So I have a little update here. Prompted by last week’s postings, and for little investment, I purchased the Raspberry Pi 2 to see how my system would get on with one of these slim devices. Very easy to set up using Jussi’s pre-baked NAA’s. My Roon Core running HQP picked up the NAA and I named it. All works … great.
But the issue with my Devialet 200 being switched into stand by, or another input, still caused the NAA to drop the USB connection to the Dev. Now, in and around the Dev, I want any ‘device’ to be headless, that is the goal in my case, and I want it to be relatively smart in knowing when inputs are switched or connections come out of stand-by. What I do not want to do is leave my Dev 200 on 24/7, especially as I will be moving to a hot country later this year.
If you follow Jussi’s train of thought and how he has designed the NAA, everything gets turned on or off at the same time and there is an order in doing this. But that is not universal as to how users run their systems, I cannot be the only one who only wants to turn off part of the overall set-up. The whole point of the NAA is that HQP can run on a server remote from one’s setup, indeed, this seems to be the recommended practice from both Roon and HQP, put this software on a beefy computer (in most cases a Mac or PC). Surely the suggestion cannot be that this server (green sensibilities aside) has to be switched off just to use NAA. OK, maybe not switched off, but having to share screen to the server to shut down HQP, which can be done by iPad (my optimum control point for music listening) but hardly convenient. My iMac server has other duties, not many, but does not re-boot on a daily, even weekly basis, I will reboot occasionally for various and whatever reasons.
What I did find is that the NAA on the Pi2 will pick up the USB connection again so longs as, firstly HQP on the Roon Core is in a stopped state (no music playing and HQP released by Roon), and secondly, that works ok in, say, a day’s listening session.
Leave it overnight, and come back to it and it refuses to pick up the NAA, even with a restart of HQP on the server. It needs the NAA to be rebooted for everything to come back connected. This I am finding is neither easy or convenient on the headless Pi2, just as it was not on my headless MacMini, the latter was easy in a Mac household, you share scree into it. The Pi2, maybe just as easy, you pull the power and re-connect, but potentially corrupting the SD disk with the OS. You can probably remote into it, I have not mustered the will to find out how to do that yet, essentially because this is a ‘geeky’ interaction, something only I could do in my household.
One other point I have found in this disconnection saga, is that with HQP / Roon Core on a Mac as the server, HGP will default to Core Audio (on that Mac) when it cannot find the NAA. Thing is core audio does not know about SDM and DSD over DoP, so HQP now with ‘Auto’ settings defaults to PCM, when the main and one reason I purchased HQP is to up-sample everything to SDM. So I sort out the USB connection, and play some music, only to find I am back in PCM mode, stop the music, switch to SDM and fine, away we go.
All of this involves too much thought and too much phaffing just to play music, same as the previous day.
Here’s the rub, my Devialet is not going anywhere, with that particular manufacturers whoes and troubles with AIR, Spark & Dialog, USB is my default input for best listening. Roon is not going anywhere, the best music management software out there, by a country mile. HQP up-sampling is fantastic, and the integration into Roon is also fantastic when the music is playing.
I could, of course, revert to Roon only as the music deliverer, further integration would be welcome, but really this whole issue for me (and a few others) appears to lay at Jussi’s door, after all, HQP requires full control of the music stream once it leaves Roon. NAA is well worth it to keep the hard-grinding to a remote server and keep the music deliverer next to your hi-fi, neat, slim and low power, ideally something one would not think twice about leaving on 24/7. This implies, to me at least, that it should be just there, and require infrequent or ideally no user interaction at all.
I am not sure where to go with this now, but I keep returning to my train of thought in that, is it at all possible for the NAA to remember the default ‘audio device’ as I thought ‘Naming the network’ does (even though HQP main program might see the audio device on the computer it sits on as it’s default device), poll the NAA to see when the (preferred) connection is alive and do this automatically so no user intervention is needed to adjust settings in HQP or re-boot the NAA. Sure, if you want to change to another NAA, or use HQP direct, then this may involve a trip into settings, but again, as suggested, this could be useful to have in Roon interface, rather than having to remote into HQP in whichever way your set-up dictates.
There are two other possibilities I can see for the future if this partnership is to deservedly flourish, first, HQP loops back it’s output to Roon which then takes over actual streaming duty, or second, HQP is built into Roon as a DSP enhancer. Both of which reverts to one interface with Roon, ultimately how this hook up should really work, but undeniably would involve leaps of faith and trust in both companies, and would take some time to implement I would imagine.