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Server ideas for MicroRendu?


jumper
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I'm looking for some ideas as to what I should use as a server for the upcoming MicroRendu. I have some 96/24 and 192/24 hi res material from HD Tracks but mainly Redbook rips. I haven't gotten into upsampling to DSD yet so my intentions were to keep things simple and serve PCM files using something like Minimserver. I'd like to get a server for my library (previously stored on a PC) but there are so many choices and options: NAS, build a PC, build a file server, mini pc (fitlet, NUC, RPi, etc), Mac mini, laptop, etc. What are some of your preferences for a system like this?

 

Note: I do have an UpTone JS-2 to power my DAC and MicroRendu but if I pick a server that runs on 12v I would have the future option of powering it with the JS-2.

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MinimServer has been serving me really well for over a year (pun intended). I run it on my Synology NAS. Presently it streams to an Aries.

 

I do plan to replace the Aries with a microRendu. I will likely switch to Roon at that point.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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+1 to MinimServer. I run it on both a Raspberry Pi and a Synology NAS, it's the best IMHO.

 

For a server/NAS, go with Synology. Its the best, especially the OS.

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world - Martin Luther

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Thanks, a NAS would certainly be the easiest to go with but pretty one dimensional... It's my first choice but I was also trying to think outside the box, if I built a PC/server I could include a CD drive and rip directly to storage. Or if I somehow used a laptop (although not the best choice for a server) I could use it for other things as I currently don't have one (nor a tablet).

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Thanks, a NAS would certainly be the easiest to go with but pretty one dimensional... It's my first choice but I was also trying to think outside the box, if I built a PC/server I could include a CD drive and rip directly to storage. Or if I somehow used a laptop (although not the best choice for a server) I could use it for other things as I currently don't have one (nor a tablet).

 

I've actually been down this road. Trying to build a NAS from leftover PC parts, repurposing old PCs, even thinking of refurbished PCs on Ebay. But the thing with a NAS is everything needs to run and deliver 24/7. You really need NAS grade HDDs so you don't lose data, the PSU needs to run 24/7 and ditto for the processor and on top everything needs to be silent and energy efficient. If you really start spending on the required parts, you'd end up spending as much as a Synology NAS. If you go cheap you always run the risk of losing data. In the end I simply went with Synology as building my own was going to cost the same and then the additional work of configuring everything on my own. Now after using Synology I know for sure I cannot go back to building my own NAS.

 

Take a look at Vortexbox, its a nice solution for ripping, storing and running a music server.

 

PS: If its purely music, then a Raspberry Pi with an external HDD works fine too. I've used it extensively (as in 24/7) for nearly 6 months before going in with a NAS.

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world - Martin Luther

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First, answer the question if you want the server eventually to be able to do upsampling to DSD and multiple DSD, or activities like DSP alterations or room correction. The answer to that question is essential, because if it's "yes" you need a powerful server in terms of computing power and if no, almost any computer will do the trick in terms of computing power.

 

To me the two best ways to go here are a NAS like a Synology or a QNAP that are well setup for being music servers/playback devices. The other is to build/buy something like a CAPS running Windows to be your server. The first is simple and allows for automatic backing up; The second is more flexible and gives you more possiblities for customization with different software, and retains the possiblity of building something powerful enough for activities like upsampling, DSP, room correction, etc.

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: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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You may not need a server. Check first all the connectivity the mRendu gives you.

 

1) DLNA

2) uPnP

3) MPD (fileshare)

4) NAA for HQ Player

5) Apple Airplay (through Shareport)

 

DLNA/uPnP will link to some playback app. That could be on a NAS or an existing PC. The point is that you may already have these devices. The same applies for MPD (control it from your tablet or smartphone). Apple Airplay means any Apple device can be used to send the music (wherever it comes from) to the device.

 

So, a server, as in a new, powerful PC, is only necessary if you run Roon/HQ Player. You could even use an existing PC for this by having a dual Windows install. One for day-to-day use, one for a quiet, untaxed PC that only runs HQ Player. HQ Player would then need to connect to your music source.

 

This is effectively the same answer Firedog gave you, in a different way.

 

The purest way, if you do not want upsampling, is to go down the route of DLN/uPNP/MPD/Airplay.

Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu / SOtM SMS-200 --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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Thanks guys, this feedback is just what I needed. I think I'm going to start off with a NAS then and use the MicroRendu with MinimServer and BubbleUPnP. Seems tried and true, plus I'm wanting to focus on using my DAC's internal filter so no oversampling needed as of now. I can always build a server down the road for HQ Player and still use the NAS.

 

Is there any way to easily get Tidal playing nicely in this configuration?

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That would get me into a Windows based PC build, no? I'm not opposed to that. If I built a PC I'd be tempted to just get a big enough processor to have the option of running HQ Player down the road.

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Thanks guys, this feedback is just what I needed. I think I'm going to start off with a NAS then and use the MicroRendu with MinimServer and BubbleUPnP. Seems tried and true, plus I'm wanting to focus on using my DAC's internal filter so no oversampling needed as of now. I can always build a server down the road for HQ Player and still use the NAS.

 

Is there any way to easily get Tidal playing nicely in this configuration?

If by BubbleUPnP you are referring to the Android controller app, then yes, as Tidal is supported by it (as well as other online/cloud streaming services, such as Qobuz & Google Music).

 

Also, if you choose run the MicroRendu's built-in BubbleUPnP Server helper application, you get some nice features such being able to continue streaming the current playlist from Tidal & Qobuz without the need for the BubbleUPnP Android app to be left running and the ability to create an OpenHome renderer for the (normally standard UPnP/DLNA supporting) MicroRendu. This would allow you to use any OpenHome controller with the MicroRendu, including the Tidal (& Qobuz) supporting Linn Kazoo (Android, iOS, Mac & Windows), Lumin (Android & iOS) and BubbleDS Next (Android only).

 

Note, the Sonore MicroRendu having the BubbleUPnP Server helper application as a built-in component is quite unique for a renderer. You'd normally have to run the BubbleUPnP Server on a NAS or a networked computer for other standard UPnP/DLNA supporting renderers.

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

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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This sounds great! So please help keep me straight in regards to Tidal in this configuration... What route is the Tidal stream taking starting at my internet connection? The BubbleUPnP app is still just the controller correct?

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Yes, normally the BubbleUPnP Android app as the controller just tells the renderer where it should stream the music file track from by suppling the renderer with its direct URL, eg for MinimServer running on a NAS. However, since the Tidal server is external to the local network, the BubbleUPnP app can proxy stream the music file, if the renderer doesn't have the ability to access external servers. In other words it can stream the music file track from Tidal for the renderer, so instead of supplying it with a direct URL to the Tidal server, it supplies it with a URL to the local stream that it is buffering while streaming from Tidal. The BubbleUPnP app automatically forces proxying for renderers that it detects can't access external servers and you can also configure the BubbleUPnP app to manually use proxy in its settings.

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

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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I think I follow, and sorry if I'm not... So with proxy streaming is the Tidal stream going wirelessly through my Android device before getting to the MicroRendu? If so then that is a much different route than the one from a NAS, and it would be interesting comparing SQ of the same track played from both a NAS with Minimserver and Tidal.

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Yes, indeed. Though I wouldn't expect an extra node in the overall network connection to Tidal, ie the Android device, to in itself have an impact on sound quality. Also, if you are running the BubbleUPnP Server, such as the one pre-installed in the MicroRendu, it automatically takes over the Tidal proxy. So with that configuration, the MicroRendu will streaming directly from the Tidal server, albeit via its internal BubbleUPnP Server.

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

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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I'm clear now, thanks. I look forward to trying this out. Do you think the Bubbleserver on the MicroRendu takes up a lot of its resources to make any impact? Just asking out of curiosity as I'll defintely try it out for myself at some point. I know the MicrRendu is all about running minimal processes.

 

It's nice that I could have Tidal up and running independently of having a file server figured out for my library. And with oversampling taking place in my DAC's internal filter it should sound pretty good through the MicroRendu (I've only been trying the Tidal trial on my desktop system as of yet).

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I'm clear now, thanks. I look forward to trying this out. Do you think the Bubbleserver on the MicroRendu takes up a lot of its resources to make any impact? Just asking out of curiosity as I'll defintely try it out for myself at some point. I know the MicrRendu is all about running minimal processes.
Good point and further to that the BubbleUPnP Server does use the Java Runtime Environment, so further resource use to consider. I can't say if it'll have an impact on sound quality, though I would expect it to use less resources than say a full blown media server application, such as the Squeezebox/Logitech Media Server (which the MicroRendu also has a built-in option for), even if you include the required JRE.

 

Of course you do have the option to run the BubbleUPnP Server externally, eg on the NAS that you'll be installing MinimServer on, say. Incidentally, MimimServer also uses the JRE.

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

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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Thanks for your great insight Cebolla. Not to beat a dead horse but where do you think makes the most sense to run BubbleUPnP Server - the MicroRendu or the NAS? Or pick the third option of proxy streaming from my Android device? If I had the MicroRendu already I would try all three to see for myself. Which do you prefer or find has more of an advantage?

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Thanks for your great insight Cebolla. Not to beat a dead horse but where do you think makes the most sense to run BubbleUPnP Server - the MicroRendu or the NAS? Or pick the third option of proxy streaming from my Android device? If I had the MicroRendu already I would try all three to see for myself. Which do you prefer or find has more of an advantage?

 

Not Cebolla but...

 

I've tried it (actually both MinimServer and BubbleUPnP Server) on both the Pi and also the NAS. Not much of a difference as the Pi was extremely capable of handling both though the Synology has a much more powerful Intel CPU.

 

I've continued using the Pi though.

 

While not extremely relevant to music, but if you are running something like a torrentbox or a Piratebox (kind of local Dropbox for the family or apartments) it makes sense to use the Pi with a USB pendrive rather than the NAS so the HDDs don't keep spinning all the time or when not in use for media consumption. I'm not sure how much HDD activity is there for either MinimServer or BubbleUPnP Server when you are not playing music, but since I was using the Pi anyways I moved the servers to the Pi. I do use the NAS for Plex and transcoding video, but that's something beyond the Pi's ability.

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world - Martin Luther

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Not Cebolla but...

 

I've tried it (actually both MinimServer and BubbleUPnP Server) on both the Pi and also the NAS. Not much of a difference as the Pi was extremely capable of handling both though the Synology has a much more powerful Intel CPU.

 

I've continued using the Pi though.

 

While not extremely relevant to music, but if you are running something like a torrentbox or a Piratebox (kind of local Dropbox for the family or apartments) it makes sense to use the Pi with a USB pendrive rather than the NAS so the HDDs don't keep spinning all the time or when not in use for media consumption. I'm not sure how much HDD activity is there for either MinimServer or BubbleUPnP Server when you are not playing music, but since I was using the Pi anyways I moved the servers to the Pi. I do use the NAS for Plex and transcoding video, but that's something beyond the Pi's ability.

 

Thanks, whatever storage machine I use be it NAS, Pi, etc it will only be serving my 2 channel system. And sometimes there are whole weeks I don't fire the system up. This may sound a bit petty or not well founded but the idea of the shared bus between ethernet and USB bothers me, especially in a NAS style configuration.

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This may sound a bit petty or not well founded but the idea of the shared bus between ethernet and USB bothers me, especially in a NAS style configuration.

 

Let me assure you those claims are exaggerated. FLAC/WAV and even 4K video is well within the b/w requirements of the shared ethernet and USB on the Pi. Not an issue in anyway, especially for music. I even transcode on the fly with the Pi, absolutely no issues, and I've been using it for over 6 months now.

 

That said I'd not use the Pi for strictly a NAS setting. Transferring huge volumes of data will take a long time as its limited to 60 mbps or thereabouts.

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world - Martin Luther

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Thanks guys, this feedback is just what I needed. I think I'm going to start off with a NAS then and use the MicroRendu with MinimServer and BubbleUPnP. Seems tried and true, plus I'm wanting to focus on using my DAC's internal filter so no oversampling needed as of now.
I've been using this setup (Synology 411slim NAS) with a sMS-100 and a Sonicorbiter SE very successfully, and I plan to continue if I upgrade one/both of those to microRendus. My main recommendation is to set up a solid home Ethernet network, avoiding wireless or powerline bridges that are way too sensitive to various noise sources. I have the house all wired with Cat 6 and pro-level 1Gb Ethernet router (Ubiquiti EdgeRouter PoE) and switches (Netgear ProSAFE Plus). NAS stays in a closet far from the renderers. I've also been upgrading DC power to the renderers (Teddy Pardo PS for the sMS-100 and iFi DC iPurifier in line with linear PS for the Sonicorbiter SE). Overall pretty happy with all of this: very reliable streaming, noise levels below what I can discern, upgrades I may do will be to renderers (to microRendu) or to downstream components.
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