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Feature request: playing musicfiles from RAM


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#1
Would it be possible to add functionality that pre-loads and de-compresses music files into memory before playing?
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#2
(07-May-2016, 05:04 AM) Leonard Wrote: Would it be possible to add functionality that pre-loads and de-compresses music files into memory before playing?


That's something in my todo list, but not sure when it'd be ready yet.

While play from RAM has it's advantages, not  concinved yet it's the right way to go. The only advantage I can see is it's easy to setup. Which is why I'd be trying to add this feature in, just not sure what's the best implementation yet.

If you want to spend some effort on Snakeoil, in theory at least, the features already available on Snakeoil on paper should beat any RAM DISK playback available today.

Unfortunately the learning curve is steeper.

The features in Snakeoil that are of import are : 
  • custom low latency kernel capable of servicing requests in real time (and now kernel boot options)
  • ability to change priority of running process (Change Priority in snakeoil tab)
  • ability to customise priority of theads and buffer tweaks (software  tab)
The above 3 work in tandem to streamline the push of data from your storage device all the way to the hardware. Merely setting all things to RT will not be ideal. You have to spend time to tweak, listen and access to work on a final magical setup.

Hardware wise you'd also need to make sure any bottlenecks are reduced to a minimum: 
  • SSD instead of HDD.
  • PCI-e Intel NIC instead of on-board NIC (enable jumbo frame if music is from NAS).
  • Use R1 memory, and if your board has two DIMMs, pair it up to get double data rates
  • Use WAV (and not FLAC)
While this sounds like a lot of work, the rewards can be very satisfying.
Follow The Music, Follow Snakeoil.
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  • Leonard
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#3
Yesterday evening we have done a side by side comparison between a Snakeoil installation on a 2,5" harddisk *1 and running Snakeoil entirely from RAM (/w harddisk detached). For us the RAM configuration was the big winner in almost every aspect (more detail and more space)!

*1 Note that in this setup the harddisk was not powered seperately. Using a separate PS for the HD will surely help improving the sound. However I expect that it will still not be nearly as good as the RAM soluition.
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#4
(12-May-2016, 08:15 PM) Leonard Wrote: Yesterday evening we have done a side by side comparison between a Snakeoil installation on a 2,5" harddisk *1 and running Snakeoil entirely from RAM (/w harddisk detached). For us the RAM configuration was the big winner in almost every aspect (more detail and more space)!

*1 Note that in this setup the harddisk was not powered seperately. Using a separate PS for the HD will surely help improving the sound. However I expect that it will still not be nearly as good as the RAM soluition.


Is that a SSD or normal spinning HDD?
Follow The Music, Follow Snakeoil.
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#5
(12-May-2016, 08:15 PM) Leonard Wrote: Yesterday evening we have done a side by side comparison between a Snakeoil installation on a 2,5" harddisk *1 and running Snakeoil entirely from RAM (/w harddisk detached). For us the RAM configuration was the big winner in almost every aspect (more detail and more space)!

*1 Note that in this setup the harddisk was not powered seperately. Using a separate PS for the HD will surely help improving the sound. However I expect that it will still not be nearly as good as the RAM soluition.


Does that mean you loaded the OS on RAM as well as playlist or just the playlist.

When I was using Daphile I definitely felt playing from RAM was superior to playing from the SSD.

I have my SSDs separately powered from my Uptone Audio JS-2.
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#6
(13-May-2016, 07:26 AM) agent_kith Wrote: Is that a SSD or normal spinning HDD?


A normal spinning HDD.
Not sure if a SSD will perform much better as a regular HD as SSD probably also produces more noise.

(13-May-2016, 03:16 PM) a.dent Wrote: Does that mean you loaded the OS on RAM as well as playlist or just the playlist.

When I was using Daphile I definitely felt playing from RAM was superior to playing from the SSD.

I have my SSDs separately powered from my Uptone Audio JS-2.


Yes, I loaded OS in RAM. The music is played from an attached NAS.

Daphile indeed offers the opportunity to play music from RAM. But Daphile itself is stored on your HD or USB. I have tried Daphile several times (so including the latest version) as I really like the concept and the ease of use. However Snakeoil is waaaay better than Daphile regarding SQ :-) and is also gives the opportunity to choose what player you want to use (Squeezelight, MPD).

It would be nice if Snakeoil gets the option to play from RAM as well in a sense that would load and decompress the music file first in RAM before starting to play it. This is what this feature request is about.
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#7
(13-May-2016, 04:17 PM) Leonard Wrote: A normal spinning HDD.
Not sure if a SSD will perform much better as a regular HD as SSD probably also produces more noise.

Worthwhile to try out SSD and see if it's any better. SSD to me produces less noise (in terms of audible noise, when the platters are spinning).. It depends on the computer case I reckon, for me I just find HDD don't work well with streamcom cases (a lot of people here in Perth is using this case).

Not entirely about SQ when it comes to SSD vs HDD. I can't say I can reliably pick it, but my preference is still SSD. Having said that, I don't use SSD. [Image: biggrin.png] I use a NAS (5 x 4TB Hitachis), and kept this machine well away from the listening room.
(13-May-2016, 04:17 PM) Leonard Wrote: It would be nice if Snakeoil gets the option to play from RAM as well in a sense that would load and decompress the music file first in RAM before starting to play it. This is what this feature request is about.

And this is why I'm interested in implemting this. The ability to decompress FLAC into WAV into some "scratch" folder, and then play it. RAM disk is ideal for this becase it will not cause fragmentation (if we do this on storage media over time the read/write performance will get worse and worse).

I'm willing to bet the reason why RAM play sounds so good is because people are listening to WAV and not FLAC, and not because RAM has a lower access latency when comparing to SSD or HDD.

Not sure when I will have this feature ready though. But for now I'd just try to get the foundations of Snakeoil right, and once that is done, I'd start working on this.
Follow The Music, Follow Snakeoil.
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