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Best PC UPNP software streaming setup?


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I've been a staunch JRiver user for some time and when I was using asynch USB it beat Foobar2000 handily for detail and ease of use. In the last year I've switched over to DLNA as I can get more mid range tone color solidness and clarity in vocal expression with the tube gear I have but still sticking with Jriver. However last night I finally got Foobar2000 to work for streaming and that was a bit of a surprise...Jriver had better detail in the high frequencies but a number of albums where I was shaking my head over the bad recording job now sound enjoyable and natural in the mid range with Foobar2000, irritants gone including some base doubling I'd failed to recognize with Jriver. So while I have setup issues with Foobar2000 I'm going to be doing my best to make it work and improve it because music naturalness matters more to me than a pretty interface and anytime a component makes me dislike music its not long for my system.

 

So my question is this; in the narrow arena of UPNP, what do experienced users find to be the best combination of PC applications that allow you to view your media library and stream local or NAS media to a digital media renderer for audiophile grade playback?

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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I'm actually surprised anyone would be using JRiver for UPnP/DLNA rendering purposes on Windows, with its relatively large footprint. This is especially so if the music is stored on a NAS and JRiver is also being used as a the UPnP/DLNA server, which would certainly increase the amount of network resources required, let alone the computer's (by using its media library processing along side its rendering/playback duties). The issue would be further compounded by using JRiver's lovely but resource hungry GUI for playback control either directly on the computer itself or indirectly via a 'true' remote control app on a remote device, rather than using a UPnP/DLNA control point.

 

The idea is to try to place the ease of use side (and therefore processing) well away from the computer, making full use of any external devices to do as much of this as they can and just get the computer to concentrate on quality rendering/playback. To this end use a simple, but decent quality UPnP/DLNA renderer software, eg, Foobar2000 with the foo_UPnP plugin;

a simple UPnP/DLNA server that takes care of a decent quality music library on the NAS eg MinimServer, available here:

MinimServer downloads

and a simple but decent quality gapless supporting (and with a pretty GUI) UPnP/DLNA control point, such as the BubbleUPnP app for Android or the Lumin app for the iPad.

 

Note, the Lumin app is intended for use with UPnP renderers with OpenHome Media (ohMedia) / Linn extensions, so will require the use of the BubbleUPnP server (not to be confused with the BubbleUPnP Android app) running on the computer to get the Fb2k renderer to emulate one, available here:

http://www.bubblesoftapps.com/bubbleupnpserver/

You'll also get the benefits of using an ohMedia renderer, such as local playlist caching, so no need to keep the control point running during playback. The BubbleUPnP app can be used as an ohMedia control point as well as a standard UPnP/DLNA one.

 

Incidentally, there's a native ohMedia renderer (ie doesn't require the BubbleUPnP server) available for Windows, that you could also try, dbPoweramp Renaissance, available here:

http://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthread.php?17415-dBpoweramp-Renaissance

 

John

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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Just to add to Cebolla's analysis I'd recommend the Audionet controller app for iDevices. It does gapless and works with all the renderers I've tried.

ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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Indeed. I didn't mention the Audionet app since I found the free version a bit klunky to use. Presumably the paid version is probably ok, but I'm too much of a cheapskate to test it out, especially as I had to borrow an iDevice in first place (don't own any). Odd that, asfaik, there's only one true gapless supporting standard UPnP/DLNA app for Android, BubbleUPnP and only one for iOS, Audionet. There was one other app, for Android tablets only, Mediasteersman, but unfortunately development on it has ceased.

 

Certainly was really impressed by the free Lumin app, shame it's OpenHome UPnP (& iPad) only. It's probably the only chance I'll get using something by Lumin, seeing how much the actual renderer costs!

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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I don't mind a reason to buy an iPad :<) Since last night I've gotten Minim server and an Oppo suggested server called oShare working. Still trying to figure out on server 2012 how I can get Asset installed since the available installs aren't for server 2012. I am hearing server differences even with just a casual audition

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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Looks like I was making Asset install harder than it was... regular Win7/8 install works for server 2012 as long as you choose install as a service. So far it and Foobar2000 are pretty comparable for fidelity, Minimserver and oServe work well but lose out because of sibilants and bleached tonal color in my setup. I think using Foobar2000 on PC as the control point might be marginally better for fidelity than using the Oppo 103 as control point but its quirky UPNP track start/stop behavior makes for an unacceptable user GUI performance.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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I think I've worked out that the server 2012 box you're using to run the UPnP/DLNA servers on, is the same one you're using for Fb2k + foo_UPnP renderer. Like I mentioned earlier, have a go at running the UPnP/DLNA server (and store the music files) on a different machine to the one running the renderer. That way I'd be most surprised if the actual UPnP/DLNA server used has any influence on sound quality and the choice of server should be based instead on ease of use of its music library.

 

Likewise try a UPnP/DLNA control point on another device, a handheld one if possible, such as the BubbleUPNP app on an Android phone or tablet if you have one.

 

 

 

I think using Foobar2000 on PC as the control point might be marginally better for fidelity than using the Oppo 103 as control point but its quirky UPNP track start/stop behavior makes for an unacceptable user GUI performance.
Presumably, you mean 'renderer' or 'player' rather than 'control point' here. What was the problem with the foo_UPnP renderer's track start/stop behaviour? Did it depend on which UPnP/DLNA server you tried?

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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Just to add to Cebolla's analysis I'd recommend the Audionet controller app for iDevices. It does gapless and works with all the renderers I've tried.

 

How does it do gapless with MinimServer if the renderer such as a n OPPO 103 doesn't support gapless?

 

Also does MinimServer support DSD streaming as JRiver DLNA? I have not been able to get it to do so

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Gapless support under standard UPnP/DLNA requires both the renderer and the controller (control point) to support gapless and has nothing to do with the server, eg MinimServer. Presumably DavidL was talking about gapless supporting renderers he'd used before, so not the Oppo 103. The Audionet control point app he mentioned of course also supports gapless.

 

The latest version of MinimServer is supposed to support both .dff and .dsf DSD file formats, so presumably a DSD file supporting renderer can stream those files from it. It supposed to also be able to transcode those file formats to DoP containing .wav file. Not sure if that's what you mean by 'support DSD streaming as JRiver DLNA'. Remember MinimServer is a UPnP/DLNA server only, not a UPnP/DLNA server, renderer & control point combo like JRiver with DLNA enabled can be.

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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Gapless support under standard UPnP/DLNA requires both the renderer and the controller (control point) to support gapless and has nothing to do with the server, eg MinimServer. Presumably DavidL was talking about gapless supporting renderers he'd used before, so not the Oppo 103. The Audionet control point app he mentioned of course also supports gapless.

 

The latest version of MinimServer is supposed to support both .dff and .dsf DSD file formats, so presumably a DSD file supporting renderer can stream those files from it. It supposed to also be able to transcode those file formats to DoP containing .wav file. Not sure if that's what you mean by 'support DSD streaming as JRiver DLNA'. Remember MinimServer is a UPnP/DLNA server only, not a UPnP/DLNA server, renderer & control point combo like JRiver with DLNA enabled can be.

 

I understand

 

I will try again but I tried Audionet app selected DSD files to play on OPPO but couldn't get it to play. I am trying the newest version of MinimServer

 

Understand about the gapless. So IF the OPPO were capable which it is not which sucks.

 

It doesn't look like the have much desire to make it gapless. Their answer is use a USB stick with a cue sheet and WAV file.

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In all cases tried I'm using the Oppo 103 as renderer and the media files reside on the optimized Server 2012 PC so that I have a common platform for comparing media server software. It is limiting to use the Oppo as control point, a DOS style GUI. When trying to use the PC as server/ control point with Foobar 2000 app, its start and stop time after selection varied from "now" to 30 seconds later vs immediate using the Oppo 103.

 

Wondering at this point if Asset can be run from a lowly Buffalo NAS or has to be part of a proprietary NAS bundle?

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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Well that's certainly a first. Never heard of anyone else comparing UPnP/DLNA media servers for sound quality, no wonder I was confused as to what you were doing, sorry about that. I'd assumed you were using the server pc to play music on, with Fb2k + foo_UPnP as a UPnP/DLNA renderer (and presumably some attached DAC), since you were talking about Fb2k's sound quality. I didn't realise you were referring to one of foo_UPnP's other features, its UPnP/DLNA Server!

 

In what way have you optimised the Windows server pc's platform, so that you have a level playing field each time you run a UPnP/DLNA server on it for comparison purposes, if you don't mind me asking? Is the server box located anywhere near the Oppo 103 and the rest of the music system?

 

How certain are you that the Oppo controlling software is using the Oppo as a true UPnP/DLNA control point? It could be using some proprietary communication mechanism with the Oppo to get it to access the UPnP/DLNA server's music files with some previously cached information as to their location, for example, so not using any UPnP/DLNA protocols at all. This could explain the speed difference between the Oppo & foo_UPnP controllers and also indicate that there's possibly some underlying problem with using the foo_UPnP UPnP/DLNA control point to control the Oppo. Certainly such a wide variation of reaction times, to stop and start functions and that 30s maximum is very unusual. A maximum time of less than 1s is more the norm. What sort of times are you getting with the JRiver UPnP/DLNA control point using the same UPnP/DLNA server to the Oppo?

 

Unfortunately, Asset UPnP is only available for Windows & lately Linux computers. There apparently is a way of running it on some QNAP NASs that use Linux, but it's not a standard install. It's very doubtful that you'll be able to install it on any other NAS, in its current version.

 

Just in case you're interested, MinimServer can be installed on QNAP, Synology and Netgear ReadyNAS NASs as well as Windows, Mac and Linux computers. More interestingly, perhaps (for the minimalists amongst us), it can even be installed on some low powered networkable small computers, such as a Raspberry Pi or a SheevaPlug.

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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I run a mimimal Server 2012 install with GUI on a quiet AMDX4 machine, using SSD for OS, 2.5" 1TB HD for media, Ankar battery power for both HD's. The server is 5 feet away from the Oppo on Gigabit Ethernet LAN (the Oppo is FE only). Battery power

for OS HD makes a critical difference in reducing digital irritants, for the media drive its more like a cable upgrade.

 

I'd agree something is strange using Foobar2000 as the control point because JRiver works just fine.

 

Given the better musical reproduction from Asset and Foobar2000 as media server SW I'll be sticking with them. I'm headed down the path now of building the best optimized NAS HW/SW PC solution I can build although I may try playing with an off the shelf NAS to find out if it can be used/improved with a battery power supply.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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Don't envy what you're doing as it's so tricky to keep track of any side effects of other things that are going on in an operating system like Windows. Have you considered using a minimum Linux install, if the AMDX4 box is essentially only going to be used as a UPnP/DLNA server? You can run Asset UPnP on Linux after all, though it might be quite a bit harder to get Windows only Fb2k + foo_UPnP working under something like Wine.

 

One thing to try, if you haven't already, is to move the server machine well away from the rest of the system (eg in another room) and seeing if that makes a difference. Also, have a go with a control point on a device other than the pc running the UPnP/DLNA server.

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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Thanks for pointing out the Bubble UPNP android controller, tried that last night and it was a pleasant change to have artwork using asset. For serious listening I may not be able to use it though because background details are lost compared to using the Oppo as controller. As an example in the high rez Jurassic Park, track 2 theme from Jurassic Park, halfway through there is a a background counterpoint of bell and flute. Using Bubble Android controller with the different media server apps, this got lost or muddied whereas controlling through the Oppo from Foobar2000 server it was clear and articulated. Bass also was superior using the Oppo as controller, sweeping lines with weight and authority evoking the movement of dinosaurs in the film whereas Bubble UPnP controlled came across as schmalz, no bass weight.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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  • 3 months later...

Continuing to experiment, (1) issue with Foobar2000 isolated to when I have both Wifi and Ethernet hardwire connections, doesn't happen if my network connectivity is not dual (2) latest media server software favorite is Twonky, beats out Foobar2000 and Asset for tonal correctness and high frequency air.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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  • 7 months later...
Continuing to experiment, (1) issue with Foobar2000 isolated to when I have both Wifi and Ethernet hardwire connections, doesn't happen if my network connectivity is not dual (2) latest media server software favorite is Twonky, beats out Foobar2000 and Asset for tonal correctness and high frequency air.

 

Hi davide256,

 

Just stumbled across this thread. I had an illogical and undesired difference in DLNA server source used on fatiguing/noise floor. Did you ever figure out what was happening or found your optimal setup?

 

Cheers

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+1 Davide256,

Minim on a nas is better than on a pc (because I use a SMS100 down from the NAS)

but I would say even better because you can use it to listen to radios, just simply knowning the URLs and building a simple "radio playlist file" (I can explain if you need so)

thus, your own files + radios ... perfect solution to me because straight foward & efficient

Hifi & optical LAN setup => here

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Hi tgb,

 

I don't really follow your logic about MinimServer being 'even better' on a NAS than on a pc 'because you can use it to listen to radio', since you can use MinimServer installed on the pc to provide internet radio streams too!

 

In fact MinimServer is exactly the same software, regrdless of the hardware you run it on. I believe it even uses the exact same codebase for all its different hardware platforms, if not the same complied code, as it runs on the Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

 

John

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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I ended up abandoning a PC setup as too "fiddly" to keep right vs "set and forget" equal audio performance out of the box from Synology NAS. What I found interesting was on PC, Minimserver wasn't musically interesting but on Synology NAS its very good.
Very interesting that even with the same software you found audio differences depending on the box its run on. Doubly so, as the UPnP media server software, in this case MinimServer, should have no influence on the audio signal produced by the UPnP renderer, as it's only supplying the music file to the renderer, unless it's been deliberately set to alter the file being supplied, ie by use of transcoding.

 

The fact that you are have heard differences when using the exact same UPnP media server very much points the finger of suspicion on the different hardware you are running it on. Have you tried to mitigate possible influences of noise from the PC, eg taking advantage of it being networked and moving it as far away from the UPnP renderer and the rest of the audio chain as possible (such as in another room), isolating the power supply, etc?

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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hi

i really don't know why it sounds better thru the nas than the pc.

i can think it is thanks to Linux vs Windows. It should be as well the fact that the nas runs with far less threads running during streaming than a pc ; when I listen to the radio thru my DS212j the nas swiches to hibernate mode, although it is streaming radio ! It gives an idea how little ressources is required by the nas to do this job ; to do the same job my brand new but optimized pc is fully operational thus a lot of threads useless for streaming are working, then we can expect these useless threads alter the streaming process.

I'm not an expect, thus let's wait for a guy who knows more than me about it to explain this.

in the meantime, just try it...

Hifi & optical LAN setup => here

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From my experimentation I have run into a similar unexpected and undesired outcome.

 

NAS source with MinimServer was worse than MinimServer on fully tweaked Mac. And MinimServer provided less fatigue than JRiver in DLNA mode when run on the fully tweaked Mac. Wifi with NAS was the worst.

 

Strange? Absolutely. Irritating and undesired? For sure!

 

I really think that the cause of audible differences is due to what John Swenson has been mentioning, where the streamer receiving chips have to work harder in certain setups, because they have to keep requesting packets to be resent, thus causing more electrical noise at the receiving end. And each streamer has a different implementation of chips, cache, DSP etc., along with the huge variety of network setup possibilities that allow for such a wide variety of experiences.

 

Cheers

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  • 1 year later...

So same question as the OP except for Mac instead of PC...

 

I've got all my music files on a sparkly new Synology DS415+ connected with Blue Jean Cat6A to Asus router and Mac Mini. Been using Mac/A+ but planning my next move to eliminate Mac/A+ with either a Sonore microRendu when available or a Linux box solution.

 

So I would like to try out some of the available control point software (e.g. Lumin on my ipad and BubbleUpnP on my Android) so that my renderer hardware decision leads me to a user GUI experience that I will be happy with. Can I setup both Minimserver and BubbleUpnP Server on the Synology now and test the controls apps before making a hardware change with the MacMini serving as the renderer(using Mac's Ethernet input and USB output)? What software/setup would I need to do on the Mac to allow it pass the files from the Synology to my DAC?

Please be gently as I've got no experience with server setup, UPnP, DLNA etc, and am learning on the fly here. This thread seemed closest to what I'm asking. Thanks!

Digital Source: Synology DS415+ NAS  and Small Green Computer SonicTransporter i5 Running Roon Core > Blue Jean Cable Cat6a >TP optical converter > Sonore OpticalRendu with Sonore LPS> Curious USB > Denafrips Pontus DAC

Analog Source: Dynavector XX2 mk2> Audiomods Series 5 silver arm > Sota Nova Series VI turntable w/Condor & Roadrunner motor controller/tachometer > Nagra BPS battery powered phono stage>

Both: BAT VK51SE preamp> Krell FPB300 power amp > Sound Lab A3 ESLs > > Custom room treatment > 50 yr. old ears(left-handed)

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As luck would have it, OpenHome Labs have recently updated their demo OpenHome player software and now include an OS X version. Certainly worth trying if you want to evaluate OpenHome supporting control points, such as the Lumin & BubbleUPnP apps, for controlling the network streaming of music files from UPnP media servers, such as MinimServer:

OSX

 

The BubbleUPnP Server helper software, which you would normally use to provide OpenHome emulation for standard UPnP renderers, won't of course be required by the OpenHome player application.

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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