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Building the ideal(ish) Music Server

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Trying out a choke input PSU courtesy of @@Chanh was a revelation in terms of SQ improvements. This will have to be the way forward. 5b17bcc42733900672fa6c9c33ba50b3.jpg

Wow that looks safe! ;)

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Wow that looks safe! ;)

What's wrong with it?

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What's wrong with it?

I didn't say there was anything wrong with it....

Just looks a bit naked :)

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I didn't say there was anything wrong with it....

Just looks a bit naked :)

That's the sexy of DIY! :D Edited by Chanh

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Wow that looks safe! ;)

 

 The PSU is now at the final testing stage where any remaining issues will be addressed before it is transferred inside the server case.   Transformer will need to be housed separately once an appropriate trafo is settled upon.

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Awesome Tasso, good idea to have it all inside one box.

Just need to work on getting the dac in there too!

Nice and neat :thumb:

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There is no way I will be putting this inside another box

 

 

Accuphase_DC-37_front3-1.jpg

Edited by Tasso

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I have no idea what it does ............ but I want one .............. :) ...... it is lovely

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Thats understandable Tasso, you could always give it to me to look after! :lol:

I have a dac that will fit in your box...

 

post-112711-0-42904700-1435729582_thumb.

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Interesting thread. Hope to make some contributions soon. Will try some PPA ram based on your single rank comments, must say I'm intruiged!

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Here we go a question to the masses:

My understanding is that the best RAM for CA is:

  • Lowest possible latency (cl)
  • Single rank
  • Clock speed isn't such a big consideration (within reason)
I've found this RAM, which meets the above criteria, but is sold in single sticks:

https://www.ramcity.com.au/buy/mushkin-proline-4gb-pc3-8500-unbuffered-240-pin-di/991788?gclid=CNnBoPrfvcYCFZYIvAodlPoCEA

The question is, as it's sold as a single stick kit, could I buy two and use them together?

Another question is would I hear the benefit of this lower latency than say Paul Pang RAM, which is stable at 1600MHZ 9?

Thanks guys for any input.

Edit: just chatted to a guy at ram city, he told me that as long as the specs match then single sticks should always work in dual data mode, so I may dip my toes with them, awaiting feedback (coughs Tasso!). Ahem.

Edited by realysm42

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Here we go a question to the masses:

My understanding is that the best RAM for CA is:

  • Lowest possible latency (cl)
  • Single rank
  • Clock speed isn't such a big consideration (within reason)
I've found this RAM, which meets the above criteria, but is sold in single sticks:

https://www.ramcity.com.au/buy/mushkin-proline-4gb-pc3-8500-unbuffered-240-pin-di/991788?gclid=CNnBoPrfvcYCFZYIvAodlPoCEA

The question is, as it's sold as a single stick kit, could I buy two and use them together?

Another question is would I hear the benefit of this lower latency than say Paul Pang RAM, which is stable at 1600MHZ 9?

Thanks guys for any input.

Edit: just chatted to a guy at ram city, he told me that as long as the specs match then single sticks should always work in dual data mode, so I may dip my toes with them, awaiting feedback (coughs Tasso!). Ahem.

 

 

 

Guys in computer shops generally know SFA about what affects audio quality at the level we are talking about - if they did,  no one would be using SMPS and pretending it doesn't matter.   If you have 2 slots, populate both if you can with the same type.

 

I  have 3 different brands of single rank and single sided memory  as well as regular low latency  memory. In every case, the single rank gives more resolution but each is different to the other.  Tonality is also affected by the memory choice and I have found myself fine tuning the sound by swapping memory to suit. But my observations come after everything else has been sorted and with an ultra low noise floor, you pick up a lot more.

 

The thing is, you don't actually hear a noise floor  so there is no real way of knowing its bad in isolation. But you clearly hear the difference when it is lowered through the use of decent linear  PSU. At that stage, finer detail that you hadn't noticed before becomes immediately apparent as does a more organic timbre. At this stage, differences between 1R and 2R memory should become clearly apparent.

 

Above all else  i think we can overthink the possibilities and its best to stick to what has been proven to be the case, rather than yet another theory from an  armchair critic of what  to try.  To be clear,  IMO the major differences between a PC and and a decent  USB music server are a high quality linear PSU, SOTM card or equivalent, low RFI/EMI cpu and mother board and all the rest are fine tuning starting with memory choice.

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Hi Tasso,

 

I should have said; I'm currently using a Longdog 12 amp filtered psu and getting a Paul Hynes SR7 built to power my mobo, ssds and SOtM usb card separately, should be with me in September.

 

I've experienced precisely what you said about the noise floor, when I put the above psu, a linear psu into an ifi usb and an Isotek mains conditioner into the system all at once (not scientifically or incrementally lol). The difference was not subtle!

 

I hear you about the overthinking of possibilities too; I'm going to be content that whatever RAM I buy is going to be better than 'typical' dual rank RAM and leave it at that - I was just wondering if there was consensus on which was best (right first time is a motto that I like lol). 

 

Whereabouts in WA are you based? When I've got my rig properly sorted it would be cool to get some opinion on it - I would say bake off but I hear there's only recently been one on servers. I don't know if you've seen my other thread but I want to fit some Neutron star clocks to the system too, but that's going to take some more research (and linear PSUs lol) before I jump into that...

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I'm in Perth - I'll be keen to see your progress. I have a couple of servers configured at any given point in time with a few different playback software options too. The PSU is looming to be a bigger issue than I first thought. Trying a nicely made choke input PSU was revealing. On one DAC we tried here the effect was profound even over a very good linear PSU. Others not as pronounced but audible improvement nevertheless.

Software is worth experimenting with to pick the style you like the most in your setup. They all claim to be bit perfect but sound different. Bit perfect is the absolute minimum requirement - an issue no one had to think of with CD players l

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It won't let me quote you Tasso, copy and paste or post links, very unusual.

 

My plan is to get the hardware squared away as much as I possibly can and then play with software as the final polish. What do you prefer, Linux or windows server (have you tried Audiophile Optimiser in conjunction with the latter?). I use Jriver in conjunction with Dirac on 8.1 currently, works pretty well for me, but as you've mentioned earlier and I've experienced, you don't know what you don't know, until you've heard it, so I keep an open mind.

 

I have a nooby question for you if you don't mind; I've bought a SOtM pcie usb card yesterday, I need to buy one to enable it to fit in my Streacom FC5 case; I don't know which to buy though, I have an Asrock H87m-ITX mobo (so comes with one PCIE 3.0 connector and of course the SOtM card is smaller, looks like a PCIE x1, can you advise me on what I should get please?

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May I ask how RAM affects sound quality? If worried about errors in 1s and 0s... then ECC RAM is best isn't it?

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Judging by what I've seen online re my above question, I don't think I'm going to like the answer provided...

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May I ask how RAM affects sound quality? If worried about errors in 1s and 0s... then ECC RAM is best isn't it?

 

It's not about errors in the 1s and 0s.

 

It's about power supplies and electrical noise, and their effect on jitter, at the DA conversion stage.

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It won't let me quote you Tasso, copy and paste or post links, very unusual.

My plan is to get the hardware squared away as much as I possibly can and then play with software as the final polish. What do you prefer, Linux or windows server (have you tried Audiophile Optimiser in conjunction with the latter?). I use Jriver in conjunction with Dirac on 8.1 currently, works pretty well for me, but as you've mentioned earlier and I've experienced, you don't know what you don't know, until you've heard it, so I keep an open mind.

I have a nooby question for you if you don't mind; I've bought a SOtM pcie usb card yesterday, I need to buy one to enable it to fit in my Streacom FC5 case; I don't know which to buy though, I have an Asrock H87m-ITX mobo (so comes with one PCIE 3.0 connector and of course the SOtM card is smaller, looks like a PCIE x1, can you advise me on what I should get please?

I have tried Windows Server 2012 with Fidelizer and JRiver it's a great sound and I can see why it's popular. No doubt further tweaking with optimiser will improve things more. But personally I am chasing resolution and some Linux distributions see to deliver more low level detail and ultimate resolution,. But it really depends on your personal taste as well as the way the software interacts with your system.

Antipodes and a couple of other companies use Vortexbox software and I find that to be a good all round player. I quite like it's built in library and ripping functions too.

The SOTM card can still be used by the PCI-3 slot . My preference for Music server motherboards is mini-ITX boards with low power consumption ( for lower EMI). Boards with Intel Atom or Celeron ( with low TDP) perform very well indeed. For 64 bit applications like Audiophiile Linux, I use a Celeron 1900 quad core wit a TDP of 8.5 watts and the results are outstanding.

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Thanks Tasso - Linux is something I'll play with one day. I think the sound I like is as revealing and 'musical' as possible in balance.

 

Sorry for the hand holding request but could you show me the pcie ribbon riser I should buy to make it fit please? I can't see one that would fit the board (large pcie 3 slot to SOtM (small pcie 1), they all seem to be around the other way?!

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May I ask how RAM affects sound quality? If worried about errors in 1s and 0s... then ECC RAM is best isn't it?

ECC memory only works in motherboards / CPU's that have been designed to work with ECC. Very few do this and if you use ECC memory in your average board, no error correction will occur.

In terms of memory types, we know ( or think we do) that lower latency affects the outcome and where single rank lower latency ram is used, there is a corresponding audible effect,

Edited by Tasso

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Thanks Tasso - Linux is something I'll play with one day. I think the sound I like is as revealing and 'musical' as possible in balance.

Sorry for the hand holding request but could you show me the pcie ribbon riser I should buy to make it fit please? I can't see one that would fit the board (large pcie 3 slot to SOtM (small pcie 1), they all seem to be around the other way?!

It should work in the slot as is. It just won't occupy all the space.

To dip your toes into the world of Linux, try Daphile. It's very easy to install and run from a thumb drive . You just need a separate drive with music for it to access. Use any Squeezelite type app to operate it.

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It should work in the slot as is. It just won't occupy all the space.

To dip your toes into the world of Linux, try Daphile. It's very easy to install and run from a thumb drive . You just need a separate drive with music for it to access. Use any Squeezelite type app to operate it.

Hi Tasso,

Could you explain why you prefer Audiophie Linux to Daphile?

Just looking to learn.

Thanks.

Joel

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It should work in the slot as is. It just won't occupy all the space.

To dip your toes into the world of Linux, try Daphile. It's very easy to install and run from a thumb drive . You just need a separate drive with music for it to access. Use any Squeezelite type app to operate it.

 

Ah, that makes more sense, this is the first part of a computer I've seen where it doesn't have to fit perfectly in a slot to work, hence my confusion lol! Cheers Tasso.

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Hi Tasso,

Could you explain why you prefer Audiophie Linux to Daphile?

Just looking to learn.

Thanks.

Joel

In terms of audio player management, I think Daphile is the best software going but for my system and tastes the sound is a touch on the hard side, At a friend's place, I thought Daphile sounded better than the others so there are no hard and fast rules. Audiophile Linux has a typical Linux/ MPD sound which is quite neutral in its tonal balance .

Both Vortexbox and Daphiile use Squeezelite as the audio renderer and Logitech Media Server for file management . Vortexbox in my setup sounds more organic than Daphile, YMMV

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