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Audio System

About Me

Found 5 results

  1. I have been using Audiolinux in a custom built DIY server and NUC endpoint. Headless AudioLinux is getting more and more user-friendly and Piero provides great support. For $100 (two copies) in software licenses, it is a considerable value. I can custom setup the BIOS and tune the OS. This project is fun if you enjoy playing at that level. About a week ago I found Euphony. It is also based on Arch Linux and appears to provide some of the same value as AudioLinux. There are more features in their OS as it has Music player software and some other flourishes. I am a Roon user, and I do not currently intend on changing that! I intend to try their player software at some point. I am going to add a small (250GB) NVMe M.2 drive to the server and dual boot between AL and Euphony because I have it and there seems to be a shortage of Optane sticks this week. One of the first items to note is that Euphony does not use ACPI boot you have to turn legacy back on if you were using AudioLinux. Euphony basic setup is relatively simple. Download the image and install it on a USB stick with Etcher on the MAC or their Windows installer. For Euphony to run you need to register it for a trial. There is an odd back and forth setup between the website and the program, but you get an email with the trial key pretty quickly. Then things get weird. Unless you purchase a license for $289.00 you cannot install the system anywhere. You have to run off of the USB stick. This is not conducive to running Roon Core. I am sitting here springing forward and sleeping on going any further. Bob
  2. In my never ending quest for things to tinker with I have started playing with Euphony OS and Sylus music player. This thread is a quick setup process to help others try this OS and player. I have my DIY NUC endpoint that normally runs Roon Output (bridge, D-to-D, whatever you want to call it). In order to test Euphony Stylus I had to set up my system. What follows is an outline of that setup. I have created another thread that is a Shootout where I am talking about comparisons. The https://euphony-audio.com website is a little sparse and navigation is sort of hidden in the hamburger menu. Just go to the download page and follow their instructions. https://euphony-audio.com/installation/ You should have an 8GB USB stick and if it is faster that is a good idea for testing. If you are running AL like I have been the computer needs to be changed to run Legacy Boot or the Euphony OS will not boot. I would suggest that you have a keyboard, mouse and display hooked up to whatever you are running on. You will see the normal Linux boot stuff go by and after a short bit you should see this on the display of the computer. After that it is time to head over to a control device of your choice. Just a web browser is all you need to run with. Go to euphony.local and the server should show up! I hooked up my external USB drive to the endpoint and also linked in my NAS. I am not pulling from the NAS only the local drive for now. It will take a bit for the Stylus software to index and load your music. Here are some screen shots. IF you are hooked up to your DAC via USB you should be ready to play with the Stylus Player software. OH and setup 100% buffer I am sure that there will be Q&A. The Eupony folks have a trouble ticketing system, but this is not bad to stop at all. Bob I have just put my "endpoint" back into the system and left Stylus running. I connected the software to my NAS and then added it to the library. I made a small mistake so it is getting 200K + tracks that have MP3s and a back of the main library before we worked on metadata. NOTES ON FURTHER SETUP 3/13/19 This is a commercial software release do you NOT have Root access By default, the internal audio devices are turned off in the OS. There is a flag to turn them on. If you are setting up a Roon system with two Euphony 3 systems, you will have the Roon Uniuque_ID problem (put in a ticket to have them fix your system) I suggest that if you have multiple systems running Euphony that you change the hostname on them to eliminate duplicates. It is easy to switch endpoints between Roon and SQlite I have not setup bridging yet. I am told it can be done. My endpoint is running off of Optane and my server is running off of NVMe stick The support team is very responsive and the ticketing system really helps keep things in order They are fixing some UI issues on the IOS control software. Here is the link to their KB : https://euphony-audio.com/hesk/knowledgebase.php Notes as of 5/27/19 Frequency scaling does not work on the NUC 7i7 Bob Fairbairn and a few others are now using Euphony Stylus on a single box as our player. *** i suggest that you read their manual ***
  3. I bought the Marantz SA-10 SACD player about a year ago. It took me a while to figure out how to get the best sound when using external renderer compared to playing CD/SACD on SA-10 and playing music files from USB drive connected to SA-10. There is no audible difference when playing physical media vs playing music files from USB drive with the SA-10. However, I was unable to get the same sound quality when using external renderer until recently. So this is my humble experience sharing, not a review. This is also my first post here. My system is pretty revealing although it is not really high-end. It’s in the living room. Eventually I plan to have a dedicated listening room. Torus AVR30 wall mount – isolation transformer plus voltage regulation (230V country) Digital sources: Marantz SA-10, Oppo UDP-205 Analog: TW Acustic Raven Two turntable with 2 tonearms: Raven 10.5 (Benz Micro LP-S) and Tri-planar Mk7 U2 (Quintet Black). Audio Research Ref 2 SE phono stage Passive preamp : Bent Audio + Dave Slagle pure silver autoformer in fully balanced configuration (4 autoformers total). Internal wiring using Swiss-made Audio Consulting 0.5mm single core silver wires with cotton sleeving Slave passive preamp for HT channels: 3 copper autoformers controlling volume of Oppo 205 center and rear channels into MC303. Follow volume setting of stereo preamp Bryston 10B-SUB active crossover McIntosh MC452 driving frequencies above 60 Hz into Focal Utopia III Diablo McIntosh MC303 driving center channel (another Diablo) and rear channels (Focal Electra IW1002 BE in-ceiling) 2 units of JL Audio fathom f113 subwoofers receiving frequencies below 60 Hz from 10B-SUB So why not just play music files from USB drive connected to SA-10? It’s limited to PCM 192k and DSD 2x / 5.6. When using external renderer connected to the SA-10 USB Audio type B input, the maximum rates double to PCM 384k and DSD 4x / 11.2. Navigating music files inside the USB drive is painful – it can only be done with the supplied remote control with the help of single-line SA-10 display. There is 1000 folder limit, and the SA-10 struggles with reading large SSD drive; most of the times it hangs, sometimes require restart. The USB drive must be formatted as FAT32 and some characters are not supported. Folders and files are ordered based on creation history, not based on file/folder names like Windows. It feels like there is an ancient computer inside SA-10 running DOS! Also, when playing DSD files from USB drive or DVD-R, there is relay click and mute between tracks, hence no gapless playback for DSD. Gapless DSD playback is a requirement for me. I started computer audio playback pretty late as I use computers too many hours per day. My first digital music player was Sony HAP-Z1ES, but its USB Audio output quality is lacking. I tried building my own streamer/renderer. Using Intel NUC7i5BNH with 16GB RAM, 256GB Samsung EVO 970 NVMe M.2 SSD for O/S and 2TB Samsung EVO 860 SATA3 SSD for music files, I tried various playback software for both Windows 10 and Linux. Among all the players, I was impressed with Euphony. I utilized 30-day trials for version 2 and then again for version 3. Eventually I purchased Euphony version 3. The Intel NUC was powered by China-made Zerozone 19V 4A linear power supply purchased through ebay. Through Euphony, I throttled down maximum CPU speed to 1.8GHz – temperature of the 2 cores remains around 50 deg C, hence no noisy CPU fan. Curious USB cable was used between NUC and SA-10. Initially I was impressed with the NUC as its sound is better than Sony HAP-Z1ES. But when NUC is compared to SA-10 internal rendering, the sound is inferior; missing details, more digital sound especially with decays, and poor bass control. Even though Euphony supports DSD 4x / 11.2 playback, playing DSD 4x from NUC sounds inferior compared to playing DSD 2x from SA-10 USB drive. I then purchased a used Innuos Zenith Mk.II with 2TB internal SSD for experimentation purpose. I never like the idea of spending too much on a streamer, especially when I don’t need the CD ripping functionality of Zenith. Not to my surprise, Zenith sounds better compared to NUC, but the low-end slam and bass tightness cannot match SA-10 internal rendering. Musical instruments sound slightly different with Zenith. My goal is to make external renderers able to match the sound quality of SA-10 internal rendering. When playing CD/SACD or music files from USB drive, I believe the short path of digital signals and isolation from external noise resulted in superb sound. I consider SA-10 internal rendering as the reference sound. Please note that there are no measurements – all tests done by listening, not just by me, but also by my audiophile friends. Previously I had Denafrips Terminator for 4 months but was unable to optimize the external renderer as I don’t know what the right sound is – each digital input gives different sound, with USB not being the best. The Terminator sounds the best when Marantz SA-10 was used as CD transport with its coaxial output into Terminator. The Terminator was eventually returned due to issues with DSD playback. Please note however that Terminator has an updated DSP + USB board recently. I explored USB regen – read various reviews and forums. Not willing to spend too much, especially regens which require separate expensive linear power supply costing more than the regen, I settled with iFi Micro iUSB3.0. Per AudioStream iFi Micro review’s recommendation, I also purchased Wireworld Starlight 8 USB 3.0 A to B cable for connection between NUC/Zenith and iFi Micro. I ordered a customized Curious USB 300 mm flipped cable and use it for connection between iFi Micro to SA-10 USB type B input (DAC). SA-10 already has USB ground galvanic isolation, so I don’t think another external galvanic isolation is necessary. I also purchased iFi iSilencer 3.0 for fun. About 168 hours are required to break in the iFi products and Starlight 8 USB 3.0 cable. I put an old, first generation DragonFly into iFi Micro USB output so that it acts as the DAC during the break in. This is to prevent unnecessary aging of my beloved SA-10. Intel NUC was used and a selected music folder was played continuously. I tried various USB ports on the NUC – some ports are better. The best combination is with the Starlight 8 USB 3.0 cable connected to top rear USB3 port, iSilencer connected to the bottom rear port, and another iSilencer in front. With this combination, the sound quality from NUC/Euphony/iFi is close to SA-10 internal rendering, but the way the music flows and the definition of micro details still cannot match SA-10 internal rendering. I removed the 2TB Samsung EVO 860 SATA from NUC and use it as an external USB drive, first into iSilencer in front of NUC, and then into iFi Micro second USB port. With the Samsung SSD connected to iFi Micro second USB port, I finally got the aha moment. It sounds exactly the same with SA-10 internal rendering. Finally I was able to hear DSD 4x / 11.2 at its best. So SSD is indeed noisy and it pollutes the 5V power when used inside the NUC. iFi Micro and iSilencer fixed the NUC issues of missing details, digital sound especially with decays, and poor bass control. All those digital glares were replaced with smooth, analog sounding music. Piano decays sound so good and addictive. Out of my own curiosity, for connection between NUC and iFi Micro, I replaced the Starlight 8 with 1.2m Curious USB cable I’ve used for about a year. Suddenly there are more details, but very digital and scattered. The smooth analog sounding sound is gone with Curious. Either iFi is correct that USB3 can transmit data better than USB2, and/or the Starlight 8 USB 3.0 cable is really good. Between iFi Micro USB output to SA-10, short Curious USB cable remains my choice. I also tried using the iFi products with Zenith. I’ve seen an advert where someone sold his iFi Micro iUSB3.0 after he bought a Zenith Mk.III since he thinks with Zenith, USB regen is not required. With my Zenith Mk.II, it makes a difference. Zenith has 2 accessible USB ports even though the SuperMicro embedded motherboard has a lot more. 1 USB2 port is for DAC connection and 1 USB3 port is for backup. Technically both ports can work with iFi Micro. Using Starlight 8 from Zenith USB3 into iFi Micro gives better results, but adding iSilencer 3.0 into the USB3 port before Starlight 8 cable gives even better results. This is different from NUC where putting iSilencer adjacent to the port with Starlight 8 cable gives better results. With Zenith, musical instruments sound slightly different. I don’t think I am done yet with getting the best sound from Zenith, or maybe it was voiced differently such that it will never be able to match the sound of SA-10 internal rendering. I am really happy with the results with NUC/Euphony/iFi and very surprised Zenith Mk.II can be bettered by DIY solution. Currently Zenith OS does not support DSD 4x / 11.2 with SA-10. Nuno promised they will add that capability in the next kernel update, but it was not in 1.4.3 released recently. Euphony still does not support Native DSD with SA-10 even after multiple promises by Robert. DSD 4x / 11.2 is done as DoP. Right now my only choice to play DSD 4x is with NUC/Euphony. I am tempted to build another NUC. Despite its limitations like having DC to DC converter on the motherboard, it can still produce very good sound with the right software and USB cleaners.
  4. Over the years, I may have been chasing rainbows or dreaming. What I think I have been doing is trying to find is: That Goldilocks Moment! -- The Porridge, the Chair, the Bed. All perfect! I feel there are many of these moments in my audio system journey. At one point, it was an Akai Reel to Reel tape deck and some Koss Pro4AA headphones! Simpler times? Then it was a Phillips GA212 turntable, and Sony integrated amp and B&O speakers. How many times did I spin The Dark Side of the Moon? Today, things are changing faster than ever. But I have found some exciting moments again. The Schiit Yggdrasil DAC was one of them. The Schiit Lyr3 Headphone amp is another. While they are exciting moments, they are not centered well, they sit on the edges of things. At the core of digital music, playback are some fascinating components. Like many others here on AS, there has been much focus on playback software, operating systems, and the associated hardware. I am on the backside of my review of the Allo USBridge Sig hardware. This little box is the beginning of a new Goldilocks moment that is still dropping into place for me. When I got the hardware in place, I knew I had found something special. What I did not know is the journey it is still taking me on. The very first part of that journey was making the music play to see what it did. What a learning experience, JUST WOW! What I am finding is how much care goes into all of this software we are using. Most of my focus has been on X86 hardware, macOS, Windows, AudioLinux, and finally, Euphony. On the X86 platforms, I am sold that the Euphony Stylus software system is a Goldilocks moment. That combination of a fan-less X86 box with Optane storage and a Linear Power supply is Magic! As I have been looking around the computer audio world, there is much focus on small low power computing systems that can sound great. I have had a bunch of them in my systems over time as incremental improvements — the various models of rendu devices or the SMS-200 devices, to name a few. In my systems, time has proven them to be great at improving the sound of my stereo! It was not till the arrival of the Allo USBridge Sig that I am at another Goldilocks Moment. There is more to the story. First, there is software. Oh my is there so much software do deal with, learn, test, listen to, and manage. Out of all of the work, I think I have found a center point to pivot around. First, it is the Linux Music Player Daemon. MPD is the best sounding software I have heard in this space. What is exciting is the MoOdeAudio has an excellent little system built around MPD that helps to create this moment. I have circled the wagons multiple times, and MoOde stands out. I have been using their player software and as either a UPnP endpoint or a Squeezelite endpoint. For local music playback from say a NAS or other local drive, the MoOde player in a web browser works very nicely. It has the bonus of a nice Internet Radio setup. You can also use other software to play to it for streaming services. You can set it up for Airplay or Spotify Connect. The real key here is the renderer software. You can use LMS or Roon to the Squeezelite software or stick with UPnP and use Audirvana+. I cannot wait to try Euphony Stylus to UPnP! Over the last week I have been using Audirvana on a MacMini as the hub of this system for the user interface. I have their A+ app on the devices in the house that play music on the stereo. In the listening, I have done the combination of MoOde Software with the Allo USBridge Sig has become my latest Goldilocks Moment!
  5. bobfa


    So are you afraid of ESD? Does the thought of Arctic Silver Heatsink Paste make you go cold? Are you fearful of Phillips screwdrivers? Do you still want to play with the NUC? I have found the Goldilocks computer for you. Semi-Custom Fan-less NUC using the Dawson Canyon boards, we have come to love! Orderable with Optane SSD and much more. The system is fully warranted and you can extend the warranty. You can order it with our without an OS installed. (At least get Ubuntu installed for backup and order a USB stick from them) Simply NUC has a custom build that is perfect: https://simplynuc.com. At the top of the page see the custom NUC button. Click that and scroll down to the Fanless case section and pick the i7 model. The options I have selected above are "perfect" for a NUC to run Roon Server, etc. Get Ubuntu installed so the machine has something to run when you start up. The PORCOOLPINE comes with a power supply so you can get going right away. I purchased my Dawson Canyon board from them so I am only a happy customer. I was going to have a model of these custom built for resale, but there was not enough interest and my budget would not allow speculation. You can get an upgraded power supply at some point. You can order any of the options you would like. I just did an Euphony OS setup post that you can follow or you can setup Audio Linux from my NUC build post: HAVE FUN Bob Here is an interesting review of the PORCOOLPINE from another site: https://techsterweb.com/2019/01/27/porcoolpine/
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