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Upgrade paths for CAPS2 server - W12S+ Audiophile Optimizer?


mjm6

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Folks,

 

I have a CAPS2 that I built about 2.5 years ago now, and I have been happily listening away. So much so, that I haven't been keeping up on the developments in computer audio too much...

 

Getting on the board recently, it's clear there have been some advancements, and I was thinking I would see about upgrading my music server if possible, and if it makes sense.

 

Here's what I have:

Pretty much stock CAPSv2

JRiver v17 (I think)

SSD for the OS, etc.

SoTA filter for the SSD and USB output board

external ESATA HD with the audio files on it (I've had some trouble using an NAS, so I went this way)

 

I run it to an Audophlleo 2 and then a Metrum DAC.

 

I run the machine headless and use an iPad for control using JRemote through the wifi network.

 

Here are the questions I initially have come up with:

  1. Can I pull the SS harddrive on the CAPS2 and put in a new one (to be able to go back if things don't go well), install W12S on there, get the new JRiver running, add audiophile optimizer, and keep going?
  2. Does it make sense to go there, or should I start with a new build first?
  3. There is discussion of JPlay in the Audiophile Optimizer threads. I've avoided that in the past because it seemed to make computer unstable. Is it necessary to get the machine running at it's best (Core mode)?
  4. The is also discussion of Kernal streaming. I need to determine if the Audiophilleo can take a kernel stream, because if I recall, JRiver recommended WASAPI, and so I used that setting. Is Kernel streaming necessary to optomize the W12S install (it seems like I need to use that in Core mode).
  5. The Audiophellio also needs a driver for Win7 above 44.1/16. Not sure if this is still the case in W12S? I'll get some answers from the AP guys.
  6. What does it take to get a JRiver interface running, and can it be done in Core mode?

 

 

I need a little strategy help, and reading through some of the threads on here has my head spinning with terms etc. that I am unfamiliar with. Once I have a basic strategy, I'll get into reading to educate myself on where to head.

 

 

Thanks,

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

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Hello Michael.

 

Please take my input for what it is, as I am not the most experienced in building servers and trying options, but I see you are getting no replies and I can throw some relevant tidbits. I'm in the process of building a server, and I also have an Audiophilleo running into a Metrum Octave - which I love, BTW!

 

My server will run Windows Server 2012, AudioPhil's Optimizer, JRiver, and maybe JPlay. AudioPhil has been extremely good at providing guidance. He says most of the benefit is gained by running WS2012 + Optimizer, and hardware does make a difference but maybe not as significant in terms of bang for buck. So trying this first might be your first step. Be aware WS2012 runs in 64-bit - can your current hardware handle it? I know mine can't and hence I haven't been able to try this path.

 

BTW, I've been assured the Audiophilleo will work with WS2012.

 

Second step might be to revisit the hardware. I'm going with a similar setup as AudioPhil, although I will run a SinglePC (JPlay jargon). Server mobos are preferred due to better stability and lesser bells and whistles the Optimizer will turn off anyway. Intel S1200KPR is the preferred mobo. Processor is an Intel Xeon E3 1265v2. I will have a 64GB SSD for OS, and a WD Green Caviar HDD for music (inside the server, through SATA). SSD for music is preferred, but I decided to wait until the large drives come down in price - it will be powered independently anyway.

Also a good USB card is a key ingredient. I will use a Paul Pang Audio (PPA) USB v2.

 

It turns out cabling inside the server has an impact. Apparently the most relevant, whith the above configuration, is SATA cable to the OS SSD. I would have thought SATA to the USB card too, but apparently is a distant second. So I'm using a PPA slim red SATA cable.

 

Then there is power supply. A crucial piece that is a hot topic these days - meaning there are contradicting views and certainly confusing reports that I take display we don't fully understand it yet. What is clear - to me at least - is that independently powering the OS SSD, the USB card, the HDD and the picoPSU that supplies the mobo is the way to go, especially the first two. Batteries or linear Power supplies both have their proponents, and their ergonomics...I will start with an Anker E4 battery to power the OS SSD, another E4 to power the USB card, and a linear power supply (a lab one; nothing fancy) to power HDD and pico/mobo. Turning the server on will be a hassle, though...

 

I hope I didn't overwhelm you. Please let us know what you try and how it turns up!

 

Have fun!!

Roon Server: general purpose Gigabyte GA-Z170X UD5, i5 6600, Crucial MX200 SSD, HyperX 1x16GB RAM, Win 10 Pro, convolving in Roon digital xo + DRC + upsampling. Output through ethernet.

Roon Client AudioPC: Uptone etherRegen (with LPS 1.2) into Intel S1200KPR, Xeon E3 1265lv2, Crucial V4 SSD for OS, 8GB ECC RAM, Streacom FC8 Evo case, lab linear PSU, Windows Server 2019, AudioPhil's Optimizer, Acourate (digital xo, room correction)

Rest of Chain: Lynx Hilo as 8-channel DAC, McIntosh MC275 MkIV for mids & treble, Hypex UcD400HG for midbass into DIY dipoles 18" midbass/2x8" mids/AMT tweeter, 2 DIY 12" Rythmik subs, Equi=Core 1800 balanced power, dedicated power lines, room treatments

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Thanks for the reply.

 

That issue of compatibility with the OS is one of the things that occurred to me, but I figures someone out there already knew the answer. I'll see if I can chase down the answer and post it.

 

I'm surprised there have been no responses. I figured that there are a lot of CAPSv2 machines out there, and at least someone would have gone through this to determine if it if viable.

 

Good to hear with the Audiophilleo. I had sent Peter an email yesterday, but had not heard back yet. He's always been good about responding.

 

I'll do some reconsidering on all of this and report back with findings along the way.

 

If anyone else has advice or knowledge of CAPS2 and W12S, I'm all ears.

 

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

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Like LewinskiH01, I'm not the foremost authority, especially as it relates to hardware optimization, but I'll throw in my .02 based on my recent experience.

 

For the last month or so, I've been running a dual-server WS2012 + Audiophile Optimizer setup, SSD and 16 GB in both, and Paul Pang's USB 3.0 card and a Mapleshade Clearlink Plus USB cable. Beyond that, I haven't optimized my hardware. My computers are pretty much stock Shuttle PCs. The Paul Pang and the Mapleshade both improved my sound and I'm happy to have them, but nothing made as much of a difference as the Audiophile Optimizer.

 

 

  1. Yes, you can pull your hard drive, and that would work, but it isn't necessary. There are any number of free (and paid) applications for doing a full "bare metal" backup and restore of your OS drive instead. I've used the free, open source app Clonezilla with great success.
  2. I think what you're asking here is whether you should focus on hardware or software first. I'd definitely focus on the software first. WS2012 + AO made a such dramatic and obvious improvement in my sound that I consider it essential. Running an OS that isn't optimized for audio degrades the sound before any hardware tweaks come into the picture.
  3. In a dual-server setup, JPlay is required and I use it to the fullest (Kernel Streaming, Directlink, Ultrastream, Hibernate, etc). I don't experience any system instability, but that may be because most of the optimization is focused on the AudioPC, which I run headless and have no direct interaction with. In a single-server setup, it's not required. I'm not sure how much JPlay could improve a single-server WS2012 + AO system, but the JPlay trial is free, so you could easily find out.
  4. AudioPhil and JPlay both unambiguously recommend Kernel Streaming as the most direct and efficient means of transferring the audio data.
  5. I have no knowledge here.
  6. Not sure exactly what you mean. The experience of using JRiver in core mode is pretty much the same as it is in Win 7/8. It runs with its full GUI, even though the OS doesn't have a GUI. I use Windows Remote Desktop to connect with and control my ControlPC from a laptop and it works very well. AO's options allow for shutting off all networking that you don't need. I only enabled Remote Desktop.

 

I'm upgrading my DAC and at the moment I have to run a backup DAC, which while serviceable, isn't compatible with WS2012. So I'm listening without any of the enhancements I've mentioned in this reply. There's no comparison.

Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, HQPlayer OS => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP NAA => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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k6,

 

Thanks for that info.

 

I'm not terribly computer savvy anymore, so I'm going to have to read up on Clonezilla a bit. I'm a bit confused about how to do a clone simply (I would need to put a clone onto another HD somewhere, and then purge the HD, then install the new OS, and then install the audio software, and audio optimizer. I think that is the sequence?). I can't help but think that the SSD in the machine is a small one, and I could get another for maybe $100 and just swap it out to make a complete duplicate disk, but with updated OS. I'll look into this more, because that $100 could go to the price of the OS if I decide to go that route.

 

I did verify that the CAPSv2 can handle a 64 bit OS, as that is what was specified in the original system, (Windows 7-64 bit). So I should be good to go in that respect.

 

I'll look into JPlay once have this machine up with WS2012... You are probably right that it won't do much at that point.

 

I'm going to see about the kernal streaming, but it sounds like the Audiophilleo should be ok.

 

I guess I was confused about the OC not having a GUI? I thought that would be a problem for JRiver, but I guess not. Once it is running, I will use it headless, so it is somewhat unimportant what it would display on a monitor, but I was thinking there might be a problem...

 

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

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(Clonezilla - About) is one of those apps that looks much more intimidating than it really is. When you launch it, it asks quite a few questions that you can generally breeze through, because the default answer is the only reasonable choice. I recommend it because it's simple once you have that understanding, plus it's fast, reliable and free. I've restored my system from backups I've made with it several times without issues.

 

I use a USB stick to boot into Clonezilla and backup my OS drive/partition to another USB stick. It can write the backup to any drive on your system or on your network. After that, you can erase the original drive. I back up to a 64GB USB stick (surprisingly cheap these days) and there's room for several copies of the OS that I've saved as I was being cautious while I was learning what I was doing. It's great insurance!

 

(Redo Backup Bare Metal Restore Solution GUI Backup Open Source GPL Recovery) is another free alternative that offers a very simple UI, but ironically, I had more difficulty getting it running (off of a USB stick).

 

For WS2012 + JRiver + Audiophile Optimizer (Highend-AudioPC), there are several remote control options available. I run it without a monitor directly connected to the server, but using the Windows Remote Desktop app on my Win 7 laptop, I interact with the server as though I were sitting in front of it with a monitor & keyboard.

 

In core mode, which is optional, but provides the best sound quality, WS2012 uses a DOS-Style command line interface. For ease of use, I have it set to automatically load everything I need when it boots, including JRiver, which runs with *its* full GUI. I also have the Windows Task Manager launch by default (also with its GUI), which makes it much easier to control the computer (especially if there's a hiccup) and restores some of the feeling of control you get with the Windows GUI.

 

There are some videos available on AudioPhil's site (Highend-AudioPC) that show it all working, plus his manual is very helpful. The whole experience of setting it up can seem a bit involved at first glance, but in hindsight (after doing it once or twice), it becomes quick and easy. Most importantly, the sonic benefits are well worth it.

Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, HQPlayer OS => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP NAA => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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k6,

 

OK, that sounds good and achievable for me... The last thing I want to do is brick the machine, but if I can create a clone safely, I should be good to go about installing the WS2012.

 

I am not clear on one thing from the AO thread. Can the operating system handle a USB wi-fi adapter while in core mode? That is how I have it connected to the network, which allows the iPad to interface and also (if I can get it stable), provides the music files. I don't have the ability to hard-wire to the network at that location without a decent amount of effort. I imagine it can, but don't want to be surprised with something down the road.

 

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

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k6,

 

OK, that sounds good and achievable for me... The last thing I want to do is brick the machine, but if I can create a clone safely, I should be good to go about installing the WS2012.

 

I am not clear on one thing from the AO thread. Can the operating system handle a USB wi-fi adapter while in core mode? That is how I have it connected to the network, which allows the iPad to interface and also (if I can get it stable), provides the music files. I don't have the ability to hard-wire to the network at that location without a decent amount of effort. I imagine it can, but don't want to be surprised with something down the road.

 

 

---Michael

 

My understanding is that you lose Wi-Fi in core mode. I believe it works in GUI mode and it may even work in Minimal Server mode, which is said to be (nearly?) identical sonically to core mode.

 

If you need to stick with Wi-Fi, I can tell you this from experience. The benefits of even WS2012 GUI without any optimization over Win 7/8 were apparent to me. Then the optimization had large impact. Not being able to use core mode wouldn't deter me from giving WS2012 + AO a try.

Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, HQPlayer OS => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP NAA => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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All the research indicates that this is a viable option.

 

I've collected together the OS, Jriver, the drivers I need, Clonezilla, and am ready to make a try.

 

Last night I cloned the HD onto a USB drive, created a USB install for the OS, updated a driver or two on the current machine (before the clone), and did some reading in the AO instructions to get familiar with the process.

 

Tonight, I'm going to have a listening session with the WIN7 version of my CAPSv2 one last time for mental notes of the sound and then possibly make the switch to WS2012.

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

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If you just got a second SSD, like you said - less than $100, then all you have to do is swap the HDs and you can go back and forth with what you're listening to. Granted there's about a 5 minute or so delay between listening to each, but that would allow you to try both setups basically side by side....

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That was one of the benefits of taking that approach... I can still do that, since I haven't removed anything yet. Maybe I should see what I can get a SSD for these days. I really like the idea of being able to a/b compare the sound to decide to pull the trigger on the OS purchase. Otherwise, it feels like making a decision without full information.

 

The Audiophilleo is known as a very good performer, and I wonder if that will negate some of the differences that people have experienced.

 

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

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That was one of the benefits of taking that approach... I can still do that, since I haven't removed anything yet. Maybe I should see what I can get a SSD for these days. I really like the idea of being able to a/b compare the sound to decide to pull the trigger on the OS purchase. Otherwise, it feels like making a decision without full information.

 

The Audiophilleo is known as a very good performer, and I wonder if that will negate some of the differences that people have experienced.

 

 

---Michael

 

Congrats on all of the steps that you've taken so far. In case you haven't already done so, I highly recommend that you get AudioPhil's manual from his website. It covers a lot more than just his product, including OS installation tips, and lots of BIOS/networking/system/hard drive setting advice.

 

For myself (and many others based on posts to this board and others), the Audiophile Optimizer made such a dramatic improvement that not only was a/b unnecessary, but there was no desire to go back at all. It isn't the subtle kind of change that most tweaks make. He claims a 100% success rate with the software. Apparently, no one has been unhappy with it.

 

Of course, this is not to tell you what to do, or that you shouldn't a/b, etc, but just to give you an idea of the improvement it has made for others and what might happen for you.

 

Again, this is the Audiophile Optimizer I'm speaking of, not just WS2012. WS2012 alone is an improvement, but its impact is small compared to that of WS2012 + AO.

Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, HQPlayer OS => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP NAA => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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Loaded WS2012 last night, and installed JRMS17 and the drivers for everything (I believe). I had a odd driver problem, and finally traced it to the onboard video. Got that installed, and now all good so far it appears.

 

One thing, I was forced to wipe the HD to do the install. I was trying to make a dual-boot system to maintain OS7 on there, but for some reason the WS2012 installer had problems, and I thought it may be because of that. However, I believe that the real problem was that as part of the install, the USB drive was being read after the first reboot, and I think it is supposed to be removed at the time of the first reboot (or at least the bios needs to be redirected to the actual boot location on the HD rather than the USB). That appears to be an undocumented quirk of the install.

 

So, after getting WS2012 installed fully, I'm going to try to install WIN7 on another partition so I can do an A-B comparison if possible.

 

I didn't do any critical listening last night, but I was able to get the system running to the speakers with music in kernel streaming mode.

 

Still need to get the NAS running so I can eliminate the external HD in the music room. For some reason, I couldn't find the NAS once I was connected to the router.

 

I think I found a solution to the problem of WS2012 not supporting USB wifi. I had a Netgear network extender handy and plugged that in to the ethernet connector. I had to get it going on another machine to work in the network, because WS2012 wouldn't allow the web page to set it up to com up for some reason.

 

Regardless, that worked, and now the machine is running with a network connection through ethertnet.

 

Here's what I have plugged in, and it is working (I think it is exactly the same product, maybe a slight model variant):

 

WN2000RPT | WiFi Range Extenders | Networking | Home | NETGEAR

 

I'm going to try this product as a substitution to the network extender:

 

WNCE2001 | Gaming & Home Theater Adapters | Connected Entertainment | Home | NETGEAR

 

It turns out that I have both for a few reasons, and only use the lower one at the moment on my 2007 Mac Pro (no wifi, and I've had problems with USB adapters on that machine. I can use the network extender on that machine.).

 

The WNCE2001 uses power from a USB adapter on the computer, so there should be no issues of ground loop hum at all if I take that approach, and one less wall wart, etc. to deal with.

 

Still need to make some adjustments to everything, and then see about the AO as well.

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

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Update #2...

 

I have the WS2012 running stable in GUI mode. I have trimmed the bios down to what appears to be similar to the recommendations in the AO PDF. Everything is running smoothly.

 

The NAS is up and interfacing correctly. For some reason, the default settings in WS2012 didn't permit the computer to discover the other computers and NAS on the network, even if manually requested. I verified that I had the correct workgroup info, and couldn't find them still. Took a little pecking, but I found the settings in one of the many layers of the configurations.

 

Now, everything is up and smoothly running I believe.

 

I purchased AO this afternoon, and will maybe get it running tonight.

 

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

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Update #2...

 

I have the WS2012 running stable in GUI mode. I have trimmed the bios down to what appears to be similar to the recommendations in the AO PDF. Everything is running smoothly.

 

The NAS is up and interfacing correctly. For some reason, the default settings in WS2012 didn't permit the computer to discover the other computers and NAS on the network, even if manually requested. I verified that I had the correct workgroup info, and couldn't find them still. Took a little pecking, but I found the settings in one of the many layers of the configurations.

 

Now, everything is up and smoothly running I believe.

 

I purchased AO this afternoon, and will maybe get it running tonight.

 

 

---Michael

 

That's great!

 

I'd suggest trying 4D on your server first (Sound Signature 4 and Digital Filter mode D).

 

Phil recently recommended 1D on the Control PC & 4D on the Audio PC of a Dual Server setup. I found that that I strongly preferred that configuration to others that I'd tried. He (and others on this board) also seemed to prefer the sound with the HPET (High Precision Event Timer) option enabled.

 

Obviously, YMMV with these and other settings.

Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, HQPlayer OS => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP NAA => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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  • 1 month later...

Mourip,

 

I have had the OS and the AO up and running with relatively little difficulty since the first few days.

 

I have to say that IN MY SYSTEM, I do not believe that changing the OS did much, and the AO was a very slight improvement.

 

I believe that it is possible that my system isn't revealing enough to show the improvement, the Audiophilleo is not nearly as prone to transmitting timing errors as many other USB---> coax converters, or that my space is so far from ideal as to eliminate the benefits.

 

As such, I will not pay for the OS upgrade, and revert back to Win7 as I think the money would be better spent on a component upgrade or on music rather than on the OS. I guess I'm OOL on the cost of the AO software.

 

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

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Mourip,

 

I have had the OS and the AO up and running with relatively little difficulty since the first few days.

 

I have to say that IN MY SYSTEM, I do not believe that changing the OS did much, and the AO was a very slight improvement.

 

I believe that it is possible that my system isn't revealing enough to show the improvement, the Audiophilleo is not nearly as prone to transmitting timing errors as many other USB---> coax converters, or that my space is so far from ideal as to eliminate the benefits.

 

As such, I will not pay for the OS upgrade, and revert back to Win7 as I think the money would be better spent on a component upgrade or on music rather than on the OS. I guess I'm OOL on the cost of the AO software.

 

 

---Michael

 

Thanks for the feedback Michael. Sorry to hear that the difference was not significant for you. Looking at your system specs I would say that you do have a good system however. I have a WS4Sound dac feeding a Pass Labs J2 but just an old HP small form factor PC running JRMC19 to push the bits. I will probably build my own version of the CAPS Zuma and see where I go from there.

 

Buying music is always money well spent :-)

 

Best,

 

Paul


"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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Michael,

 

Interesting comments. I also have an Audiophilleo (with PurePower) connected to a Metrum Octave mkI. Mine are connected to a Lamm LL2, McIntosh MC275, and B&W 804S. So we are in the same ball park as far as resolution, I think.

 

My reference was JRiver running on a very old Win XP laptop, with music on an external HDD connected thru USB, while the Audiophilleo also connects thru USB. So really not optimal.

 

I recently built a server based on Intel S1200KPR server board, running Windows Server 2012 from a SSD only dedicated to the OS and Jriver. Music is on an internal SATA HDD. Driving the Audiophilleo from the mobo USB, and without any break in time, I thought the sound was almost the same (maybe marginally better) as from the XP laptop. Disappointing, given the expense and trouble to get there.

 

I have now also installed the Paul Pang Audio USB card I had also bought. I'm breaking it in, but so far the sound is only a bit better than from the mobo USB. I'm really hoping this will improve with break in!

 

Also have the AudiophileOptimizer to try out, and battery power to the SSD and PPA USB card. I hope I get better performance than from the laptop!!

 

Maybe you are right and the Audiophilleo doesn't really allow for much improvement?

 

Oh well...it has been fun, I guess!

Roon Server: general purpose Gigabyte GA-Z170X UD5, i5 6600, Crucial MX200 SSD, HyperX 1x16GB RAM, Win 10 Pro, convolving in Roon digital xo + DRC + upsampling. Output through ethernet.

Roon Client AudioPC: Uptone etherRegen (with LPS 1.2) into Intel S1200KPR, Xeon E3 1265lv2, Crucial V4 SSD for OS, 8GB ECC RAM, Streacom FC8 Evo case, lab linear PSU, Windows Server 2019, AudioPhil's Optimizer, Acourate (digital xo, room correction)

Rest of Chain: Lynx Hilo as 8-channel DAC, McIntosh MC275 MkIV for mids & treble, Hypex UcD400HG for midbass into DIY dipoles 18" midbass/2x8" mids/AMT tweeter, 2 DIY 12" Rythmik subs, Equi=Core 1800 balanced power, dedicated power lines, room treatments

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