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Linux audio


Melvin
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This past spring I decided it was time to experiment a bit with Linux. So I ditched Windows XP Pro and installed Linux Mint on my old Dell Latitude d400 laptop. It's been a very good experience thus far despite the learning curve and my laptop has been seemingly renewed. Naturally, I wondered how Linux audio would sound. I've ripped/converted to flac and use Banshee for my player/library. I must say, I love what I hear.

 

My gear is on the lower-end of audiophilia, coupled with free Open Source software .. nice!

 

amp: PS Audio Trio A100

preamp: PS Audio Trio P200

interconnects: Better Cables Silver Serpent II (XLR)

 

dac: HRT Music Streamer +

interconnects: Better Cables Silver Serpent II

usb cable: generic

 

speakers: Ohm Acoustics MicroWalsh Talls

cables: Better Cables Premium III

 

rack: Salamander Synergy 20

surge filter: Brick Wall PW8R15AUD

 

I could use some advice on a storage solution as the laptop hard drive is only 30 gigs. Thanks.

 

 

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In addition to MPD you should install the Linux Real time kernel first. This way you can get the most out of Linux and MPD.

 

If you go to my site you will find easy instructions on how to install MPD.

 

If you need to know how to install the real time kernel I can post that as well.

 

 

 

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@ Dynabot - mate I'm not so sure a real time kernel is that crucial to playback esp when you buffer to RAM. I can see the value for recording though. Having said that it can't hurt so why not?

 

I should also say the easiest set up I have ever had for MPD was in Studio - just automatically mounted the share volume via pysdm into var/lib/mpd/music and it was up and running. No permissions problems - nothing. Oh and of course mapping your output via "aplay -l".

 

Incidentally I also tried playback via Audacity - it was excellent.

 

Cheers

A

 

Best Wishes

Andrew

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So I just installed these apps a couple days ago and I will say although it's not exactly an elegant solution, the sound is fantastic. Seems a bit better than Banshee though more critical listening is in order. The Banshee interface is much nicer in my opinion and more intuitive. But it is all about the sound isn't it. Time will tell.

 

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Sometimes the most simple solutions are just not obvious .. ugghh. A couple days ago I decided to try out MPod on my iTouch and had absolutely no luck getting a connection to MPD. It was so frustrating trying to configure this incredibly easy-to-configure app. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. So while scouring the internet for some hints I came across a reference to firewalls and MPoD. That was it. It never even occurred to me that could be the culprit. Turned off my firewall, fired up MPoD, and now I have a rather nice remote controlled MPD server.

 

Can't tell you how thankful I am that we have forums along the likes of this one providing wicked amounts of information .. great information actually.

 

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I to have been interested in Linux for playback with MPD and conducting my own experiments. Inspired by your feedback above I think its time to start a serious post to share my progress. Shortly, I will be starting a post that I will name "Computeraudio Primer for Linux/MPD". I'm far from an expert on this though and would appreciate you guys joining me and help where you can.

 

Regards

Jesus R

www.sonore.us

 

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This is getting very interesting. I would like to try to put together a low-cost Linux machine. Jesus, I will be following your post.

 

Dynobot, I have looked at your Linux instructions. It has been about 20 years since I last worked with Unix, which is about as close as I have come to Linux. I need to get Linux for dummies.

 

Does anyone have a Linux music server up and running that feeds a USB DAC ??

 

Mike

 

 

 

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I've never caught wind of the real-time/low latency issue before. Is it an issue even with a DAC running in asynchronous mode? Where can I read more about this as it pertains to audio playback?

 

I've just gone through my kernel config and changed a few settings for low latency. It's compiling now, we'll see if it sounds any different after a reboot.

 

Mike,

I've had Gentoo Linux feeding the Wavelength Proton USB DAC for a long time now. It sounds amazing once you configure the computer properly.

 

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Hi Mike,

 

I used to run Linux into a couple of former USB DACs (the MHDT Labs Havana and the Wavelength Cosecant V3). I used a small Fit-PC Slim as the player, which accessed music files on another server outside of the listening room.

 

Currently I have switched to a Firewire DAC and can still use Linux to run it, but the Fit-PC doesn't have FireWire support so I use a full sized quiet PC.

 

Unfortunately, the Fit-PC Slim is no longer made, but it is a nice way to feed a USB DAC because the USB outputs are very clean from an electrical standpoint, and with a small solid state disk for the operating system, it is silent as well as it doesn't have any moving parts.

 

Alan

 

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cool site with the space pics! With all the light here I can only see a few stars at night, but Im planning a trip to a darker place soon with a friend and his camera. I just need to make my adapter to balance his camera on my setup and we are going to try our luck at deep space pics.

 

Anyway, what did you have to do for the firewire dac? Did you use the drivers from ffado? What if anything do you need to add to the mdp.conf file a firewire device?

 

Thanks

 

Jesus R

www.sonore.us

 

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Hi Jesus,

 

Thanks for the comments on the pictures, and good luck with yours! Deep space photography can be challenging, but I love being out there at night.

 

Regarding the Firewire DAC, I used the FFADO library. My DAC plays fine via FFADO, but the library doesn't support control of the DAC's mixing capabilities (Prism Sound Orpheus). As far as I can tell, the only output which currently supports FFADO is Jack, so I had to start the jack audio server and have MPD output to JACK. The audio section of the MPD configuration file for output to jack is very simple:

 

audio_output {

type "jack"

name "mpd"

}

 

Alan

 

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Really interested in this Linux stuff should be a cheap way to get into a good sounding set up. Does Linux audio have problems with blowing tweeters or is that just a windows problem? Will Linux audio sound good on any old outdated computer or does it have to be decent specs?

 

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I would say yes to blown tweeters:) My first setup had a beep from hell! It was easy to fix, but you need to be carefull in general! Use cheap headphones and low volume when testing something new!

 

I think a clunker is worth a try (no chance no dance) as the linux operating systems are small footprint. Check out my Computeraudio Primer for Linux with MPD post for a really small footprint setup that is "free" if you have a unit to dedicate. Now limitations are limitations so if you have an old machine with a tiny drive then you may need more storage and having more ram will also help IMO.

 

Jesus R

www.sonore.us

 

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