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Audiolinux Server configurations, Software, Hardware, and Listening Impressions


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3 hours ago, luisma said:

Good point, conventional wisdom like you mentioned states that more phases = better voltage regulation but there is also a consensus that the component quality used for the VRM's is critical, all I'm saying is "it is not only about # of phases". Ultimately Larry should be able to tell.

Thanks for providing the phase info on both boards.

 

 

Thanks - @lmitche are you able to provide any further insight into how to identify a motherboard with the  best VRM for audio?  I have read quite a lot including this really good VRM guide.  I am running MSI Z97I Gaming, it's a 6 phase design with Super Ferrite Chokes and it sounds way better than a NUC.  My power supply is a Corsair SF450, so ripple is about 25mV, not great but something I'm going to improve on - either way it's still a step up in audio quality - transients are amazing.

 

As an experiment I've ordered a MSI Z87 Xpower second hand from eBay to see what a 32 Phase design sounds like and also a Super Flower PSU - as these have ripple arround 5mv (it's a LLC resonant PSU design, very best you can get before moving to a linear power supply).  Quite a cost effective experiment/build as these parts can be had off eBay for cheap.

 

@luisma What power supply are you using in both cases?

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Hi all,

 

I installed the latest AL version on a PC to be used as RoonServer. All is well but it will only play standard resolution files, no high-res. Not even 48 kHz.

No difference if I play from Qobuz or the Nas. Previously Roon Rock was running on the same PC and that played all resolutions without problems. The only change is from Rock to AL.

I tried changing CPU freq (although cpu load is <10%), realtime prio, isolated cores on/off but no change.

Any ideas would be very welcome

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6 hours ago, Gavin1977 said:

Thanks - @lmitche are you able to provide any further insight into how to identify a motherboard with the  best VRM for audio?  I have read quite a lot including this really good VRM guide.  I am running MSI Z97I Gaming, it's a 6 phase design with Super Ferrite Chokes and it sounds way better than a NUC.  My power supply is a Corsair SF450, so ripple is about 25mV, not great but something I'm going to improve on - either way it's still a step up in audio quality - transients are amazing.

 

As an experiment I've ordered a MSI Z87 Xpower second hand from eBay to see what a 32 Phase design sounds like and also a Super Flower PSU - as these have ripple arround 5mv (it's a LLC resonant PSU design, very best you can get before moving to a linear power supply).  Quite a cost effective experiment/build as these parts can be had off eBay for cheap.

 

@luisma What power supply are you using in both cases?

Gavin,

 

I am using a Hdplex 200 watt supply to power the Ryzen chip and motherboard. The Hdplex replaced a 1600 watt titanium Super Flower ATX power supply with very low ripple in the 5 to 10 mv range.  SQ took a nice jump up in quality with the Hdplex.

 

Do the same at your own risk. It is easy to create more demand for power from the Ryzen 7 then can be supplied by the Hdplex. If this happens the supply will overheat and shutdown, or create a smoke condition as has happened with others.

 

Which NUC, powered with which power supply?

nuckleheadaudio.com

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2 minutes ago, lmitche said:

AnotherSpin,

 

Isolated cores dedicates one or more cores to an application process, like Roonserver, preventing OS background tasks and interrupt processing from happening on the isolated cores. This means the application is "pinned" to that set of processor(s) and there is reduced context switching overhead overtime. This results in improved sound quality.

 

As use AL headless NAA only on NUC endpoint, should 3) Only one (random, excluding first) be selected? Thank you.

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1 minute ago, AnotherSpin said:

 

As use AL headless NAA only on NUC endpoint, should 3) Only one (random, excluding first) be selected? Thank you.

It is easy enough to try each option and to have a listen. The difference between options is pretty apparent here, but there is no single rule as to which sounds best.

 

 

nuckleheadaudio.com

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1 hour ago, RDOK said:

Hi all,

 

I installed the latest AL version on a PC to be used as RoonServer. All is well but it will only play standard resolution files, no high-res. Not even 48 kHz.

No difference if I play from Qobuz or the Nas. Previously Roon Rock was running on the same PC and that played all resolutions without problems. The only change is from Rock to AL.

I tried changing CPU freq (although cpu load is <10%), realtime prio, isolated cores on/off but no change.

Any ideas would be very welcome

Is your DAC directly connected or are you using an endpoint?

 

You need to look in Roon: Settings: Audio and ensure the DAC is setup properly.

nuckleheadaudio.com

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Hi

I am trying to build my server as a onebox-solution. maybe if it’s better for soundquality I will need an endpoint too.

But first things first. What would you recommend for highest soundquality in Audiolinux Roon Hqplayer--Setup. At the moment I try with a intel i7 gamingboard to boot from usb-stick and put the roondatabase on the optanedrive. Maybe this is stupid but I thought this is what romaz and co recommend but they are now on euphony....

next step is ram-mode when everything is up and running...

 

my mainquestion- is it worth to split roondatabase in Optane and system in ram or should I put everything on the optanedrive...

 

i would be glad to have some more input to this...I will post my findings...

 

thanks 

 

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23 hours ago, lmitche said:

SQ is at a new level, with more transparency and punch across the spectrum.

So the big question is why does the new system sound better?  8 cores vs 4 cores?  AMD vs Intel?  Motherboard differences?  Please let us know if you manage to determine the key contributing factors.

NUC7PJYH/AL --> 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 Version 2004/HDPLEX 300W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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30 minutes ago, latenz said:

Hi

I am trying to build my server as a onebox-solution. maybe if it’s better for soundquality I will need an endpoint too.

But first things first. What would you recommend for highest soundquality in Audiolinux Roon Hqplayer--Setup. At the moment I try with a intel i7 gamingboard to boot from usb-stick and put the roondatabase on the optanedrive. Maybe this is stupid but I thought this is what romaz and co recommend but they are now on euphony....

next step is ram-mode when everything is up and running...

 

my mainquestion- is it worth to split roondatabase in Optane and system in ram or should I put everything on the optanedrive...

 

i would be glad to have some more input to this...I will post my findings...

 

thanks 

 

Just load the os from the optane drive into ram.

nuckleheadaudio.com

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1 hour ago, rickca said:

So the big question is why does the new system sound better?  8 cores vs 4 cores?  AMD vs Intel?  Motherboard differences?  Please let us know if you manage to determine the key contributing factors.

Truthfully, we will never know. With the system running just above idle, power utilization is minimal and temperatures low. Double the cache probably has an impact as well. Of course turning various bios knobs still has a great impact. Lastly the lack of a gpu on the chip has to have an impact.

nuckleheadaudio.com

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10 minutes ago, lmitche said:

Truthfully, we will never know. With the system running just above idle, power utilization is minimal and temperatures low. Double the cache probably has an impact as well. Of course turning various bios knobs still has a great impact. Lastly the lack of a gpu on the chip has to have an impact.

 

Would you share your preferred BIOS settings for processor and power?

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8 hours ago, Gavin1977 said:

What power supply are you using in both cases

Good experiment with the vrms, really it would be something else to stack on top of all this. I'm using different things. As a source mainly a nuc core i7 and most of the time different Naa's fanless core i3, fanless Celeron, allo Bridge. Everything powered by uptone js-2 

 

I'm in the process of getting a fanless chassis to build my ryzen, waiting for the 3950x to be released as I run HQPE and the new modulators are very good but power hungry. Trying to get a turemetal up5 or up10 for this build. Power for this chassis I still don't know what to use, no LPS is capable of powering this at this moment, maybe a fanless seasonic? Still debating. 

But I'm interested on the vrms findings, I was thinking gigabyte for the build 

 

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1 hour ago, latenz said:

Yes...but the roondatabase is to big for the ram 

The roondatabase can live on the Optane simultaneously in another partition. Poke around, the instructions for doing this were posted last year by Piero and/or Austinpop.

nuckleheadaudio.com

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1 hour ago, latenz said:

Lks 004 with amanero...

Cool so it has its own power no LPS application there. It is a DS DAC so definitely you want to send DSD from HQP to it, DSD512 with the new EC modulators you could use some CPU power so your gaming board and CPU should do at least for DSD256, 512 I'm not so sure, separating Roon's database most of the people in this forum have found it does improvement. 

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18 hours ago, lmitche said:

Gavin,

 

I am using a Hdplex 200 watt supply to power the Ryzen chip and motherboard. The Hdplex replaced a 1600 watt titanium Super Flower ATX power supply with very low ripple in the 5 to 10 mv range.  SQ took a nice jump up in quality with the Hdplex.

 

Do the same at your own risk. It is easy to create more demand for power from the Ryzen 7 then can be supplied by the Hdplex. If this happens the supply will overheat and shutdown, or create a smoke condition as has happened with others.

 

Which NUC, powered with which power supply?

 

DNHE NUC, but powered by the stock power brick - ripple around 60-70mV I would guess.  The Corsair SF450 I'm using in the Mini-ITX build has ripple around 20-25mV.  Still not amazing, so it must also be the VRM design compared to the NUC with is giving the benefit.

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