25-8-2017


"AUDIOLINUX" REVIEW  part 1
"Introduction"

by Maarten van Druten


 

Audiophile audio streaming is getting more popular, and also the audio streaming software is evolving
fast.
This review is about a Linux based operating system called "AudioLinux", which is especially tuned for bit-perfect real-time audiophile audio playback.



What is so special about “AudioLinux” ?

First of all you have to understand how “open source” works.
“Audio Linux” is based on ArchLinux which is released under the GPL and some other open source software licenses.
This gives the user more freedom to modify, copy, enhance the software in any way the user wants it.

Because Linux is made by professionals and mostly volunteers all around the world, the software is being improved non-stop.
Therefore Linux has become a very solid operating system that is even better, faster, more safe and cheaper than Windows.

Because Linux is open, everybody can see what is going on in the software itself
This is a big advantage because this way new features, improvements and bugs are much faster solved.

For example during writing of this review a new kernel has being released for AudioLinux that gives owners of an AmaneroCombo384 USB DAC native support for DSD512!
That’s great news, and this in only one example of the benefits of an open source Audiophile operating system.

What do you think of the power of shared knowledge?
For example when somebody wants to configure his AudioLinux computer so that it can be used without a monitor, or someone has problems or wishes with meta-data of his music collection.
Many of developers around the world will help you with this.

You can find support about "AudioLinux" on the forum section of the following websites:
https://www.computeraudiophile.com

https://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/vt.mpl?f=pcaudio&m=145705



All of this makes “AudioLinux” so great, it’s 100% user configurable, but this is also "AudioLinux" Achilles heel….

Let me explain, to configure a Linux computer for audiophile playback is not for everybody.
Not everybody has the knowledge to install a real-time Linux based operating system on his computer, some do, but many people find this too difficult.
They prefers an out-of-the-box streaming solution like ROON.

So there is a threshold for using “AudioLinux” , I will be the last to deny this.
But I also would like to see that many audiophiles around the world, would at least try this unique operating system.



Therefore I will share my experiences with you, by making “how-to” manuals how to install
AudioLinux on your computer in the near future.

By sharing knowledge, information, tweaks, tips, etc. we all will benefit, and this will result in a better musical listening experience.


- What makes “AudioLinux” so special is:
- Realtime kernel for very fast audio processing
- Open Source and 100% user configurable
- Optimized for Audiophile audio playback by using the best audio-player software:
“HQPlayer” (upsampling multichannel audio player)
“DeaDBeeF” audioplayer (DSD audio-playback: .DFF .DSF)
and there are many more programs...

But the most important thing is that the kernel works real-time and therefore has a very little latency
resulting in a much cleaner sound.
With an Intel i7 processor you can reach an incredibly low processor latency of 4-6 microseconds.

 

USER FREEDOM

Configure your computer how you want it, edit your music files, convert them, or modify the meta-data, with “AudioLinux” all is possible.
“AudioLinux” comes with many programs, one example is the program “Audacity”
“Audacity” is a free, open source, cross-platform audio software program for multi-track recording and editing.
What I recently discovered is that you also can use it to rip your “Blu-ray Disc Pure Audio Disc’s.
The problem of these disc's is that they are very big in size, and in fact they just contain a high resolution WAV file.
Bluray Pure Audio’s sampling rate is between 96 KHz and 192 KHz at 24 bits.
The problem is not only that the disc's are very big in size
they also contain a very complex file infrastructure were the WAV files are “encoded” into “.m2ts” files.
Normally you need a Bluray Disc player to playback your “Blu-ray Disc Pure Audio Disc’s correctly.
But what if you want to make a backup? so that you can play the backup with your streaming software?

With “Audacity” you can easily extract the original High-Resolution WAV music file out of the “.m2ts” file.
First copy the contents of your “Blu-ray Disc Pure Audio Disc” to your hard-disk of your computer.
Then start “Audacity” and import the biggest “.m2ts” file that’s located in the STREAM directory.

"Audacity" asks you which track should be imported, select the PCM one called: "codec[pcm_bluray]..."
Then you will see the waveform like in the picture above.

Then go to export, and select "Microsoft WAV 32bit" and now you will have one long WAV file containing all your
songs in the best possible format.
This wav files will be only around 2 Gb (till 4Gb) in size, so it will be much easier to storage on your NAS.
Compare this with the original size of the entire disk: 25 GB for single-layer or 50 GB for a dual-layer Bluray Pure Audio disk!
All current audiostreamers can playback WAV files, so compatibility is guaranteed.

You also can use "Audacity" for ripping your analogue LP's
Of course "Audacity" is also open source and well documented:
http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/sample_workflow_for_lp_digitization.html

This is one small example, there is so much more to tell about "AudioLinux" ...
Therefore I will write more articles about "AudioLinux" soon!


 

 

Building your own "Audio Dandy - AudioLinux" audio streamer:
 

                                 

 

The audio Dandy streamer transports the music from your NAS to your DAC without altering the orignal music data.



The Audio Dandy streamer is an ATX based 100% quiet passive cooled DIY PC
That you can build yourself.
I want to make one thing clear: I don't earn any money with this project, I just share my knowledge so that everybody can make his/her own "Audio Dandy - AudioLinux" audio streamer.
You will be in control, you will become the expert that can modify, improve and repair his/her own streamer
It's all about freedom, sharing and control.
Welcome in the world of "open source"

 

If you want to build your own "Audio Dandy - AudioLinux" audiostreamer
you need the following parts:


- Intel i7 motherboard that is compatible with the NOFAN "NOFAN CR-95C" cpu cooler
- 8 Gb of memory (16 Gb recommended)
- 128 Gb SSD (for "AudioLinux" OS)
- Passive videocard (more specific info soon)
- Quiet linear power supply (more specific info soon)
- Cooler Master "HAF XB EVO" LAN BOX computer case.
- NOFAN - "NOFAN CR-95C" cpu cooler (copper)

More info about specific parts will follow soon



The i7 CPU is cooled by an copper fanless cooler called "NOFAN CR-95C"


Also the videocard is 100% passive cooled. this audiostreamer is 100% quiet while still
has the real full power of an desktop Intel i7 processor, for "AudioLinux" and i7 processor is prefered.



 

Go to PART 2 ...


Maarten van Druten (Audio Dandy)



                           


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