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bodiebill

ALSA version and SQ

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Since yesterday I was finally able to play DSD512 and I love it.

Setup: HQPlayer on Windows PC => DSD512 => Linux PC with GentooPlayer and NAA (networkaudiod) => Lampi DAC with Amanero

 

GentooPlayer offers the option to install an old version of ALSA, 1.0.29, which is known for its sound quality.

And indeed, I much prefer it to the latest ALSA version.

1.0.29 sounds warmer, more mellow, some would say 'less Linux-like'.

Did anyone else compare?


 

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I skimmed through ALSA source code change from ALSA library 1.0.29 to today.

4 years passed and 40,000 lines of code are changed. But I cannot found SQ altering change. (There may be overlooked big change)

 

I think the biggest change of core program since 1.0.29 is new PCM 20bit quantization bit rate support (for exotic hardware) and new `topology' software mechanism. Others are rather new features and new hardware support such as:

 

  • New hardware support of Digidesign Digi 002/003, Tascam Firewire, Line6 USB processors, Motu Firewire, RME Fireface, USB Sound Blaster HD, Xonar U7, Phiree U2SX, Imagination cXT200 SoC, Raspberry Pi VC4 HDMI audio, Realtek ALC1220, Intel Skylake HDMI audio, and myriad of new devices
  • Intel HDMI/DisplayPort Audio configuration
  • Added SoC firmware control functions
  • New I/O API for audio timestamp hardware
  • New I/O API for hardware sound level meters
  • New I/O API for hardware DSP control and mixer volume control
  • New thread safe API with lock mechanism
  • Python programming interface update
  • ALSA sound config directory management code updates

 

 


Yamamoto2002

Developer of PlayPcmWin

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Interesting, thanks for checking!

As you found no reason why the SQ could have changed, I wonder whether anyone else experienced this change?


 

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There is very small performance improvement in new versions, changing some struct data pass-by-value to pass-by-reference.

Maybe it is too small to be observed by benchmarking. (If this part of code is called very frequently, new version code runs slightly faster, lower CPU load and less power consumption (CPU/compiler dependent, may be there is no difference at all for some system) ), but it is good thing for programmers' peace of mind. I'd rather choose newer version than 1.0.29.


Yamamoto2002

Developer of PlayPcmWin

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15 minutes ago, Miska said:

I don't remember clearly, but did that old version even have proper DSD support?

 

Apparently yes, as I am able to play DSD512 with it.

That is, DSD512 works with HQPlayer and networkaudiod.

Audirvana with (up)mpd(cli) only goes to DSD 256.


 

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Yeah, looking at commit dates vs the release date it seems to be first one. We did most of the DSD work during 2013 - 2014 and 1.0.29 seems to have come out Feb 2015.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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See GentooPlayer forum:

https://www.nexthardware.com/forum/pc-top-software/90075-gentooplayer-immagini-x86_64-raspberry-pi-3b-3b-allo-sparkyusbbridge-beaglebone-black-botic-driver-14.html#post989068

GentooPlayer includes commands that make it easy to switch between version 1.0.29 and the latest version of Alsa.

I must say that GentooPlayer, which includes networkaudiod, sounds incredibly good with Alsa 1.0.29. Best Linux sound for me so far.

Edited by bodiebill

 

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I have not noticed any difference between different versions myself... But it's just my system and my ears... I don't have GentooPlayer either, my NAAs use my image builds. Except test machines that run both HQPlayer Embedded and networkaudiod, these are Debian 9, Ubuntu Server 18.04 and Fedora 29 Minimal based. Debian and Ubuntu systems running my custom kernel builds, Fedora running stock Fedora kernel.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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15 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

Why don't you try GentooPlayer with your networkaudiod, and compare it to the NAA image build and let us know what you think?

 

Why would I? I have my own optimized OS build and I totally lack time to play with any more distros than I currently use.

 

Gentoo and Arch are nice for their own respective segments, but not exactly what I'm after.

 

Ubuntu LTS has release schedule that is suitable, and so does Debian. For the bleeding edge major distros, Fedora is good option. For Ubuntu and Debian I make custom kernel builds, for Fedora no, but you have very recent kernels from Fedora as alternative (my custom kernels are based on LTS kernel releases on purpose). My custom OS build is exactly what I want in a way I want, so I'm totally happy with it as it is and I have plenty of experience maintaining it (and it is not restricted to x86 architecture).

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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I sure understand, Miska, point taken.

If anyone else would compare the sound signature of GentooPlayer + networkaudiod versus Miska's custom OS build, I would be interested, just to get a second opinion. To my ears the difference is surprising.

For clear instructions how to setup GentooPlayer in 30 minutes, just PM me.


 

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