General discussion about HAKAI

A DIY digital music streamer with exceptional performance

Moderator: Staff

Post Reply
User avatar
mrco99
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 631
Joined: 2009-12-10 17:14
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

General discussion about HAKAI

Post by mrco99 » 2018-08-11 20:51

Thank you Fredrik for sharing your precious insights and knowledge thus far.
A real pity you didn't succeed in developing this into a stable performing and commercially available product.
Distributor of Lejonklou | Aqua | Graham Audio | Klangedang | Harmonihyllan | NOKTable | QLN

User avatar
lejonklou
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 4840
Joined: 2007-01-30 10:38
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: HAKAI

Post by lejonklou » 2018-08-11 21:10

mrco99 wrote:Thank you Fredrik for sharing your precious insights and knowledge thus far.
A real pity you didn't succeed in developing this into a stable performing and commercially available product.
Sorry, I've been unclear:

HAKAI is an exceptionally good streamer made entirely from off-the-shelf parts. Due to this, anyone can build it.

If I had released a commercial product, it would have been made by some HAKAI parts and others of my own design (power supply and DAC).

matthias
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 1049
Joined: 2007-12-25 16:47
Location: Germany

Re: HAKAI

Post by matthias » 2018-08-11 22:44

lejonklou wrote: If I had released a commercial product, it would have been made by some HAKAI parts and others of my own design (power supply and DAC).
Fredrik,
thank you for all the details.
If HAKAI is so good, it will be even better with a Lejonklou power supply and a Lejonklou DAC:-)
I have the impression you found with Volumio a pretty good software and it should not be impossible to design a DAC which outperforms the ESI.
What do you think about?

Matt
LP12 / Exposure / JBL3677

tokenbrit
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 1081
Joined: 2012-03-22 19:47
Location: New England

Re: HAKAI

Post by tokenbrit » 2018-08-11 22:58

Apologies if I missed it while skimming the posts on my cell phone: is HAKAI-NAS an update, better than, or similar to LS-NAS? Some of the components look familiar/similar, while others are new... Also, which are the more & less critical components when building a HAKAI-NAS, for instance is the specified case essential for optimal performance, or would that be only a marginal difference against other cases?
My reason for asking is that I got about half way through acquiring the list of items needed to build an LS-NAS and some appear to be specified again here, so curious whether this is an update or a re-write. Thks.

Azazello
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 466
Joined: 2007-01-30 21:59
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: HAKAI

Post by Azazello » 2018-08-11 23:54

You are asking the wrong questions :)

I have built one, and sold my ADS/D that sounds like crap in comparison. I’m also mostly likely going to sell my LP12 (Lingo3/Ekos/Adikt/Slipsik) since I see no point in keeping it.

I have not made the comparison, but I’d be very surprised if he latest KDS is this good. And the HAKAI cost me altogether about € 600.

EDIT: And I’m still using a Qnap 119, and no optimisation what so ever.

Azazello
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 466
Joined: 2007-01-30 21:59
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: HAKAI

Post by Azazello » 2018-08-11 23:56

tokenbrit wrote:Apologies if I missed it while skimming the posts on my cell phone: is HAKAI-NAS an update, (...) so curious whether this is an update or a re-write. Thks.
HAKAI is a streamer, not a NAS.

tokenbrit
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 1081
Joined: 2012-03-22 19:47
Location: New England

Re: HAKAI

Post by tokenbrit » 2018-08-12 00:19

Azazello wrote:
tokenbrit wrote:HAKAI is a streamer, not a NAS.
Please explain further. Step 3 suggests that the HAKAI is really just a music(al) server or a NAS if you add a larger drive, with an ESI Gigaport+ DAC... How is that much different from the LS-NAS with the same DAC?

User avatar
lejonklou
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 4840
Joined: 2007-01-30 10:38
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: HAKAI

Post by lejonklou » 2018-08-12 01:04

tokenbrit wrote:
Azazello wrote:
tokenbrit wrote:HAKAI is a streamer, not a NAS.
Please explain further. Step 3 suggests that the HAKAI is really just a music(al) server or a NAS if you add a larger drive, with an ESI Gigaport+ DAC... How is that much different from the LS-NAS with the same DAC?
Hi tokenbrit!

Step three is an optional second unit - a NAS that will store your music and supply it to the HAKAI streamer (the first unit) through the local network.

I don't have an LSNAS and therefore haven't compared it to a NAS built on HAKAI hardware. My suspicion is that the HAKAI NAS will outperform an LSNAS, but I might be wrong in that assumption. The software used makes a difference as well as the hardware. And I don't have the knowledge to fine tune the software for a HAKAI NAS, therefore the third step is an optional one - and maybe something that can be developed collectively, on this forum.

User avatar
lejonklou
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 4840
Joined: 2007-01-30 10:38
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: HAKAI

Post by lejonklou » 2018-08-12 01:24

matthias wrote:
lejonklou wrote: If I had released a commercial product, it would have been made by some HAKAI parts and others of my own design (power supply and DAC).
Fredrik,
thank you for all the details.
If HAKAI is so good, it will be even better with a Lejonklou power supply and a Lejonklou DAC:-)
I have the impression you found with Volumio a pretty good software and it should not be impossible to design a DAC which outperform the ESI.
What do you think about?

Matt
Hi matthias!

The Streacom power supply is really good and will have to do for now. I have started on a DAC, but am currently engaged in analogue circuits. It's possible I will finish it at a later point, but the Gigaport HD+ does all the fundamentals right, which is the most difficult task. It doesn't sound as sweet as a really high resolution DAC does, but rather presents a very dynamic and unfiltered reproduction of the digital stream that HAKAI delivers.

It's important to understand that the DAC is like the cartridge on a turntable - the converter of a digital stream into an analogue signal (the cartridge converting the physical movement of the stylus into an analogue electrical signal). In this theoretical sense, as well as the practical one, it's the part that affects the musicality of the reproduction the least. But at the same time, it also has a strong impact on the quality of the sound. Gigaport HD+ is a bit raw, which could hopefully be improved by a more refined design. But it also presents a true and very engaging reproduction of the digital signal it's fed, which is far more important. Consider it the equivalent of an AT-95E cartridge installed on a top specification LP12 turntable.

TMV
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 73
Joined: 2007-10-01 09:16
Location: Göteborg, Sweden

Re: HAKAI

Post by TMV » 2018-08-12 01:29

lejonklou wrote: I don't have an LSNAS and therefore haven't compared it to a NAS built on HAKAI hardware. My suspicion is that the HAKAI NAS will outperform an LSNAS, but I might be wrong in that assumption. The software used makes a difference as well as the hardware. And I don't have the knowledge to fine tune the software for a HAKAI NAS, therefore the third step is an optional one - and maybe something that can be developed collectively, on this forum.
How about including the NAS in the streamer by installing minimserver? SSD is already available in the streamer and miminserver should be possible to include in the volumio sw?

User avatar
lejonklou
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 4840
Joined: 2007-01-30 10:38
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: HAKAI

Post by lejonklou » 2018-08-12 01:44

TMV wrote:
lejonklou wrote: I don't have an LSNAS and therefore haven't compared it to a NAS built on HAKAI hardware. My suspicion is that the HAKAI NAS will outperform an LSNAS, but I might be wrong in that assumption. The software used makes a difference as well as the hardware. And I don't have the knowledge to fine tune the software for a HAKAI NAS, therefore the third step is an optional one - and maybe something that can be developed collectively, on this forum.
How about including the NAS in the streamer by installing minimserver? SSD is already available there.
Good question TMV!

Fact is that HAKAI sounds much better when it streams the music from a NAS on the local network than it does when the music is stored on HAKAI itself.

I have tried this in many variations. You can store the music on a USB stick (optimised), on the SSD that is running the NAS or on a second SSD or HDD - all of these options are vastly inferior to HAKAI requesting the packets from the local network. Even when the NAS delivering them is a standard unit and far from the most optimised and best sounding unit you can make!

The mechanisms behind this are mostly unknown. When Linn first presented their recommendation of how a DS, Switch and NAS should be connected for optimal performance, they'd done their homework, which was by trial and error.

TMV
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 73
Joined: 2007-10-01 09:16
Location: Göteborg, Sweden

Re: HAKAI

Post by TMV » 2018-08-12 02:03

Interesting Fredrik, Ethernet might be a better interface generating less (harmful) interference compared to USB and SATA. IP data might be more random vs the musical signal and this could make the interference less harmful?

User avatar
lejonklou
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 4840
Joined: 2007-01-30 10:38
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: HAKAI

Post by lejonklou » 2018-08-12 02:11

TMV wrote:Interesting Fredrik, Ethernet might be a better interface generating less (harmful) interference compared to USB and SATA. IP data might be more random vs the musical signal and this could make the interference less harmful?
Yes, maybe.

But storing just one track on the SSD that runs HAKAI can be done in a way that should be very non-interfering. Still it sounds much worse than requesting it from a NAS on the local network. So I am wary of using the term interference, as it appears to encourage a limited view of what is actually happening.

tokenbrit
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 1081
Joined: 2012-03-22 19:47
Location: New England

Re: HAKAI

Post by tokenbrit » 2018-08-12 02:35

Thanks for the reply & clarification.

Just another quick question for clarification, please: are the Blue Jeans CAT6a Ethernet cables now preferred over the previously recommended MicroConnects? I have been using the MicroConnects following ThomasOK's prior recommendation... 2.5m BJC Cat 6a Patch Cords aren't too pricey - just curious whether they've been compared against the 3m MicroConnect.

Lemmy
Member
Member
Posts: 22
Joined: 2009-05-18 18:50

Re: HAKAI

Post by Lemmy » 2018-08-12 11:01

All this sounds very interesting.
Just a couple of questions:

1. The two mentioned motherboards do indeed seem very difficult to get hold of. Has anyone tried any other motherboard?

2. What OS have you been using?

matthias
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 1049
Joined: 2007-12-25 16:47
Location: Germany

Re: HAKAI

Post by matthias » 2018-08-12 11:16

Hi Fredrik,
do you see any solution for those who do not want to go the NAS route but like streaming via Tidal and Qobuz?
Thanks

Matt
LP12 / Exposure / JBL3677

User avatar
lejonklou
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 4840
Joined: 2007-01-30 10:38
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: HAKAI

Post by lejonklou » 2018-08-12 11:49

Lemmy wrote:All this sounds very interesting.
Just a couple of questions:

1. The two mentioned motherboards do indeed seem very difficult to get hold of. Has anyone tried any other motherboard?

2. What OS have you been using?
Hi Lemmy!

1. Yes, many. If you stay as close as possible to the specification of the original Gigabyte GA-N3050N-D3H, there's a good chance you'll get good results. That is: Gigabyte, Ultra Durable series, integrated Celeron processor, passive cooling, mini-ITX format and ATX powered. I've drifted far away from these specifications in the hope of finding something radically different and better, but all such attempts have so far been disappointing.

2. Volumio runs on a minimal version of Linux. You don't need to install an operating system, the Volumio download is complete with Linux.

User avatar
lejonklou
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 4840
Joined: 2007-01-30 10:38
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: HAKAI

Post by lejonklou » 2018-08-12 11:54

matthias wrote:Hi Fredrik,
do you see any solution for those who do not want to go the NAS route but like streaming via Tidal and Qobuz?
Thanks

Matt
Ask Volumio if they could consider making a Tidal and/or Qobuz plugin. They made one for Spotify.

Lemmy
Member
Member
Posts: 22
Joined: 2009-05-18 18:50

Re: HAKAI

Post by Lemmy » 2018-08-12 12:15

lejonklou wrote: Hi Lemmy!

1. Yes, many. If you stay as close as possible to the specification of the original Gigabyte GA-N3050N-D3H, there's a good chance you'll get good results. That is: Gigabyte, Ultra Durable series, integrated Celeron processor, passive cooling, mini-ITX format and ATX powered. I've drifted far away from these specifications in the hope of finding something radically different and better, but all such attempts have so far been disappointing.

2. Volumio runs on a minimal version of Linux. You don't need to install an operating system, the Volumio download is complete with Linux.
1. I understand you have tested a lot of motherboards, I meant ”other close to the specification”. Sorry for being unclear bot now I got it. I can’t begin to comprehend the amount of time that must have gone into this project!

2. Ah, I didn’t read up enough on Volumio! Even more interesting.

User avatar
lejonklou
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 4840
Joined: 2007-01-30 10:38
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: HAKAI

Post by lejonklou » 2018-08-12 15:29

Lemmy wrote:
lejonklou wrote: Hi Lemmy!

1. Yes, many. If you stay as close as possible to the specification of the original Gigabyte GA-N3050N-D3H, there's a good chance you'll get good results. That is: Gigabyte, Ultra Durable series, integrated Celeron processor, passive cooling, mini-ITX format and ATX powered. I've drifted far away from these specifications in the hope of finding something radically different and better, but all such attempts have so far been disappointing.

2. Volumio runs on a minimal version of Linux. You don't need to install an operating system, the Volumio download is complete with Linux.
1. I understand you have tested a lot of motherboards, I meant ”other close to the specification”. Sorry for being unclear bot now I got it. I can’t begin to comprehend the amount of time that must have gone into this project!
Yes, lots of time but it was a lot of fun too!

One example of a motherboard that is close in specification but not suitable is this:

Gigabyte GA-N3160TN

It's from the Ultra Durable series, has a fanless Celeron design and all the necessary connectors. But it runs on a single 12-19 VDC power, which means an entirely different power supply must be used than the recommended Streacom Nano160, which provides 24 pin + 4 pin ATX power (=lots of different voltages).

Motherboards with a single voltage power input can sometimes be made to sound good, but not with any off-the-shelf parts.

matthias
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 1049
Joined: 2007-12-25 16:47
Location: Germany

Re: HAKAI

Post by matthias » 2018-08-12 17:21

lejonklou wrote:
matthias wrote:Hi Fredrik,
do you see any solution for those who do not want to go the NAS route but like streaming via Tidal and Qobuz?
Ask Volumio if they could consider making a Tidal and/or Qobuz plugin. They made one for Spotify.
Maybe the solution is that Volumio can act as an UPnP/DLNA renderer. So it accepts streaming from Audirvana which offers Tidal and Qobuz integration.

Matt
LP12 / Exposure / JBL3677

Azazello
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 466
Joined: 2007-01-30 21:59
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: HAKAI

Post by Azazello » 2018-08-12 17:48

lejonklou wrote: If you stay as close as possible to the specification of the original Gigabyte GA-N3050N-D3H, there's a good chance you'll get good results. That is: Gigabyte, Ultra Durable series, integrated Celeron processor, passive cooling, mini-ITX format and ATX powered.
Looking at this page: https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/Ul ... e%E2%84%A2

I would assume that the ITX-cards with Celeron N3050, N3150 and N3160 are all valid candidates?

That would include:

GA-N3050N-D2P
GA-N3050N-D3H
GA-N3150N-D3V
GA-N3150N-D2H
GA-N3160N-D3V

Would you agree Fredrik? What do you think about the "J"-series of Celeron processors?

Azazello
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 466
Joined: 2007-01-30 21:59
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: HAKAI

Post by Azazello » 2018-08-12 18:32

matthias wrote:Hi Fredrik,
do you see any solution for those who do not want to go the NAS route but like streaming via Tidal and Qobuz? [...] Maybe the solution is that Volumio can act as an UPnP/DLNA renderer. So it accepts streaming from Audirvana which offers Tidal and Qobuz integration.
Matt
My HAKAI comes up as an option for audio output on my iPhone. No Idea how, but Google music sounds really good on it (I haven't compared it to anything, since it's only a secondary option for me).

matthias
Very active member
Very active member
Posts: 1049
Joined: 2007-12-25 16:47
Location: Germany

Re: HAKAI

Post by matthias » 2018-08-12 18:58

Azazello wrote:
matthias wrote:Hi Fredrik,
do you see any solution for those who do not want to go the NAS route but like streaming via Tidal and Qobuz? [...] Maybe the solution is that Volumio can act as an UPnP/DLNA renderer. So it accepts streaming from Audirvana which offers Tidal and Qobuz integration.
My HAKAI comes up as an option for audio output on my iPhone. No Idea how, but Google music sounds really good on it (I haven't compared it to anything, since it's only a secondary option for me).
Thanks Azazello,
another possibility is that the Qobuz desktop app now has UPnP/DLNA compatibility and can directly stream to Volumio.

Matt
LP12 / Exposure / JBL3677

User avatar
lejonklou
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 4840
Joined: 2007-01-30 10:38
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: HAKAI

Post by lejonklou » 2018-08-12 19:02

Azazello wrote:
lejonklou wrote: If you stay as close as possible to the specification of the original Gigabyte GA-N3050N-D3H, there's a good chance you'll get good results. That is: Gigabyte, Ultra Durable series, integrated Celeron processor, passive cooling, mini-ITX format and ATX powered.
Looking at this page: https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/Ul ... e%E2%84%A2

I would assume that the ITX-cards with Celeron N3050, N3150 and N3160 are all valid candidates?

That would include:

GA-N3050N-D2P
GA-N3050N-D3H
GA-N3150N-D3V
GA-N3150N-D2H
GA-N3160N-D3V

Would you agree Fredrik? What do you think about the "J"-series of Celeron processors?
Excellent work!

All of the above should work and are likely to sound good (although likely with some variation that is impossible to quantify without actual comparison).

What differs between them is:
• How many cores their Celeron processor has (3050 is dual core and 3150/3160 is quad core). It's unclear whether this matters to sound quality. Note that a Celeron processor is not mandatory, but they are low power (therefore suitable to fanless designs) and boards with for instance Intel i3, i5, i7 or i9 don't seem to offer any sound benefits, only higher speed (which is unnecessary) and power (requiring more cooling).
• What video output is available (DVI, HDMI or D-Sub). You will need a screen attached to HAKAI when installing Volumio (as well as a keyboard and mouse), so make sure your screen has the relevant input.
• Different RAM specification (UDIMM or SO-DIMM). Make sure you get the right RAM specification.

There might be even more suitable Gigabyte UD motherboards out there.

Post Reply