Jump to content
IGNORED

Beginner question about a bare-bones two-channel audio-only server


mink70
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone, and apologies for the newbie question.

 

I'm currently trying to replace a 2009 MacBook Pro (running JRiver with a bus-powered Firewire HD) as my music server. I am looking for a very simple system that will do one thing: serve lossless music files to my Ayre Codex DAC over USB. I don't need anything else: wireless connectivity, video, streaming, access from multiple computers, RAID, etc. I'm happy to keep my music on a single HD and back up manually. I'd love to use my iPhone to control playback. What is the simplest, cheapest way to get my MacBook out of the picture? Raspberry PI? Sonore Sonicorbiter SE? NAS?

 

Again, apologies for my lack of expertise.

 

Thanks in advance!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, is the sound quality of the PI pretty good? I imagine it doesn't measure up to purpose-built servers like the Aries Mini....

 

I haven't done a direct comparison with an Aries Mini, and I've never heard one. But in general I think a Raspberry Pi2 with a good power supply like an iFi Audio iPower (with an extra adapter needed for micro USB), and maybe a couple of Audioquest Jitterbugs is a really good sounding device. I prefer it to the original Raspberry Pi and to the BeagleBone Black which I used to use as audio servers. People on this forum have compared the sound of Pi music servers very favourably with the more expensive Mac Mini/Audivarna combination.

System (i): (Stack Audio Link/MoOde > 2Qute+MCRU psu; Gyrodec/SME V/Ortofon 2M Black/EAT E-Glo Petit/Magnum Dynalab FT101A) > Glow Amp One > Klipsch RP-600M

System (ii): iUSB3.0 Nano/Allo USB Signature/MoOde > Bel Canto uLink+AQVOX psu > Chord Hugo > (Tandy LX5; JBL LSR305 ; Audeze LCD-3)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Richard. And I take it the Pi2 is still preferable for music to the the newer Pi3?

 

I think it's too early to tell. I believe the latest test release of MoOde Audio supports the Pi3. I'm not sure about the other MPD based Linux music distributions such as Volumio, Archphile, MuBox or RuneAudio. It is possible that the faster CPU might generate more noise, or it might mean that because the CPU is faster it is being more lightly loaded and therefore generating less noise. And maybe the built in WiFi in the Pi3 generates noise, or maybe the possibility of using the Pi3's built in WiFi instead of wired ethernet will make the Pi3 less noisy. Choices, choices..

System (i): (Stack Audio Link/MoOde > 2Qute+MCRU psu; Gyrodec/SME V/Ortofon 2M Black/EAT E-Glo Petit/Magnum Dynalab FT101A) > Glow Amp One > Klipsch RP-600M

System (ii): iUSB3.0 Nano/Allo USB Signature/MoOde > Bel Canto uLink+AQVOX psu > Chord Hugo > (Tandy LX5; JBL LSR305 ; Audeze LCD-3)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks. Can I simply plug in an external USB HD into the PI? Or do I need NAS?

 

Yes. No need for a NAS. Having externally powered HDD will be better than having it draw power from the Pi.

 

Also, is the sound quality of the PI pretty good? I imagine it doesn't measure up to purpose-built servers like the Aries Mini....

 

In terms of specs the Aries would be similar, RAM, ARM processor, etc. The only issue the "audiophiles" have is the Pi uses a shared BUS for USB and ethernet i.e. bandwidth is shared between all 4 USB ports and ethernet. The Pi averages around 60 Mbps in transfers, so if you plug in ethernet, and 4 external HDDs, the b/w will be shared across all of them. Most of us would only plug in one external HDD and ethernet or a WiFi dongle and use the Pi only for audio or video playback... in which case the 60 Mbps b/w is more than enough - many times over. 4K video via Netflix needs 20-25 Mbps, much within what the Pi delivers, so there will be no issues with audio - that is in terms of audio and b/w.

 

In terms of SQ - well that's highly subjective. I've seen the Pi used in many setups with excellent DACs like Chord 2Qute and also with the likes of USB Regen and in every instance it held its own. In my own system it hands down wins over all of the sources and transports I've used over the years including $2500 PCs with only a $3500 Ayon CD player being the best source I've owned. Of course do consider that's $35 for the Pi.

 

Thanks Richard. And I take it the Pi2 is still preferable for music to the the newer Pi3?

 

Pi 3 has better specs so should be the obvious choice. Also, the inbuilt WiFi will make it even more of a portable server/streamer/player/DAC/amp, etc. and perfect for multi-room/multi-zone functionality.

 

I'd go with Pi 3, but you'd not find anything lacking with the Pi 2 either.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd go with Pi 3, but you'd not find anything lacking with the Pi 2 either.

 

Thank you so much for the response!

 

My wifi router is quite far from my stereo, so running ethernet would be clunky. A wifi dongle, a USB HD, and a USB out to the DAC would not make the bus too noisy?

 

Also, I assumed that the inbuilt wifi on the Pi3 would add noise to the bus, too. Is this incorrect?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for the response!

 

My wifi router is quite far from my stereo, so running ethernet would be clunky. A wifi dongle, a USB HD, and a USB out to the DAC would not make the bus too noisy?

 

Also, I assumed that the inbuilt wifi on the Pi3 would add noise to the bus, too. Is this incorrect?

 

Pi 3, the USB and wireless LAN do not share the same BUS. That makes the inbuilt WiFi an added advantage.

 

I use wireless streaming (via MinimServer) and the Pi achieves galvanic isolation. This improves the SQ especially in terms of noise floor.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use wireless streaming (via MinimServer) and the Pi achieves galvanic isolation. This improves the SQ especially in terms of noise floor.

 

Sorry to be thick, but do you mean you stream wirelessly from a NAS to the PI using a wifi dongle or the inbuilt wireless?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to be thick, but do you mean you stream wirelessly from a NAS to the PI using a wifi dongle or the inbuilt wireless?

 

I stream wirelessly from the NAS.

 

I also stream wirelessly from the Pi that is connected to the NAS. I've Pi 2 and use ethernet, and no WiFi dongle.

 

In both instances I mean running MinimServer + BubbleUPnP Server that lets me stream audio wirelessly to multiple devices.

 

You can say the Pi is redundant or I could simply use the NAS, but I prefer to rest the NAS and all of its spinning drives when not in use, so I use the Pi for streaming the likes of internet radio, streaming services, MinimServer, BubbleUPnP Server, etc.

 

I use the NAS as a server and the Pi as a streamer for audio.

I use the NAS as a server and the NAS as a streamer for video.

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

Link to comment
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
 Share



×
×
  • Create New...