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. Marius Bikelis

    Marius Bikelis Rando

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    I am continuing testing Mercury Beta which was received repaired after damage I made connecting 18.12V power supply to it. I am using two connections to the DAC: AES/EBU (XLR) and I2S via HDMI. I’m also comparing it to the PI2AES which I mentioned previously. It is all good when PI2AES is connected to DAC via both AES and I2S - the sound quality is very good with both (difficult to distinguish). When the Mercury is connected to the DAC via same connections and cables it as all good via AES but not good with I2S: initially the sound level for some reason was lower, after ~30 min of listening sound became distorted on the left channel. I tried to reboot the device (moode software) but it didn’t boot up at all. Then I flashed a different card with the Ropieee software thinking that it can be related to the software or card issues. Mercury was up and running with Ropieee however when I switch to I2S input on my DAC the sound is totally distorted, i.e. when sending 24/88 stream DAC shows it is receiving DSD stream. As previously no issues with AES on Mercury nor with with both AES and I2S on PI2AES. I will continue testing.

    PS when I’ve completed this post I switched again to the I2S input on the DAC connected to Mercury and the distortion is gone but the sound level is still significantly lower than when it is connected via AES.

    My related equipment: source: Roon server (files and Tidal master); DAC: Denafrips Pontus II; Mercury power supply: default that was in the package (12V LPSU is ordered but not received yet); XLR cable: Neutrik XLR Cable 1 m 3-Pin DMX Microphone Cable AES/EBU DJ 110 Ohm; HDMI cable; Audioquest Pearl 48.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2022
  2. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Please note that the i2S pinout of the PI2AES is made to the Gustard standard, well the PI2AES revision P4 and the mercury follow the PS audio standard. This could very well be the cause of the distorted sound that you are hearing.

    Please check the pinout the Dac uses and let me know if you were still getting distorted sound.
     
  3. haywood

    haywood Friend

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    If it was repaired instead of replaced after he fried it then it’s possible some damage happened that wasn’t noticed.
     
  4. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Because it was an over voltage situation we replaced the unit.
     
  5. Marius Bikelis

    Marius Bikelis Rando

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    Yes, I know that the I2S pinout is different and I am changing the pinout configuration on the DAC when I'm swapping PI2AES and Mercury. I will check the pinout configuration in the afternoon and will let you know.
    Yesterday I have (re)installed once again moode software (v8.0.2) and it worked well, no distortion via I2S, just lower sound level (I was listening 30-45 min). I am using Hifiberry Digi+ Pro driver and as I understand it is the correct driver.
     
  6. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Anyway to tell if the lower volume is also with the PI2AES I2S? There is simply no way the data going over I2S is different than the data going over AES, SPDIF or TOSLINK. It is all the exact same data.
     
  7. Marius Bikelis

    Marius Bikelis Rando

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    No, with PI2AES I2S the volume is at the same level as i.e. AES.
    I just checked the I2S pinout configuration I am using on the DAC for Mercury: Pin1: DATA(-), Pin3: DATA(+), Pin4: BCK(+), Pin6: BCK(-), Pin7: L/RCLK(-), Pin9: L/RCLK(+)
     
  8. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Well then I have no explanation! Any other beta users using I2S that can confirm?
     
  9. Marius Bikelis

    Marius Bikelis Rando

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    I have added SSD disk to the Mercury. Installed piCorePlayer, enabled Samba share so now this disk is accessible from Windows machines on the network. SSD disk in the Mercury can be used i.e. to keep the LMS (Logitech Media Server, which is a component of piCorePlayer) media files.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2022
  10. Marius Bikelis

    Marius Bikelis Rando

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    Later this week or next week I will give the Mercury streamer to my colleague to test with another DAC which has also I2S.

    PS just changed I2S pinout configuration to Gustard standard and it seems all good now, the sound level is now the same as with the AES. Could it be so that that the pinout in Mercury is Gustard, not PS Audio? I will continue testing anyway
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2022
  11. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    The reference manual details to pin out. Perhaps it is not a good idea to give it names, but simply refer to the pinout in the manual to verify.
     
  12. Zachik

    Zachik Acquaintance

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    I2S works with my PS Audio Strata (integrated amp)... ;)
     
  13. Marius Bikelis

    Marius Bikelis Rando

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    In the manual of Mercury, on the Page 20 the following I2S pinout is described: P1 (-), P3 (+), P4 (+), P6 (-), P7 (-), P9 (+). When I select exactly this pinout on my DAC the sound volume is low and it soon becomes distorted. Even without a distortion you can hear that something is wrong with the sound. In both manuals of Mercury and my DAC this pinout is referred as the "PS Audio" standard. But when I select the following pinout on my DAC: P1 (+), P3 (-), P4 (+), P6 (-), P7 (+), P9 (-) the sound level becomes normal, no distortion heard, everything seems ok. I did this change yesterday late in the evening so I will continue testing today. What comes to my mind is either in the manual of Mercury or in the manual of my DAC (more likely?) the pinout is specified incorrectly.
    With the PI2AES (bought about a Year ago) I am using this pinout: P1 (+), P3 (-), P4 (+), P6 (-), P7 (+), P9 (-) and I never faced any issues, the sound quality is perfect, I am using it as my reference and daily transport.
    I apologize if I misunderstand something here.
     
  14. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    For our internal testing we use the topping D 70 S and we place the I2S in reverse mode, which is the PS audio pin out. We do not see any reduction in volume. We are routing the analog output from the DAC to our audio analyzer so we can see the actual level, versus using our ears. Mine are so old anyways they’re pretty much useless!
     
  15. Marius Bikelis

    Marius Bikelis Rando

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    A short summary of the Mercury Beta testing:
    - I2S output pinout is sorted, sound level is ok, I am using the following pinout configuration on my DAC: P1 (+), P3 (-), P4 (+), P6 (-), P7 (+), P9 (-)
    - I have tested AES and I2S outputs so far, both are ok.
    - Software tested:
    -- Volumio, upgraded to the latest version, all good, no issues. Cons: to be used with Roon server you need to have an account to install plugins (I don't have so I haven't tested); Volumio allows to place music files on SD card but not on the SSD drive inside Mercury.
    -- Ropieee, the simplest interface, optimized for Roon, all good, no issues.
    -- Moode, I'm using it mostly, all good no issues. It has possibility to mount remote drives but not the local drives. Roon Bridge plugin available.
    -- piCorePlayer, the only software I've found which allows to utilize the internal SSD drive of Mercury. Also a Roon bridge plugin available (it functions while LMS/Squeezelite are switched off). No issues.
    - Network connections: both LAN and Wireless are working ok. Wireless is connected via 5Hz, I was able to stream DSD64 via WiFi, no issues.
    - In terms of sound quality comparing to PI2AES I can't say yet that Mercury is better but it is better in terms of usability: less DIY work for unexperienced user, better look.
    - I'm still waiting for a linear power supply which should arrive in the middle of April. Currently I am testing with the included power supply.
     
  16. Zachik

    Zachik Acquaintance

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    Is that confirmed?!
    @Michael Kelly - did you test Volumio playback from the internal SSD?
    I thought @bobfa managed to get it to work (but I might be wrong about using Volumio)...
    I was going to add an SSD sometime next month (in May)
     
  17. Marius Bikelis

    Marius Bikelis Rando

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    Please let me know if it is possible. Currently I see that Volumio allows to access files from internal SD card, USB drive or a remote NAS drive.
     
  18. CongoFather

    CongoFather Acquaintance

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    Did you try to mount the internal ssd drive by running some CLI after you connect to Mercury using ssh?

    There's a web page below. The main idea is same in most of the OSs. I think it should work for VolumeIO installed on Mercury, as well.

    https://community.volumio.org/t/volumio-pc-and-internal-hdd/4135/3
     
  19. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Mercury Streamer - 4GB SBAF Edition is now available for pre-sale. Note that we want to keep this to SBAF members only, but were not going to be hard ass about it. Still we'd like it if you put you SBAF handle in the order notes.

    Delivery is estimated to be no more than 6 weeks. But we are still waiting for the sample unit from the assembly before we bless all 200 of them.

    Hidden link for purchase:
    https://www.pi2design.com/store/p25/Mercury_Streamer.html

    P.S. Yes the text is stupidly big. :oops: Sorry, I did not realize how bad it would look in reality. But, no we are not fixing it until we run out of the first 100 cases. :D

    IMG_0312.jpg
     
  20. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    We have not done any testing with SSD except to verify it in Raspbian where it is automatically detected and mounted.
     

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