Streaming Options

I’ve been using a “silent” QNAP on a linear PSU and decent isolation where RoonServer is installed on one 4Tb SSD and the music library on the other. I have overclocked the Celerion N5105 CPU and upgraded the cooling and run a custom linux OS using minimal resources and don’t have any other packages running. It connects via USB out to a DDC and thence via i2s out to the MkII DAC. I am happy with the result, but am contemplating trying the AL via the network to compare SQ and possibly ditching the DDC.


Yes, My fidata NAS came with a modified version of Twonky Server that works great with DSD files. The guys at fidata did their work to insure that DSD files are handled easily, they did not treat DSD as an after thought. I make DSD128 needle drop recordings my best vinyl. The files are .dsf format and I use the Twonky Server to add the meta data to the file.

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I presume you are using a QNAP HS-264, which says on the product page:

QNAPs typically run about 15 apps by default, I presume you have snapshot and other protections running, or do you just have a remote backup for a full restore in the case of a hack?

You are fortunate to have the skills to optimise one of these units, they are a very practical and cost-effective way of handing all streaming needs in one box.

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Yes indeed Steven I am using the HS-264 and really like it, but as I said I run my own custom OS on this (based on Arch Linux) rather than the proprietary one. As such the only ‘app’ running is RoonServer. As it happens the file system I use is also btrfs so snapshotting is supported, but because it is still a relatively new file system I rather rely on 3 external backups for redundancy. The firewall is granular enough to only let Roon traffic through until I want to SSH into the NAS.

Following the ransomware issues they had in the past it looks like the current iteration of the QTS OS from 5.x.x is more resilient, although I would still advocate taking the time to tweak their firewall and your router for added security.

It’s also worth remembering that while Roon Server is supported at the moment, it is provided by a third party who is just one person maintaining it for free (Christopher Rieke) and a similar situation pertains for LogitechMediaServer which is available via a third-party repo (QNAP Club)


All this talk reminds me why I went Roon and third party streamer (aka something like Eversolo and Airlens). I am very savvy in IT and could certainly do this stuff, but I support IT systems all day for the past 33 years… did not want to do that in my own house. The Roon Core on NUC has been about as solid as anything I have ever owned. No IT needed on my part apart from restarts (using the remote on iOS devices) when updates are applied. And even with that, having DAC, Streamer, Core, Remote all on separate devices, there still seems to be issues (much being MKII fault). Maybe one day I will jump in with a GRIMM. But I really do not want a computer to worry about. Certainly can save money but the $699 I paid for lifetime made that fixed.

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I need IT help. My situation, IMO, is typical of most homes where the people in the home are not network savvy. I have an ISP ( Optimum ) that provides me with a WiFi router that broadcast WiFi throughout the house and has four Ethernet ports, of which, I use one to get streaming via the internet to my smart TV. The WiFi router is PW protected. My wife and I both use Wi-Fi to get internet to our laptops ( she has a Mac and I have Norton 360 on my PC ). IMO, this is where I think typical ends.

This year I have added a NAS ( fidata ), the AirLens and an ipad to my system. I get Ethernet to where the NAS is from a WiFi extender that has an Ethernet port ( BrosTrend AC1200 WiFi to Ethernet Adapter ). The ipad is PW protected. I have DSD files that I have made stored on the NAS and using Twonky Server I play those file using the ipad to select what is played. The files go by a non-network Ethernet cable to the AI and then to the Mk2 DAC.

Where do I need protecton?

A cheap thing to do is get Bitdefender. For about $80 per annum it will protect your laptops and mobiles (up to 10 devices).

Fidata apparently runs on a range of O/S, so really whatever O/S is running should have some security features. Best probably just to get a SATA drive and docking station and do backups.

I suspect the first and best piece of security advice on QNAP is to disable the Administrator user. Using it, or leaving it there unused, is like leaving the door open.

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Are all your PW’s really strong?

IMO Yes, but you never know for sure.

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It is a very interesting piece of kit you have there in the fidata. Would not work for me. But really sounds perfect for you. And even if someone hacked through your laptop or your iPad, they probably would be looking for a QNAP or a Synology! As ever, keep offline backups. A NAS or RAID is not a backup. I keep backups on two other continents. Might be a bit OTT. But backups all in one location are not really backups either.


I put in the Innuos Pulsar last night. I had to built a new rack, with coloured side panels to cover up the horrible Holo styling. The Pulsar is a heavy box and I need a thicker shelf!

With respect to Paul’s comment about noisy servers, noisy usb and pretty boxes, I’m using the Innuos preferred Endpoint mode. The Innuos Zen Mk3 is running Sense as an ultra-quiet server in something called Native mode, the Pulsar is a passive device connected to Holo May by usb. Both the Pulsar and Holo May are super-optimised for usb. Both devices are connected using fibre optic cables to a Netgear SFP switch.

The Pulsar range are extreme minimalist design. There is an on/off switch and small light underneath the front panel which is invisible. There is some subtle branding on the top.

FWIW, the Holo May is configured so that it does native 256 DSD over usb.

I think this set-up makes the most of the Holo May’s extraordinary resolution and low noise floor, at Mola Mola Tambaqui and dCS level.

The end result is exceptional detail and imaging as you might expect, and a significantly warmer sound that I’ve got from a streaming system in 15 years.

In this mode Roon does not see it. I could put the Zen into Roon mode (defeats the whole purpose) and I will at some point take the Zen out and use the Pulsar as the active streamer, connecting to a NAS with my music library. I will have to speak to Innuos again as there is a second Ethernet port which I think is for connecting direct to a NAS, I have a cable in place, but the configuration is not documented.

Everything screwed together. Perspex cleans very easily screen spray or harder dirt with a little bit of Isopropanol on a lint free cloth.


Nice work.

Enjoy the new kit.


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Giving it a workout with percussive versions of Part, Reich …

dig the wheels


Congrats on the new Pulsar. I love that it doesn’t have any knobs or screens on the front panel. I’ve considered getting a Pulsar and then using my Innuos Zen Mk3 as a server only, but the Pulsar is very expensive in the U.S. (compared to Europe), so I’ve held off. I use the Sense app now and have no wish to set up the Innuos gear to use Roon, so I wouldn’t need to configure my gear to optimize Roon.

I’m interested in your comments about the increase in warmth with your new set-up. Do you think this is due mainly to the Pulsar or to the changes in configuration of the Innuos gear. I’m not sure I understand the implications of using Endpoint or Native mode for either the Zen or Pulsar.

I am assuming you Sense aficionados do not have Qobuz or Tidal subscriptions. Am I correct, or is there a way to piggy-back Qobuz and Tidal content via Sense like there is with Roon?



These are a standard industrial anti-vibration product, sold in the millions probably. When the unit is in position, the feet are raised by turning the orange screw and the unit sits on rubber isolation feet.

Rather than messing around trying to get behind the hifi for cabling (used to drive me nuts), I can do it in comfort then wheel in place and one cable plugs into the wall.


You are right. The British price converted to dollars is almost $1000 less than what Pulsar is charging in the US. I wonder why? I assume the British price does not include VAT.

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The apparently warmer sound compares to the identical system but using the a Lumin streamer also by usb. So whatever is going on inside the Pulsar, it’s doing it.

People say the Holo May sounds good with any streamer source. I disagree - sounds different with Lumin and Pulsar.

Innuos is made in Portugal. The EU and UK prices seem very similar, and include VAT/sales tax. It is expensive, I got a good trade in deal, some of which may have come from the Pulsar profit margin.

Endpoint mode makes the Pulsar the endpoint and something else does the music sourcing, which can be an Innuos server, Roon or HQplayer.

If you use Pulsar (or Pulse I assume) in standalone mode, you get the option to add a NAS drive - it sees my QNAP. It doesn’t give you the option of selecting the Zen as a network drive.