Media Server, Video Editing Server, Audio Server- the evolution from HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 09-08-2012, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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For many of us early HTPC enthusiasts, the build itself was more rewarding than watching or listening what our HTPC would output to our Video Display and Audio System. Somewhere between building my 7th and 10th HTPC I realized how much time I was investing in reconfiguring ffdshow, keeping my bluetooth stack from collapsing and losing keyboard or mouse connectivity, constantly finding ways to make my case run cooler, replacing failing RAID drives, and on and on. Rather than actually sitting and listening to my music, or viewing my pictures or home videos, I had little time for that because I realized I was a HTPC junkie. Something had to change.

If one object of our passion was listening to music, what components and features in an Audio Server were needed to have the music files stored in one room while my audio components were in another room? What changes in our audio components were required to best compliment this new HD music source? What changes in our home data networks were required to alllow us to share massive video files between different systems in different rooms?

Hoping I am not alone in my journey of evolution from HTPC enthusiast to Home Theater Media enthusiast. If you frequent such places as www.hdtracks.com or CEDIA or newegg or audiogon or missingremote.com, you may have some passion for this new thread and sharing the story of your journey with others like you. I look forward to finding and learning from others who share this passion.

South Florida is my Theater
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post #2 of 29 Old 09-08-2012, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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My current media server build includes-
Thermaltake Armor MX Tower Case, Corsair Professional Series Gold AX1200 80 Plus Power Supply, Intel Core I7 Extreme 980 Socket 1366 CPU overclocked to 4.2gHz with stock cooler, 24GB G.Skill Ripjaw DDR3 9-9-24 triple channel memory,EVGA X58 SLI Classified Motherboard, Phoenix 6.00 Bios, NVIDIA GeForce GTX-480 Video Card, Adaptec 51645 RAID Controller Card, OCZ Revo-Drive 240GB SSD Storage for some programs, Four Western Digital Black Caviar 2TB SATA Drives in Adaptec Hardware RAID 1 partitioned into 600GB Operating System plus 1.3TB Music/Pictures Library plus 1.8TB Video Library, Two Fujitsu 147GB SAS Drives in Adaptec Hardware RAID 0 for some programs, Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit Operating System.

Music files ripped from original discs in lossless WMA, Downloaded HD music files in FLAC, dBPoweramp Music Converter for FLAC to AIFF, Mediamonkey and iTunes and Windows Media Center Extender to Home Theater system over ethernet. Use Classe Processor with Burr/Brown DAC's to listen to music either 2 channel stereo (pass thru) or multiple 5.1 formats.

Video files edited with Cyberlink Media Director, Adobe Premier Elements. Image files edited with Adobe Photoshop CS2, Coreldraw X5

South Florida is my Theater
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post #3 of 29 Old 09-08-2012, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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My current home theater system includes-
Classe SSP-800 Processor with V2.0.6 software update, Classe CA-5300 Amplifier with V2.01 software update, Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-151FD 60" Plasma Display, Oppo BD-83 Special Edition Blu-Ray SACD DVD-A CD Player with internet/network access via ethernet, Bowers & Wilkins 803D Diamond Front Left/Right Loudspeakers, B&W Center Channel speaker, B&W Rear left/right/center speakers, AppleTV 2nd Generation HDMI for internet/network access via ethernet of music/pictures/video, Yamaha YP-D8 Turntable, Goldring 1012GX Phono Cartridge, Toshiba HD-XA2 HD-DVD Player, Yamaha RXV-3300 Receiver, Harmony Remote, Monoprice 5 port HDMI switcher, Linksys 10/100 8 port ethernet switcher, Blue Jean Cables, Xbox360 HDMI for internet/network access via ethernet of music/pictures/video, DirecTV HDDVR.

South Florida is my Theater
Listen to live music and recreate it at home.
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post #4 of 29 Old 09-08-2012, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Hoping others find this thread interesting and helpful. How are you integrating your HTPC into your home theater.

South Florida is my Theater
Listen to live music and recreate it at home.
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post #5 of 29 Old 09-08-2012, 10:10 PM
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Well, you can see my new HTPC build in my recent build thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1427049/htpc-make-that-ht-gaming-workstation-build-thread

I use it to run an Epson 8350 and have a Dell 2407 connected as well. On the audio side, I am 2-channel, since my condo is size-limited. I output to an H/K 990 CD player through spdif. The player has a great DAC, so I use that to go analog to my approaching vintage Rotel receiver which is driving some KEF Q65s, from the days of UK manufacture and racetrack drivers. The media lives on a Mediasonic 4-bay box connected by USB 3.0. I haven't taken to ripping the blu-ray collection yet (so I really do use that Blu-Ray drive on a regular basis) so the 4-bay has plenty of capacity holding probably 500 CDs ripped at 320kb MP3 (I ripped most of them when using an older Creative MP3 player, and was optimizing for that player) and a few dozen DVDs that my son watches over and over, so I don't have to dig the disks out eery time.
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post #6 of 29 Old 09-09-2012, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lespurgeon View Post

Well, you can see my new HTPC build in my recent build thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1427049/htpc-make-that-ht-gaming-workstation-build-thread
I use it to run an Epson 8350 and have a Dell 2407 connected as well. On the audio side, I am 2-channel, since my condo is size-limited. I output to an H/K 990 CD player through spdif. The player has a great DAC, so I use that to go analog to my approaching vintage Rotel receiver which is driving some KEF Q65s, from the days of UK manufacture and racetrack drivers. The media lives on a Mediasonic 4-bay box connected by USB 3.0. I haven't taken to ripping the blu-ray collection yet (so I really do use that Blu-Ray drive on a regular basis) so the 4-bay has plenty of capacity holding probably 500 CDs ripped at 320kb MP3 (I ripped most of them when using an older Creative MP3 player, and was optimizing for that player) and a few dozen DVDs that my son watches over and over, so I don't have to dig the disks out eery time.

That case looks perfect in your cabinet. I used to use the same receiver style form factor Antec case but could never get satisfactory quiet air cooling, so had to put in liquid cooling. Many people do not know that Rotel built some fine top end receivers, and their toroidal power transformer designs were also used in other brands including Oppo.Do you find higher performance Blu-Ray using the HTPC compared to say the Oppo BD-93 or BD-95? I used to enjoy listening to the KEF 105's when time alignment and fast fourier decay plots were the rage. Do you really think you will benefit from ripping the blu-ray collection? I started that but realized my viewing habits did not require instant access to my movies.Sounds like your son benefits from his quick access. Does he run the HTPC system himself when you are elsewhere? Yes it was nice to skip the FBI warnings, but I needed more reason to invest the time and effort and storage.

Do you have any plans to transition from spdif to hdmi to move your digital signals from HTPC to your Receiver/Processor when that time comes?

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post #7 of 29 Old 09-09-2012, 08:21 PM
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I don't have an Oppo or other top-end blu-ray player. I find PC better than the cheap ones, but not by much - mostly ability to tune it. No plan to go HDMI in the near future - my receiver is all analog and while I had a 6.1 system in a prior house, I'm really happy with 2.0 in my current condo. If/when life moves me again I may be back to multi-channel and would be looking for a new HT receiver, but would still keep the ol' Rotel for 2-channel music. The 105s were very cool, but I'd never fit a pair in my current space. My setup isn't perfect, a bit too close to side walls (I had to pull trim off next to a 3-step rise up to the dining room just to fit in the Q65s next to my equipment cabinet/screen.
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post #8 of 29 Old 09-10-2012, 05:27 AM
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I have recently taken the plunge into the HTPC realm as I want to see how it wil stack up against dedicated components (mostly to hold movie collection and be a cable box/DVR). I will say I am a video/audio phile first (I had a GREAT teacher in my father getting me hooked on 2-channel which progressed from there). Still waiting for my HTPC case to be deilvered so I can put together my NEW toy. I am anxious to see how it will stack up to my Sony ES5000 Blu Ray. I am constantly tweaking and changing gear out and my wife "cringes" every time she sees the brown UPS truck roll on the street as she knows IT will be stopping at the house smile.gif Biggest change for me is eliminating the 2 400 disc carousel Sony DVD changers and ripping them to the HTPC. Yes I know "not Hi Def" content but I use a Denon DVP-602ci for scaling to 1080 which makes it watchable.

When I change out a cable and start listening for the improvement, ask my wife if she can tell a difference - she looks at me says I'm crazy. Then asks the question "How much was that?" Yet, when we have a gathering on the weekend, she is the first to suggest firing up the HT for demos biggrin.gif

To the OP - yes I frequent all those sites you mentioned and then some (dont for Videogon). Spend countless hours reading material online on how to improve my system. I foresee myself doing reasearch looking for upgrades to my HTPC that isnt even built yet - ohhhh yeah, I am a electronics junkie and I have a problem biggrin.gif

Toys

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post #9 of 29 Old 09-10-2012, 06:41 AM
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Windows Home Server 2011
Core 2 Duo E6320 (1.86 GHz, 4MB cache)
2GB DDR2-800
Areca ARC-1222 (8-port SATA II RAID Controller)
4 x 3TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM (currently 9TB RAID-5, online expandable)
Dual Intel gigabit ethernet (teamed)

I use MakeMKV to rip all my Blu-rays, HD-DVDs, and DVDs to MKVs and I can serve four simultaneous Blu-ray streams across the network (I've only tested four, but I'm sure it can do more). I primarily use XBMC 11.0 (Eden) with the high-res audio pack, but VLC and Windows Media Player work just as well for the PCs. So far, I'm extremely pleased with the performance of the entire system. I'm planning on tweaking the server with MySQL to keep all XBMC installation syncronized (progress, library, skins, etc.) via this tutorial.

For music, I've got all my MP3s, FLACs, WAVs on the server as well. I don't use anything special to organize those other than making sure the metadata is accurate before moving it to the server. From there, anyone with just about any music player can listen to music.

We don't currently do anything with TV - we don't even have a cable TV package or an antenna connected to any of our TVs. We really only watch stuff we own or watch Netflix/Prime. I've been thinking about installing an HDHomerun on the network to record some OTA programming or the occassional live sporting event, as HDHomerun works well with XBMC.

I also use the server as a central repository for our Steam library. Games download on the server and then just copy the games to whatever computer you want to play on. It's especially useful for our computers with smaller SSDs.

For actual HTPCs, the devices connected to the displays, we have a couple cheap laptops and desktops around the house that are plugged in using HDMI via either NVIDIA or AMD GPUs. The only stipulation is 1080p24 playback with lossless audio. I've also got a more competent gaming desktop/HTPC in the primary home theater. I'm planning on replacing the laptops with some ultra-low power ITX builds when I save up some cash.

The whole house is wired up with CAT6 cable, so I'm ready for 10Gbps or 40Gbps if it ever becomes affordable. So far, the gigabit network is the bottleneck for the server as sequential reads hover around 120-130MB/sec (writes are around 100MB/sec, limited by the array). The Wireless-N connections are also able to stream Blu-rays, but some movies (Avatar) have to pause and buffer occasionally.

Overall, it's been a great experience.
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post #10 of 29 Old 09-10-2012, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanddrews View Post

The whole house is wired up with CAT6 cable, so I'm ready for 10Gbps or 40Gbps if it ever becomes affordable. So far, the gigabit network is the bottleneck for the server as sequential reads hover around 120-130MB/sec (writes are around 100MB/sec, limited by the array). The Wireless-N connections are also able to stream Blu-rays, but some movies (Avatar) have to pause and buffer occasionally.
Overall, it's been a great experience.

Do you mean CAT6A? CAT6 can do 10Gbps over shorter runs, but I doubt it will do 40Gbps.
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post #11 of 29 Old 09-11-2012, 06:46 AM
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Do you mean CAT6A? CAT6 can do 10Gbps over shorter runs, but I doubt it will do 40Gbps.

Yes, 6a. And by shorter runs you mean 300 feet. Unless your house is a football field in length, you don't have to worry. LOL

10GbE is probably the max I'll achieve for a lot of reasons. Primarily, what would I need anything more for? (I remember asking that question in 1997 after upgrading from my 14.4 modem to a 56K...) The other side of it is simply that I don't see anything over 10GbE getting affordable for home use - at least not in my home in the next 10 years.

More realistically, I would not ever achieve 40GbE (certainly not "true" fiber 40GbE), even using two dual-port 10GbE NICs with link aggregation enabled. Right now, 10GbE NICs ($600) and switches ($2,000) are very expensive. But let's say, for the sake of argument, that if I upgraded the whole house with fiber, I would still need a computer and storage system capable of delivering over 5,000MB/sec to saturate that. Unless SSDs get a lot bigger, faster, and cheaper in the next couple years, I think 10GbE will be fine. Well, they probably will... so who knows, right?
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post #12 of 29 Old 09-11-2012, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanddrews View Post

Yes, 6a. And by shorter runs you mean 300 feet. Unless your house is a football field in length, you don't have to worry. LOL
10GbE is probably the max I'll achieve for a lot of reasons. Primarily, what would I need anything more for? (I remember asking that question in 1997 after upgrading from my 14.4 modem to a 56K...) The other side of it is simply that I don't see anything over 10GbE getting affordable for home use - at least not in my home in the next 10 years.
More realistically, I would not ever achieve 40GbE (certainly not "true" fiber 40GbE), even using two dual-port 10GbE NICs with link aggregation enabled. Right now, 10GbE NICs ($600) and switches ($2,000) are very expensive. But let's say, for the sake of argument, that if I upgraded the whole house with fiber, I would still need a computer and storage system capable of delivering over 5,000MB/sec to saturate that. Unless SSDs get a lot bigger, faster, and cheaper in the next couple years, I think 10GbE will be fine. Well, they probably will... so who knows, right?

I mean that Cat6 can only do 10GbE over shorter runs (though it is debatable whether 37m/121ft is considered short). From wiki:

"When used for 10GBASE-T, Cat 6 cable's maximum length is 55 meters (180 ft) in a favourable alien crosstalk environment, but only 37 meters (121 ft) in a hostile alien crosstalk environment, such as when many cables are bundled together. However, because the effects of alien crosstalk environments on cables are difficult to determine prior to installation, it is highly recommended that all Cat6 cables being used for 10GBASE-T are electrically tested once installed. With its improved specifications, Cat6A does not have this limitation and can run 10GBASE-T at 100 meters (330 ft) without electronic testing."

10GbE seems to be a good target for now. Even if we have mediums that exceed that speed, it's unlikely that we'll be too worried about the wait... unless you are talking about raw 4K video feeds, which in any case would require not only very fast media, but very large capacity media and the way things are going, you can get large or you can get fast, usually not both once you are price restricted. Of course we could have a storage breakthrough so yeah, don't want to rule it out. Then you have to remember that more and more homes will be opting for fast wireless over fast wired for the typical consumer.
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post #13 of 29 Old 09-11-2012, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toys7505 View Post

. Yes I know "not Hi Def" content but I use a Denon DVP-602ci for scaling to 1080 which makes it watchable.

So, Toys, do you find the Denon actually scales better than the HTPC? I've been happy using the PC to scale, but I've also not had a "quality" upscaling player.
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post #14 of 29 Old 09-13-2012, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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One of my current questions with my system involves the pros and cons of ethernet to move music from my upstairs Media Server to my downstairs AppleTV 3rd Gen connected by HDMI to my Classe SSP-800 Processor. The iTunes interface is elegant and simple and works well for me. With my configuration I see the DAC taking place inside my SSP-800 while the AppleTV is just passing digital information. The question is, is the AppleTV really just passing digital information - Ethernet from Media Server- thru AppleTV-HDMI to SSP-800. The more I read about DAC's it seems the conversation excludes ethernet completely, with USB the sole focus. Just finished reading the review of the Classe CP-800 D/A 2 channel Processor. Again the reviewer simply connects his iPhone to the CP-800 via USB for his review. That arrangement works OK but no discussion whatsoever for the kind of Media Server to Home Audio System setup many of us have.

Am I correct that the transmission via ethernet does not alter the audio quality or sampling rates?

Am I correct that the AppleTV simply passes the digital signal to the HDMI output without alteration?

Am I correct that the SSP-800 can properly perform the DAC in the same manner as a standalone DAC?

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post #15 of 29 Old 09-13-2012, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanddrews View Post


Dual Intel gigabit ethernet (teamed)
I use MakeMKV to rip all my Blu-rays, HD-DVDs, and DVDs to MKVs and I can serve four simultaneous Blu-ray streams across the network (I've only tested four, but I'm sure it can do more). I primarily use XBMC 11.0 (Eden) with the high-res audio pack, but VLC and Windows Media Player work just as well for the PCs. So far, I'm extremely pleased with the performance of the entire system. I'm planning on tweaking the server with MySQL to keep all XBMC installation syncronized (progress, library, skins, etc.) via this tutorial.
For music, I've got all my MP3s, FLACs, WAVs on the server as well. I don't use anything special to organize those other than making sure the metadata is accurate before moving it to the server. From there, anyone with just about any music player can listen to music.
.

I will take a look at the MakeMKV product, it looks interesting from your description. How do you get your FLAC music from your server into your audio system?

South Florida is my Theater
Listen to live music and recreate it at home.
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post #16 of 29 Old 09-14-2012, 10:28 AM
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I will take a look at the MakeMKV product, it looks interesting from your description. How do you get your FLAC music from your server into your audio system?
Most commonly, I connect my HTPCs and laptops to my AVRs with HDMI, playing the FLAC directly from the server. Sometimes I play them over the network to my Android tablet or phone with headphones. My Yamaha RX-A3000 in the main theater room can play FLAC natively over the network without any other device in the chain, but I rarely use that function as its GUI is cumbersome and has difficult with large libraries. For software on the computers, either XBMC or Windows Media Player/Center with FLAC plugin.
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post #17 of 29 Old 09-14-2012, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Most commonly, I connect my HTPCs and laptops to my AVRs with HDMI, playing the FLAC directly from the server. Sometimes I play them over the network to my Android tablet or phone with headphones. My Yamaha RX-A3000 in the main theater room can play FLAC natively over the network without any other device in the chain, but I rarely use that function as its GUI is cumbersome and has difficult with large libraries. For software on the computers, either XBMC or Windows Media Player/Center with FLAC plugin.

The simple GUI with the AppleTV suits my taste perfectly. Tried using MediaMonkey over the XBox360 but didn't like that interface, plus lots of the music format options in my library were in formats not compatible with XBox360. You mentioned the Windows Media Player/Center with FLAC plugin, could not get that to work but will take a look again as I probably gave up to soon. I also find the quality of the audio over the AppleTV from my Media Server preferable to the audio of the XBox360.

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post #18 of 29 Old 09-15-2012, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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My audio media streaming use of the AppleTV 3gen will never be the same again. Last night on the Classe forum in the Audio Processors section, in a discussion with Roger Dressler, Roger suggested that the 2gen ATV did not pass unaltered audio, but converted everything it received to 48K and passed that out via the HDMI. This morning my testing began, and Roger was right that even the 3gen ATV converted everything it received to 48K. So my HDtracks at 94/24 files became 48K, and my 192/24 became 48K. I must admit, the audio quality using the AppleTV 3gen as a media streamer to my Classe SSP-800 Processor has been excellent. However, I am now aware that my seemingly perfect media streaming solution messes with my source material without my telling it to, and that is a problem I must address. After all, we who build HTPC and Media Servers are driven by our obsessions. I have a new one that must be solved, thats what we HTPC folks do!

Now I understand the difference between a Media Server (which is what I built) and a Media Streamer, which retrieves audio & video files via ethernet or USB, and produces an organized user interface to access and play those files. Back to the drawing board!

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1411212/exhaustive-micca-ep600-g2-review/60

Just downloaded and read the user manual on the Micca EP600 G2 . Wow! Looks like this set top media streamer is being very well received in the AVS Forum world. The thread I posted above will get you to that discussion. The audio formats I use, in particular FLAC, show as supported. The manual explains in section 9.2.2 HDMI Output HDMI Output sets the format of the digital audio carried over the player’s HDMI output.

RAW - Audio is sent without being decoded by the player. The TV or home theater receiver must be able to decode the audio, otherwise there will be no audio playback. (WHAT I WANT)

or

LPCM Multi-Ch- The player preserves multi-channel LPCM sound tracks instead of down-mixing to stereo.

or Auto or LPCM downmix to 2 channel.

The funny thing is, member comments thus far on this product seem to reflect a belief that Micca pays attention to customer suggestions in software updates. Reason that is funny to me, Oppo success started in a similiar way. Hoping this product can develop the same way and we all can benefit.

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post #19 of 29 Old 10-19-2012, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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http://www.avsforum.com/t/1411212/exhaustive-micca-ep600-g2-review/60
Just downloaded and read the user manual on the Micca EP600 G2 . Wow! Looks like this set top media streamer is being very well received in the AVS Forum world. The thread I posted above will get you to that discussion. The audio formats I use, in particular FLAC, show as supported. The manual explains in section 9.2.2 HDMI Output HDMI Output sets the format of the digital audio carried over the player’s HDMI output.
RAW - Audio is sent without being decoded by the player. The TV or home theater receiver must be able to decode the audio, otherwise there will be no audio playback. (WHAT I WANT)
or
LPCM Multi-Ch- The player preserves multi-channel LPCM sound tracks instead of down-mixing to stereo.
or Auto or LPCM downmix to 2 channel.
The funny thing is, member comments thus far on this product seem to reflect a belief that Micca pays attention to customer suggestions in software updates. Reason that is funny to me, Oppo success started in a similiar way. Hoping this product can develop the same way and we all can benefit.

My Micca EP600G2 arrived a few weeks ago. A very nice component with lots of capabilities to learn how to use. Confirmed using my Classe SSP-800 Processor that it passes my HDtracks FLAC files perfectly at their native resolutions of 192/24 or 96/24 or 88/24 or 48/24 and my CD files can be played in their native 44.1 resolution. If you have an interest, check out the EP600G2 Forum under Gaming & Content Streaming- Media Streamers.

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post #20 of 29 Old 12-28-2012, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Discovering a new world using my media server to share audio via DLNA over streaming network. Asset uPnP by dbpoweramp allows raw files or transcoding to be streamed without dropouts or quality loss over wired Ethernet. Just when I was thinking all my efforts to evolve my media server were yesterday's news, I am re-energized. Are you other builders out there of similar opinion?

South Florida is my Theater
Listen to live music and recreate it at home.
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post #21 of 29 Old 12-28-2012, 09:48 PM
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Well...I'm probably not the audiophile you are, but here's my humble setup.

I have...well...a couple of servers that handle my media storage/conversion/streaming etc. Specifically:

- A Windows Home Server 2011 based storage server for storing all media. This has about 45TB of space available to it. All it does is provide a pooled storage model to dump my media into.
- A "streaming" server - This handles my streaming needs when I'm away from the house and need to access my media. I run a couple of streaming apps on it, like Air Video, Air Playit etc.
- A "tuner" server - This hosts my two Ceton tuner cards. This is a separate server for a number of reasons, but networking issues are the main reason apart from keeping the TV traffic dedicated to it.
- A "conversion" server. This does my video transcoding, comskip, format conversion etc. I run a home brew engine on this that is somewhat similar to the Windows Scheduler (in fact it uses it), but it extends the task handling by adding in rules based processing, that allows it to chain tasks together. Even though it's kinda clunky, it still works.

I just finished a revamp of the servers, since I had to migrate from WHS v1 to WHS 2011, and in the process I wanted to rework some of the servers. The servers are all S3 sleep enabled, and sleep most of the time, but wake up (based on static IP access) as soon as they are accessed. I used to shut down my servers before and/or use programmed turn on/off times. The new setup is heaven. smile.gif Almost instantaneous access, low standby power draw (all four of the servers when sleeping, consume about 22 watts), not having to worry about whether the server is on or not - priceless.

On the client side, I pretty much have HTPCs throughout the house. I'm running 6 right now (not counting the carpc) and counting. I considered going to Extenders, but we have Fios, and with Fios, other than the premium movie channels, everything else is "copy freely", which makes the extenders kinda a moot point. I have looked at media "streamers", but since I'm running HTPCs at all locations, they can do everything that a streamer can.

In the main theater, I was running a custom modded Auzentech X-Meridian connected to a Fosgate FAP T1 connected to a Sunfire 7 channel amp out to Axiom speakers. Since then, I have gone HDMI out from the HTPC to a Denon 4311 to Behringer amps out to JBL Cinema series speakers. The JBLs are better than the Axioms...I think. smile.gif

Other than the HTPCs around the house, everything is contained in my equipment rack, and I have hard wired CAT6 running throughout the house. Since the heavy duty stuff is in the rack, I don't have to worry about "AV like" cases etc. smile.gif I just use heavy duty rack mount cases. No worries about cooling in these cases.

I'm running a pfsense based router, and that offers way more functionality than your typical consumer router. With that, I run specific port based rules, as well as a VPN, that allows me to access this entire setup away from home, on my phone, in the car (dedicated carpc), on my iPad etc.

I'm rambling now.... smile.gif
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post #22 of 29 Old 12-29-2012, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Well...I'm probably not the audiophile you are, but here's my humble setup.
I have...well...a couple of servers that handle my media storage/conversion/streaming etc. smile.gif

After reading and retreading your setup, you are way too modest. I'll just call you Yoda.

I love my adapter controller card for managing and mirroring and striping my storage. What are you using for that and what raid configs? I will have more questions about multiple servers vs complexity.

Edit- Adaptec 51645 SAS Raid controller

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post #23 of 29 Old 12-29-2012, 06:28 PM
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After reading and retreading your setup, you are way too modest. I'll just call you Yoda.
I love my adapter controller card for managing and mirroring and striping my storage. What are you using for that and what raid configs? I will have more questions about multiple servers vs complexity.
Edit- Adaptec 51645 SAS Raid controller
I'm using three IBM Serveraid M1015 cards (flashed to IT mode) in the storage server. Gives me 24 ports for storage and the OS runs off of the motherboard sata ports. No raid at all.

All native HDD pass through to Windows home server, which also runs Stablebit Drivepool, which pools all these drives into one giant pool. Within the pool, I have certain folders marked for duplication (which means their contents get written to two separate hard drives).

Oh, and I have a backup server with 3TB of storage for really important stuff, which is duplicated from the main server. And for the real real critical (I'm gonna fall down in agony if I lose that data) stuff, it gets backed up from the backup server to Carbonite (after getting encrypted...can't trust anyone these days) for off site backup.
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post #24 of 29 Old 12-29-2012, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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How did you get the IT and HT bug?

South Florida is my Theater
Listen to live music and recreate it at home.
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post #25 of 29 Old 12-29-2012, 06:44 PM
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How did you get the IT and HT bug?
Well, been an HT buff for years. And IT IS my trade...(I own a small IT company) smile.gif
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post #26 of 29 Old 12-29-2012, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been trying to spend more time enjoying my music and less time tinkering. Started working on streaming several years ago but did not have good success. Always disappointed with user interfaces. Ignored apple products until I discovered the Apple TV device and have fallen in love with its UI. Yes it has its issues but what a powerful product especially for $99.

It just works.

dLNA is flakey as you know. Messed with storing movies but found the effort was not well placed considering I don't browse and playlist movies like I do music. So I have concentrated on being able to easily access my music library at the highest quality levels possible. My audio system and home theater setup is my reward after discovering how to design and build loudspeakers when I was about 15. I'm 55 now so lots of time spent listening and learning. Started a tech company in 1985 to provide fax services to hotel guests across the US called Hotelecopy FaxMail. Needed to develop software to remotely read transaction data in fax machines scattered across country for my revenue accounting. That's when I got the IT bug on top of the audio bug.

South Florida is my Theater
Listen to live music and recreate it at home.
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post #27 of 29 Old 12-29-2012, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone View Post

- A "conversion" server. This does my video transcoding, comskip, format conversion etc. I run a home brew engine on this that is somewhat similar to the Windows Scheduler (in fact it uses it), but it extends the task handling by adding in rules based processing, that allows it to chain tasks together. Even though it's kinda clunky, it still works.
I just finished a revamp of the servers, since I had to migrate from WHS v1 to WHS 2011, and in the process I wanted to rework some of the servers. The servers are all S3 sleep enabled, and sleep most of the time, but wake up (based on static IP access) as soon as they are accessed. I used to shut down my servers before and/or use programmed turn on/off times. The new setup is heaven. smile.gif Almost instantaneous access, low standby power draw (all four of the servers when sleeping, consume about 22 watts), not having to worry about whether the server is on or not - priceless.
On the client side, I pretty much have HTPCs throughout the house. I'm running 6 right now (not counting the carpc) and counting. I considered going to Extenders, but we have Fios, and with Fios, other than the premium movie channels, everything else is "copy freely", which makes the extenders kinda a moot point. I have looked at media "streamers", but since I'm running HTPCs at all locations, they can do everything that a streamer can.


I would love more details on your conversion server. How are you doing the commercial skip? Also what other processes are running? Are the automatic or manual? I'm trying to do something a lot like what you have but am overanalyzing every aspect of this...
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post #28 of 29 Old 01-27-2013, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Feeling better about DLNA since learning more about using jriver to push music to a device, my micca ep600g2 streamer, with digital media renderer capability. Any of you using jriver yet?

South Florida is my Theater
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post #29 of 29 Old 01-27-2013, 08:02 PM
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Snipped for brevity...

You sir, are a great candidate for virtualization.
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