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Article: Computer Audiophile Pocket Server - C.A.P.S.


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Chris:<br />

Into what file format should redbook CDs be ripped for best sound with the CAPS system? <br />

I note you like JRiver for a ripping and organizing tool, but I have not been able to get JRiver to rip in anything other than .cda format (I change the encoding to .WMA, but the rip still shows up as .cda format.)<br />

A rather large oversight in the JRiver software is that it has about a hundred categories of data for listing and organizing (including such obscurities as "spouse") but fails to include a category for composer!<br />

As a serious classical listener, one of the problems I have found with much of the software available is that they don't seem to understand much about classical music. For instance, with one ripping package the metadata always comes up with the first name of the composer (eg, "Wolfgang Amadeus") so that you cannot sort and organize by the composer's last name (eg. "Mozart"). That makes its system virtually worthless.<br />

Thanks for your assistance.<br />

Do you know of any software that is particularly suited to classical collections?<br />

Dennis

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Hi Dennis - Here are a couple articles I wrote about ripping.<br />

<br />

By the way, I've never seen any program rip into cda files. usually these are only seen on the actual disc before ripping. I use dBpoweramp to rip and J River Media Center for playback.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Very extensive:<br />

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Computer-Audiophile-CD-Ripping-Strategy-and-Methodology<br />

<br />

Automated Ripping:<br />

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Ripping-CDs-Style-GD3-Review

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gary Koh of Genesis just emailed his updated Music Server "white paper" describing his system that will be used at RMAF this month. There is a lot of great info. here and I thought it would be of interest, especially for to PC-based Music Servers.<br />

<br />

Building the Absolute Fidelity® Music Server:<br />

http://www.genesisloudspeakers.com/newsletter/Newsletter_RMAF2010.pdf

www.vincentborrelli.com[br]Mac/Lynx AES16e, NAS, Pure Music, BADA, Pass amps, Genesis speakers, StarSound Sistrums, Synergistic PCs & I/Cs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the extensive review Chris, having done all the leg work. It was invaluable.<br />

<br />

Since your review, more atom processors have become available, and I think this is a blessing for us computer audiophiles, considering what it took a few years back, to build a silent, fanless system.<br />

<br />

I used all of your info, but opted for the newer Intel D510M0 motherboard with the newer dual core D510 processor. I opted for a cheaper but effective black case.<br />

<br />

My audio system is based on the Weiss DAC202, so I didn't need to get the Lynx audio card: just a good PCI firewire card.<br />

<br />

160 gig SSD HD, 4 gig RAM.<br />

<br />

Win7 pro 32bit.<br />

<br />

Getting such a machine built was a breeze: there are web stores which specialize in mini-ITX machines, who have access to all the specialized components, and can build any such machine to your specification, for not much more than the component costs and shipping.<br />

<br />

The one chore most people must attend to is the need to "strip down" the machine and default OS components, to minimize the DPCs (delayed procedure calls) which I found to be moderate to long, in the default OS settings. This degrades the quality of the audio, and produces audible "clicks", whenever a particularly long DPC interval occurs.<br />

<br />

You have to carefully remove all the unnecessary features (disable audio, serial port, parallel ports, etc in BIOS and in the OS. I also removed various background services carefully. You have to update all the drivers to the latest versions. Slowly, I was able to bring down the average DPC interval to a very low value (<200 usec). <br />

<br />

I access my music library from a NAS unit on a gigabit network. To my delight, I found that the network access does not produce any significant increase in DPC intervals.<br />

<br />

So now, I have a smoothly running DEAD SILENT mini PC, accessing HD music on a gigbit network, feeding the Weiss DAC202 via firewire. This drives a headphone amp(Headroom BUDA), output to Senheiser HD800 headphones. All in the confines of a little cluttered office.<br />

<br />

This, for now, is bliss .<br />

<br />

This bliss will become audiophile heaven, when my RudiStor RP010-B MkII headphone amp arrives from Italy !<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

NetGear ReadyNAS NAS unit, gigabit ethernet[br]Silent, Fanless PC (C.A.P.S. variant)[br]Weiss DAC202[br]Rudistor RP101B Headphone quad mono headphone amp[br]Sennheiser HD800 headphone in balanced mode[br]custom silver foil interconnects and silver foil headphone cables

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Hi Hojen,<br />

<br />

My audio system is based on a similar setup<br />

CAPS server w windows 7 32bit, JRiver 15.0.95 player, 64G SSD HD, Intel D945 motherboard, Weiss DAC202.<br />

I stored a quite large DB of about 1000-2000 CD's converted to FLAC on a Synology NAS (DS210J) linked w 100BT network.<br />

<br />

Looking at the network utilization i didn't identify any bottlenecks in the network, so i am not sure that 1G net will introduce any change to this setup.<br />

Running the JRiver benchmark i got the following results:<br />

Math 223<br />

Image 262<br />

DB- 277<br />

JRMark 15.0.95 : 254<br />

<br />

The system works but slow, any TAGS updated take ages and the remote is very slow.<br />

<br />

Can u pls share w us the JRMark for the D510 motherboard ?<br />

Are u aware of newer alternatives to look at ?<br />

<br />

Thx<br />

Eli

Ayre CD + CAPS Server > Weiss DAC202 > CJ CT5 > CJ Prem140 > AudioPhysics Virgo

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My D510 motherboard-based silent PC is fast and sweet! No performance issues whatsoever! I don't think the current D510 chip was available at the time Chris did his work.<br />

<br />

Sure, I'll get my benchmarks for you later. Off hand, I would guess that it must have something to do with the dual core nature of the latest atom processor. I also used 4gig or ram (yes, I know that a 32-bit OS can't use all of this).<br />

<br />

NetGear ReadyNAS NAS unit, gigabit ethernet[br]Silent, Fanless PC (C.A.P.S. variant)[br]Weiss DAC202[br]Rudistor RP101B Headphone quad mono headphone amp[br]Sennheiser HD800 headphone in balanced mode[br]custom silver foil interconnects and silver foil headphone cables

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Just got my new legendary Rudi stor RP101B from Italy.<br />

<br />

Wow! headphone listening with this is probably the closest you can come to live music, as of the current state of technology:<br />

<br />

-modified silent CAPS PC server<br />

-NAS server on gigabit ethernet<br />

-Weiss DAC202<br />

-Rudi stor RP101B QuadMono Headphone amp<br />

-Senheiser HD800 headphone, in Balanced mode<br />

-custom balanced silver foil headphone cables and interconnects<br />

<br />

NetGear ReadyNAS NAS unit, gigabit ethernet[br]Silent, Fanless PC (C.A.P.S. variant)[br]Weiss DAC202[br]Rudistor RP101B Headphone quad mono headphone amp[br]Sennheiser HD800 headphone in balanced mode[br]custom silver foil interconnects and silver foil headphone cables

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I agree with your comment about the gigabit net. However, once you have a well-tuned gigabit net installed (using jumbo frames, for optimal speed), there's NO GOING BACK to 100 mbit !!!<br />

<br />

Enormous files in the 100 of megabyte size (such as HD audio) whiz back and forth between machines in seconds!. <br />

<br />

It's not even expensive to implement. Gigabit switches dropped considerable in price, all support jumbo frames. Most new mobos are gigabit compatible. Most drivers will allow you to use jumbo frame mode. <br />

<br />

What's holding you back?

NetGear ReadyNAS NAS unit, gigabit ethernet[br]Silent, Fanless PC (C.A.P.S. variant)[br]Weiss DAC202[br]Rudistor RP101B Headphone quad mono headphone amp[br]Sennheiser HD800 headphone in balanced mode[br]custom silver foil interconnects and silver foil headphone cables

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Of course, I'm talking about music listening in the HEADFI domain! <br />

<br />

I don't want to insult all the owners of monster speaker units out there!<br />

<br />

Now, I'm in Headfi Heaven !!!

NetGear ReadyNAS NAS unit, gigabit ethernet[br]Silent, Fanless PC (C.A.P.S. variant)[br]Weiss DAC202[br]Rudistor RP101B Headphone quad mono headphone amp[br]Sennheiser HD800 headphone in balanced mode[br]custom silver foil interconnects and silver foil headphone cables

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Excuse my ignorance but I have just bought a W4S Dac2 with Async USB and am i correct in assuming that this bypasses the sound card therefore I dont need to add an expensive sound card or any card at all as there will be an onboard sound chip ?<br />

<br />

I am trying to put together a music server solely for the use of this DAC and am looking for any tips.<br />

<br />

thanks in advance

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Hi Chris - I've been reading for weeks in different forum threads and have found a lot of very usefull info, thank you for that.<br />

<br />

I have a W4S DAC2 and would like to build a CAPS server.<br />

I'm thinking of using the Asus AT5IONT-I Fanless Dual Core 1.8GHz Atom ION2 Mini-ITX Board in the M10 enclosure.<br />

<br />

Do you see any issues with this board?<br />

<br />

Thanks,<br />

DVL<br />

PS: Looking forward to the CAPS v2 article.

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hojen <br />

<br />

Your headphone system looks exceptional. <br />

<br />

I would really appreciate your feedback on the relative SQ merits of the Weiss DAC202 headphone out, compared to the Headroom Buda amp, compared to your new Rudistor RP101B headphone amp.<br />

<br />

Some owners of the DAC202 have said its headphone amp was great. Obviously your experience differs?<br />

<br />

Frank

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Frank: <br />

Keep in mind that I do my headphone listening exclusively in BALANCED mode, using XLR outputs. I have used my Seinheiser HD800's only briefly in Single-ended mode for the first month that I owned it. Since converting it to balanced mode, I have never looked back. The only way to drive my converted HD800, with the XLR plugs, is to use the XLR output of the DAC202, which was not meant to drive headphones. I don't necessarily disagree with the experience of others who say that it drives headphone well with its conventional single-ended headphone plug. However, you should check to see if those people drove high-impedance, demanding headphones such as the HD800.<br />

<br />

Prior to my current rig, I had<br />

the headroom BUDA/UDAC combo to drive my converted HD800's. I use custom made (DIY) silver foil interconnects and Headphone cables as per the Allen Wright (Vacuum State Electronics) design. Quite enjoyed this system, for ~2-3 years. Open, dynamic, accurate, musical.<br />

<br />

I then replaced the system with the Weiss DAC202, after reading Chris' review. True to his words, the DAC202 is simply outstanding as a DAC. More revealing, more subtle detail, especially for HD symphonic works; more clarity.<br />

<br />

I have now replaced the headroom UDAC with the Rudistor RP101B headphone amp. The theory of its design made sense to me: quad channel class A amp. In balanced mode, all four channels (+, inverted, R, L) are individually driven by their own power supply. The sound? Beautiful, definitely more life-like. Its raw power is obvious, but that's not where you appreciated the difference, compared to my headroom BUDA, which also had ample power. With the Rudistor, the overal auditory image is more lifelike, has more air, and is more "accurate". Loud, complex passages sounded more clear, accurate, remained better defined, and less fatiguing. Softer passages have more flesh on each individual performer, and more air between them.<br />

<br />

For me, the price difference between Rudistor RP101B/Weiss DAC202 vs headroom BUDA/UDAC is worth it, based on the performance difference, but that is an individual choice.

NetGear ReadyNAS NAS unit, gigabit ethernet[br]Silent, Fanless PC (C.A.P.S. variant)[br]Weiss DAC202[br]Rudistor RP101B Headphone quad mono headphone amp[br]Sennheiser HD800 headphone in balanced mode[br]custom silver foil interconnects and silver foil headphone cables

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

First of all hi everybody,<br />

<br />

I've been through the CA site a couple of times and after reading the CAPS thread I decide to embark in this project which for me is the 1st experience in building a PC.<br />

Many thanks to Chris who made this topic fully understandable even to the most inexperienced ones.<br />

And now a couple of questions:<br />

<br />

Motherboard: since the C.A.P.S. will be required to play also my small collection ov DVD (live performances of the musicians I like more - BTW any suggestion on how to rip them in the best way to preserve both audio and video quality?) I was thinking to upgrade to a motherboard with better graphic capacities like the ASUS AT3IONT-I DELUXE (ION, Atom N330, VGA, PCIe x16, DDR3 1066, SATA II, USB 2.0, GLAN, WiFi, HDMI, 8ch audio, 19V) using for the moment the nuforce uDAC I already own, to switch later to a separate audio card like the Xonar Essence, or an external asynchronous DAC.<br />

<br />

Case: I located this one from an Italian manufacturer supplying some small Hi-End local manufacturer and the DIY market (I'm Italian myself, but living in Czech Republic)<br />

http://www.modushop.biz/ecommerce/cat193_l2.php?n=1<br />

the link for more info seems to be broken in the English page but it works in the Italian one, anyway here it is:<br />

http://www.hifi2000.it/redirect.asp?id=10&type=dw<br />

I like how it looks and it seems to be well built. I asked them if a backpanel with te slot for the connector plate for the additional PCI card is available but I'm still waiting for the answer (typical ... :-)). In case of negative reply I'll easily cut it by myself should I decide to install an internal card.<br />

What do you think as a choice? Do you foresee any problem using this case with the motherboard I selected? <br />

<br />

Control of the C.A.P.S.: what do you think of controlling the server through a cheap 7" Android tablet dedicated to this task only. Do you think that one with the 1.6 Android version available on ebay for less than 100 bucks could do the job with J River MC SW? On the J River site I read that is possible to control it from Android devices but couldn't find more info. Does anybody have experience with similar solutions?<br />

<br />

Being the V 2. of the C.A.P.S. around the corner I'll wait before ordering the parts, but your suggestions, opinions and possible caveats will be in the meantime very welcome <br />

<br />

Thanks for the attention<br />

<br />

Max

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Chris,<br />

<br />

I've just ordered a Lynx AES16 card to take advantage of the AES input on my Bryston DAC since it seems to be widely recommended as the input of choice for audiophiles. I've noticed you suggest replacing the stock multi cable with one with perhaps only the AES XLR end for the DAC input (as I don't have any plans to add a clocking device). Do you recommend that for performance reasons? Is there some signal degradation introduced by the stock multi-cables?<br />

<br />

If so I'm in! Can you kindly let me know what to call the connectors I need on either end? I'm guessing its:<br />

Cable type: AES/EBU Mogami 2 channel<br />

25 pin DSUB to XLR straight.<br />

<br />

Does that sound right?<br />

<br />

When I try that on the Redco site it seems to always only allow me to choose 2 or more channels when selecting the AES cable type. Maybe I'll have to call them.<br />

<br />

Cheers<br />

dbdog

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