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Linear Powered Rips & flash drives sound better - Alex was right !


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Hi to all,

We have all heard about the supposed virtues of LPSU's improving sound quality.This is usually in the context of powering a server as an alternative to a SMPS. More controversial areas are in relation to ripping music using a linear powered writer (disc optical drive) and with addressing the computer 5V usb power output to your DAC. I have no axe to grind either way but mostly considered the claims a little improbable given oft quoted reasons why files with the same ckecksum should not sound different, digital interconnects shouldnt sound different (irrespective of their 5V source) etc.

 

Toady I met with a few friends inclusing Alex (SandyK on CA). Alex played me the same ripped file, Tangled up in Blue, Bob Dylan,one ripped the conventional way and the second using a linear powered optical disc drive. I was not told which was which.To my surprise I immediately preferred one version. A second comparison, a Diana Krall track was played and again I had a preference for one of the versions but this time not as pronounced. My preference (to my subjective ears) was in removing annoying grain from the the vocal midrange, a more refined treble, overall more transparent and more engaging sound. Turns out in both cases the preferred selection was the lpsu ripped track. This was heard over my Stax electrostatic headphones and played via an oppo 105 (itself having a lpsu). The difference was still audible when played through the Thiel speakers, Emotiva power amp, Aurelac Vega DAC. The files were situated on a Corsair thumb drive plugged into its own external lpsu (JLH) supplying clean usb power.The files had identical checksums.

 

The usb Corsair flash drive was then plugged into my laptop and various tracks played directly from it.These tracks were played again using the Corsair in conjunction with the JLH lpsu with the laptop. The laptop was running off battery. I prefferred the JLH in the mix. On occasions the voice (Krall) sounded more "natural" without the JLH, but a little leaner. Changing to the JLH gave a fuller rendition and tended to change the tonal balance a little with a purer treble seeming to be responsible.There was more treble detail and sparkle and again more transparent but without etch or harshness. I do not know which was in fact the more "accurate" but suspect it was the JLH version.

 

These are not scientific tests or supposed to be. They are not aimed at sparking measurements vs listening debates or whether differences are real or imagined. My views are entirely based on my subjective perceptions and enjoyment of the music. If you have the opportunity, try it, you might also be pleasantly surprised.

 

Cheers

David

Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Well it appears Alex has another convert to his linear powered rips and music playback incorporating JLH ...."shunt regulators" I think they are called. "Convert" is technically incorrect as the person in question, Dennis, had no prior knowledge of linear powered anything, nor any axe to grind. Indeed oblivious to the whole controversy surrounding 'bits is bits'. Dennis just loves listening to music and is a jazz pianist. He also is a neurologist and ophthalmic surgeon, having two specialist degrees, a sucker for punishment !

 

I helped Dennis put together a music system recently with Revel salon 2 speakers, VTL tube preamp, pass labs 100.5 class a monoblocks, Bricasti M1 DAC, gryphon cabling, and macbook pro/JRiver....soon to be replaced with a server.

 

Last weekend we had a gathering of interested people to hear how it 'turned out'. The answer, magnificent !

 

Alex K was present and we had access to an external LPSU+JLH with linear ripped material on a corsair flash drive. This was compared to the same tracks played from a HDD and non-linear rips on the Corsair.

 

Dennis' response ? "Where do I get one of those funny little boxes JL thingys". Dennis simply preferred the sound without any interest in whether it was controversial or not. There was no influence or pre-conditioning except the fact he knew we were comparing sound quality of various different things.

 

Once again, this is not a scientific test, just an observation. It is not aimed at sparking measurements vs listening debates or whether differences are real or imagined.

 

David

Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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It seems to point to a linearly powered and regulated source to help improve audio during playback. There are quite a few here that have done similar things. All my HDs are also linearly powered and I use SATA filters.

 

Where people get sceptical is whether a rip that has the same checksum, Accurate rip verified will sound different when linearly ripped or not. In your setup, did you have both file types, both Accurate ripped verified, on the flash drive and did a bit of blind testing?

 

Cheers

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Alex K was present and we had access to an external LPSU+JLH with linear ripped material on a corsair flash drive. This was compared to the same tracks played from a HDD and non-linear rips on the Corsair.

 

David,

 

I do not think it is correct to state Dennis' preference for linear ripped material is caused by better sounding rips due to the use Alex' power-supply during the ripping process.

 

To be able to draw an, indeed, highly controversial conclusion like that, one must ensure that the only difference in the playback-chain is the files itself. In other words, besides the files, the playback-condition must be exactly the same at all time. That is a condition which, as far as I can tell (see the "bolded" parts of the quote), has not been met.

 

Kind regards,

Peter

“We are the Audiodrones. Lower your skepticism and surrender your wallets. We will add your cash and savings to our own. Your mindset will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.” - (Quote from Star Trek: The Audiophile Generation)

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I do not think it is correct to state Dennis' preference for linear ripped material is caused by better sounding rips due to the use Alex' power-supply during the ripping process.

 

To be able to draw an, indeed, highly controversial conclusion like that, one must ensure that the only difference in the playback-chain is the files itself.

 

Hi Peter

In the case of the .wav files ripped using a JLH PSU add-on in line with the LG BR writer, and the same .wav files ripped using an external USB powered Samsung writer, both of the resulting .wav files were saved to the same Corsair Voyager and all sets of comparison .wav files on the Corsair Voyager were verified to have identical checksums. The files on the HDD also had identical checksums to the Corsair copies at the time of being copied to there. All files were played from the same USB port on the Laptop via the same equipment chain.(Bricasti M1 DAC) The host was also given the duplicate CD-R s of comparison .wav files as originally sent to B.D.

At the previous listening session a couple of weeks earlier, those present were able to readily identify the differences in SQ between the alternate versions of the tracks on the comparison CDs when played via a CD player. ALL sets of comparison tracks on the CDs had been confirmed to have identical checksums after being ripped back to HDD.

The cover of the CD -R saw identical names given to each set of tracks.

e.g. 01.Time After Time.wav 02.Time After Time.wav 03.Black Velvet.wav 04.Black Velvet.wav.

 

Regards

Alex

 

e.g.

; Checksums generated by ExactFile 1.0.0.15

; ExactFile | Making sure that what you hash is what you get.

; 2/09/2013 10:51:15 AM

 

876f389b2713bb1415eaf99fa3fc01e9 *01.Time After Time.wav

876f389b2713bb1415eaf99fa3fc01e9 *02 Track02.wav

a9b72dc2c34cf69f4d3094d2cd288b72 *03.Black Velvet.wav

a9b72dc2c34cf69f4d3094d2cd288b72 *04 Track04.wav

5e4af86de7079b5173ff70d2327bf054 *05.California Girls.wav

5e4af86de7079b5173ff70d2327bf054 *06 Track06.wav

34503f9f1d9303483f54fe5337cace25 *07.Ascent.wav

34503f9f1d9303483f54fe5337cace25 *08 Track08.wav

cff96ee6c984a0357867b626bc243703 *09.Tangled Up In Blue.wav

cff96ee6c984a0357867b626bc243703 *10 Track10.wav

106b83e6f5cbffbafaacea88782309ae *11.Dance To The Music.wav

106b83e6f5cbffbafaacea88782309ae *12 Track12.wav

d77d2d02b2d47e24ae803efc4b329c95 *13.Sumiyaki Coffee.wav

d77d2d02b2d47e24ae803efc4b329c95 *14 Track14.wav

b71f6dd4039e4ce02ea277f3a3c593cc *15.Your Mama Don't Dance.wav

b71f6dd4039e4ce02ea277f3a3c593cc *16 Track16.wav

51443269979bf2cef5a86b132294426f *original CD2.txt

 

; 17 files hashed.

 

P.S.

I did not know that David was going to post either of his posts.

 

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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Hi Peter

In the case of the .wav files ripped using a JLH PSU add-on in line with the LG BR writer, and the same .wav files ripped using an external USB powered Samsung writer, both of the resulting .wav files were saved to the same Corsair Voyager and all sets of comparison .wav files on the Corsair Voyager were verified to have identical checksums. The files on the HDD also had identical checksums to the Corsair copies at the time of being copied to there. All files were played from the same USB port on the Laptop via the same equipment chain.(Bricasti M1 DAC) The host was also given the duplicate CD-R s of comparison .wav files as originally sent to B.D.

At the previous listening session a couple of weeks earlier, those present were able to readily identify the differences in SQ between the alternate versions of the tracks on the comparison CDs when played via a CD player. ALL sets of comparison tracks on the CDs had been confirmed to have identical checksums after being ripped back to HDD.

The cover of the CD -R saw identical names given to each set of tracks.

e.g. 01.Time After Time.wav 02.Time After Time.wav 03.Black Velvet.wav 04.Black Velvet.wav.

 

Regards

Alex

 

Hi Alex,

 

I am sure all the files had identical check-sums, but that is not my point. What I read in David's post is that one version was played from your Corsair, and the other version was played from HDD. If the files played from HDD caused the HDD to spin during playback, but the HDD was not spinning during playback from the Corsair, the playback-condition is altered, and therefore could be the cause of the discerned difference.

 

Kind regards,

Peter

“We are the Audiodrones. Lower your skepticism and surrender your wallets. We will add your cash and savings to our own. Your mindset will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.” - (Quote from Star Trek: The Audiophile Generation)

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Another few follow up questions.

 

Is the OS tweaked?

 

Were there perhaps different amount of background processes running during the various takes?

 

Were you using the memory playback setting in JRiver?

 

Was the network, both/either LAN or WiFI on?

 

Was the screen on? Any mouse connected during playback?

 

Cheers

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What I read in David's post is that one version was played from your Corsair, and the other version was played from HDD. If the files played from HDD caused the HDD to spin during playback, but the HDD was not spinning during playback from the Corsair, the playback-condition is altered, and therefore could be the cause of the discerned difference.

 

Kind regards,

Peter

 

Peter

IIRC, we played the files initially from David's HDD, then played both versions directly from the Corsair Voyager, where the "Linear" rip was clearly better than either of the other versions. I had no part in the setting up procedure as I just sat on my tail while the changes were made, and I wasn't always privy to the changes, but was asked each time for my impressions.. Normally when played from my PC they are played using cPlay from System Memory.

I would love you to try and explain how 2 .wav files sourced by the same methods , then burned as consecutive tracks on a CD-R can sound markedly different too, especially if directly played by a CD player. The differences are still audible when ripped to HDD again, but not nearly as obvious. As for spinning HDDs, I have the same comparison .wav files saved to several different HDDs. Those saved to the HDD with a C-L-C filter in line with that HDDs power, sound clearly better than the same saved to another HDD without the CLC filter, despite being played from System Memory.

 

Now here is something to really get up your nose. A couple of days ago I installed a 120GB Samsung EVO 840 SSD in my PC, powered by a small combined +12V to 5V regulator followed by a John Linsley Hood PSU add-on. This sounds way better again than even from the Corsair Voyager powered by a +5V Linear JLH PSU with a modified USB cable.

This is with both played from System Memory using cPlay.

Alex

3rlXEg.jpg

 

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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Another few follow up questions.

 

Is the OS tweaked?

 

Were there perhaps different amount of background processes running during the various takes?

 

Were you using the memory playback setting in JRiver?

 

Was the network, both/either LAN or WiFI on?

 

Was the screen on? Any mouse connected during playback?

 

Cheers

 

Tranz

Both a Mac and a Windows Laptop were used for playback. and David believed that his Windows laptop sounded a little better , although he may have been giving his friend a hard time (?) Incidentally, although the USB HDD sounded quite a bit better when powered by either iFi USB or the +5V JLH PSU, it sounded further improved if they were used in tandem.

There was general agreement on this.

You will need to ask David the other questions.

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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Were you using the memory playback setting in JRiver?

 

tranz

We both know that playing from memory playback will normally result in a SQ improvement, but jRiver himself in a fairly recent reply to a post by me, stated that he did not accept that playing from System Memory could result in an improvement. Clearly, it is only there because quite a few customers must have asked for the facility.

 

Alex

 

P.S.

When I rip CDs , I have the Start Up processes minimised using Ashampoo Win Optimiser.

I also unplug the lead from the PC to the Broadband Modem when ripping.

This was suggested by another C.A. member some months ago, and it does result in a small but noticeable improvement in the rips. I don't do this for playback though, as the cable to the modem doesn't like repeated removals and insertions, resulting in poor Internet speeds or NO Internet.

If it wasn't such a P.I.T.A. to get into Safe Mode with W8.1/64 , I would rip while in Safe Mode, as it resulted in a worthwhile improvement with Win 7.

That was originally reported by a DIYAudio member from Melbourne Au.

 

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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so what is happening is that rf noise effect from the power supply is being captured in some invisible way in the bytes stored in the wav file. Wonder if it's possible to clean up the bytes in the playback software. Would it be possible to produce an rf spike and see if that makes it through to the final wav file.

There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made. Richard P Feynman

 

http://mqnplayer.blogspot.co.uk/

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tranz

We both know that playing from memory playback will normally result in a SQ improvement, but jRiver himself in a fairly recent reply to a post by me, stated that he did not accept that playing from System Memory could result in an improvement. Clearly, it is only there because quite a few customers must have asked for the facility.

 

 

Actually on Windows, you don't know if you're reading from memory or fetching virtual memory that you then read. In fact, even just reading a file, because of the way windows uses look ahead and virtual memory, what you think is reading from a file may be just a virtual memory page read from a page that's already in memory that's copied into your address space.

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I have to admit, when something doesn't really make sense, as in the same ripped files with the same data (even though ripped differently) sound different, I feel obliged to question the objective reason behind the subjective experience. One possibility that has nothing to do with the ripping method is that if all the LPS ripped files were transferred first to the USB drive and then the non-LPS ripped files were transferred and the USB drive was used previously, it is possible that the LPS ripped files were aligned more "linearly?" and "less fragmented" because the files were written into previously unused space of the USB drive and by comparison, the non-LPS ripped files may be more "fragmented" because some of them had to overwrite previously used areas of the USB drive, resulting in more seeking within the USB drive during playback. It's hard to know. I believe that David and Alex heard clear differences. I'm just not sure if it's related to the LPS during ripping.

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I believe that David and Alex heard clear differences. I'm just not sure if it's related to the LPS during ripping.

 

You are probably already aware that Martin Colloms has verified these differences with 6 separate Blind A/B/A 3 minute sessions ? He saved the uploaded comparison .wav files to USB memory, yet the order of preference remained the same when played back.

Care to explain then, how the differences between.wav files ripped by the same methods, and stored on the same empty and reformatted or new USB memory stick, can be burned to a CD-R as consecutive tracks, and clear differences heard when played via a good CD player ?

When the comparison CDs are ripped back to verify that the checksums are still identical, differences can still be heard, although the differences are no longer quite as obvious.

 

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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Fragmentation applies to spinning drives, not flash memory.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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A bit is either a 1 or a 0.

 

True, but the same sequence of 1s and 0s does not necessarily sound the same in the real world of jitter, electrical noise, decompression processing, etc., etc.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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I'm not doubting the possibility but why not upload two files to a sharepoint for people to demo and let them see if they can indeed hear a difference? You can even make it completely blind and not tell which is which for a week.

 

Because these magical differences don't survive the upload according to Alex.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I'm not doubting the possibility but why not upload two files to a sharepoint for people to demo and let them see if they can indeed hear a difference?

You can even make it completely blind and not tell which is which for a week.

 

I have uploaded 100s of comparison .wav files in the last 5 years, including some that Chris C. actually downloaded in Nov 2009, but decided not to listen to them.

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f8-general-forum/file-format-2861/

Several members did however report hearing the differences in the thread back then.

I have had confirmation from Martin Colloms who is a well respected technical writer and E.E. with >30 years experience , by way of 6 positive separate Blind A/B/A 3 minute sessions, and have sent a couple of comparison CDs to New York for evaluation, as well as a couple of Corsair USB memory sticks to Europe.

 

I am not about to UL any more files on demand for sceptics with an axe to grind.

I have offered several times to demonstrate these things directly to any interested Sydney members,(David L. ( audiophile neuroscience) is one of those who took me up on my offer) or even involve E.E. staff members from Silicon Chip magazine or perhaps even suitably qualified Sydney University staff members. I have also had confirmation from a couple of qualified Sydney E.E.s that I have shared with a few members via "In Confidence" PMs.

TBH, I don't feel the need for further validation of my reports, but I have always been willing to cooperate behind the scenes with any genuinely interested member.

More recently in T.A.S. 220 and 221 they came to fairly similar conclusions.

See the link provided by Paul in the new thread http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f8-general-forum/round-two-audio-measurements-according-tas-22522/

 

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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Because these magical differences don't survive the upload according to Alex.

 

That is utter Bullshit, and you know it !

The differences survived sufficiently for Martin Colloms and quite a few other members with better than average gear, to be able to identify and verify clear differences. The latest reports from T.A.S. are also offering further confirmation of many of my reports that were posted in C.A. well before the publication of T.A.S. 220 and 221.

 

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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That is utter Bullshit, and you know it !

The differences survived sufficiently for Martin Colloms and quite a few other members with better than average gear, to be able to identify and verify clear differences. The latest reports from T.A.S. are also offering further confirmation of many of my reports that were posted in C.A. well before the publication of T.A.S. 220 and 221.

 

Well, my apologies for not quite getting the magic then. I seem to recall you complained it had to be played back from the stick it was placed upon with a LPS powering it during the file placement for full effect. Still magical though that a format with nothing except 1's and 0's encoded somehow encodes power supply effects without changing any of those 1's and 0's.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I seem to recall you complained it had to be played back from the stick it was placed upon with a LPS powering it during the file placement for full effect.

 

It's no secret that this has always been my preferred option, as the audible differences are far more obvious than when using Internet file exchanges. It is also the way that we conduct listening tests in Sydney at various locations . There have been 3 out of 3, positive listening sessions at various locations in Sydney in the last 2 months using this method, and using various other DACs, amplification and speakers. There is likely to be another listening session over the Xmas holiday period at the house of the well experienced E.E. who about 12 months ago also confirmed my reports, and then at a later date successfully demonstrated them to an EE friend without me being present.

 

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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