Optimal configuration for Buffalo-IIIse running at audio server - diyAudio
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Old 4th November 2015, 10:22 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Default Optimal configuration for Buffalo-IIIse running at audio server

Hey everyone,

I am pretty new to diy HiFi and so far I only built a couple of speakers and an amplifier, but these project were always very well documented. Since I am mostly listening to music digitally I now decided to build a DAC and after a couple of weeks of reading I decided for the Twisted Pear Audio Buffalo-IIISE. Dual mono or not I am not sure yet, may depend on budget though ;-).

Before planning my project in more depth, I have a general question for my use case. My plan is to run an independent music server (linux + mpd), which has access to my music library and connect it to the Buffalo DAC. However, I came across different methods to realize this setting and here are my questions:

1) What the major difference (according to the final sound quality) between connecting the music server via usb to a usb to i2s interface (for example this SONORE USB Interface) and connecting it directly via i2s (for example with the raspberry pi: Building an open embedded audio applicance. - sorry I have not read all 140 pages (yet))

2) When connecting the server via usb is there a difference between the hardware I use, for example a raspberry pi vs a fully fledged pc. In my understanding there should not be a difference since the usb signal is digital, right?

3) When connecting the server directly via i2s is there a difference between the hardware I use for the server (Here someone seems to have problems with a raspberry pi: I2S via Raspberry Pi - HF/VHF noise - General Questions - Twisted Pear Audio Support)? Even when I add a external clock as suggested here: https://hifiduino.wordpress.com/2015...-developments/.

Basically I want to know whats the best setting to run a Buffalo-IIISE together with a linux music server. If anyone has an opinion on dual mono or not, I am also interested in it.

Thanks!
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Old 28th November 2015, 11:11 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Longmont, CO
Your questions are good and you have come to a good place to start. Twisted Pear supports two asynchronous interfaces for DACs - the Amanero accepts USB, while the Beaglebone accepts general networked communications. Either way, the hardware takes the 'un-timed' data and synthesizes the precisely-timed I2S accepted by the DAC. The signal quality for each I2S source should be equally good.

The kind of connection you select is a matter of personal preference and convenience, not one of sound quality. To make this choice, think about the software you would like to run. If you want to try MPD, then you want to run it on the Beaglebone Black.

I don't know what to make of some others' connection difficulties. The Buffalo DAC likes a clean signal, and I2S is intended only for short connections in a magnetically clean environment. Twisted Pear makes a board called the teleporter, which will send I2S a long distance. I use that solution and it is superb - I have never had a problem with the teleporters in the signal path. I do not use dual mono, just the Buffalo IIIse along with the Legato I/V board. If a choice must be made, I'd suggest the Hermes+Cronus helps more than a second Buffalo for dual mono. Enjoy your project!

Last edited by francolargo; 28th November 2015 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 2nd December 2015, 07:08 AM   #3
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Location: North IL
Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanhgm View Post
Dual mono or not I am not sure yet, may depend on budget though ;-).


Thanks!
I started with a single BIII with Legato 3.1 and built a dual mono BIII with single Legato. Then a year later I built another single BIII with Legato for a friend and compared it again.

First off, IMO dual mono will sound better but you won't get a 50% improvement. To me it was definitely worthwhile. But you will add complexity and expense to your build.

If you play DSD with a dual mono BIII, due to internal mapping, DSD will play in mono. You have to use OTTO II switches to remap DSD input. This is documented in a thread at the Twisted Pear forum. I used signal relays controlled by a switch in the wiring between the two DAC's to correct DSD playback. You won't have that issue with a single BIII DAC.

My builds are documented at Twisted Pear forum.

Buffalo III *now* Dual Mono Build / Denon DVD-3910 Mod

A recent pic of the innards. Two Placid HD's, one for each DAC, two Placid HD BP's although one is only needed to power Legato. One is for left channel, one for right channel and single ended/headphone out. Two TP linear supplies; one powers the Arduino and LCD display, one powers the input board, Sonore USB board, Sidecar, OTTO II and Teleporter. I modded a Denon 3910 to export CD and SACD via Teleporter to the DAC.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Last edited by SCompRacer; 2nd December 2015 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 2nd December 2015, 04:13 PM   #4
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Rich, I hope your chassis cover is see-through!
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Old 2nd December 2015, 08:51 PM   #5
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Location: North IL
Thanks franco. No it just sports a top panel with lots of slots to let the heat out. Once in the rack you can't see it anyway....
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Old 7th December 2015, 12:01 AM   #6
drone is offline drone  Germany
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Location: Germany Rheinarea
Hi Rick,

I am oust in the process of building my dual mono BIIIse. And I will use an arduino with HIfiduino code.
Her is my question: did you have to remove some components of one of your BIIIse boards for dual mono function (like in: http://www.twistedpearaudio.com/docs...ide_V2.1.3.pdf). This guide is for use with the onboard firmware chip installed on one BIIIse. Is the same necessary for arduino without the twisted pear firmware chips installed? I have soldered the tridents to the BIIIse and do not want to desolder them without need.

Thx

Branko

Quote:
Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
I started with a single BIII with Legato 3.1 and built a dual mono BIII with single Legato. Then a year later I built another single BIII with Legato for a friend and compared it again.

First off, IMO dual mono will sound better but you won't get a 50% improvement. To me it was definitely worthwhile. But you will add complexity and expense to your build.

If you play DSD with a dual mono BIII, due to internal mapping, DSD will play in mono. You have to use OTTO II switches to remap DSD input. This is documented in a thread at the Twisted Pear forum. I used signal relays controlled by a switch in the wiring between the two DAC's to correct DSD playback. You won't have that issue with a single BIII DAC.

My builds are documented at Twisted Pear forum.

Buffalo III *now* Dual Mono Build / Denon DVD-3910 Mod

A recent pic of the innards. Two Placid HD's, one for each DAC, two Placid HD BP's although one is only needed to power Legato. One is for left channel, one for right channel and single ended/headphone out. Two TP linear supplies; one powers the Arduino and LCD display, one powers the input board, Sonore USB board, Sidecar, OTTO II and Teleporter. I modded a Denon 3910 to export CD and SACD via Teleporter to the DAC.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 7th December 2015, 12:35 AM   #7
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: North IL
Quote:
Originally Posted by drone View Post
Hi Rick,

I am oust in the process of building my dual mono BIIIse. And I will use an arduino with HIfiduino code.
Her is my question: did you have to remove some components of one of your BIIIse boards for dual mono function (like in: http://www.twistedpearaudio.com/docs...ide_V2.1.3.pdf). This guide is for use with the onboard firmware chip installed on one BIIIse. Is the same necessary for arduino without the twisted pear firmware chips installed? I have soldered the tridents to the BIIIse and do not want to desolder them without need.

Thx

Branko
Greetings Branko,

When I first built the dual mono it was with firmware chip. I have the BIII boards and did what the guide said for dual mono on page 21. I'm guessing the BIII SE configuration would be similar in a dual mono config.

I don't recall changing anything on the boards when I went to Arduino control and removed the firmware chip. One has to be the master board and the I2C jumper harness controls the second board.

Just curious, what do you use if you have to desolder? I use a hand held vacuum pump like this.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Last edited by SCompRacer; 7th December 2015 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 7th December 2015, 12:45 PM   #8
drone is offline drone  Germany
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Germany Rheinarea
Hi,

thank you.

So if i understand it right you use still the same pair of Buffalos with the modificationan arduino? Or do you use a pair without the modifivcation with the arduino?

I also use such a vacuum Pump. But I had to desolder once a trident from BII and it was very hard with the 3 legs and the big ground plane. Sometimes I use a heat gun from my garage and protect the pcb with aluminium foil. this works great for chips with more then two legs.

Branko

Quote:
Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
Greetings Branko,

When I first built the dual mono it was with firmware chip. I have the BIII boards and did what the guide said for dual mono on page 21. I'm guessing the BIII SE configuration would be similar in a dual mono config.

I don't recall changing anything on the boards when I went to Arduino control and removed the firmware chip. One has to be the master board and the I2C jumper harness controls the second board.

Just curious, what do you use if you have to desolder? I use a hand held vacuum pump like this.

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by drone; 7th December 2015 at 12:56 PM.
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