HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server

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HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #40 on: 17 Sep 2011, 04:46 am »
Unit #2 is with it's new owner at this point.  Will be interesting to hear comments when he is ready.

Unit #3 was installed at my friend Bob's this evening.  We played it for a few hours in his setup.  Will let him post comments if he would like to.

Unit #4 will be shipped tomorrow. 

 :D

S Clark

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #41 on: 17 Sep 2011, 05:02 am »
I'm eager to read their impressions.  I continue to be impressed with the sound quality of mine.

Scott

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #42 on: 17 Sep 2011, 04:58 pm »
Unit #4 is shipped.   :D

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #43 on: 19 Sep 2011, 02:33 am »
Got my Droid X2 phone working as a remote control for the Music Server via WiFi.  Still learning all the controls.

Also have my iPod Touch working as well as a remote control.  Like the bigger screen on the X2 more.


HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #44 on: 20 Sep 2011, 12:28 am »
Install #3 went well and Chris is up and running.  :D

Install #4 is ongoing.

 

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #45 on: 20 Sep 2011, 08:27 pm »
The owner of Music Server #3 is going to stop by and do a write-up when he can.   He liked it from our conversation! :D

S Clark

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #46 on: 20 Sep 2011, 09:51 pm »
Rich,
Do you know if a standard Felix (I believe rated at 3 amps) will provide adequate power to the server? 

Scott

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #47 on: 20 Sep 2011, 10:08 pm »
Scott,
The current requirement for the MS is about 120VAC @ 0.25A.  The Felix with a 120VAC @ 3A rating should be fine.

stu

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #48 on: 21 Sep 2011, 04:23 pm »
Thanks to Rich, I have unit #4.  It looks nicely put together, and I am anxious to get started.  Had to go out yesterday and pick up a mouse, keyboard, and monitor before I could do anything.  Unfortunately, there will be a delay before I can get the setup started.  My son is coming to town today to vistit for a few days, and then I leave Saturday and will be gone all week working.  I promise as soon as I return I will get started with the setup.  I am sure I will be pestering Rich continuously until I get everything done.  He is going to hate me before it is over.

I plan to compare the MS to cd's played through a PS Audio PW Transport and DAC.  I also want to do a careful comparison between data ripped to FLAC, and data in WAV format.  It will be interesting.

Thanks Rich,
Mark

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #49 on: 21 Sep 2011, 04:46 pm »
Mark,
No problem with helping on MS setup.  It is actually a fun process to me.    :D

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #50 on: 23 Sep 2011, 12:09 am »
It looks like we have a new home for the thread.   :D  The folks here at AC contacted me about the move. 

Will do an introduction for HAL and the folks here said they would merge the thread into that. 


HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #51 on: 26 Sep 2011, 09:11 pm »
I think the PC Music Server ate Chris!  :o

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #52 on: 30 Sep 2011, 09:55 pm »
Chris has been working on his house, so will stop by when he can.

Fun news is I have a Nook Color running the Foobar2000 remote interface and able to scroll through the music library.  I like the large 7" display!  This is fun!   :D

Forest Dweller

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #53 on: 6 Oct 2011, 01:03 am »
Chris has been working on his house, so will stop by when he can.

Fun news is I have a Nook Color running the Foobar2000 remote interface and able to scroll through the music library.  I like the large 7" display!  This is fun!   :D
…not only the house, but the 24 acres of very remote, gorgeously prime timberland that surrounds it, before the rain / snow season in the Oregon Cascades starts. Not to mention trying to get my main listening room finished!  8)

HAL, aka Audio Mad Scientist has an Insidious Plan. :evil: He has taken control of vertical and horizontal as well as 3D Aural / Spatial.

If you acquire any HAL design or product, you will get absolutely ZERO accomplished for your Honey Do, Weekend Chores, etc.

You will be Listening. You cannot resist. HAL makes the concept of “Assimilation” just plain understatedly silly.

No matter how hard you try, you WILL find yourself back in the Sweet Spot; mesmerized, and hopelessly held captive in Audio Nirvana. Just, ya know- kind of a head’s-up on that      :tempted:

********************************************************************
I couldn’t agree more with Scott’s (very nice word-smithing indeed) comments! I’m running the same “whisper mode” HAL-modded Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototpe Music Server (HAL AINPMS) unit he is. I think for brevity (ironically, not something I’m known for since I don’t have much time to post or hang-out on the forums. So please don’t be offended if you post something and I don’t respond / see it), I’ll refer to it as the “HAL MS-1”. Any acronym with “PMS” in it is kind of a buzz kill.  :P  Rich, you’ll just have to come up with an “Official” name, with a milspec part number.  :lol:

I had the HAL MS-1 out of the box and playing music very quickly. I stick to .wav’s only at this point. Ripped my entire collection which did take a bit of time!  Like months; given 60+ hr. work weeks.

I added a SIIG 7 port powered USB hub to take unnecessary a/c requirements off of the HAL MS-1. The SIIG will do USB 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0. Nice little unit!

To that, I added a Dell Ultrasharp 19’ monitor, a Logitech wireless illuminated keyboard, and Logitech wireless mouse. These are used basically for system maintenance and moving files around, as I did moving my audio collection from a 1TB WD USB HDD to a Samsung eSATA 1TB 2.5” HDD. I also added a USB Toshiba Super Multi Drive DVD+/-RW. So with the 7 port SIIG USB hub, I only use one USB port, and the eSATA port on the HAL MS-1.

I’m also using the M2Tech hiFace Evo running on battery power, and have driven an April Music DA100 Signature DAC, a highly modded PT P-3A as well as other borrowed DACs in multiple price ranges. Haven’t tried the PS Audio DAC/Transport so I’ll look forward to Stu’s comments on that. My favorite however is as Rich’s setup; using a battery powered DIY DAC via I2S bus. Ultimately, the HAL MS-1 will be battery powered as well. I think I know someone in this group who can set me up with that  8)

Rich is playing with different WiFi devices such as smart-phones and tablets for controlling Foobar 2000, so I’m waiting for him to give the most positive nod to one of them. Right now, I’m just using a small laptop for wireless connection/ remote control. Quick and easy!  The only thing I had to call Rich about was the Super Decoder Ring URL to access the remote app within Foobar. Works like a charm!

I’ve been looking at the idea of music servers for quite a long time (listened to just about every single one at every RMAF), but what I was seeing / hearing, was IMO, too high-priced and the technology not really anything that would make me want to lay out that kind of cash compared to a high quality DAC and Transport. Certainly, having one’s entire music collection, ripped at highest quality on an ultra flexible and convenient to use platform would be great. But what about the sound itself? As with anything worth waiting for, patience has paid off.
 
I never would have believed it myself, but just starting out playing EAC-ripped Redbook CDs 16bit/44.1kHz at their native rate is just truly stunning. The HD stuff is out of this world. So playing any music back at the native rate at which it was recorded, with a high quality interface and DAC is the way to go for me.
 
As Scott mentioned, the detail, imaging and definition really stunned me; having the same realization that EAC-ripped .wav’s played through two separate systems + Senn HD600s sounded better than the CD using very high quality DACs and transports. I have to be careful here, since this is a subjective thing but very simply: The HAL MS-1 integrates perfectly in the process of translating digital to analog as any high $$$$ digital system I’ve used / borrowed to date. I started long ago with an AA DDS PRO, DDE 3.0 + DTI PRO32.

How do I really “measure” what I’m subjectively hearing? Keeping in mind of course that’s just me and my experience; I’ve spent a LOT of time in recording studios with 2” 24 trk Ampex machines running at 30ips and own a Studer A-810 ½ track mastering machine. To me, the sound is noticeably more like I’m listening to the players in the room itself or analog playback right after the track has been laid down. For me, I’m not left wanting. It’s really that good.

I have a few older 1st gen. Redbook CDs that are just unbearable to listen to via the CD, but are actually very listenable as .wav-ripped through this system. Now that’s not to say (obviously) that it fixes horribly recorded and mastered sessions, but still, very impressive!

The rest of the system?  OK, this is really going overboard here; but you may as well have the whole story…

Audible Illusions L-1 tube preamp (temporarily while I’m expecting delivery of my “new baby”- end of October). May borrow a Dodd Battery Buffer in the mean time, but I’m getting close to this custom tube preamp finally breathing music after years of design, re-design, and hand-built quality. I’ll let that cat out of the bag once I get it   (need a "cat in a bag" icon for this one)

Bryston 7B-SST Mono Blocs. Great Clean Power (galore).

April Music Stello DA100 Signature DAC (I2S)

April Music Stello CDT100 Transport (I2S) Simon Lee (April Music) is a very talented designer. Many have not heard of him, but if you have the pleasure to listen his designs, you would most likely be very pleased.

Studer A-810 ½ Track Mastering Recorder. You just have to hear it to believe it. Hopefully, there will be at least one at RMAF this year, as there was last year.

Audiolab 8000T Tuner  Yep. I love this tuner. Use it with a Magnum Dynalab ST-2 FM antenna and Terk indoor AM Advantage antenna. My house is located way up in the Oregon Cascade Foothills, and this setup pulls excellent signals in from a LONG ways away and reproduces them in a way which to me is very pleasurable. There is a lot on both FM and AM radio which is still true to the intended goals of long ago  :singing:

Custom Built GR-Research LS-9s. These were truly a team effort. Hugh Nguyen, owner of Angel City Audio brought it all together for me. Flawless Piano Black cabinets built by Mr. Pu/ Sound Art China. Hugh provided and loaded the full compliment of No-Rez, Danny Richie, Owner of GR Research and designer of the LS-9s built the Upgraded Custom X-Overs and Sean Ries, Owner and “Head Gouda” of Skiing Ninja (who can also supply the same ultra high quality custom x-overs) loaded the drivers and wired the x-overs. Hugh also supplied gorgeous, “floating” custom Piano Black bases.  :notworthy:

Analysis Plus Black Oval 9 Speaker cables.

Electra Inter-connects

Revelation Audio Labs I2S and Power Cables for April Music transport/DAC setup.

This is the Music Server System I’ve been waiting for, and the HAL MS-1 is obviously an integral part of it. Plus, with anything Rich designs, it evolves. Kind of like a “Transformer” (little double-entendre there  ;)  )
It will be highly scalable, based on the PC design for connectivity to products such as the “Squeeze-X” stuff.

Rich is a cherished friend and THE Audio Mad Scientist. I’ve had the pleasure of joining him in many excellent audio adventures. His insidious plan is to share his achievements with those of us seeking Audio Nirvana without having to sell your soul or [insert body parts here].

Now, you may think I have a bias here; but try this: have Rich send you one of these and decide for yourself!

Thanks Rich. See ya next week at RMAF!   :beer:

Chris





HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #54 on: 6 Oct 2011, 01:13 am »
Mark's Music Server is up and running.  He is starting his WAV vs FLAC experiments. 

Looking forward to what he finds.

More top information on Saturday if things go well!

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #55 on: 8 Oct 2011, 02:31 pm »
I think Chris like it!   :D

Ok, here are the pictures of the final version of the HAL PC Music Server with solid wood top:

Front




Back




Side



Better Living through Audio Nirvana!

stu

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #56 on: 13 Oct 2011, 06:32 pm »
I want to give my initial observations about the MS-1 ( looks like that is the official name, for now ).  I have unit #4 thanks to HAL.  Like Chris (hi Chris! ) I have been looking at getting into servers for a whlie, but I was concerned about sound quailty.  I did not want anything that would not be at least as good as my reference, the PS Audio Perfect Wave Transport (PWT) and DAC (PWD).  Since getting those two pieces, my system has been outstanding.  I did not want to go backwards in sound quality.

Unfortunately, due to family issues and work, I have not had as much time to play with the MS as I would have liked.  But last week I did have a chance to get started with the setup, and do some initial listening.  I ripped a standard cd into both wav and flac, and compared both of those to the PWT.  All 3 fed the PWD.  I have read that in some cases, wav can sound better than flac.  Most people think that it all depends on how hard the system has to work to decode the flac files before sending the data to the dac.  Rich's system must not use much cpu power during playback, because as hard as I tried, I could not tell which file was wav and which was flac.  I had pretty much decided I would use wav for ripping, but now I will probably use flac.  I will do one more test before I start ripping all my music, but based on what the first results were, I doubt if that will change.

So, how did the MS compare to the PWT?  Again, I could not tell ANY difference between the two.  The PWT has the best reproduction of soundstage width and depth that I have heard in my system, and the MS matched the PWT in those areas.  All other areas of the reproduction were also equal.  The PWT is an amazing piece.  I have had mine in at least 4 different systems, and each time it totally transformed the sound of the dac being used.  It was easy to hear the improvements.  For the MS to sound the same as the PWT, at least on cd's, that says a lot.  I did not get a chance yet to compare hirez playback on each system, but will try to do that next week. 

I stiil have some minor setup up issues, but I am keeping the MS-1.  Sound quality is what I want, and this server gives that to me.  Not interested in trying anything else that might take me backwards.

Thanks rich!
Mark

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #57 on: 13 Oct 2011, 11:07 pm »
Mark,
Glad you like the PC Music Server!  It has been a fun project and the sound quality is very good at my place.  Happy to hear that it compares well to the PWT!  That is saying a lot to me.

We will get EAC humming shortly.

BTW Chris says Hi as well.   :D

HAL

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #58 on: 17 Oct 2011, 08:50 pm »
Had a great time at RMAF.  Got to meet Scott and hang out with Chris.  I did bring a music server and thanks to friends got to listen to it after hours in a system.  Hi Rez music was fun to reproduce in a great sounding setup. 
Looking forward to next year!

S Clark

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Re: HAL's Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototype Music Server
« Reply #59 on: 17 Oct 2011, 09:43 pm »
Meeting new people that share a passion for audio is one of those things that makes life great.  Finally getting to meet Rich face to face and just hanging out with Danny, Gary, Dave, and Chris were the highpoints of the show. The equipment was amazingly cool, but the people are the real joy.  There was some seriously good sound in the GR room, and all of it related to each of these guys (well, maybe not Chris, but anyone that brings his own habeneros to grind on his mexican food is ok in my book  :thumb:).  A big thanks for letting me hear all the neat stuff created by very talented people  :beer: :bowdown: