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Ia there an excellent but not cutting edge fanless. PC available at "reasonable" expense


iamimdoc

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I am still happy with a CAPS1 (Atom processor) server except for lack of horsepower. Can't convert iso files on the fly with Jriver, for example.

 

Looking at the newer versions on this website suggest the cost will be substantially north of $1,000 to get an i7 processor, fanless, PC.

 

So, what would be adequate PC to solve my problem and can one be constructed, assembled for < $1,000. Must remain fanless (or rather noiseless ). Bleeding edge sound quality not required. Jriver to be used.

 

Thanks

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You need to find out if you need an i5 or i7 processor for that. I'm not sure if an i5 can do it. I think you need an i7. Other people on this forum should be able to tell you if it can. Since you don't want "bleeding edge", the SOtM USB card isn't required and that saves lots of money.

 

If you have an existing hard drive and copy of Windows, that will also save bucks. In that case you can definitely put together an i5 based fanless unit. You can also look at a top of the line i5 "NUC" type PC and put together a nice fanless one for even less than $1000, including OS.

 

If you find out an i7 chip is necessary, getting a fanless one complete for under a $1000 many be very tough. I think $1200 may be a more realistic goal.

 

You might also write small green computer (who sell built CAPS servers for not a lot more than the cost you will pay for the parts) and ask them what's the price for something like what you want; that will give you a good idea of what's out there and at what cost, if you don't want to go around tracking down all the present day parts and aren't sure exactly what is compatible with what.

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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You might want to check / ask if most recent Bay Trail D boards allow you to do DSD to PCM on-the-fly. The latter works fine on my old Core2duo macmini...

 

Latest Bay Trail come with J1900 / J2900 quad core Celeron & Pentium CPU's that have WAY more power than your old Atom. Good thing would be that you likelybe able to drop it in your current CAPS CASE (do a mobo swap) and re-use most components (do not know what USB card you are using on what PCI interface, pls check). That USB card thing might be a similar issue going to an i7...

 

This is option is WAY cheaper than what you're planning.....

Also, doesn't latest JRiver allow for off-line DSD to PCM resampling? Do that combined with Bay Trail... Saves a lot of cash for other aspects of this hobby...

 

EDIT/ thread on Bay Trail : http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f10-music-servers/atom-overhauled-bay-trail-music-server-17832/

Bits to analog: Server [i9-10850k; Win10Pro, Roon Core + HQPlayer4 >all DSD256x] -> mRendu -> Lampi GG

Analog to sound: ASR Emitter II Exclusive, Battery -> Dynaudio Confidence 20 + 2 REL G2's

Details: Audio System

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Not sure if you need internal PCI slots; but Zotac ZBOX C-series are fanless boxes. Alternatively have you considered a Mac Mini (ducks and hides from the Apple haters).

 

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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Appreciate all responses.

 

1 Issue arises as to whether any/all of these solutions will solve my issue. For example, would any current Mac mini converted to Windows (my preference) perform adequately? Going through all the hoops and not getting things to work is my concern. I could _probably_ live with small fan on Mac as it is about 6 ft from my chair. But does the CPU/ fan complex get revved to hurricane proportions with this type of processing?

 

2 do any other devices do the conversions required. For example, can any DAC 's (reasonably priced) do the conversion?

 

3) one time conversion is also possible although I tried it in J river and it appeared to be molasses slow and not 100% reliable. Is there other software out there that is fast and reliable? I have numerous albums to convert from SACD.

 

Thanks

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Appreciate all responses.

 

1 Issue arises as to whether any/all of these solutions will solve my issue. For example, would any current Mac mini converted to Windows (my preference) perform adequately? Going through all the hoops and not getting things to work is my concern. I could _probably_ live with small fan on Mac as it is about 6 ft from my chair. But does the CPU/ fan complex get revved to hurricane proportions with this type of processing?

 

2 do any other devices do the conversions required. For example, can any DAC 's (reasonably priced) do the conversion?

 

3) one time conversion is also possible although I tried it in J river and it appeared to be molasses slow and not 100% reliable. Is there other software out there that is fast and reliable? I have numerous albums to convert from SACD.

 

Thanks

 

Probably, though an i5 model > 2ghz makes the most sense to my thinking. I have Windows 7 and Wibdows 8.1 on Mac Minis here, and they work just fine, and in virtual silence. Of course, they also give you the option of running MacOS as well, which JRMC runs just great under these days.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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And would the following be another viable option?

 

Get a fast cheap i7 computer on my network somewhere ( not in music room). Use the caps 1 as a renderer ( I think this is the terminology), let the fast pc due the dirty work and send the processed music to the caps 1. This would require back and forth network traffic to the nas where music resides, which I presume has an effect. Would this likely work?

 

Thanks

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2 do any other devices do the conversions required. For example, can any DAC 's (reasonably priced) do the conversion?
Well if you have a DSD native DAC, you don't need to convert it.

The Schiit Loki is $149: Schiit Audio, Headphone amps and DACs made in USA.

 

3) one time conversion is also possible although I tried it in J river and it appeared to be molasses slow and not 100% reliable. Is there other software out there that is fast and reliable? I have numerous albums to convert from SACD.
Depends on the CPU speed. If the CPU is slow, the conversion will be slow. But you can just leave it to run overnight.

I find that converting one track at a time is the only way for conversions to be reliable in JRiver. You can select a lot of tracks to convert, but set the option in JRiver to only go through that list one at a time instead of 2 (dual-core PC) or 4 (quad-core PC) and set it to create a copy, not replace the original.

Check that you are set to convert to a 24-bit file and at a sample rate that your DAC supports too. I think the default is something like 64-bit 352kHz.

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And would the following be another viable option?

 

Get a fast cheap i7 computer on my network somewhere ( not in music room). Use the caps 1 as a renderer ( I think this is the terminology), let the fast pc due the dirty work and send the processed music to the caps 1. This would require back and forth network traffic to the nas where music resides, which I presume has an effect. Would this likely work?

 

Thanks

 

Yes. This is the "2 PC" solution many use. See the "streamer" setup instruction in the jplay manual: Manual | JPLAY - hi-end audio player for Windows

 

I haven't seen how someone does it without using jplay; maybe someone else here knows how.

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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iamimdoc --

 

You don't need to go to anything like a i7; that's overkill, like going from an old VW beetle to a Ferrari.

 

Presuming you built the CAPS1 yourself (and it is this -- Computer Audiophile - Computer Audiophile Pocket Server - C.A.P.S. ), the simplest, cheapest solution is to swap out the old Atom mITX board for a new one. That Intel D945GSEJT board was never quick and it's excruciatingly slow by current standards when CPU crunch power is required. Bay Trail J1900 embedded Atom boards are a completely different breed, the processor is a quad-core running at 2.4Ghz & it has some real grunt. Many brands offer them -- ASUS, Gigabyte, etc -- and I'm in the middle of doing a review on a fanless Logic Supply system based on ASRock board that is quite nice. (Review is for my site, silentpcreview) Most of these are fanless & don't run much over $100.

 

If you want a drop-in replacement and use the same external AC/DC adapter, look for a Thin mini-ITX board; these all have external 19V DC input connectors on the back panel. Couple examples:

ASRock IMB-151

Habey MITX-6771

 

Mind you, there are discrete socket 1150/55 Thin mITX boards available for ~$100. But you'd have to add in the cost of a discrete CPU (limited to 65W TDP iirc -- and you would have to double-check the power capability of your AC/DC adapter) + get a good passive heatsink (which would have to be fairly hefty to run fanlessly) or at least one with a fan that can be run very slowly to keep noise down.

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I have been using several of these for the past couple years, both as music servers and media centers with cable cards.

 

HP Probook 4420S, 4430S, 4520S, 4530S

 

I use either i3 or i5 models, Win7, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD, external USB drive, JRiver. Output is USB to the DAC. I also have an IR remote controlling it all.

 

They have performed perfectly. Fan on the music servers hardly ever comes on and when it does you can't hear it. I like this all in one solution and it's dirt cheap, as these can be had for under $200 (used, of course). The setup is portable and repeatable - I can easily mirror to another system. As an added security, I use Clonezilla to keep a backup image of the HDD in case that goes south.

 

This doesn't address your on-the-fly ISO conversion. As others have advised, avoid that unnecessary route.

 

-Art

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As a temporizing step I bought an IDSD NANO as it will (supposedly) play "everything".

 

The alphabet soup of acronyms in this realm of computer music is complex as are the configuration possibilities in JRiver

 

The (? Only) way I could get things to work was

 

Select the Nano device as output device to WASAPI in Jriver under tool options audio device

And

Under Tools Settings Turn on bistreaming to DSD ( with the mildly insulting "None" as the preferred option)

 

This plays all flacs and my SACD ISO files

 

So, is this the best configuration?

Is this the only configuration?

 

Thanks

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ianimdoc,

 

No idea if JRiver can do it, but how about a 2 computer solution? Use a more powerful computer to transcode (decode on the fly, during playback) the SACD ISO file tracks to WAV files and then your CAPS1 should have no problem playing those back over the network. The excellent free Foobar2000 player can convert the SACD ISO's, with the foo_Input_SACD plugin component and the foo_UPnP plugin component allows it to be used as a UPnP server for network streaming to the CAPS1. Of course you'll be using Foobar2000's media library instead of JRiver's, but you can still use JRiver setup as a UPnP renderer on the CAPS1 for playback, if you wish (though I'd just install Foobar2000 + the foo_UPnP plugin, set to renderer mode, for that too).

 

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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You don't need to go to anything like a i7; that's overkill, like going from an old VW beetle to a Ferrari...

 

An i5 is a Beetle if you're doing PCM-DSDx2 transcoding. I have a 2.3 GHz i5 in a Mac Mini and can't use most of the conversions available in JRMC or HQPlayer. It sounds fabulous on some settings, but forget about DSD256 or other CPU-intensive loads in HQP.

 

+ get a good passive heatsink (which would have to be fairly hefty to run fanlessly) or at least one with a fan that can be run very slowly to keep noise down.

 

Yeah, If my computer were still in my sound room I would almost certainly get or build a CAPS server with a big 'Ole 140mm, 600 rpm fan.

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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