Basic info for a newbie

billgr

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My AV System  
Main Amp
ATI1806
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ATI1202
Computer Audio
2pc jplay Femto, Jriver, AO, MinorityClean
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PS Audio Directstream
Front Speakers
Linkwitz LX521.4 w analog XO
Other Equipment
Jriver, AO, MC, miniDSP 4x10HD, Ati1506, Linkwitz LXmini+2
Hi everyone. I'm very interested in trying AL but the website has so few details.

Right now I need to know what formats are supported and how DSD is handled (if at all).

Also the forum only seems to go back to Dec 2020, where's the rest of the good stuff?
 
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hulkss

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Audiolense creates digital filter responses that are used with a convolver during playback. Your question pertains the the playback system that hosts the convolver.
 

billgr

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Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 8, 2021
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My AV System  
Main Amp
ATI1806
Additional Amp
ATI1202
Computer Audio
2pc jplay Femto, Jriver, AO, MinorityClean
DAC
PS Audio Directstream
Front Speakers
Linkwitz LX521.4 w analog XO
Other Equipment
Jriver, AO, MC, miniDSP 4x10HD, Ati1506, Linkwitz LXmini+2
Thanks @hulkss.

I read that Jriver does not believe it's possible to convolve DSD. But I guess AL Convolver is the solution.
The AL Convolver notes state "Asio inn and asio out only. Can handle any format together with jriver or AsioBridge, and Asio4All. "
So by implication DSD is convolved but is it converted to PCM during this processing?

I also use Jplay which does not provide dsp functions. Will AL Convolver work with Jplay? This would be a big bonus for me as Jplay is the best sounding server/player software I've ever heard.
 

hulkss

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I believe DSD will always be converted to PCM before convolution and most any other forms of digital signal processing. Virtually all DSD recordings are edited, mixed and mastered in PCM so there is really no point in it.
 

billgr

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My AV System  
Main Amp
ATI1806
Additional Amp
ATI1202
Computer Audio
2pc jplay Femto, Jriver, AO, MinorityClean
DAC
PS Audio Directstream
Front Speakers
Linkwitz LX521.4 w analog XO
Other Equipment
Jriver, AO, MC, miniDSP 4x10HD, Ati1506, Linkwitz LXmini+2
Thanks for the replies.
I tried playing from Jplay and selected AL convolver in the Jplay setup but would not play to it. I selected my dac driver on ALC and using a dummy convolution file generated in AL. Has anyone tried with Jplay and got it to work?
 

hulkss

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Once digital FIR filters are applied to an audio signal through convolution, the audio stream is altered in a powerful and profoundly audible way. Compensations based on in-room measurements create enormous signal changes as compared to the mostly inaudible effects achieved from the nano-differences audiophiles chase after.
 

dsnyder0cnn

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Once digital FIR filters are applied to an audio signal through convolution, the audio stream is altered in a powerful and profoundly audible way. Compensations based on in-room measurements create enormous signal changes as compared to the mostly inaudible effects achieved from the nano-differences audiophiles chase after.
I agree. I would add that if you have Acourate or Audiolense, you'll never be bored with your system. Feel like a change? Don't buy more gear. Just move things around a bit and re-tweak your target curve. It's like buying a new system! :T
 

billgr

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Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 8, 2021
Messages
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My AV System  
Main Amp
ATI1806
Additional Amp
ATI1202
Computer Audio
2pc jplay Femto, Jriver, AO, MinorityClean
DAC
PS Audio Directstream
Front Speakers
Linkwitz LX521.4 w analog XO
Other Equipment
Jriver, AO, MC, miniDSP 4x10HD, Ati1506, Linkwitz LXmini+2
I have a wonderful sounding and highly revolving system with no room treatments or DSP. I know there are real issues with the room but to a large extent have been mitigated using very high quality player and optimising software on my server pc that result in very low jitter and latency. These are Windows server 2019 core, Ramdisk, Jplay Femto, Audiophile Optimizer and MinorityClean. The resulting time coherence has greatly improved bass and also edgy high vocals. These are not nano differences though I certainly take your point @hulkss.

I believe DRC is the most promising direction to go and AL looks like the best choice for me. However I cannot get ALC to work in my system and I am very reluctant to use any other player than Jplay Femto. For example I have tried Jriver but it just does not sound as good, partly due to the fact it will not run in server core. GUI mode requires many additional processes need to run and they create jitter, so does the feature-rich Jriver. I'm also trying to avoid additional links in the audio chain like Asio4all as in my experience it reduced sound quality considerably.

If I do a music server build based on Jriver and got wonderful results, I'll always wonder how much better it could be using Jplay.
 

dsnyder0cnn

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I have a wonderful sounding and highly revolving system with no room treatments or DSP. I know there are real issues with the room but to a large extent have been mitigated using very high quality player and optimising software on my server pc that result in very low jitter and latency. These are Windows server 2019 core, Ramdisk, Jplay Femto, Audiophile Optimizer and MinorityClean. The resulting time coherence has greatly improved bass and also edgy high vocals. These are not nano differences though I certainly take your point @hulkss.

I believe DRC is the most promising direction to go and AL looks like the best choice for me. However I cannot get ALC to work in my system and I am very reluctant to use any other player than Jplay Femto. For example I have tried Jriver but it just does not sound as good, partly due to the fact it will not run in server core. GUI mode requires many additional processes need to run and they create jitter, so does the feature-rich Jriver. I'm also trying to avoid additional links in the audio chain like Asio4all as in my experience it reduced sound quality considerably.

If I do a music server build based on Jriver and got wonderful results, I'll always wonder how much better it could be using Jplay.
I was in a similar situation. As you have described, getting computer audio to sound great can take a ton of work. All sorts of O/S optimization and getting hardware and software to play nicely together to deliver a clean signal with the lowest possible jitter and noise to the DAC.

The problem is with the architecture. Unlike a CD player, a general purpose computer with a thousand or more background tasks running is a complex beast that does not behave anything like an audio component. Have a look at what the Aurender guys do to make their music servers get out of the way of themselves. Crazy stuff.

The best solution I found was to adopt a different architecture. Instead of asking the music server to act like an audio component, move the server to some other part of the house. Get it as far away from the listening room as possible, taking advantage of the inverse-square law to eliminate noise. Then, replace it with an actual audio component to bridge the playback system to your home network. Ethernet and fiber networks give you galvanic isolation for free and do a much better job of rejecting common-mode noise than USB and analog cables.

As you have seen, for my implementation, I have chosen Roon. The server (Core) is located two floors below my listening room. My network audio transport varies, but I have the ZEN Stream from iFi Audio and a number of VitOS for RPi4 builds, powered by an LPS. They are all extremely low noise and deliver a clean signal to the DAC.

This approach leaves all of the heavy duty processing on the Core machine, located far away. This includes uncompressing FLAC files and streams, volume leveling, Convolution of FIR filters, MQA Core Decoding, etc. The network audio transport has virtually nothing to do. It just copies audio from its network interface to its USB or S/PDIF output. This enables it to deliver much better noise and jitter performance than is possible with a general purpose computer at a fraction of the cost.

There are many other advantages to this approach that I cover in my 2-part article on Copper Magazine: https://www.psaudio.com/copper/article/roon-done-right-a-user-guide/

I realize that you're not interested in making a change, but it took me a few years to come around as well. Hoping this information will plant a seed. Cheers.
 

billgr

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Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 8, 2021
Messages
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My AV System  
Main Amp
ATI1806
Additional Amp
ATI1202
Computer Audio
2pc jplay Femto, Jriver, AO, MinorityClean
DAC
PS Audio Directstream
Front Speakers
Linkwitz LX521.4 w analog XO
Other Equipment
Jriver, AO, MC, miniDSP 4x10HD, Ati1506, Linkwitz LXmini+2
Hi @dsnyder0cnn
I've already read your article and appreciate what you've done. Actually I use the Femto 2pc configuration where the server and renderers are on different optimised pcs and connected by a direct ethernet connection (look mum, no router!) using Jcat Femto network cards. The system is completely off the home network, the control app connects to the server pc via a quality wap. Of course this means no streaming services unless I connect to the home network, I have a lot of local music.

Don't worry the seedling is planted along with so many others. Atm they look a bit like weeds, all different and competing for my attention. I really hope there's a way to get my preferred architecture going and really there's no obvious reason why not, apart from inconsistent dlna and asio implementations :(

And my ignorance and incompetence...
 

dsnyder0cnn

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Hi @dsnyder0cnn
I've already read your article and appreciate what you've done. Actually I use the Femto 2pc configuration where the server and renderers are on different optimised pcs and connected by a direct ethernet connection (look mum, no router!) using Jcat Femto network cards. The system is completely off the home network, the control app connects to the server pc via a quality wap. Of course this means no streaming services unless I connect to the home network, I have a lot of local music.

Don't worry the seedling is planted along with so many others. Atm they look a bit like weeds, all different and competing for my attention. I really hope there's a way to get my preferred architecture going and really there's no obvious reason why not, apart from inconsistent dlna and asio implementations :(

And my ignorance and incompetence...
There's actually no reason why Roon cold not work with that hardware. Sadly, you would not be able to run JPlay on the endpoint, and you'd need things to be on your home LAN, but all of the rest of the stuff applies. You'd just run Roon Bridge on the "renderer" PC. At that point, it just comes down to listening to see if it measures up to what you have now. Some folks also go the HQPlayer route with network audio adapters instead. What you are doing and these two things are all the same basic architecture.
 

billgr

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Nov 8, 2021
Messages
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My AV System  
Main Amp
ATI1806
Additional Amp
ATI1202
Computer Audio
2pc jplay Femto, Jriver, AO, MinorityClean
DAC
PS Audio Directstream
Front Speakers
Linkwitz LX521.4 w analog XO
Other Equipment
Jriver, AO, MC, miniDSP 4x10HD, Ati1506, Linkwitz LXmini+2
Yes, but I will not give up Jplay without a fight. Not yet anyway.
 

hulkss

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Messages
213
I agree. I would add that if you have Acourate or Audiolense, you'll never be bored with your system. Feel like a change? Don't buy more gear. Just move things around a bit and re-tweak your target curve. It's like buying a new system! :T
For sure!! Working with FIR filters allows for endless audio tuning options. It can be both frustrating and rewarding. The best results provide a great listening experience and pass technical analysis scrutiny.
 

hulkss

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I was in a similar situation. As you have described, getting computer audio to sound great can take a ton of work. All sorts of O/S optimization and getting hardware and software to play nicely together to deliver a clean signal with the lowest possible jitter and noise to the DAC.
With Audiolense filters I can condense all audio signal processing (other than audio playback and volume control) into a single convolver with one FIR filter per output channel. Only three percent of my M1 Mac mini CPU gets the job done. I pass the audio to a Pro Audio interface (multi-channel DAC) over Thunderbolt which is completely transparent as far as I can determine. The Core Audio in Mac OS works very well.
 

billgr

New Member
Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 8, 2021
Messages
15
My AV System  
Main Amp
ATI1806
Additional Amp
ATI1202
Computer Audio
2pc jplay Femto, Jriver, AO, MinorityClean
DAC
PS Audio Directstream
Front Speakers
Linkwitz LX521.4 w analog XO
Other Equipment
Jriver, AO, MC, miniDSP 4x10HD, Ati1506, Linkwitz LXmini+2
@hulkss I can assure you from my own experience and my own system that Jplay and Jriver (and others) do not all sound the same. It's not only memory and bit-perfect playback that matters. There are many things that contribute to jitter/timing issues and electronic noise in a music server. The Jplay formula is clearly better sounding to me. That's why I'm so set on using it rather than Jriver or Roon, both of which have far more features that Jplay.

But I dream of having the best player and DRC on top.
 

hulkss

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@hulkss I can assure you from my own experience and my own system that Jplay and Jriver (and others) do not all sound the same. It's not only memory and bit-perfect playback that matters. There are many things that contribute to jitter/timing issues and electronic noise in a music server. The Jplay formula is clearly better sounding to me. That's why I'm so set on using it rather than Jriver or Roon, both of which have far more features that Jplay.

But I dream of having the best player and DRC on top.
Your experience can be easily proved or disproved with https://www.libinst.com/Audio DiffMaker.htm
Here is one test already done: https://audiophilestyle.com/blogs/entry/154-jriver-vs-jplay-test-results/
 

billgr

New Member
Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 8, 2021
Messages
15
My AV System  
Main Amp
ATI1806
Additional Amp
ATI1202
Computer Audio
2pc jplay Femto, Jriver, AO, MinorityClean
DAC
PS Audio Directstream
Front Speakers
Linkwitz LX521.4 w analog XO
Other Equipment
Jriver, AO, MC, miniDSP 4x10HD, Ati1506, Linkwitz LXmini+2
Your experience can be easily proved or disproved with https://www.libinst.com/Audio DiffMaker.htm
Here is one test already done: https://audiophilestyle.com/blogs/entry/154-jriver-vs-jplay-test-results/
I looked at the references but they don't get to the heart of the matter. Just having gui OS and Jriver installed would create jitter that Jplay would not if it's on it's own. Jriver hates Jplay and won't allow it as an output driver. Jplay Femto (which I use) is also better than Jplay mini. I really don't want to try other players until I conclusively cannot use dsp with Jplay Femto. Secretly I'm trialling a new Jriver server build for my main system (don't tell anyone) just to be fair.

I've just come across another option, offline convolution. It'd be more work but should have advantages once a "perfect" FIR file is obtained. I know there are drawbacks with this too.
 

hulkss

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The playback tests with audio diffmaker will capture any signal degradation caused by jitter in the signal path.

If you mean offline convolution by filtering and saving your audio files before playback, I do not recommend it. You will be changing your preferred filters more often than you can imagine. The possible solutions are endless.
 

billgr

New Member
Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 8, 2021
Messages
15
My AV System  
Main Amp
ATI1806
Additional Amp
ATI1202
Computer Audio
2pc jplay Femto, Jriver, AO, MinorityClean
DAC
PS Audio Directstream
Front Speakers
Linkwitz LX521.4 w analog XO
Other Equipment
Jriver, AO, MC, miniDSP 4x10HD, Ati1506, Linkwitz LXmini+2
Yes, I'm sure you're right. The overheads are high in time and hdd.
 

billgr

New Member
Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 8, 2021
Messages
15
My AV System  
Main Amp
ATI1806
Additional Amp
ATI1202
Computer Audio
2pc jplay Femto, Jriver, AO, MinorityClean
DAC
PS Audio Directstream
Front Speakers
Linkwitz LX521.4 w analog XO
Other Equipment
Jriver, AO, MC, miniDSP 4x10HD, Ati1506, Linkwitz LXmini+2
Even so, it would be interesting to compare the sound of offline convolved files with active convolution. Is it possible to perform offline convolution with AL?
 

hulkss

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Even so, it would be interesting to compare the sound of offline convolved files with active convolution. Is it possible to perform offline convolution with AL?
Sure, just put the AL filters into a convolver and play through the convolver into a file or to other software that records the audio. Jriver will play to a file to make this easy.
 
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