Fidelizer Nimitra Computer Audio Server

Device Type: Music Server/Network Player
Input: LAN / WiFi / Bluetooth / HDMI / VGA
Output: USB 2.0 and 3.0, Bluetooth
Dimensions: 225(W) x 44(H) x 200(D) mm
Weight: 2kg
Availability: Online
Price: $1395.00
Website: /www.fidelizer-audio.com

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
All of the hardware component decisions and selections were based on reducing overall power consumption and noise generated by Nimitra. Keetakawee identified 3 important principles to his hardware design:
  1. No moving part – Moving parts create vibration affecting the accuracy of electricity’s transmission.
  2. Low power consumption – The best way to reduce pollution is to consume less power and not adding more filters/isolators.
  3. Resonance control for chassis – It’s often overlooked in digital audio, but resonance of the chassis effects digital audio as well.
Nimitra’s Software
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)
The Asset UPnP library Server supports numerous formats including: AAC, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, APE, ASF, ASX, BWF, CDA, DFF, DSF, FLAC, M2A, M4A, M4B, MP+, MP1, MP2, MP3, MP4, MPA, MPC, MPEG, MPG, MPGA, MPP, MPX, OGA, OGG, RADIO, W64, WASAPI, WAV, WMA, WMV, WV, WVX. The JPLAY Streamer accepts only WAV and TIDAL streaming. The Asset Server converts all supported file formats to WAV files for the JPlay Streamer. Asset only supports DSD64.

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.

The Music
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.

Conclusion
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.


Associated Equipment

COMMENTS
bobflood's picture

and very dedicated to customer service. I used Fidelizer from day one and it really works. I am happy that he has taken it further with this dedicated machine. If one wishes to use Windows as an Audiophile OS, this is definitely something to consider.

Keetakawee Punpeng's picture

Thank you Mr. Bob Flood. I always remember you as one of pioneers who's been supporting Fidelizer since day one while it still had crude UI from geek's perspectives. And big thanks to Mr. Steven Plaskin for supporting Fidelizer too. Audiophiles couldn't appreciate Fidelizer as much as today without your kind support. :)

Regards,
Keetakawee

brianls's picture

I've been using JPlay for many years with many DACs, all the way from an iFi iDSD Nano to a DCS Vivaldi. When it comes to computer playback, it sounds better than anything else I've heard. The choice of JPlay in this setup makes me want to give it a try :)

mentt's picture

How does it compare with Green Audio SonicTransporter?

Steven Plaskin's picture

Similar concept but different operating systems. If one wants to run the JPlay Streamer, you would need Nimitra since it runs Windows !0 Pro and the SonciTransporter runs Small Green Computer Linux.

alonwa's picture

How does it compare with the microRendu? In particular, can it stream DSD512 to a T+A DAC 8 DSD (which the microRendu cannot because it runs linux)?

Steven Plaskin's picture

Add a REGEN, and the sound is similar to the mR. Quite frankly, Nimitra is very good sounding and holds its own with the mR without a REGEN.

As for streaming DSD512 with the T&A will depend on what applications you use. HQPlayer from a Roon Core computer should work. JPlay with the Asset Server will not. Nimitra runs Windows 10 Pro so there are many possibilies.

Keetakawee Punpeng's picture

Have you tried REGEN with Nimitra yet? It should also work with Nimitra too.

HowardS's picture

Hi Steve,

I am eagerly awaiting your Nimitra + Nikola review - any news when?

Thanks,
Howard

Steven Plaskin's picture
Hi Howard, The review will be submitted very soon.
Keetakawee Punpeng's picture

Nimitra uses only about 5-7% of CPU utilization on native DSD256 audio playback/recording. I don't have devices to test DSD512 with yet but I'm confident that it can work with DSD512 natively without problems.

You also have 30-day money back guarantee so you can simply return Nimitra and get full refund if it doesn't work well for you. :)

Regards,
Keetakawee

alonwa's picture

Would it also make sense to add squeezeplay, a software squeezebox player (to make it more comparable with the microRendu)?

Keetakawee Punpeng's picture

Sure. Nimitra is open platform. We have customers using many 3rd-party applications with Nimitra and Squeezeplay can be installed in Nimitra too. :)

alonwa's picture

Is it open in the sense that the customer can install and run whatever they want (using teamviewer, I suppose)? If so, won't customers inevitably eventually harm the optimized nature of the server?

Keetakawee Punpeng's picture

They only install required applications for their solutions. If they want J River, I install J River for them. If they need Dirac Live for room correction, I helped them setting up. If they use Pro Audio software for recording, I help them install and configure.

So far our customers keep customization in consideration knowing Teamviewer remote support won't be able to heal fatal damage. If Nimitra can't work anymore after intensive customization, they can send Nimitra back for re-installation. It's not likely to happen from just installing 3rd-party audio solutions software though.

Regards,
Keetakawee

Steven Plaskin's picture
Many users of the T&A want to convert everything to DSD512 with the HQPlayer. Nimitra would not be up for this task.
Keetakawee Punpeng's picture

I see. I thought they mean native DSD512 playback. To play upsampled DSD512, it'll require Intel i7 processor to have enough processing power to render DSD512 in real-time audio playback.

However, it'll also produce pollution and interference which isn't our philosophy to build such product.

Regards,
Keetakawee

Steven Plaskin's picture
You are correct! That's why I suggested a separate high power computer to stream to Nimitra for the HQPlayer.
Keetakawee Punpeng's picture

Nimitra also supports HQPlayer as NAA device too. Upsampling to DSD512 from transporter and stream to Nimitra would be ideal way to play upsampled DSD512 files.

By the way, is it possible to save upsampled DSD512 files from HQPlayer?

Regards,
Keetakawee

Steven Plaskin's picture

"By the way, is it possible to save upsampled DSD512 files from HQPlayer?"

No.

Keetakawee Punpeng's picture

Thank you.

dwb's picture

So it appears to be a PC running Windows with some specialize software and hardware? What are the specific steps for implementation? Is a monitor and key board required for initial setup and then not needed once configured? An exterior USB drive can be the source of music files, correct, no internal storage? Also, music selection can be from tablet or phone?

Steven Plaskin's picture
No setup is necessary. If you use JPlay, your remote app will make selections. If you stream Roon to it, again your remote app makes the selections. You can connect an external USB drive for your library. The Roon Core can be used in multiple ways in terms of the library. You can stream Roon/HQPlayer as well.
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