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  1. A Warm Welcome to Audiophile Style @PurpleWarrior !!! Love your music selection and your fresh style of writing. En plus, nice to see Pascal modules here, after all that IcePower and Purifi 😉 Class Denmark rulez! Best, Tom
  2. You have both options with PiCorePlayer: 1) Standalone LMS server and standalone Queezelite-Player with DAC output on 2 or more devices (1 Server- x player) 2) Single RPi with both server/player and DAC ouput You connect your server to the location via cifs and Samba or use an USB mount for local files on a USB disk. You connect your server as well to the player in your network , Wifi or Ethernet. Best, Tom
  3. RIP David Berman
  4. Thank you Josh, another chapter to a masterful book I will definately buy in the future, even if it's just to inherit it together with my music archive to my sons (and, eventually, then existing grandkids). "A must have/read guide to the important music recordings of the 20th and 21st. century" I will note for them! "You'll find the best version in the archive. Trust him!!!" All the best from France, Tom
  5. Salut bk 95, Any DAC (your personal flavor) with USB input and an USB transport like ALLO USB bridge with dedicated usb port to DAC (which is said to be discontinued or replaced very soon by a newer generation), streaming via ethernet or wifi to the USB transport (or using it for locally stored audio files). This is said to be a step up to the basic RPI solution up to RPi3b. With the new USB design of the RPi4 you may be better served for the beginning as well. Neither have personal experience nor aquired wisdom with that as it is fairly new. Pi3b with iFi 5v about 130 Euro Allo USBBridge with 2x iFi 5v 255 Euro Pi4 4GB with iFi 5v about 150 Euro DAC HATs for RPi or Allo are available in different flavors as well. Upgrades and spendings are always possible at a later date -> Aurender best, Tom
  6. Sirs and Gentlemen, Having had a private conversation with Ahmed since several days, I like to hand in my short analysis of his situation: 1) He is situated on the Maldives, where going to the dealer, choosing the best after rehearsal and bring them home for a weekend does not work 2) Their is a mint of upgraditis around him, he started with a DAC for less then 150 $ question and has come up tenfold today after 10 days of discussion. In the forum. We tend to give advise to the better options, but - imho- we should more look more often to the basics of setting up the system before driving newbies into buying the BETTER option. And yes it hasn't be that obvious, and this is not an accusation, but a general observation in audiophile fora. That sounds quite old fashioned, I need to admit 🤔 3) I have advised him to care about some factors, that will enhance his SQ /experience with the system he has (AE5+Yamaha Sub): - Room (walls , floor) - Speaker placement, Sub placement, listening position - deconnect his music source from PC, using an affordable streaming solution (RPi or Allo Usb) as music is on USB hard drive - affordable DAC like the D50 Imho, if he will have accomplished that, he will have the basics to emphasize on the difference between his existing chain and a future more expensive system. I told him as well to figure out what he does not like now, and what difference he wants to archive within his budget. I think that is the most difficult task. (for most of us) my5c Cheers, Tom
  7. You are welcome, Manu. Over the weekend I found an interesting read about streamers chez Archimago. https://archimago.blogspot.com/2017/02/measurements-look-listen-to-roon-bridge.html?m=1 You may enjoy reading it as well.. It looks like Allo has some interesting summer sales. Keep us posted about your first hand experience when your unit has arrived. Best, Tom
  8. Manu, welcome to AS! The lowest cost solution -afaik- would be the RPi with the latest Volumio: it is set up in less than 5 minues, but will ask you to shed money on extras like Qobuz or Tidal plug ins. As an alternative, PiCorePlayer with LMS (Logitech Media Server) and Squeezelite, using the Material Skin, controlled by IPeng for IOS or SqueezePlayer/Orange for Android would do just greatly. I need to admit, the Volumio design is more colorful and the setup really easy, but the piCorePlayer allows you to tinker a bit more on the subjects of server, player and interface, The help pages in the slimdevice forum are as well a great deal. As you will be very dependend on the USB transfer, I'd second the RPi 4 with a new USB design (2x USB 2 -2xUSB3), and eventually testing with an USB Wifi transmitter, if needed, instead of internal WiFi. The Pi 4 should be available as of today, depending where you are situated. As for my experience lately, the use of an iFi power supply for the Pi (in comparison to Pi standard power supply) helps to minimise RFI/EMI noise arriving in your system. This would be the low cost entrance to local streaming, about 150 Euros (PI 4, 4Gb, SD-Card, Case, Ifi-PS), after that you are free to pay any pre-defined sum to upgrade and get more happiness (or not) 😉 Personalyl, I do use 2 older RPi models for my summer system (low eco footprint, substitutes music server plus NAS for the momentary heatwave in Europe), one close to my router as LMS server (RPi2 with an USB HD) and one on my desktop (RPi 3b with USB wifi, connected to an USB DAC) feeding headphones or the desktop speakers, controlled by old Android devices. Nothing wrong with that 😉 IMHO, the use of an RPi as a streamer is entry level to audiophile experience, and this first step has already a lot to offer ... I you case the first purpose of a RPi would be to get your AMP/DAC into the network and have an graphical control interface for the choosen music player on any of your networked devices. By the way, there had been a JRIVER SD card for Pi available last year, I am just not sure if the controls via Android are recommendable. I have just checked in my network, both, Foobar2k and JRiver may use the PiCoreplayer as output device via UPnP , just in case you dont want to run the LMS server. Cheers Tom
  9. Cheers Captain, Under certain conditions I can recommend the Khadas Tone Board DAC. 1) you don't bother playing DSD (though it plays DSD256 under Win, the volume control does not work) 2) you don't bother with the weak communication of the manufacturer in aftersales 3) you don't bother to screw the board on a case. (DIY) Meanwhile, the KTBD does sound fantastic for its 100 $ price tag with PCM material and it should drive your cans en direct without HP amp. Playing extremely loud would require an HP amp like the JDS Atom. Is does sport the ESS 9038q2m DAC chip, which is afaik used as well in the all new AQ Dragonfly (300$). Best, Tom
  10. I need to admit, that the impression has arrived with me, that Lars & Bruno's answers were somehow quite exhaustive and do not leave a lot of space to continue questionings, if you compare for example the response1 and 2 from Bruno over @ ASR , there are now even questions about desert island discs answered, which I personally find quite interesting ... (Bruno does like the The Waterboys, so do I!) Best, Tom
  11. You are welcome, Ahmed! I think you could nothing wrong with the D50, as it tick all your boxes, and over at ASR it is assumed as a very good unit, AFAIR. The price of 180 USD would leave you with the option to use a dedicated music server/player as the Pi3+ bundles are now less than 50 USD with case, power supply and SD card included. Upgrade path for the future could be: Different case, power hat, use of an iFi power supply and an USB-WiFi receiver for de-activating the internal Wifi and bluetooth units. (between 10 and 50 USD per option. I can confirm, that ther was a significant audible improvement from cancelling RMI/EFI noise in my speakers using the iFi power supply for the RPI. An important quote from the volumio website about the performance testing on the Pi3b+: " Luckily though, I then tried to play the same files from a USB drive (and not from a NAS), and magic happened: spotless playback up to 32\768. Seemed that taking ethernet (I was connected on wired connection) out of the equation did the trick. So connected the PI via wifi and restarted without ethernet: same result, HI-Res Music playback was just perfect to my USB DAC. So, it seems that there is still some issue (hopefully it’s driver related) to the Ethernet controller, which seems to give up lots of packets in high-bandwidth situations. I am however pretty confident that the foundation will solve this issue, as it’s not uncommon that hardware performances get dramatic improvements as software gets tuned up after community feedbacks. The good news is that there are actually tangible improvements on USB throughput, as I did not experience a single glitch with a great variety of files: 16\44.1,24\96,32\768 flac, DSD64, DSD128, DSD256 and 8X MQA (this is an extremely meaningful test, since if even a single packet is lost the MQA decoding would stop)." The all new RPi 4 with case, card and PS would come about 40 USD more expensive, but is not yet directly available, though it could be still in your limit. I would guess, that with the new USB architecture the performance regarding USB throughput for DSD maý be enhanced. I'd regard that as another upgrade path for the future, based on sufficent testing reports. You will most certainly profit from substantial lower noise floor in your listening environment if the source of your music is disconnected from your PC, and the PC is shutdown. For critical listening, for example, I'll try to close down anything that enhances the noise floor in my office, this is why the Pi's with a USB stick or USB HD come in so handy. Best regards, Tom
  12. I have recently bought RHA T20 from big A's warehouse for under 100 USD. They sound fantastic and feel very comfortable once they are set up in-ear and behind ear (for me as an IE-Hater), offer a set of 3 exchangeable filters with different sound signatures and have connectors build like a tank. Downside, they aren't the newest design, no exchangeable cables and therefore do not offer a wireless use. Best, Tom
  13. Jud, did you try LMS with IPeng for IOS or Orange Squeeze for Android ? Best, Tom
  14. Bonjour from France, Ahmed! I had a little re-think on the information you have provided, and I'd like to sum up, what I have i understand, that allows you to correct me and fill in important details for others. 1) You are on the Maldives with limited access to the worldwide market of audiophile technology except of eBay and aliexpress. 2) your budget was 150 USD, now it's enhanced to 250 USD. 3) Your chain is your Desktop computer (or laptop?) - Foobar2000 - USB out - NEW DAC - Audioengine A5+ (Classic or wireless ? that's an important difference!). Do you use an desktop environment or a living room environment? As you have a s Yamaha SUB en plus? 4) You want to play FLAC AND DSD with your new device, where DSD is an option for the future, because you haven't installed the DSD plug in for F2K and no .dsf-files yet. 5) You prefer convenience to DIY (The Khadas would involve some minor DIY, fitting some screws to fix the board into the case, no other tinkering is required) 6) You basically ask for advice on two popular, but different DAC chips, the AKM's and the ESS-9138M2Q. I assume for the moment, as it was not particularly noted in your thread, that you haven't the A+ wireless, because if otherwise, you would not be looking for a DAC, due to the fact that an AKM DAC is already included in these. OTOH, the volume of your speakers is remote controlled, which is a comfort if you don't sit on arm's length (nearfield). There is nothing wrong with the Schiit products that were mentioned in response to your question, apart that your desire to play DSD would be limited to DSD64, if you buy the Schiit Loki, the Modi multibit doesn't do DSD afaik, but the multi-bit (ladder-DAC) technology is known to sound very "analogue" if implemented correctly. And here we are at the main points about DACs in this price range, they may differ in engineering and implementation, plus usually the after sales concept is fairly reduced, the technology is often basically divided between a single unit or pair of chips from either, AKM or ESS. From my experience, I would prefer a dual mono design (including separate power supplies) for power amplifiers, just about the use of a dual DAC chip utilization I am more uneven, as usual it is always the implementation that counts, not only the design. And for example, the KTBD does measure better than some dual DAC-chip units. I am convinced you may be perfectly happy with a SCHIIT product, even without DSD, because they are said to have sound quality far above price range. On the other hand, having raised your budget by 100 quids, you may think as well in the other direction: Build a dedicated music server device based on RPI 2/3/4, with a Music player like Squeezelite or Volumio using an USB hard drive, allows you to listen to your music in connection with a minimal ecologic footprint and without having your computer idle all the time. I am not a great tinkerer myself, I avoid soldering as much as I can, but I found setting up a Raspberry with PiCorePlayer and LMS/SqueezeLite was as easy as it can get. It is free of charge, and it allows you to control everything via mobile, tablet or desktop, has a decent sq and works without greater flaws (DSD only up to DSD64 with the Khadas board). And yes, this option will be available as well if you decide for a SCHIIT device, just when you will have another 100-150 USD available for enhancing your audio chain with a dedicated music server. From my viewpoint, I'd start with Pi/KTBD combo with PiCore and wait for DAC upgrade possibilities to come, but youremileage may vary. Test as an alternative with Volumio and stay with one you prefer for the time being. Back to your setup: I have verified FB2K with the newest SACD plug-in and the maximum Buffer settings with ASIO to play DSD256, with moderate buffers it plays DSD128 well, but seems to be a bit flawed for the DSD256 files. You will find DSD test files with native DSD who offer a free sampler for testing out DSD quality. They also show you how to setup FB2K for DSD ! Be aware, that playing non native DSD via Upsampling to DSD 256 or 512 requires a lot of computational power and it is up to everyone's own perception, if this investment does increase sound quality in an acceptable manner. For my iFi in the main system I found to upsample DSD64 to DSD512 using the foo asio dsd output does have some quality effects, trying the same with high res flac did not offer results suitable to my tasting. The benefits and caveats of DSD Upsampling have been summarized in this posting and it can be useful to read the whole thread. I have tested as well the Topping NX4 with foobar and it performs quite well, just not as open and with a bit less clarity and depth compared to the Khadas. His strength are the build quality and the ease of use after you have installed its USB audio drivers combined with the additional adjustable headphone output and the volume control, which comes in handy for native DSD bitstreaming up to DSD256. As someone have said here before, there might be no big difference between the Topping units you have named, apart using different DACs in different configurations ... pls take this with a pinch of salt ... 😉 I had talked before about Volumio and as I was writing this response and listening to the Khadas in 32bit/192khz (and I love it!) via foobar2k , I have downloaded the image & transferred it to a 16GB SD-card for using it with my RPi 3b, which is usually a squeezelite player with the other SD card inside. Now it needs 5 minutes of set-up and then I will test the DSD playing with the Khadas. DSD just works in Volumio - with volume control ! - only in DSD64,which sounds perfectly fine, but it's a clear limitation without DSD128 and DSD256. I am convinced there are tweaks to get the RPi playing DSD on higher rates over USB, but I did not plunge into that topic yet. Setup from Volumio has improved during the last years, this advancement I need to underline, just the fact that you need pay monthly or annually some extra to use plug-ins for Tidal and Qobuz are the reasons I do not use Volumio in my personal setup. I understand the need to monetize on features, but prefer rather to donate to the PiCorePlayer (below PiCore/squeezelite/MaterialSkin) team instead. My most valuable recommendation before you buy anything, especially if it need lot of efforts to send items back or discuss with after sales agents, make your mind up about your personal strategy and be aware that this is always just the start of a journey into audiophiledom, a sphere where bigger, better and more costly will always be available ... Hope you find your personal way in this audiophile jungle, Ahmed, and pls keep on asking in the forum, if you are friendly as you seem to be, you will always find someone here, who is willing to help and support you! Best, Tom from France
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