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Hqplayer: best NAA with best sound quality


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I have a Allo USBridge Signature with Gentooplayer installed, running on an HDPlex LPSU, I also have a 'spare' rpi4 at the moment, which I loaded the HQ Player NAA image. I have had a little play this afternoon, and will play more. Anyway, I wondered if I should objectively have a similar or different experience with these two streamers, any thoughts? From what I have heard so far, I can't hear much of a difference. Should I hear a difference?

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3 hours ago, rossco said:

I have a Allo USBridge Signature with Gentooplayer installed, running on an HDPlex LPSU, I also have a 'spare' rpi4 at the moment, which I loaded the HQ Player NAA image. I have had a little play this afternoon, and will play more. Anyway, I wondered if I should objectively have a similar or different experience with these two streamers, any thoughts? From what I have heard so far, I can't hear much of a difference. Should I hear a difference?

There is no "should". There is what you hear. Some people hear differences in their setup; some don't. It's not a given you will hear a difference between a standard Pi and the Allo. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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1 hour ago, rossco said:

Its an interesting area. Ideally there would be some objective measurements that could help us, then backed up by a reviewers opinion and finally listening yourself.

There are measurements showing a Pi is as good as anything else; but I don't want to get into that argument here (obectivist/subjectivist). This thread is not in the objectivist section, so I'm suggesting people listen for themselves and decide. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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  • 2 months later...
On 9/19/2020 at 9:03 AM, Miska said:

 

There's no SSH because it is not very useful and for security reasons because it would be bad idea with a default password.

 

I am using a RPI4 with an Argon case (that has a fan connected to daughter board/GPIO pins) running your NAA image. Is there anyway to be able to install fan software to turn on the fan? 

 

curl https://download.argon40.com/argon1.sh | bash

TIDAL - Qobuz - ROON - Euphony - HQPlayerD 4 - NUC DNKE - NAA - Pi4 4gb - Signature Silver DC - Keces P3 PS - Lush USB - Holo Spring Dac Level 3 - Bottlehead Crack Upgraded w/ GEC or Tung-Sol 6as7/vt231 - Triode Wire Labs AC - HD-650 - EQ’d in ROON - N400 - GR Research V2 - Dennis Murphy Pioneer BS22 - DIY Open Baffle.

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2 hours ago, jkelly said:

 

I am using a RPI4 with an Argon case (that has a fan connected to daughter board/GPIO pins) running your NAA image. Is there anyway to be able to install fan software to turn on the fan? 

 

curl https://download.argon40.com/argon1.sh | bash

Are you sure you really want a fan running? It would only add unnecessary noise. Pi4 is extremely easy to cool passively. I don't think that NAA software would put a big strain on the CPU.

i5 7600 fanless pc running Ubuntu Studio and HQPlayer Desktop > Cisco switch > 10Gtek fibre network > Allo USBridge Signature streamer RopieeeXL > IFi purifiers 3 > Chord Qutest > Khozmo passive preamplifier > Ncore monoblocks > Audio Note AZ-2 speakers.

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3 hours ago, jkelly said:

 

I am using a RPI4 with an Argon case (that has a fan connected to daughter board/GPIO pins) running your NAA image. Is there anyway to be able to install fan software to turn on the fan? 

 

curl https://download.argon40.com/argon1.sh | bash

Will the NAA image report interal temperatures if you give it the command? That case has some passive cooling, doesn't it? If it isn't too hot inside, don't worry about it. Running an NAA isn't something that should make your Pi run hot. 

 

38 minutes ago, blueninjasix said:

Are you sure you really want a fan running? It would only add unnecessary noise. Pi4 is extremely easy to cool passively. I don't think that NAA software would put a big strain on the CPU.

 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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The external case is reading 98F with my hand held thermometer, so I guess I am ok. TY!

TIDAL - Qobuz - ROON - Euphony - HQPlayerD 4 - NUC DNKE - NAA - Pi4 4gb - Signature Silver DC - Keces P3 PS - Lush USB - Holo Spring Dac Level 3 - Bottlehead Crack Upgraded w/ GEC or Tung-Sol 6as7/vt231 - Triode Wire Labs AC - HD-650 - EQ’d in ROON - N400 - GR Research V2 - Dennis Murphy Pioneer BS22 - DIY Open Baffle.

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Happy I found this thread. I have determined that I'm in the boat of "using a Pi4" with sustained high data streaming (PCM > 768, DSD512) and I'm getting dropouts every 10-15 minutes. Not terrible, but if it can be fixed, I'd love to. I narrowed it down to Ethernet issues by running a fairly long USB cable from my PC to DAC (they are in separate rooms) and experiencing no issues or drops over an hour of playing.

 

I'm just working out Miska's embedded image onto my Pi4. Am I correct that this alone will not fix the issue? That I also (likely) need to use an Ethernet adapter? Sorry for my confusion on this but any help would be appreciated in resolving! I am using RoPieeeXL prior to trying the embedded image.

 

And for what it's worth, once I can get the Pi4 to work with highly upsampled data, my plan then is to put my Pi2AES hat onto it within a new case, so I can have an HQP NAA that has AES, BNC, and 2 flavors of I2S out. And then, finally, upgrade to a DAC that supports i2s in (Pontus or Venus, I believe based on how I'm liking Ares II).

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> Pi4 HPQ NAA

Denafrips Venus II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dyn Confidence C2 Platinum speakers, dedicated and treated room

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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Ok so I managed to get hqplayer-embedded-4.20.0-raspberrypi4 loaded and HQPlayer finds it. But I get no output from USB to my DAC. Is that expected...? In HQPlayer settings I see an ALSA device and two HDMI devices. 

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> Pi4 HPQ NAA

Denafrips Venus II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dyn Confidence C2 Platinum speakers, dedicated and treated room

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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Thinking maybe I took a wrong turn with the embedded image, I tried the latest 4112 NAA Pi4 image as well. Same thing though - no USB output from Pi4, and I also noticed that no matter what settings I use in HQP Desktop, I get output to the NAA as 24/192 PCM. 

 

Back to RoPieeeXL I go, for now.

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> Pi4 HPQ NAA

Denafrips Venus II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dyn Confidence C2 Platinum speakers, dedicated and treated room

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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On 12/20/2020 at 11:42 AM, toddrhodes said:

Thinking maybe I took a wrong turn with the embedded image, I tried the latest 4112 NAA Pi4 image as well. Same thing though - no USB output from Pi4, and I also noticed that no matter what settings I use in HQP Desktop, I get output to the NAA as 24/192 PCM. 

 

Back to RoPieeeXL I go, for now.

 

Since no one has replied, I will give it go.

 

Perhaps you could post a sketch on your setup as it is not clear to me what you are doing. Also, include a photo (screen capture) of you HQP main panel as well as the Settings panel. Picture is worth a thousand words as they say.

 

You may already know this, but in general, you have a server that is running HQP Desktop or Embedded and then a smaller, low noise computer running the HQP NAA software. The server needs to have a decent amount of processing power to handle the conversions, upsampling, etc. whereas the smaller NAA computer is just feeding your DAC via USB (typically) so you want something that is quiet (electrically and mechanically) - no fans, spinning HDD, etc.

 

As for no sound, what is the position of the HQP volume control knob? If you are using something other (e.g. preamp) than HQP to control the volume, then typically the HQP volume knob can be max'd out (full clockwise). This assumes you haven't changed the Max Vol. setting in the Settings panel. Again, if you can provide a screenshot of HQP main and settings panel, we can see where you are.

 

As for 24/192 PCM output, it sounds like you have the Default Output Mode set to PCM or Source on the Settings panel as well as the Adaptive Output button checked (or greyed) and the Sample Rate set to 192.

Eric


Ubuntu Studio Linux box (i7-9700, 8 cores, 16GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, Roon, HQP) > fiber optic > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber optic > opticalRendu (HQP NAA) > Holo Cyan (DSD version) > Nord One UP NC500MB mono blocks > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP via Roon client, DSP with HQP convolution engine

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I appreciate the attempt to help! I have HQP running successfully before and after my failed attempt with the NAA image yesterday. I'm using a Ryzen 7 PC, 32G ram, Roon, and a Pi4 NAA running RoPieee configured to be an HQP NAA and with USB Audio enabled. I am connected to my DAC from the NAA via a USB cable. The NAA, with either image, is in the same spot and the same configuration.

 

When I loaded the Pi4 NAA image from Signalyst, I was able to find the device as an NAA in HQP settings but I was not able to designate a USB out to transmit data to my DAC. My PI4 has no "hat" or anything, it is just an NAA that outputs via USB to my DAC.


Unfortunately I'd have to redo all of what I tried yesterday to provide images to post here. And to your point about it possibly being a volume control situation (in HQP or externally), all I did was remove the Pi SD card, write images to it, and replace it. Nothing else was touched. All worked as expected prior to trying the NAA image and then after going back to RoPieee.

 

It is almost certainly user error. But at the same time - it's working fine now and I prefer not to disturb it again. I may play with it some more, but I've decided to cobble some parts together here for a dedicated audio PC in the room with me, to completely avoid any Ethernet gremlins like I was running into from a very different thread.

 

Sincerely though, thank you for responding!
Todd

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> Pi4 HPQ NAA

Denafrips Venus II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dyn Confidence C2 Platinum speakers, dedicated and treated room

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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On 12/21/2020 at 1:21 PM, ericuco said:

 

Since no one has replied, I will give it go.

 

Perhaps you could post a sketch on your setup as it is not clear to me what you are doing. Also, include a photo (screen capture) of you HQP main panel as well as the Settings panel. Picture is worth a thousand words as they say.

 

You may already know this, but in general, you have a server that is running HQP Desktop or Embedded and then a smaller, low noise computer running the HQP NAA software. The server needs to have a decent amount of processing power to handle the conversions, upsampling, etc. whereas the smaller NAA computer is just feeding your DAC via USB (typically) so you want something that is quiet (electrically and mechanically) - no fans, spinning HDD, etc.

 

As for no sound, what is the position of the HQP volume control knob? If you are using something other (e.g. preamp) than HQP to control the volume, then typically the HQP volume knob can be max'd out (full clockwise). This assumes you haven't changed the Max Vol. setting in the Settings panel. Again, if you can provide a screenshot of HQP main and settings panel, we can see where you are.

 

As for 24/192 PCM output, it sounds like you have the Default Output Mode set to PCM or Source on the Settings panel as well as the Adaptive Output button checked (or greyed) and the Sample Rate set to 192.

 

So I was able to grab some screens of the NAA operating under RoPieee and again under Miska's Pi4 NAA image. I think Miska's image just doesn't support USB out to the DAC? It's like it only allows access to the internal DAC of the Pi, so maybe if I had a Hat that had USB out, it could work? I'm really not sure. But in any case, a picture, 1,000 words, etc...:

 

RoPieee settings availability:

qOqTpZZ.png

 

Switching to Miska's NAA image:

Settings options, ALSA, HDMI, HDMI1:

0VH9RGO.png

 

vFFp4EX.png

 

And finally, setting the above to ALSA and playing a file with no other changes, and if I do this under a RoPieee image, it plays as DSD256, but to the ALSA device, it will only play as PCM:

5qkMnkt.png

 

So as it stands, I think I'm just trying to use this in an unsupported manner but that begs the question, if USB out to the DAC from an otherwise vanilla Pi4 isn't supported... what is? 

 

The system is laid out like so:
Ryzen PC handles RoonCore and database, and is what I interact with to play files

Intel PC handles HQ Player upsampling, and is now configured to interface with the Pi4 NAA

Pi4 NAA outputs to DAC via USB

 

 

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> Pi4 HPQ NAA

Denafrips Venus II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dyn Confidence C2 Platinum speakers, dedicated and treated room

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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14 minutes ago, Miska said:

 

Of course it does:

Screenshot_2020-12-24_15-30-17.thumb.png.05655a439c122178ac5a3d1e91d4358f.png

 

Screenshot_2020-12-24_15-34-13.thumb.png.5a3ab18b875776240fe6b9bb92d45837.png

 

This is using my latest RPi4 NAA image.

 

 

But what about USB audio out of a Pi4, which as my screenshots indicate, doesn't offer the option for USB Audio? I don't know what I may not have configured right as I thought this image was basically not configurable. But if I'm missing something, please enlighten me?

 

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> Pi4 HPQ NAA

Denafrips Venus II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dyn Confidence C2 Platinum speakers, dedicated and treated room

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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38 minutes ago, toddrhodes said:

But what about USB audio out of a Pi4, which as my screenshots indicate, doesn't offer the option for USB Audio? I don't know what I may not have configured right as I thought this image was basically not configurable. But if I'm missing something, please enlighten me?

 

The "Pre Box S2 Digital" is a USB-connected Pro-Ject DAC, and the next screenshot shows successfully playing native DSD256 to it. USB devices are shown by the name they report to the OS, just like at the local HQPlayer side too.

 

Make sure your DAC is powered up and correct input selected when you boot up the NAA.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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I'll say again - everything in the setup is *the exact same* except for the image on the SD card in the Pi4. All connections, power states, everything. I put in RoPieeeXL - it works. I put in the NAA image from your site, and I have no USB connectivity option, just the options pictured. DAC was powered up and plugged in via USB when I took the above screenshots. I've tried every USB port, just for good measure, with no change.

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> Pi4 HPQ NAA

Denafrips Venus II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dyn Confidence C2 Platinum speakers, dedicated and treated room

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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I tried it once more - this time I let the NAA boot up  until HQP found it. Then I powered down the Ares II and back up, making sure USB was selected. Still no USB. I did the same with my Benchmark DAC3L - plugged the NAA into USB, rebooted the Benchmark while the NAA was on (and tried it the reverse way - Benchmark on, NAA rebooted while plugged into USB). Still no USB output selection in HQP. I still have ALSA, HDMI, and HDMI1, but that's all. I even thought maybe I'm just not seeing the USB selection in the dropdown but it's not there, even if I try to use arrow keys to go past what I can see.

 

All testing has been done with image naa-4112-raspberrypi4.img and an 8G RAM Pi4.

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> Pi4 HPQ NAA

Denafrips Venus II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dyn Confidence C2 Platinum speakers, dedicated and treated room

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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Well, I think this is all moot now. The lightbulb finally went on in my head and I managed to turn my HQP Win10 machine into the HQP Embedded install and no longer need an NAA. I'm all set.

 

It is weird that in all my research I seem to be the lone wolf in terms of "I loaded into a new RPi4 and USB didn't show up automatically." Could they have switched to a different controller maybe? I don't know, and it's no big deal if it doesn't happen to anyone else and is just isolated to my Pi4.

 

Embedded is nice!!

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> Pi4 HPQ NAA

Denafrips Venus II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dyn Confidence C2 Platinum speakers, dedicated and treated room

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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So I worked with this a bit more this evening. Reloaded the NAA 4112 image on my Pi4 after having updated it to the latest 000138a1 FW, thinking that may have some impact. It did not, but I had some interesting findings:

 

When I power up with the 4112 and hook up HDMI to my monitor from the Pi output, I do see the startup screen and the loading of all components and daemons and such. But nothing I plug into USB is operational. My wired keyboard, for example, lights up NUM, CAPS, and Scroll LOCK LEDs but is not recognized. My wireless keyboard and mouse is the same. It's as if my Pi4 USB ports are somehow different, maybe? I tried both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports to be safe, but they all acted similarly. And, to no surprise, in this state even with updated firmware, my HQ Player instance finds the Pi4 on the network but it does not detect any USB connected DAC.

 

This is the info I can see on my Pi4, but nothing further:

image.thumb.png.3049ec80f15465b9c31902afd685ba12.png

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> Pi4 HPQ NAA

Denafrips Venus II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dyn Confidence C2 Platinum speakers, dedicated and treated room

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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Well I can finally put this thing to bed. As it turns out, it was my Pi4 all along. Today, out of nowhere, my Pi4 just stopped turning on. Fortunately the local Best Buy had a 4G Pi4 in stock so I went and grabbed one.

 

Took it out of the box and applied the heatsinks and slapped in the HQP Pi4 NAA image. First boot, USB was available as an output option in HQPlayer desktop from the Pi4, and it's working great.

 

So... defective Pi4, I guess? It worked with RoPieeeXL but I have no idea why that would be. But, I was battling some really nasty glitches and bugs that I was kinda tearing my hair out, so I'm guessing and really hoping they were all just down to a bad piece of hardware.

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> Pi4 HPQ NAA

Denafrips Venus II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dyn Confidence C2 Platinum speakers, dedicated and treated room

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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