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joessportster

PC SAVY Folks here, Advice needed

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I have decided I want to hopefully improve my digital music playback so Im thinking dedicated PC perhaps one of those small fan less pc or ?  All I want on this is my J-River and an Operating system. hook up my music files via usb hard drive, connect to monitor. and usb mouse.  What do you have ?

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Budget?

 

I'd look into a NAS (Network Attached Storage). It is a small shoebox sized thing that sits on your network (assuming you have a home network of some sort) and holds all your files. This way you don't need a PC running all the time. I have my music and DVD/Blu-Rays backed up onto my NAS and they are available throughout my house. For example in my HT/Music room I can access the files via my OPPO player. In my various rooms with TVs I can access the files there. I have SONOS for music in a few spots (Deck, Pool, living room) and they get all my flac files from the NAS. The brand of NAS I have is a Qnap, but there are many out there.

 

Since most of my critical listening is done via Vinyl, I'd be curious to hear what others do. The part I like the least as far as music goes in a location without SONOS is the UI/UX. It is really device dependent. The OPPO is pretty good, I guess I would say I can live with it but do not love it. As for my Samsung TV it is god awful. SONOS is a dream to use. If there was some sort of magic box that had a very simple/easy browsing interface, I'd buy one for ever location. I do hear lots of people using J-River is that a nice interface?

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I'm running an Intel NUC https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/boards-kits/nuc.html with Windows 8.1. I chose Windows 8.1 because it has native support for a headless system (no monitor, keyboard, or mouse), and because I was able to find a legit copy on ebay for $15. I actually use it for signal processing, but it could even more easily be used for a music server.

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My retired desktops do that duty. You really don’t need anything special. It can be a new I7 or a 6-8 year old I3 processor, for music streaming it will work the same.

I have all my music files on a NAS and stream from there. A good usb dac is the biggest part of this IMO.

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My set up is straight forward, Older Desk Top win.10. I put a  loaded 3 tb drive in it  Downloaded  J-River,  PC is connected to monitor, and external DAC (Wavelength)  DAC is connected to pre and so on.  I have 1 room for music, I wont need to have a NAS etc... as everything is ONLY used in the 1 location.  I found J-River easy to use butt there are folks that hate its UI. 

 

The older Desk Top gets duty as browsing, posting etc... and has a loud(ish)  processing operation and fan.  My goal is to simply replace the older desktop with something smaller and quieter Im thinking something like linked but more reliable / better reputation

 

 https://www.amazon.com/Support-Windows-Fanless-Computer-Graphics/dp/B07V3RHZM3?ref_=Oct_RAsinC_Ajax_13896591011_1&pf_rd_r=1FSS75B5XCEHNF7DPB5E&pf_rd_p=61d8b861-c4fd-531a-abc4-b6a30d07028a&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-6&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=13896591011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

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I have a drobo NAS that all my audio/video files are stored on.

I have a older mac that acts as the ROON server

I have a raspberry PI with a HiFi berry dac that is a ROON endpoint.

This is what I primarily listen to and works flawlessly.

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I use a dell workstation. It has a Quadro graphics card which i never did figure out how to hook up to my Xilica. In the mean time I was wandering around the web one day and ran across a High Definiton software upgrade for the crummy Realtex sound card on my PC board. Installed the update and it was day and night different. I need nothing between my PC and the Xilica now and the sound is quality is superb and can output 192khz at 24 bit. Free from your sound cards web site the very best thing you can do.

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7 minutes ago, Dave A said:

I use a dell workstation. It has a Quadro graphics card which i never did figure out how to hook up to my Xilica. In the mean time I was wandering around the web one day and ran across a High Definiton software upgrade for the crummy Realtex sound card on my PC board. Installed the update and it was day and night different. I need nothing between my PC and the Xilica now and the sound is quality is superb and can output 192khz at 24 bit. Free from your sound cards web site the very best thing you can do.

Dave doesnt your DELL workstation make a hell of a lot of noise when processing ?  I ask because I am using a dell workstation and you can hear every time it starts processing info. I can hear the thing 20 feet away I suspect a lot of the noise has to do with poor case isolation design etc...

 

Perhaps someone knows of a way to quiet this thing or maybe how I might build one thats quiet from scratch ?

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Put an ssd hard drive in there and all that spinning platter noise goes away + everything is much faster. What model do you have? Newegg has WD 1TB SSD's right now for just under $90

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16 minutes ago, Dave A said:

Put an ssd hard drive in there and all that spinning platter noise goes away + everything is much faster. What model do you have? Newegg has WD 1TB SSD's right now for just under $90

do you have a link to that dave ? Mine is older optiflex 7010

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I'm running unRAID for my NAS, so the music is stored on that server and then I'm running a linux virtual machine on the same server for a Roon server. Then a Raspberry PI model 3 running Ropieee with a digital coax HAT to my AVR for playback. Control is via iPad or laptop.

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The pi.. (Powered by a 12v linear power supply that I've stepped down to 5v)

 

91FC2462-8FDD-4682-A0DE-200CF27C8E6B.jpeg.6c78f6083fa8c541da6c582f23f4964c.jpeg

 

The NAS (bottom 48 bay server)..

 

28x 2tb for an array size of 56TB with 2x 2tb for parity drives. Then a raid10 of 20x 2tb for the cache drive. Dual xeon processors for 24 cores and 128gb of ram. The server above is a mirror in configuration but I'm running it with just windows server 2016 and half the drives as a general virtualization host/workhorse for various tasks. Absolute overkill for what you're needing, but figured I would share my setup. :)

 

07F19EB7-06F1-4128-9E9D-CA86389FACAD.jpeg.f1ddeffedf82a457b393ff01f905493c.jpeg

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25 minutes ago, Thaddeus Smith said:

I'm running unRAID for my NAS, so the music is stored on that server and then I'm running a linux virtual machine on the same server for a Roon server. Then a Raspberry PI model 3 running Ropieee with a digital coax HAT to my AVR for playback. Control is via iPad or laptop.

Might as well be speaking Greek 🤥  Im not into PC deep enough to set all that up without someone holding my hand. I can get around on a pc fairly well but thats about as far as I go. I dont have the patience it requires 

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4 minutes ago, joessportster said:

Might as well be speaking Greek 🤥  Im not into PC deep enough to set all that up without someone holding my hand. I can get around on a pc fairly well but thats about as far as I go. I dont have the patience it requires 

 

Go with the intel NUC already mentioned then. ;)

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From the needs/wants you’ve noted +1 Intel Nuc. Wish I had done it, spent way too much on a music server, although it’s pretty good

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12 hours ago, joessportster said:

do you have a link to that dave ? Mine is older optiflex 7010

https://www.newegg.com/western-digital-blue-1tb/p/N82E16820250088

 

  Back up to $100. I am a simple guy and spend enough time screwing around with CAD programs and learn this and learn that and update all the time. I believe more than what is neccesary to do the job is inviting complications and more to fix and take care of and in this case does not gain me a thing to go down that road. A 2TB secondary hard drive and leaving my PC on when I want to play music is the way to go and I don't have all that other stuff to hook up set up fix up maintain and trouble shoot on down the road. Dell to Xilica to amps to speakers and I fail to see the need for more. Plus I get to mix and match or whip out Audacity and play with files if I want to. Really nice 6 core Intel 9 cpu boxes with 1tb ssd + 2tb secondary are maybe $700 now on dell refurb site and ONE device will do all that music stuff.

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I am using a server that is a purpose built fanless windows computer with the music stored on a nas. Streaming service is Tidal with Roon organizing it all. DAC is a benchmark Benchmark DAC 3. 
 

Doing it over I would probably go the NUC route or something prebuilt from small green computers.

 

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I am currently running JRiver on my win 7 i5 NUC, and also on my Linux Manjaro celeron, and I love it. For some reason I am finding that its appears to sound better on the linux version. I also run Kodi on the Linux celeron. All of my music, and movies are streamed from my UnRaid NAS too.

 

Sent from my SM-T830 using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

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