Installing M500 drivers on Linux

Anyone know how to get the SMSL m500 DAC to work properly on a Linux RoonBridge endpoint—and to have it’s full capabilities available in Roon?

The plug & play USB driver talks to the m500, but throughput is limited to 96 Khz, DSD capability is isn’t recognized by Roon, and I get several dropouts each minute.

I’m using a Sparky SBC, and I’ve tried both DietPi and the version of Ubuntu linked on Allo’s website.

(I tried the propriety driver on Win10, and the DAC works great on it.)

Update: I tried plugging it into a Pi 3b+ with dietpi and it seems to be working great—no dropouts, full MQA, and native DSD—so maybe there is something in either the Sparky hardware or the versions of DietPi and Ubuntu that are installed.

Update 2: I tried plugging the DAC into one of the Sparky’s USB2 ports. Roon then recognized most of its capabilities, just not native DSD. Similar results on DietPi, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS from Allo, and Volumio images. (All use Linux 3.10.38 on Sparky, whereas the DietPi on the RPi uses 4.19.66v7+.)

I wonder if anyone at knows of a way to enable full capabilities on a Sparky?

You might be out of luck. For Linux to do native DSD, each Linux kernel has to be patched for each specific DAC. So DietPi might have patches to run DAC1 in native Linux but that is useless for DAC2. The fact that none of Linux versions you’ve tried will give a “native” DSD option; suggests to me that the kernel has not been patched for that DAC.

The tech support you should, imho, to reach out to first would be SMSL, and ask them directly which Linux kernels have been patched to provide native DSD for the M500 DAC. If you look on their website, they make no claims to that DAC running native DSD over Linux. It is only mentioned in connection with the Windows ASIO driver which you can download from them.

As you mention, you should also send a query out to Allo and DietPi, Maybe Volumio if the sparky can use it. And ask if any of them have native DSD patched for this DAC.

You also might shoot a query to Sonore to see if the microRendu series supports this DAC.

Personally, I don’t bother with Linux or Linux devices if the goal is native DSD, especially in high resolution. I just use a Windows box as a RoonBridge endpoint; just running the ASIO drivers and RoonBridge, nothing else. There are some little Windows boxes, fanless, comes with memory, hard drive, pre-installed Win 10 Pro, for about 140. usd on Amazon.

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Thanks so much for the explanation about the kernels. I have about six of these SBCs, but I’ve never really had a good understanding of how Linux works, so this helps tremendously.

I think giving up on the Sparky is the right idea. I actually have very little hi-res and DSD music, so I can try a Pi 3, and if that doesn’t work try a Pi 4 in fanless low-power mode, one of the fanless PCs you mentioned, or pony up for a USBridge Signature.