U3 as XMBC and HiFi all-in-one

Moderators: odroid, mdrjr

U3 as XMBC and HiFi all-in-one

Unread postby Luinerhos » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:46 pm

Hi guys, (and girls)

I was lurking and reading the forum for the last two weeks trying to build up my knowledge of SOC computers and what they can do for me. However I still have some questions that I do not seem to get clear answers to via searching the forum.

I would like to have a RPI / Odroid system that would act as my audio and video streaming device. It will be connected to my router, have access to my NAS and should stream video's via the internet and XMBC to my TV and equally important I would like to build a semi-decent hifi around it with a good budget amplifier like smsl or topping and a pair of good bookshelf speakers. There is no need for multi-room. Just good old fashioned NAS -> U3 -> DAC -> Amplifier -> speakers. And it would be preferable to have the audio selected and controlled via a tablet or phone and not have a need to switch the TV on.

In the RPI world there is the I2S DAC's that are an optional buy to improve the sound of the RPI. However, it seems according the the specifications at least that the MAX98090 onboard DAC of the U3 already has decent specifications. Although I have not seen any other reports or comments regarding its audio quality and how it compares to lets say Burr Brown DAC's for instance. Any experience in this? It would be nice if there is no big need for me to buy an external DAC. I am a bit of an audiophile, but not the kind that would spend thousands of bucks to get the best possible sound...a budget audiophile if you will.
If on the other hand the external DAC seems to be a good option does any of you have a recommendation of what works best with the U3? Be that USB connected or otherwise. A question I asked at Hifime DIY about their USB DAC got replied with the suggestion that if a system supports UAC then their USB DAC should work. But, being the novice on these things...would it be not also a software issue? In that regard Openelec or Ubuntu/Kodi could behave differently on the U3 with regards to an external USB DAC. I am specifically looking for a small and semi-budget solution.

So seeing all this together I noted the existence of Max2Play which does not seem to get a lot of mentions in the forums here, but it does have the squeezeplug and XMBC all in one on the U3. But, how would the stock Ubuntu/Kodi from the Odroid download page compare to this and the Openelec community edition that is available on the forums here as well?

Hope I did not ask too many questions :)

thanks in advance for your answers and looking forward to a good and fruitfull discussion.

Luinerhos
Luinerhos
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:58 pm
languages_spoken: english

Re: U3 as XMBC and HiFi all-in-one

Unread postby odroid » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:10 pm

The audio quality of MAX98090 DAC is good to me. But my ears seem not to be in the HiFi world.

How about the MPD on the Ubuntu?
viewtopic.php?f=52&t=7440

The XMOS based 192Khz/24bit USB 2.0 DAC is also working well.
User avatar
odroid
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29067
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:14 pm
languages_spoken: English
ODROIDs: ODROID

Re: U3 as XMBC and HiFi all-in-one

Unread postby Luinerhos » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:52 pm

Hi Odroid,

thanks for the quick reply!

What is your audio setup that you use? Meaning I presume you go straight into an amp and some speakers?
I found a statement like the following at the well-tempered computer website:
"From mid-2010 on both OSX and Linux supports USB audio class 2 natively.
If the DAC is USB audio class 2 compliant it will play up to 32/384 on these systems without the need to install additional drivers"

In a way, that covers the linux side of things. I was wondering, that U3 being a SOC if there are any limitations from that side? I assume not, but assumption is the mother.... you know the rest :)

The XMOS you suggested seems to be a perfect solution since it is a widely used chipset. Any specific budget brands you could mention here? I am currently hunting for some info there... :)

Thanks a lot

Luinerhos




MPD sounds good, but does that mean I would need to have XMBC as a separate install?
Luinerhos
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:58 pm
languages_spoken: english

Re: U3 as XMBC and HiFi all-in-one

Unread postby odroid » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:58 pm

No.. the MPD can live with XBMC.

USB 2.0 XMOD DAC was a cheap one from ebay.
Search with "PD05 XMOS + PCM5102" in ebay.

I've used it with a Sony headphone without speaker system.
User avatar
odroid
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29067
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:14 pm
languages_spoken: English
ODROIDs: ODROID

Re: U3 as XMBC and HiFi all-in-one

Unread postby schnip » Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:30 am

For low budget Hi-Fi this is the go-to DAC

http://www.amazon.de/Behringer-U-Contro ... B000KW2YEI

Its very cheap and very good. Especially for the low price point. (test: http://nwavguy.blogspot.de/2011/02/behr ... eview.html)


It will work with generic Linux based OS as external soundcard. I have not tested it on ARM Linux but if you are really interested in buying one I could test it with my U3.
schnip
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:51 am
languages_spoken: english
ODROIDs: U3

Re: U3 as XMBC and HiFi all-in-one

Unread postby Luinerhos » Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:41 pm

Hi schnip,

Thanks for the heads-up. I did read good things about that DAC yes. I am however considering anoter DAC and AMP combo that gets good reviews and seems to have good functionality. It is the SMSL Q5. Last years model was a bit so-so and had some issues, but apparently the company listened and quickly brought out a version 2 that fixed some of these things. What I like there:
1. One power supply and one box. Satisfies the minimalist in me.
2. the amp has a remote control to adjust volume. Nice, especially if one uses it as a headless MPD/squeezeplayer.
3. You have a couple of extra inputs on the back so that you can hook up audio-out from your TV, MP3 player or blu-ray etc.
4. the DAC in there seems to be similar if not the same as in the SMSL M2 (ES 9023 series).
But...it costs 100 euro, does not come with a headphone out, and still has some minor bugs (ex. you need to be a sharpshooter with the remote control to get response apparently).

Do you use your U3 as a music server as well as xbmc? Or do you use another droid? I am still torn between the C1 and the U3. OVerall the U3 looks better though, but the gigabit ethernet sort of pulls me again on the C1.
Luinerhos
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:58 pm
languages_spoken: english

Re: U3 as XMBC and HiFi all-in-one

Unread postby schnip » Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:09 am

I own both a U3 for a year and a C1 for a few days.


I have done a lot of reading and I would say that I pretty much know every advantage/drawback when comparing these machines hardware-wise. I suppose software-wise they are pretty similar. Couldn't test/compare the available OS's of the 2 computers much though.


I use the U3 as a subsonic server but for streaming only (and for some other stuff). I don't do playback on the device's hardware. The C1 will eventually run Kodi/XBMC on Android or Ubuntu (not sure yet) and make my TV smart.


For your purposes the U3 and C1 will do an equally good job. As far as I'm concerned the major pro of the C1 is 1gbit/s ethernet and the major pro of the U3 is 2GB ram instead of 1 GB and a much more powerful CPU.


So If you plan on compiling and doing some computing or memory heavy stuff along your media center, get the U3. If you plan on setting up a server or do routing, get the C1.
schnip
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:51 am
languages_spoken: english
ODROIDs: U3

Re: U3 as XMBC and HiFi all-in-one

Unread postby Luinerhos » Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:35 am

Thanks Schnip!

My plan is quite simple. Run an XBMC type service to my TV for most ly streaming content from the net. Throw in a bit of photos and home movies from the NAS. Second thing is that I want it to be a headless music server as well. In the line of MPD, Squeezebox etc. It wont be multiroom, just good hifi quality sound combined with a minimal setup for streaming. Here I can add also internet radio, or other music streaming services.

Sounds like C1 might do the job and make me save a few bucks. I am also, as you, trying to figure out what the advantages and disadvantages of Android is vs Linux. For music I read somewhere that an external DAC is not guaranteed to work with Android...and that the data is limited to 44 Khz. Not sure if this still holds true. XMBC seems to run fine on Android from what I can gather. Do you know of any comparisons or reasons to choose the one over the other?

Thanks again for the info from your side! Very helpful!
Luinerhos
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:58 pm
languages_spoken: english

Re: U3 as XMBC and HiFi all-in-one

Unread postby schnip » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:24 am

Yes external DAC might be problematic on Android. You just gotta try it out. 44khz should be sufficient though.


For me android has the advantage of google's play store ecosystem. You can play a lot of games on android as the U3 and C1 got fairly good GPUs. The C1 is a tad bit better (Mali 450MP2 vs Mali 400MP2). So with android you can make your TV not only smart but also a decent console.

Ubuntu is the better allround OS. You can basically do anything on it. Like install Libreoffice, use a Mouse and Keyboard. (however you can use Keyboard and Mouse on Android as well but you get the idea) Using external drives like HDDs and such is guaranteed to work on Ubuntu and can be problematic on Android (like the DAC)


One last thing:


http://kodi.wiki/view/Android_hardware# ... e_chipsets


Take a look here. The U3's chip does not support H265 whereas the C1 does. However that standard is not widely adopted (yet). At the bottom line Multimedia-wise you should be better off with the C1 and also a bit cheaper ;)
schnip
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:51 am
languages_spoken: english
ODROIDs: U3


Return to General Chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests