The HQPlayer thread

Discussion in 'Computer Audiophile: Software, Configs, Tools' started by GoodEnoughGear, Sep 3, 2021.

  1. econaut

    econaut Facebook Friend

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    Thanks, but that setting is correctly on "time" as you say. Can you please post the link to the official HQPlayer forum? Maybe I will post my problem there.
     
  2. bilboda

    bilboda Florida boomer

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    Last edited: Dec 22, 2021
  3. econaut

    econaut Facebook Friend

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  4. Louisiana

    Louisiana Rando

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    Hi,
    please don't think I think you are stupid, but did you change the zone in ROON?
    That was error at the time when HQPlayer did not work for me.

    [​IMG]


    I also had to activate my DAC in the ROON settings!

    [​IMG]

    HQPlayer Settings:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2021
  5. econaut

    econaut Facebook Friend

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    No offense taken and I am glad for any advice, no matter how obvious it might seem.

    The zone was configured to HQPlayer correctly, though. I manage to play music this way: Roon -> HQPLayer -> USB -> DAC.

    In my case the problem lies in the NAA / network somewhere. I will try some further troubleshooting in the next days/weeks.

    Unfortunately Jussi can't help in this case.
     
  6. pavi

    pavi Almost "Made"

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    The ideal/recommended HQPlayer setup (if you plan to offload to the GPU via CUDA/ROCm; otherwise the ideal is HQPlayer OS) is to install the embedded version on an Ubuntu 20.04 server, and route the audio through a HQPlayer NAA to the DAC of your choice. The following is what I did to get it going on an i9-12900k with an RTX3080, after a fresh install of Ubuntu 20.04. Even though it's a bit technical (unless you're comfortable with linux, in which case it's quite straightforward), it may prove useful:

    sudo apt update

    sudo apt upgrade

    sudo apt install linux-image-lowlatency-hwe-20.04 linux-headers-lowlatency-hwe-20.04

    sudo reboot

    sudo apt install libnuma-dev

    sudo reboot

    sudo apt install gnupg2

    wget -q -O - https://repo.radeon.com/rocm/rocm.gpg.key | sudo apt-key add -

    echo 'deb [arch=amd64] https://repo.radeon.com/rocm/apt/debian/ ubuntu main' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/rocm.list

    sudo sh -c "echo '/opt/rocm-4.5.0/lib' >> /etc/ld.so.conf.d/rocm.conf"

    sudo ldconfig

    wget https://www.sonarnerd.net/src/focal/libgmpris_2.2.1-8_amd64.deb

    sudo dpkg -i libgmpris_2.2.1-8_amd64.deb

    wget https://www.signalyst.eu/bins/hqplayerd/focal/hqplayerd_4.28.3-107amd_amd64.deb

    sudo dpkg -i hqplayerd_4.28.3-107amd_amd64.deb

    sudo apt install -f

    sudo hqplayerd -s hqplayer hqplayer

    sudo systemctl enable hqplayerd

    sudo systemctl start hqplayerd

    sudo systemctl status hqplayerd
    After that, I installed a suitable NVIDIA driver

    sudo apt install ubuntu-drivers-common

    ubuntu-drivers devices

    sudo apt install nvidia-utils-495
    ...

    My NAA is HQPlayer embedded installed on a Fitlet2 (this is certainly unnecessary overkill; the basic free NAA image is just fine), and my DAC is the Holo Audio May... which is how I first fell down the HQPlayer rabbit hole.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2022
  7. Cryptowolf

    Cryptowolf Repping Chi Town - Friend

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    I migrated from a Pi2AES HQPlayer Embedded built on a Raspberry Pi4 to a Small Green Computer Sonic Transporter i5. I continue to output to a Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE feeding either a Pete MIllet Design Fet-A Solid State or Ampsandsound Kenzie Ovation headphone amp. I personally favor timbre, space, and a dark slightly warm sound. These preferences inform the choices I made.

    The Pi2AES had more than enough power to render PCM audio at 192K with the Sync-Mx filter. If I wasn't trying to wring the last bit of control and quality from my set up, I would have gladly stoped there. I had heard from a number of sources that DSD upsampling offered that last bit of sonic enhancement and control. So when I found a used Sonictransporter, I jumped at the chance.

    Set up of the Sonictransporter was quick and easy. The web interface makes obtaining and upgrading HQPlayer embedded an easy affair. Then I set to tuning the filter and shaper to something that would work with my music library that includes everything from fifteen year old MP3 rips (VBR) to AIFF 24/192.

    After much trial and error, here is where I landed:

    poly-sinc-guass-long, ASDM7, SDM output, DSD128

    Much has been written on other forums about the choice of up-sampler algorithm and shaper. I'll describe why I made the choices I did, these setting balance lag during startup of a playlist with impact, space, timbre, and weight. Individual notes arrive from a black background and transients appropriately fade. When listening to complex folk metal such as Windfaerer's latest album, no instrument gets lost in the mix. I can subtly focus shift to follow any instrument or vocals.
     
  8. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    @Cryptowolf setup for Holo May KTE:
    • HQPlayer Embedded, Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTE on Intel i9-11900 @ 2.50GHz, Noctua NH-L9x65 cooling.
    • SDM: 1x poly-sinc-gauss-xla, Nx poly-sinc-gauss-hires-ip, ADSM7ECv2, bit rate 12288000.
    • NAA backend: 48k DSD, IPv6.
    • NAA endpoint: Up Gateway, NAA bootable image, Intona isolator.
     
  9. neo_the_one

    neo_the_one Acquaintance

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    Background

    Because of my listening habit - the turntable is not a good fit. So even though I enjoy my VPI classic 4 very much I was looking for a digital alternative. I understand that it's hard to get analog like sound from digital, so I wanted a system where I could say for the amount of money it would be hard to do better without spending quite a lot more. When I started looking for components for my digital part of the rig I put some hard constraints (a few lessons came from listening to records)

    1. No reliance on proprietary OS or Android based devices. The backend has to be Windows or Mac.

    2. Don’t want to own any digital music, I want to be able to stream music. From Qobuz and some eclectic apps and websites.

    3. Ability to easily upgrade hardware whenever I want.

    I had the amp(EC Studio Jr.) and headphones(Utopia, LCD4z, HEKV2) covered. I needed a DAC and source. I started with source and looked many hours at many alternatives - Auralic, Aurender, Antipodes, EVO 431 and all such streamers and so called customised computers. But none of the streamers I looked at gave me the ability to natively play any third party app or website they did not already support. Plus there was the problem of using custom software to play songs even when using Qobuz. I really did not want to get locked into any more third party apps. Since searching for a source was going well, I decided to fix the DAC first. After searching on SBAF for DAC I decided on either Holo May or Rockna Wavedream, whichever I could get first in the used market.


    The System

    I got the Holo May Dac first in the used market. After some more research I found that it sounds best in NOS mode with upsampling using HQPlayer. HQplayer’s documentation is pretty shitty, but I could gather that I would need a GPU and powerful CPU to be able to do higher DSD processing (those were the early days of understanding how HQPlayer works). But I could not find to use HQPlayer as a signal processing engine and play music from outside HQPlayer like native qobuz application or browser and other apps I use. Before buying a new PC with a GPU I at least wanted to give HQPlayer a try first. My work laptop is a Mac with an i9 CPU and 32 GB RAM so it should be capable of doing at least DSD-256. Since HQPlayer supports qobuz natively, I thought of giving it a try. I just could not make it work and almost gave up on it. Then I read a post in the SBAF forum about virtual cable on windows. That gave me the idea of using similar software configuration on Mac. So I was able to get a VB virtual cable as the interface between external audio software (like native qobuz app, and browsers) with HQPlayer. The setup was not easy to figure out and again I almost gave up on it, and the post earlier really helped to pull it off.


    HQPlayer Chain Experience

    Initially I could only use PCM upsampling on HQPlayer. I upsampled from 384KHZ all the way upto 1.536MHz. I trust the reviews on SBAF but I was not hearing what people wrote on SBAF or any other forum about HQPlayer and especially HQPlayer + Holo May L3. During the last 4 months I tried pretty much all PCM filters, DIthers and sample Rate combinations. The only way to describe the majority of combinations is smoothed over compressed music. No matter what source I used, Qobuz native app, youtube on browser, Ragya Native App (Indian classical music), spotify all songs just sounded the same. All seemed to have the same tone. Before using the Holo May DAC I was using the Mcintosh DAC V2 that came bundled in with my C8 pre-amp. Compared to that, HQPlayer + Holo May had these problems - tonality, extra smoothing beyond 384KHz, really no bass, no imaging, and absolute garbage dynamic range. The 384KHz upsampling and sinc-MX filter was the best I liked. But none of the combinations in PCM filter domain worked for me. I was quite dejected how big of a let down this combination turned out to be. I was again about to give up on HQPlayer. I thought I would try once more if I could get PCM to DSD conversion working. Dear God, HQPlayer Desktop 4 has a bad UI! I was finally able to get PCM -> DSD working by clicking the last expected checkbox. OK, this got me excited. I straight away jumped to DSD 256, with poly-sinc-* filters and ASDM7EC and ASDM7ECV2 modulators. But again HQPlayer would crash half of the time and for many songs there would be timing issues. It turned out you have to know if you are upsampling a multiple of 44.1K audio stream or 48K audio stream. But Ok, I could live with that. The DSD sounded much more natural than PCM. I tried many other Oversampling filters and Modulators that my modest Hyper Threaded 8 core i9 could run. DSD128 sounded very flat. DSD 256 sounded again quite a bit smoothed-over version of the original recording. Initially I thought this is how refined Hifi is supposed to sound like. It did sound a bit like analog. But whenever I listened it just did not seem right. Except for mid-range everything else sounded rather muted. Even on higher volumes even the LCD4 did not have slam. After a few months pretending to like the sound, I decided to use EQ, maybe that could help. So I tried a bunch of software to EQ system wide on Mac. From Amoeba software to Audeze reveal plugin to sonar works. All of them sounded different for a few days (during which time I would try to convince myself this is how it is supposed to sound). But EQ just never sounded right to me. During the entire time i used HQplayer my chain was: Mac i9 8 core -> Player software (Qobuz, Spotify, Youtube, etc) -> VB virtual cable -> HQPlayer (filters + upsampling rate) -> Mcintosh C8 preamp -> Holo Dac May -> EC Studio Jr -> (Utopia, HE1k, LCD4). Another problem I was facing was all three headphones sounded the same in this chain. I started to think there was some problem with the DAC itself. I also used two 300B tubes, one expensive Chinese tube and the other Emission Labs tube. The Chinese tube sounds more bloomy in general with my previous DAC. But in the HQPlayer chain both the tubes sounded a little solid statesy.

    HQPlayer has two more major shortcoming in the above setup

    1. There is a big delay when you play the music on the player app and when you actually hear it after HQPlayer processes it. This means you can’t use it to watch videos.

    2. In the above mode you have to make sure that incoming frequency from the player app is the same as what you have set up in HQPlayer. Since I am using Qobuz I had to very frequently manually change the HQPlayer configuration to play at the correct speed. This was a pain, but I could have lived with it, if HQPlayer sounded right. If you strictly play CD 16/44.1K this is not an issue.
    If others have specific questions on how I set up my software stack I can get into more specifics of it later.

    So, long story short HQPlayer processing just never sounded right, forget about digital vs analog sound. I was expecting an analog like sound anyway. The only positive was the mid-range. In DSD 256 mode, the mid range became silky smooth. In fact too smooth, almost unnatural. It could have been the USB input ? I have a separate dock with which I connected the Holo May DAC. Maybe a USB isolator in the chain could have helped but I just ran out of patience for HQPlayer and signal processing in general. I did give it time and really wanted to like it. For it would have been the cheapest of all options.

    Dante Protocol Chain Experience

    I remembered AtomicBob writing about system synergy using Dante (audio over ethernet). So I got a used RDL SF-ND2 (Dante to AES/SPDIF). My reasoning was that perhaps USB audio is just crap and maybe AES might be better than USB. Again I was going off on someone else's reference point. So I plugged in the Dante Endpoint (RDL SF-ND2 ) to Holo May using AES connector and a CAT6 cable to my laptop with Dante Virtual Soundcard doing the audio routing. It was a much more intuitive solution than HQPlayer. Got the entire setup working in 30 minutes including the software download and registration needed. Not bad! My first reaction. Sounds digital and little sibilant but has a decent sound stage, no audio lag so I could watch video if I wanted to. Changing the sample rate everytime the player sampling rate was not strictly needed anymore. Many big wins. All my hard constraints were being met. The only problem was there was still some sibilance. Long term listening was fatiguing. Oh, that reminds me HQPlayer never sounds fatiguing, well with the highs rolled off and lack of bass and a non-sibilant smooth over mids, it does sound good when you are in such a mood to listen to an extremely romantic tone. More research in the System Synergy thread revealed AtomicBob used Mutec USB3+ + Antelope Audio Live Clock + Atomic clock. Initially I thought it was the same solution as a USB reclocker. But with more research I found that there is no use of a USB reclocker (they are just USB signal repeaters) as the timing info is not sent as a part of the data in USB protocol. But the AES protocol actually carries the clock information as a part of the signal. Looking at the graphs AtomicBob posted about Mutec USB3+ + Antelope Audio Live Clock + Atomic clock signal disciplining, it seemed like Mutec USB3+ + Antelope Audio Live Clock might be a good starting point. So I got these two from the used market. And boy was I not expecting the result

    1. I thought I would never say this - Utopia had a huge soundstage from the EC Studio jr.

    2. I see why Holo May Dac is hyped!

    3. Suddenly I felt like Studio Jr did not have enough power for LCD4 and HEKV2. So I unpacked my Violectric V200. And now I have much better bass control and moar bass in both HEKV2 and LCD4z. Who knew, I would prefer a SS amp over a Tube for the planars. Although the V200 is a very soupy sounding amp it works well in this chain.

    4. The dynamic range increased. I can now actually listen at much lower volumes without any loss in resolution.

    5. The initial sibilance without Mutec USB3+ + Antelope Audio Live Clock was gone.

    6. I also realised how shitty the audio quality of Spotify has. This the native mac app that is supposed to have 320kbps bandwidth.

    7. Biggest surprise of all, Youtube has some really good recordings. Whatever codec they are using on Chrome is pretty good. I found many high quality recordings sounding very nice on Youtube, absolute garbage on Spotify App and sound equally good on Qobuz native app.

    8. And did I say the bass - I don’t think the bass can get any better on this setup. Perhaps only if I get some real powerful SS amp, maybe then I will get more control than v200 but I am doubtful if the quantity can be moar.
    But there is one caveat I found. Since I am streaming and on the Qobuz app the sampling rate can change. The RDL SF-ND2 is capable of 96khz and that’s where i usually keep it (let mac upsample or downsample natively). If you listen carefully, if you play 44.1 or 88.2KHz on a 96KHz upsampled frequency then you can hear some timing related issues. It just doesn’t sound quite right if the frequency of the song and the dante setting don’t quite match. If you don’t listen carefully you might not notice it. So from time to time I do have to change the Dante Config to set the right frequency.


    In conclusion - HQPlayer was not for me. Maybe others have had better results with it but not me at least not with this chain.

    If you are using AES it might be worthwhile reclocking the signal before the signal hits the DAC. The exaggerated difference I heard was mainly because I never expected it at all!.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 25, 2022
  10. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Just an observation: IIRC VBCable will resample the source rate to fit the destination if there is a mismatch. That resampling is not the best quality, its best to ensure there is no rate change. This is why the Roon/HQPlayer combo is so convenient as it reinitialuzes the HQP stream on rate change.
     
  11. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    For the record, I've never liked HQPlayer, as it always sounded soft/overly smooth no matter the sample rate. And yes, youtube rocks for music... it's the only streaming service I use (with ad blocker). Tidal and Spotify sounded like shit. YMMV.
     
  12. winders

    winders boomer

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    In my experience, HQPlayer takes the already great sounding May and elevates to another level. All I have experienced with HQPlayer is an improvement in clarity, resolution, and sound stage along with eliminating the digital glare in all but the most compressed recordings. I've never experienced "softening" of any music.
     
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  13. haywood

    haywood Friend

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    One person’s softening might be another’s elimination of digital glare.
     
  14. winders

    winders boomer

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    "Softening", to be a negative, has to take something away from the music. The reduction in noise that HQPlayer provides does nothing negative to the music. The music is just as clear and even more well defined. That's the clarity and detail I talk about. You can't have more clarity and detail and be softer at the same time. Softness is akin to blurring and blurring is bad as far as I am concerned.
     
  15. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Acquaintance

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    Definitely not my experience either. I have Hqplayer doing the upsampling work to all three of my DACs to DSD 256 or DSD512, it takes all three of my systems to the next level.
     
  16. chesebert

    chesebert Acquaintance

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    I just got around to install HQPlayer and been playing with it for a day now. I am so far very impressed with the upsampling quality. However, in order to achieve the desired sonic result I am running very long taps and it's putting some real stress on my 5900X. I have never seen any audio program load up 24 threads @4.5Ghz all core to 25% all at once. The amount of CPU usage is pretty insane for an audio program and that's with just sinc-M and DSD256. Going any higher/more demanding setting than this results in few additional seconds of delay between songs and even higher CPU usage.

    Looks like I will be upgrading to 16 core 7000 series CPU when it gets released - I like to run everything in ultra setting ;)
     
  17. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Acquaintance

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    Miska did mention for hqplayer intel cpu does a better job than amd based cpu if you do plan on using hqplayer for the long term and like to upgrade your pc. FYI, I am able to run dsd 256 @1x and nx with sinc M and 7ECV2 modulator and peq with my old i7 6700k and a gtx980ti. And Miska commented recently that i9 12900k is the only cpu currently capable to run dsd1024 stable, he has not seen any amd cpu managed that yet.

    now sinc L is pretty much impossible unless you have a gpu with 16g and up video memory….. I can run the less demanding sinc L variants at 1x to dsd256 say LM, LS, LI

    Cheers

    Deric
     
  18. chesebert

    chesebert Acquaintance

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    That’s helpful. Does CUDA reduce quality in any way? I can dedicate a 3090 for the workload if there is no downside with the upsampling calculation.
     
  19. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Acquaintance

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    i am pretty sure CUDA offload will NOT impact sound quality if that’s your concern (but probably easy enough for you to reach out to Miska to inquire). Only convolution filters, digital filters and the EC modulator duties are being offloaded to the GPU. Your cpu is still responsible for the upsampling duty.
     
  20. Woland

    Woland Friend

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    It's worth remembering that a special computer is not required for HQPlayer. I worry about Friends missing out on trying it because of the talk about such hardware.

    For anyone using a multi-bit DAC, or happy with a standard (PCM) connection, HQPlayer works great on a basic laptop or even Raspberry Pi 4 based streamers. The high end hardware can help for 1-bit DACs where better conversion to DSD can make a difference.
     
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