Fidelizer Nimitra Computer Audio Server
Input: LAN / WiFi / Bluetooth / HDMI / VGA
Output: USB 2.0 and 3.0, Bluetooth
Dimensions: 225(W) x 44(H) x 200(D) mm
The Nimitra Computer Audio Server is the design of Keetakawee Punpeng, the creator of Fidelizer. I have previously written about Fidelizer Pro, software that optimizes the Windows operating system for use with music software. Keetakawee, who hails from Thailand, decided to combine his software talents and computer hardware knowledge to create a reference audiophile music server. He also wanted a server that would not only be better sounding than an off-the-shelf computer, but a device that would be effortless in terms of setup and use. The Nimitra was conceived as a plug and play device that would take the frustration out of the use of a computer for audio and let users concentrate on their enjoyment of music.
Nimitra is based on the Windows 10 Pro operating system. Keetakawee has drawn on his extensive experience with Fidelizer Pro to create a dedicated music server with carefully selected hardware components. Keetakawee states that he has removed all non-audio features from Windows 10 Pro and applied more optimizations that can’t be included in Fidelizer Pro for end user customers. Nimitra’s process time has been reduced to boot the system in about 30 seconds once powered on.
The Nimitra Hardware Highlights
- Nimitra is fanless to reduce noise and vibration
- Nimitra features an mPCIe 16GB SSD
- Intel Celeron J1900 2.0GHz CPU with a 2MB L2 Cache
- Kingston DDR3L 4GB Memory
- Direct 12VDC Input Power Supply feeding power directly to the board
- 3.5mm Aluminum Alloy frame with audio grade isolation feet to reduce resonance
- Built-in WiFi/Bluetooth that allow one to install speakers with the music server
- No moving part – Moving parts create vibration affecting the accuracy of electricity’s transmission.
- Low power consumption – The best way to reduce pollution is to consume less power and not adding more filters/isolators.
- Resonance control for chassis – It’s often overlooked in digital audio, but resonance of the chassis effects digital audio as well.
Nimitra has preinstalled the JPlay Streamer and the Asset Library Server that are uPNP resulting in minimal software configuration with UPnP control point software. There is no need for a keyboard, mouse, or monitor as Nimitra is designed to be a plug and play device. UPnP control software for Nimitra include:
- Windows: Kazoo, Kinsky, foobar2000+foo UPnP
- Mac: Kazoo, Kinsky
- iOS: Kazoo, Kinsky
- Android: Kazoo, Kinsky, BubbleuPNP (Tidal Support)
Nimitra is also Roon Ready and an HQPlayer NAA device. Nimitra comes preloaded with your USB DAC Windows driver as well as Teamviewer for direct support from Keetakawee if needed.
Concerning Windows 10 updates: Nimitra has the most recent Windows update when shipped. Keetakawee suggests that it’s best to leave Nimitra “as is” and always consult with the developer before installing any 3rd party application.
In summary, Nimitra can function as a music server or library server by connecting your USB DAC and USB storage with your network and a control point like Linn’s Kazoo. Nimitra can also act as a Roon Ready device accepting streamed music from a Roon Core / HQPlayer.
Nimitra As A Roon Ready Device
I first began listening to Nimitra using its Roon ready feature. My Asus G501JW laptop streamed music contained on my Thunderbolt drives with Roon Server. The Asus runs Windows 10 Pro 64 and for part of the evaluation I also used Fidelizer Pro 7.4. And yes, I did hear an improvement running Fidelizer Pro on my Roon Core. I controlled Roon with my iPad Air 2. The setup of Roon Server with Nimitra was quick and effortless as Nimitra was recognized on my Roon network once powered up. I connected my MSB Technology Analog DAC / Analog Power Base to Nimitra with a Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 USB cable and alternatively with an AudioQuest Diamond USB cable.
Nimitra used my MSB Technology USB ASIO driver for full support of PCM files up to 24/384kHz and DSD256. Function was flawless and the sound was excellent. Nimitra just sounded smooth and rich with the Analog DAC. I felt the overall sound was easy to listen to for extended periods and was most definitely superior to what I could achieve with an unmodified OS PC or Mac. Overall detail and focus were first-rate with the Nimitra. In some ways, the Nimitra reminded me of the Playback Designs Syrah Server in terms of its excellent playback qualities.
For those that are interested, I used AudioQuest Diamond and Vodka Ethernet cables for my network connections to my Asus computer and the Nimitra Server.
The JPlay Streamer
I then used Linn’s Kazoo to control the JPlay Streamer. I found Kazoo to be among the best of the UPnP control programs as it was responsive and very easy to use. I connected a USB drive with music files directly to Nimitra. Kazoo found my music library and quickly readied it for playback. Listening to my music files with the JPlay Streamer was simply an outstanding experience. I found the JPlay streamer to sound better to my personal tastes than listening with Roon; and this comes from a dedicated Roon user!
JPlay was more revealing with less mid bass warmth than the previous Roon setup. Low-level details were more easily heard with the JPlay Streamer. The soundstage was more expansive with increased perception of depth. Changing the USB cables did not alter my overall opinion. I felt that spatial resolution, tonal naturalness, and overall resolution were superior with the JPlay Streamer. I guess Keetakawee selected JPlay for its overall exceptional musical qualities.
Linear Power Supply
Keetakawee has informed me that he will have a linear power supply available for Nimitra:
At the moment we're developing our own linear PSU to use with Nimitra. It's very high quality, can easily compete against $1k ones in the market. We plan to launch it in Q1-Q2 2017. It was designed to do the best job with Nimitra but also works well with most NUCs, Media Player, and other devices running 12VDC. We'll release it with the price at an affordable price.I connected the 12-volt output of my HDPlex 100 watt linear power supply to Nimitra. Nimitra now sounded larger, more refined, and with a better sense of weight and authority to the sound. I felt that the overall sound was more dynamic with better immediacy and palpability to the bass. Speaking of bass, low-end definition benefited from the use of the linear power supply.
Listening to Jazz Funk Soul with Jeff Lorber. Chuck Loeb, and Everette Harp (24/96) showed off Nimitra’s wonderful transient quickness and impact, especially when running the JPlay Streamer. I felt the punchy bass with terrific grip, definition, and impact. The overall musical stage was extremely large and involving.
Paul Stephenson’s Girl With a Mirror (DSD64) is a well-recorded Stockfisch recording of this English folk-style singer. Nimitra had a very low noise level with a jet-black background. There was good dimensionality to the sound, especially when the HDPlex linear power supply was used. The sound using the Nimitra was delicate in tone and texture when listening to Paul’s guitar.
I found that Nimitra met the goals of its creator with a plug and play server that was impressive in terms of offered software applications and ultimate sound quality. While I found that the Roon Ready feature did sound very good, the best sonic results were obtained using the JPlay Streamer. For those thinking of a Windows 10 Pro computer that requires minimal fuss and setup, but delivers reference quality sound, Nimitra just might be your solution particularly if you wish to run the JPlay Streamer.