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Article: Computer Audiophile Pocket Server C.A.P.S. v3 Carbon

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Chris,

Nice write-up, as usual.

 

Question: you say "Carbon is my favorite CAPS design thus far and it's the one I use every day.......The sound quality from the CAPS v3 Carbon server is equal to or better than the best servers I've heard in recent memory." Although I realize that the Carbon version's main differentiators are its documented expandability and open real estate (for future yet-discovered expandability) the truth is that the way you are using it currently is identical to the Lagoon, except for the SOtM SATA filter. Are you saying the Carbon sounds better than the Lagoon? And if so, do you trace it to the filter? Or am i reading this the wrong way, and what you are saying is that you can really only use one CAPS V3 on a daily basis anyway, so you use this one, period (i.e maybe based on something non-audio like looks, etc)?

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Chris,

Nice write-up, as usual.

 

Question: you say "Carbon is my favorite CAPS design thus far and it's the one I use every day.......The sound quality from the CAPS v3 Carbon server is equal to or better than the best servers I've heard in recent memory." Although I realize that the Carbon version's main differentiators are its documented expandability and open real estate (for future yet-discovered expandability) the truth is that the way you are using it currently is identical to the Lagoon, except for the SOtM SATA filter. Are you saying the Carbon sounds better than the Lagoon? And if so, do you trace it to the filter? Or am i reading this the wrong way, and what you are saying is that you can really only use one CAPS V3 on a daily basis anyway, so you use this one, period (i.e maybe based on something non-audio like looks, etc)?

 

Hi Ted - It's more of an "I selected the v3 version I like best and am sticking with it" type of thing. The JRiver JMark scores are identical as they should be. Some people actually dislike the SATA filters. The difference between Lagoon and Carbon may be up to personal taste if there are any differences at all.


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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Chris, thanks. Yeah, I documented that i was not a fan of what the filter did for me and the 830 in the CAPS V2+, but a buddy, using one on an internal spinning drive, said it was easily the best $65 he'd ever spent.

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Chris:

 

I was hoping you had found a really cool case for the v3's. Too bad that I had already found the E4, but it is great. How did you get your hands on one already?

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Hi Chris,

Please, can you provide the exact reference of the "Kill-A-Watt power strip" you used to measure the power consumption at peak and study state for the CAPS V3?

Thank you!

Didier

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Chris-

 

If we wanted to experiment and upgrade to 2X4 GB RAM, would that effect the ability of the Black Lightning to power the server?

 

I think all the designs are great. Each stage so far is very well thought out. Can't wait to see the Zuma.

 

Danny


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Chris:

 

I was hoping you had found a really cool case for the v3's. Too bad that I had already found the E4, but it is great. How did you get your hands on one already?

 

I believe Streacom and Wesena are the same mfg... I found this version that is very similar but has heatsinks on the side which you dont have to use if using the DN2800mt board. Not bad looking at all. I purchased their F7C EVO case and its a great looking well made case. Im sure this one is also.

 

FC5WS Evo Fanless Chassis | Streacom

 

That would be great if someone can come up with an internal linear PS for the mobo... At a minimum you could keep the external PS for the SOTM card which I'm guessing is the more important of the two.


Equipment:

Auralic Vega DAC, Auralic Taurus Preamp, KEF LS50 Speakers, Hypex Ncore400 monoblock amps, CAPs V3, Paul Hynes SR5 (12v and 9v rails), Audioquest King Cobra XLRs, Signal Cable speaker cable, Furutech power and USB cable

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Chris, thanks. Yeah, I documented that i was not a fan of what the filter did for me and the 830 in the CAPS V2+, but a buddy, using one on an internal spinning drive, said it was easily the best $65 he'd ever spent.

Ted, Could the iUSB Power be a solution to this, or is the $65 filer an internal contraption?

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HI,

Interesting read, im new to this CAPS technique coming form a Bryston BDP/BDA and usb-hdd and Nas libraries.

 

Why is it you write "When connecting a USB DAC to the Carbon server readers should avoid using USB hard drives due to how the USB protocol operates." Cant the 2 usb techniques be used simultaneously?

Would the same issue occur when using a usb-spdif converter and usb-hdd's?

 

Thanks,

Marius

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What's the maximum SSD storage capacity (inbuilt) using 512Gb SSD drives, that are we now talking about here? (making use of the additional esata connection)

 

Are we talking 4x 512 = around 2TB of SSD capacity?

 

And could not JRiver be set up to index all 4 SSD's..all contained within the one server. All isolated from mains using battery power?

 

This is cool!!

 

So please confirm the max no of SSD that could be installed internally and powered in this way. Thx!! :)


New simplified setup: STEREO- Primary listening Area: Cullen Circuits Mod ZP90> Benchmark DAC1>RotelRKB250 Power amp>KEF Q Series. Secondary listening areas: 1/ QNAP 119P II(running MinimServer)>UPnP>Linn Majik DSI>Linn Majik 140's. 2/ (Source awaiting)>Invicta DAC>RotelRKB2100 Power amp>Rega's. Tertiary multiroom areas: Same QNAP>SMB>Sonos>Various. MULTICHANNEL- MacMini>A+(Standalone mode)>Exasound e28 >5.1 analog out>Yamaha Avantage Receiver>Pre-outs>Linn Chakra power amps>Linn Katan front and sides. Linn Trikan Centre. Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra

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Hi. Long time lurker who is just about to pull the trigger on this design, however, room corection is near a must have for me (I move a lot and cant invest heavily on room treatment). In the overview of CAPS 3, it's impled that only CAPS Carbon will have enough 'power' to do that. Is there any reason that I coulndt use ikmultimedia's ARC program (which I have already from my home recording studio)?

 

 

Thanks all.

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Cris, just a small fix, the component lists says CAPS v3 Lagoon - Total Price: $1,080 where it should be Carbon.


1. Sonore ultraRendu - Uptone ISO Regen - Calyx Femto - Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE stage 2 - Apollon NC800 SL PRO - Thiel CS3.7
2. JRiver - Burson Conductor V2+ - Audeze LCD-XC - Calyx Femti - Monitor Audio PL100
3. JRiver - SMSL iDEA - 1More Triple Driver IEM

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Hi. Long time lurker who is just about to pull the trigger on this design, however, room corection is near a must have for me (I move a lot and cant invest heavily on room treatment). In the overview of CAPS 3, it's impled that only CAPS Carbon will have enough 'power' to do that. Is there any reason that I coulndt use ikmultimedia's ARC program (which I have already from my home recording studio)?

 

 

Thanks all.

 

 

sorry I meant Zuma.

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Hi Chris,

 

I have a question regarding a statement you made in your CAPS v3 preview article below:

 

"My experience with several canned music servers such as Aurender, Sooloos, and Sonore to name a few has given me a good idea of what I and other computer audiophiles want in both performance and remote control. Given one of the goals is to design servers I will use in my system the CAPS v3 servers must compete with all the canned server options. I didn't design these servers for everyone else to use while I sit in an Ivory Tower listening to something else. I designed these servers for myself and all the CA readers."

 

One of your goals of CAPS v3 was no moving parts, which means no internal hard drives, yet all the canned server options that you mentioned above along with other ones from Olive, SOtM, Music Vault Diamond and Baetis Audio include one or even two spinning hard drives for storage and back-up using dBpoweramp. It seems that all these manufacturers have integrated internal spinning hard drives without compromising the sound quality.

 

I'm wondering if you think that these all-in-one music servers with internal storage are being compromised in terms of sound quality because they do have these spinning internal hard drives? You mentioned that additional storage such as extra SSD cards and spinning hard drives can be added to the Carbon server, but I would like to see a "reference design" with say 2 - 3TB hard drives (one for music storage and one as a back-up) and a 64GB SSD for the OS. That way, I could just purchase it canned from Small Green Computer, since I am not much into assembly or modding. I am most interested in the Aurender, but at $7k and with future planned models being even more expensive, it is out of my budget. I assume that a a good portion of the cost of the Aurender is due to it's proprietary OS.

 

BTW, Small Green Computer does not seem to be selling the Carbon model yet.

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I believe Streacom and Wesena are the same mfg... I found this version that is very similar but has heatsinks on the side which you dont have to use if using the DN2800mt board. Not bad looking at all. I purchased their F7C EVO case and its a great looking well made case.

 

I believe Streacom are the official distributor (not sure the correct term) of PC cases manufactured by Wesena in the far east.

 

There was a website/company wesena dot co dot uk but I believe they have been issued a cease and desist notice about using the Wesena name as they didn't have rights to use it.

 

So just a warning/clarification which perhaps Chris could/should research and let us know.

 

Eloise


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Is the PW-12V5A-L5 enough of a power supply? I note that the Bryston BDP-2 has a bumped up linear PSU with "over 5 amps, 10 amps peak". With an internal SSD and a couple of connected USB drives, how much power do you think is drawn?


Speakers: Egglestonworks Andra III front left/right and centre; Egglestonworks Rosa as surround; Rel Stentor II subwoofer. Synergistic Research Element Copper speaker cable. Cardas Clear Light interconnect. Amps: Krel FPB-200 and 2 x Krell KAV 150a. Theta Casablanca IV with multichannel Dirac Live. Oppo 103. Isotek GII Titan power conditioning. Acoustic treatments: 2 x RPG Modex Plates; RPG 100mm BAD panels; RPG Skylines.

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Is the PW-12V5A-L5 enough of a power supply? I note that the Bryston BDP-2 has a bumped up linear PSU with "over 5 amps, 10 amps peak". With an internal SSD and a couple of connected USB drives, how much power do you think is drawn?

 

Why don't you just ask Bryston?


Forrest:

Win10 i7 3770k HQPlayer>Win10 NAA

DSD512>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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Why don't you just ask Bryston?

 

Thanks for the unhelpful comment 4est :~|

 

 

Yes, the recommended PSU is more than enough power for CAPS v3 Topanga, Lagoon, and Carbon. CAPS servers don't draw more than 25 watts. I doubt the BDP-1 draws anywhere near the max capability of its PSU.


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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Great design. Great case.

Regarding USB 3.0, I'm wondering if the usefulness for having 3.0 might be bandwidth for reading 24/192 flac files from a stick, since StreamMagic 6, and MF M1 CLiC seem to have trouble reading those files from USB sticks.

While most usage of this server for me would be via NAS access, it would be useful on occasion to put in a USB stick for files. Someone comes over or whatever. Is there a difference between USB 2 and 3 related to the reading of 24/192 flac files.

Again, Thanks for the design.

cheers,

SF

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I believe Streacom are the official distributor (not sure the correct term) of PC cases manufactured by Wesena in the far east.

 

There was a website/company wesena dot co dot uk but I believe they have been issued a cease and desist notice about using the Wesena name as they didn't have rights to use it.

 

So just a warning/clarification which perhaps Chris could/should research and let us know.

 

Eloise

 

Not sure either... but if you go to the streacom dot com website (not UK version) it lists wesena on the bottom of the page. They have some designs that look identical but I can't locate the exact Caps Carbon case on their website so maybe there are some differences. I ordered the Streacom F7C EVO and it is a very well built case in a similar look to the OrigenAE stuff.


Equipment:

Auralic Vega DAC, Auralic Taurus Preamp, KEF LS50 Speakers, Hypex Ncore400 monoblock amps, CAPs V3, Paul Hynes SR5 (12v and 9v rails), Audioquest King Cobra XLRs, Signal Cable speaker cable, Furutech power and USB cable

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Great design. Great case.

Regarding USB 3.0, I'm wondering if the usefulness for having 3.0 might be bandwidth for reading 24/192 flac files from a stick, since StreamMagic 6, and MF M1 CLiC seem to have trouble reading those files from USB sticks.

While most usage of this server for me would be via NAS access, it would be useful on occasion to put in a USB stick for files. Someone comes over or whatever. Is there a difference between USB 2 and 3 related to the reading of 24/192 flac files.

Again, Thanks for the design.

cheers,

SF

 

Hi SF - The speed of reading a 24/192 file via USB 3.0 is way faster than USB 2.0. However, I believe the StreamUnlimited based products have more issues than the fact it's from a USB stick. I believe it's mainly a lack of processing power in the platform, not a USB speed issue.

 

On the CAPS designs USB 3.0 would gain you speed that's not really needed.


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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Is the PW-12V5A-L5 enough of a power supply? I note that the Bryston BDP-2 has a bumped up linear PSU with "over 5 amps, 10 amps peak". With an internal SSD and a couple of connected USB drives, how much power do you think is drawn?

 

Yeh I'd like to know this as well..this CAPS is very much going to compete with the BDP-2

 

In fact that is precisely where I'm coming from as well...

 

But Carbon is going to be way cheaper/more flexible with add on choice and software choice etc etc..

 

Like a third the cost, twice as expandable and way more flexible :)


New simplified setup: STEREO- Primary listening Area: Cullen Circuits Mod ZP90> Benchmark DAC1>RotelRKB250 Power amp>KEF Q Series. Secondary listening areas: 1/ QNAP 119P II(running MinimServer)>UPnP>Linn Majik DSI>Linn Majik 140's. 2/ (Source awaiting)>Invicta DAC>RotelRKB2100 Power amp>Rega's. Tertiary multiroom areas: Same QNAP>SMB>Sonos>Various. MULTICHANNEL- MacMini>A+(Standalone mode)>Exasound e28 >5.1 analog out>Yamaha Avantage Receiver>Pre-outs>Linn Chakra power amps>Linn Katan front and sides. Linn Trikan Centre. Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra

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I have to say that I am very impressed with the thoughtfulness Chris has put into these C.A.P.S. v.3 designs - particularly as it relates to upgradability. I can build a Topanga+ using the Samsung SSD for a hair over $500. I can later add the SOtM usb card for a serious sonic upgrade. As more funds became available I could either upgrade the case (that Streacom FC5WS Evo looks sweet!) and audition the SATA filter, or go the battery route (of which there may be more options in a few months). Bravo, Chris on coming up with such a flexible set of designs!

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