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Cheap music server/measurement rig?

Some of you may have already seen this, but I can't help but wonder if this upcoming single-board computer might make a decent music server for those of us who don't want to take on the learning curve of a Raspberry Pi. I know very little about music servers and such, but since this runs Win 10, but I can't help thining you could set it up using a monitor, mouse & keyboard, then use your fav solution to control it. It could even be a tiny dedicated measurement system with an appropriate audio interface.

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Hackboard-2-A-single-board-computer-that-supports-Windows-10-and-is-compatible-with-the-Raspberry-Pi.510248.0.html

Comments

  • I am thinking of getting one in the linux version. But then pi is also good enough at half the cost. Music servers don't need a lot of processing prowess.

  • For measurements I find a laptop to be the easiest solution as there are too many wires/peripheral already. This would be good to setup headless and leave it in a corner, unless you are setting up a dedicated measurement space. The setup/moving/takedown would be taxing for me and I'll give up and move to another solution. You might be more dedicated!

  • At 140$ for the windows version, by the time you add the peripherals you can get a cheap win 10 refurb laptop from tiger direct with more ram, storage power and more compact if looking for a full fledged system.

    https://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=787563&CatId=4935

    I was looking at the linux version at 100$ for a headless server running full ubuntu for network storage/ nas / music server. Pi can also do, but I was hoping this would have better heat management and run full ubuntu and supports nvme, so faster OS read/writes compared to Pi's slow sd card. But pi has a huge choice of peripherals, cases, etc.

  • @ani_101 said:
    At 140$ for the windows version, by the time you add the peripherals you can get a cheap win 10 refurb laptop from tiger direct with more ram, storage power and more compact if looking for a full fledged system.

    https://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=787563&CatId=4935

    I was looking at the linux version at 100$ for a headless server running full ubuntu for network storage/ nas / music server. Pi can also do, but I was hoping this would have better heat management and run full ubuntu and supports nvme, so faster OS read/writes compared to Pi's slow sd card. But pi has a huge choice of peripherals, cases, etc.

    Pi 4 can boot from USB, so you could have the os in a ssd (sata or nvme) and use an adapter.
    For heat management, there are several "tower" heatsinks that excel at keeping the pi cold.

    As for the original question, you can install LMS on windows, so yeah that product will work. But at that price, it might be better to get an older refurbed pc and have the extra cpu and ram. But being that compact has it's Perks. Perhaps a second hand nuc can be attained and you can trow it in a fan less case.

  • I've always been a proponent of refurb laptops for measurements and such. I have an old Dell Latitude (an i5 I think) that keeps chugging along. I'll probably replace it soon only because of the slow wifi card and horrible screen. First world problems!!

    But for someone who wants a dirt cheap small server solution and wants to stay in the Windows world, you could add a 500G NVMe for $60 and you have something you could hide away in a cabinet. You could even connect it to your TV as a makeshift monitor in a pinch.

    ani_101
  • The hackerboard has 64gb onboard memory for OS and nvme us faster than usb 3.0. But even 8gb pi is much cheaper.

    The win version is 140$, the linux version is 100$. LMS or dual boot would work for the windows version.

  • edited December 2020

    I am most probably going to get one of these hackboards. Have pi3 but also looking to get pi4. Set one up as the server and the others as streamers, get some dac hats and all set...

    When is the question! @Silver1omo I am going to have a lot of questions for you when I do! Maybe even setup one of the pi with a 7.1 usb soundcard for active setup... Lots of exciting possibilities!!!

  • I went away from hat DACs because they trap the heat. Sumer in TX is hot.
    I'm running USB DACs in both my PIs and slapped a small heatsink.
    The server (LMS) is in a HP pc.

    I'm considering a pi 4 underclocked and cooled with something like:
    https://www.amazon.com/GeeekPi-Raspberry-Low-Profile-Cooling-Heatsink/dp/B08B5XDM9F?th=1
    Mounted to:
    https://www.amazon.com/SmartiPi-Touch-Official-Raspberry-Touchscreen/dp/B07WXK38YM
    With:
    https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Pi-7-Touchscreen-Display/dp/B0153R2A9I/
    A SATA SSD with a cable:
    https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-SATA-USB-Cable-USB3S2SAT3CB/dp/B00HJZJI84
    And:
    https://www.amazon.com/TOPPING-ES9038Q2M-DSD256-Desktop-Decoder/dp/B08CV1DSX4

    For my parents/sister to consolidate all their music. Still need to evaluate if that would work for them better than a microcomponent with CD player.

    ani_101
  • While a PI makes a good music streamer or even a basic NAS, I'm going a different route.
    After a couple of attempts at making my Linux machine a NAS, I gave up, because it would create problems every time I patched and rebooted. So I got an entry level Synology NAS, because it supports dual disk Raid-1, and I patch and reboot it maybe twice a year. Although the Pi can be a NAS, it doesn't support Raid 1, so I'm going to even try with it. Disks die all the time!
    As far as music streamers, the Pi is very easy to setup with Volumio, but can get a corrupt file system on power fail. Once I had a Pi setup with picoreplayer for that very reason, and it was great.
    Agree about the heat buildup with a HAT.
    My Christmas present to myself was this very nice high resolution DAP. Love it.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B081TD512M/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Don, Donno, or "Hey you" all work for me, But never "Mr Johnson"
  • I did not bother with RAID, the linux server media files get backed with rsync to my windows PC.

    rjj45ani_101
  • I set up a NAS using an old MB, old 40GB SSD to boot from and a 4GB HD using NAS4free. I back up my Win 10 PC to it and I can also stream from it. I've only had to mess with it once since I set it up and that was pretty easy since you can save your configuration. I've started streaming from VLC to Chromecast recently and that seems to work pretty well.

    Ron

    rjj45
  • Yes, that's why I think full ubuntu on the hackerboard might work for nas.

    Good tip on the Hat Dac and heat. Guess this would be an issue with pi and any hat or even without any hat the pi struggles with heat.

  • With hats in general, it is not a huge amount of heat, but I just prefer to keep it cooler.

  • I recommend the cheap used PC and a free install of Kodi, take your pick, windows or linux. Leverage SPDIF with an outboard dac and use WASAPI drivers to bypass directsound for bitperfect dac access.

  • The hackboard looks neat, but what is the total cost once you put it in a box, add a power supply, and probably put a heatsink on that little Celeron N4020 processor (rated for 6W dissipation).

    I've been using a fanless low power PC solution for HT A/V use for years, soon to be replaced by a Nvidia Shield Pro. This PC though cost about CAD$350 total it its day, was one of those "barebones" solutions so it was ready to go once you added some RAM and a hard drive. Search Newegg for "fanless PC" and you'll find similar options. Perfectly well fit running Linux to serve up 1080p content, however it's not going to handle 4k which is why I'm moving to the Shield device. Not sure what I'll re-purpose the little silent computer for, but it can serve well as either a streaming server, and at the very least an audio client with any USB DAC connected to it.

    If you're looking for a measurement computer, my recommendation is a cheap laptop from the used market, and a USB audio interface.

    I'm not deaf, I'm just not listening.
  • This looks good:
    https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/desktops-and-all-in-ones/thinkcentre/m-nano-series/ThinkCentre-M90n-IoT/p/thinkcentre-m90n-iot
    i3-8145U with 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD, windows 10 Home all for $215, not bad at all.

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