Making a change

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billbillw
billbillw Posts: 6,356
edited June 2017 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.
For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...

Comments

  • FTGV
    FTGV Posts: 3,649
    edited June 2017
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    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.
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
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    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
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • FTGV
    FTGV Posts: 3,649
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  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
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    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.
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
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    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.
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
    edited June 2017
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    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).
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • SCompRacer
    SCompRacer Posts: 8,406
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    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?
    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS * Roon * Gustard R26 DAC / Singxer SU-6 DDC * 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 *
  • FTGV
    FTGV Posts: 3,649
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    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.
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
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    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

    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • tonyb
    tonyb Posts: 32,918
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    Cool man, glad your enjoying it. Rock on with your bad self...... :)
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
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    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.
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • txcoastal1
    txcoastal1 Posts: 13,167
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    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
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, 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, Modwright LS100 (voltz), Simaudio 780D DAC

    erat interfectorem cesar et **** dictatorem dicere a
  • msg
    msg Posts: 9,870
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    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?
    I disabled signatures.
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
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    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.
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • SCompRacer
    SCompRacer Posts: 8,406
    edited June 2017
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    billbillw wrote: »
    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.

    AKA DSD over PCM. As long as the marker code is there in the top 8 bits of the DoP stream, the original signal will be assembled as DSD, unchanged, unmolested. IF the marker is damaged/missing, you'll have noise with the music.

    My DIY DAC will do native DSD. The thing is not many recordings I want to listen to all the time are true native DSD. They may be DSD recordings made from old PCM masters. Cookie Marenco currently has over 1K songs recorded in DSD, but I don't buy music based just on format. Well, except for vinyl..lol

    A good DAC will allow flac or AIFF to sound great. That's what most of my music is in. IMO the initial quality of the recording is more important than the format or resolution it is distributed in.


    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS * Roon * Gustard R26 DAC / Singxer SU-6 DDC * 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 *
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
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    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.
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • voltz
    voltz Posts: 5,384
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    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
  • tonyb
    tonyb Posts: 32,918
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    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...
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • steveinaz
    steveinaz Posts: 19,535
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    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: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amp: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: MartinLogan Motion 60XTi - Shop Rig: Yamaha A-S501 Integrated - Shop Spkrs: Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
    edited August 2018
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    billbillw wrote: »
    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.

    So, after a year+ with this setup, Daphile released an update in July. I just let it install the update. I noticed in the release Change Log it says:

    Native DSD support for:
    - Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ (ID:0x25ce,0x8025)
    - Hegel HD12 DSD (ID:0x0d8c,0x0316)
    - M2Tech Young MkIII (ID:0x249c,0x9326)
    - M2Tech Evo Dac Two (0x249c,0x9317)
    - TEAC UD-301 (ID:0x0644,0x804a)
    - Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ (ID:0x25ce,0x0025)
    - Luxman DA-06 (ID:0x1852,0x5065)
    - NuForce uDAC5 (ID:0x16d0,0x09da)
    - Heed Abacus (ID:0x20b1,0x30ab)
    - Gustard DAC-X20 Pro (ID:0x20b1,0x000a)
    - T+A DAC8DSD-V2.0, MP1000E-V2.0, MP2000R-V2.0,
    MP2500R-V2.0, MP3100HV-V2.0 (ID:0x2ab6,0x0004)
    - Mytek Manhattan (ID:0x25ce,0x0021)
    - T+A USB HD Audio 1 (ID:0x2ab6,0x0005)
    - T+A USB HD Audio 2 (ID:0x2ab6,0x0006)
    - Esoteric D-05X (ID:0x0644,0x8044)
    - Douk Audio Mini DSD1796 (ID:0x20b1,0x000a)
    - Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2 (ID:0x20b1,0x2004)
    - Fix for TEAC UD-501/UD-501V2 (ID:0x0644,0x8043)

    So, after it finished installing, I went to settings and changed back to Native DSD (from DoP), rebooted and sure enough, now the little UD-301 plays native DSD files! Can I hear the difference? Nope...
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
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    So, after 5 1/2 years roughly of using the previously mentioned WYSE Thin client running Daphile, I'm finally thinking about trying out something different. I am still planning on using x86 hardware and keeping the same Teac DAC which has been wonderful. I have noticed the old Daphile box is getting a bit sluggish since I've added a few Add-on features. Coincidentally, I happened to win a NUC 6 for $36 the other day (OK, closer to $50 with tax and shipping) so that gives about 5x the CPU benchmark in a much newer Apollo Lake chipset.

    Daphile would probably be snappy on the new NUC, but I'm getting a bit tired of the interface. I'd still be looking for a headless OS/software solution that can do bit-perfect playback from my sever including DSF/DSD files. Opensource/free would be preferable. I'd like to stay away from Windows based software for stability and speed. I'm not interested in any pay services like Tidal, Qobuzz, etc.

    Any suggestions? It doesn't need to be a super light build since this NUC has 32GB embedded storage and it is fast enough to run a full OS like Windows 10.
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
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    Well, I guess not much interest here...
    For those who might care, I tried Volumio again (Now up to ver 3). It is much more polished than when I tried it back in 2017. I also found out about a Plugin for Daphile called Material Skin that gives it a much more usable interface when using mobile or tablet devices. Right now, I'm going back and forth between Daphile with Material Skin and Volumio. Both have their pros and cons.
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
    edited February 2023
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    Follow-up: Volumio still has some quirks that I didn't like. Daphile using the Material Skin has won out for me. It has familiar interface if needed (using the original Daphile interface), but has a more modern interface most of the time with the Material Skin. It is especially more mobile friendly. It is also much snappier with the NUC6. The only think that Daphile had that I will miss is the ability to use Pandora (non-premium). Daphile works with premium (through the mysqueezebox interface), but not for free accounts. Oh well.
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • stangman67
    stangman67 Posts: 2,261
    edited February 2023
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    Very cool! Seems you have created quite a good budget streaming system there!

    In my early days of streaming I used a RPI with a dedicated DAV board with Volumio to stream and Rocky surprise it actually sounded pretty damn good
    2 Channel in my home attic/bar/man cave

    2 Channel Focal Kanta 3 I Modwright SWL9.0 Anniversary Pre I Modwright PH9.0X I Modwright KWA-150SE I VPI Prime Signature w/ Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC I Lumin U2 Mini I North Star Designs Intenso DAC I Audience OHNO ICs/Audience Furutech FP-S55N and FP-S032N Power Cables/Acoustic Zen Satori I Isotek Sirius
  • msg
    msg Posts: 9,870
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    BeeBeeDub! I didn't contribute because you're already using, have used, or wouldn't use the stuff I'd recommend! :DB)
    I disabled signatures.
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,356
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    Update #3? Whatever the count...
    Turns out that Intel NUCs are not quite as stable as Dell/Wyse thin clients. I was finding the need to reboot more frequently than I like. I want an appliance that works whenever I want to turn on music. I also had some issues with the wifi loosing connection...
    I'm back with a Thin Client again, but a little more modern. I went from the old Wyse 5010 with a dual core AMD T48G, now up to a Wyse 5070 running a quad core Celeron J4105. Still fanless, still very well built and expandable if I want.
    Cost was ~$51 on eBay and it still has a year of Dell warranty! It has been rock stable for over a month now.
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...