AudioCircle

Industry Circles => Hollis Audio Labs => Topic started by: HAL on 25 Feb 2021, 08:34 pm

Title: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 25 Feb 2021, 08:34 pm
The latest HAL Music Server the MS-6 design is complete and running Windows 10 Home 64bit OS.  This system is for folks that do not need a built in DVD drive for ripping CD collections.  An external USB DVD is always possible as provided by the customer for use with programs Exact Audio Copy.

The system is an Intel Atom quad core processor with 4GB or ram and 64GB of SSD.  The unit is very small as shown in the pictures.

The system has been tested with both Foobar2000 and JRiver Media Center 27 for music replay via USB2 Audio with Windows 10 drivers for an external DAC.  This also lets the user run room correction programs like Math Audio Room EQ. 

It has also been tested with Room EQ Wizard for room measurements as needed with a user supplied USB calibrated mic.   It will also work with a user supplies Dayton Audio IMM-6 calibrated mic via the internal sound card for REW measurements.  Calibration data is via Dayton Audio website with the serial number. A standard Apple 4 pin TRRS style extension cable can be used the mic remotely on a stand.

The capabilities are as follows:

For I/O there are 3xUSB2 ports, 1xUSB3 port, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth, WiFi and a simple sound card.  A possible expansion to add a I2S Bus interface is in work.  There is a full size HDMI port for video use and the user supplied keyboard and mouse or trackpad.  I use a Bluetooth keyboard with trackpad as an example.  It will also come with a 45 watt USBC style GaN based SMPS for power. 

The system can be run headless, but for setup the users display, keyboard and mouse are needed. 

The system will come with Foobar2000 as a player and Room EQ Wizard for measurements installed.  Math Audio Room EQ will be setup in Foobar2000 for use.

Any streaming service that has a Windows 10 style program will run on the system, so that is up to the user choice to install.

The basic system price as described above is $450.00 + shipping.  Please contact me for other details.

(https://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=221282)

(https://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=221283)

(https://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=221284)


Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: uncola on 26 Feb 2021, 03:26 pm
Nice to see inexpensive servers..  i2s output would be a major draw
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: rollo on 26 Feb 2021, 04:15 pm
Wow Richard that is an interesting design. Priced fairly. Good luck. BTW knowing that Hal plays an instrument and knows harmonics and tonality this should sound really good.

charles
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 26 Feb 2021, 04:22 pm
uncola,
I am trying to get more folks into digital audio with high quality sound at an affordable price.

Charles,
Thanks!  Will be interesting to see what users think with this design.
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 1 Mar 2021, 01:10 pm
One of the upgrades to the MS-6 is the iFi iPowerX DC power supply for very low noise power operation. 

The user or I can supply his own iPowerX 9VDC supply and I will send the correct power connector needed to adapt USBC to Coaxial connector.  If I supply the iPowerX and connector it is $110.00 + shipping added to the base price of MS-6.
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 23 Mar 2021, 11:41 am
The chassis for the HAL MS-6 are starting to arrive and have the SBC's in stock.  Takes a long time in shipping.

Will be sending out two demo units for feedback as soon as they are built.  The first version will not have the I2S Bus interface, but that can be added later once completed.  The chassis has to be drilled for the connector, so it will need to be shipped.



Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 24 Mar 2021, 02:17 pm
The HAL MS-6 chassis are finally arriving and have built the first production unit.  For the first 4 customers of the system, it will come with a Dayton Audio iMM-6 calibrated measurement mic.  REW and MathAudio are installed and the microphone cal data file is installed for the mic for measurements. 

Here is a simple test of the mic and the MS-6 internal sound card for REW measurements.  The iMM-6 is connected to the MS-6 TRRS connector.  The other connector for the mic is if you want to use only the MS-6 to measure, a TRS stereo 3.5mm jack is available for line output to the external system and speakers.  If the system has a USB DAC, then that can also be the signal source.

(https://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=222319)
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: uncola on 24 Mar 2021, 03:00 pm
that's cool that it has a TRRS input for the dayton imm6 microphone, that's not a common input. 
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 24 Mar 2021, 06:59 pm
Yes, and they are easy to find extension TRRS cables on Amazon for the calibrated mic for remote measurements. 
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 29 Mar 2021, 12:19 pm
The production HAL MS-6 Music Servers systems are now available to purchase for $450.00+shipping.

It will be loaded with Foobar2000 for music replay along with MathAudio RoomEQ for room measurements and correction.  Also Room EQ Wizard will be installed for room measurements.

The first 4 systems sold will come with the Dayton Audio iMM-6 calibrated measurement mic.  You will need to supply an extension TRRS cable like for an iPhone and mic clip to remote the mic for measurements.

Please contact me via a message to purchase.

Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 22 Apr 2021, 01:24 pm
Sending out three HAL MS-6 Music Servers today for friends and customers.   :thumb:

Looking forward to their MS-6 system feedback. 
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 23 Apr 2021, 01:18 am
The three MS-6 systems going to their new owners and should be there next week,

(https://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=223738)
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 26 Apr 2021, 12:03 pm
Another HAL MS-6 shipping out today. 

This is the third one with the Dayton Audio iMM-6 calibrated measurement mic.  The next MS-6 sold is the last with the iMM-6 mic for the introductory sales.

Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 28 Apr 2021, 12:57 am
First two HAL MS-6's are at their new owners places and first one is up and running.  The first owner is experimenting with MathAudio RoomEQ measurement capabilities with the Foorbar2000 player.

The second one is received and for use when ready.

The third unit is a demo and should be at its destination on Thursday.  Looking forward to seeing the comments when it is installed and playing music.

Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: drmike on 30 Apr 2021, 04:43 pm
can it run logitech media server. can it be powered by a 9v amb sigma 11?
thjanks,
drmike
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 30 Apr 2021, 05:57 pm
Since the system is running Windows 10 CU 20H2 64bit OS, it will run Logitech Media Server for Windows as any PC system.

The HAL MS-6 runs on USBC power and auto switches from 5V to 9V to 12V as the CPU needs since it is PD compliant and at least 9VDC@4Amp output.  The SlimQ SMPS is USBC PD compliant and can source up to 45watts of power with GaN output device technology.

I have used it with an iFi iPowerX 9VDC supply that works with a coaxial to USBC adapter.  The stock SlimQ 45watt PS does just as well.
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 7 May 2021, 07:21 pm
Feedback on one of the first 4 system is that the HAL MS-6 is working well with Roon in a system for headphone playback.   That is usually the easiest way to hear if a system is working well for digital replay. 

Another system is up and running.  Looking forward to feedback on that setup as well!

Made my week!   :thumb:
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 14 May 2021, 03:40 pm
First HAL MS-6 review by Pez on AC:

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=176302.0
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: rollo on 14 May 2021, 08:48 pm
For the money how could one go wrong ? Knowing Hals expertise and musicianship should sound just fine.



charles
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 14 May 2021, 09:07 pm
Thanks Charles! :D
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 15 May 2021, 09:27 pm
Feedback from another HAL MS-6 owner is the system is up and running and working as his player and running MathAudio RoomEQ for room correction with his measurements from the Dayton Audio iMM-6 mic and cal data. 

Since the house curve is easily editable for the room correction, finding the one that works for your system takes a bit of time, but easily done.  There are stock bright and neutral response curves depending which works well in your room.  Those can be edited or totally user defined house curves drawn with the cursor and pointing device buttons.  The curve works with both the right and left channel measurements made with the calibrated mic. 



Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: GentleBender on 15 May 2021, 09:45 pm
What DAC would you suggest to pair with the HAL MS-6? I need to put together a digital front end to pair with my Odyssey gear and am not one with endless funds. I like function over form.
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 15 May 2021, 10:00 pm
Since I have been using AKM based DAC's for about 5 years, I have not looked around.  Both the AK4493EQ and AK4499EQ DAC's are very good in many different systems.  The XMOS U208 USB interface is one of the best ones I have tried.  The older AK4490, AK4495 and AK4497 are all very good as well.  The chips have selectable digital filters that I prefer to be able to try and see which I like.

The dspMusik 2x8 I use has 4-AK4493EQ DAC's.  The new dspNexus 2x8 uses either the AK4493EQ or AK4499EQ as they are modular.  Both have XMOS U208 USB interfaces.

There are multiple DAC's still available that use those devices.  Problem is those are limited availability due to the fire at AKM's foundry.

Another DAC I really like is the Wolfson Micro (Now Cirrus Logic) WM8741 DAC.  Those are available in multiple DAC systems.  Having the DAC filters selectable is a big plus as the Minimum Phase filter is my favorite in that DAC. 

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: GentleBender on 15 May 2021, 11:28 pm
Thank you. I will take a look around to see if I can catch any of those.
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: GentleBender on 21 May 2021, 09:15 am
I’m interested in the dspNexus 2/2 but prices and information are scarce. Where would I order one from? This is just for a simple stereo setup.
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 21 May 2021, 11:19 am
The dspNexus 2x2 system is not available yet.  I will be selling them when available and will announce it.

The first version out will be the dspNexus 2x8 for $3000.00+shipping.   

The dspNexus 2x2 will come later with a TBA price + shipping.
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 22 May 2021, 01:02 am
Another HAL MS-6 shipped out today. 

Looking forward to feedback from the demo.  :D
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 9 Jun 2021, 09:29 pm
Next HAL MS-6 Music Server is packed and shipping tomorrow for a demo.   :D

Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 15 Jun 2021, 03:16 pm
The MS-6 that shipped is now installed and getting trials as a Roon Endpoint.   :D

Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 26 Jul 2021, 03:56 pm
Another HAL MS-6 is headed to CO this week to be demoed as a Roon Core system.   The system already has an MS-6 as a Roon Endpoint. 
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 16 Aug 2021, 09:13 pm
The HAL MS-6 now has a permanent home in CO!   :D
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: Pez on 16 Aug 2021, 10:00 pm
For the money how could one go wrong ? Knowing Hals expertise and musicianship should sound just fine.



charles

I bought one a while back. Check my review below. To summarize, this server is an incredible value with sound quality that trumps a lot of options.
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 16 Aug 2021, 11:34 pm
Here is Pez's review of the HAL MS-6.

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=176302.0
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 11 Sep 2021, 11:44 pm
The person demoing the latest MS-6 shipped, compared it to his MAC Mini both running Audirvana.

His words about the HAL MS-6 in his system:

"Certainly much quieter than the mac mini it replaces. You can really tell when listening just how low the noise floor is.  It really sounds beautiful!"

Made my day! 🙂
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: jmolsberg on 19 Sep 2021, 02:16 pm
I was the one demoing the MS-6. Actively looking to replace my ten year old mac mini with a streamer and became aware of the MS-6 thanks to this neat community. My mac mini has been rock solid and good sounding. I was actually scared to have to mess with a new technology. Some chats with Rich and Pez and I took a small leap of faith.

The MS-6 was delivered with all items needed to get up and running, including the USB driver pre installed for my Audio Mirror dac. The unit itself is quite charming and literally fits anywhere - it is tiny. I elected for a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and utilize the HDMI to the TV. I have been using the mac with Audirvana /Qobuz and was able to get the same setup running with wifeys help. I probably could have done just fine without her but….

So how does the MS-6 sound? In one word, MUSICAL! Pez (Jason) of HAPA Audio wrote something to the effect that it was like inserting an R2R dac and you just know it’s right. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical, but I must agree with his sentiments, it just sounds right. It took me the weekend to get a handle on what I was hearing or not. And what I wasn’t hearing was noise. The MS-6 prioritizes the music and really does so beautifully. It continues to get better as it breaks-in. Highly recommended folks!


(https://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=229904)


(https://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=229905)


(https://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=229906)


(https://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=229907)




Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: mresseguie on 28 Oct 2021, 12:15 pm
I wonder if I correctly understand what position this unit takes in a system. Am I correct in thinking that it can stream content from the internet via ethernet cable or wifi, and feed this signal into a USB cable to a DAC?

My main DAC is not equipped for USB input. I use a DDC to convert USB to SPDIF, but I'd like to bypass it if possible. My DAC can accept SPDIF and AES/EBU inputs. Can you reconfigure the MS-6 for either of these?

Michael
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 28 Oct 2021, 01:07 pm
Hi Michael,
The MS-6 is as you describe in the first question.  It is designed to stream content via WiFi or Ethernet to a USB DAC, or direct playback from USB based storage.

The motherboard does not have a S/PDIF coaxial or AES-EBU style interface or a PCI slot for expansion, so a USB to S/PDIF converter would be needed.

Rich
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: mresseguie on 28 Oct 2021, 08:44 pm
Rich,

Thank you.

I recently discovered my DDC has some sort of filter inside that prevents me from hearing differences between different USB cables. Do you suppose this filtering would prevent my being able to hear the difference between my Mac Mini and your device?

Michael
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 28 Oct 2021, 09:00 pm
Michael,
You are welcome!

I have no way to tell if the DDC will have the same effect with the MS-6 for S/PDIF use.  It would have to be tried to hear what happens.

If you like, you can message me about a demo MS-6 unit for listening trials.

Rich
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 10 Feb 2022, 02:55 am
Another HAL MS-6 system has replaced a MAC Mini 2012 music server running Audirvana for music file replay and streaming.

(https://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=236836)
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: borism on 10 Feb 2022, 09:30 pm
Actually, my Mac Mini is from 2011. It has served me very well and I have enjoyed iTunes/Pure Music/Tidal/Qobuz/internet radio. The age of the Mac and one particular issue with streaming high resolution files prompted me to look for a replacement. The Mac's built in fan would kick into high gear with Qobuz hi-rez files plus be so loud that it would be easily heard across the room. In addition, the OS could no longer be upgraded and I was not able to try out Audirvana Studio.

I read the very positive reviews of the MS-6 by Pez, Tyson and Jmolsberg who upgraded from his Mac Mini / Audirvana. This led me to contacting Rich about an in-home trial. Rich was very responsive. He actually sent the MS-6 with the USB driver for my Sonnet Morpheus DAC and Audirvana Studio pre-installed. All I had to do is register with Audirvana for the free 30 day trial and connect my USB-C SSD (iTunes files). Audirvana Studio integrates local files with Tidal/Qobuz and internet radio. There is also a great phone App that functions as a remote.

From the get-go the MS-6 was as mentioned by others very musical, transparent and noticeably less noisy than my prior set-up. One caveat is that I wasn't using Audirvana before. Tidal/Qobuz and radio were all streaming using the MAC OS and Safari. Overall, I'm very happy with this set-up and think that it is an incredible bargain. Highly recommended!


(https://www.audiocircle.com/image.php?id=236870)

 
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 11 Feb 2022, 09:04 pm
borism,
Glad the MS-6 is working out well in your music system!   :D

Best,
Rich
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: nlitworld on 3 Sep 2022, 03:02 pm
So I just picked up an MS-6 second hand, and I still can't believe how amazing it sounds. Last night I may have had 4 hours of sleep before I had the stereo blasting again this morning. I'm running FB2K linked to my media pc over the network the same as I had been. I'm in awe of how black the background is and how effortless the music just springs forth from the ether. The detail and attack/decay of the notes are so well separated you can see everything in HD presented right in front of you. And what an unbelievably huge open airy soundstage it is. Coming from a gaming PC with a very good mobo and processor I never thought the PC would be the weakest link in the chain. Oh my God was I wrong. This little MS-6 just thumbs its nose at that big PC and goes on playing perfect sounding music. Rich, there is no way this little server should be this good. Well done sir, and keep up the good work.

-Lloyd

(https://c.tenor.com/Uc_VSWkrBCsAAAAC/chuck-norris-thumbs-up.gif)
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: Doublej on 3 Sep 2022, 04:29 pm
Any plans to update the MS-6 to Windows 11 and/or to a newer processor?
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 4 Sep 2022, 03:39 am
So I just picked up an MS-6 second hand, and I still can't believe how amazing it sounds. Last night I may have had 4 hours of sleep before I had the stereo blasting again this morning. I'm running FB2K linked to my media pc over the network the same as I had been. I'm in awe of how black the background is and how effortless the music just springs forth from the ether. The detail and attack/decay of the notes are so well separated you can see everything in HD presented right in front of you. And what an unbelievably huge open airy soundstage it is. Coming from a gaming PC with a very good mobo and processor I never thought the PC would be the weakest link in the chain. Oh my God was I wrong. This little MS-6 just thumbs its nose at that big PC and goes on playing perfect sounding music. Rich, there is no way this little server should be this good. Well done sir, and keep up the good work.

-Lloyd

(https://c.tenor.com/Uc_VSWkrBCsAAAAC/chuck-norris-thumbs-up.gif)

Lloyd,
Very happy to hear the HAL MS-6 is working well for your audio system!  Why I build them. :)

Best,
Rich
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: HAL on 4 Sep 2022, 03:52 am
Any plans to update the MS-6 to Windows 11 and/or to a newer processor?


Doublej,
The MS-6 CPU does not support Windows 11.  The motherboard maybe redesigned for a newer CPU for Windows 11, but that is still TBA.  No insight on that at this time.

Not really worried about loosing Windows 10 support anytime soon.  To many big corporations are still using it and will need continuing support.  Only time will tell.  Until then, Windows 10 audio is the best I have heard from a computer.

Best,
Rich
Title: Re: Introducing the HAL MS-6 Music Server/Streamer
Post by: Doublej on 4 Sep 2022, 04:22 pm
Thanks for the info. I am not worried about losing support for Windows 10 either, just having to pay for it come November 2025 as I tend to keep my stuff for a long time.