Pi Peregrination 2017 C&C Tour and Contest

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barryso

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Re: Pi Peregrination 2017 C&C Tour and Contest
« Reply #80 on: 4 Dec 2017, 02:50 pm »
OK, it's been several weeks and there have been a flurry of updates.  They will be outlined in a few posts to avoid getting too wordy in any single post.

Why so much time and effort spent trying out all this stuff?  Long one short, I did something to my back so was pretty much spending time on the couch.  Might as well make use of the down time, right? Luckily my back has been getting progressively better each day.

Unrelated to the Allo products - the generic (unmodified) Chinese TPA3116 (powered by a laptop power supply) was replaced with with a Texas Instruments TPA3155 evaluation board.  The new amp is running off a 350 watt, 7amp, 48 volt Mean Well switching power supply.  It's a pretty amazing amp for what it costs and really outdoes the generic 3116 amp.  The bass is more textured and the mids and treble are cleaner.  Had to give the amp some real burn in time, though, as it sounded pretty hot at first.

The music files have been moved from the upstairs computer (connected through wireless) to a self powered USB external hard drive.  There were too many drop outs and slow downs with the wireless and listening tests showed the local drive sounded better.  So the music is local now.

After trying a lot of things that didn't help fix the wifi issue Tim @ Moode posted about wifi issues caused by the Kali.  Evidently the oscillators on the Kali are too close to the wifi antenna.  His solution is to add some distance between the Pi board and the wifi dongle.  So a 3" extension was put between the antenna and the Pi and there is a real speed increase when using the web browser.  It's not been tried with streaming tunes, though, but it's really improved the speed of the music server interface.

Even with the music local there are still dropouts in the music from time to time - but it isn't frequent.  Increasing buffers generally fixes the glitches but also changes the sound a bit. 

More to come ...

barryso

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Re: Pi Peregrination 2017 C&C Tour and Contest
« Reply #81 on: 4 Dec 2017, 02:52 pm »
Power Supplies

There are now 3 power supplies for the Piano and Kali.  The Allo switching supply, the 1.5 amp linear sent with the tour and a 3.8 amp linear that was mentioned in the 5th post of this thread.

The 5v 3a switching supply from Allo is really pretty fine sounding - a tad more open with less bass than the linear units but it's pretty good.  It's only after a few songs with it after listening to the other units do you realize you're missing anything.  For $11 it does a very good job.  If it's what fits your budget you'll be very happy.

The tour linear supply with 1.5 amps adds a bit of richness to the mix.  The 3.8 amp unit takes that a bit further and adds a bit more bass to what was already a pretty good presentation.  It seems to be a tad louder and a tad more coherent sounding.  Or it's just the bass making it seem that way.  The bigger linear is not a night and day difference but it's clearly audible.  If you're going to order something from China and can handle the extra $25 or so go for the bigger supply.

The larger linear also generates less heat than the smaller linear so it's a bit better from a practical standpoint, too.  The switching unit never seems to get warm.

barryso

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Re: Pi Peregrination 2017 C&C Tour and Contest
« Reply #82 on: 4 Dec 2017, 02:55 pm »
Upsampling

Going from no upsampling to 32 bit 384 high quality sox resampling is amazing as the music gets a more rounded tone.  I can't tell you which is "better" as it also loses a bit of punch.  The resampling runs fine on the Raspberry Pi B in both Volumio and Moode, although there is occasionally a click when a new track starts.  I have no idea if a Raspberry Pi 3 (with a faster processor) would help fix this issue.

Of all the resampling settings I'm quite fond of 32bit 352.8 as it adds some of the 384 resampling magic without decreasing dynamics.  It doesn't seem to overdue the effect and instruments and voices just seem more realistic and more "there" than with no resampling.  It's superb.

It's almost like there's a tad of tube magic added to the mix without losing grip or dynamics.  Really worth giving a listen.

Letitroll98

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Re: Pi Peregrination 2017 C&C Tour and Contest
« Reply #83 on: 8 Feb 2018, 03:43 pm »
Okay folks, after much deliberation a winner in the Pi Peregrination 2017 C&C Tour and Contest has been chosen.  So with no further adieu the winner is.....

barryso   :dance:

All the submissions were great and it was just about impossible to say one was better than another.  So going back to the op we judged on who provided the most information and that had to be barryso.  Thanks to everyone that participated, it's really enlightening to see how much quality you can get from a small investment.  Lastly thanks to JohnR for providing the Pi stack and impetus for the tour, much appreciated.

JohnR

Re: Pi Peregrination 2017 C&C Tour and Contest
« Reply #84 on: 9 Feb 2018, 01:58 am »
Excellent!  :banana piano: :bounce:

Just read through the last few posts. Congrats to barryso, and thank you to all who participated and also a particular thanks to Dan (Letitroll98) for organizing and managing the tour details  :thumb:

JakeJ

Re: Pi Peregrination 2017 C&C Tour and Contest
« Reply #85 on: 9 Feb 2018, 02:28 am »
Congrats, barryso!  You definitely put it through the paces.  As a fellow back injury sufferer you have my sympathies.  If you didn't see a doctor then do and find out what's going on.  Then you can learn how to take care of it.

barryso

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  • Posts: 42
Re: Pi Peregrination 2017 C&C Tour and Contest
« Reply #86 on: 13 Feb 2018, 01:21 pm »
JakeJ, thanks for the sympathies.  My back has been OK after a week or two of touchiness.  What's going on is that I need to lose weight.  :o

Thanks to all who started this tour and for selecting me to keep it.  It's a nice piece of gear.  It's currently in a system that has a pair of John Busch's Manzanita Ultra speakers and it sounds great.  The Ultra baffles were updated a few weeks ago and a few things that weren't done properly at build time were fixed.  They now sound better than ever.

Oddly enough since having the Piano dac in the house there's been a strong pull to piano music this winter.  It's probably just a coincidence.  Current favorites are The Lynne Arriale Trio - Live and Abdulla Ibrahim's African Magic.

Thanks again for the tour.