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From 0 to Xeon/AL/Roon Server in 2 days


bobfa

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Up and Running!

 

I have had the system up for a few days.  The OS is running in RAM and Audiolinix is set for Extreme.  The CPU is running around 30C. The server will be on the workbench for a while yet.  I want to start testing the Fiber network card in the server.  The HDPLEX200 is running the external FMC, disk drive, and the server.  I have loaded the music in and Roon has finished fingerprinting!  The power supply is fed with Transparent Audio power cord and filter.

 

IMG_1101.thumb.jpeg.9903662f6a1b31cedb891c6764368290.jpeg

 

Completed system on the workbench.

 

 

I have been busy with work, tax returns and customers!  I have very limited listening time.  Everywhere I play back from Roon from this server has a renewed/expanded depth.  There is more detail.  In some cases there is a different edge to the music that I cannot define.  In others the sound just floors me.  I listened to BT "Untitled" album twice.  There were multiple times where something comes thru that I have not heard before.  Sitting in my office right now listening to the desktop system and the music is painted on the wall behind the computer.  

 

This weekend I will have a couple folks over and we will get some serious time on the system.

 

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6 minutes ago, bibo01 said:

@bobfa I noticed that you have a Startech fc card. When you install it, could you please report on your experience with it. Is it detected automatically, etc...? Thanks

That is on the planned list for the next few days.  I want to do some listening to the server first.  Just sitting in my office working now I hear things I am very happy with. 

 

I hope that AL will find it.  

 

Off to do some work to help pay for all of this!

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1 hour ago, bobfa said:

The CPU is running around 30C.

Is this just playing music now?  Earlier you said the temps were 57-60C.  Was that while Roon was scanning your music library?

Pareto Audio AMD 7700 Server --> Berkeley Alpha USB --> Jeff Rowland Aeris --> Jeff Rowland 625 S2 --> Focal Utopia 3 Diablos with 2 x Focal Electra SW 1000 BE subs

 

i7-6700K/Windows 10  --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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1 hour ago, bobfa said:

That is on the planned list for the next few days.  I want to do some listening to the server first.  Just sitting in my office working now I hear things I am very happy with. 

 

I hope that AL will find it.  

 

Off to do some work to help pay for all of this!

Take your time, no hurry. I have asked because Startech is my planned card and I have AL.

What do you mean by "I hope that AL will find it. "? You mean, recognize the card?!

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Excellent work.  Where are you viewing CPU temp? 

 

AL menu doesn't report CPU temp properly on my system, it read high.  However, the command line 'sensors' does report the correct temp.  Best to run 'sensors-detect' first and accept the defaults.  It can be tweaked/name adjusted but it's usually not necessary.  See https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Lm_sensors

 

On another note, I too had some strange crashes.  I completely disabled and removed smb and nmb as I don't use them, preferring sftp.  This cleaned up the core dumps caused by smb, see journalctl for log data.

 

I also found that by slightly under clocking my RAM I no longer experience crashes.  My ram modules are 'tested' for much higher refresh rate but I don't think this is necessary for audio use.  And clearly, something between controller and ram modules was going wrong and crashing.  Might be an area to explore in bios to reduce the speed.

 

I too run a gigabit fiber network PCIe board instead of in-built Ethernet.  My card has a Broadcom chip that AL already had a functioning driver compiled in the kernel.  I can look up the precise model if it's helpful.

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52 minutes ago, lpost said:

Excellent work.  Where are you viewing CPU temp? 

 

AL menu doesn't report CPU temp properly on my system, it read high.  However, the command line 'sensors' does report the correct temp.  Best to run 'sensors-detect' first and accept the defaults.  It can be tweaked/name adjusted but it's usually not necessary.  See https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Lm_sensors

 

On another note, I too had some strange crashes.  I completely disabled and removed smb and nmb as I don't use them, preferring sftp.  This cleaned up the core dumps caused by smb, see journalctl for log data.

 

I also found that by slightly under clocking my RAM I no longer experience crashes.  My ram modules are 'tested' for much higher refresh rate but I don't think this is necessary for audio use.  And clearly, something between controller and ram modules was going wrong and crashing.  Might be an area to explore in bios to reduce the speed.

 

I too run a gigabit fiber network PCIe board instead of in-built Ethernet.  My card has a Broadcom chip that AL already had a functioning driver compiled in the kernel.  I can look up the precise model if it's helpful.

I just set up the sensors stuff and the menu reads a couple degrees higher than sensors command does.

 

I have not seen any crashes in a while and I have not looked at the logs.  Just now I got a few of these:

Mar 05 12:57:07 FairXeon kernel: bridge0: received packet on eno1 with own address as source address (addr:4a:89:1b:91:53:82, vlan:0)

 

 

i am very interested in a FMC card that Just works.  Please let me know.  I did not have time to debug the one I have  Startec.com. PEX1000SFP2.  IF you have one that work I will use it.

 

My motherboard has two ethernet interfaces and I wonder if I have to disable one to do the bridge right.  I do need some help in this area.  I am weak and learning

 

 

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1 hour ago, bobfa said:

My motherboard has two ethernet interfaces and I wonder if I have to disable one to do the bridge right.

If you are running a bridge then you would need to add your network card to the bridge.

If for example your network card is at: eno1

you will need a file named : eno1.network in   /etc/systemd/network

its content should read :

 

[Match]
Name=eno1

 

[Network]
Bridge=bridge0

 

If you type the command : networkctl

you should get all the recognised interfaces.

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2 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

If you are running a bridge then you would need to add your network card to the bridge.

If for example your network card is at: eno1

you will need a file named : eno1.network in   /etc/systemd/network

its content should read:

 

[Match]
Name=eno1

 

[Network]
Bridge=bridge0

 

If you type the command :networkctl

you should get all the recognised interfaces.

I can do that when I get the card.  

 

I would like it if the AL Menu works for this and I will test that.  The idea is to avoid command line if you can!!  Makes it simpler for everyone.

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1 hour ago, bobfa said:

The idea is to avoid command line if you can!!  Makes it simpler for everyone.

1

 

Don't fear the CLI.  Often, it's the simplest way to get things done, and you'll know what is happening vs. a menu with hidden commands.  The menu is great for involved things like enable/disable ramroot but changing nic settings is liable to cut one off from the machine.  Of course, have console access first, then edit the appropriate network files directly (or using the network manager as appropriate, I don't think AL has one but most variants do).

 

 

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Quote

I will not count research time as that is endless.  Actual construction and setup were completed over two days.  I estimate about 10 hours of review, assembly, software configuration, and BIOS learning.  As a reminder, I do this stuff for FUN.  If this sounds like work, please buy a commercial server you will be happier! 

 

....do you have any suggestions as to what could be a commercial (audio) server please? 

There are so many out there, the choice is bewildering and used ones seem to have decent low prices; something better than a NAS?

 

thanks in advance!

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Paul,

 

I have found several commercial music servers of interest.  I have used several different kinds.

 

1. Mac Mini with and without the uptone audio power supply mod.

2. 27in iMac

3.Two different Small Green Computers Sonic Transporters

4. I am testing two custom built servers and two Operating Systems

 

 

I have played with a couple of NAS devices as servers when I was using different server software.  When I started using Roon as my playback system the NAS hardware did not make sense to me as they are mostly not as powerful as I would like. The rest of the system has improved so taking about server audio quality over time is a bit harder as I have not heard say the Mac Mini on the current DAC/AMP/Speakers cables.

 

My Sonic Transporter i7 is a great sounding server.  I improved the sound quality from the it by powering it with a linear power supply. My DIY server sounds better, but if you do not want to play with BIOS and OS settings this might not want to go this route.   

 

There are several other commercial servers that I personally find interesting. Innous and Wired4Sound are interesting.  Aurender and Pink Faun are also very interesting.

 

I am thinking about creating another thread about building servers in general.  This thread is mostly about the specific server I built.

 

There are several new threads on commercial servers in this section of the forum

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, bobfa said:

Paul,

 

I have found several commercial music servers of interest.  I have used several different kinds.

 

1. Mac Mini with and without the uptone audio power supply mod.

2. 27in iMac

3.Two different Small Green Computers Sonic Transporters

4. I am testing two custom built servers and two Operating Systems

 

 

I have played with a couple of NAS devices as servers when I was using different server software.  When I started using Roon as my playback system the NAS hardware did not make sense to me as they are mostly not as powerful as I would like. The rest of the system has improved so taking about server audio quality over time is a bit harder as I have not heard say the Mac Mini on the current DAC/AMP/Speakers cables.

 

My Sonic Transporter i7 is a great sounding server.  I improved the sound quality from the it by powering it with a linear power supply. My DIY server sounds better, but if you do not want to play with BIOS and OS settings this might not want to go this route.   

 

There are several other commercial servers that I personally find interesting. Innous and Wired4Sound are interesting.  Aurender and Pink Faun are also very interesting.

 

I am thinking about creating another thread about building servers in general.  This thread is mostly about the specific server I built.

 

There are several new threads on commercial servers in this section of the forum

Thank you for interesting information bob. Much appreciated!

Those server ideas are more like HiFi solutions and look interesting. I was thinking more of a computer/networking solution e.g. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-Poweredge-R610-1U-Server-2-x-Intel-Xeon-Quad-Core-X5570-2-93GHz-96GB-Ram/382826224500?hash=item5922389b74:g:gR0AAOSwEp5cUaya, is there any reason why something like this cannot be used to feed the rendu? I am assuming that this 'monster' would be superior to a NAS?

NAS software hasn't been a problem for me and also makes clear sense.

I don't mind playing with bios & O/S, and flashing things.

Aren't things like Innous & Aurender terribly expensive though?

Don't you have any interest in PPA & JCAT gadgets?

 

Kind regards.

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2 hours ago, Dutch said:

Datacenter servers make an -incredible- amount of fan noise. Not to be underestimated so absolutely not recommended.

Oh thank you! I thought on one of them that had the lid off in a picture I could see a whole bank of screaming tiny fans all the way across the front/back?

Is the one I put up what you have called a data centre please?

And also they have built in PSU's? (redundant?)

One more possible thought/solution! What if you have a data centre but stick a FMC channel in the ethernet cable path, as the fibre apparently  doesn't allow electromagnetic noise to pass through?

 

Many thanks!

 

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A data center is a buidling or a room in a building housing many servers like the one you linked to, network equipment etc. in 19” racks. 

 

Space is a huge cost factor so these servers are made as slim (in height) as possible. This allows one to cram a lot of these servers inside a rack. This requires front to end airflows and thus the array of small fans. Small fans can’t move a lot of air unless they run at a high speed. High speed fans=noise.

 

There’s many topics discussing FMC’s and optical fiber ethernet in general on this forum. Nothing new, just do a search. It’s off topic in this topic as well.

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3 hours ago, Dutch said:

A data center is a buidling or a room in a building housing many servers like the one you linked to, network equipment etc. in 19” racks. 

 

Space is a huge cost factor so these servers are made as slim (in height) as possible. This allows one to cram a lot of these servers inside a rack. This requires front to end airflows and thus the array of small fans. Small fans can’t move a lot of air unless they run at a high speed. High speed fans=noise.

 

There’s many topics discussing FMC’s and optical fiber ethernet in general on this forum. Nothing new, just do a search. It’s off topic in this topic as well.

many thanks for your further explanation/elaberation!

Good Day!

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On 3/9/2019 at 3:45 PM, bobfa said:

I have found several commercial music servers of interest.  I have used several different kinds.

1. Mac Mini with and without the uptone audio power supply mod.

2. 27in iMac

3.Two different Small Green Computers Sonic Transporters

4. I am testing two custom built servers and two Operating Systems

I have played with a couple of NAS devices as servers when I was using different server software.  When I started using Roon as my playback system the NAS hardware did not make sense to me as they are mostly not as powerful as I would like. The rest of the system has improved so taking about server audio quality over time is a bit harder as I have not heard say the Mac Mini on the current DAC/AMP/Speakers cables.

My Sonic Transporter i7 is a great sounding server.  I improved the sound quality from the it by powering it with a linear power supply. My DIY server sounds better, but if you do not want to play with BIOS and OS settings this might not want to go this route.

There are several other commercial servers that I personally find interesting. Innous and Wired4Sound are interesting.  Aurender and Pink Faun are also very interesting.

I am thinking about creating another thread about building servers in general.  This thread is mostly about the specific server I built.

There are several new threads on commercial servers in this section of the forum

fascinating read, congratulations!

Can you, in a nutshell and succinctly say why you believe your DIY server is better than the sonic transporter dedicated/purpose built device. The sonic transporter is surely built for Hi-Fi whereas your  device could be just a general purpose server for many uses? On these forums I have read were members have said (more than once!) too much power = too much noise. Surely the sonic transporter addresses this issue with the happy medium? i.e. not too much power and resources, but just enough for the audiophile task.

Many thanks.

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1 hour ago, valveboy said:

fascinating read, congratulations!

Can you, in a nutshell and succinctly say why you believe your DIY server is better than the sonic transporter dedicated/purpose built device. The sonic transporter is surely built for Hi-Fi whereas your  device could be just a general purpose server for many uses? On these forums I have read were members have said (more than once!) too much power = too much noise. Surely the sonic transporter addresses this issue with the happy medium? i.e. not too much power and resources, but just enough for the audiophile task.

Many thanks.

 

 I'm pretty sure the ST is made from off the shelf parts - It's not purpose built in that sense.  That's why it is priced so reasonably. 

 

The software is custom, but is based on Linux. 

(1) holo audio red (hqp naa) > chord dave > luxman cl-38uc/mq-88uc > kef reference 1
(2) simaudio moon mind 2 > chord qutest > luxman sq-n150 > sennheiser hd600
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