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The Computer Audiophile

Article: CAPS Twenty | Part Two

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Gorgeous computer, Chris; and well done. If one was doing video editing, 3D animation, or high-end CAD, this would be the computer to have. But, isn’t it rather overkill for a music server? I use a 2010 MacBook Pro with an Intel Core-2 Duo, a 1-Tb SSD and 8-Gigs of RAM, and even with just that, I feel that I’m wasting most of the computer’s capability running only Audirvana, Amazon Music, Audacity, and Audio Hijack (an app for capturing and recording audio from a web page; useful for capturing BBC PROMS concerts (in years when the BBC has PROMs - unlike this one). 
Too bad you’re lumbered with Windows, though. I don’t envy you that! If I had that hardware, I think I would turn it into a HackIntosh. 😉

 


George

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25 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

Gorgeous computer, Chris; and well done. If one was doing video editing, 3D animation, or high-end CAD, this would be the computer to have. But, isn’t it rather overkill for a music server? I use a 2010 MacBook Pro with an Intel Core-2 Duo, a 1-Tb SSD and 8-Gigs of RAM, and even with just that, I feel that I’m wasting most of the computer’s capability running only Audirvana, Amazon Music, Audacity, and Audio Hijack (an app for capturing and recording audio from a web page; useful for capturing BBC PROMS concerts (in years when the BBC has PROMs - unlike this one). 
Too bad you’re lumbered with Windows, though. I don’t envy you that! If I had that hardware, I think I would turn it into a HackIntosh. 😉

 

When you are running HQP upsampling to DSD 256 or 512, you need a LOT of horsepower. Especially if you also run convolution-DRC-DSP as Chris does, at least some of the time.

I have a Xeon 1243 and it can choke in Roon upsampling to DSD 256, depending on what else I'm running in DSP, even if it is minor. It's passively cooled, and also gets very hot when running like that.

I also have a PC about to arrive based on the same MB and a i7 10700k for that reason.


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>RPi4 (dietpi)>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Very cool!  

 

Realize this is a labor of love and not an attempt to economize.  

 

But, Chris mentions second choice CPU that might be equally good for HQPlayer at 60% of the cost, combining that with a lesser but still impressive GPU (though it looks like tis one might be available for $400 less?), and a more pedestrian case (like a Fractal) might get the costs down to a level a cheapskate like me would feel better about.  

 

Would need my son to come visit for a weekend to put it all together...


Tone with Soul

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15 hours ago, firedog said:

When you are running HQP upsampling to DSD 256 or 512, you need a LOT of horsepower. Especially if you also run convolution-DRC-DSP as Chris does, at least some of the time.

I have a Xeon 1243 and it can choke in Roon upsampling to DSD 256, depending on what else I'm running in DSP, even if it is minor. It's passively cooled, and also gets very hot when running like that.

I also have a PC about to arrive based on the same MB and a i7 10700k for that reason.

Thanks for answering. I don’t do DSD upsampling, so I didn’t realize it took so much horsepower!

Still, Chris’ new computer is nice hardware. But running Windows would sure queer the deal for me. Hell, even Linux is better and Is certainly more efficient.

 

 


George

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Great build Chris.  Although I am not sure I'd have chosen Windows 10, it is all about your familiarity and about the compatibilities with the applications being installed.  What is nice about the HQP/NAA architecture is that you then can choose the OS for the endpoint that is most friendly to the DAC being used (i.e Windows talking to Audiolinux, etc etc). 

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Chris mentioned that getting Roon and HQP to run together on the same machine was a major consideration and doing that with Linux OS variants might be a lot more difficult. Using Win 10 does give a lot of flexibility but it comes at the cost of added complexity. I have been using some form of Windows based system for almost 10 years now and have probably tried and used nearly every Windows enhancer out there and sadly they all make a noticeable improvement. This is likely due to the fact that Windows has so much extraneous crap running that it does detract from music performance. Win 10/64 Home has 160 processes running when idle. I have my machine down to 120 and it has made a noticeable improvement in the sound quality.

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1 minute ago, bobflood said:

Chris mentioned that getting Roon and HQP to run together on the same machine was a major consideration and doing that with Linux OS variants might be a lot more difficult. Using Win 10 does give a lot of flexibility but it comes at the cost of added complexity. I have been using some form of Windows based system for almost 10 years now and have probably tried and used nearly every Windows enhancer out there and sadly they all make a noticeable improvement. This is likely due to the fact that Windows has so much extraneous crap running that it does detract from music performance. Win 10/64 Home has 160 processes running when idle. I have my machine down to 120 and it has made a noticeable improvement in the sound quality.

You’ve hit the nail squarely on the head! If you’ve ever seen the actual Windows 10 code You will notice literally thousands of branches that no longer go ANYWHERE! These are features and operation modes that have been changed, updated, or simply eliminated. Why the associated codes and branches haven’t been removed from the OS code in order to make the OS more compact (and certainly faster), is, to me, incomprehensible. It must be a cost-related issue. I can’t see any other reason...


George

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Hi Guys, I want the most flexibility and options with CAPS Twenty and Windows gives me that. Plus, I'm unsure what I will install for testing next and if I had to bet, I'd bet it supports Windows before any of the other operating systems. I love Linux and have been pushing it for HiFi use for over a decade, but it just wasn't the right choice for my CAPS Twenty build.


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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Consider Audiophile Optimizer for Windows. I am running Windows Server 2019 GUI mode with RoonServer, HQ Player, JRiver and VNC Viewer running under AO. Right now, that requires 18 background processes and 66 Windows processes. AO really does cut down on the Windows mess. I use RoonServer as a shell, so when remoting into the server, I get a black screen like DOS. JCR 

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Could you run this performance benchmark, with and without CUDA enabled?  Would be very interested to see how it performs vs 9900k (which performs pretty similar to my 8086k).  I am considering if it's worth using CUDA to get DSD512 in HQPlayer.

 

 

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9 hours ago, bobflood said:

Chris mentioned that getting Roon and HQP to run together on the same machine was a major consideration and doing that with Linux OS variants might be a lot more difficult. Using Win 10 does give a lot of flexibility but it comes at the cost of added complexity. I have been using some form of Windows based system for almost 10 years now and have probably tried and used nearly every Windows enhancer out there and sadly they all make a noticeable improvement. This is likely due to the fact that Windows has so much extraneous crap running that it does detract from music performance. Win 10/64 Home has 160 processes running when idle. I have my machine down to 120 and it has made a noticeable improvement in the sound quality.

Do you use HQPlayer with an NAA?


Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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Chris, 

The build looks amazing. Certainly should run everything you throw at it without doubt. 
 

But . . .  It seems to resist all the accumulated wisdom concerning server  and audio PC builds on your wonderful site. 
 

In my experience and many others running ROON or RoonServer on the same pc as HQPlayer is a solid no. Better to split them up in two PCs. 
 

I’ve not seen anyone recommending liquid cooled builds cool as it is and looks. 
 

Power supplies are critical to hood sound. Why not try a couple of large custom built linear power supplies or a couple of the 400 watt Hdplex and their converters. 
 

Again an amazing build that you should be proud of 

 

but how well does it play music? 


SteVe's V's

 

Speakers- Legacy Audio Vs & 2 Legacy LF Extreme Subwoofers, Amplifiers- 2 Coda 15.5 Amplifiers Biamped, Preamp- TRL Dude, DAC- Lampizator Golden Gate Legacy Audio WaveletPC Software-ROON, HQplayer, jPlay, Fidelizer, AudiophileOptimizer 2.10, jRiver, WSY2K12V2 Roon Server PC- , HqPlayer PC- Turntable- SOTA Sapphire, Sumiko FT3 Arm, Audioquest Cartridge, CODA Phono stage, Accessories- HAL Footers, PS Audio Powerbases, Aurios, HiFi Tuning Supreme Fuses, Power- PurePower+ 2000 & 3000, PS Audio: Powerbases, LAN Rover, Noise Harvester, Quintet, Ultimate Outlets HC, Welborne Labs & HdPlex LPSUs,

Cables- Clarus Crimson USB, Lampizator Silver Ghost USB, Clarus Crimson PC, Western Electric 10 gauge DIY Speaker Cables and Best-Tronics Belden 8402 Balanced Interconnects Equipment Racks- SolidSteel

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54 minutes ago, sgr said:

Chris, 

The build looks amazing. Certainly should run everything you throw at it without doubt. 
 

But . . .  It seems to resist all the accumulated wisdom concerning server  and audio PC builds on your wonderful site. 
 

In my experience and many others running ROON or RoonServer on the same pc as HQPlayer is a solid no. Better to split them up in two PCs. 
 

I’ve not seen anyone recommending liquid cooled builds cool as it is and looks. 
 

Power supplies are critical to hood sound. Why not try a couple of large custom built linear power supplies or a couple of the 400 watt Hdplex and their converters. 
 

Again an amazing build that you should be proud of 

 

but how well does it play music? 

I'm not sure what "accumulated wisdom" you are referring to. All of your points are certainly not agreed upon by all.

 

And specifically Roon and HQP: I'm a long time user of both Roon and HQP and don't remember it being "wisdom" that they have to be on separate machines. I also don't remember Miska recommending it. In any case, they don't have to be run concurrently, so how can it be an issue?

 

edit: just looked over at the Roon community where this is specifically asked. Jussi did say that there may be practical reasons to have the programs on different machines, but he also said:

 

Quote

If the two are separated, then the content needs to travel over network, which may or may not be good thing.

 

Quote

If it works now fine in a single machine, there’s no need to reshuffle things since you are using a NAA. Sometimes having the two in different machines is useful for various reasons, but as long as you don’t see a particular need to split the two, it is simpler/better to keep both in the same machine.

He did explain that there might be specific setups where it's better to keep them apart. But certainly nothing like a "solid no".

 

So much for accumulated "wisdom". Maybe something else has been accumulated....


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>RPi4 (dietpi)>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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28 minutes ago, EdmontonCanuck said:

 

As for liquid cooling, that would be to keep the server as silent as possible, something to consider if the server is in the same room as your audio gear. I wouldn't bother with it at all if the server were in a closet in a separate room where you couldn't hear it in operation.

 

Are you sure? I don't really know first hand, but I do not quite understand how liquid cooling can be much quieter than air cooling when the liquid is still cooled by fans, plus a water pump. I am sure I am missing something, and would love to be educated. I simply used a big Noctura air cooler in mine. I was under the impression that water cooling was simply better at cooling for over clocking and such.


Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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2 minutes ago, firedog said:

I'm not sure what "accumulated wisdom" you are referring to. All of your points are certainly not agreed upon by all.

 

And specifically Roon and HQP: I'm a long time user of both Roon and HQP and don't remember it being "wisdom" that they have to be on separate machines. I also don't remember Miska recommending it. In any case, they don't have to be run concurrently, so how can it be an issue?

Not concurrently? Here I send from Roon to HQP and then off to an NAA.


Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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4 minutes ago, 4est said:

Not concurrently? Here I send from Roon to HQP and then off to an NAA.

Well, that's one way to do it. Not the only one.

And I still don't see how it's an issue in that setup, unless your PC is underpowered or not running suitable HW. See quote from Jussi above.


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>RPi4 (dietpi)>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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1 hour ago, 4est said:

Are you sure? I don't really know first hand, but I do not quite understand how liquid cooling can be much quieter than air cooling when the liquid is still cooled by fans, plus a water pump. I am sure I am missing something, and would love to be educated. I simply used a big Noctura air cooler in mine. I was under the impression that water cooling was simply better at cooling for over clocking and such.

 

It's true that you can achieve a fairly quiet air cooled setup with proper selection of fans, etc, but generally speaking, liquid cooling is generally regarded as quieter. Under high loads, you typically need to be moving a lot of air with lots of fans, and water is much more efficient at transferring heat than air. YMMV.


CAPS Pipeline with HDPlex Linear PSU running Win10 64 bit, AO 2.0, RoonServer, HQPlayer -> T+A DAC8 DSD -> Linear Tube Audio's MicroZOTL2 Headphone Amp with Mojo Audio's Illuminati Linear PSU -> Focal Utopia/Audeze LCD-3

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2 hours ago, firedog said:

Well, that's one way to do it. Not the only one.

And I still don't see how it's an issue in that setup, unless your PC is underpowered or not running suitable HW. See quote from Jussi above.

Oh certainly they are each standalone programs. I just that was what we were discussing.


Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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