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Hi, I am brand new to the forum but have been reading furiously in the last few days. Just joined. I am very curious as to what you guys think of my plans, as well as advice and constructive criticism. I have built pc's countless times, but this is my first audio specific build that will be designed for high quality digital out. Okay into the meat of things. Here is the main use: My dad has an extremely nice stereo room in his basement and a very refined ear. The room is very acoustically pleasing and I am unsure of his current equipment because he is always switching between his favorites, but for any of you skeptics out there, the last set of speakers he owed and sold were a set of ATC SCM 150 Active Speakers in a custom birds-eye maple finish that were purchased by a recording studio in Nashville. Look them up if you are unfamiliar, made me well up with tears the first time I heard them running with tubes. Anyways, I have a huge collection of 'lossless' audio we would like to play on his stereo and my father has been interested in joining a service like tidal to stream lossless but currently has no dedicated equipment to handle these tasks. I have bought parts to build something to take on the challenge and hopefully please his ears. Motherboard: I prefer MSI motherboards. Also I wanted something with a low power consumption. Small form factor was also a goal initially (before I found out the size of my CPU cooler). I went with a mini ITX MSI H110i Pro AC. Will not be taking advantage of the wireless guys, I know better. I already have a ethernet cable run direct from the source through the wall to where the finished product will sit. https://us.msi.com/Motherboard/H110I-PRO-AC.html#hero-overview CPU: Low TDW for less heat Intel I5-6400T. This is decently powerful but also only consumes 35 watts maximum. It is compatible with the choices I have for software in the end and networking reliability is supposedly better on Intel for pulling from a NAS than any AMD equip. https://ark.intel.com/products/88187/Intel-Core-i5-6400T-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-2_80-GHz CPU Cooler: I forgot to mention that I would like a fanless design...well actually let's say no moving parts. I chose a huge Zalman FX70 cooler that should get the job done no problem. Completely passive and after some very enlightening talks with one of their engineers, I was assured that with my CPU this build would be very possible. ZALMAN - FX70 Memory: I had some newegg credit and found a really good deal on some highly rated 8gb stick so I just went with 16gb of Geil Evo Potenza. Also like that the memory has heat fins on the top to dissipate heat since I will not have fans. DDR4 EVO POTENZA DUAL CHANNEL Kit - Products - GeIL Memory Storage: I obviously want solid state for numerous reasons. I can use M2 with my motherboard but prefer 2.5" so I still have the ability to power it separately. I will only store the operating system on this most likely. I will stream predominantly and sometimes plug in with a separately powered external ssd drive. Since my collection won't be stored locally on this build, I did not need huge capacity and chose the Crucial MX300 525GB SSD which should be ample. Crucial MX300 525GB SATA 2.5" 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal SSD | CT525MX300SSD1 | Crucial.com Power Supply: For starters, my mini itx board does not take a direct 19.v input like most. It has standard ATX power. Additionally, I have a system that peaks at 86 Watts, so I don't need anything major. I considered linear first and got scared away by the cost being so high. Then I looked at picoPSU and found that some users experience noise introduction and scared away. I made a small mistake and bought a Seasonic 400w fanless PSU because of good reviews from fellow audiophiles, but then quickly became reluctant and cancelled the order and instead chose the HDPlex 100W Linear Power Supply coupled with the HDPlex 300W HiFi DC-ATX (NanoATX Series). The 400W version includes the ATX conversion but was just too expensive for me to justify. I additionally could have picked the HDPlex 160W DC-ATX but it did not include the audio specific capacitors that are used in the 300W Hifi unit. HDPLEX Fanless Linear Power Supply for PC Audio and CE device HDPLEX-300W-Hi-Fi-DC-ATX-Power-Supply (16V-24V Wide Range Voltage Input) DAC: We already own a Resonessence Concero HD which I am very pleased with. I will be using this for the heavy lifting. CONCERO HD - Resonessence Dacs - True Audio Clarity Case: Welp....you got me there. I have been unable to find something that I like. I have a friend who has a precision CNC machine though and he said we can design and build something with that to meet my needs exactly. I have put only a little though into it but I am thinking about bottom mounting the motherboard next to the LPS which will be internal. Have a roughly 14 inch long face, 10 inch deep sides, and a height of approx 8 inches. Just rough measurements. Cut the sides and base out of wood. Vent the sides nicely and use thin pieces. Have the back side cut for the ports and power. Stain the wood and put a power button on the front. Place half inch rubber nubs on the the corners on the open top. Have a piece of glass cut to size that sits on the rubber nubs. So it would be stained wood on 5 sides with venting and then a half inch top gap between the sides and the glass top to allow heat to rise out in all directions easily. Clear glass top to see components. Ideally have the top of the cpu cooler sitting a quarter inch or so away from the glass so its top is slightly visible from the sides of the box. It is a precision cnc so I can have it draw a logo into the front as well. My Questions: Is it good practice to simply run USB out to the DAC for power as well as digital audio or do I need to seriously consider getting a card that has S/PDIF out and powering the DAC from the wall or the HDPlex linear supply? How should I run the power? Please help here! Is Tidal streaming truly lossless? What software should I use? I need it to be controllable by phone or tablet. Once this pc is setup it will not have visible video out. The controlling of audio playback needs to be done on the phone or tablet. Also the interface needs to be pretty simple. I have seriously been considering roon labs because it seamlessly incorporates Tidal into the library and my dad will predominantly stream from Tidal if it is truly lossless. Should I be worried about clocking? Am I capable of Asynchronous USB? For the money I have spent (before DAC), is there a roon-ready recommended player that I can afford that will produce better quality? (around $1000) In the past I have only used usb out to a headphone DAC with an ASIO driver using foobar for playback. School me up people. Please help me along the way. I know some of you have been where I am at and now have a ton of experience to share.
Hi all, I've been a long time reader of the CA forum and in this first post I want to ask your opinion on my fanless build. It will be a headless server, based on MPD and RT Linux. I'll stay with the CAPS design philosophy as closely as possible. I just ordered the parts and will keep you posted on my progress. This is my setup: Akasa Euler fanless case Gigabyte GA-H61TN (thin mITX mainboard) Intel Pentium G630T OCZ Vertex 64 GB SSD For a review of the case, see: Akasa Euler Fanless Thin ITX Case | silentpcreview.com Other components: Musical Fidelity V-Link (on its own linear PSU, circumventing the USB power line) Metrum Octave + linear PSU Duson PA-100 (Class A stereo amplifier) All my music will be placed on either the SSD or on the network and MPD can be controlled through my phone or tablet using one of the available clients. Once it's up and running, it's really convenient. As for the software I'll be using MPD on (stripped-down) Debian Linux, because of my experiences with this combination. On an earlier build I really came to love the sound of the PREEMPT RT kernel. Despite the disbelief I noticed in other threads by some of the audio qualities of a real-time Linux kernel, I really want to say that it did wonders to my previous setup. Voices are so clear, they almost seem visible in space like a hologram. Audiences and drum sounds in live recordings sound very realistic too. To make full use of the real-time kernel, you need to prioritize the threaded IRQs, which can be done effectively by using the rtirq scripts by Rui Nuno Capela. Then there are some small adjustments, such as increasing the priority of the MPD process and setting the processor affinity for each process, working towards placing MPD on its own CPU core. See this guide for some useful tips (based on Voyage MPD): ????? Furthermore, I'm using the following ALSA configuration in my MPD.conf, allowing me to make use of the async-USB properties of my USB-S/PDIF converter: device "hw:1,0" format "*:24_3:2" use_mmap "yes" auto_resample "no" I suspect some people on this forum are using similar configurations and I'm interested to hear how they compare their own setups to the more expensive servers and appliances of the established brands. In short, has anybody used the Akasa Euler case for a CAPS before? And does anyone have good tips on how to get the most out of my setup? I'd really like to hear your comments and tips! Regards, Vincent