Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.

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Emil

or can I just connect a USB cable from my laptop to my DAC? Granted, the cable would be 10 to 15 feet.

So why would I need  something like a Bluesound Node 2 at $500 to act like a bridge between DAC and laptop.

 My goal is to steam hirez/MQA from Tidal

dB Cooper

Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #1 on: 14 Mar 2018, 12:23 am »
Only if you want to connect wirelessly. If it's practical to connect by wire and you are not prevented from doing so for visual reasons (yours or someone else's), an appropriate length cable will be fine.

richidoo

Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #2 on: 14 Mar 2018, 12:44 am »
Emil, the quality of USB audio output from a computer can be improved.  Try a USB cleaner-upper gadget, there are many to choose.

artur9

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Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #3 on: 14 Mar 2018, 12:50 am »
Only reason for a server is if you need the same music in multiple places. If it's just you and your laptop I don't see why you'd need one.

oem-wheels

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Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #4 on: 14 Mar 2018, 03:57 am »
I, for one, don't see the reason behind a dedicated music server.. To me its a waste of money.. I stream music from my regular computer with JRiver installed via Ethernet to my DAC and let the DAC do all the work.. No usb or usb software needed.. Or super expensive usb output card.. Thats basically what a dedicated server is, a computer with beefed up cards... Save millions of dollars and find a way to stream through Ethernet.. There's only a few DAC's that can do/accept that.. 

JohnR

Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #5 on: 14 Mar 2018, 05:21 am »
Maximum cable length for USB2 is specified at 5 meters, so at 15 feet you would close to the limit per spec. However you should just try it and see how you go.

Reasons for using a server are various: you don't have to open your laptop / keep it on to play music (use phone or tablet for control), you need more storage space, you like to have redundant copies for backup, you like a particular piece/set of hardware/software that is server-oriented.

JohnR

Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #6 on: 14 Mar 2018, 05:34 am »
I stream music from my regular computer with JRiver installed via Ethernet to my DAC and let the DAC do all the work.. No usb or usb software needed.. Or super expensive usb output card.. Thats basically what a dedicated server is, a computer with beefed up cards... Save millions of dollars and find a way to stream through Ethernet.. There's only a few DAC's that can do/accept that..

You can also run Volumio on a Raspberry Pi and connect that to a DAC. (I just tried it, hadn't thought of it before. Not entirely sure how I got JRiver to direct the audio to the Pi but it is playing music :) )

Tubeburner

Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #7 on: 14 Mar 2018, 06:38 am »
A better sounding Raspberry Pi : http://www.runeaudio.com/

Emil

Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #8 on: 14 Mar 2018, 12:05 pm »
Thanks guys

Max USB cable length is 5 meters.
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PGUSBPR&variation=5
Fifty bucks for 5 meters.
Now the nervosa sets in. Better USB cable for better sound? A hardwired signal always better than a wireless signal?

Is this Richdoo's "gadget"?
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=AQJBUG

So far I'm at $110 compared to $500 for the Bluesound

Roninaudio

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Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #9 on: 14 Mar 2018, 12:32 pm »
I use a desktop type Win/10 with Roon. A decent AQ USB (6 ft run though) and the Jitterbug and everything seems copasetic.  USB straight to a Direct Stream DAC and I have been very pleased.  I control Roon from the couch via tablet when doing some "critical" listening.....lol.   I have no need at the moment for a server per say or to use a bridge as it seems simple = better.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #10 on: 14 Mar 2018, 04:38 pm »
If you go the computer route you may eventually want to build a headless desktop(no monitor) for audio.  I have a high end laptop for audio and a few months ago built a dedicated headless desktop for audio and the improvement in sound was stunning.  I used a very low ripple power supply along with a quality Motherboard with higher quality panasonic caps, I7 7700K cpu and high end Ballistix Elite Ram, 16gb.  Main HD is a Samsung 850 evo SSD, music is stored on a WD Red 4 TB HD.  I used sound insulated mid tower case and extra quiet fans. The background is much blacker and there is more detail and resolution.  You will need Windows 10 Pro so you can remote in with Windows Remote desktop free program.  Works flawlessly.  Built if for under $800.  It can be built cheaper depending upon the ram and cpu.  You can get Win 10 for free if you download it and don't register it.

Don't go too cheap on a usb cable of that length or you may get drop outs.  Ethernet would be the way to go if you can.  Agree with an AQ Jitterbug and or an Amber Regen.  There is a used one for sale on this site for $110, a real bargain.

I would take a look at the Audioquest Forest usb cable.  We did a shoot out of usb cables and one of the cables was a cheap pangea and it was unbearably bright and thin sounding. But we did find that usb cables are system dependent.

Emil

Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #11 on: 14 Mar 2018, 06:36 pm »
Thanks again, guys

What I'm expecting is CD quality or better from Tidal. My only concern at this time is streaming.
I would like the 15 ft of USB for convenience  and with everything else, you get what you pay for.  The 15 ft of AQ Forest is 90 bucks. That's less than 1/2 the cost of my 1 meter silver SPDIF. Of course I can spend more for a better cable but the then the Bluesound would make more sense but only if hardwiring outperforms Wifi signal tranfer. Does it? Always?

So back to my two choices. I can hardwire via USB cable straight to the DAC or transmit data via wifi to the Bluesound and then to the DAC via a quality, much shorter cable such as my SPDIF.

I'm leaning now towards getting the Bluesound. Am I missing something here?


charmerci

Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #13 on: 15 Mar 2018, 01:16 am »
I found that my newer $250 Asus laptop (from 2016 Windows 10) sounds MUCH better than my 2011 Acer laptop with Windows 7. Whether the new Windows made a difference, I don't know.


My favorite "reasonably" priced cables are Grover Huffman but these $20 1 meter cables from "Straightwire" sound oh-so-close.  http://www.schiit.com/products/pyst-cables


I've added a Dragonfly anti-jitter and a Regen Uptone and it's indistinguishable from a direct signal from a Sony player into my DAC.


Not sure why you need it 15 feet from your DAC.




jimbones

Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #14 on: 15 Mar 2018, 01:21 am »
I'll be gentle  :lol:

Ok my experience: I just upgraded from my Dell laptop to Lumin D1 streaming device. I have been using it for 3 months. Yesterday for the first time I did a comparison. I ended up throwing the laptop in the garbage. Well not literally but not using it for audio anymore. It is not even close. my suggestion get a streamer and a NAS and be done.

Emil

Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #15 on: 15 Mar 2018, 11:09 am »
Not sure why you need it 15 feet from your DAC.

For convenience. I would like to be able to browse Tidal and change tracks from my listening position.
I'll be gentle  :lol:

 my suggestion get a streamer and a NAS and be done.

I think you're right considering what I just typed above

Thanks everyone :thumb:

Mike B.

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Re: Do I really need a server? Newbie question. Be gentle.
« Reply #16 on: 15 Mar 2018, 03:30 pm »
I have a dedicated laptop. It is a older Dell with a I-5 processor. I used a 5 meter cable until recently. The cable was a Audioquest Carbon. I found the sound to be very good. I have since gone to the laptop close to the DAC and I use a USB to spdif 1 meter setup.