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MinimServer installed on PC to enable Naim streamer to access FLAC files on NAS
03-01-2018, 00:27
Post: #1
MinimServer installed on PC to enable Naim streamer to access FLAC files on NAS
Hello all. First post here, having just discovered Minimserver at the weekend.

Relevant hardware and software:
  • Naim NDX
  • WD My book NAS (dating from 2010)
  • Twonky on the NAS

For years I have been using Sonos around the house, including more recently as my first streamer into my Naim system (to replace a CD5x). I have just recently upgraded to the NDX. However, as soon as I tried to set up the NDX I quickly discovered that Sonos had not been using Twonky (it apparently has its own UPnP-type system) and the NDX requires me to set up and use Twonky.

Twonky works, but I have various issues with and complaints about its GUI and functionality - but that's another story. So after a bit of Googling, I learned about Minimserver.

Although I think it is possible to install Minimserver on my WD NAS (if you are more tech-savvy than me), I haven't tried that yet. Instead, to experiment with Minimserver, and to avoid bricking the NAS, I've installed Minimserver onto my laptop and directed it to the relevant folder on the NAS.

(The NAS, NDX and Sonos are all connected to my home network via Ethernet. The laptop is wireless only.)

All is working just great with Minimserver and I am getting the functionality I want on the Naim app, and it's all sounding great through the NDX. But I have a technical network question.

The NDX is now wirelessly connecting to the UPnP server (ie Minimserver) on the laptop, which is then wirelessly referring to the NAS. Are the music files then "sent" a) directly by Ethernet from the NAS to the NDX (via the network switch), or b) wirelessly from the NAS back to the laptop and then again wirelessly back to the network switch and then on to the NDX?

If it's b), does that matter? (Put another way, if one were being an absurdly purist audiophile, are the extra wireless steps theoretically "harmful" to the signal?)

Thank you!

Matt
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03-01-2018, 00:29
Post: #2
RE: MinimServer installed on PC to enable Naim streamer to access FLAC files on NAS
Mods - Oops. I think I should have posted this in the General forum. Apologies. Could you please move it? Thank you! Matt
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03-01-2018, 09:35
Post: #3
RE: MinimServer installed on PC to enable Naim streamer to access FLAC files on NAS
Welcome to the Minimserver forum!

The files are streamed as you decribe in b). It is generally accepted that wired connections are preferable for audio streaming, although some people think otherwise. By introducing two wireless links into the streaming chain, you are making the router/access point work harder and this might produce internal electrical noise that could possibly be transmitted down the Ethernet cable to the NDX.

The only way to find out whether this produces any audible difference is to try a comparison. You could compare the sound quality of Twonky on the NAS with MinimServer on the PC (with all MinimStreamer transcoding disabled in MinimServer). If you think MinimServer is sounding worse, this might be caused by the wireless links.

If you decide to go with MinimServer as your permanent setup, it would be worth considering buying a NAS from Synology or QNAP that can run MinimServer. You could probably reuse the disk(s) from the My Book in the new NAS to reduce the upgrade cost. This would eliminate the wireless links and you wouldn't need to have the PC running in order to listen to music.
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03-01-2018, 10:35
Post: #4
RE: MinimServer installed on PC to enable Naim streamer to access FLAC files on NAS
Hi Simon

Thanks for your response.

I will definitely replace my NAS sometime soon- the laptop installation is just an experiment as i learn more about UPnP servers etc, and check that there is something out there that is better than Twonky. I was hoping to be able to transport the HDDs from my current NAS (as you suggest), but I might need to ask a few more questions about that (in a separate forum post).

In light of your comments about the path of the signal when using Mimim as I have described, I will experiment with sound quality comparisons. However, I am well aware that i am already at the point of hugely diminishing returns in respect of ekeing out further improvements, so there's a good chance I might be kidding myself if I think I can hear a difference. But I guess that's all part of the fun of being a hi-fi nerd!

Thanks again. Great forum, great software.

Matt
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04-01-2018, 15:36
Post: #5
RE: MinimServer installed on PC to enable Naim streamer to access FLAC files on NAS
My naim dealer was very convinced that streaming over wifi does sound better than over LAN. I did not hear a difference with my unit1.

But I recommend the LAN connection because the much better stability of the connection. I would say that this is the biggest problem in transferring the music over wifi twice. If it is a hires track and you transcode to wav with minimserver the wifi way might get problematic with a weak wifi connection. In my case the wifi 2.4GHz signal got lost if someone turned on the microwave oven in the kitchen.

But as long as you do not have any drop outs, the wifi connection should not be a problem.

If LAN does not sound as good as wifi, you also could try a network separator in the LAN cable. This is said to prevent the electrical noise to get into the streamer and DAC. But I did not try this yet.

Greetings
Gert
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