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CAS Source: Raspberry Pi - Picoreplayer & RaspyFi

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Preface:

I have been using Picoreplayer for a while. It is a great piece of software and it is a good CAS source compared with PC.

 

My Introduction to Picoplayer could be found here:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/674236/cas-source-squeezebox-touch-replacement-raspberry-pi-picoplayer

 

Recently, RaspyFi v1.0 is out. Before v1.0, I have tried the previous RC2. Sadly, it did not support WAV format and so I had to let it go. Thanks to a local forum user's advice, he suggested to try RaspyFi v1.0 if anyone thinks Picoreplayer is good. So I give it a try, is it really that good?

 

Equipment & Connection:

Common Item:

1. Raspberry Pi (256MB old version) -> DIY USB cable -> Audio-gd DI-V2 (Aysnc USB/SPDIF converter) -> 75ohm BNC-BNC connector -> Audio-gd NFB-10SE (DAC) -> ZY Balanced headphone cable -> Senneisher HD650

 

2. WAV files stored in a Sandisk 4G USB stick

 

Uncommon item:

Picoreplayer: (This following settings are deemed the best)

1. Logitech Media Server is installed in a Lenovo notebook.

 

2. USB stick is inserted into the notebook's USB port

 

3. Volume set to 100%

 

4. Auto WAV to FLAC streaming (flac/sox) is disabled

 

RaspyFi:

1. USB stick is inserted into the Raspberry Pi

 

2. Voulme set to 100%

 

Results:

Before I talked about the results, I have to admit that the installation of RaspyFi is extremely easy, just burn the image into a SD card, connect every hardware together, boot up and ready to play music.

 

Soundstage: RaspyFi wins, it is clearly that the soundstage is larger

 

Clarity: RaspyFi also wins, the music is even clearer, but the vocal seems a step backward

 

Separation: RaspyFi wins again, the background music is more 3D and come from different places

 

I strongly suggest to try the RaspyFi v1.0 if you already had a Raspberry Pi. If Picoreplayer is good, RaspyFi is even better.

 

RaspyFi v1.0:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/raspyfi/files/latest/download?source=files
 

Tonight, I compared USB stick with Network share.

 

USB stick

1. WAV file stored in the Sandisk 4G USB stick

 

Network share

1. Raspberry Pi directly connected to a Notebook via Ethernet cable

 

2. WAV file stored in a 2.5" external hard disk connected via USB in the notebook

 

3. Notebook's OS is Windows 7

 

USB stick wins, clearer music.

 

Problems:

1. Occasion "zap" sound like Picoreplayer (must be due to my USB/SPDIF converter compatibility)

 

2. Cannot play 24/96 music, constantly "pop" sound in the background. Did not test 24/192 yet. (must be due to my USB/SPDIF converter compatibility)

 

3. Some Chinese characters shows properly while some are not (May not concern you at all)

 

4. Raspberry Pi do not have enough power to drive USB powered 2.5" USB hard disk

 

Please compare and give comment.


Edited by fourwed - 10/15/13 at 11:31pm
post #2 of 13

The Raspyfi is a cool distribution, I have only used it for a few hours, but I'm happy with it. Especially cool when you combine it with a MPD Client.

 

It appears that the zap and pops can be due to the Raspberry Pi's limited CPU and how it can't handle allot of USB data without dropping packets, though I could be wrong. The sound is zap/pop free for 16/48 out of the box for Raspypi, but for anything higher is hit and miss.

 

But the developers have also included kernel tweats under 'System --> Sound quality tweaks' in the GUI. Changing these could help. For me the sound was crackly if the kernel profile is default, but works great with ACX kernel profile for 24/48 without any crackly. (Note, if the sound starts to crack/pop straight after changing the kernel tweats then stop and star playback or reboot - after doing that it should be ok, touchwood).

 

I haven't tested any other higher res sound files.


Edited by phaselock - 9/18/13 at 4:18pm
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phaselock View Post
 

The Raspyfi is a cool distribution, I have only used it for a few hours, but I'm happy with it. Especially cool when you combine it with a MPD Client.

 

It appears that the zap and pops can be due to the Raspberry Pi's limited CPU and how it can't handle allot of USB data without dropping packets, though I could be wrong. The sound is zap/pop free for 16/48 out of the box for Raspypi, but for anything higher is hit and miss.

 

But the developers have also included kernel tweats under 'System --> Sound quality tweaks' in the GUI. Changing these could help. For me the sound was crackly if the kernel profile is default, but works great with ACX kernel profile for 24/48 without any crackly. (Note, if the sound starts to crack/pop straight after changing the kernel tweats then stop and star playback or reboot - after doing that it should be ok, touchwood).

 

I haven't tested any other higher res sound files.

 

Yes, I agree with you. A MPD client is a must consider the Web Interface misses some features.

 

It seems not it is because of the lack of CPU power because some users told me it is fully compatible with XMOS based USB DAC up to 24/192. Besides, I run "top" to watch the CPU usage and it never reaches more than 80%.

 

I also found the "Sound quality tweaks" and tested them before I posted, the sound is slightly different but do not help at all.

post #4 of 13

my Raspberry Pi just came a few days ago, only today I tried to setup it, so far liking it :D

 

Raspberry Pi (512MB Rev B) -> Ultraviolet USB Cable -> Audio-gd 11.32 (DAC) -> Beyerdynamic T1 

 

as for the sound tweak I think I'll be sticking to Mike, also I turn on the Cmedia USB fix 


Edited by xnuthecaveman - 10/6/13 at 12:34pm
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnuthecaveman View Post
 

my Raspberry Pi just came in a few days, only today I tried to setup it, so far liking it :D

 

Raspberry Pi (512MB Rev B) -> Ultraviolet USB Cable -> Audio-gd 11.32 (DAC) -> Beyerdynamic T1 

 

as for the sound tweak I think I'll be sticking to Mike, also I turn on the Cmedia USB fix 

 

So, what did you use as source? Did you compare them?

post #6 of 13
so far, I only tried 3 songs 16bit 44hz stored in a Compact flash card 133x over usb card reader smily_headphones1.gif

was not able to try high res yet, currently busy with family smily_headphones1.gif
post #7 of 13

me too,I only tried 3 songs 16bit 44hz stored in a Compact flash card 133x over usb card reader

3.gif

post #8 of 13
Want to ask, what is the best way to store music to have the best possible sound? NAS or using USB? I'mI'm deciding to either get a 4 bay HD bay or a netgear stora
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnuthecaveman View Post

Want to ask, what is the best way to store music to have the best possible sound? NAS or using USB? I'mI'm deciding to either get a 4 bay HD bay or a netgear stora

Before I use Raspyfi, I use Picoplayer and that requires a network storage for music. Therefore, I start with a PC and a Wifi router. all of them are connected with Ethernet Cables. Later, I found that all of those PC components have impact, mostly negative, to the sound quality. At last, I found that the sound is the best with a single Ethernet cable connecting the RPi and the Notebook. Beware, it is a notebook because I found the sound is better in a Notebook than a few PCs I have tested.

 

My conclusion is the connection should be as simple as it could to obtain the best sound. With a NAS, you added a lot of variables, says, the brand of NAS, the file system (EXT4, NTFS, FAT32), the router, the power supply of routers and NAS, the ethernet cable......

 

I have once compared the quality of the following connection method in Raspyfi:

 

1. Notebook stored Music and create a network share, RPi connects with it via a single Ethernet cable

2. USB flash drive

 

The sound is definitely clearer with USB flash drive.

post #10 of 13
I see, USB flash drives then, how about those non SSD external HD?smily_headphones1.gif
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

My guess is should be worse, due to moving disks generating noise.

post #12 of 13
Too bad, I plan to put all my music into one storage frown.gif
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnuthecaveman View Post

Too bad, I plan to put all my music into one storage frown.gif

If money is not a problem, how about SSD? there is 1TB available.

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