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!

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?
Timlub- so you Download Music Files without Anti-Virus
protection? Audioengr- are you still going to need bandaids
like Wasapi, Asio, and Kernel Streaming with Windows 8?
Drubin- Standard only means that you set a bar of Sound
Quality for a particular Format that must be met to qualify as that Format. Computer Audio Format Standard is all over the map from lower than CD MP3 to High Rez. 24/192
compressed, not compressed, lossless compressed...etc. One could accidentally trip into Computer Audio Standard with the bar so low, instead of designing up to it. Chadeffect- all Hi-Fi Systems do not suffer from a New Format so fluid that it makes it almost impossible to design for it.
I wouldn't exactly call Microsoft, and Apple a small niche market. More than likely an unmovable ball, and chain
around the neck strangling Computer Audio! Trying to design around that, can only severely handicap the design of any New Format, more or less try to establish it as the Format to replace all others! The end result of this will always have some listeners with success in Computer Audio, the other half failure. The reason is in lack of design,
lack of consistency, and lack of any Audio Standards set forth by Microsoft and Apple- and for that matter any other Computer Audio Manufacturer. You are making it up as you go along, which is a really bad way to design any New Format. Who are we kidding, this isn't designing anything-
this is playing 52 card pick-up! I have been an Engineer
for 20 years, and I recognize when something has been designed properly. You will have Microsoft and Apple drag
down Computer Audio. Their 50% Failure Rate in Sound Quality due to lack of consistent design can only continue to discourage more listeners. Look at Alessandro1, how do you design around his discouragement? It isn't simply an
option to deal with this, it is absolutely critical to the continued success of Computer Audio! Cutting the Computer Manufacturer's more slack in S.Q. can only doom any hope
for success. It is not weird to look at how other Formats became successful- and this is NOT how they did it! Neither was their success a conspiracy theory either. Edorr- you evoke images in your own mind, not me. I have
no desire to live there rent free- this is my notice that I am vacating the premises! You have a nice day. Are we
done throwing rocks? Do we now plan on avoiding Alessandro2...3...4...5...etc? Not gonna happen by cutting Computer Manufacturer's slack in S.Q.- not gonna happen
without proper design, and certainly not gonna happen in a vacuum (Contrary to popular opinion!). I would like to see someone actually work to establish Computer Audio as a new Audio Format. I dare Computer Audio to live up to its
potential, and I will be downloading Music Files till the cows come home. You can keep the Rocks as Pets!
Mezmo- based on everything that you just said. You expect
"THIS" to replace all other Audio Formats that "ARE"
designed specifically for Music? Oh yeah, and pay as much
for a compromised Audio Format as other specifically
designed Audio Formats. It sounds like the Computer
Manufacturer's have you exactly where they want you: begging for lower resolution, and paying more for it! What
is next, lower than lower than CD MP3 at a higher cost?
Do you really hate getting your money's worth in S.Q. in an Audio Format, or maybe you just hate having money?