First of all - thank you for being accepted into this club.
I have fairly recently only been using the pi as a transport. I had first learned of and tried archphile in April 2020, then tried Moode this July. Up to that point I had used a locally attached USB HDD to the rpi4 with both archphile and moode.
I have only in the last 2 days have been able to get symphonic-mpd up and running. Most of my difficulty was in figuring out how to get a NAS up on another pi3B+, with the locally attached USB HDD. Once I got that going, symphonic-mpd was very easy to configure.
I prefer to praise both Archphile and Moode and I will not compare these very fine products to any other. They both have their very very good attributes.
I am finding myself very very impressed with the sound quality of symphonic-mpd. The low level detail that I am hearing with this is exquisite. I have tested it on Grieg's piano concerto played by Stephen Bishop Kovacevich, on Dave Grusin's Homage to Duke (various tracks), on John WIlliams (the guitarist) Portrait of John WIlliams, and on each of these tracks, all of which I have listened to for more than 20 years, I am hearing more of the artist playing, than I have ever heard before.
I have a pi2design HAT - the 502DAC which I use as a transport into minidsp-PWRICE125 dsp/dac/amplifiers, into DIY lxmini (cabled with silver foil) which I built to the basic design by SL with a few tweaks on construction. I basically listen to my own rips (all to 24/96 using dbpoweramp), and to Spotify for old favourites and to find new-to-me music,
The technical aspects of this software are beyond my present understanding, but I do hope to learn more. The struggle to set this up was well worth the effort.
Thank you once again.