New desktop streaming system (DIY)

I used the winter season to do some hardware work. Doesn't happen that often - hardware work.

I thought, why not getting rid of all the open boards and RPis on my desktop. And ended up with this...


RPi kernel developments - 2023

Hi folks.

The foundation has updated its kernel tree a short while ago. It seems they plan to switch to kernel version 6.1 during the year. Usually the foundation goes for  LTS (long term support) kernel versions.

A lot of RPi related stuff had been merged into the so called mainline kernel tree of 6.1 over time. That's the master tree maintained by Linus Torvalds. The more stuff the foundation can transfer to mainline the less effort they and the developers will have to maintain two kernel trees. And the users should greatly benefit by getting much faster newer kernel versions and related features. Especially accessing performance relevant developments asap are of great value for embedded system like the RPi.

What's new on 6.1 ?

A lot.

RPI4 - All Lights OFF - Update

Not much going in RPi land these days. It's unbelievable that a whole industry branch gets dragged down currently.


However. Many of us still run and maintain RPis. I'd like to make you, the tweakers, aware of a recent change in the RPI firmware.

RPi Power Gadget - UcPi

IanCanada recently released a new gadget called UcPi.

It's basically a supercap power buffer for the RPi. It follows a to me new approach - I just called it "HAB" -- Hardware Attached to Bottom. To accomplish it IanCanada makes use of spring contacts to connect to the soldered GPIO power pins at the bottom of the PI board.

Over at github you'll find the manual that also lays out this or that application:

https://github.com/iancanada/DocumentDownload/blob/master/UltraCapacitorPowerSupply/UcPi/UcPiManual.pdf

Audiophonics sells the product:

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/single-board-computers-et-hats/ian-canada-ucpi-universal-ultracapacitor-power-supply-board-for-raspberry-pi-p-16717.html

I do use cap buffers to improve the RPi power rails for years with good results.
Therefore I consider the UcPi a promising gadget. However. @ $/€79 plus feet on top I consider the pricing a bit steep.

Further it seems to take a while to get the supercaps charged, which might make operation of the module slightly annoying, especially if you don't run an AlwaysOn system.

Beside that it's recommended to use a quality PS for charging. Another argument that weakens the UcPi proposition. Of course - the lack of a case is another bummer.

Anyhow. I do think for those who run quality RPi implementations with PS like Allo Shanti, iFi iPower or alike the UcPi should enhance the overall performance of the setup without being too complex.

If anybody out there have already tested the UcPi, please let us know.


Enjoy.

soundcheck's Purifi amplifier

Let's talk a bit about amplifiers. I owned numerous devices. Commercial and DIY. Jeff Rowland, Anaview Abletec, Hypex,  T-amps, SMSL and the list goes on and on. I tried many of those ebay Class-D modules. I tried all kind of power supplies (connex/hypex/linears, ...), I tried several full digital amps. and I compared these to even more amps owned by audiophile friends of mine. 

Oh dear. What a career. I swapped Class-D output transformers with Mundorf coils, replaced rectifiers, cabling, fuses connectors, power cables and the tweak list goes on and on.

And finally I got hooked up to a  Purifi Audio Eigentakt 1ET400A Stereo Eval1 amp integrated into a Ghent Audio case.


I am running this amp for more than a year by now. Puh. What a journey.


Gustard V18 vs. Allo Katana - a 2022 assessment

For almost a year or so I am running an IMO excellent Gustard A18 DAC.  The Gustard builds around the top of the line AKM AK4499 and Accusilicon clocks.  The DAC received quite some nice reviews confirming my experience with it.  Most reviewers saw that DAC challenging much pricier rivals. Until now I was never in doubt about the overall DAC performance...

audio@advise passes 1.000.000 site visits

Hey... 

...just figured that the site visit counter of blogger passed the 1.000.000 for audio@vise!!!



I thought it'd be worth mentioning. 

sKit and pCP81 - regression test successful

On December 5th  pCP 8.1 was released.

I just did a sKit regression test on my RPi4. I used the 64 bit version.

And I did a maiden installation.

It all went OK. Not a single hiccup! Great.

Releasing sKit-custom-squeezelite.sh 1.4 for test

I just uploaded a seriously modified version 1.4 of sKit-custom-squeezelite.sh

(UPDATE Nov-12-21 - I uploaded 1.4.2-beta. It comes with a few minor corrections, slightly enhanced stability and traceability)

squeezelite - update - flac processing improvement

 Hi there.

Just recently a small - potentially interesting - performance enhancement for flac processing had been introduced.
Those of you who run sKit and a (my) custom squeezelite binary should update the binary.

I did update my own squeezelite branch on github accordingly.

I havn't tested what the update does - performance and soundwise - though.

If you run the update and experience some improvement - please let me/us know.


Enjoy.



The audiophile power of Youtube

Did you ever realize that you can easily discern sound quality differences on most of these numerous audiophile a/b device comparisons over @




introducing sKit 1.5

Hi there.

I uploaded a new version (1.5.) of sKit.

Full Digital Amp News

In 2012 I wrote an article about Full Digital Amps. I just updated it a little.  That's one part of the news.

During those days I was trying and tweaking several of these FDAs. I really liked the technology and the idea behind it. And they sounded extremely clean and dynamic already back then. IMO cleaner and more dynamic then most DAC-amp combos I had listened to. In the article I describe what I didn't like and why I left that idea alone. Just to mention it: It was mainly due to the mediocre digital pre-stages of these amps. These amps also need top notch USB receivers, filters, clocks, DSP/SRC, power supplies, regulation, layouts, isolation etc. During those days that's IMO been a major weak spot. 

I still kept watching for developments. Not much was happening over the years.

Everything that matters...

"Not everything that matters, can be measured. Not everything that can be measured, matters"




That's a slightly adopted quote of Albert Einstein. ;)

introducing sKit 1.4 (beta)

Hi folks.

I worked a little on sKit to make it more convenient and stable.

* most of the tweaks get automatically installed now
   no real need to dig into the Audio Streaming series anymore. 

* sKit-manager remove function - removes everything from now on
   there shouldn't be any sKit trace left anymore once that is done.

What's basically left for to you do is

  1. you install a fresh pCP image,
  2. increase it to at least 200MB, 
  3. configure your audio interface via WEB-UI and
  4. install sKit

 At that point you should have a well tuned system up'n running.

On 1.4 I added some changes to the affinity tweak. I now assign squeezelite to
CPU 1 and 2 without isolating these CPUs anymore.

The documentation also got updated. And of course this or that error got corrected.

sKit 1.4 needs a fresh pCP install as base. Using sKit-manager update won't work. Sorry for that.

sKit 1.4 is still beta. I'll wait for 2 weeks for feedback before officially releasing sKit 1.4. I count on your feedback.


Enjoy.




introducing sKit 1.1

 I've added some interesting new features to sKit (1.1).

introducing soundcheck's tuning kit - pCP (sKit) 1.0

 I'd like to introduce the first release of soundcheck's tuning kit - pCP (sKit) .

sKit provides a small and potentially growing number of little tools that'll help to setup piCorePlayer 7.0+ and Rpi4  and 3 in line with the advanced tuning recommendations outlined in my Audio Streaming Series.

The underlying idea is to take quite a basic operating system like piCorePlayer and tune it that way that it'll provide you with the best possible performance -- challenging most other (audiophile) OSes and streaming solutions out there.

This is not just another of these meanwhile numerous "audiophile" operating system out there though. In principle these do nothing else then applying this or that tweak you'll also find on this blog for years. The idea is to provide you with a tuning kit instead. You take it and apply it to that standard operating system installation yourself. And sKit supports you on that. 

You'll put yourself in the driver seat. And you control the pace.

sKit already goes slightly beyond the earlier outlined Audio Streaming Series scope. You should still go through the Audio Streaming Series step-by-step though. sKit doesn't cover all settings yet. At the relevant spots inside the Audio Streaming Series I refer to sKit.


sKit 1.0


I hope you'll enjoy the results.

SC

volume control - linear - pro-audio style

Ever thought about volume controls (VC)? 

...how they work? 
...digital volume controls in particular?

or... 

...do you simply slide your VCs up'n down enjoying the sound level getting up'n down !?!?