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bobfa

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Everything posted by bobfa

  1. 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....
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. @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
  5. 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.)
  6. 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
  7. I am on a very poor internet connection. I will try to figure this out when I am in better cover coverage
  8. I have no proof either way. But, I would guess that it is everyone.
  9. 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...
  10. 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.
  11. Here is a video about placing them on the BXT At about 105lbs the BXT makes a great stand. No ‘sand’ needed🤗
  12. Bill, I do not think I can/should/would tell you where to go. I can tell you where I am and what I have found. Up until a couple of weeks ago I had settled on using my Xeon machine as my endpoint and server. I was running Euphony on it. When I put the Element-h USB card in it I found that it did not matter to run Roon+StylusEP or Stylus for me. So it was happily set to Roon+StylusEP. My music has been on my NAS in the basement for quite a while. This all made me very happy! It was simple and sounded darn good. There is always more to come. Bob
  13. SL stands for Squeezelite. There are settings in Squeezelite that allow you to adjust the buffering in the software. Tuning them can change the sound. I would have to look to see if StylusEP does that. I do not remember and I am running different hardware in my endpoint right now. I may be testing again ia a few days. Maybe someone else can look.
  14. I want to add some notes to this sheet. I am also putting a pin in the map and moving along. I have been running the Xeon as a single box system and I have added and Element H USB card to the machine powered by the HDPLEX400. I am now to the point that I hardly hear the differences between Stylus and Roon with Stylus EP. Things have gotten very subtle Very Subtle. I am sure I could improve the SQ more with clocking changes or MB or any of the other ways we have found to make incremental improvements. I have another direction I am testing that I will report on when the work is done. Bob
  15. I am very interested in the setup/install process. Also things like listening position, etc. This is a great journey to follow. Do you think you will need to make any cabling changes for the speakers? I am SURE that you will enjoy them for a long time.
  16. The tone control system on the Kii Three is called a Baxandall system that is implemented in the DSP. http://makearadio.com/tech/tone.htm I would highly suggest that you do not adjust the tonal curves until you have the position and boundary settings where you want them. I cannot comment on your room or your existing room controls. I would still suggest that you consider removing everything and start over with the Kii Three and the room with the normal furniture. Floor coverings, etc.. You may end up in the same place but you will never know if you need those treatment levels. This speaker system is not like anything else out there. If my example helps here we go: My room is about 12 x 20 feet with large openings to the left of the speakers and at the far end. I have my speakers set about 5 in from the front wall and about 12 in from the side walls. I am happy with a setting of -11 on both speakers. I only have had them in the room for a few months and had about five experienced listeners over. At this point I am considering moving them out just a little bit to see what happens. I would say less that 1 foot from the front wall. This is an experiment to see what the effect on soundstage is. NOTE that this is my family living room and the POINT is to creat a shared listening space. I have some instagram posts showing the system. Before we get to the science remember that your “ear” is adapted to your old system. It takes a while to unlearn that sound. The science here is the K.I.S.S. method. Setup the system so it LOOKS good to others. Do not pull the speakers out into the room, that kind of stuff. Get all the extra stuff out of the room. Do not change more than one thing at a time! Take notes. If you are moving speakers. Put tape measures down next to each one and move them 1/2in at at time. I do not think that at this stage Toe-in is as important as distance from that wall and the settings on the speakers. Think about that cardioid pattern out of the of the speaker. You need some music with low end bass that you understand how you think it should sound. Use that for reference. Kii suggests kick drum. Then mix up a combination of music to keep the boredom down and expose the nuances from other music. Here are some ideas: The Telarc Copland Fanfare for the Common Man. BT (untitled). Artifacture Blade Runner 2049 intro track Dominique Fils-aime Nameless the track Birds Trentemoller The Last Resort the track Evil Dub Try the Roger Waters track “The Legend of Bill Hubbard” for some interesting staging effects. I am pretty sure they used QSOUND on that one and it is fun. Try some Lisa Lynne harp and flute music. I do not know what you normally listen to but make sure to add some more complex music into the mix. Get some other listeners in there with you. I am still working on my digital front end for the Kii Threes and have recently made some changes that are significant. This may show my position and settings need adjustment. I will discuss that on a separate thread when the time is right and the changes are settled down. Bob PS Sorry to use US measurements. We are so far behind.
  17. All, I am selling my component systems now that I have Kii Three Speakers. The second item is my AX-5 Twenty. Asking $7000 USA only. You can also see my listing on Superphonica below for pictures, etc. https://superphonica.com/all-products/components-analog/amplifiers-integrated/ayre-ax-5-twenty-black/ Bob
  18. All, I am selling my component systems now that I have Kii Three Speakers. The first item is my YGGY. $2000 USA only. You can also see my listing on Superphonica below for pictures, etc. https://superphonica.com/all-products/components-digital/digital-to-analog-converters-dac/schiit-yggdrasil-3/ Bob
  19. So, try this. Signature Rendu SE has its own LPS! And does some other interesting software tricks. MPD, LMS, etc..... Ghent JSSG360 USB cable (Seems good to me!) Optical networking from the Rendu. (I am using Ubiquity on my whole network and they have optical built into my switch) If you need a Roon Server there are a LOT of options that let you scale up.
  20. I have removed LMS from the Rendu and am running it on my Volumio Primo. I powered off the rendu and the Kii Control. I brought both back up and started playing music. I then selected a different album to play and as soon as I clicked play the music stopped. I checked the rendu and Squeezlite status is unknown. I am off to work and a customers site for a few hours.
  21. I have it working but I am getting an interesting failure. I have been playing music and I tried to play one specific CD twice and it has cause playback to cease working. (Telarc Copland Fanfare for the Common Man). I had to power cycle both the Kii Control and the Rendu. Attached are two screen shots from the DAC diagnostics. One when working and one when not. When this happens the squeezlite process goes to unknown status. This second time I restarted the Squeezelite process and music is playing. I have not had the guts to try that album again. as a side not I was running the material skin on LMS and removed it for now.
  22. @The Computer Audiophile, I have been reading your article over again and I was wondering if you could elaborate a bit more on running LMS on the the Rendu please? I see it from a simplicity point, which is what the article seems to be targeted towards. I was thinking about running LMS on my NAS but that adds complexity. Right now my library is too big so I am using the NAS for storage. bob
  23. I like simple, I set it to 32 and we have music! OH NICE MUSIC. Will let it cook for a while. And study LMS some more. Thanks!
  24. I have to try that again. What I am finding that the Rendu is crashing the Kii Control and I have to remove power and restart it. I will have to put both parties in touch with each other... as needed. Time for bed. (Thought it was USB cable for a while...)
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