Are music servers the future?

I am now listening to a pro-dac that plays JRiver MC 19 on a Mac Mini 2013 in double DSD. It upsamples everything except presently double DSD moving the filters well beyond anything we can hear or sense. Unfortunately, double DSD downloads are not readily available. It is wondrous to be away from PCM.

Does anyone know of outlets for double DSD recordings?
In a recent Stereophile, they argue that streaming audio is the wave but high definition seems way into the future. Also, what is available for streaming, is unlikely to satisfy the tastes of many listeners. I would much rather have 700 of my preferred discs or high definition downloads.
"Also, what is available for streaming, is unlikely to satisfy the tastes of many listeners. "

Do you have any numbers to support that?

High res streaming from internet sources these days still is not even CD quality technically, but the actual results can be surprisingly good, at least for the kinds of music most people listen to, maybe even more.

Plus there are many excellent solutions for streaming over a home network these days.

Hard core audiophiles are a fringe group that are the hardest to please. But frankly, if music streaming is done right, be the source on the local network or even external via internet, the results are very good, better possible than what 99% of teh people out there might have hard to-date otherwise.

It's definitely to the point where any serious lover of music and good sound should consider giving it a try. Plus, it will only continue to get better over time.
You could be just as well talking about:
Stereo recording
Solid state amps
Quadraphonic records
8 Track tape
Cassette tape
Digital FM

Only time will tell.
No, unless iTunes gets into the business.
Mapman, no I don't have any figures, Stereophile, if I recall does have figures about its growth. I am reconciled to realize that modern culture has passed me by. I cannot stand most modern music. I deliberately did not quantify my statement.

I am listening now to double DSD from my server. Of course listening to 44.1 at double DSD upsampling moves the filter dramatically upward revealing much heretofore unheard realism. And SACDs if they are real upgrades, are outstanding.
I'm streaming my .wav files at home to my PC at work using plex configured for highest sound quality and listening on klipsch s4 earbuds. Sounds damn good!

I listen to the same files on my "big" system at home via Squeezebox to my DAC of choice. This is the bomb!

Still like records as well, especially older titles that are high quality excellent analog recordings. Those are always a special sonic treat. Not as much many records made in the 70's and newer. Mediocrity started to set in on a large scale there as well. Good modern digital streaming is much more consistent overall, even if the nth degree of technical perfection in terms of resolution is still out there still on the horizon somewhere.

I do hear new things on some recordings that are hard to detect otherwise in any case, even listening at work on those inexpensive but good qualty ear buds hooked to my standard-issue PC
You remind me of my grandson listening to Pink Floyd on ear buds. I took him up to my listening room and played the vinyl version. His comment was it doesn't sound like the same recording. But for his convenience he went back to listening to the ear buds. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.
I'd guess that servers are the future but I've been hearing that for quite a while now and progress towards that future seems very slow.

Sony, one of the three major music groups, has their first servers out now and promises lots of high res downloads. Sony says the other two majors, Universal and Warner, are on board too. So maybe things will start happening soon. I hope so.
Tomcy6, Sony's decision to convert all it master tapes to quad DSD is certainly added emphasis. The new unit I have comes from Empirical Audio Legacy. My previous unit fooled Itunes into thinking it was runninng the music but it was only to use their organization. It ran in up to 192/24 PCM.

I expect that down loads will be the future also and that at some point you will be able to buy quad DSDs which will be mastertapes.
Personally I think Hi Def Streaming Audio is the future. Ultimate convenience AND quality. If you don't think they can deliver high def music via streaming in the near future - just consider that they already deliver both hi def audio AND video in the same stream with movies to perfection.
Music servers are now, not in the future. Check out the Antipodes. Beats even a tweaked-out ac Mini, which I have had for years.

DSD is another thing. I believe its a flash in the pan like SACD. Most high-end DAC designers don't like it but they are offering it to satisfy the customers. I will be too. PCM beats it if the digital filtering is done right IME. Mostly not done right.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Audioengr, I had not heard of the Antipodes. Maybe I'll get a chance to hear one.

Getting rid of the switching ps on the Mac is necessary as is dependence on Itunes.

I think SONY's going with quad DSD for their mastertapes, all but assures DSD is the future. I have compared double DSD with 192/24 PCM and somewhat prefer double DSD, but 44.1/16 is a real loser realitive to double DSD and especially if compared with a hybrid SACD to 44.1/16 versus DSD and both bumped to double DSD.
Steve, there are no reviews or pricing info on the Antipodes DX flagship product. Not much more than a cursory announcement on their website
Larrybou...I think you are right on the mark. The fact that they can stream hi-def video means that the technology to stream hi-def music is already here. All we need is a company to implement and sell it.
Mitch4t, are you sure that streaming hi-def video is a difficult as hi-def audio? I certainly have never heard at CES any streaming demonstrations that were close to high definition audio, such as PCM 192/24 or native DSD.
. I am not sure which is more difficult. It just seems that since I get a hi-def video image via Netflix streaming, it stands to reason audio should be available too. Maybe I'm over simplifying things here, but aren't hi def streaming video files larger than hi def audio files?.
Mitch4t, I guess it is pixels versus sample rate, which is kind of apple v. oranges. But I don't know either.
It's simply a matter of how much data can be streamed how quickly - a matter of bandwidth. Netflix is already working on streaming 4K video so trust me, DSD files from a bandwidth point of view is no sweat.

Also consider that uncompressed blu ray DTS is high resolution audio that's already being streamed along with much more bandwidth intensive 1080P video.

The technology's here and then some - it's the economic model that's missing. And that's as always to do with intellectual property and licensing issues.

Once the labels realize the market for $8 per song hi Rez files will never match their overwrought 5 year projections, the streaming model will be next.
Audioengr, Last night I compared several cds on my server as well as several HDTracks, and three DSD downloads from SACDs. I each was played in PCM for whatever sampling rate they were in to double DSD. In the case of the SACD it was there cd counterpart. Frankly I was shocked at how superior double DSD was over even HDTracks PCM.

Live with your PCM and I will with my double DSD.
THere are many reasons why the same digital recording in multiple formats could sound different.

Beyond the usual hardware related reasons why any two sources might sound different, with digital throw any possible number of software related factors/differences that could come into play in any case comparing any two.

It's way harder to identify cause and effect with computer audio for certain compared to anything before it.

Luckily, when done well, the differences will often be subtle and not significant for many, but I feel sorry for anyone predisposed to account for any difference in sound perceived when they hear it, because it is pretty much an impossible chase.

It's easy for me to understand why traditional audiophiles often despise computer audio. There are so many more variables and unknowns to deal with. And so many ways to draw fast conclusions that might not turn out to be accurate. Can definitely drive a control freak crazy.
Mapman, simple this is all untrue. Soon mastertapes will all be quad DSD. As to the hardware causing the impossibility of comparing PCM v. DSD, we will see. The Sabre chip actually has two dacs, one for PCM and one for DSD.

But sound is the only truth.
"But sound is the only truth."

I'll buy that. Or better yet, what we hear is the only real truth with this stuff. Unfortunately, nobody else can hear what each of us hears. So there you go......
Mapman, true but some do hear the same. Basically, I go to shows with at least two who do.
Well spoken Tbg! Besides, Empirical Audio, MSB and Request Audio, just to mention those who I have heard extensively, can most certainly show up sonic differences between the older and newer formats if your system is sufficiently up to it. Some of it comes stunningly close to the real thing, that is live music in real space. I could not care a damn, which format does what. All I want is for my sound to come as close as possible to what subjectively for my ears and my ears only comes as close as possible to the "absolute sound" of real live music.
Detlof, thanks. I hasten to say that my server is from Empirical Audio Legacy which is distinct from Empirical Audio, although they used to be together.

I hate when people say bits are bits. How many times have I heard amazing differences when others say it is impossible as "bits are bits."

I am now hearing digital that makes me want to yell "bravo!" after so many cuts that my wife might have be put in a home.
One important thing to realize about the latest generation of music servers is that they have made considerable progress in enriching ones listening experience with information (referred to as "metadata"), similar to how it used to be with vinyl, where a nice album cover and package made the overall experience more enjoyable.

That aspect of things took a dive with CD packaging for obvious reasons, and is probably still teh biggest practical drawback to CD format.

Take a look at the latest PLEX music server for example. Once music files are tagged with basic artist and album information to identify it correctly, PLEX is the first solution I have seen that may cross the inforamtion threshold that vinyl packaging used to provide, and deliver an even better and more extended and enriched listening experience, not just in one's home, but mobile out and about as well.

I feel like things are finally moving forward to some extent now with music servers, and that a lot of teh wheel spinning with the technology that naturally occurs early on is now a thing of the past.
Tbg, I espressively meant Steve Nugent's gear, which of course does not upsample as your Legacy does, because it made me hear Red Book in a completely new way.
Actually to be clear, multimedia servers (which includes music server functionality and other forms of media) is the wave of both present and future to ride I would say.

Music servers alone have limited appeal for most compared to multimedia. Multimedia servers like PLEX for example provide excellent support for high quality digital sound/music from a variety of A/V formats and sources, some of which are music specific, like FLAC, and other more proprietary formats.
Mapman, yes but none are high definition, at least not in the 192/24 PCM format or DSD native or above.

I'm not saying that this might not be convenient, just not approaching vinyl realism or better.
Tbg, some are I think. But not common. Network bandwidth needed to stream higher than CD resolutions becomes an issue. I have not felt a need to dive into the higher than CD resolution digital world quite yet. Too many headaches for the marginal gain that might be possible. Maybe someday when things all catch up a bit more. CD res works for me for the most part in practice, though I know technically and from listening experience that more is possible, to the extent that it might matter.
Mapman, I have moved up.
Tbg, any published specs or documents for the server you are using?

It is not a big deal. I am currently streaming multichannel DSD and 24/192 PCM from my remote NAS to the system without any hassles or interruptions.
Agreed bandwidth is not a problem. I stream 1080p movies via wireless N from my cheapo, 5 year old Thecus N4100Pro NAS.

On a side note, I was able to dramatically improve the performance of my wireless network by just adjusting the channel.
Mapman, this guy is a pro-audio guy, but is moving toward an audiophile level music server. Mine presently is about the size of a Mac Mini, but has oppamps and inexpensive clocks. Soon I will get the four outboard linear power supplies, quite accurate clocks, and two computers built in with one doing only audio and the other the other over 1000 tasks that on other machines are also done by the one computer. It will also use JRiver's MC 19 and should by then be capable of quad DSD with the filters well beyond audibility or even sensitivity to sounds.

I should also note that the unit I presently have has three SACDs where it is on in both with and without treatment using Essence of Music. The treatment is far superior. I am treating 50 more and will have them added to what is on my harddrive.

I am using my Mac Powerbook Pro to remotely control the Mac Mini using Teamviewer
In the last 5 months I bought for about e 1500 euro on music at Qobuz. I compared their recordings with HDtracks. What the f...are those people doing overthere at HDtracks?

Qobuz same recordings are more analog sounding and have better dynamics.

There must be a reason why Qobuz has a better sound quality compared to Budgettracks!!
Bo1972, are they both 192/24 PCM?
same recordings, same artist same sample freq.

Listen: often the the Original cd is better than the Inferiortracks recording on 24 bit.

But the Qobuz is superior to the Original cd recording.

It's bullshit when you can choose between 96, 176 or 192 khz.

Qobuz is also much bigger, much more options to choose from. It is side where you only could dream of in the past.
I love it.

When you bought a recorded, you can copy it as often as you like. And also in every way ( like mp3, wav, flac etc.)
Digital resolution is a measure of what is possible. It does not assure that what you get is anywhere near the best possible, so judging quality by resolution alone is not viable.

Its the same with any format, say 33 1/3 vinyl for example. The average sound quality you get per recording is way less than the best possible.
Digital resolution is a measure of what is possible. It does not assure that what you get is anywhere near the best possible, so judging quality by resolution alone is not viable.

Its the same with any format, say 33 1/3 vinyl for example. The average sound quality you get per recording is way less than the best possible.

A better indicator is how large the digital file is after lossless compression, say as with FLAC format. IF file is larger, that means there is more detail. That detail is still some combo of actual music and noise, but with a quality recording, mostly music and not much noise.