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New Linux OS aimed at computer audiophiles: Voyage MPD


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A special version of Voyage Linux has beenreleased by the Voyage team and aptly named Voyage MPD. This OS is aimed at the computer audiophile who wishes to use either the Alix, Soekris, Atom, or any x86 machine to serve up using MPD.

 

Unique features include:

 

* MPD 0.16~alpha2

* latest ALSA driver that supports USB Audio Class 2

(allowing 24bit and up to 192Khz sample rates)

* 2.6.33 real-time kernel

 

These packages are ready to go, out of the box, no compiling necessary. Yes, it's all bleeding edge stuff, but I've been running this software stack on my spare Alix and have had nary an issue. An Ayre QB-9 plays FLAC, WAV, AIF, and AIFF to 192Khz with ease. The ALSA driver included is a recent October snapshot and will be upgraded regularly.

 

Link: http://linux.voyage.hk/

 

 

Take it for a spin, and join the mailing list if you want to give feedback or need support.

 

And, please, if you find the software useful consider a small donation to the Voyage team. PayPal link is on the Voyage Linux homepage.

 

Thanks,

 

nick

 

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Awesome. I have been hoping something like this would come along. I will be giving this a try. I have been struggling with Ubuntu and was hoping someone would create something just for playing music.

 

nyc_paramedic, I've read all you info over at AudioCircle. Great information, but I have almost no Linux experience. Most of the time it seems like you guys are speaking a foreign language. But, I am going to keep trying...

 

Jeff

 

Jeff

 


Main system: MPaD -> Fanless VortexBox -> Emotiva XDA-1 -> Adcom GFA-555II -> Working on the rest

Desktop System: J.River Media Jukebox -> WIN7 -> HRT Music Streamer II -> Virtue Audio One.2 -> DIY Martello speakers

 


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what timing! I received the Wavelength USB 24/192 Wavelink from Gordon just this week and was looking to give it a try on Linux.

 

I did a fresh install on a sata drive using an Atom board and mounted a USB drive with some content. I'm not going to kid you it kicked me around for a while, but I figured it out.

 

First, I played some 16/44.1 and then some 24/192. The system auto switched and worked like a charm!

 

Update:

Next, I moved the system to my main room to check for bit perfect playback on my Weiss Minerva and it's bit true for playback of flac and wav files up to 24/192:)

 

Jesus R

www.sonore.us

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been looking for something to replace my Onkyo ND-S1 and this seems to work very well.

Very happy with the sound from the Onkyo dock but its limited by the ipod capacity and the permitted formats.

I had an old Asus eee pc900 with 16Gb SSD running openSuse 11.1 which I used to flash an 8Gb SD card with Voyage MPD.

Currently using a 16Gb USB key to hold a mix of 44.1/16 AIFF and 96/24 FLAC feeding an Arcam rDac via wireworld starlight cable and it sounds a lot closer to my main system than previous attempts with a Sony Vaio (vista 32bit) using optical S/PDIF.

 

 

MF M1 CDT -> S/PDIF (AES/EBU - Black Rhodium Symphony XLR) -> MF M6 DAC -> MF M1 HPA -> Grado GS1000i

 

Linux Mint 13 64bit, MPD 0.17.1 (AIF/FLAC) (MPad) -> USB (Wireworld Silver Starlight) -> SotM dx-USB HD (Paul Hynes SR1-9) -> S/PDIF (RCA- Black Rhodium Scherzo) -> Audiolab MDAC (A06) -> Lehmann BCL -> Sennheiser HD800

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@vortecjr

 

When you say you checked the Voyage MPD to Minerva, which connection did you use ? I had the understanding that Weiss does not provide firewire drivers for Linux and I am wondering if you can still connect it with some type of native driver, or if you used the SPDIF interface with some other SPDIF / AES-EBU IO to the computer.

 

I think I know the answer based on your signature, but I wanted to check !

Thanks.

 

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Does this OS have remote desktop or VNC functionality so the playback client can be run headless?

 

#1 Music: AIFF -> WD Caviar Black 2Tb -> OWC Mercury Elite AL-Pro -> Locus Design Polestar -> Mach2 Music server -> OS X 10.6 -> Fidelia -> LAConvolver -> Audiolense FIR filter -> MBS FW800/400 -> Metric Halo LIO-8 -> Vovox sonorus muco S8 -> Supra Sword IXLR -> Bryston 28B-SST2 -> Supra Sword -> Vienna Acoustics Mahler mkII. Accessories: Exact Power EP15 UK, PS Audio Quintet EU, VH Audio Airsine, Furutech FP-3TS20/FI-E35/FI-25/Fi-1363/fuses, Nordost Vishnu/TI pulsar points, Finite Elemente Cerapucs, GIK Acoustics 244/Monster/Tri traps etc.[br]#2 Movies: MKV -> Areca RAID6 server -> CAT6 -> 2 x Devolo AV200 -> CAT6 -> Mach2 Music Server -> Windows 7 Ultimate -> TotalMedia Theatre 5 -> Plogue Bidule -> ConvolverVST -> RME FF800 -> 2 x Silflex Glass Optical (ADAT) -> RME ADI-192 DD -> VOVOX mucolink direct SD -> LIO-8 -> Vovox sonorus muco S8 -> Supra Sword IXLR -> 2 x Bryston 28B-SST2 (L+R), 1 x Bryston 7B-SST2 ©, 4 x B&O ICEpower 1000ASP DIY (surround) -> 2 x VA Mahler mkII (L+R), 1 x Oratorio (center), 4 x Waltz Grand (surround), Velodyne HGS-18 (sub). Accessories: DSpeaker Anti-Mode 8033, Auralex Gramma. [br]#3 Headphones: Nexus Psile (VIA based w/CF card) -> M2Tech hiFace -> Stereovox XV Ultra -> Audio-GD REF 5 w/modded connectors -> DIY ACSS cable w/UniCrystal OCC silver & LEMO -> Audio-GD Phoenix w/modded connectors-> APureSound v3 -> HD800. Accessories: PS Audio Quintet US, Neotech NEP-3001, Belden 83803, Furutech F-11, IsoNodes etc.

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SSH from e.g. Ipad works and mpod remote control app for iphone for music selection once mpd is configured and running.

 

 

MF M1 CDT -> S/PDIF (AES/EBU - Black Rhodium Symphony XLR) -> MF M6 DAC -> MF M1 HPA -> Grado GS1000i

 

Linux Mint 13 64bit, MPD 0.17.1 (AIF/FLAC) (MPad) -> USB (Wireworld Silver Starlight) -> SotM dx-USB HD (Paul Hynes SR1-9) -> S/PDIF (RCA- Black Rhodium Scherzo) -> Audiolab MDAC (A06) -> Lehmann BCL -> Sennheiser HD800

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NiToNi,

 

 

The mpd server program runs on the headless Alix board and the mpd client is run on another device on the network. Personally, at home, I use several mpd clients to control my small Alix server, e.g., I use gmpc (http://gmpc.wikia.com/wiki/Gnome_Music_Player_Client) on my bedroom desktop and Thinkpad when I want to put together a complicated play list, but I also use a small Nokia n800 tablet running either the mmpc or sonata clients when I'm at the listening chair. All three clients can be connected to the mpd server at the same time. I'm also in the process of experimenting with a WiFi enabled Kindle as an mpd remote --as I would much rather have something that does not have a back light when listening to music in the evening.

 

This is in contrast to monolithic players like Itunes, where the entire program and GUI desktop OS must be run on the machine connected to the audio device.

 

By design, mpd obviates the need for forwarding an entire desktop or application via VNC or SSH. mpd is a true server/client audio application. And though iTunes does have a remote control application, it is still a monolithic graphic user interface program, i.e., requires OSX, a window manager running, etc.

 

You can read a bit more about what mpd is here: http://mpd.wikia.com/wiki/What_MPD_Is_and_Is_Not

 

Here are a list of clients available: http://mpd.wikia.com/wiki/Clients

 

 

 

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The test was voyage-mpd via USB to Wavelink via SPDIF to Minerva.

 

FYI, We are working on adding firewire support to Vortexbox (our linux distribution) for the Weiss products. It's putting up a good fight though:) Actually, we have made some progress and we are close so stay tuned!

 

Jesus R

www.sonore.us

 

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Besides the obvious benefits of environment and cost (the latter only holding true if time is valued cheaply), does this thin Linux OS using gmpc as front-end and configured properly have any audible benefits over say OSX with AyreWave or the like, which pretty much are plug-and-play?

 

I would love to try this out but would need to know that the reward is worth the pain...

 

#1 Music: AIFF -> WD Caviar Black 2Tb -> OWC Mercury Elite AL-Pro -> Locus Design Polestar -> Mach2 Music server -> OS X 10.6 -> Fidelia -> LAConvolver -> Audiolense FIR filter -> MBS FW800/400 -> Metric Halo LIO-8 -> Vovox sonorus muco S8 -> Supra Sword IXLR -> Bryston 28B-SST2 -> Supra Sword -> Vienna Acoustics Mahler mkII. Accessories: Exact Power EP15 UK, PS Audio Quintet EU, VH Audio Airsine, Furutech FP-3TS20/FI-E35/FI-25/Fi-1363/fuses, Nordost Vishnu/TI pulsar points, Finite Elemente Cerapucs, GIK Acoustics 244/Monster/Tri traps etc.[br]#2 Movies: MKV -> Areca RAID6 server -> CAT6 -> 2 x Devolo AV200 -> CAT6 -> Mach2 Music Server -> Windows 7 Ultimate -> TotalMedia Theatre 5 -> Plogue Bidule -> ConvolverVST -> RME FF800 -> 2 x Silflex Glass Optical (ADAT) -> RME ADI-192 DD -> VOVOX mucolink direct SD -> LIO-8 -> Vovox sonorus muco S8 -> Supra Sword IXLR -> 2 x Bryston 28B-SST2 (L+R), 1 x Bryston 7B-SST2 ©, 4 x B&O ICEpower 1000ASP DIY (surround) -> 2 x VA Mahler mkII (L+R), 1 x Oratorio (center), 4 x Waltz Grand (surround), Velodyne HGS-18 (sub). Accessories: DSpeaker Anti-Mode 8033, Auralex Gramma. [br]#3 Headphones: Nexus Psile (VIA based w/CF card) -> M2Tech hiFace -> Stereovox XV Ultra -> Audio-GD REF 5 w/modded connectors -> DIY ACSS cable w/UniCrystal OCC silver & LEMO -> Audio-GD Phoenix w/modded connectors-> APureSound v3 -> HD800. Accessories: PS Audio Quintet US, Neotech NEP-3001, Belden 83803, Furutech F-11, IsoNodes etc.

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Some, who have compare this to Windows and Mac OS X, would say an emphatic yes. Personally, I haven't compared the little Alix to anything as I have never had any Win/Mac machines on hand. So you'll have to trust your own ears.

 

I think the greater sonic benefits are a result of a number of key features, such as:

 

*Power supply - use any well regulated supply from 7 to 20 volts, or run the battery of your choice with your Alix, thus eliminating switching power supplies that come standard with a Mac or Windows Machine.

 

*Reduced hardware and software footprint - no superfluous hardware or software components. The Alix receives the music via Ethernet and outputs via USB. No VGA, mouse, keyboard, etc., etc.

 

Voyage MPD runs the minimum amount of services taking up as little as 8MB of RAM --the whole OS running in RAM. No GUI (graphic user interface), no window manager, no desktop applications, no superfluous drivers running, no need for ASIO, etc. The Alix is dedicated to doing one thing well: playing music via the small mpd server daemon. Getting bit-perfect unmolested data to your USB DAC is as easy as configuring one line in a simple text file.

 

This is a true embedded solution --with the difference being the computer runs a modified Debian Linux, and the architecture is x86. These two distinctions are important because:

 

a) Debian has an elegant package manager that makes installing packages supremely easy. Thus, if Voyage MPD has an important update then installing those updates is very easy --even for the Linux newbie. Contrast this with having to compile sources by hand for things such as a new version of mpd or ALSA.

 

b) With this being an embedded x86 architecture, we don't need to cross-compile programs as we would for ARM based designs.

 

I know that this might sound a bit too technical, but essentially what I'm saying is that this solution is much, much easier to get up and running than most would think. Even for a total Linux neophyte.

 

Yes, you need to use a text editor and spend some time in a command line. But, most of the really hard work has been done for you. And once it's set up properly you'll find that it's very reliable and trouble free. So much, that after a while you'll find it pretty boring and almost forget that it's there. But that's the point: you should be enjoying the music and *not* fiddling with your computer.

 

I do hope you give it a spin. I think you'll _really_ like what you hear. And there will always be help if you get stuck.

 

Sincerely,

 

Nick

 

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Which library for aiff/wav did you get working in the end? I recall seeing there were some problems with aiff/wav on the mpd forum, but there was never a conclusion there - last I saw you switched over to FLAC.

 

I see some users are indicating AIFF is working now - is it using libsndfile? I've got an Alix board and installing Voyage has been on my to-do list - if mpd is running with libsndfile and M4a/mp3 support I'd be a happy camper.

 

edit: The reason I ask is libsndfile understands AIFF tags. Libaudiofile doesn't and plays them as static, so gapless playback is impossible in Libaudiofile (ffmpeg is similarly broken).

 

 

mpdPup maintainer

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Huh, thanks for the link. If anyone running the build at the moment can type "mpd --version" and post the output here that would be great.

 

I saw Dynobot's potential explanation - not sure about the 32 bit vs 16/24 bit, maybe it has to do with some ALSA config combined with sndfile? I know I don't have any problems with libsndfile/0.16 on a larger system using a [email protected], but the config for every piece of hardware is a bit different.

 

I'll see if I can get it loaded up over the weekend regardless, it's nice that you've made it so easy to get Voyage with MPD up and running now.

 

 

mpdPup maintainer

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1. formats that can be played. I am a very recent aiff convert.

2. best clients (ipod/ iphone mostly, and possibly a windows desktop. I saw one foobar installation and the amount of info it showed was awesome. It would show you pictures of singers, their life stories and what not!

3. local disk vs nas. Is local disk completely going to ruin it? I would prefer a single box.

4. can it also rip?

5. USB is good enough, doesn't need a sound card I hope.

 

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1. formats that can be played. I am a very recent aiff convert.

 

I have no issues playing aiff on Voyage MPD. Here's the full list.

 

Supported decoders:

 

[mad] mp3 mp2

[vorbis] ogg oga

[oggflac] ogg oga

[flac] flac

[audiofile] wav au aiff aif

[faad] aac

[mpcdec] mpc

[wavpack] wv

[sidplay] sid

[ffmpeg] 16sv 3g2 3gp 4xm 8svx aa3 aac ac3 afc aif aifc aiff al alaw amr anim apc ape asf atrac au aud avi avm2 avs bap bfi c93 cak cin cmv cpk daud dct divx dts dv dvd dxa eac3 film flac flc fli fll flx flv g726 gsm gxf iss m1v m2v m2t m2ts m4a m4b m4v mad mj2 mjpeg mjpg mka mkv mlp mm mmf mov mp+ mp1 mp2 mp3 mp4 mpc mpeg mpg mpga mpp mpu mve mvi mxf nc nsv nut nuv oga ogm ogv ogx oma ogg omg psp pva qcp qt r3d ra ram rl2 rm rmvb roq rpl rvc shn smk snd sol son spx str swf tgi tgq tgv thp ts tsp tta xa xvid uv uv2 vb vid vob voc vp6 vmd wav wma wmv wsaud wsvga wv wve

 

2. best clients (ipod/ iphone mostly, and possibly a windows desktop. I saw one foobar installation and the amount of info it showed was awesome. It would show you pictures of singers, their life stories and what not!

 

That's purely subjective. You'll have to look at the mpd wiki site and find a client that suits you. The most full featured client, that is extensible with plugins, is probably gmpc: http://gmpc.wikia.com/wiki/Gnome_Music_Player_Client

 

3. local disk vs nas. Is local disk completely going to ruin it? I would prefer a single box.

 

No. I just haven't tested it yet. I have on order a mini-PCI SATA controller that is known to work with Linux and Alix. I won't be able to put together for the next couple of weeks. Though, I'm confident that this is the way to go for a one box Alix/MPD solution.

 

4. can it also rip?

 

No. And that's the way it's meant to be: There's no VGA, mouse, keyboard, monitor. Do the rip/tagging on a more appropriate machine.

 

5. USB is good enough, doesn't need a sound card I hope.

 

This configuration is strictly a USB music server. But one can use Voyage MPD with a PCI sound card like the [email protected]

 

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great reply. I am all for it if the store is local.

You are right, I can rip on my work laptop and then upload it via NAS folder.

Local spinning hdd shouldn't be a big problem? Maybe solid state hdd but it is going to be too expensive.

Pls do some comparison of local/ NAS.

 

What USB DAC are you using?

PS: ayre qb-9

 

Is there a LIVE cd/ dvd or a live usb stick - that runs this linux OS without requiring to do the "installation" partitioning etc?

 

PS Oh there is a live cd - I am going to try it sooner than I initially thought. I am right now working on a appletv based setup (almost done).

 

Edit: wow, this Alix sounds interesting. I need to figure out a BoM for building a box that can do local disk as well as NAS. Looking for help.

 

 

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Edit: wow, this Alix sounds interesting. I need to figure out a BoM for building a box that can do local disk as well as NAS. Looking for help

 

What exactly do you mean? If you build an Alix with a local disk (via mini-PCI SATA), then you could probably just use FTP to copy your music over to the appropriate folder.

 

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Ah, Ok...

 

Alix 2d2 will give you a solution where all the cabling is on the back of the unit. i.e., power, ethernet, USB. The front has three little status LED. Some choose this board so that it looks nicer on their audio rack. Link: http://www.pcengines.ch/alix2d2.htm

 

pic: http://www.pcengines.ch/pic/alix2d2.jpg

 

 

 

The 3d2 board is the most minimalist Alix board you can buy to run Voyage MPD. It has only one ethernet, as compared to the 2d2's 2 ethernet port. But the 3d2 has connectors on both sides of the board, so this configuration would be perpendicular in feeding your USB DAC. Link:http://www.pcengines.ch/alix3d2.htm

 

pic: http://www.pcengines.ch/pic/alix3d2.jpg

 

Distributors in the USA: http://www.pcengines.ch/order.php

 

Buy a case, too. If you're buying the 3d2 you'll want the fron faceplate with the USB cutout. You'll also need some kind of 7-20 volt power supply. An analog linear is highly recommended. Batteries work, too.

 

 

 

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