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Old 10th October 2017, 01:18 AM   #41
dtaylo3 is offline dtaylo3  United States
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Default Tinker Board and Volumio -- Damn Good Sound

Have Volumio up and running on my Tinker Board. USB out to my DAC. It sounds very good. Also have listened through the Tinker Board headphone out. Not bad at all. TB is running into my TEAC DAC and into a Bryston amp and Vandersteen speakers. Run it via the Volumio app or web-based GUI on my iPhone or iPad and either wirelessly or through ethernet. Nice in pulling files from my MyCloud NAS on second floor of my house and sending over wireless to TB. No dropouts! Also can stream music files from my iPhone or iPad to the TB with Volumio. True high-quality sound for less than $100 invested in TB, 8 GB micro card, 5 v power supply and USB cable. I supposed it might sound even better if you run the USB into a purifier before entering DAC, if you believe in such stuff. Or you could spend $1,200 on the Bryston Rasp. pi based system that basically does the same thing. Hmmmm. DIY rules! TB is a fine little unit, but I doubt it will succeed much given how little support vs the world of Rasp pi.
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Old 10th October 2017, 01:50 AM   #42
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtaylo3 View Post
Just got a Tinker Board on eBay for $53 with shipping. So in a few days will load Volumio on it and via its USB outlet connect to my Emotiva DAC and tell you what I think. If that does not produce quality sound, I will look for a compatible SPDIF out HAT.
That's a good deal. You are mostly using it as a player. If only for audio, you are barely scratching its capabilities.

I recently found a nice site that compared the Pi 3, Tinker board, and some other platforms:
ASUS Tinker Board Is An Interesting ARM SBC For About $60 USD Review - Phoronix
The Tinker has about 2x to 4x the floating point processing horsepower when comparing single core processing. For example, the FFTW benchmark (FFTW is the core of FIR filter processing code) has the Tinker at 4x the Pi 3. For the software DSP processing that I do, that's nice because it's all FP operations. Also the Tinker has separate USB and ethernet chips whereas the Pi runs the ethernet through the USB interface. I tend to use USB based audio interfaces, so its another area that is an improvement over the Pi 3.

I like the Tinker a lot. If the OS can mature one more cycle I think they have a very nice product. Even as it is now, it's better than the Pi 3 for audio DSP type work.
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Old 17th November 2017, 12:28 AM   #43
dtaylo3 is offline dtaylo3  United States
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Charlie L:

Agree, and have read about all the online reviews and what has been posted in the Tinkerboard forum. Really no need for a HAT dac of SPDIF out HAT for me since I have 3 dacs and all work with the Tinker and Volumio. While I am a digital beginner compared to you (see your posts here and at PE), I will really be happy at the point I could use this for DSP or crossovers. For $60 bucks it is a hell of a little unit. Moores Law. It is fine for casual listening via the headphone out. It rocks through my Emotiva DACs. Wireless from my WD MyCloud from an upstairs office to my main floor living room is no issue -- no drop outs. Lots of fun.
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Old 3rd December 2017, 02:46 AM   #44
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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I have been impressed with the Tinker board but have not been able to get an audio interface that I own (a Behringer FCA610) to work with it until now. I finally ditched the Tinker OS and installed DietPi. Configuration is a little different with DietPi - the initial software installation is minimal. It doesn't even install ALSA! But you are prompted to select what "else" to install at first boot up. You might want to give DietPi a try!

For audio work, the FCA610 I am using is great for the price. The USB based unit has 4 analog audio and SPDIF inputs, SPDIF output plus 8 analog output channels. Makes for a great multichannel crossover...
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Old 3rd December 2017, 08:34 AM   #45
squadra is offline squadra  Thailand
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Is there any info on the specs of the spdif "contact point" of the TB?
The RK3288 has spdif out, but the actual pin/ball (EA12) isn't featured in the schematics. Also, the board apparently has an ALC4040 Audio codec which I can't find anything about, bit might provide spdif as well...
So, I am not sure what the contact point is actually connected to and how to make it available via an rca connector.
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Old 3rd December 2017, 03:08 PM   #46
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squadra View Post
Is there any info on the specs of the spdif "contact point" of the TB?
The RK3288 has spdif out, but the actual pin/ball (EA12) isn't featured in the schematics. Also, the board apparently has an ALC4040 Audio codec which I can't find anything about, bit might provide spdif as well...
So, I am not sure what the contact point is actually connected to and how to make it available via an rca connector.
ALSA might provide some hints. I listed all the possible audio outputs and their formats using aplay -L. There is only one SPDIF output listed, under card=Audio, as IEC958, S/PDIF. This seems to be the ALC4040 codec that you mentioned, since there are other entries for "CARD=rockchipminiarm" but none of them are the IEC958 type.

I think you could safely connect the SPDIF pin and GND to a DAC, send audio to the CARD=AUDIO device and expect audio to be sent to the DAC. The VLC player should be able to send audio to the SPDIF output, or you can use ecasound to specify it directly.


The SPDIF out is a PTH on my board, not a (surface) contact point. The clearance to the ethernet and USB connectors is pretty tight but you might be able to squeeze it in, or install with header pins pointing out the bottom. Below is a pic of it where you can see the thru-holes clearly. NOTE THAT NEITHER OF THESE IS GND! The other PTH is for PWM IIRC. You will need to connect to a GND on the GPIO header.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Last edited by CharlieLaub; 3rd December 2017 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 3rd December 2017, 03:43 PM   #47
squadra is offline squadra  Thailand
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Thanks, I guess I'll just have to jump in and try.
The TB isn't that expensive, but it is my only one
You meant Volumio when you mentioned vlc or are you running vlc on the TB?
I use Volumio, in the settings you can just select 'SPDIF' as output device on the TB.
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Old 3rd December 2017, 03:59 PM   #48
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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Originally Posted by squadra View Post
Thanks, I guess I'll just have to jump in and try.
The TB isn't that expensive, but it is my only one
You meant Volumio when you mentioned vlc or are you running vlc on the TB?
I use Volumio, in the settings you can just select 'SPDIF' as output device on the TB.
I've not ever used Volumio or any other "re-packed" audio-specific distro. I personally don't really find them necessary, or useful, for the things I do.

I use apt-get to install software, so at the command line I would run:
Code:
sudo apt-get install vlc
to install the VLC player and any dependencies on the system.
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Old 3rd December 2017, 04:24 PM   #49
rpi is offline rpi  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieLaub View Post
...
Code:
sudo apt-get install vlc
to install the VLC player and any dependencies on the system.
If you'll decide to use UI you can have a look at Peppy player software:
Software * project-owner/Peppy.doc Wiki * GitHub
Here are some screenshots:
Screenshots * project-owner/PeppyPlayers.doc Wiki * GitHub

It can support VLC, MPD and MPLAYER. You can just install it using
apt-get on any Linux or Windows system. It was developed for small displays/touchscreens but can be used with any resolution. It also has Web UI which looks/feels the same as UI in touchscreen.

Here is the functionality available in Peppy player for VLC:
vlc * project-owner/Peppy.doc Wiki * GitHub
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Old 5th December 2017, 11:45 PM   #50
CharlieLaub is offline CharlieLaub  United States
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Tinker board also working great under Armbian! Much faster than R-Pi-3, e.g. when installing software, etc. Nice!

For 4x the floating point performance plus better ethernet and USB performance, it's worth the US$60 or so price IMHO.
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