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PostPosted: January 22nd, 2021, 8:50 pm 
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I'll text you before I head over. Figure afternoon 3ish....


David McGown wrote:
Works for me


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PostPosted: January 22nd, 2021, 9:23 pm 
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Joined: February 28th, 2013, 1:19 pm
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OK


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PostPosted: January 23rd, 2021, 3:09 pm 
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David, lost all your contact info. No phone, address etc. Could stop by at 2:30. Would that work for you?


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PostPosted: January 23rd, 2021, 10:19 pm 
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Pete, if you like the RPi David is setting up for you, consider the Allo USBridge Signature with Shanti LPS. It's an Rpi3 core on a custom board wth dedicated USB output. You can also add a WiFi dongle on the front ports. For $400 it's a very nice unit. I like mine a lot. I run gentooplayer on it, which is no longer free, but it has RoonBridge built in. It is a lovely-sounding OS.

https://allo.com/sparky/usbridge-signature-player.html

gentooplayer.com


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PostPosted: January 23rd, 2021, 10:23 pm 
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Thanks Grover. Will start with David's Pi4 and see how it works in my system. If I like it, I'll keep this option in mind.



Grover Gardner wrote:
Pete, if you like the RPi David is setting up for you, consider the Allo USBridge Signature with Shanti LPS. It's an Rpi3 core on a custom board wth dedicated USB output. You can also add a WiFi dongle on the front ports. For $400 it's a very nice unit. I like mine a lot. I run gentooplayer on it, which is no longer free, but it has RoonBridge built in. It is a lovely-sounding OS.

https://allo.com/sparky/usbridge-signature-player.html

gentooplayer.com


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PostPosted: February 14th, 2021, 3:18 pm 
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Have been listening to the Pi4 that David lent me (thanks David). Works flawlessly (16/44 to 24/192 and DSD). It makes for an interesting comparison.

Nuc+ Setup: Router connected with Supra Cat8 to Roon Nucleus+ (plugged into Furman Series AC210 surge/conditioner) connected with WireWorld UltraViolet USB to Holo May DAC (plugged in to BIT-15 Balanced Power run off dedicated 15A line).

Pi4 Setup: Router connected with Supra Cat8 to Pi4 (plugged into Furman Series AC210 surge/conditioner) connected via WireWorld UltraViolet USB to Holo May DAC (plugged in to BIT-15 Balanced Power run off dedicated 15A line). Nucleus+ (now located in second floor and plugged into Furman PST-8, Cat6 cable with NetGear GS305 switch).

Nuc+ setup has a very meaty, grounded, solid presentation but still transparent and balanced overall. High freq are beautifully rendered with incisive dynamics, detail, and decay. With the right recordings, it can occasionally sound so real/lifelike that is can be scary. I have had the odd sensation of listening to music, only to be startled by a sound that jolts my brain into a sort of head snapping, heart skipping, panicked, flight or flight type response. My brain forces my body to look up/around for the origin of that sound in my room. Sort of cool but not always pleasant because it is unexpected and surprising. Most of this sound I attribute to the Holo May DAC. When I first inserted the Nuc+, I was rewarded with a meatier, weightier, more transparent, less digital sound compared to my MacBook Pro.

The Pi4 setup sounded very similar to the Nuc+ (but ultimately more like when I used my MacBook Pro). There is a bit of glaze throughout the sound that I thought made it sound more "digital" sounding compared to the Nuc+ although at lower volumes this could function to make recordings more lively/engaging ie fake detail or a slight emphasis on leading edge transients. Conversely, at loud volumes, music could become a bit hard sounding. This places an unnatural and unpleasant emphasis on highs that I don't hear with the Nuc+. I can listen at louder volumes more comfortably with the Nuc+. Silences don't sound quite as empty through the Pi4, a sense of depth/space between players/instruments is slightly reduced. I lost a bit of the hyper-real chunky solidity of vocals and instruments found in the Nuc+ setup. I don't quite get the freaky, OMG this sounds real jolt that I sometimes get with the Nuc+ setup. But overall, the sound was pretty good and enjoyable to listen to.

There is no way to do a quick A/B comparison here. It involves moving the Nuc+ from between my office and my audio room as well as powering everything up and getting everything running. My guess is that some of the deficits I heard from the Pi4 might be ameliorated with the addition of a decent LPS? When you factor in cost, the Pi4 seems like a bargain. For the cost of the Nuc+ ($3k), you could build up a nice audio computer, stuff it in another room and still have enough money over for a Pi4 with LPS or another endpoint like the USBridge with Shanti PS. Has anyone here compared Pi4 to USBridge Sig?

I think the next step for me will be to try a decent LPS for the Nucleus+. Maybe the Keces P8? Or the HDPlex 300 with 3 outputs (19v and two variable 3-12v) which would also allow me to experiment with LPS on the Pi4 as well?

In any case, my initial premise was that running a separate Roon endpoint, even an inexpensive one like the Pi4, would be superior to using the Nucleus+ as a standalone core/endpoint but not in this case and in my system.


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PostPosted: February 14th, 2021, 4:55 pm 
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Thanks for the report, Pete. I wouldn't expect the Pi4 to sound better than the Nucleus. If you want to get into endpoints I think you'll need to spend a good but more. The Allo USBridge with Shanti PS sounds much better than running my DAC directing from my Mac Mini--cleaner, sweeter, quieter. But the Mac Mini is my all-purpose entertainment PC so that's to be expected, I think. Beyond that, they get pretty pricey, especially if you start factoring in a dedicated LPS. SOtM, Sonore, Aries, etc. all make dedicated renderers. But you might be chasing your tail. I think the HDPlex would improve the sound of your Nucleus to the point that a separate renderer becomes moot.


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PostPosted: February 14th, 2021, 5:09 pm 
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That is what I am thinking as well. So many options for digital setups. But the Nucleus with a good LPS may be all I need for now.

Grover Gardner wrote:
Thanks for the report, Pete. I wouldn't expect the Pi4 to sound better than the Nucleus. If you want to get into endpoints I think you'll need to spend a good but more. The Allo USBridge with Shanti PS sounds much better than running my DAC directing from my Mac Mini--cleaner, sweeter, quieter. But the Mac Mini is my all-purpose entertainment PC so that's to be expected, I think. Beyond that, they get pretty pricey, especially if you start factoring in a dedicated LPS. SOtM, Sonore, Aries, etc. all make dedicated renderers. But you might be chasing your tail. I think the HDPlex would improve the sound of your Nucleus to the point that a separate renderer becomes moot.


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PostPosted: February 14th, 2021, 10:54 pm 
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Pete,

I don't know if an LPS will greatly improve your Nucleus. I'd imagine it has a reasonable power supply as opposed to a cheap wall wart switcher that comes with a NUC.

If you can possibly talk Dave into letting you try his new server/renderer for a day that might tell you a lot of what you're looking for. I heard his system with the Pi4 when he was starting last spring, and again recently just after he installed the new renderer. Night and day difference. I had just stopped by to pick something up and it sounded so good I didn't want to leave but....just couldn't stay. If you don't hear an improvement youll know running directly from the Nucleus is all you need.

With the renderers Charlie has built, and Dave's new one, much of the improvement is in the soundstage and imagine specificity, and inner detail. When I tried one of his early builds that sounded 3 dimensional at his house, especially compared to his laptop experiments, the horn speakers at my house just weren't capable of reproducing that soundstage and it sounded pretty much like my existing renderer. If you're still using horn speakers, you'll likely not hear as much improvement over the Pi as Dave is getting. It's dramatically better in his system.


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PostPosted: February 14th, 2021, 11:14 pm 
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Jim G wrote:
Pete,

I don't know if an LPS will greatly improve your Nucleus. I'd imagine it has a reasonable power supply as opposed to a cheap wall wart switcher that comes with a NUC.....

Should have also said, especially if you can't power the usb board independently from the motherboard of the Nucleus, as with the SOTM/JCAT usb cards.


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