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About bobfa

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    “Bob on Stereo”

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    Illinois, USA

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  1. "Bob's Summer of Fun" Over the summer I have been busy with work and, I have not been posting to Audiophilestyle. I have also been waiting for "part 2" from Chris on the Signature Rendu SE Optical. Today I decided to go ahead and post about my experience this summer. I have used products from Sonore for a while, but I had drifted over to custom-built hardware. I have been using a custom server and a couple of different endpoints based on the Intel NUC platform. In all of the work/fun, everything seemed incremental. I would mix-match-remix, and it sounded "the same but different." After Chris did his part one review, I decided to give the new Sonore box a try. Since the beginning of July, I have had the Signature Rendu SE Optical Tier 1 (SRSO) in my system. I have also purchased the large SD card from Sonore, but I have not done a lot of testing with LMS and none with MPD for the moment. My primary playback system is Roon. My Server has been running a beta version of Euphony that allowed running the OS in RAM to improve sound quality. I just updated to the 20190912 production release today. I will not discuss that here other than to note that it does edge things up further. Listening to the SRSO in my system, there is more space, more depth in the musical soundstage. The music has a smoothness that I have not enjoyed before. The sound quality improvement does not come at any expense in detail. I feel that this is the best endpoint I have ever had in my system. I have to take the time to listen to LMS and MPD with the SRSO! I know that Chris liked it. My short look of LMS running on the SRSO was favorable, but the two box Roon Server system was better. I hope to get some more time to listen to the system with the SRSO by itself using LMS and MPD. I can pry myself away from Roon; I know I can! This solution is not in-expensive, but it does deliver. I am not ready to try the Tier II upgrade YET! There is more I can do in my system. The Server is set to bridge the network with two FMC devices that are of dubious quality. I would love a dual ethernet card with SFP slots that are supported by Linux. Maybe a Sonore Optical module, maybe an EtherRegen. I know that I could replace the Ghent USB cable with something else. I do not know what I will try next. Time will tell.
  2. Qobuz Download tarball does not contain the album art you have to download that separately. I know that this is a small thing but I am trying to automate the backup of these for myself and others. Not having a single file is odd and annoying. I am interested in the fact that the downloads are compressed into .tar files. Not something that most consumers are familiar with. But it works for me. Oh and for grins the files app on iPadOS 13.1 will copy the tarball to a SMB share and uncompressed it. RJF
  3. I think you do not need to bother. They are not “running”.
  4. No it is simpler Etcher does it all. I will create a short screen video. Plug in USB stick, run etcher, select download, select USB, select write....
  5. I am really glad that you have been able to reproduce my findings. And I am even happier that you have a better sounding system for yourself! Thanks for the report.
  6. Thanks Chris. It was fun playing with the system up there. The iPad does seem to not like to come back to the Primo hot spot. every time. So If I leave it overnight or sometimes a couple of hours I have to reselect the device again. Still in all it was fun.
  7. @bluesman Another great piece of writing here! I have helped and watched friends and family with downsizing. It is an interesting experiment in human interactions. “Donate, Trash, Keep” over and over and over! My wife and I have been slowly working our way through the process to simplify any change down the road. Your happy living list is very nice. We vacation at a small cottage in Wi almost every year. It makes you think about living space pretty hard. There is a hodge-podge system there for CD playback and TV. (No TV any more as digital does not get into the woods). We never use it. I skimmed your article before we left and saw the reference to the AudioEngine A2+ speakers and it was a ticker for me to try mine at the cottage. I am adding a section to my Volumio Primo review to include this idea.! Please keep writing, your work is refreshing. Bob
  8. Several folks have asked about some comparisons to other “streamers”. I have done direct comparisons on my Kii Three system with Sonos Connect, Chromecast Audio, Chromecast with an inexpensive audio extractor and Amazon Echo Link. None of them come close to the Primo. The digital output of the Primo just sounds better all the way around. You can find other comparisons out there such as the one from Hans B. Or John Darko. None of the above systems hold a candle to my custom server running Roon to a Signature Rendu SE Optical over USB to the Kii Three system. This stuff all sounds different. But for me the Analog output of the Primo is one of the more important features. Driving the analog input on the Schiit LYR3 is really great. I had only tested the Multibit DAC in the LYR3 and with Primo direct is more dynamic, more relaxing, and easy on the ears. To my HD800 headphones this is a real sweet spot. Also the Primo is just a bit more than a simple streamer, it is also a music server. The lines are blurred here! John Darko did open his demo unit up and there are some pictures on his website. The Primo has an external power brick that I have not really looked at all that closely. 5V 3A I think. I am sure it is a switching supply. I am not really inclined to throw $500 to $1K at a power supply for the Primo. Or any fancy networking. That is not the role it fills in my listening. I am in the process of writing more on the Primo to add to the review from my vacation, streaming from a local hard drive and no internet! File Based audio (hat tip to Hans B.)
  9. bobfa

    Volumio Primo review

    primo | ˈprēmō | noun (plural primos) Music the leading or upper part in a duet. adjective North American informal of top quality or importance: the primo team in the land. origin mid 18th century: Italian, literally ‘first’. I am always on the lookout for exciting ways of getting music into my ears. I was following the coverage from Munich High-End and saw the announcement of the Volumio Motivo. When Chris announced the relationship with Volumio, it further piqued my interest in the Volumio hardware. Their current product the Primo is has some bright ideas implemented at a very nice price point. http://volumio.org/product/volumio-primo/ I ordered my Primo from the Volumio website, and as noted on the website, it was shipped directly from Asia. I do not think a lot of us have experience with a wide range of music playback systems, so I want to highlight the Volumio software first. Developed by a team based in Italy Volumio is a complete music playback system based on a custom variant of Linux designed for high-quality playback. The OS runs out of RAM to improve audio quality. There is support for most file types; network attached storage, internet radio, and Spotify. The software add-on list is long. You can read more on their website. http://volumio.org Volumio has a new kid on the block: MYVolumio which is additional software as a service system that includes multiple device sync, and backup, remote control, Alexa integration, native Tidal, and Qobuz playback. They promise multi-room playback, CD ripping and playback and more. Again these additions are software as a service, and they charge subscription fees. (Read more about this at the end of the article) https://volumio.org/my-volumio-overview/ I have added five brief screen capture videos later on presenting several parts of Volumio. Next, let’s talk about the Volumio Primo hardware. The Primo streamer is an Asus Tinkerboard S computer with a custom interface card for the Digital to Analog audio work. Volumio supplies a 5V 3A external power supply that I used during my review. The Tinkerboard has all of the other connectivity: USB, networks, and digital out. I started my listening using the S/PDIF interface to my Kii Three speakers. I have not made an overall conclusion, but with the few tracks I have listened to the Primo holds up very well. I plan on further listening on the Kii Three System. Where I want to use the Primo is in my headphone system. I have it in my office and have both the USB output and the analog output connected to my LYR3 headphone system. My LYR3 has the Schiit Multi-bit DAC along with an analog input. I am listening with my HD-800 cans and my LCD-i4 monitors. I have Transparent Audio PLUS interconnect cables for the analog and a GHENT JSSG360 USB cable for the USB. The LYR3 is connected to power using a Transparent Performance Power cord. Note that no Tubes were ROLLED in the Schiit for this review! I am using my QNAP NAS for music storage along with Tidal and Qobuz streaming. I have connected the Primo to my network using ethernet. I have been listening to the Primo off and on for a couple of weeks and have found one new software hint. There is a volume control system on Volumio. I have tried that in both the “hardware” setting and in the “off” setting. In my system, the “off” is a significant improvement. I wonder if it is disabling or bypassing the Linux Mixer? I have used multiple software applications for music playback, and in many ways, I find the Volumio software refreshing. I can dance around the library by folder and filename quickly. I can create playlists. I have a couple of short videos below showing search speed. Using the plug-in system, I have been learning about the Logitech Media Server software and how that works. I am not reviewing that here as I am concentrating on Volumio! I have not used Apple AirPlay, which can also be used to set up the Primo as a Roon endpoint. Other reviewers have indicated that the folks at Roon and Volumio are working on getting the Primo setup on Roon. Here are five short screen captures of the Volumio Primo software. (there is no sound) The first video is a screen recording of some basic operations in the Volumio Player interface on a Mac. Note how the web interface scales very nicely to varied window sizes. This video is a QUICK tour of some of the settings. You can see the LMS and Squeezelite plug-ins and that HDMI setting. The above video shows one of the neat little features of the Volumio Primo, the HDMI output where you can see the player on a screen attached to the Primo. It is an excellent way to see what is playing. Here is a picture of the Primo HDMI output during testing on my Kii Three System. The following are three videos of the system user interface searching in my library, on Tidal and on Qobuz. You can see how long search takes and what the results look like. Remember that my local library is 4TB with 75000 tracks. I have a “good” internet connection (50MBPS) and the Primo is on Gigabit ethernet. Watch the green progress bar at the top of the display. After listening to the Primo for a few weeks, I watched a couple of other reviews. While they are genuine, there are a couple of things that I do not feel were well addressed. The first is changing the setting to turn off the internal volume control. The second is underestimating the quality of the analog output of the Primo. For me, the analog output to my LYR3 is makes for some “Primo Schiit.” They are a perfect duet! Listening with my HD-800 headphones I am genuinely happy with what I am hearing. In the analog out configuration, the dynamics are excellent, there is more bass extension, and it is less brash than other configurations I have tried. The HD-800 headphones are not forgiving, and there is very little to forgive here. It is more relaxing than some of the other systems I have used. For me, the only annoyance is the fact that the Schiit LYR3 needs 20-30 minutes of warm-up time to get to its sweet spot. Sometimes I love tubes! A final note. Purchasing the Primo from one of their authorized dealers gets you a free ‘lifetime” subscription to the MyVolumio HiFi service. I know that in the USA this is going to be hard to do and I hope that Volumio gets that worked out soon. This product deserves to be on display in more places. And enjoyed by more of us! UPDATE August 1, 2019 Primo at the Cottage We regularly take vacations in Northern Wisconsin and stay at a friends lake cottage. In general there is very limited cell phone coverage and no internet there. To get “the good stuff” we have to drive half and hour to town! Most of the time this is a blessing. I still want some music so I have loaded up my iPad with a bunch of music of stuff from my Apple Music library and use a Bose Soundlink Mini for playback. While this works it is not satisfying or really engaging. When I was packing for the trip and loading up my iPad with music I had an interesting thought that has turned into a much more satisfying experience! Part of it came from reading @bluesman articles here. The Volumio Primo is a stand along streamer and a bit more. It can play from attached local storage. I have a pair of AudioEngine A2+ amplified speakers that are sort of hanging around. So I loaded up just shy of 1TB of CD and CD+ music on a drive. I grabbed a pair of Transparent Audio Plus interconnect cables and a single “The Wave” speaker cable to spice things up a bit. With my trusty iPad Mini as a controller I have a complete system in a nice transit case! I set the system front and center beside by the picture window overlooking the lake on a couple of folding TV tray tables. HEY THIS IS RUSTIC FOLKS! Listen to music, watch the humming birds, the lake and the sunset. Ahhhh,.... I am using the analog out of the Primo to the A2+ speakers because I really feel it sounds better! The improved speaker cable is sort of a lark, and it is longer. Plus I cannot abide in zip cord for speaker wire any more. If I feel the urge I might try the USB from the Primo to the A2+ speakers.... Once things are connected all you have to do is connect the iPad to the Volumio WiFi hotspot and the UI pops up in the captive portal. If you tap the cancel the button on the portal control you will get a pop-up that has the selection “use without Internet”. Select that option. Then go into the info for the “Volumio” WiFi setting and turn on auto-join and auto-login. NOTE: that you may want to remove this WiFi connection when you are using a normal router system as the iPad will connect to the Volumio when close to it. This setup is SO much better sounding with real stereo imaging. The A2+ speakers are almost perfect for the space and They really sound great in this application. There are other streamers and speakers that could be combined into a system like this for similar applications. The Volumio Primo and the AudioEngine A2+ Speakers are a nice paring! I may play with this some more in my home office... Product Information: Volumio Primo 479 Euro Product Page: LINK Product Manual: LINK
  10. I am on a very poor internet connection. I will try to figure this out when I am in better cover coverage
  11. I have no proof either way. But, I would guess that it is everyone.
  12. Barrows, I am using the SM BIDI SFPs from FS.com. The following picture shows what I purchased from them. NOTE that you have to have two different modules as they transmit and receive on different frequencies. These are a single fiber . NOTE that Others are using similar SFPs from Ubiquity. I am setup with two SFPs in my Ubiquity switch and one in a FMC to my server and one in my Signature Rendu SE Optical. Here is the switch end with only one cable plugged in...
  13. I am always interested in how folks perceive the differences in systems, formats, etc. I have not tried to A/B PCM/DSD differences between AL and Euphony. It would interesting to see some testing in that space.
  14. Here is a video about placing them on the BXT At about 105lbs the BXT makes a great stand. No ‘sand’ needed🤗
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