Music Server and Networking for Dummies (me.....)


#1

So I have had a lot of flac files for many years. I mainly just played them through google play to my phone so I could listen in my car. When at home I have an external hd that I attach to my laptop and then usb out to HRT Streamer II to rca to preamp. Pretty basic but it worked. When I wanted to critically listen it was vinyl. Anyway I was over at a friends house and I couldnt believe how good his digital music sounded. Turns out he had the Direct stream Dac Jr. and BHK pre. Well this got under my skin and I now have the DSD jr and a BHK pre plus Nuwave Phono converter on the way. So now I want to make a music server so that I can access my files thru the ethernet bridge. I have a google mesh wifi and can place an access point w/ethernet connectivity next to the dac and rest of stereo. I would also like to access the music from my phone plus use a tablet and/or laptop as a remote. I am sort of thinking about using JRiver as a player but open to other ideas. I also recently have started a Tidal trial and am enjoying it so I want to have streaming capability too.

So how can I accomplish this? What do I need to make this happen. Remember I am new at this and not too technical so pretend (you dont even have to pretend) that I know nothing.

Thanks I appreciate it!


#2

Congratulations! You’re going to love this new setup. I would follow these instructions: http://www.psaudio.com/ps_how/how-to-build-a-music-server-2/

It’s not expensive and you can then control everything from your phone or an iPad.


#3

Paul,

Thanks for the quick reply. I dont really do Apple products though.

Can someone suggest and/or translate this to windows.

Thanks again.


#4

I suggest using a NAS. Most of my listening is done to FLAC and DSD files stored on a Synology NAS, controlled via an iPad and played through the Bridge.

When I began, I had never used a NAS before. The Synology software was easy to use and there were just a few bits I had to learn in order to get things working. (I have quite a lot of computer experience in general but knew nothing about networking at the time I got my Synology.) There are other good brands of NAS – QNAP is often mentioned – but I can recommend Synology from experience.

Sidebar: I store my music and also my photos, Word files, etc. on the NAS. I really like being able to access them from any computer in the house, whether I’m upstairs or downstairs; even if I dumped all my digital music for some reason I would never again want to be without a NAS because it’s so convenient for other things. I bought the NAS for music but this turned out to be an unexpected benefit.

My Synology holds two discs. I have had good experience with Western Digital Red drives but there are certainly other brands. Look for drives, like the WD Red, that are specifically designed for use in a NAS. I have the Synology set up so that the two discs are exact copies of each other; if one experiences catastrophic failure, the other still has all the files. This is called a Raid 1 setup. The whole RAID thing can get very techie, but if you just tell the Synology software to make a RAID 1 it goes quite easily. (I was worried about this since I was new to it but the software took me through it with no issues.) Note that this is not a substitute for additional backup. I have two portable drives, one of which is plugged into the Synology and the other kept off premises, and I switch them out every month or so.

I looked at JRiver but did not adopt it mainly because I do not want to have a Windows or Mac machine in my listening room. It also seemed overkill for my needs. I know there are some JRiver fans here who may disagree with me.wink

My NAS sits in my audio rack but you can put it anywhere on your network, even in another room. My listening chair is several feel from the rack so I don’t hear the fan, which is pretty quiet anyway. But this is something to consider; think about your setup and look for a quiet NAS. My Synology is spec’d at 18dB for the fan, IIRC. Synology also lets you decide whether you want maximum cooling or the fan to turn on less frequently – the latter works fine for me without overheating the NAS.

You will run a server on the Synology and a control point on your tablet. Synology includes a server called Audio Station that will get you started and is easy to use. If you are a classical music listener, I strongly recommend moving up to MinimServer but that can be a later step. On Android, BubbleUPnP is probably the best control point available and lets you stream Tidal. On iOS, there are bunch of control points, none IMO as good as Bubble. Converse Digital, from whom PS Audio sources the Bridge module, offers two CPs, mconnect and mcontrol – free for the basic version, small price for the HD version. (I never can remember the difference between them.) They do include Tidal; some people here are OK with them and others, like me, are not fans. But again, they will get you started and you can move to something better later on if you need to.

I don’t use a smartphone myself, but I believe there are control points available for them also.

The bottom line is that there are some things you’ll need to learn but it’s not too difficult; others and I are here to help. You’ve invested in some equipment that will give you amazing sound quality and you certainly can set up your digital files as many of us have done.


#5

Thank you, Magister. Great stuff.


#6

I was considering a NAS. Quick question. How can I stream Tidal to the bridge thru windows?


#7

Tidal has an app that you can download for Windows (or Mac). I’ve never used it but some people here have and can help if you experience problems.


#8

One other suggestion if you go with a NAS: playing music doesn’t require a lot of CPU power or memory. But if you have, for instance, teenagers in the house who like to play movies stored on the NAS at the same time as you are listening, you will need a much faster processor and more memory. In the case of Synology, I’d avoid the very lowest models (the numbers end in ‘j’); anything higher up should be fine unless you have the aforementioned teenagers . . .


#9

OP:

I am not sure what your budget is for setting up an in-house streaming Hi-Fi system, but your shopping list (kit on the way) suggests considerable means.

That said, this might be the perfect time to dip your toe into the iOS ocean. In my experience (see set up in my signature), Apple computers plus JRiver Media Center work great over Wi-Fi to a PS Audio Bridge-Centric system. Once you get past the effort of trapsing through the JRiver wiki instructions and these fora for set up tips, the (JRiver) system “just works”. The best digital I have ever heard and I am still on PS Audio Bridge 1. With your DS Jr. you will be able to add Roon, and the Tidal content it links to, to your library (if you choose to subscribe). All of my disc rips and digital downloads reside on my iMac (main home computer in our kitchen) and are backed up to a NAS. Using JRiver’s JRemote on my iPad or iPhone, I stream my library wirelessly across the house and upstairs to the “man-cave’” where a router, switch, etc. are employed to get the music to the Bridge via ethernet.

I don’t know how large your library is, but a dedicated Apple laptop plus NAS for back up (and primary storage if you need it) would work great with your DS Jr. and with JRiver Media Center, JRemote and any eventual Roon/Tidal integration you might want to pursue. Once you are all set up, you could haul your laptop all over the house and control the music streaming to the DS Jr. If your Hi-Fi has any second zone capabilities, this can be really neat/convenient.

Since my network is iOS-based, I can’t give you any tips for working with Windows-based systems.

In any event, enjoy the journey.*

FWIW.

[*Edit: I believe you will need to use a different interface (Roon and/or Tidal software itself loaded on your device) - not JRiver MC - to route Roon/Tidal content to your system. I did not want to lead you to believe JRiver MC integrates Roon and Tidal, which, to my knowledge it does not. At least not yet.]


#10
rromeo923 said

I was considering a NAS. Quick question. How can I stream Tidal to the bridge thru windows?


Rick its Jerry I use MControl on my phone to control Tidal to the JR through my router via ethernet. Maybe you can download MControl app on your laptop and send it via usb not sure if it will work though. From what I understand it is always better to have a wired ethernet to the JR

#11

OP - There are so many ways to go with this. I, personally, have a Mac Mini running headless with Roon and use Vinyl Studio as a means to rip my vinyl with the assistance of the NuWave Phono Converter. I also have JRiver and it’s fine for file playback, but it’s not as slick as Roon. I’m a reluctant Mac participant in this, honestly. My setup works fine and sounds good, but some things about Mac drive me nuts. If I were to do it again, I’d look into using a NUC and run ROCK on top of it (Roon Optimized Core Kit ) which is basically a custom linux operating system that runs Roon core and works like an appliance. It reportedly works well, sounds great, and is fairly inexpensive compared to Mac Mini. If you wanted to rip vinyl, maybe install a dual boot with Windows and run Vinyl Studio in that. There’s a forum member here who is pretty involved with this. @stephen-g might be able to help you with specifics. Here’s a link with more specifics:

https://www.computeraudiophile.com/ca/ca-academy/the-definitive-guide-to-roon-optimized-core-kit-rock-r652/

Good luck!


#12

Thanks for all the great replies and information. This forum is as valuable as the equipment. A community of positive thought and actions is certainly a value added benefit.

I am thinking NAS. Then running Bubble UPnP server through NAS and using JRiver/J Remote as a player. Am I on the right track??

Thanks again.


#13

I don’t think so. You can only run one or the other I’m pretty sure. JRiver/JRemote is a UPnP server. You would just point to the NAS for the music library. Sorry if I don’t know the whole story.


#14

Agree 100% with Magister’s approach described in post 4.

Only thing I’d add is that having the NAS remote from the hifi system is straightforward to implement and removes a potential source of noise. Even with a wireless bridge I have had no problems with dropouts or the like.

Enjoy the music!

David


#15
amsco15 said I don’t think so. You can only run one or the other I’m pretty sure. JRiver/JRemote is a UPnP server.
Let's see if we can clear this up.

When I made my post #4, I did not mention BubbleUPnP Server because I was trying to keep things simple. However, rromeo923 has apparently learned about it elsewhere. The problem is that BubbleUPnP Server, despite its name and despite being a very useful piece of software, is not actually a server. The name really confuses people. You need to run another server such as that supplied by the maker of your NAS (Synology’s Audio Station, e.g.) or MinimServer in addition to BubbleUPnP Server; not to be confused with the excellent BubbleUPnP control point, of course.confused

One of the things that BubbleUPnP Server will do for you is let you create an OpenHome Renderer even if your hardware does not have this feature built in. By running an OH Renderer, you can use either the Linn Kazoo or Lumin control points, both of which are much superior to mconnect/mcontrol, and both include Tidal. My setup is BubbleUPnP Server and MinimServer running on my Synology, with Linn Kazoo as control point on the iPad. This works well for me and is worth trying by anyone who is setting up a NAS-based system. I’ve used Kazoo for a while but am starting to experiment with Lumin since some people here have recommended it, and it looks promising.

As amsco15 says, JRIver has its own UPnP server built in (as I understand it, not being a JRiver user). So there is no need for BubbleUPnP Server in this situation if you’re using JRemote.


#16

Correct as to JRMC. When you use JRemote, the playlist is loaded into the playlist on the computer (or whatever) that is running JRMC. Whether it is technically Open Home or not I do not know but it does mean you can close JRemote and the playlist keeps playing.


#17

Bought a Synology ds218+. Got it hooked up and am now uploading all my files. That takes a bit of time… Looking forward to getting this thing going. I will probably back with some questions.


#18

Good to hear! The 218+ should serve you well; it has good processor power and supports the BTRFS file system which I think is good for things like music files that you are storing long-term. (This model is probably what I will buy in a few months to replace my aging 213.) It does take a while to load large collections, but at least you do it only once. Post here if you have more questions.


#19

This topic is very timely for me. I am looking for a new DAC/Streamer option. I currently am using a Bluesound Node 2, streaming from Tidal and FLAC files stored on a Synology NAS. I’ve enjoyed using the Bluesound and will be moving it to a second system in a new addition to our house. So, I’m looking to upgrade the DAC/streamer in my main system. I like the idea of having a “one box” system and am exploring such products as Lumin (A1, T1, D2), Aurender (A10), and Auralic Altair. One of the reasons I like these products is the quality/ease of use of their IPad control apps. It seems that these apps are an integral part of the overall product and to many users like myself, the quality of the interface is almost as important as the sound quality. Until I read it here I did not know I could use the Lumin app with the PS Audio Jr. This has renewed my interest in the Jr. Is the setup and use of the Lumin app relatively seamless? Once setup is pretty reliable? I don’t want to jump through hoops to set it up and maintain it but if it will work as well on the Jr. as it does the Lumin players I would be very interested in the Jr. Dac. Any input would be helpful to me in making this decision. Thanks


#20

The setup and use of the Lumin app easy. The setup is reliable as long as you use the iOS version and not the Android version, which until recently I did not know existed. I’ve used the Lumin App for over 4 years and can’t recall ever having a crash. I’ve used it in conjunction with Sonore Rendu and now with PS Audio DSDac / Bridge II combo.

You need to install two pieces of software on your NAS: Minimserver and Bubbleupnp Server. You then need to checkoff the box in bubbleupnp server that allows for openhome emulation. That’s it. Install Lumin App on your iPad and your bridge II will be automatically seen by the App.

I did this 4 years ago when I literally knew nothing about NAS’s, servers, or digital audio (I came from a turntable , cd player background) and have never looked back. I don’t even own a cd player now.