Started my mini PC music overhaul a few days back. I will say right out of the gate I am no PC wiz. I have an IT mate I can call for help but I try and muddle through it myself. I built my original CAPS Lagoon myself about 6 or 7 years ago following the guidelines from the original Computer Audiophile Site.
I know enough about building PC's to know that Google is your friend. There is almost nothing you can't research these days and more often than not there is a Youtube vid to run you through it.
After much pondering I decided to go with what I know best,. I'm installing WS2019, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer 8.4 and JRiver Ver 25 plus adding an additional internal 2tb SSD on which to store my music. SSD was Samsung QVO. The WS2019 trial download can be reset 5 times over a 3 year period so no initial outlay
I am a simple listener. I put on a CD (Flac version) and listen all the way through. I like it that way. I don't do Internet Radio, Tidal, Roon, MQA, HQPlayer, DSD files etc, etc. I use JRiver and my flacs are 24/96 at most. I try and work with the KISS principle.
Along the way over several days there were some of those '@#$% you' PC moments. Anyone who has worked on a DIY PC knows what I mean. Most of it was simply based on my lack of knowledge plus some minor hardware hiccups.
I removed the Audio PC from the Audio Cabinet, set it up on my desk and took the lid off. The case is a LGX_MC500_Mini-ITX.
· 1st issue I came across. The Sata Power cable didn't stretch far enough to connect with the 2nd SSD so off to shop to buy a Sata Power splitter cable. All good. $8.50 later, back home.
2nd issue. Plugged in the power supply (PS) and guess what? It had @#$% died. The 9 metre trip from cabinet to desk must have been too much for it. The PS is a 12 vlt - 5.85 Amp and I had nothing similar. So off to the shop for a new one. $74 later and back home.
3rd issue. Now PS working but the On/Off button had ceased operation and the PC wouldn't switch on. Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!
There may have been a small tear in the corner of my eye but I battled on. I was dubious whether the On/Off Button had died or the MB had expired, so I had to trouble shoot. Did some Googling and ended up finding out that if the On/Off was dead, I could jump-start the MB with a screwdriver by shorting the MB Power pins on the MB. With great trepidation I gave it a try. What did I have to lose I told myself??????? Ahhhhhhhh!!!!
'Let there be Light' the machine fired up. "Hallelujah"!!!!!! I later fiddled with the connecting pins b/t the on/off button and the MB and guess what? The On/Off button came back to life. Go figure. Maybe just a dry joint. I gave it the Deox-It Gold treatment so hopefully it will stay working.
That was enough for one day. My brain hurt.
When working with PC stuff I find it is the little things that just take time. Being a novice of sorts I have to stop and Google stuff all the time to make sure what I am doing is right.
Even the simple thing like formatting a USB stick. If I ever knew it, I don't recall, but I was trying to put a 4.6gig WS2019 ISO file onto a 16 Gig stick after it was formatted to a bootable disk using 'Fat32'. Computer says 'No!' 4.6 gig no can fit it tells me. I scratch my thinning hairline and do some Googling. I find out Fat32 only allows files up to 4 gig. It's the NTFS file system you have to use for 4+. See it's the little stuff.
Used Rufus free software to make the disk Bootable. Had to work-out what FreeDos was vs MS-Dos etc. More time reading.
Then I had to Google the difference between a Motherboard with Bios and UEFI as that apparently makes a difference to how you turn the Stick into a bootable one. In my Audio PC's Bios directory there was an option to enable UEFI so I thought yep that's it and turned it on. Nope, bootable disk wouldn't work. Back to the drawing board. Turns out it was a Bios MB.
Finally got WS2019 installed. Installed JRiver, Fideliser and assorted Drivers for Sotm and Mutec. Went to pay for the Upgraded version of Audiophile Optimizer 3.0 via the sites Paypal website 5 or 6 times and it just kept 'thinking'.
I was using 'Explorer' at the time so I had a hunch based on some old experience. Downloaded Firefox Browser, went through the AO 3.0 payment scheme via Paypal and it worked in a jiffy. Damn Computers!!!!
That's enough for day 2.
Today was; install the 2tb SSD, load it with 950gig of music, sort out JRemote to drive JRiver on the Ipads, sort Remote Desk Connection (RDC) to the Audio PC as it will be 'headless', sort out JRiver so that it auto loads the Music from the new 2tb 'D' Drive and sort File sharing from Audio PC to my main PC plus Mapping network drives. No probs - 15 mins work. 😛
SSD worked fine once assigned a 'Letter' and formatted. plugged in my External HDD with my music catalogue backup and started the slow process. MB only has USB 2 inputs so I have split it in halve and the 1st 500gig took 5 hours.
JRemote setup easily and JRiver Library creation was pretty simple. The Music files were going from External HDD to internal 'D' Drive where JRiver software sucked the files from the 'D' drive into the JRiver Library. It was a joy to watch the Album covers pop up on screen.
RDC went pretty smoothly with only a few google searches needed. It is now again possible for me to log in from my main PC to the Audio PC.
Today's tricky bit was the Sharing Folders and Having them appear in my Main PC's Windows Explorer Tree. Lots of Google searching and Youtube watching to nut that one out. The main hurdle was working out why WS2019 would not retain the selection I kept making with 'Discovery Network'. I would turn it to 'On' and each time I left the screen it Auto Reverted to 'Off'. Phil I'm not sure if this has come up before but it might be worth a 'Sticky' thread of its own.
Eventually a great Youtube video, on just that problem, informed me WS2019 had a number of File settings within the back end of Task Manager that aren't Enabled off the bat, to allow Network Discovery. Once those files were 'Enabled' and set to 'Auto' instead of 'Manual' the Network Discovery button stayed On and Enabled me to find the Audio PC on my Network.
File sharing of Folders with the Audio PC and my Main PC also took abit of work to figure out, via more Google searches. WS2019 has more fail safes than W7 it would appear. More boxes to tick and un-tick to get it working.
Finally got the Audio PC recognised on the network on my Main PC and I now have access to swap and play with my Music files. What this now means is I can 'Acquire Music' on my main PC, copy it onto the Headless Audio PC 'D' drive (JRiver software will auto load it to the Library) and I can also copy it onto the NAS. I will now have 3 backups of my music catalogue.
Slow and steady wins the Race 🙂 Enough for day 3 and I left let the Audio PC copying the 2nd 500gig of music files.
Someone within my workforce once reiterated the old adage.......
'Prior Preparation Prevents Pi55 Poor Performance'. Words to live by I guess and hopefully the last 3 days will put it all into practice. With that in my mind I installed Audiophile Optimzer (AO) 3.0 and then Fidelizer 8.4.
All looked good, so back in the System the Music PC went. Now it's Music PC - USB cable from Sotm PCIe into Mutec - AES cable out to Kii3. Simple.
Plugged it all in, opened JRiver, selected a Track to test and............................................................
Blow Me Down, It Worked First Time!!!!!!! There was glorious music filling the room.
I may have shed a small tear again, but only one. 🙂
About this Project.................
Since I bought the Kii 3's I have really wanted to make sure they were being provided with the best source material I could find. Yes I could have bought an 'Off the Shelf' item but as an Audio friend tells me, 'Buy stuff that is future proof as best you can.'
In the digital world Future Proof is about 3 1/2 weeks. With this project I can move with the times as and when. With an 'Off the Shelf' device you are locked into what the Manufacturer wants to do. Also I think the cost of an 'Off the Shelf' unit that sounds as good as my DIY unit, would be many $1000's.
I am happy with my Room Treatment, Kii 3's, Isolation Transformer for Power and the Mutec for Re-clocking the USB signal.
What did it cost? Not including the hours spent of course, which was priceless 😛
2 tb SSD $274
Sata Power cable Splitter $8.50
New Power supply (Unexpected cost) $74.
Upgrade to AO 3.0 $69
JRiver upgrade from 18-25 $40
As for WS2019 the cost is unknown as it is not applicable for 3 years, by which time I would hope whatever the cost of it is today will be cheaper by then.
I obviously leaned plenty during the rebuild and one the reasons I have written about it is a) to inform those on this and another Audio Site in Australia that might be vaguely interested and b) So that these words might jog my memory on the nuances the next time I decide to go around again. In another 6 years I suspect all will be forgotten again so here is my prompt.
Time to get a Cuppa and a sandwich, put the chair in position 1A and chill out with some fine tunes.
Thanks to Phil, Keetakawee and the JRiver team for the work they have done.