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Building a DIY Music Server


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32 minutes ago, bit01 said:

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.

Looking forward to your feedback as well! Solution A is by no means unlistenable. I will test again with a new EPS cable in the near future.

 

32 minutes ago, bit01 said:

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 do not think it is the GAC4 Mic cable in my case. This is the cable: https://www.ghentaudio.com/pc/gt02.html The PH cables are arranged in a way to reject RF but I do not know how effective they are at doing so. Either way, I do not hear more "noise" with the PH cables going from PH SR7T 12V out to EPS in so I am not inclined to believe that is influencing the sound much. As I said in another thread, we are comparing a single shared 10A 19v rail to the use of both a 19v 10a and 12v 12a rails. This should definitely be taken into consideration and may account for some of the observed differences in addition to the EPS cable.

 

Here is a response I wrote to another concerned user:

"For those with a 19v rail (For output into DC-ATX) + 12v rail (for EPS) that are not looking to go full linear for every rail, the Taiko DC-ATX is a major improvement over the HDPlex 800W. If you are using a single 19v rail you may want to invest in the higher voltage Unregulated LPS which was designed to partner with the Taiko DC-ATX as this is the optimal configuration for the Taiko DC-ATX. Or, you may want to go full linear per Marcin's Optimo ATX (I have not heard this unit yet but I trust Marcin's ears). Or you may still go with the Taiko DC-ATX with a single high quality 19V rail. In my tests, I can only say the SR7T 19v input per the synergy with my system did not work as well as having EPS powered by a direct 12v rail and that could very well boil down to a particular cable I have never been fond of in my system that I was forced to use for Solution A testing, or perhaps there was less current for the CPU available, too many variables changed from Solution A-B to rule out the Taiko as the issue. Soon I will conduct a re-test of Solution A with a different EPS cable and report back."

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9 minutes ago, mrkoven said:

Does anyone how to fit the 800W DC-ATX in the H5 Gen 2 case? 

 

Drill or tap 4 m3 holes. The existing holes are not compatible with 800w. 

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On 2/27/2021 at 5:20 PM, Nenon said:

 

I did. It took less than 10 seconds to realize that there is no comparison. They are on completely different levels. The Corsair AX1600i just went back to the gaming system it came from. It belongs to a gaming system, not my music server. 

 

I asked Emile if he knew why. His answer was "The AC side sucks". Apparently, I was way behind on these experiments than him again :). No surprise there. I could not open and mess around with my friend's PSU, but I asked Emile if we could try modifying the AC section on the AX1600i, but he did not think it would be easy or worth it, because of the way it has been designed (i.e. feedback loops, etc.). 

 

Remember I wrote that every wire and every capacitor on the unregulated LPS + Taiko ATX made a difference? I have spent quite a bit of time tweaking that part to my taste. Maybe I did not mention how much of a difference rectifiers made? Yes, the most expensive Cree diodes I tried sounded the worst of all. I am back to cheaper Schottky diodes (similar to the ones Sean Jacobs uses), and they sound a lot better. I even tried a FET rectifier without diodes... It all makes perfect sense to me now after this experiment. What was I thinking :) ? I guess that maybe the AX1600i would be very close to what I use now... It's not. 

 

If you are using a bad LPS, the AX1600i would be an improvement. My guess is that it also sounds better than most other computer PSU units. Perhaps a PS Audio P20 power regenerator and one of these might give decent results. But there would be a noticeable level of noise and harshness still. 

 

So there is that. It was a tempting idea, but we can move on :). 

In your tests, how does the Corsair AX1600i compare to a HDplex LPS (400w or 500w)? Or Keces + HDplex DC converter? The ripple is actually very low on the Corsair, easily in the same range than the HDplex converters (which are < 10mv). Of course, low ripple might not equate to good sound. Just curious, since you mention the Corsair would beat a bad LPS.

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7 hours ago, mrkoven said:

Does anyone how to fit the 800W DC-ATX in the H5 Gen 2 case? 

Hello!

in H5 is no predrilled holes for 800, and You should drill them.

A bit issue that 800 in H5 case sit too close to MB (Asus ROG in my case).

 

1AEFA7B0-54A7-4F18-B6A0-A49CA7FF38A4.jpeg

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Just now, genvirt said:

Hello!

in H5 is no predrilled holes for 800, and You should drill them.

A bit issue that 800 in H5 case sit too close to MB (Asus ROG in my case).

 

1AEFA7B0-54A7-4F18-B6A0-A49CA7FF38A4.jpeg

 

Thank you for the info. I don't mind tapping some holes for mount.  Too close to mb should not be issue right? With short 24pin cable.

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1 minute ago, mrkoven said:

 

Thank you for the info. I don't mind tapping some holes for mount.  Too close to mb should not be issue right? With short 24pin cable.

I think not, but I’m on a “part” of putting powering modules as far as possible:) But where this not applicable...

Anyway it’s not a problem to tap new holes, I asked Larry and he was admitted.

Finally this is a DIY project.

I sent him this pic and maybe in the next H5 gen it’ll be get place.

 

After all I decided to increase side plates of H5 and mount 800 straight on the bigger front panel.

But this is really job to do.

34555F34-0465-4927-A306-316F293C1D7E.jpeg

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Found this forum because I am also building a server for audio files/streaming at home, but:

 

why are you building super computers or at least machines which are expensive enough to buy one and have enough cpu capacity to idle around most of the time? I won't use Roon but had a quick look at the hardware specs to run it: i3, 4GB RAM, that's it. And for Tidal win7, Intel p4/2.3GHz and 512 MB...

 

My plan is to host the files on a SBC like a pi4 or reuse my rock64 I already own and run something like Moode on another SBC (this time a pi4 because of the software support), push the data stream to a DAC and then to the amp.

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13 hours ago, Gurkel said:

why are you building super computers or at least machines which are expensive enough to buy one and have enough cpu capacity to idle around most of the time?

 

Good question. Perhaps there are capabilities other than CPU capacity in these "super computer" machines that impact SQ in a positive way?

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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Really good question.... what is all this hobby about:)

Tons of money and efforts to spend , really why? Enough smartphone and kits earbuds - e voila- music is here, but when once my daughter closed her ears and ask me what a garbage is it that music that she love came from noisy speaker - I understood why:)

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I think the background is similar to having a power amp with excess power....when do you need the last few Watts if you're listening to the first few mW most of the time. The comparison is not 1:1, especially not for class A amps but still. 

 

Going from a NUC to a Ryzen 3 was quite a jump in SQ, the 5 was another jump, stepping up to the 7 was another improvement....I don't think the Ryzen 3 was overwhelmed running red book without any upsampling etc in Daphile. 

ISP, cat8.1, Zylix switch, Finisar <1321>Solarflare 8522, AMD 9, 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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15 hours ago, Gurkel said:

Found this forum because I am also building a server for audio files/streaming at home, but:

 

why are you building super computers or at least machines which are expensive enough to buy one and have enough cpu capacity to idle around most of the time? I won't use Roon but had a quick look at the hardware specs to run it: i3, 4GB RAM, that's it. And for Tidal win7, Intel p4/2.3GHz and 512 MB...

 

My plan is to host the files on a SBC like a pi4 or reuse my rock64 I already own and run something like Moode on another SBC (this time a pi4 because of the software support), push the data stream to a DAC and then to the amp.

That is the question! In part it seems that most DAC designers are not able yet (have tot figured out how) to mitigate all noise on the input digital signal, which seems to affect the analog converted signal in various forms.

Whatever the case it seems that when you have low noise power supplied to a 'super computer' as you called it, idling most of the time and achieving low latency when computing from both the h/w and a streamlined OS - you have a good result for SQ. Punch (macro dynamics) , 'silent' background revealing more detail, longer (fuller) note decays, timbre etc  all evidently improved on my DACs moving from an NUCi7 to i9-10900K gaming PC configured for best SQ as per guidelines found in many of the pertinent  threads on this forum!

Happy experimenting!

 

ATB

b.

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6 hours ago, bit01 said:

That is the question! In part it seems that most DAC designers are not able yet (have tot figured out how) to mitigate all noise on the input digital signal, which seems to affect the analog converted signal in various forms.

Whatever the case it seems that when you have low noise power supplied to a 'super computer' as you called it, idling most of the time and achieving low latency when computing from both the h/w and a streamlined OS - you have a good result for SQ. Punch (macro dynamics) , 'silent' background revealing more detail, longer (fuller) note decays, timbre etc  all evidently improved on my DACs moving from an NUCi7 to i9-10900K gaming PC configured for best SQ as per guidelines found in many of the pertinent  threads on this forum!

Happy experimenting!

 

ATB

b.

 

Dumb question: do you have some skills in maths/phyiscs and maybe a bit about computer hardware?

 

Because what you are telling me is impossible to achieve the way to plan to do it,.

 

The idea with the multi processors and "optimzed OS" is completely wrong, which is something anyone knows who is overclocking his computer, but let me explain it. Modern CPUs contain multiple cores for the fastest possible way of doing calculations, plus run at very high frequencies. The higher the frequency they run, the faster they calculate. Problem is: they consume a lot of power which must be removed by a dedicated cooler, and the higher the frequency a cpu runs, the more heat must be removed. So heat is a limiting factor of the performance of a CPU, and Intel and AMD do anything to optimize the way how heat is generated.

On trick every CPU with more than one core does, is the following. It analysises which core is busy with doing calculations (and generates heat) and moves the process to different core after some milliseconds. By doing this, the CPU can spread the generated heat over a bigger area. So not a single spot gets really hot but the whole CPU warms up. And this gives the cooler the chance to move more heat away, resulting in a better performance of the CPU due to higher possible frequenciey it can run. This function is hard coded into the CPU and cannot be modified by any software, leave alone an "optimized OS". It also cannot be modified by changing the clock speed, so no matter if you run your computer at 1GHz or 4GHz, it will do the same process swap all the time. Last but not least I am sure that the tidal or Noon server running on a windows machine is not multithreaded but a single thread. If you run such server software on a machine with 40 threads, you have 39 idle threads and the one doing something is bored by the amount of information it has to push around.

 

The "low latency" for audio streams is not required. The digital signal going out on an USB port to the DAC is in the range of 350kb/s, which is an amount of data far far far away from a range where you need some more "horse power" to do the job. My rock64 (a simple SBC) can handle 80MB/sec without issues. And low latency also is not required because the data exchange is asynchronus, which means: the data doesn't have to arrive "just in time" and if the computer is busy doing something else at the moment, everything breaks. A short delay is captured by the buffer on the receiving side.

 

 

I stumbled across the description of one of these prebuild HQ servers (Takio? Taiko?), had a look at the product details and was a bit amused to see that someone really gets away with this and actually sells these computers.

 

 

So, why spend thousands of dollars if it's not required?

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45 minutes ago, Gurkel said:

 

Dumb question: do you have some skills in maths/phyiscs and maybe a bit about computer hardware?

 

Because what you are telling me is impossible to achieve the way to plan to do it,.

 

The idea with the multi processors and "optimzed OS" is completely wrong, which is something anyone knows who is overclocking his computer, but let me explain it. Modern CPUs contain multiple cores for the fastest possible way of doing calculations, plus run at very high frequencies. The higher the frequency they run, the faster they calculate. Problem is: they consume a lot of power which must be removed by a dedicated cooler, and the higher the frequency a cpu runs, the more heat must be removed. So heat is a limiting factor of the performance of a CPU, and Intel and AMD do anything to optimize the way how heat is generated.

On trick every CPU with more than one core does, is the following. It analysises which core is busy with doing calculations (and generates heat) and moves the process to different core after some milliseconds. By doing this, the CPU can spread the generated heat over a bigger area. So not a single spot gets really hot but the whole CPU warms up. And this gives the cooler the chance to move more heat away, resulting in a better performance of the CPU due to higher possible frequenciey it can run. This function is hard coded into the CPU and cannot be modified by any software, leave alone an "optimized OS". It also cannot be modified by changing the clock speed, so no matter if you run your computer at 1GHz or 4GHz, it will do the same process swap all the time. Last but not least I am sure that the tidal or Noon server running on a windows machine is not multithreaded but a single thread. If you run such server software on a machine with 40 threads, you have 39 idle threads and the one doing something is bored by the amount of information it has to push around.

 

The "low latency" for audio streams is not required. The digital signal going out on an USB port to the DAC is in the range of 350kb/s, which is an amount of data far far far away from a range where you need some more "horse power" to do the job. My rock64 (a simple SBC) can handle 80MB/sec without issues. And low latency also is not required because the data exchange is asynchronus, which means: the data doesn't have to arrive "just in time" and if the computer is busy doing something else at the moment, everything breaks. A short delay is captured by the buffer on the receiving side.

 

 

I stumbled across the description of one of these prebuild HQ servers (Takio? Taiko?), had a look at the product details and was a bit amused to see that someone really gets away with this and actually sells these computers.

 

 

So, why spend thousands of dollars if it's not required?

please invest in some listening time rather than theorizing more. Or better, do the experiment and let us know what you find; compare that minimalistic computer with a dedicated server/audio PC...

BTW what components is your chain made of? 

ISP, cat8.1, Zylix switch, Finisar <1321>Solarflare 8522, AMD 9, 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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55 minutes ago, Gurkel said:

 

Dumb question: do you have some skills in maths/phyiscs and maybe a bit about computer hardware?

 

Because what you are telling me is impossible to achieve the way to plan to do it,.

 

The idea with the multi processors and "optimzed OS" is completely wrong, which is something anyone knows who is overclocking his computer, but let me explain it. Modern CPUs contain multiple cores for the fastest possible way of doing calculations, plus run at very high frequencies. The higher the frequency they run, the faster they calculate. Problem is: they consume a lot of power which must be removed by a dedicated cooler, and the higher the frequency a cpu runs, the more heat must be removed. So heat is a limiting factor of the performance of a CPU, and Intel and AMD do anything to optimize the way how heat is generated.

On trick every CPU with more than one core does, is the following. It analysises which core is busy with doing calculations (and generates heat) and moves the process to different core after some milliseconds. By doing this, the CPU can spread the generated heat over a bigger area. So not a single spot gets really hot but the whole CPU warms up. And this gives the cooler the chance to move more heat away, resulting in a better performance of the CPU due to higher possible frequenciey it can run. This function is hard coded into the CPU and cannot be modified by any software, leave alone an "optimized OS". It also cannot be modified by changing the clock speed, so no matter if you run your computer at 1GHz or 4GHz, it will do the same process swap all the time. Last but not least I am sure that the tidal or Noon server running on a windows machine is not multithreaded but a single thread. If you run such server software on a machine with 40 threads, you have 39 idle threads and the one doing something is bored by the amount of information it has to push around.

 

The "low latency" for audio streams is not required. The digital signal going out on an USB port to the DAC is in the range of 350kb/s, which is an amount of data far far far away from a range where you need some more "horse power" to do the job. My rock64 (a simple SBC) can handle 80MB/sec without issues. And low latency also is not required because the data exchange is asynchronus, which means: the data doesn't have to arrive "just in time" and if the computer is busy doing something else at the moment, everything breaks. A short delay is captured by the buffer on the receiving side.

 

 

I stumbled across the description of one of these prebuild HQ servers (Takio? Taiko?), had a look at the product details and was a bit amused to see that someone really gets away with this and actually sells these computers.

 

 

So, why spend thousands of dollars if it's not required?

One opinion versus many many of us here & plenty of other forums, who would disagree with you. But sure you’re entitled to your opinion. I presume you have come to that conclusion based on actually trying & listening? Or is it just your view? 

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56 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:


I can tell you the CPU in my PC acts very different from what you suggest. 

 

I run upsampling to 1,536 kHz or DSD256 and convolution. That isn’t going to happen at this level on a Rock64. 
 

 

 

 

 

Can you send a screenshot of the process explorer (windows) or top (Linux)? Wanna see how much CPU power this encoding requires. All cores please, don't think resampling is multithreaded.

 

This still doesn't make the claim with the "modified OS" more true as it doesn't change the hard coded routines in the CPU, and these routines  already do what you try to achieve on OS level - just in a much more efficient way. This OS thing sounds to me like a red hering to me or: you try to solve a problem which doesn't exist. 

 

But now I'll look around a bit more to see what others use.

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9 hours ago, MarcelNL said:

I think the background is similar to having a power amp with excess power....when do you need the last few Watts if you're listening to the first few mW most of the time.

 

Well, it's more like you are driving around at 30 km/h and tell others you need 500 horsepower and bi turbo so you can accelerate to 32 km/h when you use a 20 core computer to run Tidal which (according to the webpage of tidal) requires 512MB RAM, win7 and a CPU sold 10 years ago.

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