Volumio 2 on Amlogic g02ref (AML8726-MX)

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Volumio 2 on Amlogic g02ref (AML8726-MX)

Postby patrickkfkan » Tue Nov 05 2019 13:09

Hello,

I have an old Android TV Box based on the Amlogic g02ref customer platform with AML8726-MX SOC. Originally, I had it running LibreELEC (Kodi) which worked rather well given the low-specs of the device (Dual-Core, 1GB RAM).

I would like to repurpose this box as a dedicated audio player since it has a coax digital output which I could connect directly to my amp. With LibreELEC (Kodi), navigating through the audio files, web radio and Youtube streams proved to be a bit cumbersome and the only real way to do it is through a screen connected to the device. Kodi's web interface is sluggish and sometimes freezes the device, and there are a lot of things you cannot access through it (such as Audio Settings).

I needed something to play music files off my DLNA server, Youtube streams and web radio - all controllable through a responsive web interface so the device can run headless. I decided to give Volumio a try.

So in case anyone else is interested, here it is: Volumio image for Amlogic g02ref devices (version 2.657)

Note that this build is by no means perfect, mainly due to the outdated kernel used (and the partially broken Amlogic m6 PCM driver that came with it). It is important that you check the README on the repo for an overview of what issues you might encounter:

https://github.com/patrickkfkan/volumio-platform-aml/tree/master/g02ref

So far it's working well enough for me. I am using the coax digital audio output and have set Audio Resampling to 16-bit + Very High quality while keeping sampling rate "Native". Most of my audio files are 44.1khz and 48khz, with the occasional 96khz and a few 192khz. Since I intend to run Volumio for 24/7, I'll see how it goes in terms of stability.

The web interface is, by the way, snappy. Way snappier than Kodi's ;)

I have taken the liberty to fork the platform-aml repo started by @balbes150 and placed my g02ref platform files there. I should mention I learnt a lot from @balbes150's builds for other Amlogic SOCs. Credits also go to those at the LibreELEC team for the Amlogic kernel, @emanuel4you for his g02ref kernel patches and @adilinden-oss for the OverlayFS kernel patch.
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Volumio 2 on Amlogic g02ref (AML8726-MX)

Postby gkkpch » Sun Nov 10 2019 21:51

Well done!
Pity that this is "doomed" due to lack of support in a mainline kernel.
Kernel 3.10 is very old, I remember backporting overlayfs when I did the first version for the Harddkernel's amlogic s805 based Odroid C1 years ago. But we still do regular updates for it, including myVolumio support.
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Volumio 2 on Amlogic g02ref (AML8726-MX)

Postby patrickkfkan » Mon Nov 11 2019 11:16

Thanks for the compliment ;)

At least the S805 is one gen ahead of the g02ref (Meson8 vs Meson6), so even with the same kernel version some things are supported better. But for S805 devices, we have hope they will one day be fully supported in mainline: http://linux-meson.com/doku.php (despite what they say, I don't believe they will ever have full support for g02ref/Meson6 given the age of these things and the effort required to support them).

So far, I have been running my g02ref build 24/7 without additional issues other than those already mentioned in my github readme. I have since owned a couple of 176.4khz and 88.2khz FLACs which I couldn't play with the onboard audio because of broken / incompatible Amlogic PCM drivers, so I am now using a cheap $5 USB to Digital Coaxial adapter for audio output. With this adapter, I don't have to rely on the Amlogic drivers and I can resample those FLACs to 16-bit 48khz (which this adapter supports) for playback. Fortunately, I don't have great ears and haven't been able to distinguish the difference in sound quality :lol:
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