A brief review of HQPlayer from a new user

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:


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).

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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:

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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.

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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.


What about PCM192k music, upsampled to DSD256 with ASDM7EC

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

Works well?

@jussi_laako - Thank you, that is really useful. Yes for me 100% having everything checked works better. ASDM7EC did not work with them greyed out and it works perfectly with everything checked. When I rebuild my Ryzen 5 2600 I will at least try ASDM7EC with the same settings - am interested to see if it works.

Looking at W10 task manager only 4 cores are being fully utilised. Would DSD512 be any more a realistic goal if more cores were thrown at the problem or does it not scale like that? I am at the limits of my technical understanding of how all this works as it is :smiley:

@dabassgoesboomboom - Whilst I downloaded the 24/192 version of Hoff Ensemble - Innocence, Roon is showing it as 24/176.4. Nonetheless it plays absolutely fine at DSD256, Poly-Sinc-EXT2, DSD256. And sounds blooming lovely too.

@DancingSea - Agree to an extent however having now set it up I am wondering just why I struggled with it. Perhaps we overcomplicate things when in fact it could not be simpler. Click a button to enable web services, look up your computer’s IP address and add it to Roon and that’s it. It is, essentially, as easy as adding Qobuz or Tidal.

But yes, people (including me and I consider myself to be very IT literate) still struggle with it! That said I am now comfortable I could talk someone through the initial set up but I’ll admit the science behind how the different filters work and the effect they have is a little beyond my understanding. I just know what sounds good to me…


Parallelisation has an overhead which limits the capacity to keep farming stuff out. I understand the clock frequency required to do DSD512 with EC modulators is 9GHz or so. Break out the liquid nitrogen !

Jussi has spoken in the past about possible further optimisations bringing that requirement down. I’m not sure how far along that path he may be.

Thanks Andy - makes sense. As I say whilst I consider myself to be very IT literate, when it comes to this level of working in the digital domain I am well out of my comfort zone. But, it is great fun learning :slight_smile:

Really interesting thread.

I’m happy very happy with my setup, but see a lot of enthusiasm for hq playver, and the talk of cheaper ryzen processors might be interesting, but I’m confused by HW specs and the entry seems high, and embedded devices seem to be in the thousands, but then a raspberry pi 4 gets mentioned. What is a realistic level to make hq player worth giving a trial in my system

NUC8i7BEH i7 8559U - running Rock (8GB + 250 ssd)
Mytek Brooklyn Bridge
Mytek AMP+
B&W 603

I use the Bridge as streamer and DAC, but it can only take DSD64 over the network, so I’d need to start using the USB port connected to the Rock, or HQ Player to be able to listen to DSD256/512.

Am I looking at full desktop, or are there mini PCs or even a rack mount that would do the job?

OK, good. It may be result of my recent rework on some of the parallelizations. But what I tested it didn’t improve things on my hardware, so auto doesn’t enable all things by default. Hopefully there is more feedback on Ryzen about go/no-go with the full thing enabled. But there are some indications that it depends on the particular Ryzen model and how the cores/CCXs are organized internally. Different models are different in this respect. Main pain point is the inter-CCX communication cost. There are some pics on the internet about internal organization of different models.

Modulators scale to only limited number of cores efficiently due to the math involved. Filters scale to almost any number of cores. You can have much more core utilization by trying for example with poly-sinc-xtr filter, especially for case from 48k-base PCM rates to 44.1k x256 DSD output. But at some point load on more cores may hit clock boosts those highly utilized cores get. This is not a problem on i9-9900KS, because it can do all-core turbo of 5 GHz. But it is limiting factor for most other CPUs. This is also where GPU offloading can help by leaving more boost available.

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@Nick_Tyson - The 3700X is a 65W TDP chip so should technically run in a mini pc case. However the one thing I’ve not tried yet is whether it’ll run ASDM7EC without CUDA offloading to the GPU

If it can then you spend needn’t be huge, if it can’t then you need to factor in the cost of a decent nVidua graphics card.

If you’re happy running ASDM7 then you don’t even need a 3700X, the Ryzen 5 3600 will do.

So £140ish for the case inc motherboard (the 3xxx series chips will run on a B450 motherboard just fine), £270 ish for the CPU or just £150 for the 3600, £80ish for 16gb ram, £50 for a 256gb m.2 SSD (assuming this is going to be a dedicated HQP machine) and £50 for a half decent power supply.

A copy of W10 or Linux and HQP itself. For an NAA endpoint a Raspberry Pi4 is plenty and then that just connects to the DAC via USB.

My ultimate aim is when the Ryzen 4xxx chips are out is to get a 9 series for my work station and build a dedicated HQP server with the 3700X in a nice small case which I can leave on 24/7. Much depends on whether I need another decent graphics card though also I’d like to upgrade the workstation to at least a 2080 Super at some point.

Thanks for the info, that gives me a good place to start. I just remembered that my son has a gaming PC he built instead of getting an XBOX that’s a good spec, i7-7000 4.2GHZ, Nvidia 1080TI, and a couple of PIs that I mess with, so I should give it a trial. His gaming PC is big noisy and bright, so not a long term solution, but thanks for the info, at least I can trial ASDM7EC ti see if it’s worth it to me.

Thanks again


Well, that is why there is NAA. This kind of processing should never be done in your listening environment, imho.

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It’s my little boy’s birthday in a couple of weeks and I have just built him a gaming PC for it. Not to quite that spec but will blow an 8yo away :).

I suspect an i7 with a 1080ti should be enough but don’t knock straight ASDM7 either which could be run on a much more modest machine (and therefore more cost effective).

As @Rugby says though - best to keep the horsepower out of the listening room. My workstation, NAS and MOCK server are all in the dining room whereas I have a dedicated listening room upstairs :slight_smile:

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Mine are in the basement office / computer workbench area

My gear is in a rack under the stairs down to the basement. I’ll not be using the gaming PC for anything other than the trial, so I’ll be more interested in seeing what the filters I could use on a lower spec machine. Especially comparing with roon dsp, which runs easily on the NUC core.

My son is 16, so built his own, I signed off on the pcpartpicker list. I’m sure your son will live his PC

I’ve been building PC’s since the 486 days so am very comfortable building a good but well priced machine. For him it’s more about the looks so long as it runs Fortnite and Minecraft so there’s lots of LEDs etc. When I upgrade mine he’ll get my hand me downs :slight_smile:

The trial is ample to decide whether you want to go for it and as I say you don’t need to run the EC modulators for it to sound immense and some people prefer PCM upscaling anyway which pretty much any reasonably modern machine can handle.