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Intel NUC vs Caps Topanga


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Hi,

 

I just read ”The Complete Guide to HiFi UPnP” and now realize that I can´t live without building the ”System 4”. The problem for me and many other non-US followers is that the CAPS Topanga is not available in our part of the world (me living in Denmark) and I am not skilled enough to starting buying similar parts and build a copy – so my question is: Will the Intel NUC i5 as mentioned in ”System 3” do the job so you in fact have the ”System 4”? The DSD streaming support is important.

 

 

Just so I understand correctly: If you install JRiver MC instead of Asset UPnp in ”System 3” will you then the have ”System 4” ?

 

Thanks for a fantastic website - wish I have discovered it years ago!

 

Best regards

Magdanus

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If utilising streaming ... a Intel NUC will do an identical job to the CAPS Topanga (IMO). The only issue with a NUC is they don't tend to be silent.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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^ There is now a silent NUC option available.. let me dig up the link again....

New simplified setup: STEREO- Primary listening Area: Cullen Circuits Mod ZP90> Benchmark DAC1>RotelRKB250 Power amp>KEF Q Series. Secondary listening areas: 1/ QNAP 119P II(running MinimServer)>UPnP>Linn Majik DSI>Linn Majik 140's. 2/ (Source awaiting)>Invicta DAC>RotelRKB2100 Power amp>Rega's. Tertiary multiroom areas: Same QNAP>SMB>Sonos>Various. MULTICHANNEL- MacMini>A+(Standalone mode)>Exasound e28 >5.1 analog out>Yamaha Avantage Receiver>Pre-outs>Linn Chakra power amps>Linn Katan front and sides. Linn Trikan Centre. Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra

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Here you go Magdanus read this thread.. a fanless NUC has been done.. http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f10-music-servers/intel-next-unit-computing-music-server-14010/index3.html

New simplified setup: STEREO- Primary listening Area: Cullen Circuits Mod ZP90> Benchmark DAC1>RotelRKB250 Power amp>KEF Q Series. Secondary listening areas: 1/ QNAP 119P II(running MinimServer)>UPnP>Linn Majik DSI>Linn Majik 140's. 2/ (Source awaiting)>Invicta DAC>RotelRKB2100 Power amp>Rega's. Tertiary multiroom areas: Same QNAP>SMB>Sonos>Various. MULTICHANNEL- MacMini>A+(Standalone mode)>Exasound e28 >5.1 analog out>Yamaha Avantage Receiver>Pre-outs>Linn Chakra power amps>Linn Katan front and sides. Linn Trikan Centre. Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra

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Well, it depends on how one views this. In part, the most of the CAPS are DN2800mt- low TDP with a wide power range suitable for a battery or linear power supply.

If utilising streaming ... a Intel NUC will do an identical job to the CAPS Topanga (IMO). The only issue with a NUC is they don't tend to be silent.

 

Eloise

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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Well, it depends on how one views this. In part, the most of the CAPS are DN2800mt- low TDP with a wide power range suitable for a battery or linear power supply.

That's why I said "if used for streaming".

 

LPSU and Battery operation are pretty much a waste of money (IME) if you are using a well designed streaming system (I know others will disagree here).

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Small Green Computer will build you one and send it to you. Shipping fee is reasonable.

 

 

Hi,

 

I just read ”The Complete Guide to HiFi UPnP” and now realize that I can´t live without building the ”System 4”. The problem for me and many other non-US followers is that the CAPS Topanga is not available in our part of the world (me living in Denmark) and I am not skilled enough to starting buying similar parts and build a copy – so my question is: Will the Intel NUC i5 as mentioned in ”System 3” do the job so you in fact have the ”System 4”? The DSD streaming support is important.

 

 

Just so I understand correctly: If you install JRiver MC instead of Asset UPnp in ”System 3” will you then the have ”System 4” ?

 

Thanks for a fantastic website - wish I have discovered it years ago!

 

Best regards

Magdanus

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Make sure to only buy the BOARD, not the kit, if you plan on putting the system board into another chassis - Akasa Newton H for example.

 

And to answer the OP question...yep the i5 NUC 54250 can be a good streamer system. It will run Win 7, Win 8, or WS 2012 R2 (GUI or Core) with JRiver.

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Thanks guys. Your input has been very helpfull. Just one last question: The only reason to put a CAPS in between the Linn Klimax DS and the Synology server is to be able to run either Asset or JRiver for management of the music database on the Synology. The CAPS has no influence on the sound quality rendered by the Klimax streamer. Is that a correct conclusion?

 

Thanks.

Magdanus

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The CAPS has no influence on the sound quality rendered by the Klimax streamer. Is that a correct conclusion?

I would agree with that conclusion; though some people have suggested different servers and different UPnP server software can affect sound quality.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

Intel NUC i5 is easily made up into a fanless design. As mentioned above, buy the motherboard not the kit. You then need to buy RAM, SSD and a case. I have built one and am very happy with it. It is easily done even for someone with minimal experience. The i5 version will run any level of audio software that you would care to throw at it quite well. I have 8gb ram and a 64gb SSD in mine and it is purrs along fine. The case barely gets warm when running and looking at the CPU temperatures they are remain well within normal operating ranges.

 

One reason to go with the CAPS is to add the audio focused USB card that is recommended for the CAPS to minimize power line noise in the system leaking into the audio stream. If you are only using it as a streamer/controller this is not an issue since the sound data stream is not passing through as such but rather being directed from your storage source to your renderer (in this case the Linn Klimax).

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Just purchased the new 54250 nuc motherboard/cpu, and use a streacom nc1 case with it. Nearly silent except for a slight electrical " purr " if you understand what i mean ( like a laptop makes when thinking...). This is only audible if up close, and when doing your best to hear it...

 

Anyone notice a difference in sound quality with different power supplies or different usb outs?

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  • 1 month later...
Intel NUC i5 is easily made up into a fanless design. As mentioned above, buy the motherboard not the kit. You then need to buy RAM, SSD and a case. I have built one and am very happy with it. It is easily done even for someone with minimal experience. The i5 version will run any level of audio software that you would care to throw at it quite well. I have 8gb ram and a 64gb SSD in mine and it is purrs along fine. The case barely gets warm when running and looking at the CPU temperatures they are remain well within normal operating ranges.

 

One reason to go with the CAPS is to add the audio focused USB card that is recommended for the CAPS to minimize power line noise in the system leaking into the audio stream. If you are only using it as a streamer/controller this is not an issue since the sound data stream is not passing through as such but rather being directed from your storage source to your renderer (in this case the Linn Klimax).

 

My home computer is an iMac. But instead of playing music from it thru a USB DAC, would it make sense to use a NUC and a directly attached hard drive (usb3 or tb) , not a NAS, as dedicated computer to play music? If so, I guess it would be Windows based and not sure how I would transfer files from my iMac to the NUC's HD. I think folks do this with MacMini's but the NUC would be a LOT less expensive.

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  • 2 weeks later...

An advantage of a dedicated music server is that you leave it on and connected all or most of the time. Therefore your iMac doesn't need to be on in order to listen to music. Depending on the size of your music library an attached drive may be enough for you. However, if you are connecting it by USB that introduces potential other problems into the sound so ethernet is preferable. An advantage of having a NAS is that suddenly your music becomes available to anything connected to your network so you could listen to music in one room on the iMac and in another room through the music server and be playing all from one centralized/managed library.

 

As far as transferring the files you only have to do it once so although there are some simple hoops you would need to go through you only have to do that once. Depending on the size of your music library the transfer can take some time.

 

Another advantage of the NUC over the Mac Mini is that the NUC is quite easily built up into a fanless system so you have completely silent operation. Whereas the Mac Mini although quiet does still have a fan in it.

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I can't imagine with all the people that build CAPS here in the USA and around the world that you couldn't get someone to build one for you. You purchase all the parts have it shipped directly to them, they assemble and ship it to you. That's what it's all about.

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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I can't imagine with all the people that build CAPS here in the USA and around the world that you couldn't get someone to build one for you. You purchase all the parts have it shipped directly to them, they assemble and ship it to you. That's what it's all about.

 

In the foreseeable future, I'll be listening in my home office, with headphones. So I'll be within arms reach of my iMac most of the time. But conceptually, the idea of a dedicated music computer appeals to me. Many posts indicate the NAS is not as easy at it might seem, or a variety of issues can come up. Anyway, I am not familiar with CAPS. I'll research it. I'd rather stay on the Mac OS if I can, but open to possibilities.

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Many posts indicate the NAS is not as easy at it might seem, or a variety of issues can come up. Anyway, I am not familiar with CAPS. I'll research it.

There are issues that come up. I'm not an IT guy but certainly feel like a part time one at times. When it's all going though, nothing is better. It truly is fantastic!

 

I'd rather stay on the Mac OS if I can, but open to possibilities.

I understand. I prefer the Mac too. However, I'm looking forward to the AURALiC ARIES.

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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Seriously, building a NUC was extremely simple. I imagine that all but the top CAPS systems are equally simple as well although I don't have first hand experience. There is a bit of fiddling to get the operating system installed and going but you only have to do that once.

 

A NAS also does require some fiddling to get setup but once it is set up they are great. Not only as a place to store your music but a lot of other great uses as well. Don't let the posts scare you away from going the NAS route. Even if you go the Mac route a NAS is a great option for your music files.

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Seriously, building a NUC was extremely simple. I imagine that all but the top CAPS systems are equally simple as well although I don't have first hand experience. There is a bit of fiddling to get the operating system installed and going but you only have to do that once.

 

A NAS also does require some fiddling to get setup but once it is set up they are great. Not only as a place to store your music but a lot of other great uses as well. Don't let the posts scare you away from going the NAS route. Even if you go the Mac route a NAS is a great option for your music files.

 

thanks, that's encouraging! now... any chance you can point me to a good source or tutorial for navigating through the 'fiddling' parts?

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Thanks guys. Your input has been very helpfull. Just one last question: The only reason to put a CAPS in between the Linn Klimax DS and the Synology server is to be able to run either Asset or JRiver for management of the music database on the Synology. The CAPS has no influence on the sound quality rendered by the Klimax streamer. Is that a correct conclusion?

 

Thanks.

Magdanus

 

I don't think you will get gapless playback with JRiver and a Linn DS. Check on the Linn forum.

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Lots of different combinations of software and systems and the fiddling is very specific. The main steps would be as follows:

 

1) Set up the NAS as per the manufacturer's instructions.

2) Make sure you can access it from the relevant computer through the network.

3) Go into your music software and follow their instructions for pointing it to the NAS to play files. You will want to copy a couple test files onto the NAS in order to get this working.

4) Move all your music onto the NAS once you are sure it is all working. Depending on how much music you have this could take some time (minutes if you have a 100mb to days if you are moving terabytes).

5) Sit back and enjoy your music.

6) Discover all the other great things you can do using a NAS like back up your computers, share photos, share files, etc.

 

Any one of these steps will have some idiosyncrasies that are dependent on the specific combination of hardware, software and phase of the moon. The good thing is that once it is all working you rarely have to bother with it again. If you run into problems there are lots of forums with people who have done this before and are happy to help if you can't find a solution that works. To be honest though it is mostly just about mapping drives and networks to get everything talking and seeing each other.

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