Why does a Music Server require high processing CPU power?


I noticed that some music servers use, for example, a dual multicore CPU’s running under a custom assembled operating system.  In addition, the server is powered by a linear power supply with choke regulation and a large capacitor bank utilizing the highest audiophile grade capacitors.  Various other music servers have similar high CPU processing capabilities.  

I know that music is played in real-time so there is not much time to do any large amounts of processing.  I also know that the data stream needs to free of jitter and all other forms of extra noise and distortion.   I believe that inputs and outputs are happening at the same time (I think).

I also know that Music Servers needs to support File Formats of FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, MP3, AAC, OGG, WMA, WMA-L, DSF, DFF, Native Sampling Rates of 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, 384kHz, 705.6kHz, and 768kHz and DSD formats of DSD64, DSD128, DSD256 and DSD512 including Bit Depths of 16 and 24.  

Why does a music server require high processing power?   Does the list above of supported formats etc. require high processing power?  Assuming the Music Server is not a DAC, or a pre-amp, what is going on that requires this much processing power?   

What processing is going on in a music server?  How much processing power does a music server require?  

Am I missing something?   Thanks.   


hgeifman

Showing 6 responses by hgeifman

@cleeds,  My Aurender N10 uses a FPGA-based All Digital Phase-Locked Loop System  This is "An All Digital Phase-Locked Loop system (ADPLL) incorporating Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) with OCXO clocks precisely times digital audio data transmissions and minimizes jitter to below negligible levels".  

I have no clue what this means.  
@mlsstl, I have no clue if unusually powerful machines are or are not needed.  

I found one music server that has dual Intel Xeon Scalable 10 core – 20 thread CPU’s for 20 cores – 40 threads in total and Twelve 4Gb custom order industrial memory modules for 48Gb in total.  

 I was just curious about much processing power a music server actually needed.  I have the Aurender N10 Music Sever and it sounds terrific.  






@mlsstl, Neither do I and that is why I asked the question.  

@lalitk, Sorry, I do not understand and need more clarification.
  
Let us assume a normal ‘single' purpose MUSIC streamer (no ROON, DAC or Preamp) that needs to support an input stream of albums with File Formats of FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, MP3, AAC, OGG, WMA, WMA-L, DSF, DFF, Native Sampling Rates of 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, 384kHz, 705.6kHz, and 768kHz and DSD formats of DSD64, DSD128, DSD256 and DSD512 including Bit Depths of 16 and 24.   I agree this is a lot of information.

What processing is the streamer doing on these files, for example, an AIFF coded album stream?    

FIRST, I know the streamer needs do to prepare the input for outputting USB, AES/EBU, etc. formats (I think).   Does this process require high amounts of processing power (probably yes)?  

SECOND, AND, in addition, what does the streamer do to the steaming input to prepare it to be accepted by the DAC?   Let us assume an AIFF Coded album.   What exactly is involved in preparing the AIFF Album file (or any of the other formats) for inputting to the DAC and does this require large amounts of processing power (probably yes)?

Your post above (and someone else's) said "It takes a tremendous amount of processing power to compute all the different ways digital has tried to keep up with analog“.  I think you are saying is that in order to support the large amount of input formats, high amounts of processing power is required to prepare the AIFF coded album for output to the DAC.  Is this correct?   

Assuming the above is true, it means the servers processing power is used to prepare the input data stream for correct formatting for the USB, AES/EBU, formats, etc. AND then format it, as needed, for input to the DAC.   Based on my understanding, I think this sentence answers my original question.   Am I correct?

Or, are there other processes going on in the streamer that requires high processing power?   If yes, what are they?   Thank you very much.


@djones51 and Everyone else,  Thank you very much.  

You answered my question and I understand.  Audiogon is amazing.   You ask a question and receive many responses with excellent answers.  

Thanks again to everyone for responding.   I appreciate it.  
Thanks. Yes. My original question was about a home music server/streamer. For example, please see below:

Innuos ZENITH MK3 1TB BLA
Aurender N10 Music Server
LUMIN X1
Aurender N100h
SGM Extreme
AURALIC ARIES G1 STREAMER / MUSIC SERVER
Innuos Statement
And Many more
Etc., etc.