Music servers

They are called music servers but most of the time it is about direct playback exactly as you are using a PC.
As a lot of them are also UPnP/DLNA compliant, they can be used as a server as well.

 

Basically a music server is simply a dedicated audio PC.

The idea is nice; you have one box which does it all.

Comfort is the name of this often rather expensive game.

 

Often they have the look and feel of conventional audio equipment.
Connect it to your amplifier just like a CD player and there you are.
Some manufacturers even stresses that it is NOT a computer.

 

As the acceptance  of a computer as an audio source is growing, today a lot of these boxes are positioned as what they are, a computer dedicated too audio.
The small screens are disappearing, likewise the remote control.
Today you have an app on your smart phone to control the box.

What do you get?

Well, a computer running Linux or Windows with some proprietary software to manage your music collection and in general a very small display and a sound card.

A computer in disguise.

 

These are the internals of a Meridian - Sooloos Source:One

From left to right:

Price  €3,600.00

 

Aria music server €3,995

Internals of the Aria music server.

 

A silent PC combined with a high quality sound card or an outboard DAC will probably:

But you do have to do your own homework.

Buying a music server means a couple of engineers has done your homework.

A great comfort but, yes, engineers need payment too.

 

If you go this -in general a bit expensive- way, there are a couple of things you better check.
The music server is your tool to store and maintain your collection.
Beside sound quality, you should also check the ease of use.

 

 

I'd personally not write out a blank cheque to so-called audiophile music servers; nor their rationale as a species. I view them as generally overpriced, more or less kludgy and suffering compromised graphic user interfaces. For every big-screen Sooloos done right there's an Olive with a squinty window. For me an iMac, MacMini + iPad remote or equivalent Windows/Linux system generally offer better functionality for significantly less coin.

Srajan Ebaen