HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server

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pansixt

Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #60 on: 14 Mar 2013, 04:56 am »
Amen to both above Posts and Posters and I am officially Fishing (couldn't find the appropriate Smiley), for preview invites from the aforementioned,
shameless, though I know it is.
I would be happy to bring serious refreshments.

Maybe not so much at Phil's under construction home.  :lol:

So that leaves you Viva Hifi. I will PM you. Smile.

HAL

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Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #61 on: 14 Mar 2013, 11:55 am »
Scott,
Glad you are up and running! 

It always takes some time to get the MS-2 integrated the way someone wants.  The challenge of getting the system customized for the setup is fun to me.

It was cool getting your Nook Tablet to dual boot Android for use as the remote.  I like my Nook Color now with the new remote software as it is doing full access to the library. 

Happy listening!




Phil A

Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #62 on: 14 Mar 2013, 12:22 pm »
Amen to both above Posts and Posters and I am officially Fishing (couldn't find the appropriate Smiley), for preview invites from the aforementioned,
shameless, though I know it is.
I would be happy to bring serious refreshments.

Maybe not so much at Phil's under construction home.  :lol:

So that leaves you Viva Hifi. I will PM you. Smile.

By tomorrow I'm told the carpeting and landscaping will be just about done.  In another week or so the pool.  And the lot does back up to a small lake so 'fishing' is possible :green:  I'd love to see what Scott has done.  I don't have wireless internet (yet and was going to wait until the move early next year) but I did look at wireless routers at Costco last week and I feel I may have one of those coming on along with an iPad or iPad mini after I at least get cover art and the non-classical stuff tagged.  Would be nice to see how it operates.

HAL

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Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #63 on: 26 Apr 2013, 10:25 pm »
Swap Meet Audio has an MS-2 for evaluation.   Looking forward to their feedback.

HAL

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Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #64 on: 14 Jun 2013, 09:15 pm »
Looks like there is a MS-2 review in progress.  Not sure when, so will keep everyone posted once I hear about the release.

Phil A

Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #65 on: 14 Jun 2013, 09:26 pm »
I picked up a 64G iPad Mini a couple of weeks back along with an Apple Airport Express (since I don't have wireless internet) and put JRemote on the iPad Mini.  Interface is really nice and works great (but after the storms yesterday not sure if my Router survived or just went on its own - it is old, so I'm working on getting that up and running again at some point as it is much easier than the wireless keyboard).

HAL

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Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #66 on: 14 Jun 2013, 11:33 pm »
Phil,
Glad the iPad Mini is working out for the JRiver remote.

Last I heard Scott was liking the Nook Color as his remote as well to the MS-2.   Use my Nook Color as well for my setup.

Looks like all the bases are covered for remote control at this point to the MS-2.   :thumb:

 


HAL

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Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #67 on: 17 Jul 2013, 10:06 pm »
Hollis Audio Labs MS-2 Music Server will be in one of the Daedalus Audio/Mod Wright rooms at CAF2013. Please stop by for a listen if you are attending. The MS-2 installed will be the unit from Viva HiFi in Vienna, VA.

DTB300

Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #68 on: 31 Jul 2013, 03:08 pm »
I picked up a 64G iPad Mini a couple of weeks back along with an Apple Airport Express (since I don't have wireless internet) and put JRemote on the iPad Mini.  Interface is really nice and works great (but after the storms yesterday not sure if my Router survived or just went on its own - it is old, so I'm working on getting that up and running again at some point as it is much easier than the wireless keyboard).
Phil....so you are running JRiver MC on the MS-2?   Did you get a larger SSD installed or is the 60GB sufficient for JRiver DB?

HAL

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Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #69 on: 31 Jul 2013, 03:12 pm »
Phil's MS-2 has a 60GB SSD installed for the OS and software.  The music files are on the external USB drives.

Phil A

Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #70 on: 31 Jul 2013, 03:16 pm »
Yes - I have two Oyen Digital 3TB drives attached to the two high speed USB ports on the back.  It's filled with hi-rez and CD quality stuff.  The SSD drive is quiet (as are my external hard drives).

DTB300

Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #71 on: 31 Jul 2013, 05:09 pm »
Cool, good to hear a 60GB SSD will suffice for the OS and JRiver MC (software and DB's)

HAL

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Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #72 on: 15 Sep 2013, 03:29 pm »
*Scotty* has the demo MS-2 unit. 

Hopefully when he has time, will write-up his impressions.

*Scotty*

Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #73 on: 16 Sep 2013, 02:02 am »
I thought I would take the time to report on my recent experience with The HAL MS-2 PC Music Server. To begin I really appreciated the MS-2's design, it's 8"x8"x2.25" size allowed me to put it right on the same shelf with my USB DAC. All I had to to do was connect my USB external HDD, wireless mouse/keyboard dongle and HDMI cable for display and I was good to go.
 
I approached this demo as somewhat of a scientific experiment. Both my computer, a Toshiba Satellite 875 laptop and the HAL MS-2, run Windows 8 and have 8G of RAM. They are also running the latest version of Foobar with all configuration settings duplicated on both machines. The single variable between the two systems is the amount of noise the Toshiba laptop injects into the USB connection between the DAC and the computer.
 
The differences between the two computers playing back the same music file were quite substantial and entirely on the side of HAL MS-2 PC Music Server. Playback of files from the MS-2 resulted in better resolution across the entire frequency spectrum. The highs had better extension and detail,the mid-range had a more complete sense of harmonic density. The images in the sound stage had greater solidity and 3 dimensionality. The bass was deeper, better defined and showed more texture with a broader tonal palate.
 
The Toshiba laptop's increased levels of noise resulted in masking of low level detail, a decrease in the size of the reproduced  acoustical space contained in the the recording as well a loss of dynamic contrast that the recording could exhibit. In addition the to the aforementioned loss of information contained in the recording, the increased noise also had the effect adding an excess of upper mid-range energy which substantially increased the listening fatigue I experienced when listening to the laptop feeding the USB SABRE DAC.
 
The greater the resolution the DAC has, the more obvious the differences are. I used a Cambridge 740C via its SPDIF coaxial input fed from a TENOR 7022 chip's SPDIF output. Even though the Cambridge 740C has a substantially modified analogue output stage, this player almost qualifies as a vintage piece in the ever evolving world of replay via computer based files. I started playback from computer with the DAC section of the 740C almost 5years ago and this piece is now functionally obsolete. All serious evaluation was done with an EES Tech  based USB DAC.  The SABRE DAC sports an 225watt external power supply and is not powered by the USB buss. Even though it is not dependent on USB power apparently the noisy laptop environment also impacts the data lines as well as the power buss. The DAC's independence from the USB buss does not solve the problems that the laptop brings to the table.
 
A conventional multitasking computer used for everyday applications sets a hard upper limit on the performance one can expect from computer based music playback. A "better" DAC and a more expensive USB cable will not significantly improve your performance until you deal with problems stemming from the computer itself. In my opinion the HAL MS-2 is a spectacularly effective solution to the limitations on system performance that are imposed by a regular computer.
 
I purposely saved the best for last. When high resolution files are played back via the MS-2, the differences between CD resolution 16/44.1 files and 24/96, 24/192 and DSD via the DSDIFF decoder in Foobar are striking. There will no-longer be any questions regarding the sonic superiority of the Hi-Rez formats when they are compared to CD resolution 16/44.1 files. When the masking and information loss is dramatically reduced by using the MS-2, the concept of building a library of Hi-Rez recordings starts to make sense.

 I would highly recommend the addition of the HAL MS-2 to anyone who seriously wishes to improve their system's reproduction of music from computer file based formats.
Needless to say a MS-2 is at the top of my short list for acquisition next year. Until then I am going to have to suffer with replay from my laptop.
A big thank-you to Rich for the demo and the ease of setup of the MS-2!
Scotty

jtwrace

Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #74 on: 16 Sep 2013, 02:09 am »
I didn't know there is a demo available.  Where's the schedule?

*Scotty*

Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #75 on: 16 Sep 2013, 02:13 am »
PM HAL for further information on the demo schedule.
Scotty

HAL

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Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #76 on: 16 Sep 2013, 02:33 am »
Jason,
If folks ask, I have a MS-2 that can be sent for audition.  There is no schedule, but the MS-2 can be tried if interested.  This for US trials only.  The next person that asked for a demo is mix4fix.

Rich

jtwrace

Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #77 on: 16 Sep 2013, 02:43 am »
If folks ask, I have a MS-2 that can be sent for audition.  There is no schedule, but the MS-2 can be tried if interested.  This for US trials only.  The next person that asked for a demo is mix4fix.

Rich
I see.  So how long is the wait?  How many people are on the list as of now? 

Also, do you only like Foobar?  JRiver?  What are your thoughts?  I do use a NAS now.

HAL

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Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #78 on: 16 Sep 2013, 02:54 am »
There is only one person waiting on the demo MS-2 at this point.  I have been offering a 30 day trial as it has been to local MAAC members so far, since they are in driving distance and we have monthly gatherings. 

I use Foobar2000, as I like the interface.  Others have chosen JRiver MC.  LarryB liked JRiver MC18 better for sound quality than Foobar2000 in his trials with the MS-1.   I install the latest JRiver MC only if folks are interested, but it is up to the user to license it after the 30 day trial. 

If you would like to demo the MS-2, there are two options.  I can sent it after mix4fix's demo, or I might be bringing one to RMAF and you could borrow that one after the show. 

Big Red Machine

Re: HAL's thread for the MS-2 PC Music Server
« Reply #79 on: 16 Sep 2013, 02:56 pm »

Here is a list of specs that I have investigated so far:

Intel Atom N2800 dual core processor with Intel graphics and chipset
Use of mSATA 60GB SSD drive
8GB of DDR3 memory
Internal DVD drive for ripping CD's to an external user drive
Internal 802.11N WiFi
Gigabit Ethernet connection
HDMI and SVGA video connections
Foobar2000 preloaded
Exact Audio Copy preloaded
Fanless system
All aluminum chassis with black brushed anodized finish
Windows 8 OS


I like the sounds of this whole idea of a mini computer using SSD drive.  I grabbed one of those eSata 1 TB externals someone mentioned here for $129 to achieve some speed of delivery.  I prefer the Logitech Media Server interface and the fact that I have so many playlists set up already but if Foobar sounds better then I will switch.  I definitely want to use an iPad2 for remote controllability and have plenty of spare monitors for setup duties.  Have a Lampizator 4/4 USB dac and an Asus router connected to my Uverse internet box.  Any hiccups with controling the unit via Ipad?  Not sure what app would do this.