Music server solution

sbo6

Active Member
May 19, 2014
782
36
28
Round Rock, TX
#41
Thank you very much. Yes, Mark is tempting me on SGM since last year when I got my Aqua with him. But it is very expensive to buy without comparing to my system with UltraRendu. I would have to analyze if the investment is worth.
My digital setup is pretty much the same as yours. It would be much appreciated if you do the comparison and post results.
 
Nov 30, 2012
99
0
6
#42
I have a (stupid ?) question:* the trend (at least mine) is to*stream (tidal/quobuz) more and more and to use less and less my 2 Tb Music library.* Now, since few months, I only download the tracks that I want to also carry with me on my DAP for music on the Go.



So, does a very high end music server like a TOL Aurender, Innuos ZEnith or Auralic aries G2 still make sense for me (and for the future of Audio) ? may be ... since they also act as a Qobuz/tidal streaming end point ?

in other words , do their high end construction/PSU/...*bring any sonic advantage when streaming internet against a simpler solution (like the Auralic ARIES V1 that I have) or a streaming DAC ?
 
Feb 13, 2017
38
0
6
Forest of Dean UK
#43
I have a (stupid ?) question:* the trend (at least mine) is to*stream (tidal/quobuz) more and more and to use less and less my 2 Tb Music library.* Now, since few months, I only download the tracks that I want to also carry with me on my DAP for music on the Go.



So, does a very high end music server like a TOL Aurender, Innuos ZEnith or Auralic aries G2 still make sense for me (and for the future of Audio) ? may be ... since they also act as a Qobuz/tidal streaming end point ?

in other words , do their high end construction/PSU/...*bring any sonic advantage when streaming internet against a simpler solution (like the Auralic ARIES V1 that I have) or a streaming DAC ?
Fidata library all the way for me for best sound quality. For steaming I use the dedicated Lumin which is good but not as good. Streaming is good for checking out artists before buying downloads.
 
Jan 28, 2015
276
18
18
Wales, UK
#44
I have been camped out on the Audiophile Style (AS) site (latterly computer Audiophile) seeking server possibilities to use with the Lampi

To this end I borrowed an Aurilac G1 for a month or so and was initially impressed by its SQ when playing music from my usb ext hdd. In this configuration it sounded more transparent and the treble response was more extended compared to my fanless mini-ITX build. However one listener thought it sounded more digital than the itx but I liked the extra detail.

Unfortunately the G1 was very temperamental, it kept losing the connection to the library files and eventually refused to recognise the USB drive altogether. After some dealer input it transpired it would work better when networked via ethernet using my itx as a server sending files to the G1. The downside to this arrangement being a reduction in sound quality in comparison to the directly connected USB hard drive.

Although initially promising I decided not keep to the G1 and thought I would try out an innuos Zenith mk111 instead. A good number of posters on AS have been extolling the virtues of innuos servers . It was whilst trying to get hold of one, they do not seem that easy to come by, I started investigating “A novel way to massively improve the SQ of computer audio streaming”
on AS https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/...-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/#comments

This is a massive thread - however it does have an index now at the beginning which makes it easier to navigate the salient points.

Sometime last year (possibly earlier) the intel NUC began it’s ascendancy as an audio player. Members of the forum began swapping their innuos machines for NUCs and describing how they set up their respective server+NUC combos to outperform the innuos Zenith se. This had been, pretty much, the server of choice on AS until then.

Anyway, to cut a long story short I bought an i7 NUC mobo, put it into a fanless case and bridged my itx’s ethernet ports to act as a server to connect directly to the NUC. This direct connection is important as it has a huge bearing on the resulting SQ. It also means the NUC can share the itx’s internet connection. This used to entail a crossover cable but modern machines can be set up to do this with a standard ethernet cable. I use linux OS but it possible to do the same with windows and mac. This was one of the original premises as described in the novel thread.

Using Jriver MC on both machines with the external HD connected to the mini-itx server sending the files via Jriver directly to the NUC endpoint, produced a considerable improvement in SQ over the single PC approach even when using HQ player on the single PC. It also sounded better than the G1. Replacing the external usb with a NAS drive was another gain.

One of the many network/computer implementations common to all posters on a novel way is the use of high quality power supplies. Paul Hynes is one of the popular ones but quite difficult to obtain. The essential criteria being low noise and low impedance. I recently got hold of a DC3 PSU from Sean Jacobs for the NUC, this is very similar to the Innuos statement’s PSU scaled down to one rail as opposed to the statement’s multi rail. I also use a HD-plex 200w
to power the ITX mobo, ITX’s SSD, NAS and network switch.

Sound quality is in another league to the Auralic now with a pretty stunning uplift in dynamics, frequency extension top and bottom, and an increased sense of ease, realism and flow.

There are other mods such as optimised OS, clocks, audio switches (e.g sotm) etc to be explored, however just the above has taken things to a new level with the Lampi.

Intending to try out audio linux with ram boot next.

SYSTEM CONNECTION.jpg IMG_1407.jpg
 
Last edited:

MRJAZZ

[Industry Expert]
Jan 21, 2014
202
44
28
#45
I have been camped out on the Audiophile Style (AS) site (latterly computer Audiophile) seeking server possibilities to use with the Lampi

To this end I borrowed an Aurilac G1 for a month or so and was initially impressed by its SQ when playing music from my usb ext hdd. In this configuration it sounded more transparent and the treble response was more extended compared to my fanless mini-ITX build. However one listener thought it sounded more digital than the itx but I liked the extra detail.

Unfortunately the G1 was very temperamental, it kept losing the connection to the library files and eventually refused to recognise the USB drive altogether. After some dealer input it transpired it would work better when networked via ethernet using my itx as a server sending files to the G1. The downside to this arrangement being a reduction in sound quality in comparison to the directly connected USB hard drive.

Although initially promising I decided not keep to the G1 and thought I would try out an innuos Zenith mk111 instead. A good number of posters on AS have been extolling the virtues of innuos servers . It was whilst trying to get hold of one, they do not seem that easy to come by, I started investigating “A novel way to massively improve the SQ of computer audio streaming”
on AS https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/...-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/#comments

This is a massive thread - however it does have an index now at the beginning which makes it easier to navigate the salient points.

Sometime last year (possibly earlier) the intel NUC began it’s ascendancy as an audio player. Members of the forum began swapping their innuos machines for NUCs and describing how they set up their respective server+NUC combos to outperform the innuos Zenith se. This had been, pretty much, the server of choice on AS until then.

Anyway, to cut a long story short I bought an i7 NUC mobo, put it into a fanless case and bridged my itx’s ethernet ports to act as a server to connect directly to the NUC. This direct connection is important as it has a huge bearing on the resulting SQ. It also means the NUC can share the itx’s internet connection. This used to entail a crossover cable but modern machines can be set up to do this with a standard ethernet cable. I use linux OS but it possible to do the same with windows and mac. This was one of the original premises as described in the novel thread.

Using Jriver MC on both machines with the external HD connected to the mini-itx server sending the files via Jriver directly to the NUC endpoint, produced a considerable improvement in SQ over the single PC approach even when using HQ player on the single PC. It also sounded better than the G1. Replacing the external usb with a NAS drive was another gain.

One of the many network/computer implementations common to all posters on a novel way is the use of high quality power supplies. Paul Hynes is one of the popular ones but quite difficult to obtain. The essential criteria being low noise and low impedance. I recently got hold of a DC3 PSU from Sean Jacobs for the NUC, this is very similar to the Innuos statement’s PSU scaled down to one rail as opposed to the statement’s multi rail. I also use a HD-plex 200w
to power the ITX mobo, ITX’s SSD, NAS and network switch.

Sound quality is in another league to the Auralic now with a pretty stunning uplift in dynamics, frequency extension top and bottom, and an increased sense of ease, realism and flow.

There are other mods such as optimised OS, clocks, audio switches (e.g sotm) etc to be explored, however just the above has taken things to a new level with the Lampi.

Intending to try out audio linux with ram boot next.

View attachment 54807 View attachment 54806
Very interesting write up. What exactly is the function of the Mini ITX? Don’t they have something to do with a Gaming PC? Can’t you just by pass the ITX and run directly from your switch into the NUC? ( can’t the NUC be used as the server , from there you can access and control your music from Roon, JRIVER, etc.?) I am not very computer literate so I am sure there’s an obvious reason why it’s in your set up.
Thanks....
 
Last edited:
Jan 28, 2015
276
18
18
Wales, UK
#46
Very interesting write up. What exactly is the function of the Mini ITX? Don’t they have something to do with a Gaming PC? Can’t you just by pass the ITX and run directly from your switch into the NUC? ( can’t the NUC be used as the server , from there you can access and control your music from Roon, JRIVER, etc.?) I am not very computer literate so I am sure there’s an obvious reason why it’s in your set up.
Thanks....

The mini-ITX is just a small format mother board, a lot of people use them in a htpc. I decided to use mine as a server to supply the NUC end point after reading the thread on AS.

To answer your question, -why not directly from the switch to the NUC - perfectly valid question and it can be done easily.

Because you asked I tried it out today and it was pretty good but not as good as the server feeding the NUC. I have been playing some classical piano and it is more dynamic (with 2PCs) the piano sounds fuller, more solid, woody if you like, better harmonics, transparency and placement. This Chopin CD I ripped a while ago is unrecognisable in terms of quality compared to when I used to play it in my old SCAD machine. As a single PC the playback is more like the original machine with an external HD drive - a bit better I must admit.

I am not particularly computer literate and have not got the hang of all the software and networking ramifications yet.
A lot of the posters on AS use roon on a library server and send the files directly to the NUC renderer (end point). I am not familiar with roon but as I understand it the server does all the heavy lifting.

I don't have roon but Jriver lets me do something similar, however any upsampling is done by the NUC. The general consensus is this configuration is the reason for the uplift in quality, one of the many along with linear PSUs, reclocking just about anything, special switches etc, the permutations are endless.

Just my limited exploration has proved very worthwhile.
 
Likes: christoph
#47
This is a legit, not a smart-ass question. Other than convenience, what are the benefits of a server? Are there any that have better SQ than a high-end transport? I have a PS Audio DMP transport which has wonky software but sounds great. I know people on the PS Board that bought expense Aurender servers because they believed it would beat the transport in SQ. When it didn't they sold it.

Convenience is not as important to me as SQ so if I have to keep using those spinning silver discs I am OK with it.

Ian
 

MRJAZZ

[Industry Expert]
Jan 21, 2014
202
44
28
#48
The mini-ITX is just a small format mother board, a lot of people use them in a htpc. I decided to use mine as a server to supply the NUC end point after reading the thread on AS.

To answer your question, -why not directly from the switch to the NUC - perfectly valid question and it can be done easily.

Because you asked I tried it out today and it was pretty good but not as good as the server feeding the NUC. I have been playing some classical piano and it is more dynamic (with 2PCs) the piano sounds fuller, more solid, woody if you like, better harmonics, transparency and placement. This Chopin CD I ripped a while ago is unrecognisable in terms of quality compared to when I used to play it in my old SCAD machine. As a single PC the playback is more like the original machine with an external HD drive - a bit better I must admit.

I am not particularly computer literate and have not got the hang of all the software and networking ramifications yet.
A lot of the posters on AS use roon on a library server and send the files directly to the NUC renderer (end point). I am not familiar with roon but as I understand it the server does all the heavy lifting.

I don't have roon but Jriver lets me do something similar, however any upsampling is done by the NUC. The general consensus is this configuration is the reason for the uplift in quality, one of the many along with linear PSUs, reclocking just about anything, special switches etc, the permutations are endless.

Just my limited exploration has proved very worthwhile.
Do you mind sharing a picture of the ITX? Does it come in a case and have an Ethernet output that feeds the NUC.
Thanks.....
 
Jan 28, 2015
276
18
18
Wales, UK
#49
I purchased the ASUS Q87T mother board about 18 months ago - it is not particularly up to date but works well. I put it into a fanless case and installed an i3 intel processor + ram, all quite straight forward. I think the current boards will take the new fast but low wattage processors which are supposed to sound better again.
asus mobo.jpg



View attachment ITX top.jpg






ITX inside.jpg
 
Likes: christoph
Jan 28, 2015
276
18
18
Wales, UK
#50
This is a legit, not a smart-ass question. Other than convenience, what are the benefits of a server? Are there any that have better SQ than a high-end transport? I have a PS Audio DMP transport which has wonky software but sounds great. I know people on the PS Board that bought expense Aurender servers because they believed it would beat the transport in SQ. When it didn't they sold it.

Convenience is not as important to me as SQ so if I have to keep using those spinning silver discs I am OK with it.

Ian
Hi I get your point. It took me a while to find a solution which sounded better than my disc player. Try borrowing a server and compare to your transport, I am assuming you are using a DAC. If you dont like it and prefer using discs there is no FOMO!
My server/Lampi sounds massively better than the previous PBD mps5 SACD player. You can, of course, also play high rez files from a server I use up-sampling with jriver and often my CD rips sound as good or better than hi-res files.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,481
868
113
E. England
#51
Dave, that endless CA thread is a really fantastic resource, I'm gonna be perusing it an awful lot. Thanks for the heads up.

Atm, I can't see myself going down any DIY route. It'll likely be Zenith Mk3 (or 4, 5, 6 etc LOL), or SGC i5 w Sonore MicroRendu. Possibility of Uptone Audio EtherRegen w fibre optic output.

I was fascinated to read that the Zenith SE (that preceded the current Mk3) has the edge in many ways over the SoTM multi box chain, or if not the edge certainly on a par with.

As someone who is not taking to streaming at all willingly, and who looks at multiple boxes incl LPSs per box, the Zenith is the default choice. I haven't read anything online that diverges from the view that in terms of ease of use, box simplicity (ie less than two) and exemplary SQ, the Zenith ticks every box.
 

Brucemck2

Member Sponsor
May 10, 2010
254
4
18
Houston area
#52
This is a legit, not a smart-ass question. Other than convenience, what are the benefits of a server? Are there any that have better SQ than a high-end transport? I have a PS Audio DMP transport which has wonky software but sounds great. I know people on the PS Board that bought expense Aurender servers because they believed it would beat the transport in SQ. When it didn't they sold it.

Convenience is not as important to me as SQ so if I have to keep using those spinning silver discs I am OK with it.
I ditched silver disks a LONG time ago precisely because the sonics of my server based solution were superior - and in my case it was an 800 series Meridian spinner that got thrashed. The superior user interface is icing on the cake.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,427
1,368
113
London
#53
Hi I get your point. It took me a while to find a solution which sounded better than my disc player. Try borrowing a server and compare to your transport, I am assuming you are using a DAC. If you dont like it and prefer using discs there is no FOMO!
My server/Lampi sounds massively better than the previous PBD mps5 SACD player. You can, of course, also play high rez files from a server I use up-sampling with jriver and often my CD rips sound as good or better than hi-res files.
I think what ihmeyers is asking is not a compare of your server plus Lampi to another CD player, but your server vs a transport like CLO or esoteric k01 into your Lampi.
 
Jan 28, 2015
276
18
18
Wales, UK
#54
I think what ihmeyers is asking is not a compare of your server plus Lampi to another CD player, but your server vs a transport like CLO or esoteric k01 into your Lampi.
Yes I did think maybe he was asking that. If he was I couldn't give a definitive answer because I have not got a disc transport. Anyway I don't think it is the best implementation of the Lampi as mine is very much optimised for USB input.
I have a vague recollection of trying the digital out from my PBD mps5 - without a great deal of success.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,427
1,368
113
London
#56
Jazzhead is using his TAD CD player via AES into his golden gate
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,427
1,368
113
London
#58
Does he prefer discs to streaming?
Well he hasn't tried streaming but he is over the moon right now with the way the 242ed GG is sounding so he is not planning to change anything. He will try it at some point though.
 
Jan 28, 2015
276
18
18
Wales, UK
#59
Jazz must have a good synergy between his CD player and the Lampi, maybe he will try streaming some time. Building a server was a cost effective way to improve on my then disc player. As the AS novel thread makes obvious it is all about implementation, going from a dell laptop to mac book to a mac mini running linux all brought about small improvements. Building a dedicated server then moving on to a 2PC set up has been a game changer.
The DIY server approach is a bit like analogue has been for me, just substitute the countless permutations of turntables, arms, carts, phono stages etc for different mobos, cpus, power supplies, switches, clocks et al.
Using a one box solution is much simpler, however exploring the DIY possibilities has been fun if not a bit frustrating at times. The SQ possibilities are very good to say the least!
 
Last edited:

MRJAZZ

[Industry Expert]
Jan 21, 2014
202
44
28
#60
The mini-ITX is just a small format mother board, a lot of people use them in a htpc. I decided to use mine as a server to supply the NUC end point after reading the thread on AS.

To answer your question, -why not directly from the switch to the NUC - perfectly valid question and it can be done easily.

Because you asked I tried it out today and it was pretty good but not as good as the server feeding the NUC. I have been playing some classical piano and it is more dynamic (with 2PCs) the piano sounds fuller, more solid, woody if you like, better harmonics, transparency and placement. This Chopin CD I ripped a while ago is unrecognisable in terms of quality compared to when I used to play it in my old SCAD machine. As a single PC the playback is more like the original machine with an external HD drive - a bit better I must admit.

I am not particularly computer literate and have not got the hang of all the software and networking ramifications yet.
A lot of the posters on AS use roon on a library server and send the files directly to the NUC renderer (end point). I am not familiar with roon but as I understand it the server does all the heavy lifting.

I don't have roon but Jriver lets me do something similar, however any upsampling is done by the NUC. The general consensus is this configuration is the reason for the uplift in quality, one of the many along with linear PSUs, reclocking just about anything, special switches etc, the permutations are endless.

Just my limited exploration has proved very worthwhile.
Thanks for posting pics of the ITX pc. So if I understand it correctly, the source of improvement in your digital playback is having two PC,s in the chain. In your case a ITX receiving an Ethernet feed, than sending it to the Intel NUC. From the Nuc’s USB you are sending the digital feed to your DAC. Is it the inherent quality of the ITX that is the major source of improvement ( as the first PC in the chain, feeding a second PC) or could one use any PC?
For instance a MAC MINI, ( using a USB to Ethernet adapter to send the digital feed to the NUC). I presume the app that one would use ( Roon, JRIVER,etc.) would be on the second PC in the chain, in this case the INTEL Nuc.
Thanks.....
 
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