by Audio Dandy
Why the Audio Dandy streamer
is still the best streamer solution available
After using for almost 3 years my Audio Dandy
streamer in combination with a NAS;
a lot of things have changed, therefore I decided to write an update
Audio Dandy streamer. the main reason was that
I found out that using a NAS for High-Resolution audio streaming is not
ideal at all...
Why High-Resolution audio streaming with a NAS doesn't
In my first article from 2015, I wrote that audio/video streaming in
combination with a NAS
(Network Attached Storage) device was the prefered audio streaming
but I was wrong...
a NAS is in fact a storage server that shares your audio files over
your Gigabit Ethernet network.
If you have a small music collection (and no big SACD.ISO or DSF or DXD
Then the NAS will work perfectly, but in my case when I wanted to
stream 32bit 192 kHz WAV files
(of several Gb in size) something went wrong...
I found out that the CPU of my NAS was too weak to transport the big
fast enough to my Audio Dandy streamer.
Also scrolling through my large music collection with my JRemote app on
was very slow, and became unworkable...
So why are all other people not complaining about their NAS streaming
Probably because their collection is not that big yet, or that they
don't stream big DSD256 DSF
or SACD.ISO files yet.
So long if you stream PCM 16bit 44.1 kHz FLAC
audio files every NAS will do his work perfectly.
But if your music collection becomes big over the years (in my case 3
things are starting to change.
The disavantages of the NAS
Most NAS servers don't have powerfull Intel i5 or i7 processors in them,
but instead Intel Atom or Marvel Armada, Intel Celeron, or other low
power, low performance CPU's...
Therefore their processing power is limited, and the speed of copying
of big files over your network is often slower than expected.
In my Synology DS1815+ I have a quadcore Intel Atom C2538 with 2GB
Of course I could upgrade my NAS with more memory, but this will only
speed up the NAS a bit, but will not solve all problems.
My NAS will still not be fast enough for my personal goals.
The main task of the NAS is to transport your audio files fast to your
Audio Dandy streamer
to make sure that your music files are delivered "bit perfect"
without delay or adding or removing any bits of the original music
In practice I found out that my NAS has not only a slow processor
it also had to transport all the data over the TCP/IP network.
because of this a NAS is in practice too slow and not suitable for
High-Resolution audio files instantly.
So if most NAS devices are not suitable for this job, what options do
The solution is very simple, cheap and also very effective!
No "NAS", but "DAS"
DAS stands for "Directly Attached Storage" and this is nothing new
It means that you have a very big hard-disk(s) connected inside your
Because the storage is build in the streamer, you don't need a NAS any
The streamer has direct access now to the music collection
and therefore it's much faster than a NAS solution.
Because the DAS is much faster not only the user experience will be
but also the sound quality.
Speed and low-latency are important for optimal quality.
For fast internal storage we have are several options available:
Harddisk, SSD, M.2 and NVM Express add-in cards.
Harddisk - they are cheapest, but they
can makes some noise, but they are available in very large sizes,
12TB and up!
SSD (M2) they are much faster, but they are also more expensive,
the disk sizes are still smaller then hard-disks...but they are getting
bigger, and there is already a SSD available of 16 TB (!) but it costs
11.647,99 dollars...so for the moment harddisks are the best option.
How to make a Audio Dandy DAS
Western Digital has released hard-disks with enormous storage
The WD100EFAX model has a capacity of 10 TB.
We can store our entire music collection on one or two of those
In the Audio Dandy streamer is space for 4 harddisks.
So with 10TB harddisks in RAID 0 your options are:
1 x 10 TB disk = total storage: 10 TB
2 x 10 TB disks = total storage: 20 TB
3 x 10 TB disks = total storage: 30 TB
4 x 10 TB disks = total storage: 40 TB (!)
Note: I discovered that the 6TB version of WD Red is very quiet, even
more quieter than the 10 TB version,
and for a DAS streamer this is very important.
So I bought two 6 TB Red harddisks (type: WD60EFRX) so in RAID 0 I will
around 11 TB netto
For me this is currently sufficient, and I still can later upgrade my
storage space, by adding two identical harddisks, then I have 22 TB
You can easily place the harddisks in the removable trays of the
Audio Dandy DAS stramer
(if you want place more than 2 harddisks, than the two other harddisks
will be placed
What we need more to make a DAS audio streamer?
A fast HBA
To make sure that we can store our entire music collection on one or
we need a fast "HBA" to connect these hard-disks to our motherboard.
HBA stands for "Host Bus Adapter", this circuit
board/adapter/controller makes sure
that your hard-disks can communicate with the rest of your computer
with optimal speeds.
If you have a recent motherboard with fast 6 Gb/s SATA controller then
need a HBA.
But my motherboard didn't had the proper SATA connections on board, so
the "HighPoint 640L" HBA controller has four 6Gb/s SATA connectors.
Now I can add one, two, three or four hard-disks in my Audio Dandy
I'm going to use RAID 0 also called "stripped volume" for optimal speed
and most storage space.
I'm not going to use soft-raid of the operating system,
but the RAID functionality offered by the HighPoint RocketRAID 640L (in
This way my (older) CPU gets less tasks to process.
A another benefit is that my RAID 0 set will be intact after I install
another operating system.
HighPoint 640L "HBA"
Which operating system?
In my earlier articles in 2015 I wrote that
I had good experiences with Windows Storage Server 2012R2.
But I didn't realised at that time of writing that
Microsoft had decided
to not sell these licenses separately to the customers...
This Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials software was only
available in combination with buying
a new NAS of the brand "Thecus" ...
But later I found out that other people were also experimenting with the
of Windows Server 2012 R2.
For Audiophile streaming this edition is also very good, and it's much
easier to buy.
So why I like the Windows 2012 R2 operating system?
Let me explain, here are my arguments:
Apple (Mac Mini) with Mac OS?
The Mac Mini is a very popular mini computer by Audiophiles, because it
works very easy
and you have a lot of choices for installing streaming software: like
ROON, JRiver, Audirvana Plus, etc.
It sound also very good, because the Mac OS supports UAC2 compatible
Yes, there are some buts...
First of all, Apple has a new policy that users cannot upgrade, modify
their Mac Mini's any more.
So want you want to place more memory for example than you have a
also the problem for the Mac Mini is that it's not a 100% passive
therefore the Mac Mini could generate some noise,
because the computer is so small, there is also little or no space
for placing extra internal storage devices (like 3.5 inch hard-disks)
Because of these reasons you can't make a "DAS" (Direct Attached
streamer with a Mac Mini.
You can only use the Mac Mini in combination with a NAS.
and if you have read this article from the beginning, you know that a
NAS (for me)
didn't work...too slow for SACD.ISO streaming...
So for me a Mac Mini is not an option...
Intel (NUC) with Linux?
Currently the Intel NUC's are very popular, these small mini PC's are
and Intel is working on a passive cooled version!
So that's good news, and also a Intel NUC gives you more freedom so you
choose to install Windows 10 or even Linux on it.
I like Linux very much, it support (just like Mac OS) UAC2 compatible
so you bypass the internal sound architecture of the operating system.
This is the preferred solution.
But Linux has some disadvantages too...
The most import one (for when you want to create a DAS streamer with
is that Linux doesn't support storages spaces of multiple hard-disks.
It can be done, but then you need advanced Linux configuration skills
and not everybody have these.
Maybe in the near future Linux will have the possibility to create
"graphically" and "easily"
Btrfs storage space with multiple devices.
But for now it's only possible with the command line, and for most
this is a bridge too far...
So what option do we have left?
Windows 10 ?
In my earlier article I wrote that I liked Windows 10, and I still think
a good operating system for Audiophile audio streaming,
but I'm a perfectionist.
I found Windows 10 too cumbersome, there are too many unnecessary
running on the background.
Also there are some privacy issues with this operating system, so for me
this operating system didn't gave me a satisfactory feeling.
The solution: Windows Server 2012 R2
I liked using Windows Server 2012 R2 for Audiophile streaming because:
- less unnecessary processes running on the background (and most of them
can be disabled)
- very solid, reliable operating system with extended support on future
- Good driver support for most devices (USB cards, DAC's, storage HBA's,
- Highly configurable to your own wishes
- less overhead (it uses less resources) from your CPU than Windows 10
so it's faster.
and it sounds also very good :-)
I was lucky that my Audio-Gd Master 7 DAC with Amanero Combo384 module
a WASAPI driver that is compatible with Windows Server 2012R2 Standard.
JRiver works very good on Windows Server 2012 R2,
Windows Server 2012R2 gets the most out of my Audio-Gd Master 7 DAC,
Default output: 2 channel 32bit 192 kHz studio quality!
Buy second-hand software licenses!
It sounds maybe logical, but what I didn't know is that it's also
possible to buy secondhand
software licenses, 100% legal and with warranty that the license code
Windows Server Licenses are expensive, for example a Windows Server
2012R2 Standard license costs
822 dollar, but if you buy a second hand license you pay 135 euro (166
That's a big difference, so you can save some money here, I bought my
licenses by this company:
https://www.digitallicense.nl (but there are also many others
to find with Google)
I receive a download link for a big ISO image file, and ofcourse the
serial code, and official documentation.
I didn't use the big ISO file, but instead the official evalution
edition of Microsoft Server 2012 R2
and with the serial I bought I could active it without any problems.
So now I have a legal en fine working solid operating system for my
My Audio Dandy streamer (running now Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard)
standing on the floor next to my stereo rack
with amplifier and DAC.
Fast and easily controllable with the "JRemote" app on my Ipad
What we do with the NAS?
Your old NAS is still useful device, not for streaming but for
a solid backup of our music collection.
The Audio Dandy DAS streamer also contains a copy of your entire music
but because of performance choices (RAID 0) there is no redundancy.
So if one drive fails you will loose everything
Therefore it wise to use the following workflow:
First store all your music on the NAS.
Then copy all the music back the Audio Dandy DAS streamer.
Turn off your NAS, and only turn it on to add new music.
Now if something happens on your streamer, you always
can copy back your music.
So now you can securely enjoy the full speed of RAID 0, without being
of loosing your music collection.
In the near future our streamers will make use
of the NVMe.
NVMe is an open logical device interface specification
for accessing non-volatile storage media attached via a PCI Express
The speeds of these solid state storage devices are very fast, even
faster than SSD's connected
The prices of these NVMe solid-state drives are still high, but in the
future they will
Luckily the Audio Dandy streamer is modular from design, and totally
so when the NVMe Solid-State Drives will be more accessible
then we have no problems any more with slow storage speeds
of our big music collection ;-)
In my next article I will write about how to Install and Configure
Windows Server 2012 R2 optimally on your Audio Dandy streamer!
All Rights Reserved
Changed my opinion about Windows 10 for Audiophile streaming, I prefer
Windows Server 2012 R2 instead
added WD 6 TB Red hard-disk for more quiet music storage solution
changed harddisk WD121KRYZ (GOLD) for WD100EFAX (RED) because this
harddisk makes less noise, and is therefore better
for internal audio streaming solutions.