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AFAIK the AK4490 needs a seperate MCK input. The S/PDIF receiver (Wolfson WM8804) & Amanero Asynchronous USB board I use in my DAC both have MCK outputs which connect to the MCK input pin on the AK4490.

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I have had this idea for ages & now a Stereonet member has quizzed me on it so I just want to get an idea of the interest in such a device. The plan A Klein II DAC but with a Raspberry Pi in pla

Hi Guys, well a few months ago I built a new prototype streamer DAC combo based on a Raspberry Pi. All AKM DAC's run in slave mode & so it is not possible to connect the Raspberry PI  di

Wow guys (where are the girls?) I had no idea there would be such a massive response. Rastus thanks for your wealth of information & no you have not overdone it - keep it coming. I think Greigw

  • 11 months later...

Hi Guys,

well a few months ago I built a new prototype streamer DAC combo based on a Raspberry Pi.

All AKM DAC's run in slave mode & so it is not possible to connect the Raspberry PI  directly into the DAC chip.

To get around this I used a device called the Kali reclocker.

https://allo.com/sparky/kali-reclocker.html

This reclocks all the I2S lines & included a high quality master clock output - perfect to drive the AK4495 DAC chip I used.

I tried quite a few distros on the Pi & settled on moOde audio as it sounded the best, easy install & excellent support.

I loved the sound quality but there were two issues.

An intermittent loud click on pause/track change & I was not totally wrapt in the simple web based remote system.

Tim from moOde audio was very helpful regarding the clicks but we never managed to solve the issue & put it down to the hardware.

I put it aside for a few months but I still had a  gut feeling that different software may solve the loud click issue.

I kept reading good things about Picoreplayer so today I gave that a shot.

Success!

It is considerably more involved in the setup but well worth the effort.

All clicks have virtually disappeared & the odd one that occur are so faint they are barley noticeably.

The other huge bonus is I can use iPeng to control it. This app is way more slick than any simple web base style of interface.

http://penguinlovesmusic.de/ipeng-8/

Any compatibility Logitech Squeezebox app will work so plenty of Android solutions as well.

 

My hardware setup.

I'm using the AK4495 in a relatively simple setup with a transformer output stage similar to the Groß DAC.

Nice low noise PSU's all round with a dedicated high current one for the Kali/Pi section.

Simple muting so no switch on/off pops.

Why did I pick the AK4495 - I particularly like the sound of it, easy to implement & reasonable cost.IMG_1228.thumb.JPG.c8e924c61fe90549752724718c0e37f4.JPG

At this stage I'm not quite sure on how I will market/price it. The SD card is hard to get to so I will probably need to run that to a external socket.

Anyway lots of possibilities & potential for sure!

I better get back to Groß DAC production for now or I will have unhappy customers.

Stay tuned!

 

 

    

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Gieseler Audio said:

...

I kept reading good things about Picoreplayer so today I gave that a shot.

Success!

It is considerably more involved in the setup but well worth the effort.

 

You might be interested to know that @Greg Erskine is one of the amazing devs of pCP ;)

The pCP team are super active and adding new features "a lot"

Did you try the "audio" version? And have you seen the experimental bluetooth support is being played with?

 

 

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FWIW Clay  I am extremely interested in this!!!

 

I know you probably have a lot on your plate  ATM but if you can make this happen.......

 

This is a great idea for a product.   

Edited by Jeddie
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Well I’ve been running this for a couple of days now & it's rock solid - not one glitch or pop.

I’m controlling it with iPeng 9 running on a thirteen inch iPad Pro & have to say it is a lovely interface.

iPeng have just done another update which includes Roon playback support.

http://penguinlovesmusic.de/2017/07/13/summer-news-from-ipeng/

My streamer/DAC is running (balanced or RCA options) directly into  power amp & has plenty of drive level.

The AK4495 analogue section is runing on 7v so max output is up a bit at around 3v rms.

Softwareware volume control in iPeng - very solid & reliable.

Music sources I’ve been using;

Tidal (flac)

USB stick with hi Rez music files

Streaming radio - I’m amazed just how good this sounds too.

Artwork support is excellent & not one album cover missing in any of my music sources.

I’m getting very excited about this now as you may have noticed.

After two beers last night & looking across at my Hi-Fi rack I’m thinking - this little box can replace my Konverter + Auralic Aries combo & is about a quarter the cost. Sound quality is obviously down a bit but still extremely good.

I will probably do two versions of it.

An entry level one similar to photo above & a ultra version more like the Groß DAC.

Now there is just one limitation in that the Kali reclocker I use (& need) does not support DSD.

There are more complex & expensive reclockers out there that support DSD but I will need to do more R & D to see if any are suitable. 

Stay tuned!

 

 

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Hi Clay

I have been waiting for youto bring out a product like this. I am not in the market for a dac at the moment, but am experimenting with the Pi and digione. It is not that hard to try different things, but is also not that easy.

I think there is a market for a product between the top of the range separates and the diy stuff for pi based products. If you could supply something that just works I think you will be on to another winner.

 

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On 10/31/2017 at 12:39 PM, Gieseler Audio said:

I better get back to Groß DAC production for now or I will have unhappy customers.

Apologies to all waiting for Clay to hurry up, but this post will distract him again!  :lol::P

 

I certainly like the idea of simplifying the chain. Taking from the music source using the Pi server and feeding via I2S to a DAC eliminates the usb chain, a source of jitter that has been the focus of much R&D ie better usb cables, usb regen etc.  A Klein π  DAC will provide an incredibly cost effective way for somewhere to enter the DAC world and get very good audio quality, all in 1 unit, no need to buy anything extra like cables, player etc.

 

Would a Groß π DAC have the same attractions?  People in this category looking for a high end DAC will likely have a network player, expensive usb cables, usb regen devices, PSUs  etc. The audio quality must be compelling before they get rid of those expensive components.  And should they upgrade in the future to a standard DAC, will then need to re-purchase them.  People in this category also like to pick and choose and upgrade individual components.  A Groß π will take away that "fun" part of the hobby/obsession!

 

Would I upgrade to Groß π ?  I have a SMS-200, ISO Regen and PSUs which are producing superb audio with the Groß DAC.  If the audio from the Groß π is as good, if not better, then most likely will upgrade.

 

p/s Clay, am expecting royalty payments if you like Klein π  and Groß π   !!!  :P

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  • 4 months later...

G'day,

 

I'm sure there is going to be a Gieseler DAC from Clay at some point in the not so distant future for delivering up music using Roon on my main music listening system. I've been told Clay has something new in the works and I'm waiting to learn what it is before making a decision.

 

In the meantime I've got two RaspberryPi based DAC solutions on their way to me for other sound systems I have.

 

The first is a Raspberry Pi 3B with HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro, in a steel case, with a 16 GB memory card. It will run RoPieee OS to create a RoonBridge. I'm going to mod it by taking the power straight to the HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro. I'll probably be asking Clay to make me a linear power supply for it.

 

The second seems to be a solution that might not be too far removed from what Clay has been proposing here in this thread. It's an Audiophonics RaspTouch I-Sabre ES9028Q2M KALI. That's a Raspberry Pi 3B with Audiophonics I-Sabre ES9028Q2M DAC, Allo Kali Reclocker I2S FIFO, 7" OLED Touch Screen, Volume control, Steel case, and 16 GB memory card. Again I hope to run RoPieee OS to create a RoonBridge. Again, I'll probably be asking Clay to make me a linear power supply for it.

 

I'd love to see Clay turn what he's been discussing here into his take on this style of unit. I'm sure it would be a world-wide success. There could be two models. One with the touch screen, and one without.

 

Best regards, Lloyd Borrett. 

 

EDIT: Audiophonics contacted me today to say the unit isn't available because a supplier has told them a component will not be available for an indefinite period. Now I have to come up with an alternative solution.

Edited by lloyd_borrett
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I'm also looking (for a friend) for a ethernet based streamer/dac combo that's a ROON endpoint for under $1500.....is this possible Clay with this new product?

 

If so....I think you could sell hundreds of them as from what I can see, the pricing for "one box solutions" are out of reach for most as the cheapest I've found (not looking for too long) is the Aurelic ALTAIR & that's close to $3k.

 

I think people are sick of having to buy renderer + reclocker + LPSU for both & then a DAC....a high SQ on box solution in normal $$ would be a winner! I think having to buy all these multiple box's to better or at least equal CD SQ is off putting for the non-computer audiophile.

 

Good luck

Matt

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Clay is well aware of all of this and has done some work on it - I will let him talk about its state.   Bear in mind this is cutting edge stuff and if it was easy to do tons would be doing it - it likely isnt - but Clay is the best person to talk abouyt that.

 

The other issue is MQA is hot right now.  You may not be into it, but many are and getting that working in any future products will likely be very non-trivial.  After all look at Roon - they have been promising MQA decoding for I do not know how long - but it never seems to happen.   Audirvana does, and will stream to an endpoint, but it, at the moment is Mac only.  They are promising a Windows version, but heaven knows actually when (its was targeted end of January - that's well and truly passed - maybe this year sometime - but IMHO likely will be well into 2019 before release - yes I am pessimistic about these things - but its from long experience).  It's probably like Roon - everyone wants it but it will happen when it happens.

 

What got me about Roon is they said it will be in version 3 - it was all over the internet - MQA coming to Roon in version 3.   They did nothing to clarify.  Version 3 released - no MQA.   Me and tons of others complained - their response - we didn't say which release of version 3 it would be in - and instead touted all the great features their new version 3 had.  Deceptive marketing comes to mind here - but from their point of view - who cares - if people buy their product then that's just fine by them.  BTW having dealt with the company after buying Roon  just before version 3 was released, they did cheerfully refund my money and offered a free trial again once its released.

 

IMHO, while everyone, including me, wants this, whats required to do it properly is not quite there right now - maybe in a year or two.

 

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba
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Matt

I was delighted with the sound quality & simple “one box” solution of my DAC/Pi combo but it does have a few limitations.

1. No DSD - the Kali reclocker will not pass DSD unfortunately & I would need to go to a much more complex hardware setup to achieve that.

2. No ability to play Tidal Master/MQA tracks at > 96k rez. This gets quite complex as Bill has pointed out.

 

In comparison both my Auralic streamers ( mini & big Aries) will play DSD all the way up to DSD512 native & also Tidal MQA up to 192k. This is all controlled with a lovely slick app called Lightning DS. 

It is a fairly simple setup too. Aries > DAC > Poweramp. The Aries USB out is very good & I actually found putting isolatorers/reclockers between it & my Gross DAC made the sound worse. The Amanero USB in on the Gross is powered by ultra low noise regulators so this helps as well.

Unfortunately the Auralic Aries are discontinued now & the new models are much more expensive.

However I haven’t totally abandoned the DAC/streamer combo concept as product & when I get time will definately have another look at it.

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If it goes ahead, I would rather see the effort go to the DAC/Pi combo rather than get distracted by MQA/Roon.  Clay,  your talent is putting together hardware with firmware tweaks to make superb sounding products.  But MQA and Roon are both software,  and unless it is "plug & play" (and I doubt it),  software development will be required. 

 

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Thanks Clay....I appreciate the time taken to highlight the current limitations as I agree that if you were to produce something like this, it would need DSD, MQA & possibly act as a Roon endpoint. It’s clearly not as simple as just bolting together all these parts into a single box.
I’m interested in your comments about the Aries as I did think this was an option for my mate as he does have a REGA DAC (albeit a few years old) so maybe a 2nd hand Aries would do the trick?
Cheers
Matt

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Hi Guys,

thanks for the input & yes Snoopy you are spot on - my expertise’s are hardware with some basic firmware control.

I’m certainly in no position to do the required software development needed for those other features. 

In light of that I think it is best to purchase separately the front end streaming device that ticks all your boxes & connect it to a good DAC - like my Gross haha

 

Matt - yes a second hand Aries is a great idea. The Lightning DS app now has a Spotify option as well which is a big bonus.

A recent Gross DAC buyer just went through all this & ended up with a s/h full Aries & is absolutely delighted with the resulting combination. He is a SNA member so maybe he may comment. 

Edited by Gieseler Audio
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  • 3 weeks later...

So I've just setup two Audiophonics RaspTouch I-Sabre ES9028Q2M network and DAC drives with volume / source controllers and touch displays. See https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/rasptouch/rasptouch-i-sabre-es9028-streamer-touch-with-volume-control-p-12181.html

 

They use a Raspberry Pi 3B with Audiophonics I-Sabre ES9028Q2M DAC, 7" OLED Touch Screen, Volume control, Steel case, and 8 GB memory card running RoPieee OS to create a RoonBridge.

 

If Clay ever produces an audiophile quality unit with this sort of functionality, I'd love one for my main listening system. The extra functionality and guest friendliness of the touch screen and display is awesome.

 

In the meantime, I'll wait and see what Clay has in the works for his next product before deciding what to put on my main listening system.

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Hi Loyd,

hey the Audiophonics RaspTouch unit looks very nice - how do they sound?

It looks like an excellent concept that they have put together too. 

I particually like the way they extended the Pi’s micro SD port to a external rear socket.

Now I wonder where I can find one of those leads?

Hopefully in the not too distant future I can incorporate a Pi style renderer into my Gross DAC.

 

Edited by Gieseler Audio
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59 minutes ago, Gieseler Audio said:

hey the Audiophonics RaspTouch unit looks very nice - how do they sound?

 

I haven't had a chance to do any critical listening yet. Hopefully that will happen tonight.

 

Plus, right now to get it working with RoPieee, I have to use the Raspberry Pi DAC drivers, not the Audiophonics ES9028Q2M ones.

 

And of course, if I wanted the best sound the unit could make, I'd be needing one of your linear low noise DC power supplies. Even better a solution where your power supply could feed the RPi and the DAC separately, rather than just via the RPi.

 

Clay, make that a Pi style renderer with touch screen in a Gross DAC, and you'll have another customer. :-)

And no doubt your unit would power the RPi and Gross DAC in a more appropriate way.

Edited by lloyd_borrett
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Matt,

I checked that out & it looks really good so I might give one a whirl.

Extreamly low noise levels which is great.

For OS they are suggesting Volumio & DietPi.

I’ve tried Volumino - very basic app control say compared to iPeng so I’d give that a miss.

Have not tried DietPi - have you?

I love the iPeng app for control so I think I will go with Picoreplayer.

I think it has good DSD compatibility  & a Tidal plug-in as well.

At the end of the day as a source it will probably sound similar to a microRendu or SMS-200 at about one third the price!

Edited by Gieseler Audio
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G'day Clay,

 

I'm using Ropieee for the software on my RPi based DAC solutions as I'm only using Roon. I have no idea as to what the differences between the other software setups you mention would be.

 

I'd been considering the use of an Allo USBridge instead of an ultraRendu for use with one of your Giesler DACs.

 

The only concern I have is the quality of the power supply. Most of these RaspberryPi based solutions just come with a standard wall wart. Some people use a linear power supply instead, which is supposed to make a difference. But as the power is going via the RPi to the add-on board, it tends to get noisy again. So some of the add-on boards can take power direct and then supply the RPi. Some even make it possible for the RPi and the add-on board to be powered separately by suitable linear power supplies. But I've not seen any off-the-shelf power supply solutions doing this for the likes of myself. These optimal power supply solutions tend to be done by those prepared to make mods to cases and boards.

 

Thus if an Allo USBridge based solution were to be used with say a Giesler Groß DAC, you may want to consider providing an option for an optimal power supply solution able to be implemented by those of us who don't want to start making mods to cases and firing up a soldering iron.

 

My reading of what you've been trying with your own RPi combined with Giesler DAC solution suggests you fully understand the importance of achieving the right power supply solution. Which is why someone like me, looking for an off the shelf solution, would be interested in a unit along the lines of the direction you were heading. I suspect using a wall wart powered Allo USBridge with a Giesler DAC would be a SQ compromise.

 

(I hope some of the above makes sense.)

 

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Hi Loyd,

 

absolutely spot on!

I agree the best way to do it would be to provide the Sparky & the USB bridge both with independent ultra low noise power supplies. Rather than try & build it all into the Gross chassis I think it would be better if I came up with a dual output (5v + 5v)

external low noise PSU. That way anyone could use the Sparky/USB bridge combo with their own USB DAC. I think the Sparky & USB bridge can be powered seperately if you leave a jumper open on the USB bridge.

 

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I'm confused by why you would convert from to I2S to USB only to go back to I2S i to the DAC chip ?

I thought the strength of the rPi is the short circuit length that isnt molestered on its trip to the dac.

Wouldn't the better solution be to engineer a solution somewhat like the kali reclocker feeding your best dac implementation ?

 

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Yes I agree the double process does not seem logical but it has the advantage of retaining DSD compatibility which a lot of people want. Using the Sparky/USB bridge the USB signal is reclocked & has very low noise so it should work really well with the huge amount of USB DAC’s that are out there.

I have tried Kali with good results but no DSD unfortunately.

 

 

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There are reports from the Roon and Computeraudiophile forum that the Allo USBridge is on par with the Sonore microRendu even when the mR has a better PS.

It is the best to power the Sparky and USBridge separately.

The Gieseler PSs are certainly very good, for lovers of SMPS Allo will launch in two months a 5V Super SMPS, named Nirvana.

 

Matt

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The feedback on the USBridge is excellent.

I have just ordered one with  DietPi as OS.

Now I have this radical idea about a bigger case for the Gross DAC & installing the USBridge inside. 

Then I could add two more low noise PSU’s - one for the Sparky & one for the USBridge board.

Anyway one thing at a time so as soon as the USBridge arrives I will give it a thorough workout with the Gross DAC & post the results.

Thanks Matt for alerting me about this. 

:popcorn:

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34 minutes ago, Gieseler Audio said:

Now I have this radical idea about a bigger case for the Gross DAC & installing the USBridge inside. 

Clay,

sorry, but I see no gain to put the USBridge inside.

You would have USB out/in inside the case, it does not make sense.

And you would need something like an OEM contract with Allo to do this.

Anyway, I like to get your feedback about the USBridge.

Thanks

 

Matt

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17 minutes ago, matth said:

And you would need something like an OEM contract with Allo to do this

I cant imagine Allo have much say in what anyone does to the device after it has been sold

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1 hour ago, Gieseler Audio said:

The feedback on the USBridge is excellent.

I have just ordered one with  DietPi as OS.

Now I have this radical idea about a bigger case for the Gross DAC & installing the USBridge inside. 

Then I could add two more low noise PSU’s - one for the Sparky & one for the USBridge board.

Anyway one thing at a time so as soon as the USBridge arrives I will give it a thorough workout with the Gross DAC & post the results.

Thanks Matt for alerting me about this. 

:popcorn:

 

On 04/03/2018 at 9:26 AM, scumbag said:

Allo usb bridge might be a good candidate? https://www.allo.com/sparky-eu/usbridge.html

No problem ;)

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 09/04/2018 at 8:30 AM, scumbag said:

 

No problem ;)

 

So what's the dirty on the USBridge?  Lookig at it as a (relatively low cost) option over sms-200 for Roon (streaming Tidal) endpoint.....

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I've been sitting with my cursor hovering over the buy button on an allo pi based streamer for quite a few months.  I'm not in a position to give any sort of ranking unfortunately . What I can do is join the dots between the different reviews. John darko very handily has a section on streaming devices in his dac rankings. According to that, the allo devices seem to sit in sound quality around the microrendu. He has never reviewed the sotm200 so there is no way to get a feel for where he thinks the usb bridge or the DIGIone sit with regards to it. Hans beekhuyzeen has reviewed the mr, the sotm200, the allo usbridge and the DIGIone. His videos are quite long and exhaustive but the feeling I get is that the allo solutions are going toe to toe with the sotm200. 

Anyway, what is now grabbing my attention and is more relevant to clay's interests is the Kali reclocker. I've been itching to grab one of these to listen to as it has i2s output so no conversion to usb or spdif and 

possibly less interaction with cables as i2s. I'd like to hear this feeding my directstream junior! https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/raspdac/raspdigi-lte-lvds-reclocker-kali-streamer-i2s-lvds-hdmi-audio-gd-compatible-p-12031.html

Not cheap but very interesting. 

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Hi Mark,

the Allo Kali sounds very good. Works well with picore player too.

You just need a DAC with I2S in.

I have not done a comparison to the USBridge yet.

I ordered it (USBridge)with the Allo dietPi OS - unfortunately it is a very basic gui with not a lot of options. I'm wanting to use it as a standalone unit so you need to go in via ssh & install LMS, mount drives ect. I will let you know how it sounds when I get it up & running. Allo support is good which is a big help.

 

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