Jump to content
sgr

Design a PC/Server for ROON and HQ Player

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Hi,

I hope Software is the correct place for this question as I want to build a PC to run the combo of HQ Player and ROON. Software drives the hardware, right?

I want to upgrade my Server so it can easily handle the upcoming ROON/HQ Player combination. I have an Audio PC (i7, lpsu, fanless, etc) which connects my Big7 DAC via jPlay. I believe I'm in great shape there.

 

Right now I'm using an AMD Athalon PC as my control PC in jPlay streamer mode. I once used it just as a server with my music files, but when jPlay streamer became available I had to try it. Better sound. Then I decided to try jplay dual PC mode and use it as my control PC as well. Again much better sound then before.

 

Software Used on both Audio and Control PC: jRiver, Windows Server 2012 v2, jPlay, AudiophileOptimizer, Fidelizer 6, dbpoweramp, etc.

 

Future Software: Windows 10?, ROON, HQ Player

 

Its time to update the Server/Control PC.

In place now: Seasonic Fanless power supply, Corsair ATX Tower,

 

CPU: Xeon or i7? Which one? Which model? Needs to be less than 95 watts.

MOBO?

RAM: 16Gb What brand and type? Is ECC needed?

SSD: Samsung 850 Pro?

 

Or maybe I'd be better off buying a CAPS Pipeline to use as a control PC? Thus keeping the server separate from the audio and control PC?

 

Thanks for your informed suggestions.


SteVe's V's

 

Speakers- Legacy Audio Vs & 2 Legacy LF Extreme Subwoofers, Amplifiers- 2 Coda 15.5 Amplifiers Biamped, Preamp- TRL Dude, DAC- Lampizator Golden Gate Legacy Audio WaveletPC Software-ROON, HQplayer, jPlay, Fidelizer, AudiophileOptimizer 2.10, jRiver, WSY2K12V2 Roon Server PC- , HqPlayer PC- Turntable- SOTA Sapphire, Sumiko FT3 Arm, Audioquest Cartridge, CODA Phono stage, Accessories- HAL Footers, PS Audio Powerbases, Aurios, HiFi Tuning Supreme Fuses, Power- PurePower+ 2000 & 3000, PS Audio: Powerbases, LAN Rover, Noise Harvester, Quintet, Ultimate Outlets HC, Welborne Labs & HdPlex LPSUs,

Cables- Clarus Crimson USB, Lampizator Silver Ghost USB, Clarus Crimson PC, Western Electric 10 gauge DIY Speaker Cables and Best-Tronics Belden 8402 Balanced Interconnects Equipment Racks- SolidSteel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You haven't said what your I7 is but do you need to upgrade the control server or even run a 2 server set up for Roon with HQPlayer? If you have a fanless linear I7 etc. you may find that is enough for your needs. The 2 server set up may have sounded better with Jplay (it's what I use as well) but may not be the case with your new intended configuration.

 

You could maybe swap the audio to the control server and build something for the forthcoming Roon Server (Roon Speakers - headless). If you go with 1 server you may be fine with what you have, post more details of what you do e.g. room correction, upsampling etc. as pcm to dsd 256 in HQPlayer is fine with a Xeon 1240l and 4GB of ECC ram when I tried it during testing with EuroDriver's Exasound dac.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CPU: Xeon or i7? Which one? Which model? Needs to be less than 95 watts.

 

The new Skylake i7-6700K gives plenty of processing power at 95W TDP.

 

MOBO?

 

Something with 10x series chipset is needed. For example Gigabyte's UD-series (UltraDurable) or ASUS TUF 24/7 -series.

 

RAM: 16Gb What brand and type? Is ECC needed?

 

For the Skylake, suitable DDR4. I prefer Kingston and Crucial.


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Miska, what case do you use that equipment in?

 

I have not decided yet for a new machine. Old machine's case is something from Antec's line.

 

For new MoBo I was planning to use ASUS Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1.

 

For PSU I was thinking the fanless Seasonic too.


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You haven't said what your I7 is but do you need to upgrade the control server or even run a 2 server set up for Roon with HQPlayer? If you have a fanless linear I7 etc. you may find that is enough for your needs. The 2 server set up may have sounded better with Jplay (it's what I use as well) but may not be the case with your new intended configuration.

 

PC 1:Current fanless (jplay Audio) PC. i7 3790, 16gb ram, SSD, Windows Server 2012, Fidelizer, AudiophileOptimizer. HD Plex Linear Power Supply, various Elfidelity tweaks, Paul pang USB 3

 

PC 2: ATX tower, AMD Athalon 3200, 8gb ram, Seasonic Psu, SSD, 8 Tb music files, Windows Server 2012, jPlay Control PC, Audiophile Optimizer,

This PC is currently my Server and the jplay Control PC in 2 PC setup.

 

I won't use DSD as I'll be using the Legacy Audio Wavelet to provide DSP for my speakers. Since my Lampi Big 7 will do DSD or PCM I'd like to use HQ Player to try converting everything to 4 x DSD.

 

You could maybe swap the audio to the control server and build something for the forthcoming Roon Server (Roon Speakers - headless). If you go with 1 server you may be fine with what you have, post more details of what you do e.g. room correction, upsampling etc. as pcm to dsd 256 in HQPlayer is fine with a Xeon 1240l and 4GB of ECC ram when I tried it during testing with EuroDriver's Exasound dac.

 

My ultimate plan was always to use the jPlay dual PC setup.

 

I could switch PC1 into the ROON Control Server and point ROON to PC 2 where my music files reside. In that cnfiguration if I didn't want another PC it could host ROON and be connected to my DAC. I'd use my iPad Air 2 to access my music. In this model I would not use the jplay dual PC setup, just Single PC and jPlay streamer.

 

If I want to still implement jPlay Dual PC mode, I could build a headless PC to serve as the Audio PC and connect my DAC to it.

 

In that case, my Paul Pang USB 3 would have to be installed in it. It would need to be fanless, lpsu, SSD, etc.

I'm not sure how powerful the audio PC would have to be if I built one.

So what would be a good build for the headless audio PC?

 

Hope this helps.

Thanks!


SteVe's V's

 

Speakers- Legacy Audio Vs & 2 Legacy LF Extreme Subwoofers, Amplifiers- 2 Coda 15.5 Amplifiers Biamped, Preamp- TRL Dude, DAC- Lampizator Golden Gate Legacy Audio WaveletPC Software-ROON, HQplayer, jPlay, Fidelizer, AudiophileOptimizer 2.10, jRiver, WSY2K12V2 Roon Server PC- , HqPlayer PC- Turntable- SOTA Sapphire, Sumiko FT3 Arm, Audioquest Cartridge, CODA Phono stage, Accessories- HAL Footers, PS Audio Powerbases, Aurios, HiFi Tuning Supreme Fuses, Power- PurePower+ 2000 & 3000, PS Audio: Powerbases, LAN Rover, Noise Harvester, Quintet, Ultimate Outlets HC, Welborne Labs & HdPlex LPSUs,

Cables- Clarus Crimson USB, Lampizator Silver Ghost USB, Clarus Crimson PC, Western Electric 10 gauge DIY Speaker Cables and Best-Tronics Belden 8402 Balanced Interconnects Equipment Racks- SolidSteel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The new Skylake i7-6700K gives plenty of processing power at 95W TDP.

 

 

 

Something with 10x series chipset is needed. For example Gigabyte's UD-series (UltraDurable) or ASUS TUF 24/7 -series.

 

 

 

For the Skylake, suitable DDR4. I prefer Kingston and Crucial.

 

Thanks Miska. So you'd recommend updating my server PC or building a new PC to be the control or audio PC?

 

Steven


SteVe's V's

 

Speakers- Legacy Audio Vs & 2 Legacy LF Extreme Subwoofers, Amplifiers- 2 Coda 15.5 Amplifiers Biamped, Preamp- TRL Dude, DAC- Lampizator Golden Gate Legacy Audio WaveletPC Software-ROON, HQplayer, jPlay, Fidelizer, AudiophileOptimizer 2.10, jRiver, WSY2K12V2 Roon Server PC- , HqPlayer PC- Turntable- SOTA Sapphire, Sumiko FT3 Arm, Audioquest Cartridge, CODA Phono stage, Accessories- HAL Footers, PS Audio Powerbases, Aurios, HiFi Tuning Supreme Fuses, Power- PurePower+ 2000 & 3000, PS Audio: Powerbases, LAN Rover, Noise Harvester, Quintet, Ultimate Outlets HC, Welborne Labs & HdPlex LPSUs,

Cables- Clarus Crimson USB, Lampizator Silver Ghost USB, Clarus Crimson PC, Western Electric 10 gauge DIY Speaker Cables and Best-Tronics Belden 8402 Balanced Interconnects Equipment Racks- SolidSteel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks Miska. So you'd recommend updating my server PC or building a new PC to be the control or audio PC?

 

In HQPlayer context I'm not sure about what you mean by control PC. I'm just talking about the PC for running HQPlayer.


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Steve...

 

Hi Norman!


SteVe's V's

 

Speakers- Legacy Audio Vs & 2 Legacy LF Extreme Subwoofers, Amplifiers- 2 Coda 15.5 Amplifiers Biamped, Preamp- TRL Dude, DAC- Lampizator Golden Gate Legacy Audio WaveletPC Software-ROON, HQplayer, jPlay, Fidelizer, AudiophileOptimizer 2.10, jRiver, WSY2K12V2 Roon Server PC- , HqPlayer PC- Turntable- SOTA Sapphire, Sumiko FT3 Arm, Audioquest Cartridge, CODA Phono stage, Accessories- HAL Footers, PS Audio Powerbases, Aurios, HiFi Tuning Supreme Fuses, Power- PurePower+ 2000 & 3000, PS Audio: Powerbases, LAN Rover, Noise Harvester, Quintet, Ultimate Outlets HC, Welborne Labs & HdPlex LPSUs,

Cables- Clarus Crimson USB, Lampizator Silver Ghost USB, Clarus Crimson PC, Western Electric 10 gauge DIY Speaker Cables and Best-Tronics Belden 8402 Balanced Interconnects Equipment Racks- SolidSteel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi sgr,

 

On this very topic I have been occupying myself pretty intensively the last couple of months. There are so many good ways to skin the cat.

 

In my explorations, my 2 cents is that the state of art in USB audio achieved with the help of OS optimization, Regen and Jitterbug, has allowed a one pc solution to be as good as a two pc solution was pre Regen. The sound quality of the one pc solution can be significantly lifted by addressing all of the noise generating components in the PC, mainly CPU, OS, RAM, SSD and attention to the various power supplies. There is also mileage to be gained from the optimization of the CPU system, BIOS settings, RAM timing, and the quality of the clocks used on the PC motherboard.

 

Please feel free to PM me with further questions


Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you able to run the Roon on a CAPS v4 and its limited graphics ?


Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, Jcat Femto USB card, UpTone Audio JS-2 + 2x LPS-1.2 combo, Jcat SSD battery PSU, Jcat SATA cable, TotalDAC D1 USB cable, SOtM sMS-200, W4S Recovery USB, Jcat USB Isolator, Win 2012, AO v2.10

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have not decided yet for a new machine. Old machine's case is something from Antec's line.

 

For new MoBo I was planning to use ASUS Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1.

 

For PSU I was thinking the fanless Seasonic too.

 

Yes, ASUS Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1, is well worth a thought. The only thing, which I find disturbing are the two little MB fans, as part of the sabertooth cooling concept. I assume, one can leave these disconnected... but then one has probably less heat to fight with another MB.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you able to run the Roon on a CAPS v4 and its limited graphics ?

 

There is an option since Roon v1.1 to install it "headless" on servers that don't have the requisite Open GL (graphics) support (like my CAPS Pipeline). You can then control it by installing Roon in controller mode on a suitable tablet, laptop, or PC/MAC.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup and a RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, ASUS Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1, is well worth a thought. The only thing, which I find disturbing are the two little MB fans, as part of the sabertooth cooling concept. I assume, one can leave these disconnected... but then one has probably less heat to fight with another MB.

 

That's what worries me too, I hope those have active speed control and don't end up running much in this kind of use case. I didn't find any other board that would have as good quality capacitors, etc.

 

There's Trooper B150, but caps are cheaper and it only supports DDR3 RAM.

 

Gigabyte has three more interesting boards otherwise similar to the Sabertooth, but I have not found those available here (at least yet):

GIGABYTE - Motherboard - Socket 1151 - GA-Z170X-UD5 TH (rev. 1.0)

GIGABYTE - Motherboard - Socket 1151 - GA-Z170X-UD5 (rev. 1.0)

GIGABYTE - Motherboard - Socket 1151 - GA-Z170X-UD3 (rev. 1.0)

First one of these has Thunderbolt 3 too, which I find interesting and would really like to have.


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is my build, designed to run headless Roon server + HG Player. Its fanless.

Streacom FC5 Alpha Fanless Case

Gigibyte GA-H170N-WIFI

6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700 Processor;

Streacom ZeroFlex 240;

Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 2400MHz ;

Samsung 850 Evo 250Gb M.2 SSD; Samsung 850 Evo 2Tb SSD;

TP Link PCIe GbE Fiber Network Card w/ Open SFP - yup fiber - Merging Nadac via FMC & SNP transreceivers.

Windows 10 Pro 64Bit OEM;


Best Wishes

Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds great.

Just make sure you check the watts rating of the board/processor and the fanless case are compatible. The case will have a rating for the max temp allowed.

Very intensive calculations can get a fanless PC pretty hot. Music playback won't.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup and a RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you - yes all good, I was mindful of just that issue.

 

I understand HQ Player 3.12 Beta is quite cpu intensive when you convert eg pcm to 256 dsd. Still I don't expect any issues with melting the CPU or frying eggs on the case. I like those Streacom cases - I built a couple of Antipodes clones this years as well (Same mobo, ram & SOtM PCI card + custom linear power supply) and found they work really well. Not that you need heat pipes with Atohm 2800 boards running VB.

 

The 2TB SSD for storage was probably unnecessary and likely redundant, esp with a fiber connection to dac, but I like SSD's and could afford it, so why not. Besides let me pop in a USB/FW card and (hopefully) have a half decent server for those purposes.

 

Oh I see you have the Mytek 192. That is one of my favourite dacs. I happened to have a Manhattan about the place at the moment as well, and feel it is an excellent converter. Pairs extremely well with the Benchmark AHB2 power amp, btw. headphone out is also a star. Recommended.


Best Wishes

Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not something you have to worry about if you get the right case. I use Corsair Obsidian series. They're designed to be used in quiet applications. Same thing with Corsair RM series power supplies. They have fans but you don't hear them. Cooling is very important. I wouldn't go fanless unless it was absolutely necessary.

 

Another good strategy is under-clocking. Buy components that are a little more than what you need and under-clock them. It makes for a more reliable PC as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes.

 

So all hooked up and running - converting 16/44 PCM to 256 DSD uses, with all back ground processes running including Roon, between 30 and 37% cpu, and about 10-15% memory (of 16 GB). So really not that cpu intensive with the server version.

 

The heat sink is slightly warm to the touch on the processor side, dead cool on the other and the case is cool. I'll run it over night to simulate a day's listening and see how it goes. Its a balmy 70 - 80 F here atm, summers reach 105 F and very humid but AC will see it live in ~ 70-75 F.

 

As an aside;

 

Getting my head around Win 10 (I use OSX at home and Win 7 at work) was a giant PITA and the Ravenna ethernet protocol isn't very consumer friendly - it is after all designed to be installed under complex studio conditions with lots of in's and out's from many channels to many workstations. I expect a network professional would usually install it. Anyway I managed to work it out. So it cannot be that difficult.

 

Here are two tips - on a dual ethernet windows pc, the Ravenna/Nadac comes up as a public network and LAN as a private. You have to:

 

1. Disable Windows Firewall & Defender on the public network

 

2. Enable all permission sharing on the public network.

 

As I want integration with Tidal, I want access to the interwebs, and so for some basic, but effective, protection found that 360 Total Security (which is what I usually run on Windows anyway) to be effective and easily configurable to allow the Merging sw and drivers in & out. Anyway I have a firewall on my router and modem, and tend to use a vpn most of the time, in any event, so risk is relatively small. Worse that happens is they hit my music server, which is very much a dead end. The VPN helps with Tidal in Australia, which otherwsie can suffer drop outs. Although to be fair has been much better of late.

 

I am running it all remotely ie headless, so loaded the Roon server edition + HQ Player, and simply added each program to the start folder to launch at start up. After some more hair pulling they are stable in config. Not so easy on Windows 10, or so it turned out. Mainly because I didn't know where anything was. Bloody UI.

 

So now have two stable ways of playing back files to my Nadac:

 

1. Roon server edition (no upsampling conversion or dsp - what you put in is what you get out) - Merging ASIO driver - Merging Nadac.

 

2. Roon server edition - HQ Player (dsp conversion in my case to DSD256 but you can do virtually anything you want including DXD384) - Merging ASIO driver - Merging Nadac (at the dsp'ed DSD256)

 

Of the two, I prefer the second, and by some margin, with all PCM files, whatever their native sample rate. I am agnostic in respect of DSD files, although perceive a more pleasing quality to when DSD 64 files are dsp'ed to DSD 256. CPU load obviously drop in the latter instance.

 

The sound is universal captivating when dsp'ed to DSD 256.

 

It is hard to describe but the closest I have heard to native DSD from PCM. It doesn't transform a poor recording into a great one, but it takes a poor recording and makes it that much more listenable. GIGO as usual. But the GO is neater and sounds much better, in my opinion (and it is just that - my opinion).

 

Mono is still mono. Conversion hasn't been straight forward with that medium.

 

Don't ask me why it should or even could sound better. I haven't a clue. There is 165+ pages on CA dedicated to HQ Player, and I am sure if you asked the question in that thread someone would be only to happy to enter into debate on why and even if it could be so. Just don't ask me - I'm a muppet in respect of CA and even more so when compared to the math PhD's here.

 

I would however go so far as to say the mainstream roll out of Roon + HQ Player integration is a paradigm shift in the audiophile digital landscape, provided you have the gear to hear it. Mind you, I suggest any half competent sabre chipped dac would benefit.

 

In any event, this is the closest I have heard my digital get to great vinyl, which I love.

 

In fact for classical, which I prefer to listen to most of the time, I am leaning toward Roon - HQP - Nadac combo as my preferred playback chain. Lower noise floor, certainly more convenient and has the same (or at least remarkably similar) liquidity and involvement.

 

I will hook up a Mytek Manhattan I own when I get a FW card to slot into my server. One thing at a time.

 

Next trick is to hook up the Nadac via fiber - which should be relatively straightforward. At least in theory. Wish me luck.

Edited by Andrew S.

Best Wishes

Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is my build, designed to run headless Roon server + HG Player. Its fanless.

Streacom FC5 Alpha Fanless Case

Gigibyte GA-H170N-WIFI

6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700 Processor;

Streacom ZeroFlex 240;

Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 2400MHz ;

Samsung 850 Evo 250Gb M.2 SSD; Samsung 850 Evo 2Tb SSD;

TP Link PCIe GbE Fiber Network Card w/ Open SFP - yup fiber - Merging Nadac via FMC & SNP transreceivers.

Windows 10 Pro 64Bit OEM;

 

Thanks a lot for posting your configuration, will be very helpful for everybody! I was wondering about the CUDA stuff - is there a parameter that is crucial when choosing a CUDA compatible card - RAM for example? Or some computing capability as with CPUs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These are my current ingredients for Win10 machine:

tmp.jpg

 

Current CPU is i5-6600T, but I may later change it to i7-6700T or 6700K when it becomes reasonably available. RAM is 32 GB of Kingston DDR4-2133 Fury HyperX (CL14) (4x DIMMs). NVIDIA Quadro M4000 graphics card for offloading is coming later.


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I am running it all remotely ie headless, so loaded the Roon server edition + HQ Player, and simply added each program to the start folder to launch at start up. After some more hair pulling they are stable in config. Not so easy on Windows 10, or so it turned out. Mainly because I didn't know where anything was. Bloody UI."

 

 

You can download a free program called Classic Shell. With that, you can make the interface look exactly like Windows 7.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. Got it worked out. All good.

 

With the release of 3.12 (thanks Miska!) cpu is under 20%, ram around 10%. Runs cool.

 

Having some hassles implementing fibre across to my nadac, but that is just network issues (NIC adapters etc).

 

Very impressed with the SQ of everything DSPed to DSD 256, via Roon.

 

Cheers Miska.


Best Wishes

Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I apologize if this is slightly off-topic, but do any of you have opinions on whether the new i7/NVIDIA/16GB/512SSD version of the Microsoft Surface Book could function as a good platform for the Roon/HQPlayer combination? I know it won't be as good as a purpose built CAPS server, but it should be better than the 2010 Mac Airbook I'm currently using.


Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO M4000 Win10>Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>Fiber Switch>Sonicorbiter SE (NAA)>REGEN>Oppo BDP-105D>Bryston SP3>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...