Gear Ideas for Loaner Program

Discussion in 'Loaner Programs' started by purr1n, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Thanks to contributors, we've got a decent treasure chest for loaner programs: about $4k. Any suggestions from Contributors or Friends are welcome. No guarantees. Things seem pretty slow right now and there doesn't seem to be anything pressing.
     
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  2. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    This is a bit of a strange suggestion, I'll understand if you think it's stupid...

    What about a Raspberry Pi 3/Hifiberry Digi+ Pro/iFi iPower 5v kit (complete with a couple of microSD cards), for adventures in cheap decent quality digital audio sources?

    The iPower is dual voltage and comes with international plug thingies, so the whole thing would work in 110 and 220v countries out of the box. It's safe and unthreatening, being a normal-looking wallwart.

    We could host a card image that's ready patched and good to go somewhere on here, too, if you wanted to give a super-easy option. It doesn't matter how messed-up the software gets, as it's trivial to reflash as needed.

    The whole thing would probably come in about $200, plus the cost of an offbrand Peli case clone (or similar) to hold it all.
     
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  3. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    This is totally not for me but...

    I think there should be a shootout between the Sony NW-WM1A vs the old NW-ZX2.

    There are quite a few people rocking the ZX2/Andromeda combo, that the next logical thing would be to see if the WM1A is the worthy successor. ZX2s won't be around forever. Seems like good data for the site...

    edit - since there are so many Campfire fans here, maybe add an ALO cable that's the "4.4mm standard" for full effect?
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
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  4. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Not opposed to ChiFi is there is a lot of interest.
     
  6. bxh

    bxh Friend

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    I am cross-posting my vinyl set up tool suggestions here;

    I'm wondering if it'd be worth while to add some vinyl oriented gear. There are a few very useful tools that you may not often use, but could be very helpful to quite a few people here.

    First thing that comes to mind is the Fozgometer, used to set azimuth. I think this would be especially useful for those with the finicky VPI Uni-pivot tonearms where every adjustment is interrelated to the next. It'd have to be used in conjunction with the test LP as well, which may push it over the size limit for a USPS flat rate box, I'm not sure of the exact dimensions.

    Next would be the an alignment gauge, this one is based on the Dennison geometry which seems to work well with a wide variety of tables.
     
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  7. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

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    Any interest in a synergy package? Modi Multibit, Vali 2, Jot, HD650 (KISS). This is a combination we recommend fairly often. I'd be happy to donate some tubes for this.
     
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  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    We already did a HD650 / Jotunheim package a while back.

    There's some part of me that wants to make a Fozogometer for $50. That thing is a total ripoff for $299. What I hate about www.ORFAS.org kind of stuff. We need to steal back high-end audio from those guys and make it affordable.

    I am actually thinking Fidelio X2. We seem to have a question, usually in relation to a suitable upgrade for it, every now and then. Having FR, CSD, distortion, would give us a starting point.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
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  9. barelyincollege

    barelyincollege Nice Pit Bull

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  10. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    I like the Raspberry Pi idea.

    Also wouldn't mind hearing some DAPs. Small and easy to ship. @Torq's praise for the X5iii has me intrigued.
     
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  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I like the idea of the RPi. Are there any solutions which are prepackaged turnkey that don't involve any sort of assembly?

    X5iii is a great candidate. Should probably just order it given how reasonable the price is.
     
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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Any more information on this? The Feliks site seems awfully mysterious on that amp. OTL? Transformer coupled? SET? PP? Driver tubes? Output impedance? Power in 50 ohms, 300 ohms, 600 ohms? I could really give a rats ass if Nichicon and Mundorf caps, or Dale and Cocksuck resistors or ChiFi "premium" 6SN7s are used.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  13. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    I'd say we need one with one of @Michael Kelly's hats.
     
  14. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    One of us can put a configuration together (the hardware part is trivial), complete with a selection of boot images (for things like Rune, Roon, and various other player/end-point options etc.). Casing is a bit trickier to solve OTS, but I imagine we can come up with something in fairly short order.

    Bear in mind that in my thread on the thing I am not documenting all the niggly little firmware/software issues ... just the bigger stuff, so the potential for others to encounter various silly issues is quite high.
     
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  15. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    I already have one of Michael's HATs and a Pi 3 B sitting around that's waiting on me getting some time cleared up from work (which unfortunately doesn't seem likely any time soon). While I don't have the time to put together a unit for a tour myself, I'd be perfectly willing to donate my parts* and send them to someone who does have the time to throw something together for a tour.

    *Though donated parts doesn't really make a dent in the current surplus of loaner funds.
     
  16. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    Couple of things come to mind

    Feliks Audio Euforia OTL amplifier 6as7g's, 6SN7's (second that one)
    AmpsandSound Mogwai / Kenzie (though I bet Justin wouldn't mind sending a tour unit)
    Arcam rHEAD
    Cayin iHa1 MK2 (kinda heavy though)
    Susvara (just playing)
     
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  17. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Ah, Holmes, this is why I suggested a current production board which will work with no soldering, and a low noise off the shelf PSU. Assembly is a ten minute job, if that, push the Digi+ pro onto the header, attach the included standoffs, pop out a pre-punched cover and then just drop it into the case, which is a cheap, robust toolfree off-the-shelf item. That gives us a nicely cased unit, properly protected, with the ports properly exposed, which plugs easily into a safe, easily-attached external PSU.

    Here's a blurry picture of the case (can't be bothered to set the DSLR up this morning, I have a UPS to install):

    _R015042.jpg

    More exotic/beta units have their upsides, but I think you're asking for misery if you're considering lending things which need soldering/adaptation. If you can't do it with cheap, simple off-the-shelf parts requiring minimal assembly, I don't think it should be a loaner.

    Regarding distributions, the big three are Rune Audio, Volumio and Moode. Moode and Volumio appear to have some issues with Wifi support on the Pi 3 (indeed, the Volumio project appears to be in a "move fast and break things" phase right now). Rune Audio isn't perfect, but is the easiest to get running with all the hardware. The only gotcha is that if we go from the stable 0.3 release, we need to update the kernel to support the Digi+ Pro- I'm not a fan of lending nervous people very beta stuff, so that seems the best tradeoff. It's easy enough to update the kernel, and then make an OS image of that, which we could host on here, as I suggested above.

    We could provide links to all three distros of course- as it doesn't matter at all if people break the contents of the card, rewriting it is super-easy. That's why I suggested a couple of cards with it, so people could experiment easily.

    Anyway, making something that was easy and robust was exactly what my priority was when I was looking for bits for the Pi 3. If we want to do a Pi loaner, I think it's the sturdiest config easily available. Sure, you can find more exotic parts, but I don't think the cleverness/hassle tradeoff stacks up all that well.

    Essentially, I've been through all this already- choosing something effective but easy to document, and which has survived a long term test nicely. If you want to use that as a shortcut to avoid headaches, go for it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
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  18. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    I'd second an HD650K / Vali 2 package as well, as per @atomicbob's System Synergy with 7DJ8 tubes. It's cheap and gives you a taste of decent high-end.
     
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  19. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    I was thinking more in terms of doing something simple, pre-built, with no need for anyone to do anything with it other than choose the SD-card/boot-image for the configuration they wanted to run. And possibly using one of the digital output boards that could have an AES connection added.

    Case wise, I was looking for an excuse to fashion something with the DMLS 3D printer in the lab.
     
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  20. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    Seems a bit pricey to me but...

    http://bryston.com/products/digital_audio/BDP-Pi.html
     

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