what Elizabeth said. There was a big buzz going around about how much JPlay improved computer audio. I tried it and was impressed. Before buying it, I removed my anti virus, I deleted any programs un necessary on my computer, I turned off all programs not used on startup, I increased my ram from 3gb to 6gb... When all that was done, the difference with or without JPlay is negligible My PC with DAC is now better than any CD player that I've had in my system.
Yea, computer as source can sound great. But they're not entirely plug and play, because they're just not designed that way. Operating systems are designed -- gasp -- to make computers work as computers and do all those things a computer might do. So, just having an OS running on a given machine is going to task the machine with doing orders of magnitude more stuff than is strictly required to read media off of a disk and send a digital bit stream to a DAC. And physically, they are of course designed with different goals than the bare minimum, as 99.99% of the consuming public is not interested in a single-purpose computer. This shouldn't be a mystery to anyone.

That said, there is of course much that can be done to unclutter and streamline any given computer set-up, and I have seen many guides as to how to achieve this. Of course, some are more aggressive than others. Personally, I'm not interested in running a stripped down and castrated OS, as I do in fact find it quite useful to use the computer for other stuff. (A bona fide HTPC, streams music, movies, Netflix, youtube, the works). I want that, and am not willing to give it up. Yet when I play music, I turn all of the extra whistles and bells off, run through a program that provides "hog" mode (which basically shuts all other OS functions out of the loop and monopolizes the necessity bits and pieces), and there you go.

So, all of the tools are readily available to accomplish the task at hand. But you definitely have to tweak things a bit. Personally, I'm not in the least bit interested in spending anything more for an expensive, low-production-run, bespoke, music-only computer transport. Just no interest. Do I think there might be a market for such a thing? Sure, there obviously is. And unless you're willing to invest a little "sweat equity" figuring out how to optimize an off-the-shelf machine, perhaps that's the way to go. But for me, and I understand for many, and old-school Mac Mini (before they stupifyingly removed the optical drive), running a pre-Lion OS, which is just a little overly-busy (Snow Leopard, for me), does the trick with aces.

Thus, I guess, my answer is yes: sound quality of computer audio can and should be improved. But it is entirely within your (and each of our) power to do just that. And if you'd rather pay someone else to do it for you, you can of course do that, too. But if the argument is that there is some form of inexcusable, systemic failure in the market for failing to have created and offered just the purpose-built machine any given one of us might idiosyncratically feel suits our needs -- then, well, if there really were such a market worth exploiting, I'm sure it would get done. And, to the extent it hasn't, there you go. No?