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CAPS / Mac Mini / Auralic Aries?


snip3r

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Hi guys,

 

Some questions on which would be suitable for me? Which of this is the best price performance ratio?

 

CAPS Zuna price can be as close to Auralic Aries if you buy the SoTM USBcard for the CAPS?

** Does the SoTM card improve a significant amount of sound quality?**

 

Macmini 2014 only has dual core if it matter much which can be had for $700? I checked with my local stores I can still grad the 2012 quads.

 

Control ( FF/RW/Track Selection etc ) wise does it matter if one is using any of the 3?

 

My current DAC that I'm having is the Calyx 24/192 but my Geek Pulse Femto would be coming pretty soon which supports DSD.

 

If I'm planning to play DSD ( not upscale ), what is the min CPU spec that is required ? would J1900 fit the bill, i would have lesser of a issue since it's using a passive heatsink.

 

I'm a DIY kind of guy but I do appreciate if I can hands on less with a Mac Mini or the Aries. If I were to go for Aries route, any other players that I need to consider?

 

Why does some ppl like to upscale PCM to DSD or vice-versa? Better sound quality? Mininum quads 3.5ghz is required?

 

 

Sorry for so many questions but I need to have some answers to my questions before I proceed for my Transport project.

 

Thanks and Cheers

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What to you want to do with it?

How do you want to control it?

 

For me Mac Mini, although mine does full media duties with audio and video plus streaming from Qobuz, NHL and Netflix,

file server and runs my IP security camera's.

 

All controlled with remote screen share, iPhone or iPad.

 

Get the machine that meets your needs but first you need to understand you exact requirements...

Setup:

Lumin D2> Roksan Blak> Focal 806

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What to you want to do with it?

I want it to stream to my upcoming Geekpulse DAC which has DSD support. Upsample PCM to DSD too ( if the sound is better )

 

From what I read, fans are not recommended due to noise issue ( not sure if it really improve sounds, no idea on this since I'm using a 5 year old macbook for my streaming and it seems "OK" as I do not have something to compare to )

 

If I'm building a CAPS which is quite expensive, would it be better to get a Auralic since I do not need to meddle with it. I do have the skills to DIY a PC though.

 

Upon more research, it seems like the zotac ( ZBOX C-series: ZOTAC - It's time to play! ) is able to do upsampling too and yes it's without any fan. Since this is at most $250 it might be the most value for $ unless the raspberry can do the job which I do not think so. Anyone can confirm that it can do upsampling? It's a quad core celeron with a TDP of 7,5w.

( ARK | Intel® Celeron® Processor N2920 (2M Cache, up to 2.00 GHz) )

 

I'm exploring so many options as I can invest on the auralic BUT if the zotac can do the job, why not?

 

How do you want to control it?

Maybe via iphone/ipad/nexus 7.

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

What to you want to do with it?

How do you want to control it?

 

For me Mac Mini, although mine does full media duties with audio and video plus streaming from Qobuz, NHL and Netflix,

file server and runs my IP security camera's.

 

All controlled with remote screen share, iPhone or iPad.

 

Get the machine that meets your needs but first you need to understand you exact requirements...

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Are you talking about "on the fly" upsampling to DSD with simultaneous playback? If so, I'm doubtful that box can do it without stuttering, if at all. If you are talking about upsampling the files to DSD for storage, then sure it will do it...slowly.

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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The highest quality PCM to DSD upsampling is with HQ Player. It's best sounding filters are math computation intensive. You need a quad core processor with 3.4 GHz clock speed to handle 4 threads, 2 hi load, and 2 low load

 

What about native playing of dsd files?

And is there any difference in terms of cpu required if one is using foobar or jriver to do upsampling to dsd?

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What about native playing of dsd files?

And is there any difference in terms of cpu required if one is using foobar or jriver to do upsampling to dsd?

 

JRMC and Foobar + SACD as well as some filters in HQ Player such as Polysinc 2S are less computational intensive doing PCM to DSD.

 

playing straight DSD to DSD is relatively low load. My i5 under clocked at 2.2 GHz had no trouble doing PCM to DSD256 using the Polysinc 2S filter, but Polysinc sounded noticeably better.

 

Going the Auralic Airies route, you block out the option of using PC software players.

 

After listening to 16/44, 24/96 and 24/192 tracks converted to DSD 256 on HQP v3.4 the last couple of days, the realism is amazing. Transients, low level information as well as timbre are in goose bump territory.

 

The electrical noise which is present on the 5 volt power rail is an important factor if you are not going for a 2 box solution. Self build PC allows you to pay attention to this area

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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JRMC and Foobar + SACD as well as some filters in HQ Player such as Polysinc 2S are less computational intensive doing PCM to DSD.

 

playing straight DSD to DSD is relatively low load. My i5 under clocked at 2.2 GHz had no trouble doing PCM to DSD256 using the Polysinc 2S filter, but Polysinc sounded noticeably better.

 

Going the Auralic Airies route, you block out the option of using PC software players.

 

After listening to 16/44, 24/96 and 24/192 tracks converted to DSD 256 on HQP v3.4 the last couple of days, the realism is amazing. Transients, low level information as well as timbre are in goose bump territory.

 

The electrical noise which is present on the 5 volt power rail is an important factor if you are not going for a 2 box solution. Self build PC allows you to pay attention to this area

 

Could you point to how do I build a 2 box solution? Is cost going to run up pretty high?

The reason now that I didn't want to build those sample CAPS is due to the high proc requirement which requires a fanless solution.

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...

 

Going the Auralic Airies route, you block out the option of using PC software players.

 

...

 

One could argue that with the Aries, you do not need to use a software player, either PC or Mac. It all depends on whether one wants to manipulate the signal being sent to the DAC, or just send the native file and let the DAC do the work.

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Could you point to how do I build a 2 box solution? Is cost going to run up pretty high?

The reason now that I didn't want to build those sample CAPS is due to the high proc requirement which requires a fanless solution.

 

If you are gong for a 2 box Solution One well trodden and successful path is

Highend-AudioPC | AudiophileOptimizer

 

HQ Player also has a 2 box Solution with the DAC connected CPU being a Minimalist Linux box. (NAA) but you need to have a DAC with a Linux driver

 

NAA boxes include SOTM SMS100

 

whether its wothwhile or Not to go down a 2 box road dopendes on how USB power Noise sensitive your DAC is and the noise floor of your Playback System (lower Noise floor, More Head Room for noisier PC)

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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One could argue that with the Aries, you do not need to use a software player, either PC or Mac. It all depends on whether one wants to manipulate the signal being sent to the DAC, or just send the native file and let the DAC do the work.

 

There is no doubt that the Aries is a pretty good box, but it does not have the compitational horsepower to do SOTA PCM > DSD 256 conversion. (HQ Player and Future competitors)

 

As 90 % of what we can listen to is 16/44, it would seem that this source material deserves nothing less than the best. 16/44 converted to DSD256 gets you about half way to the sound quality of a native DSD256 Recording played back on a good DSD256 capable DAC

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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Am using a Zotac C Series running Mint and JRiver 20 for Linux - works fine into my Oppo's dac. A v. good value fanless option (under £200 in UK including 4gb memory and a 128G ssd) .

 

However, sound quality is definitely better playing to the Oppo from the Zotac via DLNA or SMB share than direct via USB. If I was going to seriously invest in this path (rather than just mucking about..) I'd go with a fanless pc with PCI expansion slot(s)for a SoTm card or such like.

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Am using a Zotac C Series running Mint and JRiver 20 for Linux - works fine into my Oppo's dac. A v. good value fanless option (under £200 in UK including 4gb memory and a 128G ssd) .

 

However, sound quality is definitely better playing to the Oppo from the Zotac via DLNA or SMB share than direct via USB. If I was going to seriously invest in this path (rather than just mucking about..) I'd go with a fanless pc with PCI expansion slot(s)for a SoTm card or such like.

 

Initially I have this idea, just need to confirm if it's possible to play 24/192 native , DSD native and lastly(most importantly )PCM upsample to DSD without any issues?

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Initially I have this idea, just need to confirm if it's possible to play 24/192 native , DSD native and lastly(most importantly )PCM upsample to DSD without any issues?

 

24/192 definitely fine

 

I've mucked around with DSD and PCM-DSD, but as my OPPO can't play DSD over USB input, I can't give you a definitive answer.

DSD does play OK but JRiver just downconverts (presumably because of my DAC) - real time PCM to DSD does seem to work fine from what I can see on the PC , but i just get rubbish out because of the DAC's limitations.

 

But I need to stress that the SQ from the OPPO is inferior when playing from the Zotac via USB input than the same 24/192 file via DLNA or SMB so I would conclude that the USB output from the Zotac will fall down compared to dedicate audio solutions and without obvious solution as no expansion slots (but then again the Zotac is just over £100 barebones in UK)

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