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Euphony OS w/Stylus player setup and issues thread

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With my head still spinning from all the server options available on these threads, I've decided to go for the KISS approach to replace my W10/Roon laptop as music server. This will be:

 

A single box server with USB out to my existing HMS->DAVE DAC. I've settled on Euphony Stylus running on 7i7DN Porcoolpine fanless box (thank you @bobfa for the posts and links). With Porcoolpine setup just like bob's example, e.g using a 32GB Optane in the M.2 slot. My moto for this exercise will be "ditch the spaghetti" or at least as much as possible - and I'm prepared to sacrifice some SQ in order to get compactness, simplicity and conveniance.

 

With that in mind, I intend to start with Porcoolpine's stock USB output and use its default WiFi (using up the M.2 2230 slot and with external antennas) to connect to my broadband router on the other side of my house). Both of these points are less than ideal for SQ, but I did a "proof of concept" test by installing Euphony+Stylus on USB stick on a (different) laptop -> USB -> HMS -> DAVE and comparing to my existing W10/Roon -> bridged mR -> IR -> HMS -> DAVE.

 

And the Stylus version won easily on SQ, although only after I had cleaned the direct USB output with my trusty ISORegen. This was not a like-for-like comparison, but was enough of a POC for me to imagine that a NUC server would give even bigger improvements.

 

My remaining question is regarding Optane drives: There are many options around, but most of them won't fit into the M.2 2280 slot of DN-boarded NUCs. I'm starting with a 32GB pure Optane to be the Euphony/Stylus boot drive (and with an external filestore drive), but to continue the KISS principle, it would be more elegant to use the H10 drive with a combined 32GB Optane + up to 1TB NAND, thereby keeping everything within the same box.

 

So my H10 questions are:

1. Can one boot Euphony/Stylus from the 32GB Optane partition, which then reads the music files from the NAND partition? 

2. Or is it better to put everything on the NAND partition and use the Optane as accelerator (which is after all its originally intended purpose)?

3. How would a H10 drive compare SQ-wise with Optane + external drive?

 

Solution 2 seems to be the most elegant to me, but it'snot clear if adding the NAND SSD onto the Optane card will make that drive as noisy as a typical SSD?

 

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The H10 in general seems a great storage solution in the KISS single box world (as long as 1TB is enough).

I guess no-one has yet tried this though to see (hear) if practice matches theory in terms of how the noise performance compares.

In an ideal world, the Optane front-end would hide the noisier SSD back end, but we all know that practice doesn't allways follow theory.

 

Unless someone's already done such comparisons, I'm aiming to start safe (with the tried and tested Bobfa's approach), then see how bleeding edge this DIY-averse guy wants to take this.

 

Regarding faster,  better servers than the i7DN NUCs - I'm sure there are, but I've been waiting over 2 years for the "A novel way" dust to settle down, and every week there's something better, but not necessarily simpler.

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Thank you all, the fog is gradually lifting 🙂.

 

BTW, if drive power consumption is a guide to SQ, then the new M15 Optane adds another variable:

It has faster read/write/latency figures than the M10, and its power consumption is <5mW idle and 3.8W active.

 

So Idle consumption better than the M10, but Active worse. How than affects SQ will probably depend on the music app used.

 

Edit: I'm guessing the Active consumption is greater primarily because it's faster and so shifting more data per second.

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2 hours ago, rickca said:

@TheAttorney for now your H10 questions are moot since the H10 is currently an OEM only part.....

Initially, the Optane Memory H10 will be an OEM-only part, available to consumers only pre-installed in new systems....

 

Yes, and as far as I can tell from email correspondence with SimplyNUC, I could have the H10 pre-installed in a Porcoolpine.

However, as result of recent posts here, I'll be sticking with the 32GB Optane, which will be an M10 or M15 depending on what SimplyNUC have on hand at the time.

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Regarding custom builds by SimplyNUC, the online options for Porcoolpine apply to the US website. And this has limited options.

 

In the UK (and probably other non-US countries), you can only order Porcoolpine (and probably other newest models) by engaging with a SimplyNUC salesperson - in which case you can request whatever you want and they will provide a quote as long as it's sensible and doable.

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On 6/26/2019 at 8:19 PM, bobfa said:

I am excited to hear more.  Can you post a couple of pix of your hardware?    Where exactly have you landed on the CPU frequency settings?  

I got diverted by an issue when installing Euphony onto the Optane drive (after purchasing the full license):

 

The install went fine, but I lost my WIFI on booting from Optane. So I had to temporarily rig up all sorts of extension cables to get an ethernet connection to my remote broadband router. I was tearing my hair out because I couldn't see what the problem was, and was not looking forward to persuading  Euphony Support to support me on an unsupported feature. Then the solution literally popped up to me with a message saying that I wasn't on the latest version and would I like to get the latest feature upgrade? On upgrade to the latest version (29th May), WIFI worked fine. Phew! Happy Days. The lesson here is that Install won't necessarily install the latest version even though the USB stick I was installing from did have the latest version.

 

Back to CPU frequency. I've found that I can go from Full Throttle to Standby by changing just 1 digit in the Max Frequency setting as below. I find the Standby very useful for significantly dropping both power consumption and CPU/case temperature:

419794260_stylus1.thumb.png.9d2f78d66731e9d48f00b54c0f47a9bc.png

 

This results in the frequency and temperature results below:

1148761147_stylus2.thumb.png.cb83388d074a3e8ca1d2d22d915af1c2.png

 

 

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48 minutes ago, Nenon said:

....... you can hear improvement on some motherboards and not on others. Just saying - things are not as black or white as it may look. In other words YMMV. 

 

I completely agree, and I wasn't claiming my experience with my particular 7i7DN-based NUC is in any way black and white, just my particular experience with the h/w that I had described in recent posts. I'm a firm advocate of YMMV 🙂

 

Also, my USB comments were based on a 256 GB stick. If your friend had issues with much greater capacities, then that is something that requires further investigation for anyone who is thinking of going down that track. I suspect this will also vary with different motherboards etc. But for those who have smaller music collections, I still think a USB stick can't be beaten for KISS & DTS - you don't ever have to open up the server, or worry about M.2/PCIE slots, or NAS networking issues etc. 

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On 7/8/2019 at 5:18 PM, austinpop said:

Has anyone tried the CPU isolation feature on the latest 0705 version?

 

Where did you get the instructions for changing this feature in Euphony? I haven't seen any.

 

Does core isolation in effect switch off hyperthreading? I'd like to give that a try, but it's much easier for me to change this in Euphony than in BIOS.

 

I don't see the point of the other new feature - CPU burn-in. It drives the cores to 100% usage, at 3 levls of aggressiveness, but IMO the CPU already heats up more than enough in turbo mode. This enhancement request probably came in from another forum. I wonder what the rationale was?

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13 hours ago, RickyV said:

I have also been playing with the CPU frequency but there seems to be only two settings and that is 1.9ghz and max, which is 3.8~4.2ghz. If I put 1900000 in the max freq field I get 1.9ghz. If I put 1900001 in I get max, 3.8~4.2ghz. Is this correct?

 

Sort of correct. This is how the CPU Frequency function works with this particular CPU/motherboard. Remember that anything in Experts Settings is Beta/experimental that has been included at users request - it is not guaranteed to be perfect in all circumstances., although the support team will attempt to fix issues where possible and practical.

 

In this case, the CPU's base frequency is 1.9Ghz. And any setting at this frequency (or below) will respond correctly. But any setting above base frequency seems to revert to whatever the BIOS settings are, i..e go to full turbo mode in this case. Other CPU/motherboards may behave differently.

 

As I reported a while back, I found this feature a very handy way of going into and out of a pseudo standby mode: I just change the first digit to effectively engage turbo mode (which sounds better) and go into standby mode when I stop listening for the day (which considerably reduces power consumption and temperature). 

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16 hours ago, davide256 said:

 

Did a rerun compare of 1TB HD Seagate media  vs  1TB class 10 SDXC media, SDXC still wins out for clarity, treble/bass sharpness. I have a 32gb optane stick arriving today, I plan to retest once that arrives.

My hope is that Optane SSD using Euphony cache option will improve  sound and eliminate media type sound quality differences.

 

My default position is Euphony Stylus booted from 32 Optane M.2 card, and redbook music files on a 256GB USB stick directly plugged into one of my NUC's USB slots. With 100% buffer, caching, turbo, HW and recent core isolation. And I'm very happy with the sound. BTW, caching doesn't always appear to be immediate when adding  new files to the playlist, and Stylus gets tempremental  when I try to add several albums in very quick succession. But it gets there eventually

 

I again removed the USB stick whilst music was playing from cache (there's about 20GB available for cache on a 32 GB Optane, which holds several redbook music files). And I again couldn't reliably tell if there was a SQ change when removing the USB stick, so even if there is a slight SQ impact, I'm prepared to accept that in exchange for an incredibly simple and low cost filestore solution for my NUC server.

 

I also tried ramroot from the trial Euphony on a different USB stick, but didn't get very far.

Firstly, on a brief initial comparison, ramroot did seem a bit better than boot from USB stick, but it wasn't sounding obviously better than my memory of the boot-from-Optane default. At this stage, it was too short a test and too many variables for anything to be conclusive, but then I ran into a problem:

 

Having activated ramroot, I then hit the disable button and rebooted. After ages, it still came up in ramroot, even though the info in the ramroot field and button seemed to acknowledge that I had indeed disabled it. So I retried and the same thing happened. As I don't have a monitor to connect to my NUC server, I can't follow the boot process for any clues, so I soon got bored with this and gave up. It doesn't help that my trial ramroot was created onto the only spare USB stick I had, which is several years old and probably contributing to the painfully slow boot up time.

 

Maybe the Euphony team could consider why I wasn't able to disable ramroot?

In the meantime I'll just wait for this function to be fully released, so that it can go straight to my Optane drive.

 

 

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There appears to be an anomaly with the Core Isolation feature:

 

It reverts to the default of No Isolation after reboot, so I need to hit the Apply button again after each reboot - worth knowing for those who don't run their servers 24/7.

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1 hour ago, RickyV said:

How do you see it’s gone back to default? I have switched back and forth a few times the last two weeks with no difficulties. 

 

 

Firstly, the Core 0 temperature increases after applying my particular Isolation settings (as previously posted). After reboot, the temperature reduces to the default values. If I hit the Apply button at this point, the temperature starts increasing again.

 

Secondly, I believe that hitting the Apply button with an empty field will show the actual core values without changing them. If I do this after applying Isolation, the display shows the correct values. If I do this after reboot, the displays shows the default values (0-7 for everything). Tip: Remember to Ctrl/C your isolation settings before clearing the field, so you can quickly re-instate then later.

 

Thirdly, by listening. If I re-hit the Isolation Apply button after reboot, I get a boost in SQ. Any subjective test is not totally reliable, but that's what I hear. It's harder to notice this on reboot because of the larger time lapse and because even default sounds pretty good anyway.

 

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20 hours ago, austinpop said:

Are you by any chance setting the isolation flags:

  • while booted in ramroot, and
  • do you have the flag set to copy app data to root?

 

No, I'm not using ramroot. I tried again last night with the same results as before. It could be a CPU/motheboard-related issue: If my 7i7DN board doesn't fully respond to CPU frequency settings, maybe it also doesn't fully handle core isolation as well? RickyV may be able to answer that question when he tries my tests - as he also has a 7i7DN-based server.

 

But more interesting for me is that today I've found a better sounding Core Isolation setting 🙂.

I disabled Turbo and HW (hyperthreading) in BIOS to see if that changed the Core Isolation reboot issue (it didn't). I then reinstated Turbo because that is  required to get CPU max frequency above its base frequency. But left HW off (Fidelizer's designer believes HW is detrimental to SQ in his experience, so I wanted to test that out).

 

So, with only 4 real cores available (and Turbo on), I found that    0 stylus 1-2 gstp 3   gave me even greater clarity and dynamics - the best yet. Strangely, with HW off, stylus now causes the highest CPU load, and Everything Else the least - the opposite of what I saw before - goodness knows why! That's why I allocated 2 cores to stylus to stop it going beyond 70C. Overall, CPU temperatures are a few degrees C lower than with HW, so a good result in every way.

 

This uplift in SQ is not fully conclusive at this stage because I also recently made a tweak to my headphones - I think I have seperated the two changes, but more time is needed. In the meantime I do recommend others try the disabling HW - of course this could be CPU dependent.

 

7 hours ago, Lukasluis said:

I would like to experiment on the effect of CPU isolation but I don't know the name of the applications/processes when running Roon/Euphony. 

Just hit the Core Isolation Apply button. This will display all the relevent processes. As your default position is an empty Core Isolation field, hitting the Apply button will display current values without changing them.

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With hyperthreading disabled in BIOS the last couple of days, I'm really enjoying the sound. One bonus is that the max frequency doesn't seem to matter as much as before: It sounds good whether it's set to 0.9Ghz, 1.9Ghz or around 4Ghz. That's not to say they sound exactly the same, just that I can as easily engage with the music with any of them. Even Core Isolation doesn't seem to matter as much - maybe I'm just getting comparison fatigue?

 

So I'm sticking with max frequency of 0.9Ghz, which results in a huge CPU temperature drop to just under 40C (with correspondingly reduced power consumption). A further bonus is that these lower speeds do not suffer the temperature fluctuations of turbo mode.

Strangely, at the low speeds, "Everything Else" is back to showing more CPU activity than Stylus, so I've come full circle on that point.

 

So, with HW off, Max Freq= 0.9Ghz, Core Isolation = 0-1 stylus 2 gstp 3,  I get a great sounding, cool running, low energy, no fuss solution that I'm delighted with 🙂. Even if a max'd out turbo'd and hyperthreaded version sounds a bit better (and I'm not sure it does), I've stopped trying. No more changes from me until the ramroot function gets fully released.

 

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17 hours ago, AnotherSpin said:

New official version released today. Ramroot enabling, etc.

 

I gave ramroot a try.... and I like it... a lot 🙂

 

No issues at all with installation and activation, and works well with my Optane still being used to cache the directly connected USB stick filestore.

 

I've been sticking to my simple settings on my NUC7i7DN: 1.0Ghz, HW=off, core isolation, caching and buffering as previously posted. And now with ramroot, I'm even more delighted with the SQ - considering the low stress being put upon my CPU (typical core temp 37C, and Porky's cooling fins don't even rise to "barely lukewarm"). So much sound from so little energy (around 8W from earlier measurements)!

 

The exact CPU speed seems to matter in this configuration: I slightly prefer 1.0Gz to, say, 0.8, 0.9, 1.2 etc, but this could just be imagination because the differences are much more subtle than, say, ramroot.

 

Also, this release improves the upgrade process for those totally reliant on the WIFI function to access Euphony/Stylus - WIFI on previous releases became inactive after the upgrade process. Euphony Support said they'd fix it at next release - and they did 🙂. Great support.

 

 

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On 9/11/2019 at 9:28 PM, RickyV said:

Yes ramroot seems to deliver more air around instruments, voices etc. Better defined space. Real nice.

 

Only 2 days later, another "new feature" release 20190912 has appeared:

 

I haven't spotted any new features , but SQ seems to have further improved in a particular way. The previous release did indeed have more air, better defined space, greater clarity and focus in Ramroot. But further listening to my brighter recordings showed that it was not shy in showing up the brighter aspects of the recording.

 

This new release seems to have added a more full bodied, natural presentation (what Euphony Stylus was originally praised for), without any apparent loss of that ramroot clarity. My reference point has changed several times in the last few weeks, so I'm no longer sure whether the latest changes are real or imaginary. Maybe I'm just getting used to the new sound? Or maybe something else has changed in the background? But whatever, I'm really, really enjoying this new release.

 

 

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One observation with Ramroot:

 

After upgrading from '10 to '12 release, and having shutdown and restarted a couple of times since then, I noticed that I was back to the '10 release. I hadn't bothered to do the "save root fs to disk" before (on assumption that upgrade would sort that out automatically), so this time I did save fs and this time it stayed at '12 after reboot.

 

Maybe it was obvious to everybody that you need to do that save function after every upgrade if using Ramroot, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

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There is now a knowledge base article about ramroot, which gives much more information than any of us could provide.

You can get to the knowledge database from the Support link in the Euphony app, or directly from the link below (which will require a login if you're not already logged in to their support site):

 

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On 9/17/2019 at 5:58 PM, davide256 said:

so a configuration verification here;

do you use NAS storage solution  or are you using directly attached storage media?

based on your outcomes, I'm suspecting NAS.

 

No, I'm using a directly connected USB stick (thumb drive).

I don't see any fundemental difference, wrt ramroot usability, between NAS vs direct connected filestore.

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8 hours ago, Nenon said:

This is the option I am excited about:

- Added option to buffer entire Queue to RAM

 

 

Where is this option located? I can't find it anywhere, but I seem to have it set anyway because there is now no buffering when skipping to next track, and most of my queued items are marked blue. I say "most" because I currently have over 100 tracks in my play queue and only 4GB RAM, which is shown to be over 80% used (and marked red, implying a limit is being reached). Despite this low memory, Stylus keeps playing and adjusting what's marked Blue, so I imagine it's dynamically adjusting what's buffered when it gets to RAM limits.

 

EDIT: I've found it now, at the top of the queue. It displayes that 100 tracks are buffered, out of 117 currently in queue. But there is still a small bit of disc activity when skipping tracks.

 

One small enhancement (that I had requested), that's not listed in the change log, is that the current track playing is now always in display whenever you get back to the play queue. Previously, returning to the play queue always went to the start of the queue, so you then had to scroll down to find the track playing - significant when there's a long queue spread over several pages. This now works well.

 

Click on artist name opens artist's page on LastFM

I'm a bit confused about this one. I had asked for the ability to see all other albums by an artist when you are on the Now Playing screen of that artist (a roon-like feature). This has been implemented when you click on the artist name on the Now Playing page. In practice, this has been done by a filtered search, but you then have to go to library view to see that result. I'd rather you were taken directly to that result if that's possible.

 

Not sure how that relates to the above change log entry, or if that is a different feature that I haven't spotted yet.

 

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Yes, I've since edited my post in the meantime with more info. Anyway, I'm pleasantly surprised that this feature works at all, considering I'm using ramroot and queue buffering with only 4 GB RAM (not doing any DSP probably helps).

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