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Help with odd issue...


Paul R

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I am currently testing an iDSD Nano and have discovered something about my system that I think I do not like over much. :)

 

The system is currently setup like so:

Mac Mini (2013) --> JRiver Media Center v19 --> Kimber USB-B cable (6.1% silver) --> iFi iUSB Power --> iFi Gemini dual headed USB cable --> iFi iDSD Nano --> Nordost Blue Heaven .6m Analog Interconnects --> pre/poweramp --> speakers

 

The reason I stopped listing specifics after the analog interconnects is that nothing past that seems to make any difference at all with this issue.

 

On to the issue- vocals, when intense, take on a harsh/brash sound that just isn't there for anything else. Some of these folks sound like they must smoke 3 packs a day. Perhaps they do... but...

 

The harshness happens only when using JRMC, or Audirvana+. When using Amarra or iTunes, the music is smooth and the vocals lack all but the tiniest hint of that harshness.

 

I am thinking some setting in JRMC or A+ is causing this to be highlighted or amplified. But for the life of me, I cannot figure out what. I've tried bit perfect, up sampling, integer / not integer, etc.

 

Anyone else experience this or have an idea of where to look for the problem? Oh, I should mention that whatever this harshness is, Karen either does not hear it or it doesn't bother her. It's distracting to me though. :)

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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On Audirvana, you might try different settings. For example if you're using Integer Mode, Mode 1 then try switching to Mode 2. Does that make a difference? Of course you could experiment also with oversampling settings, hog mode, etc. to see if that changes the playback issues you're having.

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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Help with odd issue...

 

Perhaps revealing a minor PSU/EMI issue that has come to light when using the more revealing iFi gear, and could disappear after you change to a John Swenson designed linear PSU ?

I had a similar effect a couple of days ago after replacing a couple of faulty domed top electrolytic capacitors in the DAC for my PC with Nichicon Gold types. After about 36 hours with the new capacitors it sounded great again.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Perhaps revealing a minor PSU/EMI issue that has come to light when using the more revealing iFi gear, and could disappear after you change to a John Swenson designed linear PSU ?

I had a similar effect a couple of days ago after replacing a couple of faulty domed top electrolytic capacitors in the DAC for my PC with Nichicon Gold types. After about 36 hours with the new capacitors it sounded great again.

 

 

Maybeso- but then why not with all the players?

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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[Maybeso- but then why not with all the players? /QUOTE]

 

Perhaps different CPU usage patterns etc. ? Perhaps also even different amounts of Software "Jitter." ?

You are also now more likely to notice subtle SQ differences between various software players due to the cleaner "window" via the iFi gear.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Never have an issue with vocals on iTunes. Are you sure that Kimber USB cable has 6.1 silver. Just sayin. It's pretty well known that vocals tax a system more than anything else and when it pops up it frequently is a power issue but that's not it soooo.

David

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Well, I Will be darned! I switched out the Kimber USB for an Audioquest Cinnamon, and whaddayaknow? The stuff I was hearing went away. So, unfortunately, did some of the detail I was grooving on, but... Progress!! Thanks Dave, looks like your instinct was spot on here. Not really the software at all... Though why iTunes and Amarra sounded right, I will never know.

 

Now to work my way through the USB cables I have stashed about...

 

Paul

 

Never have an issue with vocals on iTunes. Are you sure that Kimber USB cable has 6.1 silver. Just sayin. It's pretty well known that vocals tax a system more than anything else and when it pops up it frequently is a power issue but that's not it soooo.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Though why iTunes and Amarra sounded right, I will never know.

The silver content of the cable is highlighting differences that exist between bit perfect software players, and minutely accentuating upper HF content ?

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Mac Mini (2013) --> JRiver Media Center v19 --> Kimber USB-B cable (6.1% silver) --> iFi iUSB Power --> iFi Gemini dual headed USB cable --> iFi iDSD Nano --> Nordost Blue Heaven .6m Analog Interconnects --> pre/poweramp --> speakers

 

Hmmm, the combo of cables and connections is a mixed soup. 3 USB cables and two iFi devices. Is simpler better? Remove the iUSB, run the Kimber straight to the DAC. I found the iUSB to hinder SQ with silver cabling. In addition, there are multiple power supplies starting to create issues of their own.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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The silver content of the cable is highlighting differences that exist between bit perfect software players, and minutely accentuating upper HF content ?

 

Could be- the AQ Cinnamon is only 1.2% silver, but what works works. I hate the whole idea that different USB cables can and do sound different. I was hoping the iUSB would minimize that.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Interestingly Paul, your experience is similar to how silver often sounds when used in analog cabling- lots of detail and some sibilance.

Could be- the AQ Cinnamon is only 1.2% silver, but what works works. I hate the whole idea that different USB cables can and do sound different. I was hoping the iUSB would minimize that.

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

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

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

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Could be- the AQ Cinnamon is only 1.2% silver, but what works works. I hate the whole idea that different USB cables can and do sound different. I was hoping the iUSB would minimize that.

 

Interestingly Paul, your experience is similar to how silver often sounds when used in analog cabling- lots of detail and some sibilance. - 4est

It's interesting that digital can still exhibit Analogue traits, and according to presently accepted theory that is impossible..

I can create similar differences to what Paul obtained, simply by choice of capacitor types and values with external +5V linear USB PSUs. As an example, with the JLH PSU Add-on that I use in my external Linear +5V USB PSU, it uses 2 x 4,700uF (typically) in parallel in the capacitance multiplier section. If I use 2 normal 4,700uF in parallel in that area it sounds slightly dull. Changing one of the 2 parallel electros to a low ESR type of the same value makes it sound more natural, with an improved soundstage and HF detail, but using 2 x 4,700uF low ESR types in parallel results as Paul has described, with a markedly larger soundstage, which can be larger than life, as well as more HF detail, but it can also make some voices and instruments sound a little edgy and fatiguing.This has already been documented in HFC forum.

It seems highly likely that you could also do the same with the iFi external PSU by adding a few parallel 100nF ceramic capacitors in the PSU area.

 

Alex

 

P.S.

I am just posting my experiences in this area in reply to Paul and Forrest, NOT to enter into another heated debate as to why Subjective reports un the digital audio area are all imaginary.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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sandyk: If we extrapolate upon J Swenson's paper, the silver may exacerbate the USB issues.

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

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

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

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sandyk: If we extrapolate upon J Swenson's paper, the silver may exacerbate the USB issues.

I blame the Cybermen!

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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Hi, how about taking Gemini data head straight to mac mini and the power head to the ifiusb and elimimate usb cable between

the mac mini an ifiusb.

 

I can try that, but it seems kind of counter-intuitive. I believe the Gemini data cable also supports power. -Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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It's interesting that digital can still exhibit Analogue traits, and according to presently accepted theory that is impossible..

I can create similar differences to what Paul obtained, simply by choice of capacitor types and values with external +5V linear USB PSUs. As an example, with the JLH PSU Add-on that I use in my external Linear +5V USB PSU, it uses 2 x 4,700uF (typically) in parallel in the capacitance multiplier section. If I use 2 normal 4,700uF in parallel in that area it sounds slightly dull. Changing one of the 2 parallel electros to a low ESR type of the same value makes it sound more natural, with an improved soundstage and HF detail, but using 2 x 4,700uF low ESR types in parallel results as Paul has described, with a markedly larger soundstage, which can be larger than life, as well as more HF detail, but it can also make some voices and instruments sound a little edgy and fatiguing.This has already been documented in HFC forum.

It seems highly likely that you could also do the same with the iFi external PSU by adding a few parallel 100nF ceramic capacitors in the PSU area.

 

Alex

 

P.S.

I am just posting my experiences in this area in reply to Paul and Forrest, NOT to enter into another heated debate as to why Subjective reports un the digital audio area are all imaginary.

 

Hi Alex,

I noticed these sorts of things many years ago with an amp I was building, this is what got me interested in power supply design in the first place. It turned out it was not voodoo at all, but related to supply resonances and transient response. Its very easy to see with a scope when you know what to look for.

 

The amazing part to me is how little of this seems to be known by equipment designers, a lot of equipment does not sound as good as it could, simply because these parameters have not been optimized.

 

John S.

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Hi John

Thanks for the response.

Now for the tricky part. How do things like this cause analogue type sound changes with digital audio ? Martin Colloms has already verified that the rips I submitted using variations in the power supply to an internal LG BR writer did indeed result in SQ differences, despite the .wav files still having identical check sums, and being stored on the same medium at both ends.

 

How did your Kelvin Sensor cause a worthwhile improvement in the sound of digital audio when you already had a low impedance, low noise and well regulated Linear PSU for the Mac Mini? Will you be recommending that most users avail themselves of that option?

 

Kind Regards

Alex

 

sandyk: If we extrapolate upon J Swenson's paper, the silver may exacerbate the USB issues

 

Forrest

Care to go into more detail on that one, or point me to the paper and section that suggests that to you ?

Kind Regards

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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"Packet jitter is the difference in the arrival time of packets to the receiver chip. USB packets are transmitted over the bus at either 1000 per second (full speed mode) or 8000 per second (high speed mode). Every time one of those packets hits the receiver a lot of activity happens inside the receiver chip. This creates lots of noise inside the chip and on the ground plane. This causes a lot of jitter on the outputs from the chip. The spectrum of this noise and jitter has a VERY strong component at either 1KHz or 8KHz, both of which are directly in the audio range. Any changes in the arrival time of the packets will change the spectrum of this packet noise. In the next installment I’ll cover what causes this packet jitter. "

 

Q&A with John Swenson. Part 2: Are Bits Just Bits? | AudioStream

 

Hi John

Thanks for the response.

Now for the tricky part. How do things like this cause analogue type sound changes with digital audio ? Martin Colloms has already verified that the rips I submitted using variations in the power supply to an internal LG BR writer did indeed result in SQ differences, despite the .wav files still having identical check sums, and being stored on the same medium at both ends.

 

How did your Kelvin Sensor cause a worthwhile improvement in the sound of digital audio when you already had a low impedance, low noise and well regulated Linear PSU for the Mac Mini? Will you be recommending that most users avail themselves of that option?

 

Kind Regards

Alex

 

 

 

Forrest

Care to go into more detail on that one, or point me to the paper and section that suggests that to you ?

Kind Regards

Alex

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

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

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

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Hi Forrest

I had seen that one, but hadn't associated it with the silver exacerbating the USB issues.

Are you perhaps suggesting varying/smearing of propagation times due to silver plating of the copper than perhaps with either pure copper, or pure silver ?

Regards

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Interestingly Paul, your experience is similar to how silver often sounds when used in analog cabling- lots of detail and some sibilance.

 

And annoying... I have been switching cables around all night till I am just about an inch away from throwing the whole kit and caboodle straight into the garbage bin. I think it is turning out to be some interference from nearby HDMI and/or speaker cables. (Nearby being 8", which should be more than enough to halt that nonsense, but apparently not.)

 

The silver content may be a red herring, as I think the shielding might have more to do with it than the cable composition or plating. More experimentation is called for. And beer.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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You are most likely correct Paul. I am not suggesting that it is actually the culprit, but the only vehicle I imagined straightaway. I have not experimented since purchasing a Cryroparts one (RIP Lee) 5 years ago.

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

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

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

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