Building an Allo Vana Player

How To Assemble and Configure Allo's Vana Player


The fine people at Allo gave us an opportunity to try out their Vana Player. Our review of the product is here. These project notes provide some hints and tips that might be useful if you are building one of these players. 


Building a Vana Player should be within the capabilities of most computer aware people. No soldering is involved but a knowledge of how to access your router configuration is helpful. The Vana Player arrives as a kit of boards and parts which includes:-

What the kit doesn't include is the 19V power supply for the Volt Amp – you're expected to find a suitable redundant laptop power supply. Not everyone has one lying around so you might have to buy one. Allo doesn't yet sell a suitable power supply.

The Allo assembly instructions can be downloaded here. We found the Allo document a bit hard to follow so these How To notes expand on that Allo manual. (Note: don't follow the Allo assembly instructions too literally otherwise you'll end up with all the spacer posts upside down. See our diagram below.)

The finished stack (minus top) should look like this:-


and this is achieved by assembling the spacers thus:-


The preferred power connections should look like this:-


If the Kali re-clocker does not form part of the stack, connect the 5V PSU to the Sparky SBC.


The player is configured from a web-based interface from Max2Play which is pre-installed on the SD card provided by Allo. Follow the directions from Section 11 of the Vana Player Manual. Max2Play is an easy to follow utility which takes much of the pain out of configuration. The Vana Player configuration guidance produced by Allo is straightforward but a couple of points may help you pilot through the process.

Start off with the Vana Player connected by wired ethernet. If you want to use wireless you will configure that later. 

If you use a headless access such as PuTTY or SSH you will need to access your router to find the IP address of the Vana Player. This will appear as Max2Play or vanaplayer in your DHCP Settings – take a note of the address which you will need to enter into the browser to bring up the Max2Play control panel. The Control Panel should open the 'ALLO' tab.

  • In the Control Panel, Select the Allo Piano DAC viz:- 


  • Select 'Advanced' viz:


  • Under the Audioplayer Tab select Squeezelite autostart – don't worry about the Max2Play Licence messages or the other players listed.

  • Open your Squeezeboxserver and look at the 'Settings/Information' and you should see the max2play details.

If you want to connect via WiFi then select WiFi/LAN tab in Max2Play, insert the dongle and configure your SSID.

Once connected you will find that the IP address has been re-assigned. Disconnect the ethernet and take a note of the new IP address. You might want to Add a Reservation for the player in your router which will 'lock' it to the IP address making future access to the Max2Play control Panel that bit easier.

Setup on LMS

Setting up Squeezebox Server (LMS) on Vana Player is much like setting up any other LMS Player. One important difference occurs when using the Vana Player with the Kali re-clocker. Re-clockers reform the digital pulses and remove 'jitter' (playback jitter is the inaccuracy in the timing of the "pulses" of the clock that transfers the samples of digital data into the Digital to Analogue (D/A) converter chip). A good explanation of this can be found here.

Suffice it to say that re-clocking introduces a delay to the analogue audio output which needs to be compensated for if Vana Player is used in synchronicity with other players that have not got re-clockers. Kali introduces a800mS (or so) delay making it necessary to alter the timing on other players so they stay in sync.

The easiest way to do this is to delay any other players in the synchronised group as follows:-

  • Go to LMS 'Settings/Player/max2play/Synchronize'

  • Select 'Player Audio Delay (ms)' and enter a figure around 800 (I found 790 worked well when synchronizing Vana + Kali with a Logitech Touch).


  • Synchronise Max2Play to another player in close proximity;
  • Go to to LMS 'Home' and select a track to play (something with a discernable beat and vocals);
  • Adjust the 'Player Audio Delay (ms)' until you cannot detect any delay between the two players;
  • Press 'Apply' and exit Settings.

A Note about Kali and Sync Drift

You may find that the sync drifts over time; we are not certain why this happens. It has been suggested that it seems to be more prevalent when a sync group includes both soft players and hardware players. Some commentators suggest that this is because the PC hardware clocks for audio are not as good as Squeezebox hardware players, and softplayers use many layers of Operating System (OS) (for example, Softsqueeze uses JavaSound which then goes through an OS and then through the vendors drivers). It may be it is this chain which causes inaccurate and unreliable feedback about the timing of the audio sample which has just been played. Alternatively, it may be a problem with the Kali clock but the drift causes the Vana Player to lag slightly behind the sync group after 30 minutes or so. The reason for our uncertainty is that Squeezebox server synchronises by comparing the playback positions of each file, adjusted by the parameters used in the sync settings. It therefore - in theory - compensates for drift caused by different clock rates, and there seems to be no good reason for that to work for some devices and not for others.

For the record, we encountered drift using the Vana Player including Kali within a sync group which included Logitech Touch, Logitech Boombox, Logitech UE and Logitech Duet. Without Kali, we found that synchronisation was stable and did not require any audio timing delay compensation.

The sync drift will be important to some, less so to others. As we point out in the review, the Kali Reclocker definitely improves playback quality, so we would not hesitate to deploy it in a non-synchronized player. 

Page created: 2017-02-19 

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