MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
In late October Allo Audio announced a successor to their popular Boss Player streamer/DAC, to be called the Boss2, and expected availability in late December. Looked pretty cool at $99, bring your own power supply, SD card, and RPi 4B board.

After delays in getting the aluminum cases from China, Allo then posted an assembly video in late January, I had commented at that time the video made assembly appear to be a fiddly pain in the ass to all but a somewhat experienced DIYer.

Apparently Allo agreed, and changed how they offer this unit, at least initially. It is now available under their Plug & Play solutions only, called Boss2 Player, and fully assembled at a price of $146, which makes sense in that the fully assembled version includes a Raspberry Pi 4B 2GB board, where the original $99 kit package did not. So Allo is effectively charging $47 for the RPi board and assembly.

Whether or not they eventually offer it as originally announced in an unassembled kit form, or even just the bare DAC HAT board itself remains to be seen, however based on the success and pedigree of the original Boss, I think this unit looks like a good value assuming the blue/silver aluminum case is an acceptable aesthetic.

I will buy one of these when they come to the shores of N. America, I prefer a domestic seller such as PiShop.us, or Chicago Electronic Distributors, rather than ordering direct from Allo and waiting forever for an expensive shipment from India.

boss2-player front.jpg
boss2-player.jpg
boss2-player rear.jpg
 

airdronian

Radar Member
Yesterday the Pi 4 arrived with the Argon 1 case, and it went together fairly easily. The Argon is perfect for my application, the power button works well, and should save wear & tear on the USB-C port. Temp reported at 35.4 C which is cooler than the Pi 3B+ I have in a stock Raspberry Pi plastic case. Happy happy.

Argon1 front.jpg

The initial playback with this as an endpoint running Moode 7.1.0 was really promising, powered by the Allo Nirvana. Unfortunately, that was short lived as playback interruptus reared it's ugly head quite quickly. I've been experiencing this with the Pi 3b+ too.

It seems that MPD is hanging, and causes problems. I can kill the process and get it running again but this isn't ideal. It can sometimes play over an hour, or last less than a minute. Sometimes the track that is playing gets truncated and it jumps to the next track. Sometimes music halts abruptly and is replaced by something similar to white noise.

From all the logs I can read I am suspecting this is a connectivity issue. For wireless, one could assume that an external antenna or dongle might be the answer. The Mac Mini connected to the DAC can play wirelessly without issue, however it has good internal antennas. I've ordered a wifi dongle for the Argon, one which should be supported by the Moode kernel. It will be weeks though before that arrives.

I also tried ethernet and the same issue occurs. That really surprised me. The ethernet connection isn't typical, it uses the coaxial cabling in the house together with a MoCA adapter to get into the living room.

The ethernet worked fine when the Mini was connected to the DAC as well. So something in the transmission to the UPnP client (Moode) is problematic if my suspicion is correct. Hard to determine so far if this is an Audirvana issue or Moode issue or just connectivity. Searching hasn't found a solution yet. This morning I will connect my Audirvana on Windows installation and see if that changes anything.

Beyond that troubleshooting may be delayed, as two new goodies arrive today which will need attention (who can resist ?).
 

airdronian

Radar Member
After several hours of error free playback with the Windows based Audirvana to the Pi 4 endpoint, it is sitting nicely at 35 C in the Argon 1 case. This is a sweet little case, I'm glad I bought it.

The case instructions include commands to install fan control; you can specify when the fan kicks on and at what intensity. In my case it set to run at 25% when it hits 55 C, and higher rates if the temp still climbs. Running nicely at 35 C, I'm nowhere close to having the fan start. Any concerns I had for temps with the Pi 4 are gone now, smooth sailing ahead.

My culprit that caused all the grief above ? It's looking like the Mac Mini. The MRT (Malware Removal Tool) service is crashing multiple times a day and based on some reading this might be it. Off to the sick bay for the Mac Mini.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
After several hours of error free playback with the Windows based Audirvana to the Pi 4 endpoint, it is sitting nicely at 35 C in the Argon 1 case. This is a sweet little case, I'm glad I bought it.

The case instructions include commands to install fan control; you can specify when the fan kicks on and at what intensity. In my case it set to run at 25% when it hits 55 C, and higher rates if the temp still climbs. Running nicely at 35 C, I'm nowhere close to having the fan start. Any concerns I had for temps with the Pi 4 are gone now, smooth sailing ahead.
I never actually setup the fan script, and didn't even connect it's power lead. Though the ambient temps are still low and will rise somewhat as we head into late spring and summer, that will only result in Moode running at about 39-40℃, but right now it is well below that:

Screen Shot 2021-04-13 at 11.12.06 PM.jpeg

That particular instance runs a random/shuffle playlist from my local server's entire library 24/7, at the moment that screenshot was taken a 24/192kHz track was playing, which is a relatively high stress test.

The only downside to not running the script is that the power button will only turn the unit ON, but not OFF, no big deal for me as I leave the unit up and running. So in the case of the Moode distro, with it's very light CPU burden and low RAM usage, the fan is not required at all. I doubt you will ever hear it kick on with your settings unless the summertime ambient temps are relatively high.

My culprit that caused all the grief above ? It's looking like the Mac Mini. The MRT (Malware Removal Tool) service is crashing multiple times a day and based on some reading this might be it. Off to the sick bay for the Mac Mini.

I hope thats all that was causing those problems, my own local server is a JRiver instance running on a different Raspberry Pi, and I typically only use the Audirvana server for cloud server Qobuz action where I think it just sounds ever so slightly better than BubbleUPnP or mconnect. That said, I have not had those same issues you described, so that leans in the direction of the MRT crashes in fact being the culprit.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I bought a plastic RPi 4B-based streamer DAC, against my better judgement:

boss2-player__acrylic.jpeg

To my surprise, she isn't boiling over. In fact it's barely warm to the touch, suggesting the numerous top, side, and bottom vents are well placed and succeeding in even heat transfer, in conjunction with stick-on heat sinks applied to the RPi 4B's CPU, RAM, Ethernet controller, and voltage regulator.

Screen Shot 2021-05-07 at 8.31.41 PM.jpeg
 

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