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I am looking to go up market with my next source. I have been reading a lot of threads in recent days and honestly I cannot make up my mind. My initial idea was to build the next source. I always built my PCs (now more my children PCs, as I am a Mac user), so I know that building is not necessarily cheaper than buying. Definitely not at the beginning. Savings can maybe be had with upgrading single components. With audiophile components when I try to scope a 1-1.5k streamer I get the clear impression that buying a ready made product is much cheaper than building an equivalent quality streamer. Would love to get some tips (BOMs, parts etc). Here in Belgium we’re stepping into a new lock down so need to find a project....

 

for reference I currently stream from an Allo USBridge Signature + Nirvana power supply. Obviously idea is to step up. 

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one more point - i currently run ROCK on a NUC i5 8th generation. I was also looking at upgrading that to create kind of a "Nucleus" so server + streamer in one box, but here again I lack ideas/directions. I think the NUC is limited since I cannot for example get a dedicated USB card as no PCIE. 

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1 hour ago, al2813 said:

one more point - i currently run ROCK on a NUC i5 8th generation. I was also looking at upgrading that to create kind of a "Nucleus" so server + streamer in one box, but here again I lack ideas/directions. I think the NUC is limited since I cannot for example get a dedicated USB card as no PCIE. 

You can get an external USB card for audiophiles-SOtM and some others make them. You can also get an external USB decrapifier - several companies make them.  So that isn't a reason not to use a NUC -there's a reason the Nucleus is basically a branded NUC.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

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

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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1 minute ago, firedog said:

You can get an external USB card for audiophiles-SOtM and some others make them. You can also get an external USB decrapifier - several companies make them.  So that isn't a reason not to use a NUC -there's a reason the Nucleus is basically a branded NUC.

 

Thanks. In the meantime I discovered you can get an M2 to PCIE adapter. I can potentially move the NUC to a different case (I think Akasa makes them?)? I know that a lot of people recommend separating the server from the Roon though..

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47 minutes ago, al2813 said:

I have an Allo Revolution but will also change that. Hoping to get a second hand D90

Do you have a DAC thats compatible with iPhone/iPad (low USB current draw)? iPhones/iPads make pretty decent   Roon USB endpoints, very clean hardware so no digital irritants. Just needs the CCK kit that allow you to charge at the same time as you are playing. Streaming at 353k via an

Apple Touch to a Chord mojo right now.

 

USB endpoints I've owned in the past include Allo Digione, Allo USBridge, SoTM SMS100 and Sonore microRendu 1.3/1.4 in order of increasing musical enjoyment.  I'd put recent idevice as Roon endpoint on same plane as microRendu for Roon endpoint performance but they are more restrictive on which

DAC's will work.

 

 

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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I recently built a CAPS following the articles here, but I built it in a Streacom F12C case. It is upgradable with regards to hardware and storage, it runs HQPlayer and Roon exceptionally well, and I can fit a JCAT Femto Network card in there one of these days.

 

edit: I did not build the smaller end point that Chris did however.

 

 

https://streacom.com/products/f12c-chassis/

No electron left behind...

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58 minutes ago, stefano_mbp said:

Have a look to HDPlex fanless cases

The H1v3 has a special kit option available for Nuc.

https://hdplex.com/hdplex-h1-v3-fanless-computer-case.html

https://hdplex.com/hdplex-fanless-nuc-kit.html

it is also designed so that you can use a pcie card.


 

thanks. This is indeed looking an interesting and reasonably priced option! 
How about the power supply? What is the recommended option? 

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44 minutes ago, AudioDoctor said:

I recently built a CAPS following the articles here, but I built it in a Streacom F12C case. It is upgradable with regards to hardware and storage, it runs HQPlayer and Roon exceptionally well, and I can fit a JCAT Femto Network card in there one of these days.

 

edit: I did not build the smaller end point that Chris did however.

 

 

https://streacom.com/products/f12c-chassis/


This is probably too far and too expensive after the pair i

of speakers I bought last week :-) Not sure I can build up to this standard and in any case my setup has limited space

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I spent the last hours reading a lot of posts in this channel and have to admit this is all confusing, so I guess I need to start limit choices. Let's say that I start with the HDPlex NUC with a USB card (am debating between the Matrix and the JCAT Femtoo). How would that compared sound wise with let's say an Innuos box? Also do I stay ROCK or is there a merit in running another OS? 

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2 hours ago, al2813 said:

I spent the last hours reading a lot of posts in this channel and have to admit this is all confusing, so I guess I need to start limit choices. Let's say that I start with the HDPlex NUC with a USB card (am debating between the Matrix and the JCAT Femtoo). How would that compared sound wise with let's say an Innuos box? Also do I stay ROCK or is there a merit in running another OS? 

Rock is for enthusiastic Roon users who are sure they want to use the PC only for musicserving/playback via Roon-it won't do anything else. If that's you, go with Rock. If you think you might want to do anything else with the PC, then use regular Linux or Windows. With those OS'es you can occasionally do something else (even music related, but not playback) if you need to.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

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

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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5 hours ago, al2813 said:

I spent the last hours reading a lot of posts in this channel and have to admit this is all confusing, so I guess I need to start limit choices. Let's say that I start with the HDPlex NUC with a USB card (am debating between the Matrix and the JCAT Femtoo). How would that compared sound wise with let's say an Innuos box? Also do I stay ROCK or is there a merit in running another OS? 

I've run Roonserver on both windows and Euphony with NUC.... Euphony sounded better, more detailed, air around notes. All I would draw from that is that  is that networking was an after thought in Windows OS evolution, Linux a better choice. Since I don't know Linux Euphony made my user experience far easier than Audio-linux.

 

the question about PC endpoint with JCAT FEMTO USB is relevant to me also, while NUC's with AL/Euphony resolve better than a device like microRendu they still

have USB contaminants, don't achieve that black background effect a microRendu has for USB output cleanliness.

 

The difference with an Innuos is custom motherboards and power supply quality/distribution. I'm a big fan of the Zen MK III mostly

because at CAF 2019 where it was used it was a regret to leave the room and move on to listen to the next showroom.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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24 minutes ago, davide256 said:

I've run Roonserver on both windows and Euphony with NUC.... Euphony sounded better, more detailed, air around notes. All I would draw from that is that  is that networking was an after thought in Windows OS evolution, Linux a better choice. Since I don't know Linux Euphony made my user experience far easier than Audio-linux.

 

the question about PC endpoint with JCAT FEMTO USB is relevant to me also, while NUC's with AL/Euphony resolve better than a device like microRendu they still

have USB contaminants, don't achieve that black background effect a microRendu has for USB output cleanliness.

 

The difference with an Innuos is custom motherboards and power supply quality/distribution. I'm a big fan of the Zen MK III mostly

because at CAF 2019 where it was used it was a regret to leave the room and move on to listen to the next showroom.

 

You cannot get a custom motherboard, but you can get a quality power supply. Quick calculation is that with an extra 1000 - 1200 EUR (HDPLex case + NUC kit + USB PCIE + power supply), I can port my NUC into this "target machine". An Innuos Zen MKIII will set me back 2000+ EUR. With the difference I can upgrade my DAC. On the SW side, indeed my idea is to run Audiolinux with Roon on top. Only curious is how these two options compare to each other. 

 

I am also thinking of other options (a 2000+ EUR DAC/Streamer). Next week I will try to visit a store in Brussels that carries both variants (Innuos and some DAC/Streamers). 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, al2813 said:

 

You cannot get a custom motherboard, but you can get a quality power supply. Quick calculation is that with an extra 1000 - 1200 EUR (HDPLex case + NUC kit + USB PCIE + power supply), I can port my NUC into this "target machine". An Innuos Zen MKIII will set me back 2000+ EUR. With the difference I can upgrade my DAC. On the SW side, indeed my idea is to run Audiolinux with Roon on top. Only curious is how these two options compare to each other. 

 

I am also thinking of other options (a 2000+ EUR DAC/Streamer). Next week I will try to visit a store in Brussels that carries both variants (Innuos and some DAC/Streamers). 

 

 

 

To get to a level above the Zen mini's, I suspect you will need an additional component in a PC solution. I do see SoTM TX USB Ultra in quite a few signatures for those who use NUC and are willing to invest more.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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4 hours ago, firedog said:

Rock is for enthusiastic Roon users who are sure they want to use the PC only for musicserving/playback via Roon-it won't do anything else.

For those who don’t realize it, ROCK is also only designed and supported for the NUC.  It can be installed on other hardware, but there are multiple potential issues like network connectivity that make it hit or miss.  It’s basically a JEOS on a Linux kernel, so it’s light and lithe.  But putting it on anything other than a NUC often turns out to be more trouble than it’s worth when the alternative is the Roon Linux package on the OS already on your PC (or a good current Linux distro if there’s no modern OS on the computer you want to use).

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I decided to build. I was hesitating between buying and building since building is always a source of over spending and heavy audiophilia virus, but I'll try to take a step-by-step approach and enjoy the fun of tweaking :-) 

 

I am thinking to part from a brand new setup as the NUC limits me tremendously on tweaking. My idea is then to start with a 1-1.5k setup which I will upgrade over the next years. There are a lot of threads obviously but would love to get recommendations for this first build: 

 

- I already placed an order for the Paul Fang USB V6 card with OCXO clock. 

- I will use the Streacom FC10 enclosure as it gives more growth possbilities for the future. 

 

This sets me back 800 EUR leaving not a lot for the rest. I am thinking of getting the base components second hand to reduce costs. Will start hunting for them. Would love to get recommendations. Are there any specific motherboards that can be upgraded in the future for audiophile specs?  Than the power supply. i believe it's best to start with linear - but is there any recommendation - again value for money? 

 

 

 

 

 

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