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Old 13th July 2017, 03:07 PM   #11
bambadoo is offline bambadoo  Norway
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Noise with rpi3? What kind of noise? Using rpi2 with soekris and it is dead quiet. No noise anywhere.
What kind of interface do you use?
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Old 13th July 2017, 04:11 PM   #12
vdi_nenna is online now vdi_nenna  United States
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Something lacking with the lows and highs in the RPi, although the mids were very pleasing. Just an overall more pleasing presentation with the Tinker Board (TB) in the chain. The Ethernet and USB use the same bus on the RPi, so there's bound to be some cross-talk there, although "cross-talk" is probably not the right way to describe it technically.

It's also nice to have the extra RAM. If you're into DXD or DSD, it helps, if you expand the buffers in the software. Could cause less gaps or blips.
Library refreshing is also nice with 1Gb connections.

I have the RPi doing all sorts of AV jobs in my house, even video surveillance. It's a great board. No doubt about it. I just got a 4K HDR TV last night. RPi3 running Kodi.
Can't do 4K. TB can upsample to 4K. I digress.

I'm not saying take my word for it. I'm sure the RPi is fine for you, but if you get the chance, try the TB. Just be open to it. Will fit right in your RPi case.


Vince
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Old 13th July 2017, 04:33 PM   #13
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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@vdi_nenna: Thanks for posting about the Tinker board. I just pulled the trigger on one to evaluate.

It is interesting that you mention that your DAC seems quieter on the Tinker compared to the Pi (if I understood your posts correctly). I wonder why that is - a USB peripheral is operating off of the supplied USB power, so I would think that the power supply is primarily determining the quality of the USB power. Other than that I am at a loss at why you think the DAC would sound "much better" than on the Pi. Any ideas about this on your part?
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Old 13th July 2017, 04:54 PM   #14
vdi_nenna is online now vdi_nenna  United States
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Perhaps it's not a sound quality issue to blame in the RPi. It's just 1s and 0s after all. Maybe when I listen to the RPi there is, how do I say this, a breakup of the packets being shared over the same bus as the USB. USB is known to be noisy anyway. Music streaming is UDP, right? Can't be full error checking or else things would be a real mess for audio and video. If incoming packets are being interrupted from the NAS, could that effect the sound quality? I'm not a hardware architect, so perhaps I'm wrong. I just know I can hear the difference.

To be fair to the RPi, I will try the RPi again. Will use the same power supply as used with the TB. Maybe there's a discrepancy there. Also using only USB between DAC and servers. Trying to use USB 2.0 where I can.

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Old 13th July 2017, 05:04 PM   #15
bambadoo is offline bambadoo  Norway
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I dont use usb at all. Left it long time sgo. I2s direct (via gpio) to the soekris is so much better.
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Old 13th July 2017, 05:09 PM   #16
vdi_nenna is online now vdi_nenna  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bambadoo View Post
I dont use usb at all. Left it long time sgo. I2s direct (via gpio) to the soekris is so much better.
Nice, so it's an all-in-one box due to the I2S or are you using some kind of external I2S repeater? That would be fun to try.

Do you know the Pin connections for the gpio?

Thanks,

Vince
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Old 13th July 2017, 05:12 PM   #17
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vdi_nenna View Post
Perhaps it's not a sound quality issue to blame in the RPi. It's just 1s and 0s after all. Maybe when I listen to the RPi there is, how do I say this, a breakup of the packets being shared over the same bus as the USB. USB is known to be noisy anyway. Music streaming is UDP, right? Can't be full error checking or else things would be a real mess for audio and video. If incoming packets are being interrupted from the NAS, could that effect the sound quality? I'm not a hardware architect, so perhaps I'm wrong. I just know I can hear the difference.

To be fair to the RPi, I will try the RPi again. Will use the same power supply as used with the TB. Maybe there's a discrepancy there. Also using only USB between DAC and servers. Trying to use USB 2.0 where I can.

Vince
There are lots of steps, and places where you can get problems, if/when you use internet streaming audio as the source and listen to your USB DAC for audio quality. The stream is coming in via your internet connection and this is testing the quality of the LAN connection, whether it comes via WiFi or cable. The quality of this connection (or lack of it) can be a source of full dropouts, packet loss that leads to loss of quality, and so on. All of this is on the "source" side of things, so you seem to have included that in the overall evaluation of your DAC and the board(s). Once you are "on board" with your audio stream, the ability of the OS and hardware to keep the USB bus operating properly and the quality of the USB peripheral power (both +5V and GND) can also come into play.

I think if you repeated the test using an uncompressed WAV file or the like that you play from the SD card on both board, you will find no difference in the DAC sound quality from board to board. I would be quite surprised if you found any difference, and if you do I would start looking around for a problem.
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Old 13th July 2017, 06:33 PM   #18
vdi_nenna is online now vdi_nenna  United States
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I originally used "sneaker net" avoiding all network connectivity. I found very little different between a direct connected USB drive to Ethernet. I don't use compressed music, although I do like the internet radio stations out there. Great intros to new music. I wouldn't be as serious about internet streaming as I would about 16/44.
BTW- I'm not impressed by Tidal and I heard it in vastly better systems than mine.

I'm not above being fooled by my own brain and ears. It happens all the time, not just to me. I'll give it an honest try again with same PS and USB drive of same music on NAS and USB drive on the RPi and USB cable. I'd like to try GPIO and DAC I2S in the future.

However, if the TB still sounds better to me than the RPi, then I'm going say it.

I'm using the Amanero I2S board. If I understand correctly, one side uses the power of USB from the computer side? That true?
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Old 14th July 2017, 12:20 AM   #19
vdi_nenna is online now vdi_nenna  United States
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Plugged in the same power supply into the rpi . Sounds really great. I was starting to think maybe they are all the same, but unfortunately its not true. The Tinker outshines the rpi in too many areas. Too many areas to describe, but I'll give you one. Musicality. It souds like real people playing instruments. Rpi sounds more like mid hifi.

I'm sorry. I wish it were that easy: a $35 soc killer server, but it's not better than the Tinker at $60. Just isn't. Using same exact connections to the same gear, the Tinker wins.
Could my rpi be faulty? Maybe.

I welcome any of you guys to come hear it in my area. Just PM me. Bring a thumb drive...

Happy listening.

Vince
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Old 18th July 2017, 10:53 PM   #20
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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I finally set up the Tinker board that I bought. The process was easy, and similar to the Pi. In general use it seems much more "snappy" (responsive, faster) than the Raspberry Pi 3. All of the Tinker board hardware testing posted to the web bears this out - it's several times faster than the Pi, both CPU and GPU. At $50-$60 the Tinker board is worth the upcharge over the $35 Pi when using it as a small computer. The Tinker board does run hotter than the Pi by 5deg C or more, when using included heatsink (just sitting out on the desktop and not in a case it was over 50C after very light use).

I ran a quick tests both on the onboard sound, and using an ES9023 USB stereo soundcard that I know works pretty well on the Pi (so that I can compare measurements). This is just a spectrum and THD on a 1k test tone generated internally on the Tinker board. Conclusion: the onboard sound is somewhat noisy and not all that clean (not low distortion). That is about what I would expect for an onboard sound codec on a SBC, honestly. Even an under $50 external USB soundcard smokes it. On the other hand, for casual listening via headphones the onboard sound is just fine but I would not use it to send audio to my stereo.

The ES9023 card was almost exactly the same as on the Pi 3, so no difference there.

Measurements attached. If you are not sure which is which, you aren't paying attention.
Attached Images
File Type: png Asus Tinker onboard sound codec.PNG (79.0 KB, 307 views)
File Type: png Asus Tinker with PCM2706 ES9023 USB soundcard.PNG (77.8 KB, 305 views)
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Last edited by CharlieLaub; 18th July 2017 at 11:00 PM.
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