aswillman

HD Plex H1 build

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Super Wammer

I thought I'd share my thoughts about my new build music player and using a HD Plex chassis. I confess right from the start that I am by no means an expert, I just enjoy fiddling around with electronic bits!

This build is based around the HD Plex H1 chassis - http://www.hd-plex.com/hdplex-h1-series/

It costs 132 Euros and I used it to replace my Streacom Evo 8 I had built previously as I don't need an optical drive. It has a lower profile and is brushed aluminium (as opposed to blast sanded). Both of these are quality products, being well built & machined with all the screw holes matching & working! However, whilst Streacom are available from a variety of resellers quickly, HD Plex are not so I had to wait 2 months for mine. Other models are out of stock too and the recently introduced linear power supply is unavailable for order currently.

When it arrives however, the packaging and contents instantly hit you as being classy. For something just over a hundred quid, this is excellent value for money. Putting it all together is fairly straightforward. I used a thin mini-ITX mainly so I would have room for other bits. The problem with this was this board does not have SPDIF out. However, I wanted a 3rd party solution anyway. My full height RME AIO PCI Express card doesn't fit but I thought instantly about a HiFace. Marco sent me an extra washer & nut for the HiFace free of charge - what a lovely chap! It didn't quite work out as the nut is slightly too large for the slot but I will eventually find something. The HiFace is connected to an internal USB header.

The instructions are fairly easy to follow but as a newbie doing this, I did get a bit confused about which screws to use where. The only problem I had was one of the copper cooling pipes which I had to trim by 1 cm to fit. However assembly was pretty simple. The main parts of the player are:

Gigabyte GA B75TN http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4463#ov

INTEL I3 processor, 4GB RAM

128GB mSATA memory (for OS - Windows 7 running Asset PnP & JRiver)

2TB 2.5" Toshiba HDD (for media)

I purchased the internal AC to DC power supply as well but I wasn't 100% sure about the wiring plus it was quite cramped inside so I have deferred fitting until a later date.

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I control the desktop remotely with VNC client & music control is with JRiver remote (JRiver 19 OS the medial player). I can mount the HDD as a share on my Mac & use FolderSynchroniser to update the files. I currently have both the SPDIF & USB plumbed into the 851D just really to see which one I prefer. I suspect there won't be a lot of difference. I am also going to be comparing it with a digital feed from the Cambridge Audio SM6 which is receiving its files from a Windows Home Server running Asset PnP. Again I will A/B but I suspect it should all be fairly similar in SQ plus it's not blinded (Serge would be proud of me!).

For the future I might try a foo USB card or the linear PS. I suspect neither will make a difference but if one crops up second hand, it would be worth trying.

In summary, this is a quality chassis which proved easy to assemble. It feels more sturdy & heavier than the Streacom but ultimately it comes down to aesthetics. I think the full width H5SODD looks lovely & there is a V2 coming out. For me however the brushed aluminium front goes beautifully with my ModWright. I just need an 851D in black! The downsides are the non-availability of the products which is frustrating. HD Plex are obviously victims of their own success.

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Super Wammer

The website is pretty good with links to a lot of customer builds. Plus Larry answers e-mails, albeit short & to the point! This is another good site: http://www.hifidelit.com

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Hello

Lovely case , and lovely build

Linear PSU does provide the Extra touch .. but then it's a cost effective question.

A dedicated USB Card too , but you don't have the space for that in your build

just have a linear psu , and no way going back

Cheers & congrats , thanks for sharing

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Super Wammer

Thanks Edun

I was helped by you posting your experiences so thanks. A USB card would fit but I'd have to lose the HiFace & to be honest, I'm not sure it's worth it. There's something about SPDIF which is tried & trusted but USB, favourite today maybe but gone tomorrow!

I think a linear PSU is an option purely as HD Plex have a matching one which looks quite nice & isn't overly expensive.

Tony

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Hello Tony

There's no way that USB will be lagging behind the SPDIF

The forthcoming replacement for USB will be probably the I2S .. but this is another story

Just before buying the HDplex PSU , just check for the Voltage regulation in the Linear PSU

From discussions with Crimsondonkey and IanS1 , I learnt that the Paul Hynes were very good because of the voltage regulation

And I sent a mail to hdplex about their DC/ATX 250W convertor , just to know whether it's like the PicoPSU or simply a SMPS stuff .. the point being that there's no big deal in adding a PSU if the convertor itself is the bottleneck

But surely , the Paulpang and the SOTM cards are in a better league .. but then before engaging yourself in that , better see whether a NAIM streamer would not be better

Cheers

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Super Wammer

Okay, minor update. A Paul Pang Foo USB card doesn't fit the chassis so be warned! Linear PSU ordered so further update & pictures when installed.

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Super Wammer

Edun

Thanks for the input again. The H1 is a great chassis but I'm just limited by the amount of space. I have to say, I'm already thinking H5 with my RME AIO card with its SPDIF Output plus ADC for potential room correction DSP.

Linear PSU ordered as at the price, it's a bit of a no brainer. It looks really smart too. I ordered the Paul Pang USB card too but it is too tall for the chassis. On reflection, there's little point in me 'blind testing' the PPA card as by definition, it isn't blinded.

I'm enjoying playing & Hifidelit are happy for me to return the PPA card. My streamer is a Cambridge Audio SM6, plugged into the excellent 851D which I would suggest is equally as good as anything bar esoteric offerings from Naim & Linn.

Tony

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