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Network to USB Transport Options and Noise

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#1
Having recently purchased a JDS Labs Atom and Topping D50s (still on back-order) (thanks Amir for the reviews!), I have been looking for a way of adding network streaming capability to access music on my file server. Ideally this would be a simple and cost effective solution which can run software such as JRiver, Volumio etc.

Immediately, the best bang for buck solution appears to be a Raspberry Pi. After some research, mainly on this forum, it appears that there MAY be some considerations regarding the source of power when it comes to these types of "USB transport" devices. Referencing the following links:

1. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...d-review-of-sotm-sms-200-network-player.1846/
2. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ts-of-sonore-microrendu-v1-4.1867/#post-48479
3. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...o-you-need-linear-power-supply-for-dacs.7021/

The general conclusion seems to be:

1. Any noise introduced by the power supply to the USB transport, will have no audible result on the output of the DAC, though measurable.
2. To reduce noise, use a high quality linear power supply.
3. For the DAC, linear power supplies yield no performance benefit.

This all appears to be a logical outcome considering the focus of this being in the digital domain and also the superior filtering implemented into today's circuit designs and IC's. However, there appears to be some very cost effective solutions to eliminate the noise, and I would love to get opinions of these ideas/options:

1. Allo USBridge/USBridge Signature (soon to be released) https://allo.com/sparky/usbridge.html. I cannot find a detailed review/analysis to verify their claims.
2. Battery powered Raspberry Pi by one of those inexpensive USB LiPo power banks. This would be a very clean source of power, if I am not mistaken. However the RPi may generate some noise of its own, rendering the battery useless?
3. You wont hear a difference and are overthinking it, just get a Raspberry Pi, Windows tablet or Pipo device, with USB port. http://www.pipo.com/productlistal.php?cid=43

Would love to know your thoughts. Thanks.
 

BillG

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#2
If you already own a computer with networking capabilities, the most inexpensive, ready-made solution currently available would be a Chromecast Audio - yeah, they've been discontinued recently by Google. However, they can still be purchased, and the protocol will be supported for years to come, and they measure very well for the price:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ents-of-chromecast-audio-digital-output.4544/

If you can't find a CCA, this looks like a good replacement, and it can find found for as low as ~$150USD:

https://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardo...SZw5YeEo0j7xI5nn-P0yxslgFwvWybY95YrxB2XlQRuDs

I'd connect it optically to the D50s, install Emby (server) on my personal computer, Emby (client) on my smartphone/tablet(s) - the freeware versions are more than sufficient for home usage, and only lacking in two features that the premium has: the ability to download to one's mobile device, and remote streaming - and stream away... :cool:

https://emby.media/about.html

P.S. Emby also supports DLNA, if you decide not to go the Chromecast Audio route.
 
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Krunok

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#3
Having recently purchased a JDS Labs Atom and Topping D50s (still on back-order) (thanks Amir for the reviews!), I have been looking for a way of adding network streaming capability to access music on my file server. Ideally this would be a simple and cost effective solution which can run software such as JRiver, Volumio etc.

Immediately, the best bang for buck solution appears to be a Raspberry Pi. After some research, mainly on this forum, it appears that there MAY be some considerations regarding the source of power when it comes to these types of "USB transport" devices. Referencing the following links:

1. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...d-review-of-sotm-sms-200-network-player.1846/
2. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ts-of-sonore-microrendu-v1-4.1867/#post-48479
3. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...o-you-need-linear-power-supply-for-dacs.7021/

The general conclusion seems to be:

1. Any noise introduced by the power supply to the USB transport, will have no audible result on the output of the DAC, though measurable.
2. To reduce noise, use a high quality linear power supply.
3. For the DAC, linear power supplies yield no performance benefit.

This all appears to be a logical outcome considering the focus of this being in the digital domain and also the superior filtering implemented into today's circuit designs and IC's. However, there appears to be some very cost effective solutions to eliminate the noise, and I would love to get opinions of these ideas/options:

1. Allo USBridge/USBridge Signature (soon to be released) https://allo.com/sparky/usbridge.html. I cannot find a detailed review/analysis to verify their claims.
2. Battery powered Raspberry Pi by one of those inexpensive USB LiPo power banks. This would be a very clean source of power, if I am not mistaken. However the RPi may generate some noise of its own, rendering the battery useless?
3. You wont hear a difference and are overthinking it, just get a Raspberry Pi, Windows tablet or Pipo device, with USB port. http://www.pipo.com/productlistal.php?cid=43

Would love to know your thoughts. Thanks.
I'm using Volumio to play music from my NAS. I used to run it on RPI 3 B+ but I swapped it for Intel based fanless PC due to drop-outs with RPI when I started to use BruteFIR plugin for room EQ. My Topping D10 DAC is connected to USB port of PC and it works fine. It worked fine with RPI as well. I'm sure the same thing will be with your D50.
 
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#4
I'm using Volumio to play music from my NAS. I used to run it on RPI 3 B+ but I swapped it for Intel based fanless PC due to drop-outs with RPI when I started to use BruteFIR plugin for room EQ. My Topping D10 DAC is connected to USB port of PC and it works fine. It worked fine with RPI as well. I'm sure the same thing will be with your D50.
May I ask which fanless PC you went for?
 

Eirikur

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#7
Sure. I went for Deyyy Wyse D50D. I bought a used unit via ebay for 50GBP to test how will Volumio work on it and it works so well I just let it be. :)
Is that much of an improvement to go to a dual-core 1.4Ghz AMD G-T48E? (assuming a typo for Dell Wyse D50D)
That sounds, uhm, somewhat under-powered, but apparently still more powerful than the RPi 3B+.

What aspects in particular make the difference, e.g. CPU or networking IO? Would the RPi 4B solve this in your opinion?
  • RPi 3B+ = Cortex-A53 / quad-core / 64bit / 1.4GHz + "USB" networking
  • RPi 4B = Cortex-A72 / quad-core / 64bit / 1.5GHz + Gbit networking detached from USB
According to these benchmark comparisons CPU performance and memory speed almost doubles, while networking almost quadruples.

I settled on NUC6CAYH with a quad-core Celeron J3455 @ 1.6GHz (Intel just retracted the warning of a shortened lifespan...) for the form factor and the multi-use for playing/streaming 4K video.

PS: some comparisons of RPi3B+ versus Intel here, preliminary RPi4B benchmarks show it to be slightly faster than the ASUS Tinkerboard.
 

Krunok

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#8
Is that much of an improvement to go to a dual-core 1.4Ghz AMD G-T48E? (assuming a typo for Dell Wyse D50D)
That sounds, uhm, somewhat under-powered, but apparently still more powerful than the RPi 3B+.

What aspects in particular make the difference, e.g. CPU or networking IO? Would the RPi 4B solve this in your opinion?
  • RPi 3B+ = Cortex-A53 / quad-core / 64bit / 1.4GHz + "USB" networking
  • RPi 4B = Cortex-A72 / quad-core / 64bit / 1.5GHz + Gbit networking detached from USB
According to these benchmark comparisons CPU performance and memory speed almost doubles, while networking almost quadruples.

I settled on NUC6CAYH with a quad-core Celeron J3455 @ 1.6GHz (Intel just retracted the warning of a shortened lifespan...) for the form factor and the multi-use for playing/streaming 4K video.

PS: some comparisons of RPi3B+ versus Intel here, preliminary RPi4B benchmarks show it to be slightly faster than the ASUS Tinkerboard.
Problems with RPi 3B+ were not CPU related but with the fact that USB ports share the same connection with Ethernet thus the dropouts on USB when Ethernet ports get busy.

Any CPU will do for Volumio with BruteFIR plugin.
 

Berwhale

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#9
Having recently purchased a JDS Labs Atom and Topping D50s (still on back-order) (thanks Amir for the reviews!), I have been looking for a way of adding network streaming capability to access music on my file server. Ideally this would be a simple and cost effective solution which can run software such as JRiver, Volumio etc.
How about USB Audio Player Pro (UAPP) running on an Nvidia Shield?

https://www.extreamsd.com/index.php/products/usb-audio-player-pro
https://www.extreamsd.com/index.php/technology/usb-audio-driver

UAPP supports the Shield and many external DACs. I will see if I can get this working at the week-end on one of my Shields and the Fiio K3 that was displaced by my D50s.
 

BDWoody

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#10
How about USB Audio Player Pro (UAPP) running on an Nvidia Shield?

https://www.extreamsd.com/index.php/products/usb-audio-player-pro
https://www.extreamsd.com/index.php/technology/usb-audio-driver

UAPP supports the Shield and many external DACs. I will see if I can get this working at the week-end on one of my Shields and the Fiio K3 that was displaced by my D50s.
The shield can also function as a fairly competent Plex server. I have my D70 between it and my Processor...works great.
 

somebodyelse

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#11
Battery powered Raspberry Pi by one of those inexpensive USB LiPo power banks. This would be a very clean source of power, if I am not mistaken.
LiPo USB battery packs contain a switch mode power supply to convert from battery voltage to 5V for the USB. There's no reason to think they're cleaner than any other switch mode PSU.
Is that much of an improvement to go to a dual-core 1.4Ghz AMD G-T48E? (assuming a typo for Dell Wyse D50D)
That sounds, uhm, somewhat under-powered
It depends what you're running on it. For Daphile, Volumio or similar it's more than enough for many audio uses. Much of this has already been discussed in some detail in the Cheap solution for music in silence thread.

The Pi 4 has dedicated USB ports, so may not suffer from the pops and clicks that previous Pis had under certain conditions, but I haven't tested this yet.
 

Berwhale

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#12
The shield can also function as a fairly competent Plex server. I have my D70 between it and my Processor...works great.
Indeed, plug a reasonably sized USB SSD into it and you could run everything from the Shield without any fans. However, won't this be limited to 16bit @ 48K by Android? (I'm assuming that your using the Plex Client on the Shield to play the files?)
 
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BDWoody

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#13
Indeed, plug a reasonably sized USB SSD into it and you could run everything from the Shield without any fans. However, won't this be limited to 16bit @ 48K by Android?
I know that Roon and Plex both bypass any android processing, but I'm not sure when you'd be limited or not. I know that there are several modes for USB audio settings, including max performance, one of which possibly gives some kind of passthrough ability...?

When I stream from Roon, the DAC typically shows 192k.

Edit: just looked it up. Audio: 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound pass through over HDMI, high-res 24-bit/192kHz audio over HDMI and USB.
 
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Berwhale

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#14
I know that Roon and Plex both bypass any android processing, but I'm not sure when you'd be limited or not. I know that there are several modes for USB audio settings, including max performance, one of which possibly gives some kind of passthrough ability...?

When I stream from Roon, the DAC typically shows 192k.

Edit: just looked it up. Audio: 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound pass through over HDMI, high-res 24-bit/192kHz audio over HDMI and USB.
The Android Plex client has the option to pass through Audio, but the only options are HDMI and Optical. I guess i'll have to plug my D50s in and see what it says.
 

BDWoody

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#15
Might be interesting to see what does what. I think when you plug in a DAC, it just defaults to that?

As a bonus...you get 2 free extra wireless battery powered DAC/headphone amps with the Shield...there's a headphone jack on each remote controller. It includes volume control...pretty slick. Probably measures better than TotalDac...

I never thought I'd care, but it's kinda nice to be sitting on the couch, and plug in my headphones if the house needs quiet.

I don't think a lot of people take it very seriously, but I love mine. The remotes are very nice to have...
 

Berwhale

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#16
I agree, I have two of the 1st gen Shields; one for the lounge, one for the family room. Both are connected to Onkyo AV Amps with a 5.1 speaker setup.

My D50s is cabled up at my desk, so i'll extract it and try connecting it to a Shield tomorrow. This evening, I tried a couple of other DACs with a 50% success rate:

Fiio K3 - Connecting this to the Shield caused it to become unresponsive to both the remote and game controllers. I tried the K3 in both USB 2.0 and 1.0 modes. It didn't cause the Shield to lock in 1.0 mode, but it didn't work as a DAC either. I did not try setting USB to Compatibility Mode (it's set to Auto by default).

Fiio BTR3 - This worked fine, all audio from the Shield was redirected to the DAC, rather than my amp via HDMI (despite having Plex set to bypass to HDMI).

What I would really like to do is setup a stereo listening system in parallel to my AV setup. I have Rega Jura floor standing speakers (currently being abused as front speakers for the AV amp) and a really nice stereo amp - an Onix OA21s like this, but without the separate SOAP power supply: https://www.whybuynew.co.uk/consume...tegrated-amplifier-onix-soap-power-supply.htm

So if I can get one of my DACs to work with the Shield; I can connect it to the Onix and buy an amp/speaker switch to share the Jura's between the Onkyo and the Onix. Something like this would match the Onix quite nicely: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0047N09K2/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_4?smid=A2OXE6TUF4TIAU&psc=1
 
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