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Music Server


Eric Tessmer

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Sorry for the ton of questions, but here it goes:

1. Can one make up a decent music server out of a PC, or does it make more sense to buy a dedicated server? I prefer to build my own so I can upgrade by moving my boards instead of buying a new server.

2. Would such a server have to be in another room, or can one make a silent server by using a fan-less PC and a solid state caching drive to play from (caching probably for a Raid-1 pair of 2TB spinning drives)?

3. Any reason I can’t continue to use my Entech 205-2 A/D converter?

4. Where does the optical output come from? I presume this would be some kind of daughterboard in the PC? Or, perhaps a more universal solution would be to use some kind of converter that’s USB in and optical out? That would have the advantage of being able to use future computers with a different buss.

5. Can this be done in Windows (Foobar?) without making a lot of compromises, or will I have to go to a Linux system?

6. What is the best open-source player for FLAC files on such a rig?

7. What’s the best software to rip to FLAC?

 

Any help with these questions would be much appreciated.

Thank you

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Eric-

 

These are my answers, others may chime in with different opinions:

1. Yes. If you have the money, there are some very good dedicated servers, specially designed and setup for audio. But these tend to cost much more than one you make yourself.

 

2. Most people here go fanless for just the reasons you mention. See the CAPS 3 servers on this site (4 models) for a guide on what to build, depending on your needs.

 

3. No reason you can't continue to use it, but there are very good DACs available today from about $100, and truly excellent ones from about $300 new. Some of the newer ones are even in a USB stick format, and connect directly form the server USB out to your analog input on your pre/amp. See the LH Geek DAC for an example. It has many direct competitors from around $100.

 

Many of the newer DACs won't limit your file choice and will play pretty much any format/sample rate now available, unlike your DAC. I'm not really familiar with your DAC, but I'm willing to bet some of these new DACs will be an audible upgrade.

 

4. Yes. If you want to continue to use the optical input on your DAC, you need to build the server with a MB that has an optical out. As far as a converter, you will have a more difficult time finding USB>optical. Many choices at all price levels are available for USB>SPDIF converters, which are in widespread use and very popular in the last few years. Personally, rather than spend money on a converter, I'd get a new DAC that plugs into your USB. That said, many of the converters are very good (there is an extensive thread here about them) and give great sound. Probably better than you would get from an output built into your motherboard.

 

5. Foobar, yes. There is a big Linux vs. Windows debate. But many users here use Windows and Foobar, and consider that the best choice. Certainly one of the most convenient. No reason not to go for Linux if you are comfortable with that. Many non Windows users here think it gives superior results.

 

6. Probably Foobar. Again, a subject of debate.

 

7. Most people here use EAC (free) or dBpoweramp (commercial) if in Windows. dBpoweramp is very powerful and gives you lots of options, including an option for fully uncompressed flac. You apparently can do uncompressed flac in EAC, but takes adding a line or two of coding.

 

6.

 

Sorry for the ton of questions, but here it goes:

1. Can one make up a decent music server out of a PC, or does it make more sense to buy a dedicated server? I prefer to build my own so I can upgrade by moving my boards instead of buying a new server.

2. Would such a server have to be in another room, or can one make a silent server by using a fan-less PC and a solid state caching drive to play from (caching probably for a Raid-1 pair of 2TB spinning drives)?

3. Any reason I can’t continue to use my Entech 205-2 A/D converter?

4. Where does the optical output come from? I presume this would be some kind of daughterboard in the PC? Or, perhaps a more universal solution would be to use some kind of converter that’s USB in and optical out? That would have the advantage of being able to use future computers with a different buss.

5. Can this be done in Windows (Foobar?) without making a lot of compromises, or will I have to go to a Linux system?

6. What is the best open-source player for FLAC files on such a rig?

7. What’s the best software to rip to FLAC?

 

Any help with these questions would be much appreciated.

Thank you

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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Sorry for the ton of questions, but here it goes:

6. What is the best open-source player for FLAC files on such a rig?

6. Probably Foobar. Again, a subject of debate.

Just for reference ... Foobar2000 is not open source - although its licence does allow it to be redistributed for free the source code is not available and cannot be modified.

 

foobar2000: License

 

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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Sorry for the ton of questions, but here it goes:

1. Can one make up a decent music server out of a PC, or does it make more sense to buy a dedicated server? I prefer to build my own so I can upgrade by moving my boards instead of buying a new server.

2. Would such a server have to be in another room, or can one make a silent server by using a fan-less PC and a solid state caching drive to play from (caching probably for a Raid-1 pair of 2TB spinning drives)?

3. Any reason I can’t continue to use my Entech 205-2 A/D converter?

4. Where does the optical output come from? I presume this would be some kind of daughterboard in the PC? Or, perhaps a more universal solution would be to use some kind of converter that’s USB in and optical out? That would have the advantage of being able to use future computers with a different buss.

5. Can this be done in Windows (Foobar?) without making a lot of compromises, or will I have to go to a Linux system?

6. What is the best open-source player for FLAC files on such a rig?

7. What’s the best software to rip to FLAC?

 

Any help with these questions would be much appreciated.

Thank you

 

Why bother, when you could put MinimServer on a simple $200 NAS.... heck even a Raspberry Pi... and serve up an entire library including every possible format for the price of a couple of watt hrs per day...?

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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