Just installed Ubuntu 20.04. The sound is a lot better I think!


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Zoea
Posted (edited)

Hi there

 

TLDR: Switched to Linux for audio quality reasons. I would like to know what to do with my new Ubuntu system to make it my daily driver for my tasks.

 

I am into computers and hifi, having spent a lot of money on second hand amp (Primare A30.1) and USB DAC (M-DAC) and splurged on new speakers recently (Triangle Borea BR08). I also have another setup in the other room with a vintage valve amp.

 

I used to use Windows 10 with WASAPI and Fidelizer, foobar2000 or Tidal, now Fidelizer is a program that is designed to reconfigure your computer and remove background tasks to improve audio quality, I could certainly hear a difference with earlier versions. However, on switching back to Ubuntu earlier this week, this sounds even better, treble is more full and fidelity is increased.

 

Unfortuntately my main DAC (M-DAC with PSU) has a slight incompatability with Linux, you will occassionally hear a little quiet popping in the stream, it's not too bad but certainly something you can notice. On windows or apple the driver is loaded and there is no popping but for linux there is no fix since it is deemed to be a firmware or controller issue with the DAC. I have the latest Lake West firmware on my dac. Never the less, I much prefer the sound on Linux with the DAC.

 

You might think this is all placebo but Windows is known to have some problems with sound:

-kernel not optimised for streaming audio it does a lot at once and does not priorities well (hence Fidelizer)

-APIs for sound creating quality problems (directsound and windows default mixer outputs do not produce bit perfect sound. WASAPI and Kernel Streaming do)

-Generally bad upsampling of audio within the windows mixer framework. For example, you are playing a CD FLAC, for some reason it might output 48khz and the upsampling algorithm is 'bad'

 

I am sorry for all the windows details just stuff I know about. I am so happy now I am on Linux that I get very nice sound quality and feel this has made my investment in Hifi a lot more pleasing to the ear. The only problem I have is that Tidal Desktop is not available for Linux so I don't get Master quality streaming which is full quality no compression like FLAC (though it is DSD so err). Even then, playing an album on Windows with master quality via Tidal does not for some reason sound as good as the same album played via Linux with HiFI quality (tidal is good - Hifi is I believe 320kbps compressed so it sounds nice).

 

Can anyone recommend coming from Windows 10 programs or Ubuntu features that you have found handy when switching from a fully working productive up to date Win10 setup? I have installed Zoom-client (via Snap) and some other webcam stuff just to have a play around. Most of my use comes down to Tidal, foobar and a web browser but I would miss things like Paint.Net, TF2, and windows is so easy to use for me coming all the way from Windows 3.1 originally.

 

I am dual booting so I can always return to my Windows environment if I have to play a game or something. Just looking for tips.

 

If you read all of that thank you!

 

Naveen

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