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Making a streamer with Intel Nuc/how

Bliman

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#1
Hi,
One of the reasons I have bought the RME DAC is that I can connect it with USB.
I have lots of cd's and my space is limited. I also listen to much music that is not that commercial and is only sold digitally.
Therefore I want to create a streamer.
The problem is that I find little information on the internet about it, like tutorials and such.
I would like to store my cd's and my bought digital music on a hard drive. And if it is possible I also would like to have the possibility to choose my music collection with my smartphone and use it to send it to the streamer and with that way to the RME Dac.
Now I thought that the best way to do that is with an Intel NUC. The problem is that I don't know how to do that.
Does anyone has experience with that, or can point to a website that shows all the steps which I am after?
Thanks
 

Ron Texas

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#3
Just put Windows 10 (or Linux if you know how to use it) and run a media player on it. Even free Foobar2000 will work. JRiver is more versatile and easier to use. Connect your DAC with USB. I keep my media library on an external 2.5" 4 TB drive and control the PC with a wireless keyboard and mouse. It's hooked to a 65" TV with an HDMI cable. You don't need anything fancy. The cheaper NUC's use less power so their fan turns slower or can be adjusted in bios to turn slower.
 

Puska

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#4
A. For best sound you will need 2 devices.
B. An fenless mini computer running roon which I personally don't like. Subscription for Roon is or yearly or lifetime. You can connect external hard drives including your music to this computer via USB.
You can connect this computer directly to DAC with USB.
For improvement in sq you will need a second device, a Streamer with upnp/dlna capabilities connected to the same home network as your computer.
I personally use Audirvana running on Nuc /which is not fenless/, running Windows low latency, And a Streamer Sotm 200 ultra Neo with Sbooster PSU. I control the music using Audirvana remote for android which works excellent after recent update. Audirvana is Qobuz/Tidal/Mqa.
You can use other streamers, function of money.
Basically this is a setup
 
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#5
Just put Windows 10 (or Linux if you know how to use it) and run a media player on it. Even free Foobar2000 will work. JRiver is more versatile and easier to use. Connect your DAC with USB. I keep my media library on an external 2.5" 4 TB drive and control the PC with a wireless keyboard and mouse. It's hooked to a 65" TV with an HDMI cable. You don't need anything fancy. The cheaper NUC's use less power so their fan turns slower or can be adjusted in bios to turn slower.
If you go this route, there are also apps for tablets/phones that allow you to control the windows machine remotely. There is a chrome extension from google that gives you full cloud access, as well as other options that make use of Windows built in Remote Desktop Protocol.

This is certainly the quickest/cheapest route to having something up and running with your present equipment.
 

Puska

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#6
Yes, you can use bubleupnp using android phone/tablet as a remote control. If you use Windows than media player will be used as a renderer. However this setup requires windows knowledge to setup low latency.
Everything is possible, depending on how much time and effort you use.
 

Daverz

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#8
What computer equipment do you currently have? Any home network setup?

I've only tried it briefly, but you could get a DAC with bluetooth capability and stream directly from a phone/tablet/laptop. I think that's capable of up to 24/96 in the most recent implementations.

I would break this down into 4 parts:
  1. Ripping and tagging of your CDs. Downloading and preparing digital files.
  2. The filesystem where the ripped files will be stored.
  3. A music server to scan the files and serve them up on the network. This is what you would control with a phone/tablet/laptop.
  4. A streamer that just converts transfers digital data streaming over the network to USB output.
These could all be on the same machine, though I'd want something comfortable for typing for the ripping/tagging work, as inevitably one ends up fixing badly tagged files or tagging obscure CDs that don't have tags in the usual online tag databases. And the ripping machine needs a CDROM drive, of course.

For the rest, a Raspberry Pi 4 with an external USB drive (which could be an SSD) could handle both music server and streaming duties and is an easy to use and mature platform. Or you could offload the storage onto a NAS somewhere else on your home network.

My main concert with a NUC would be that it is not (typically) fanless. It's also more power than you need for streaming. A Raspberry Pi 4 is still more power than needed, but does not need a fan for this application, and it's hard to find anything cheaper that's easier to set up.

My own setup is rather ad hoc:

* An old Windows 7 PC for ripping CDs with dBPowerAmp (which I don't do often these days.)

* A Dell server machine in my loft running Logitech Media Server on Ubuntu. I have a couple cheap 4 TB mechanical drives it in currently. This is a combination music server/file server. Way more power than I need, but I like to tinker.

* A Raspberry Pi 3B+ in the living room running PiCorePlayer connected to a USB DAC. This just reads data off the network and sends it out on USB. It's tucked behind the DAC.

* A Raspberry Pi 4 in the bedroom connected to a USB DAC/headphone amp.

I've considered consolidating everything -- storage, server, streamer -- onto a single Pi4 with a USB drive. Then I would just copy rips/downloads to it over the network.
 

Ron Texas

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#9
If you go this route, there are also apps for tablets/phones that allow you to control the windows machine remotely. There is a chrome extension from google that gives you full cloud access, as well as other options that make use of Windows built in Remote Desktop Protocol.

This is certainly the quickest/cheapest route to having something up and running with your present equipment.
I have tried some of the apps, but find turning on the tv and using the wireless keyboard and mouse to be my favorite. However, the Apps do allow for a headless system. JRiver has a browser interface built in.
 

Puska

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#10
If sq is a priority then raspberry pi 4 is big no no. Pi3 plus is ok but USB out from it is terrible.
I have tried and used all Allo hat streamers. Not for me. Bluetooth is another big nono soundwise.
If you are looking for high quality sound and don't want anything complicated buy Arie G1, or G2 than you don't need computer. Arie have an excellent app for and or iOS.
 

Puska

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#11
If money is short then look at bluesound node 2i and thay have a model you can use for ripping too. The bluesound o's is excellent. There is only optical and rca connection out to your super dac. You can connect external hd to it.
 

Daverz

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#14
If sq is a priority then raspberry pi 4
Why do you say that? I would only recommend using the USB output (which is improved over the Pi 3).

is big no no. Pi3 plus is ok but USB out from it is terrible.
Output above 48 kHz can be a problem with some DACs (Toppings I've used). Oddly, I don't have problems with my older Auralic Vega). This is why I'd recommend the Pi4.

I have tried and used all Allo hat streamers. Not for me. Bluetooth is another big nono soundwise.
Why? Apart from from sample-rate limitations.
 
OP
B

Bliman

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Thread Starter #15
Thanks for all the info.
Thanks, I didn't have thought about the fan in the Intel Nuc. That would be a no no.
I shall try to give my situation better. My main system is in my bedroom. There is no computer in that room.
I have a computer downstairs in the main living room. And when I am upstairs I have a good connection on my phone from the router downstairs.
I also don't have a tv in my bedroom. Just my main system and bed and books :).
Would a Bluesound Node 2i or the Project Stream Box S2 Ultra be better for my needs?
The only problem that I have with these solutions is the storage of music.
Is it enough to buy an external hard drive and connect them to these devices? Doesn't this create problems when you play things and that it creates lag and stops and such when playing music? That's why I came to the conclusion for an Intel Nuc. I even heard that an Intel i5 wasn't enough. So I don't know if it is as simple as hooking up a hard drive with my music to a Bluesound Node 2i or a Project Stream Box S2 Ultra.
Thanks for all the help all.
 

Puska

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#17
I have used Node 2i with 2tb external hd and it worked superb. The o's is the best. Everything is there. Streamer part on 2i is better than on node2. I tried both. The blues is much better then Austrian box.
 

Berwhale

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#18
Daphile works well and will run on low spec hardware: https://www.daphile.com/

Install instructions here: https://www.daphile.com/download/DaphileInstallation.pdf

I have it setup up on a 5 year old Acer Revo (similar form factor to a NUC). The Revo has a Pentium N3700 CPU, 4GB RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage. It has space for a 2.5" drive but no SATA connector in the model I had, so I bodged in 500GB drive with a USB to SATA adapter...

20191001_205206.jpg
 

Daverz

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#19
Thanks for all the info.
Thanks, I didn't have thought about the fan in the Intel Nuc. That would be a no no.
I shall try to give my situation better. My main system is in my bedroom. There is no computer in that room.
I have a computer downstairs in the main living room. And when I am upstairs I have a good connection on my phone from the router downstairs.
I also don't have a tv in my bedroom. Just my main system and bed and books :).
Would a Bluesound Node 2i or the Project Stream Box S2 Ultra be better for my needs?
The only problem that I have with these solutions is the storage of music.
Is it enough to buy an external hard drive and connect them to these devices? Doesn't this create problems when you play things and that it creates lag and stops and such when playing music? That's why I came to the conclusion for an Intel Nuc. I even heard that an Intel i5 wasn't enough. So I don't know if it is as simple as hooking up a hard drive with my music to a Bluesound Node 2i or a Project Stream Box S2 Ultra.
Thanks for all the help all.
Even over the network, streaming at audio rates is not a challenge even for modest hardware.

You could just use some music playback software on your phone, with music files served up from the PC, assuming a DAC with Wi-Fi or bluetooth capability. Add a NAS if you don't want to have the PC on to play music.

If you want to try the Raspberry Pi solution I mentioned, it will run you about $70-80 for all needed hardware (RPi 4, case, power supply, microSD card, and microSD writer if you don't have one). Software is free.

* Install LMS on your PC. It will ask for the location of your music files and scan them.
* Snap Rpi4 into tool-free case.
* Burn piCoreplayer image on to microSD and insert microSD into Rpi.
* Hook up Rpi ethernet into the router and plug in Rpi power supply.
* Find the Rpi IP address in LMS under Settings->Player
* Navigate to that IP in your browser.
* Set wireless password on Rpi and unhook from ethernet.
* Hook Rpi USB to DAC, plug in power supply.
* Find the new wireless IP in LMS settings.
* Navigate to RPi settings in your browser again to configure audio.
* Try playing some music from LMS. I recommend Radio Paradise.
* I'd first try the LMS Material Skin in a mobile browser for playback control on a phone. Otherwise you could try Orange Squeeze (Android), iPeng (iOS), or one of the other phone/tablet apps for squeezbox control.
 
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