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    La musica prima di tutto

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    Illinois, USA

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  1. It is a pleasure to hear from other uses. It is even better to hear about great successes! Thank you very much.
  2. You are correct. As a basic desktop speaker they stage well, they are reasonably articulate. They are electrically flexible. Get them off the desktop with a stand, and they are even better. Right now, I have the USB hooked up to the Mac. The analog in is connected to the pre-amp out on my LYR-3 which has an Allo USBridge Sig and Squeezelite hooked to the multi-bit DAC. The analog on the LYR-3 in comes from a Teac CD Player. The AO-200 fills an interesting niche. I am using it in my workshop I have the USB hooked to the Windows PC in the shop and the balanced in goes to a Topping D10Bal to a Pi4 running Squeezelite. I am using the Neat Acoustics speakers until I have to return them. It really sounds good, using the D10Bal+Pi4 input. I listen to many podcasts and the BT works well for that. Oh, the whole system in the house is now Logitech Media Server running on a Pi 4 with a 4 TB SSD.
  3. The S.M.S.L. AO200 is a small/desktop integrated amplifier with Bluetooth, USB, unbalanced and balanced inputs. There is one set of speaker outputs and subwoofer outputs. There is an excellent little display on the front of the unit for status, etc. The volume control is smooth, and it also acts as an input device with a press to select operate the menu. The unit also comes with remote control. The USB A input can accept a USB stick with digital files; there is no playback control; it just plays them in order. S.M.S.L. provided a unique USB A to A cable that connects to your computer for playback as a USB DAC. The D.A.C. in the AO200 is a fixed rate unit 24/48, which is similar to the D.A.C. in my Audioengine A2+ speakers. These seem unusual to my audiophile brain. The compact size of the unit presents some issues. First, the speaker terminals are tiny, and because they are so close together, they are tough to connect wires. The R.C.A. connections are also too close to each other for comfortable use. My initial use case was to improve my desktop sound system. The folks at High Fidelity Services, Neat Acoustics' USA Distributor, sent over a pair of the Neat IOTA speakers in their blue color. Thanks Paul! I set them up on Isoacoustics stands to isolate them from the desk. The IOTA speakers are horizontally oriented. You can swap the left and right to put the tweeter on the inside or the outside. My desk is in the corner of my office. The "magic" equilateral triangle is impossible with two 27 in. monitors in-between the speakers. I was able to get a pretty good sound stage presentation in the corner. But, I found that it was better when I went to my other desk with a flat wall behind it and only one display. In that location, the staging was much simpler to get "right." Close near-field setups are tricky to get right. My case is worse than many. Most small desktop speakers can use some help on the bottom end of the spectrum. One of the features of the AO200 is a subwoofer out. I tested this with a R.E.L. T0 Subwoofer. Setting this up over a short term was not as simple as I had hoped. It took me several days of listening and adjusting until I found the sweet spot. The subwoofer balanced the system out rather nicely. For this class of design, it might be too much cost. While I had the setup in my office, I tested both the balanced and unbalanced inputs from my Soekris DAC2541. The sound quality over those inputs is a natural step up from the internal D.A.C. or Bluetooth. Of course, I added a $1400 DAC in front of the $279 integrated amp! I did a few days of listening using my Volumio Primo via their analog out into the speakers. While this sounds pretty good, you start pushing the price up into other hardware that might be a better fit, such as a BlueSound Power Node. In addition, I use Roon as my primary streaming system, so adding Volumio is a bit of extra work I do not want to do. During this testing, I had no way to compare other amplifiers in a meaningful way. I did some casual testing with an older Rotel class A/B system, and there was no significant difference for the applications. The system ended up in my workshop, where I am moving around more and is a bit more casual listening. I use Bluetooth from my iPhone in the shop, and I am using a Raspberry Pi running Vitos hooked Via USB to the AO200 as a Roon Endpoint. I am using the NEAT IOTA speakers for now. They will be leaving soon, so I will hunt for small speakers for that room. Thinking about use cases such as a garage system or my shop, where you want music, podcasts, radio, etc. In those cases, the compression on the Bluetooth link or the lower performance of the USB input is not a limitation. The AO200 might work well in a dorm room or bedroom system. The AO200 is a building block for the playtime audiophile. It is priced well for the features; it looks good and takes up very little space. The manual is overly brief and needs expansion. The size of the case is a blessing and a curse for connecting all the wiring up. I am not sure what speakers I would pair with the amp. Time and budget do not allow for any research in this area. I leave that up to you, dear reader. While the AO200 did not end up at my desk it is now the “basement/workshop” system for general use. With Bluetooth and Roon using a Raspberry Pi, it is NICE!. I continue to use my Audioengine A2+ speakers in my office because they image almost perfectly due to the front ports. I have returned the subwoofer. It was Wonderful, but not really in the budget.
  4. I have read this three times. I am fascinated. The great reaction by the folks at Schiit to an industry problem is a wonderful solution. It would be cool to listen to one! dreamin'
  5. I want to update the above chart. I made a rating error. The best sound so fare is the USBridge Sig. To the SRC-DX with the Farad power supply. Coming in a close second is using the DigiOne Signature. A/B of this is hard as it is both a hardware and software setup change. The USBridge Sig is an excellent sound quality value. Oh! And I have not started tweaking yet.: https://soundcheck-audio.blogspot.com
  6. The system design I am using is a Pi4 with SSD (4 TB) powered from an HDPLEX power supply as the LMS server. When done, I will have three endpoints: two USBridge Sig devices (CM3) and a pi4 in the primary system. I am changing the case on that pi4 to an entirely passive one with more metal mass and no internal connections. I have meant to ask Farad to make USB-C power cables; I need to do that! Furthermore, I think not to have a third computing device (NAS) and associated network traffic fetching the NAS files. I have not looked at the slim protocol to see how that all works. I can test this with my existing Synology NAS at some point. This is all a lot of fun!
  7. OK Got it! The one I tried did not seem to appear on the network. I will re-test today. Thanks again for the pointers. Klaus at soundcheck blog is outstanding. A great resource to set up the whole system.
  8. OK I am going to give this a try. What are the two variants above? I assume that 001 and 002 have to be combined in some way.???
  9. This is interesting! I am running with two Pi devices server + streamer in the LMS + Squeezelite software configuration. I am working on some network isolation ideas. The current configuration is rather in-expensive! The CM4 firmware is not stable, and the hardware is impossible to get right now. Now down the road, ... RJF
  10. I have built three different configurations using the Pi4 and have been running PiCorePlayer on the Allo USBridge Sig devices, all with great success. I am EXTREMELY pleased with the sound quality I have been able to achieve. The speakers I am using are the Heavenly Soundworks Five Seventeen have an S/PDIF input that I am using. I have tested the following endpoint configurations: Rating Configuration ** 1/2 USBridge Sig + Shanti + SRC-DX **** USBridge Sig + Farad + SRC-DX ** USBridge Sig + DigiOne Signature + Shanti **** 1/2 USBridge Sig + DigiOne Signature + Shanti on Pi + Farad on DigiOne ** Pi4 + Shanti + SRC-DX **** Pi4 + Farad + SCR-DX I have tried a couple of LMS server configurations. Rating Configuration ** Intel NUC +Windows + Stock power Supply *** PI 4 8 GB RAM +PiCorePlayer + Pi Wall Wart. ***** PI 4 8 GB RAM +PiCorePlayer + HDPLEX 200 + upgraded DC and AC cabling. I really wish I had two 5 V rails from a Sean Jacobs Power Supply to test with @Nenon can I get a loaner 😇🎉??? NOTE, I am using Ethernet for the connections. No special cabling.
  11. There are many ways to build a computer system for desktop or specifically for audio systems. Linux is used on many audio system devices for many reasons. I am a bit of a computer geek, so I keep digging to see what I can find that works better, sounds better, and can get into more peoples systems to enjoy music. The internet is a BIG place and until about a month ago, I missed seeing Tiny Core Linux. It is designed to do many things that we have found are required for better sound quality. Less overhead, no extra processes, run in RAM, small footprint. The OS requires 46 MB (megabytes) of RAM to run in. In intel land it needs a i486DX processor. Pop open a tab with http://tinycorelinux.net/welcome.html and check it out. There are ports to various platforms, such as Raspberry Pi. I "discovered" Tiny Core Linux because PiCorePlayer is built on it. PiCorePlayer is a complete music system OS for Logitech Media Server and Squeezelite Player. I "wonder" what more can be done here? Create a variant that runs Roon Bridge, or NAA, etc. Like I said, this is an introduction. I am writing about my experience with PiCorePlayer Here --RJF
  12. A few days ago, I finished a build of the Raspberry Pi server streamer. This variant is built into a different variant of the Argon 40 case. This model can mount a SATA m.2 drive. https://www.argon40.com/argon-one-m-2-case-for-raspberry-pi-4.html For this, PiCorePlayer is running both LMS and Squeezelite. There is a 1tb SATA drive and a Pi4 4gb RAM in the case. I have been testing using the Farad Super 3 power supply and an UpTone USPCB connected an SRC-DX DDC for my Heavenly Soundworks FiveSeventeen speakers. Here is a picture of the setup using my other Argon One case running Squeezelite only. I have tested this configuration in both my system and a very high-end system at a local dealer with great success. ------ Here is a quick summary of build cost: $55 Raspberry Pi 4 (pishop.us $45 Argon40 Argon One m.2 case $80 SATA m.2 SSD. NOT NVME! (Samsung is almost twice the price, I bought it anyway) $15 MicroSD card for boot Free PiCorePlayer Software $6?? iPeng for iOS $800 Farad Super 3 Power Supply $35. UpTone USPCB $495. SRC-DX $30 Bluejeans Digital Cable -------- I did not shoot a build video of this. Here is a pretty good one that shows assembly and running the desktop os. You can ignore all the talk about desktop OS in this case we are using PiCorePlayer. I will work on a video to set up PiCorePlayer shortly.
  13. View Classified Auralic Aires Mini with 2TB HD and Power Supply I am using a different music server and this unit is spare. Seller bobfa Date 10/01/21 Price 550.00 USD Category Music Servers / Streamers  
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