HQP NAA - CuBox-i

Following the footsteps of the great @andybob and his adventures in NAA-land, I got myself a iFi nano iDSD to get a taste of the DSD upsampling features of HQ Player. The nano is a nice, little DAC/Headphone amp combo (up to PCM384 and DSD256) that sells for an agreeable €225. Perfect for a nice cozy headphone zone, so I can filter my heart out without annoying my family.

Since Cuboxes are dirt cheap at the moment (the Cubox-i1 sells for €30 over here, the i2 for €40), I got myself one of the mysterious little black cubes (i2). Installation was uneventful as expected: flash Signalysts Cubox image to SD-card, plug in network, USB DAC and power – and the NAA immediately appeared in HQ Player.

I will eventually build my own install based on Armbian just for fun, but for plug & play Jussi’s image works gloriously.

After an evening of playing around:

  • The Cubox is rock solid, performing duties without a hiccup
  • DSD256 plays without any artefacts (pops or crackles)
  • My poor 2011 i5 Mac mini is just capable of running the -2s filters
  • My favourite HQP setting so far is poly-sinc-2s / ASDM5 / DSD256 (slightly dark, but lots of texture)

Since this thread is worthless without pics:


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Well, I mean really, a Cubox-i … ANYONE could get one of those working as an NAA. It just seems … unsporting :wink:

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Show me your Beaglebone and I’ll raise you a Box!

At least I am crackle free now… :wink:

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Wow, thats a fantastic price. Where did you purchase them from?

Here. :slight_smile:

Goeie tip René

Thank you for the link

What’s the white box @RBM?

An Airport Express in Ethernet bridging mode. I had a spare one laying around – the power plugs I intended to use introduced unwanted noise, so they were thrown in the bin rather quickly.

Slight troubles in paradise: using @jussi_laako’s image, I found that the NAA disappeared from HQP after a (longish) period of inactivity. Same when turning off the iDSD nano and turning it on again. A restart of the Cubox fixes things. Possibly a sleep issue with the nano and/or no hotplugging support?

Anyway – since I already planned on rolling my own, I flashed the Armbian Debian Jessie release for Cubox to a card, upgraded Jessie to Stretch and installed the networkaudiod.service manually.

It has been rock stable for the last 24 hours and (added bonus!) I can just turn off the nano when I want to. HQP falls back to the SPDIF NAA temporarily, but as soon as the nano is turned on again, it is autoselected again by HQP.

Note for whomever may try the same: at first, networkaudiod failed to load at boot because the alsa initialisation had not finished yet. I managed to solve this by forcing the networkaudiod.service to load after network and sound, by adding ‘After=network-online.target sound.target’ to the [Unit] section of /etc/systemd/system/multi-user.target.wants/networkaudiod.service.

Somehow I find this perversely satisfying:

But of course, the best part is viewing it while listening to some sweet, sweet upsampled DSD on my trusty AKG’s…

Now, @andybob – what about that BeagleBone? :slightly_smiling:

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It is supposed to work that way already as is, but seems like there are some issues with it, so I’ll check if the “After” stuff works for me too and then I’ll modify the service file accordingly for next networkaudiod release.

Note, you can find official Debian’s Stretch-images here for CuBox-i (and BBB, etc):

The provided networkaudiod package should work on all those…