Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Raspberry PI - The Audio Engine - Part 9 - USB HUB Control

We're still on the way to collect this or that crumb that's been left on the table.
This exercise is for those who followed my advise to use an external network dongle. 
And for those who still enjoy playing around with our little gadget. 

Today we're looking at how to control our USB devices. 
As you probably already know the RPI Ethernet port is part of the PI USB infrastructure - The PI comes with a combined Ethernet-USB chip. IMO the weakest and most annoying part of the PI! 

A fellow programmer - Yutaka from Japan - has written a nice little tool to control USB-Hubs. 
It has been written in 2006 and - guess what - it still works.

Monday, January 29, 2018

RaspBerry Pi - The Audio Engine - Part 8 - Network Dongle

Now I'll explain how to install an external ethernet dongle to our Audio Engine. 

First you should read the general article  I wrote some time ago. 
There I'm outlining why this exercise could be of interest for you. 
On PI Zeros that'd be a must-do exercise anyhow.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

RaspBerry PI - The Audio Engine - Part 7 - Realtime Kernel

A realtime kernel. The cream of the cake for an Audio Engine - at least the way I see it.

Did you know? Even the Squeezebox Touch was running a realtime-kernel almost
10 years ago!

A realtime kernel allows a much faster task switching thus much lower latency
compared to normal kernels. It's usually used in time-sensitive industrial 

From my experience this extremely low latency can make a difference for our purpose as well.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

RaspBerry PI - The Audio Engine - Part 6 - DSD Native

Part 6 of the series is dedicated to show how DSD-native playback can be achieved
on a RPI running piCorePlayer.  

DSD is quite a fashioned feature since a couple of years. It's a niche format. However there's a small community considering it a must-have-feature for audiophile audio playback systems. 

This exercise will show you how to get DSD working in your LMS/squeezelite environment.  

NOTE: This preliminary guide requires piCorePlayer 3.5, which will be released soon!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

RaspBerry Pi - The Audio Engine - Part 5 - Custom squeezelite

This is not the first post of this series. I strongly recommend to start @ Part1

Most of the project is done. If you're still not happy with the result!?!? Hmmh.

OK. We could do a little more. ;)


Perhaps you should wait  for another week trying this Measure. I strongly recommend to get used to the performance of your recently manipulated PcP setup first. 

The result of this exercise might not be that earth shattering as you'd expect it to be.

What can we still do !?!?

There are two big areas that still can be addressed. 

1. The squeezelite binary
2. The kernel

Friday, January 19, 2018

RaspBerry Pi - The Audio Engine - Part 4 - Advanced OS Tuning Measures

Nice to have you back @ Part 4 of the series.

By now you already should have a nicely running audio system based on the Raspberry PI3, a nice little HAT DAC and piCorePlayer as audio engine.

This part of the "RPI Audio Engine series" will cover some more modifications.

As with all tuning measures the ultimate goal is to make the system more efficient and to get rid of distractions. 

Everything until now, including some basic tweaks (HDMI off/WLAN off etc.), could be accomplished by using the WEB GUI.

Now it's time to switch to commandline.  Some might don't like it. Some might be afraid 
of it. You might reconsider.

Keep in mind. You can't do much wrong. If so. Just restore your backed-up SD-card, if anything has gone south.

I'll try to walk you through the journey. Tweak by Tweak.

Still. Remember. Everything you do you do at your own risk! Just to be clear about that.

This article is still Work-in-Progress!  Latest update: Jan-24-2018

Raspberry Pi - The Audio Engine - Part 2 - piCorePlayer settings

In Part 2 of this series I'd like to cover general settings for piCorePlayer that I'd recommend to look at.

Just to remind you. All settings assume a RPI3 as a base.

The main assumption still is that the PI runs as playback engine only. Meaning.
there's a seperate LMS server out there.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Raspberry Pi - The Audio Engine - Part 1 - Introduction

Since 2013 I'm using and working with the Raspberry Pi and contributing this or that to the community.

The Raspberry PI family is by far the most successful single-board-computer (SBC).
Even if its base hardware can't be considered top notch, it can very well serve the purpose
of becoming a serious audio transport.

What makes a device like the RPI a success story is its wide market presence,
great and innovative SW (community) support and OEMs flooding the market with
all kind of (quality) gadgets.
Many other SBC companies failed to succeed (beyond becoming a niche product), because they were not able comply to these factors - even providing a potentially much better HW base wouldn't help.
Building HW is a one-off effort. Without SW these devices are worth nothing. 
Providing, evolving and maintaining SW is a continuous process over a long period in time. 
That's what many manufactures underestimate! And that's why they usually fail.

The challenge

Taking  a rather mediocre device (HW) like an RPI and make it a high quality audio transport.

With this article I'd like to give a little guidance to get you going.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Raspberry Pi - The Audio Engine - Part 3 - squeezelite and DAC settings

In Part 3 of this series I'd like to share some lines about the parameter settings of squeezelite.

squeezelite comes with numerous options that can change it's performance
as well as its functionality.

For this exercise I'll obviously be using  piCorePlayer once more. 

The LogitechMediaServer (LMS) setup I basically covered in the LMS configuration article.

Monday, August 28, 2017

LogitechMediaServer - Settings Guide

I consider the LogitechMediaServer (LMS) the best music server out there.

The LMS is the server part of a very powerful client/server audio streaming environment 
and requires a compatible streaming client, such as squeezelite

Here you might find some useful information and hints for a high performance setup.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

networking - RPI dongle your net

I'd like to share an - IMO - nice alternative network setup solution for the RPI3.

The solution will nicely add to or you might also call it  - enhance - earlier described networking solution.  

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

networking - my audio data highway

Years back I mentioned that the network and associated components do have quite an impact on your audio performance. 
Meanwhile this became common knowledge in - let's call it - audiophile minded circles. 

As usual, I prefer reasonably (priced) highest performance solutions. 
Usually a healthy mix of DIY efforts and commercial stuff gets me there. 

Today I'd like to introduce my "currently" preferred "audio" streaming network solution.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Raspberry PI - I2S-HATs @ 384k

Today I'd like to share how to introduce 352k8/384k upsampling 
via LogitechMediaServer as server and squeezelite as a client.

This post, from a hardware perspective,  pretty much relates to my 

RPI I2S HAT DAC projects I've been running over at DIY-Audio.

Some DACs (TI PCM51xx family) have shown a slightly better performance 

when running upsampled material. That's the main reason for writing all this up. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Shoot the Trouble -- USB Audio Interfaces

With all the very interesting Raspberry Pis and other ARM devices around, Linux becomes more and more interesting for many people. Great audio transports can be build at 100$.
Not to forget. Tablet and Phones are mainly Androids and that is just another Linux, using the same soundlayer (Alsa) then all other Linuxes.

Manufacturers usually still do not commit to support Linux or Android properly.
Which is insane. The vast majority of mobile device out there are Androids.

However. Many devices work or partially work under Linux, because manufacturers comply to general USB Audio Standards (UAC1/UAC2). Meanwhile even Pro Audio companies like RME offer a "Class Compliant" mode for their newest generation of USB devices. (In the RME case they do officially focus on OSX though.)

Anyhow. Even though things are getting better, there are still plenty of  cases where you'll experience NO SOUND.

That doesn't necessarily mean that your device won't work under Linux.

This article outlines a little guideline for troubleshooting your USB audio interface under Linux.
It should give you certain hints what to look for.

However. Just to make it clear from the very beginning.

I won't support anybody, who got issues with his interface!!! Checkout Google or the community.

If you have comments for improving the article please let me know.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hirez - Treasure Island - Part II

Today we cover HiRes (that covers DSD as well) vs. Redbook.

In the first blog about Hirez I covered the base HiRez material.

My conclusion was.:

Hirez material quite often seems to get resampled and remastered from unknown raw masters (formats).
There is usually nothing like a real "master" for sale out there.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Squeeze Me Lite

Latest update: 16-Aug-2017 


I'd like to introduce you to a my favorite audio application - a squeezebox streaming client - called squeezelite.

squeezelite is a versatile, highly efficient squeezebox emulator that runs on all PC platforms, micro computers, like a Raspberry Pi,  even on routers or NAS and also on the Squeezebox Touch .  Even commercial streamers make use of it.

It's opensource and it's free. And it's IMO been and still is a major enabler for streaming quality audio at home.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The silent death...

Hi folks.

Do you sometimes have the feeling, of not feeling comfortable the way you handle and administrate your valuable music ( and video and image) collection?

You don't really know -- if all the audio file integrity is still given  (after all those years of moving files here and there) !?!?

Loundess war - finally over ???

Hi folks.

Anybody heard about EBU R128??

To be honest. I didn't until recencly.

I accidently stepped  over EBU R128 (EBU=European Broadcasting Union, R128=Recommendation 128) while looking for a better ReplayGain solution.

R128 finally defines a standard how loudness should be measured and applied in an acceptable way.

The standard was based on  ITU BS.1770 ( International Telecommunications Union) released in 2006.
ITU BS.1770  has been widely applied in the broadcasting scene.
EBU R128  significantly enhanced that standard by a function called gating (You'll learn more about it later on.)  The original ITU BS.1770 has been updated to ITU BS.1770-3 by now and includes the gating function as proposed by EBU R128.

Not only us - audio geeks - have a huge problem with low quality music and messup of audio data due to "Loudness War" - NO - broadcasters face the same challenge on a daily basis.  They can not sit down and change the volume on every piece they are broadcasting.

They have to normalize audio of much more media sources, such as speach, film, commercials, podcasts, audio asf. And by doing so, they're compressing and messing with  the audio data even further.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ever heard about Full Digital Amps ??

(Sometimes they are also called PowerDACs or Direct Digital Amps or All Digital Amps btw.)

No !?!?

...the end of seperate  DAC + AMP decade might be near!!! ;)

For those of you who got tired to run after every new DAC and amp (I did), and
those who've read the 1000th review of another miracle  DAC (I did), or those
of you who got more confused then enlightened with the endless number
of DACs of choice out there (I did again), or those who look for a very small,
cost efficient and still great sounding system ... (Oh -- I'm talking about myself..)

Appendix 1: Market overview
Appendix 2: Patent
Appendix 3: DDX320 Modifications

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Touch Toolbox 3.0


Squeezebox Touch Toolbox

NO Longer Supported!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unfortunately I can't support my Touch Toolbox any longer.

Why? I don't have a working Squeezebox Touch anymore.

You'll be 100% on your own, if you continue to run the Toolbox.

If you keep running the Toolbox, you keep running it at your own risk - as always (see also Disclaimer on the right hand side).

As ususal, the Toolbox can be removed by a hardware reset (black button on the back of the Touch).

And remember: The Toolbox and EDO  shall not be installed at the same time!!

I'm still watching the Touch Toolbox Thread at Diy-Audio.com
If you have any questions, meet me there. I won't answer private mails!

Thx to all of you, who tried and appreciated the Toolbox for quite a long period of time.

Note: If there is anybody out there, who would donate a SBT to me - I just need it for design, testing and support - I'd more than happy to continue this project.
I'd even consider to launch a TT4.0.