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Really Weird PC Music Server Problem - Help Is Requested


pbowne

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I have a home-built PC music server that has been wonderful to listen to. Just recently I got new SATA cables and used 3m AB5030 EMI/RFI to shield the cables and some of the chips on the motherboard.

 

When I start listening to music it sounds fantastic, but after 30-60 seconds it starts exhibiting major distortion and, get this, the music drops a half to full step in pitch. I've never experienced a change in pitch in the digital domain before.

 

For background, I am using the following:

 

Intel Celeron G1620 cpu with Integrated HD Graphics (so I don't have to use a video card)

MSI B75MA-E33 (Military Class III with solid caps) LGA 1155 MicroATX motherboard

Patriot Viper 3 DDR3 1600mhz 4gb (1 stick - I can add another if I need to)

Seasonic S12II SS-330GB 330w ATX 80 PLUS Certified PSU

Kingston SSDNow 200 64gb 2.5" SATAIII solid-state drive

2 Hitachi hard drives with a lot of music (and room for more of it) one 3tb and one 2tb.

An Anker Astro E4 13000mAh Portable Battery pack to power the SSD drive

ASUS Xonar DS PCI soundcard with upgraded opamps

 

Microsoft Server 2012

 

None of the equipment other than the SATA cables has changed.

_______________

 

What could be the cause of the increasing distortion and change of pitch?

 

Peter

 

BTW. I really appreciate all the good articles and advice I've gleaned from this website.

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Peter,

 

Something can't keep up, and this coincidentally expresses as skipping samples. With this latter I mean : this will change the pitch (skipping one of the other sample will make the pitch twice as low).

 

If you really only changed the SATA cables (and that shielding) it is likely that something is bad and noise is implying "re-tries" which consume resources. That you only notice after a while is because at some stage the work to be done to correct is conflicting with the resources needed for audio playback itself. This is a bit hard to explain, but what happens is not strange.

 

Lastly, whatever your shielding is supposed to do, notice that no EMI/RFI/etc. can be absorbed or something; so what can easily happen is that what you guide away from one place now collects in another (think high beam) and there things can't bear it. So removing that shielding can already solve the problem.

 

Regards,

Peter

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Just a punt - maybe an unlikely one - but could the change of pitch also theoretically be a result of the incorrect detection of sampling rate by the dac, as a result of some other issues?

 

</ducks>

Front End: Neet Airstream

Digital Processing: Chord Hugo M-Scaler

DAC: Chord Dave

Amplification: Cyrus Mono x300 Signatures

Speakers: Kudos Titan T88

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If you ask me ...

 

During playback ? no. At the start of it theoretically yes, but the chance that some data (byte) is coming across in wrong fashion and then implies exactly this, is so unlikely that I better say "theoretically also no".

This, while it is very easy to skip one of the other sample and perceive what happens (or one out of 10 etc. with a just 10% lower pitch).

Notice that it is NOT easy to mimic such behavior with just wrong buffer settings as such; it is a behavior of what the CPU is held up with and priorities for it. Since this must be interrupt related (to let the lower pitch happen) it is also likely that it is about hardware errors hence re-tries. So, we can imagine that audio playback has priority over about all or otherwise we would never be able to play fine music, but once the music data itself can not be read in well fashion, what to do.

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Just a punt - maybe an unlikely one - but could the change of pitch also theoretically be a result of the incorrect detection of sampling rate by the dac, as a result of some other issues?

 

</ducks>

I agree that it's on the playback side if the pitch changes. It's not anything related to getting the data to the player. Either the player or the driver are having trouble.

Jim Hillegass / JRiver Media Center / jriver.com

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Since I had used the original SATA cables to shield, I've ordered new plain SATA cables to substitute. I'll try them as soon as I get them. If that doesn't work then I'll have to go back and , bit by bit remove shielding from wherever I put it.

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Makes a lot of sense. I had been thinking along lines that EMI/RFI is absorbed/removed so I have to rethink the process. If the plain SATA cables don't change it back then I'll do a step-by-step removal of the EMI shielding until it works properly again.

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The player or drivers haven't changed (forgive me, but I've used MediaMonkey Gold as I like the way it's organized) so PeterSt's comments that EMI beaming causing overload in reading cycles in a chip somewhere seems to make the most sense. But I am willing to learn throughout the process of correcting this problem.

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