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Roon + HQPlayer server (fanless, if possible)


JJarego
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Hi!

 

Like many in the forum (to which I'm new):

- I think Roon delivers the best front-end available;

- I discovered (recently) HQPlayer. I subscribed it since the SQ is outstanding;

- My experience confirms the idea that upsampling done by a good DSP (like HQPlayer) outperforms the DAC upsampling ...

- I've learned how CPU hungry is the HQPlayer (specially in DSD, as expected)

 

So, I need to replace my dedicated server and would like that it would check the following boxes:

  1. Be able to run ROON + HQPlayer upsampling to DSD 512  ... and, if this is not asking too much, use the xtr family of filters (heavy as hell but the ones I like the most)
  2. Silent and relatively compact due do space restrictions and the fact that I must keep it in the system room. Silent implies fanless cooling and compact means that a case no bigger than the Streacom FC10 would be ideal
  3. The FC10 is specified to TDP up to 95W, but 65W is the comfortable(?) TDP. [should I really stick to the 65W or can I stretch it up to the 95W limit? ... air circulation is not constrained]

I hope that these conditions are not exclusive ... :$ 

A CPU like the AMD Ryzen 1700 has a TDP of 65W and its performance seems decent (?) ... but would it support DSD 512 + xtr filters?

 

Other questions:

- Would a LPS (say from Teradak or JCAT) bring a significanf improvement regarding a ZF 240 (SMPS but a very decent one?)

- Are the Femto USB and NET cards from JCAT a recommendable upgrade?

- How important are the SATA cables and SATA noise filters?

- Wouldn't it be preferable (even if more costly) using a 2TB SSD than a smaller SSD + an HDD? 

 

Thank you!:)

Joao

 

 

 

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I have both HQPlayer and ROON running on i7700 CPU that has TDP of 65W, and be able to upsample to DSD512 using Poly-sinc-xtr / mp -2 filters, and it can run without CUDA Offload.  In order to run Poly-sinc-xtr / mp non-2's filters, you will need a CPU with much more physical cores than just 4 as well as enough L3 cache.  I know of one person successfully build and run all HQPlayer non-2's filters using AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, and he think 1920X likely will work as well, but I have not seen any confimation on this.  In any case, this will take the TDP up to 180W, which is going to be very challenging finding a suitable fanless case.

 

I do have both JCAT Femto USB and NET cards in my system, and I can recommend them without hesitation.  They both bring significant SQ improve for my system.  If you are going to get them, plan for good linear power supplies, as they do help contribute additional SQ improvement.

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16 minutes ago, elan120 said:

I have both HQPlayer and ROON running on i7700 CPU that has TDP of 65W, and be able to upsample to DSD512 using Poly-sinc-xtr / mp -2 filters, and it can run without CUDA Offload.  In order to run Poly-sinc-xtr / mp non-2's filters, you will need a CPU with much more physical cores than just 4 as well as enough L3 cache.  I know of one person successfully build and run all HQPlayer non-2's filters using AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, and he think 1920X likely will work as well, but I have not seen any confimation on this.  In any case, this will take the TDP up to 180W, which is going to be very challenging finding a suitable fanless case.

 

I do have both JCAT Femto USB and NET cards in my system, and I can recommend them without hesitation.  They both bring significant SQ improve for my system.  If you are going to get them, plan for good linear power supplies, as they do help contribute additional SQ improvement.

 

Thanks a lot! Yes, I imagine that a monster like the 1950X will be able to run (almost) anything one may throw at it ... but there is no way - as you mention - one can cool it passively :|

 

I do lean towards getting the Femto cards and an LPS. Thanks for sharing your experience! :)

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My i7-6950X + GTX 1080 combo, although with fans is quiet enough even for listening room. Needed a bit of care on component selection and BIOS fan control tuning, but I'm quite happy. This one is running Windows and driving T+A DAC8 DSD and exaSound e28.

 

Alternatively, if you are anyway remotely controlling Roon, by utilizing a NAA you could as well place the server outside of listening room. Then you don't need to worry about how quiet it is. If music storage is on spinning HDD, those are easily louder than quiet cooling fans and become the major source of acoustic noise. So placing server with HDDs outside of listening room is beneficial in that way too.

 

I also have completely fanless server (i5-7600T just 35W TDP) server driving the Holo Spring DAC, but for DSD512 I use mostly -2s filter variants on it. It runs HQPlayer Embedded and boots from M.2 flash.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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13 minutes ago, Miska said:

My i7-6950X + GTX 1080 combo, although with fans is quiet enough even for listening room. Needed a bit of care on component selection and BIOS fan control tuning, but I'm quite happy. This one is running Windows and driving T+A DAC8 DSD and exaSound e28.

 

@Miska, thank you so much for your input! :)

That configuration is, I'm sure, awesome. Nevertheless, I have constraints that don't allow me to have the server outside the listening room ... this is a compromise that I must assume :/ (with 3 kids and a relatively small house one must compromise). So, I'm not using an NAA and using the same machine to support Roon and HQPlayer ... (and yes: I agree that one should raway un from HDD)

 

BTW: the T+A dac is under the radar and it happens that I'm a good friend of the local distributor of the brand who wants me to bring it home for a "test drive" ... but for now I will not be able to feed it with DSD 512 ...

 

From your advantaged perspective, do you think it's relatively safe use a 95W TDP CPU on a Streacom Box? What would be your top suggestions for chips to run HQPlayer both in the 95 and 65 TDP class?

 

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5 minutes ago, JJarego said:

From your advantaged perspective, do you think it's relatively safe use a 95W TDP CPU on a Streacom Box? What would be your top suggestions for chips to run HQPlayer both in the 95 and 65 TDP class?

 

I'm not sure, someone would need to try out, at least it needs extra heat pipes... And careful motherboard selection so that it doesn't need extra spacer block.

 

Simply newest and fastest in TDP category, so 95W TDP CPUs is the new Coffee Lake i7-8700K and 65W TDP is i7-8700. Also needs latest chipset motherboard.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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In 95W TDP category AMD Ryzen 7 1800X is pretty good too. Noteworthy though is, that based on my subjective experiments it seems to produce more heat than 95W TDP Intel CPU with HQPlayer. Likely because the Intel CPU contains GPU too which is not used much by HQPlayer and counted in for the TDP. While AMD doesn't have GPU so the CPU cores account for the entire TDP. From this use case perspective it is both good and bad. Good in a way that you don't need to have a display card to have any display output in first place. Bad in a way that for headless server use the GPU goes otherwise wasted and could be rather replaced with CPU cores like in AMD's case. So for the Streacom case, getting 95W TDP Intel CPU w/ built-in GPU may be easier to get cooled enough than 95W TDP AMD CPU w/o built-in GPU. Just based on my subjective experiences...

 

65W TDP category there's also AMD Ryzen 7 1700.

 

Both offer 8 cores vs 6 cores in the Intel parts, but clock speeds are lower too. Caches a bit larger than Intel parts. I have not done head-to-head testing with these yet, as I don't yet have the Coffee Lake CPUs myself.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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I had a custom computer built last Spring to use in Roon + HQP which could upscale stereo and mch files to DSD256 (the most my NADAC mch could take).  Recently I have been upscaling to DSD256 using the -xtr filter (no -2s) which I like the best.  Not powerful enough to do mch files with the -xtr filter, only stereo.  Here are the parts and the prices back last spring.

 

CPU    $1,649.99        i7-6950X                                                        

MB              $218.86   GA-X99M-Gaming 5 (rev. 1.1)                                                         

RAM   $300.99           Savage Memory Black - 32GB Kit*(4x8GB) - DDR4 2400MHz Intel XMP CL12 DIMM

Video  $545.84           ROG STRIX-GTX1080-A8G-GAMING                                                     

PSU             $199.99   Seasonic SSR-850TD PRIME 850 W Titanium                                                        

Disk             $629.99   SSD 960 PRO NVMe M.2 MZ-V6P1T0BW                                                

Case    $137.66           Fractal Design Define R5                                                      

Cooler $89.93 Noctua NH D15                                                        

Fans     $16.99 Phanteks 140mm Cooling Fan (PH-F140SP_BK)                                                    

OS               $139.00   Microsoft Windows 10 Pro OEM (64-bit)                                                    

                $120.00           Roon server                                        

                $150.78       HQplayer (sends to NAA)

 

These were chosen by my builder in consultation with Miska.

Larry

 

Analog-VPIClas3,3DArm,LyraSkala+MiyajimaZeromono,Herron VTPH2APhono,2AmpexATR-102+MerrillTridentMaster TapePreamp  Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,MykerinosCard,PacificMicrosonicsModel2; Dig Play-Lampi Pacific, mch NADAC, Roon-HQPlayer,Oppo105  Electronics-DoshiPre,CJ MET1mchPre,Cary2A3monoamps Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR

Other-2x512EngineerMarutaniSymmetrical Power+Cables Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.7KR2Rtapes,1.5KCD's,500SACDs,50TBripped files

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You could save a few bucks and get an older processor like the i7-6700.  I use this cpu in a fanless  Streacom FC5 case with Roon and HQP to play DSD512.   I only use the -2s HQP settings though. 

12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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On 12/21/2017 at 10:21 PM, astrotoy said:

I had a custom computer built last Spring to use in Roon + HQP which could upscale stereo and mch files to DSD256 (the most my NADAC mch could take).  Recently I have been upscaling to DSD256 using the -xtr filter (no -2s) which I like the best.  Not powerful enough to do mch files with the -xtr filter, only stereo.  Here are the parts and the prices back last spring.

 

CPU    $1,649.99        i7-6950X                                                        

MB              $218.86   GA-X99M-Gaming 5 (rev. 1.1)                                                         

RAM   $300.99           Savage Memory Black - 32GB Kit*(4x8GB) - DDR4 2400MHz Intel XMP CL12 DIMM

Video  $545.84           ROG STRIX-GTX1080-A8G-GAMING                                                     

PSU             $199.99   Seasonic SSR-850TD PRIME 850 W Titanium                                                        

Disk             $629.99   SSD 960 PRO NVMe M.2 MZ-V6P1T0BW                                                

Case    $137.66           Fractal Design Define R5                                                      

Cooler $89.93 Noctua NH D15                                                        

Fans     $16.99 Phanteks 140mm Cooling Fan (PH-F140SP_BK)                                                    

OS               $139.00   Microsoft Windows 10 Pro OEM (64-bit)                                                    

                $120.00           Roon server                                        

                $150.78       HQplayer (sends to NAA)

 

These were chosen by my builder in consultation with Miska.

Larry

 

That is a very expensive server sir.  Did you ever consider a linaer psu ? And a much cheaper video card 

and perhaps a dual boot to win SER 2016 and AO ?

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23 hours ago, ALRAINBOW said:

That is a very expensive server sir.  Did you ever consider a linaer psu ? And a much cheaper video card 

and perhaps a dual boot to win SER 2016 and AO ?

I'm pretty ignorant about such matters.  My builder chose all the parts in consultation with Miska.  He did try AO but decided against it.  He is on CA so may want to comment about the choices.  I wanted to make sure I got a system that could upscale 6 channels to DSD256 with Roon/HQP and my NADAC mch with no hiccups.  As a bonus, I experimented with filters and found that I really like the poly-sinc -xtr filter the best.  Can't do it with multichannel, but with my computer it works fine for stereo upscaling anything to DSD256.  It will occasionally skip a second, once every few hours, which I can live with.

 

Larry

Analog-VPIClas3,3DArm,LyraSkala+MiyajimaZeromono,Herron VTPH2APhono,2AmpexATR-102+MerrillTridentMaster TapePreamp  Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,MykerinosCard,PacificMicrosonicsModel2; Dig Play-Lampi Pacific, mch NADAC, Roon-HQPlayer,Oppo105  Electronics-DoshiPre,CJ MET1mchPre,Cary2A3monoamps Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR

Other-2x512EngineerMarutaniSymmetrical Power+Cables Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.7KR2Rtapes,1.5KCD's,500SACDs,50TBripped files

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I know he is here and not to be a wise guy I am suspicious of some of his choices not saying he is being malicious though 

you spent big bucks and no LPS this alone is very important in an Audio server. 

Next is win 10 another poor choice in sound for an audio sever. 

Those two choices add up to massive losses of sound inprovementa. . 

I am here to help and not point but I am willing to help if someone wants to listen. 

Anyway miscus perhaps you can reply to why you have made some of the choices here 

your name sounds familiar but I don’t recal why.

Merry chistmas all. And please don’t offense to my comments as there are also only observations  

 

 

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That's practically the same hardware I use for running T+A DAC8 DSD at DSD512 (stereo) and exaSound e28 running at DSD256 (8 channels).

 

That motherboard has the special DAC-UP USB ports too.

 

If someone knows reasonably priced LPS that fulfills the power feed requirements for this hardware, I'm curious. But performance is perfectly fine with the better Seasonic PSUs. That PSU can give 20A on +3.3V rail, 20A on +5V rail and 70A on +12V rail. Having LPS just for the sake of LPS is not meaningful, it needs to be technically justified. When using NAA there's no point in using LPS in HQPlayer computer, because in that case the HQPlayer computer is only handling data which is then streamed elsewhere for playback.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Good morning miska 

Feel free to pm me or email me or call me 

I don’t make sever for people but would like to help and learn too 

 

the hdplex is about $600 with dc atx Board 

its a good start point in lps for a server 

you can use the atx output , cpu output and usb output for the OS drive. 

Then from the back of the lps you can use the 5 volt for two inside music drives they should not be fed from the same 5 volt bus as OS drive 

 

as for the  sea sonic psu and performance I’ll bet it’s fine in making the system work perfect and in fact when I load up a server I use a switched psu by antec 500 watt what I have found is that lps sometimes can cause isssues when loading but greatly improve on playback. 

 

May i I ask what lps did you try in comparison to a swichting psu like seasonic ? 

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Reg a naa devixe and non linaer in Main pc 

i read this stuff and wonder who is not hearing how it sounds lol. 

I did a few experiments to conclude what I have read from others.  

I did a two pc setup to use the second one as an naa only running hq player alone 

the first pc was as a server and streamed to hq player on the second one. 

The dac pc was fully lps win server 2016 and AO And fid pro.  

It sounded blurred like a non lps sounds. Good music but lacked that clean ultra clear sound 

 

putting back an lps on the sever pc fixed it.  

How naa devbces like REdu amd nukes claim it fixes this I don’t know. Do they improve things yes but they don’t fix this kind of noise 

I think most don’t know it’s gone and better till it’s gone.  

 

 

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Thank you for the precious feedback! :)

 

I really must compromise in terms of the processing power, since I don't have the option of keeping the server in another room ... meaning that all the cooling must be passive.

I've settled on the configuration below, which, I believe will be comfortable doing DSD 512 on the HQPlayer (with the possible exception of the xtr family ... :|). Furthermore, the friend who will assemble the machine has a lot of experience and will perform his "magic" with a series of tweaks ... of course I will post pictures once I have the whole thing put together!

 

Case:

HDPlex H5

Motherboard:

ASRock z370 Extreme4

CPU:

Intel i7 - 8700

RAM:

G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 2x8GB 4133MHz CAS19 Gray/White

Disk:

Crucial MX300 2TB SATA 2.5"

PSU:

HDPlex 400 ATX Linear

USB Card:

X-Hi USB 3.0 PCIe Card

SATA Filter:

Elfidelity AXF-94 Power supply filter for SATA hard drive

DDR Filter:

ELFIDELITY AXF-75 Power purification PC-HiFi Memory DDR4

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 

 

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Another thing: I've brought the T+A DAC 8 DSD home two days ago ... This is a review unit, so the burn in is done. Now I understand the hype, even if I don't manage to upsample to DSD with HQPlayer for now (only with Roon DSP and even that with a lot of limitations). Looking forward to hear @Miska magic at DSD 512 through it!!!! the new machine will fix this :)

 

The T+A is not going anywhere :)

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3 hours ago, ALRAINBOW said:

the hdplex is about $600 with dc atx Board 

its a good start point in lps for a server 

 

HDPLEX 200W LPSU is not powerful enough.

HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX could maybe just barely manage, but not necessarily. But it is not LPSU.

Their linear 400W PSU is not powerful enough.

 

i7-6950X is 140W TDP, so it's consumption is probably around 200W. GTX 1080 is 180W (and Nvidia recommends minimum 500W PSU). So that's pretty much 400W already without the motherboard and other stuff.

 

3 hours ago, ALRAINBOW said:

you can use the atx output , cpu output and usb output for the OS drive.

 

My OS is on the Samsung 960 M.2 SSD sitting straight on the motherboard. Way faster than old SATA things.

 

3 hours ago, ALRAINBOW said:

Then from the back of the lps you can use the 5 volt for two inside music drives they should not be fed from the same 5 volt bus as OS drive

 

Why? This makes absolutely no sense to me.

 

Anyway, my music is stored on my Linux server and shared on the network.

 

3 hours ago, ALRAINBOW said:

May i I ask what lps did you try in comparison to a swichting psu like seasonic ?

 

I didn't, because I have not seen anything that would be able to do it and would have reasonable cost. Then if I get one, I can measure if it has some impact or not.

 

But of course I measure my gear and what I have works absolutely fine.

 

3 hours ago, ALRAINBOW said:

The dac pc was fully lps win server 2016 and AO And fid pro.

 

I don't use or support this kind of stuff. What kind of PC was it?

 

I had one Win 10 Pro based NAA using LogicSupply CL100 hardware, but not anymore. Most of my NAA's are Linux-based running the image I provide, rest are running minimal Debian 9. Those can be powered from linear PSU, as they only need +5V, +9V or +12V and very little current, 2A is well enough. I have my own LPSU for such uses. But there are also good non-linear ones like Teddy Pardo.

 

3 hours ago, ALRAINBOW said:

putting back an lps on the sever pc fixed it.

 

Can you provide measurement results that show the difference?

 

3 hours ago, ALRAINBOW said:

Do they improve things yes but they don’t fix this kind of noise

 

What kind of noise?

 

I hope you are not using some expensive audiophile STP network cables - those can spoil purpose of the NAA! Always use cheap CAT6 UTP cables! Or better still, optical network links.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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43 minutes ago, Miska said:

I hope you are not using some expensive audiophile STP network cables - those can spoil purpose of the NAA! Always use cheap CAT6 UTP cables! Or better still, optical network links.

 

 

@Miska: I also have in mind avoiding the LAN network cables ... what should be the approach? Router -> cat6 -> ethernet fiber converter -> optical -> PCIe fiber network card?

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15 minutes ago, JJarego said:

 

@Miska: I also have in mind avoiding the LAN network cables ... what should be the approach? Router -> cat6 -> ethernet fiber converter -> optical -> PCIe fiber network card?

 

Boring standard CAT6 UTP cables work just fine, since you get transformer isolation at every connector. Problem with STP cables is that it allows ground currents because the shield connects grounds of two devices, so it can be used only in carefully ground controlled environments.

 

IMO, best is to have a gigabit switch with SFP slots. That usually means a smart switch, meaning that you need to remember to enable 802.3x flow control from the switch settings (sometimes disabled by default).  And fiber network card. This way you don't need extra dongles and things are tidy. Such switches for example from HPE are not even expensive, SFP modules and the network cards cost relatively more.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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6 minutes ago, JJarego said:

I think I may not need a switch (but you know better) ... Would a converter like this plus a fiber net card like this one do the job? 

 

Yes, but that is just a way to have the same SFP module without a switch, price difference to a switch is small... That network card is also with SFP slot, so you'd still need SFP transceiver modules for both.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Dear @Miska, thank you for you patience ...

Could the following setup be an alternative?:

switch>Ethernet>TP-Link MC100CM >1 metre Fibre Optic cable>TP-Link MC100CM>Ethernet > PC Net Card?

 

The TP-Link MC100CM are inexpensive but my concern is that the second converter may be adding some noise of its own and, therefore, adding complexity to the setup without benefits ...

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