3 or 4 years ago Jesus at Sonore recommended that I do conversion from ALAC to WAV on my NAS cpu rather than give the renderer (the Bridge) this task, presumably for this reason.
Happy with Minimserver on my Melco converting flac to WAV
I have used several servers and streamers, some audio bespoke, some not. My current unit is an Auralic Aries Mini with external PSU and internal 1TB SSD. It costs under $1,000 in total, handles Qobuz, Tidal and Roon and sounds superb. I have a new unit on order, due later this week. Once ordered, they run a proprietary disc format and run it for 72 hours non-stop before sending it out.
Any streamer/server is a computer in the sense that it needs a processor, and the choice of processor will be determined by the operating system and software that it is intended to run.
There is a trade-off between processing power, efficiency, heat etc. If you want Roon capability, which I do, full capability allows running 8 zones simultaneously with upsampling to DSD256 and filtering and ripping and storing all at the same time. That requires an Intel i7 processor. I have chosen a device with a much less powerful Intel N4200 processor, more than capable for my needs, not least because my audio system operates at 24/192 on all sources. I have also chosen a 4TB hard drive. It is is SATA, but it is buffered in RAM. It can use external usb or networked data, but that is streamed directly rather than via RAM.
I don’t think anyone can predict what operating systems or applications will be available in 10 years time and what operating system and/or hardware architecture will be needed to operate it.
The fact is that servers and streamers have been optimised for audio for as long as I’ve been using them, since 2010. In those days most of them were based on basic computer hardware and software such as Windows Media Server. Now they tend to run on Linux or proprietary operating systems designed for the job in hand.
The Devialet Expert streaming processor effectively reached end of life after 8 years (still works, no software updates) and was subject to a return-to-base upgrade that was very cost effective and the new card has lots of unused capacity to provide hoped for future-proofing. The operating system is being completely re-written, to improve performance and functionality, including full Roon compatibility, and a single platform over all the company’s products. Auralic sensibly used Lightning over all devices, but they all do much the same thing.
I’ve never used a computer as an audio source, other than sending from Qobuz on OSX over Devialet Air. There have always been better solutions, such as the Naim UnitiServe, a bespoke audio ripper/server/player that was released in May 2010.
The most obvious example is Melco, which is a division of the computer company Buffalo, who have done a very good job optimising servers for audio. There is now a lot of choice, from $1,000 to $15,000 from one company alone, depending how much optimisation, processing and storage you want.
Many companies are innovating and optimising and I have no doubt that PS Audio will bring something new to the party. How they deal with hardware (Devialet had a global hardware upgrade programme still running after about 18 months) and software upgrades are important strategic decisions.
p.s. Naim repplaced the UnitiServe with the UnitiCore. They had to completely rewrite the operating system and the old one was really dodgy. The new unit is cheaper and Roon Ready.
Found Miniserver very reliable, running on a QNAP. It’s only weakness was lack of differential indexing.
Yup, exactly, I’ve been using Minimserver for 4+ years.
Only cpus in the setup are in my NAS (Synology DS412+) and the renderer (now Bridge, was Sonore Rendu - the original ethernet-to-SPDIF box)
My Minimserver was run on a QNAP TS-451, very modest processing power, streaming locally stored files up to 24/192. No problems at all as it is not doing anything heavy like sampling or filtering. Just file management. That’s why its very popular.
Minimserver is king😎
I’d strongly encourage any other Minimserver users in the Forum to donate to support Minimserver development, if they are not already doing so.
This is my first post so be gentle. I have read most of this server thread and would like some clarifications. I currently have a DIY Roon ROCK and am very interested about the future PSA server. Can anyone let me know if the following is correct?
Octave (OS + the music software) is the software as is Roon (OS + music software);
Octave will run on its own server which will include a ripper and mass storage while Roon runs on ROCK, Nucleus and Nucleus +.
Bridge III will run Octave and be mated with DSS – does this mean that the DSS can actually be the server and there would not be a need to purchase the complete PSA server (the one with the mass storage and ripper)?
What happens to the Sprout100? I currently have it connected to a BlueSound Node 2I which acts as the end point for Roon. The Sprout sounds great paired with Harbeth P3s! Is PSA planning some type of PSA endpoint (maybe similar to micrendu) so a product like the Sprout100 can connect to the PSA server? The same seems to apply to the GCD (since it has no streaming capability). Will the initial PSA server only work with the DSS/DSJ with a Bridge II/III card?
Since this is my first post I would like to say many thanks to Paul for all the info he provides. I have never interacted with a company where the CEO is so welcoming and helpful. The Ask Paul videos have taught me much about audio – keep them coming!
BTW: I am waiting on delivery of the DSS with the Bridge II along with the SGCD (to use as a preamp for the DSS) plus the 700 mono amps.
Thanks ahead of time for the clarifications.
Paul & Co.,
I’m sure this has been already discussed somewhere in these threads, but haven’t been able to locate it. What are the discs (formats) that Octave will be able to rip and keep bitperfect for playback? I’ll just mention some and you reply Yes or No OK?
Redbook: obviously Yes.
Octave will not have a disc ripper.
Funny, I was under the strong impression that Octave version R (R for ripper) will have a ripper and Octave version NR (NR for no ripper) will not have a ripper.
I am absolutely sure that Paul has clearly indicated this.
And I have been closely following this whole discussion.
Hey, I was the one who started the thread!
Paul said it will have a ripper. Back in 2016.
As far as I rember you’re both right…he first said yes and later no and that he didn’t want to combine server and ripper finally.
My recollection is the same as jazznut’s.
Will you be able to plug in a disc drive for ripping?
I don’t think so, as then the lot ripping logic would have to be inside Octave (which was told not to be). I personally think this is the right decision, even if it disappoints those who look for an all in one unit.
To me, it needs a ripper. It’s an incomplete solution, if one has to buy a ripper and drives.