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

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

  1. Phantaminum

    Phantaminum Friend

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    I think the initial incisiveness is causing me discomfort but from what it sounds like the Pi2AES smooths out after leaving it on for a few days. If I still find it too much I have a few ways to mitigate it. I can change out the tubes to a warmer set, eq, or fully switch over to the HD650 :p . I got comfortable with the HD650 yesterday in the bedroom and it was nice. That last sentence doesn’t sound right.
     
  2. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Oh, but in this crowd it really does! :)
     
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  3. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    :) "More incisive" is what my better-hearing better half said (in Portuguese rather than in English, but an exact translation) when I had her compare Pi2AES with Unison USB.
     
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  4. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    I think what can happen sometimes is that when a component is too much one way or another for our tastes, we compensate in the other parts of our chain to bring it back to “balance” (aka, our preference). Too warm? Change something(s) that cools it off. Not incisive enough? Change something(s) that sharpens/tightens things up.

    Then when we change something that swings it the other way, we’re left to trying to balance it back again. If we can’t, or we don’t feel like changing other parts of our chain, sometimes we move on.

    I had something similar like this happen when I went from a single Vidar to dual monoblock Vidars - the monos are way tighter, squarer and more incisive and less warm and rounded than a single Vidar - too much for my taste initially. I was almost ready to dump the second Vidar when I realized that it was the tubes I had put in Freya - I had gradually moved towards really squarish and harder sounding tubes to compensate for the single Vidar’s “softness” (and probably somewhat softness in my speakers as well). Once I moved to softer more rounded sounding tubes with the monoblock Vidars, all was well again. One of the benefits of tube based gear I suppose - tube rolling is easier and cheaper generally than swapping other parts of the chain.

    In this case, Unison USB is a bit soft and bloomy compared to the Pi2AES SPDIF which is more incisive. The rest is, as others have said, probably burn in of the Pi2AES and your ears. Tube rolling may get you the rest of the way if you need it, but yeah I would wait a few days. A linear power supply is another option to smooth things off a bit.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  5. kris2014

    kris2014 Acquaintance

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    It's more likely your hardware burning in... Below I quote what meanwell says about it.

    https://www.meanwelldirect.co.uk/glossary/burn-in/

    No every board went through the same aging process. Some industrial stuff does before shipping out. That's one reason why I always buy medical (even better) grade psus when I can.

    Oscillators are affected by temperature more but if you really cared about it that much you should leave it on so temp is constant.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
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  6. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    Got the I2S over RJ45 adapter today. It's simple plug and play. It is compatible with Metrum DAC and I assume with Sonnet Morpheus.
    2B034F08-1B29-499E-ACAD-971055616C9D.jpeg
    E9919A79-8820-4DCA-9914-267E35EEFA2B.jpeg
     
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  7. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    Now we need that Ambre comparison ;)
     
  8. jboehle

    jboehle Rando

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    Got mine recently. Only complaint I have is that the plug on the Blue Jeans Cable digital RCA cable I'm using can't get a great grip on the Pi2AES SPDIF plug. The jack needs a little more length.
     
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  9. FlySweep

    FlySweep Friend

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    Get a BNC-to-RCA adapter and you'll be set. The linked adapter has a locking mechanism which is nice, too.
     
  10. winterfog

    winterfog Facebook Friend

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    For those who aren't satisfied by the existing options: Even though MoOde doesn't support Roon, it is possible to install Roon Bridge alongside MoOde on the same Pi. I have them both running side by side with my Allo DigiOne Signature. You'll get some error notifications if both MoOde and Roon are trying to play music to the output device at the same time, but otherwise they coexist nearly seamlessly. It's not bugproof and occasional system reboots are required, but I haven't had excessive or annoying crashing. Unfortunately I don't remember the exact setup steps, but I recall it being pretty much as easy as installing MoOde, then installing Roon Bridge from the Pi's command line interface.
     
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  11. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Just want to add that for folks running RoPieee, the upgrade to RoPieeeXL takes about 4 minutes and is entirely painless. No need to flash a new card, you can initiate the upgrade through the local web interface.
     
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  12. kee7a

    kee7a Rando

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    Has anyone tried using pi2aes with RasPlex or something similar with plex integration? It looks like it can be done in RasPlex with an easy config file change. I'll try getting it to work this weekend.
     
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  13. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    Alrighty, so... I'm coming at this from the standpoint of being a little skeptical about the idea that usb, as an audio interface, is so sucky. And so, as part of that I'm trying to decide if this AES pi hat thing is something I should try out. I have a Pi 4. The pi2aes hat is a $150 + a little for the case. As I understand it, this would allow me to connect to my Bifrost MB via BNC instead of USB. So, essentially, this is just a method of bypassing usb as a digital source, in favor of another digital output like bnc (I realize that the pi is also used as the music player in this configuration). I guess what I am struggling with is whether this is worth trying out? I don't mean to start a usb nervosa argument, just trying to get some thoughts on this. Maybe the question is, is there value in going from usb to bnc on a bifrost mb, such that it would warrant the pi2aes solution?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
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  14. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    No, this is not correct. The Pi doesn't act as a USB soundcard (yet), it replaces a PC for the purposes of playing music.
     
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  15. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    Sorry, I wasn't super clear, but I do mean that I would use the pi in place of the pc as the music player. But the only reason i can see for moving from the PC to the Pi for the music player is to take advantage of the other digital outs, ie bnc in this case.
     
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  16. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    Unfortunately no one can give you a definite answer, because what makes a particular source->DAC combo better or worse is the interaction between electrical attributes of both source and DAC. For example, I can't detect differences between the different inputs to a Soekris dac1541, but I can between the different inputs of an Yggdrasil A2, And I can hear the differences between (some) USB sources, or between (some) AES sources with the Yggdrasil A2. On the Bifrost MB (which I used to have before I gave it to my daughter) I heard significant differences between USB and coax, especially before the Gen 5 USB upgrade.

    TL;DR YMMV :confused:
     
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  17. kris2014

    kris2014 Acquaintance

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    You can wait a bit. I can test it out for you when I got mine. I currently run USB with holo titanis, and I have an USB -> I2S board from Hifiberry. I can test both with SPDIF.
     
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  18. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Just remember jitter on the hifiberry boards is much higher than the PI2AES. So it may not be a fair comparison.

    Full disclosure: I am the designer of the PI2AES.

    Michael
     
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  19. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    At least you admit your bias, not every MOT does.
     
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  20. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Depends!

    Some dacs do usb inherently badly, some do way better. Some dacs may do AES or Spdif really well or maybe not. Most PCs are somewhat compromised as a playback transport especially laptops. Going with a pi based transport that has the power sorted can be a better sounding solution than a well sorted PC.

    An example: Direct comparison of my sorted PC running Roon endpoint direct to Prism Callia dac via USB. Then switched to Allo USB bridge running Roon endpoint with USB out to the dac. PC came in 2nd place:(

    And from the multiple transports I heard at the CO micro meet, a SBC based solution will be in my future.
     
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