Replacing the pre-pro with Linux, how feasible? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 57 Old 11-21-2016, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Replacing the pre-pro with Linux, how feasible?

My pre-pro died. *#@*$!!!

So i have decided to try and replace it completely with a linux box. I know it will be difficult. Probably very difficult and very time consuming. I envision it ranking up there in difficulty with getting a 3lb lithium battery to run my drag car with no alternator, while costing less than $100(thats the hard part), or figuring out how to use a computer to do an linear phase active crossover with room correction.

So lets get to it.
It must -
1. Be linux.
2. Be cheap.
3. Be wife friendly (10ft interface with remote control and volume/mute)
4. Sound good
5. Have surround sound,and surround decoding
6. Play Blu-ray, netflix, and Over the air TV
7. Be fast


looking for help from any and everyone
calling
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post #2 of 57 Old 11-21-2016, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1201 View Post
My pre-pro died. *#@*$!!!

So i have decided to try and replace it completely with a linux box. I know it will be difficult. Probably very difficult and very time consuming. I envision it ranking up there in difficulty with getting a 3lb lithium battery to run my drag car with no alternator, while costing less than $100(thats the hard part), or figuring out how to use a computer to do an linear phase active crossover with room correction.

So lets get to it.
It must -
1. Be linux.
2. Be cheap.
3. Be wife friendly (10ft interface with remote control and volume/mute)
4. Sound good
5. Have surround sound,and surround decoding
6. Play Blu-ray, netflix, and Over the air TV
7. Be fast


looking for help from any and everyone
calling
@3ll3d00d @desertdome @notnyt @dwaleke @Nyal Mellor

I wish you luck. If you have multiple sources, it becomes an issue. If you're just doing an HTPC type setup it might be doable, but not sure with linux. At some point I'll be getting a pre to replace my avr since I have multiple sources (ps, xbox, htpc, etc). I'm waiting for newer versions of audyssey I hear about where you'll be able to set target curves and upload it to the unit wirelessly. If you just need a media playing device, it's a bit easier, but I don't think doable with linux. Interested to see where this goes, though.
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post #3 of 57 Old 11-21-2016, 10:23 PM - Thread Starter
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so here is where Im at so far.

the easy part is done . now comes the hard part.

1. Be linux -Ive installed debian 8 and Ive got it running with some software to do what i need.
2. Be cheap -so far hasnt cost a dime
3. wife friendly - NOT EVEN CLOSE. this may be the biggest challenge -I dont know .
4. sound good- adat(digital) to rme reference quality DACs, straight to amplifiers . I think Ive got that covered

5. have surround. I believe the bluray playback does have surround. I know the OTA does not, and right now netflix does not.
6.play blu-ray, netflix, and ota.

for bluray, I got it working using VLC media center with makemkv as the decryptor, ✔
for netflix , its working in google chrome but limited to 96kbps stereo audio and 720p video, not good
for OTA, vlc works but ive been doing this in kaffeine with no problems except only getting stereo sound

so if anyone has an answer for #3 , id appreciate it.
also looking for a way to have netflix play full 1080p and dolby d plus. in this day and age why isnt this a non event?

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post #4 of 57 Old 11-21-2016, 10:51 PM
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I believe the Blu-Ray decoders are the lossy decoders, except for DTS-HD which they have reverse engineered, but Dolby digital TrueHD is not available. Or vice versa.

As for netflix, you need drm support, which is why 1080p with surround sound is only available on Windows, and only via the app. Web browser gets stereo only, and 720p.

OTA is Dolby digital, lossy and there should be a decoder.

Wife friendly, forget it. Unless you write it yourself, Linux and user friendly are almost mutually exclusive. Ux isn't something Linux developers care for.
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post #5 of 57 Old 11-22-2016, 02:24 AM
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What does WAF mean exactly? Can pick any random streaming service and expect it to just work? Has friendly/pretty/useable 10 ft interface with remote control? System is generally stable over time (no random audio glitches, devices barfing randomly, assorted arcana to get it to work)? All of the above?

I think the amount of DRM around puts the kibosh on the first point. It is annoying and tedious on windows let alone on linux.

My bet is the rest is probably achievable with judicious hardware selection, a lot of effort (and I mean lots) and some flexibility on precise requirements. My personal experience is a bit dated right now though as I gave up on rolling my own linux as a mainstream (ie family) media device a while ago, just too much work required to keep things working (not so bad if that is your hobby but otherwise....)

Alternatively buy a trinnov, that runs Linux
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post #6 of 57 Old 11-22-2016, 05:54 AM
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You can run a Linux PC with Kodi or openelec and it works good. Use an old MCE remote receiver. Wife friendly and all that.

Forget streaming. Not going to work and reason #1 I have an avp again. Even on Windows it's sub par quality and no 10 foot interface that works well.

Forget advanced audio and video processing using the same box. Closest for that would be jriver in Windows. But no go on the same box with streaming.
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post #7 of 57 Old 11-22-2016, 06:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notnyt View Post
I'm waiting for newer versions of audyssey I hear about where you'll be able to set target curves and upload it to the unit wirelessly. If you just need a media playing device, it's a bit easier, but I don't think doable with linux. Interested to see where this goes, though.
thats interesting with the audyssey. Im sure itll cost a grip but sounds interesting non the less. have you per chance heard of Acourate DRC?

btw, you are picky about your audio. check out this site for some amazing attention to detail to every piece of the audio system.

http://digitalroomcorrection.hk/http..._/Welcome.html


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Originally Posted by Worf View Post
I believe the Blu-Ray decoders are the lossy decoders, except for DTS-HD which they have reverse engineered, but Dolby digital TrueHD is not available. Or vice versa.

As for netflix, you need drm support, which is why 1080p with surround sound is only available on Windows, and only via the app. Web browser gets stereo only, and 720p.

OTA is Dolby digital, lossy and there should be a decoder.

Wife friendly, forget it. Unless you write it yourself, Linux and user friendly are almost mutually exclusive. Ux isn't something Linux developers care for.
I cant believe in this day and age a pc is limited as much as it is.its aggravating actually. I might be on a fool's errand but i'll give it my best shot.

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Alternatively buy a trinnov, that runs Linux
lolol. that would be like injecting Triamcinolone acetonide to cure asthma - oh wait- Sir Bradley Wiggins did that right before his TDF rides


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Originally Posted by dwaleke View Post
Forget advanced audio and video processing using the same box. Closest for that would be jriver in Windows. But no go on the same box with streaming.
I was going to try and do the audio and everything else on the same box but that would not be wise. Thankfully for about $80 I can pick up a cpu/mb combo new that still has a pci slot. I'll be able to use my second rme digi 9636 and send the output via adat into the adat input of my active crossover/eq box.

If I have to do Windows I will give up. Im beginning to dislike it more and more every day.

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post #8 of 57 Old 11-22-2016, 06:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I found out that the samsung bd j7500 for $150 has 7.1 analog outs. tempting, but a crippled option compared to an avr.

plus I cant seem to find out what DAC chip it uses. I think the buyers of that unit are not so concerned about the quality of the analog outputs?

THANK YOU!!! for your selfless contribution to the audio world
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post #9 of 57 Old 11-22-2016, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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quick question - Does anyone know how to force a set sample rate in linux ?

ill be sending the data digitally from the video computer to the sound computer and if its not an exact sample rate, brutefir will abort.

thanks guys.

THANK YOU!!! for your selfless contribution to the audio world
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post #10 of 57 Old 11-22-2016, 05:13 PM
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Example in http://alsa.opensrc.org/Asoundrc#Con...Rates_On_Input if you are using alsa
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post #11 of 57 Old 11-22-2016, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1201 View Post
I found out that the samsung bd j7500 for $150 has 7.1 analog outs. tempting, but a crippled option compared to an avr.

plus I cant seem to find out what DAC chip it uses. I think the buyers of that unit are not so concerned about the quality of the analog outputs?
Does it do bass management?
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post #12 of 57 Old 11-22-2016, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 3ll3d00d View Post

thanks for that. I'll check it out. I am using ALSA

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Originally Posted by Skylinestar View Post
Does it do bass management?
Good question. no idea

It doesnt necessarily apply in my case though as I do not run bass management but if I needed to, brutefir would take care of that.

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post #13 of 57 Old 11-25-2016, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by notnyt View Post
At some point I'll be getting a pre to replace my avr since I have multiple sources (ps, xbox, htpc, etc).
out of curiousity, what pre are you looking at? I ask because I know you are very concerned about SNR and thd figures etc. Im curious if you have started researching the DAC chips used in these pres.


in other news-

My project is frustrating so Im looking at plan b .

Im playing Blurays fine but VLC will not play the truehd track, and Kaffeine will only play the stereo track.

as a consolation, VLC does allow one to delay the VIDEO in relation to the AUDIO which is pretty cool for those guys who want to use long linear filters

I was showing 3 audio sources and was having some difficulty selecting the default so to get audio to work I had to disable the onboard sound card in the bios, BLACKLIST the hdmi soundcard, and finally the rme was the default and only card.

as @3ll3d00d suggested, I put the code to automatically resample in the .asoundrc file but I need to find out if its actually resampling.

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post #14 of 57 Old 11-25-2016, 10:58 AM
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IMO HTPC as pre-pro is not interesting to me anymore. No Atmos or other spatial audio decoding, questionable ease of use and reliability. HTPC as movie server is another matter entirely, but I'd still personally go with K-Scape if the funds were available...ease of use on another planet.

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post #15 of 57 Old 11-25-2016, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by 1201 View Post
out of curiousity, what pre are you looking at? I ask because I know you are very concerned about SNR and thd figures etc. Im curious if you have started researching the DAC chips used in these pres.
no idea yet. nothing at the moment catches my interest.
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post #16 of 57 Old 11-25-2016, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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IMO HTPC as pre-pro is not interesting to me anymore. No Atmos or other spatial audio decoding, questionable ease of use and reliability. HTPC as movie server is another matter entirely, but I'd still personally go with K-Scape if the funds were available...ease of use on another planet.
thanks for the input. its definitely been fairly frustrating so far. Im going to keep plugging at it though. the thought of having my active crossover and eliminating two ad/da conversions is appealing to me.

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no idea yet. nothing at the moment catches my interest.
http://hometheaterhifi.com/technical...ier-and-price/

this may help. btw, I dont know if its still the best but you can find the ess 9018 chip in the oppo 105/oppo 95
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THANK YOU!!! for your selfless contribution to the audio world
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post #17 of 57 Old 11-25-2016, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1201 View Post
thanks for the input. its definitely been fairly frustrating so far. Im going to keep plugging at it though. the thought of having my active crossover and eliminating two ad/da conversions is appealing to me.



http://hometheaterhifi.com/technical...ier-and-price/

this may help. btw, I dont know if its still the best but you can find the ess 9018 chip in the oppo 105/oppo 95
The ESS 9028 pro is now latest and greatest. I haven't seen any pres use it or any ESS chips. I have PCM1796's in my denon 5308, but there's more to it than just the dac. There's a little hiss on the outputs.

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post #18 of 57 Old 11-26-2016, 01:22 AM
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Later parts of that series is a good read on what goes on in a prepro.

Fwiw Yamaha use the ess chips - http://m.usa.yamaha.com/products/aud.../cx-a5100.html

Exasound use the higher end ones (just a DAC though) - http://www.exasound.com/e38/e38DACOverview.aspx

Gustard is another choice, no multichannel unless you can sync multiples - http://www.shenzhenaudio.com/gustard...p-decoder.html

There is also a 9038 now - http://www.esstech.com/index.php?cID=360
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post #19 of 57 Old 11-26-2016, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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The ESS 9028 pro is now latest and greatest. I haven't seen any pres use it or any ESS chips. I have PCM1796's in my denon 5308, but there's more to it than just the dac. There's a little hiss on the outputs.
with your skillset Im shocked that you havent gone into the receiver and replaced whatever is hissing with better components Im jealous of you EEs


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Later parts of that series is a good read on what goes on in a prepro.

Fwiw Yamaha use the ess chips - http://m.usa.yamaha.com/products/aud.../cx-a5100.html

Exasound use the higher end ones (just a DAC though) - http://www.exasound.com/e38/e38DACOverview.aspx

Gustard is another choice, no multichannel unless you can sync multiples - http://www.shenzhenaudio.com/gustard...p-decoder.html

There is also a 9038 now - http://www.esstech.com/index.php?cID=360
indeed. Very good read. ESS seems to have outdone themselves with the 9038. the specs are truly impressive.

THANK YOU!!! for your selfless contribution to the audio world
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post #20 of 57 Old 11-26-2016, 01:25 PM
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with your skillset Im shocked that you havent gone into the receiver and replaced whatever is hissing with better components Im jealous of you EEs




indeed. Very good read. ESS seems to have outdone themselves with the 9038. the specs are truly impressive.

meant 9038, stupid typo, was reading about it last week, crazy good.


too bad the Yamaha has crappy room correction, though I won't really need that, but I'd miss audyssey dynamic eq
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post #21 of 57 Old 11-26-2016, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok its official - I am officially suspending this quest - thanks to netflix.

I could live with everything else but 64kbps audio and very bad picture quality mean that I am going in a different direction for the time being.

For the interim I did pick up the samsung Bd-j7500 for $149+tax and first thing I did when I got home was check the DAC converters to make sure they were not bottom of the barrel junk. Surprisingly I found four stereo pairs of Burr Brown/TI pcm5101 converters. 32 bit 384 khz capable. much better than what I was expecting and I was pleasantly surprised. the sound quality is pretty good. Certainly no worse than what i got with the umc200

Ill revive the thread when netflix on linux computer improves.

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post #22 of 57 Old 11-26-2016, 10:26 PM
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Not that Windows is a whole lot better in the streaming department, but why do you avoid it?

When it comes to media playback it works very well. And allows for MadVR use with local content.
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post #23 of 57 Old 11-26-2016, 11:55 PM
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That really shows the truth - DACs are stupidly cheap thanks to lots of competition and lots of volume. They also aren't very sophisticated devices, given the state of the art is just shy of giga updates/sec and we're talking about things running at a paltry hundreds of kilohertz.

People probably pay thousands of dollars for a DAC you can find in a $150 player
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post #24 of 57 Old 11-27-2016, 02:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Not that Windows is a whole lot better in the streaming department, but why do you avoid it?

When it comes to media playback it works very well. And allows for MadVR use with local content.
I prefer linux because its fast, free, and more straight forward. its also more accessible to the user


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That really shows the truth - DACs are stupidly cheap thanks to lots of competition and lots of volume. They also aren't very sophisticated devices, given the state of the art is just shy of giga updates/sec and we're talking about things running at a paltry hundreds of kilohertz.

People probably pay thousands of dollars for a DAC you can find in a $150 player
you have a point.

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post #25 of 57 Old 11-27-2016, 04:38 AM
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FWIW I've been linux only in my house since around 2004 but I still now use windows for the HTPC because it's either that or don't do it all & have to rely on consumer electronics devices. The PQ and SQ this delivers (via madvr on the PQ side) would cost a small fortune if using external devices. Ultimately you have to decide which is more annoying, windows or CE kit
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post #26 of 57 Old 11-27-2016, 08:17 AM
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I prefer linux because its fast, free, and more straight forward. its also more accessible to the user




you have a point.
you can get Windows 10 for under ten bucks. it's also fast
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post #27 of 57 Old 11-27-2016, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 3ll3d00d View Post
FWIW I've been linux only in my house since around 2004 but I still now use windows for the HTPC because it's either that or don't do it all & have to rely on consumer electronics devices. The PQ and SQ this delivers (via madvr on the PQ side) would cost a small fortune if using external devices. Ultimately you have to decide which is more annoying, windows or CE kit
hi, I dont know if youve mentioned this anywhere but do you care to share your setup?
thanks.

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you can get Windows 10 for under ten bucks. it's also fast
where? im seeing prices far higher than that

THANK YOU!!! for your selfless contribution to the audio world
Anders Torger for Brutefir
Thomas Drugeon for Rephase
John Mulcahy for room eq wizard
Denis Sbragion for DRC room correction
Juha Hartikainen for Winisd
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post #28 of 57 Old 11-27-2016, 08:46 AM
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hi, I dont know if youve mentioned this anywhere but do you care to share your setup?
thanks.



where? im seeing prices far higher than that
win 7 pro coa keys still work
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post #29 of 57 Old 11-27-2016, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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in other news, NETFLIX audio is just pretty pathetic.
playing in the netflix app , its using 192 kbps for 5.1 audio. I did some research and it looks like that is now the standard rate for eac3 (dolby digital plus)

same rate as stereo at 64kbs. ouch.

THANK YOU!!! for your selfless contribution to the audio world
Anders Torger for Brutefir
Thomas Drugeon for Rephase
John Mulcahy for room eq wizard
Denis Sbragion for DRC room correction
Juha Hartikainen for Winisd
1201 is offline  
post #30 of 57 Old 11-27-2016, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by 1201 View Post
hi, I dont know if youve mentioned this anywhere but do you care to share your setup?
thanks.
just the pc bit or all of it?
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