Servers: Are we there yet?


I was shocked to discover that my brand-new high-end server is entirely dependant on a functional wireless network. If either the Ipad or the wifi are not working, the server is rendered non-functional. I spoke to the dealer and he informed me that all the servers he carries are like that. Huh?!?
psag
Plan on getting  the aurender n100 soon . Hope it is not like that 
I believe it is.
Any HI END Server, NEEDS to be connected directly to the router via a cat 5. Sorry if you don't like it, but even Aurender says you have to hook it up that way. Otherwise this is what happens ...slow or no performance.  The Aurender N100 is a player Not a server it has no internal storage , it retrieves music files from a NAS drive. And you can bet none of this connects wireless!


Matt M
From Audio Advisor  ---- "The Aurender N100 digital music player supports DSD (DSF, DFF), WAV, FLAC, ALAC, APE, AIFF, M4A and other major formats at native bit and sampling rates. Equipped with a high performance USB digital audio output, an Ethernet port, and a 120GB solid-state drive for cached playback, the N100 is the ideal solution for playing high resolution digital music collections from an NAS drive. It also excels as a music server with local storage. It can be ordered with no internal hard drive, using your own NAS for music file storage. Or you can order it with an internal 2Tb hard drive."
The point is, all Aurender servers and players require a wireless network, and an access device (Ipad).
I found several years ago that pulling the power on my internet modem/router made a significant difference in my systems sound, like from real good to live music. 
And, if you can't take TV out of the room put a heavy blanket over it, not as big a deal but a difference .
Not only is it dependent on your wireless (or wired) system,it also needs a top quality modem and router.  Also, the quality and speed of your ISP is a major factor.

Just went through all of this.  Started with using wireless, but because of dropouts, switched to a hardwired CAT6A (STP) and solved all of my drop out issues.  Then upped my speed from Comcast.  Haven't had any issues since.
FWIW I just recently got a Synology NAS  DSJ-214 play is the model number I believe,  and it's hardwired to my modem/router via an ethernet cable. From there it communicates wirelessly to my Sonos which can be controlled from my laptop, iphone, or if I had one tablet. Since installing it I've experienced virtually no dropouts,the ones that have occurred have basically been during internet outages.

I don't believe that the N100 has wireless capability.  It  has a gigabit ethernet port instead.  I think it's more correct to state that many music servers require access to the internet to utilize them to their fullest.

@pasg, what high-end server did you get that requires wireless?
Mattmiller,

The assertion that "Any HI END Server, NEEDS to be connected directly to the router via a cat 5" is not correct.  You can have a high performance, hi-end server that includes its own drive (blu-ray or otherwise) for directly burning music to a local drive - no internet connection required.  A "streamer," on the other hand, requires a network connection, such as via cat 5 cable or otherwise.  (This is an issue that frustrates me to no end, with a number of products out there nowadays that are nothing more than "streamers," with no ability to rip and store their own data, masquerading as "servers").  

Psag - echoing djohnson54's comment, what is your server and what are you hoping to accomplish?  


But Matt if you are not on the internet cover art and to remote to a iPad, iPhone or any  Smart phone is out the picture  and what's the point in that,  that's like going backwards.  I mean the whole idea of a screamer or server is to pick two songs convenient from your chair  and if you don't have a CD drive connected to your music server then you have to use your computer to log on to the server download your new songs to the hard drive inside a unit like N100.  For example when I rip a new song I put a copy to my back up hard drive then I put another copy straight to the music server and then I have another copy going into iTunes. Three backups because I'm not doing this again.
Yes, we are there.  However, they are here, they are real in performance and they are not perfect..... as most things unfortunately in life.  Mine by a large margin outperforms any highly modified transport I ever owned.

However, I cannot for the life of me understand why no one has come up with an auto-loader to systematically load a 2,000 CD collection.  How retarded is this monkey work?

Otherwise, this should signal a large paradigm shift in digital source purchases.
I own the Aurender N10, and I'm content with it. However, without a functional IPad and Wifi connection, you might as well be listening to a brick.
Celtic66 - I cannot echo your comment enough, given audiophile companies' failure to provide mechanisms to facilitate transferring a significant, pre-existing digital music collections to hard drive storage.

The closest I have found to provide such functionality is the  Acronova 100 disc autoloader  (see http://www.everythingusb.com/acronova-nimbie-usb-plus-blu-ray-autoloader-21521.html), but I have not tried it yet, and am unsure as to how it may interact with audiophile level burning software (e.g. ExactAudioCopy).
 The problem with that autoloader is you have to monitor the metadata tags  and make sure cover art is correct.  Unfortunately the best way to do that is one at a time by hand.  
psag,

I am using Apple AirPort Extreme with my N10.  No issues with streaming.  Pretty much all servers out there requires hard wired Ethernet connection for a glitch free streaming.  

rzado, i own over 400 cd's and someday would like to rip all of them and copy them onto my Aurender server.  I came across X10 from cocktail audio, looks like a sweet solution to cd ripping. 

http://www.cocktailaudio.com/overview_x10.html

i wonder if anyone here using this device for cd ripping.  Cost $699 plus hard drive, another $50-70 depending on storage capacity. 

Yes, but I wasn't referring to streaming. I'm talking about the music that is now stored on the server's hard drive. It cannot be accessed without a working Ipad and a wireless network. If my wifi is down, the server is as dead as a doornail. My understanding is that this is the current state of the art for music servers.

Just saying, is all.

psag, I wonder if it's possible for music servers to incorporate Bluetooth controls? That way it wouldn't be subject to the failings of wi-fi connections. Bluetooth isn't much good for streaming/playing hi-resolution digital music files but for simply controlling a display panel and playback features it seems that it could work just fine. But I'm not an electrical engineer so I have no idea of the technicalities involved.

Regards,

Tom

psag, 

Understood, that's the world we live in.  I guess the only other technology missing from this setup is Bluetooth capability.  We gotten accustomed to the world without wires and we know it's not perfect but it's the next best thing. 

Happy listening!
> If either the Ipad or the wifi are not working, the server is rendered non-functional.

Yes. It's like if your CD player broke, your entire CD collection is rendered useless. 

Good news is, it costs next to nothing (relatively) to get a replacement wifi router. If you worry about that, just have a spare one handy at home.


My experience over the last 8 years or so is for CD resolution streaming,  wifi need not be a problem as long as functioning properly and connections are strong(say >80%).   That is with good quality gear designed to stream CD res audio or higher over wifi.

It is best if disk storage is physically connected to server  (not remote on the network) and streaming occurs from wifi connected player to server only (again with a strong wifi connection).

Results will vary server by server still.    Two software  server programs I can recommend that do things well are Logitech MEdia Server ( though this is no longer undergoing active development and not a good choice for new users) and Plex Server, which I have started to phase in as a replacement for LMS.

I do not have any experience with current one box audio music server products  ( I prefer running good software on commercial computers to buying proprietary hardware from specialized vendors) but I have read mixed results over the years with many and would be cautious and only consider newer products/technology that have received large scale acceptance and positive reviews.     Sonos, Bluesound, Sony are three product lines I have seen that seem to be getting decent traction in B&M shops lately, with Sonos probably having the most users currently.
Fellow Sony HAP server owners sit back and chuckle at these frustration threads whilst our state of the art player and app sing and dance for us in rock steady glee.
For many years I'm using Itunes on MacMini (that I use anyway) to play music over WiFi (5GHz) using Airport Express and DAC.  It is simple and I never had any problems.  Sure if router fails music stops, but the same can happen when CDP fails (it happened to me), when preamp fails, when amp fails etc.  Routers are cheap these days and you have to replace them anyway to get access to internet.
FWIW, my preference with respect to wireless routers is to not use one. Instead I prefer to utilize a wireless access point that is separate from the router, and connects to the router via an ethernet cable. In my case that facilitates being able to locate each device in the location I prefer for each, and I suspect in many cases is likely to make it possible to select a more powerful and better performing access point than the ones that tend to be built into routers.

In my case, for the last several years I’ve been using an EnGenius EAP350 802.11n access point (it predates the latest 802.11ac standard), with the router function being performed by a SonicWall TZ205 hardware firewall that I have protecting my entire LAN from outside intrusion. (The hardware firewall in turn connects to the cable modem supplied by my ISP).  While at this point I don’t utilize a music server, or stream music from a computer, for the past couple of years I have been wirelessly streaming Internet radio to a Squeezebox which connects into my audio system. Although the Squeezebox is located on a different floor than the wireless access point, and there are several walls in between, I have never had a single glitch, drop-out, or other performance anomaly of any kind or duration during all that time.

I also make a point, btw, of operating the WiFi network on a channel that is as far as possible from the channels I’ve determined (via software) that are used by my neighbors.

The bottom line: I see no reason that WiFi can’t be utilized in a reliable manner for audio.

Regards,
-- Al

"Yes. It's like if your CD player broke, your entire CD collection is rendered useless."

Not quite. If your CD player breaks, you can use another one. Or you can use your laptop, if it has a CD drive. On the other hand, if your wireless network is out of action, it doesn't matter how many backup servers you have- none of them will work.

I think servers should function regardless of the availability of Wifi. As it now stands, I don't consider it an unqualified advance over a good CD player.

Yes, but I wasn't referring to streaming. I'm talking about the music that is now stored on the server's hard drive. It cannot be accessed without a working Ipad and a wireless network. If my wifi is down, the server is as dead as a doornail.
Yeah, I see what you're talking about now.  The Ipad is just a fancy remote but, in your case, the remote is necessary and wifi is the only way it works.  Interesting thought about the ability to use Bluetooth for this same capability.  it wouldn't surprise me if someone built that in eventually.

Something else I never thought of that occurred to me while reading through this thread.  The general assumption is that you need an internet connection to use wifi but that's really not true.  If all you needed to do was stream music from your computer, internet is not necessary - all you need is the wireless router.
Exactly; you need a functioning router so the wireless controller(e.g. ipad, android tablet or phone) using the control software can access the server.

Psag, to play music stored on a local drive connected physically to a one box renderer or stored a NAS(e.g. Synology, Qnap, WD MyCloud, etc.) connected by ethernet or wifi to the router you don't need your Internet Service Provider's system to be running. That only matters when you want to listen to Tidal, Qobuz etc. 
Wifi Routers are pretty reliable and inexpensive vs. other gear in this equation. Cheers,
Spencer
True, the system would probably work fine without internet, at least until the lack of internet updates started to affect performance.
Why lack of internet updates should affect performance?  Performance is always the same if nothing is changing.
Yeah, as a veteran in the software/cyber industry it is my experience that MOST software sucks, so I am not surprised at this in a music server. 
...However, you might do some discovery work here: The server has at least one IP address (wireless and/or Ethernet), have you tried accessing it directly via a web browser? (As in http://?.?.?.?  ...where ?.?.?.? is the 4 octet server address.) The server may express its service management through a web server that you could navigate.

@djohnson54 @sbank @psag I say this as a cyber security guy: Devices that allow connectivity to and from the Internet (actually ANY network) represent a danger to other devices in your network that will subsequently develop a trust relationship with said Internet-connecting device.
You absolutely need to understand that your home network now has devices in it that run software that came from whom?That is just a simple fact today and alone it should not stop you from using them, but you need to mitigate against those mechanisms being insecure (who wrote the server code, who configured it?). Think of these devices as requiring constant immunization otherwise every other device might also get infected...
What to do? You have several strategies, at minimum you need to lock down your Internet facing router and perhaps add a second device (such as a firewall) between the server and the router. That acts as a second level of defense against door-rattlers, knob-turners and server-probers who are sitting in their moms basement on their junior high laptop.
The reason for all that above is two fold: First, create awareness that IP devices are dangerous to your home network if they are insecure; Second, to complain at how poorly such devices generally are configured and that if the vendor gets enough calls from us they might do device security better.
QUESTION: Has anyone seen ANY penetration analysis results for any of these music servers? 
Interesting and thought-provoking post by Vicweast. To add some perspective, I’ll mention that the log of the SonicWall hardware firewall/router I mentioned that I use shows, on average, an unwanted and in most cases presumably illegitimate incoming connection attempt (that it throws away) approximately every two minutes, 24/7/365. With those requests originating from IP addresses in just about any country one could name, around the world.

I’d imagine, though, that the majority of those attempts would fail to get through even a very basic router, due to the network address translation function routers provide between the user’s external IP address and the internal addresses of each of the devices on the LAN. And while I have no specific knowledge of the Aurender products, I’d expect that more often than not such products are Linux-based, which I suppose is targeted by the bad guys much less frequently than Windows operating systems.

That said, and although I’ve never been accused of being particularly paranoid, I personally would not want to be without a SonicWall or something comparable.

Regards,
-- Al
"Why lack of internet updates should affect performance?  Performance is always the same if nothing is changing."

Upgrades need to occur, for both the Ipad and server operating systems.

Here's an analog analogy: There's a room in your house where you store all your LPs and CDs. The door is locked by default, so you need to use an electronic key fob every time you wish to enter. The charger for the key fob is a bit unreliable, so you don't always have access. Not many audiophiles would tolerate such an arrangement, but we have to accept it when a computer is involved.
System can work forever without internet access.  Software code doesn't change.  Unreliable charger is hardware and not the software.   People use PC computers controlling production without any access to internet.   Many of them still run Windows NT while some run Windows 98 or even DOS.  They don't have any updates since there is no updates.
Ok, in that case I will disconnect my system from the internet. Thanks for the help.
You're welcome.  It is s good decision if your computer is only used for playback.  It doesn't change the fact that you still need to make backup in case of any hardware failure.
Many music and media servers use live internet connections to make extended information on what’s playing available. Things like lyrics, artwork, artist bios, reviews, related recordings, concert locations and dates, etc. Much more related info than can be had without a live internet connection. That’s a trend that will only continue to grow. You can actually learn more about what you are listening to while you listen easier than ever before. Not a requirement in some cases, but a very nice feature that I have found to greatly increase my musical IQ and level of enjoyment over time and that I would miss now that I have it.
I work with a company that specializes in digital streaming, Audio Doctor,

and we routinely setup servers from modified Mac Minis, and PC's to dedicated streamer/dacs from Lumin, Cary, Devialet, Cambridge Audio and many others.

The Aurender servers blow away the Modified Macs and PCs, by the way.

Also the Lumin A1 and T1 outperformed a $13K CD player from one of the best names in digital! So it is time to embrace the practical and fun world of streaming! 

You do not need a working wifi network with the aurender, you can use a blu tooth dongle to setup two way communication between the Aurender and the Ipad, so now you can play all the stored music on the hard drive without a working internet connection, obviously you won't be able to stream Tidal without a working internet setup. 

Personally we feel that a good strong fast network is an essential part of the new streaming world I would embrace it. 
Mapman, Yes it is nice feature, but if you’re afraid of any changes to your server then you can do this on the other computer or tablet (or phone). I update my computer/server from internet, since I’m using it as a home computer, and never had any issues. My TV firmware I updated only once - If ain’t broke don’t fix it.

" If ain’t broke don’t fix it."

I usually tend to agree with that.  I still drive a 1996 Toyota for example.  

But the full potential of music streaming is yet to be realized for me but things are moving forward nicely, so I want to keep up in this case.

I also still run Logitech Squeeze System which is legacyware essentially at this point.  Little or nothing new there, including fixes.   I was very nervous about upgrading my music server to Windows 10.     Ironically, Logitech server continued to run fine but my older backup software from Seagate did not so I had to change.
I've been a very bad girl,' she said, biting her lip. 'I need to be punished.'
'Very well,' he said and installed Windows 10 on her laptop.

I've never had any experience with Windows 10, but judging by this joke it might be bad (like Vista?).  I use Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit at work and it is very stable.   I also drive 1996 Toyota - Avalon (bless this car).  It will be very likely running for next 10 years.  I have to find a way to kill it (so many nice new cars).
I am late to the party, but glad to see this topic discussed by new and old computer audio users. 

I am am a new convert, and chose an all out assault with the purchase of a Lumin A-1 and Synology NAS. It took 3 painful weeks to get all my 300+ CDs ripped with their associate artwork, but I am now more than happy with result. So much so, that I sold my SACD player.   I also use Tidal, an excellent source in my opinion. I sort of hate paying for music via a subscription this way;. I would rather own my music outright. However, I am able to now enjoy music I would otherwise would not consider because things are now so convenient. 

I see there are a few Aurender users here. Are there any Lumin uses, or does anyone have an opinion on either of the systems?


scott_w, 

how do you operate Sony app and player when there is no internet connectivity?
Hello folks....
I sold my Bluesound Vault2 with Node2 to a fellow member here (most current iterations) after growing tired of getting too damned close to my computer too often to play music.  My computer is upstairs,  my stereo is downstairs,  to run an ethernet cable approximately 100 feet was not going to happen.  To leave my computer on just to play music bothered the heck was not going to happen,  either.

The sonics of the Bluesound were appreciable,  don't mistake my displeasure with the format to cast aspersions on Bluesound.  I subscribed to Tidal as well.  It was fun trying to stump Tidal on albums that I already have...

I just today purchased a Sony Hapz1es right here on the 'Gon for far less than it's advertised all over the place - low enough to give me another go at this category.  I want simple,  and from what my research into it has thus far uncovered is that it is simple.

If not I'll dig up my 8tracks and drive off a cliff.
@oblgny  I'm in the market for a Node 2 (don't care about the Vault). Apart from the fact that you didn't like the idea of leaving your computer on all the time, did you have any other issues with the Node? How would you rate the SQ compared to straight from CD source?
arafiq...
I had no issues with the BLUESOUND Node 2 nor the Vault2 
Hello again folks,

My new Sony Hapz1es is due to arrive on Wednesday the 10th.  I just had a discussion with one of my audio guys whom,  even though he does not sell it,  agreed with me that this is perhaps the best solution for me.  I got to listen to a slew of Bel Canto equipment while we were discussing things,  too.

Noice stuff.

I'll offer my immediate impressions as soon as I'm able.  Thanks.
@oblgny...I'm alittle confused?  Why do you have to leave your computer on or even be near it to use the Bluesound products?

And how does the Sony unit differ in hook up and access to the Bluesound gear?

I thought I understood how each of these devices work, but apparently not?

Thanks.
@mofimadness 
Because the vault has to be connected to the Internet to play at all.  

Thats the the sole reason why I purchased the Node subsequently.  


oblgny,
Why are you saying that the vault has to be connected to the internet to play?
Why are you saying that your computer has to be on for the vault to play?  
After reading about it, the vault acts as a NAS and has internal storage. You should be able to play files stored in the vault device without internet nor computer. If you have another NAS(e.g. Mycloud, Synology, etc.) connected to your router, any files stored there should be accessible by the Bluesound app and played without computer nor internet.
Yes, you need internet to play streaming content (e.g. Tidal, Quobuz). If you have Bluesound app on a wireless device(e.g. tablet or phone) can't you control the vault wirelessly without a computer? Reviews seem to say that you can. 
Sorry, if I misunderstand, but it sounds like you are inadvertently making statements that kill Bluesound's lack of functionality and probably aren't true. With best intentions, Cheers,
Spencer