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Dual vs Single PC performance difference


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#1 jimbones

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 07:23 PM

I just straightened out my single PC Femto set up. Although I wont be messing with it now can anyone describe performance improvements between single/dual PC set up? I don't understand why 2 PC's would make a difference. Thanks

 


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#2 BernieK

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 05:25 AM

Hi jimbones,

 

In a nutshell, the reason two PCs might make a difference to sound quality is based on one of the ideas underlying the development of JPLAY: the fewer non-audio related activities running on the Audio-PC, the less negative impact on the sound quality of audio playback.

 

For a single Audio-PC, non-audio related activities can be reduced by, for example, optimization with AO, Fidelizer, etc, and by the use of a remote control point. However, playback still occurs on an Audio-PC on which many activities may be running to support operations other than audio playback.

 

One way to reduce these activities further is to have the audio signal generated by and transferred from a Control-PC to an optimized Audio-PC, the only function of which is audio playback. In this way, non-audio related activities potentially can be reduced to a minimum on the Audio-PC. Presumably this would have a positive impact on sound quality. Indeed, folk who use such a dual PC setup have commented in this forum on the improved sound quality.

 

Cheers,

 

Bernie


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Control and Audio PCs

Dell Inspiron 15R SE laptops with Intel Core i7-3612QM (2.1 GHz) and 16 (Control-PC) or 8 (Audio-PC) Gb DDR3 1600 MHz RAM

Software

OS: Windows Server 2019 (Standard Edtion Desktop) optimized via Fidelizer Pro 8.3, Process Lasso Server Edition 9.1.0.68, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, and a modified Computer Audio Design Desktop Services Killer script; File Manager: Q-Dir 7.58; Library Manager: JRiver MC19; Renderer: JPLAY FEMTO UPnP Renderer; Server: femtoServer; JPLAY Settings: Playing via: KS; Engine: ULTRAstream; Bitstream: Native; Bitperfect Volume: OFF; DAC Link: 500; XtreamSize: 1000; Throttle: ON; Hibernate Mode: ON; Control Point: Upplay 1.38; Media Player for JPLAY Classic engine: JPLAYmini

Equipment Configuration

Control-PC > SUPRA Cat 8 Ethernet Cable > Audio-PC > Chord Silver Plus USB Cable > Uptone Audio Regen (Amber) > Curious Cable USB Regen Link > Luxman DA-06 > Chord Chameleon Plus XLR Interconnects > Luxman L-505u > Van Den Hul Teatrack Speaker Cables > Bryston Model T Signature Speakers with external crossovers

Music Storage

Seagate 6-Tb ext HDD (USB to Control PC) and 2 Seagate 6-Tb ext HDD backups


#3 jimbones

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 01:33 PM

Thank you Bernie. So if I don't fancy going to a 2pc set up I should consider Fidelizer? I assume that makes a significant improvement. I already started uninstalling programs I dont use and manually disabling programs from starting up. But more to be done.



#4 moriez

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 05:23 PM

Thank you Bernie. So if I don't fancy going to a 2pc set up I should consider Fidelizer? I assume that makes a significant improvement. I already started uninstalling programs I dont use and manually disabling programs from starting up. But more to be done.

 

I'm also on a 1pc (Intel NUC) setup and if I were asked for advice I'd answer AudiophileOptimizer before anything. The way I see it is the foundation to build on. Prep properly first. I'm unsure if one can reach by himself what AO does for you automatically. While this does make most sense to me personally take with a grain of salt. I'm an inexperienced newcomer. 

 

Two things to note: AudioPhil is working on a new release of AO so could be wise to wait before spending now. And a fantastic bonus feature is the built-in audio filters/signatures allowing you to tailor the sound reproduction to your liking on the fly.


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#5 jimbones

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 07:05 PM

I'm also on a 1pc (Intel NUC) setup and if I were asked for advice I'd answer AudiophileOptimizer before anything. The way I see it is the foundation to build on. Prep properly first. I'm unsure if one can reach by himself what AO does for you automatically. While this does make most sense to me personally take with a grain of salt. I'm an inexperienced newcomer. 

 

Two things to note: AudioPhil is working on a new release of AO so could be wise to wait before spending now. And a fantastic bonus feature is the built-in audio filters/signatures allowing you to tailor the sound reproduction to your liking on the fly.

I am technologically challenged Lol! Looks like you need to be pretty savvy to use AO!



#6 Thuan

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 07:49 PM

In my humble opinion, best SQ can be achieved in this decreasing order:

1/ DualPC, where both PCs equally optimized and dedicated to music playback. That includes, but not limited to: high performance netword cards and USB card, high quality PSU powering those PCI devices/high quality SSD/CPU, vibration, thermal and EMI control, high grade USB/Ethernet/power cables, low power CPU, quality RAM. Highest cost, best performance, highest learning curve, most satisfying SQ. Compared to singlePC, there's increase sense of vocals floating over and beyond speakers, instruments detached from speakers and separated from vocals and each other, better layering, deeper wider stage, more focused images, tighter more tuneful bass, more effortless and dynamic, sweeter mids, extended highs. The differences vary in magnitude, from one system or album or music genre to another.

2/ SinglePC, similarly configured and optimized as DualPC in #1, but only applied to one PC. Second best SQ, approximately half cost, needs memory stick to use Hibernate feature, simpler to set up, less pain but less fun (than DualPC), lower learning curve, pretty satisfying SQ. Some actually prefer this setup and swear by its superiority. Me, I think matching controlPC to AudioPC as much as possible is key to best SQ, otherwise stay with best possible optimized singlePC and you'll get 95% SQ of a truly good DualPC. Law of diminishing returns.

3/ DualPC, both optimized with AudioPC totally dedicated and controlPC kinda semi-dedicated, being used for other purposes occasionally. This setup appears practically popular, and whether it's a bit compromised or not is debatable. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

4/ DualPC, with AudioPC highly optimized and controlPC so so or much less optimized. This is a no-no in my book; running this setup can actually hurt the otherwise very good SQ. May seem more robust at first (one big benefit of DualPC) but sound purity and natural tonality lessen. Better stay with singlePC until financially ready for another dedicated and/or equally optimized PC.

My subjectivity and bias on DualPC vs AudioPC aside, can't deny or ignore the utmost importance of the music player software. Since its latest 2 month new release, JPLAY Femto (v7) has given most of us who run various setups from singlePC to DualPC a near total package (JPLAY FEMTO renderer/JPLAY femtoServer) that's arguably the best ever sounding player.
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WS2019 Datacentercor 10.0.17763.557, dualPC, AO3 - 1A/2D, JPLAY Femto - KS/US/1000Hz/Hibernate, Fidata/BubbleUPnP.

#7 moriez

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 08:44 PM

I am technologically challenged Lol! Looks like you need to be pretty savvy to use AO!

 

Hard to make calls of any kind but if you're comfortable with installing Windows from scratch it could work out fine, as long as you bring along a dose of patience and persistence. I'm finding the manual not the clearest to be honest and keep being pretty firm on thinking it could have been made way simpler. Fidelizer on the other hand is a free* one click solution. Never tried it so can't comment.

 

 

@thuanb

 

There are many threads and opinions out there but since we're on the subject right here, what do you think is 'okay' hardware, or the very minimum to have in terms of quality in a singlePC setup? I think I know the answer but would DualPC Intel NUC's be a worthwhile investment over a singlePC Intel NUC?

 

Info might also serve the OP. No hijack intended ;)



#8 Thuan

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 10:58 PM

Having had no Intel NUC experience, I'll let others who know better (taxman2 being one) answer your 2nd question. To your 1st query, I'd say the computer sound card (JCAT FEMTO USB comes to mind) is 1st absolute minimum. Next, a fanless PC dedicated to audio running JPLAY FEMTO (v7), and I guarantee the TRIO will bring about substantial SQ improvement no matter what DAC, speakers, amp you're using now. Everything else (better netcard, RAM, cables, PSU, DAC, SSD) can and will come later.
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WS2019 Datacentercor 10.0.17763.557, dualPC, AO3 - 1A/2D, JPLAY Femto - KS/US/1000Hz/Hibernate, Fidata/BubbleUPnP.

#9 BernieK

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 01:16 AM

Thank you Bernie. So if I don't fancy going to a 2pc set up I should consider Fidelizer? I assume that makes a significant improvement. I already started uninstalling programs I dont use and manually disabling programs from starting up. But more to be done.

 

Hi jimbones,

 

A great deal of solid advice worthwhile following has been posted. One point made/implied in the other posts is to first optimize your OS, and Fidelizer is definitely worth considering (you could give the free version a trial and if you like it think about purchasing Fidelizer Pro). The OS changes made by the free version are reversed when you reboot the PC so you have nothing to lose.

 

I started out knowing very little about audio and optimization software. Although the learning curve may be steep, it's quite manageable if you proceed slowly. Fidelizer is straightforward to use and queries can be posted here on the Fidelizer thread or to Fidelizer email support. AO may seem intimidating at first (I certainly thought so initally), but once you use it you'll realize that it's actually quite simple and you don't have to be a computer whiz. My advice about using AO is to first spend time carefully reading the manual and addressing any questions to AO support email. My experience has been that they normally respond very quickly. And of course you can always also ask questions here.

 

Cheers,

 

Bernie


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Control and Audio PCs

Dell Inspiron 15R SE laptops with Intel Core i7-3612QM (2.1 GHz) and 16 (Control-PC) or 8 (Audio-PC) Gb DDR3 1600 MHz RAM

Software

OS: Windows Server 2019 (Standard Edtion Desktop) optimized via Fidelizer Pro 8.3, Process Lasso Server Edition 9.1.0.68, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, and a modified Computer Audio Design Desktop Services Killer script; File Manager: Q-Dir 7.58; Library Manager: JRiver MC19; Renderer: JPLAY FEMTO UPnP Renderer; Server: femtoServer; JPLAY Settings: Playing via: KS; Engine: ULTRAstream; Bitstream: Native; Bitperfect Volume: OFF; DAC Link: 500; XtreamSize: 1000; Throttle: ON; Hibernate Mode: ON; Control Point: Upplay 1.38; Media Player for JPLAY Classic engine: JPLAYmini

Equipment Configuration

Control-PC > SUPRA Cat 8 Ethernet Cable > Audio-PC > Chord Silver Plus USB Cable > Uptone Audio Regen (Amber) > Curious Cable USB Regen Link > Luxman DA-06 > Chord Chameleon Plus XLR Interconnects > Luxman L-505u > Van Den Hul Teatrack Speaker Cables > Bryston Model T Signature Speakers with external crossovers

Music Storage

Seagate 6-Tb ext HDD (USB to Control PC) and 2 Seagate 6-Tb ext HDD backups


#10 jimbones

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 01:55 AM

Ha ha, Bernie, I haven't been very successful when it comes to this stuff. I cant even get the basic Femto to work. Hundreds of hours literally!! I have so far gotten it to work maybe 5-6 days since Thanksgiving.  I am pretty close to pulling the plug on this product. I am beaten. I have to find an all in one solution with software hardware already integrated and tested and made to work with each other, with a warranty and support.



#11 simonshenq

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 06:45 AM

Hi everyone,

 

Do you feel which is better between Jplaymini and Bubbleupnp remote in single PC mode? Thanks.


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#12 Thuan

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 01:57 PM

BubbleUPnP, but JplayMini is a close second.
WS2019 Datacentercor 10.0.17763.557, dualPC, AO3 - 1A/2D, JPLAY Femto - KS/US/1000Hz/Hibernate, Fidata/BubbleUPnP.

#13 GAR

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Posted 06 April 2019 - 10:48 AM

This is an interesting and useful thread. What also would be helpful is to add, if possible, one's experience with streamers other than a single/dual PC by way of SQ comparison.

 

It would also be interesting to know (approximately) how much some of the more experienced members have spent on their PC-based systems. Just to get a feel for what these recommendations cost in aggregate. (Not exact, just an approximation).

 

Gary



#14 takacid

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 04:51 AM

With the new integrated audio server design of Jplay Femto 7.0D, I don't really see a need to separate control - Audio PCs. 

Thus, I have changed the 3 PC setup (1 PC: Upplay Control Point, 1PC: Control PC, 1PC: Audio PC) to 2 PC setup (1PC: Upplay Control Point, 1PC: Control+Audio PC). Unless, you have a M12 Gold Switch and JCAT Netcard Femto with tweaked settings, by-passing LAN network with Single PC setting is more advantageous.

But I find it better to have the control point separated from the Control+Audio PC. 


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