Dummies Guide to Pi2AES! Throw away your PC or laptop.

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    I've used piCorePlayer, moOde, and Ropieee(XL) with two Pi2AES systems (one Pi3 with a PiTouch screen, the other Pi 4) without any rebooting except for reconfiguring or updates. piCorePlayer and moOde setups had a local USB SSD; Ropieee setups just stream from Roon or AirPlay. I basically forget about them for months and just listen. SanDisk microSDs. No WiFi.
     
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  2. gonz0znog

    gonz0znog Rando

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    Hello. I have ordered a Pi2AES board and am very excited about adding it to my set-up. However, while waiting a few more weeks for it to arrive I have a few questions regarding the functionality.
    Firstly, my understanding is that this is a PCM only product. I plan on using it to connect to several DACs to feed PCM. But I also use DSD and have heard that the Pi4 makes a decent USB interface.
    My question is can I use this one unit to play both PCM via the Pi2AES or then use USB for DSD? Would I need to boot into separate OS's or use a different card if this is possible?
    And also power supply wise, would it be advised to use a separate 5v connector for running the Pi w/o accessing the Pi2AES? I do have an iFi 5v iPower I could use if needed.
    I got one of the Meanwell SMPS, but on a YT video anout the Pi2AES, the reviewer links to an $18 "linear power supply" from Amazon that looks like it could possibly power an NES (gigantic wall wart). I am skeptical that this would be better that the Meanwell, especially since it is the PSU offered on the site.
    Anyways, sorry for all the noobish questions. I have much learning to do, but that's half the fun, I guess.
    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  3. gonz0znog

    gonz0znog Rando

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    I currently am using HDDs plugged into a Win10 PC. Using Foobar for PCM and JRiver for DSD. I run a Schiit Gungnir Multibit [w/ Gen5 USB], Geshelli JNOG and sometimes an iFi Zen DAC via USB.
    I also have a Topping D70 otw.
    My plan basically would be the following:
    I would like to use the Pi2AES to feed the Gungnir Multibit BNC, The JNOG coax and the Topping AES signals.
    If possible, I would like to use the USB from the Pi4 for DSD [and possibly MQA?] to the D70 and the Zen DAC and only DSD to the JNOG.
    Ideally, I would also like to continue using Foobar for PCM and JRiver for DSD playing from local HDDs in Win10.
    MQA would be [very occasionally] through the Tidal desktop app. If the Tidal app is incompatible with this configuration, I know this this could be routed through an external program. I believe Audirvana can do this, not sure about Foobar or JRiver. I also have heard having Roon makes things much easier, but I can't afford it.
    I am hoping this future config [or something similar] is achievable. Sorry to be so long-winded, but I thought it might be pertinent background info.
    Also, I have no clue what OS for the Pi I will use, but like everything to do with this project, I am open to suggestions.
    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  4. dllmsch

    dllmsch Friend

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    Some update on power supply.

    After acquiring a balanced isolation transformer I decided to brought out the stock meanwell SMPS to see if my power conditioner is able to clean up and improve the sound of it, as I heard isolation transformer works best with SMPS.
    Since I want to separate digital and analog gear, I am plugging the meanwell to the same 230V receptacle as my BF2. There's an immediate loss of depth once I plugged in the SMPS to the receptacle, and not even have Pi2AES hooked up. I did multiple plug and unplugging to confirm this, my guess would be the meanwell is contaminating the power my bifrost is getting, since they share the same winding on the transformer. I had the SMPS plugged in throughout the comparison so BF2 is under the same state.

    5V3.5A Chi-fi LPS straight from power strip bypassing onboard switcher
    vs
    Stock Meanwell 24V1.67A SMPS from my balanced power conditioner


    The difference is bigger than I remembered last time. Meanwell lose out in plankton, stage depth and imaging while having a brighter signature. While having a more "grab you ear" type of sound at the first 30s, it gets fatiguing pretty fast due to the loss of "space" between instruments and the more aggressive sibilance. As to why the difference is bigger, my guess would be due to all my downstream gears getting an "upgrade" from my power conditioner, and becoming more revealing.

    I also tried plugging my LPS into the BF2 230V receptacle briefly, it didn't sound as good as straight from power strip. I'm guessing the LPS already has good noise rejection built in, and doesn't really like 230V power.
     
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  5. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    I'm assuming you did also try the meanwell supply plugged straight into the wall and not the power conditioner? The meanwell supplies have input circuitry for PFC or power factor correction as well as for emi. It is quite possible that this is interacting in unusual ways with the power conditioner, which may also have some type of emi or PFC filtering.
     
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  6. Aklegal

    Aklegal Almost "Made"

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    This depends on what software you use. I run Jriver on my Pi4 with Pi2AES. With Jriver I can set up different zones for different types of files. So I can set up a zone for PCM files and another for DSD files (I don't own any though). You can select the output for each zone - so the DSD zone output would be your DSD USB dac. You can switch zones easy from the remote app.

    I haven't messed around with volumio, mode, and picoreplayer enough to know if zone switching is as easy.
     
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  7. dllmsch

    dllmsch Friend

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    I don't have a wall outlet so everything is plugged into the same power strip, even the power conditioner. The power conditioner is built by me and have 0 filtering, basically just a transformer turning 0-220VAC to 115-0-115VAC. I did some more comparing and found out that meanwell straight from power strip is a bit more sibilance while having better imaging compared to meanwell from power conditioner. I'm guessing this is because of BF2 performing better and meanwell performing worse?

    My rating would be
    LPS with meanwell unplugged>LPS with meanwell plugged into power conditioner>meanwell plugged into power conditioner=meanwell from power strip
     
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  8. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    I avoid any SMPS in the same powerstrip that has AMP or DAC in it. May be you can try that and see if it makes a difference
     
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  9. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    This is all really good information for people. As I have mentioned before we chose the Meanwell because they were a reliable,y relatively inexpensive product from a quality vendor. Obviously, we did as much as we could on the board itself to mitigate the impact on the signal, but it can always be improved.
     
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  10. dllmsch

    dllmsch Friend

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    I only have 1 outlet available so my way to isolate dac/amp from SMPS noise is with a balanced isolation transformer, plugging into my power strip, and I do find a quite significant improvement with it.
     
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  11. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    I assume the DAC is what's plugged into the transformer?
     
  12. dllmsch

    dllmsch Friend

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    My dac and both amps, 2 different windings on same transformer is my cheap way to separate digital and analog.
     
  13. ckhirnigs

    ckhirnigs Facebook Friend

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    This update on Tidal Connect integration in Volumio was just posted today:

    "Good news folks!

    TIDAL Connect team has completed the certification check on our implementation, and we are good to go! I shall say that working with the TIDAL Connect team has been a really pleasant experience and TIDAL Connect is really a lovely piece of tech

    So, we are preparing everything for release which should happen mid next week"
     
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  14. heyman774

    heyman774 Rando

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    From my experience, Power supply could make so much "difference" on the sound.
    I have tried different linear power supply on my system, including chifi, plixir, keces...they all have different sound signature.

    Good power supply could be very pricey. Meanwell is doing a good job at this price point IMO.
    Instead of the Industrial "GST", I am using the medical standard "GSM" meanwell PSU for the pi2aes now.
     
  15. Aklegal

    Aklegal Almost "Made"

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    I ordered too many AMB SIgma 11 power supply PCBs for a preamp project I am working on so I may use one to build a power supply for my Pi2AES. I'll probably drag my feet though. While the HD Plex power supply I bought to replace a switcher on my old Media PC yielded some benefit, it wasn't really game changing given the price. I was more different than better.

    How sensitive is the Pi2AES to power supplies anyway? If I become super anal and buy 30 regulator diodes to find the most accurate one for the Sigma 11 to get a near perfect 24 output would the Pi2AES even give a crap?
     
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  16. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    The board might care about lower noise coming in, but it won't care about the voltage unless it's dramatically high or low. 19 v up to 28v works just fine. I would keep it at 24v Max though just because sometimes when electronics power up the load they present can cause the rail coming in to be a bit high initially.
     
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  17. michael stevener

    michael stevener Rando

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    can this be user with picore player?
     
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  18. Michael Kelly

    Michael Kelly MOT: Pi 2 Design

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    Absolutely. There are several customers and many on this forum that have used picore player. You just have to configure it to use either the allo Digi one or the Hi-Fi Berry Digi pro Plus driver. Although they might have put in an entry for ours by now. They all use the exact same driver by the way.
     
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  19. shabta

    shabta Facebook Friend

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    I use it that way. It works really well. I actually have a piaes in one room and and older pi502DAC in another. Both run picore player.
     
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  20. michael stevener

    michael stevener Rando

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    i have a w4s dac2v2se,i would like to use 12s via hdmi, possible?
    thanks
     
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