Dummies Guide to Pi2AES! Throw away your PC or laptop.

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. Dandou

    Dandou Rando

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    Everything that improves the sound is fine for me…
    Though the KALI powers also the HAT, it's not a problem for me to use 3 LPS', because I accumulated a few of them over the years.
    But Mikhael says that it won't work.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2022
  2. androxylo

    androxylo Acquaintance

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    I'm interested in your opinion on the sacrifice of the balanced in the PI2AES LITE. Did anyone mention that the sound from balanced AES is any better than regular RCA SPDIF output that the Lite hat has? After all, the key to improvement was the superior clock that I2S converter is using to remove jitter. Balanced is just funky 3 wires?

    While I regret the absence of balanced NZ2520SDA is better than NZ2520SD. Maybe it can make RCA sound as good as old school balanced?
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2022
  3. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    On PI2AES, BNC was always the lowest jitter with RCA pretty much the same. Balanced was a hair behind (almost indistinguishable on top of the line analyzer), but with the major benefit in the ability to drive longer cables and more noise immunity. In a typical setting with less than 2-3 meter cable lengths, BNC and RCA do a bit better. Having said that however, the attached DAC has some influence. Some DACs just seem to do a b it better with AES Balanced.

    We will begin shipping PI2AES-LITE by the end of month and so there will be opportunities for folks to compare. We could also make a few available for loaners.
     
  4. androxylo

    androxylo Acquaintance

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    Can you please explain if NZ2520SDA is much better than SD like I'm 5?
     
  5. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    AES definitely sounded better than BNC on the unit I have in house.

    BTW, I must say that pi2AES as a whole sounds phenomenal. The best transport I've used so far. I'm generally pretty down on computer based audio, but that's all been tainted by disastrous and frustrating USB. Happy to report this is nothing like that.
     
  6. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    All clocks have imperfections in their outputs. Some, such as frequency stability, are actually quite tolerable by audio because our ears cannot detect very small variations in the frequency. Others such as what is called jitter actually caused the clock edges to change from clock to clock. This is not a uniform stretching or shrinking of the distance between the edges such as you get with frequency changes, instead it is from edge to edge it is varying. This causes your DAC to vary the analog output because it is changing the sample point.

    The NZ2529SD clocks that we had on the original PI2AES had extremely good jitter numbers, i.e. very low. The SDA versions that we use on the LITE are just ever so slightly better. It’s important to understand that we are way in the weeds here with these differences and unless your DAC is top-notch you may never hear these differences.
     
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  7. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Had Volumio working fine and decided to switch to Moode after hearing people's positive remarks. Very disappointed... volumio was fast and responsive and easy... Moode has been slow and mostly unresponsive. As I type I can't even get back into the UI/web page to stop the current track that's playing!

    EDIT: Disregard, turns out I had the IP address wrong!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2022
  8. haywood

    haywood Friend

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    I’m not using the current version but if you’re using Safari on mobile (idk desktop) an issue crept up with the native lazyload implementation that makes loading images slower than it should be for some reason. You can disable it globally in Safari (WebKit really) settings (under settings > safari > advanced > experimental) but there should be a moode preference added eventually to use the library implementation instead. Or Apple might fix it. I don’t have time to work on the project anymore (and mostly use tidal connect instead of the native ui) so can’t say if there are any other performance regressions but feature creep is a cruel mistress.
     
  9. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    Not as nice but i do prefer to sound from Moode significantly more, despite it's shortcomings. Volumio UI is the best imo.
     
  10. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    I was able to stream youtube with volumio... does moOde have a YT plugin?
     
  11. Dandou

    Dandou Rando

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    Hello @Micahel Kelly ,

    It's a proven fact among PI2AES users that the setup of PI2AES > SPDIF > Audio-GD DI-20HE > IAS > DAC sounds better than the connection PI2AES > IAS > DAC.

    So, I was willing to buy from Audiophonics the Audio-GD DI-20HE digital interface, and to place it between my PI2AES and my DAC. It's at this occasion that the guys from Audiophonics advised me to buy the €100 KALI I2S Reclocker instead, and to add it to the PI2AES, rather than buying the €1,050 Audio-GD DI-20HE. They told me that the result should be superior at a much reduced cost.

    Then, I reported to them that you said that, unfortunately, PI2AES + KALI won't work together. They do not have a PI2AES at Audiophonics, so they could not try it with the KALI by themselves, but they insisted that it's worth trying. They believed that the assembly of the KALI board + the PI2AES HAT will work, but they were not sure if it will remain stable.

    So, I bought the KALI, and received it this morning.
    To assemble it with the RBi3, and the PI2AES was very easy, and 10 minutes later, this "new" streamer started playing. It's playing already for a few hours without any issue.

    The sound is more detailed, and the resolution is much better. It's really a good upgrade.
    I hear in my test playlist details that I could not perceive before.

    I power everything with a single Allo Shanti: the 5V/3A output powers the RBi3, and the 5V/1A powers both the KALI + the PI2AES.

    EDIT
    I tried to post a picture of the KALi + the PI2AES, but I don't know how to do it on this thread.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2022
  12. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Then I stand corrected. I clearly misunderstood how the kali re-clocker works. Thanks for the great info!
     
  13. androxylo

    androxylo Acquaintance

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    Did you literally snap KALI into Raspberry, and then snap [email protected] into Kali? And then from pi2aes just using SPDIF to DAC? Can you upload the pic to some photo service and link?
     
  14. Dandou

    Dandou Rando

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    It's very easy.
    You need to attach the KALI to the RBI, exactly the same way that you attach the PI2AES to the RBI.
    Then, you attach the PI2AES to the KALI, exactly in the same way.

    I tried to post pictures, but I don't know why they don't appear.
    I clicked on the button "Image" and posted a link to the photos that I uploaded on a server… and it does not work.
    What am I doing wrong?

    EDIT
    I'm trying something else with the picture…

    https://mega.nz/file/hwlnBY6L#rz6yI0_aBzgM2-8aAkNU4gQnbVWzSDbpxHQRWcZPDCs

    Now, it works. This is a picture of the three components assembled together.
    I'll take more photos, and I will post them.
     
  15. Dandou

    Dandou Rando

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  16. androxylo

    androxylo Acquaintance

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    Wow! Now I need to understand why this improves the sound. Kali takes i2s from Pi, buffers it to 4 Mb memory, and outputs some super duper accurately clocked i2s forward. Why PI2AES even cares how super duperly clocked i2s is as it has its own super duper clock onboard?
     
  17. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    I am also scratching my head. @Dandou - What driver did you use?
     
  18. Dandou

    Dandou Rando

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    I'm not sure that I understood everything correctly, but I'll tell what I think to understand.

    The RBI + PI2AES uses the clock of the RBI to render the sound and to convert it to I2S.
    But the clock of the RBI can not clock the sound correctly, because on the RBi3, for instance, it is set at 19.2 KHz. And there's no entire number for the multiplication of 19.2 KHz to 44.1 KHz.
    So the I2S sound inside the streamer is not correctly clocked when it is sent to the DAC.

    KALI substitutes its clocks to the clock of the RBI. And KALI is set to clock correctly the sound with entire numbers all along the range of frequencies from 44.1 KHz to 352.8 KHz, and from 48 KHz to 384 KHz.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2022
  19. Dandou

    Dandou Rando

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    I don't use a drive that is attached to the RBI.
    I stream to the PI2AES through Ethernet from a M1 Mac Mini as a source… The RBI runs GentooPlayer that is set as Diretta Target.
     
  20. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Friend

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    I'd been looking for ways to swap channels in software to deal with different I2S pin configurations, and I found it in roon! Works great, and doesn't change anything with the DAC's USB input. Wanted to post it here just in case someone else has the same issue.

    [​IMG]
     
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