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Ubuntu/Linux and USB DACs

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So, I'm running Ubuntu 12.10, and I want to use my PS Audio DLIII DAC with it. I have my Audio-gd Compass on my desktop (Ubuntu 12.10) and it shows it as a USB Audio DAC with a digital output. On my laptop (also Ubuntu 12.10) my DLIII shows as a PCMxxx (random numbers) device (or something like that I can get specifics later) with 1 analog output, 1 analog input. When I select it it works, but I'm worried:

 

(this could go for either one) Do I need to worry about my stream being bit-perfect? Like on Windows with ASIO4ALL or WASAPI? Is there any kind of thing like this for Ubuntu/Linux?

Saying it's an analog output is confusing me...

post #2 of 9

Don't worry about device name. Does it work? If it does, then good!

 

That being said, PCMxxxx with an analog in and analog out sounds like your onboard sound to me, not the USB DAC.

 

USB audio is fine.


Edited by LantherZero - 1/2/13 at 4:49am
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LantherZero View Post

Don't worry about device name. Does it work? If it does, then good!

 

That being said, PCMxxxx with an analog in and analog out sounds like your onboard sound to me, not the USB DAC.

 

USB audio is fine.

Well there's the PCMxxxx and then "Built-In ....." and it only appears when my DAC is connected and sound comes out of the DAC so I know it's not the onboard. The analog thing confused me because I thought maybe my computer was doing the D->A conversion and then my DAC was doing it again or something :S (and the fact that it says digital on my desktop for my other DAC)

 

I'm probably fine, I'll likely end up just burning all to CD anyway just to get rid of all this nonsense altogether (but not for TV shows and movies yet but that sound doesn't need to be all perfect etc)

 

Thanks!

post #4 of 9
Well, I don't know how you verify that it's bit perfect, but assuming you use alsa, and direct the player software to a "hw" device, there shouldn't be any resampling/mixing going on (but perhaps audio player software dsp/volume control?).

The DAC I had plugged in at the time shows up as AB12 (symlink) in /proc/asound. For this I used the player "deadbeef" forcing alsa hw device:
Code:
$ uname -a
Linux antapex 3.5.0-24-generic #37-Ubuntu SMP Thu Feb 7 01:50:30 UTC 2013 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

$ cat /proc/asound/AB12/stream0
Audio-Widget QNKTC USB DAC AB-1.2 at usb-0000:00:1d.0-1.1.2, high speed : USB Audio

Playback:
  Status: Running
    Interface = 2
    Altset = 1
    Packet Size = 392
    Momentary freq = 176396 Hz (0x16.0cac)
    Feedback Format = 7.17
    Packet Size = 0
    Momentary freq = 176400 Hz (0x16.0ccd)
  Interface 2
    Altset 1
    Format: S32_LE
    Channels: 2
    Endpoint: 2 OUT (ASYNC)
    Rates: 44100, 88200, 132300, 176400, 48000, 96000, 144000, 192000
    Data packet interval: 250 us

$ ps auxwwf | grep -E "^\w+\s+$(awk '/owner_pid/ { print $3 }' /proc/asound/AB12/pcm0p/sub0/status)"
cybdev    28898  3.9  0.3 1168948 30576 ?       Sl   15:41   0:56 /opt/deadbeef/bin/deadbeef

If you use a dmix subdevice, or even worse, pulseaudio, then it will be mixed and tampered with much like windows and macos' "system" mixers. (and you would see the PID of the stream would probably correspond to "pulseaudio" and not "deadbeef" as seen above)
I can only assume that using the raw alsa device is as close as you can get to WASAPI on windows.
(NOTE: usually nothing else will be able to use the soundcard while you use exclusive locks on this device, so no system sounds, flash player working etc... obv depends on hw capabilities and number of outputs on device)
post #5 of 9

I have two System76 PCs: Leopard Extreme and Lemur Ultra Thin which I purchased in late 2012.

 

I have the HeadRoom Ultra Desktop Amp with DAC and desktop power supply along with a Meridian 808v5. I use a Cardas Clear serial buss USB 2.0 cable to connect my System76 Leopard Extreme to my Meridian 808v5. It shows up as the Meridian 808v5 USB DAC in Ubuntu 12.10 64 bit.

 

You'll need to download and install DeaDBeef and use the ALSA sink at hw 0,1 to get bit-perfect audio: http://www.head-fi.org/t/561961/bit-perfect-audio-from-linux. See that Head-Fi thread about getting bit-perfect audio playback in Linux using various FLOSS music players.

 

Clementine can do the same thing if you use the clementine development trunk: http://www.clementine-player.org/downloads. Scroll down to this section:

 

 

There's also an Ubuntu PPA for these development builds:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:me-davidsansome/clementine-dev
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install clementine

 

You can configure Clementine to choose the GStreamer output plugin manually or automatically.

 

I'd recommend that you choose Clementine development trunk because it's slightly easier to configure to output bit-perfect audio. I have a Benchmark DAC-1 Pre on loan from an authorized dealer in my listening room at home right now and I am using my HD Tracks 24 bit 192 kHz albums to output FLAC loss less high resolution audio files to my Benchmark DAC1 Pre at 24 bits 192 kHz resolution using Clementine development trunk with the GStreamer output plugin set to automatic when it is directly connected to my System76 Leopard Extreme using my Cardas Clear serial buss USB 2.0 cable. Your results will vary.

 

Remember, this is GNU/Linux. Things are bound to go awry. You may not get any sound output if you experiment and you're on your own.

 

I am an Ubuntu certified Linux systems administrator and information assurance manager at work.

 

Try out the suggestions in the first Head-Fi thread that I posted with the other music players and see if you get the results that you want before you try Clementine. If all else fails, try Clementine development trunk.

post #6 of 9

In my experience, its good if the audio output can be configured from the player itself. Other stuff like youtube etc. can still use the onboard audio. Mixed audio channels can be annoying sometimes.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

In my experience, its good if the audio output can be configured from the player itself. Other stuff like youtube etc. can still use the onboard audio. Mixed audio channels can be annoying sometimes.

Yes if you use the USB DAC only for music and the onboard sound for everything else that pretty much ends up the same way.
See references to hw devices in alsa.
You still can't connect your headphones to both the onboard soundcard and the external USB DAC at the same time tho...

Oh, and for the OP: you might want to look at MPD too, it's pretty decent but requires a little configuration...
(and just for reference, MPD is the player software used in products such as Bryston BDP-1)
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by CybDev View Post


Yes if you use the USB DAC only for music and the onboard sound for everything else that pretty much ends up the same way.
See references to hw devices in alsa.
You still can't connect your headphones to both the onboard soundcard and the external USB DAC at the same time tho...

 

Yes, thats how I'm using it on my Archlinux setup.  Yes, two headphones, but I don't think one really needs good headphone for youtube.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CybDev View Post

Oh, and for the OP: you might want to look at MPD too, it's pretty decent but requires a little configuration...
(and just for reference, MPD is the player software used in products such as Bryston BDP-1)


Yep, MPD works straight with the DAC once the config file has the sound device added (I think its mpd.conf). Pretty good IMO, and the interface is neat and simple.

I'm using the ncmpcpp front end.


Edited by proton007 - 2/20/13 at 1:43am
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

 

Yes, thats how I'm using it on my Archlinux setup.  Yes, two headphones, but I don't think one really needs good headphone for youtube.

 


Yep, MPD works straight with the DAC once the config file has the sound device added (I think its mpd.conf). Pretty good IMO, and the interface is neat and simple.

I'm using the ncmpcpp front end.


+1

Arch Linux + MPD + ncmpcpp is an amazing combo smily_headphones1.gif

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