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Building a DIY Music Server


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thanks, I ordered 2 so I won't be testing with 4. I think my gut feeling is confirmed by what you wrote...less is more. 

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cleaner sound, blacker background, more 'precision' and lower level detail, SWEET!

 

 

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Now a CRITICAL question in relation to server storage.

 

I've learned that SSD generate a ton of noise which gets dumped into the 5v power line, and isolating this power line or filtering it has a big effect of lifting the veil. In my first (and only) attempt at building an audio PC I addressed this by getting a simple SATA-USB splitter cable which split the power line to a standard USB plug so that I can then plug it into a common 5v battery pack to completely isolate it. Now, that only works with SSDs.

 

So, what about NVMe drives? How do these sound? Do these need filters and/or power isolation as well? Does the memory architecture matter? Should you just stick with the working SSD solution? Is it better just to give up, put all the noisy stuff into the back-end system and focus clean-up effort on the renderer?

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22 minutes ago, GUTB said:

Now a CRITICAL question in relation to server storage.

 

I've learned that SSD generate a ton of noise which gets dumped into the 5v power line, and isolating this power line or filtering it has a big effect of lifting the veil. In my first (and only) attempt at building an audio PC I addressed this by getting a simple SATA-USB splitter cable which split the power line to a standard USB plug so that I can then plug it into a common 5v battery pack to completely isolate it. Now, that only works with SSDs.

 

So, what about NVMe drives? How do these sound? Do these need filters and/or power isolation as well? Does the memory architecture matter? Should you just stick with the working SSD solution? Is it better just to give up, put all the noisy stuff into the back-end system and focus clean-up effort on the renderer?

tried an NVMe drive as media storage locally in 1 box NUC server to USB out. I experienced the same issues with it as I had with SSD and SDXC,

irritating highs, a  sense of collapse in dynamic range. I'm using it now for boot drive replacing the SSD in my normal computer, its a bit snappier

but  I haven't done anything yet to compare after cloning the SSD.  Aurender and Innuos seem to have figured out

how to make local media  drive work

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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that is what I am thinking about too, I imagine that storing the files away from the computer streaming them to the DAC helps, if only that connection remains free of noise/signal loss/alteration. LOOOONG ago fiberoptics were poor performers (good old Toslink) nowadays from what I read here and elsewhere not anymore if you find the right hardware. 

Or just write a blank check for Opane internal storage...

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39 minutes ago, GUTB said:

Now a CRITICAL question in relation to server storage.

 

I've learned that SSD generate a ton of noise which gets dumped into the 5v power line, and isolating this power line or filtering it has a big effect of lifting the veil. In my first (and only) attempt at building an audio PC I addressed this by getting a simple SATA-USB splitter cable which split the power line to a standard USB plug so that I can then plug it into a common 5v battery pack to completely isolate it. Now, that only works with SSDs.

 

So, what about NVMe drives? How do these sound? Do these need filters and/or power isolation as well? Does the memory architecture matter? Should you just stick with the working SSD solution? Is it better just to give up, put all the noisy stuff into the back-end system and focus clean-up effort on the renderer?

It really depends on NVME drive and usage you are talking about. Here is what I have experienced.

 

The Optane NVME drives are the best when used for the OS and music apps. They are too small for storing most music libraries.  During playback the OS and music players tend to write a lot of short bursty data and the Optanes excel at that kind of traffic. These fast service times, mean the operations are short in time.

 

Larger NVMEs for music storage are mostly read-only, and in my testing range all over the place in terms of  SQ.  The Samsung drives are the worst for SQ, and the Intel and Sabrent Rocket series the best. My experience is by no means exhaustive and only include samples from these three manufacturers.

 

SQ from of all of these drives benefits from NVME coolers and EFI absorption materials.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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30 minutes ago, lmitche said:

 

 

30 minutes ago, lmitche said:

 

 

SQ from of all of these drives benefits from NVME coolers and EFI absorption materials.

I struggle with combining these two, EFI ( I assume you refer to EMI shielding) and cooling. I have some nice EMI stuff, tricky as it's conductive but it probably insulates heat...

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2 hours ago, GUTB said:

I've learned that SSD generate a ton of noise which gets dumped into the 5v power line, and isolating this power line or filtering it has a big effect of lifting the veil. In my first (and only) attempt at building an audio PC I addressed this by getting a simple SATA-USB splitter cable which split the power line to a standard USB plug so that I can then plug it into a common 5v battery pack to completely isolate it. Now, that only works with SSDs.

Most definitely.

In my case I power both internal SSDs from the +12V rail using 2 separate LM317T voltage regulators set for +5V output, each followed by a very low noise (<4uV) variety of shunt regulator. You also need to ensure that the cases of the SSDs are securely connected to the metalwork and ensure that the metalwork has a very low measured resistance back to the main 0Volts (Earth) of the PSU. Note also that the use of pop rivets in the metalwork also adds to the resistance, so needs to be bypassed by additional cabling.

( The incoming 0 volts/Earth of SSD and HDD are internally connected to their metal cases)

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/60381-hdd-to-case-bonding-uptick-in-sq/?tab=comments#comment-1084599

 

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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I agree with @lmitche on the Intel / Sabrent Rocket. Intel 660p and 665p are good for up to 2 TB of storage. I use the Supermicro AOC-SLG3-2M2 PCIe to combine two 2 TB Intel 665p drives into a 4 TB RAID0 storage. The RAID0 increases the performance even more. 

 

For more than 2TB you can use the Sabrent Rocket. They have 8 TB drives. I haven't tested them but heard from other people that they are not bad at all. 

 

3 hours ago, GUTB said:

I've learned that SSD generate a ton of noise which gets dumped into the 5v power line, and isolating this power line or filtering it has a big effect of lifting the veil.

The problem with that is that noise still leaks through the SATA cable back to the motherboard. As a general rule, I avoid SATA these days. 

 

PCIe-based storage is my go-to these days. That's on my Windows set up. For Euphony running in ramroot and cache-before-playing network storage was my best storage. 

 

There are some high capacity PCIe Optane cards that work amazingly good for local file storage, but they are very expensive. They sounded better than the Intel 665p here but I could not justify the high cost. 

Affiliated with Sean Jacobs

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Nenon,

 

What are a couple of examples of high capacity but expensive PCIe Optane cards for local storage? 

 

I have a lot of music files that are not available on streaming services, so I may be slightly more reliant on local storage than the average audiophile. 

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4 minutes ago, gererick said:

Nenon,

 

What are a couple of examples of high capacity but expensive PCIe Optane cards for local storage? 

 

I have a lot of music files that are not available on streaming services, so I may be slightly more reliant on local storage than the average audiophile. 

 

You asked for it :)

https://www.newegg.com/p/1B0-0042-00074?Description=MDTPED1K015TA01&cm_re=MDTPED1K015TA01-_-9SIA8N2AZF7211-_-Product&quicklink=true

 

Affiliated with Sean Jacobs

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12 minutes ago, Nenon said:

 

At over $6k at the 1.5 TB level, those will likely come down in price.  If I am looking at the right product (my technical knowledge is modest), 480 GB is only $609.  Intel® Optane™ SSD 900P Series (480GB, 1/2 Height PCIe* x4, 20nm) 123626  

 

 

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2 minutes ago, gererick said:

 

At over $6k at the 1.5 TB level, those will likely come down in price.  If I am looking at the right product (my technical knowledge is modest), 480 GB is only $609.  Intel® Optane™ SSD 900P Series (480GB, 1/2 Height PCIe* x4, 20nm) 123626  

 

 

 

The 900P is different series. They are not bad, but the P4800X sounds better. I compared the two in my system.

Oddly enough Extreme users report no difference between the Intel 660p and Optane 900p. That is not my experience.

That is all on Windows. With Linux / Euphony these tests need to be redone. 

Also, you need to have an available PCIe slot for those cards.

@gererick - I think in your case, the NAS is just fine with Euphony, caching, JCAT Net Femto NIC, Buffalo switch, etc. 

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I wonder if that SSD noise through the SATA cable is EMI due to the high speed data or is it electrical noise creeping into the MB (or both), do you know Nenon?

 

My best SQ is when I simply unplug the external PSU for the SSD, I could live with an 'OCD switch' for serious listening of a few tracks/albums from Optane...that is how big the difference is for me. No way I am coughing up the dough for 2TB or so local storage in Obscene, eeerr Optane.

 

 

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48 minutes ago, Nenon said:

 

The 900P is different series. They are not bad, but the P4800X sounds better. I compared the two in my system.

Oddly enough Extreme users report no difference between the Intel 660p and Optane 900p. That is not my experience.

That is all on Windows. With Linux / Euphony these tests need to be redone. 

Also, you need to have an available PCIe slot for those cards.

@gererick - I think in your case, the NAS is just fine with Euphony, caching, JCAT Net Femto NIC, Buffalo switch, etc. 

 

Yes, with Euphony, caching, etc., the NAS is just fine, but it doesn't sound quite as good as streaming (close, but not quite as good). 

 

And the NAS is just a few feet away.  So from a proximity standpoint, the NAS or local storage should sound better than streaming.  

 

The NAS only has to go through ethernet cable (and through the PF Buffalo).

 

Streaming is sourced many miles away, goes through more conversions (Verizon Fios, ONT box, coax, router, coax again, router extender, ethernet cable, PF Buffalo).  Plus whatever processes it went through before getting onto the Verizon Fios network.  My routers are Verizon routers, not audiophile grade (yet).  One would think that the NAS (a fine Synology DS218) shouldn't have difficulty beating streaming.  But it seems to be the rule and the norm, from what I've read of others' experiences who have invested in their streaming equipment and local storage.  Perhaps others have written why this is so.

 

Whatever Euphony is caching from the NAS presumably includes some bits that got out of place somehow (that is a non-technical supposition).  Or perhaps the process of burning CDs onto a hard drive introduced errors that are not present in streamed material.

 

Minor differences in SQ, though.  Things like digital glare, leading edge on piano, background vocals separation and prominence, but subtle when comparing.

 

Between the NAS and the PF Buffalo, I have a decent Cardas ethernet cable.  Between the router extender and the Buffalo, an unshielded, low cost but good Monoprice, I believe.  Both can be improved on, but the ethernet cable coming out of the router extender isn't a top performer.

 

I will be trying my etherREGEN in front of my PF Buffalo with fiber optic cable in between, and will see if that changes things.

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24 minutes ago, gererick said:

 

Yes, with Euphony, caching, etc., the NAS is just fine, but it doesn't sound quite as good as streaming (close, but not quite as good). 

 

And the NAS is just a few feet away.  So from a proximity standpoint, the NAS or local storage should sound better than streaming.  

 

The NAS only has to go through ethernet cable (and through the PF Buffalo).

 

Streaming is sourced many miles away, goes through more conversions (Verizon Fios, ONT box, coax, router, coax again, router extender, ethernet cable, PF Buffalo).  Plus whatever processes it went through before getting onto the Verizon Fios network.  My routers are Verizon routers, not audiophile grade (yet).  One would think that the NAS (a fine Synology DS218) shouldn't have difficulty beating streaming.  But it seems to be the rule and the norm, from what I've read of others' experiences who have invested in their streaming equipment and local storage.  Perhaps others have written why this is so.

 

Whatever Euphony is caching from the NAS presumably includes some bits that got out of place somehow (that is a non-technical supposition).  Or perhaps the process of burning CDs onto a hard drive introduced errors that are not present in streamed material.

 

Minor differences in SQ, though.  Things like digital glare, leading edge on piano, background vocals separation and prominence, but subtle when comparing.

 

Between the NAS and the PF Buffalo, I have a decent Cardas ethernet cable.  Between the router extender and the Buffalo, an unshielded, low cost but good Monoprice, I believe.  Both can be improved on, but the ethernet cable coming out of the router extender isn't a top performer.

 

I will be trying my etherREGEN in front of my PF Buffalo with fiber optic cable in between, and will see if that changes things.

I agree, NAS doesn’t sound as good. We’ve still to under so much about digital music! 
 

I use my NUC with SJ LPS. M.2 for storage. OS - Euphony, just running SMB Server. 
 

Hopefully once I get new JCAT card, I can move my old JCAT card to the NUC. 

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7 hours ago, MarcelNL said:

cleaner sound, blacker background, more 'precision' and lower level detail, SWEET!

 

 

this remark was avout the Apacer RAM BTW, now with extended listening, cleaner power grid etc, the differences are even larger and clearer. Especially now I added a decent power cord to the computer..incredible how that affected the low end. bits are bits, yeah sure...love this hobby!

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Haha, there is always more to tinker with....did you start making your own resistors, capacitors, chokes etc yet? 

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So, regarding Optane RAM (not drives) that fit into DIMM slots like regular RAM. This seems like it would be the very best in terms of local storage, but as far as I can tell this support (DCPMM) only exists in server and workstation boards.

 

Also I read the 2nd gen of Optane DC (the expensive kind) is going to be released with Intel's PCI 4.0 next year.

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Optane RAM??

 

I have seen it in M.2 NVME and in PCIe format, not in DIMM, can you show me an example?

 

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thanks, never knew it existed!...cool, it's coming to DIMM apparently, at some point

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