Tinker, Tailor, Streamer, Pi.

All general audio posts go here.
User avatar
Toontrev
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:48 pm
Location: Chester le Street
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Tinker, Tailor, Streamer, Pi.

Unread post by Toontrev »

Fret, I'd be very intrigued to find out what you think of the Mini PC after you give it a spin.
There aren't many dedicated streamers out there without a DAC onboard so I can see the attraction. Of the ones that are available some are horrendously expensive, I'm left wondering what a dedicated streamer offers that a mini PC doesn't?

User avatar
Fretless
Posts: 6713
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:15 pm
Location: Somewhere in Holland
Has thanked: 282 times
Been thanked: 294 times
Netherlands

Re: Tinker, Tailor, Streamer, Pi.

Unread post by Fretless »

Toontrev wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:41 pm
Fret, I'd be very intrigued to find out what you think of the Mini PC after you give it a spin.
There aren't many dedicated streamers out there without a DAC onboard so I can see the attraction. Of the ones that are available some are horrendously expensive, I'm left wondering what a dedicated streamer offers that a mini PC doesn't?
Expensive casing ?

:grin: :guiness;




Hopefully the mini-PC will be in this afternoon. My streaming journey has taught me that great digital audio performance can be attained using modest computers like the Pi or Tinkerboard - or old PC's. Then external DAC's allow for flexibility and easier upgrading.

For some reason SPDIF sounds (to me) less satisfying than USB. But cabling, reclocking and Jitter reduction play a bigger role with USB.

Also, I've had a lot of fun putting streaming audio installations around the house, all connected via ethernet / wifi to the central network NAS library. When you think that a combination of Tinkerboard / Topping D30 (now E30) will set you back about 200 pounds, why bother with anything expensive?.

Volumio (free for the standard version) gives you multi-room capability, access to Internet Radio and Spotify with stunning SQ. Running the whole system is simply done by any PC / tablet / smartphone from the browser.

So easy. :banana-wrench:
These users thanked the author Fretless for the post (total 3):
CN211276 (Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:36 am) • slinger (Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:46 am) • Toontrev (Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:32 pm)
NVA: P50sa - SSP - A40 - LS6 - Cube2 - BMU
Digits: E-Medic ST-M PC + Volumio + AQ Jitterbug
DAC: TeraDak V4.5 Chameleon CD: Cambridge CXC
USB: Oehlbach XXL Masterclock + DH Labs Mirage
Ethernet: Silent Angel Bonn N8 + AQ Cinnamon
Cans: AQ NightHawk Carbon + MF XCAN v3
Interconnect cables: DH Labs Air Matrix

User avatar
CN211276
Posts: 4278
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:29 am
Location: Cardiff
Has thanked: 225 times
Been thanked: 132 times
Wales

Re: Tinker, Tailor, Streamer, Pi.

Unread post by CN211276 »

Fretless wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:56 am
Topping D30 (now E30)

I was not aware of the E30 and was looking at the D50 for the bedroom system as it has a remote. The E30 also has a remote and is half the price. :grin:
System DC Blocker, NVA BMU, Cisco 2960G, Sonore MicroRendu/MCRU PS, AQ JB, ifi iPurifier 3, Chord Mscaler, Chord Qutest/MCRU PS, NVA P90SA Mk2, NVA A80s Mk3, NVA Cube 1s, NVA TSCS, NVA TIS, DH Labs Mirage USB/Silver Sonic BNC, Cat 8 ethernet.
HP Grado SR 325e, Chord Mojo, AQ Carbon.
Analogue Rega Planar 3, Denon DL-110, NVA Phono 1.
Second System Topping E30, NVA P20, NVA A20, NVA Cubettes, NVA LS3, NVA, NVA SSP, SSC, AQ Carbon.
Out Beyerdynamic Avenha, AQ DF Red.

RIP Doc

User avatar
Fretless
Posts: 6713
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:15 pm
Location: Somewhere in Holland
Has thanked: 282 times
Been thanked: 294 times
Netherlands

Re: Tinker, Tailor, Streamer, Pi.

Unread post by Fretless »

Minisforum N40 mini-PC is in.

Very small -about the size of a double-CD case. Nicely responsive and easy setup. Now loading in the latest round of Windows 10 updates and I hope I can get to play around with it later or tomorrow.
NVA: P50sa - SSP - A40 - LS6 - Cube2 - BMU
Digits: E-Medic ST-M PC + Volumio + AQ Jitterbug
DAC: TeraDak V4.5 Chameleon CD: Cambridge CXC
USB: Oehlbach XXL Masterclock + DH Labs Mirage
Ethernet: Silent Angel Bonn N8 + AQ Cinnamon
Cans: AQ NightHawk Carbon + MF XCAN v3
Interconnect cables: DH Labs Air Matrix

User avatar
CN211276
Posts: 4278
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:29 am
Location: Cardiff
Has thanked: 225 times
Been thanked: 132 times
Wales

Re: Tinker, Tailor, Streamer, Pi.

Unread post by CN211276 »

Favourably impressed by the DH Labs Silver Sonic Mirage UUB cable I ordered two lengths of the Silver Sonic BNC cable so that both the input and output of the Mscaler would have the same make of cable. The ones with the correct fittings arrived today and build quality is impressive. The cables are quite a bit thicker than the Mirage and slightly thicker than the Blue Jeans which they are replacing. The ferrite rings which were loose on the Blue Jeans are a precise fit on the Silver Sonic. The lengths are a lot shorter because I was able to get 0.5 metres which is all that I require and substantially reduced the cost. Initial impressions are very positive and am looking forward to playing more music. :grin:
These users thanked the author CN211276 for the post:
Fretless (Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:07 pm)
System DC Blocker, NVA BMU, Cisco 2960G, Sonore MicroRendu/MCRU PS, AQ JB, ifi iPurifier 3, Chord Mscaler, Chord Qutest/MCRU PS, NVA P90SA Mk2, NVA A80s Mk3, NVA Cube 1s, NVA TSCS, NVA TIS, DH Labs Mirage USB/Silver Sonic BNC, Cat 8 ethernet.
HP Grado SR 325e, Chord Mojo, AQ Carbon.
Analogue Rega Planar 3, Denon DL-110, NVA Phono 1.
Second System Topping E30, NVA P20, NVA A20, NVA Cubettes, NVA LS3, NVA, NVA SSP, SSC, AQ Carbon.
Out Beyerdynamic Avenha, AQ DF Red.

RIP Doc

User avatar
Fretless
Posts: 6713
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:15 pm
Location: Somewhere in Holland
Has thanked: 282 times
Been thanked: 294 times
Netherlands

Re: Tinker, Tailor, Streamer, Pi.

Unread post by Fretless »

Minisforum N40

Image

Right then, This diminutive desktop PC has been in use for a couple of days and it is now set up as a simple workstation in my usual office space, while my main laptop is in 'Corona workplace' mode in a corner of the living-room.

I missed being able to hide myself away, occasionally, and also being able to watch stuff on Netflix (currently working my way through all seasons of '24') without bothering the better half.

The unit comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Pro but firstly needed to run a series of updates to get up to date. The disconcerting thing is - it's totally silent, which is unnerving as I am so used to hearing ventilation fans whirring, storage disks spinning and the little clicks that signal that the data-retrieval heads are busy moving about. None of that. Silence. Had to look for the indicator LED's to check it was working. It doesn't run all that warm either.

Fast, yes. Not blindingly so but pleasantly quick. Easy to get things downloaded and installed. I can read and write emails, edit documents, surf on the internet. The basics run with no trouble at all. Where this little monster really excels is as a video player. Youtube and Netflix run really smoothly with sharp, clear resolution. In fact it has shown up the shortcomings of the old LCD monitor I'm using on the VGA link and I'm already considering a better screen with HDMI.

Bottom line is - it's just a computer but one that is tiny, silent and powerful enough for everyday use. Plug one of these into a TV and you've got a complete media-centre at your disposal (it has inbuilt Wifi and Bluetooth as well). USB audio output is very nice and clear into a DAC and I might have a go at trying it out with Volumio booted from a USB stick, just out of curiosity.

Getting this has also prompted me into making use of OneDrive cloud storage which is more useful than I had expected, AND I've got a new ergonomic mouse from Trust which is far more relaxed and comfortable in use than a standard mouse, never thought that would make such a difference.

Image

Happy Bunny time !!! :animals-bunny: :animals-bunny: :animals-bunny:
These users thanked the author Fretless for the post:
CN211276 (Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:27 pm)
NVA: P50sa - SSP - A40 - LS6 - Cube2 - BMU
Digits: E-Medic ST-M PC + Volumio + AQ Jitterbug
DAC: TeraDak V4.5 Chameleon CD: Cambridge CXC
USB: Oehlbach XXL Masterclock + DH Labs Mirage
Ethernet: Silent Angel Bonn N8 + AQ Cinnamon
Cans: AQ NightHawk Carbon + MF XCAN v3
Interconnect cables: DH Labs Air Matrix

User avatar
slinger
Posts: 5759
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:30 pm
Location: The Garden of England
Has thanked: 560 times
Been thanked: 556 times
Great Britain

Re: Tinker, Tailor, Streamer, Pi.

Unread post by slinger »

My hands get pretty bad some days, and I've taken to using one of these "vertical" mice. They make them for us left-handers too I'm happy to report. They also come in wired or wireless flavours.

Image
These users thanked the author slinger for the post:
Fretless (Tue Sep 01, 2020 10:14 pm)
Amps - NVA P50, A30, A40, Stanislav Palo Tube Headphone Amp BB 85
Speakers - Monitor Audio Silver RX2
Cables - NVA LS1+LS3, SSC, Gotham S/PDIF, IBRA Optical
Digital - NAD C516BEE, SONY ST-SDB900 DAB TUNER, TEAC UD-H01 DAC
Analogue - Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB, Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Phono
Cans - Grado SR80, ATH-M50X

User avatar
CN211276
Posts: 4278
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:29 am
Location: Cardiff
Has thanked: 225 times
Been thanked: 132 times
Wales

Re: Tinker, Tailor, Streamer, Pi.

Unread post by CN211276 »

CN211276 wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:25 pm
Favourably impressed by the DH Labs Silver Sonic Mirage UUB cable I ordered two lengths of the Silver Sonic BNC cable so that both the input and output of the Mscaler would have the same make of cable. The ones with the correct fittings arrived today and build quality is impressive. The cables are quite a bit thicker than the Mirage and slightly thicker than the Blue Jeans which they are replacing. The ferrite rings which were loose on the Blue Jeans are a precise fit on the Silver Sonic. The lengths are a lot shorter because I was able to get 0.5 metres which is all that I require and substantially reduced the cost. Initial impressions are very positive and am looking forward to playing more music. :grin:
After more listening I am very impressed with the DH Labs cables and a big thanks to Fretless for bringing this make to my attention. The BNC cables have brought about even bigger SQ gains than the USB. I put this down to a combination of the two as it was the same with TIS when I bought second lengths to connect both the input and output of the pre amp. The DH Labs cables in combination have increased seperation and added a silky sheen to the highest frequency. However what is most noticable since the BNC cables have been connected is the bass. There is improved definition but what is most apparant is the extension. Lower frequencies are coming from the speakers on almost all recordings which were just not there before and the system was not lacking in bass. This has added a new dimension to the music with a greater sense of authority. I was not expecting this and the DH Labs cables are really showing what the rest of the system can do.

This has prompted me to do some reading up on DH Labs and they seem to have a similar philosophy to NVA; quality components, value for money and no expensive glossy advertising. I can't speak high enough of their digital cables. They are not cheap but are a 0 off
the cost of the silly priced competition.
These users thanked the author CN211276 for the post:
Fretless (Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:04 pm)
System DC Blocker, NVA BMU, Cisco 2960G, Sonore MicroRendu/MCRU PS, AQ JB, ifi iPurifier 3, Chord Mscaler, Chord Qutest/MCRU PS, NVA P90SA Mk2, NVA A80s Mk3, NVA Cube 1s, NVA TSCS, NVA TIS, DH Labs Mirage USB/Silver Sonic BNC, Cat 8 ethernet.
HP Grado SR 325e, Chord Mojo, AQ Carbon.
Analogue Rega Planar 3, Denon DL-110, NVA Phono 1.
Second System Topping E30, NVA P20, NVA A20, NVA Cubettes, NVA LS3, NVA, NVA SSP, SSC, AQ Carbon.
Out Beyerdynamic Avenha, AQ DF Red.

RIP Doc

User avatar
Latteman
Posts: 772
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:20 pm
Location: S. Yorkshire
Has thanked: 87 times
Been thanked: 32 times
Contact:
Great Britain

Re: Tinker, Tailor, Streamer, Pi.

Unread post by Latteman »

Fretless wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:38 am
Just ordered one of these via Amazon:

https://store.minisforum.com/products/m ... 40-mini-pc

Image

Strangely enough I actually want to use this as a Windows workstation for Internet, Email and (especially) Netflix. The aged netbook that I currently use is just so incredibly slow that I frequently get the urge to chuck it out of the window.

So, an Intel Celeron N4000 processor with 4Gb RAM, 64Gb SSD, Windows 10 Pro and sufficient holes to stick wires in should do the trick.
And Amazon had a €10 voucher discount on this model which took the price down to €140.

Did I mention it is fanless and completely silent? Would make a lovely Volumio streaming unit as well.... :think:
Was reading this again as I hooked up a chrome book to dac via usb and streamed Radio Paradise and then Tidal
I was impressed with the sound
Not as convenient to use as my app controlled streamer which is a drawback to using a chrome book as a main source.

Just for the record- I cannot operate a chrome book or laptop remotely????
Analogue Source - DIY turntable- donor Thorens TD321, DIY Single pivot Carbon Tonearm; Grado Reference Platinum FL; Yaqin M23B Les Carpenter mod
Digital Sources-Little Dot Dac1; Linn Mimik (SSc bnc); iPhone 6XR (AQ JB & Cinnamon Usb)
Amplification KHOZMO Acoustic Passive Pre - & Nva A20LE (👍🏼)
Speakers- Diy ‘Isobaric Cubes’; Ls6 bi-wired
Dc blocker to mini BMU

CaterhamKev
Posts: 208
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:09 am
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 5 times
Christmas Island

Re: Tinker, Tailor, Streamer, Pi.

Unread post by CaterhamKev »

I was tempted by a mini-pc, but I had enough bits layingbaround to build an i7-6700k based streamer with the option of using the onboard DAC or SPDIF into my Caiman SEG.

The PC has been built as a silent PC and has no moving parts. It still uses an SMPS, but a very good measuring one, apparently. Inise fidelizer to control some of the unnecessary windows services.

The most important thing is that it sounds good enough to me, for the cost involved although something smaller would be good if it was not in my man cave.

Some of the mini PCs are on offer with Prime Day, so they could be a bit cheaper.
These users thanked the author CaterhamKev for the post:
slinger (Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:22 pm)

Post Reply