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Article: Allo USBridge Sig Review

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Fab that so much has been written about it, and explored with many angles. The USBridge Sig is no longer a dirty little secret here. If I had to reboot my USB setup, USBridge Sig+Shanti+ Lush^2 would be my 1st choice.

 

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Good writeup.

I had to go though much of the same to get my sig working, so I can sympathize.  But its a keeper too, was worth the effort.

 

BTW, as an FYI, with mconnect you can add SMB directories to the Favorites tab on bottom.  So if I want to listen to my locally stored SMB files, I push Favorites and then navigate to the file I want to hear.

So you can do everything within Mconnect, no need to use another program.

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I am still wondering down all of the paths that this review has taken me.  I am trying to summarize them in a post that does not strictly follow as part of this review.  You can find that here:

 

 

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Now add the DigiOne Signature and see what it can really do! :):)

 

BTW, have you connected (or not) the grounding studs of the USBridgeSig & the Shanti? 

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The cost of software!

 

I would like everyone who starts down these paths to look that the software they are using and contribute to that cause. I have settled on MoOde Audio software to run on my Allo.  I have been contributing on the forum over there and I have made a monetary contribution also.

 

Bob 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, suzywong said:

Now add the DigiOne Signature and see what it can really do! :):)

I have that board set in my system and will be testing it.  I have nothing to directly compare to so I do not know how good the coax input on the Kii Control is.  ( also want to get a better made cable for it.)  Soon.  

 

Initial testing is positive.  Hard to A/B till I get a my second USBridge Sig in the system.

 

 

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Better than your custom built Xeon?? The value is off the charts! I just bought a Ryzen 3950X. For me, HQPlayer is a must. If that wasn't the case, I might have considered returning it in favor of UsbBridge-Sig. Great review! 

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You should try out this image:

 

https://dietpi.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2317

 

Easy to set up and many options.  I use naa and squeezelite to stream Qobuz without issue.

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Glad this was reviewed and posted–now we know where great sound can be had on the cheap with the right hardware and software wherewithal.

 

Personally, "daunting" isn't the word, "inconvenient" is what comes to mind. Seems like there should be timely, up-to-date, written for newbs, screenshot and picture-driven tutorials/videos here at CA for these kinds of software set ups.

 

@The Computer Audiophile wasn't there some talk about alternative/new content besides traditional articles a while back?

 

 


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11 minutes ago, feelingears said:

wasn't there some talk about alternative/new content besides traditional articles a while back?

This is always on our radar. Do you have something specific in mind?

 

I’m working on a new Geek Speak article with screenshots etc... for a new piece of hardware. It may be a while because the hardware is hard to get right now. The manufacturer contacted me, so I’m trying to get one soon. 


Founder of Audiophile Style

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21 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

This is always on our radar. Do you have something specific in mind?

 

 

Well, you know how these various Linux or other audio software setups are rife with options for every option under the sun. It would be nice to have a brain-dead set of instructions on how to get most, if not all, of the way "there" to where you have music coming out of your "computer" gear. I'd imagine there are consistencies in setup to get to certain hardware or sound quality decision points for most potential users. At least for a couple of the main options like Pi and Linux and these Allo boxes.

 

I imagine there are technically capable people like myself (gimme the benefit of the doubt, ha ha–I work in software) who don't have gobs of uninterrupted tweaking time but who are interested in the next step if it appears worth the effort. But then again, maybe the answers for people like me are products from Pro-Ject and Auralic. Anyway, just $0.02.

 

 

 


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Usbridge Sig has been my first effort at dipping my toe into streaming music. Previously I built a fanless pc using Fidelizer pro and attached it to my Chord Qutest dac.

It took me a whole day to get up and running with the supplied Volumio SD card. The instructions were mainly available online, in more than one place and were not user friendly or up to date. This disappointed me slightly as Allo described the package as "plug n play".

I ordered Volumio from Allo but only the cheap SMPS. Whilst awaiting delivery I found the moOde forum and liked the fact that Tim the developer had baked in support for the Sig and a Comcast WiFi dongle so I decided to go down that route initially.

When my package arrived, I struggled to get the SSD in my pc seen by the Sig. I was stumbling in the dark but one of the things I tried was to make the drive "shareable" from within Windows 10. I'd had to research how to find the IP address of the Sig and of the PC on my network.

Within moOde I had to change a usb setting from UAC1.0 to UAC2.0 (this was in the System settings tab) and I had to specify that I was using a usb dac  (on the Audio tab but on a submenu of MPD options) and that it needed the software volume control. I also realised at some point that I needed to enter my Windows logon details into moOde.

At this stage after much trial and error, I managed to hear music from internet radio via moOde and music on a usb stick plugged into the Sig. I still couldn't mount the drive in my pc or "NAS drive" as it is described within moOde. 

I gave up and tried Volumio instead. This was much easier. The menus more intuitive. Qutest was listed within Volumio as a supported dac. WiFi worked but no volume control so I had to attach a preamp. This was version 2.632. I updated to version 2.657 but used a new SD card as I didn't want to mess with the original version supplied by Allo. I got vinyl like pops and clicks.

Day 2 I decided to try moOde again and finally managed to get the path right so I could mount the SSD in my pc. This was the latest release version 6.3 and I was still plagued with random pops and clicks. However I could already tell that the sound was better than the directly connected pc and dac.

From the forums I learned that my dac does not do "Linux native DSD" it converts DSD to PCM via DOP??? I don't even have any DSD files but apparently this is causing the clicks and pops. The solution is to use older versions of moOde that use the older 4.14 version of the kernel rather than the 4.19 version. I'm not totally happy about this downgrade as I suspect the older version is not as great as the latest, it does not include the optimisations and drivers that had been included for the Sig.

MoOde did not look nice with my file system which is mainly classical music. Tim suggested that the music player was not really designed to handle the extra tags like composer, orchestra and conductor. This tagging problem was exacerbated by some of my files being WAV rather than FLAC. I worked around this initially by using my familiar Foobar player and switching on UPnP within MoOde. Subsequently I have converted the WAV files to FLAC and retagged everything to make it look right in MoOde. I was so happy with the clear detailed sound that I ordered the Shanti and was impressed by deeper and cleaner bass. I've connected the earth wire between Sig and Shanti and that seems to make the sound cleaner too.

I'm hoping that a newer version of moOde will eventually be released that uses a kernel that will work with my dac - but apparently this kernel can only come from the Raspberry pi foundation!

In conclusion, it's been a steep learning curve and definitely not plug and play but having dipped my toe into the streaming river, I've realised that while there's no going back, I've still not reached the other side!

 

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Hello

 

  we are working on a software that will be ALLO official version for USbridge based on Moode. We have some big surprises coming...

 

We are also working on better documentation , meanwhile.

 

   Please note that we have dedicated tech suport and we are making every effort to take care of every customer , however due to the fact that there are many open source players (Moode , Volumio , Ropiee , PcP , Max2play etc) its rather both an advantage and disadvantage .  Advantage is that each of those players will give you the power of open source , updated very often .

 

  Of course disadvantage is that its rather harder to use and take some getting used to . Overall we think its a positive. As long as you know how to play with a router setting (for example) you will be able to use Usbridge Sig with most OS (most players have GUIs)

 

 I see that above someone suggested it will be easier to use Pro-Ject (*easier to use) Note that that particular hardware uses Volumio player ... you can get the same player on Usbridge Sig

 

 

   At last , next time you buy a DAC , please ask the manufacturer if its compatible with Linux on DSD (only DSD has issues on Linux) . Linux audio is here to stay and  will probably grow in the upcoming years.

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2 hours ago, allo.com said:

Linux audio is here to stay and  will probably grow in the upcoming years.

This reminds me of a panel I was on at RMAF around 2009. I told the audience that Linux was the future of audio. The “expert” manufacturers on the panel looked at me like I had no idea what I was talking about :~)
 

Based on the number of Linux HiFi devices vs other operating systems available now, I’d also say Linux is here to stay. 


Founder of Audiophile Style

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3 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

This reminds me of a panel I was on at RMAF around 2009. I told the audience that Linux was the future of audio. The “expert” manufacturers on the panel looked at me like I had no idea what I was talking about :~)
 

Based on the number of Linux HiFi devices vs other operating systems available now, I’d also say Linux is here to stay. 

It is really amazing the number of devices that we now have running some variant of Linux.  Some 10 years on folks have learned!  Including myself.  In my system the fact that Linux MPD does so well was a very happy occurrence.  

 

I think it is also wonderful that small companies such as Allo, Sonore, Qobuz, MoodeAudio, AudioLinux, Euphony, and so many more are bringing us so much enjoyment.  

 

What is also interesting to me is the differences I can hear in all of these implementations.  

 

 

Edited by bobfa

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2 hours ago, Richard Dale said:

I use Rigelian on an iPad in conjunction with moOde running on Rasperry Pis in my systems and it is a really nice combination. I haven’t found anything as good as BubbleUPnP on Android to use with a DLNA backend on my iPad. The advantage of Rigelian is that it uses the native MPD protocol and has canned configurations for moOde, Volumio and Rune to handle the cover art (you need a file called ‘folder.jpg’ in each album folder with cover art picture). You need to be able to mount the files on your NAS with SMB or NFS.

 

Richard I just loaded up Rigelian it is VERY nice.  

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Yes, these stories are the kinds of things that I suspect could be “standardized” with options and recommended configured at each step. 
 

I don’t expect the infinite combinations to be represented, just perhaps the most likely supported ones (software, it requires support). 
 

And there are the platforms: Mac, PC, Linux, combos, Roon, etc. 

 

Anyway, thanks for considering. 


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Newbie question: I want to stream hi res audio from Tidal and/or Quobuz to my Mytek Liberty DAC. The Allo gear - either the US Bridge Signature or the DigiOne Signature - looks really, really promising. But also a little daunting for someone who doesn’t tinker. What would be the most straightforward implementation of OS and Software/Applications to stream? Does an OS like Volumio or MoOde allow you to stream directly from Tidal/Quobuz or do you need another application - squeezelite? Mconnect? Roon? So confused. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

 

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Newbie question: I want to stream hi res audio from Tidal and/or Quobuz to my Mytek Liberty DAC. The Allo gear - either the US Bridge Signature or the DigiOne Signature - looks really, really promising. But also a little daunting for someone who doesn’t tinker. What would be the most straightforward implementation of OS and Software/Applications to stream? Does an OS like Volumio or MoOde allow you to stream directly from Tidal/Quobuz or do you need another application - squeezelite? Mconnect? Roon? So confused. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

 

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2 hours ago, Justin62 said:

Newbie question: I want to stream hi res audio from Tidal and/or Quobuz to my Mytek Liberty DAC. The Allo gear - either the US Bridge Signature or the DigiOne Signature - looks really, really promising. But also a little daunting for someone who doesn’t tinker. What would be the most straightforward implementation of OS and Software/Applications to stream? Does an OS like Volumio or MoOde allow you to stream directly from Tidal/Quobuz or do you need another application - squeezelite? Mconnect? Roon? So confused. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

 

Justin,

 

With Volumio you can use their software to stream directly from Tidal or Qobuz.  MoOde does not have the ability to play Tidal and Qobuz without "Help"...  Both of these run on the Allo USBridge Sig device.  

 

I have a blog here that describes a lot of the things involved in Audio:

I have not added to the blog in a while.  So here are a couple of notes to help and a promise to add more to the blog!

 

Squeezelite is a software package that implements the squeezbox protocol.  Control software such as Logitech Media Server and Roon can control this software.

 

Mconnect is an application that can control devices on your network that are UPnP compatible (Universal Plug and Play)

 

Roon is a comprehensive music management and playback system that is sold as a subscription service.  

 

-----------

 

You can start a thread to ask for help!

 

RJF

 

 

 

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