Music server solution

#61
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.

Some comments:

You can do a LOT better than Jriver. Have your tried Amarra or Audirvana?

Adding a tx-USBUltra in the USB cable to your DAC will make a big difference, powered from a fast LPS like the SBooster.

I don't know what your Switch is, but the Switch from SOtM is excellent sounding, with internal clock.

Steve N.
 
Jan 28, 2015
276
18
18
Wales, UK
#62
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.....
It is the 2 PC set up that has made a big difference, yes the server is receiving the music files via ethernet from the NAS (see diagram from earlier post) and sending them to the NUC client this seems to be the magic ingredient. In my current configuration I am not certain which is the most important the ITX server or the NUC client. For sure the NUC seems to be the best endpoint available at the moment and is easy to implement - both PCs need to be fanless and have low TDP processors. I am no expert in this area and I am quoting from the AS novel thread, you can get much more detailed info from there.- good linear PS are also important. Jriver is installed on both machines.



quote...
Some comments:

You can do a LOT better than Jriver. Have your tried Amarra or Audirvana?

Adding a tx-USBUltra in the USB cable to your DAC will make a big difference, powered from a fast LPS like the SBooster.

I don't know what your Switch is, but the Switch from SOtM is excellent sounding, with internal clock.

Steve N.

thanks Steve, I have tried Audirvana (also amara some time ago). If I am not mistaken Audirvana is only Mac OS? I have been using linux as it has produced the best sound compared to windows and Mac.

I know Jriver is not everyone's choice but it has a very good server(library)/ client feature and has a very good GUI. In the 2pc arrangement it works extremely well and massively outperforms HQ player on the NUC streaming files from the ITX, although HQP should be embedded on the server for best results - beyond my expertise at the moment.

Yes I have seen a lot written about the SOtM switch, I don't know anyone using a tx-USBUltra with a Lampizator. I would like to try these things - the combined cost is £2500 so would want to try before buying. Have been unable to do this yet, dealers thin on the ground in the UK.

My next step is to run the NUC on Audio Linux from a USB stick - then try and run it from RAM.
 

MRJAZZ

[Industry Expert]
Jan 21, 2014
202
44
28
#63
It is the 2 PC set up that has made a big difference, yes the server is receiving the music files via ethernet from the NAS (see diagram from earlier post) and sending them to the NUC client this seems to be the magic ingredient. In my current configuration I am not certain which is the most important the ITX server or the NUC client. For sure the NUC seems to be the best endpoint available at the moment and is easy to implement - both PCs need to be fanless and have low TDP processors. I am no expert in this area and I am quoting from the AS novel thread, you can get much more detailed info from there.- good linear PS are also important. Jriver is installed on both machines.



quote...
Some comments:

You can do a LOT better than Jriver. Have your tried Amarra or Audirvana?

Adding a tx-USBUltra in the USB cable to your DAC will make a big difference, powered from a fast LPS like the SBooster.

I don't know what your Switch is, but the Switch from SOtM is excellent sounding, with internal clock.

Steve N.

thanks Steve, I have tried Audirvana (also amara some time ago). If I am not mistaken Audirvana is only Mac OS? I have been using linux as it has produced the best sound compared to windows and Mac.

I know Jriver is not everyone's choice but it has a very good server(library)/ client feature and has a very good GUI. In the 2pc arrangement it works extremely well and massively outperforms HQ player on the NUC streaming files from the ITX, although HQP should be embedded on the server for best results - beyond my expertise at the moment.

Yes I have seen a lot written about the SOtM switch, I don't know anyone using a tx-USBUltra with a Lampizator. I would like to try these things - the combined cost is £2500 so would want to try before buying. Have been unable to do this yet, dealers thin on the ground in the UK.

My next step is to run the NUC on Audio Linux from a USB stick - then try and run it from RAM.
If I decided to get a second Intel NUC, do you need to have a Roon core installed on both Nuc’s or just the first one in the chain?....which would than send out a Ethernet feed to the second Nuc, as an “ end point”.
Thanks
 

MRJAZZ

[Industry Expert]
Jan 21, 2014
202
44
28
#66
Thanks for the feedback.....just out of curiosity what are the reasons why having two PC’s in the chain would yield better results than the commonly used single unit? Increased isolation of noise?......
 

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