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Building a DIY Music Server


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11 hours ago, dminches said:

it allowed me to increase the max CPU frequency and turn on things like hyperthreading in the BIOS. Before this I had to limit things. 

Dminches,

 

FYI - Over here there is no better way to suck the life out of the music than to enable turbo mode and multi-threading.

 

Is this observation with Roon or Euphony Stylus as player? Intel or AMD?

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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7 hours ago, Exocer said:

 

You have encouraged me to try Euphony Stylus this evening and I am smiling from ear to ear with what I am hearing. The only downside is I was going to purchase an HQPE license just for the ability to use convolution filters (I have created some in REW recently and was very happy with them in combination with HQPE). I see no way to import these filters into Euphony based HQPE...so I need to read up on how to do that or reach out to support.

 

You can open the HQPe setting page under ip_address_of_your_euphony:8089

user: euphony

password: euphony

Euphony (NUC7DNKE: Roon or Stylus) --> Euphony EP (NUC7CJYH: Roon Bridge or NAA or StylusEP) --> Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2 --> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) (I2S) -->

Euphony (NUC7DNKE: Roon) --> WS 2019 Core (i7-8700: HQPlayer, JPLAY Femto, Roon Bridge, MinorityClean) / Matrix Audio Element H --> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) (USB) --> B & M Prime 6

Synology DS 112+ (LMS) --> pi3B+/HifiBerry Digi + Pro (PiCorePlayer) --> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) (SPDIF) -->  

bedroom: pi3/DigiOne (RoPieee) --> S.M.S.L M500 --> KRK Rokit 5 or AKG 712 Pro

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2 hours ago, lmitche said:

Dminches,

 

FYI - Over here there is no better way to suck the life out of the music than to enable turbo mode and multi-threading.

 

Is this observation with Roon or Euphony Stylus as player? Intel or AMD?


Euphony, Intel Xeon

 

 

Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7s, 4 M&K ST-150Ts, 1 VCC-5; Amplification: 2 Vandersteen M7-HPAs, CI Audio D200 MKII, Ayre V-6xe; Preamp: Doshi Audio Line Stage v3.0; Phono Pre: Doshi Audio Phono Pre; Analog: Wave Kinetics NVS with Durand Telos composite arm; SME 3012R arm, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2; Reel to Reel:  Technics RS-1500; Doshi Tape Pre-Amp; Studer A810, Studer A812, Tascam BR-20; Multi-channel: Bryston SP-3; Digital: Custom PC (Sean Jacobs DC4/Euphony/Stylus)> Lampizator Pacific

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Not trying to derail this thread, I'm new and think this is the right place for this Question.

 

Does anyone see merits in re-using an old server, there are tons out there for very little money, typically featuring single or dual Xeon 5650 or similar, 32-72Gb RAM , I was thinking to play around with one, rip out the fans tinker with passive cooling in a new chassis, add a nice linear PSU (rather a few), stick in a PCIe I2S output card, a separately powered SSD and tweak whatever OS of choice.

 

I recently switched briefly back to W10 and did not like what I heard at all (loads of tweaking to do I guess), the recent beta Daphile sounds a lot better, also briefly tried Euphony but preferred Daphile and am now in the process of making Audiolinux work to audtition that.

 

 

My current system is a NUC, running Daphile but trying to get Audiolinux to work..., fed by LPS going via I2S into my Metrum Amethyst R2R DAC feeding a Klangfilm KLV204a into my front loaded horn with open baffle using three fulrange 13" and JBL 2402 alnico tweeters. 

ISP, cat8.1, Zylix switch, Finisar <1321>Solarflare 8522, AMD 7, Aorus X570 Elite, Corsair AX1200i, 8Gb Apacer Ram, Pink Faun I2S OCXO on LPS, home grown RJ45 I2S cable, Metrum Amethyst (modded to accept I2S), Klangfilm 204a, Klangfilm Trionor (3Tesla 835, JBL2402)

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1 hour ago, lmitche said:

Which music player on Euphony?

Stylus

 

Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7s, 4 M&K ST-150Ts, 1 VCC-5; Amplification: 2 Vandersteen M7-HPAs, CI Audio D200 MKII, Ayre V-6xe; Preamp: Doshi Audio Line Stage v3.0; Phono Pre: Doshi Audio Phono Pre; Analog: Wave Kinetics NVS with Durand Telos composite arm; SME 3012R arm, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2; Reel to Reel:  Technics RS-1500; Doshi Tape Pre-Amp; Studer A810, Studer A812, Tascam BR-20; Multi-channel: Bryston SP-3; Digital: Custom PC (Sean Jacobs DC4/Euphony/Stylus)> Lampizator Pacific

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5 hours ago, lmitche said:

FYI - Over here there is no better way to suck the life out of the music than to enable turbo mode and multi-threading.

 

That's what I once thought too. However, it depends on what kind of player is being used and whether a conversion requires a lot of processing power. So the HQPlayer's EC modulators for DSD are absolutely great. Hyper Threading enables better utilization of the CPU cores and the cores must be clocked to at least 4GHz. Many roads lead to Rome. 😉
 

Grigg Audio Solutions Owner

StreamFidelitys Setup

Sonus Faber Amati Futura | T + A M10 | T + A SDV 3100 HV | fis Audio PC | HFX RipNAS Solid V4 | GigaWatt PC2-EVO + | Solidsteel HJ-3 / HY-A

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52 minutes ago, Nenon said:

I believe the formula, if one exists, would be a lot more complex, and would depend on the hardware being used and some other variables. 

 

Last time I chatted with @lmitche he reported a great success with inexpensive Celeron-based computers and heavily tweaked software and BIOS. This is great and although not my cup of tea, there is a much much bigger market for that than some exotic cost no object builds I have been trying to do.

I think with hardware like that (i.e. referring to inexpensive Celeron-based computers), the power supply can only make so much difference, but then you can fine tune the whole system with software and BIOS settings. I can see where the 50/25/25 comes from. And it's probably about right in this use case.

 

This is also quite typical for low powered computers. I can confirm that because I had the same experience. 

 

On the other hand, we have high powered computers, and those have different impact ratio of power supply / software / hardware/ cabling IMO. The idea there is to unleash all the power capabilities of the computer. But you can only do that if you have a really good quality power supply. Enabling hyperthreading, Turbo, unrestricted CPU speed is typically a must in those servers. That brings the life back in the music and makes everything sound much more dynamic, transparent, etc. Once I heard that, there was no way of going back to a low power CPU. Also, once I heard the dual Xeon, I am not even interested to go back to a single CPU. Although there are some new developments in CPUs that look interesting. 

 

The main problem is that unleashing the processing capabilities means the server draws more power. Most linear power supplies become very noisy when you draw that much current. Some can become as noisy as (or even more than) SMPS at high current. Not to mention the heat they generate which also could have an impact on the sound. That noise is easily audible as what I call digital harshness. I am very sensitive on that digital harshness and can't stand it. When you don't use a really good power supply, you have to start restricting the CPU computing power (i.e. lower the clock speed, voltages, disable turbo, etc.). Imagine a knob that has "more dynamics" on one end and "less digital harshness" on the other end. Let me illustrate that:

2.jpg.3102095c113ca8dbf5e66c875313ced9.jpg

(hopefully the developer of the app I stole this picture from does not mind it)

You are essentially trying to find the balance between the two to compensate for the power supply noise.

 

Things change with better power supplies. 

 

In those higher powered CPU systems, the power supply makes the biggest difference. And like everything else in audio once you get a really good power supply, the software tweaks are even more audible, because everything becomes more transparent. 

 

@dminches has an amazing analog system, and he was pretty confident digital could never sound as good as analog. He has a Lampizator Pacific DAC, which is also the reference DAC in the Taiko's system. The main thing he changed in his system was the power supply. We talked again after his new LPS burned-in, and his story changed from "analog for critical listening, digital for background music" to "enjoying both and it all depends on the recording" - quite a different story before and after his LPS. A 20A+ capable top quality power supply opens up a lot of opportunities for powerful computer hardware, which generally speaking I prefer too. 

 

I am not trying to promote a specific power supply, and I try to be very careful given my industry affiliation (which makes it difficult for me to comment on some topics). I am just trying to make a point that the software/hardware/cabling/PS ratio is different for different hardware and different systems. 

 

It's not even that simple. When I started building high current CPU music servers, going from a mediocre power supply to a really good power supply made much bigger difference than the software. But once I had a really good power supply, the software changes made much bigger difference than going from a really good power supply to an even better power supply. It's all relative. And different things make different impact depending on the current stage you are in.

 

No need to argue on this - I am sure everyone's opinion is right relative to their current stage. And no need to try to put an universal formula - if we do, it would be so complex to cover all the variables, that we would all need a math degree to understand it. At the end, it is the sum of all parts and everything needs attention. 

 

Okay, enough morning blah blah from me :). Cheers.

 

Hi Nenon,

 

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Over here 4 to 8 core AMD servers are typically powered by two 200 to 300 watt supplies, one at 19 volts and one at 12 volts, so yesterdays comments are based on experience at this power level. I will let you characterize this as high or low. Actual processor power use is between a steady 8 or 17 watts during playback.

 

While we talk a lot about power supplies, little discussion happens about power demand. Once a track is selected, music playback is a simple monotonous process of copying, and perhaps uniformly transforming, bits from the source device to the output device. Assuming no up-sampling or filtering, there is little to do as there is constant, unchanging demand for processing power during this process. With most players, and for a given file resolution, processing demand does not change with music content.

 

Power supplies handle constant current demand much better than changing demand, and if a system is tuned in this way the need for exotic power supplies is less important.

 

If the design of a player changes processor demand with music content, then it makes sense that the supply of processing bandwidth enabled by multi-threaded and turbo mode is required and that the quality of the power supply increased.

 

But for clarity, the idea is that better managed power demand diminishes the impact of the power supply and shifts the balance to software as a larger contributor of SQ. The impact of the power supply quality is still there, it is just diminished.

 

Sadly, there used to be many people on what we called CA that would have been interested in this discussion. These days there seem to be few. I do not mean to be argumentative, and apologize if this was the wrong thread for this discussion.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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That sounds very plausible and so far my findings concur with this (except the dual Xeon, never heard those...wich probably is good for my wallet).

To it appears that adding a great LPS to a low powered computer is easier, and cheaper than supplying hundreds of clean (peak) watts to a beast of a server.

Perhaps I should try pair a vintage tube PSU (Klangfilm) with a computer :-)

 

The best digital sound I have ever heard was short before the Jcat USB card died, I'm now trying to get the Pink Faun I2S card to work but it seems that it is incompatible with my (Intel) NUC (wish they had a compatibility list...).

 

ISP, cat8.1, Zylix switch, Finisar <1321>Solarflare 8522, AMD 7, Aorus X570 Elite, Corsair AX1200i, 8Gb Apacer Ram, Pink Faun I2S OCXO on LPS, home grown RJ45 I2S cable, Metrum Amethyst (modded to accept I2S), Klangfilm 204a, Klangfilm Trionor (3Tesla 835, JBL2402)

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6 hours ago, lmitche said:

Hi Dev,

 

It is indeed easy to buy and install Euphony, plus the results are good.  Clearly there is a market for that, and it is terrific that it works for you and so many others. I am happy to build solutions using Euphony and listen to it, as reference, on a regular basis.

 

Yes, I do ship most systems here with custom Audiolinux almost always running Roon.

 

 

@lmitcheLarry, I am still not clear if you are providing an optimized/tweaked version of AudioLinux separately, just like Euphony ?

 

Its interesting that AudioLinux is not optimized out of the box for Audio, after all its named as "Audio"Linux 🤪

 

 

 

Quote

I am detecting a trend moving away from Roon led by Takio Audio, Grimm Audio and others, so the next few years will be interesting.

 

PS Audio, who is (or shall I say was) a Roon supporter, started coding there music server (its called Octave I think) a while back, long before anyone else, I think. They actually found quiet early that Roon can't be optimized with their hardware to sound its best.

 

Another example is Aurrender, one of the most popular music server, does not even support Roon from day one because of the same reasons. I guess there are many other examples as well. The trend has been there for sometime now.

 

 

 

Quote

Personally I'd like to see Roon SQ improve, as I love the user interface as a music discovery tool.

 

Trust me, you are not the only one 😄

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1 hour ago, MarcelNL said:

That sounds very plausible and so far my findings concur with this (except the dual Xeon, never heard those...wich probably is good for my wallet).

To it appears that adding a great LPS to a low powered computer is easier, and cheaper than supplying hundreds of clean (peak) watts to a beast of a server.

Perhaps I should try pair a vintage tube PSU (Klangfilm) with a computer :-)

 

The best digital sound I have ever heard was short before the Jcat USB card died, I'm now trying to get the Pink Faun I2S card to work but it seems that it is incompatible with my (Intel) NUC (wish they had a compatibility list...).

 

 

I have a vague memory that the Pink Faun I2S card has a dependency on an AMD processor.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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3 minutes ago, lmitche said:

 

I have a vague memory that the Pink Faun I2S card has a dependency on an AMD processor.

That is indeed what Piero told me, and he worked with PF on the OS for their server...so the search for a computer I2S continues and the PF is likely going back.

ISP, cat8.1, Zylix switch, Finisar <1321>Solarflare 8522, AMD 7, Aorus X570 Elite, Corsair AX1200i, 8Gb Apacer Ram, Pink Faun I2S OCXO on LPS, home grown RJ45 I2S cable, Metrum Amethyst (modded to accept I2S), Klangfilm 204a, Klangfilm Trionor (3Tesla 835, JBL2402)

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5 minutes ago, MarcelNL said:

That is indeed what Piero told me, and he worked with PF on the OS for their server...so the search for a computer I2S continues and the PF is likely going back.

It may be cheaper to move to an AMD processor and motherboard.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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1 hour ago, Dev said:

 

 

@lmitcheLarry, I am still not clear if you are providing an optimized/tweaked version of AudioLinux separately, just like Euphony ?

 

Its interesting that AudioLinux is not optimized out of the box for Audio, after all its named as "Audio"Linux 🤪

 

 

 

 

PS Audio, who is (or shall I say was) a Roon supporter, started coding there music server (its called Octave I think) a while back, long before anyone else, I think. They actually found quiet early that Roon can't be optimized with their hardware to sound its best.

 

Another example is Aurrender, one of the most popular music server, does not even support Roon from day one because of the same reasons. I guess there are many other examples as well. The trend has been there for sometime now.

 

 

 

 

Trust me, you are not the only one 😄

 

Hi Dev,

 

No, I don't sell the software separately from the hardware.

 

Larry

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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yikes, that feels like 'if you can't beat them join them' ;-)

 

you are right, yet my fanless NUC and LPS likely are not compatible with an AMD MB...am looking into that avenue too!
 

ISP, cat8.1, Zylix switch, Finisar <1321>Solarflare 8522, AMD 7, Aorus X570 Elite, Corsair AX1200i, 8Gb Apacer Ram, Pink Faun I2S OCXO on LPS, home grown RJ45 I2S cable, Metrum Amethyst (modded to accept I2S), Klangfilm 204a, Klangfilm Trionor (3Tesla 835, JBL2402)

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2 hours ago, Dev said:

 

PS Audio, who is (or shall I say was) a Roon supporter, started coding there music server (its called Octave I think) a while back, long before anyone else, I think. They actually found quiet early that Roon can't be optimized with their hardware to sound its best.

 

Another example is Aurrender, one of the most popular music server, does not even support Roon from day one because of the same reasons. 

 

 😄


I am not sure that is why Aurender doesn’t support Roon.  They wrote their own music and cataloging software. I don’t think they ever intended on allowing 3rd party software to tun on their hardware.  Correct me if I am wrong.

Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7s, 4 M&K ST-150Ts, 1 VCC-5; Amplification: 2 Vandersteen M7-HPAs, CI Audio D200 MKII, Ayre V-6xe; Preamp: Doshi Audio Line Stage v3.0; Phono Pre: Doshi Audio Phono Pre; Analog: Wave Kinetics NVS with Durand Telos composite arm; SME 3012R arm, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2; Reel to Reel:  Technics RS-1500; Doshi Tape Pre-Amp; Studer A810, Studer A812, Tascam BR-20; Multi-channel: Bryston SP-3; Digital: Custom PC (Sean Jacobs DC4/Euphony/Stylus)> Lampizator Pacific

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24 minutes ago, dminches said:


I am not sure that is why Aurender doesn’t support Roon.  They wrote their own music and cataloging software. I don’t think they ever intended on allowing 3rd party software to tun on their hardware.  Correct me if I am wrong.

 

The reason why Aurrender has written their own software from the start is exactly the reason why PS Audio started writing it but at later point when they realized Roon is not cutting it. To get the best out of any hardware, their has to be a closer/tighter integration between s/w and h/w and this is probably not possible with Roon (or for that matter any other 3rd party software) as a audio playback. They can't control Roon, nor they have any control over the quality. So you are basically leaving the sound quality of a $20k music server at the mercy of others. If I were manufacturing it, I would have gone down the very exact path that Aurrender did.

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1 hour ago, Dev said:

The reason why Horrender has stolen software from the start

 

Re: [mpd-devel] Request for GPL source code of your Aurender A10 product

https://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg00669.html

Quote

I already told you twice that your MPD source doesn't match your binary. The rules of the GPL mandate that you must provide the matching source code for all binaries you distribute. If you can't follow those rules, then your license is terminated automatically, making your product illegal.

 

Now I could tell you how I verified the mismatch, but then you'd change that one piece in the source, and we're going to play endless whack-a-mole where I can only lose. That's a poor way of solving something that is naturally only your problem. So no, sorry, I can't let you know right now. It's your turn, not mine. You need to resolve your copyright problem. I am the victim, not the defendant.

 

Arch Linux, MPD and Kernel GPL violations by Euphony Audio

https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=1778399#p1778399

Quote

The problem with Euphony is that their written offer is fake. They never intended to give their modifications to the kernel to those who received the binary version.

 

They put up a fake GPL written offer page, in order to silence package authors (such as Max Kellermann), but they never honored the written offer. They used all kinds of delay tactics, and when we finally provided an address to them to send the CD to, they suddenly claim they no longer offer the trial version and therefore don't need to provide us anything. This is not a valid excuse. The GPL does not work this way.

 

https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=1779602#p1779602

Quote

They finally did send me a link with the kernel source, so I consider this case closed.

 

For those who want to optimize audio playback under Arch, here's the link of their kernel:

 

http://audiokernel.com/linux41src.tar.gz

 


 

Somehow things fall apart whenever commercial interests are involved, while no products could be sold without involving any commercial interests whatsoever.

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MPD is used by many well known manufacturers. Its not surprising. Carry Audio had faced similar litigation issues with open source license. MPD is open source and can be modified/improved by any manufacturers which you can't do with Roon. That was the point and it also goes to show how much can be had from open source.

 

You are just looking at one or two, but in reality there are countless manufacturers, irrespective of Audio, who are probably in GPL licensing violation today. Remember, Linux is an operating system that runs in your smartphone, to your household smart devices (modems, routers, switches, nas, fridge, TVs, you name it) to gigantic devices, like core/edge routers used in ISP to some very sophisticated hardware used in security. 

 

I don't want to mix up licensing/GPL violation  issues with sound quality - they are two different things.

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On 12/9/2020 at 9:16 AM, lmitche said:

 

 

 

 

 

Based on recent experience, I'd put software at over 50% of the contribution to SQ with hardware/cabling and power supplies at 25% each.

 

SQ = .5(SW) + .25(HW/Cabling) + .25(LPS)

 

What do others think about this formula?

 

Larry

Agree 100% from my experience, Windows, Server, Euphony, Volumio, etc.

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9 hours ago, jean-michel6 said:

I have a semi powerful server board supermicro x10 sdv-f with an 8core Xeon .

It is powered by a Sean Jacob psu .

Between the power box and server I was using a heavy gauge Neotech (awg 14) 50cm cable .

I did switch to mundorf 1.5 mm cable .

 

It did made a huge increase in sound quality .

In my opinion this illustrates how sensitive is power supply for our system and how only a 50cm long piece of wire can make or break the system .

Just out of curiosity, did you use that size for all wires and are those single leads? (meaning; do you have more leads running parallel for the same voltage)?

 

Reading up on Xeon CPU's et al I noticed that they apparently can draw hefty peak currents and afaik the current capacity for 1.5 mm (diameter or square mm?) is something like 12Amps steady state (of course with higher peak currents).

 

Anyone try a fast cap closer to the end user, as in at the power connector on the MB or even ON the MB itself? I have a hunch that adding nice caps as local buffer helps SQ. (Fleabay has some very nice Russian exotics on offer lately).  (another reason to ditch the NUC, ZERO space to work with...)

ISP, cat8.1, Zylix switch, Finisar <1321>Solarflare 8522, AMD 7, Aorus X570 Elite, Corsair AX1200i, 8Gb Apacer Ram, Pink Faun I2S OCXO on LPS, home grown RJ45 I2S cable, Metrum Amethyst (modded to accept I2S), Klangfilm 204a, Klangfilm Trionor (3Tesla 835, JBL2402)

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