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AUDIOPHILE LINUX (AP Linux)

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

Dear All,

Tried several OSs such as Windows 7 Pro, Windows Server 2012, Linux Mint, Jaguaraudiodesign, Ubuntu,..I decided to use AUDIOPHILE LINUX (Linux Arch) for long time to test the stable & sound of the OS vs the others.

I am not an IT expert, also not guru in Linux so my way is quite tough because just learned some commands in Ubuntu but have to start over with The AUDIOPHILE LINUX (Linux Arch) which is far different from Ubunto.

 

Welcome to all people who had experiences with that, please share your thoughts! Thank you.

post #2 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamtheatervn View Post
 

Dear All,

Tried several OSs such as Windows 7 Pro, Windows Server 2012, Linux Mint, Jaguaraudiodesign, Ubuntu,..I decided to use AUDIOPHILE LINUX (Linux Arch) for long time to test the stable & sound of the OS vs the others.

I am not an IT expert, also not guru in Linux so my way is quite tough because just learned some commands in Ubuntu but have to start over with The AUDIOPHILE LINUX (Linux Arch) which is far different from Ubunto.

 

Welcome to all people who had experiences with that, please share your thoughts! Thank you.

Surfing on the web for a good linux release focused on audio, I discovered AP Linux. 

I will install it and see how it works.

Being based on Mint distribution (a Debian release) it shouldn't be that difficult or different from Ubuntu. 

Let's see!!!!!


Edited by guglia72 - 6/27/14 at 1:35am
post #3 of 50
Thread Starter 
guglia72,
It's not difficult for IT people but to me it's not easy at all because command is difference.
How is your systems sound after install AP Linux?

My own opinion for those OS:
- Win Server (foobar2000)> win 8 > win 7. Win server sounds in between Win 8 & Win 7.
- Ubuntu sounds thicker, bigger soundstage, more noise than AP Linux. AP linux sound clearer, soft & bass deeper.
My problem of AP Linux are Usb hdd is not mount automatically even i folloed instruction on Ap linux web. I am finding way to play Dsd over my Audio-gd 17.32 Dac but can't because I don't know how to config the AP linux correctly.

Sorry for my poor English. Nice weekend to everybody!
Edited by dreamtheatervn - 6/28/14 at 7:30pm
post #4 of 50

Looks like it is based on Arch, so you will be using Pacman as your package manager, similar to aptitude/apt-get which is what Ubuntu uses, as do Ubuntu spinoffs like Linux Mint.  However, Arch Linux is a much more advanced distribution to just use and is geared more towards the advanced linux user who knows his/her way around the command line.  It is rated up there with Gentoo in terms of what you can do with it but is found to be much more stable overall.  LMDE (Linux Mint Debian) is based on Debian rolling and is functionally different than Ubuntu in a few ways but share enough similarities most can figure it out with a little work.

 

If you are looking to use Linux as a turn-key solution, from someone who has been working with it since Slackware 1, I have yet to this day, used a release that was "turn-key".  Even "Turn Key Linux" which is a LAMP virtual server you download and turn on, still has dependency issues and programs to be installed.

 

Ubuntu comes fairly close to turn-key because of the GUI but the desktop version loads a lot of extra non-sense.  

 

You can load up a Ubuntu server install, use apt-get to install mpd and ALSA libraries, then go find ncmpcpp and add its apt sources, off yah go.  To make the system headless, install openSSH and toss in on the network, then control it from any other PC in your house with Putty or another terminal client.  Just use nano to edit your /etc/network/interfaces file with the proper information.  If you're using wireless, have fun.  I would go to my next option if wireless is your thing.  Getting it to run directly from the command line takes a few extra steps a novice may not be up for.

 

To go a different route, with a GUI, would recommend keeping it as simple as possible and get rid of the bloated desktop OS'.  They were developed for people who wanted a Windows type GUI on a command line style system.  

 

The more you add to linux the more tie-ins get added and the more things begin getting linked together, such as Pulse Audio, KMix, GStreamer, etc.  Using a minimalist GUI/OS like Xubuntu keeps resources down and gives you a fairly straight forward OS to use that will utilize very minimal resources.  You will still want to confirm ALSA libraries are installed using aptitude or apt-get.  

 

After that, toss on MPD and use Sonata as a front-end, or use something like DeadBeef, Clementine, which will still very easily provide bit-perfect.  All of these should have no issue seeing an SPDIF DAC or USB DAC.  

 

To verify your output, you can 'cat' out your proc/streams or hw_params file located under the proper stream subfolder (the one related to your DAC) which can be found by doing an 'asound -l'.

 

There are several articles online with sample MPD and ALSA configurations for bit-perfect on Linux, it is one of the simplest setups to get going and will run on a box of hair and well wishes, like most stripped down distros.

 

You can also try JRiver 19 for Linux, which they are beta testing and appears to work great based on reviews on their forums from testers, although I haven't tried it yet at work so can't personally comment compared to the Windows version.

post #5 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much Bonesnv. I wish you are living some where in my city so I can bring my laptop to you for treatment;) I think Linux OS is for IT experts, not for normal people because there are many ways to tweak,adjust. It does not mean that I haven't try but when i usually lost my way or only can go halfway then get stuck.

My friends and me have just have a small test with following devices.
1) computer: lenovo t xx series (windows 8,foobar 200), c.a.p.s 2(windows server 2013, foobar 200), sony vaio Sz 640 (AP linux, deadbeef). All playing same hires files 24/96 from external usb hdd.
2) converter: Stahl tek ABC (can't install driver for win server)
3)Dac/source: burson dac 160d, audio-gd 17.32, cdp marantz 63se

You will never imagine about result. No matter the computer or OS is, the Stahl tek Abc decides the sound as well as color of sound,. It sounds fantastic, rich, and analog alike.
Without converter computer will decide the sound, no matter the OS is, in this computers round, Lenovo txx is the best sounding. However, the cheap Cdp Marant is the winner!
This makes me think again because hardware will decide "who will be the chief?"

Last but not least, Stahl tek Abc is too expensive for me (3.5k). Too much!
post #6 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamtheatervn View Post

Thanks very much Bonesnv. I wish you are living some where in my city so I can bring my laptop to you for treatment;) I think Linux OS is for IT experts, not for normal people because there are many ways to tweak,adjust. It does not mean that I haven't try but when i usually lost my way or only can go halfway then get stuck.

My friends and me have just have a small test with following devices.
1) computer: lenovo t xx series (windows 8,foobar 200), c.a.p.s 2(windows server 2013, foobar 200), sony vaio Sz 640 (AP linux, deadbeef). All playing same hires files 24/96 from external usb hdd.
2) converter: Stahl tek ABC (can't install driver for win server)
3)Dac/source: burson dac 160d, audio-gd 17.32, cdp marantz 63se

You will never imagine about result. No matter the computer or OS is, the Stahl tek Abc decides the sound as well as color of sound,. It sounds fantastic, rich, and analog alike.
Without converter computer will decide the sound, no matter the OS is, in this computers round, Lenovo txx is the best sounding. However, the cheap Cdp Marant is the winner!
This makes me think again because hardware will decide "who will be the chief?"

Last but not least, Stahl tek Abc is too expensive for me (3.5k). Too much!

 

I wouldn't say Linux is only for the IT individual but it is typically catered that way especially certain back-ends.  With that said, there are some very user friendly versions of Linux out there, personally I have had users adopt the Linux Mint Cinnamon desktop very quickly due to its familiarity to Windows.  Lock them out of root access and there isn't a whole lot they can break.  The issue I have with Linux distributions these days becomes security updates, which not all distributions adhere to the same mindset that these are kind of important and should be installed.

 

As I noted, if you are not selective with your Linux installation, some programs or libraries you will never use and likely never know about, are still installed and could be vulnerable to risk.  The recent issues with Heartbleed and OpenSSL critical security issues are a good example of this.  If you aren't going to use it on your Linux box, don't install it.  It is why I tend to go towards minimalist distributions who will leave out most of it unless you choose to include it.  Arch, Ubuntu Server, Gentoo (not for the timid) and still do this day, Slackware (if you learn Slackware you learn Linux, it's an actual quote, google it) are all very straight forward OS's with Arch and Ubuntu offering very easy to use package management tools.

 

Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu for its main distribution using the Cinnamon desktop (or one of the others like MATE), but as noted they also have a Debian rolling release called LMDE.  The two are very different and for someone new to Linux, I would recommend the Ubuntu branch.  

 

When it comes to Linux there are a lot of options though, as I said, a headless music server is incredibly easy to build with Linux and then control using your iPhone, Android phones/tablets or anything with Windows/Mac OS.  This type of system will run on anything, JRiver is actually selling a media player piece of hardware for around $300 I think that will have all of this installed with the Linux back-end and JRiver 19 front-end for a headless system.  You can do that same setup yourself for the cost of an Intel NUC and the hardware from Amazon (hard drive and memory), or using any old PC you have.

 

The real question is, what exactly is your goal to accomplish?  Based on that goal this could be very simple or require a little more effort.


Edited by bonesnv - 6/29/14 at 5:23am
post #7 of 50

I need to point out though, that packages are awesome as someone who used RedHat and fedora for a while. I also used Gentoo back in the day. .deb packages are awesome. 

 

I am also surprised that you will hear differences between different linux distros. They all use the same code and packages. Hell, even the drivers are the same. You can easily hear a difference between Windows and Linux but I am skeptical that you hear actual differences between Ubuntu and Debian since Ubuntu is really a set of debian packages. I have heard of linux mint. They say straight up that it is an ubuntu clone with some package modifications. These modifications use common code and Linux Mint seems to bundle more A/V codecs. Almost certainly they use exactly the same audio drivers. There are only a few ways to play audio in Linux. OSS4, which is currently outdated and most likely shouldn't be used, ALSA, and if you want to hurt yourself, PluseAudio. The only difference I could see is the default setup of the audio and perhaps a few equalizer settings. 

 

ALSA is fantastic. I am guessing that mess of people who worked on OSS4 moved to ALSA. The drivers are generally very good and it has wide support. Again though, once an ALSA driver is written, it is shared among all distros. It isn't like you pick up Linux Mint and get a totally different driver. 

 

In my opinion, stick to Ubuntu. It is a great OS and quite stable. You can also do just about anything you want to do with it. Hell, you can uninstall every package and compile each from scratch if you wanted to. I don't know why you would want to, but you can.

post #8 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by asterix404 View Post
 

I need to point out though, that packages are awesome as someone who used RedHat and fedora for a while. I also used Gentoo back in the day. .deb packages are awesome. 

 

I am also surprised that you will hear differences between different linux distros. They all use the same code and packages. Hell, even the drivers are the same. You can easily hear a difference between Windows and Linux but I am skeptical that you hear actual differences between Ubuntu and Debian since Ubuntu is really a set of debian packages. I have heard of linux mint. They say straight up that it is an ubuntu clone with some package modifications. These modifications use common code and Linux Mint seems to bundle more A/V codecs. Almost certainly they use exactly the same audio drivers. There are only a few ways to play audio in Linux. OSS4, which is currently outdated and most likely shouldn't be used, ALSA, and if you want to hurt yourself, PluseAudio. The only difference I could see is the default setup of the audio and perhaps a few equalizer settings. 

 

ALSA is fantastic. I am guessing that mess of people who worked on OSS4 moved to ALSA. The drivers are generally very good and it has wide support. Again though, once an ALSA driver is written, it is shared among all distros. It isn't like you pick up Linux Mint and get a totally different driver. 

 

In my opinion, stick to Ubuntu. It is a great OS and quite stable. You can also do just about anything you want to do with it. Hell, you can uninstall every package and compile each from scratch if you wanted to. I don't know why you would want to, but you can.

 

True, Debian does have a good package management with dpkg, but I would say out of the two distributions Ubuntu based distro's are easier for the novice.  The way Debian handles its networking, the init scripts and some other services is just slighty different and that is what makes each individual distro unique.  Yes, you are inherently running Linux Kernel 3.x.x but it is everything else that they bundle to create their "package" that determines the usefulness overall I think.

 

As for audio differences in the distro's, if you are getting bit perfect that is as good as it literally gets.  As you said and I was not stating otherwise with my distro comments; ALSA is ALSA is ALSA, doesn't care much what distribution as long as it is the current source.  You cannot output better than bit perfect, the only thing you can do is introduce things on top such as DSP and equalizers, which then negate the bit perfect playback since you are modifying the playback.  

 

I was recommending distro's based on end user ease of use for a Linux novice.  Linux Mint and Ubuntu are inherently the same thing with Linux Mint utilizing Cinnamon as the preferred desktop.  It is personal preference, I just don't like Ubuntu's fugly GUI and never have.  Even dating back to the days where they put that stupid Ubuntu multi-colored Pelican thing as the desktop background, think that was back in version 9 or 10.  I also stay clear of recommending distributions such as PC Linux, which just try to make a Windows looking OS on a Linux kernel.  Linux is linux and people should learn how to properly use the operating system they are working on, otherwise it will seriously bite them in the ass.

 

Personally, I would not use either desktop version for a dedicated audio PC, as both introduce things like PulseAudio and others to the mix.

 

ALSA is an incredibly easy config to work with, as is MPD that is why I recommend them as the back-end for the music system.  They are text based configuration files that are all very detailed out on the internet if you want to get heavily customized.  JACK audio can also work in place of ALSA but I find it is a bit more temperamental than the latter and requires a bit more work to effectively playback how you want it every time.  Would say it is more for those that want to record back into Linux but as I am not a sound engineer can't comment to much on that. 

post #9 of 50

Yea. I was reading about JACK and OSS4. Both are not supported by Ubuntu (and I assume the derivatives). Development is questionable. ALSA under ubuntu gets you massive benefits for free (meaning you don't have to spend hours installing packages and having them break) like multiple audio sources. I will also agree that the UI for Ubuntu is quite fugly. Very rarely would people select linux for their UI though. It just isn't done. If you want an awesome UI you basically have to get a Mac. That said though, the UI is very functional, though ugly. 

 

Ubuntu is great. It is stable, easy, and thoroughly tested. Their selections for kernel modules are sensible and they put out updates frequently. They are also on a 6 month plan for upgrades. Yes, gnome isn't that lovely to look at and if the main difference between Linux Mint and Ubuntu is that Mint uses a different GUI and has a package of codecs (which you can easily install in Ubuntu), cool. It seems like this AP Linux is an even larger collection of kernel modules and codecs. I have no idea what a Real Time Kernel is. All Kernels are real time. Also, you shouldn't be hitting the kernel when you play music, in any meaningful sense. The modules should be shoving bits directly to your sound card or through a module which then shoves bits at your sound card. The drivers should be handling the audio and again, the drivers for sound cards are largely identical across all platforms. 

 

I think that bares repeating. There are almost no custom drivers. It is very difficult to write these. Most cards are proprietary and drivers are developed by backward engineering. Some companies (Asus maybe and Intel most notably) do actually release their specs for driver development. Again though, your Intel driver for your sound card is exactly the same across all distros and in your 2.7/3.X kernels. It is developed once and shared. 

 

The only difference I could ever see is if the equalizer settings are, by default, tweaked slightly or if there are different configuration options selected. These options you can set in any distribution because the underlying software is exactly the same. 

 

Basically, as someone who develops software, has used linux for the last 15 years, and has read a ton of stuff about linux audio (I just bought a very high end sound card and wanted to make sure that the audio was going to work and be very high quality) I will still recommend ubuntu, kbuntu, or I suppose Linux Mint as a distant 3rd. Despite the terrible UI, ubuntu has a great set of default packages and is very supported with excellent documentation. Almost every bit of software has an ubuntu package because it is just so popular. Stay far away from Debian. Debian, and I swear by this statement, is used to build custom OSes for companies who want to install the minimum number of packages for their custom software. 

 

The only difference between OSes is the install script, the UI, the package manager, and the default packages installed. That is quite literally it. If you wanted to write a custom OS installer (I worked with someone who did this for a company), you have your own OS. It was headless because it didn't need a UI. Anyone who hasn't used Linux before should have a UI. I recommend the ugly ubuntu one because, again, it is fully featured and has tons of documentation. If you google something for the default ubuntu UI, most likely you will get a result. 

 

This is a long winded post but suffice to say, if people are hearing differences between linux distros, something seriously wrong is happening. Either the configurations are slightly different or the equalizer is slightly different. You do not need to worry about "kernel latency". Bit perfect audio is available, depending on the media player, for ubuntu under ALSA. I have it running now. I think I can hear a tiny difference between my "bit perfect" media player and banshee. It is almost insignificant. I don't know why. Perhaps my A5+'s are just not good enough to pick it up. I have bit perfect working though, so I have little incentive to change it but really, for someone just coming to linux, stick to Ubuntu and if you really hate the UI, switch to a different Ubuntu clone. I don't buy this AP Linux thing. 

post #10 of 50

I had JACK running under Xubuntu 13.x with no issues, outputting at bit-perfect.  I have not tried it on 14.x though, because it just isn't worth it.  The problem with JACK compared to ALSA is that it simply isn't easy to work with, so I wouldn't recommend it unless you were using it for a very specific purpose.

 

All that said, we can ramble on about Linux distributions, preferences and this or that all day long.  Without knowing the specific intent though, it is difficult to make accurate recommendations.

 

I tried AP Linux, Daphile, Jaguar OS and a few other "specialty" audiophile distributions that they post about over on Computer Audiophile; and after running various checks on system performance, ease of use and playback quality, not a single thing was different from those special "kernels" compared to what I was getting with a basic install of Ubuntu Server and ALSA.

 

Although, Daphile has a nice GUI front-end similar to the old Squeezebox style, fairly intuitive, allows you to easily export/record audio or select your DAC from a drop down.  If you want simple, I wouldn't toss it aside but you will get no sound quality bonuses out of it versus any other Linux distro.  You manage it from a tablet/web browser.


Edited by bonesnv - 6/29/14 at 2:36pm
post #11 of 50
Thread Starter 

Bonesnv: my goal is how to listen to music more, and as an end user I want to make it simple because qty of end users are more than IT experts:biggrin: . Another reason : LINUXs is presented in many music servers, why?

 

Asterix404 & Bonesnv: I think I will return to Ubuntu where Audacious has best sounding, will freeze the drive and back for more! :deadhorse:

 

Everyone@ I concentrate on the sound because I am end user, OS or s/w will make things changed but not a revolution like changing h/w.

 

Thanks for contribute the topic. Anyone else, please!

post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamtheatervn View Post
 

Bonesnv: my goal is how to listen to music more, and as an end user I want to make it simple because qty of end users are more than IT experts:biggrin: . Another reason : LINUXs is presented in many music servers, why?

 

Asterix404 & Bonesnv: I think I will return to Ubuntu where Audacious has best sounding, will freeze the drive and back for more! :deadhorse:

 

Everyone@ I concentrate on the sound because I am end user, OS or s/w will make things changed but not a revolution like changing h/w.

 

Thanks for contribute the topic. Anyone else, please!

 

Linux itself is used in a lot of minimalist setups because it is incredibly easy to configure a hardened OS that is compiled and designed with the exact features, dependencies and plugins required to make it do its very limited or specific purpose.  Whether that is a web server, audio server or just running a SQUID proxy for basic web filtering.  You can do all that while running on a computer with a gig of ram or less, low amounts of hard drive space and a craptastic CPU and it will still sit in the corner and just work without issue for as long as you leave it turned on.  Obviously that all scales based on number of people etc, but the point is it runs on a box of happy thoughts if you want it to.

 

Good choice on the Ubuntu, its a very popular distribution and user friendly.  

 

In regards to sound, bit perfect is bit perfect is bit perfect.  Not sure what else you are wanting to achieve but Linux, Apple and Windows are all perfectly capable of playing what is considered to be bit perfect playback.  As Asterix said, if you are noting sound differences between Linux OS' something is wrong, very very wrong, such as DSP affects being added you weren't aware of or something of that nature.


Edited by bonesnv - 7/2/14 at 6:36am
post #13 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonesnv View Post
 

 

Linux itself is used in a lot of minimalist setups because it is incredibly easy to configure a hardened OS that is compiled and designed with the exact features, dependencies and plugins required to make it do its very limited or specific purpose.  Whether that is a web server, audio server or just running a SQUID proxy for basic web filtering.  You can do all that while running on a computer with a gig of ram or less, low amounts of hard drive space and a craptastic CPU and it will still sit in the corner and just work without issue for as long as you leave it turned on.  Obviously that all scales based on number of people etc, but the point is it runs on a box of happy thoughts if you want it to.

 

Good choice on the Ubuntu, its a very popular distribution and user friendly.  

 

In regards to sound, bit perfect is bit perfect is bit perfect.  Not sure what else you are wanting to achieve but Linux, Apple and Windows are all perfectly capable of playing what is considered to be bit perfect playback.  As Asterix said, if you are noting sound differences between Linux OS' something is wrong, very very wrong, such as DSP affects being added you weren't aware of or something of that nature.

Yes, Ubuntu has a friendly GUI.

 

In Ubuntu or AP Linux OS I set Deadbeef, Audacious in pass thru mode (no effects, no s/w volume, no oversampling) but I still recognised the differences when changing Linux OS. IMO, there are many unnecessary distro or lib installed in Ubuntu effects to the sound while the AP Linux is made for audio purpose only. Furthermore, the differences is difficult to recognise in my cheap audio gear but easy to feel when hooking to hi-end gears.


Edited by dreamtheatervn - 7/3/14 at 3:34am
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamtheatervn View Post
 

Yes, Ubuntu has a friendly GUI.

 

In Ubuntu or AP Linux OS I set Deadbeef, Audacious in pass thru mode (no effects, no s/w volume, no oversampling) but I still recognised the differences when changing Linux OS. IMO, there are many unnecessary distro or lib installed in Ubuntu effects to the sound while the AP Linux is made for audio purpose only. Furthermore, the differences is difficult to recognise in my cheap audio gear but easy to feel when hooking to hi-end gears.

 

Sounds like you had Pulse Audio or other attributing packages installed on your Ubuntu distribution, there just isn't a way that a properly configured Linux system with the correct audio libraries sounds audibly different than another one.  This is one of the reasons I recommended Ubuntu Server instead of Desktop, then simply installing 3 basic components to get everything up and working, wam bam thank yah mam.

 

If you are intent on using AP-Linux, by all means go for it and enjoy the hell out of it, hope it truly meats all of your needs and you enjoy your music, that's why were all here.  

 

I am just one of those people that believes if you are going to use Linux in any form, whether that is a basic desktop or otherwise, one should at least attempt to learn and to understand basic principals such as application management and dependencies, as well as how to keep their system up to date and perform basic maintenance. 

 

On a side note, I have tried every single one of those distributions with my existing setup using loss-less FLAC files, hence my earlier comment about Daphile being useful (not related to sound quality).  I also wouldn't say my gear is exactly low tier, especially with the T1's if there was an audible difference those should have easily picked it up.  However, there was no change in the depth of the sound stage, the warmth or brightness of the music, or any change at all that I witnessed.  Everything sounded exactly the same once I ensured that it was outputting bit perfect.

 

Use whatever allows you to enjoy the music the most and have a blast.  If you need some actual Linux assistance inside the OS layer itself, I am sure many here could help.

post #15 of 50
Thread Starter 

Please help me to config to listen DSD files in my non native DSD support DAC (Audio-gd 17.32). 

 

My list card :

**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****

card 0: Intel [HDA Intel], device 0: STAC9872AK Analog [STAC9872AK Analog]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
card 1: Audiogd [Audio-gd], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]
  Subdevices: 0/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

 

My MPD.CONF:

### AUDIO section start ############################
audio_output { 
        type          "alsa" 
        name          "Audio USB Audio" 
    device          "hw:0,0"
    mixer_type    "hardware"
        dsd_usb       "no"
        buffer_time   "100000"
        period_time   "100000"
        use_mmap      "yes"
        auto_resample "no"
        auto_channels "no"
        auto_format   "no"
### AUDIO section end ##############################
 
GMPC or Ario player ain't work. Is there something wrong in the CONF? Do I have to add or adjust?
 
Thanks in advance & Have a nice day.
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