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what music server do you use?

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I searched for, but didn't find any results. This question came up from the discrepancy between my assumption and a conversation with the manufacturer of fine USB DACs I had earlier today.


It is my understanding that we're currently "crossing the chasm" between early adopters and early majority when it comes to music servers. e.g. Bryston BDP-1 was featured on the cover of Stereophile. It is heralded as the "perfect" solution because it is neither a PC nor a server. It's a player of digital files and audiophiles can wrap their heads around that. (My feeling is that you have to deal with all the computer ripping, etc. anyway... and then you have the additional task of copying your music to a USB drive and carrying it over to your $2000 player????? ) all that aside, the opinion of this certain DAC company was that most audiophiles out there are using their computers.


I think this discrepancy makes sense. as a DAC company they've been fielding support calls from early adopters up until now. also, they probably don't get many support calls from the people who buy servers because they primarily just work. whereas the DIY guys can have tons of questions.


so what do you use, why did you choose it, and how do you like it. what do your peers use? also, have any of you had a USB DAC that didn't "just work" when connected to your server? if so, what were the brands and what was the solution?


I hope a lot of CA readers can glean helpful insight from your answers. I know I will.


thanks in advance.


opensourceaudiophile.com [br]my small and humble(d) corner of the audiophile web

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I may be wrong but I think you will get a fair amount of replies that use a Mac Mini as I do. To me it was simple to implement, performs well, sounds great and interfaced flawlessly with my USB connected DAC.


I am in no way a heavy duty tech guy like some of the members here and would say anyone with a rudimentary knowledge around computers can do this with nominal effort.


"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open."
Frank Zappa
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Once it is setup, you don't need to do much. (setup can be a bit geeky if you are using your own system). Buying it preinstalled (from a place like Sonore or as a Vortexbox appliance) means it will work plug n play.


Works with outside units like Squeezebox, Sonos, Smartphones.


In my opinion saying something like the Bryston isn't a PC or a computer is incorrect. It has a processor, memory, and an OS (a proprietary version of Linux) so it's a computer. What it doesn't have is an internal drive for file storage.


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +>Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Strip/Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three (on their own electric circuit) >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Our main server is a Macbook running Amarra. We experiment with other players occasionally, but on this machine, Amarra is what we enjoy the most.

Pure Music is a photo-finish with it though, and we could be happy with Pure Music.


The backup server for the Macbook is a 2005 Mac Mini (the computer that will not die...) running Pure Music.


The bedroom server is another Mac Mini (same vintage) running Pure Music.


The backup backup server is an HP QUad Core monster that sounds very good, and runs J.River Media Center.


There are a couple play machines around playing with Vortexbox and MPD and so forth. They sound good, but take too much fiddling to be a "main" server.





Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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All these are computer audio. They all have a CPU, RAM, writable media memory & an operating system makes it all work together.


For my play back I chose the Tascam DV-RA1000HD & the Korg MR-1000.


For numerous reasons. Which I will one day explain & expand upon profusely. Many years of research went into these choices. Chiefly, though, and to put it simply: A digital file has no recording of time embedded within itself.


That time frame is re-created each time it is played back.


Minimizing latencies in the Operating System and file handling (bus and file format handling etc) by using a dedicated tuned real-time OS and internal clock are paramount to achieve as little jitter and latency issues as possible.


The Bryston seems to be very much on the right track. Highly impressed by the price point, the ethernet & supported file formats and sample rates. Too bad it doesn't do DSD via SDIF3.


Others in this category include the Tascam HS-8, the Korg MR-2000S and the various Sound Devices recorders. I am sure there are more, but all of these are capable of at least 24/192 Wav format recording & playback. SPDIF and or AES/EBU input and output for using external AD and DA are also present on all except the Korgs (grumble).


My Tascam records and plays back DSD fs64 via the sony SDIF3 interface as well as having it's own AD/DA converters. There's nothing like it til 5x it's price.


That's all for now.


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