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AudioLinux and NUC Troubleshooting and Tuning

austinpop

Summary of useful findings and recommendations

 

This section will be a living repository of useful info from this thread. It's very similar to a wiki and will be maintained by a small group of thread moderators.

 

Before you get started please refer to the Audio-Linux website to ensure you have the latest info and the proper versions of the OS. Audio-Linux.com  

 

**** Updated for AL 1.0 menu 100 or later.

 

  "First Run" setup for headless.  

 

Setup your NUC with a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to the NUC BIOS settings.  From the menu note the IP address of the machine to SSH into.  From a MAC the macOS terminal program supports SSH:

324537708_ScreenShot2019-01-28at3_02_19PM.thumb.png.739dc7f9cdb05e04da806c7c66877332.png

 

Then it is simpler to cut and paste into the terminal session. After entering the password for the audiolinux user you will be presented with the AL headless menu:

 

1518375894_ScreenShot2019-01-28at3_04_18PM.thumb.png.a7b2867a163f8f014e56e52ff69f94b4.png

 

Option 8 takes you to the command line for the following basic setup.  You will need to be the Root user for this setup and the su command first:

 

su

 

Fix the time zone:  (this is my timezone - look in directory /usr/share/zoneinfo)

 

timedatectl set-timezone America/Chicago
 

Setup and Start NTP daemon (to keep the system time in sync)

 

*** the config file is now properly filled in.

 

Now Start the daemon

timedatectl set-ntp true

 

NOTE: Sometimes the system takes a little while to get synced up.
 

Set hostname  (this provides a unique name for the machine on your network.  Replace <NAME> with your chosen name)

 

hostnamectl set-hostname <NAME> 
 

Once the above items are set up your machine is ready to be configured for say a Roon bridge/endpoint. That is done using the AL menu.  To return to the menu do the following commands.

 

exit

menu

 

----------------------------------

 

For most of us, the following basic settings are key.

From the configuration menu:

6. START and enable Roonbridge

15. SET Realtime Priority to extreme

16. ENABLE ramroot (reboot after)

 

Return to the main menu and reboot the NUC using 

 

11 Reboot

 

------------------

Roon Server setup is a bit more complex and we will cover it completely a bit later.  The key is where you are booting from and where the Roon database is stored.  In general; say a 32gb OPTANE "SSD".

 

  • You have to partition the SSD into a boot drive and a storage drive.  
  • The transfer the USB stick install to the boot partition.  
  • Reboot from the boot partition.  
  • Do the basic setup. Timezone and name
  • Transfer the Roon Database to the storage drive
  • Start the Roon Server
  • .....

 

----------------- 

The machine will reboot and from the display attached to the NUC you can watch it boot up and load into RAM.  Once the AudioLinux menu is showing the endpoint should be available in Roon.    This completes the basic startup sequence.  The system is ready to start testing.    

 

 

Message added by austinpop

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5 hours ago, davide256 said:

mmm. Received  NUC7PJYH  last nite, straight forward to configure it for USB boot, disable unused peripherals, and get AL headless up and running in RAM as Roonbridge.

But not finding it to be an improvement from overclocked Pi3b+/AL/LPS 1.2 so far; sounds like an improved version of microRendu for detail but tone colors and dynamics

don't "pop" like they do with RPI3. Ran it off 19/12V for HDplex, but could not get it to complete  boot on 12V/ LPS 1.2. Appreciate suggestions above, would really like to

see if  better PS solves.

 

Also 2 simple questions

1) does it matter which USB port is used for boot?

2) does it matter which port is used for asynch USB connection?

.

That's strange.  Mine running Headless NAA can be booted up by LPS-1.2 consistently.

 

1) Seems little difference between USB ports used for boot.  I tried only the front two, though.

2) No idea.  Never tried swapping.

 

A followup Q.  Any SQ difference when boot with different USB sticks?  Well, I know that the answer "should be" No.  But we never know.

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41 minutes ago, Middy said:

pushed the mobo back against the where connectors protrudes

@Middy,

"connectors protrudes" are the HDMI ports, LAN ports, ..., correct?

 

How do you do the pushing?  Do you hold the USB ports on the front side or insert something between the metal and the mono as a lever?

 

43 minutes ago, Middy said:

Pull the plastic and metal side away from the mobo. 

This is the front side, the side that has a power button?

 

45 minutes ago, Middy said:

connectors and ensure they are all undone

Only 3 sets of connectors, wide black, small 4-pin white and two point form connector for the WiFi attenna?  Correct?

 

Only two screws needed to be unscrewed from the mother board, correct?

 

There are lots of soft paddings sticked on the ports, should I keep them or take them apart?

54 minutes ago, Middy said:

Fingers on both hands together

Sorry, cannot understand the meaning of the sentence above.

 

Thank you for your help.

 

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7 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Yes, this is the reality of NUC-world. It's a bit wild west. 

 

As regards squeezelite, the main parameter for SQ is the -b one for preallocated buffers. I was lucky that my first experiment with AL was on a Zenith SE that already used squeezelite as its internal player. I was able to duplicate the settings in the existing conf file.

 

Other than that it's trial and error and forums! I can try and help out, but no guarantees. First, get me a few key things:

  • install squeezelite (not R2) from the AL guide
  • amount of RAM on your NUC?
  • Run squeezelite -l and tell me your output
  • Do you care about DSD? Does your DAC require DoP?

We'll go from there.

 

Thank you Rajeev

 

I just got my NUC7CJYH w/ 8GB up and running headless in RAM root (thank you and everyone here).  Runs great as a Roon Bridge, connected via USB to my Chord Blu2 (then Chord DAVE DAC).  Upstream I have a vanilla Mac Mini (OSX) running my Roon Core, not yet optimized.  With this setup, I need the end point to just pass things bit perfect to the BluDAVE and let it do its (considerable) magic.

 

The tunability of the Squeezelite end point (vs Roon Bridge) seems like a great opportunity to dig in and figure out what is driving the SQ boosts we're all hearing.

 

 

 

Quote

 

[[email protected] ~]$ squeezelite -l

Output devices:

  null                           - Discard all samples (playback) or generate zero samples (capture)

  default:CARD=Blu2              - Blu2, USB Audio - Default Audio Device

  sysdefault:CARD=Blu2           - Blu2, USB Audio - Default Audio Device

  front:CARD=Blu2,DEV=0          - Blu2, USB Audio - Front speakers

  surround21:CARD=Blu2,DEV=0     - Blu2, USB Audio - 2.1 Surround output to Front and Subwoofer speakers

  surround40:CARD=Blu2,DEV=0     - Blu2, USB Audio - 4.0 Surround output to Front and Rear speakers

  surround41:CARD=Blu2,DEV=0     - Blu2, USB Audio - 4.1 Surround output to Front, Rear and Subwoofer speakers

  surround50:CARD=Blu2,DEV=0     - Blu2, USB Audio - 5.0 Surround output to Front, Center and Rear speakers

  surround51:CARD=Blu2,DEV=0     - Blu2, USB Audio - 5.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Rear and Subwoofer speakers

  surround71:CARD=Blu2,DEV=0     - Blu2, USB Audio - 7.1 Surround output to Front, Center, Side, Rear and Woofer speakers

  iec958:CARD=Blu2,DEV=0         - Blu2, USB Audio - IEC958 (S/PDIF) Digital Audio Output

 

 

My /etc/conf.d/squeezelite settings are:

 

parameters="-o front:CARD=Blu2,DEV=0 -b 2097152:2097152"

 

(piggybacking on your findings that maximizing buffers makes things better, although I'm wondering if weighting more towards the input or output would move the SQ needle...TBD)

 

However, I was also looking at the real time priority, parameters for connecting to the DAC, and even codec settings as potential SQ levers (TBD how the stew of latency and compute and OS priorities all come together when you expand the test matrix)

 

I hoping to dive in this weekend and start doing some investigations.  If you (or others) have run into dead ends or opportunity areas with Squeezelite as the end point, it be great to build on that!

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, ray-dude said:

 

Thank you Rajeev

 

I just got my NUC7CJYH w/ 8GB up and running headless in RAM root (thank you and everyone here).  Runs great as a Roon Bridge, connected via USB to my Chord Blu2 (then Chord DAVE DAC).  Upstream I have a vanilla Mac Mini (OSX) running my Roon Core, not yet optimized.  With this setup, I need the end point to just pass things bit perfect to the BluDAVE and let it do its (considerable) magic.

 

The tunability of the Squeezelite end point (vs Roon Bridge) seems like a great opportunity to dig in and figure out what is driving the SQ boosts we're all hearing.

 

 

 

 

My /etc/conf.d/squeezelite settings are:

 

parameters="-o front:CARD=Blu2,DEV=0 -b 2097152:2097152"

 

(piggybacking on your findings that maximizing buffers makes things better, although I'm wondering if weighting more towards the input or output would move the SQ needle...TBD)

 

However, I was also looking at the real time priority, parameters for connecting to the DAC, and even codec settings as potential SQ levers (TBD how the stew of latency and compute and OS priorities all come together when you expand the test matrix)

 

I hoping to dive in this weekend and start doing some investigations.  If you (or others) have run into dead ends or opportunity areas with Squeezelite as the end point, it be great to build on that!

 

 

 

 

Excellent. If those setting are working, then you're good to go, and we would love to hear about your findings.

 

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41 minutes ago, Middy said:

methelated spirits or 100% alcohol is good to remove old thermal paste.

This stuff also works very well.

https://www.amazon.com/ArctiClean-Thermal-Compound-Remover-Purifier/dp/B001JYQ9TM


Innuos Zenith SE --> Berkeley Alpha USB --> Jeff Rowland Aeris --> Jeff Rowland 625 S2 --> Focal Utopia 3 Diablos with 2 x Focal Electra SW 1000 BE subs

 

i7-6700K/Windows 10/HDPLEX 200W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> ISO REGEN/LPS-1.2 --> iFi iDSD Micro --> Focal CMS50's 

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After playing with it every which way I could for PS/BIOS config/ AL config, I'm not finding that the NUC7PJYH  can be my final destination for a Roon endpoint.

 

While its detailed and clean with AL, even better so than microRendu, its not matching up to overclocked RPI3B+/AL for midrange bloom and for reach/impact with low bass.

As a tuba player, I'm sensitive to muddy bass, the RPI3B+ doesn't suffer at all here, just has issues with cymbals and other complex high frequencies. The NUC7PJYH

in contrast makes me grit my teeth when low bass percussion is happening.

 

What really hit me hard was playing a random track, Elvis Presley's "Suspicious minds", the  NUC/AL  made it sound lifeless/AM radio fodder, whereas the RPI/AL  brought it to life, showed nuance and expression.

 

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1 hour ago, davide256 said:

After playing with it every which way I could for PS/BIOS config/ AL config, I'm not finding that the NUC7PJYH  can be my final destination for a Roon endpoint.

 

While its detailed and clean with AL, even better so than microRendu, its not matching up to overclocked RPI3B+/AL for midrange bloom and for reach/impact with low bass.

As a tuba player, I'm sensitive to muddy bass, the RPI3B+ doesn't suffer at all here, just has issues with cymbals and other complex high frequencies. The NUC7PJYH

in contrast makes me grit my teeth when low bass percussion is happening.

 

What really hit me hard was playing a random track, Elvis Presley's "Suspicious minds", the  NUC/AL  made it sound lifeless/AM radio fodder, whereas the RPI/AL  brought it to life, showed nuance and expression.

 

Before you give up on it, try it with Intel SpeedStep off.

 

I was much more impressed once it was running with SpeedStep off. 

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I notice that no matter it is AL lqxt or headless, there is always a problem of running HQPE with the "poly-sinc-lp" filter for playing Redbook to DSD512. The problem is that just when the music started to play after the initialization time of about a minute or so, there is always some error messages saying like "… no body care … irq #136 … disabled …", or similar. The HQPDcontrol also returns an error message of "failure to connect to HQPlayer".

 

However, I haven't encountered this kind of problem for HQP on Windows.

 

Have any of you also encountered this problem on AL?

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5 hours ago, rickca said:

@rickca

@greenleo

 

Thanks mate, i have some somewhere and the sensible answer for here. 100 % isopropyl alcohol   was at hand at the time,  my brain is mush with my baby not sleeping..

 

Cheers 

Dave

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6 hours ago, clipper said:

Before you give up on it, try it with Intel SpeedStep off.

 

I was much more impressed once it was running with SpeedStep off. 

Yup, been there. Setting temp to allowed max before fan cuts in was also helpful. But no checkered flag for the NUC in the end

 

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Apologies if I've missed this either here or on the mothership as Rajiv put it ?

 

I have the parts arriving today and tomz to attempt building an AL NUC server over the weekend. Occurred to me when walking into work this morning that there are a couple items I don't have a clue about. [Ok there are many, many items I don't have a clue about ?, but these are specific items].

 

I know how to install and format an SSD in a windows environment where it would detect the new drive and prompt you to take actions from there.

 

Q1. What is the story on AL? Will it recognise the drive and prompt me? Or (gulp!) do I need to use Linux commands to install and format it? And if the latter can anyone point to simple instructions for this?

 

Q2. If I have my music files available on either a Windows laptop or an external USB harddrive, how do I copy them onto the SSD in the AL NUC server. I'm assuming this is definitely Linux commands. Again any guide for this sort of thing would be great.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Alan

 


Innuos Zenith SE (with AQVOX SE Switch) > TX-USBUltra (with sCLK-OCX10) > PS Audio Directstream DAC > Hegel P20 Pre > PS Audio M700 monoblocks > Salk Sound Supercharged Songtowers

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17 minutes ago, greenleo said:

For your current NUC, which is NUC7i7DNBE, is the size of the dc plug also 2.5, like the NUC7CYJH?

 

https://www.intel.com/content/dam/support/us/en/documents/mini-pcs/nuc-kits/NUC7i7DN_TechProdSpec.pdf#page=53

Quote

The back panel DC connector is compatible with a 5.5 mm/OD (outer diameter) and 2.5 mm/ID (inner diameter) plug

 

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7 hours ago, davide256 said:

After playing with it every which way I could for PS/BIOS config/ AL config, I'm not finding that the NUC7PJYH  can be my final destination for a Roon endpoint.

 

While its detailed and clean with AL, even better so than microRendu, its not matching up to overclocked RPI3B+/AL for midrange bloom and for reach/impact with low bass.

As a tuba player, I'm sensitive to muddy bass, the RPI3B+ doesn't suffer at all here, just has issues with cymbals and other complex high frequencies. The NUC7PJYH

in contrast makes me grit my teeth when low bass percussion is happening.

 

What really hit me hard was playing a random track, Elvis Presley's "Suspicious minds", the  NUC/AL  made it sound lifeless/AM radio fodder, whereas the RPI/AL  brought it to life, showed nuance and expression.

 

Hi David,

 

We can help but need a bunch of details first. As you know there are a lot of knobs to set. Do you want to keep exploring options or are you done with the NUC?

 

I see you use a DDC for USB to spdif conversion. Do you know if the schitt eitr uses a XMOS USB chipset?

 

It would also be good to know how you are powering your NUC.

 

Thanks,

 

Larry

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25 minutes ago, lmitche said:

Hi David,

 

We can help but need a bunch of details first. As you know there are a lot of knobs to set. Do you want to keep exploring options or are you done with the NUC?

 

I see you use a DDC for USB to spdif conversion. Do you know if the schitt eitr uses a XMOS USB chipset?

 

It would also be good to know how you are powering your NUC.

 

Thanks,

 

Larry

Willing to play around, still experimenting. Loaded 3.0 version of LXQT last nite, seeing what a NUC can do as a direct connect Roon server with USB3 attached SDXC storage,

easy to flip back to headless configuration

 

1) power supplies; HDPlex  19V or LPS 1.2 12V

2) Eitr is Schiits DDC, same Gen 5 board as used in Yggdrasil, not XMOS based

3) current config is SATA/sound/microphone disabled, fan speed set to 55C before cut in, Intel speed step disabled, sustained/burst power at 10/15, secure boot disabled.

  I haven't played with HDMI or video memory, didn't want to risk monitor issues with BIOS access

4) BIOS version when received 31, updated to 46

5) Running latest AL headless version

 

Disabling hardware/setting fan kick in speed higher so far has solved boot issues with LPS 1.2

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25 minutes ago, lmitche said:

Hi David,

 

We can help but need a bunch of details first. As you know there are a lot of knobs to set. Do you want to keep exploring options or are you done with the NUC?

 

I see you use a DDC for USB to spdif conversion. Do you know if the schitt eitr uses a XMOS USB chipset?

 

It would also be good to know how you are powering your NUC.

 

Thanks,

 

Larry

 

From the website looks like C-Media CM6631A USB 2.0



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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14 minutes ago, davide256 said:

Willing to play around, still experimenting. Loaded 3.0 version of LXQT last nite, seeing what a NUC can do as a direct connect Roon server with USB3 attached SDXC storage,

easy to flip back to headless configuration

 

1) power supplies; HDPlex  19V or LPS 1.2 12V

2) Eitr is Schiits DDC, same Gen 5 board as used in Yggdrasil, not XMOS based

3) current config is SATA/sound/microphone disabled, fan speed set to 55C before cut in, Intel speed step disabled, sustained/burst power at 10/15, secure boot disabled.

  I haven't played with HDMI or video memory, didn't want to risk monitor issues with BIOS access

4) BIOS version when received 31, updated to 46

5) Running latest AL headless version

 

Disabling hardware/setting fan kick in speed higher so far has solved boot issues with LPS 1.2

Extreme mode?

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