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Building a DIY Music Server


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BTW: The POC build is 'drying up' quite nicely already, I'm getting a very tight low bass extension of a new magnitude and more organic sound. Gues that OCXO is warming up more than the CPU .

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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Earlier today I tested using motherboard USB output after having used this inexpensive PCI-E card for the last several months: https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-2-Port-10Gbps-USB-USB-C/dp/B0897XXRXT/ref=pd_di_sccai_3/132-7185029-0609406?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0897XXRXT&pd_rd_r=4823990c-e545-49a8-95ef-b5d3079bc29b&pd_rd_w=Bifh4&pd_rd_wg=StAmc&pf_rd_p=c9443270-b914-4430-a90b-72e3e7e784e0&pf_rd_r=BDC3SZY063PYCNAHGP2D&psc=1&refRID=BDC3SZY063PYCNAHGP2D

 

The above card is connected via the only direct to CPU PCI-E slot available on my Mini ITX board.

 

The goal:

To move my Startech NIC to the PCI-E (away from NVME to PCI-E converter) slot if motherboard USB sounded equal to the cheap ASM3142 based PCI-E card.

 

Results using motherboard (USB 2.0 slots, via PCH):

 

1. Soundstage is a bit smaller.

2. A very noticeable amount of texture and detail is lost, especially in the low frequencies and midrange.

3. The presentation is "softer" sounding, not as "square".

4. High frequencies are a bit rolled off.

5. Background isn't as "black".

 

Does it sound good though? YES, very good. Can see how this presentation would probably be preferable to those who prefer a more laidback less hyper detailed presentation. But it did not equal the cheap PCI-E card for me and I prefer the latter.

 

Can't wait to get my hands on a JCAT Femto USB XE.

 

Moral of the story:

These cheap PCI-E USB cards provide a noticeable gain in SQ on the cheap.

 

Happy listening all!

 

 

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Why go USB? If your DAC has I2S input capability the SQ improvement over uSB is an easy win at similar price level.

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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anyone tried XMP on/off on their DRAM? I think it is too early to tell as my OCXO is burning in (nicely), all it supposedly does is running the DRAM at it's rated speed with tighter latency...I'm hesitant to start tinkering with all the DRAM parameters found in BIOS myself.. 

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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anyone with a source for good SATA connectors? Want to make some power and data cables but can only find the crappy ready made ones.

 

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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You'll need to store the data somewhere, I don't envision going the server client route if I can help it...I hear what you are saying, I listened to a couple of SATA cables and PSUs and was amazed how much that affects SQ

 

Storing all content in RAM is a bit hard, streaming means investing in more hardware as I also listened to the effects of network cables routers etc...choices...

 

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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I plan to play with the M2 slot, is there any type of particular interest? would be nice to be able to power that externally....

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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other than optane of course, but that is cost prohibitve for anything else than the OS

 

have one on order.

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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18 minutes ago, ASRMichael said:

If really want to go for local storage, Why not go for a PCIe? If have a spare port? Like Taiko? 

That is a thought I'm entertaining...already was ogling a 1Tb PCIe SSD...

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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4 hours ago, MarcelNL said:

Storing all content in RAM is a bit hard, streaming means investing in more hardware as I also listened to the effects of network cables routers etc...choices...

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/58164-building-a-diy-music-server/page/43/?tab=comments#comment-1088701

On 11/9/2020 at 3:00 PM, Nenon said:

I am using this one at the moment - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07776HSPW/

Moved to PCIe based Optane and NVME storage with the dual Xeon CPU, because I can attach them directly to the CPU of my choice, bypass the chipset, use more capacity, etc. 

The P4800X sounds better than the 900P! And the PCIe version sounds better than the M.2 version (P4801X).

I can only imagine what an externally powered PCIe P4800X with an upgraded OCXO clock could do!

 

1.5 TB version of P4800X turned out to cost 22,988 RMB (about 3,500 bucks) on TaoBao or roughly $5,000 on Amazon

 

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=603137014053

https://www.amazon.com/SSDPED1K015TA01-P4800X-2Heigh-PCIex4-XPoint/dp/B077BMV9DD

 

Dual Xeon E5-2600 V2 (Ivy Bridge) motherboards with 24 DIMM slots are available for 500 RMB / $150 / £90 a pop

 

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=632593953534

https://unixsurplus.com/x9dri-ln4f-v1-20a-motherboard-only/

https://www.bargainhardware.co.uk/supermicro-cse-815-v2-configure-to-order

 

Those "ancient" Ivy Bridge-based Xeon processors are worth next to nothing these days

 

https://www.serversupply.com/PROCESSORS/Intel Xeon 6-Core/2.4GHz - 7.2GT QPI/INTEL/SR1AZ_198913.htm

https://www.serversupply.com/PROCESSORS/Intel Xeon 6-Core/2.4GHz - 7.2GT QPI/INTEL/CM8063501376200_198863.htm

 

Right now 64GB of DDR-3 LRDIMM costs only 480 RMB, two dozens of them would be more like 11,520 RMB / approximately $1,750 for 1.5 TB of RAM

 

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=623606011431

FqhoQDs.jpg

 

It's getting closer and closer to a dollar / GB of DDR-3 RAM now, though it's hard to tell if that were better sounding than Optane (PCIe) or otherwise

 

https://www.crucial.com/articles/about-memory/difference-between-speed-and-latency

https://pcper.com/2018/12/intels-optane-dc-persistent-memory-dimms-push-latency-closer-to-dram/

u0gpL2G.jpg

 

As usual it also depends on the software that determines the performance of RAMDISK

 

https://thessdguy.com/an-nvdimm-primer-part-2-of-2/

Quote

But this is all housekeeping, and doesn’t take full advantage of the NVDIMM’s speed advantage over an SSD or HDD.  More software needed to be developed to prevent NVDIMM accesses from being bogged down by slow I/O routines that were developed for HDD and SSD.  At the time that they were written these routines were significantly faster than the drives themselves.  With NVDIMMs the opposite is true: The storage hardware (the NVDIMM) is significantly faster than the I/O routines accessing it.

 

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I thought the Optane supposedly sounds better due to lower noise than SSD running the OS, I already have 64GB RAM installed and Daphile fits easily in a tiny portion of it as it is.

 

 

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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12 minutes ago, seeteeyou said:

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/58164-building-a-diy-music-server/page/43/?tab=comments#comment-1088701

 

1.5 TB version of P4800X turned out to cost 22,988 RMB (about 3,500 bucks) on TaoBao or roughly $5,000 on Amazon

 

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=603137014053

https://www.amazon.com/SSDPED1K015TA01-P4800X-2Heigh-PCIex4-XPoint/dp/B077BMV9DD

 

Dual Xeon E5-2600 V2 (Ivy Bridge) motherboards with 24 DIMM slots are available for 500 RMB / $150 / £90 a pop

 

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=632593953534

https://unixsurplus.com/x9dri-ln4f-v1-20a-motherboard-only/

https://www.bargainhardware.co.uk/supermicro-cse-815-v2-configure-to-order

 

Those "ancient" Ivy Bridge-based Xeon processors are worth next to nothing these days

 

https://www.serversupply.com/PROCESSORS/Intel Xeon 6-Core/2.4GHz - 7.2GT QPI/INTEL/SR1AZ_198913.htm

https://www.serversupply.com/PROCESSORS/Intel Xeon 6-Core/2.4GHz - 7.2GT QPI/INTEL/CM8063501376200_198863.htm

 

Right now 64GB of DDR-3 LRDIMM costs only 480 RMB, two dozens of them would be more like 11,520 RMB / approximately $1,750 for 1.5 TB of RAM

 

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=623606011431

FqhoQDs.jpg

 

It's getting closer and closer to a dollar / GB of DDR-3 RAM now, though it's hard to tell if that were better sounding than Optane (PCIe) or otherwise

 

https://www.crucial.com/articles/about-memory/difference-between-speed-and-latency

https://pcper.com/2018/12/intels-optane-dc-persistent-memory-dimms-push-latency-closer-to-dram/

u0gpL2G.jpg

 

As usual it also depends on the software that determines the performance of RAMDISK

 

https://thessdguy.com/an-nvdimm-primer-part-2-of-2/

 

Thanks @seeteeyou, I looked into these and they are a bit power hungry when talking about a decent number of cores. Would be interesting to try nonetheless. Perhaps the benefits brought on by having separate CPUs supercedes the benefits of having a higher core count individual CPU...

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One thing I'd like to understand is what you guys are using as sources and network interfaces for your DACs in this network scenario. PC, QNAP / Synology, etc common network sources? Where does Roon live? What is the network endpoint?

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11 hours ago, GUTB said:

One thing I'd like to understand is what you guys are using as sources and network interfaces for your DACs in this network scenario. PC, QNAP / Synology, etc common network sources? Where does Roon live? What is the network endpoint?

 

I think there is a broad consensus in this forum for the best SQ to use a dual PC system. The system structure differs. First a definition, as I see it:

 

Audio Server : Control PC
In general, all applications and files used for music playback are located in the Control PC. In detail, these are, for example, the music files stored in the NAS ( Network Attached Storage) in the network to play provided. The music needs to be managed, for example sorted by music genre, artist and possibly with information on the musicians. In addition, it must be possible to control the music, including selecting, playing, stopping and possibly regulating the volume. This is made possible, for example, by the Roon software . Other additional functions can be the ripping of CDs, for example with dBpoweramp. Or measurements for room sound correction such as with Acourate . When in doubt, many programs are active. As a rule, there is an Internet connection and therefore a firewall and virus scanner are required. This is bad for trouble-free music playback.

 

Audio End Point : Audio PC
This brings us to the functions of an audio PC, which should have less running processes as possible. Therefore, the Audio PC should only render the music. Then it is up to the user whether the DAC receives the music data natively or with oversampling. In addition, to choice whether the DAC, the data in the format of PCM ( Puls Code Modulation ) or DSD ( Direct Stream Digital) to receive. All of these functions can be performed, for example, with the Roon software. Anyone who values the very highest sound quality use ofr example HQPlayer. The internet connection should be blocked. The firewall and virus protection are no longer required.

 

We come to the implementation of a dual PC system. Without claiming to be complete, a list:

 

1. Dual PC solution with maximum computing power in the Control PC / Audio Server
With this solution, the Control PC would do the main work. This would have to be computationally powerful, as it might also have to calculate the oversampling, the conversion of, for example, PCM to DSD and the convolution for the room correction in realtime. The Audio PC would only render the data natively. The advantage lies in the Audio PC, which can be operated with very little computing power. The disadvantage lies in the increase in applications in the Control PC, which, for example, would have to transport a very large amount of data to the audio PC in the case of oversampling.

 

2. Dual PC solution with the highest computing power in the Audio PC / Audio End Point
The Control PC could manage with a relatively lean computing power, since the computationally intensive tasks such as oversampling, converting, for example, PCM to DSD and the convolution for room correction in the Audio PC would take place. The tasks of a Control PC could, for example, be carried out with older computers. In the Control PC only the music control and the "native" transfer of the data to the audio PC take place. The advantage lies in the Audio PC, which prepares the music data for the DAC in the highest quality undisturbed by other applications. Another advantage is the permanent low-energy operation in the Control PC.

 

In the example below, solution 2. was implemented. The Control PC runs as a music server (NAS) 24 hours a day and consumes little electricity due to its low computing power. The Audio PC is switched on for music operation and this renders the data in the best resolution and sends them to the DAC without interference.

 

fis-Audio-PC-Musicplayer-Renderer.png?w=

 

3. Dual PC system in one chassis

Taiko Audio Extrem uses a mainboard with a dual CPU. I find a very elegant solution. Different tasks can be assigned to the two cores. The DIY community has not really made any progress with the replica. Nenon has created a prototype.

 

The two follow-up projects are not making any progress. 

 

Sorry for the long text in bad English.

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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Hello,

 

I'm looking for a way to reduce all audio latency on my windows system as much as possible, I've looked around on other forums and etc... but was unable to accomplish anything meaningful. 

I have my own DAC, focusrite scarlett 2i2, it has a buffer size option, which I've selected the lowest (16), however this gives me an overall latency of 70ms, of which I was hoping to get it down to about just 30ms. However I don't know how to further reduce this.

 

The way I measure audio latency is I open up audacity, I generate a "ping" sound, then I put my headphones against the microphone and record the playback of the ping sound, I then calculate the delay, which is about 70ms. 

 

I'm looking to reduce all audio latency, so I don't really want just the recording audio latency to be reduced, I mainly want the playback latency reduced, from all sources in windows, from watching a video, to playing a game, to the vary system sounds windows makes. Is this possible?

 

Anyone got any ideas? 

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2 hours ago, deama said:

I'm looking to reduce all audio latency

 

I also consider low latencies to be a key to increasing SQ. The setting in the ASIO USB driver depends on the sample rate. With DSD 256, 32 samples can be specified as the lowest buffer. Then it is 1.18 ms input latency and 1.50 ms output latency for USB.

 

With LatencyMon the process latency can be measured. I have measured the sensationally low value of 12.20 µs = 0.0122 ms since using the XILINX Solarflare Flareon Ultra SFN8522 PCIe card.

 

40082845xm.png

 

My tips:
- Check the process latency with every change. Disturbing drivers are displayed with LatencyMon. A driver update usually helps.
- Select and configure everything that transports data according to low latencies (CPU, USB, Ethernet, RAM, SSD, etc.)
- Disable unnecessary processes

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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Well installing the Optane was fast enough...recognized in BIOS, set to boot prio, started Daphile, low and behold I was able to copy the OS onto the Optane disk.

 

Booting happens from Optane, only snag is that my SSD appears empty (it had all music on it) and that I seem unable (for now) to copy all music files onto the SSD from scratch.

 

 

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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