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Building a DIY Music Server


Nenon
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Hello b

 

This is off topic on Nenon's thread and questions like this would be better posted in the SR7 thread. Perhaps Chris could move this to a more appropriate thread. I have been considering this but it would cause a conflict of interest between PHD Ltd and my custom build schedule which are two entirely separate business activities.

 

Regards

Paul

Design and manufacture of high performance power supplies

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On 4/19/2021 at 10:49 AM, seeteeyou said:

FYI - for those of us who aren't interested in running both HQP and NAA on the same dual-socket Xeon Scalable motherboard, we could find specific single-socket ones (i.e. Skylake-SP and Cascade Lake-SP) with Sub-NUMA Clustering that's supported by relevant BIOS options

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/page/616/?tab=comments#comment-1014096

 

https://software.intel.com/content/www/us/en/develop/articles/intel-xeon-processor-scalable-family-technical-overview.html

 

I just DAFS on Google and only found motherboards from maybe a dozen vendors with such BIOS options

  • Cisco
  • Dell
  • EVGA
  • Fujitsu
  • H3C
  • HPE
  • Huawei
  • Intel
  • Lenovo
  • NEC
  • Oracle
  • Supermicro

The vast majority of them could only be purchased as a complete server system (usually the form factor itself ain't even close to SSI-EEB / E-ATX / ATX) instead of a standalone motherboard, therefore I just narrowed them down to these guys

  • EVGA SR-3 Dark
  • Supermicro X11SPL-F
  • Supermicro X11SPD-F
  • Supermicro X11SPA-T
  • Supermicro X11SPA-TF
  • Supermicro X11SPG-TF
  • Supermicro X11SPi-TF
  • Supermicro X11SPW-TF
  • Supermicro X11SPW-CTF
  • Supermicro X11SPH-NCTF
  • Supermicro X11SPH-NCTPF

IMHO it would be quite interesting to try SNC with a single 20-core Xeon Gold 6138 (125W TDP might not need any fans if we weren't upsampling with HQP?) and see if that were getting anywhere close to a pair of 10-core Xeon Silver

 

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/120476/intel-xeon-gold-6138-processor-27-5m-cache-2-00-ghz.html

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Xeon-Scalable-Gold-6138-SkyLake-20-Core-2-0-GHz-3-7-GHz-Turbo-LGA-3647-SR3B5-b/254921475866

 


 

I have no idea if this seller in China were legit or otherwise, though 20-core Xeon Gold 6222V @ 115W TDP could be found below for 4,300 RMB / 660 bucks

 

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=641024936013

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/193962/intel-xeon-gold-6222v-processor-27-5m-cache-1-80-ghz.html

 

This SNC approach with a single CPU is a very intriguing alternative to the dual-CPU approach. Is anyone planning to test this? 

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On 4/16/2021 at 5:32 PM, Nenon said:

Specs are complicated, but let's call it 320VA for simplicity. 

 

Can you share the size of the transformer, height and diameter?

Main system
TAD D1000mk2, TAD M2500mk2, TAD CE-1, Ansuz Mainz 8 C2, Ansuz Darkz D-TC, 
Qobuz Studio -> Roon ROCK on NUC -> Uptone etherREGEN -> dCS Network Bridge -> AES/EBU -> DAC
HD Plex 200W PSU (4 rail for ISP fiber, router, etherREGEN and NUC)
 
Second system
Qobuz Studio -> Devialet Silver Phantom, Devialet Tree
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On 4/19/2021 at 2:02 PM, MarcelNL said:

a fan-less MB is nice, it is possible to use fan management as for the CPU on some MB;s so depending on the use case there may not be a reason to look for a fan-less MB. The Aorus MB I'm currently using has a fan-stop feature, in my usage the chipset fan never comes on, the CPU fan also hardly does.

It’s even better to disable fan monitoring, if possible.

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On 4/17/2021 at 9:12 PM, Exocer said:

Back to Taiko DC-ATX testing with PHSR7T.

 

Let's label the configurations A and B. Where:

 

A. Taiko feeding entire server, fed Paul Hynes SR7T 19v 10a rated single rail. Ghent Gotham JSSG360 from Taiko Dc-ATX to EPS on motherboard.

B. Taiko feeding ATX only. EPS powered directly from a Paul Hynes SR7t 12v 12a rated rail. All using the best of Paul Hynes best silver DC cables. No JSSG.

 

Solution A:

 

Pros

1. Amazing transparency.

2. Sense of space is more open.

3. New microdetails are heard and are surprisingly at the forefront. These details cannot be unheard when switching back but did not draw attention to themselves in the same way.

4. The sense of more information retrieval. There will be moments in your listening where you are shocked to re-listen to a very familiar song and will hear a series of notes in the background that you did not know existed! It is something to experience for sure.

 

Cons

1. The sound is a bit leaner and i'm a sucker for a "full bodied" sound. (my preference)

2. More noticeable sibilance over time. I am convinced this has more to do with the EPS cable than the Taiko DC-ATX.

3. Not as much sense of ease. Perhaps I was approaching the 10A limit or not staying within a comfortable range.

4. Down a few notches in slam/impact.

 

Solution B:

 

Pros

1. The sense of ease you get with a dedicated clean 12v rail is apparent.

2. More slam and visceral effect in hard hitting songs.

3. Sibilance is completely not an issue, especially with female vocals and sharper sounding songs.

4. Fuller bodied sound with no obvious loss of speed.

 

Cons

1. The sound does not have the same openness as Solution A although I would not consider the soundstage smaller or closed in.

2. Ultra fine details are not as audible and do not draw as much attention to themselves although they are present (after they jump out at you with Solution A and you cannot unhear them).

3. You kind of miss the magic of solution A depending on the song

 

Summary

In terms of musicality it is a toss-up. Please keep in mind that the cables are not entirely equal and I have had sibilance issues with the Ghent cable in my system before. With the cables I have on-hand I would prefer Solution B for longer sessions, but Solution A has a Lot of potential and it has this way of drawing you into songs you know very well. I would be curious to see how Solution A would work out with a higher capacity rail and/or an equal quality EPS cable.

 

Is the Taiko DC-ATX worth it as an upgrade from the HDPlex? In my particular setup I took a risk and ordered it not knowing what to expect...and it was a major step in the right direction. The HDPlex is good, the Taiko is astounding in comparison, even for ATX alone I feel it is a worthwhile upgrade.

 

Follow-up: In the near future I will be building another EPS cable made from the same wire we will use for our unregulated linear power supplies. This cable is known to be very neutral so the hope is that I can conduct a fairer comparison between solutions A and B. 

 

Hopefully you all find this useful!

 

Thanks for this Rob!  As we'd discussed I'm on track to have very a similar setup (though I am interested in Nenon's ULPS too).  Just to clarify, the only difference in DC cabling is the EPS run in Ghent, and the rest are all Hynes silver in both A and B?

 

So many variables to evaluate.  I'm also interested in the types of music involved.  In my experience orchestral, chamber ensemble, solo acoustic instrument, electric instrument, and vocal detail can all vary.

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1 minute ago, Darryl R said:

Just to clarify, the only difference in DC cabling is the EPS run in Ghent, and the rest are all Hynes silver in A and B?

That is correct. I am hoping to confirm if the EPS cable had a major influence by testing again with a DIY version made with better wire.

 

4 minutes ago, Darryl R said:

 

So many variables to evaluate.  I'm also interested in the types of music involved.  In my experience for instance, orchestral and acoustic instrument, electric instrument, and vocal detail can vary.

Yes. Lots of Jazz (New and Old), and a little bit of everything else including Pop, Rock, Orchestral. I do not have the exact albums handy at the moment.

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2 minutes ago, Exocer said:

That is correct. I am hoping to confirm if the EPS cable had a major influence by testing again with a DIY version made with better wire.

 

Even so, the results seemed quite good.

 

Quote

I do not have the exact albums handy at the moment.

 

Don't take your time posting that, just making the point.  I listen to mostly classical, and I think they are the more challenging reproductions.  Most electric seems to sound great even in 16 bits.

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19 minutes ago, ASRMichael said:

Hi

 

If one has 2 LPS, 1 for ATX & 1 for CPU. What is the best way to power them on? 
 

Start ATX first or vice versa? 

I have 2 ATX PSU's  to power the CPU and the ATX individually. From my simple trials. it does not matter as long as when the BIOS starts activating, the CPU must be fully powered. So I adopted the routine to power up the CPU and then the ATX. The bios always takes about 2-3 seconds to initiate the startup sequence so the CPU will be steady on state when it needs to be.

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22 minutes ago, kelvinwsy said:

it does not matter as long as when the BIOS starts activating, the CPU must be fully powered

Interesting, I have the opposite experience.  If I power both at the same time, no boot. I have to power on EPS about 5 seconds after I power on ATX. 

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I think then the difference is the timing each LPS takes to reach stable 12v dc output. The ATX PSU's of course are standard PC PSU's and can power up in split seconds. Even then when I was using a HDPLEx 400W LPS to power the ATX and a Standard ATX PSU for the CPU/EPS, this CPU/EPS should also have to be powered on first. I guess the BIOS bootup characteristics and MB differs. I am using the Gigabyte AORUS Z490 Ultra. I dropped the HDPlex 400W LPs as it was not powerful enough for the upsampling I was doing for HQPlayer. Current output - peak was also too low. ATX psu's are more flexible and suitable for Intel 10th and 11th GEN 9900/10900/10700 K type CPUs at 4.5 Ghz and above overclocking.

YMMV of course

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On 4/16/2021 at 12:10 AM, Topk said:

OK, talking about DYI, this is next level OCD: have we ever talked about mechanical stress? I thought this video below is interesting, how the circuit board should resonate and how to prevent stress on the board (and a must see if you have a Denafrips DAC).

 

 

 

This is the (very surprisingly) audible result of this mechanical tuning. Hear for yourself.

 

 

This is also a finding from Naim audio - their circuit board are mounted on springs so that they can resonate since Naim found it sounds best, and connectors are mounted loose on purpose - there’s a good YouTube video on this - around 10 min:

 

 

So when you put together your audio PC, maybe don’t screw too tight? Use proper dampening, isolation feet etc.

 
Interesting!  From what I understand there are 2 different ways to reduce vibration in equipment and cables: coupling and decoupling. I have had better results with coupling. I use the Darkz from Ansuz (they call this mechanical grounding). They also use the same principle in the housing of their (upper tier) power strip. 
 
Unfortunately, the latter are not freely available in the market, although I doubt whether they would be suitable for mounting a motherboard since the mounting height is standardized. But perhaps results can be achieved by simply untightening the screws of the mobo, usb and nic. Worth trying. 
 

 

Screenshot_20210425-130845~2.png

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Hey guys, have a somewhat related question about an audio PC build. I'm repurposing my old gaming rig since I no longer game and have sold the graphics card and it is already an ITX based system (i7 7700k, 16gb ram)

 

Of the listed optimizations below, how would you suggest one orders them as incremental upgrades?
- USB Card (Jcat, Paul pang)

- Linear Power Supply

- Solid State drives (I would need at least 6TB worth)

- Fanless Chassis

 

My current goal is to get rid of the network based SoTM setup I have and replace it with a USB card. I just wanted to make sure that this is a good first priority as opposed to the other potential modifications/changes to make the the build. I just don't have the cash to put down for a full system overhaul all at once.

 

Thanks for the help folks,

Nelly

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36 minutes ago, NellyWhads said:

Hey guys, have a somewhat related question about an audio PC build. I'm repurposing my old gaming rig since I no longer game and have sold the graphics card and it is already an ITX based system (i7 7700k, 16gb ram)

 

Of the listed optimizations below, how would you suggest one orders them as incremental upgrades?
- USB Card (Jcat, Paul pang)

- Linear Power Supply

- Solid State drives (I would need at least 6TB worth)

- Fanless Chassis

 

My current goal is to get rid of the network based SoTM setup I have and replace it with a USB card. I just wanted to make sure that this is a good first priority as opposed to the other potential modifications/changes to make the the build. I just don't have the cash to put down for a full system overhaul all at once.

 

Thanks for the help folks,

Nelly

Edit: I will most likely be using the system directly plugging into a USB dac running Audiolinux headless with Roon for library management and HQP for PCM upsampling (Some short DSD upsampling tests of course, but not all the time)

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1 minute ago, NellyWhads said:

Edit: I will most likely be using the system directly plugging into a USB dac running Audiolinux headless with Roon for library management and HQP for PCM upsampling (Some short DSD upsampling tests of course, but not all the time)

I know its not always possible, but for HQplayer's sake it would be very good to move Roon core to a different machine (assuming Roon is feeding HQplayer).  Easier said than done.  I've been told that Roon is overly chatty, and when I separated the two the sq went to the level of direct local HQplayer library access..meaning Roon had no sq impact anymore.  YMMV.

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11 minutes ago, ted_b said:

I know its not always possible, but for HQplayer's sake it would be very good to move Roon core to a different machine (assuming Roon is feeding HQplayer).  Easier said than done.  I've been told that Roon is overly chatty, and when I separated the two the sq went to the level of direct local HQplayer library access..meaning Roon had no sq impact anymore.  YMMV.

Thank you for the suggestion,

 

I imagine a DIY NAS build could resolve the Roon/HQP decoupling but I'd need to deal with ethernet regeneration, cabling and would most likely need to switch over to Euphony Stylus to take advantage of album caching. I'm weary about adding another computer to the system after my negative experience with the SMS-200 and HQPlayer NAA. Consistent issues over ethernet even when my server is connected directly to the endpoint with a CAT-7 cable whilst the server is in bridge mode. Roon's RAAT had no such issues, but the upsampling is nowhere close to HQPlayer's quality and finesse. 

After that, I steered course to return to my minimalist roots and am now trying to build a single server. Right now, I have planned to serve the files from a Ironwolf HDD installed inside the chassis of the computer, but that will naturally change in time as SSD prices come down. Just so much music to store.

Even if the system isn't completely optimal right from the start, I'm afraid to waste time on an upgrade that will not be audible until I make even more changes. Hence my asking about the USB card priority vs. something like an LPSU or fanless chassis. I mainly listen on headphones at the moment, and have the ability to direct fan noise away from my listening station.

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On 4/19/2021 at 11:36 AM, Nenon said:

But it needs to be fed by higher voltage properly designed unregulated LPS.

How about tying together 12 and 19 volt rails in a serial DC cable from a high current two rail supply or two separate high current supplies? It seems like 31 volts would be ideal. Indeed two 19 volts supplies may work as well.

 

 

 

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/62169-we-need-a-new-standard-in-transferring-digital-signals-between-audio-equipment/page/4/?tab=comments#comment-1118111

On 3/17/2021 at 8:04 AM, lmitche said:

My Adnaco sat on the shelf for two years until I figured out how to get the best out of it a year ago.

 

Once done, this is the best sounding "can of worms" you have ever heard.

 

Hi Larry,

 

Since 10GE SFP+ sounded better than 1GE SFP to begin with, do you think that 25GE SFP28 might be worth a gamble or otherwise?

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Finisar-SFP-FTLF1436P3BCL-25GE-Long-Wavelength-Optical-Transceiver-Module/232556415671

 


 

I'm assuming that SFP28 modules could be plugged into SFP+ cages, while SFP+ modules could also be plugged into SFP28 cages according to this article

 

https://community.fs.com/blog/sfp-vs-sfp-vs-sf-p28-vs-qsfp-vs-qsf-p28-what-are-the-differences.html

Quote

They use the same form factor, and the pinouts of SFP28 and SFP+ connectors are mating compatible. So SFP28 will work with SFP+ optics but at a reduced speed of 10 Gbit/s. And SFP+ module will work well with SFP28 port on a network switch if the port can be set up for 10G transmission, otherwise the SFP+ modules can not work.

 

However, how do we figure out if a pair of Finisar FTLF1436P3BCL were able to work fine @ 10Gbps when they're plugged into both ends of Adnaco-S3B?

 

I just checked this datasheet and it didn't mention anything about backward compatibilities

 

https://www.mouser.com/pdfdocs/Finisar_FTLF1436P3BCL_DS.pdf

https://www.mouser.com/new/finisar/finisar-ftlf1436p3bcl-transceivers/

 

Even the official site wouldn't tell us anything about that as well

 

https://ii-vi.com/product/25ge-sr-sfp28-optical-transceiver-2/

https://ii-vi.com/product/25ge-lr-10km-sfp28-optical-transceiver/

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42 minutes ago, seeteeyou said:

Since 10GE SFP+ sounded better than 1GE SFP to begin with, do you think that 25GE SFP28 might be worth a gamble or otherwise?

My guess is that the law of diminishing returns kicks in above 10GBPS, but who knows. The only way to know is to test this. I'll look for some cheap SFP28s on ebay and if found may give this a try.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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On 4/17/2021 at 10:12 PM, Exocer said:

Back to Taiko DC-ATX testing with PHSR7T.

 

Let's label the configurations A and B. Where:

 

A. Taiko feeding entire server, fed Paul Hynes SR7T 19v 10a rated single rail. Ghent Gotham JSSG360 from Taiko Dc-ATX to EPS on motherboard.

B. Taiko feeding ATX only. EPS powered directly from a Paul Hynes SR7t 12v 12a rated rail. All using the best of Paul Hynes best silver DC cables. No JSSG.

 

Solution A:

 

Pros

1. Amazing transparency.

2. Sense of space is more open.

3. New microdetails are heard and are surprisingly at the forefront. These details cannot be unheard when switching back but did not draw attention to themselves in the same way.

4. The sense of more information retrieval. There will be moments in your listening where you are shocked to re-listen to a very familiar song and will hear a series of notes in the background that you did not know existed! It is something to experience for sure.

 

Cons

1. The sound is a bit leaner and i'm a sucker for a "full bodied" sound. (my preference)

2. More noticeable sibilance over time. I am convinced this has more to do with the EPS cable than the Taiko DC-ATX.

3. Not as much sense of ease. Perhaps I was approaching the 10A limit or not staying within a comfortable range.

4. Down a few notches in slam/impact.

 

 

 

Hopefully you all find this useful!

Thank you for your observations. The Cons of A you mention are of concern to me too. I should be getting one Taiko DC DC-ATX in the batch shipping 4/30 - I will pay special attention to that and hopefully report back sooner than later.

 

That Gotham GAC4 mic cable heavily rejects RF - that will not be the case with the PH cables I suspect. I don't have it for EPS though so cannot comment specifically on that (I have the Neotech 7N UPOCC one). As you well know it is difficult to reach isolated conclusions in a non controlled test environment due to the permutations and combinations involved.

 

I can tell though that Gotham is very effective in shielding with this little setup I have of  a 5VDC powered DAC. It may not be the ideal but it is the simplest I have. I start with a reference setup (usually with Van Den Hul Integration Hybrid DIY DC cable) then test the cable by switching out one, say cable2 and listening to that effect (if any). I would describe the Ghent GAC/4 JSSG360 in similar terms as you attribute to Pros in setup A items 2 & 3. But in helping to reveal more detail, the down fall might be in the highlighting of other issues like you mention in Con 2.

 

PS - MP Audio MS-HPLUN based DIY - 7.5 VDC 3A LT3045 regs, R-Core tranny

Regulators - Alexey LT3045 regs, 6VDC, 5VDC 1A

DAC - Topping E30 (responds well to clean power)

 

PS<<--->>cable1<<--->>6V regulator<<--->>cable2<<--->>5V regulator<<--->>Cable3<<--->>DAC

 

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