[LAU] digital input to stereo receiver, maybe through ethernet

Len Ovens len at ovenwerks.net
Tue Mar 28 05:14:05 UTC 2017

On Mon, 27 Mar 2017, Dan Hitt wrote:

> I have a pretty ancient stereo receiver that i'm thinking of replacing
> or supplementing with something newer.

Is it broken? When I want an amplifier, I generally go to a second hand 
store and find that $30 CDN gets a 100watt amp. Speakers make a much 
bigger difference for monitoring than the amp (unless it is really bad).
A good set of 12in Tannoys in the right box with a $30 amp and the 
average cheap DVD player sounds better than any amp with cheap speakers.

Note that with guitars the opposite seems to be true... the amp matters 

> It looks like some of the new receivers have an ethernet jack, as well
> as usb.  For example, see these Denons:
> https://usa.denon.com/us/news/news/177

ethernet... sounds great, but what protocol? AES67? AVB? something else?

Well I took a look... it says HEOS link ... which after looking appears to 
be something like icecast (think 500ms latency... noticable for sure). So 
wireless would probably not be a problem (HEOS is designed for wireless).
They suggest twonky server for this and while there is a version for 
linux, it is closed. The twonky website is not overflowing with info at 
all ( http://twonky.com/ ) The front page is one of those click here to 
buy pages with just enough text to let you know it transfers media.

It does appear that it would be able to mount your computer drive and play 
things off of that... it seems to rely on windows shares for this. (hard 
to tell, my eyes glaze over when I see "windows" it has been such a long 
time since I used it)

USB... this is not a usb client port, but a host port, it expects a USB 
storage device to plug in, like a 32meg usb stick for example. (my dvd 
player does that too) However it would not plug into your computer.

> What i would like to do is get a receiver like that, and put it on my
> network, and then use it to play audio.  Ideally, it could show up on
> the hosts on the network as some kind of device (like /dev/receiver)
> to which audio files could be catted.

Use one of the hdmi ports.

> Maybe that's not realistic, but i sure would like to be able to use
> the receiver from multiple hosts (probably running debian or a
> derivative) and not have to go through any 3.5 mm or other analog
> stuff anywhere (not on the computer, and not on the receiver).
> I wouldn't have to have simultaneous access from the hosts, but would
> like to plugging and unplugging cables (although i would not want
> wireless).

Those boxes have up to 5 hdmi ports on them with remote switching most 
newish motherboards have hdmi outputs.

If your MB has spdif out, those amps have that too.

Quite honestly, Linux does streaming quite well, icecast for audio... and 
I know there are some for video as well. The quality can be very good, but 
the kind of latency you are looking at would make game playing that relied 
on audio cues alomst impossible. There are good low latency network audio 
transports like opus, jack or zita-njbridge, but they are unlikely to be 
supported by any consumer amplifier maker. Linux can transfer audio via 
AVB from one computer to another, but I don't know if it is far enough 
along to work with a comercial amp at this time... or at least with out 
some manual intervention. There are certainly AVB speakers out there.

If all you want is to be rid of using the 1/8in plugs in the back... get a 
USB audio interface and use 1/4 or rca jacks and be happy. There are PCIe 
cards out there that have RCA right on the card for that matter. Much 
cheaper than a new amp.

Anyway, sounds like a fun experiment, have fun.

Len Ovens

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