• SOtM sMS-1000 Audiophile Music Server Review

    The SOtM sMS-1000 music server may appear somewhat familiar to computer audiophile readers. The server contains the much lauded SOtM tX-USB audio output card, is based on the popular Vortexbox software, and can be controlled by a number of applications including MPaD for the iPad. Where the sMS-1000 differs from similar servers is the external design including alluring casework and elegantly hidden slot loading disc drive, and SOtM's ability to make the whole greater than the some of the parts. The end product of this careful component and software selection and design is great sound quality combined with ease of use. The SOtM sMS-1000 is not a techie's toy for tweaking. Rather it's an Audiophile's tool to help increase enjoyment of one's favorite music without the hassles or subpar sonics of other servers. The SOtM sMS-1000 Audiophile Music Server is built well, looks good, and sounds great.

     


     



    Click For High Resolution Image (4.7 MB)



     


    Three Dimensions of the SOtM sMS-1000: Hardware, Software, Control
     
    Hardware

    The sMS-1000's aluminum chassis is more compact that it appears in photos. Its 14.2" (W) x 2.7" (H) x 9.5" (D) frame should fit nicely in any audio component rack or tucked in an out of the way location. Weighing three ounces shy of nine pounds this server has a nice heft to it. The sMS-1000's fit & finish is substantially superior to any off the shelf chassis I've seen available to consumers. Some audiophiles are satisfied with circuit boards sitting on a block of wood as long as the sound is good. I fall into the camp that much prefers components to look and sound good and I'm willing to pay extra for this combination. Most CA readers likely fall somewhere in the middle on the continuum between a breadboard and a gold plated server. The SOtM sMS-1000 may be right in that sweet spot.

    The sMS-1000 is available with three different high quality audio output options.

    • MSRP = $2,499 SOtM tX-USB output

    • MSRP = $2,699 SOtM SPDIF Toslink, SPDIF RCA, AES/EBU XLR output

    • MSRP = $2,990 SOtM balanced and unbalanced analog output



    I specifically requested the USB only option for this review because I've heard excellent results with the tX-USB output card in other servers and the popularity of USB interfaces & DACs can't be denied. The SOtM tX-USB Audiophile PCI to USB Audio Card is the identical card I selected for the C.A.P.S. v2.0 Windows based server. The following description from the C.A.P.S. article holds true for the SOtM sMS-1000 server as well.

    Click to enlarge tX-USB diagrams

     


    "The design of the SOtM tX-USB is an all-out-assault on PCI to USB cards. The tX-USB has its own power line noise filter, individual ultra low noise regulators to power up to two attached USB devices, onboard ultra low jitter clock, onboard PCI host controller, and separate power connector. Many computer audiophiles like to experiment with cutting the power leg from USB cables or special ordering cables without the power leg. The tX-USB has an easily accessed manual switch, next to the USB ports on the card, that enables/disables sending power over the USB cable. Users will have to check their DACs to determine if USB power is required. Some USB DACs require USB power even if the DAC itself is powered by a separate supply. The tX-USB is 100% compliant with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed and all prior USB specifications and speeds."

    Click to enlarge tX-USB card images

       


    The sMS-1000 ships with a two Terabyte spinning hard drive and can be custom ordered with a larger drive. This drive contains the operating system and all music files ripped or copied to the server. Like many servers today the sMS-1000 contains a single drive without internal redundancy. This says a lot about improvements to the stability of hard drives over the years. No manufacturer in its right mind would ship a single drive product without confidence the drive would last several years. Failing drives would lead to a service nightmare and easily erase any profits made on such a product. That said drives do fail and require intervention. The sMS-1000 includes a music backup feature, discussed in detail below, and can be user serviceable with the help of an sMS-1000 dealer. Once the server is back up and running after a drive failure Simple Design can connect to the unit remotely and configure it like new. Once configured it's very easy to restore one's backed up music collection through the built-in restore feature. Note: Warranty service can also be completed 100% by the dealer if desired.

    SOtM clearly understand how hostile the inside of a computer can be and the importance of filtered power. As such the sMS-1000 also includes what it calls SOtM power noise filter technology. This equates to three individual power outputs from the main supply to the hard drive and optical drive, motherboard, and audio output card. The main supply contains a ripple filter similar to, but better than, the SATA filter. The main PSU filter reduces ripple and blocks noise generated from all three individual internal power connections.

    The SOtM sMS-1000 Audiophile Music Server is built to a high standard. A server of this physical quality and design is not available off the shelf of any large electronics retailer. Many of the internal components are available through U.S. Distributor Simple Design, but consumers looking for the elegant external design, complete package, and simple plug n' play capability won't find it by shopping for parts.


     

    Software

    The sMS-1000 uses a version of the Linux operating system. That alone is a plus because of its built-in support for Class 2 USB Audio. Unlike Microsoft Windows, newer versions of Linux like that used by SOtM support up through 24 bit / 192 kHz audio without the need for addition device driver installation. Linux based servers are also highly extensible through use of the worldwide knowledge base and huge collection of shared code. This extensibility is one key to the SOtM sMS-1000 Audiophile Music Server. The sMS-1000 uses the Vortexbox software package running on top of Linux to extend the capabilities of the generic operating system and provide simple user interface options.


    I used the sMS-1000 as an audiophile music server connected directly to USB DACs or interface converters throughout the review. I simply wanted to connect the unit, get music on it, and press play. Thus, some of the software options weren't of interest to me such as the Logitech Media Server, FLAC file mirroring to MP3, DLNA server, or the installable packages like Bliss and Subsonic. All of these options are excellent under the right circumstances or in the hands of a consumer who can really use them. A nice feature of Vortexbox is the ability to stop a few of the options not in use. I stopped the Logitech, and DLNA servers from the Vortexbox Service Manager screen. A simple click of the mouse and the services are stopped.

    The Vortexbox Main Menu displays the hard drive's total size, space used, space available, and percentage of space used. This display comes in handy when placing music on the sMS-1000. The two methods of placing music on the server are ripping a CD or copying files over one's network. I used both methods without a single issue. The Vortexbox auto riper enables users to feed a CD or DVD into the sMS-1000 and let the server do the work of obtaining metadata and album art before ripping and ejecting the completed disc. There is no user interaction or monitoring necessary while the server is ripping a disc. Users who want information about the ripping process can view the auto ripper status page. On this page a verbose log is available detailing each ripped track. One negative about the Vortexbox auto ripper is the lack of an AccurateRip online database cross reference. This isn't a showstopper because the auto ripper is very good. Users who must use an AccurateRip enabled ripper such as dBpoweramp and users with music on an existing hard drive can either rip directly to the sMS-1000 or copy existing files over the network from a Mac, Windows, or Linux computer. Much of my music is already ripped so I copied the vast majority of music on the server over my Ethernet network. Connecting to the sMS-1000 over a network is very easy because it automatically appears in both Windows Network "Neighborhood" and the Mac OS X Finder window. Consumers don't need to find the IP address or have to know anything about networking to start using the sMS-1000.

    Once music is copied or ripped to the sMS-1000 it's wise to use the Vortexbox built-in backup feature. Backing up the server is very easy. The user interface only has a few options. When it comes to backup of a plug n' play music server this is exactly what's needed. When I backup the server I connected a USB drive formatted for a Mac OS X computer. This type of formatting can't be used to backup so I clicked the Format Drive button through the web interface and Vortexbox formatted the drive making it readable and writable to the server. The first time a back is done on the server it's a full backup. This full backup copies all music files on the server to the external USB drive as soon as the Backup to USB button is clicked. Full backups can take many hours depending on the amount of music stored on the server. All subsequent backups are incremental, copying only the changed or new music on the server to the external USB drive. When I ran a full backup I started the process and let it run over night. I connected to the backup status web interface to check on the progress every so often, but no intervention was required on my part. Every time I added new music to the server I connected the external USB drive and ran another quick incremental backup.

    Users should be aware the USB backup disk can't remain connected to the server during a reboot. The sMS-1000 will not boot with the backup disk connected. I prefer to leave my backup disks connected at all times. This sets me up for success in terms of frequently backing up my music. If I have to physically connected and disconnect a backup drive I tend to procrastinate much longer than I recommend for anyone. My preference of a constantly connected backup drive isn't necessarily the safest practice. This all depends what type of data loss one can expect next. When I lose data it's either from a bad drive or user error. Thus my preference for a connected drive. Other possibilities are fire, flood, or theft. Vortexbox is geared more toward this type of data loss. Users must remove the backup disk from the server for it to successfully restart. As long as the removed USB drive is placed in a safe location and the music collection is backed up frequently the Vortexbox method is safer protecting against loss from fire, flood, or theft. There's no right or wrong method. As long as users understand how Vortexbox operates they can follow the rules and eliminate surprises down the road.

    Computer audiophiles looking to use the SOtM sMS-1000 Audiophile Music Server without the bells and whistles, like I did for the review, and connect it directly to a USB DAC or USB interface will have no problems getting the server up and running. The Vortexbox software running on the sMS-1000 provides a clean and simple interface for status information and backing up one's music.

     

    Remote Control

    Like 99% of music servers running on Linux the SOtM sMS-1000 requires a third party application to control playback remotely. The best interface I've used for a Linux based server is the Aurender iPad app. However Aurender is in the 1% of Linux based servers with its own dedicated full featured remote control application. Developing such as app is no small feat and can be very expensive. As the saying goes there's no free lunch. If SOtM were to develop its own remote control application I'm willing to bet the price of the server would skyrocket. This is why almost all manufacturers with Linux based servers such as Auraliti, Sonore, Bryston, and SOtM recommend ready made third party apps like MPod and MPaD for iPhone and iPad respectively. There are a handful of apps that run on other mobile devices and operating systems or even work with web browsers like Firefox but it has been my experience that MPoD and MPaD work best with Linux installations.

    The MPaD application is good but not great. It isn't in the same league as the Aurender app or the Sooloos iPad application. During the review I used version 1.6.3 of the MPaD app. This version combined with iOS 5.1 on the iPad not only disables the long press and hold function in album view it crashes the entire MPaD application [Linklink]. Keep in mind this has nothing to do with the SOtM server directly but the server does suffer because of this issue. SOtM can only encourage the developer to release a fix as soon as possible. The long press and hold function is supposed to display a popup menu when the user places a finger on an album cover and holds it there for a couple seconds. This menu is supposed to offer options to play the album now, next, only this album, or add the album to playlist. Without this function the user must tap an album cover briefly and select Play Album. Thus making it very hard to line up a list of albums for continuous playback.

    I have other complaints about MPaD but this is not an MPaD review. MPaD's basic features do enable the user to browse and enjoy an entire music collection. Users who frequently play entire albums, need average metadata only, and don't require any advanced playlist manipulation will be just fine using MPaD. There will likely be a fix for MPaD soon restoring the long press function in album view. Until such time the app is a bit disabled. Fortunately the iPhone app MPoD doesn't suffer from the same long press bug brought on by iOS 5.1. The small iPhone screen isn't ideal but it should suffice for the time being.

    Relying on others to create remote control applications works very well most of the time. In fact it's the only economical way for most manufacturers to release a music server with a full function remote control application.

    Click To Enlarge

           


     

    SOtM sMS-1000 - Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

    The SOtM sMS-1000 Audiophile Music Server has a lot going for it including great sound quality. I have no doubt the SOtM tX-USB output card is responsible for much of this quality. Comparing the sMS-1000 to the C.A.P.S. v2.0 and Aurender S10 music servers I heard many similarities between all three servers although MPD based Linux servers have the options of supporting DSD soon. All three support nearly all DRM-less file formats, pertinent PCM sample rates, and gapless playback. Only the C.A.P.S. v2.0 server currently supports native DSD playback. Listening to much of my Jazz and Rock music collection I'm not sure I could identify a sonic difference between the C.A.P.S. v2.0 and the sMS-1000 servers if I was put to a test. My favorite Analogue Productions versions of Way Out Westlink, Saxophone Colossuslink, and Some Day My Prince Will Comelink sounded spectacular through the MPD RAM buffered playback of the sMS-1000 server. Listening to the newly release 24 bit / 96 kHz downloadlink of The Doors self titled album through the sMS-1000 was to die for and gave me goose bumps. There's nothing like listening to The End in complete darkness when Jim Morrison sounds like he is standing five feet away from the listening position. The sMS-1000 was really firing on all cylinders for nearly every album. If I had to find one shortcoming with the sonic signature of the SOtM sMS-1000 it would be vocals that can at times sound a touch flat. This differs from the C.A.P.S. v2.0 server but I'm unsure which one is more accurate. Maybe the C.A.P.S. v2.0 server is adding artifacts that give the false impression of detail or maybe it actually has more detail. I don't think this is an easily answerable question as I haven't been present at any recording sessions of the music I frequently play in my system. What really matters is personal preference. Currently I am very familiar with and prefer what seems like more detail in vocals through the C.A.P.S. v2.0 server. The sMS-1000 and the Aurender S10 have many similarities such as the Linux operation system with Music Player Daemon (MPD) and tricked out hardware both internal and external. Sonically the two are pretty close but the S10 may be a slosh more laid back or softer sounding than the sMS-1000 in my system. Note: The S10 doesn't offer a state of the art USB output and relies on the shared USB ports of the motherboard for users who must use USB as opposed to the refined AES or S/PDIF outputs of the S10.

    The SOtM sMS-1000 is an easy server get up and running and to use on a daily basis. After a brief acclimation period I became used to the more simplistic remote control interface and focussed more selecting an album and listening to music than thinking about the technology in use. While the sMS-1000 was idle I noticed a slightly audible whir of the internal hard drive spinning at a distance of roughly twelve feet from my listening position. This noise was never audible during playback of even the softest music.

     

    Conclusion

    CASH-ListSOtM's sMS-1000 is a fantastic music server capable of much more than its $2,499 asking price may suggest. The sMS-1000 is a great option for music aficionados seeking easy access to their entire libraries of music, plug n' play simplicity, and great sound quality. Digging deeper into the sMS-1000 hardware aficionados will be delighted by the fit and finish of the chassis and the wonderfully engineered tX-USB PCI to USB output card. Like all servers the sMS-1000 has possible drawbacks. SOtM's reliance on third party software applications for full featured remote control of the server is both good and bad. Depending on one's needs this may be a moot point or reason to look elsewhere. SOtM has created a music server that is much more than the sum of its exceptionally refined parts. The sMS-1000 is C.A.S.H. Listed and highly recommended.


     

     

     


    Product Information:

    • Product - SOtM sMS-1000 Audiophile Music Server

    • Price - $2,499

    • Product Page - Linklink

    • Operating Instructions - Link (PDF)link

    • Where To Buy (U.S.) - Linklink



     


    Associated Equipment:
    Comments 82 Comments
    1. One and a half's Avatar
      One and a half -
      this server has everything, sort of, but no DSD is a show stopper.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi One and a half - Now that the newest versions of MPD support DSD I'm willing to bet the sMS-1000 will support it eventually.<br />
      <br />
      &nbsp;<br />
      <br />
      <i>"...but no DSD is a show stopper."</i><br />
      <br />
      I'm curious why lack of DSD is a show stopper for you. How many DSD titles do you own and how many do you expect to own in the next few years? Also, have you heard many pure DSD titles via USB DACs? These are serious questions. I'm truly interested in your opinion on this.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. ted_b's Avatar
      ted_b -
      being able to play native DSD via my Auraliti PK90USB into my Meitner MA-1. I'm hoping it is within the next week or so.
    1. vortecjr's Avatar
      vortecjr -
      if you don't mind I would like to answer your question. Also, I rather not compare the two products and instead focus on some of the features of the SOtM Music Server series. <br />
      <br />
      The internal power supply / power filter / power distribution board is an SOtM design manufactured specifically for the SOtM Music Server series.<br />
      <br />
      Chris' review unit is a USB version of the SOtM Music Server series and it uses SOtM's very popular tX-USB PCI to USB adapter. The tX-USB adapter is available to everyone and is utilized as-is. Thanks for sharing SOtM! Anyway, the analog and digital versions of the SOtM Music Server series are based on custom SOtM designs made specifically for the server series. My point is that the SOtM server is not just a combination of parts from a catalog. <br />
      <br />
      In order to achieve a design goal for the server to have a slick hidden optical drive SOtM designed and manufactured a custom optical drive interface.<br />
      <br />
      The series also has a design feature to isolate the mother board from the audio boards (usb, analog or digital). <br />
      <br />
      In regards to PeachTree and lack of support for the Grand Pre USB: It's a shame that some companies continue to use USB interfaces that require special drivers and that the special drivers are not made for Linux I think this will change though as a recent Linux hold out has shifted gears. The situtation with PeachTree is also complex because some of their USB inputs are supported. Please ask if your not sure about support. I have been working on a compatibility list for quick reference http://info.vortexbox.org/tiki-index.php?page=Compatibility+Guide <br />
      <br />
      Jesus R
    1. AudioDoctor's Avatar
      AudioDoctor -
      What affiliation do both of the devices have with Simple Design?<br />
      <br />
      The Sonore with SOtM USB output is the same price as the SOtM SMS-1000 with identical USB output. Is the SMS-1000 the new Sonore or are they two separate devices?
    1. vortecjr's Avatar
      vortecjr -
      let me explain about DSD so we are all on the same page! I can enable DSD playback in five minutes. There are two version of MPD that can make this possible. One version is a modified MPD developed by Jurgen K. who is a member of this forum. The code works really well and that would be good enough, but good enough is not best! What is best is that MPD supports DSD officially. To that end I have been working with MPD and Jurgen K. and others on the development mailing list to add official DSD support to MPD. This code will be available to ALL Linux users as there projects become updated. This is part of the real work that happens behind the scenes and the part about Linux that few people understand. That is a topic for a post I have planned for another day though. MPD has been adding DSD support for some time now. The initial support was code I made available for DSD to PCM conversion. This work started before all the fun came about with native playback. The current repository version of MPD with a patch made available from Jurgen K. adds support for DSD DoP V1 standard. It's a work in progress, but it's working. FYI Vortexbox has had DSD to PCM support for some time now and a few weeks ago we added support for the DSD pre DoP V1 standard. The DSD DoP V1 standard will be added to all Vorexbox projects when it's ready. It's not a show stopper...it's a show delay and all you will need to do to get it on Vortexbox (when it's ready) is press the upgrade button from the gui<br />
      <br />
      Jesus R
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      If readers are looking for the post from BillyTT it was removed. He is the owner of a company that sells a competing server which he linked to in his post as well as leaving other disingenuous comments.
    1. One and a half's Avatar
      One and a half -
      Thanks to Jesus for elaborating on development for DSD playback on the Linux platform. After some tinkering with Linux, all was good with FLAC native until it came to playing DSD and then it fell into a hole. <br />
      <br />
      Without derailing the thread too much, the distro I installed for Ubuntu studio allowed the use of a low latency kernel, whereas newer distros (11+) worked with HQ player, however natively the OS didn't support low latency kernel, although you could add this feature from an older version. If there is some debate about low latency kernels, well, why not use them, and make them tuned for the OS. The kernel is critical for recording and mastering purposes, so why not use this feature for playback. I could have installed Ubuntu, but that OS has so much thrown in, I didn't need 90% of the installed apps, which would have taken ages to uninstall. I'm not a Linux guru, so would have to look up and research, it all takes time and takes the gloss of enjoying music. <br />
      That got all too hard, and no player other than HQplayer could play or convert DSD to PCM on Linux, so I ended up on the MAC with Audirvana +, which 'works'.<br />
      I find it very encouraging that people are working on a DSD solution that can play DSD to either a capable DAC or PCM only for Linux. For appliance makers such as Auraliti, Stom this is good news, but itís not available, now. <br />
      <br />
      @Chris<br />
      I own 5 DSD albums, 65 .dff files purchased from Blue Coast and Channel Classics, 51 .dsf files which were redbook converted to DSD with Sony DSD Direct. The aim of Redbook to DSD conversion was a) to see if it worked, b) The sound c) library management (covers etc). It works for all three, but the sound goes through too many conversions without a DSD capable DAC.<br />
      <br />
      Even though I don't have a native USB DSD DAC, there are only a handful of them at the moment and as a consumer, that is not enough choice, and with ever decreasing brick and mortar hi-fi stores, auditioning is not going to happen soon. Finally agreement between hardware and software has recently being achieved with DoP, so that's a big deal for DSD. Placing bets on $2000 equipment is not in my nature, but positives for equipment such as Playback Designs, is. Agreed, that the sOTM player *could* play DSD since it runs on MPD, but at the moment, for this review, it *doesnít*. I would not be prepared to put money on a might be, thatís why itís a show stopper. At this point in time, if a DAC canít decode a DSD stream while maintaining a backward compatibility with Redbook, itís not covering all bases, the same would go for players, appliance or software only.<br />
      <br />
      There is a marked difference between DSD -> PCM than buying say a 96/24 PCM version of the same material. I bought the Christie Winn album in .dff and .flac from Blue Coast and the winner by a clear margin is for DSD native. You become hooked on the songs themselves, and the bonus of high quality playback even with a PCM conversion is a great icing on the cake. So the quantity of tracks in DSD doesn't have any bearing, it's the quality of sound that's important, and to date is rarely found on PCM issued material, although often hyped as such. If the files play great on DSD ? PCM conversion, I would expect DSD ? DSD DAC would be even better! <br />
      <br />
      The other issue is standardisation. To date, PCM hires files are available in so many sample rates, I have bought far too many DACs/converters to keep up with the changing availability of hires output. 96/24 was an achievable rate with modest equipment, then 176, 192, now talk of 358/24. Come on! Development in PCM is still ongoing to achieve what DSD can achieve with a simpler comparable technology from the 90's.<br />
      <br />
      The only audio standard that's remained the same is DSD and Redbook and both items come from Sony & Philips. One of the difficulties faced by DSD acceptance that would stop it gaining. is the owner of the technology Philips and Sony, the latter fallen on hard times of their own making. Commercially Sony may stop supporting DSD technology tomorrow, (they are shedding 10,000 jobs atm), which is a shame, but understandable considering other stuff ups along the way, like Betamax, Mini-Disc, Memory Stick just to name a few, hardly surprising. So if that's the case, with limited support in the future, we may as well be listening in PCM after all and live with a compromise with 'that's about the best we can get and good enough will have to do'.<br />
      <br />
      I for one, do not want to be part of that mire or mediocrity, worthwhile excellent sound reproduction is doable and with current technology in software achievable for all to enjoy. If it can be played on Linux, I would be all ears <br />
    1. vortecjr's Avatar
      vortecjr -
      did you flip sides on me with your last post <br />
      <br />
      What you tried before with Ubuntu is different compared to the DSD solution for MPD. <br />
      <br />
      You said, "At this point in time, if a DAC canít decode a DSD stream while maintaining a backward compatibility with Redbook, itís not covering all bases, the same would go for players, appliance or software only." This is an extreme point of view and IMHO it's premature to say this for a format that has just come around to computer audiophiles. It also sounds like your trying to future proof products in an industry that is consumer driven into constant change....good luck with that. <br />
      <br />
      You can compare native DSD to DSD2PCM converted and I would expect them to sound different. However, if you don't have a DSD DAC then DSD2PCM is a really great option. As much as I'm supporting the native DSD playback idea I'm not turning my back on those with PCM input....stayed tuned <br />
      <br />
      If you have a DSD DAC and you need DSD playback I can work with you. However, no sale of an SOtM server can be contingent on DSD support until it's an officially supported format. <br />
      <br />
      Jesus R
    1. Caner's Avatar
      Caner -
      Will there be any plans to implement a thunderbolt interface in the future?<br />
      <br />
      I have no plans to upgrade my current system as it has been extensively revised very recently. Still I am very exicted about the possible prospects of thunderbolt interface use both in D/A Convertera as well as music servers (although I do not know if that would bring any advantage to current designs really).<br />
      <br />
      Thx<br />
      <br />
      Caner
    1. vortecjr's Avatar
      vortecjr -
      SOtM and Simple Design are independent companies. I own Simple Design along with Adrian L. and we have no ownership in SOtM. The server projects are independent with Sonore being my own fun project. <br />
      <br />
      Regarding the Peachtree Grand Pre consider that SOtM makes an analog and digital version of the server..<br />
      <br />
      Jesus R
    1. vortecjr's Avatar
      vortecjr -
      think about the evolution of USB Audio. USB products came to market with 16/44.1 capabilities, then 24/96, then 24/192, then 32/384 and now DSD64. There is more though...DSD128 and so on. Thunderbolt has a long way to catch up and only time will tell if it's even needed. If it is needed the Vortexbox project will look into it and see what is possible. However, it's up to the Authorized Builder to implement it. <br />
      <br />
      The focus right now for SOtM is to develop a PCI-E version of the tX-USB card. Update: tX-USBexp ES prototype is work and undergoing tests...samples to follow...<br />
      <br />
      Jesus R
    1. vortecjr's Avatar
      vortecjr -
      Team, this morning Vortexbox has been updated to allow DSD beta testing. This update brings in the latest MPD code along with a patch by Jurgen K. that adds DSF support to the existing DFF support. Go to the Vortexbox web GUI and upgrade your unit. Then contact me so I can help you set it up...<br />
      <br />
      Jesus R
    1. firedog's Avatar
      firedog -
      First, it doesn't really cost 3K - your exaggeration.<br />
      Second, it has specialized hardware and software setup for audiophile grade sound that you won't find on any off the shelf unit, and probably not on one you build yourself. Yes the basic OS is free, the specific implementation is a variation for the SOTM. You absolutely will not be able to build the same functionality and level of performance for $500-$600.<br />
      <br />
      Is it worth the price? 10 people, maybe 10 different answers. That is an entirely different question to the question of how good it sounds or how good it looks, and what that is worth. To you, obviously not much. To others, the looks for instance, might be worth quite a bit. Ever hear of WAF?
    1. Afveep's Avatar
      Afveep -
      You didn't include the SOtM USB output board, power filters, clock upgrades, etc., etc.- all of which are directly responsible for the quality of the sound.
    1. nyc_paramedic's Avatar
      nyc_paramedic -
      <i>The focus right now for SOtM is to develop a PCI-E version of the tX-USB card. Update: tX-USBexp ES prototype is work and undergoing tests...samples to follow...</i><br />
      <br />
      any chance sotm would make a mini-pci or mini-pcie version of this card? would be great for those of us who use headless boards, e.g. alix.
    1. vortecjr's Avatar
      vortecjr -
      why can't you use the 1d board with the SOtM tX-USB pci card? We get a lot of requests for pic-e, but I can't see needing a mini pic-e or mini pci...<br />
      <br />
      Jesus R
    1. bobbmd's Avatar
      bobbmd -
      i have several questions i think i am pretty knowledgeable but some of what you and others write about really confuses me.<br />
      my old(very old in terms of my pc)system consists of hp windowsmediacenter xp with realtech hd soundcard and a spdif digital out coaxial cable connected to yamaha rxv2500 avr and highest priced(at the time) cambridgesoundworks tower speakers w/powered subwoofers and remainding 5 speakers higher priced cambridges,for analogue 7.1 reproduction for my collection sacd's dvdaudios i use yamaha dvd-audio sacd dvd changer and outlaw icbm-1 bass manager<br />
      4 yrs ago i ripped my 600+ collection to first widowsmediacenter&player in wmlossless AND to mediamonkey in flac including my dvdaudio discs using dvdaudioextractor(thanks to you@ ca!)- took me all winter the reproduction was verygood not as good as nativediscs via yamaha changer-alas i lost all of it when the pc crashed as did my maxtor onetouch4 external backup failed also<br />
      question#1-this SOtM does it store the music on its own harddrive or a<br />
      pc?<br />
      question#2-if stored on the pc does the pc's sound card have any function or does the music bypass it on its way to SOtM and is it an absolute necessity to have external dac before music gets to the avr and IT"S dacs(burrbrown 192kHz/24 bit)<br />
      question#3- if yes to above and i need a pc soundcard in my new pc what do you recommend and if i need an external dac i cant possibly afford the berkeley stuff above would i be satisfied with the halide design dac hd- will i get the same goose bumps listening to jim morrison and the end as you did if i use the halide dac?<br />
      question#4- i will never ever rerip those cds AGAIN except for the sacds and dvdaudio discs-do you recommend any ripping sevices ie musicshifter,pickledproductions etc who is best most highly recommended?<br />
      question#4 why do you need playback software ie jriver or mediamonkey(doesnt the SOtM do that) if you use them and have a ripping service rip,load and megadata your discs will using jriver or mm corrupt the megadata or replace it with their own?<br />
      question#5-having asked all this should i just say the hell with it and buy a meridian sooloos mc200 and have the highend store rip/load it for me? and will i still need an external dac with the sooloo?( my cfo willnot approve she'll just say listen to pandora&sirius the hell with your cd collection)<br />
      thankyou for your time and i hope you(chris) or someone else assist me i just cant seem to get feel for what is needed or not needed.
    1. firedog's Avatar
      firedog -
      1. It has it's own HD or HDs. It's a server, not a streamer.<br />
      <br />
      2. there are 3 models: one with USB out to a USB DAC, another with various digital outs (not USB) to those who don't want or can't work with a USB DAC; a third model with a DAC built in and analogue outs -Just like a typical preamp or soundcard.<br />
      <br />
      3) You Don't need a soundcard for this - that's part of the point. For models one and two above you need a DAC with a suitable input, and the analogue outs of the DAC plug into your audio system (preamp or integrated amp for most users, or in your case your AVR). Since the third model has a built in DAC, it connects via standard stereo interconnect cables to your audio system (pre or integrated or line in on your AVR).<br />
      <br />
      The idea of this is that it IS the "PC" - a specialized one optimized for music playback only and is an audiophile level PC, unlike any typical PC and soundcard. In other words, if you have this, you don't use a "regular" PC for quality music playback through your sound system.<br />
      <br />
      4) Not sure what you are asking. This server doesn't have it's own keyboard or monitor. Genrally the idea is that you operate it with smartphone, tablet, Squeezebox, etc. So you need some kind of playback software. <br />
      <br />
      Megadata - most rippers can be set up to do the megadata as you like, but in all cases you will have to do some editing of the megadata afterwards with a megadata editing tool like mp3Tag to get it just the way you want it. I don't know of ripping services that are separate from a service you get when buying expensive hardware. If you find one it will probably be quite costly. <br />
      <br />
      5)The Sooloos mc200 is certainly a good option. I'm not sure it is really easier to operate than the SoTM server, as it also needs something like an iPad to operate it. My understanding is that the Sooloos MC200 has analogue outs and you can connect it directly to your sound system if you wish. (BTW, the Sooloos control 15 is another story, though, and may be the most user system friendly system out there.) <br />
      <br />
      If your store will rip your discs for you that is certainly a consideration. But again, you will find that some metadata needs to be edited afterwards. No automatic system will write the metadata perfectly for you (in some cases the data on the disc itself is wrong or inconsistent). <br />
      <br />
      If you are using computer audio, you MUST back up you files. Shit happens, and if you don't have backup you may lose your rips again.<br />