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Beating up a dead horse with a Rasberry pi as a streamer

Discussion in 'audio' started by philiphifi, Apr 17, 2022.

  1. philiphifi

    philiphifi pfm Member

    After reading many positive reviews about using a Rasberry pi as a streamer, I subscribed to Tidal via Volumio. A couple of months ago, I connected the RPi to a Gustard U12, and the sound wasn't so good when connected to a Mark Levinson 360s DAC, so I gave up trying. I then bought an Audiophilleo for a different purpose, but I thought I would try the RPi again. The sound is slightly better but still nowhere near an ML 37 cd transport.
    I presume this is as good as it gets for the RPi, or am I missing something? If the sound is near good transport quality, I might try to use a better PSU, but it is so far off that I might be wasting my time and money.
    Does anyone else with the same experience connecting the Pi to a high-end Dac?

    How much does one have to pay to get a streamer on par with a high-quality CD transport?
     
  2. Puggie

    Puggie pfm Member

    How are you connecting the RPi to the DAC? USB or digital/SPDIf output from a HAT?

    And for that matter how are you connecting the CD transport?
     
  3. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    What version of the Pi do you have?

    What cable between it and DAC?

    Is Pi connecting using a Network cable or WiFi?
     
  4. philiphifi

    philiphifi pfm Member

    Rpi 3b. I am using a short curious cable with Wifi.
     
  5. philiphifi

    philiphifi pfm Member

    sorry between the DAC and audiophilleo is chord signature BNC
     
  6. vince rocker

    vince rocker pfm Member

    Perhaps your stream isn't all that. Have you compared a ripped CD stored locally through the Pi with the original from the transport?
     
  7. Puggie

    Puggie pfm Member

    I would suggest try a locally stored track rather than running from Tidal to compare for starters. My setup I definitely find a hard wired connection better than WiFi for streaming. I'm trying to get an external USB wifi dongle working with my RPi3b rather than the internal 2.4g wifi to improve things.
     
  8. richie60

    richie60 pfm Member

    Ideally the rpi4 is best used with a usb cable. The rpi3 benefits most with add-on boards such as the digione. Add a LPSU to replace the switching PSU.
     
  9. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    That’ll help get you some advice from people in the know.

    I’ve used a bare Pi via USB to a DAC but it was yonks ago and an early model Pi - can’t recall being smitten or considering it as a keeper.
    I’ve used a few Pi3 and newer models but I’ve used Digi Hats with them or a fancy off the shelf one like the Allo USB Sig/DigiOne, those do an excellent job into a decent DAC from Chord - dCS - Auralic. I used various LPSU also with some improvements depending what when how.

    Tried FLAC rips on a cabled in USB Disk? Tried ditching WiFi and using a network cable?
     
    Mike Hanson likes this.
  10. philiphifi

    philiphifi pfm Member

    As far as I know, audiophilleo reclocks and has galvanic isolation etc. It is quite expensive and well regarded so I don't expect the allo usb signature to do a better job. Do you get significant improvement using a decent LPSU or is it marginal?
     
  11. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    Had the Shanti, Nirvana, Battery Packs cobbled together, HD Plex, Plixar and other power supplies with various Pi and Pi Compute based digital out streamers including Allo and stuff like the TT2 and Scaler with LPSUs, also messed about with some USB to SPDIF converters, it all got a bit messy cabling wise. I wouldn’t call it a significant/massive improvement but it was a noticeable one in most cases and worth the £ in the context of my system, in particular the Shanti and HD Plex impressed.

    It’s nearly all sold on now, enjoyed the ride and trying out lots of kit rather than just reading about it, I’ve ended up with a Bartok which is fuss free and sounded better than everything else including the full on Allo/Chord and Auralic Aries G2/Vega G2/Leo GX. Of all the gear I’ve tried aside from the Bartok the Auralic Aries G2 now 2.1 stood out and that’s what I’d use or the G1 version into a high end DAC, imho it is as good as a decent CD transport, however it’s a few years since I sold my Meridian 500 player, I use an Oppo 205 as a CD transport these days.
     
    Colin L likes this.
  12. philiphifi

    philiphifi pfm Member

    I guess the Aries G2.1 is 4k used so on par with the price for a decent CD transport. It is interesting that you had used an Allo before. How was it in your system? I find that I am losing details and tonal colours. It's like hearing a good amateur soloist instead of a pro.
     
  13. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    I tried it head to head against the Aries G2 and didn’t miss it when it was taken away, that’s my method rather than rapid fire A-B tests, I try stuff out for days/weeks and occasionally months back and forth in long sessions and then see if I miss one or the other. Lots have the opinion all digital streaming sources sound the same and anything more than a Pi+Digi HAT is overkill, I don’t think that myself and definitely preferred the Aries.

    The Aries G1 is nigh on the same as the G2 internally so may be a good option, the Aries G2 has a special connection option to the Vega G2 using a HDMI cable, Auralic call it Lightning Link, if you don’t have other Auralic gear then the G1 would make more sense I think, maybe get a home loan or shop demo against your Pi/Audiophilleo.
     
  14. AndyU

    AndyU pfm Member

    Tidal do contentiously lossy things with MQA so I’d cross check with a rip or download of known quality. And I would try using a laptop, possibly battery powered, via USB into the DAC. And perhaps even a Qobuz free trial. My experience with Qobuz is that it is at least the equal of cd.
     
    dan m and Juancho like this.
  15. suzywong

    suzywong Wot, no electrons?

    Allo USBSig/Digi1Sig/Shanti: wired via cheapo Cat5e Ethernet, pulling flac files from a Synology NAS/

    Then via Naim DC1 BNC cable to nDAC/XPS, thence to NAC82 etc through to active SBLs.

    Software in the Allo is Moode Audio ver 8.0.2

    Sounds good to me. No inkling to change.
     
  16. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Hawkwind and Fire

    Tidal on a pi won’t do MQA. It will sound different to a streamer with native MQA support. I wouldn’t bother with a Tidal sub unless I had a device with native MQA support.
     
    davidsrsb and cctaylor like this.
  17. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    I use a Volumio on a Pi with Allo Digione then to my JVC's DAC via coax. Sounds great and just as good as from CD through the same DAC.
     
  18. Allaboutmusic

    Allaboutmusic pfm Member

    I use a rpi 4 , tidal and local storage running volumio, via usb to my rega dac r. It sounds great, previous generation rpi’s Ethernet and usb shared the same bus so the usb out was noisy, this was corrected with the rpi4 which also has usb 3.0 which is a higher voltage I believe. My dac is asynchronous and has galvonic isolation so the DACs clock deals with the timing and the DACs isolation further removes any noise. Net result is it sounds great and the software is not too bad either but not as slick as Sonos or bluOS but I haven’t had any drop outs or anything so totally functional.
     
  19. andrewd

    andrewd pfm Member

  20. MUTTY1

    MUTTY1 Waste of bandwidth

    Plenty of second hand pi of all flavours on eBay. Do agree that hat wasn’t universally supported; had to return one myself.
     

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