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Thread: LMS and MQA

  1. #1

    LMS and MQA

    If I may, and apologies if this is the wrong place for posting this, but I've read forum posts till I'm blue in the face and read reviews that seem to contradict what I read in some forum posts - here it is: IS THERE ANYONE WITH ANY KIND OF SQUEEZEBOX OR SQUEEZELITE EMULATOR SUCCESSFULLY PASSING FULL MQA, REGARDLESS OF DAC. I've read that if you have a DAC that both decodes and renders then, theoretically, specific software inside a player is not required. I read a review of a DAC that decodes and renders (Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital. Think of it as a poor man's Mytek Brooklyn). He used a single board computer (Allo USBridge, but it could have just as easily been a Raspberry Pi) with the software DietPi, which includes the Squeezelite emulator as well as Roon and a few others. He passed fully intact MQA files to his system. I reached out to him and asked him if this meant that I could do the same without the need to use the Tidal Desktop App to get Masters from Tidal as well as just playing your own MQA files that you had purchased or downloaded freely from some place like the website 2L. He said yes.

    I have one Squeezebox Model 2, a Raspberry Pi running LMS, and I replaced a second Pi in my main system with the Allo, also running LMS. I then purchased the DAC. it passes all other files, at least as far as I've been able to acquire - like a 32 bit/352Khz file, without issue. The DAC lights up and reports 352Khz. However, MQA only gets decoded and rendered as a standard 16/44.1Khz file. Pro Ject is far behind the curve on understanding the different types of systems their Box could go into, but the Allo Tech Support guy and I have independently verified that files played either from Tidal or our own do not render out in LMS. Roon does render it perfectly. Volumio does not. We downloaded the same exact files from 2L and played them back and ran terminal commands to determine what the player was seeing. All other files were perfect. MQA was not. In LMS. In Roon, no problem. I also reached out to the reviewer, Hans Beekhuyzen, who is probably more knowledgeable about single board computer systems and DIY streamers and Squeezelite emulators and such than anyone else I've read and he is flummoxed by this. I have the exact same system he used. He hopefully will get some verification. In his review, first of the Allo USBridge, and then the Pre Box, he indicated that he had used both LMS and Roon, but it's possible that the MQA files were played back only in Roon. If this is something that, for certain, does not work in LMS, will someone just let me know. I've read about settings somewhere and Hans also asked me to check my LMS settings for no processing of any kind and volume set to 100%. I believe I have this all correct, but even though I've been using LMS for about 12 years, I'm a little rusty, so if someone would be so kind as to tell me exactly where these settings are on my web app or desktop app I would appreciate it - you know, "Open settings. Go to...." just to make sure I'm not missing something. Thanks for your assistance. I don't come here often but when I do, I usually find what I need. And hopefully I bring something to the table that is helpful to someone. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by dainapoo; 2018-07-24 at 15:07.

  2. #2
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    [Post updated with news of my success with a 2L sample MQA file!]

    I have a Pre Box S2 Digital (let's call it the "S2D"), and although I'm not serious about MQA I have tried streaming local MQA files and Tidal Masters through LMS.

    Local server file:
    I am at this moment seeing "MQA", the blue dot, and "352k" on my S2D display, as I play the 2L Mozart sample MQA file. I am controlling my LMS server and ultraRendu streamer via the web interface. The S2D is connected to the ultraRendu via USB. This DAC supports MQA only via USB, not S/PDIF. (Last year this same file did not play correctly for me, but probably due to an unrelated issue.) I do not have Volumio so can't help you with that.

    Tidal streaming:
    Streaming Tidal Masters with the Tidal plug-in results in 16/44.1, but that is not surprising. It seems to me that developers must first partner with MQA (the company) and Tidal, and be certified before getting access to the APIs or whatever is necessary to further process or extract them for streaming of any kind. Process as in do 1x software decoding, or extract as in unpack a raw undecoded MQA file and send it to the DAC for full hardware decoding. Overall this is more dev work - and more politics - than most devs find cost-effective.

    As I said I'm not focused on MQA, and in fact I normally listen mostly to the Radio Paradise FLAC stream and Qobuz Hi-Res to 24/192 with other DACs. But the S2D is a great little test box, and I look forward to helping you figure this out if I can. Start with the basic 2L file and the basic web interface, and if that works then look at Volumio again.
    Last edited by left channel; 2018-07-24 at 21:52.
    LMS: SGC microJukebox running Sonicorbiter OS
    Control apps: Squeezelite-X on Win 10; Squeezer or Material web app on Android
    Players: Duet, Touch (two), Mac SqueezePlay, Win Squeezelite-X on laptop and HTPC

  3. #3

    LMS and MQA

    Quote Originally Posted by left channel View Post
    I have a Pre Box S2 Digital (let's call it the "S2D"), and although I'm not serious about MQA I have tried streaming files tagged as Masters through the Tidal plug-in and also tried streaming some 2L MQA files from my LMS box. I get 16/44.1 as well.

    It seems to me that developers must partner with MQA (the company) and/or Tidal and be certified before getting access to the APIs or whatever is necessary to further process or extract them for streaming of any kind. Process as in do 1x software decoding, or extract as in unpack a raw undecoded MQA file and send it to the DAC for full hardware decoding.

    It would be nice to learn that at least for files on a local server there's some way to do this. Again, I'm not too serious about this, and normally listen mostly to the Radio Paradise FLAC stream and Qobuz Hi-Res to 24/192 with other DACs, but it's an interesting problem and I look forward to helping test anything you can uncover.
    Yeah, I'm pretty much with you - I'm more curious about it than anything. I have plenty of my own files, mostly in FLAC, or AIFF, probably more than I can listen to over the rest of my life. I bought the S2D for some of my higher rez files but also because it decodes and renders MQA, so theoretically is not dependent on software for the first 'unfolding'. It seemed logical to me that would take care of needing any specific player. So I asked Mr. Beekhuyzen after his positive reviews of the Allo USBridge and the S2D, and he agreed. I think he will have to go over his notes and then he'll realize that any MQA files he played were using Roon. Which, has apparently partnered with MQA, as they do advertise it. And from what I've seen that is both for Tidal files and files on my own local server.

    The tech support guy with Allo, who was very helpful when I was installing the USBrige into my system a month or so ago, was really helpful again. He investigated my initial issues, by having me enter some commands into the terminal in DietPi, and send to him for diagnosing and then he tried playing MQA files through Volumio, LMS and Roon. Only Roon got it right. He had me do another command while playing the exact same MQA file as he, and sure enough, it was only seeing 16/44.1. But a 192khz file clearly showed 192. Later I downloaded a 352khz file and the S2D lit up appropriately with 352, so yes, it appears some agreement has to be reached or something. If I ran Roon it would take care of it, but I'm not a fan of Roon (because it does not allow browsing by the folders on your hard drive). I started serious streaming with a Squeezebox 12 years ago and although I left for awhile to get higher rez files, I've always appreciated how LMS just works. So, I'm sticking around. I still use the Squeezebox in another part of the house, and have two Pi-like devices running Squeezelite. This is what I want to do. Still, I'd like to hear MQA, on my own system.

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    @dainapoo as you were writing that I was revising my post to report I'm doing fine with a 2L MQA file on my LMS server now. I don't recall what the problem was last year but I don't think it's relevant. You _should_ be able to play files like that. Best to remove complications by starting with the basic web interface. OK?
    LMS: SGC microJukebox running Sonicorbiter OS
    Control apps: Squeezelite-X on Win 10; Squeezer or Material web app on Android
    Players: Duet, Touch (two), Mac SqueezePlay, Win Squeezelite-X on laptop and HTPC

  5. #5

    LMS and MQA

    Quote Originally Posted by left channel View Post
    @dainapoo as you were writing that I was revising my post to report I'm doing fine with a 2L MQA file on my LMS server now. I don't recall what the problem was last year but I don't think it's relevant. You _should_ be able to play files like that. Best to remove complications by starting with the basic web interface. OK?
    Hmmmm, if you mean use the web interface instead of my phone app, I've done that. I'm doing it right now, playing MQA files with no results. But I will pick your brain on this one thing- I've read about making sure that volume is set to 100% and making sure that no processing is going on, in order to play MQA files on LMS correctly. I BELIEVE that I have this - I know that when I even attempt to change the volume, I get a message that says I can't change the volume because I have it set to 100%. But I'm not 100% sure of the other things because I'm not sure exactly what they are talking about. I've never seen an instruction that says anything like "go here and do this". But, from the web interface, since you mentioned it, I can click on Settings and that brings up 9 different tabs, like "Basic", "Player", "My Music" etc, but nothing controlling processing. So, I went to MySqueezebox.com, logged in and found my player. Here, under "Audio" there are settings for "Volume Control", "Preamp Volume Control" "Crossfade" and "Crossfade Duration". These are set to "Output level is fixed at 100%", "0", "None" and "0" respectively. I assume these are the processing controls people are talking about. Don't I have these set correctly? I play an MQA file, and there is no blue dot or anything anything except 44.1Khz.

    I'm at a loss. The Pro-Ject/Sumiko guys are lagging so far behind they are really no help. I feel I'm helping them more than they are helping me. What else do I check?

    Best~

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dainapoo View Post
    Hmmmm, if you mean use the web interface instead of my phone app, I've done that. I'm doing it right now, playing MQA files with no results. But I will pick your brain on this one thing- I've read about making sure that volume is set to 100% and making sure that no processing is going on, in order to play MQA files on LMS correctly. I BELIEVE that I have this - I know that when I even attempt to change the volume, I get a message that says I can't change the volume because I have it set to 100%. But I'm not 100% sure of the other things because I'm not sure exactly what they are talking about. I've never seen an instruction that says anything like "go here and do this". But, from the web interface, since you mentioned it, I can click on Settings and that brings up 9 different tabs, like "Basic", "Player", "My Music" etc, but nothing controlling processing. So, I went to MySqueezebox.com, logged in and found my player. Here, under "Audio" there are settings for "Volume Control", "Preamp Volume Control" "Crossfade" and "Crossfade Duration". These are set to "Output level is fixed at 100%", "0", "None" and "0" respectively. I assume these are the processing controls people are talking about. Don't I have these set correctly? I play an MQA file, and there is no blue dot or anything anything except 44.1Khz.

    I'm at a loss. The Pro-Ject/Sumiko guys are lagging so far behind they are really no help. I feel I'm helping them more than they are helping me. What else do I check?

    Best~
    OK, sounds like it's not the LMS settings at all. I think it's OS settings related to the hardware, which Roon somehow bypasses. You can test this by using the same LMS web interface with another player, no adjustments required. For example, if you have a Windows box, try installing the free Squeezelite-X. That app makes the PC a local and remote player. Then with the S2D attached (and the S2D driver installed, of course) use that app or the web interface to play your MQA file to it.

    Pro-Ject cannot help you with this. They and their distributors are fundamentally still in the turntable business, are barely able to support Windows and Mac, and are mystified by all the questions they're getting about RasPi setups. The only one associated with the S2D project who knows about MQA and also plays with the kind of system you have there is the outside developer who created the S2D for them, John Westlake. He is not in any way paid to support us, though against his better judgement he sometimes does anyway. :-) He has popped up on the Roon forums, and also on the pinkfishmedia S2D thread where you may at least get help from other users.

    But before you do that, now that we've in theory boiled this down to just the LMS web interface and your OS hardware settings, I suggest you now try different hardware just to test my guess that it's in your OS somewhere.
    LMS: SGC microJukebox running Sonicorbiter OS
    Control apps: Squeezelite-X on Win 10; Squeezer or Material web app on Android
    Players: Duet, Touch (two), Mac SqueezePlay, Win Squeezelite-X on laptop and HTPC

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dainapoo View Post
    So, I went to MySqueezebox.com, logged in and found my player. Here, under "Audio" there are settings for "Volume Control", "Preamp Volume Control" "Crossfade" and "Crossfade Duration". These are set to "Output level is fixed at 100%", "0", "None" and "0" respectively.
    I don't know about MQA but mysqueezebox.com setting have NOTHING to do with players which are using a local LMS and are not applicable and so don't waste time on mysqeezebox.com setting.

    AFACIT You are looking to get bit transparency so player must make no alteration to bit stream from file to SB2 player output. Remember SB2 player digital outputs can only send 48kHz PCM streams. If LMS thinks the file has sample rate higher than 48kHz - it will downsample.

    The important setting is your local LMS and the WebUI Setting/Player/Audio/Volumen Control is set to "output level is fixed at 100%".
    On the page make sure that "Volumeadjustment" is "No Volume adjustment", "CVrossgade" is "none" and also "Disable Smart Crossfade".

    For "100% fixed volume" - the OS is not relevant to hardware SB players - OS is relevant to softplayer such as Squeezelite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bpa View Post
    I don't know about MQA but mysqueezebox.com setting have NOTHING to do with players which are using a local LMS and are not applicable and so don't waste time on mysqeezebox.com setting.

    AFACIT You are looking to get bit transparency so player must make no alteration to bit stream from file to SB2 player output. Remember SB2 player digital outputs can only send 48kHz PCM streams. If LMS thinks the file has sample rate higher than 48kHz - it will downsample.

    The important setting is your local LMS and the WebUI Setting/Player/Audio/Volumen Control is set to "output level is fixed at 100%".
    On the page make sure that "Volumeadjustment" is "No Volume adjustment", "CVrossgade" is "none" and also "Disable Smart Crossfade".

    For "100% fixed volume" - the OS is not relevant to hardware SB players - OS is relevant to softplayer such as Squeezelite.
    I forgot he's got an actual Squeezebox there, but mostly he's experimenting with RasPi/Allo/etc. and those should work fine. I suspect Roon is bypassing something that LMS does not. This is an interesting problem.
    Last edited by left channel; 2018-07-26 at 09:35.
    LMS: SGC microJukebox running Sonicorbiter OS
    Control apps: Squeezelite-X on Win 10; Squeezer or Material web app on Android
    Players: Duet, Touch (two), Mac SqueezePlay, Win Squeezelite-X on laptop and HTPC

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by left channel View Post
    I forgot he's got an actual Squeezebox there, but mostly he's experimenting with RasPi/Allo/etc. and those should work fine. I suspect Roon is bypassing something that LMS does not. This is an interesting problem.
    Bit transparency is the issue.
    1. If DAC is USB based - check what bit rates are reporrted as being supported by the DAC - then make squeezlite reports the same bit rates to LMS (i.e. use command line parms)
    2. Make sure the Squeezelite on the pi is reporting the sample rate of the source file to make sure LMS is not resampling (i.e. check by enabling LMS logging player.source to INFO) .
    3. Make sure the ALSAS device chosen tfor poituput in the Pi is a hardware alsa device that does not modify the stream - with the "wrong" deviced LSA will downsample etc.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpa View Post
    Bit transparency is the issue.
    1. If DAC is USB based - check what bit rates are reporrted as being supported by the DAC - then make squeezlite reports the same bit rates to LMS (i.e. use command line parms)
    2. Make sure the Squeezelite on the pi is reporting the sample rate of the source file to make sure LMS is not resampling (i.e. check by enabling LMS logging player.source to INFO) .
    3. Make sure the ALSAS device chosen tfor poituput in the Pi is a hardware alsa device that does not modify the stream - with the "wrong" deviced LSA will downsample etc.
    ^^^ THIS is good advice.

    Bit rates the DAC supports (reported by my ultraRendu streamer's DAC Diagnostics app):
    44100, 48000, 88200, 96000, 176400, 192000, 352800, 384000, 705600, 768000
    LMS: SGC microJukebox running Sonicorbiter OS
    Control apps: Squeezelite-X on Win 10; Squeezer or Material web app on Android
    Players: Duet, Touch (two), Mac SqueezePlay, Win Squeezelite-X on laptop and HTPC

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