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Server Questions Using Audirvana on W10


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Looking for recommendations regarding the server portion of my system (see signature below.) Am currently using a Lenovo T530, with Fidelizer 8.7 and it sounds very good, especially when I run the laptop off batteries.  However, EVERYTHING, seems to effect the sound regarding the laptop: usb cable connecting external music drive to laptop, linear PS of external music drive to laptop, wired v wireless connection of laptop to the network, etc. Am wondering what the best server solution looks like given my current commitment to Audirvana playback software? I am not really that computer savvy and would love to find an optimized w10 laptop or PC for this application that would out perform my Lenovo. I've looked at the Fidelizer Nimitra but the version of W10 used in the Nimitra doesn't support the current version of Audirvana. I sent a query to SGC but their systems won't support W10 Audirvana either. My commitment to Audirvana comes from years of comparing software players. To date the best I've had/heard was XXHighend but my XXhighend PC died some time ago and for various reasons I changed to Audirvana. Maybe just give up on W10 and get a Mac Mini? I've also looked at Audiophile Optimizer as a further tweek to the laptop but am a bit worried about screwing things up with it. Any recommendation very much appreciated. Thanks.

System: W10 Lenovo T530 Laptop with Fidelizer 8.7 and attached 4 TB USB Storage using Audirvana and Roon Players > Sonore Signature Series, BNC/SPDIF > Tweeked CiscoSG110D-08 LAN Switch > Yggdrasil A2 > Pass Labs XA100 Monoblocks > Triton Reference Speakers (modified). Cabling: Straightwire Info Link SPDIF, Kimber KS2026 XLR interconnects, Kimber KS3035 Speaker wires.

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My solution was a microRendu (recently bought the new 1.5 version) from Sonore/Small Green Computer. Much less expensive than any good server you would buy and can be used with any reasonably competent Windows machine anywhere in the house. That's how I listen in the living room, where my main system is located, to Audirvana running on a Win10 desktop in my office. If you care to go more expensive, there is an entire Rendu line to choose from.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> wi-fi to router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Thanks Judd for your input. I guess I wasn't entirely clear: by "server" in my post I meant the laptop itself. I am already using a Rendu product, the older Signature Series one as listed in my signature. What I'm asking about is the laptop itself. So many things concerning the laptop seem to effect the sound. Is there a better solution than a windows 10 laptop or is there an optimized windows laptop or PC, like  Small Green Computer offers, but for Windows 10? Or is the best solution to use an Apple product as that is what Audirvana was originally built for? Have you noticed that the configuration of your laptop effects SQ? If you are using a W10 laptop try running Fedilizer on it, I think he has a free trial version,  and see if it helps your sound. It definitely does here. So  I'm wondering what is the best means of sending music data to the Rendu (Streamer?) device?

System: W10 Lenovo T530 Laptop with Fidelizer 8.7 and attached 4 TB USB Storage using Audirvana and Roon Players > Sonore Signature Series, BNC/SPDIF > Tweeked CiscoSG110D-08 LAN Switch > Yggdrasil A2 > Pass Labs XA100 Monoblocks > Triton Reference Speakers (modified). Cabling: Straightwire Info Link SPDIF, Kimber KS2026 XLR interconnects, Kimber KS3035 Speaker wires.

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Ah, I see what you're saying.

 

I think you would want to be going in the other direction in terms of your "Server" computer. By that I mean the most capable machine you can buy or build, not one that is particularly electrically quiet.

 

Here's why I say that: The entire purpose of going through the Rendu as a UPnP/DLNA endpoint like Audirvana uses, or an NAA as is used with HQPlayer, is to have an electrically quiet machine physically connected to the DAC. The server machine isn't physically connected and is therefore electrically isolated from the DAC. It seems to me running something like Fidelizer is essentially making your server a bit less capable and might be affecting the sound of Audirvana that way. (Of course I could be completely wrong.)

 

Regarding Mac/Win comparisons: I haven't really bothered with much comparing, because my Mac is a 2009-vintage laptop that I need to give a good head start on conversion before playing a song so I won't run out of buffer, while my Windows machine is a desktop with an i7-8700K that sails through anything. (I do intend to update the Mac, though I want to see what the other M1 Macbooks look like first.) So just from convenience I almost always listen with the Windows version these days. Subjectively I prefer DSD512 to DSD256, though I don't know whether there's any audible objective difference.

 

When I do play Audirvana with my old MacBook to check out a new build or a problem someone's reported, I find I like the sound a lot (not surprising, always did), but just haven't concentrated on comparing it to the Windows version. I use DSD256 with the MacBook, because with DoP that's the max my DAC will do.

 

 

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> wi-fi to router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Thanks Judd. Sort of surprised at the lack of interest regarding the server questions. I am inclined to just get a decent laptop and forget about it, but whatever noise attaches to the data signal in the laptop/server, beginning with the external music drive attached to it, effects the sound here. I presume that's why Small Green Computer offers the Sonictransporter I5 for Roon and HQ Player folks. Guess there is not a purpose built W10 based server for Audirvana users? You should really give fedilizer a listen on your desktop. Its easy to Install/Uninstall. If you do try it run it in Purist/Streamer mode. It's also easy to turn off and on.

System: W10 Lenovo T530 Laptop with Fidelizer 8.7 and attached 4 TB USB Storage using Audirvana and Roon Players > Sonore Signature Series, BNC/SPDIF > Tweeked CiscoSG110D-08 LAN Switch > Yggdrasil A2 > Pass Labs XA100 Monoblocks > Triton Reference Speakers (modified). Cabling: Straightwire Info Link SPDIF, Kimber KS2026 XLR interconnects, Kimber KS3035 Speaker wires.

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