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moode vs volumio vs runeaudio
moode vs volumio vs runeaudio
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Old 9th January 2018, 03:22 PM   #81
rpi is offline rpi  United States
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If we assume that all systems use the same Power Supply, DAC, Amp and Speakers then there are two main variables in this equation: sound quality and usability. I think such variables as low power consumption and more efficient thread handling could be excluded from the equation in favor of first two.

How can we test sound quality if all systems use MPD and ALSA? If it's not possible to come up with a well-defined set of tests which would involve measurements using oscilloscope or logic analyzer then blind tests is the only way. More people involved to the test better. Once again I'm ready to provide hardware for such tests - Pi board(s) and SD cards with pre-installed images in question.

So if we have four systems under test: moode, volumio, runeaudio and plain Raspbian with mpd then we need 4 Pi boards with the same DACs connected to them and DACs connected to the same amplifier and speakers.

UI/Usability is completely different topic and could be discussed separately.
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Old 9th January 2018, 09:48 PM   #82
MBA is offline MBA  Czech Republic
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Two diyers with passion for quality music playback - what a delight! There is no reason to be angry or offensive, guys! Be happy there are people around sharing your passion and learning from dissimilar opinions. Dissimilar does not mean wrong nor a personal offence. Words often poorly express the love in our hearts. Listen & Enjoy ;-)!
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Old 10th January 2018, 07:08 AM   #83
soundcheck is offline soundcheck  Germany
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Just FYI.

There's is a risk you might fool yourself by running pure listening tests.
The question about better/worse or right/wrong sound might be difficult to nail down.
That there is a difference can be spotted much easier though.

I faced the same annoying discussions with the snakeoil-fraction over at squeezebox forums around 2011 when introducing my "SqueezeBox-Touch Toolbox" which basically did nothing but increasing the efficiency of that system. This or that related mod are meanwhile applied all over the place.

To prove me wrong people tried pretty much everything. One guy came up with the idea to use a tool called AudioDiffmaker , which basically intelligently compares two recorded pieces of played back music, not just a simple tone. Actually a potentially great idea! Ever tried to identify a sound difference by playing and listening to a 1 khz tone !?!?


By using such a tool, you'd reduce the number of flaws that are injected by the audio chain/room/ears/mind. However. There might be new flaws. An ADC is not flawless either. Though probably less flawed than a standard reproduction chain.
And an active chain is causing quite some environmental impact that might interfere with the transport/DAC. That would be taken out of the equation as well.

He then ran his tests. With and without toolbox. He was pretty surprised about the results. Several people, including me ran the tests, with similar results.

Do you guys think that "snakeoil" fraction kept quiet after the results had been presented and discussed ??? Of course not. They just continued with the bull as if nothing had happened.

Bottom line. If you have a quality ADC at hand, just give it try.

Enjoy.
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Old 10th January 2018, 07:21 AM   #84
tuxx is offline tuxx  Greece
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpi View Post
How can we test sound quality if all systems use MPD and ALSA?
Although I assume that you 've already understood what I believe regarding your concerns, please note that different Linux distributions usually means different kernel versions (and different Alsa versions), different MPD, different compile flags, different configuration etc.

So, even two raspbian based distributions doesn't mean that they are identical, as ex. one of them might be running an rt kernel or a much older MPD version etc.

BTW, now that I referred to RT kernels, if you use MPD, you might want to read what its developer says about them:

Real-Time Scheduling

Quote:
There is a rumor that real-time scheduling improves audio quality. That is not true. All it does is reduce the probability of skipping (audio buffer xruns) when the computer is under heavy load.
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Old 10th January 2018, 07:58 AM   #85
soundcheck is offline soundcheck  Germany
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@tuxx

You still don't understand a bit of what you're doing with Archphile or what's been discussed over here or what's been discussed since almost a decade.

I tried to explain the principle in my earlier post. I obviously failed.

A simple question:

What happens if you reduce/get rid off XRUNS and/or skipping ???

Yep. You increase the system efficiency. You pave the road!

It's that simple.

Now go several posts back and try to read and understand my posts.

Do you think a rt-kernel developer wants to get involved in snakeoil sound quality discussions!?!? Of course not. He's not stupid.


Unfortunately a rt-kernel on the PI is not that easy to handle. It even can make things worse.
On a RPI the rt-kernel (e.g. the one I've been providing for Moode) is still causing quite a high load on the USB stack. IMO a flaw.
That contradicts it's actual "higher efficiency" purpose to a certain extent.
Some people believe that just compiling and installing a rt-kernel will do the trick. Of course not! It requires quite some finetuning of the entire data chain to get it properly going.
And then a rt-kernel is not something you want to have on a multi purpose (numerous apps and services running at the same time) installation. It's meant to run on single purpose machines only.

On the other side most recent kernels get better and better in handling high priority tasks and still do some "fair" scheduling. Still I think the rt-kernel is not obsolete yet.


Enjoy.
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Old 10th January 2018, 08:15 AM   #86
tuxx is offline tuxx  Greece
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XRUNS and skipping can be avoided with many other different ways and an RT kernel is not a requirement.

Especially when we talk about MPD, the resources that this nice piece of software requires are ridiculously low. Even with DXD reproduction or with sox resapmpling everything to 32/352.8 the CPU footprint of MPD is zero.

As a result it all depends on everything else apart from MPD. So, an RT kernel might be a solution to a bloated system but certainly not required in more minimal approaches.
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Old 10th January 2018, 08:20 AM   #87
soundcheck is offline soundcheck  Germany
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You havn't understood anything about the subject. Nothing more to add!
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Old 10th January 2018, 08:26 AM   #88
tuxx is offline tuxx  Greece
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So you say that a minimal Linux installation with MPD installed even on an older crappy RPI, without a client running on the server and as a result without a web server, php, mysql or maria db and with all cores dedicated to MPD, will benefit from an RT kernel?

If this is what you say, so yes, I live inside the Matrix and I haven't understood anything.
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Last edited by tuxx; 10th January 2018 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 10th January 2018, 08:44 AM   #89
phofman is online now phofman  Czech Republic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundcheck View Post
What happens if you reduce/get rid off XRUNS and/or skipping ???

Yep. You increase the system efficiency. You pave the road!
Depending on what you call efficiency. Throughput, or power consumption or anything else?

RT kernel does not lower power consumption. On the contrary, it loads your CPU more. It just lowers the chances of xruns for rt-elevated processes by modifying the various process/IO scheduler rules to (try to) avoid stalling these processes for more than some specified time/priority. All this takes more CPU plus some drivers may have problems. As a matter of fact some years ago I did experience this case, fixing was not simple (and way above my kernel skills) [alsa-devel] MIDI on ice1724 - real-time kernel problem

You can fight xruns e.g. by enlarging alsa buffers/periods. More time, less chances of being late. But this has been told here so many times...

Some soundcards/USB combinations refuse to accept larger periods/lower IRQ rates and must be treated with RT hacks to decrease the xrun probability. There is no universal cure.
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Old 4th February 2018, 03:53 PM   #90
BillTheCat is offline BillTheCat
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So, leaving aside the bickering between parties here, is there a consensus for those of us looking for a simple answer to which has the better sonic performance: moode vs volumio2?

Or, am I just asking in the wrong place?
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