HQPlayer and the Directstream. Settings?


#1

I’ve been running a trial of Roon, loving the ability to seamlessly span both my iTunes-based library and Tidal.

However, I wasn’t excited about the sound quality coming out of Roon. There was a clear and obvious difference, so much so that my wife said, “Okay, then, Roon is for when we’re in the other room,” referring to the kitchen and dinette area, not the sweet spot in the living room.

Previously I’ve been running PureMusic over iTunes, upsampling to 192 in most cases. While I wouldn’t want a thread to devolve into an argument of bit-perfect versus upsampling (unless it edifies…), it’s clear to us that the results we get from upsampling in PureMusic beat the pants off of Roon playing in 44.1/16.

Enter HQ Player. I’ve run HQPlayer pulling Redbook directly off of the file structure, and it sounded good. As good as PureMusic, probably, and allowing more control over filters, sampling rates, etc. than does PureMusic.

Roon will soon (very soon) integrate with HQPlayer, so it looks as though I’ll be able to have Roon pass both my library files and Tidal through HQPlayer’s output, upsampling along the way. The problem is that HQPlayer’s settings are extraordinarily difficult for a non-tech person to figure out. I know it’s not rocket science. Rocket science is easier.

So, after this long-winded windup to the question: Has anyone determined the ‘best’ HQPlayer settings for feeding the Directstream?

Or, will Ted chime in and educate me on why this might not be a good idea w.r.t. the architecture of the DS? All I could say to that is, “My ears hear a difference.”

Thanks,

Rob


Best SQ ROON or HQ Player into DSJnr?
#2

:)


#3

That’s it. I’m convinced!!


#4
Rob H. said All I could say to that is, "My ears hear a difference."
There is no better test. smiley-music005_gif

#5

I bought an android tablet for the sole purpose of running bubble upnp to be able of streaming anything I had to the ds, tidal, onedrive,googledrive,icloud,itunes library and all local or networked storage files


#6

Although there doesn’t seem to be a clamoring for how people are using HQPlayer with their DirectStream Dac, I personally find HQPlayer very important to the computer audio world. I changed my music-server computer to a high powered (fanless) device just so I could use this software, and am very glad that I did.

Note, some choices of over sampling algorithms will cause the resulting stream (of converted 24/96 and 24/192 pcm) to be unusable by the DirectStream Dac. If you hit this problem, don’t panic just revert to settings that do work. Another important tip: when you change any choices in HQPlayer and minimize it to return to the desktop, restart the Roon Server software by double clicking the icon before trying out your changes.

I am using Roon in front of HQPlayer. Here are the settings that I have settled on at this time, after a fair amount of trial and error.

First, on the main page there is a line of four settings without labels (but if you hover your pointer over them the labels appear). They are Oversampling, Modulator, Sampling Rate, Sample Format/Type. Don’t worry about the first three as you will address them in the Settings window, but the Sample/Format/Type should be set to SDM (DSD). This will tell HQPlayer to convert all of your PCM format music to DSD format.

Under the File tab there is a Settings selection - here are my current choices: SDM Pack: DoP, Buffer: Default, DAC Bits: 32, (ignore the PCM Defaults as you are outputting SDM); In the SDM Defaults box - Oversampling: Poly-Sinc-xtr, Modulator: ASDM7, Bit Rate Limit: 44.1x128, vol max: -3db, multicore DSP: check.

Under the File tab there is a DSDiff/DSF Settings selection - here are my current choices: Direct SDM: not checked, Conversion Type: Poly-short-lin, Noise Filter: low, Integrator: IIR.

That’s it. If you have done your own experimentation I would love to hear about your choices. And, I hope this makes some people less afraid to jump into HQPlayer.

Note: I have edited this many times and changed my choices as I continue to experiment and learn. I have very recently dropped my pre-amp from the system: so now I go direct from the dac to my crossover and amps. This made my HQPlayer choices even more important and audible.


#7

I am putting this in a new reply because it is important and my frequent edits to the last reply do not show up as new info in the thread summary.

So two things: first I have been updating the HQPlayer settings as I learn more. And, now that I am no longer using a pre-amp they are more audible than ever.

Second, Roon 1.3 has a DSP engine. It is highly recommended that even if you never thought about using it, you should find it and disable it at the top level (even if all the components of it are disabled already). Nice improvement in SQ.laugh


#8
Gary said

Although there doesn’t seem to be a clamoring for how people are using HQPlayer with their DirectStream Dac

Amazing we are almost twins, the only difference is I use 44.1x64 / 48x64, with my DS Junior. Nice to know someone else hears what I hear!clapping_gif I also got rid of the pre-amp a long time ago, a Parasound P7, very highly rated, not in my book anymore.laugh One more question, why the restart of the Roon Core?

#9

David, good question. I was under the false impression that it was necessary, brought on by my searching for working settings and hitting a lot of dead ends. I am glad to meet someone who has adopted the same approach to good sound. What are you using for a server?


#10

What you NAA/HQPlayer compatible device(s) have you guys used to allow HQPlayer to play through your DS device?


#11

MSommers, I am using a Sonore microRendu powered by the UpTone Audio Ultracap LPS-1.

David and everyone else. I have reintroduced my pre-amp to the system. I realized that solo piano just sounds a lot better with the pre-amp in the circuit. I was at an audio meeting yesterday and Merrill Wettasinghe (of Merrill Audio), who is also a member, was there and I spoke to him about running direct from the dac as opposed to using a pre-amp and he explained to me that the pre-amp was better suited to drive the amplifiers than most dacs. Even though they could do it there was a subtle (or not so subtle) incompatibility between the dac and the amp. His answer was far more technical but I lost it before I had it down. His pre-amp is amazing by the way - a bit out of my reach monetarily.

So today I was playing Valentina Lisitsa plays Philip Glass and was dissatisfied with the sound. So I brought the pre-amp back in and now am happy once again. Of course there is a complicating factor, I also needed (for whatever reason, unknown to me) to restart the microRendu and therefore restart HQPlayer; so that could be a reason it sounds better as well. Oh well.


#12
msommers said

What you NAA/HQPlayer compatible device(s) have you guys used to allow HQPlayer to play through your DS deviI

I use a SotM-200 with a Uptone Audio UltraCap LPS-1 power supply, off of a bridged ethernet port, set to NAA mode.

#13
Gary said

David, good question. I was under the false impression that it was necessary, brought on by my searching for working settings and hitting a lot of dead ends. I am glad to meet someone who has adopted the same approach to good sound. What are you using for a server?

Gary said

David, good question. I was under the false impression that it was necessary, brought on by my searching for working settings and hitting a lot of dead ends. I am glad to meet someone who has adopted the same approach to good sound. What are you using for a server?


I use a MAC Mini mid 2011, 2.7gh, i7 dual core. With the UpTone audio MMK mod and JS-2 external power supply.

#14
msommers said

What you NAA/HQPlayer compatible device(s) have you guys used to allow HQPlayer to play through your DS device?


MSommers, I am using a SotM-200. powered by the UpTone Audio Ultracap LPS-1 power supply.

#15

My hardware consists of a MacBook Pro (2015) with a 2.2GHz i7 quad core Intel processor, feeding via USB into a Directstream DAC. I have about 1,000 hirez files (DSD64 - 128 and FLAC 96K - 192K) on 2 Transcend 2TB hard drives. Most of my favorite music is classical or acoustic jazz.
I am a big fan of Roon, which sounds good on its own and has a terrific user interface. But I found the latest version of Roon which introduced upsampling functions to not improve the sound. So I have been experimenting with HQPlayer for the past two months. HQP requires much experimentation, and i suspect I still haven’t optimized the many settings. But the net result has been a definite improvement
On HQP, generally speaking, I found that upsampling DSD64 files to DSD 128 added depth to the soundstage and more inner detail. But FLAC files sounded better as FLAC files upsampled to 192K than to DSD which sounded less energetic and homogenized in comparison.
So my settings on the main menu are Auto for the 2 right hand menus which allows DSD to pass as DSD and FLAC as F LAC
On the DSDIFF/DSD Settings menu Direct SDM is unchecked. I don’t think the remaining setting on this page matter.
On the Settings menu:
Coreaudio, PSAudio USB, channels 2, offset 0, SDM Pack DoP
Buffer time default, DAC bits 32
PCM defaults: poly-sinc, NS9, 512K
SDM defaults: poly-sinc, ASDM7, 44.1K x 512
Vol min and max both set to 0.0 (this deactivates the digital volume control and made a noticeable improvement
Multi core and auto rate family both checked

Comments and suggestions welcomed


#16

Old thread but I’ve found the latest poly-sinc-ext2 to be very nice with ns9. I only upsample to 176/192 pcm to feed the DS. MAGIC!


#17

HI, I see you’re a user of the SotM 200 player and I was considering buying it today as it is on sale for $385. What are your thoughts? Associated equipment? Items you’ve compared it to? Thanks!

Doug


#18

I would suggest if your are using the DS Sr or Jr, to get something like the Singxer SU-1 from Kitsume HiFi and use the I2s connection on the DS, then add the Sotm 200 later. I think that the SU-1to the I2s will make a larger increase in SQ than the Sotm now. It did for me with the DS Jr and my Holo Spring level 3 DACs.