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Further thoughts on RPi player

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Posted on March 9, 2017 at 15:52:50
E-Stat
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1. It's nice to have all the bottom octave back. When I converted to the Touch years ago, I noticed a slight compromise on the lowest bass response.
2. There is definitely more resolution across the band especially at the top. Even when evaluated using the humble components in my garage system.
3. The darn thing doesn't generate much heat even when powered up 24/7.
4. There's no problem playing 24/192 content.

I continue to admire the SB Touch product as a truly innovative product which I believe is still a better solution for the average consumer. It's a turnkey solution with an easy-to-use UI and the touch screen functionality can be an asset to many.

I've been a DIYer since I started building Dynakits when I was 15. While the simple assembly and loading of program executable with the RPi doesn't require even a fraction of that effort, I'm convinced that some folks would likely not be as enthusiastic about the unit as many of us are.

I think its a fabulous product which, like the uRendu, has caused my ecosystem to evolve and for me to change some of my previous thinking. While I'm on the cusp of turning 60, I'm still learning new ways to satisfy my emotional need for experiencing music.

What lies next is a direct comparison the the uRendu product. I see more similarities with these two players than differences. Can a $120 solution match that of a $1000 one? We'll see.

Thanks again to all the inmates who continue to assist me in the journey...

 

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RE: Further thoughts on RPi player, posted on March 9, 2017 at 16:23:51
AbeCollins
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Very cool !! You're having way too much fun w/o spending enough money. ;-)

The BIG question:

- Will your setup be essentially the same with the uRendu and the RPi driving the same DAC over the same interface? Now that will be a fair comparison. I would love to get your opinion on how they compare soncially.



 

Close, posted on March 9, 2017 at 17:59:10
E-Stat
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Will your setup be essentially the same with the uRendu and the RPi driving the same DAC over the same interface?

The RPi will be using its coaxial output via an RCA to BNC cable previously used with the Touch to the DAC8. The uRendu required the use of USB to S/PDIF converter where it is likewise attached to the BNC input on the DAC8. For only another $500.

So, I guess I'm really comparing a $1500 solution ($640 rendu+$400 HdPlex+$500 Audiophilleo) to the $120 Pi with Jameco linear. :)

 

RE: Further thoughts on RPi player, posted on March 10, 2017 at 00:39:03
soundchekk
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Posts: 1899
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Just using the Pi as digital transport leaves certain great opportunities untouched.

The todays HAT modules are that well done, that there's IMO no real need for external DACs anymore. (And the evolution is still on its way!)
These devices even support up 2 384kHz -- for those hunting after large figures.

Since you go straight I2S you just skip all these messy audio interfaces (SPDIF, USB, asf.) and related very costly tweaks.

You might consider the Allo Kali I2S HAT reclocker. It gets the jitter down to audiophile levels.

Using the iFi iPower gets the power noise down to quite low levels.

There are numerous DACs IMO sounding quite good. Many of them sounding better with the Kali.

However. E.g. Allo has just launched the "Boss" DAC.
That DAC doesn't even require the Kali reclocker anymore. It IMO sounds really nice.


At 150$ - PI+Boss+iPower + free distro of choice - you'll end up with a great audio piece.

You don't need great technical skills to put it together.
It's probably easier then building you favorite Lego gadget.

There are still people around who spent/d thousands of $ on similar (sounding) solutions. IMO that's just waste of money.

Stuff like MicroRendu - just a stupid USB interface - are IMO
overrated, overexpensive and extremely inflexible.
Meanwhile you'll find quite some so called High-End gear with Raspberry
Pi inside. It can't be that bad - even though some audiophiles
claim otherwise.
One main aspect is the PI software support. It's mainly free and quickly evolving.
Small and medium size audio companies just can not afford to develop fancy custom software and provide long term support - unless they make you pay for it.
And that's IMO a killer argument against these devices.


Yep. And there are still people out there using even PCs.


Enjoy.

PS: I agree that Logitech was years ahead of the competition. Almost a decade later not that many companies can offer a similar HW/SW solution.
The SB Touch had quite some tweak potential during those years I've been running it (I put together and made available a Touch Toolbox during those days).
As a matter of fact your mentioned low end weakness benefited from it.

At 300$ it was twice as much as above PI solution. Which was more then fair
during those days. Nothing in the world would make me stepping back though.

 

RE: Further thoughts on RPi player, posted on March 10, 2017 at 05:44:18
E-Stat
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The todays HAT modules are that well done, that there's IMO no real need for external DACs anymore.

I'm still cautious as to whether or not single ended op amp designs can match the sound quality of the best balanced discrete designs, be they tube or JFET based.

I put together and made available a Touch Toolbox during those days

I benefited from a number of your suggestions and the EDO app.

edit: I revisited your comments about the Faerie Sorcerer's tweaks and noted both the "hdmi_ blanking" and "-b 20000:600000" configuration changes. Anything else you might have discovered since then?

Thanks for your suggestions!

 

RE: Close, posted on March 10, 2017 at 06:02:16
Dynobot
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The interesting test will be to swap out the rendu [setup] for the pi [setup].




Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

RE: Further thoughts on RPi player, posted on March 10, 2017 at 06:13:09
Dynobot
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I've tried several HAT-Dacs and the answer is 'no' the best or even a very good stand alone dac still sounds better to my ears at least.

I also have a iFi power and ended up selling it because I could not hear a difference between the Jameco and the iFi...although the iFi has superior specs.

FWIW, Archimago's CRAAP settings makes a nice improvement
http://archimago.blogspot.com/2017/01/measurements-raspberry-pi-3-as-usb.html

Either way, its fun to play around and try different things....its a hobby after all...
Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

Iffy iFi, posted on March 10, 2017 at 06:36:09
AbeCollins
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I recall some inmates flaming you a long time ago because you posted photos of the insides of an iFi product that had come apart. I think the glue or whatever they used didn't hold.

My first iFi product, the $50 iFi iPower had to be immediately sent back to the retailer because of poor manufacturing and/or QC. There was something rattling around inside of it. Perhaps it was a plastic piece that came lose or it could have been a metal screw. In any case I didn't want to chance having it cause damage to itself or to my gear. What a disappointment. It was promptly exchanged by the retailer for a new one but that experience (along with the iFi experience you shared) left a very bad impression with me of their products.

I still own the replacement iFi iPower (one of the many power sources recommended for the microRendu) but I hear no difference between it and a $10 wall wart I bought off Amazon.

Even though your Jameco LPS doesn't have stellar specs, most digital gear with their own onboard regulators don't need a thousand dollar LPS or UltraCap power supply. It's not like you're powering the high gain analog stages in a phono preamp. But audiophiles will be audiophiles and 'designer power sources' are easy add-ons, easy to tinker with, and easy to throw money at. ;-)



 

RE: Close, posted on March 10, 2017 at 06:43:26
AbeCollins
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The interesting test will be to swap out the rendu [setup] for the pi [setup].

I agree. I'd love to get E-Stat's impressions on how they compare. Technically, the microRendu is a better design and it handles DSD. But for typical 16/44.1 to 24/192 PCM, I bet the Pi sounds great.


 

RE: Iffy iFi, posted on March 10, 2017 at 06:44:02
Dynobot
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Yeah I remember that...imo that was 100% pure deception. Gluing a metal bar inside to add weight.

Anyhow, that rattling you heard was probably the same thing.

Yes Audiophiles do like to spend money to satisfy their mental issues. I was one myself. And to be honest its still slightly unnerving to look at the RPi connected to a $2k Dac.
Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

I use the following iFi products:, posted on March 10, 2017 at 10:51:47
oldmkvi
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Outboard DC Power Supply, no rattling, maybe that metal bar was bracing,
DC Purifier,
Micro USB 3.0 Power Supply,
Gemini USB Cable,
all with AQ Coffee USB Cable from Mac/HQ Player, playing everything in DSD 128.

It bumped up my Lampizator and McIntosh D150 sound quality very nicely.
When combined w/AQ Jitterbug, I've had the best listening experiences I've ever had on my Den System,
with the Mac D150, both Balanced and RCA into Mac 6900 Int Amp.
Really tangible, colorful, natural 3D Sound, I've been loving it, and I've had A LOT of other gear here to compare, including eXasound E22, at $3500, the most expensive Digital Product I've tried.

( I need to sell the Lampi...)

Is it as good as Rendu?
Maybe not, but I couldn't be happier with what I've got now, the Mac was a very big step up, even without the iFi stuff.

With it all, in combination, it's terrific.

I don't think it's Junk at all!

 

RE: I use the following iFi products:, posted on March 10, 2017 at 11:05:59
AbeCollins
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The large metal bar in his iFi had no purpose other than to add weight and it was glued onto an inside surface of the enclosure. I saw the pics Dynobot posted. The glue let lose.

I have no idea what the rattling noise was inside my new iFi iPower but I sent it back immediately for a replacement.

No doubt the iFi products work. My doubt has to do with their construction and quality control.


 

Right, things happen. Luckily, posted on March 10, 2017 at 11:09:11
oldmkvi
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mine were fine.

 

RE: I use the following iFi products:, posted on March 10, 2017 at 11:23:59
Dynobot
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No doubt many people find iFi products to be great.

Looking at the specs they are top notch, outward appearance is pretty good too.

I don't think anyone here said iFi products are junk.

Just for kicks, would you mind opening up your product and posting a pic?


Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

Sorry, no can do! No DIY here... nt, posted on March 10, 2017 at 11:43:10
oldmkvi
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/

 

Just 4 screws. whats the matter, you chicken?... nt, posted on March 10, 2017 at 11:47:42
Dynobot
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.
Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

Let me summon my Best Don Knotts voice..., posted on March 10, 2017 at 14:12:08
oldmkvi
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Noop!
Oh, well, yes, actually.

 

LOL.....well at least your'e honest....nt, posted on March 10, 2017 at 14:14:11
Dynobot
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.
Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

RE: LOL.....well at least your'e honest....nt, posted on March 10, 2017 at 14:36:08
E-Stat
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He keeps only one bullet in his revolver. :)

 

RE: Further thoughts on RPi player, posted on March 10, 2017 at 15:30:42
Cut-Throat
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Looking forward to your review.... Since you now know that the Rpi is a very simple unit to configure, keep an open mind about a NAS.....

My NAS has made my computer systems much simpler... Far easier than sharing files via Windows...If it was 'More Complex', I wouldn't do it...Period!

.Don't get hung up on the RAID... Yes, I know it is not a substitute for a good Backup Regimen, as I have those also. It is basically an extra 'Free' level of protection and would come in handy in case of a Drive failure (Which by the way is the only reason I have ever had to use my backups. I was also in Information Systems for over 30 years, so I know what I'm talking about.

Cut-Throat




 

It seems we have different environments, posted on March 10, 2017 at 15:44:57
E-Stat
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Far easier than sharing files via Windows...If it was 'More Complex', I wouldn't do it...Period!

I use my desktop system on a daily basis. And I like the fact that access to data is not dependent upon network uptime. That's where all my data lives. Setting up a NAS, regardless of cost would be a separate and unnecessary redundancy for me. Why bother? One computer system for the home is just fine. Yes, both wifey and I have work laptops, but those can already access the central server when necessary. The OS is SSD based with the need for only one data disk spinning. With spares on the shelf for both should either fail.

Don't get hung up on the RAID

Certainly not. I abandoned the concept completely after using it for only a short time because it was a waste of resources. Instead, I have six offline drives that are not continually spinning their lives away. That provides plenty of redundancy in an environment that simply doesn't change that often - unlike the business systems that I support today where RAID 10 rules.

I've been in IT since 1980. :)

 

RE: Further thoughts on RPi player, posted on March 11, 2017 at 05:45:12
soundchekk
Audiophile

Posts: 1899
Joined: July 11, 2007
Checkout Moode Audio.

Slowly but surely I'm feeding more and more of my audio related tweaks towards Moode.


###################

"Output stage"

I've been running numerous output stages over the years.
First of all. They all add complexity. They all add more power supplies.
(One exception: A transformer outputstage.) They all add their own "footprint" or "flavour".

Who needs a 4-6V differential stage, if even 2V is too much. Many amps
don't even support 2V on the input. Add 25db gain to it and u can look for hearing aids.

All what most people need is <<1V. (Obviously I don't run preamps and try to limit digital volume control!)

Most differential stages cause problems on their own.


Back to the HAT DACs.

There are numerous cases where e.g. DACs based on a Sabre 9023 were considered better than a 9018. What matters is the implementation!
However. If a HAT is build after datasheet, you can't expect quality performance. These output opamps need quality power.
I played around with different capacitors - quite nice fellows hinted me into that direction. The right choice of caps made 10 times more of a difference then e.g. a reclocker.
Also switching from async to sync master clock on the Sabre made quite a difference.
Then I'm using a single highest quality 3.6V supply to feed the DAC.
Last but not least I modified the output filter. Non of these
modifications you can replace with a $500 power supply.

Over at DIY-Audio you can follow my HAT projects.

Below project ended with a DAC that I'm still running and enjoying:

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/295880-mamboberry-ls-my-new-pi-hat.html

This is my newest Boss project:

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/304004-my-new-boss-another-pi-hat.html

It's still work in progress.


There's no black or white. It's all grey. Everything ends up in a compromise at one point.
You, with 45 years of DIY Audio experience,should be well aware of it.


Enjoy.



 

NAS via dd-wrt, posted on March 11, 2017 at 07:32:41
Dynobot
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Over the years I purchased a couple of NAS drives but eventually I just ended up flashing my router with dd-wrt instead. It not only turned my router into a powerhouse but gave it NAS functionality. I just plug my hard drive into the router USB slot, pick a few commands and instant NAS.


Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

RE: Further thoughts on RPi player, posted on March 11, 2017 at 08:16:58
E-Stat
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I've been running numerous output stages over the years. First of all. They all add complexity.

Which is one reason I tend to prefer simple, zero feedback class A discrete designs using far fewer devices than high feedback op amps. I note the pcm5122 is like AKMs having the audio output onboard the DAC chip.

There's no black or white. It's all grey. Everything ends up in a compromise at one point. You, with 45 years of DIY Audio experience,should be well aware of it.

Most certainly agree. Thanks for your comments. The projects over at DIY Audio looks intriguing.

Today, I'll be comparing the RPi to the uRendu on the main system. Should prove to be interesting. :)

 

Iffy buyers, posted on March 11, 2017 at 08:37:39
fmak
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who buy products without filtering the claims.

 

Hey that's a great idea........................, posted on March 11, 2017 at 15:32:54
Cut-Throat
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Location: Minneapolis - St.Paul Area
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Is there any other advantages over a NAS or is it just about saving some $$$$.... I like the software that comes with the Synology NAS.... Backup, etc.....

Can you access your Router remotely? (I am in the Bahamas for the winter and access my NAS on a Daily Basis.

Cut-Throat




 

RE: Hey that's a great idea........................, posted on March 11, 2017 at 15:44:21
Dynobot
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Yep, I can access my router from anywhere.

And other than saving $$$ dd-wrt has a plethora of other tweaks, functions etc.


Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

I'm really open to understanding , posted on March 11, 2017 at 16:01:53
E-Stat
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the claim about saving money.

The 2 TB drive in my server cost all of $70 and parts of it (by design) are accessible remotely though I rarely have need to do so. When traveling, I'm usually focused on other things. Meanwhile, my iOS devices provide plenty of music and video.

Help me understand where the savings exist.

 

what's the most useful tweak, function you've found?.......nt, posted on March 11, 2017 at 17:35:06
Cut-Throat
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nt

Cut-Throat




 

RE: what's the most useful tweak, function you've found?.......nt, posted on March 11, 2017 at 17:46:16
Dynobot
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Can't say I've found something most other router software won't do....BUT, I can say that ever since I started using it I've had zero problems with connections, speed, or access. All problems that I intermittently had before.

Also I like the UI and having the ability to tweak anything from the processor speed [overclocking], to antenna's being used, to using it as a VPN or just about anything else. Not that I use any of it...mostly just liking its stability and NAS capabilities.


Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

Buyers = The Shameless Exploitation of Headfi'ers, posted on March 11, 2017 at 18:02:26
Dynobot
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Posts: 402
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Manufacturers lurk over at head-fi and exploit the audiophile addiction.

Suffice to say head-fi put Audiogd, Schiit Audio and many others on the map....imo.

Granted, on the other end is that headfi'ers are so eager to buy that manufacturers are very receptive to their wishes. The whole audiophile community benefits.
Dynobots Audio - Music is the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

 

Saving Discussion was dd-wrt vs. NAS......Not what you're doing......nt, posted on March 12, 2017 at 07:59:40
Cut-Throat
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nt

Cut-Throat




 

Cool - thanks -nt, posted on March 12, 2017 at 11:18:32
E-Stat
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.

 

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