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Building a DIY Music Server


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12 minutes ago, Nenon said:

The question was about PCIe, not USB...

 

Ah yes. My interpretation was a bit different...I figured it was more about going through PCH vs CPU direct in general. My comment wasn't USB centric. Storage can either go through PCH or CPU direct, USB chipsets or cards etc. Each would count as some sort of "PCIE" card in the original question.

 

 It was an example of a transport which can either go through PCH or CPU direct so I think it is applicable.

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@Nenon just want to reiterate how grateful I am for all of your assistance (even outside of this thread in PM). My apologies if I came across as defensive.

 

Looking forward to that Taiko DC-ATX 😁.

 

@OAudio I was wondering what other solutions exist if Optane goes away. Are there affordable enterprise class alternatives which fit standard pcie slots?

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11 hours ago, letterman said:

I'm starting to collect bits for the upcoming build and wanted to check if it will be around the ASUS WS C621E Sage Extreme Power Intel® Xeon® Processor Workstation Motherboard?

 

Yes, that would be the motherboard. 

Affiliated with Sean Jacobs

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It seems the overall gist here is that, sound quality-wise, the more powerful the CPU the better.

 

I'm thinking of upgrading my existing Intel Core i3 9100 to an i7 9700. Would that make any appreciable difference with regard to sound character/quality?

Source: Synology NAS > DIY Mediaserver • Software: JRiver MC26 DLNA/Fidelizer 8.5 Digital AES/EBU output: Marian Seraph D4 • DAC/preamp: Blue Cheese Audio Roquefort Digital cross-over: Xilica XP-3060 • Speakers: Electro-Voice TS9040D LX (for active config.)  Subwoofers: 2 x MicroWrecker (tapped horn) • Poweramp EV horns: Belles SA-30 • EV bass amp: Lab.Gruppen FP6400 • Subs amp: Crown Audio K2 • EV horns cables: Mundorf silver/gold + Duelund DCA16GA (shotgun config.) • IC: Mundorf silver/gold XLR-RCA/Mogami 2549 XLR-XLR • Subs and EV bass cable: Cordial CLS 425 • Power cables: 15AWG Solid-core wire w/IeGo pure copper plugs (DIY)

 

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35 minutes ago, phusis said:

It seems the overall gist here is that, sound quality-wise, the more powerful the CPU the better.

 

I'm thinking of upgrading my existing Intel Core i3 9100 to an i7 9700. Would that make any appreciable difference with regard to sound character/quality?

 

Probably, but you need to have adequate power as well.

 

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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2 minutes ago, dminches said:

 

Probably, but you need to have adequate power as well.

 

 

Sure, using the Corsair RM550x. It would seem sufficient? Not using a separate video card.

Source: Synology NAS > DIY Mediaserver • Software: JRiver MC26 DLNA/Fidelizer 8.5 Digital AES/EBU output: Marian Seraph D4 • DAC/preamp: Blue Cheese Audio Roquefort Digital cross-over: Xilica XP-3060 • Speakers: Electro-Voice TS9040D LX (for active config.)  Subwoofers: 2 x MicroWrecker (tapped horn) • Poweramp EV horns: Belles SA-30 • EV bass amp: Lab.Gruppen FP6400 • Subs amp: Crown Audio K2 • EV horns cables: Mundorf silver/gold + Duelund DCA16GA (shotgun config.) • IC: Mundorf silver/gold XLR-RCA/Mogami 2549 XLR-XLR • Subs and EV bass cable: Cordial CLS 425 • Power cables: 15AWG Solid-core wire w/IeGo pure copper plugs (DIY)

 

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13 hours ago, phusis said:

 

Sure, using the Corsair RM550x. It would seem sufficient? Not using a separate video card.

 

I don’t know.  It seems like enough wattage but these things are tricky.

 

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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IMHO and trials shows  that the better the PSU the better the SQ! I have a RM550x powering all the fans in my i 10700k / Gigabyte Aorus Z490 Ultra, the Cpu with a RM650x thru the EPS connector and the MB powered by a HX850! Thinking that the ultra low ripple of the RM550x would give better SQ, I swapped this into the MB. The bass disappeared in my listening tests. The peak current of the Hx850 is 70amps while the Rm550 is only 50amps.. The Hx850 has overall better components and the VRM system of the Aorus Ultra MB needs big current input. I hv no more wish to get a  HDPlex 500 w LPSU.. Waiting to get a AX1200i to power my MB and move the Hx850 to the EPS !! 

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20 hours ago, dminches said:

 

I don’t know.  It seems like enough wattage but these things are tricky.

 

 

I would think it's enough wattage as well, but indeed; practically, as it applies to sound quality, it may be a different matter than the requirements for mere functionality. 

 

10 hours ago, kelvinwsy said:

IMHO and trials shows  that the better the PSU the better the SQ! I have a RM550x powering all the fans in my i 10700k / Gigabyte Aorus Z490 Ultra, the Cpu with a RM650x thru the EPS connector and the MB powered by a HX850! Thinking that the ultra low ripple of the RM550x would give better SQ, I swapped this into the MB. The bass disappeared in my listening tests. The peak current of the Hx850 is 70amps while the Rm550 is only 50amps.. The Hx850 has overall better components and the VRM system of the Aorus Ultra MB needs big current input. I hv no more wish to get a  HDPlex 500 w LPSU.. Waiting to get a AX1200i to power my MB and move the Hx850 to the EPS !! 

 

Interesting findings, thanks. That's quite the PSU-headroom afforded here for your core i7 set-up, and makes my sole RM550x seem anemic for a seriously malnourished audio PC by comparison. I'd be tempted to say, in your case, more than or certainly in addition to "better" the sheer grunt of power is a primary factor (unless of course more power simply equates into better). Some might feel better is more a matter of using a linear power supply (for a less noisy power delivery, I take it) and less about the wattages per se, but the two aspects could of course also be linked via a sturdy LPSU. What are your thoughts on this matter - why the abundance of SMPS's vs. a LPSU?

Source: Synology NAS > DIY Mediaserver • Software: JRiver MC26 DLNA/Fidelizer 8.5 Digital AES/EBU output: Marian Seraph D4 • DAC/preamp: Blue Cheese Audio Roquefort Digital cross-over: Xilica XP-3060 • Speakers: Electro-Voice TS9040D LX (for active config.)  Subwoofers: 2 x MicroWrecker (tapped horn) • Poweramp EV horns: Belles SA-30 • EV bass amp: Lab.Gruppen FP6400 • Subs amp: Crown Audio K2 • EV horns cables: Mundorf silver/gold + Duelund DCA16GA (shotgun config.) • IC: Mundorf silver/gold XLR-RCA/Mogami 2549 XLR-XLR • Subs and EV bass cable: Cordial CLS 425 • Power cables: 15AWG Solid-core wire w/IeGo pure copper plugs (DIY)

 

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Let me explain further my set up. First a typo 

The RM550x has only 45amp peak current on the 12V +ve rail

The RM650x has 54amps while the HX850 is 70amps

The overclocking K series needs amperes to work. Especially on a Z390/490 motherboard with good high current VRM capability. This is provided you feed it with lots of high quality current.

For overclocking i7 10700k /i 9 10900k and the 10th gen upcoming K chips, there is very little LPSU's that can provide this kind of juice!

It is possible and preferable to power the CPU through the EPS 12v connectors using a separate PSU. For this I use the RM650 and leave the MB powered by the HX850. 

Note that I have 2 SSD's powered by LT3045 1.5 amp power units. The Audiophile grade PCIE slot - USB card I use is the Clones Audio (Hong Kong Hifi brand) SHAAR USB3.0. This is powered by another 2 amp LT3045 power unit. So all the music producing components are powered by LT3045's. The VRM onboard the motherboard has pure 12v power coming from the HX850 on a single rail. 70amp peak into 55amp output from the VRM single phase output module. That gives the very potent bass on my Class A 30watt monoblock HP amps driving my Abyss AB-1266 phi/cc HP's.

The stereo separation, depth, height, instrument location, Vocals with Body and solidity are all improved greatly.

The RM550 drives the AIO pump, AIO fans and Case exhaust fans through 3 separate Fan PCB's I found on Aliexpress which only takes the PWM signal from the MB but allows separate power from a separate PSUs. I have 3 suction fans and 3 additional push fans on my Coolermaster 360 AIO in a Push Pull configuration driven by a separate fan header unit. All the fans are on half speed resistors and fan filters from Elfidelity. The MB has 2 PCIE power filters - I dont use Graphics card. JUst overclock the 10700k at 4.4ghz and drive the HQ Player 4.0 Desktop with ASDM7EC/ASDM 512 f+EC (Hqplayer 4.10 new modulators) - No stuttering and great low temps - CPU is at most at about 55 deg C on full 4.4ghz overclock.

Basically the fans are also all on flexible mounts and the panels in the PC case are all damped with bitumastic pads and rubber damping pads.

All the ATX psu's are Outside of the PC case. Even the MB PSU - I use a 18gauge extension ATX cable lead and is now outside the case. I took very extra care with Earthing the PCIE brackets and case to the Earth point on my DC/Ground filtered Power Conditioner.

The SQ is really great. So good that I have really no big urge to do any upgrades = Just enjoy the music.

Kelvin

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Yes tricky and fussy wiring job but the Diy joy and big cost savings (I built the PC myself) over a commercial streamer makes it s no brainer... HQPlayer 4.10.1 playing with EC modulators .. Win Server 2019 core with AudioOptimizer 3.0! 

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great idea, I just picked up a Corsair AX 1200i to power the MB but I'll make sure to try the old PSU for the fan

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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If u do not go fanless pc case route then u need to use this pc fan pcb device. See picture below!  U eliminate 90% of the fans impact on the MB power stability. Add on fan half speed resistors and u eliminate most of the PWM fan pulse noise!! Add on the Elfidelity fan filters and u are DONE!  Trust me .. U can hear the improvement in background blackness and silence! Ambience and decay are all enhanced . U hear the timbre of musical notes played and the subtle vocal tone variations so much clearer.

Of course if u can find an audiophile LPSU that csn pump out 70amps peak current then go for it! It will cost 5-7k USD at least?? My entire HQplayer tweaked to the Kelvin Extreme is under 3k USD. I hv cooling capacity to overclock to 5Ghz and csn install a RTX 3080 anytime.. No restictions as in a fanless case approach

E03F97D2-BBA6-4C1A-8DC9-CF8982BF11AD.png

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Nice piece, I ogled something similar for the same purpose but decided against it as I might be able to stay away from fans.

Currently with the latest update Daphile is running at around 37'C which should mean that a passive cooler is feasible.

Cannot wait to dig into the 1200W PSU, adding some nice caps to the end of the cables and using some serious cable rather than the stock stuff...is there a source for decent connectors for ATX PSU power cable DIYing?

 

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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initial impression (Ax1200i warming up (in so far that is applicable at the low load I'm presenting it with), amp also still warming up is: good!

 

Faster transients, inkier black background better separation between instruments and sounds, cleaner highs, more intricate detail, more peace &quiet leaving more room for overtones etc.

 

edit: forgot to mention a 'slight' benefit of additional push and control in the low end freq region :-) 

Nice!

 

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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The Gallium arsenide transistors in the Corsair AX1600i woll sound evem better as switching frequency pushed up to 100Mhz and above way out of sound reproduction...better transient characteristics .. should sound noticeably better.. So saving up my pennies for One big jump to the AX1600i

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3 hours ago, kelvinwsy said:

The Gallium arsenide transistors in the Corsair AX1600i woll sound evem better as switching frequency pushed up to 100Mhz and above way out of sound reproduction...better transient characteristics .. should sound noticeably better.. So saving up my pennies for One big jump to the AX1600i

that makes sense, sounds as if it's a nice piece of kit for audio that could give any audio PSU a run for it's money!

 

I found a used AX1200i on the 'cheap' while searching for a seasonic to improve the rather bland 400W Bequiet that came with the case, so I jumped in the car and picked it up.

 

I am still thinking about the Taiko ATX supply or building a linear supply...having heard this AX1200i after it warmed up last night (it got very LATE) makes me wonder what new cabling does and I'll venture there first now I have a complete set of spares to tinker with (have not found connectors anywhere else but at Ghent audio so I will probably chop those spares).

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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so meanwhile I found some sources for Molex connector houses and connectors, has anyone tips for a crimping tool that works well but does not cost the world or should I not bother and just solder them?

When crimping I;d prefer a ratchet as that comes with preset force, like this one

 

 

https://nl.rs-online.com/web/p/crimp-tools/0220914/?cm_mmc=NL-PLA-DS3A-_-google-_-CSS_NL_NL_Hand_Tools_Whoop-_-(NL:Whoop!)+Crimp+Tools-_-220914&matchtype=&pla-303008307297&gclid=CjwKCAiA1eKBBhBZEiwAX3gql62y-TIbQVIfRv1qde2dl3tYlfBqjTtlr0HzZOd0y79UeagLgQsbOBoCqqkQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

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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With regards to AX1600i etc....

 

By the way, I moved on from NUC to a custom server - I now use a Corsair SFX750.  Sounds pretty good to me, but I bet you that the better quality power supply still wins.  Corsair SFX750 is just a decent stopgap to true linear IMO.

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