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Ayre Acoustics QX-5 Twenty – The Digital Hub


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So which Melco were you using? I"m looking at the N1ZH. I would really love to have Roon. Do you think the Intel server you have rounds better than Melco used as a NAS and not as a server?

 

I have the Melco N1A. The N1ZH costs about 4 times more. It is only available in Japan because there is not enough "matched pair" SSD to go around. I tried playback from Melco as music server. No, no real gain and the control of playback from Melco is a mess.

 

I have been playing around with several servers. I prefer my DIY server because:-

 

(1) All the small servers are using low power or low performance CPU. This is especially so if you want to run "fanless". Mine is a Intel 8-core extreme series CPU, you will never find this on any other music server....period.

 

(2) Using the NAS to stream your music is a no-go. The low power CPU is already laden with the disc storage task and still have to handle your music streaming, you think about that.

 

(3) With a full size server motherboard, I am not limited to any PCIe card that I want to install. In fact to isolate the USB away from my server, I use a Adnaco USB kit....my server can be 20 metres away from the rack and the streaming data travel to my rack as a beam of light.

 

(4) The highest capacity of a SSD currently is 2TB. Not quite enough....so, I bought 8 X Samsung 1TB SSD and run them in RAID 10. The benefit is that we can greatly improve the speed by extracting data from 4 SSD simultaneously at one go and yet there is redundancy to prevent loss of data. Yes, we can do this on any motherboard but I use a RAID card to take away the RAID workload from the CPU. The CPU only need to take care of streaming....the RAID card extract data from the banks of SSD. Neat,huh?

 

(5) No, I don't use SSD for the system drive. M2 SSD provide a phenomenal 32Gb /s (PCIe Gen 3 X4)....that's 8 times the speed of a standard SSD (6 Gb/s). This feature can only be found on ATX size, high power chipset motherboard.

 

(6) The X-99 motherboard access rams 4 pieces at one go....all 8 ram slots are populated with the latest DDR-4 to give a total of 64GB now.

 

(7) I provide the server, the most powerful PC power supply you could get on the market. Many, for fear of fan noise, go find fanless power supply or linear power supply that limit the power....again limiting the performance. With the Corsair AX1500i, you will NEVER be short of power. And the bonus is....it is ACTUALLY fanless because it is so big in size, it runs very cool. The fan only turns when it needs to....so, since the CPU is only streaming music, the most powerful PC power supply runs fanless...the fan never turns.

 

(8) Yes, you are crying foul....all the EMI, all the noise and the bulk size of the server.....how awful. No, I link the server up with a fiber for the Ethernet as well...so, I have fiber USB using the Adnaco, and I use media convertors for that Ethernet line. I got total isolation.

 

 

(9) And ultimately, I run Windows Server 2012 with Audiophile Optimizer. This is a very significant game changer for awesome sound quality. It removes all unnecessary PC services and allow your CPU to focus entirely on the music streaming.

 

 

So, are you not convinced?

 

 

(Audio)

 

 

PS- I just completed a Intel NUC (NUC5i7RYH) to work as a portable music server for travel and demo with friends. You can hear the difference very readily between the full size server and the NUC.....you get what you paid for. Both are running with the same OS with Audiophile Optimizer.

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Thanks, so much of what you are doing is over my head. Can you run Roon with your server set up? I'll be using the QX5 for streaming. What makes your server set up better than say an isolated QNAP NAS? I just need a place to store music and get it to the QX5 Twenty. I may leave it on the net for my bedroom system the Linn Kiko, but only if it doesn't hurt the rest of the system.

 

How much does it cost for your set up? The Melco I'm looking at is their higher end one that used hard drives as it's for the US market. it's only 4k or so I believe. As much as I want the ultimate sound quietly, I really need something that's fun and easy to control and that's the one reason I haven't run out and gotten the Melco. I heard they are working on their own interface to use it, but who knows when that will happen. I also need an easy way to rip about 2k CDs onto the hard drives bit perfect. Still trying to learn so much.

 

I have the Melco N1A. The N1ZH costs about 4 times more. It is only available in Japan because there is not enough "matched pair" SSD to go around. I tried playback from Melco as music server. No, no real gain and the control of playback from Melco is a mess.

 

I have been playing around with several servers. I prefer my DIY server because:-

 

(1) All the small servers are using low power or low performance CPU. This is especially so if you want to run "fanless". Mine is a Intel 8-core extreme series CPU, you will never find this on any other music server....period.

 

(2) Using the NAS to stream your music is a no-go. The low power CPU is already laden with the disc storage task and still have to handle your music streaming, you think about that.

 

(3) With a full size server motherboard, I am not limited to any PCIe card that I want to install. In fact to isolate the USB away from my server, I use a Adnaco USB kit....my server can be 20 metres away from the rack and the streaming data travel to my rack as a beam of light.

 

(4) The highest capacity of a SSD currently is 2TB. Not quite enough....so, I bought 8 X Samsung 1TB SSD and run them in RAID 10. The benefit is that we can greatly improve the speed by extracting data from 4 SSD simultaneously at one go and yet there is redundancy to prevent loss of data. Yes, we can do this on any motherboard but I use a RAID card to take away the RAID workload from the CPU. The CPU only need to take care of streaming....the RAID card extract data from the banks of SSD. Neat,huh?

 

(5) No, I don't use SSD for the system drive. M2 SSD provide a phenomenal 32Gb /s (PCIe Gen 3 X4)....that's 8 times the speed of a standard SSD (6 Gb/s). This feature can only be found on ATX size, high power chipset motherboard.

 

(6) The X-99 motherboard access rams 4 pieces at one go....all 8 ram slots are populated with the latest DDR-4 to give a total of 64GB now.

 

(7) I provide the server, the most powerful PC power supply you could get on the market. Many, for fear of fan noise, go find fanless power supply or linear power supply that limit the power....again limiting the performance. With the Corsair AX1500i, you will NEVER be short of power. And the bonus is....it is ACTUALLY fanless because it is so big in size, it runs very cool. The fan only turns when it needs to....so, since the CPU is only streaming music, the most powerful PC power supply runs fanless...the fan never turns.

 

(8) Yes, you are crying foul....all the EMI, all the noise and the bulk size of the server.....how awful. No, I link the server up with a fiber for the Ethernet as well...so, I have fiber USB using the Adnaco, and I use media convertors for that Ethernet line. I got total isolation.

 

 

(9) And ultimately, I run Windows Server 2012 with Audiophile Optimizer. This is a very significant game changer for awesome sound quality. It removes all unnecessary PC services and allow your CPU to focus entirely on the music streaming.

 

 

So, are you not convinced?

 

 

(Audio)

 

 

PS- I just completed a Intel NUC (NUC5i7RYH) to work as a portable music server for travel and demo with friends. You can hear the difference very readily between the full size server and the NUC.....you get what you paid for. Both are running with the same OS with Audiophile Optimizer.

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Hi Everyone,

I currently have a Berkeley Alpha DAC II linked to a MacBook Pro running Audirvana via a Berkeley Alpha USB interface. I have been monitoring this thread with much excitement as the QX5 has been on my radar for an upgrade since Ayre announced its roll out earlier this year. My question to those new owners of the QX5 is, which audio player software are you currently using to interface your computer to the QX5? I am also curious on your initial impressions of how the QX5 sounds playing computer-based music files via the USB input. My set up would be music files on an external SSD linked to the MacBook Pro via a ethernet cable. This in turn feeds the USB ReGen/Berkeley Alpha USB and downstream DAC II. Much thanks for your comments.

Tom

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On phone so can't post much but I have a completely rebuilt Mac mini with separate Paul Hynes LPS and reclocked. Using the audioquest diamond USB with Amarra (older version) and it still sounds as good as any of the newer severs I've heard so far that used USB. Also streaming Tidal using the Ayre streamer. It's an incredible unit and well worth the cost if you can afford it. I stretched it and am so glad I did

 

 

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JRiver sounds best to my ears but it could be placebo. I think Roon has the best interface by far but if you run the Roon core on the pc connected to your dac, I think the extra cpu overhead it creates gives JRiver the edge. I keep going back to JRiver. Roon sounds thinner to me.

 

I am on PC, however.

 

 

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Roon/Jriver 22 -> Ayre QX-5 Twenty -> Ayre AX-5 Twenty -> B&W N802D (Transparent Cables)

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I have the Melco N1A. The N1ZH costs about 4 times more. It is only available in Japan because there is not enough "matched pair" SSD to go around. I tried playback from Melco as music server. No, no real gain and the control of playback from Melco is a mess.

 

I have been playing around with several servers. I prefer my DIY server because:-

 

(1) All the small servers are using low power or low performance CPU. This is especially so if you want to run "fanless". Mine is a Intel 8-core extreme series CPU, you will never find this on any other music server....period.

 

(2) Using the NAS to stream your music is a no-go. The low power CPU is already laden with the disc storage task and still have to handle your music streaming, you think about that.

 

(3) With a full size server motherboard, I am not limited to any PCIe card that I want to install. In fact to isolate the USB away from my server, I use a Adnaco USB kit....my server can be 20 metres away from the rack and the streaming data travel to my rack as a beam of light.

 

(4) The highest capacity of a SSD currently is 2TB. Not quite enough....so, I bought 8 X Samsung 1TB SSD and run them in RAID 10. The benefit is that we can greatly improve the speed by extracting data from 4 SSD simultaneously at one go and yet there is redundancy to prevent loss of data. Yes, we can do this on any motherboard but I use a RAID card to take away the RAID workload from the CPU. The CPU only need to take care of streaming....the RAID card extract data from the banks of SSD. Neat,huh?

 

(5) No, I don't use SSD for the system drive. M2 SSD provide a phenomenal 32Gb /s (PCIe Gen 3 X4)....that's 8 times the speed of a standard SSD (6 Gb/s). This feature can only be found on ATX size, high power chipset motherboard.

 

(6) The X-99 motherboard access rams 4 pieces at one go....all 8 ram slots are populated with the latest DDR-4 to give a total of 64GB now.

 

(7) I provide the server, the most powerful PC power supply you could get on the market. Many, for fear of fan noise, go find fanless power supply or linear power supply that limit the power....again limiting the performance. With the Corsair AX1500i, you will NEVER be short of power. And the bonus is....it is ACTUALLY fanless because it is so big in size, it runs very cool. The fan only turns when it needs to....so, since the CPU is only streaming music, the most powerful PC power supply runs fanless...the fan never turns.

 

(8) Yes, you are crying foul....all the EMI, all the noise and the bulk size of the server.....how awful. No, I link the server up with a fiber for the Ethernet as well...so, I have fiber USB using the Adnaco, and I use media convertors for that Ethernet line. I got total isolation.

 

 

(9) And ultimately, I run Windows Server 2012 with Audiophile Optimizer. This is a very significant game changer for awesome sound quality. It removes all unnecessary PC services and allow your CPU to focus entirely on the music streaming.

 

 

So, are you not convinced?

 

 

(Audio)

 

 

PS- I just completed a Intel NUC (NUC5i7RYH) to work as a portable music server for travel and demo with friends. You can hear the difference very readily between the full size server and the NUC.....you get what you paid for. Both are running with the same OS with Audiophile Optimizer.

 

 

You DO NOT have total isolation. The noise from that beast gets fed back into the power lines and ends up at your dac and components. I have a similar system for gaming and it triggers my noise harvester blinky things like crazy. Just having a switching power supply plugged into the wall socket is bad.

 

Also, that build is really expensive. The CPU alone is $800? 8 cores? For what purpose? Is playback even coded for multiple threads/cores?

 

Now if you want to play Grand Theft Auto V or Battlefield, have at it! Dude ya got PC gamer written all over ya. You've been exposed.

 

 

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Roon/Jriver 22 -> Ayre QX-5 Twenty -> Ayre AX-5 Twenty -> B&W N802D (Transparent Cables)

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You DO NOT have total isolation. The noise from that beast gets fed back into the power lines and ends up at your dac and components. I have a similar system for gaming and it triggers my noise harvester blinky things like crazy. Just having a switching power supply plugged into the wall socket is bad.

 

Also, that build is really expensive. The CPU alone is $800? 8 cores? For what purpose? Is playback even coded for multiple threads/cores?

 

Now if you want to play Grand Theft Auto V or Battlefield, have at it! Dude ya got PC gamer written all over ya. You've been exposed.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

No, I am sorry to disappoint you.

 

I didn't tell you that I am using a PurePower 3000+ power regenerator.

 

Whenever EMI, RF, harmonics, the switching power supply could not get into my system because my system is using power generated by a bank of 80VDC batteries.....

 

I have tried....by turning off and on the AC supply towards the generator, the sonic quality remains the same ....the DC batteries are regenerating the AC power to my system EXCLUDING that powerful music server PC. That is why it is 20 metres away and only linked with a beam of light.

 

 

I recalled having paid a grand for the CPU....but hey, I am running Windows Server 2012....surely it must be using the cores, they are charging the license by CPUs...if not, so be it, I am "future proof" if any application need multi-core support. End of the day, I gave it my best shot......

 

 

(Audio)

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Well in that case you are isolated. Like I said I have a similar build, with a six core Haswell-E, for games, but I don't think you need all that power for slinging digital files. 64GB DDR4 is expensive. I can't even fully utilize 16GB.

 

There is no way you are utilizing all 8 cores and all that ram. You built the most expensive pc possible, which is fine, but I fail to see what the purpose of paying for the 8 core chip and 64 GB ram is when you are probably using less than 10% of what it can do.

 

 

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Roon/Jriver 22 -> Ayre QX-5 Twenty -> Ayre AX-5 Twenty -> B&W N802D (Transparent Cables)

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I'm really wanting to use Roon. I have vacillated between Melco or a system using Roon. Roon is starting to win out I think. I will either get a Music Vault as I know it sounds awesome or just get a new Roon NUC I guess it's called and set up a hard drive. Back to talking with my system engineer friends to figure out what will sound best and be easiest to use. Oh man what a pain. I do think of having a server built as I will use the streamer from the QX5 anyways.

 

 

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I was thinking of building a custom PC for music, then I came across the relatively affordable Nimitra music server by Fidelizer and pulled the trigger. I was really impressed with its performance especially given the low powered cpu and modest 4GB ram and low powered consumption. It easily competes with other servers costing much much more. I am using a JS-2 to power it and the this combination is heavenly.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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I'm really wanting to use Roon. I have vacillated between Melco or a system using Roon. Roon is starting to win out I think. I will either get a Music Vault as I know it sounds awesome or just get a new Roon NUC I guess it's called and set up a hard drive. Back to talking with my system engineer friends to figure out what will sound best and be easiest to use. Oh man what a pain. I do think of having a server built as I will use the streamer from the QX5 anyways.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

 

I have Roon to microRendu fed via a Melco in my system and it is excellent. I was an early adopter of the Melco and it's a great device. It seems to have become a default for other manufacturers when demoing their own digital kit, which is a good reflection.

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That server wouldn't be of any help with Roon as it's not powerful enough.

 

I was thinking of building a custom PC for music, then I came across the relatively affordable Nimitra music server by Fidelizer and pulled the trigger. I was really impressed with its performance especially given the low powered cpu and modest 4GB ram and low powered consumption. It easily competes with other servers costing much much more. I am using a JS-2 to power it and the this combination is heavenly.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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What do you have connected to what? I was told that there is no way to run Roon properly with a Melco unit. I wish that others op systems would be able to compete with Roon or for Roon to somehow build their system to be able to run on the Melco op system, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

 

I have Roon to microRendu fed via a Melco in my system and it is excellent. I was an early adopter of the Melco and it's a great device. It seems to have become a default for other manufacturers when demoing their own digital kit, which is a good reflection.
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Also please clarify for me. You are telling us that your server is outstanding and easily competes with other costing much much more, but you have asked for a price quote yesterday on another thread working with Phil and his custom server (which is still in my thoughts as a potential). When you read this thread, you can tell that by the products I'm asking about and writing about are in the near reference category. This Ayre DAC is honestly one of the best sounding, most musical digital device I've heard and I have heard a lot of the mega expensive and well known DAC's on the market. It is worthy of the best servers out there. I'll repost my current server which is about as good as any I've ever heard. It's a rebuilt Steve Nugent (of Empirical Audio) Mac Mini with Paul Hynes power supply. Everything about it is top of the line with new components etc.. It's the unit he used to use at his shows. For now, it's awesome, but I'm hoping for a one box solution if possible, that can be controlled by an pad and or phone easily. The Mac I have sounds as good as the Aurender W20 in many aspects.

 

I was thinking of building a custom PC for music, then I came across the relatively affordable Nimitra music server by Fidelizer and pulled the trigger. I was really impressed with its performance especially given the low powered cpu and modest 4GB ram and low powered consumption. It easily competes with other servers costing much much more. I am using a JS-2 to power it and the this combination is heavenly.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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What do you have connected to what? I was told that there is no way to run Roon properly with a Melco unit. I wish that others op systems would be able to compete with Roon or for Roon to somehow build their system to be able to run on the Melco op system, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

 

I agree that it would be good if Melco could operate as a Roon end point as that would reduce the number of devices needed. I currently have the Melco operating as my NAS and it is connected to the network via Ethernet. The microRendu is connected to the Melco via Ethernet and is the Roon endpoint.

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does it hurt the sound at all? So the Melco has two ethernet connections as we know. One of for hooking up to the internet and the other ws going to be for me to connect it to the QX5. Does the Micro Rendu connect to the ethernet connection number 2 and then I'd connect the QX5 via the USB connection from the Melco? Then I assume I'd go onto the wifi and set things up to point at each other, or whoever that's done? I was going to only use the Melco as the NAS anyways as I like the streamer in the QX5. Why don't others talk bout this set up with regards to Melco?

 

I agree that it would be good if Melco could operate as a Roon end point as that would reduce the number of devices needed. I currently have the Melco operating as my NAS and it is connected to the network via Ethernet. The microRendu is connected to the Melco via Ethernet and is the Roon endpoint.
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does it hurt the sound at all? So the Melco has two ethernet connections as we know. One of for hooking up to the internet and the other ws going to be for me to connect it to the QX5. Does the Micro Rendu connect to the ethernet connection number 2 and then I'd connect the QX5 via the USB connection from the Melco? Then I assume I'd go onto the wifi and set things up to point at each other, or whoever that's done? I was going to only use the Melco as the NAS anyways as I like the streamer in the QX5. Why don't others talk bout this set up with regards to Melco?

Yes, you would connect in exactly that way. Mine is connected as you suggested with the mR connecting by USB into my Chord DAVE DAC, but you could alternatively connect the QX-5 by Ethernet to the Melco as you suggested and you wouldn't need the microRendu.

 

Before the DAVE, I previously had a Chord DSX1000 which is a streamer/DAC and the Melco was connected by Ethernet and it sounded very good. If you are going to get the QX-5, then I'd just go via Ethernet to the Melco and leave it at that unless there was something about that approach that you didn't like the sound of. Sometimes, different inputs sound better/worse than each other on some devices. On my DSX1000, Ethernet sounded much better than BNC coax, which was the only other input.

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The Melco was originally just an audiophile NAS when it first came out. It was a few months until they added more options, including USB output into a DAC. The sound quality improvement was worth it to me as a NAS alone and the other enhancements were icing on the cake. The only thing that it lacks is a decent control interface but, since adopting Roon, I'm not to bothered about that any more. I would really like to see Melco support Roon as I could remove another item and run everything through the Melco and my CD transport.

 

The sound quality with Melco direct into the QX-5 via Ethernet should be excellent. The QX-5 looks an interesting device and definitely something I'd be interested in if I didn't have the DAVE.

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I have and love the QX5. The only thing is that I want a really nice and fun to use interface.

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That's easy - Roon it is then!

 

Apart from being a great interface, and in addition to the way it integrates TIDAL into your music collection, you can also use it to control any number of other devices around the house as well as run multi room across otherwise incompatible devices.

 

Then there is the WAF. My wife hated the fact that I had different apps for different devices and she could never get anything working. I had to buy a CD transport mainly to give her a 'just press play' option. She loves Roon now and is happy.

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Also please clarify for me. You are telling us that your server is outstanding and easily competes with other costing much much more, but you have asked for a price quote yesterday on another thread working with Phil and his custom server (which is still in my thoughts as a potential). When you read this thread, you can tell that by the products I'm asking about and writing about are in the near reference category. This Ayre DAC is honestly one of the best sounding, most musical digital device I've heard and I have heard a lot of the mega expensive and well known DAC's on the market. It is worthy of the best servers out there. I'll repost my current server which is about as good as any I've ever heard. It's a rebuilt Steve Nugent (of Empirical Audio) Mac Mini with Paul Hynes power supply. Everything about it is top of the line with new components etc.. It's the unit he used to use at his shows. For now, it's awesome, but I'm hoping for a one box solution if possible, that can be controlled by an pad and or phone easily. The Mac I have sounds as good as the Aurender W20 in many aspects.

 

My server is win 10 and I am very happy with its performance, but I am reading a lot about the benefits of headless servers running win server 2012 and now 2016 is also available. I have no experience with win server but I am intrigued by running in 'core mode' and how it compares to a very well tuned win 10 performance. This is the nature of the hobby, to keep exploring new frontiers. Your server must be phenomenal if it is at the w20 level. I hope I can audition the Ayre Dac when I have sometime. For now you must be really enjoying your excellent system, happy listening!

 

 

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I have an original Berkeley DAC which has been wonderful. I think its time to update, so I am going for the Ayre QX-5 Twenty.

 

However, no matter how pleased I've been with my digital side, it's never held a candle to the best of my analog system.

 

Any experience with how the Ayre compares to high quality analog system?

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