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Gabbb

Linux for quality music playback

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Hello!

 

Yesterday after I tried Jplay the first time, It shocked me how much the sound improved over my regular player foo2k, but It's extremely inconvenient and I wouldn't exactly call it stable, or cheap. After reading through the documentation I thought I could play like that with foobar too using fooramdisk combined with fidelizer, needless to say it still didn't sound anything like Jplay, so what I learned that putting the audio files into a ram-disk doesn't really change anything and the problem lies within Windows itself. After some thought to it I decided I would try playback on Linux, having a hiface2 usb converter doesn't make life easy for me, but that's not really relevant, I'll make it work somehow. My question is, what's the best Linux distribution for audiophile music playback. (I have flac files) Does Linux have what it takes to overcame Windows in this aspect, is it a better solution then paying the price for a Mac? I used the forum search and found no similar threads, so here I go :-)

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Voyage Linux on a small no-video computer is great. Music can be on a local disk or connected via your LAN.

 

Control it from another computer or phone or tablet.

 

Linux.voyage.hk is the website. Also see posts here by nyc_paramedic and others.

 

Tim

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Voyage Linux on a small no-video computer is great. Music can be on a local disk or connected via your LAN.

 

Control it from another computer or phone or tablet.

 

Linux.voyage.hk is the website. Also see posts here by nyc_paramedic and others.

 

Tim

 

"

supports USB Audio Class 2 (allowing 24bit and up to 192Khz sample rates), and work best on XMOS chipsets"

Thank you, this is exactly something I've been looking for, downloading the live cd right now!

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Yes, I've posted quite a bit about my Linux success. Nick (ny paramedic) helped me get started with an Alix box, but my latest success is the Auraliti PK90USB, with the nice SOtM USB card. It does PCM and DSD, connects to my Synology NAS, runs with my iPad-based mPad app, and is completely trouble-free. Ray and Demian from Auraliti even dial in and update (how I got latest DSD-capable code, etc). All for $750 (and $2.99 for the app). It connects to my Meitner MA-1 DAC, as well as the Sonore/eXD loaner DAC, both DSD-capable.

 

Edit: I've added a higher-end external power supply from Paul Hynes with great success.

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After some thought to it I decided I would try playback on Linux, having a hiface2 usb converter doesn't make life easy for me, but that's not really relevant, I'll make it work somehow.

 

Well, life is a bit easier in one respect - you won't have to install drivers with Voyage, Lubuntu, or any of the other Linuxen that have been recommended, because alsa (the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) is in all of them and provides a "native" driver for the HiFace2.

 

Never tried Voyage myself. Will be interested to hear how it works out for you. What is your familiarity level with Linux?


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> router -> 2 Cisco switches connected by optical Ethernet -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Well, life is a bit easier in one respect - you won't have to install drivers with Voyage, Lubuntu, or any of the other Linuxen that have been recommended, because alsa (the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) is in all of them and provides a "native" driver for the HiFace2.

 

Never tried Voyage myself. Will be interested to hear how it works out for you. What is your familiarity level with Linux?

 

I used to to do shell programming on it 10 years ago, but I haven't used one before yesterday in a very long while.

Voyage didn't work out for me, it's a full client software, awesome at that, but what I need a mouse controllable interface in order to be able to use it on the TV with a wireless mouse.

And btw I tried a regular Ubuntu and it indeed discovered the hiface2, but I couldn't manage to get sound out from it. The onboard sound-card worked fine, analog or spdif output.. Funny thing that you mention ALSA, I tried Debian too and that only detected my Ati vga's hdmi sound device, I failed to get root on the live (cd)stick, so I couldn't run alsa config, or whatever the terminal command's name is, but it's certainly weird. I'm installing Lubuntu on the stick right now, we shall see what happens :)

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I used to to do shell programming on it 10 years ago, but I haven't used one before yesterday in a very long while.

Voyage didn't work out for me, it's a full client software, awesome at that, but what I need a mouse controllable interface in order to be able to use it on the TV with a wireless mouse.

And btw I tried a regular Ubuntu and it indeed discovered the hiface2, but I couldn't manage to get sound out from it. The onboard sound-card worked fine, analog or spdif output.. Funny thing that you mention ALSA, I tried Debian too and that only detected my Ati vga's hdmi sound device, I failed to get root on the live (cd)stick, so I couldn't run alsa config, or whatever the terminal command's name is, but it's certainly weird. I'm installing Lubuntu on the stick right now, we shall see what happens :)

 

Regular Ubuntu/Debian try to run the device through whatever wonderful sound software they've added on top of alsa, which is the reason Miska recommended Lubuntu, a more streamlined Ubuntu variant - it's only got alsa without the other stuff, so you can make sure things work at that level before going on to mpd if you like.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> router -> 2 Cisco switches connected by optical Ethernet -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I had no success with Lubuntu, but I managed to get it to work under the normal Ubuntu, swapping to ALSA from Pulse was a pretty easy deal. Now I just wonder, OSS4 vs. ALSA which is better.

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I had no success with Lubuntu, but I managed to get it to work under the normal Ubuntu, swapping to ALSA from Pulse was a pretty easy deal. Now I just wonder, OSS4 vs. ALSA which is better.

 

Google will find you at least one fellow (on Audio Asylum?) who thought OSS4 on FreeBSD sounded better than alsa on Linux.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> router -> 2 Cisco switches connected by optical Ethernet -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Google will find you at least one fellow (on Audio Asylum?) who thought OSS4 on FreeBSD sounded better than alsa on Linux.

 

Google will find many contradictory claims, all without any solid evidence :)

 

Any bitperfect chain with correct setup of the sound card registers will configure the soundcard identically and provide identical audio samples (on time, I do not consider easily detectable drop outs), regardless of the OS. The only difference can be the different noise and voltage supply fluctuation as each OS runs different processes at different times. All this is highly hardware-dependent - a general claim "X sounds better than Y" should be completed with "on my specific hardware/software/ears".

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Google will find many contradictory claims, all without any solid evidence :)

 

Any bitperfect chain with correct setup of the sound card registers will configure the soundcard identically and provide identical audio samples (on time, I do not consider easily detectable drop outs), regardless of the OS. The only difference can be the different noise and voltage supply fluctuation as each OS runs different processes at different times. All this is highly hardware-dependent - a general claim "X sounds better than Y" should be completed with "on my specific hardware/software/ears".

 

Thanks for reminding me that I want to set sound on FreeBSD to be bit perfect. It isn't by default. (If I manage to install HQPlayer on FreeBSD I may think about changing that.) Is alsa bit perfect by default?

 

As for the reliability of one person's impressions on a random forum, and hardware (and ears) dependence, I must simply agree.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> router -> 2 Cisco switches connected by optical Ethernet -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Is alsa bit perfect by default?

 

Alsa consists of several parts - family of kernel drivers/modules, low-level user space layer for communicating with the drivers (creating audio streams, manipulating controls) and higher-level layer - enhancement plugins - mixing, routing, spliting streams, resampling, etc.

 

The drivers and the low-level alsa-lib layer are always bit perfect. That is when you are using the raw hw:X device.

 

However, in default alsa configuration the default device called "default" is configured to use the dmix plugin which is not necessarily bitperfect.

 

So to answer your question - it is bitperfect out of the box when using the hw:X device or when that device is wrapped with the "plug" compatibility wrapper (plughw:X) and your soundcard natively supports the requested samplerate so that the plug does not have to resample to a samplerate supported natively.

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Alsa consists of several parts - family of kernel drivers/modules, low-level user space layer for communicating with the drivers (creating audio streams, manipulating controls) and higher-level layer - enhancement plugins - mixing, routing, spliting streams, resampling, etc.

 

The drivers and the low-level alsa-lib layer are always bit perfect. That is when you are using the raw hw:X device.

 

However, in default alsa configuration the default device called "default" is configured to use the dmix plugin which is not necessarily bitperfect.

 

So to answer your question - it is bitperfect out of the box when using the hw:X device or when that device is wrapped with the "plug" compatibility wrapper (plughw:X) and your soundcard natively supports the requested samplerate so that the plug does not have to resample to a samplerate supported natively.

 

Thanks. All right then, it's bit perfect the way I've been using it - hw:X (DragonFly) as default device.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> router -> 2 Cisco switches connected by optical Ethernet -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> Ghent JSSG360 USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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