Pi2 Design Idiot-Proof Ready-To-Go RPi/AES Streamer

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Michael Kelly, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. leafy

    leafy Facebook Friend

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    What about the Taiwanese supplier that built Pi2AES? Things are pretty calm over here.
     
  2. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Back about one year into the pandemic they announced they would only take higher volume PI2AES orders from us, 1K+ at a time. I already asked them to look at Mercury before we went to China and said they would do it at 500 minimum ($50K+). Maybe down the road, but not at this time.
     
  3. CongoFather

    CongoFather Acquaintance

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    Did you manage to install & play Tidal Connect successfully on Moode?
     
  4. uncola

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    I don't use tidal, sorry
     
  5. Marius Bikelis

    Marius Bikelis New

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    While waiting for repaired Mercury some comments on the PI2AES:
    - Updated s/w moode to v.8 - all good
    - I’m using PI2AES + Rpi4 + Allo Shanti LPSU as recommended by @GoldenOne (it is the best transport so far)
    - I haven’t tried Tidal Connect it moode v.8, but in previous version it seems it wasn’t very stable. I am using Roon with good Tidal integration.
    - in moode when I use hifiberry driver I’m able to output to both AES and I2S but with limitation to 24/192. When using Denfafrips driver I am able to output 24/384 but only to I2S.
    - The best outputs in PI2AES are AES/EBU XLR and I2S
     
  6. Zachik

    Zachik MOT XMEMS

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    I installed Jriver MC28 on top of Pi OS, and it works. So not exactly IdPi per se, but Jriver MC never the less... ;)
     
  7. BlizzardiCleric

    BlizzardiCleric New

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    As @Michael Kelly explained earlier in the thread, the HDMI Port 0 is available for attaching an external screen. Can anyone tell me, is it a trivially straightforward thing to get a touch-screen-enabled HDMI screen working for Mercury? The controls go through USB, right? Will removing external USB storage, adding a bunch of files and reinserting cause any indexing woes in the long term?

    I'm asking because my second CD player has now started to act up, so I'm going to admit that I need to move onto listening files already. PC and streaming don't do it for me, but Mercury would allow me to build a self-contained offline music player, with a touch screen for operation and an external USB storage for updating the music library conveniently. Clumsy but dependable, a bit like listening to CDs.

    I'm just a complete idiot when it comes to Raspberry Pi, its OSs, and network issues, so when the time comes, I would greatly appreciate any help from more experienced users. To give back to the community, I would like to try and write a semi-professional idiot's guide for the basic setup that I described above. Maybe for some other general use cases as well. I do some technical writing at my workplace, and have good tools for that.

    But we're not there yet. :)

    PS: Regarding the small bump in price for getting an Assembled in US product, I would be completely fine with it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
  8. bobfa

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    Beta update report: 3/26/22

    Yesterday I had the opportunity to listen to the Kitsune Holo May DAC on my system. It was the first time I heard such a tremendous change in the system for the better. We extensively compared the Pi2EAS and the Mercury using just Qobuz streaming. I have replaced my core network with the tp-link Omada system, so it was an excellent opportunity to test between Wired and Wireless. The absolute clear winner no-photo-finish-needed was the Mercury on the wired network. (using the DX-engineering filters). I have not had a DAC elevate the sound quality of my system that much before this test. But, to me, the May DAC's ability to show us the difference between the streamers was the most enlightening.

    Many thanks to Rich S. of the Chicago Audio Society for bringing the DAC over and spending the day.

    Footnotes:

    1. Volumio on the Mercury had all the additional sources turned off.
    2. PiCorePlayer with LMS and Squeezelite on the Pi2AES was not as perfectly optimized as I have done it using two Pi's
    3. We used Ferrum HYPSOS supplies on the streamers
    4. The un-balanced analog cables from the DAC to the 517 were Bluejeans Cable, Beldon Flexible.
    5. AC power cabling was all Puritan Audio Laboratories.
    6. Moon Audio DHLabs D-110 custom AES cable

    May DAC settings: AES input only. PLL test showed that PLL off was better. NOS

    RJF

    PS I was extremely pleased with how Volumio 3 sounded.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2022
  9. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    How did you connect it to the Pi2AES/Mercury? I2S, AES, coax? Also, pure NOS or some DSP preprocessing? While it's nice to know that Mercury can help with the May, the reality is that the May's best input is actually USB, because it does not require slow PLL locking (unlike the other inputs) and it allows for powerful external preprocessing (via HQPlayer for instance) to high-rate PCM or to DSD that are not possible through Pi2AES or Mercury. Did the test involve turning off the May's PLL, in which case I'd indeed expect Mercury to edge ahead of Pi2AES because of its better clocks?
     
  10. bobfa

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    AES input only. PLL test showed that PLL off was better. NOS.
     
  11. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Is there any issue with using I2S with the Holo May?
     
  12. bobfa

    bobfa Acquaintance

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    We did not have. Cables or time. Maybe best week.
     
  13. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Just remember, plain Jane cables work just fine. The frequencies that we are transmitting are less than 1/40 of what the cheapest cables are rated at.
     
  14. earnmyturns

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    No major issue, that's how I used mine from Pi2AES until I started running it from HQPlayer via USB. The May has a very aggressive PLL that takes several seconds to sync with all synchronous inputs, which is annoying when the the first track starts. No such issue with USB, since the clocking is all inside the May. There are two partial remedies: 1) turn off PLL on the May, risking somewhat higher jitter, which I suspect is not much of an issue with Mercury, or even Pi2AES; 2) prevent the Pi from going into power-saving mode, as one can do in Ropieee with the dynamic power management option, in which case the lock stays for a long time, until something power-cycles.
     
  15. Zachik

    Zachik MOT XMEMS

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    Which DAC did you upgrade from?

    Agreed! Very annoying!!

    I assume the HQPlayer is NOT running on the PI2AES. Right?
    I just got a Holo May KTE recently, and was planning on using I2S or AES from the Mercury, and USB (maybe with HQPlayer which I never tested yet) from my NUC i7 PC... Problem is: I really like the JRiver MC GUI, so wanted to use HQPlayer on top of JRiver MC (but they do not support that...)
     
  16. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    The simplest answer is which DAC have I sold most recently: Sonnet Morpheus. But I always have several DACs around, for different locations etc, so it's not a one-for-one replacement.
    Current setup: Roon on Intel Core i7-10510U+Ubuntu > HQPlayer Embedded on Intel i9-11900+Ubuntu > NAA on UP gateway, ATOM x5-Z8350 > Intona isolator > May. That allows me to use higher sample rates and DSD modulation, which Pi2AES or Mercury would not. The chain above is likely overkill, but I might as well pull all the stops to hear what the May can do. It sounds fantastic to me, but I've used multiple NOS DACs (Spring 2, Metrum Onyx, Sonnet Morpheus, and even May) without any DSP or with just 2x upsampling for 44.1 or 48 and I've enjoyed them a lot that way. That's how I use the Spring 2 KTE I have at another location, in part because USB on that DAC is not as good as on the May, so I run it from Pi2AES.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2022
  17. Zachik

    Zachik MOT XMEMS

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    I was actually asking @bobfa who got me curious by mentioning a huge improvement by the May ;)
    BTW, @earnmyturns - we are almost neighbors (I live in San Jose).

    Got it. I love the Jriver MC interface (GUI), but unfortunately they are being hard-headed and refuse to support HQPlayer :rolleyes:
    Someone has suggested I "bypass" their limitation by using one of those virtual audio cable drivers, and put HQPlayer on the other side of the virtual audio cable. I have not tried that yet, so was curious whether you have tried it. Apparently, your setup is quite different...
     
  18. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    You can easily do it using Virtual Audio cable drivers. I haven’t done it personally but in Jriver you have to select output as Virtual Audio Cable and then in HQPlayer select Virtual Audio cable as input and the HQPlayer output will be your DAC. That’s how many upsample Spotify as well using HQPlayer
     
  19. Zachik

    Zachik MOT XMEMS

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    Thanks - that is what I thought I should try. I assume you refer to something like this one:
    https://vb-audio.com/Cable/index.htm
    Same company has a "HiFi" edition, with the following description: "HIFI CABLE is working like VB-CABLE except it needs to be configured with the same samplerate on its Input and Its output. HI-FI Cable is bit perfect and supports up to 24 bits 384 kHz audio stream."
    That description makes me think that I will have to either keep changing the sample rate to match the album I am playing, or if I set it to say 96K - the driver will upsample tracks that are 44.1 or 48K ?!

    Sorry for taking this thread off-topic. If anyone here has personal experience - please send a private message so the thread can go back to discuss Michael's awesome Mercury!
    Speaking of which... Michael - do you have an update on the DAC/Amp and LPS?
     
  20. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    since you will use HQPlayer so I would play only CD quality flac ,16/44.1Khz, from Jriver and let HQPlayer upsample it to higher frequency that way you don't have to manually change the sample rate.
     

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