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Upgrade CAPS V2


Arutha64

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Hello everybody!

 

I am not english, if in any way, shape or form I made some mistakes in writing this post I apologize.

 

I have got a CAPS V2

- MB : ASUS P8Z77-I DELUXE

- CPU : Intel i3-2120T

- Case : Origen M10

- Power supply : Pico PSU FSP 150W

- SSD Intel

- Hdd 2.5" WD blue

- Windows 7 Jriver 19

- CPU FAN Noctua

 

Speakers : Elac FS257

Dac : Cambgridge Dac Magic+

Amp : Arcam A19

 

Recently a friend lend me a cd player cambridge and I realize that is far better sounding than my computer.

I would like to improve sound quality from the computer.

 

For 600 dollars what do you think is the best to do?

 

- Sotm tX-Usb Pci Express card (does it fits in my case)

- Audiophilleo 2

- Clearlink USB cable

- Filter Sotm Hdd (useless for SSD?)

- Filter Sotm fan

- Buy a streamer like Sotm 100

- other ?

 

Best regards!

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Your computer components/software and dac should be capable of good sound so make sure everything is set up properly. What music files are you playing? If wav or similar I would advise you to try HQPlayer trial and try different filters and see if you can get it to sound as you want. If you can't then try and get an home demonstration of some dacs in the price range you would get for your dac and the $600 just to compare with the CD player. This won't cost you any money to try (if you get an obliging dac dealer).

 

I'm not sure how you picked the components on your list but you could try things like the usb cable if you can return it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some questions First

 

 

- Which Cambridge Audio DAC did you listen to ?

 

 

- How are you connecting between the PC and DAC Magic USB 1.x or USB 2

 

 

- Where is your music stored and in which Format ?

 

 

Your i3 CPU has a power of 35 Watts, so a passive cooling solution should be possible. My experience with Noctura fans is that whilst they are acoustically very quiet, their electrical Noise Signal is quite detrimental to sound quality. Suggest unplugging and removing the Fan to See if CPU core temperatures stay cool enough. There are quite a few CPU temperature monitoring programms you can download for free (but be careful !). You can install a larger heat sink / cooler if needed.

 

 

better Software for PCM to PCM upsampling, HQ Player is the best out there, then you can upsample your 16/44 files to 24/192 with a filter of your choice and taste and pass on to the DAC Magic +

 

If you intend to stay with the DAC Magic +, then it's worth trying out a linear power supply for it. A USB isolator also worth trying out

 

For a DAC swap, you might want to consider a iFi microDSD, or a Korg or a TEAC to have DSD capabilty and utilize PCM to DSD conversion, but then you would need a more powerful CPU and your $600 limit would be broken

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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It is slightly unclear to what extent the DAC is responsible for what you heard. Did you listen to the CD player as a transport, via the DAC Magic?

 

My suggestions for improving your computer transport:

- Make it fanless. Either swap the mobo + CPU for a recent baytrail 4-core (and stay with your case) OR sell your Origen case and go for a streacom FC8 with heatpipes. EDIT: this is likely a no go due to the physical dimensions of your mobo, obstructing the heatpipes. You could go for a case design that allows a big cooler such as Alpenföhn Panorama (or similar) without the fan..

- insert a PPA V2 USB card

- Feed your PICO with a linear PSU (rig an affordable 13.8V lab/bench supply to output 12V as a cheap option)

- power your SSD (and HDD?) of a 5V USB battery bank; do not use the internal ATX power coming off the PICO

- get a decent USB to SPDIF converter. there's plenty around used. Shop around. Get a used EVO, JohnKenny3 or similar

 

The above should be obtainable within your $600,= with money to spare and will likely make your DAC Magic the weakest link...

Bits to analog: Server [i9-10850k; Win10Pro, Roon Core + HQPlayer4 >all DSD256x] -> mRendu -> Regen -> Lampi GG

Analog to sound: ASR Emitter II Exclusive, Battery -> Gryphon Mojo S + 2 x REL G2

Details: Audio System

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  • 1 month later...

I am a bit confused as to the replies to this post. The OP is saying he is not using the Sotm USB card in is CAPS V2. Isn't that a key part of the whole approach of Cap V2? Wouldn't this be an obvious upgrade to his CAP V2 server within the budget mentioned? If the USB card was worth it as part of the original CAPS build and I thought really one of the key components which make the CAP different than a shrinkwrap PC, why would that not be a recommended upgrade? What am I missing here?

 

Cheers,

 

Jamie

AIIF (CA Ripping Guide) > Netgear ReadyNAS Duo > 1Gb Ethernet > MacBook Pro > Itunes > USB/Toslink > PS Audio DLink III > Peachtree Decco (refurb) > Frugal Horn Mk3 (DBPowerAmp from CD, HDTracks) > Netgear ReadyNAS Duo > 1Gb Ethernet > Dell Latitude D820 > Foobar > AISO4All > MusicStreamer II > MF V-Can > Sennheiser HD 650

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I'm curious because I'm building a CAPS V2, I've had the parts for over a year, and I was looking for power supply upgrade suggestions, and I really don't understand the suggestions made here, they seam to miss some really obvious upgrade paths within the CAPS paradigm.

 

Jamie

AIIF (CA Ripping Guide) > Netgear ReadyNAS Duo > 1Gb Ethernet > MacBook Pro > Itunes > USB/Toslink > PS Audio DLink III > Peachtree Decco (refurb) > Frugal Horn Mk3 (DBPowerAmp from CD, HDTracks) > Netgear ReadyNAS Duo > 1Gb Ethernet > Dell Latitude D820 > Foobar > AISO4All > MusicStreamer II > MF V-Can > Sennheiser HD 650

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If it's an obvious upgrade then use it and be happy - it is after all what Chris used. I think the money may be better spent elsewhere as I stated but you may be correct, best to try if you can return items and decide what makes the preferred change in sound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I never tried the straight USB ports on the CAPSv2, so I can't directly compare the performance, but somewhere, someone made a mention about the SOTM board making a big improvement in sound quality, because they accidentally tried it off the card and then discovered it was mis-wired.

 

It also appears he does not have the SOTM filter for the SSD, and as you mention, he is using a fan, so this is really not a CAPSv2 at all. I don't consider it a CAPSv2 without the SOTM pieces, running noiselessly (no fan, no HD other than the SSD).

 

He should also pull the HD out and feed the computer via a network to obtain the audio files.

 

Those three or four things will probably put the computer over the player.

 

That said I consider an Audiophilleo to be the keystone of my audio system. I think it is the most important piece in my chain (of the computer portions of the music chain). Without it, I feel it would not be worth the effort to put together a CA system. There are certainly other equal, comparable products in this respect, but that is an excellent device to produce a high quality digital stream.

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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Don't expect miracles from things like, USB cable, SOtM HDD filter or SOtM USB card. If anything, get the PPA v2 USB card, which is much cheaper, and according to many on this forum - sounds better.

 

I would expect linear PSU for your DAC and another one for your PICO PSU to bring much greater improvement. You can get them quite cheap from companies like TeraDak (also on ebay).

 

Another option is to get a better DAC.

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, MojoAudio super regulator, Pink Faun Ultra OCXO USB card

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

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