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I have been experimenting with more components:

Single sided memory - this also outperforms the regular memory in my setup(s). These sticks are 4GB each

8a5828c975ad9eb6fabf63ec3bcebca2.jpg

A different power supply - this one by PPA studios

be1cea17928662184c4c72b66b6d2663.jpg

And a USB Pcie card from Paul Pang of PPA. Paul makes a big deal about using an TXCO clock to re-clock the signal to the DAC.

5512a025bdf989021609e3d99632ae10.jpg

I have to say that the PPA usb card is pretty special. In my setup it outperformed the SOTM card through revealing more detail and imaging. Not night and day differences however

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

 

Tasso - What are your thoughts on the HD-Plex vs PPA PSU for the music server? 

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Following on from our escapades with Mac Mini, Windows laptop, Rasperry and Banana Pi, I was still looking for something better to match the output from my Accuphase DP-700 feeding the DC-37 DAC v

I’ve read this thread with much interest, and although I’m severely technically challenged when it comes to all computer and technology related matters, I embarked on a CA server project.  This wa

Another week, another innovation! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

After testing for high current ability and noise levels I wouldn't recommend this shunt reg for computer use.

Hi Mick , was there a problem with both current delivery and noise levels or just current delivery?

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Tasso - What are your thoughts on the HD-Plex vs PPA PSU for the music server?

In terms of SQ, they are remarkably similar in actual fact.. I would base any purchasing choice on power requirements , not any SQ difference between these 2. The PPA with a single 12V output and 120W on tap could be useful for a seriously power hungry application and the HD-plex has great flexibility with 19v, 12v, 9v, and 5v and a number of different adapters for different applications

Sound quality wise, these really deliver.

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I thought I read somewhere that 2009 Macmini could use up to110 watts of power - that's too high for the HDPlex

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I thought I read somewhere that 2009 Macmini could use up to110 watts of power - that's too high for the HDPlex

TeraDac apparently can do higher power setups - they have various models... My current PC idles at 60W, and depending on load (say DSD->PCM) it can consume about 100W... :( And @100W that is actually more than all my SS stereo equipment combined.. :D...

IIRC when booting up (POST), it will suck a lot of juice too... But at >100W, because of efficiency reasons, for me really linear regulated makes less sense (cents) compared to SMPS (> 80% efficiency typically).. 100W sounds like a bad number, but comparing to the prescott days that's just a trickle! rofl!

 

Ideally, a ideal CA machine will draw no more than 50W at full load (and much less for streaming)... 

 

Armed with this new theory, that's what my next CA build will try to do... e.g.

1/ CPU will no longer run at performance, it will be either clocked down, or for flexibility reasons, via cpufreq.

2/ Machine will be totally fanless (fans, like HDD draw a fair amount of juice too).

3/ No add on graphics card, just use the one on CPU.

4/ No > SVGA graphics (or 3D graphics), just normal text (so either safe mode windows, or Linux console) or VGA mode.

5/ and so on...

 

Following the footsteps of Tasso & Conch Blowa,  I'm going green..... :ph34r:.. Going passive I am going to miss all the bling fancy active CPU coolers (and the ritual of fitting all the bits and bobs to clamp 1kg worth of heat sink material onto the motherboard)...

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Great write-up Tasso and thanks for sharing.

 

Looking forward to hearing your server at my place, in my most optimal system and at leisure. Its the best way to gauge these things, I find ...

 

Cheers,

 

 

Steve.

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Great write-up Tasso and thanks for sharing.

 

Looking forward to hearing your server at my place, in my most optimal system and at leisure. Its the best way to gauge these things, I find ...

 

Cheers,

 

 

Steve.

And with a few big Duelands stuck on top for aesthetics.

Edited by THOMO
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And a USB Pcie card from Paul Pang of PPA. Paul makes a big deal about using an TXCO clock to re-clock the signal to the DAC.

 

Just in case this creates confusion.   This isn't relocking the "audio signal".    This is the clock which governs the USB bus....   and AFAIUI the endeavour is more about providing a separate power supply to such a fast/noisy signal - rather than providing a "more accurate" clock period.

 

The results will be heavily swayed by what is on the other end of the USB cable.

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@@Sir Rab of Everest I contacted HD Plex and they cannot supply a cord which has Isense, a gadget which is fitted into the power cable of our 2009 models and enables something or other (the technical term) to sense current and without which our computers will not start. Teradak supply a special cable with their Mac 2009 specific PSU's which I assume has the Isense wiring fitted.

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Just in case this creates confusion. This isn't relocking the "audio signal". This is the clock which governs the USB bus.... and AFAIUI the endeavour is more about providing a separate power supply to such a fast/noisy signal - rather than providing a "more accurate" clock period.

The results will be heavily swayed by what is on the other end of the USB cable.

the power supply is a separate issue to the Clock. I haven't come across a device on the other end of the USb cable that doesn't reap the benefits of reclocking although results do vary. PPA advocate changing the motherboard clock as well .

The problem I have found with CA is that there is often an assumption that ordinary pCs are a perfect source for digital audio and SQ depends on DAC implementation. There is no logic to that position. What others and I are doing is putting the theories to the test and the theory that that some interfaces are immune to jitter RFI/ EMI etc has not stacked up so far.

If there is a device that you think will not benefit from this please let us know which one (s) it is so we can run experiments with it

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the power supply is a separate issue to the Clock. I haven't come across a device on the other end of the USb cable that doesn't reap the benefits of reclocking although results do vary. PPA advocate changing the motherboard clock as well .

The problem I have found with CA is that there is often an assumption that ordinary pCs are a perfect source for digital audio and SQ depends on DAC implementation. There is no logic to that position. What others and I are doing is putting the theories to the test and the theory that that some interfaces are immune to jitter RFI/ EMI etc has not stacked up so far.

If there is a device that you think will not benefit from this please let us know which one (s) it is so we can run experiments with it

Experiments? Do you mean testing with instruments (digital test equipment is expensive and tricky) or just listening? 

I think my fifo dacs with isolators and double clocks do help to alleviate the need for a perfect source,  they sound great on fanless super duper optimised pcs and sound great on bog standard pcs, maybe better on the good pc, but I wouldn't swear on it, need to sit down and hone in on it, but I doubt I can be bothered. I agree with you that its the whole digital system, not just the source and dac, but jeez digital sounds so good these days, if you've got an up to date system its  easy to just enjoy.

I do have a fifo/isolator/doubleclock dac with a very simple 1543 dac I'd like to pit against Chahn's multi 1543 - i reckon that would be interesting. Different approaches that should be very different.

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Experiments? Do you mean testing with instruments (digital test equipment is expensive and tricky) or just listening?

I think my fifo dacs with isolators and double clocks do help to alleviate the need for a perfect source, they sound great on fanless super duper optimised pcs and sound great on bog standard pcs, maybe better on the good pc, but I wouldn't swear on it, need to sit down and hone in on it, but I doubt I can be bothered. I agree with you that its the whole digital system, not just the source and dac, but jeez digital sounds so good these days, if you've got an up to date system its easy to just enjoy.

I do have a fifo/isolator/doubleclock dac with a very simple 1543 dac I'd like to pit against Chahn's multi 1543 - i reckon that would be interesting. Different approaches that should be very different.

@@Chanh DAC uses a mountain of 1794 chips but the comparison should still be interesting. I think most decent. DACs do a good job of isolation but time and time again there seems to be improvements with lower noise reclocked designs. One variable is the software and I'm finding that not all DACs react the same.

But think about it, if you were to design a new audio component from the ground up, would you:

1. Contain it in a very noisy environment that will guarantee high levels of RFI/ EMI

2. Use Switch Mode Power supplies

3 . Blame all SQ issues relating to noise, EMI etc on the equipment it was connected to and not the actual cause?

It sounds crazy but that is effectively what is happening in some quarters with CA community. The problem with the " blame it on everything else" approach is that CA stagnates and does not develop anywhere near to the level of its potential. But that approach has allowed the specialist server makers to charge what they do for servers delivering better results than the average PC

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@@Chanh DAC uses a mountain of 1794 chips but the comparison should still be interesting. I think most decent. DACs do a good job of isolation but time and time again there seems to be improvements with lower noise reclocked designs. One variable is the software and I'm finding that not all DACs react the same.

But think about it, if you were to design a new audio component from the ground up, would you:

1. Contain it in a very noisy environment that will guarantee high levels of RFI/ EMI

2. Use Switch Mode Power supplies

3 . Blame all SQ issues relating to noise, EMI etc on the equipment it was connected to and not the actual cause?

It sounds crazy but that is effectively what is happening in some quarters with CA community. The problem with the " blame it on everything else" approach is that CA stagnates and does not develop anywhere near to the level of its potential. But that approach has allowed the specialist server makers to charge what they do for servers delivering better results than the average PC

 

i cant argue with any of that.  I still think theres a point of diminishing returns with computer psu, but theres no doubt my super duper pc is more "organic" sounding than a laptop.

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I have been experimenting with more components:

Single sided memory - this also outperforms the regular memory in my setup(s). These sticks are 4GB each

8a5828c975ad9eb6fabf63ec3bcebca2.jpg

A different power supply - this one by PPA studios

be1cea17928662184c4c72b66b6d2663.jpg

And a USB Pcie card from Paul Pang of PPA. Paul makes a big deal about using an TXCO clock to re-clock the signal to the DAC.

5512a025bdf989021609e3d99632ae10.jpg

I have to say that the PPA usb card is pretty special. In my setup it outperformed the SOTM card through revealing more detail and imaging. Not night and day differences however

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

The Tcxo clock is very picky to the components and power supply used ( i used a 12v car battery and steveM still does but he uses a ocxo which is miles ahead of any tcxo food for thought tasso been their done that ........................

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@@Sir Rab of Everest I contacted HD Plex and they cannot supply a cord which has Isense, a gadget which is fitted into the power cable of our 2009 models and enables something or other (the technical term) to sense current and without which our computers will not start. Teradak supply a special cable with their Mac 2009 specific PSU's which I assume has the Isense wiring fitted.

 

I'm using HD Plex with my Mac Mini 2014. Yes you need a special cable or in my case I'm using Uptone Audio MMK which gives better control to the mac mini fan.

http://uptoneaudio.com/products/mac-mini-dc-conversion-linear-fan-controller-kit-mmk

Edited by alubis
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Once you have duelunds anything else is forgotten ................... ;)

Or once one has duelunds anything else are lost! Especially the bank account and the wife! :D Edited by Chanh
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i cant argue with any of that. I still think theres a point of diminishing returns with computer psu, but theres no doubt my super duper pc is more "organic" sounding than a laptop.

I've had good success with replacing a cheap laptop brick on a purpose built audio PC with a Linear PSU - but have wondered if this success is due to the quality of the power supplied to the computer or the removal of noise being inject back into the other components (as a result of removing a laptop brick). I guess if it's the latter then similar results might be had from just using a filtered power board

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While we are debating without basics, why not have a gtg and allows Tasso to demonstrate his side of the argument?

Best to have first-hand experience and using our ears as tool. Pretty sure more than few of you here in W.A have heard his Server progression! It is time to speak up! :)

Edited by Chanh
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The Tcxo clock is very picky to the components and power supply used ( i used a 12v car battery and steveM still does but he uses a ocxo which is miles ahead of any tcxo food for thought tasso been their done that ........................

The PPA card contains its own battery for the clock - that's the big lump you can see. I also have SOTM cards as well, each had its merits.

PPA use an OCXO clock in their latest V4 USB card and also have used them for the motherboard clock.

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@@alubis The 2009 Mac Mini has an external 18.5V external brick power supply unlike the later ones which, I think (correct me if I am wrong) had an internal 12V power supply which had to be removed when fitting an external supply. In theory the 2009 is a simple "throw the brick away and plug in the new linear PSU" job ............. except for the infernal Isense wire ........ curse you, Jobs!!!!

Edited by Ancientflatulence
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i cant argue with any of that. I still think theres a point of diminishing returns with computer psu, but theres no doubt my super duper pc is more "organic" sounding than a laptop.

Agree on the diminishing returns but I think it is at some point after a linear PSU.

BTW, a software player that sounds good on my setup has proven not to be the case on others. @@Chanh and I were debating the merits of different software and I only understood his point of view when I listened to his system. I thought of your experience with Antipodes because the software being used was the same - Vortexbox.

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Agree on the diminishing returns but I think it is at some point after a linear PSU.

BTW, a software player that sounds good on my setup has proven not to be the case on others. @@Chanh and I were debating the merits of different software and I only understood his point of view when I listened to his system. I thought of your experience with Antipodes because the software being used was the same - Vortexbox.

Liked I always said, Tasso! You are embarking on a journey goes against the "laws of diminishing return". Strangely enough from a proficient/well regarded economic planner. :D

For the record, my setup performed poorly with Squeezelite/LMS combo. I experienced many iterations previously with mind puzzling to this less than satisfactory sq. I tried PiCoreplayer, Dalphile, and personally tailored the Squeezelite kernel on BBB too, all it seems a waste of time and did not pursuit any further. The sound seems bloated, lack of focus/precision, too diffuse, and importantly poor timing. With MPD, my setup sings very nicely. I like pin-sharp focus, great separation, noticeable depth and a 3D sound imaging overall. I conveyed the findings to Tasso while we were experiencing with his Server at his setup. Tasso found it hard to accept as Squeezelite performs at a satisfactory level under his setup. Well.., both of his Servers were here, only than he get the message and appreciated my version of the event! :D

Clearly, setup synergy is quiet applicable here! One man trash, the other man treasure. :)

After listening to his progression throughout, it has inspired me to built one. So here is my build, a dual setup in one box. The total cost so far is under $1k. A Banana Pro complete self efficiently operates with its own AP, and one with Atom N270 (a similar to Antiphodes). All will be powered by my mod linear PS with 4TB 3.5" HDD music library. This will be my ultimate server for any gtg! :)

99573629958a0951723541700737adb7.jpg

aa3ec6c45b85daf66ef326dde6753b7f.jpg

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Agree on the diminishing returns but I think it is at some point after a linear PSU.

BTW, a software player that sounds good on my setup has proven not to be the case on others. @@Chanh and I were debating the merits of different software and I only understood his point of view when I listened to his system. I thought of your experience with Antipodes because the software being used was the same - Vortexbox.

 

You could be right, I didnt like Vortexbox's clunkiness and stopped using it 4 years ago! 

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When people talk about a server, I always imagine a NAS where the music is stored, or a DLNA server which streams content into TV's, radios, and the likes. I'm guessing this is more a music dedicated HTPC build, or I have to get used to the jargon. I do have a dedicated server where I store and stream data, but it's hidden in the bowels of my office room.

 

I just received a 2010 Dell laptop, i5 with a few gigs RAM on it. I'll change the HDD into an SSD and install Xubuntu 14 with all the goodies, MPD, Kodi (XBMC), but I'll run it for the time being through the integrated audio outputs (please don't throw anything at me!). I'll upgrade later, say Xmas time to the Marantz HD-DAC using the USB output.

 

I'm always curious about the use of a linear PSU as opposed to the standard SMPS. I might be barking up the wrong tree here, but don't PC's have switched power supplies internally anyways? Somehow they must generate the 3.3V, 5V and 12V for distribution.

 

All in all, a dedicated PC in that case looks heaps better, I'll have to hide the laptop somewhere. Luckily there are ways to control it with the phones or remote keyboards.

 

Cheers,

 

Alberto

 

Some audiophiles have linear PS with individual outputs for powering MB, SSD, and USB card. That way you basically avoid most of the internal electrical noise issues.

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Additional note: SOtM has now come out with an external version of their USB card in a case. So you can use it with any computer (even one without a slot), even a MAC.

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Additional note: SOtM has now come out with an external version of their USB card in a case. So you can use it with any computer (even one without a slot), even a MAC.

Got a link? I'm not sure which one it is.. :P

Apple has thunderbolt which allows people to run their PCI-e cards externally... Wish there's a commercial solution available for the PC world...

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A Banana Pro complete self efficiently operates with its own AP,

 

Never heard of this until now. It's an 'evolution' of the Raspberry Pi concept? Interesting.

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Never heard of this until now. It's an 'evolution' of the Raspberry Pi concept? Interesting.

Banana Pi is a superior platform to Raspberry Pi for audio, R Pi has Lan and USB sharing the same bus which is a bit too much considering USB will be used for both input and output . Banana Pi has Sata input for HDD, more memory and faster processor

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On the subject of power supply, I have progressed with the tweak powersupply for the Banana Pro Server. So far thumb up, the sound just so lovely. I thought with choke input filter would slowdown the sound and compromises dynamics, that didn't happen but rather very engaging. Look forward to put it to real test against Tasso owned Paul Pang power supply and HD-Plex. ;)

a6d5c290dcc01f9f1ba270db66f7dce6.jpg

cf681f91766840409caee362b77ff60f.jpg

774fa67b1f97b96d7394ea0836e314db.jpg

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The PPA card contains its own battery for the clock - that's the big lump you can see. I also have SOTM cards as well, each had its merits.

PPA use an OCXO clock in their latest V4 USB card and also have used them for the motherboard clock.

That is great but ocxo is not ocxo i have tried many with zenelectro including different power supply's enjoy your journey i have .........................

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On the subject of power supply, I have progressed with the tweak powersupply for the Banana Pro Server. So far thumb up, the sound just so lovely. I thought with choke input filter would slowdown the sound and compromises dynamics, that didn't happen but rather very engaging. Look forward to put it to real test against Tasso owned Paul Pang power supply and HD-Plex. ;)

a6d5c290dcc01f9f1ba270db66f7dce6.jpg

cf681f91766840409caee362b77ff60f.jpg

774fa67b1f97b96d7394ea0836e314db.jpg

get rid of the fuse that is a choke  ;)

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After listening to his progression throughout, it has inspired me to built one. So here is my build, a dual setup in one box. The total cost so far is under $1k. A Banana Pro complete self efficiently operates with its own AP, and one with Atom N270 (a similar to Antiphodes). All will be powered by my mod linear PS with 4TB 3.5" HDD music library. This will be my ultimate server for any gtg! :)

 

Please forgive my ignorance, why the both Banana Pro AND the atom boards?

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