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  1. We are trying a new wiki-esque method of showing the settings in AudioLinux. October 2019 Things evolve. Over time I have found that Euphony OS is simpler to install and run and it sounds better to me. I had been running a two box solution with a sever and a couple of different endpoints. My configuration changed over the summer when a new version of Euphony was released that runs the OS in RAM. I have migrated to a single box solution that uses my Xeon Server (see my Xeon thread on that) directly connected to my Kii Three Speaker system. See my profile for the system design. The NUC described here is a Wonderfull endpoint or server if needed. Get the best power supply you can afford and this thing sings! Notes as of 6/25/19 The Dawson Canyon NUC also know as the DNHE / DNKE / DNBE / DNFE system is classified as a commercial grade NUC with a 3yr life cycle. The dnh"E" stands for Extended Life. Most Intel NUC(s) have a refresh cycle of about 18 months to two years. However, anytime Intel releases a commercial grade system to the market, the life cycle is a minimum of 3yrs. According to the roadmap, the Dawson Canyon will continue to be on the market all of 2019 and 2020. Currently, we are dealing with an Intel shortage that should come to rest by the end of July. The NUC(s) impacted are mostly i7 and i3 Dawsons (in all formats H/K/B/F. At the root of the following thread you will find the beginning: If this construction system is too much for you to do, or you want to buy rather than build. Here is one option: I have started a thread on building a music server. See below: There has been a HUGE flurry of activity on the “Massive SQ” thread onAudiophileStyle. The discovery of putting a specific Intel NUC computer into the stereo system as the network endpoint running Audiolinux (AL) in RAM with no other disks has dramatically improved the audio quality for many of us. Here is a link to where the NUC part of this thread “started:” https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/?page=359&tab=comments#comment-860030 Two primary NUC models are in use. The single board computers are typically put into a fan-less case, hooked up to a high-quality power supply, booted off of a USB stick into RAM. What I hope to accomplish here is to have a “recipe” for success. Just like baking a cake you need to have your tools and ingredients ready before you start. Remember this is first and foremost a DIY project and t is also a “Work In Progress”. For me, it is also a rousing success. From 0 to NUC/AL/RAM in 2 hours *Not including Prep* To bake our NUC cake, we need the following components and tools. Setup Tools USB Keyboard and Mouse HDMI Monitor and HDMI cable Power supply for the NUC. **** discussion on this later *** Small Phillips screwdriver Anti-static work strap. A well-lit place to work A Windows PC or Mac to download AL and set up the USB stick Internet connection Just the right amount of coffee What needs to be in your Stereo system Ethernet connection A USB cable to the DAC Power supply for the NUC/AL Roon system (my choice, there are others) What you need to buy Two NUC models have been popular in this project. From all reports, they both sound great. According to some the i7 model sounds better and costs more! Take the time to read the relevant parts of the “massive” thread. I chose to get the Core i7 model. Note that the prices are estimates for the USA and do not include tax, shipping, etc. The Celeron Model comes from Intel as a complete system in a box. You need to extract the computer from the box and mount it in the fan-less case. Intel NUC7i7DBNE single board computer. $575 Akasa NUC Plato X7D case $170 OR Intel NUC7CJYH. $130 Akasa Newton JC Fan-less. $100. https://amzn.to/2Wvd7fg Here is the rest of what you need to order: RAM Ballistix Sport LT 8GB Single DDR4 2400. $60. https://amzn.to/2WsAPZr USB Stick. SanDisk Ultra Flair 32GB USB 3. $10 Audio-Linux headless. $49. (license and one year support) Once you order up the parts and get everything in place, let us get Audiolinux setup installed on the USB stick. You can do this from Windows PC or a Mac. I have done both following the instructions on the audio-linux.com website and if you have a PC do it there for speed. The Mac method took 75min to build the same USB stick. *** Etcher does run on MacOS. You should be able to build the USB stick there. *** In your favorite Windows PC web browser download your Linux image and a copy of Etcher. http://audio-linux.com https://www.balena.io/etcher/ Put the USB stick in your machine. Install and run Etcher. Etcher prompts you for the location of the image file you want to flash to your USB stick. Etcher should show the target as your USB drive! MAKE Sure because it ERASES the target! It takes 10-15 minutes to complete flashing the USB stick. While the USB stick is flashing, we can build the NUC board into the case. For the rest of this setup, you need a nice clean workspace and your anti-static strap. Oh and go slow on the Coffee! First, unbox the case remove the top cover to inspect the inside and inventory all of the materials. The top case cover has four small Phillips head screws to remove. Here are three views inside the case. The above views are the inside front with the board holding the power switch, the LEDs and the two USB 3 ports. The small board is the two front USB 2 ports. Below is the inside rearview where the computer board is mounted and the shielded cutouts for the ports. Flip the case over and put the feet on so that to protect the bottom from scratches. There are four feet with screws to attach. Be sure to put them in the correct screw holes. You can now carefully set aside the case as we have to do a “fan-ectomy” on the NUC Board. You are dealing a bare computer motherboard; please observe standard anti-static protection procedures. An anti-static wrist strap and the anti-static bag that the board comes in are your friends. Here are pictures of both sides of the board. On the top side, you have the RAM and M.2 slots and some of the other connections for drives. The second picture shows the included fan and heatsink that we have to remove. First, you need to unplug the fan power cable. The connector is small so be careful pulling it off. Remove two small screws holding the fan down to the heatsink. The heatsink is attached to the motherboard with three screws. In the above picture, you can see them on the silver bar and in the recessed hole in the black part of the heatsink. Carefully remove the screws, and you can pull the heatsink away from the board. Note that the heatsink “grease” sticks them together a bit. Below you can see the separated heatsink and the board with the compound on the CPU (black part). Now you need to clean up the old heatsink compound from the CPU. Use cotton swabs and some alcohol to clean it off. The picture below shows the CPU module after cleanup. Next put the new heatsink grease on the CPU and the heatsink pad on the smaller black rectangle. The pad is a bit fussy to get stuck down. There are some pictures in the install page from Akasa that may help. In my case, they have an addendum showing how they now include the heatsink grease. From the picture below I used too much thermal paste! Thanks, @Dutch for pointing that out. A couple of dots would have been enough Here is a video of better ways. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYwHB2P6GmM It is time to install the board in the case. Carefully set the motherboard on the static bag aside and bring the case back to your workplace. Put the rear of the case closest to you and move the cables out of the way. Observe the part of the case where the CPU seats on the upraised heatsink and the four standoffs for mounting the board. There are four screws and fiber washers to hold the case in place. Carefully set the board CPU side down onto the case aligning it to the standoffs. Being careful not to strip the screws install them all but do not tighten. Once all four screws are in carefully tighten them down. I do them: upper left, lower right, lower left, upper right. Just my method! Next, it is time to connect the cables. The two USB 2 connectors are on the upper left, and the black thin flat ribbon cables plug into them. The two big USB 3 cables plug into the USB connectors on the top. Finally, the multi-color cable plugs into the header. The connector is keyed and goes on the leftmost pins. There is a hole blocked on the connector and a clipped pin on the board. With the connections completed installing the RAM in the bottom slot is next. The bottom slot is slot #2, but folks think it is the right place. The little RAM board goes in at an angle into the connector and is then pressed down to hook into the spring latches on the side. Dress the cables so that you can screw the top plate back on to the case! The “hardware” part complete. Now for the “smoke test.” You need to connect the keyboard, display, mouse, network. Finally, plug in the power cable and press the power switch to turn on the computer. ** do not plug the USB stick in yet ** Making the initial changes to the BIOS If the NUC passed the smoke test, the computer boots up to the BIOS where you have to make some settings changes. Note that on the first screen the UFEI Boot selection is ticked on. Note the temperatures of the CPU. Keep an eye on them as we go forward to make sure you did a good job on the heatsink grease! Mine here is under 30C which is GREAT. Set the BIOS clock on this screen if it is not right. Select the “Advanced” menu selection shown on the above screen to go to the next settings pages. Select the SATA tab and turn off SATA and the activity light. On the Boot Configuration page, I have mine set to boot USB first, Network last and the USB, and Optical are checked on. (may be able to uncheck the Optical). I may be doing a network boot, so I left it alone. On the Secure Boot tab, uncheck the Secure Boot item to disable it. Audioliniux does not use Secure Boot. On the performance tab under Processor, uncheck Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost. The only other change I have made is to set the Primary Power setting to Balanced Enabled. I think others have set to Low Power. ** Note that this is all still a bit of an experiment and these settings may change. ** Insert your Audiolinux USB stick into one of the USB 3 connectors. You can now use the F10 key to save and exit the BIOS. Audiolinux Setup We are now on the final leg of the setup. With great thanks to Piero Olmeda, the author of Audiolinux distribution this part this part is pretty simple! When the machine boots up, some text goes by and if all is well the computer displays the Audiolinux menu screen. You may see a few differences in this screen depending upon what version of the system menu you have installed. Piero updates the different parts of the OS on a regular basis. Before we start with the configuration, you should update the system. This menu is driven merely by the cursor keys, and the enter key. So cursor down to the update menu and press enter. Since you are not getting ahead of me yet, you are booting and running off of the USB stick, so no RAM mode issues need to be addressed. Note that I am running this NUC as a Roon endpoint so I have not explored other audio packages. During the install steps, you need the default passwords for Audiolinux. I assume that they might change so, please refer to the Audio-Linux.com website to find them. (scroll down and look or search on the page for the correct passwords. Cursor down and select the update menu item. You need to run the first four updates if you are following along with me. I did them in order. (I do not know if that order is “correct”). You will need your passwords during this. After you have completed the last update of the Audiolinux menu go back to the first page and select option 8 Console Mode. That takes you to the command line. DON’T PANIC! Just type in the command: menuand press enter. You have restarted the Audiolinux menu, so the new version runs. You are now going to configure the system to be a Roon endpoint, run in RAM and extreme mode. From the first screen select the configuration menu item. The above screen appears. Select the Roonbridge men item to set-up endpoint. After that completes set number 14 (scroll down) Set real-time priority to “extreme." Finally, select 15 enable ramroot. Select Cancel to return to the main menu screen and select Reboot. The computer reboots and automatically loads the OS into RAM. As the machine boots up and pauses for a few seconds displaying this screen. It will automatically start-up in RAM after that delay. After the boot to RAM is complete, the Audiolinux menu appears. From the Audiolinux menu check the CPU temperature found on the “Status” page. Also check the Audio Status from the “Configuration” Page. HURRAY! Pat yourself on the back. Toast yourself! Your Audiolinux Roon endpoint should be fully operational. Grab a USB cable and DAC and hook them up. Fire up the Roon application to add the new device to your audio system. There are some more steps to perform, but for testing purposes, you can run the system right now to see how it works. I mentioned at the start of this article that a good power supply is beneficial for NUC to produce the best sound. The NUC runs from 12v to 19v DC. There are reports that running at 19V may sound better. Some of the users have the UpTone Audio LPS 1.2 running their Celeron NUCs. Others are using Paul Haynes supplies, and I am sure there are many others. I have an UpTone Audio JS-2 in my system, and it runs my NUC and my ISORegen. Before you put the NUC into production, there are some other settings that you need to do. I am a huge fan of having the clocks running correctly in my computers and setting up Audiolinux to use network time server to keep the clocks on the beat is essential. Some other items can be adjusted as needed. @austinpop has an excellent post describing how to do some of them. https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/54933-audiolinux-and-nuc-troubleshooting-and-tuning/?tab=comments#comment-901393 This little bit of cleanup work requires you to edit a couple of files and run a few commands on the command line in Linux. Now is also the time where you can do some of the fine-tuning and changes that may influence audio quality. I am not going to show the final tweaks of Audiolinux in this article. I want you to play, listen, and read some more. There is another thread on tuning and troubleshooting. https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/54933-audiolinux-and-nuc-troubleshooting-and-tuning/?tab=comments#comment-901393 **** IF you are going to have more than one AudioLinux device running Roon on your network you will most likely run into a problem where Roon gets confused about devices. You will have to apply the fix in this post: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/54933-audiolinux-and-nuc-troubleshooting-and-tuning/?page=31&tab=comments#comment-918823 I am planning to post a summary of my settings over the next couple of weeks, and I have the time/date setup and fine-tuning in that. *** I am close on this one please stand by**** This article is a summary of my NUC build and a record for my own memory. I hope that others find value in it. There is so much work that has been done by others I cannot thank them all. I have to shout out to the following folks for all their work. @austinpop @lmitche @romaz @greenleo @hifi25nl @rickca I know that there are so many others I cannot remember them All! Thanks Bob Fairbairn ---------------------------------------------------------------- Adding WiFi to the build I have been thinking about adding a WiFi card to the build so I dug around and found the card and antennas on Amazon. So here is ONE WAY to add WiFi to the NUC Parts needed M.2 card for your NUC. In my case the Intel AC-8265. https://amzn.to/2Wt9mH2 Antennas and cables for the card. https://amzn.to/2Bcm5Vx Tools needed Phillips screwdrivers as before Needle nose pliers. 5/16 in socket wrench Small round file You might want to skip the coffee before you do this. Do not forget your anti-static protection ! This is the point where I have to play the robot on "Lost in Space". DANGER WILL ROBINSON The connectors on this card are tiny, fragile, and fussy. In my build, the Akasa case is anodized black and I could not insert the SMA connectors into the case without filing the holes out a bit. NOTE metal filings are conductive and can short out the CPU board. I HIGHLY INSIST that you remove the board and then file the case. HIGHLY INSIST! Here we go This is where the board will go and you can see the rubber grommet for one of the antenna leads. Note that the M.2 board mounting screw has a post below it that has to be removed to put the lower board in. Remove the screw and the post. Here is a view of the socket and the post with the board not installed. The second picture shows the board installed. I had to remove the board to install the antennas leads. *** DO NOT INSTALL THE BOARD BEFORE CONNECTING THE ANTENNA LEADS AND PUTTING THE SMA CONNECTORS ON THE CASE *** Here is the board with the antenna leads connected. It is really close quarters in there. Those connectors are fussy. This shows one of the antenna SMA connectors mounted in the case. I used a 5/16in nut driver to snug up the SMA to the case. The antenna is threaded on and you do not want a loose connector/cable. Finally, the case buttoned up antennas installed. I set up on the bench with keyboard, mouse, and monitor. I can then attach my Chord Mojo for quick test final test and initial audio quality review. Software and BIOS Setup for WiFi There is one BIOS change needed to enable the M.2 card in the machine. Look at the PCI page in Advanced Settings. The WiFi setup is now in the Audio Linux menu! And of course in operation. Foot notes after a few weeks in operation. 1. I have now re-connected the WiFi card as my new home network allows me to create multiple networks. I created a 5GHZ only network SSID for the endpoint. I have that running. I will report further. 2. I am having a very hard time determining if I can hear the difference of the USB stick in or out. I have made some other changes in the network since then and I will go back and re-test.
  2. Hi there! I just got my Allo USB Wifi Dongle. It should be "Plug in, and start surfing! Includes easy to setup driver." Well, as a spoiled windows user, I thought it would be litterally "plug and play". However, the manual ist called "Quick_Start_Guide_for_Driver_Compilation_and_Installation" and is not at all easy for me... Can somebody help me step by step...? I don't have a screen on the USBridge, I just operate it by the allo web interface or by SSH over Putty... THANKS!
  3. Like many others, my network has grown up over time. Starting with Dial-up on to DSL modems hooked to a single computer or a small wired network and many different networking methods that sort of worked. Today my network is on Comcast cable using my modem with three Netgear Orbi devices on wired backhaul. There is a 24 Port TP link switch in the basement network shelf and an eight-Port switch in the family room for all the TV gear, and a temporary eight-port switch in the office. There is a point-to-point wireless network link to my in-law's house to provide them with internet access. On an average day, there are 55 devices on my network. The wired part of the network is solid with no issues, well none that I usually see. The Orbi gear works great, and now that their wired backhaul is in place I have the same WiFi configuration between the two houses. All is well until tomorrow. If the nice FedEx folks do not freeze my TLS audio switch will arrive. I do not think my network is ready for it. I do not know where I will place it. Near the Server? Near the "best" endpoint? Time will tell if my ears can hear the difference. But; Wait! There is more. As soon as I can get my hands on the UpTone Audio EtherRegen, I will want to test that. I now have a dilemma. It is time to "tear down that wall" and redesign the network systems. I have evolving ideas in my head. Design #1 Tear it all down and build up with Ubiquiti UniFi. Design #2 Keep the core Netgear Orbi Mesh system and leverage that. Design #3 Isolate the audio system network and leave the rest alone. I always like to start a project like this with some requirements. These are pretty high level to allow the most flexibility. Provide Internet Access for two related families. Implement seamless WiFi so that devices can roam between the two homes. Ensure that multiple concurrent audio and video streaming services work well. Provide for "isolation" for the Audiophile network. The network is flat between the two homes. Should we change that somehow? VLAN? Should we eliminate the wireless backhaul between houses and replace it with fiber? (less than 100ft run) Support PC gaming on one computer Decide about VLAN support and isolation of some devices for security. (IOT, Amazon Echo, others) Develop a support document so others can manage the network. (Unifi would help this a lot) Add optical networking for in the design now or for future planning Audio Subsystem The audio system that I want to isolate consists of three or four sub-systems as follows. 1. LR sit down music system: NUC/AL to YGGY/AYRE 2. Office desk system: UltraRendu to LYR3 Multibit 3. Server backend: Roon on a Sonic Transporter (10TB internal storage) 4. Possible need for NAS on this nework depending upon the server. NOTE: The iPad, etc. controlling Roon will not be isolated. I will want to stream to other devices on network outside of the isolated group. I will be tinkering over the next little bit. 1. TLS Switch configurations 2. Wireless on the NUC/AL 3. Fiber to the NUC/AL ( will need an FMC) The next phase may involve the following a. EtherRegen b. OpticalRendu The network re-design may be next. The server portion of the audio system comes after that. I am very open to other thoughts on my intentions! Bob
  4. Hi all Which provides the harder test on the network, DSD256 via DoP or PCM705kHz? What's the demand on the network for each of these? Identical or does DSD256 provide a larger demand? I'm only talking about up-sampling (obviously in the case of PCM705k) to these rates - not native files at these sample rates. And is streaming PCM768k over the network more demanding than DSD256 via DoP? Cheers
  5. Hi all - Just picked up a Raspberry Pi 3 to use in my bedroom system, strictly over wifi. I find that I can cleanly stream 16/44 via mpd and Roon with no issue. When I get to 24/192 though, Roon tends to handle it well (some network slowness, but I can typically play the files cleanly). mpd chokes though. I'm playing with the buffering settings there without success so far, but this is an unexpected situation re: mpd. I'e got a Beaglebone Black in my main rig and it runs 24/192 flawlessly, though it uses Ethernet and applies the performance governor. I've tried changing the governor on the Pi as well, but that seems to cause major throttling (I've got some heat sinks en route to test out). But since Roon is generally OK, this seems more like a wifi throughput issue - or mpd buffering issue - than a CPU issue. Happy to hear any thoughts. Pi is running headless, removed all traces of X server. I do keep Roon Bridge running though. Thanks all! Justin
  6. Let's suppose I have a recently purchased DAC with a lot of different choices for the digital interfaces. Is there one that is (likely to be) much better than the others? Or is there one that is (likely to be) worse? I am asking in terms of theoretically the best/worst and also in terms of typical implementations (say with a $5k price cap). I hear a lot about noise, ground loops, jitter, etc. but it isn't clear to me if there are clear differences across brands in these effects or in SQ overall. Choices include: USB WiFi (I use Apple AirPlay from iTunes currently) Toslink Ethernet (I have CAT 6 cable runs) HDMI Thunderbolt Coax I will leave out bluetooth....
  7. I thought I might tap the experience and knowledge resources here at the CA Forum. I'm just completed building a third section to my home audio system (Garage). However, the garage is detached and about 125' from the home WiFi. I'm currently using a dual-band Apple Time Capsule 805.11ac with good music streaming results. What's the best approach (architecture/device) to extend the WiFi signal to the garage?
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