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LongtimeListener

Volumio vs Daphile sound

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1 hour ago, Dave the Rave said:

Does it sound better when installed on your laptop than on USB?

I would say yes, but did not listen too much as I quickly decided to move Volumio to a Raspberry Pi 3. There the sound is definitely very nice, indeed.

 

Cheers

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On 11/12/2017 at 12:00 AM, JukKluk2 said:

I really don’t know if the last few posts are serious or if they are extracting the urine. Either way, I have absolutely no idea what language is being used. I do know most of the words, it’s just the order that they’re in that I cannot fathom.

 

Hi JukKluk - I am a n00b at this having played around with it for about five years to negligible results.  This is because I am of the opinion that any audio element that requires computer coding to be done by the owner of the gear, has moved out of the realm of "audio" and into the realm of "programming". But let me try to sum up.

 

This is all about the joys of trying to play music from one's computer rather than from CD or vinyl.  The chain of components can be lengthy and that's because the audio from a computer has several problems, namely or mainly Windows, latency, and bitrate.  Windows does too much and believes that you really want to do what it thinks you want to do. As a result Windows spends most of its time putting its attention into things that you think are trivial, and meantime it treats your audio signal as a trivial thing and makes it noisy, jerky, and so on. So it needs to be tamed. Due to timing and software coding issues, the relationship between the computer and the clock in a DAC can fail.  This is expressed in pops, clicks, or jitter. This too needs to be tamed. Also some sound cards are just rubbish. Apparently a large part of the human race (subspecies: computer users) is more interested in visual than audio, and audio technology by comparison is treated with contempt.  Neil Young recently made this point when discussing Apple still even now in 2017 being wedded to the mp3 format. Such things are symptomatic of the computer industry. The money's in gaming, then films, then TV, and music a distant last. So that's what you are up against when trying to play files from your computer over your stereo.

 

But it can be done! Indeed there's a consensus that a good taming method for all this is to use your home network and have the component chain as PC > another computer > DAC>amp>speakers.  The other computer being a little box that is wholly devoted to the signal to the DAC.  It acts as a buffer and synchroniser.  Computers that use Linux are adept at this task. Another good thing is that they are cheap - most well-known is the Raspberry Pi but there are competitors including Cubox.

 

These are 'headless' computers, so called because setting them up is an exercise which causes you to go off your head with frustration. The problem is that you don't plug a keyboard and monitor into them, because that would introduce priority tasks that downgrade the audio aspects. Instead, these little boxes are given an IP address like any web site, even though the IP address applies to an item that is actually located on your own home network. You send instructions to the headless computer from another computer, such as a tablet or PC, elsewhere on your network. It has been known for some people to get to the point where they can select music from their tablets while sitting in the prime listening position in front of the speakers, and that music will then play! I have seen this done although it continues to elude my home setup.

 

Software that sends the instructions to the headless computer includes jriver, Volumio and Daphile. (SNA for a while had a discussion thread on another software product designed purely for Windows). In common these are written by enthusiastic and hard-working software coders and engineers who have forgotten that many audiophiles have to write down and check whether the red plug on an RCA cable goes into the the Right or Left channel. So Volumio (for example) boasts that you will be up and running within minutes and this is probably true for people experienced with what a software is and does. But every so often with Linux you suddenly need to lift the lid, reach deep into the depths, and enter some code for the purposes of switches or assignments or something equally technical or mystical.  It is this step in the process that separates the listener from the software enthusiast, and, as a listener, I liken this to losing a toilet brush down a long drop toilet and trying to fish it out again.

 

Think of it as the software equivalent of the audiophile's Housekeeping Dilemma. In the Housekeeping Dilemma, the vinyl-loving audiophile looks around at the chemicals, brushes, fans, vacuum cleaning machines, bags and so on, and asks, "would I have got into this vinyl hobby if I knew I was going to turn myself into a cleaner?" For digital music, the question is, "would you have got into this hobby if you knew you were going to turn yourself into a computer coder?"

 

One of the challenges to a n00b is putting the software of choice - Volumio, Daphile, whatever - onto a little SD card, sticking that into the little slot on the headless computer, starting it up and getting it (the software and the headless computer) to talk to the network and your PC. This process has multiple simultaneous points of failure, ranging from accurate transcription of the software from the download onto the SD card, to faults with the power supply and start-up, to assigning the wrong IP address on the network, to software faults such as not being able to handle large libraries of music or not being able to handle some rarely-used yet legitimate symbols in song titles or folder titles or not being able to handle flac files or wanting to do something helpful like download album art for all your files before finishing set-up. This is not helped by the inadequacy of the feedback the designers build into their softwares to inform users about these moments or events. Does nil activity mean that the program has shat itself or is simply working away in the background? From the inevitable blank or spinning screens these programs display, how would you ever know?

 

The various forums discourage discussion of these matters, instead they perpetuate the myth of plug-and-play, which may very well be the case for anyone with a computer or software background but excludes the many audiophiles who simply want to listen to their prog rock flac files through a DAC without jitter and for whom it is a surprise that Windows has backdoors or a regular update process.

 

In truth the forums for Volumio, Daphile and their counterparts have many threads which can be summed up as "I don't code for a living.  Instead, I am a human being. Your assumptions about usability are causing me distress.  Please help by translating this into terms or steps I can understand".

 

Anyway, the discussion on this thread has been by people who have mastered these skills to the point where not only have they got their digital music to actually play, but they can critique which software player delivers the best sound.

 

I hope you find this explanation more helpful than 'google is your friend' (and I hope my explanation of the usability disconnect between coders and listeners explains why it is perfectly unsurprising to get responses such as 'google is your friend'.)

Edited by ThirdDrawerDown

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@Batty I had lots of trouble getting my NAS working. After lots of googling, got it working. NFS is troublesome. It finally worked via cifs. Make sure SMB/cifs is enabled in your NAS (test by accessing the music folder via windows pc using the NAS ip); also enter your username/password .

 

My Squeezeboxen have no problems with accessing the NAS, 1 via ethernet the other wirelessly. Must be set up.

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13 hours ago, ThirdDrawerDown said:

I hope my explanation of the usability disconnect between coders and listeners explains why it is perfectly unsurprising to get responses such as 'google is your friend'.

Nicely done this explanation. To add to this:

Hardware

- motherboard (contains CPU and interfaces eg USB, headphone socket, monitor socket, harddisk socket, SD card)

- Monitor (not necessary for audio, therefore you don't need any processes to run on the OS)

- Keyboard (not necessary for audio, therefore you don't need any processes to run on the OS)

- Mouse/trackpad (not necessary for audio, therefore you don't need any processes to run on the OS)

 

Software

- Operationssystem (OS), eg Windows, Linux, MacOS (locked to the hardware Apple sells)

 

All closed sourced OS come preconfigured.

Windows is made to run desktops, laptops, servers and starts lots of programs in the process which influence the sound. Windows is closed source that means you are limited to change it. Many things are deeply embedded and a change would make the OS unusable. The same counts for MacOS, although they offer lots of audiophile solutions for hard cash.

 

Linux is open source, nobody owns that OS, you can change the code and offer it back to the community for use or to build on it. That has the advantage that everybody can configure it to their liking. And that is why so many audiophiles use it. You can easily leave things away that are not necessary to serve the data from the medium (harddisk, USB stick etc) to your DAC. This reduces the negative impact of processes that are not necessary for the audio task.

 

With other words, Linux is happy with the motherboard running only minimal processes to serve the data to the DAC. And this in return results in a excellent sound experience.

 

Cheers

 

PS: Linux also runs on 12 different processors Linux supported computer architectures while Windows and MacOS runs on 2 . That makes it possible to use other more efficient processors hardware than the other OS can use. That's why the Raspberry Pi or similar efficient hardware found their way into the audiophile world.

 

PSS: Forgot to mention that we are here to help, too ;)

Edited by LongtimeListener

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On 12/17/2017 at 2:28 PM, Batty said:

It stops indexing.

 

same here - a shame as indications were that it sounded good (before it failed to fully index my collection).

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Ditched the idea, gone back to my slim devices squeezebox.

 

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Just dipped my toe into these waters recently.  Have tried Rune and Volumio.  Both work fine, but also both suffer from extremely slow response when browsing long lists on a mobile device (the native Volumio app or web browser - same problem, but web is worse) - doesn't matter whether it's long album lists, or artists, or web radio stations etc.

 

Pity, but I read complaints about it going back months, maybe more.   Doesn't look like it will get fixed any time soon.

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Just a bit more info from my current volumio P3 system:

System load over a listening session...

at 1, at 5, and 15 minutes.

Load average of 1.00 would mean the system would have waited to process data with consequences for the data stream. As you can see it came not even close and runs with a very low work load...

 

Cheers

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

             Free Audiophile Linux Music Player - Version 2.0

          C 2015 Michelangelo Guarise - Volumio Team - Volumio.org
                               

Volumio Debian GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent
permitted by applicable law.
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 06:24:48 up 12 min,  1 user,  load average: 0.16, 0.13, 0.09
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 06:33:38 up 21 min,  1 user,  load average: 0.01, 0.11, 0.09
[email protected]:~$ dir
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 07:21:27 up  1:09,  1 user,  load average: 0.09, 0.09, 0.08
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 07:39:04 up  1:26,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.01
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 07:39:33 up  1:27,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 07:47:42 up  1:35,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.00
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 08:04:28 up  1:52,  1 user,  load average: 0.04, 0.02, 0.00

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1 hour ago, LongtimeListener said:

Just a bit more info from my current volumio P3 system:

System load over a listening session...

at 1, at 5, and 15 minutes.

Load average of 1.00 would mean the system would have waited to process data with consequences for the data stream. As you can see it came not even close and runs with a very low work load...

 

Cheers

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

             Free Audiophile Linux Music Player - Version 2.0

          C 2015 Michelangelo Guarise - Volumio Team - Volumio.org
                               

Volumio Debian GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent
permitted by applicable law.
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 06:24:48 up 12 min,  1 user,  load average: 0.16, 0.13, 0.09
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 06:33:38 up 21 min,  1 user,  load average: 0.01, 0.11, 0.09
[email protected]:~$ dir
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 07:21:27 up  1:09,  1 user,  load average: 0.09, 0.09, 0.08
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 07:39:04 up  1:26,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.01
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 07:39:33 up  1:27,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 07:47:42 up  1:35,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.00
[email protected]:~$ uptime
 08:04:28 up  1:52,  1 user,  load average: 0.04, 0.02, 0.00

 

Yep,   the new Pi 3 just loafs along.  I just turned on upsampling on mine and set it to the very high quality.   There is power to do lots of extra things.

 

Now if they'd just release an update and fix a few problems...

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1 hour ago, aussievintage said:

I just turned on upsampling on mine and set it to the very high quality.

What does this do in regards to the sound quality? Is it taking away the correct sound wave calculation from the DAC and therefore improves the sound?

 

Cheers

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8 minutes ago, LongtimeListener said:

What does this do in regards to the sound quality? Is it taking away the correct sound wave calculation from the DAC and therefore improves the sound?

 

 

It is a new idea to me too.  Yes, basically, the assumption is that, given enough processing power, you can do a better job of upsampling than the DAC can do, so you target the native sampling freq and bits of the DAC.  Volumio makes this easy to do, just a config item.   

 

I have not listened enough to decide if it helps or not.  Certainly I hear no downside to doing it.

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1 hour ago, aussievintage said:

Certainly I hear no downside to doing it.

Sounds interesting, will do some testing :D

 

Cheers

 

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Did some upsampling to 96k with the volumio option and the files played nicely, however,

  • I had quite a few clicks and pops
  • The sound was changed, seemed less brilliant in the high and more mumbled bass
  • My 192k files were downsampled to 96k :(

I still get the best outcome playing the native resolution on my system...

Cheers

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1 minute ago, LongtimeListener said:

Did some upsampling to 96k with the volumio option and the files played nicely, however,

  • I had quite a few clicks and pops
  • The sound was changed, seemed less brilliant in the high and more mumbled bass
  • My 192k files were downsampled to 96k :(

I still get the best outcome playing the native resolution on my system...

Cheers

 

Interesting. As I said, mine sounded great, just can't decide if it's better than the native DAC.   What quality did you choose? The clicks and pops make me wonder if it is struggling, maybe drop the quality level a bit (may still be better than the DAC).

 

On that last point, aren't you confusing bitrate with sample rate?   Most of my files are 44.1k from CDs and get upsampled to 96k.

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8 hours ago, aussievintage said:

On that last point, aren't you confusing bitrate with sample rate?

Yes :D , I am probably here in newbie land. Are you changing only the sample rate and leave the bitrate native? The bitrate is 16K and the sample rate is 44.1 for a CD, right? And what is each doing?

 

Cheers

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27 minutes ago, LongtimeListener said:

Yes :D , I am probably here in newbie land. Are you changing only the sample rate and leave the bitrate native? The bitrate is 16K and the sample rate is 44.1 for a CD, right? And what is each doing?

 

Cheers

As I understand it, you target the DAC's native mode, which is the max it can do.  For my Fiio E10k that is 96k/24bits

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22 hours ago, aussievintage said:

DAC's native mode, which is the max it c

My Marantz HD-DAC1 does 192K but what do I set with the bits? When I put it to 48 lots of pops and clicks...

 

 

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1 hour ago, LongtimeListener said:

My Marantz HD-DAC1 does 192K but what do I set with the bits? When I put it to 48 lots of pops and clicks...

 

 

 

According to this it's 24 bits...

 

"Marantz HD-DAC1 is a Brilliant-Sounding DAC and Headphone Amp: Asynchronous 24-Bit/192k USB DAC Supports Up to 2x DSD and is Perfect for Hi-Res Music Streaming"

 

 

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22 hours ago, aussievintage said:

According to this it's 24 bits...

That might it have been :D ,  you see I did not know what I was doing...

I will give this a shot an see again....

Cheers

 

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I upsample now only to the 24bits and leave the sample rate native.

And yes, I think the sound is better, more balanced and transparent. Really nice :) . Thanks for the hint.

I have put the audio buffer size to 4MB leaving the buffer before play with 10%...

 

Cheers

 

volumio.jpg

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