Amazing Event on Music Servers


SFAS Audiophile Education Series Presents:

Music Server Event

Screenshot 2016-05-02 12.05.10Wow. SFAS’ Joe “Mad Scientist” Hakim’s debut – spearheading an SFAS event on his own – was a tremendous success. The quality of the presentation and the clear and understandable way he conveyed the fairly complicated material left even the least tech-oriented attendee with a satisfied feeling of having learned a lot.

Attached you’ll find a pdf file of his presentation which maps the flow of the event and gives a visual component to the teaching that makes it easy to see what was covered.

For those of you who missed Joe’s presentation, we’ll do it again, with a bit of a twist, possibly later on this year.Leslie Selfie

Here’s the presentation file: SFAS_Media_Server_Event_final



5 thoughts on “Amazing Event on Music Servers

  1. So I was dealing with a good deal of back pain and could not pay close attention throughout the event. It seemed Joe aired a set-up using a direct connection using Ethernet directly from a storage device (say a NAS drive) to a PS Audio Direct Stream DAC without the use of a music server. Many in attendance appeared to be taken with the great sound this arrangement produced. Eliminating the Music Server would obviously save greatly on the cost. The software running this setup (say J-River) would reside on an iPad and would take care of both sound reproduction and the music library management. I am still at a loss as to how this can be accomplished without a music server. Can anyone explain this please or was I just in too much pain to get a proper grasp on what went down. Please go easy on me here. As I said I was in a fair amount of pain. Thank you.

  2. Thanks Joe and Leslie and Alon for a great event. It was very informative, with lots of great detail. It also busted some myths while bringing to the surface one or two others: Plastic vs. glass Toslink? (It seems the quality of the connector is most important there.) and Linear vs. switching power supply. (I imagine it makes good sense to get the PS out of the server, but linear is not inherently better. See this note regarding power amp supplies: )

    I came across some interesting threads about using a Blackberry Pi micro-computer as a server. Seems there’s a small cottage industry around this. One group even has a kickstarter going to fund a tube DAC for the pi. There are several DACS that plug right into the Pi, which runs its software off an SD/micro SD card and uses an iOS type app as controller.That would be a fun one to explore, if only I had more free time… Joe, or others: have you looked into this?

    Thanks, Sam

    1. Hi Sam;

      The Raspberry Pi is interesting but I’m not sure using an SDIO interface as an audio DAC interface is going to provide good SQ. That said, it’s hard to beat the cost 😉

      Regarding power supplies, there’s nothing wrong with using well designed switching supplies – everything is a tradeoff in engineering. With linear supplies you need large magnetics (and yes they can cause hum which can be difficult to mitigate) and they are very inefficient, whereas with switching supplies, there is inherent ripple (which can be minimized with proper design choices) though usually above 100KHz and they are much more efficient than linear supplies.

      I believe either approach can be made to work well for audio applications and switchers have the benefit of lower cost, less heat dissipation, and smaller size (for a given Wattage).

      Glad you enjoyed the event! Stay tuned for more events in the server series.


  3. Sorry that I missed this talk, but it was great to have the slide deck and get a sense of what Joe covered. The track list was a nice bonus since I’m always looking for new tunes to check out.

    For those wanting to get started with a dedicated PC transport at a lower price point, here are some of the parts that I’m using that I think are worth considering:

    Quantum Byte Fanless PC – $169

    iFi iPower, 12V – $49

    Fidelizer Pro – $69

    JRiver Media Center – $49.98

    JRemote – $10

    This kit works great for playing digital files from a NAS device that is (ideally) located somewhere else in the house. It will also work well with roon ( and TIDAL streaming.

    If you’re doing more sophisticated processing like on-the-fly upsampling, conversion to DSD, or digital room correction, you’ll want a more powerful PC than the little Quantum Byte. To keep the room quiet, look at adding a Network Audio Adapter (NAA) like the SONORE Sonicorbiter SE or microRendu ( if your DAC does not already have an Ethernet input.

    I hope some of this stuff is helpful. Cheers and happy listening!

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San Francisco Audiophile Society

San Francisco Audiophile Society