A brief review of HQPlayer from a new user

Roon, a MOCK server, a Qobuz and a Tidal sub. A bit of expenditure on a new system; DAC, Pi 4, pre and power amp, new speakers and sub. Surely I didn’t need to spend anymore money, certainly not on some fancy filters!

Of course I knew Roon integrated with HQP but honestly I didn’t see or understand what it brought to the party. Roon has filters built in doesn’t it?! However people seemed to rate it and there’s a free trial so I thought I’d give it a go.

Set up was tricky; part user error and part a slightly obscure gui and setting but I persevered and finally got sound out of my DAC. To be fair I nearly just gave up and sacked off the idea however I’m pleased I stuck at it.

Because, well that’s it - bar room correction at some point and unless I get a PC capable of running an EC modulators I’m done. My system is complete and I’m 100% happy for the first time in a long time.

A bit of fiddling with the settings; switched off DoP and 48khz DSD and moved to DSD512/44.1 with poly-sinc-ext2 and ASDM7 and for the first time since moving to a full streaming set up I find myself totally lost in the music from a digital source. And now it’s all set up the frustration of initial set up is forgotten and it just works and I can’t see me needing to touch HQP much at all.

My vinyl front end had got there - it’s as perfect as I could want - but, nice though the Naim sounded and the Topping without HQP, I still found myself drifting away from the sound and fiddling on Facebook, this forum etc but no more. It sounds just so ridiculously good.

@jussi_laako - I was a bit sceptically about the entrance fee to the world of HQP but I can safely say it’s worth every pennny - top job :slight_smile:

8 Likes

Great to see you achieving a result you enjoy.

If you are ready for more experimentation, try backing off to DSD256 and using one of the EC (extra compensation) modulators, say ASDM7EC.

The EC modulators are intensive, hence the step back to DSD256; no current consumer computer can run DSD512 with EC modulators. But they have proven very popular. DSD 256 ASDM7EC and ext2 are my current settings.

1 Like

Great review, thanks! I wish HQPlayer could achieve a Roon level of ease of use in order to be accessible to a wider audience. While I realize the impossibility, it would be wonderful to have HQPlayer completely integrated into the Roon GUI.

I toiled to get HQPlayer setup properly, it was not easy, but once there, quite content. Frankly, I would not have purchased a Roon lifetime license without the presence of HQPlayer.

1 Like

Completely agree. HQP makes a significant improvement to the sound.

I had been using a Nucleus+, but was so unhappy with the sound, I went back to trusty Mac Mini with Roon and HQP.

1 Like

Thanks I had been thinking about trying HQ Player

1 Like

I’ve tried the ASDM7EC even at 256 and my computer can’t quite handle it - plays a few seconds, stalls, plays another few seconds; rinse, repeat. I am in the process of upgrading but just trying to decide which upgrade route to go.

2 Likes

When you’re used to it HQP is actually incredibly simple when you think about it. There’s just the two sets of filters, one set for PCM and one set for SDM, to select and away you go. It’s just the ‘getting everything talking to each other’ bit that’s a bit fiddly and unintuitive.

@huang - definitely give it a go. The trial, whilst limited to 30 minutes at a time, is enough to give the various settings a really good go and for you to decide whether it is worth the money. For me, put it this way - I was thinking of getting a Naim NDX2 at somewhere around £4500. Instead I have spent £40 on a Pi4 4 and £220 and £230 on HQP (I had to pay sales tax being in the EU) and I am very keen to find a willing participant to go head to head against the Naim. I don’t think there’ll be much, if anything, in it :smiley:

You mentioned you had an AMD?

Roughly, you need 2 cores running over 4GHz and close to 5GHz, which rules out AMD I think (at the moment).

There are other Intel chips working and there might be an AMD chip that works but less risk for a new build is i9-9900K or i9-10900K

And there in lies the problem. I won’t touch Intel as for the other multi-core/multi-thread applications I run AMD is way ahead, particularly when you factor in cost.

I have just ordered a Ryzen 7 3700X which will give me a handy performance boost overall and at a modest cost. A tweak of OC and it’ll do for me. It benchmarks very close to the i9 9900k. Pertinently it has a handy advantage over an i9 9900k when running PixInsight which is the other hugely CPU intensive app I use. And at nearly half the price. No brainer :slight_smile:

Should be able to push 4.6ghz on turbo as well so I will suck it and see.

If I was going all out for an HQP specific rig and cost being no object Intel would be a consideration for sure.

Nice. I haven’t checked every HQP thread across the internet but so far haven’t seen if anyone could get the 3700X to do it.

Let us know !

I’m a big big fan of AMD. Used them way back when they made the 486 DX40 which you could overclock via jumpers on the motherboard. I used AMD from then on for a good while.

When they lost their way around the Clawhammer series and then for a good few years after I moved to the i5 2500k (Sandybridge) which to be fair is still a great chip - one of those that really shifted performance forward.

Now with the Ryzen 2xxx and 3xxx series and at their price points in particular I’m back to AMD. My MOCK box runs a Ryzen 3 3200G and it’s 100% rock steady. Never causes any issues.

I will be sure to feed back how I get on…

1 Like

Found this below

Many did/do find the EC modulators quite the step up from non-EC

1 Like

I can run DSD512 on my current Ryzen 5 2600 on the non-EC modulators however as I say, this is a general upgrade with my astrophotography software in mind as much as anything.

Drivers and bios etc may have been updated to help with the core issue over the last year or so as well but that’s not something I’ve looked into given what I’m aiming for.

If it can’t handle EC modulators it’s not a biggy but it’s a worthwhile conversation to be having for those looking for outright HQP performance.

The joys of Amazon Prime - it’ll all be with me by Wednesday latest so will put it all together, run some tests and update accordingly :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I am running DSD 256 with ASDM7EC just fine with an i7-9770k plus an NVIDIA Card.

Same, with an i7-7700 and a GTX-980.
breathes on fingernails and buffs lapels

Noted, I wrote:

There are other Intel chips working and there might be an AMD chip that works but less risk for a new build is i9-9900K or i9-10900K”

Context of this advice is someone spending new money. Not using what they already have (which costs $0 to test with HQP of course).

1 Like

Major Edit - having thought the Ryzen 7 3700X cannot run ASDM7EC, it in fact can absolutely flawlessly.

Perhaps someone can explain what it means when the boxes for things like Multi-Core DSP and CUDA Offload are greyed out? I now have them all ticked and Bob’s your proverbial. Perfect ASDM7 playback at DSD256/44.1khz.

It now makes me wonder whether the Ryzen 5 2600 could have done it but I suspect that would have been a bridge too far. I am going to try it though when I build my little boy’s PC with it.

Not had chance to listen to it properly yet as the boy is in bed so can’t blast it through the speakers :frowning:

1 Like

There’s a tooltip hint when you hover mouse over the box.

Multicore DSP:

  • Unchecked - most parallelizations disabled
  • Grayed - automatic adjustment based on detected hardware
  • Checked - everything forced to fully enabled state, enables some parallelizations automatic never enables because they don’t systematically improve performance due to extra overheads

CUDA Offload:

  • Unchecked - offload disabled
  • Grayed - offload only convolution and few other algorithms
  • Checked - offload all supported algorithms

In Zen 2 (current) architectures, behavior depends a lot on the internal CCX configuration and also how much clock boost you can get for the few high load cores. You can find information from the internet how different workloads behave on current generations.

This is supposed to improve on Zen 3.

P.S. I can turn on some of the things automatically in auto mode for AMD CPUs if I receive enough confirmations that it works better with Multicore DSP checked than grayed (auto). HQPlayer already understands difference between Intel and AMD.

1 Like

True, I agree. But the introductory hurdle of setting it up confuses lots of people. And the every day functioning would all benefit from a Roon like usability upgrade.

Adding to the EC modulators and computer power Talk. I use a MacMini to easily achieve DSD 128 with EC modulators, and then allow my DAC to upsample to DSD 1024. That’s another way to go about it.

Congrats!

What about PCM192k music, upsampled to DSD256 with ASDM7EC

Free 192kHz samples here: http://www.2l.no/hires/

Works well?