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Article: CAPS v4 Maroubra and Bundoran

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I have a newbie question.

 

I currently use an Apple iMac running Audirvana+ 2.0 as my source, but I'm interested in replacing it with a C.A.P.S, particularly the Maroubra due to its price and form factor.

 

Could the Maroubra be used as a dedicated music server only, or also as a personal computer? In other words, if I have a PC monitor, keyboard, mouse and printer, could I use it as a full-fledged desktop PC running Windows that I can not only listen to music with, but also use the Internet via Wi-Fi, watch videos, perform word processor task (such as MS Word) and stuff?

 

Also, does the Maroubra have a CD drive? Or do I need to purchase a separate drive and connect it to the PC? If the above is possible, I would like to use dBpoweramp to rip CD's.

 

Maroubra does not have a CD drive due to its tiny size but you could use a USB connected portable CD/DVD drive for ripping. That may not be a good idea however as ideally the music server does not have an Internet connection which you'd need for pulling down metadata for the disc in the drive. Likewise not a good choice for everyday computing, as for best sound you will disable firewall, windows update service and avoid using antivirus software. All a gamble if connected to the net.

Edited by stuarth
Typo

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Maroubra does not have a CD drive due to its tiny size but you could use a USB connected portable CD/DVD drive for ripping. That may not be a good idea however as ideally the music server does not have an Internet connection which you'd need for pulling down metadata for the disc in the drive. Likewise not a good choice for everyday computing, as for best sound you will disable firewall, windows update service and avoid using antivirus software. All a gamble if connected to the net.

 

So are you saying that it is not possible to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi with Maroubra? Or simply not recommended as a music server, but nevertheless possible?

 

I could turn on the Wi-Fi when ripping CD's to pull down metadata, and turn off Wi-Fi and all other features and optimize system while listening to music, couldn't I?

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USB audio power supply, galvanical isolated, audiophile USB Power supply, isolated USB low noise transformer, USB DAC power supply, audiophile power supply

 

If you want a lower cost outboard USB power supply, try this one. Another advantage is that it requires only one USB cable as the power injector is a USB-B female to USB- B male end.

 

I currently use it with my Bel Canto U-Link with excellent results.

Thanks for that, I was looking at the iFi iUSB but this Aqvox unit may be better value.

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I could turn on the Wi-Fi when ripping CD's to pull down metadata, and turn off Wi-Fi and all other features and optimize system while listening to music, couldn't I?

Not sure if this has wifi capability out of the box. It's assumed you will be using a wired LAN.

If you did want to switch between audio-optimised and General use mode, something like Fidelizer could be the way to go. Recently reviewed here Fidelizer Pro 6.5 | AudioStream

I have used the freeware version with no problems and may pony up for the 'pro' version.

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Also, it may be worth waiting for the Intel NUCs with the Broadwell chips as it likely the dimensions will be similar to the ones in the review.

These are now on the market but three things holding me back:

1. No fanless cases available yet (plenty for haswell)

2. No SATA connectors, cannot add a second drive or that trick SOtM card

3. Uses a new generation SSD (mSATA replacement), not that widely available just yet in all capacities.

Edited by stuarth
Undo autocorrect

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These are now on the market but three things holding me back:

1. No fanless cases available yet (plenty for haswell)

2. No SATA connectors, cannot add a second drive or that trick SOtM card

3. Uses a new generation SSD (mSATA replacement), not that widely available just yet in all capacities.

 

After reading this (and all the previous ones over time), I decided to upgrade that very front end of my sound system. Right now I have an i7 Win7 machine running JRiver that I built as a media only player, and I use it to connect to HDTracks for downloads, to rip the occasional CD when necessary, to serve up music (via USB to USB to coax converter) to my DAC, and to serve up music to a number of units (Logitech Touches and Transporters) located in other parts of my house and studio. Right now the music files are on a spinning disk in the computer. We also have done the occasional movie or video via HDMI to the video system. I get that my mixed use is probably degrading sound quality. I looked at building out a Haswell based system and 1,2,3 all are true.

 

Looking at this, I kind of have to figure out what the best sound source approach might be without making an audio Rube Goldberg setup. As of right now, I'm thinking about external NAS disks connected via Ethernet to a small size, sound only computer with an SSD of some sort for hosting the OS and JRiver, and have a "front end" system for ripping and downloading that connects to the same NAS, and use that for serving up wireless music, and the occasional HDMI video source.

 

Does that sound like a reasonable way to divide the labor? So that I can get rid of a ton of processes that connect to wireless, etc on my music player system? Because it's downstream of the front end system I wouldn't need much in the way of security or firewall processes either, as the front end system is where the network exposure lives. Having the music on a wired SAN would keep disk noise out of the playback, too. But how would I control the "playback only" system, though, if I don't have it on wireless network? The only approaches I know of require that.

 

Trying to figure this out soon, going to be housebound for a couple weeks after getting a bionic knee, so I'll have time to build and set up a new system...

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Easy. Connect the setup hardwired to a switch or to the router, use an ipad with JRemote. Can't be beaten in my opinion. Alternatively go for Windows Remote Desktop (you'll need a Win 8.1 Pro or Server 2012 R2) or use VNC software like tightvnc.

 

I have a similar build as Chris suggested and am very happy! D54250 board, Streacom NC2 fanless case, 16 GB crucial memory and a 256 mSATA for OS only, music on a NAS omni-accessible. External linear supply currently being shipped.

 

Enjoy building!

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I kind of have to figure out what the best sound source approach might be without making an audio Rube Goldberg setup. As of right now, I'm thinking about external NAS disks connected via Ethernet to a small size, sound only computer with an SSD of some sort for hosting the OS and JRiver, and have a "front end" system for ripping and downloading that connects to the same NAS, and use that for serving up wireless music, and the occasional HDMI video source.

 

Does that sound like a reasonable way to divide the labor?

 

Sounds like a good plan. Your i7 machine can act as a NAS at the back end, and a (headless) NUC up front to connect to the DAC. You will want a wireless network so you can control playback remotely using a phone or tablet though?

 

Just to clarify my post, the Haswell system as described by Chris would work fine. My comments were on the new Broadwell NUCs and are not necessarily show-stoppers. The fanless case may not be necessary for example.

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Just to clarify my post, the Haswell system as described by Chris would work fine. My comments were on the new Broadwell NUCs and are not necessarily show-stoppers. The fanless case may not be necessary for example.

 

Until I realized I could - probably should - separate the HDMI video serving and ripping from the music playback, into two boxes, I was trying to spec a system build that was able to do all of it. As I go back through the article and the good feedback from a few people here, I realized that four cores of i7 probably won't make a jot of difference to the quality of music serving. I was also thinking about Broadwell, thinking that'd add a couple years to the system. Probably not to much value.

 

So, I think I'll go for a NUC in a very small fanless package, SSD, ethernet to the music storage system. If I need wireless for control, then I will need to be concerned about firewall. I work in the IT biz, and I've heard of some exploits now that are trying to infect wireless routers then any computers that connect. I may try a test with an old laptop downstream of my server on ethernet and see if I can find a way to controlling it through the server. Most of the NUC boards I've seen use the PCI for the wireless board, and that means I can't do the SoTM USB board if I want wireless. Or I'll just clean it up by going USB to coax, since I don't have (or intend to have) any DSD.

 

My current setup has a long-ish USB run to the USB to coax converter, and then a longish coax run. By splitting the workload to hardwired music on one box, everything else on another, I can put the hardwired music box on the audio rack, and a 15 foot ethernet run to the NAS system will be less of an issue than the current long USB run.

 

I think it's time to order parts....

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...

I have a similar build as Chris suggested and am very happy! D54250 board, Streacom NC2 fanless case, 16 GB crucial memory and a 256 mSATA for OS only, music on a NAS omni-accessible. External linear supply currently being shipped.

 

Enjoy building!

 

 

For those of us who just want to assemble a device and be done:

1) Can anyone (like dr.mike) who built one of these units give the J. River benchmark score?

2) Does one merely buy a NUC unit, take out the guts and place the guts in a fanless case?

3) Are special techniques like heat conducting paste (as an example) necessary?

4) Anything else to be aware of for those of us who can follow directions but don't do this routinely and are unaware of the subtleties of the artform?

 

Thanks

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hi iamimdoc,

 

ad 1/ JRMark 1571 on D54250 NUC

ad 2/ Yes.

ad 3/ Yes. Paste comes with the Streacom case. getting the fan off needs a little force to break the old paste, the just wipe off with cotton swab & a little alcohol or lighter fluid or similar. Apply a thin and steady layer of new paste and make sure it sits well. don't touch white the pad on the GPU! The case / heat pipe will fit perfectly. I get idle temperatures of approx. 44 Celsius in 25 environment. Goes up to pretty hot 62-63 at 7-8% constant load while playing.

ad 4/ Not much. RAM flips right in, same for mSATA SSD and WiFi if you buy it. NUC WiFi Antennas can be reused. Just make sure you're not static, touch a heater or anything grounded often.

Happy building!

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hi iamimdoc,

 

ad 3/ don't touch white the pad on the GPU!

 

I recently tried to put together a NUC and I put paste on the GPU. I take it that was a bad thing to do! In fact, I have been getting quite a few BSODs. Could that be the problem?

 

Thanks.

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I run a old wrt54 router connected to my music PC solely for remote access. Totally separate network from the House LAN. Music is stored locally. No worry of icking bugs getting into the important stuff through a basically open music box. Disk Drive is cloned regularly for backup.

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I wonder if a Jriver Id would be viable alternative. Seems like they've got the software worked out. Don't know much about the board they use. Alternatively Jriver could offer a CAPS-lite version of the id. Just a thought. Also wonder if Chris tried a Linux version of Jriver on this nuc.


DIY PC ASUS Q1900 ITX Board>Regen Amber>MF V192>Gill Audio Tube Dac (1704k Dacs, Lundahl OPT's); Rega RP6>Dyna 20XL>Cinemag Step up; Audio Note OTO SE Phono>Audio Note AN-E's.

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Yes, that is confusing. I think the chassis *is* the heat sink, that's certainly the description elsewhere. But that language muddies the issue.

 

Yes correct the case is made of aluminium and the CPU touches it. The heat is dispersed from the small fins on the top of the case.


agillis

Small Green Computer

http://www.smallgreencomputer.com/

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I have a newbie question.

 

I currently use an Apple iMac running Audirvana+ 2.0 as my source, but I'm interested in replacing it with a C.A.P.S, particularly the Maroubra due to its price and form factor.

 

Could the Maroubra be used as a dedicated music server only, or also as a personal computer? In other words, if I have a PC monitor, keyboard, mouse and printer, could I use it as a full-fledged desktop PC running Windows that I can not only listen to music with, but also use the Internet via Wi-Fi, watch videos, perform word processor task (such as MS Word) and stuff?

 

Also, does the Maroubra have a CD drive? Or do I need to purchase a separate drive and connect it to the PC? If the above is possible, I would like to use dBpoweramp to rip CD's.

 

You you could use the CAPS for a general purpose PC but as Stuarth says you don't want to be running a firewall, or antivirus on a music server so you would need to be very careful when you connect to the internet.

 

You could rip CDs but you would need a USB CD drive.

 

There is no Wi-Fi available on any of the CAPS because Wi-Fi is not a good idea on a music server. You need a hard Ethernet connection or HomePlug.


agillis

Small Green Computer

http://www.smallgreencomputer.com/

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I'd like to revisit a section of the CAPS v3 build's write up as it pertains to this build:

 

mSATA drives are much more like computer memory in size and appearance. These drives are solid state and fit directly into the motherboard without any cables. Even though the DN2800MT board has mSATA capability the Carbon design doesn't use this slot. The server is still very easy to build but absolute simplicity was outweighed by the desire for a lower power SSD that requires internal power and SATA cables.

 

I guess my question is, why not use a mSata drive in v3 when it's the only way to go in v4? Is the technology better now? Is it because it's a means to an end in v4? Is it a power thing? Just curious.

Edited by AjCrisci

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The new Jriver ID USB Kit looks like an interesting option for those of us who are linux illiterate but want to try an Windows alternative.

 

JRiver Id


DIY PC ASUS Q1900 ITX Board>Regen Amber>MF V192>Gill Audio Tube Dac (1704k Dacs, Lundahl OPT's); Rega RP6>Dyna 20XL>Cinemag Step up; Audio Note OTO SE Phono>Audio Note AN-E's.

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I am also happy with my NUC 4250 as a music streamer using JRMC. For those looking for a NUC 4250, you could either buy the entire kit including an (ugly red?) case that has a fan, or do some tweaking yourself.

 

The streacom NC1 Fanless case in the attached pictures retains the small package, is easy to mount and relatively affordable. The NUC is attached to a (mytek) DAC/preamp via USB. I installed a smaller hard drive than in the CAPS model, and have a NAS where all the music is stored. Just leave the NUC on day and night as it produces relatively little heat and controle your music with JRemote.

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