Raspberry Pi rools OK!

edited December 2015 in Digital
No one seems to have noticed a change in my signature.

I've ditched my Mac mini/Audirvana+ front end in favour of a Raspberry Pi.

I won't say the RPi makes mincemeat of the Mac, but it's bloody good. Bloody good enough for SWMBO to say she'd heard things on a JJ Cale album she'd never heard before. She has only ever been so positive about a piece of kit when the first SECA hit the system.

So, the RPi is more detailed, more nuanced, more focused and clearer/blacker in its soundstaging.

Software-wise, I'm using Volumio, which seems to be the most actively developed of the audiophile Linux distributions for the RPi. I'm connecting to the Young DAC using a HiFi Berry Digi+ card, which gives me an SPDIF connection, so I don't need the M2Tech USB driver.

I'm still tweaking, but at around £80 all-told, I can't see myself going back.

I know one or two of you have had problems setting up an RPi, so I've started writing a how-to guide to get any non-Linux nerds (like myself) up and running.

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Comments

  • Oh no a Pie full of digital lies, yuk.  >:)
  • I have just joined the RPi fan club with a Pi 2B fitted with the HifiBerry DAC+. 

    I have a Squeezebox Touch with the media / server sitting on a Synology NAS, so I loaded piCorePlayer on the RPi, connected to the LogitechMediaServer on the NAS and off it all went, a good sound from the start. I have Qobuz and BBC radio streams running and quite honestly I may not return to my other (expensive/very expensive) computer based players / dacs.

    I tried Volumio but so far no luck with connecting to my libraries - however I think I may know why - a thought on Linux naming conventions (no spaces allowed) just popped into my head. So I will try again - later.
  • Col. said you had.

    I'll try the Squeezebox on Synology approach when I have a spare card.

    It took me a while to set up the library on the Syno. Two tips - remember to include the volume and number in the path, and reboot each time you have a failure.

    The spacing problem is a red herring.
  • Glad to hear the Pi is working out for you Dave. I don't think there's any going back for me either.
  • It certainly is James. 

    The simplicity of the hardware and software seems to have a real advantage over the Mac.
  • I noticed your signature.

    Mmmmmmmmmm PI tastes pretty good here.

    So first some history.

    I bought a PI2 a little while ago and had it set up in my spare room system with Volumio and an IQ DAC which worked well and sounded OK. So just out of interest I thought that I’d transfer it over to my main system just to hear what it could do.

    It replaced a highly optimised 2 PC Jplay streamer set up and TBH I was not expecting very much in terms of sound but I’m always interested to hear for myself before making much comment

    So hooked in and expecting the smug saticefaction moment of the expensive 2 PC set up to be loads better to come soon. We it felt pretty bad to hear That the PI hooked up with my IFI IDAC2 sounded errrrr better. I must try some of my other USB DACs to get a better feel for this.

    Rats

    That hook up was with the web based GUI and USB HDD.

    I’ve been having a play since with pretty spectacular results.

    Switched to MoOde audio software which gives some useful set up peramiters and has a nicer GUI which is only used for setting up the PI and not for playback.

    I’m now using a headless windows music server with Minimserver  as my server software.

    http://minimserver.com/

    good set up instructions can be found here.

    http://jplay.eu/manual/

    I’m using the following ffmpeg.exe which sounds a little better to my ears.

    http://ffmpeg.zeranoe.com/builds/

    Post 12 gives good advice on how to set it up.

    http://jplay.eu/forum/index.php?/topic/1960-minimserver-transcoding-to-wav24-improves-sq/

    As a control point I’m using  Bubble DS NEXT

    https://lh6.ggpht.com/rvC8t9bDYr1ARdbDtLFX6xzVPPDkh98RSSsIrYCTyku5KIIrnh4p73MCdyKG40Ih3ao=w300

    It’s so cool and easy to set up and use.

    Following a conversation over on AOS I purchased an IFI PSU which seems to bring more clarity to the sound but it’s early days on that.

    http://www.mains-cables-r-us.co.uk/power-supplies/1175-ifi-audio-ipower.html

    I think that MCRU must be providing the mini USB adaptor because the PI PSU is not listed on IFI’s web site.

    IMHO the PI must be the audio bargain of the century for digital playback.

     

     

     

     

  • Thanks for that. There's lots to look into there.

    I had Minimserver set up on my NAS for a while, but I think I had problems at the Pi end. I can't remember, TBH. 

    IMHO the RPi is astonishing!
  • Interesting new audio blog here, but more relevant to this particular thread is the RPi setup pictured toward the bottom of the page, which he describes. That's what I have in mind.

    image
  • Yup. I haven't yet bought the DAC board, Alan. It seems to need soldering to the RPi, so I'll be getting a second one before I try it out. If it's less good than the Young, it'll go in the office or bedroom system; if it's better, then the Big Rig.

    I must finish my how-to on setting up the RPi with Volumio - I got sidetracked with the wiki contents.
  • edited February 2016
    uglymusic said:
    Thanks for that. There's lots to look into there.

    I had Minimserver set up on my NAS for a while, but I think I had problems at the Pi end. I can't remember, TBH. 

    IMHO the RPi is astonishing!


    Yes it can be a little tricky to run on NAS but on a music server it's pretty straight forward and I'm a dummie when it comes to such things). so long as you have the PI set up as a renderer then the bubble next DS on a tablet should find both OK. I've not tried NAS but for a PC based set up almost any old PC will do as it's quite a light program.

    That looks like the IQDAC in the picture which just plugs into the PI and good to go once I2S is set up in your software of choice. I also have one of those but prefer my USBs TBH. is the Young SPDIF only? if not try USB so long as it's IP is self powered you may be surprised.

    The Bubble next control point
  • shoom said:
    uglymusic said:
    Thanks for that. There's lots to look into there.

    I had Minimserver set up on my NAS for a while, but I think I had problems at the Pi end. I can't remember, TBH. 

    IMHO the RPi is astonishing!


    Yes it can be a little tricky to run on NAS but on a music server it's pretty straight forward and I'm a dummie when it comes to such things). so long as you have the PI set up as a renderer then the bubble next DS on a tablet should find both OK. I've not tried NAS but for a PC based set up almost any old PC will do as it's quite a light program.

    That looks like the IQDAC in the picture which just plugs into the PI and good to go once I2S is set up in your software of choice. I also have one of those but prefer my USBs TBH. is the Young SPDIF only? if not try USB so long as it's IP is self powered you may be surprised.

    The Bubble next control point
    Does the Minimserver/Bubble set up sound better than Volumio, or were you looking for extra functionality - I know people have been talking about Tidal streaming?

    I don't have a PC, but I have a very old Mac mini that I've been thinking of using with Linux. It'd be OK for Minimserver.

    The Young is USB (and just about anything you like), but it needs a driver. No one seems to have figured out how to install the driver on the RPi.
  • To my ears?

    I have compared it to Jriver MC DLMA and to my ears it’s looooads better having a much more full sound (with the ffmpeg file that I pointed to). The Jriver DNLA in my set up sounds a little dry and sterile to my ears and Minimserver kills it by comparison. Compared to Volumio it’s not so clear cut but I like the Bubble interface very much.

    I’m not keen on the ‘’analogue sounding’’ type descriptions but its smooth and silky in its presentation in my system. It’s digital Jim but not as we know it.

    But it’s all open-source so not much to lose except a little time playing.

    You could try the MAC with Linux (I’ve not tried so can’t vouch for its goodness).

    Bubble just sniffs around your local network and finds any UPNP/DNLA devices running. Then you just select the server and renderer you want to use. You could use one of the pen drive distro’s for a really neat solution allowing plug and play if you need that option.

    The really nice thing about Volumio/MoOde is configurability. They really do turn the PI into the Swiss Army Knife of digital playback. Plenty of options set up wise and my god it’s free which is sooo generous of the creators.

    Those guys are Hero’s IMHO.

    I have XMOS and amanero type I2S converters which work without issue but I thought that Linux require no drivers so the Young should just be recognised as a USB device by Volumio or whatever PI software used (I’m using MoOde which is pretty much the same). What’s in the Young?

    The functionality thing does not really worry me so much as I still need to use the MoOde web GUI to make changes to the renderer but I do like the idea of not being reliant on web connection to play music. I live in the sticks so web connection can be a little weather reliant (wind blows cables down) so the self-contained approach wins out for me.

    The music server/renderer/control point option is just a little more in house which suit my OCD well.

    The server is tucked away in a convenient location with no unsightly USB Drive and hub hanging off the back of the PI.

    Mostly I like the open-source way which to my thinking gets much closer to how I see DIY audio.

    We share and every one wins.

    Hope that my ramble has shed a little more light on my modus operandi.

  • Forgot to mention.

    All of my connections are by wired LAN with a Cisco switcher as I find WIFI a little tooo unreliable and glitch prone for my liking.


  • Alan said:
    Interesting new audio blog here, but more relevant to this particular thread is the RPi setup pictured toward the bottom of the page, which he describes. That's what I have in mind.

    image
    I got around to reading the whole thing this morning. It's not a blog, as in a whole site, it's a post on Medium.

    But it is a spirited rant over the role of advertising in what gets posted on some of the more conventional audio sites - by that, I mean they're the ones that look like traditional print magazines, but on the web.

    I'm going to have a look at the two blogs the writer does like, though.
  • Time for another home bake.

     

    The server renderer thing got me thinking a little about pressing my second PI into use.

     

    I now have MoOde on 2 PI’s one as DNLA server and the other as UPNP renderer.

     

    All controlled by Bubble DS Next.

     

    It’s very compact and way cool.

     

    It’s also controllable without net connection which is a must this end.

     

    All good fun

  • Shaun: "What's in the Young?"

    The old mk 1 requires drivers for up to 32/384khz async' USB, using sommat called 'bulk transfer' if I recall. It's a slight variation on the usual asynchronous protocol, you can read about it here (towards the bottom of the first paragraph), Oddly, the last sentence on that particular page states that M2Tech drivers are available for Linux!

    That article was written before M2Tech released their second generation kit, which (I think) uses XMOS receivers and doesn't use proprietary drivers. Which is just as well as M2Tech have had appalling issues with drivers over the last few years.

    A couple of internal pics here, you might find something illuminating?

    image
    image

    (Photos from 6Moons review)

    Some more impartial info on Bulk mode here: Well Tempered Computer.

    None of it matters AFAIAC, I listen mostly to ripped 16/44.1 and it sounds lovely. I understand Sondale's Pi is a giant killer without an external USB DAC. I want to find out more about that.
  • Alan said:
    Shaun: "What's in the Young?"

    The old mk 1 requires drivers for up to 32/384khz async' USB, using sommat called 'bulk transfer' if I recall. It's a slight variation on the usual asynchronous protocol, you can read about it here (towards the bottom of the first paragraph), Oddly, the last sentence on that particular page states that M2Tech drivers are available for Linux!

    That article was written before M2Tech released their second generation kit, which (I think) uses XMOS receivers and doesn't use proprietary drivers. Which is just as well as M2Tech have had appalling issues with drivers over the last few years.

    A couple of internal pics here, you might find something illuminating?

    image
    image

    (Photos from 6Moons review)

    Some more impartial info on Bulk mode here: Well Tempered Computer.

    None of it matters AFAIAC, I listen mostly to ripped 16/44.1 and it sounds lovely. I understand Sondale's Pi is a giant killer without an external USB DAC. I want to find out more about that.
    Thanks Alan.

    You saved me having to dig all that stuff up. It's end of the month and there's not much time for 'i-fi.
  • Hi Alan

    Yes I seem to remember reading something along the not so good with drivers line and also I remember some reports of them errr ''borrowing'' someone's work for the Xmos based unit. But I can't say for sure that is what happened. 

    I think that the main problem with the Thyscom drivers is that they supply a ''raw'' product and then each manufacturer is left to tailor it to their own needs.

    That can lead to problems and driver theft. I know of at least two products using the WAVEIO drivers without even having the decency to change the name. shame on those guys.

    Lucian developed that work over years.

    I've not actually heard the MK1 or 2 but I do rate the Xmos chip as used in my WAVEIO.

    BTW new PI Out.





  • Alan said:

    None of it matters AFAIAC, I listen mostly to ripped 16/44.1 and it sounds lovely. I understand Sondale's Pi is a giant killer without an external USB DAC. I want to find out more about that.
    Giantkiller may be an over-statement, but I have in the past used cMP2 on Windows XP, Audirvana+, Pure Music on Mac Mini, HQPlayer on Mac/Windows/Linux, JPlay, XXHE etc etc. To my ears XXHE is probably the best of them and the one I would return to if I ever get fed up with the RPi.

    What the RPi brings to the table is ease of setup and use; coupled with I2S dacs this elimates SPDIF cables (coax or optical) and USB where extra boxes and cables seem to be needed.

    I have tried HifiBerry DIGI into a Beresford Caiman and this produces good results but again it means having more power-supplies and cables.

    Of the I2S dacs I have only tried the HifiBerry DAC+ Pro, the IQAudio DAC+ and currently the IQAudio DAC+ with the mods as detailed on AOS (replace two output resistors with Z-Foils). I made a power-supply based on John Swensons psu for the Squeezebox Touch - it is quite big - I could fit about 24 Rpi's into the box!.

    Music is stored on a Synology NAS.

    Software - coming from the Squeezebox Touch I am very happy using piCorePlayer which gives me high-quality Internet Radio and Qobuz. I have tried RuneAudio and Volumio but I having tried MoOde Audio I have no wish to to return to them.

    It is all rather like putting a hifi system together, some units go well together and other fight each other.

    For me at the moment Rpi 2B, IQAudio Pi-Dac modded, JS PSU and MoOde Audio seem to blend effortlessly into each other.

    I get more enjoyment from this setup on the computer side than any other I have tried. Note that I am not saying it is the most accurate - I have no way of determining that - but it makes me listen to the music.

    Whether or not another DAC, such as the Durio or the yet to be produced Lyrebird, will increase the enjoyment I do not know but I will probably give them a try. And of course there is the Pi 3.........


  • edited March 2016
    Sondale, Pye is great, shame it got digital bits in it I have had a tiny listen and to be honest it was better than I expected by a long way.

  • edited March 2016
    Hi Sondale

    still getting used to this place so errors are us




  • edited March 2016
     

    Hi Sondale

    Looks like we have been running on parallel tracks.

    I’ve only used windows bases software and tried cMP2, HQplayer, but settled on Jplay.

    Don’t get me wrong on this but I stuck with play and those guys have done a fine job wrestling a decent sound out of windows. But it was always in the back of my mind that windows needs to be almost broken before it sounds anything near good.

    The PI sounds a little better to my ears and it’s free.

    The IQDAC sounds good in my set up but TBH I’ve become a little cool to Delta Sigma after hearing the Damm (R2R)and even the little IFI IDAC2 (R-2R) both sound a little more fluid and weeeeelll yes warm IMHO. I love the way that Thorsten has used Jfets for the OP of the IDAC which sounds pretty darn good in my set up with Teradac PSU and Purifier 2.

    But I’ve a long history with tubes so the extra warmth is appealing.

    Can you post a link to John Swenson’s psu.

    I’d be interested in a liner solution.

    I have IFI Ipowers on my PI UPNP and also on the PI DNLA which I like very much.

    I’m a moode man now also. Great software which allows plenty of options config wise and easy to set up.

    With Jplay I seemed to spend more time under the bonnet than listening so the PI gets my vote and also allows more listening time.

    On the PI3 well TBH the extra features have not got me hitting the buy button yet but after my wife heard the PI set up in my music room she wants more set up around the house so I may do soon.

    Shame that the ram has remained the same as a PI RAM player would have been great to try.






  • AntiCrap said:
    Sondale, Pye is great, shame it got digital bits in it I have had a tiny listen and to be honest it was better than I expected by a long way.

    Analogue computer ...?
  • Docfoster said:
    AntiCrap said:
    Sondale, Pye is great, shame it got digital bits in it I have had a tiny listen and to be honest it was better than I expected by a long way.

    Analogue computer ...?
    Yes a slide rule with Inferweb
  • All links to JS psu appear to be broken, however this is the circuit.


  • That did not work!
  • Indeed, it didn't, Alan. Sorry about that.

    You need to post the image to a photo hosting site and then link to it from here using the natty little picture button.
  • Hi Sondale

      Thanks for the circuit which looks nice and pretty straight forward.   I may have a go at that pretty soon.

  • Thanks Alan

    That looks good. Glad you figured out how to post here.
  • And the final configuration tried is as follows. 

    DNLA QnapTS119 from my old Squeezebox set up, with minimserver installed.

    Ha forgot I had minimserver set up on the NAS but remembered when finding it in network settings.

    UPNP MoOde

    This is the best sounding set up so far.

    It’s interesting because the changes I’ve made should not have made any difference to the sound ‘’theoretically’’.

    But to my ears each set up I’ve tried so far does sound a little different.

    Sounding pretty impressive especially given the modest cost of the set up
  • I'm definitely going to reinstall Minimserver on my NAS and try it again, when I get some time (about August!).
  • I had real problems getting Minimserver working on my NAS with windows 8.1.(Minimwatch just would not find it) Minimwatch needs to be installed on another PC or Mac on the same network. That allows Minimserver to be configured to suit.

    Strangely windows 10/Minimwatch found Minimserver on my NAS straight off the bat which surprised me a little.

    BubbleDSnext also found Minimserver on my network and it's all working well.

    Sounds a little more relaxed and textured with the NAS IMHO BTW.
  • I wish I could remember what didn't work when I tried it before. Should have made some notes, but there you go!
  • Don't worry

    It was a pretty mad thrash getting Minimserver onto my NAS .

    Just be sure to download the correct version for your server and follow the instructions provided by your NAS manufacturer.

    Then install Java if you are using a PC to do the admin stuff on the NAS.

    I'm up to the Laurel and Hardy level of such things and still managed to get it onto my NAS after a little slapstick and then cussing.

    If you get stuck then maybe we can muddle through it together.



  • BTW

    It's worth the effort

    To my ears the best of the three ways that I've tried.


  • I got Minimserver installed and running on the NAS, but had trouble elsewhere. That's not to say, it wasn't something at the NAS end, though, I guess.

    BTW, I had a HD go on the NAS this afternoon, so I need to order another drive - at least I'll get some more capacity :-)
  • edited March 2016
    Bad news on the HDD but it happens.

    What's the rest of your set up?

    I also installed Minimserver on my NAS but had problems finding it with Minimwatch so had no control over it. I could play music but not set it up for different formats and such like.

    No rescan became a deal breaker but I believe that Minimserver has resolved that issue.

    It was the Minimwatch part that I struggled with but that works very well now.

    Minimserver is a continuous development thing so you may find things go a little better this time around.

    What CP are you planning to use?

    keep us posted
  • It's actually not too bad. The Synology DS411 slim has 3x 1TB drives and one 2TB drive (all 2.5-inch) because one drive died about six weeks ago. The second 2TB drive will give me a chunk more storage, so that's great. As the original drives are a little over five years old, I reckon the other two are going to die soon.

    The rest of the set-up is the RPi 2/Digi+ 2, iPad mini and iPhone 6s Plus. Miniwatch would run on an iMac or MacBook Air. 

    I think I tried a couple of CPs. The Linn one and one more - I may still have them on the iPhone, although they were installed on my previous iPhone.

    As I said, I think it'll be a while until I try it out again. 
  • ''Miniwatch would run on an iMac or MacBook Air.''

    That should work but I've not tried any of Linns Mac Control points but their Bubble ds works well on android.


  • Thanks for that. I'll see what Linn's iOS equivalent is to Bubble ds.
  • I've just had a look at my NAS install and noticed that Java also needs to be installed for it to work.

    forgot that I did that as it's been some time since I set up the NAS.

    I think that Kinsky may be worth a try as a CP.


    Or Plugplayer.


    I'm using windows so can't say how well the above work but worth a try.


  • Yep. I already had Java installed from when I tried Bliss on the NAS.

    Thanks for the CP recommendations. PlugPlayer looks good - especially as it has iOS and OS X versions. I'll make a note of that.
  • edited March 2016
    ''Bliss on the NAS''

    You need to go to a doctor with that.:))

    Yes plug seems well liked and I've used a PC version of Kinsky. Kazzooooo is also good but I've only used that on my desktop.

    A little trial and error work should bring something that you like using.

    I've been fiddling around with some music around the house and now have 1 PI as DNLA server, 2 x UPNP one connected to an old SB Boom with Sub , The other connected to a cheap and dirty 2023 DAC , Digital amp set up.

    BubbleDS CP.

    A cheap multi room.

    just to keep my wife's new found love of these things happy.

    my main rig has it's own network, server and such like so not affected by the additions.

    yup Mr try lots and find the best is in town.

    the best so far is the Nas with Minimserver into PI with bubble.

    Which I need a doctors visit for.

  • I have an IQaudIO DAC coming, so I'll be doing some hardware playing about before I try changing the software, but I now have a good hit list. 
  • edited March 2016
    Nice one

    The IQ is a nice sounding unit and with a good PSU on the PI even better.

    Even with the little IFI Ipower it made a nice difference.

    have you noticed that Tim over on MoOde is working on a new player?

    Could be interesting.

    He's asking for input so if you have any wishes now may be a good time to make them known.

    I've asked if it's possible for it to play Vinyl
    :))
  • Yup. The PSU will be coming along soon, hopefully.

    I haven't looked at the MoOde site since before Christmas. That's all good news.
  • ''Yup. The PSU will be coming along soon, hopefully.''

    great

    I'll look forward to your thoughts on that.


  • Yeah. I'm a great believer in the magic of power supplies, so I have great hopes.
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