Making a change

billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,655
edited June 8 in Going Digital
For the last few years, I've had an old Dell Laptop sitting on top of my turntable to playback the FLAC/APE/etc files from my NAS (over WiFi). It was a really cheap way to get into the world of digital file playback on my main 2-ch system.

I already had the laptop, which was a spare for vacations, etc. I picked up a used Digigram VPocket v2 PCMCIA soundcard that has balanced outputs (it was less than $30 on ebay). I hooked it up with a spare set of balanced cables, loaded Foobar2000, let the library update, and BAM! It sounded pretty darn good, all things considered.

The laptop is fast enough, but its running Windows 7 (No Win 10 drivers for the Vxpocket) and gets bogged down by updates half the time I turn it on.

So, given the fact that its an ugly setup, I'm also sure that it is nowhere near as 'hifi' as the current set of entry level DACs, and I want to have my turntable cleared of this stupid thing, I think its time to invest in a basic setup.

So, here is what I was thinking...use a Chromebox running Ubuntu, setup headless (no monitor), to playback to a decent USB DAC (something in the $100-$250 used range). I was thinking of using Clementine as a player since I "should" be able to use an app on my phone to control it (remember, headless setup).

I've been thinking about this for some time, but I am just starting to try an implement it.
Has anyone done something similar...with Linux, headless? I might be able to somehow incorporate a hanging LCD if I can't seem to get the headless thing to work, but that is not my first choice.
Main 2-ch:
Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects

Comments

  • FTGVFTGV Posts: 3,529
    edited June 8
    I'm running a Linux based Raspberry Pi 3B. Output to my DAC is via a clone of the Hifi Berry Digi+ daughter board that provides an SPDIF output. There are several simple but great sounding Linux media player software choices written specifically for it such as Rune ,Volumio and MOode. It is headless,I use either my PC or iPad for control. I built a high current linear power supply to power it as I believe it sonically superior to the run of the mill SMPS that are usually used with the RPi. Frankly I'm astounded with the performance especially given total cost of about $150.To my ears it bests my ASUS desktop running JRiver and highly recommend this to anyone wanting a high quality streamer.
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,655
    Are you limited on the bit/sampling rate at all? I want something that is capable of at least 24/192. I don't really know RPi that well, but I am very familiar with the chromebox hardware, software etc. Plus, I already own one
    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • FTGVFTGV Posts: 3,529
    Anything up to 24/192k. https://volumio.org/
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,655
    OK. I'm still leaning to x86 hardware. Either chromebox, or a WYSE thin client. I have learned a bit about Volumio x86, Rune, Daphile, and Audiophile Linux. I guess after learning a but about those, I won't be using a full Linux like Ubuntu.
    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,655
    So, I stole an ebay auction this AM for a Dell Wyse 5010 thin client, Fanless, 8GB SSD/2GB RAM, wifi, AMD T48E dual core processor, brand new...
    $27 shipped.

    Should still be under warranty from Dell :smiley:

    I think it should be more than enough to run one of the audio Linux distros.

    Now I need to focus on a DAC.
    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,655
    edited June 18
    Things are taking shape. The little "thin client" computer is just what I needed. AC wireless, 8gb flash drive, 2gb ram, no fans, plenty fast enough. Loaded Volumio and realized how I needed to cleanup my library. Gonna pair it with a Teac UD-301 DAC to start. Hopefully that will meet my needs (been wanting a headphone amp for years).
    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 6,527
    FTGV wrote: »
    I'm running a Linux based Raspberry Pi 3B. Output to my DAC is via a clone of the Hifi Berry Digi+ daughter board that provides an SPDIF output.

    Can you do I2S out on that?
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • FTGVFTGV Posts: 3,529
    Depends on the player software Rich. Some enable the data and clock signals to be active at the GPIO multi pin connector. Some might need the addition of a few command lines in the Linux code. With the Volumio software I do get I2S feeding a Wolfson WM8804 on separate PC board.
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,655
    Finally got my DAC in today. First real chance to test the 'thin client' setup.

    Test Bench:
    k7erav7r4o59.jpg

    The el-cheapo Thin Client PC

    l47slhf655cr.jpg
    vjknwg5qab29.jpg


    I had Volumio x86 loaded. It is pretty. Nice artwork, etc, but simple things like automatically loading an album in the correct order just don't seem to work. I couldn't find a way to have it sort by track #. I like to listen to full albums. Perhaps I was overlooking something. I'm pretty sure all (ok, most) of my songs are tagged properly.

    After a short time, I decided to try out Daphile. Daphile is much more user friendly, easier to sort and find music, and it is faster due to it being less graphics intensive.

    So far so good. Listening to some 24/96 files right now and really enjoying it.

    0i56975w5lt1.jpg

    The Teac. Pretty impressive build quality for the price. Sound is nice from what I've heard so far. Headphone output is definitely better than my Sony UDA-1. Not dissing the UDA, it works great with a small set of near-field bookshelf, it just doesn't have the headphone output to work with my Senns.

    r2qlhv5sgxj7.jpg

    I have quite a bit of tweaking and I'm realizing I have a TON of CDs that need to be ripped to replace crappy older 128-160kbps mp3 files. I guess I thought I just needed them for my ipod. Also, can't figure out why Daphile won't let me select native DSD. The Teac is supposed to be able to accept it.

    BTW, here is a real-time Daphile screen shot. It is super fast through another PC web browser. It works ok with a smartphone, but the view is very small and you have to swipe back and forth a lot. I think it would work better on a tablet or small nettop.

    qb909ziwlxkk.jpg

    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,489
    Cool man, glad your enjoying it. Rock on with your bad self...... :)
    legacy Focus 20/20
    Butler tdb 2250
    Cary Xciter dac
    Joule LA-100
    Pioneer BDP 320
    Sony 4k 55 850c
    FX 500 surround
    Acoustic zen Satori SC's
    Pioneer elite vsx21
    Sonos-Cullen mod.
    Audio Metallurgy GA-0 digital
    PS Audio Quintet
    Analysis Plus crystal ovals
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2's IC
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,655
    So, I guess when Teac advertises that the UD-301 can accept "Native DSD" and convert it directly to analog, then mean that it can take DSD as DoP. A little disappointed, but it still sounds good with DSD sent as DoP, and the little 5.6MHz light comes on. Swear it was live music in the room.
    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 8,150
    2 different terms

    DSD Native....and Native DSD

    I'm still a big proponent of DSD recordings, especially from RTR and the few DSD recorded

    Not so much with upconversions
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures, Simaudio 780D DAC
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Modwright LS100, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers
  • msgmsg Posts: 3,318
    Neat setup, Bill. I messed with Daphile some a while back, too. Indeed, pretty robust and speedy. Integrated with LMS as well.

    I like the TEAC. I've never heard DSD before.

    Is your rack something manufactured or something you built?
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,655
    msg wrote: »
    Neat setup, Bill. I messed with Daphile some a while back, too. Indeed, pretty robust and speedy. Integrated with LMS as well.

    I like the TEAC. I've never heard DSD before.

    Is your rack something manufactured or something you built?

    It is the very common modular Salamander series. I think they now call it Synergy. I've had it for a loooong time. I bought it used back in ~2005. I have a front door and side panels for it, but I like the open look better, and it doesn't have heat buildup issues.
    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,655
    Yes, the DAC sounds great to my ears. 99% of my music is FLAC from CD rips. I was listening to the DCC (Hoffman) Master of the Doors LA Woman last night and I'm pretty sure it's the best I've ever heard the Doors.
    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • voltzvoltz Posts: 4,635
    LA women sounding better then ever? that makes for some awesome music as I never get tired of hearing that song.
    2 ch- Polk CRS+ * Vincent SA-31MK Preamp * Vincent Sp-331 Amp * Marantz SA8005 SACD * Project Xperience Classic TT * Sumiko Blue Point #2 MC cartridge

    HT - Polk 703's * NAD T-758 * Adcom 5503 * Oppo 103 * Samsung 60" series 8 LCD
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,489
    SCompRacer wrote: »
    [ IMO the initial quality of the recording is more important than the format or resolution it is distributed in.

    Words of wisdom right there...
    legacy Focus 20/20
    Butler tdb 2250
    Cary Xciter dac
    Joule LA-100
    Pioneer BDP 320
    Sony 4k 55 850c
    FX 500 surround
    Acoustic zen Satori SC's
    Pioneer elite vsx21
    Sonos-Cullen mod.
    Audio Metallurgy GA-0 digital
    PS Audio Quintet
    Analysis Plus crystal ovals
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2's IC
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 17,831
    tonyb wrote: »
    SCompRacer wrote: »
    [ IMO the initial quality of the recording is more important than the format or resolution it is distributed in.

    Words of wisdom right there...

    PRECISELY.
    Source: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD | Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2L | Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75 | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
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