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k6davis

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    Audio Enthusiast

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  1. k6davis

    HQ Player

    I check the Signalyst home page as often as I check this forum. @Miska posts HQP updates without any fanfare or warning 😀, so I often look there to see if there's anything new. An update to HQP Pro was released today with the following notes: HQPlayer 4 Pro 4.16.0 released! Add new ASDM5ECv2 and ASDM7ECv2 modulator variants. Add support for RIAA EQ plugin. Support for TYER/TORY ID3v2.3 tags. Bug fixes. That implies that similarly updated Desktop & Embedded versions are forthcoming.
  2. k6davis

    HQ Player

    I'm looking forward to new versions of Desktop & Embedded with the new ASDM5ECv2 and ASDM7ECv2 variants. Will the new versions be more demanding on the CPU than the current EC modulators, or will the load on server be about the same?
  3. It entirely depends on what you want to do with HQP. It has a wide array of capabilities, but it is only at the extremes that exceptional hardware is required. And most importantly, it has been my experience that sound quality doesn't always improve by using more computationally demanding settings in HQP. My older-is i7-9700K is capable of everything I currently want from HQP. If I spent more on hardware, that money would go to waste as I'd be using the same settings I'm using now and I'm thrilled with the results I'm already getting. When CPUs have a breakthrough that enables possibilities in HQP that are not currently available, I'll take out my wallet. I'd suggest getting the trial version of HQP, which has to be restarted every 30 mins, but has no expiration date, and trying it out on any moderately powerful, non-optimized computer you have. As a baseline, I'd recommend experimenting with all three "EC" modulator settings, the poly-sinc-ext2 filter and DSD 128 to DSD 256 upsampling. It won't cost you a penny and will give you an idea of the sound of HQP's DSD upsampling, which is fantastic. Ultimately, I am a strong advocate of a 3 CPU setup, one for Roon, one for HQP and one for NAA. Isolating each function to its own server made a serious improvement in sound quality. However, I'm not sold on the need for any of the servers to be expensive.
  4. k6davis

    HQ Player

    That has been my experience. 3 computers, each one doing only 1 thing: Roon + HQP OS + NAA. The only machine that needs any significant power is the HQP OS machine - and only then if you want to do more demanding DSD EC upsampling. So the other two servers are small, low powered and inexpensive. The whole thing is dead easy to set up and to use, it's rock steady, and the OS is already minimized and optimized by Jussi. From a user perspective, it's like there is no OS. You boot from the USB stick and it's ready. Give Roon the HQP OS IP, choose your DAC and upsampling options in the HQP OS Web interface and out comes the music. Of course, the sound is incredible. You get an optimized Linux install of HQP without having to type a single command.
  5. The first thing to understand is that, presently, there is no CPU/GPU combo available that can upsample any DSD EC modulator to DSD 512 in real time. There is a fairly large number of CPUs that can upsample DSD EC modulators to DSD 256. Therefore, when it comes to DSD EC upsampling, we are at a plateau. It's up to each person whether you'd prefer to maximize your hardware (expenditure) on what is available now or wait to see if forthcoming CPU's will perform at settings that currently available CPUs cannot. I have been running a i7-9700K for a few years now. With it (alone) I can play any file at EC DSD 256 with all of the medium and lighter load filters. I'm testing the poly-sinc-xtr-lp ASDM7EC combo you mentioned at DSD 256 x 48 right now with a 24bit 192kHz file and it's working fine. Maximizing your CPU/GPU based on what is currently available will give your server some breathing room and offer you a greater selection of filter options, but it will fall short of your stated goals.
  6. Your affirmative answer means that it's best to run Euphony OS direct to the DAC? Or that the benefits of Euphony OS are still apparent when using an NAA?
  7. Are the benefits of Euphony OS & Stylus apparent when you're using an NAA? Or do you need to have the DAC directly connected to the Euphony OS server to hear the improvement it makes? I ask because my understanding is that one of the primary benefits of using an HQP NAA is that it isolates the DAC from the HQP server.
  8. This is speculative, but Apple is rumored to deliver the next generation of their M1 chip this quarter. There's no way to know what its HQP performance will be, but since I'm happy with my i7 9700K for now, I'm waiting to find out before I make any HQP server upgrade decisions.
  9. k6davis

    HQ Player

    Yes, it is possible to upsample to DSD256 (or any other rate) with the lighter settings that @Miska suggested you try, as long as your server is capable of it. There is now a fairly large number of settings available in HQP. For most of them, the default choice will be fine or they will be "set and forget", or not applicable to a fairly basic setup. However the selection of filter, modulator, output sample rate and output format (PCM or DSD) are the 4 most vital and variable settings. They remain accessible from the main interface without even needing to examine the other settings. With those 4 settings, you can dial in the sound of HQP to match your system and your tastes as well as the demand it puts on your server. The more demanding settings require you to maximize your server hardware, but excellent sound is still available with lower powered machines. Thermal considerations are a limitation when upsampling with a NUC, but you could download the HQP Trial and try the light settings that @Miska suggested, first outputting to DSD128 and then DSD256 to see how well your server can handle them.
  10. My HQP server has Windows Server 2019 and HQP Desktop on its internal drive, but I always boot it from a USB drive running HQP OS. It will be simple enough for me to shut Roon down and play music by dragging and dropping it into HQP Desktop to see if I can hear any improvement that way. Of course, it's not a perfect comparison, given that there will be an entirely different OS, but it's always fun to experiment.
  11. I'm running Roon Server, HQPlayer Embedded on HQP OS and an NAA all on separate machines. Would you (guys) expect that I'd get better results by removing Roon? Specifically, I mean running HQP Desktop to my NAA? Or should isolating Roon to its own server minimize or eliminate any negative SQ impact from Roon?
  12. Roon lost me at version 1.8 when they deliberately changed from being (primarily) a desktop app (widescreen) for curating and exploring your own library to being (primarily) a mobile-first (portrait) app to use with streaming services. This was the ultimate example of how they just do whatever they feel like doing with little to no regard for how their customer base feels about it. If it had been up to me, I would have preferred that 1.8 be a mobile and tablet version and that they had mostly retained the 1.7 layout for widescreen devices. At a minimum, it should have been named 2.0 as the changes were anything but minor. I had to restore 1.7 from a cloned hard drive backup just to go back to the experience that I paid for. I realize that many people love the new Roon and that's great for them. But Roon's fanatical "we know best" attitude extends to areas such as the ridiculous search that gives you what it thinks you mean instead of what you asked for and goofy home screen options that you are forced to scroll past to get to anything of value. It goes on and on and these things have already been discussed ad infinitum. I am a long time user and I remember the days when the only options to play music were to play a track or play an album - and stop & replace what was currently playing. The pull-down menu next to Play Now didn't used to exist. You literally could not Add to Queue, or Play Next (choose a track to play next without interrupting the current track), etc. As bad as that was, what was even crazier was that getting those features added was a battle. The Roon team was resistant to the users input and acting as though we were being too demanding to request functionality as basic as that! There's just a pervasive, almost needy, attitude at Roon that their product is awesome no matter what they do (or don't do) and that if you're not happy then you're the problem. So I've completely checked out of the "community" (which is of course what they wanted) and will use 1.7 for as long as it works. It as shame because there is so much that it does well, but I too have had enough of trying to deal with them. Any viable competitor to Roon will certainly have my attention.
  13. k6davis

    HQ Player

    If you want to upsample your DSD64 to DSD128, you'll need to disable Direct SDM.
  14. k6davis

    HQ Player

    Welcome! There is a lot of depth to HQP, but even using it in a basic way will give you fantastic results. I can give you some basic recommendations. Your i7 4790k is older, but it is likely that it can handle most settings at DSD128. The modulators with "EC" in their names are the highest quality - and the most demanding on your CPU. ASDM7EC is the runaway favorite, but my preference is for DSD5EC. It all depends on your equipment, tastes, room, etc. When it comes to filters, poly-sinc-ext2 arguably offers the best "bang for the buck". It's not very demanding on your server yet it offers excellent sound across a variety of types of music. A few years ago, it was Jussi's (HQP's developer) favorite filter. Since then, he's added many new filter options and lots of us here prefer some of those. Other filters stand out from poly-sinc-ext2 in various ways, but I find poly-sinc-ext2 to be at minimum an excellent baseline, and it remains a favorite of mine for its overall sound. Those filter & modulator settings will offer you superb sound as you learn more and experiment to see what works for you. I'll leave your question about the crackling to others who could offer better technical advice, but that's definitely not normal.
  15. k6davis

    HQ Player

    I have had the same issue with the latest release, though I'm using HQP Embedded. It happens to me with local files, so I don't think it's a streaming issue. For me, it happens extremely rarely, and only at the start of a track. It's so rare that it kind of feels like it stopped happening, but I haven't changed anything, so whatever was causing the issue is still there.
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