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Article: Computer Audiophile Pocket Server C.A.P.S. v3 Zuma

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Right after posting my last comment, I wondered if adding intermediate cables between the SATA filter and the drive could create an avenue for noise to enter in to the system (although I presume the filter would take care of that). Just a thought.

Perhaps a bracket/cradle that mounts to the case which can then hold the hard drive upside down and subsequently allow the filter to connect directly to the drive may be better. I will have to search for that.

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You will have much higher jitter from optical media


Speakers: Egglestonworks Andra III front left/right and centre; Egglestonworks Rosa as surround; Rel Stentor II subwoofer. Synergistic Research Element Copper speaker cable. Cardas Clear Light interconnect. Amps: Krel FPB-200 and 2 x Krell KAV 150a. Theta Casablanca IV with multichannel Dirac Live. Oppo 103. Isotek GII Titan power conditioning. Acoustic treatments: 2 x RPG Modex Plates; RPG 100mm BAD panels; RPG Skylines.

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You will have much higher jitter from optical media

 

How so?

 

I only plan on using the optical for the OS load and any unforeseen needs.

I won't be using it to play any files.

 

I do wonder if there is a need to have a SATA filter on it.

Perhaps Chris can comment.

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I won't be using it to play any files.

 

ok


Speakers: Egglestonworks Andra III front left/right and centre; Egglestonworks Rosa as surround; Rel Stentor II subwoofer. Synergistic Research Element Copper speaker cable. Cardas Clear Light interconnect. Amps: Krel FPB-200 and 2 x Krell KAV 150a. Theta Casablanca IV with multichannel Dirac Live. Oppo 103. Isotek GII Titan power conditioning. Acoustic treatments: 2 x RPG Modex Plates; RPG 100mm BAD panels; RPG Skylines.

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I have a question for Chris relating to power supply. Do you have any concerns with the components (motherboard, USB, SATA, sound card) all sharing the same power supply (or taking their power from the motherboard)? I guess a super-pure approach would prefer separate power supply (or separate feeds from a linear power supply?). I'm looking to deploy a linear power supply in mine.


Speakers: Egglestonworks Andra III front left/right and centre; Egglestonworks Rosa as surround; Rel Stentor II subwoofer. Synergistic Research Element Copper speaker cable. Cardas Clear Light interconnect. Amps: Krel FPB-200 and 2 x Krell KAV 150a. Theta Casablanca IV with multichannel Dirac Live. Oppo 103. Isotek GII Titan power conditioning. Acoustic treatments: 2 x RPG Modex Plates; RPG 100mm BAD panels; RPG Skylines.

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I have a question for Chris relating to power supply. Do you have any concerns with the components (motherboard, USB, SATA, sound card) all sharing the same power supply (or taking their power from the motherboard)? I guess a super-pure approach would prefer separate power supply (or separate feeds from a linear power supply?). I'm looking to deploy a linear power supply in mine.

 

You may have already seen this, but Simple Design has a battery unit that can be used to separately power the USB card. It is quite a bit less expensive than the Red Wine product, although not as flexible.

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Those that have used the thermal paste etc..I've taken a look at this case's manual. How difficult is it to use that thermal paste?.... Is it that difficult? What is it? Glue or something?..How long does it take to set, and once it's done is it stuck down on the chip for good?

 

For cooling, I'm thinking of actually not using the paste at all, just direct contact with the pipes, and leaving the lid off the Zuma and seeing how that goes...

 

Comments?


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Chris,

 

In the section on the SSD selected there's a picture of the SoTM SATA power noise filter and it's mentioned in the component list but though there was a lot of information on why you think the SoTM USB filter is valuable I couldn't see anything in the verbiage about why you think the SATA noise filter adds something (or takes something away). Could you say something on this? What is it that you believe it does that is not accomplished by a) the USB power clean up and b) which the DAC itself cannot achieve by virtue of whatever strategy it employs to isolate itself from upstream failings?

 

 

Something worth looking at here:

 

17-sotm-soul-of-the-music.html


Speakers: Egglestonworks Andra III front left/right and centre; Egglestonworks Rosa as surround; Rel Stentor II subwoofer. Synergistic Research Element Copper speaker cable. Cardas Clear Light interconnect. Amps: Krel FPB-200 and 2 x Krell KAV 150a. Theta Casablanca IV with multichannel Dirac Live. Oppo 103. Isotek GII Titan power conditioning. Acoustic treatments: 2 x RPG Modex Plates; RPG 100mm BAD panels; RPG Skylines.

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You may have already seen this, but Simple Design has a battery unit that can be used to separately power the USB card. It is quite a bit less expensive than the Red Wine product, although not as flexible.

 

Thanks Stumps but battery power doesn't do it for me. I will be using a top quality linear power supply for mine.

 

PS: anyone know why when I am logged in I don't see the latest posts in this thread but when I am logged out I do? It's driving me nuts.


Speakers: Egglestonworks Andra III front left/right and centre; Egglestonworks Rosa as surround; Rel Stentor II subwoofer. Synergistic Research Element Copper speaker cable. Cardas Clear Light interconnect. Amps: Krel FPB-200 and 2 x Krell KAV 150a. Theta Casablanca IV with multichannel Dirac Live. Oppo 103. Isotek GII Titan power conditioning. Acoustic treatments: 2 x RPG Modex Plates; RPG 100mm BAD panels; RPG Skylines.

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In the post above I was trying to link directly to the image on this page which shows the drop in noise from using the filter

 

SOtM SATA Noise Filter


Speakers: Egglestonworks Andra III front left/right and centre; Egglestonworks Rosa as surround; Rel Stentor II subwoofer. Synergistic Research Element Copper speaker cable. Cardas Clear Light interconnect. Amps: Krel FPB-200 and 2 x Krell KAV 150a. Theta Casablanca IV with multichannel Dirac Live. Oppo 103. Isotek GII Titan power conditioning. Acoustic treatments: 2 x RPG Modex Plates; RPG 100mm BAD panels; RPG Skylines.

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Those that have used the thermal paste etc..I've taken a look at this case's manual. How difficult is it to use that thermal paste?.... Is it that difficult? What is it? Glue or something?..How long does it take to set, and once it's done is it stuck down on the chip for good?

 

For cooling, I'm thinking of actually not using the paste at all, just direct contact with the pipes, and leaving the lid off the Zuma and seeing how that goes...

 

Comments?

 

Contact surfaces are not perfect. The thermal paste fills in the gaps between surfaces to guarantee better heat transfer across the junctions. If this doesn't happen, the heat stays were it is at. Thermal paste has thermal properties that facilitate heat transfer instead of impeding it.

 

I would do some reading before trying and watch some instruction videos to pick up some pointers on application (e.g proper amount and spreading).

 

Thermal paste can be carefully removed with alcohol. You want to make sure not to get it on the MoBo, chip pins or solder traces because it could cause a short (depending on its composition, e.g. Arctic Silver). You also don't want to put it on too thick because it squish out and have the reverse affect.

 

I have not built out this specific case, but a similar heat pipe case (ATech Fabrication 2500 MiniClient) and many servers. If you don't use the proper thermal paste between the CPU, HeatSync and Pipes, your PC will go into thermal shutdown, BSOD and/or possibly fry or shorten the life of the CPU.

 

HTH


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Regarding using Zuma with a Playback Designs DAC:

 

a) Is the USB card compatible? Has anyone tested this card with a Playback Designs?

 

b) The USB-X in the Playback Designs uses the USB card power only to detect if the input is in use, and the USB-X card uses power from the PB Designs unit, not from the USB cable. So, if I use a high quality linear 12 supply for the Zuma, for this specific case of Playback Designs I understand any $20 9V wall wart would be fine for the external 9V input in the Sotm USB card, right? Or is the 9V external input used for the whole sotm USB card and not only the USB connector?

 

Thanks,

 

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Thermal paste can be carefully removed with alcohol. You want to make sure not to get it on the MoBo, chip pins or solder traces because it could cause a short (depending on its composition, e.g. Arctic Silver). You also don't want to put it on too thick because it squish out and have the reverse affect.

 

HTH

 

 

Alt. WD40 works really well to rid of hard baked on goop. Then use isopropyl alcohol in the swab form, to finely clean the metal to leave no traces of previous materials.


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It seems the new V3 designs have inspired a whole new generation of first time computer builders. I am hopefully building my take on the Zuma tomorrow. Would a step by step build log (including application of thermal paste etc) be useful? I would be willing to contribute this if Chris thinks this will be in the spirit of the forum.

 

Rich.

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Right after posting my last comment, I wondered if adding intermediate cables between the SATA filter and the drive could create an avenue for noise to enter in to the system (although I presume the filter would take care of that). Just a thought.

Perhaps a bracket/cradle that mounts to the case which can then hold the hard drive upside down and subsequently allow the filter to connect directly to the drive may be better. I will have to search for that.

 

 

System is now up and operational.

 

I have three additional notes:

 

1. The power input from the back of the enclosure does not quite reach the motherboard connector (square 4 wire connector - only 2 wires used), so you either have to find an extension cable or cut, splice, solder, shrink tube (this is the method i used - no big deal - took 10 minutes).

 

2. The optical drive's location prevents a straight SATA cable to be connected to the mobo connector (for the optical itself), so you have to either use a 90 degree SATA adapter or a SATA extender cable with a 90 degree mobo end.

 

3. The optical uses a "slim" type power/data combo cable, so you have to get one of those (Micro Center for me), or you can get one on line.

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Chris. Nice looking audio device. I was looking at using the same case. However, don't you think it's overpowered for what it needs to do and hence your costs are too high? The Bryston BDP-1, and I admit this won't drive a USB DAC but rather feeds S/PDIF or AES/EBU, can be had for circa $1,600 from the right dealer. The BDP-2 for $2,150. (These are not MSRP.) And with these you get Bryston engineering for the LPSU (amongst other things).

 

Hi JJJ - Good questions. CAPS v3 has four different models at different price points and varying levels of performance. The Bryston BDP-2 is a completely different animal. The Zuma server has more power than most servers because it was built to handle things like room correction and other items that may require more processing power. The other CAPS v3 servers are very low power.


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Chris, thanks for the reply. I've been working on a similar build although with a little less power. Same enclosure. A mini-ITX motherboard which can take on-board flash memory to store the OS (Intel DH61AG) and the Intel i3 3220T processor. The smaller form factor also provides a little more room in the enclosure which I need because I will fit a fully linear power supply module and toroidal transformer. As I have a Casablanca, I'm going to use the [email protected] XTE sound card (discarding the analogue section of the card). Any thoughts on this motherboard in this case?

 

(BTW I still find it weird that when I log in I don't see the latest posts on this thread. Happens with both Firefox and Safari.)


Speakers: Egglestonworks Andra III front left/right and centre; Egglestonworks Rosa as surround; Rel Stentor II subwoofer. Synergistic Research Element Copper speaker cable. Cardas Clear Light interconnect. Amps: Krel FPB-200 and 2 x Krell KAV 150a. Theta Casablanca IV with multichannel Dirac Live. Oppo 103. Isotek GII Titan power conditioning. Acoustic treatments: 2 x RPG Modex Plates; RPG 100mm BAD panels; RPG Skylines.

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I bought a Zuma last week and have recently discovered that JRiver will not play Pandora. Damn. Any suggestions on how to get this to work while using a Nexus 7 tablet as a remote? The Gizmo app is just fine for JRiver.

 

 

I tried a remote desktop for the Nexus called “Splashtop,” but that is way too clumsy. Matt at JRiver says in their forum: We've never been able to get Pandora to talk to us, and they don't provide an SDK” so perhaps someday.

 

 

Thanks people. And thanks for this wonderful site.

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In the context of small, fanless computers, I think that for JPlay you are looking minimum at an miniITX Ivy Bridge-capable MB such as the Asus P8Z77-I LGA Wi-Fi, a Core i5-3330 CPU (low power, 45W) and 8GB memory (full scale hibernate for JPlay).

 

I have been used a 45W ivy-bridge Xeon process (Xeon E3-1265L V2, which is exactly equilvalent to the 45W i7 processor Chris mentioned) on my CAPS like server without a single problem for more than a few months.

 

The pros of this cpu is that it has been/is widely available, and small cons is that it is slightly more expensive than the i7. If somebody wants a high performance cpu which can replace the i7 but with low TDP, I guess this is the best option for now as long as your motherboard support Xeon cpu (check individual mobo manufacture site, but most likely yes).

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My Zuma Experience

 

After building the Lagoon first, I finished building my Zuma today. During this build I encountered some problems:

 

The 12V DC cable of the picoPSU-150-XT (white/black) is too short, so one should do something about that before adding the picoPSU to the mobo.

 

When installing the CPU cooler assembly one has to ensure that the 4 spring loaded screws align correctly with the CPU cooler mounting nuts. I thought I did, but no. I had to remove the entire mobo with heat pipes attached to reinsert one mounting nut. These 4 nuts are attached to the underside of the mobo with self-adhesive tape. Next time I think I use some glue.

 

It was impossible for me to install software etc. from the Intel DVD that comes with the mobo. When running the install program I just got an empty window, so nothing to choose from. I solved this by selecting the download center. This way it is even possible to let Intel check what is needed and install it automatically. Video drivers and bios update one has to do by hand.

 

Windows 8 Pro is available in Europe for around 50 euro now. When installing Windows 8 Pro on an empty ssd all goes well. At the end activation appears to be impossible as the installer does not see a previous version of Windows. When you install Windows 8 Pro a second time, after formatting the partition where you installed Windows 8 Pro the first time, all goes well and Windows 8 Pro gets activated.

 

I hope that my little adventure is of any help for people considering to build the Zuma.

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I had the exact same problem with the 12V DC cable of the picoPSU-150-XT (white/black) -- 2 inches too short to reach the back wall of the case where the outlet has to be. We had to solder another few inches of wire. This could conceivably compromise the sound. I'm curious if this was the case when Chris C tried to build it. Maybe the company shortened the cable in December.


MG555

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