Want to build a music server

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I'm finally thinking of doing my own music server to hold about 500 CD's and 50 LP's. There is a lot on this forum lately about Rasp Pi but what about the Intel NUC. Is it worth the added expense? Do you get a "more professional solution" that is a completed unit with less fidgeting in addition to better sound? Feedback and advice deeply appeciated so I can begin a project.
 
Doug, I assume you built up your HDD using a desktop or laptop. Are you concerned about the data quality. I read so much about tweeks to Windows to eliminate background tasks and power supply noise that it seems a bad idea to create a "master" music file this way. Am I on target here or way off the mark?
 
Pi's are cheap, and relatively easy to setup. I think that's the appeal.

IMHO, it depends what you are trying to accomplish.

At some point, I connected a Pi via I2S to my DAC, and it sounded pretty good, actually very good. I powered the PI with a USB battery to get better sound.

But, I have a highly tweaked PC that sounds better (my opinion, take it for what you will) The PC is dedicated to audio playback only. It is connected via an Amanero USB to I2S converter to my DAC. PC is powered by a combination of linear PS and LIFEPO4 batteries, with a modded USB card.
All the music I listen to is on one SSD, and the OS is on another. So, I don't need a NAS.

The PC route was a LOT more work and money.

No idea about an intel nuc, never tried it.
 
Do you have an old laptop or desktop PC lying around? That's where I started.

Install Ubuntu Linux.
Install MPD (That's Music Player Daemon)
we can help with the setup.
control it from a phone, tablet or ...

I've been using this for years. Just bought an Orange Pi Plus to replace it. Total cost around $80 for the Orange Pi, power supply, case, cables. Add a 1 Tb laptop drive, and it's all I need.
 
Do you have an old laptop or desktop PC lying around? That's where I started.

Install Ubuntu Linux.
Install MPD (That's Music Player Daemon)
we can help with the setup.
control it from a phone, tablet or ...

I've been using this for years. Just bought an Orange Pi Plus to replace it. Total cost around $80 for the Orange Pi, power supply, case, cables. Add a 1 Tb laptop drive, and it's all I need.

Exactly what you need, maybe Linux Mint instead, and use Decibel as a player
and K3b as ripping software. You will need all available Flac files in software manager
for k3b to update that flac is available. otherwise Ogg is a nice alternative if space
is important vs Flac that is slightly higher in sound quality.
 

Odal3

Member
2014-08-07 3:34 am
One good option is to have a two box solution with a server holding the music and using something like a raspberry pi with moode as the client. The server can be an old computer or dedicated server grade box that you can load the free and excellent openmediavault on. Openmwdiavault acts as a diy network attached storage solution. The good thing is you can hide it away in another room and therefore don't have to invest anything to make it silent.
 
Another alternative (the one I prefer) is staying in x86 world due to ease of kernel upgrades (i.e. new drivers) and pick a refurbished x86 thin client with internal USB headers and PCI slot with room for full size internal sound card. E.g. FS Futro S400 fs futro s400 | eBay for approx. 20EUR

Storage - 2.5" SATA drive hooked to the internal USB header using e.g. slightly modified Hard Disk Drive SATA 7 15 Pin 22 to USB 2 0 Adapter Cable for 2 5 HDD Laptop EY | eBay .

Sound device - either external USB DAC, or internal PCI (e.g. ESI Juli) with a simple linear +12V/-12V PSU hooked to the PCI riser.

I like the Futros for their price and internal PCI slots but any other thin client from HP/FS/Igel/etc will do the job.

SW - in my case voyage MPD + external control device (phone, tablet), or a small monitor hooked to the VGA/DVI output of the thin client and any MPD console/framebuffer client.

There are even commercial businesses customizing/installing the refurbished x86 thin clients for audio use.
 
There is a lot on this forum lately about Rasp Pi but what about the Intel NUC. Is it worth the added expense? Do you get a "more professional solution" that is a completed unit with less fidgeting in addition to better sound? Feedback and advice deeply appeciated so I can begin a project.

I've set up a few of those (Intel NUCs)...
The easiest solution for you would most likely be to download "Daphile", burn it to a USB stick, and run from there. It's a full-fledged audio server solution, ready to run and easy to setup.
Runs really nice with an Intel NUC. You can make the Daphile installation "permanent" by later installing it to NUC hard disk...
OTOH, if you want something completely silent, with an external USB hard disk with music, I'd go with a "thin client" option - fanless, relatively cheap second-hand, and also works with Daphile - so, not too much fiddling with installation and tweaks.
You can also test Daphile on your existing desktop computer, just install it on a USB stick, and boot your desktop PC from this USB stick with Daphile.
No installation necessary, and no changes to your desktop PC... It's a nice and easy option to "test drive" Daphile without any changes to your existing PC.
There are other hi-fi distributions, but those usually require more fiddling.
Oh, and BTW - I'd steer away from Windows for this purpose (audio server)... There are several ready-made Linux distributions (Daphile being one of them) which are already "hot-rodded" for the best sound possible - saves you grief and expense with Windows tweaking and "optimizing"...
 
I assume I can use a Android phone as a GUI. Would that be a function of the NUC or Daphile?

NUC has nothing to do with interface - it's just hardware that runs whatever software you choose to install. Remote access (from Android phone, tablet or iOS device, or from another computer/device on the network) is entirely dependent on the software you are running on the hardware (fanless NUC in your case, as you said).

And yes, Daphile supports remote access/control from another device on the network. It's running Logitech Media Server (think Squeezebox!), so the usual (and rather luxurious) UI is available. Plus you have other options if you want another UI - there are several mobile clients available for download (Orange Squeeze, Squeezebox, etc...).
So, you will have a very flexible system as regards (remote) control...

Also, the Logitech Media Server can be extended by a variety of plug-ins...
 

Eldam

Banned
2012-09-13 12:25 am
France
The OP should try to boot Daphile from its Windows laptop as a first experiment : it's the less dificult way, totally free hassle way to go ! Free, an USB key needed, no need to erase the laptop or install the Daphile distro other than on the USB Key !

To go further, instead of an expensive dedicated branded trap audio PC you can make yourself, Linux could be a good bet as said already !

If you want just a player (with all the server stuffs multimedia) : Synology NAS are simple and Stream audio via USB output: plug your USB DAC and voilà (it works on an Embeded ArchLinux distro iirc: that's what I have to save time on the computing with my hobby as an IT which repulse to do it at home !). It's green about power and silent ! You Just need a tablett or a laptop to open the GUI !

To go further as far the sound quality is a concern : Odroid C1+ + a distro plug and play : moode by Tim, Volumio or Rune Audio ! Feed it with a cellular external battery : they are less than 30 USD : you will be free of noise on your front end ! (with a Pi e.g. you need 800 mA/H / 5V)

A Rasberry Pi or a BananaPi will avoid you also trouble as there are forums everywhere ! With the BanaPi you may link a sata HDD for a compact server ! You may attach an USB disk to the Pi but for some reason if you output by the USB you will have less audio quality due to the layout of the Pi ! Choose your poison : Odroid is better, Pi has more support !

I have to invest in this last way as now I want to jump for a little card and use BruteFIR to make light room corretion and use active phase filter with FIR and the RePhase soft of pos member to time align my passive filter on my main speakers.

I tried here to summarize the best I can the different way you have with the less hassle possible and best sounding result as it's important too, keeping the low price and low time Investment as a priority !

Hope this helps.

PS : of course CHarlieLaub convolver can allow you to go further after, active filter, etc ! It's a trade off you must choose yourself with the time, your ability with IT, etc...
 
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