HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server

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dBe

Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #20 on: 12 Sep 2011, 02:48 am »
Ed,
On my prototype setup, I run Squeezeserver for my SB Touch and Foobar2000 for my USB DAC tied to the Music Server.  JRiver should also work as I tried the trial version.  I still like the Foobar2000 interface as it is simple. 

It has a 64GB solid state hard drive and an eSATA port to attach external high speed drives.  There are also two unused USB2 ports if three are used for keyboard, mouse and USB DAC.

I also set mine up so that I can use a web browser on another Netbook to remote control Foobar2000.   Have not worked with JRiver enough to know if it will also give that function.  For the remote function you can use either WiFi or hard wired Ethernet as long as both devices are on the same network.

The PC has both DVI and HDMI outputs for monitors.  There is no display, USB keyboard or USB mouse supplied as most folks already have those peripherals.

I will sell them if folks are interested for the price I listed.  It will be about 2 weeks for a build due to getting all the parts. 

PM me if you are interested.

Best,
Rich
Rich, before I defected to the other side, I used Foobar with the AQvox ASIO driver.  I don't know if the audio of Windows 7 would benefit or not, but it was far and away the best sounding of all of the drivers when playing .wav files in Windows.

I'm just sayin'  8)

Dave

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #21 on: 12 Sep 2011, 10:59 am »
Dave,
I am using Foobar2000 and using the new Windows audio interface.  I like it alot!  :D

The setup that Scott reviewed is running Foobar2000 for two channel audio.

Will preload Foobar2000 for anyone interested and set it up for use.  I also setup the web browser based remote control in Foobar. 


eclein

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #22 on: 12 Sep 2011, 01:03 pm »
I like J.River because of WASAPI that bypasses the windows drivers and it sounds great to me. Hal thanks but I'm gonna do a VB and give my laptop back to myself. I can get a Vortexbox for around 4 so it will solve alot of storage issues i would have etc....I will also have it rip and store DVD's and maybe BD's so I'm set...thanks though HAL...keep cranking them out....great idea.

dBe

Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #23 on: 12 Sep 2011, 03:24 pm »
I like J.River because of WASAPI that bypasses the windows drivers and it sounds great to me. Hal thanks but I'm gonna do a VB and give my laptop back to myself. I can get a Vortexbox for around 4 so it will solve alot of storage issues i would have etc....I will also have it rip and store DVD's and maybe BD's so I'm set...thanks though HAL...keep cranking them out....great idea.
You HAVE to bypass the Windows driver in any event.  I tried the Wasapi drivers in Foobar and the AQvox driver won easily.  The part that sucks is the price tag... it was worth it though...  :D

Dave

Jon L

Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #24 on: 12 Sep 2011, 04:49 pm »
No pics yet until the new wood top is completed!

Specs:
Intel Atom 330 CPU
NVidia ION GPU
Cost $699 + shipping USA only

I really like the fact it can be run off a 12V battery, but that Atom 330 is an old processor, replaced by 4, 5, 6xx series in 2010, which IMO offers the advantage of offering on-board graphics, enabling you to skip on a separate, often-bad-for-sound, graphics card. 

Have you looked at the load on the processor while running a foobar upsampler to say 192kHz? IME, something like that can seriously tax even much faster processors..

Lastly, what would cost be if a more recent Atom processor is used in this build instead with a firewire output?  :green:

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #25 on: 12 Sep 2011, 09:21 pm »
Jon,
I have not tried any upsampling, as my files are being played at native sample and bit rates.  Playback with native rate 24bit/192KHz files is around 2% CPU load with this machine.  I have tried upsampling externally and do not like.  My oversampling DAC sounds very good with the setup, as did Scott's Buffalo DAC.

With the ION GPU on the motherboard, I hear no audio degredation as compared to my newer Atom based Netbook.   See no reason to upgrade for this application as intended until the unit I use is no longer available. 

I find USB to be a very good interface to my external DAC using an asynchronous USB device, so no need for Firewire.  More importantly the USB to I2S Bus interface is a major sound quality improvement for the DAC.

Running it off 12VDC is just icing on the cake!  :thumb:

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #26 on: 12 Sep 2011, 09:24 pm »
Dave,
I will give the ASIO driver a try in the future. 

If it sounds better than Win7 WASAPI with an Async USB interface it will be something special.

The battery powered M2Tech hiFace Evo is really something special from my listening experiences!   :D

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #27 on: 12 Sep 2011, 09:41 pm »
Ed,
A laptop is not needed for the Music Server if you add a HDMI or DVI display, USB keyboard and USB mouse.  The laptop can be used as a remote control for the system if the user wishes, it is not needed.  It is a fully stand alone PC if you add a large external drive with the music library via either USB2 or eSATA interfaces.  Since uncompressed or losslessly compresed music are large files, putting them on the internal drive is not the way to go. 

Foobar2000 also uses WASAPI when setup.  I tried both here and found no difference that I could tell reliably.

Good luck with the VB. 

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #28 on: 12 Sep 2011, 09:53 pm »
Shipping one out tomorrow to a good friend.  Will be interesting to get his feedback.

praedet

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #29 on: 12 Sep 2011, 10:00 pm »
Did you by any chance compare one of these to an Alix PC at any time?  Have you optimized it for music playback, or is it still pretty general so it could also be an HTPC?

sts9fan

Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #30 on: 12 Sep 2011, 10:27 pm »
Where do you control it?  Could you add a 10"'touch screen?  Where is the music stored?

django11

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #31 on: 13 Sep 2011, 12:32 am »
Good stuff Rich! :thumb:

eclein

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #32 on: 13 Sep 2011, 01:11 am »
Ed,
Good luck with the VB.

Thanks!!!!!! HAL!!!! :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #33 on: 13 Sep 2011, 01:25 am »
Did you by any chance compare one of these to an Alix PC at any time?  Have you optimized it for music playback, or is it still pretty general so it could also be an HTPC?

I did not compare it to an Alix.  Since I wanted to use Win7, that did not look like and option, and there have been reported issues with AMD processors and the Win 7 drivers I am using.

The unit starts life as a HTPC.  I optimized the setup for Music Server operations, but that does not preclude it being used for other uses.   

I have used it with PowerDVD11 and a Blu-Ray drive for Blu-Ray playback of movies and music video's.  I just used the HDMI output to drive the HDTV directly, no surround processor.  My main purpose is for music replay, so no extensive trials as a video and multichannel source.   

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #34 on: 13 Sep 2011, 01:33 am »
Where do you control it?  Could you add a 10"'touch screen?  Where is the music stored?

You have two options.  Add a USB Mouse, USB Keyboard and video monitor for direct control via Windows 7, or use a compatible web browser on a laptop as a remote control.  Those are left to the user.

Music storage is via an external hard drive.  It can be either a USB2 or eSATA drive.  The drive is not provided.   Large hard drives are available at lower costs than I can provide for music storage. 

About 20GB of storage is available on the internal SSD.  That is for software updates and a small amount of music.

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #35 on: 13 Sep 2011, 01:34 am »

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #36 on: 13 Sep 2011, 12:45 pm »
Looking around found a nice Acer 23" HDMI touch screen with USB interface that might work well with the Music Server.  About the smallest one that I found easily is 15" with touch screen.   These would all be stand alone, not integrated.   

Since this would be tied to the Music Server via USB, it should work well as a pointing device with Windows 7.

dBe

Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #37 on: 13 Sep 2011, 03:38 pm »
You have two options.  Add a USB Mouse, USB Keyboard and video monitor for direct control via Windows 7, or use a compatible web browser on a laptop as a remote control.  Those are left to the user.

Music storage is via an external hard drive.  It can be either a USB2 or eSATA drive.  The drive is not provided.   Large hard drives are available at lower costs than I can provide for music storage. 

About 20GB of storage is available on the internal SSD.  That is for software updates and a small amount of music.
eSATA sounds much, much better than 2.0, IME with my Windows based server.

Dave

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #38 on: 13 Sep 2011, 03:41 pm »
Dave,
Agree! 

That is why I have the little 2.5" eSATA chassis for an external 640GB drive and 5VDC power supply from the BatteryBUSS.   

dBe

Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #39 on: 13 Sep 2011, 05:01 pm »
Dave,
Agree! 

That is why I have the little 2.5" eSATA chassis for an external 640GB drive and 5VDC power supply from the BatteryBUSS.
:thumb: