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Article: Allo USBridge Sig Review

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I have been using Moode for many years now. As of late, after the issues with Qobuz streaming, I'm back using more and more the Squeezelite Renderer in Moode.

For the server part, I use Logitech Media Server (LMS) installed on another raspberry on my LAN.

As a control point, to select and play music,  I  heartily recommend this free, simple but effective skin for LMS called "LMS Material", which can be installed directly in the list of LMS plugins.

In this way you have a simple and very easy to use unique interface for all your local music and streaming sources such as Spotify, Tidal. Qobuz, Deezer, Bandcamp...

If you are using Squeezelite, this applies directly to the USBridge Signature as well.

I have "pinned" my preferred Apps in the home screen, so that I really have everything at my fingertips!

Please see below a few screenshots of the desktop interface (but it is responsive and scales down automatically on smartphone):
 

Homepage

01_LMS_Home.thumb.png.e1968154c9ca4dd5aba9075d403c8676.png 

Qobuz New Releases
02_Qobuz_New_Releases.thumb.png.86a01718fd37669120cc1c85f22ad171.png

 

Tidal Moods

03_Tidal_Moods.thumb.png.b2d92705df65d2b879740672fb470d96.png

 

Spotify Artists

04_Spotify_Artists.thumb.png.00ea062faf97cc977ae26f16e7277967.png

 

Dezeer Genres

05_Deezer_Genres.thumb.png.323f4a6f3beee1f380a9f05b23962db1.png

 

Bandcamp

06_Bandcamp.thumb.png.3f49d7344288eae91b798b99e1b50d4a.png

 

My Music Albums

07_MyAlbums.thumb.png.b1236003a86448fbb40f6e57bdbc8bae.png

 

Now Playing

08_Now_Playing.thumb.png.940ec0576b0ab29513f6eacf07c4135b.png

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9 minutes ago, franz159 said:

I have been using Moode for many years now. As of late, after the issues with Qobuz streaming, I'm back using more and more the Squeezelite Renderer in Moode.

For the server part, I use Logitech Media Server (LMS) installed on another raspberry on my LAN.

As a control point, to select and play music,  I  heartily recommend this free, simple but effective skin for LMS called "LMS Material", which can be installed directly in the list of LMS plugins.

Hi Franz

Would you say using a server like LMS is much better than having your music in just a NAS or USB stick in terms of usability and also in terms of SQ?

Denis

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1 hour ago, dtossan said:

Hi Franz

Would you say using a server like LMS is much better than having your music in just a NAS or USB stick in terms of usability and also in terms of SQ?

Denis

TBH, I'm one of those guys that thinks that you should store the music where it is more practical for you,  and this is not too relevant for the SQ  if the player can access it in the proper way.

In my case my "NAS" is a standalone raspberry with a 2Tb USB Drive attached. The USB drive contains my local music library and it is shared (r/w mode) using Samba so I can access it from anywhere in the LAN.

On the same raspberry  I run Logitech Media Server (LMS). 

My players/renderers are separate devices, in my case one (raspberry) is attached to the main rig and another one is used for headphone listening in my bedroom.

For me, the key point to better SQ is the separation between the server and the player(s).


As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been using Moode for years, and I'm still using it. In fact all my raspberries, including the "NAS" one I mentioned above, do have have Moode installed. You can think of Moode as a "Raspbian" extended with a number of pre-installed services optimised for Audio (Alsa, Samba, MPD, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Squeezelite...).

In the past couple of months, I came back to using more and more squeezelite: the sound signature is very good, and the usability is top. 

As I tried to explain in my previous post, I find it extremely satisfying to have one single interface for ALL my music, either local or (almost) any streaming service.

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Hi all, 

 

My new Usbridge Sig and Shanti installed. First impression a league better than my previous Usbridge feeded  by Sbooster and IfiPower.
 

But I use the 5v, 1a second power supply to feed my Project Pre Box  S2  digital too with the Shanti supply.  I my opinion UsbBridge Sig and Project makes 1 + 1 = 3

 

Ps. I use the Usbridge Os-DietPi as NAA for HQ- Player 4.1.2 in combination with the Uptone USB Regen and shunted (JS) smps. 

Next step might be to upgrade to USB to the Uptone USB Regen and Lp2 power supply.

 

Dear Allo you have doen a nice step in development.😄

 

Ps. 2 Allo support told me for the time being not to update the latest DietPi version!

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soundcheck-audio.blogspot.com

On 11/30/2019 at 6:39 PM, franz159 said:

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been using Moode for years, and I'm still using it. In fact all my raspberries, including the "NAS" one I mentioned above, do have have Moode installed. You can think of Moode as a "Raspbian" extended with a number of pre-installed services optimised for Audio (Alsa, Samba, MPD, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Squeezelite...).


In the past couple of months, I came back to using more and more squeezelite: the sound signature is very good, and the usability is top. 

As I tried to explain in my previous post, I find it extremely satisfying to have one single interface for ALL my music, either local or (almost) any streaming service.

Hi Franz,

I'm using LMS on a NAS that holds my music library as well and have piCorePlayer on the RPi. Using iPeng as control point I can confirm that the LMS ecosystem is very comfortable and can be very nicely be tailored to one's personal needs by simply activating those of the numerous plug ins available within LMS you're interested in.

I actually never tried Moode as squeezelite endpoint instead of pCP but after everyone is praising SQ with Moode, I wonder if it might beat pCP for SQ? Did someone recently do a comparison between the two?

By the way I use pCP with settings according to Klaus' (soundcheck-audio.blogspot.com) suggestions which means the RPi/piCorePlayer system is slimmed down to the very essential processes.

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Received my USB signature over the weekend - in my case there where no issues in getting it up and running and I must admit that I really like the Moode software!  I need some more time before I do sound comparisons, but it sounds great so far 🙂

 

The eMMC module is indeed external - I should have spotted this from the photos on Allo’s website. I think it’s potentially prone to damage so...

 

@Allo

 

Anything stopping me replacing the existing Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 for one which includes the 32GB eMMC?

 

Will the SDcard slot still work in parallel with the onboard eMMC afterwards?

582E6947-BCD6-4BFD-9DB5-523A9A3BBDEC.jpeg

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Further feedback - the USB signature is very good indeed, but it is lean in presentation compared to my DNHE NUC, Euphony and tX-USBultra digital frontend.  Both comparisions where made feeding my Naim DAC V1 -> Ncore monoblocks.  I don't really have anything to pull up on the USB Signature, it's a great product, and it is perhaps just that my sound perference is more to the warm side.

 

To give people a feel on presentation - Euphony to me sounds like as PS Audio Directstream, whereas the Allo USB SIgnature sounds like a Benchmark DAC.  i.e. both very very good, just different presentations.

 

Any ideas on adding some warmth?  What is the output impedance of the Allo USB sig?  Would it benefit from a higher quality preamp?  Or would a different DAC work (e.g. PS Audio).  Also I wonder if slight adustments to the frequency response might work as Moode has an integral parametric equalizer - any ideas on what slight adjustments might provide some warmth?

 

Euphony market their sounds as 'warmth and depth of the vinyl era' and I would probably agree when compared to Moode on the USB Signature - however I'm sure some tweaks can be made to level the field and adjust to peoples preference.

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1 hour ago, Gavin1977 said:

Further feedback - the USB signature is very good indeed, but it is lean in presentation compared to my DNHE NUC, Euphony and tX-USBultra digital frontend.  Both comparisions where made feeding my Naim DAC V1 -> Ncore monoblocks.  I don't really have anything to pull up on the USB Signature, it's a great product, and it is perhaps just that my sound perference is more to the warm side.

 

To give people a feel on presentation - Euphony to me sounds like as PS Audio Directstream, whereas the Allo USB SIgnature sounds like a Benchmark DAC.  i.e. both very very good, just different presentations.

 

Any ideas on adding some warmth?  What is the output impedance of the Allo USB sig?  Would it benefit from a higher quality preamp?  Or would a different DAC work (e.g. PS Audio).  Also I wonder if slight adustments to the frequency response might work as Moode has an integral parametric equalizer - any ideas on what slight adjustments might provide some warmth?

 

Euphony market their sounds as 'warmth and depth of the vinyl era' and I would probably agree when compared to Moode on the USB Signature - however I'm sure some tweaks can be made to level the field and adjust to peoples preference.

 

I think your assessment is probably about right, at least from a raw playback POV.  I don't know that different associated equipment is going to change that too much.  Have you tried squeezelite on the USB Sig?  It tends to have a bigger, warmer sound.  Also, have you tried Audirvana with it?  It imparts a fuller, more relaxed feel to the USB Sig than using Moode as a standalone player.  You need to activate the UPnP renderer to do that.  I don't know how Euphony gets the sound they get, but it's not typical of the "straight" MPD sound, they definitely warm it up somehow.

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10 hours ago, zackthedog said:

 

I think your assessment is probably about right, at least from a raw playback POV.  I don't know that different associated equipment is going to change that too much.  Have you tried squeezelite on the USB Sig?  It tends to have a bigger, warmer sound.  Also, have you tried Audirvana with it?  It imparts a fuller, more relaxed feel to the USB Sig than using Moode as a standalone player.  You need to activate the UPnP renderer to do that.  I don't know how Euphony gets the sound they get, but it's not typical of the "straight" MPD sound, they definitely warm it up somehow.

Thanks - useful feedback - Audirvana also allows the use of audio units - I'll give it a try.

 

ickStream plugin is no longer available in LMS, and the bulk of my listening is through Tidal so Squeezelite is a no go for me.

 

I agree with you that Euphony definately warm it up somehow, and it's not the straight MPD sound.  Moode sounds very similar to Audiolinux IMO, which should come as no supprise given their foundation.  I'd love to know what Euphony have done in their playback engine to get their warm / spacious sound.

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Dear Gavin

 

  USbridge Sig is just hardware outputting digital signal . We concentrated on reducing any noise on the hardware bus.

 

As such USbridge does not have a sound signature . I think that you are referring more to the combination of software that might change how you perceive sound .

 

 Yes you can play with any EQ and try finding a sound thats more to your liking , its all in software .

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1 minute ago, allo.com said:

Dear Gavin

 

  USbridge Sig is just hardware outputting digital signal . We concentrated on reducing any noise on the hardware bus.

 

As such USbridge does not have a sound signature . I think that you are referring more to the combination of software that might change how you perceive sound .

 

 Yes you can play with any EQ and try finding a sound thats more to your liking , its all in software .

Since I used the same DAC for my comparision it must be software related - so I completely agree with you.  Euphony Audio only works on x86, so I will try different software as discussed - otherwise a hardware change (e.g. different DAC or tube buffer) could be used to the same effect.

 

Any thoughts on my other questions:

 

Anything stopping me replacing the existing Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 for one which includes the 32GB eMMC?

 

Will the SDcard slot still work in parallel with the onboard eMMC afterwards?

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I do not see it listed, but does the USBridge Sig come included with a Pi


Forrest:

Win10 i7 3770k HQPlayer>Win10 NAA

DSD512>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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25 minutes ago, 4est said:

I do not see it listed, but does the USBridge Sig come included with a Pi

 

The USBridge Sig is not a hat, it's a complete board with the RPi compute module installed in a memory slot.  It's also much larger than a traditional RPi.

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Hi Gavin

 

  there are diffrences betwen the CM 3 and CM3+. IN CM 3 you can use both eMMC and SD but in CM3+ you can only use one

 

If you use a CM with eMMC how will you flash the eMMC ? Its not simple..

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Thanks Gavin for the tips, I'm gonna follow these instructions here

 

https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/96032/how-do-i-flash-install-raspbian-on-raspberry-pi-compute-module-3-3

 

That carrier board is so cheap and I'll pay about 25 bucks to get it on December 12th

 

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=608019251388

 

Also available here

 

https://www.waveshare.com/compute-module-poe-board.htm

http://www.waveshare.net/wiki/Compute_Module_PoE_Board

 

32GB for 40 dollars with free shipping, what a bargain

 

https://hk.element14.com/raspberry-pi/cm3-32gb/raspberry-pi-compute-module-3/dp/2989464

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2 hours ago, seeteeyou said:

Thanks Gavin for the tips, I'm gonna follow these instructions here

 

https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/96032/how-do-i-flash-install-raspbian-on-raspberry-pi-compute-module-3-3

 

That carrier board is so cheap and I'll pay about 25 bucks to get it on December 12th

 

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=608019251388

 

Also available here

 

https://www.waveshare.com/compute-module-poe-board.htm

http://www.waveshare.net/wiki/Compute_Module_PoE_Board

 

32GB for 40 dollars with free shipping, what a bargain

 

https://hk.element14.com/raspberry-pi/cm3-32gb/raspberry-pi-compute-module-3/dp/2989464

 

You're tempting me to try it. 😉

 

I am *really* liking the Digione Sig.  Best coax I've heard, but I haven't heard that many--no glassiness or crispy sound, very warm and extremely well-defined, with exceptional separation of instruments and voices.  USB is good, but a tiny bit more veiled by comparison.

 

I also like Moode.  Again, better instrumental separation and ambient detail.  Hearing things on favorite recordings I've never heard before.  I am using the Shanti to power both.  My system is relatively modest but revealing.  Guess I'll play with other PS configurations, but this is the best my system has ever sounded.

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19 hours ago, Gavin1977 said:

ickStream plugin is no longer available in LMS, and the bulk of my listening is through Tidal so Squeezelite is a no go for me.

This made me curious since I go way back with LMS, even though I don't really use it much now.

 

Anyway, it looks like ickStream was discontinued (as you said), but the LMS TIdal app works ok.  You have to set it up at mysqueezebox.com and input your Tidal credentials (account settings tab).  Then you have to enable it and set it to display on your player's home menu (player settings tab).  I'm listening to it now that way (with squeezelite running on the USBridge Signature) and it sounds good.

 

1409182160_ScreenShot2019-12-04at11_24_47PM.jpg.369d6a56eb57fc0d34cbfcec1f4e68ab.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

For your player:

1538263787_ScreenShot2019-12-04at11_24_21PM.jpg.e3681d390bba55a788af984ef37bb37c.jpg

 

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9 hours ago, seeteeyou said:

Thanks Gavin for the tips, I'm gonna follow these instructions here

 

https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/96032/how-do-i-flash-install-raspbian-on-raspberry-pi-compute-module-3-3

 

That carrier board is so cheap and I'll pay about 25 bucks to get it on December 12th

 

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=608019251388

 

Also available here

 

https://www.waveshare.com/compute-module-poe-board.htm

http://www.waveshare.net/wiki/Compute_Module_PoE_Board

 

32GB for 40 dollars with free shipping, what a bargain

 

https://hk.element14.com/raspberry-pi/cm3-32gb/raspberry-pi-compute-module-3/dp/2989464

Exactly my plan - although I did wonder if the USBsig could be used by itself as the I/O board .  I/O board is only £20 in the U.K. though so it might be easier / convenient 

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