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

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

  1. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Finally got the RJ45 adapter for I2S connectivity to Morpheus. AES was really good but the I2S simply just gives that added clarity and black background that makes it subtle, but not subtle, boost in performance. Some songs are simply more ethereal than before, it's pretty mesmerizing.

    @Michael Kelly You are a gem, and a genius.
     
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  2. Collusion

    Collusion Friend

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    About the initial setup - thanks to @purr1n for excellent instructions. It was very easy in the end. A very pleasant surprise was that you can just plug an USB drive into it and voilà - you have a NAS! I was prepared to do some configuration on the Linux side, but this was unnecessary.

    I've been listening to my Pi2Aes for a week now and this thing just keeps amazing me. Probably the best AES/EBU source I've ever heard in my system and I've had devices like Project CD BOX DS2T transport and RME HDSPe PCIe soundcard to compare (okay, apples to oranges, but still!). I long thought USB was the best input of DM Convert-2 (if treated with a decrapifier - or in this case with a Matrix Element H usb interface), but I think Pi2Aes manages to maintain the resolution with improved tone and timbre. Very well done @Michael Kelly!

    One technical question though: is it possible to reconfigure the HDMI I2S output? It seems to work with Holo Audio Cyan, but the channels are reversed.
     
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  3. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    I had a discussion about this with Michael Kelly already and from a hardware perspective no, and from a firmware perspective, not easily. I was able to get my DAC manufacturer to add PS Audio spec support for my DAC, perhaps you could message Holo if they could do the same.
     
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  4. Dr J

    Dr J Friend

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    There might be a way to do that in the SW for some distros (Edit: by switching the channels around, not impacting the HW), I have a faint glimmer of recollection of seeing that somewhere.

    Not very practical if feeding multiple DACs, though.
     
  5. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    I’m not trying to diminish the issue, but can you help me understand why them being swapped would be that big a deal? I realize it means you have to swap the cables coming out of the DAC, but stereo has only two!
     
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  6. sfoclt

    sfoclt Friend

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    Maybe he is using the other dac inputs (such as tv to optical toslink) and that solution means all of them would be wrong instead.
     
  7. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    That makes sense now that I think about it.
     
  8. Boops

    Boops Friend

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    Does anyone know whether it is possible to access the USB thumb drive I've got stuck in my Pi2AES from another computer on my network? I would like to be able to move new music files onto it over FTP or something without having to remove the thumb drive. Has anyone done this?
     
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  9. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    My two Pis show up on my (Windows) network, to which they're connected by wifi. I haven't tried moving files to or from them - always stream wirelessly from the main computer - but I don't see why it wouldn't work like with any other network drive.
     
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  10. Boops

    Boops Friend

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    I was able to connect to the Pi using Transmit on my Mac. Super easy to upload files. It took a couple of tries to get Volumio to scan for new files and add them to the library, but I kept clicking around and got it to work. This is awesome. SBAF adage "try it and report back" proves true again.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  11. rsnblmn

    rsnblmn Acquaintance

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    I am running Moode rather than Volumio on mine, but with zero config other than the basic network setup and plugging in a USB drive with my music files on it, mine automatically pops up as a Sharepoint on both my Mac and PC where I can browse to the folders on the USB drive and drag-n-drop files just like any normal file share. Works great for extracting CDs or downloading new music on my main PC and then dropping the files on the Pi for listening on my main rig.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Boops

    Boops Friend

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    I can find the attached storage similarly on Volumio, but can’t read or write to it when connected as “guest” as in your screenshot. Trying to use the finder to log in didn’t work so I switched to a dedicated FTP client.
     
  13. YMO

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

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    How's the transfer speeds from Mac/PC to Pi? On my network the file transfer rate is slow...
     
  14. rsnblmn

    rsnblmn Acquaintance

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    Interesting. Perhaps there's a difference in the default security setup between Volumio and Moode? I was initially unsure of what credentials to use the first time I tried to access the storage, but then was surprised when it just worked upon clicking on it. Same from Windows. Cool that it was so easy, although I guess that also means it would be super easy for anybody else on my network to delete all the files on the Pi...but I suppose if I have people getting on my network, the files on my Pi are the last thing I'm worried about. :)
     
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  15. rsnblmn

    rsnblmn Acquaintance

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    I haven't tried transferring on ethernet, but over wifi the speeds are about what I'd expect from my network. Took about one minute to copy a 312mb flac album over, so kinda slow, but fine for me considering I've got my Pi downstairs inside an enclosed cabinet and my router is upstairs. The speed has been good enough for streaming AirPlay or Spotify without any stuttering or dropouts as well.

    I'm using a 1TB portable HDD for storage, so not sure if that's better or worse than a thumb drive as far as write speed in this use case.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Scott Kramer

    Scott Kramer Friend

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    Here's a pi4/4GB running piCore LMS server, 4TB/8TB usb3 disks. pi is hooked up gig ethernet, mac is wireless...
    Screen Shot 2020-07-19 at 1.36.33 AM.jpg
    so wild variation depending on setup, this is good example of fast... can even copy/stream 4K vid from it. An SSD on the pi and mac also on ethernet it's even faster.

    Then I use pi3A+'s for the audio endpoints.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
  17. kee7a

    kee7a Rando

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    Hey - So I was going to post this months ago and then the pandemic happened and I was away from my audio things for a while. I'm back playing with this some more now and wanted to finally post about my experience so far with with the Pi2AES and Plex.

    Roon, although it appears to be super convenient and a solid product, is a little too expensive for me. Also, I'm already all in on Plex for my tv / movie / music consumption. So I wanted to try to get Plex working and here is my experience:

    My original plan for this was to install RasPlex (https://www.rasplex.com/) and just be done with it. Upon trying to install RasPlex, I found that I could get the OS to boot, but keyboard and mouse input would not work. I later found out that this was most likely due to to a broken Pi; but because of this issue, I started digging into RasPlex a bit more and realized that the latest release was for 1.8.0 on March 21, 2017, so it's old! RasPlex may still work (I don't know), but I think there is a better solution.

    Next it was time to evaluate the alternatives. For some reason there is a Plex media server binary for the Raspberry Pi, but there is no Plex media player binary for the Raspberry Pi. So as far as I can tell, the options for getting Plex working on a Pi are Kodi (with plugins), trying to port the the binary (which may not work on the Pi), and Plexamp. All of these solutions /probably/ work, but I opted to use Plexamp (even though the Raspbery Pi version is a beta release and close to a year old).

    Update: a brand new version of Plexamp (3.x) was released during the pandemic. Unfortunately the linux binary they provide is x86 only (wont work on a Pi), but I think we will get an arm version at some point. So whenever this happens we will get whatever new features / bug fixes they add.

    I then installed Raspbian OS and setup Plexamp using instructions on the Plex forum and... there were a couple of small hiccups around the configs, but surprisingly everything worked fine and has been working fine for a while now. Music streamed no problem and it sounded good!

    [​IMG]

    I was then thinking, can I get Spotify on here too? Turns out the project Raspotify was perfect for the job. I installed this without any issue and it appears to work and sound great.

    [​IMG]

    I really like this setup because its simple-ish (or at least minimalistic) and cheap. Everything is controlled from a phone or tablet inside of the native app. Spotify plays at 320kbps and Plex plays my FLAC files. And after initial setup, everything seems to just work. The big caveat to this is if you don't know how to work with the linux CLI, it's probably best to stay away. That being said, I would like to try to maintain a script that sets everything up so the process of installation is just to run a single command. Hopefully this would be helpful to other people! Before I do this though I want to solve a couple more problems:
    • As of right now Plex and Spotify take exclusive access over the audio device, so when they are both running, no sound comes out. My temporary solution is that I have a web app running with a button that stops one service and starts the other service when I click it. I think there is a better way here and am trying to either make this more automatic or fix the Alsa configuration to allow the device to take multiple sources.
    [​IMG]
    • I don't have Tidal / Qobuz, but I think this would be cool to integrate. BubbleUPnP might be the answer here.
    • Ramdisk? I see people referencing ramdisks. Do the kids say this improves sound or is this just a speed thing? It's already pretty fast, but either way, it would be easy to integrate.
    • I am looking at trying to integrate PulseAudio effects. This would allow the ability to play with the sound a bit. Some effects seem unhelpful, but there are things like an EQ.
    If you know how to use the CLI, here are my notes to set everything up:
    https://gist.github.com/kee7a/647c59138fe8129958f812a063e760e8

    And the web switcher code:
    https://github.com/kee7a/simple-music-switch

    Anyway, I hope this may be useful to someone with a similar setup.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 21, 2020
  18. Gungrave

    Gungrave Rando

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    I just purchased a pi2aes today, I was wondering if all these changes have been implemented already ?
     
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  19. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    I did increase the opening a bit, not sure if it will be enough to satisfy everyone!

    Cheers,
    Michael
     
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  20. Qstik

    Qstik Rando

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    PSA here: Volumio production update 2.799 breaks HiFi Berry Digi+ Pro emulation with Pi2AES. Update to beta update 2.803 to fix. See how to get beta updates here: https://volumio.github.io/docs/User_Manual/System_updates.html

    Probably my imagination; but my system sounds better than ever. I tried moode 6.7.1, but heard distortion in piano notes (Ole Gjeilo "North Country II").
     
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