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Building a DIY Music Server


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3 hours ago, dctom said:

I don't know,  when you read reviews the emphasis is usually on the DAC often the reviewer is using a lap top or average commercial streamer. On other forums other than here,  DACs draw more attention than streamers, just my take on it. The exception being the extreme!


The reviews in the printed magazines often seem to me as if they had been written a decade ago.  I think it’s a reflection of the personal interests of their writing staff.  Injecting some new blood would help.  
 

The other factor is the lack of interest in servers by the traditional big name brands.  Seems Audio Research’s DACs and CD players will always get their attention because that brand already has their attention because of their analog gear.  

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps

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17 minutes ago, LTG2010 said:

'Unregulated' is also a slightly misleading term. If we look at Extreme smoothing section there's a huge amount of capacitance, 700,000 mf on a single rail, compare this to 20,000/40,000 on a DC3/DC4 (different design implementation) therefore a large amount of smoothing and ripple reduction, and a huge super store of instantaneous current, one of the reasons I suspect for the descriptions of big dynamics, bass impact, scale, etc. In guess this is an ideal match for fast acting regulators.

Second a huge choke input, again more filtering and smoothing, plus a stabiliser for current fluctuations (acts like a regulator).

 

That is exactly my thought, just do the math; for a low ripple current you need a what is seen as very high capacitance at the current drawn.

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 would like to imagine the perfect DAC! It would take the digital signal. filter or mitigate all noise and its effects without generating any of its own adverse effects and reconstruct the perfect analogue output.- i.e. have the 100% performance result at the output. Such a super DAC could be used with any digital source with the same 100% result. A+

 

Now imagine the perfect server - generates only the bit perfect signal and no noise modulation, radiation or otherwise. If we do not use the super DAC with it - we still shall not get the perfect 100% result. The DAC itself will still be unable to generate a clean analogue output because of its own imperfections. It might generate noise  within itself and may not be able to reject other spurious EMI/RFI that would affect the output- (i.e. less than 100% result always). So yes - the DAC should be more critical than the digital source IMO... but where is that super DAC, and can it even exist affordably?

 

Even though I now have a powerful server (i9-10900K/PHD SR7T, SJ reg, etc) and love the SQ  in combination with my modest DAC (NAIM DAC-V1) I cannot help but think it reeks of poor system design for music playback. I love the sound (dynamic, clear soundscape, extended powerful well defined bass, low noise, great attack and full decays etc) yet I am not fully convinced it is the way to go! However I watch and try to follow these amazing threads with the hope that a better solution will eventually be found. I keep hoping (naively perhaps) that better and cost effective DAC designs and/or streamers will appear. .

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31 minutes ago, frederick184 said:

Which is why I don’t quite understand how someone can front-end their system with an Apple MacBook and call it good.

"Good" is relative; we don't all have the same opportunities or luck (or priorities) to go all-out on any part of our system, let alone most parts.  Congrats to those that can or will.  👍  But yes, I fully agree that a front end upgrade can and should be perceivable via sq.  What percentage tells a lot about how someone has had to put their system together. 

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17 minutes ago, ted_b said:

"Good" is relative; we don't all have the same opportunities or luck (or priorities) to go all-out on any part of our system, let alone most parts.  Congrats to those that can or will.  👍  But yes, I fully agree that a front end upgrade can and should be perceivable via sq.  What percentage tells a lot about how someone has had to put their system together. 

Good point, Ted.  We don’t all have the disposable income necessary to max out every part of our systems.  I guess my point was more that there is a school of thought that says server side changes don’t matter, so putting a MacBook up front is good enough.  My experience has been that this is not the case.

 

Colin

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On the DAC v. server discussion, another aspect is timing, along with budget, as I suspect most of us can't just keep upgrading indefinitely.  For instance, I've been an audiophile for over 30 years, I'm nearing retirement with very finite resources, and when I decided to go all-in for a DAC there was no Extreme (along with its significant findings and further questions).  I also speculated that server technology was most likely to significantly advance before DAC technology.  Seems like the Extreme and this DIY project could prove that out.

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My wish list for this server build is to be able to upsample to DSD512 using HQ Player to a T+A Dac8 DSD.

Will this be possible, and if so, how far into the complex range of HQ Player options could it go? 

Also, what CPU options are on the drawing board and are there any hot contenders?

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7 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

Wether the Taiko DC-ATX will sound best with an unregulated or regulated supply is speculation at present 

 

I am sure Taiko Audio knows which type of the supply is best for their ATX converter and gave Nenon some recommendation:

 

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/taiko-audio-sgm-extreme-the-crème-de-la-crème.27433/page-278#post-697117

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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3 hours ago, letterman said:

My wish list for this server build is to be able to upsample to DSD512 using HQ Player to a T+A Dac8 DSD.

Will this be possible, and if so, how far into the complex range of HQ Player options could it go? 

Also, what CPU options are on the drawing board and are there any hot contenders?

 

I have written about this just recently, but the CPU model has a big impact on sound quality. Hence, my effort is focused on building a computer around the dual Xeon 4114 CPUs with the Asus SAGE motherboard. Those CPUs are not necessarily the latest technology in terms of clock speed, which is what you need for heavy upsampling.

 

If I was building a heavy duty upsampling computer, I would go with "The Beast" fanless chassis and pick one of the new AMD CPUs when they become available later this year. 

 

1 hour ago, matthias said:

I am sure Taiko Audio knows which type of the supply is best for their ATX converter and gave Nenon some recommendation:

I have certainly received a lot of feedback from Emile, for which I am very thankful! 

Affiliated with Sean Jacobs

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10 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

Wether the Taiko DC-ATX will sound best with an unregulated or regulated supply is speculation at present we'll see soon enough, but @Nenon's description speed, clarity, dynamics from 'unregulated' supply and space and depth from DC4 (due to lower noise and lower resultant jitter Imo) is what I'd expect. Of course there is always the requirement of budget restrictions. Greatly looking forward to testing the Taiko DC-ATX to get a hit of those dynamics. :)

 

Your post might give the Impression that Nenon feeded the Taiko DC-ATX with the unregulated LPS vs with a DC4. AFAIK, that was not the case. The described SQ differences came from feeding the computer directly with the DC4.

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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http://www.mics.ne.jp/~cdorya/MinorityClean/#download

http://jplay.eu/forum/index.php?/topic/3063-pink-hq-minorityclean/

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Meanwhile, MC97 is damn awesome. The biggest quality step up in the history of MC so far.

 

The bass is so deep and solid and highs are so clear and pure it is just beyond belief.

 

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MC97 makes my system sound fantastic... again :) If I close my eyes and feel like I belong here and now and feel it for hours without any fatigue - that's it for me.

 

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With MC97 running all afternoon, i have the best music i ever had: actually i don't want to change anything (till the next step ;) )

 

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.mc97 Is REALLY somethIng specIal ! thank you orya

 

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Are those usernames on Marcin's forum any of us?  Anyone used MinorityClean before?  if so, with AO?  After AO? (I guess this should be another thread CTU 🙂 )

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@Mellowman @Blawre @Kuni @JazzDoc @recepky @Iain are definitely fellow members on this site, @Zauurx @Patatorz were definitely posting on this thread.

 

Actually I mentioned MinorityClean quite a few times already for a specific reason, it's gonna be awesome if the genius author oryaaaaa were able to create a specialized version for optimizing the performance of Asus WS C621E SAGE with dual Xeon Silver. IMHO he's got the potential to become a key person of our upcoming project with LTSC 2019, it's just a matter of how we could convince him to join us here.

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10 hours ago, ted_b said:

Are those usernames on Marcin's forum any of us?  Anyone used MinorityClean before?  if so, with AO?  After AO? (I guess this should be another thread CTU 🙂 )

Hello, I am using MC since the 4x versions on my Lenovo Tiny (AO, Fidelizer, ProcessLasso ..).
I also use it on my non-audio computers.
Its operation is not linked to other processes (eg AO) and therefore comes in addition.
I confirm the quality of the "stable" versions MC88 and MC97.
And I use it on LTSC 2019 (40 processes with HQP, Roon and TighVNC active - 25 windows processes).

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I am starting to source the parts for the 4114/Sage build at the moment. CPUs and Motherboard are easy to get hold of, I will wait and see what Taiko make available in terms of case and ATX DC-DC (registered interest).

 

Ram is more of a challenge. Can anyone recommend a European seller of the Apacer ECC ram?

 

Thanks 

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8 minutes ago, ASRMichael said:

Mouser

I ordered from Mouser and had it on house within 4 or 5 business days, shipped from Texas...amazing!

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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20 minutes ago, Exocer said:

@Nenon in addition to @JonD's question, can we confirm if it matters whether one uses the Xeon Scalable Silver 4210 or the 4114? I recall Emile mentioning he had switched to the newer 4210's with zero impact to SQ.

 

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/taiko-audio-sgm-extreme-the-crème-de-la-crème.27433/page-165#post-640513

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We switched to the 4210 when it was released which "sounds" identical to the 4114. The 4214 does not have the same midrange contrast levels.

 

OTOH, 4215 should be mighty interesting since it's the only one with both 85W TDP as well as support for Optane DCPMM

 

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/193389/intel-xeon-silver-4215-processor-11m-cache-2-50-ghz.html

 

If WS C621E SAGE were "willing" to boot with the Engineering Sample flavor while everything is stable overall, it's gonna cost $125 (or less) a pop

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-128GB-1Rx4-DCPMM-2666-ECC-Server-Optane-Memory-NMA1XBD128G2S-ES/193841515423

 

If that weren't bootable at all, maybe experts such as LOST_N_BIOS could take care of it?

 

https://www.win-raid.com/t3893f16-Allow-B-stepping-on-Asus-W-E-Sage.html

 

Capacity would be relatively low, though we might have something that could finally beat both Optane DC P4800X and 900P.

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