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Odroid or Raspberry Pi2 vs PC for audio

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Hi

 

I'm playing around with the idea to use a Single Computer Board (SCB) as a music streamer rather than a full blown PC. I have two questions regarding that.

 

1) How do these devices (Odroid and Raspberry Pi2) compare to a full blown PC? Are they better soundwise? Worse? The same? Different? Did anyone ever measure or compare the two?

 

2) I'm thinking of building the following device:

  • Odroid or Raspberry Pi2 board (good following, broad support, the Odroid is slightly more expensive and has higher energy consumption but is more powerful)
  • Linear power supply. At the moment I am thinking a small Teddy Pardo as the maximum I'd need is 20 watts.
  • SOtM tX-USBhub with a linear power supply, connected to the SBC through a Male A to Male B USB connector.
  • Good USB cable (Chord Sarum)
  • Uptone Audio Regen
  • DAC
  • Music source is a Synology NAS connected over home network (Cat7 cable, two switches and powerlines).
  • Running on Raspbian/MPD or Volumio or something along those lines

 

I want to play CD quality and hi-res on it. No upsampling or format conversion.

 

Anything I would need to look out for?

 

Yours

 

Arie


Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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I hate when people tell the thread starter that he or she should be doing something other than what he or she has asked about, but forgive me, I'm going to do just that.

 

The setup you're describing, with another computer, would be perfect for HQPlayer with NAA. The ODroid (Pi not suitable) would be the NAA. Sound quality of that setup would be top notch. Is there a reason you don't want to go that route, or just hadn't considered it?


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 hate when people tell the thread starter that he or she should be doing something other than what he or she has asked about, but forgive me, I'm going to do just that.

 

The setup you're describing, with another computer, would be perfect for HQPlayer with NAA. The ODroid (Pi not suitable) would be the NAA. Sound quality of that setup would be top notch. Is there a reason you don't want to go that route, or just hadn't considered it?

 

Money :-)

 

That said, the whole reason I opened the thread was to get advice, so please share your thoughts.


Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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What sort of computer/PC do you have now?


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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What sort of computer/PC do you have now?

 

I have nothing dedicated to audio. I have an i5k on an Asus P8Z77 mobo that I use for photo editing and general work that is nowhere near the sound system (different room) and soon (next three weeks) I will get a Dell Broadwell i5 laptop with an SSD.

 

I'm basically starting from scratch when it comes to computer audio. My initial plan was to build a CAPS4 on Debian Linux and the PPA expansion card. But with a declining Euro and the case I want not being available I've begun to look at alternatives. From what I understood, the Xeon in the CAPS4 is mainly there for its cache and for "fancy" stuff like upsampling or conversions. Given that at the moment I haven't seen the need for that (yet), I began to think in terms of a very lower power processing unit and the build all the filtering (USB, linear supply, etc) on the outside of it rather than inside the box. And on top of that it would save a few bucks as when you downscale the CPU, a lot scales down with it, like the power supply.

 

Thinking about all this now, I guess I could over time expand. Start with the Odroid first as a server, then change it to an NAA or do something entirely different with it.


Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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The Broadwell and/or the ASUS should work OK, and wouldn't need to be in the same room (the laptop could be, obviously). The setup is HQPlayer on the Broadwell or ASUS, sending HQPlayer's signal via wi-fi or wired Ethernet to the NAA, which is connected to the DAC via USB.


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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The Broadwell and/or the ASUS should work OK, and wouldn't need to be in the same room (the laptop could be, obviously). The setup is HQPlayer on the Broadwell or ASUS, sending HQPlayer's signal via wi-fi or wired Ethernet to the NAA, which is connected to the DAC via USB.

 

Would the PC that runs HQ Player and/or the NAA benefit from tweaks like a linear PSU?

 

And what about sending out the signal from the HQ Player PC over the home network to the NAA? Any issue on signal quality?


Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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Would the PC that runs HQ Player and/or the NAA benefit from tweaks like a linear PSU?

 

And what about sending out the signal from the HQ Player PC over the home network to the NAA? Any issue on signal quality?

 

The NAA would benefit. The idea is to keep the computer running HQPlayer isolated from the NAA. Then as long as the NAA is quiet (low power ODroid on LPS qualifies) the computer running HQPlayer can be as powerful and electrically noisy as you like.

 

If for any reason the signal over wi-fi is funky, run wired Ethernet from the laptop.


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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The NAA would benefit. The idea is to keep the computer running HQPlayer isolated from the NAA. Then as long as the NAA is quiet (low power ODroid on LPS qualifies) the computer running HQPlayer can be as powerful and electrically noisy as you like.

 

If for any reason the signal over wi-fi is funky, run wired Ethernet from the laptop.

 

Aha! That makes a PC / NAA combo a lot more paletable. Apart from the Odroid and other SBCs, are there other NAA alternatives?


Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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Aha! That makes a PC / NAA combo a lot more paletable. Apart from the Odroid and other SBCs, are there other NAA alternatives?

 

You can use just about anything that will input Ethernet or wi-fi, output USB, and stay electrically quiet while doing so. I know of Mac Minis being used, for example. But for something inexpensive that will easily fill that bill it is hard to beat a mini-computer running a stripped down OS.


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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Arie,

 

The main difference between the Odroid and the rpi2 is the fact that the Ethernet and USB share the same bus on the rpi2.

 

I doubt if this really matters.

 

The Odroid needs more of the old Linux knowledge than the rpi2 which has a very active forum and developer base.

 

I have both, and tend to run the rpi2 most.

 

I would not bother with too many fancy bits and pieces (it's not worth the money really).

 

A good power supply from Mean Well is sufficient.

 

Lots of add-ons for the rpi2 (look at the Audiophonics web site, some nice dacs).

 

For the OS, Max2play do one for both the Odroid and rpi2 (Logitech Media Server).

 

I use LMS as it "suits me fine sir".

 

You can run Moode also, which I prefer to Volumio, and other stuff too.

 

Keep it cheap and simple and save for a "better" rig (which you might find, you don't really need).

 

Where in Europe are you?

 

atb

 

Ronnie.

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Arie,

 

The main difference between the Odroid and the rpi2 is the fact that the Ethernet and USB share the same bus on the rpi2.

 

I doubt if this really matters.

 

atb

 

Ronnie.

 

Just wanted to note this is why the Pi is unsuitable for an NAA, because you want Ethernet and USB isolated from each other for that.


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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1) Chris's adaptation of the Beaglebone black sounds better than the Raspberry Pi2 as streamer. More background detail.

2) Buy a Regen to go with whatever streamer you use to your USB DAC.

3) Add some AQ Pearl Ethernet cables and LPS for your router power supply to get even better results.

 

I have Supra, Vertere DFI and Wireworld starlight USB cables,,, Wireworld was the clear winner in my system, the import cables rounded sounds vs passing sharp transients.

 

Amazing how much bad stuff I blamed before on electronics was actually layer 1 issues with power and signal transmission


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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1) Chris's adaptation of the Beaglebone black sounds better than the Raspberry Pi2 as streamer. More background detail.

2) Buy a Regen to go with whatever streamer you use to your USB DAC.

3) Add some AQ Pearl Ethernet cables and LPS for your router power supply to get even better results.

 

I have Supra, Vertere DFI and Wireworld starlight USB cables,,, Wireworld was the clear winner in my system, the import cables rounded sounds vs passing sharp transients.

 

Amazing how much bad stuff I blamed before on electronics was actually layer 1 issues with power and signal transmission

 

 

1) Why a Beagle Bone and not something else?

2) Have you ever compared your BBB against a PC?

3) Any LPS recommendations?


Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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1) I still use Oppo 103 off and on as a streamer and I've had a SOTM SMS-100. Sold the SOTM intending to buy an Aries but won't pull that trigger

until Lightning DS is available for iPhone. The Beaglebone works as set and forget streamer, you just have to reset when you change DAC's

and its good enough to live with until Aries delivers or I hear something newer/better that doesn't require me to buy a new tablet to use it.

2) Its been a year since I abandoned PC as chasing a fools rainbow. I got far more musical results with PC out of solution than included in any

setup I tried. The more I tweaked a PC, the more hifi playback sounded, and the less music was emotionally engaging. Streaming gets mid range

tone color bloom right regardless of how inexpensive.

3) forum section on HDPlex is a good start. I bought one because I can power different DC powered devices off the same LPS as long the load is

under the supported wattage


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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1) I still use Oppo 103 off and on as a streamer and I've had a SOTM SMS-100. Sold the SOTM intending to buy an Aries but won't pull that trigger

until Lightning DS is available for iPhone. The Beaglebone works as set and forget streamer, you just have to reset when you change DAC's

and its good enough to live with until Aries delivers or I hear something newer/better that doesn't require me to buy a new tablet to use it.

2) Its been a year since I abandoned PC as chasing a fools rainbow. I got far more musical results with PC out of solution than included in any

setup I tried. The more I tweaked a PC, the more hifi playback sounded, and the less music was emotionally engaging. Streaming gets mid range

tone color bloom right regardless of how inexpensive.

3) forum section on HDPlex is a good start. I bought one because I can power different DC powered devices off the same LPS as long the load is

under the supported wattage

 

Thank you very much for your time to explain! Highly appreciated.


Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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Welcome. BTB, I'm not dismissing the Odroid, just haven't built one. My general prejudice is that linux OS on a purpose built MOBO can do very well. Windows OS has two many cycle stealing processes and HW interrupts that make optimization a PITA


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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Welcome. BTB, I'm not dismissing the Odroid, just haven't built one. My general prejudice is that linux OS on a purpose built MOBO can do very well. Windows OS has two many cycle stealing processes and HW interrupts that make optimization a PITA

Fully agree. Same about the rave stories on Windows Server. Linux can be fine tuned and made lean to a somewhat greater degree at a much smaller cost.


Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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Where in Europe are you?

 

atb

 

Ronnie.

 

Cyprus. So, on UK type mains net with three-pin plugs.


Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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Just wanted to note this is why the Pi is unsuitable for an NAA, because you want Ethernet and USB isolated from each other for that.

 

I have some checking to do in that case. I read somewhere that pretty much all SBCs have USB and ethernet on the same bus. For sure all RPIs have it, and I believe the Beagle Bone and hummingbird too. What is the issue exactly? Power on the bus? Or that you actually only have a maximum of 240Mb/S available as your receiving and sending happens on the same bus?


Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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I have some checking to do in that case. I read somewhere that pretty much all SBCs have USB and ethernet on the same bus. For sure all RPIs have it, and I believe the Beagle Bone and hummingbird too. What is the issue exactly? Power on the bus? Or that you actually only have a maximum of 240Mb/S available as your receiving and sending happens on the same bus?

 

It's only the Pi that combines USB and Ethernet in the "wrong" way AFAIK. BeagleBoards and ODroid are fine, as are any number of other such computers (e.g., Intel Galileo board).


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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It's only the Pi that combines USB and Ethernet in the "wrong" way AFAIK. BeagleBoards and ODroid are fine, as are any number of other such computers (e.g., Intel Galileo board).

 

 

I'll check it and if I find something different, although I doubt that given that two people independently state the same, I'll let you know.


Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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I'll check it and if I find something different, although I doubt that given that two people independently state the same, I'll let you know.

 

This might help: https://hifiduino.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/beaglebone-black-for-audio/

 

I have both beaglebone black and banana pro. The problem I find with beaglebone black is the cpu a bit underpowered when using Rune Audio with 24bit/192khz files. While the banana pro has little support from distro such as Rune, Volumio, or Archphile. Hence, you need to customize it by your self to use this on banana pro.

 

I would recommend cubietruck, since it has good support (not as much as raspberry pi though), better processor than beaglebone black, not sharing USB port with Ethernet like raspberry pi, and there are image files ready to use from Rune or Volumio.

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This might help: https://hifiduino.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/beaglebone-black-for-audio/

 

I have both beaglebone black and banana pro. The problem I find with beaglebone black is the cpu a bit underpowered when using Rune Audio with 24bit/192khz files. While the banana pro has little support from distro such as Rune, Volumio, or Archphile. Hence, you need to customize it by your self to use this on banana pro.

 

I would recommend cubietruck, since it has good support (not as much as raspberry pi though), better processor than beaglebone black, not sharing USB port with Ethernet like raspberry pi, and there are image files ready to use from Rune or Volumio.

 

Thanks! Great tips. So, for NAA devices, so far we have:

 

Odroid C1 & UX4

BeagleBone

Cubietruck

 

Is HQ Player the only player to support the NAA architecture or are there others? Again, many thanks!


Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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Thanks! Great tips. So, for NAA devices, so far we have:

 

Odroid C1 & UX4

BeagleBone

Cubietruck

 

Is HQ Player the only player to support the NAA architecture or are there others? Again, many thanks!

 

Cubox-i also, IIRC. Yes, HQPlayer only for NAA, though there may be other similar arrangements. But sorry, I'm not familiar with others.


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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