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Linux settings for an audiophile

Hypnotoad

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I created a Reddit thread with my setup to get the best audio from Linux. This is work in progress, so any comments will be greatly appreciated!

Tried to go there but there's an error, can't find server. Never mind it's working now, thanks.

I love Ubuntu/Linux and with kind the help of another ASR member I have configured my old PC as a music server and it runs fine with bit perfect playback even though it's an old AMD 3600+ cpu.

Using a Topping D30 with PulseAudio disabled completely and only use ALSA with Audacious and have it play in hardware mode. Might not work for you as you would have no equalization and no volume control. No clicks, stutters or pops at all though.
 
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AndrovichIV

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Tried to go there but there's an error, can't find server. Never mind it's working now, thanks.

I love Ubuntu/Linux and with kind the help of another ASR member I have configured my old PC as a music server and it runs fine with bit perfect playback even though it's an old AMD 3600+ cpu.

Using a Topping D30 with PulseAudio disabled completely and only use ALSA with Audacious and have it play in hardware mode. Might not work for you as you would have no equalization and no volume control. No clicks, stutters or pops at all though.

True, although I do use BP audio on occasion through QuodLibet. I use to have a hardware equalizer in my office (the Project Kamaleon), but I moved to my house. In any case, I haven't been able to get Tidal to play bit perfectly on Linux.
 
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AndrovichIV

AndrovichIV

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Have you tried disabling core parking / C6 sleep. It helps with crackles.

I don't think it's related to power settings, because I've never experienced crackling in bit perfect mode.

I haven't heard crackling in the last 2 days. What changed was:

  1. I decreased master volume by 10 dB
  2. Used Chrome instead of firefox for Tidal
  3. Did my browsing in Firefox but muted the application in Pulse, and change settings to not autoplay stuff
 

TiborG

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True, although I do use BP audio on occasion through QuodLibet. I use to have a hardware equalizer in my office (the Project Kamaleon), but I moved to my house. In any case, I haven't been able to get Tidal to play bit perfectly on Linux.
Use the latest version of the mpd server. And fill in the login information for Quobuz or Tidal in mpd.conf.
And of course your paths to music and audio hardware settings etc.
 

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MRC01

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Some of the Pulseaudio settings (such as "avoid resampling") are specific to Ubuntu 18 and will give errors if you try to use them on earlier versions.

I've used Linux for many years. VLC is my player. Pulseaudio always resampled my audio to its default rate and there was no way to stop it. So I used ALSA, which works nicely. But ALSA allows VLC to hog the sound card, doesn't play nicely with other apps trying to use audio. With Ubuntu 18, Pulseaudio finally implemented the "avoid resampling" feature. So now I don't have to use ALSA anymore - best of both worlds. Pulseaudio plays each track at its native bit rate, and it also plays nicely with other apps.
 

Sal1950

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Pulseaudio finally implemented the "avoid resampling" feature. So now I don't have to use ALSA anymore - best of both worlds. Pulseaudio plays each track at its native bit rate, and it also plays nicely with other apps.

That's good to hear, Pulse has always been a major PITA for audiophiles and the HT crowd.
I have simple needs as to metadata and tagging, not having interest in Classical music. My preferred player has been Clementine for the last decade or so. Unfortunately I had to lock the version build back at 1.2.3 when the developers decided to remove the ability to point around Pulse direct a bit perfect stream to the Alsa soundcard. They had the nerve to tell us, "we don't care about audiophile things". Check out arrogant second post by dev hatstand :mad: I couldn't believe this attitude by a media player developer.
https://github.com/clementine-player/Clementine/issues/5344
There's a fork called Strawberry that replaced the coding but has been very marginalized in it's features.
I'll be in the market at some point for a replacement player, I'm sure the day will come when my hacked Clementine build will no longer function with the rolling release design of PCLinuxOS. That will piss me off big time as I'm perfectly satisfied with what I have. Plus the fact the I have less and less need for a player as streaming has taken over much of my music playing needs.
That's the problem with all computer software, it's never stable for long periods of time, change change change.
 
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AndrovichIV

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Guys, I just created an open source repo. I figure, it's way more efficient to contribute your knowledge there instead of in a thread or reddit. So please feel free to make pull requests with your ideas :)

Repo:
https://github.com/andres-jurado/audiophile-linux
 
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AndrovichIV

AndrovichIV

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Sal1950

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ith Ubuntu 18, Pulseaudio finally implemented the "avoid resampling" feature.
BTW, with what Pulse build version # was this feature implemented?
TIA
 

Shadrach

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Puppy linux Xenial on an ancient laptop with an SSD and Deadbeef.
What more could one need. Works fine.
I had Puppy Linux with MPD for a while. It worked well but development ground to a halt.
I built a music server with all the audiophile tweaks. I couldn't tell the difference between it and the laptop in the end apart from the fan in the laptop.
Like @Sal1950 I've tried to avoid Pulse. I don't know if it's got any better these days.
 

Sal1950

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Looks like this was introduced in version 11 of PulseAudio.
https://www.soundphilereview.com/news/pulseaudio-11-0-brings-native-sampling-playback-linux-1200/

FWIR, Ubuntu 16 repos had Pulseaudio version 8, and Ubuntu 18 has version 14.
Thanks for that.
That's why I prefer the rolling release style of PCLOS, always up to date with just a click.
I'm currently showing the 12.2 build as being installed on my desktop build that was first installed like 3 years ago.
Install once, then update once a week or so
 
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AndrovichIV

AndrovichIV

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Puppy linux Xenial on an ancient laptop with an SSD and Deadbeef.
What more could one need. Works fine.
I had Puppy Linux with MPD for a while. It worked well but development ground to a halt.
I built a music server with all the audiophile tweaks. I couldn't tell the difference between it and the laptop in the end apart from the fan in the laptop.
Like @Sal1950 I've tried to avoid Pulse. I don't know if it's got any better these days.

you might wanna try quodlibet. Excelent player, plays nice with ALSA and is in development. BTW there was recently an update to Deadbeef (read it on OMG ubuntu)
 

somebodyelse

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PulseAudio remains a massive PITA if you want a music daemon to actually run as a daemon. This is by design and won't be fixed, so I avoid it where possible. Unfortunately it's now a requirement for audio in Firefox, and I've not got a reliable workaround.
 
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AndrovichIV

AndrovichIV

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PulseAudio remains a massive PITA if you want a music daemon to actually run as a daemon. This is by design and won't be fixed, so I avoid it where possible. Unfortunately it's now a requirement for audio in Firefox, and I've not got a reliable workaround.

Exactly, firefox cannot talk to ALSA from what I understand. I wonder if you can do that in Chromium? Last time that I tried that years ago I sort of could
 
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