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Very beginner type questions about music servers, especially DIY


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The OP is like me in that his priority is playing CD rips, he values tags, he knows the usefulness of foobar2000, he's not convinced at this time about upsampling and his instinct tells him that his "server should, above all else, be the highest quality possible ... source for the DAC."

 

After years of developing a great sounding system I am yet to venture into serious upsampling. If and when I do it will be either PGGB or intra-DAC. I tried HQPlayer and loathe it ergonomically. I don't use my HQPlayer license: it's been a total waste of money for me. foobar2000 is much more useful. The OP knows how to - and wants to - browse and select files for play in foobar2000 based on columns i.e. tags ... this is my first prerogative. OP you don't have to limit yourself to 4 columns! You can have as many as you want including bespoke. HQPlayer is a total infant in comparison and will never be any substitute for foobar2000. My ears are quite happy with Sox x4 in foobar2000.

 

The OP is unlike me in that he's willing to use a phone/tablet at the listening position.

 

All in all my advice would be to do a lot more research, discovering what he really wants. Yes this Forum is a truly great resource. Trial and error is unavoidable and, so, due diligence is wise.

 

He's happy with the new NUC on LPS. Be patient. Buy some CDs instead. It's all about music, right? He will still have the CDs in years to come.

 

Most of us agree about clean power.

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32 minutes ago, mike1127 said:

Thank, Iving. I downloaded HQPlayer on my NUC and cannot figure out the interface. Some software designers believe that if you can't learn how to operate the software just from poking around (given that I understand technically what I'm expecting it to do) then it's badly designed software.

 

I'm going to spend some time tonight listening to the NUC both for enjoyment and to get the sound in my ear. I'm willing to try one other approach at this time and that's the max time I'll put into this. For instance I could try the iFi Zen Stream as another approach.

 

EDIT: I have a super high quality 12V LPS that I could use to power the iFi.

 

At first I thought HQPlayer Trial version had limited functionality. It doesn't. I proceeded anyway hedging that I could make it work for me if I adjusted sufficiently. I even spent a long time re-tagging my large flac Library just to indulge HQPlayer's curious mores. HQPlayer is not a Player as such. It's a DSP engine - at which no doubt it excels - and is the right upsampling solution for some people. If you're used to tag-based selection of music in foobar2000 - especially on the fly [you choose what you want, when you want, and you can make instant decisions freely - all reflected in a playback queue - moreover you may want to use bespoke tags and bespoke algorithms to select/Filter music] - HQPlayer is only going to frustrate the heck out of you. otoh if you like Albums and the pretty pictures that go with Albums - whether they correctly match your specific CD issue or not - and just want to hit play and interfere no more whilst the Album proceeds - then HQPlayer might be up your alley. I don't want Album Art at all - or wiggly lines - or smoky background things - neither of which you can get rid of - or anything else like that. I reduce foobar2000 to monochrome as I am interested only its function. I want to be inspired only by the music or by stylistic preferences I choose or create myself. I can play 16/44.1 flac x 4 in foobar2000 on my PC which - like your NUC - barely sweats the CPU at all. Some people swear by low power in the PC/CPU. Also I am religiously offline (may not be important to you) whereas HQPlayer wants to phone home after v 4.16x or something. You have a lot to think about. I think you are wise to focus on exploiting the hardware you have. You may like the idea of HQPlayer eventually. Or some other approach favoured by other enthusiasts. But you want to go in eyes-open. Wish you all the best! CDs are great! [imho]

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10 minutes ago, davide256 said:

My two cents, buy an Intona USB isolator while you are deciding on a long term strategy. I found it made a significant difference and USB output quality is random luck IME with PC based USB sources. 

 

Sure

 

OP should be aware that - whilst his long term strategy develops - USB is not the only way to feed a DAC ...

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