Saturday 24 October 2020

MUSINGS/HOW-TO: Raspberry Pi 4 "Touch" Audio Streamer, and CRAAP settings! ;-) The decline of public feedback, virtual showrooms, value-added content and Darko Audio?

Left - Raspberry Pi 4B, Right - Raspberry Pi 3B. Heatsinks installed on both boards.

Back in August, I wrote an update on building and running the of Raspberry Pi "Touch" audio streamer with RoPieee software. The article was still written with the Raspberry Pi 3B(+) in mind.

Well, on Prime Day recently, I was able to get a Raspberry Pi 4, 4GB "Starter Kit" for a price I could not resist. It's nice to have all the parts including the appropriately sized heatsinks, ready-to-use microSD card, and 5V/3A USB-C power supply. For now, I have no need for the Pi 4 case and the micro-HDMI cables can go in my box of miscellaneous cables.

For audio streaming purposes, a basic 2GB Pi 4 kit (<US$55) would be even cheaper and works just as well. Given the minimal difference in cost, no point going with a 1GB model although that would still be fine - remember the Pi 3 was limited to 1GB. There is also an 8GB Pi 4 but that's a huge amount of memory for just an audio streaming "appliance"!

Here she is, the Raspberry Pi 4 board itself:

The Pi 4 is based on Broadcom's BCM2711 SoC containing a quad-core 64-bit out-of-order capable ARM Cortex-A72 CPU running at a stock 1.5GHz. This is quite a powerful processor considering the price and size.

Before I put it into the "Touch" case, I installed the heat sinks on the SoC/CPU, memory chip, and the small USB controller between the USB connectors. I plugged in a keyboard, my 4K monitor, and used the included Raspbian OS microSD card to 'feel' the speed as a desktop machine:

Clearly it's much faster than the previous Pi 3B and B+. But having said this, it's still a slower machine than modern laptops and desktops. Web browsing shows some latency but this is the first Pi I've used where the GPU is good enough for smooth YouTube watching while the CPU is speedy enough to manage browsing in another window.

I wanted to make sure that I updated the EEPROM to the latest version if there is one. Since release, the Pi 4 has received updates that have improved power utilization and lowered temperatures which is essential for audio streaming IMO - remember, no fans in the sound room! Note that if you have one of the newer Pi 4 version 1.2 boards like I have here, you should be up-to-date already.

Looks like the September 3, 2020 version is already installed in mine.

Here's the basic procedure if you need to do an update:

Make sure to update the OS first and possibly install rpi-eeprom package:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get full-upgrade
$ sudo apt-get install rpi-eeprom

Then check the EEPROM version which should show something like in the black screen capture above:

$ sudo rpi-eeprom-update

If like me there's no need to update, you're good. Otherwise install update and reboot:

$ sudo rpi-eeprom-update -a
$ sudo reboot

[Note: you don't need to run Raspberry Pi OS a.k.a. Raspbian to run rpi-eeprom-update. RoPieee has this command already installed and you can access it through ssh into the machine as we'll be doing below.]

So after this, I followed the instructions discussed previously to install the RoPieee image to microSD (Step 6). We then put the microSD in the Pi 4 slot and it's time to put the new Pi 4 in the SmartiPi Touch 2 case:

And for the sake of air flow, let's use the Pi 4 backing but without the fan in place, notice I've also installed the USB-C / microUSB Y-cable to power the Pi 7" touchscreen and Pi 4 board:

I'll leave you with the rest of the install...

Here's the final product - almost the same look on the outside but clearly quite different internals. The external difference is that the ethernet cable is coming out above the USB connectors now:

Notice I have a 90° USB adaptor. Likewise, for cosmetics, one could get a 90° ("down angle") ethernet cable so it doesn't stick out as much.

It's CRAAP™ time! :-)

I did not run into any issues with overheating as-is. The CPU has a thermal protection mechanism to throttle speed if it ever approaches 85°C by default. Audio streaming with RoPieee almost never exceeds 20% CPU utilization from what I can see, even with high-resolution 32/768 streams.

However, since I do like to save energy and I wanted to ensure that the Pi 4 runs cool while fanless, let's use some Convoluted Rationalizations And Audiophile Perceptions (CRAAP)™ to customize configuration settings as we had done in the past with the Pi 3 and Pi 3B+!

Since the Pi 4 is way more powerful than needed for basic audio streaming, let's underclock and undervolt this baby while maintaining more than adequate speed using RoPieee(XL). I'm sure you can do something very similar with piCorePlayer, just that I don't have pCP running currently on the Pi 4.

What we need to do is to edit the /boot/config.txt file.

1. ssh into the RoPieee Pi 4. Look at your router settings or on the RoPieee screen to see what the local IP address is. Mine is So for me, open a Command Prompt in Windows and issue this:

ssh root@

Password is "ropieee".

Alternatively if you prefer, use software like PuTTY:

Log in as root, and password as "ropieee".

2. Install a text editor like nano. Alas, I don't think there is a text editor installed by default in RoPieee. Remember that RoPieee is based on Arch Linux so package installation is different than typical Raspbian (which is Debian-based like Ubuntu):

pacman -S nano

3. Now go into the /boot directory and "nano config.txt" to edit the file:

4. Now copy and past these CRAAP settings into the config.txt file:

# Archimago's CRAAP Pi 4B Settings...
# October 14, 2020

# CPU speed control - normally 1500MHz, min 600

# CPU voltage control - SYSTEM DEPENDENT!

# SDRAM control, normally 3200 - again, watch system dependent voltage


gpu_mem = 256

# Keep it cooler! Throttle at max 75C.

As you can see, I'm highlighting the "Edit --> Paste" function for the Windows Command Prompt in the screenshot above to show how the text was pasted in. After that, CTRL-O to "Write Out" the config.txt file and CTRL-X to get out of nano.

When editing the config.txt file, notice that there are some configurations that you don't want to mess with, for example near the bottom from initramfs onward, leave those items alone.

You might have noticed in the screen capture above, my "over_voltage_sdram" setting is -4 rather than the -3 I have in the text to copy. I'm being conservative with the values to copy-and-paste just in case it causes problems if too aggressive. Remember that these values can be "system dependent" in that some boards will be stable with lower voltages than others. Feel free to undervolt even more, recognizing that this could crash your machine or it might not restart (in which case you might need to reload the RoPieee image to the microSD and restart the install process, no harm done). For my machine, "over_voltage=-4" and "over_voltage_min=-5" also work fine and I didn't bother trying to go any lower as it's unlikely to yield much further power saving/heat reduction.

5. Reboot the Pi 4.

reboot now

That should be it... The Pi 4 "Touch"/RoPieee streamer should reboot as expected.

You can ssh back into the RoPieee device and from the command prompt, issue:
watch vcgencmd measure_clock arm

And notice that the CPU will not go above 1.2GHz when streaming to the device to confirm that the settings are working. You can also issue this to keep an eye on your SoC temperature to make sure it never goes high:
watch vcgencmd measure_temp

Here's a quick test of how cool the CRAAP'ed Pi 4 "Touch" Streamer stays. While monitoring CPU speed and SoC temperatures, I had Roon upsample music to 32/384 pushed to RoPieee playing for 30 minutes with the older stock Raspberry Pi 3B (1.2GHz): 

With no optimizations, we see that the temperature rose to almost 57°C over 30 minutes. Remember, this is just the old Pi 3B from 2017, not the newer Pi 3B+ from 2018 which would likely run even warmer on this test.

Here's how the CRAAP'ed Raspberry Pi 4 "Touch" did:

As you can see, we've capped the speed to 1.2GHz as per our CRAAP settings, same as the stock Pi 3. After 30 minutes of 32/384 streaming, it only rose to 52°C from an idle temperature of 42°C in 20°C ambient room temperature.

You can imagine that it would be rare to "need" 32-bit/384kHz for any extended streaming! Even if I were to upsample 44.1/48kHz material, I'd cap it at 176.4/192kHz; everything else from 88.2/96+kHz can just be played natively to the DAC. As such, normally the Pi 4 temperature would simply be running comfortably in the mid-40's while in daily use.

Nice that there's plenty of overhead before the throttle temperature of 75°C. In fact, in my testing with these underclocked settings, I can hammer the quad-core CPU using multi-threaded sysbench at 100% with the passive heatsink for >20 minutes without surpassing 73°C while underclocked/undervolted. Without the CRAAP settings, the Pi 4 would surpass 75°C in less than 5 minutes at stock 1.5GHz and voltage.

I've updated RoPieee to the beta version twice already (currently version 2.618Beta) and it looks like updates do no touch config.txt so the CRAAP adjustments should stay put.

Bottom line... The underclocked, undervolted Pi 4 runs cooler than a stock Pi 3 without any active cooling, is faster (notice the higher Pi 4 BogoMIPS value even though not trustworthy numbers), and of course there are the benefits of higher bandwidth USB 3.0 ports (VIA VL805) and independent "true" gigabit ethernet (Broadcom BCM54213) rather than the Pi 3B's 100Mbps ethernet and 3B+ with its shared ethernet-USB bus with a maximum of ~300Mbps.

As for whether the CRAAP'ed Pi 4 "Touch" streamer "sounds better" from an "Audiophile Perceptions" point of view, I will leave it to you, dear audiophiles and Golden Ears as you listen and experiment for yourselves. Obviously doing this will reduce power consumption, "strain" on the CPU and memory, and "load" on the power supply.

There is of course the matter of "Bits Are Bits". :-)


So do I recommend building a Pi streamer with the Pi 4? After playing with this device and determining that in fact I have no worries about overheating without active cooling, absolutely! Keep an eye on a good deal as we enter the late-year holiday season and go for it.

Having said this, although the Pi 4 is an improvement over the Pi 3B and B+ models, it's still very much "overqualified" as a simple audio streamer IMO so I don't think there's a need to upgrade if you already have a good Pi 3-based streamer. Yes, we can say the quad Cortex-A72 (ARMv8) processors are even better, USB 3.0 ports are good, true gigabit ethernet is a real improvement to bandwidth, there's updated Bluetooth 5.0/dual-band WiFi and even faster DDR4 RAM is awesome! But seriously folks, I was able to stream 32/768 quite well to my RME ADI-2 Pro FS R DAC using the old Pi 3B (not even B+) over ethernet already - across the audiophile-approved Nighthawk S8000 ethernet switch of course. :-) [BTW, I know the Nighthawk S8000 switch is hard to find these days... Something inexpensive with data traffic control like the NETGEAR GS308T will do the job although certainly not as cool looking!]

Just to give you an idea, many contemporary streamers like the Bluesound NODE 2i still use a dual-core Cortex-A9 running at 1GHz with less RAM (probably just 256MB RAM). Newer devices like the Naim Uniti machines have a quad-core 1GHz NXP iMX6; also of the 32-bit Cortex-A9 generation with around 512MB RAM. Auralic's streaming Vega G2 DAC is similar with a quad-core Cortex-A9 processor at 1GHz and 1GB DDR3 RAM they call the "Tesls G1" (I believe some of the "Tesla G1" products might by clocked at 800MHz). More recently, Auralic touts that their Aries G2 streamer has a "Tesla G2" platform that's "50% faster" because of its 1.2GHz quad-core Cortex-A9 with 2GB DDR3 RAM. By the way, anyone know where Auralic is coming up with the "37,500MIPS" number? Doesn't look like standard Dhrystone or Linpack benchmark MIPS. Notice that they're all Cortex-A9 processors which belong to the ARMv7 architecture. Of course the end user should not care about this technical stuff if it works well. Rather, it's a reminder that audio streaming isn't really hard work for modern low-power processors.

Maybe one day, I'll try out the Pi 4 as a 4K video/audio streamer running LibreELEC or similar. Remember, the Pi 4 has dual micro-HDMI outputs capable of 4K/60fps and hardware decode of H.265/HEVC video streams so it's quite well-endowed as a video playback machine. While HDMI audio bitstreaming DTS-HDMA, TrueHD + Atmos seems to be working, at this time however, it looks like 4K and HDR playback still hasn't been figured out yet so I'm in no hurry to run it as a "TV box". For now, I'm sticking with this system of 4K/60fps/HDR streaming with multichannel audio.

I haven't looked in depth at the processing capability, but maybe in the days ahead we can see local audio DSP capabilities built into the streaming software to tap the CPU with its SIMD "Neon" capabilities.


To end off, in other news, I find it interesting that Darko.Audio closed off public comments to his YouTube videos. In fact, it looks like many (most?) comments left over the years are now gone. This is in addition to the fact that a few years ago (2017) he stopped allowing comments on his main website and the comments prior to that seem inaccessible as well.

For the YouTube comments at least, he claims that this is because of time issues and "my channel isn’t a platform for hate speech or self-aggrandising asshattery". So... He's basically saying that a number of his viewers are disgruntled trolls of some subspecies leaving unwelcomed droppings on his posts. While of high production value, realize that the content he puts up is rather basic with little actual depth. Were there that many "conspiracy theories" and "crazy/offensive/self-entitled" comments? Even if he closes off the comments starting now, why not leave the ones already posted months or even a year ago (like for this video)? Clearly the bottom line is he's not interested in feedback, period. I hope those who took time to write a message whether supportive or disagreeing with him over the years take note of this. While a website is the private property of the person who runs it, there is still something to be said about respecting worthwhile contributions from those who took the time to formulate a thoughtful response.

It appears that some of the more noble potential of the Internet as a mechanism to allow the public to express opinions, promote debate, and expand knowledge may have gone sideways in recent years, I still think there's no need to step back from allowing viewers/readers to leave feedback, is there? After all, we're just talking about consumer electronics, right? Reasonably well conceived articles, opinions, produced in good faith with honest attempts at reality testing need not fear public scrutiny. Inappropriate comments I believe will be dismissed by reasonable viewers/readers and unless highly offensive, can generally be ignored as these will simply look bad for the person leaving the message.

I wonder. Is Darko's frustrations with some (many?) of the comments actually a problem with those who leave such messages, or is there perhaps something wrong with his content, creating disharmony or furthering controversy? I would be curious what kind of comments he considers conspiratorial, for example. Considering that the audiophile Industry routinely promotes "snake oil", is there truly no potential that he might even be participating in low-level "conspiracies" around false claims? For example, thoughtless promotion which may yield self-serving benefits (eg. ad revenue) of supposedly audible differences between digital cables in support of questionable companies that peddle in that stuff could be considered a kind of "conspiracy", right? (I discussed a little about this here.)

In the big picture, this leads back to the question of what role some of these audiophile channels play (including this and this). Is this journalism with the aim of unbiased fact-based reporting in which case Darko probably should be more open to feedback (welcoming and learning from fact-checks)? Or is he more of a salesman who realizes that he will be criticized because of inherent biases in the "reporting" due to sponsorships and allegiances? In that case, his job is to build an aura of trustworthiness that ultimately promotes the wishes of the sponsors, a willingness to sacrifice truth for sales.

Considering what must be high on the list of priorities for YouTube sites like Darko's - monetization, with recent addition of ad content to the videos, I noticed - I don't think it's unfair to speculate that some of these public comments he found distasteful might have disagreed with his opinions (or at least the impression/image he wants to covey in his videos). To be clear, I have no problem with monetization but would prefer to see value-added content like for example the investigations and critical reviews that take place on a popular channel like Linus Tech Tips while still maintaining ad sponsorship. This is not what Darko does; his videos are more of a polished "friendly showroom" for the products and favored interviews of Industry actors without demonstrating latitude in critical thinking, sometimes promoting untrue opinions, and now not open to public feedback. The videos are bright, clean, with IMO at times distracting depth-of-field closeups interspersed with "hip" music which I guess is intended to target younger audiophiles. I suppose these days, with diminishing numbers of actual brick-and-mortar audio shops and this year with pandemic closures, it's inevitable that such a "virtual show-and-tell" niche has become more important for building interest in new products for companies. To me, much of this is simply a modern relative of the infomercial - with just as much honest feedback allowed.

It's fascinating watching the "evolution" of media and how consumers are marketed to. In the "old days" we just had magazines and stores. We could ask questions of the salespeople and the occasional reader response gets printed in the "Letters to the Editor" every month. Public comments attached to articles and videos on the Internet changed much of that, and I think in a good way on the whole. Maybe after a couple of decades now, we're heading back to a "shut-up and listen to me" kind of presentation in certain parts of the advertising universe as they become intolerant of scrutiny especially as the digital products mature and more creative ways of framing products and benefits need to be found.

Furthermore, we have all kinds of "push" marketing, social media, and countless ways for any of us to advertise products these days. For example, today's post will probably sell a few Pi 4's and I'll make a few Amazon bucks to buy some Christmas gifts if purchased through the links (no guys, I ain't gonna get rich doing this ;-). But I bought the Pi 4 kit with my own money and I do hope that at least this post provided some useful ideas and went beyond just more questionable subjective claims about how something sounds or unashamedly making obviously false statements. Value-added discussions that might be educational or suggestions to "do something new" have generally been the motivations for why I post - the idea of bringing value to the reader is ultimately the intent.


Stay safe dear audiophiles, try not to let the news of the day get you down, enjoy the audio toys, and of course I hope you're enjoying some sweet music!


  1. The situations like the Darko one is precisely what makes me think the only way of leaving comments on the Internet worth my time is IndieWeb-style webmentions. I write my comments on my own website, and send a notification to the original page. If the original page (usually an article) is IndieWeb-capable and willing, it displays my comment. And even if the original article is removed, my comment is still on my site — as long as I please.

    I think I only commented on three websites in a non-webmention way in the last five years, this site being one of the three.

    1. Interesting Evgeny,
      Thanks for this information. I didn't know about IndieWeb, that's a great way to take ownership of ideas/content!

  2. Hi Archimago,
    If I remember correctly Darko stopped comments on his website as it took up too much time and comments repeatedly asked for further commentary from the review or comparisons that weren't possible to make. I am sure he made some equation to money and monitoring/replying to the comments.
    His move to do the same on the You Tube channel seems counter intuitive, as he is not obliged to respond to any of them, and it seems to me the "Patreon" era is upon us. "If you want to ask a question and get a reply, pay me for it."
    Whilst time is money and he is clearly getting his salary from that and other sources, the more he distances himself from his audience the smaller his reach will become.
    This news of him shutting off the public is close to the last time I want to watch/read or listen to anything he has to say.
    It is not his opinion that bothers me or his stance on certain aspects of audio, it is just the "put the shutters up and take more money" that gets me upset.
    I am sure he is not the only one doing this.
    Again, I know things aren't free, but I am not paying to ask questions, especially if I take the time to read the page, telling me if it's not in the review I didn't do it, and don't ask me to compare things I haven't got or have the time to do.
    I look forward to your continuing output and believe there will be more meaningful contrbutions from me, rather than negative comments on the behaviour of other sites.

    keep it coming Arch, I really enjoy the weekly visit here.


    1. Thanks for the message Gordon,

      You've hit on some very good points including the "era of Patreon" as a method of funding and the importance of potentially distancing himself "socially" from his viewers which I think is an important part of what makes YouTubers fun to watch. One gets to know their personalities and style which one might enjoy and this connection is made more powerful when there is the opportunity to interact. A "subjectivist" should know that the psychology is important ;-). It will be interesting to see what happens in the months ahead. I don't think for example that things went well for Darko's buddy Michael Lavorgna when he started banning folks and reduced interactivity on AudioStream those years back.

      I agree that he has no obligation to respond to questions at all. In fact, he has had comment moderation turned on since day one. So why not just quickly scan through the comments and publish the ones that are longer, better written, and more thoughtful, and respond just to those? By default, I trust viewers/readers will know that if he didn't comment or discuss something, he probably didn't test it... No harm in asking even if he doesn't respond.

      For the blog here, obviously I don't have the kinds of YouTube numbers he has, but over the years there have been millions of views and more than 10,000 comments. I have never turned moderation on in all these years even during the times when we went through stuff like the MQA controversies and some folks didn't agree with me on a number of viewpoints. What has been more problematic are the barrages of spam comments which I've only been modestly successful in deleting over the years.

      I guess the viewers here are just more reasonable human beings, and for that I say "Thank you!" :-).

      I don't remember ever having to deal with misogynists, racists, conspiracy theorists (unless you think I'm one for calling out the "snake oil" Industry), hate speech, or terrible "self-aggrandising asshattery".

    2. Okayyyy. I'm going to take the plunge and make my own little streamer. I'm also going to bolt an additional daughter hat on it to feed my Schiit Audio Multibit DAC.
      Archimago, your posts are still referenced on headfi... among my frothing peers (I have a lot of product from Schiit Audio [love their product line]). I really do appreciate your efforts on this blog, eh. Cheers. PN, from Toronto, ON.

    3. little Pi beast has been assembled. I also picked up a HiFiBerry DigiPro+ daughter board... and bolted it on top of my 4Pi. Mind you, I I can't use any of the stock plastic covers... as the boards jut out too far. And I paid for a plastic, rear cover... that covers my TOSLINK optical and RCA outputs. Whoo hoo! Time to bring out a dremel and start making holes in the moulded rear shroud. This is gloriously sill. Love it.

  3. Darko is pretty obviously making a living selling his client's gear. No surprises there. For me the best moment in his "oeuvre" was when he set an Allo Pi hat aflame on video by inserting the power backwards (IIRC). It smacked of truth telling - a perception strengthened by the barrage of animated Allo ads appearing beside the video on his site. The fact that he occasionally reviews cheaper components is laudable and his taste in music and artful video editing ensure him a place in my RSS feed. That said, he is a prime example of late stage capitalism's tendency to overly fetishize merch (the foundation of much audiophilia) and sometimes stoops to audio gibberish when attempting to describe sound quality. Like a good salesmen he stands firm in his equation of the more money spent the better the quality, which, insofar as audio is concerned nowadays, is often blatantly false.

    On the subject of Raspberry Pi's - I been enjoying DAC/transport hats and streaming for years and must have at least a half dozen deployed around the house. I find the combination of power over ethernet, Volumio, Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil, AirPlay, and Spotify Connect to offer unparalleled tinker-ability and power for constructing full house audio using everything from vintage gear to class D amplification.

    I enjoy your weekly posts. And give my regards to sleepy old Vancouver - my childhood home - from Brooklyn!

    1. Hey Daniel,
      Will down a beer to you in remembrance of your childhood home ;-). I dunno about Brooklyn currently but we're entering that long, dark, rainy late fall/winter soon...

      Didn't know about the smoking Pi until I did a search:

      Yeah, it's good that historically he has focused on products like the Pi.

    2. BTW "late stage capitalism's tendency to overly fetishize merch". Love that phrase!

  4. Hi Arch-
    I generally agree, but I will make one point in favor of Darko: AFAIR he claimed when he stopped the comments that almost all the comments were from a tiny subset
    (a few dozens) of his readers. The same readers over and over again. As such, he didn't see that the comments were very useful/meaningful and tended just to be the same points/POV repeated over and over again....

    That said, I have no doubt that part of his motivation is to eliminate comments that challenge his POV, especially objectivist ones. It's pretty clear from what he's presented over the years that he doesn't have a lot of patience for "the opposition".

    1. "It's pretty clear from what he's presented over the years that he doesn't have a lot of patience for "the opposition".

      Yes. When Darko talks of being sick of trolls and asshats, often enough he's referring to those skeptical of his claims, who have pointed out flaws in his claims and asked for better evidence.

      You get this all the time in audiophile forums, where the subjectivists there presume their views and approach are some norm - "I put it in my system, I heard a difference, hence the claim is true!" and any skepticism of claims based on that norm can only come from a "defective" personality looking to produce muckraking and stir sh*t up. Not, like, you know...just someone having their own justified opinion.

      Darko seems to come from this paradigm: he greets skepticism of claims about cables, digital cables etc with an eye-roll "aw geeze, THOSE guys again!"

    2. Hey Vaal,
      I think that basically summarizes the thinking for some of these purely subjective reviewers. The question I have is whether he truly believes what he's saying with many of the contentious issues. If one could have a candid discussion bringing up the objective results - like say the fact that ethernet cables make no difference - would he in confidence acknowledge that his subjective opinions were in fact not experienced with strong conviction?

      I would hope as an intelligent man willing to have an "open mind" and truly understands how these things work, he would seriously study the objective arguments. Subjective opinions/feelings/ideas and objective results are clearly not equivalent when they conflict while evaluating the performance of engineered devices...

      Yeah Unknown,
      I can understand him not wanting to spend time going through the comments. But I still think moderation is a fine mechanism to manage this and selectively publish thoughtful responses only - supportive and critical. Only then can we have beneficial dialogue I would think! (If that's what he desires...)

    3. What Darko doesn't have the patience for is being incorrect and subsequently called out on it.

      He thinks Kingston RAM modules and Ethernet Cables have audible properties.

      I keep asking myself if I could have a successful YT channel in Audio Enthusiast terms solely based in rebuttal and reaction video's to Darko, Beekhuyzen,Guttenberg

  5. Hi-
    Re: fan noise.

    I know you were making a somewhat different point, but I'd like to point out that I recently bought a server with an i7-10700 CPU that's capable of extreme upsampling and DRC, even with DSD 512.
    I essentially bought a gaming PC (without the super high end video card): the case has soundproofing built in, and the fans are the extra large slow moving type. The fans are not super expensive.

    This thing rums much cooler than my previous fanless server (a CAPS 4 XEON despite being much more powerful.

    I can't hear it all, unless I put my ear right next to it.

    1. Hi Unknown,
      Great to hear! Yeah, ultimately I'm certainly fine with fans in the sound room if I cant hear them ;-).

      Would love to know which computer case and the fans you chose.

  6. Darko has found a way to make himself useful to an industry that needs all the help it can get. There have been times when I've been a little offended that he doesn't want my feedback but I try to remember the words of my pre-internet father who said "Best to keep your opinions to yourself." Also he tends to cover the types of gear that I am interested in so he gets a bonus point for that.

    1. Yeah, that's cool Charles...

      Even though I have a different outlook, I do check his site once awhile to see "what's new" in this industry. I suppose that's his role. I suppose someone needs to be paid to get the job done as well.

  7. Darko? Yeah, I never cared for his commentary and the scientist-engineer in me can't stand him... 😏

    1. :-)

      Yeah, gotta turn off the brain a bit and enjoy the videography sometimes and just ogle at the "goods" if one has a lust for these things.

      When it gets provocative with absolute nonsense, that's when I at least release some energy with a comment post like this :-).

  8. There seems to be a trend toward eliminating criticism on the ad supported sites and John Darko is no exception. My interaction with him in person and comments when he allowed them have generally been negative. He is guy who writes well, found an audience and believed that his ideas were as good as his writing. He really can't defend himself from any criticism so he doesn't allow it.

    1. Hey Steve,
      Yeah, I think that's a fair observation of trends. Either elimination of criticism or somehow isolate the "trouble makers" :-).

      Haven't met him personally (I don't think he was at RMAF 2019) so can't speak to that. Clearly he would not be able to defend his beliefs nor would these purely subjective sites be able to deliver on demonstrating the many claims they make (much easier to say things than take the time to verify beliefs for oneself); I'm sure he knows this hence the disengagement.

      Eventually I suspect that this policy will be seen as a negative.

  9. I keep returning to this blog. Archimago... as you keep producing excellent content. I still find audio appreciatation a ridiculous hobby. God, I love my glowing tubes, multibit DAC, and various bits of kit from Schiit Audio. Headphones are my thing now. I'm still waiting for some insane, new source (0% need) to be released. Keep publishing, sir.

    1. Thanks for the note PN,
      A pleasure writing when I can... This year with COVID reducing social contacts, few restaurant dinners, briefer vacations, I've had more time to write posts and be more consistent with weekend releases (although in the next few weeks things could get a bit busy around here).

      Enjoy the goods! Yeah, I'm on the lookout for the true "next big thing" in the audiophile world as well (not BS stuff like MQA). Hopefully there's something coming down the pipeline... Might not be much else to write about otherwise!

  10. I'm currently running a Pi 4 in standard trim with an oversized processor heatsink and seeing stable running temperatures in the 48-52 degrees range, this is with PiCorePlayer. So at the moment, seeing no need to mess with the voltage or clocking.

  11. I use your CRAAP settings on the PI3 of my Allo USBridge.
    It works under GentooPlayer.
    Talking with Antonello (GentooPlayer developer), underclocking causes more latency than running at 1200hz (Pi3).
    I have not done the stress tests and there is no evidence that the latency degrades the quality.
    An idea, maybe to see the impact of frequency on latency .. and quality.

  12. Hey Archimago,

    No need to power the display using a splitter cable. You can power it directly from the GND / 5V GPIO pins on the RPi4 board using jumper cables. Look at the image on this page:

    Also, I prefer this case because it is symmetrical and the cables don't stick out:

  13. Hello Archimago,

    nice posts as usual!

    Regarding JD, I have a feeling it all started when he mentioned the following analogy (or a similar one) regarding the old LS50W not getting the new KEF App out with the new LS50w meta, that you cannot expect a mac mini of 2009 or an apple watch to run the latest OSX! LOL
    As expected and just, people were furious in the comments, which is why he deactivated them...

  14. Have you experimented with the CRAAP settings on a pi with DAC HAT? I tried the settings with on my pi 4 with HiFiBerry DAC 2 HD hat and I think I was getting some very infrequent clicks/pops that sounded like data drops. I'd have to play more music to confirm. Wondering if any of the interfaces with the hat could be impacted by the CRAAP settings. Any thoughts?

    I like these tinkering articles. It's fun to assemble these gadgets. I have a HiFiBerry AMP 100 on order to play with. Thinking about building a mono single speaker with a coaxial driver or a desktop system.

  15. Hi Archimago. Will this setup allow for playing from man attached usb drive? Pi would feed a Bifrost. Thanks, jay

  16. Hi Archimago,

    First of all, this is a very good blog and I've been following it for a while, not very frequently. Which explains why I write you a comment here only two months after the original post. Well the reason why I'm writing in is simply because I'm curious... why are you listening to Jonathan Lee? I'm coming from the region where this singer is popular and I'm at the age when this singer was popular... Are you coming from the Taiwan / China region and probably living in the US of Europe? If that's the case our background is very very similar.

    That being said, I'm an audiophile who is not spending a lot on equipment but appreciates music a lot, and do not believe in snake oils. I'm able to maximize fully my system to make it reproduce accurate music but usually not with expensive means. Which is why your blog attracted me at the first place. Recently I've been using several Apps to be able to stream pure FLAC music (i.e. subscribed to Amazon Music HD service for example, and some others), wondering will the system of Raspberry Pi you're recommending here, allows connection to Amazon Music HD, Tidal, of this sorts? I'm using USB DAC to extract signals our from the Android box (where the streamer app is installed), nothing wrong with the signal with this approach (at least not that I've noticed so far and I'm still learning). Just wondering in your opinion what can Raspberry Pi do for lossless online streaming, or if you have some research already related? Obviously I'm not talking about those compressed means thus most of the popular online streaming approaches are crossed out (for example Sp*, Ap* Mu*, Yo* Mu*) :)

    Best Regards, Steven

  17. I'm a hobby switcher bikes, wood working, audio, mech keyboards etc... I like to get deep into different hobbies but stop before complete ass hattery.

    I think some audiophiles would benefit from leaving the hobby and coming back. I find that many get stuck in the weeds. I have a Schiit stack, topping e30, emotiva amp, some wharfedale speakers, cheap 5.1 and some headphones and I'm about done here. The raspberry pi 4 streamer was a fun build too (thanks for the eeeprom suggestion) to fill the gaps where the chromecast audio left off for me but overall this hobby if filled with crazy people has been my experience. People are so wound up. It beats talking politics I guess. Thank you for your wonderfully well written blog. It's like a breath of fresh air in the audiophile sphere.