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bfin3

Applying DIY music server concepts to all media

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I am not new to building PCs or high end audio, but I am brand new to high end digital audio. I've been looking at DIY options for a music server with no compromises, but I play games and watch tv and movies more than I listen to music. I'm starting to think I would be better off making a few compromises and applying audio optimizations to my gaming PC. 

 

Right now my setup is 

AMD 3900X

64GB G SKILL RAM

ASUS Maximus Hero 490

2TB m.2 evo 970

evga rtx 2080 ti hydrocopper

seasonic power supply

 

Output is usb to Yggdrasil and it really doesn't sound bad as is. 

 

These components are cooled by a custom loop and 480mm radiator with 8 fans in a push pull configuration in a completely open air Thermaltake core p5. Please ignore the sloppy wiring and tubing, I'm going to redo the aesthetic elements. With the sound engineering in modern movies and games I really think I will get more value from improving this PC vs having an optimized server that is only capable of reproducing music. 

 

Components

My plan is to add a jcat usb and network card and probably keep the other components as they are. 

 

Power Supply

I will at least power the jcat components with a dc supply, probably a sj dc3. I would like to power all the components this way but I would need 7 rails with the graphics card, and the tdp of my overclocked cpu and gpu are extremely high. My graphics card is close to pulling 400w under heavy use.

 

Operating System and Bios

The PC will run windows 10 and bios settings will continue to be optimized for maximum speed and performance. I currently use audirvana 3.5 for audio playback, but I am interested in trying HQplayer. I stream Qobuz mostly but will probably purchase some hi res tracks for local storage

 

Cooling and Resonance control

Passive cooling isn't an option for this setup. The fans really don't vibrate but the water pump sure does so I can't leave things as they are. Right now I think it might work well if I wall mount the motherboard on an acrylic test bench with some dampening between it and the wall. I will then have tubing running to a chiller either on the other side of the wall or several feet away like this model https://koolance.com/exc-800-portable-800W-recirculating-chiller. This will isolate the components from the fans and pump, there will just be some minimal vibration from water flowing through the blocks on the board. 

 

EMI reduction

I don't really understand EMI, but I'm assuming my open air concept won't be optimal for it. I'm not sure if aluminum chassis reduce EMI but perhaps I can use some strategic EMI reducing material on my board to minimize any interference. I really like having open air chassis as I switch components at least once a year and it's really easy to monitor water flow. 

 

Obviously I will not be achieving the pinnacle of audio reproduction, but I hope that I can achieve get close to ideal playback while having the flexibility of playing other media besides strictly music. If this is a terrible idea then don't hesitate to let me know lol. 

 

 

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