Usability issues with Amp 2 volume and equalizer, EQ presets and gains/levels

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  • 21. Mai 2019 at 2:49 #45465

    Amazing how life comes full-circle, I had slimdevices products nearly 20yrs ago (including the DIN car stereo, which was awesome1) but had abandoned them for more ‚portable‘ solutions (think certain fruit products, finally smartphones). I now have a fully-functioning squeeze clone running multi-room audio, thanks to hifiberry’s amp2, pi, and the 7′ touchscreen in a smartpi case. Even have a USB turntable as a wavin selection in my favorites.

    But there are certain annoyances…

    1) When using plugequal as the squeezelite output, the volume control is in the stream, rather than ALSA Digital directly to Amp 2. The problem is, when I reboot the device, Amp 2 gets reset to 20% and the only way to correct it is to bring up the web U/I. This means if the device takes a power hit or gets reset while I’m away, a normal human will never get it to work.
    EDIT: For some reason, the last two reboots have not touched the AMP2 volume control! This is weird, I’d expect the behavior to be consistant…

    2) The web U/I for the equalizer is terrible. Instead, I SSH into the device and use the alsamixer on my smartphone. This is fine for brute force, but it would be nice to be able to configure it via the touchscreen and save presets depending on application. I’m quite surprised someone has not posted or integrated such an app previously.

    3) It would be nice to have a loudness curve (Fletcher-Munson) volume control option to use in place of (or in addition to) the normal equalizer. This might make the ‚presets‘ desire go away (my normal go-to is to use a loudness eq at low background volumes, and disable completely for critical listening at elevated volume.

    4) Lastly, certain sources it would be nice to have volume (gain) presets, for example the internet radio stations seem to be sonic-maximized with aggressive AGC and/or multiband compression. My local collection is normalized with python-rgain. While at the other end, the USB turntable has lots of headroom, which is a fancy way of saying it’s output is about -6db from the other two. Going from LP to radio is an exercise in acoustic shock, lol… Is there a trick where I can pad or add gain to certain sources so the transitions are more or less smooth?

    –edit– added a couple more points

    5) On reboot, sometimes the hifiberry amp and the USB turntable swap positions in the output dev table. At boot, USB seems to want to be at 1 and Hifiberry wants to be at 2, even though I have Amp2 set to load at boot in the ‚Raspberry Settings‘ tab. If I pull the USB cable, Amp2 lands on dev 1. Plug in the USB and it lands on dev 2.

    –edit– added some notes about multisqueeze and bluetooth

    6) Attempted to get multisqueeze working with one player working through the EQ and AMP2, and the other to a bluetooth speaker in the next room.
    a) Overall, I feel bluetooth functionality to be beta; it seems very easy to loose the connection and/or have the speaker connected but squeezelite does not play (though the process is running and playing media according to the server). I have to restart squeezelite to get it to work, or reboot the entire device to get it working again. Overall, the BLE service is not reliable
    b) When operating synchronized players, there is considerable delay between the two instances. I expect BLE to have additional delay, so I set the ALSA parameters of the local instance to about 500ms, which gets close, but it seems like there’s a 50ms or so I just can never get close enough to sound ‚good enough‘. Any help here would be appreciated.
    NOTE: There appears to be a thread on point 6a about a BLE driver bug, and something about 6b in German, but I can’t tell if it is open or resolved.

    Part of me wants to put these in the ’nice to have‘ hopper, but they all are things I miss daily from having a ’normal‘ stereo. So, has anyone previously come up with a unique or killer solution to these?

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 12 months ago by krell.
    • This topic was modified 4 years, 12 months ago by krell. Reason: Added updates on volume control, device card defaults and USB, and multisqueeze/bluetooth
    23. Mai 2019 at 9:39 #45476

    Side note on point 6 (multisqueeze): If you create an instance player name containing a space, the instance crashes.

    4. Juni 2019 at 10:21 #45592

    Hi krell,

    First of all, thanks for the detailed and thoughtful post.

    You can repost some of the development requests in our development subforum for maximum visibility. If they are also requested by other users, we will fast-track their evaluation for feasibility and for inclusion in a future update.

    On 5: Have you deactivated the build-in audio in the Raspberry Settings yet? This should bring the DAC down to slot 0.

    On 6a: Bluetooth is indeed still a beta solution as you can see in our discussion thread here on the plugin. However, this is mainly due to hardware constraints as the Pi shares an antenna between BT and Wifi and the BT itself is not very reliable to begin with.

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