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DIY Music Server for Holo May DAC


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Fanless server next to DAC vs a noisy server located in another room.

 

I've changed my mind about 60 times. I think at some point, after researching ~60 articles I've come to a decision, I don't know what decision that is.

 

With regards to the May DAC, which is on order, I would like to be able to connect directly from computer to DAC via USB. I like the idea of the KISS method and if there's a better way to SQ, well, I still have the straight USB out computer/in DAC.

 

I'm building a dedicated 2 channel audio room which will be silent. Special walls RCL, wool, in a basement, quiet environmental controls, yada yada.

 

The fanless music servers seems to have a lot of fans, especially regarding the HDPLEX cases. But giving the issues I've read about, cooling the CPU is problematic when running HQPlayer at max capabilities for the MAY. It feels to me that there are categories for what one wished to accomplish when building a music server. All out power for running processes that require great CPU power and cooling or servers that use Xeon processors and specific hardware that don't necessarily need that fastest processor, but look to alleviate any noise generated by the noisy computer. Of course the speed crowd also is part of the silent crowd. The dilemma for me is this; I build a music server and locate it in another room where I can cool its heart (CPU) to its delight or build a quiet or fanless PC and not worry about ultimate processing power (DSD 1024?)

 

Having a computer in another room adds complexity? Feels to me like using fiber is the best way to get our precious audio signal from computer to DAC but requires devices like Sonore Opticalxx, power supplies, SFP modules, more cables, it adds up fast!

 

What I DON'T want;

Babysit the computer. I want always available music where I can sit my butt down and just listen to music. This is why I have a Rega turntable but even then, my Rogue Audio Ares takes time for the tubes to warm up.  I'm done with the days of inviting my audio buddies over for a glass of wine and a listening session knowing that my computer audio system may or may not work (thus having a glass of wine in their hand;). Ah, the early days of computer audio...

 

Some thoughts so far on hardware:

Possessor - Intel Xeon E-2146G Coffee Lake 3.5 GHz LGA 1151 80W BX80684E2146G Server Processor Intel UHD Graphics P630

MB - ASUS LGA1151 ECC DDR4 M.2

HDPLEX 500W ATX Linear Power Supply

HDplex H5 2nd Gen Fanless PC Case

still looking at both ethernet and USB output cards.

Be Quiet cases are interesting. I can't seem to find much information on whether they are quiet enough in a music room. Doubt it. But they do offer a fanless CPU cooler that looks extremely robust. 

 

I also wish to share what I come up with for the good folks in this forum which have been amazingly helpful. 

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