25 giugno 2013
Just wanted to share my experience of how RaspyFi helped me rediscover listening to music…
Bit of background, I bought a Naim NAIT 3 amp and Naim Intro speakers some 10 years ago, but I never really had the time to actually sit down and 'listen' to music. Fast forward 10 years and my amp is an expensive monitor stand, speakers are literally squeezed into what little space I have in my spare room/office and connected to my PC through the front headphone jack. It played music, I was happy.
So a few months ago I was debating with a friend as to whether you could actually hear the difference between a 320kb MP3 vs FLAC, and after listening to some of my favourite tracks on his system in FLAC format, I was pretty much blown away by the extra detail that could be heard. I put this down to his setup being fed by an optical source rather than a 3.5mm headphone to RCA stereo lead that I used.
My initial (slightly skewed) goal was figuring out how to get an optical source into my amp, but after some googling I stumbled across RaspyFi. This then led onto my discovery of USB DACs and finally the penny literally dropped!
I already had a Raspberry Pi XMBC (RaspBMC) box, so a quick switch of SD cards later and it was repurposed as a RaspyFi box for testing. I managed to pick up a HRT Streamer II+ USB DAC for a bargain price from eBay and so I just had to figure how to make it all work.
All credit to the dev, it was rediculously simple. I followed the instructions and recommendations on the website, installed MPDroid on my tablet, FLACs on a USB stick, plugged it all in and switched it on. A few seconds later and it was ready to go. Amazing!
Played the first track and Wow. I'm not kidding, my jaw dropped. I have never heard my speakers produce such a detailed sound stage, it was like I had taken a bucket off my head.
I appreciate the DAC is making a huge difference to what is being output, but my second Wow moment came when the song came to an end and faded out to absolute silence. No whirring fans. No disk noise. Nothing. Just silence. Hearing the music play to the very last barely audible note was a revelation in itself!
Couple of issues for information, which are already pretty well documented:
I have run into the 24bit/96k playback issue which adds unwanted clicks and pops, but not had any problem with any 16bit/44.1k FLACs.
This is playing back from a USB stick (not NAS).
I use my Nexus 7 tablet USB charger which is able to power the rPi, DAC and USB stick with no problem. When I switched to a Blackberry PSU I ran into all sorts of weird problems. Mainly that the ethernet would drop out and randomly crash. All PSUs (even branded ones) are not the same!
Other than that, thanks to RaspyFi, I now have a portable, quick to boot up source which sounds incredible and is absolutely silent in operation. I am finally able to appreciate music!
19 dicembre 2012
wow! Reading this put a huge smile to my face… Seems that RaspyFi is doing what it's meant for! Hassle free proper listening experience! I'm really happy you could achieve such results without having to deal with cash efforts and complications…
As for yhe problems, with the next versions everything will be fine, and you'll find more features to come… Happy listening, mate!
25 giugno 2013
Well, it's been a couple of months since discovering RaspyFi and I've probably listened to more music on my setup over that time than I have done in the last few years!
But anyways, after reading various articles on this site and others about how a decent PSU is 'the next step' in audio quality, I figured if I ever had a few quid spare I'd look into powering my HRT Streamer II with a clean power input to hear whether it really makes a difference. I'm ever the cynic when it comes to these things.
So today I took delivery of an iFi iUSB Power PSU. I have to say it's not a cheap power option, and I'm surprised at myself for forking out 175 quid for a power supply.
But did it make a difference..? oh yes it did! – The first word that popped into my head whilst listening to the first song was… 'smooth'.
Like comparing supermarket own brand chocolate to a bar of Galaxy, smooth (Your chocolate tastes may vary), or perhaps akin to rough edges that have been sanded down and given a polish smooth. Probably not the most audiophile ways of describing the difference, but there you go.
Worth 175 of your hard earned ? well, I'm not sending mine back. I can't unhear what I have now heard, it's beautiful.
Downsides..? just one. I was hoping that the dual outputs of the iUSB PSU could power both the USB DAC and the Raspberry Pi, but sadly it doesn't. The Pi comes on, then the Pi goes off and so does the power to the USB DAC, so you will still have to power the Pi separately. Something to bear in mind if you were considering this against the Aqvox Linear PSU which is 75 quid cheaper. The iUSB does look nicer though..
Happy listening RaspyFi'ers!
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