• Sonore Music Server Review

    As we approach Rocky Mountain Audiofest 2010 I can't help but think about the 2009 computer audio seminar at RMAF. During the seminar I mentioned Linux based music servers a couple times and how I thought they had great potential. I took a little heat from my fellow panelists for mentioning Linux. I still stand by my statements and think Linux has incredible potential as a music server operating system. If music servers are ever going to work as well and as easy as a toaster they'll need to run on Linux. These appliance-like music servers aren't for everyone. Some computer audiophiles like the familiarity of Windows or Mac OS X and the ability to roll up their sleeves, look under the hood, and make configuration changes. On the other hand computer audiophiles who prefer the simplest approach that doesn't require knowledge of how the music server operates, doesn't require configuration for bit transparent audio output, and doesn't require a local keyboard, mouse, and monitor will love turnkey Linux based music servers. One such turnkey solution is the Sonore Music Server by Simple Design. The Sonore server is built a la carte style to fit the customer's needs. This type of customization up front leads to simplicity and sound quality once placed into a high end audio system.


     

    Who & What

    The Sonore Music Servers are very customizable, both hardware and software, and require very little computer knowledge. The servers are designed and assembled here in the U.S. and shipped to customers all over the world. A few months ago I worked with Simple Design to come up with a Sonore Music Server customized to meet my needs for this review. We exchanged several emails discussing my storage, digital audio output, and software requirements, and available remote control options. A short time later I had the server in place and Simple Design only an email or phone call away to answer any questions. In a way I feel sorry for Simple Design because I'm sure I asked more questions and invented more implausible scenarios than many customers combined. I guess that's what happens when a company has personal customer service. People actually use it. I can't imagine contacting Apple to discuss externally clocking a Lynx AES16 card inside a Mac Pro. That's exactly what I did with Simple Design. My original requirements didn't include using an external word clock for the Lynx card inside the Sonore Music Server, but I asked for it anyway after the fact. An hour later I had the capability to externally clock the Lynx AES16 and a button within the software interface to synchronize the clock without leaving my chair. The whole thing reminds me of Field of Dreams. If you build it they will come. If you provide personal customer service people will us it.

    Who is the Sonore Music Server for? As I touched on in the opening paragraph this server is great for computer audiophiles looking to set it and forget it. There's a lot to be said about using a music server day-in day-out and not worrying about bit perfect output, volume controls, software updates, auto sample rate changes, ASIO, WASAPI, Kernel Streaming, firewalls, viruses, background services, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, etc… The Sonore Music Server is also great for computer audiophiles who have good technical knowledge of Windows/Mac but lack the desire or technical chops to build this type of appliance-like server on their own. There are likely many computer audiophiles who would benefit from using a Sonore Music Server so don't consider the aforementioned groups of people as a definitive list.

     

    Hardware

    The Sonore Music Server delivered for review is roughly (L)19" x (W)18" x (H)3". The all aluminum chassis is nothing like a standard PC that's comprised of different plastics. The front panel of this HD-Plex case is a thick piece of silver aluminum without any of the standard unsightly USB, FireWire, or audio ports so commonly found on other computers. The rest of the chassis is solid black with heat dissipating fins running vertically the length of each side. My one complaint about the case is its size. I don't mind the 18" width or 3" height but the 19" length, not including any cables protruding form the rear, may be a bit too deep for some installations using a standard audio component racks. During the last couple weeks I've been using the Sonore server with an Esoteric D-07 DAC. The D-07 ((L)13-5/8" x (W)17-3/8" x (H)4-1/16") rests comfortably on top of the Sonore server with plenty or room to spare. Fortunately Simple Design has smaller case options available, also sourced from HD-Plex, should the 19" length be an issue. The power supply for this server is an external brick style PSU. The PSU's cord running to the server is captive to the external supply while the cord connecting the PSU to a power outlet can be removed and replaced if desired. The external PSU and heat dissipating aluminum fins enable the Sonore Music Server to operate completely fanless and nearly silent. Internally the server has a series of heat pipes that transfer heat away from the central processing unit (CPU) to the external cooling fins. A traditional music server has a series of heatsinks and fans that suck room temperature air in and blow hot air out. These fans frequently produce more noise than any other computer component.

    The only sound emanating from the Sonore Music Server was the spinning one terabyte hard disk drive (HDD) used for music storage. In order to hear the hard drive I had to place my ear near the ventilation perforations on top of the server's case. I could not hear the hard drive any other way in my very quiet dedicated listening room. Other components in this Sonore server included a 30 gigabyte OCZ solid state drive (SSD) for the operating system, 2 GB of Random Access Memory (RAM), internal full size disc drive, Intel Dual-Core Pentium processor, integrated graphics controller, Gigabit Ethernet controller, and for digital audio output a Lynx AES16 card. I connected an external USB hard drive to backup music contained on the internal terabyte drive.

    Astute Computer Audiophile readers may have noticed that a Lynx audio card is used in this server even though Lynx only provides Windows and OS X device drivers. Simple Design worked with 4Front Technologies to obtain an Open Sound System driver compatible with the Lynx AES16. There aren't many commercial music servers available that use a Lynx AES16 card without using Windows or OS X. In fact I can't think of any off the top of my head. Not only did Simple Design get the Lynx card working in the Sonore server it was able to configure the card for external clocking upon request. This was ideal as the Esoteric D-07 DAC has word clock in/output. I was able to send word clock out of the D-07 into the Lynx card in the Sore Music Server. This configuration resulted in improved sound quality over the more traditional Lynx music server configuration.

    During the review period when using the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC, that does not have word clock in/outputs, I used a Simple Design provided 2.5 meter Cardas HD26 to XLR AES/EBU cable specifically designed for use with a Lynx AES16 card. Compared to the standard Lynx eight channel breakout cable the Cardas AES cable is a nice improvement.

     

           
     

     
     

     

    Software

    Simple Design elected to use what is called Vortexbox as the music server software for the Sonore servers. Vortextbox is an open source bundle of applications and features that enable the Sonore Music Server to operate with such simplicity.

    Note: Vortexbox is to Linux as Microsoft Office is to Windows. Vortextbox has its main competencies as does Microsoft Office. Each software "Suite" allows additional applications to enhance the computer's operation as a whole. Vortexbox allows applications like Squeezebox Server, TwonkeyMedia Server, and Sonos Web. Microsoft Office allows applications like Outlook, Access, and Publisher to complete the whole package.
     

    RIPPING

    Vortexbox features an auto-ripper, using the Musicbrainz online database, to lookup, label, and rip CDs upon insertion into the server. This is a really nice feature as it allowed me to mindlessly swap CDs into the server while tending to other business at the same time. No monitor, mouse, or keyboard required. The auto-ripper works as designed. One should keep in mind that there's no such thing as a perfect ripping application and the Vortexbox is no exception. More important to me is how easy it is to correct misidentified or unidentified albums and incorrect or nonexistent cover art. This gives rise to two schools of thought. The first is that a music server should be an all-in-one machine that enables the user to do anything and everything simply. The second school of thought is that a music server should concentrate on playing music and exclude items that don't further this goal. Given the pros and cons most people would likely end up somewhere in the middle between the everything and virtually nothing approach. This middle ground is where the Vortexbox software resides. The auto-ripper is very nice but the album metadata editing capability leaves much to be desired. Vortexbox has a built-in feature to "Get Cover Art" and also allows use of the third party Bliss application through the Vortexbox interface. Bliss is pretty good at finding the correct cover art but is a one trick pony. Cover art is all Bliss does, no tagging or editing of tags allowed. In addition to Bliss an application for editing tags called Subsonic can be used within the Vortexbox interface. Subsonic is not my first choice for tag editing as its interface is rudimentary at best. In this situation it's best to leave tag editing to the experts and not recreate the wheel by adding more features to Vortexbox. The experts in this case are applications like MP3Tag and dBpoweramp. After using the built-in apps I used dBpoweramp to edit tags on my Sonore Music Server by connecting to the server via Windows Explorer on my PC. Without a doubt dBp was the way to go for me.

    Another way to get music on to the Sonore Music Server is to rip CDs using dBpoweramp and output the files directly to the Sonore server. Readers who've already ripped their music collections will be please to know a simple file copy from an existing drive to the Sonore server is all that's necessary. Although these methods are not as automated I'm sure Simple Design can walk its customers though any issues encountered during the process.
     

    PLAYBACK / CONTROL

    Simple Design includes two fairly standard playback and remote control options. The first option is Squeezebox Server. Users of Logitch Squeezebox devices will be familiar with the web browser interface. The nice part about this software is there's no Squeezebox required. Squeezebox software views the Sonore server just like a Squeezebox and allows all the same functionality from playback to library browsing to iPhone remote control. The web browser interface includes very basic library navigation and does just enough to get the job done. Remember, the Sonore music server approach is not about endless options or customization. It's more about offering a plug n' play, works every time, somewhat guided listening experience. This is how appliances work. There's only so many adjustments one can make to a toaster, but the toaster works every time. In addition to the Squeezebox web interface it's possible to use the Squeezebox Server friendly iPhone application iPeng ($ 9.99). iPeng functions very much like the Apple Remote application for iTunes. It's a simple interface to the Squeezebox Server running on the Sonore system. While it appears that Squeezebox Server is handling the audio from start to finish, it's actually handing the audio off to the Music Player Daemon. This is a very smart configuration as evidenced by MPD's benefits below.

    The second playback option uses Music Player Daemon running locally on the server with the MPoD iPhone application ($ Free) as the only user interface. Music Player Daemon (MPD) is a very light weight minimalist type of application that runs on the Sonore server. Users don't have to know anything about it or even remember its name. Open Source Software fans are very familiar with MPD and know it as one of the most popular and well supported playback packages. MPD itself is highly customizable with settings such as direct output to an audio card, DSP, resampling, and memory buffering. Simple Design takes care of all these settings for the customer by configuring MPD, and the rest of the server, so it performs at its sonic best. Since I already had MPoD installed on my iPhone controlling MPD on the Sonore Server was simple from the moment it arrived. Using a Sonore Music Server running MPD and controlling it via MPoD can be a refreshing experience. The user doesn't have to worry about configuring the operating system or playback application for bit perfect output or worry about the server going into sleep mode or any number of possible distractions common to users of Mac and Windows based machines. In fact audiophiles new to the music server experience will likely get along better with the Sonore sever than experienced PC or Mac users. This is because the new users have no preconceived notions of what "should" happen or how servers work in other systems. There won't be any over-thinking or outsmarting oneself when trying to play music. Change can be hard for people. If one isn't changing from one music server to another this lack of change will equate to a much smoother ride. Toward the end of this review period I asked Simple Design to totally reset the server. I wanted to experience everything as a new user with a clean slate one more time. This was surprisingly simple. The first time I started using the server I was all over it pushing buttons, figuratively, and trying all kinds of configuration changes. It wasn't long before I lost track of where I was because I had over complicated the whole experience. Upon the server reset I was back in the swing of things with a couple mouse clicks.
     

    BACKUP

    One of the Sonore Music Server features I want to highlight is its backup capability. My server was configured with a single one terabyte drive for music storage. If this drive failed I would have had to rerip far too many CDs. Fortunately the Vortexbox software includes a simple way to backup one's music. Connect a USB drive and select the Backup button from within the Backup web page and that's it. Each time the backup button is selected Vortexbox mirrors the internal drive to the external USB drive. There are a couple reasons why I like the way this works. First, after the initial full backup all subsequent backups are very quick. The backup software only copies new or changed tracks to the backup disk and removes deleted tracks from the backup disk. This type of backup is nothing new, but it's nice to see Vortexbox enable this so simply. The second reason why I like this backup implementation is that it's a manual process. I know many readers' eyes just enlarged to the size of dinner plates because I usually sing the praises of automated backup. We must keep in mind there's a time and place for everything. The major benefit of this manual backup procedure is that it allows the user to recover from their own deletion errors easily. An often overlooked cause of data loss is user error. This is usually through accidental deletion or data modification. Since the Vortexbox backup is manual a user who has lost data and hasn't performed a manual backup can easily recover the lost information from the backup disk. If the backup process was automated the external drive would have mirrored the internal drive upon some preset schedule and the data would have been gone forever. Sure there's a chance the user could have retrieved this lost data from the backup copy before the automated backup deleted it for good, but the chances are greater when the backup process is manual. Despite common belief computers don't error often. Automated daily backup of a fairly simple music server would likely run unhindered for months. I can guarantee I wouldn't remember to manually backup my server on this type of flawless schedule.

    Of course there is a chance of drive failure before one has backed up via the manual process. If I were a betting man I'd bet on human failure every time over mechanical or electrical drive failure. One piece to this backup puzzle that I would have liked to see is a simple restore button. This button could be setup to mirror the data from the external USB drive to the internal hard drive. I can see many benefits of this simple restore procedure, one being a massive file delete/move/copy issue. A couple times I've been browsing my music collection via Windows Explorer and accidentally either copied or moved a whole $#*!-load of files to folders I didn't know existed and still don't know exist. Since it's nearly impossible to retrace one's steps after a panic ridden attempted recovery from this type of error it would be very nice to click a restore button and have everything put back in its rightful place. This lack of a restore button is not the fault of Simple Design as it didn't create the Vortexbox software. However, I know Simple Design has tremendous pull with Andrew the creator of Vortexbox and I believe this option could be implemented with a little nudge from the Simple Design team.

     

    Daily Usage

    Using the Sonore Music Sever daily for several weeks I slipped into a comfortable groove. Automated CD ripping was easy. Using the Musicbrainz online database lookup was probably as accurate as many similar programs. Within my sample set of ripped discs were a few softballs that were easily identified as well as Mobile Fidelity releases, odd double disc sets, and some standard audiophile fare Scottish nose whistle albums. For the most part I was satisfied with the CD lookup performance. Some Mobile Fidelity album covers were properly embedded into the FLAC files while others were identified as the standard CD release. Such is life in an imperfect world. If the Sonore server cost ten thousand dollars and promised perfect metadata I may have a different perspective. Every day listening was a fun experience. Getting used to not thinking about little operating system idiosyncrasies and not thinking about iTunes or J River annoyances was weird at first. I felt like I should have more to do than just listen to music. As Metallica said, Sad But True. I can honestly say there wasn't one single incident that required me to reboot the server, other than configuration changes in which I initiated and assumed a reboot was necessary. There was no need to have a keyboard, mouse, and monitor at the ready. In fact there is nothing the average user can do with a keyboard, mouse, and monitor connected to the Sonore Music Server.

    The sound quality produced via the Sonore Music Server's Lynx digital output is great. There's definitely a benefit to a low overhead operating system and a low jitter audio card. Even though I used an external word clock for some of the best listening sessions it certainly isn't a requirement to produce sound quality on par with the best Windows and Mac based servers. If I had to place the sound of the Sonore Music Server on a continuum with Mac and Windows servers I'd place it closer to the Mac systems. In my experience many mac systems sound a bit softer and tube-like than PC systems. Neither Mac nor PC systems, when at their best, are near the poles of mushy or harsh. The Sonore system is no silver bullet that hits the bull's eye every time. It's merely a great sounding server that rests between the sound of a Mac and a PC but closer to the Mac than anything.

     

    Wrap Up



    Like any high end audio purchase one must consider the pros and cons of the Sonore Music Server. On the plus side I consider the absolute ease of bit perfect playback at all sample rates and the appliance-like nature of the system as overwhelming positives. Possible negatives include the lack of a built-in solid metadata editor, fear of an unknown operating system for some users, and a chassis that may be a bit too large. None of these are show stoppers in my book. Perhaps the single question potential purchasers should ask themselves is this, "Do I want to give up control for the simplicity of an appliance-like server or do I want to retain control to configure and install any piece of software I desire?" There's no right or wrong answer to this question. Throughout this review I made an effort to mention the Linux operating system by name as infrequently as possible. By doing this I hope to convey that music servers of this type are something entirely different from DIY geek machines. This review is not about Linux versus OS X versus Windows. It's about a final product that offers something audiophiles are seeking. Interested or hesitant audiophiles will be happy to know Simple Design is taking part in Rocky Mountain Audiofest 2010. At RMAF curious consumers can bring in their own music bread, put it in the Sonore Music Server Toaster, push a button, and produce music toast. There's a lot to be said for simplicity and stellar sound quality.





     


     

    Manufacturer - Simple Design
    Price - Sonore Music Server - $1999 [Product Page]
    Price - Cardas 2.5m HD26-XLR Cable - $329 [Product Page]
    Sonore Music Server Manual *[Link]

     



    Associated Equipment:

    Verity Audio Fidelio loudspeakers, McIntosh MC275 amplification, Richard Gray's Power Company High Tension Wires, Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC, Wavelength Audio Proton, Esoteric D-07 DAC, C.A.P.S. server, Bel Canto USB Link, Halide Design Bridge, dCS Debussy DAC, dCS Puccini U-Clock, Kimber USB Cu, Kimber USB Ag, Benchmark DAC1 PRE, Kimber Select KS1011 Analog Cables, Kimber Select KS2020 Digital Cable, Kimber Monocle X Loudspeaker Cable, ASUS Xonar HDAV 1.3 Slim, Apple iPad, Sonic Studio's Amarra, M2Tech hiFace, Weiss Engineering DAC202, Lynx Studio AES16 Digital I/O Card.
    Comments 32 Comments
    1. 13cashewnuts's Avatar
      13cashewnuts -
      Chris, I would agree completely about the service level provided by Sonore. Being located in Singapore does pose quite a challenge but I went ahead and ordered a Sonore a few weeks back based on user feedback and and I must say that the level of customer service that Jesus provided was very professional and of a high quality. So much so that after our first 'chat', I went ahead to order a system. On the customization front, I had my system customized without the CD player but with the ability to act as a standalone system (linked by an external USB wifi transmitter) using the itouch as a controller (on MPod). Having used all different configurations of various mac outputs, the sonore is certainly easier to use. <br />
      <br />
      More importantly, I would say the sound quality, to my ears, was on par with the my MacG5+Lynx, in fact I much preferred the Sonore as it was virtually silent whereas the sound from the g5's fans were loud enough to make it noticeable especially if one plays quiet classical tracks as I do in the evening. I also do not have the option of moving the g5 out of sight (sound?). I'm not sure if your test system had more memory but I had 2gigs installed even through the memory footprint of the system is low, I just wanted to make sure it wasn't a bottleneck<br />
      <br />
      On the cons part, I feel that perhaps there is some work to be done on the documentation for the system, especially if this is targetted for the non-IT crowd. However with Jesus patient guidance, all was solved with just a chat over the internet. Another example of great service no matter where you are in the world. I'm sure with a little more work on the setup front, the out of the box experience would be on par with the Mac.<br />
      <br />
      Having had the system for a week, I'm still enjoying the 'honeymoon' phase of owning a new component, but it is looking very good so far.
    1. agillis's Avatar
      agillis -
      Thanks for the great review of the VortexBox software. I'm glad the Sonore version is working for you. I wanted to post quickly about why we don't have a restore feature for our backup system. A few other VortexBox users have asked about this as well.<br />
      <br />
      Making a backup is easy since all we do is copy the files from the original drive to the backup drive but restore is actually much harder. You have to take into account that the data on the VortexBox might have changed since the backup was created so you have to be careful not to overwrite the changes. Of course in the case you mentioned the user wants to overwrite the changes but this is not usually the case. So you end up having the ask the user what they really want to do. A full restore of all the data deleting the existing data, a full restore keeping what has changed, etc. You can see the code involved could get quite extensive.<br />
      <br />
      Fortunately it's really easy to restore your data using Windows Explorer. Just connect the backup drive to your Windows box and drag over the file you want to restore. You can do a partial restore, full restore or any combination.
    1. aljordan's Avatar
      aljordan -
      Hi,<br />
      <br />
      You wrote: <i>While it appears that Squeezebox Server is handling the audio from start to finish, it's actually handing the audio off to the Music Player Daemon.</i><br />
      <br />
      I wasn't aware that it was possible to get the Squeeze Server to output to MPD. Is this something that comes standard in the Vortex box software or is it a custom feature of the Sonore server?<br />
      <br />
      Thanks!
    1. agillis's Avatar
      agillis -
      Vortexbox Player is a software component that is part of all VortexBox releases. It allows MPD to appear as a player in SqueezeBox server. We also use a slightingly customized version of SqueezeBox server so that we can support 192/24 audio on VortexBox Player. VortexBox Player is the only player compatible with SqueezeBox that supports 192/24 audio.<br />
      <br />
      VortexBox Player allows you to use any audio device that is compatible with MPD with SqueezeBox Server. This includes USB DACs and internal sound cards.
    1. aljordan's Avatar
      aljordan -
      Hi,<br />
      <br />
      I hope I am not taking this thread too far from its original content, but I suppose it still relates to Sonore because Sonore is on the Vortexbox platform.<br />
      <br />
      agillis wrote: <i>Vortexbox Player is a software component that is part of all VortexBox releases. It allows MPD to appear as a player in SqueezeBox server.</i><br />
      <br />
      Just making sure I understand this correctly. So in this configuration, Vortexbox Player sits between the Squeeze Server and MPD, and allows any output configuration that you can set up in MPD, be it ALSA, Jack or whatever? Currently I have to output MPD to Jack because that is the only manner I can get my firewire DAC to work under Linux.<br />
      <br />
      Is Vortexbox customizable? Currently I use Brutefir under Linux to apply room correction filters. I am wondering if I could do the same with Vortexbox.<br />
      <br />
      Thanks for the good work.<br />
      <br />
      Alan
    1. agillis's Avatar
      agillis -
      VortexBox is designed to be an appliance but it is running on Fedora 11 so it can be customized. I built a Brutefir package for VortexBox but I have not tested it yet.<br />
      <br />
      VortexBox Player will work with Jack so you should be able to use your DAC with it.
    1. BushPilot's Avatar
      BushPilot -
      I thouroughy enjoyed this article. It makes me hopeful that Linux will soon have the capability for audiophile sound quality that Windows 7 has.<br />
      <br />
      I tried using Ubuntu 10.04 as an operating system and liked it and would have remained with it if I could have gotten the sound quality on par with Windows 7 and J River Media. I used Rhythmbox and a few other media programs using the default driver for my Benchmark HDR DAC but found the sound quality to be rather sterile, especially in the higher frequency range. Tried to use JACK but my limited understanding of Linux kept me from pursuing this application as a means for improving sound quality.<br />
      <br />
      What I would like to see in regard to Linux, is a driver and application that would provide cd sound quality playback as well as online radio capabilities. If there is a way to do this without moving towards a hardware solution like you have done, I would appreciate knowing how to accomplish this from others who are more experienced in Linus solutions.<br />
      <br />
      Bill
    1. Audio_ELF's Avatar
      Audio_ELF -
      Bill ... I think Linux already has much of the capabilities you are talking about, but the problems for the end user are working your way to audio nirvanna ... there is tons of documentation online, but a lot of it is out of date and no longer relevant, and the other half is of a very technical nature.<br />
      <br />
      Interestingly Bryston are building their music player (no ripping facilities) on Linux.<br />
      <br />
      Eloise
    1. Audio_ELF's Avatar
      Audio_ELF -
      Just a quick comment: Chris in his review commented that a smaller (less deep) case was available - as far as I can see on HD Plex's website, if you wanted a smaller case you'd have to forgo either the CD driver or forgot having an expansion card?<br />
      <br />
      Have I missed something?<br />
      <br />
      Eloise
    1. BushPilot's Avatar
      BushPilot -
      Thanks, Eloise for your comments and suggestions. As I cannot do the software thing on my own, I will pursue a hardware solution. <br />
      <br />
      Bill<br />
      <br />
    1. vortecjr's Avatar
      vortecjr -
      you just didn't figure out the right combination. In fact your not alone and many people need help regardless of the operating system or player and that is really the point of offering something that just works right <br />
      <br />
      You may not know this, but Benchmark has provided us a USB DAC for use at RMAF and it works great with USB on our server! In fact keep an eye out for something special related to this<br />
      <br />
      The sonore and the vortexbox both offer killer sound quality and can both play internet radio via the web gui. <br />
      <br />
      Jesus R<br />
      www.sonore.us
    1. vortecjr's Avatar
      vortecjr -
      nice to see you getting into the discussion <br />
      <br />
      Your only missing a little bit, but it's not your fault as it's not posted. We have been working with Larry on the cases since before CES in January. The H10.ODD case that Chris reviewed is very near retail and can actually hold up to four 3.5" drives (with custom adapter not supplied) along with the card and the optical drive and the MB. That's lots of raid and mass storage potential! The smaller H5.ODD you see on our site will actually hold a card and optical drive if you have the right MB. However, the H5.ODD is being updated to include a slot load drive now to make it really easy to have the card inside. Then finally, there will be an H3.ODD. Can you guess what that will be?<br />
      <br />
      Jesus R<br />
      www.sonore.us
    1. BushPilot's Avatar
      BushPilot -
      Thank you Jesus for your comments on running a Linux application. I have had more feedback on running Linux on this Site than I have had on Ubuntu/Linux USA and Canada sites. On those sites I was met with total silence when I sought help for improving sound quality with a Linux OS. Hopefully, the "something special" will prove to be a solution in my quest for a Linux application/server.<br />
      <br />
      It's not that I am anti Microsoft or Apple, I simply liked the Linux operating system in that it requires no virus and defrag issues and will run on almost any computer.<br />
      <br />
      Bill
    1. vortecjr's Avatar
      vortecjr -
      you can download the vortexbox software and try it for free from vortexbox.org Then you just need to make an iso from the downloaded file and dedicate a unit for the build. It's very easy to load just remember the password it asks you to enter Then I'll help you setup the Benchmark DAC. <br />
      <br />
      I'll send you a pic of what I'm working on when it's ready. I think you will fall off your chair...hehehe.<br />
      <br />
      Jesus R<br />
      www.sonore.us
    1. BushPilot's Avatar
      BushPilot -
      Well, I have made a .iso image on a cd. What next?<br />
      <br />
      Bill
    1. agillis's Avatar
      agillis -
      There is some good documentation on the website on how to install and use VortexBox.<br />
      <br />
      http://vortexbox.org/documentation/vortexbox-quick-install-guide/<br />
      <br />
      http://vortexbox.org/documentation/ok-i-installed-it-now-what/
    1. vortecjr's Avatar
      vortecjr -
      this is not the place for this and I asked Alan and Bill to e-mail me instead. Alan has agreed to a joint venture to work on firewire and Bill is underway with his build. We will keep you posted!<br />
      <br />
      Jesus R<br />
      www.sonore.us
    1. Markhh2's Avatar
      Markhh2 -
      Am I missing something here? How does this server differ from the vortexbox appliance? Except the price difference. I have an appliance and it seems to perform the sonore for 70% less $.
    1. Audio_ELF's Avatar
      Audio_ELF -
      I would agree with Jesus (vortecjr) that here isn't the place to discuss Vortexbox except as it is used within the Sonore device.<br />
      <br />
      The Sonore is a fully built, pre-configured (and some of the configuration such as for the Lynx card can be tricky) and well supported device. As such you are paying for not just the hardware but the support, testing and expertise of Jesus and his company. The Sonore's competitors are NOT self built Vortexbox installs and windows, but Naim HDX and the like.<br />
      <br />
      Eloise
    1. vortecjr's Avatar
      vortecjr -
      We start off with vortexbox as a foundation, but we have licensed the software so it's not a free lunch for the record We utilize a ssd drive for the OS that is $$$ in addition to the 1TB storage drive. We utilize an audio card that is $$$$. The driver for that card is also a license we purchase for each build. The case is a very robust aluminum design that is fanless with a heat sync system implemented. Finally, we have a faster processor and a 150 watt power supply. Basically, it's the same, but it's also very different!<br />
      <br />
      BTW we are glad to support vortexbox, mpd and oss and recommend others do the same....<br />
      <br />
      Jesus R<br />
      www.sonore.us