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Streaming from my linux box.


Active Member
Forum Donor
May 13, 2021
Since I have arsenal of PC's from 1-12 year old and run various distros ( Cent OS, Ubuntu, SuSe, Manjaro) I have noticed - out of the box, they sound differently. Even if all of them are using PulseAudio.

For example:
My main PC (AMD based homebrew) Ubuntu 20.10 used to stream from Deezer and Spotify, watch movies, youtube among other things. I have two amps connected to it. Denon AVR and Denon 1600ne stereo amp with built in DAC. Streaming via HDMI the sound is bad. Even switching to 2 ch stereo output (from 5.1) I get very low volume and not so good sound on my main speakers. However if I switch to the stereo amp I get quite decent sounding 2ch stereo. Appearing normal. I have played with settings for pulseaudio with no luck.

Another box I have has Intel i7 and runs Manjaro distro. For some reason it does much better job in the sound arena. Hdmi sounds normal (very good) and even if set to 5.1 two channel stereo sound normal as well.

Several months ago I was testing several linux boxes and comparing them to my Lenovo laptop that runs Windows 10. Then streaming from Tidal. Mind you Tidal has dedicated Windows app for streaming their high-res music. For Linux there is no such thing, only web-browser. If memory serves me I was triple booting my main computer with Ubuntu, SuSe and Centos. Ubuntu and Centos sounded normal back then but the Windows laptop did sound better. However for some reason the Suse distro was the winner in this highly subjective test. It sounded at least as good streaming from browser as did the laptop streaming some "high res" from Tidal.

The moral of the story? I am not sure there is one, but perhaps one shouldn't take for granted your PC is doing the job when streaming to your DAC.
Needless to say any input about configuring linux to deliver music streams to DAC's without screwing them up would be appreciated.
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