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PostPosted: September 1st, 2021, 3:36 pm 
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Joined: February 28th, 2013, 10:38 am
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OK, here’s the promised build thread on level A/A.5 from the PC Based digital playback basics thread. As mentioned in the PC Based digital playback basics thread, there are several options for software, but for the purposes of this thread we’re going to go with all free software (Daphile. This is NOT the place for a "this solution is better than that solution" battle. If you've got a different preferred way to build A/A.5, post a separate howto thread.), both for the OS and the music software. The only real difference between levels A and A.5 is whether you point the music software to locally stored music or music that’s somewhere else on your LAN. If you’re planning on doing A.5 right out of the shoot, or planning to stream from Qobuz/Tidal/Spotify/whatever, you should really try to put the PC you’re going to build for this on a wired network connection, playing music over WiFi is just asking for poor performance.

So, let’s start with the hardware. For this build, the PC is going to end up in the listening room in most cases, so you’re going to want something that is acoustically quiet. No fans if possible, and SSD rather than spindle drives. I’ve had good luck with Intel NUCs, specifically this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MSZTD8N, which I believe is obsolete at this point. The current NUC7PJYH should be a good one as well. I’ve also had good luck with refurbished Dell/Wyse 5070 thin clients with either the J4105 or J5005 CPUs. Both of the NUCs mentioned also have TosLink built-in if that’s important to you, if you go with another NUC model, you’ll need to check, not all have TosLink. In either case, 4GB of RAM should be enough. If you’re going to start with A.5, or plan to only stream off the Internet, the smallest SSD you can find is plenty. If your storage is going to be local, you’ll need (quite a bit) more depending on how large your library is. Both of the NUCs listed need a standard laptop sized SATA drive, the Wyse 5070 requires an M.2 SATA drive (but won’t work with M.2 NVME/PCIe). These PCs will work great for this build, but if you’re sure you will be moving into level C from the PC Based digital playback basics thread, you may want to build a more conventional PC using the same processors mentioned above. They'll both be fine as bridges in a level B build. I’m going to assume you can get the pieces together and get the computer ready to boot.

Hardware isn’t very useful w/o software, so that’s next. My choice for this build is Daphile ( https://daphile.com/ ), downloads at the bottom of the page. I’ve used both the 64bit standard kernel & the 64bit real-time kernel and not noticed a difference. If your machine requires the 32bit kernel, you should probably be looking at a more powerful machine… You’ll need the appropriate software for your OS to burn an ISO to a flash drive. For the initial installation, you’ll need a keyboard & monitor for the PC, but once the install is done, you won’t need it for normal use of the machine. You will need the machine connected to your LAN to do the installation. I’m not going to go through the installation of Daphile, the instructions here: https://daphile.com/download/DaphileInstallation.pdf are fairly complete.

Once Daphile is installed, you’re probably going to want to do some initial setup. Daphile is finicky about making more than one change at a time, and many of the changes require a restart, so be prepared to spend a little time on this one. You’ll need to have your DAC hooked up at this point…

First thing you’re probably going to need to do is setup the sound hardware. Under Settings→Audio Devices, you should see one or more blocks related to your hardware. Most of the stuff in each block is probably OK to start with, but you probably want to disable the built-in sound card (unless you’re using TosLink on a so equipped PC) and have Daphile point only to your USB device. You’ll need to save and restart if you actually make any changes here.

If you’re using anything other than your boot drive as your main music storage location, you’ll need to go into Settings→ Storage and add the proper location for the music there. Once again, if you make any changes, you’ll need to save and restart.

If you need to rip a bunch of CDs, and you’re not planning to do it with your main PC, then you can check in Settings→CD Ripping and make sure the default target drive is correct, and probably set automatic start to “If tags available”. and once again, if you make any changes, you’ll need to save and restart.

Daphile has a bunch of plugins that add features/capabilities. These can be access through Settings→ Advanced Media Server Settings→Plugins. There’s a whole bunch enabled by default, many of which you won’t have any need for, many of which are for services I’ve never even heard of. These need to be disabled (or enabled if you want to add some) one at a time, then click on Apply in the lower right corner. At least you don’t have to reboot at this point ;) Some of the plugins have settings you may need to edit once they’re enabled, this is mostly for streaming services where you need to tell Daphile how to login.

That should pretty much cover it, you should be ready to play some music at this point :obscene-drinkingcheers:


I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.

PostPosted: September 1st, 2021, 8:23 pm 
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Joined: February 28th, 2013, 3:31 pm
Posts: 1718
Roscoe's help in setting up my 2 NUC servers was invaluable. Listen to what he has to say.


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