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PC audio server needs help


Dasign
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I've been following this web site and found the users to be very knowledgeable about CA and just registered as a new member. I have a PC that serves me as an occasional home PC (e-mail, web browsing, printing, etc.) and audio server. It has an Antec silent case, ASUS P5N7A- VM MB, Intel 700 Gbyte HD, Intel Core 2 QUAD CPU Q8400 @ 2,6 GHz and 4 MB RAM. My multimedia player is Jriver 21. I recently purchased the SOtM USB card and added the SOtM battery PS a few weeks later. This was an unexpected gain in audio quality and now better understand the objective of getting a really clean PS.

 

Here are my priorities relative to this PC. It is installed in an adjacent room to my audio room and connects to my Benchmark DAC 2 HGC via a Furutech USB cable. I like the sound very much and heard the added benefits of the SOtM gear. I need a screen for my very occasional office work and use a DVD for music ripping purposes. PC external noise is not an isssue for me since it resides in another room, so no real need (I think) to have a dedicated CAPS device in my audio room. However, I would like to 'pimp' my PC as much as possible to get best audio possible. This is where I need the member's help on ideas to improve my sound.

 

My current HDD is getting full and would like to replace it. I would like to use a SSD drive for the OS and while at it, maybe use a second SSD (or keep current HDD) for music storage. Another idea would be to replace actual switching PC PS by a linear PS (internal or external). I have basic PC skills but not very dangerous :-). What would you do in my situation? I am open to your suggestions.

 

Thank you

Roon/Tidal > Win 10 PC > Asus RT-N66 U router > Furutech LAN 7 cable > opticalModule/LPS-1.2> opticalRendu/Ultra PS > Wireworld Platinum 7 USB  > Bechmark DAC 3 HGC > Acoustic Zen Absolute XLR interconnect > Classé Audio CA-M600 Monoblocs > Acoustic Zen Absolute bi-wired speaker cables > Rebuilt Apogee Duetta Signature ribbon speakers.

 

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Dasign

After you replace the 2 HDDs with SSDs such as the Samsung EVO 850 SSD, and assuming you have access to a voltmeter for setting their output voltage to +5V, as well as having adequate room at the bottom of the case for mounting them, you could try powering the SSDs from a pair of low noise voltage adjustable voltage regulators such as the one at the link.

You can cut in half 2 4pin molex to SATA power cables to power them. Several other members have reported improved results when using these modules to power their SSDs.

 

Alex

 

Ultra LOW Noise 40

 

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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Dasign

After you replace the 2 HDDs with SSDs such as the Samsung EVO 850 SSD, and assuming you have access to a voltmeter for setting their output voltage to +5V, as well as having adequate room at the bottom of the case for mounting them, you could try powering the SSDs from a pair of low noise voltage adjustable voltage regulators such as the one at the link.

You can cut in half 2 4pin molex to SATA power cables to power them. Several other members have reported improved results when using these modules to power their SSDs.

 

Alex

 

Ultra LOW Noise 40

 

Thank you Alex for your suggestions. I was just shopping for these exact SSD. I also have access to a voltmeter and have the ability to perform the regulator mod. Instead of doing the regulator mod, do you think it makes sense to just replace actual switching PS by a linear PS? Would you have any suggestion for a linear PS that I could just swap/retrofit in actual casing?

 

I appreciate your help.

 

Daniel

Roon/Tidal > Win 10 PC > Asus RT-N66 U router > Furutech LAN 7 cable > opticalModule/LPS-1.2> opticalRendu/Ultra PS > Wireworld Platinum 7 USB  > Bechmark DAC 3 HGC > Acoustic Zen Absolute XLR interconnect > Classé Audio CA-M600 Monoblocs > Acoustic Zen Absolute bi-wired speaker cables > Rebuilt Apogee Duetta Signature ribbon speakers.

 

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Thank you Alex for your suggestions. I was just shopping for these exact SSD. I also have access to a voltmeter and have the ability to perform the regulator mod. Instead of doing the regulator mod, do you think it makes sense to just replace actual switching PS by a linear PS? Would you have any suggestion for a linear PS that I could just swap/retrofit in actual casing?

 

I appreciate your help.

 

 

 

Daniel

 

Hi Daniel

Personally, I don't like the idea of an expensive Linear PSU to replace an existing SMPS supply, as it will be costly and difficult to implement. I find it more convenient to further improve the quality of the PSU to key areas such as internal Optical writers, SSDs , and the USB card as you have already done.

Personally, I find that Audio from internal SSDs using markedly improved, isolated +5V power, via Coax SPDIF from an Asus Xonar soundcard to a good DAC sounds better than USB implementations such as saved to USB memory/HDD even when using a modified USB cable (no +5V) and a Regen with a battery sourced supply, despite them both being played from System Memory using A.S.I.O.

 

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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Hi Daniel

Personally, I don't like the idea of an expensive Linear PSU to replace an existing SMPS supply, as it will be costly and difficult to implement. I find it more convenient to further improve the quality of the PSU to key areas such as internal Optical writers, SSDs , and the USB card as you have already done.

Personally, I find that Audio from internal SSDs using markedly improved, isolated +5V power, via Coax SPDIF from an Asus Xonar soundcard to a good DAC sounds better than USB implementations such as saved to USB memory/HDD even when using a modified USB cable (no +5V) and a Regen with a battery sourced supply, despite them both being played from System Memory using A.S.I.O.

 

Regards

Alex

 

Gotcha!

 

You are right, the regulator mod is a nice efficient fix.

 

Does your current setup using the Asus sound card/Coax SPDIF play DSD over PCM and any Hi-rez formats?

 

With the SOtM USB card, I have the ability to cutoff the +5 VDC from the USB output. However, my Benchmark DAC requires this voltage to operate, since it stops operating when taking the 5 VDC off.

 

thanks again,

 

Daniel

Roon/Tidal > Win 10 PC > Asus RT-N66 U router > Furutech LAN 7 cable > opticalModule/LPS-1.2> opticalRendu/Ultra PS > Wireworld Platinum 7 USB  > Bechmark DAC 3 HGC > Acoustic Zen Absolute XLR interconnect > Classé Audio CA-M600 Monoblocs > Acoustic Zen Absolute bi-wired speaker cables > Rebuilt Apogee Duetta Signature ribbon speakers.

 

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Does your current setup using the Asus sound card/Coax SPDIF play DSD over PCM and any Hi-rez formats?

No, it doesn't play DSD, but that isn't a problem for me, as I find very little to interest me from Blue Coast etc.(sorry Cookie)

I can play up to 24/192 which includes very high quality material from both Mario and Barry, although material currently available from Mario is presently a little restricted in the type of content available.

I am also able to play Down mixed multi channel DTS material etc. DTS does however generally sound a little "thin" sounding in comparison with high quality 24/192 or DVD-A down mixes due to the data reduction used with this format

 

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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Gotcha!

 

You are right, the regulator mod is a nice efficient fix.

 

Does your current setup using the Asus sound card/Coax SPDIF play DSD over PCM and any Hi-rez formats?

 

With the SOtM USB card, I have the ability to cutoff the +5 VDC from the USB output. However, my Benchmark DAC requires this voltage to operate, since it stops operating when taking the 5 VDC off.

thanks again,

 

Daniel

 

 

Or cheaper yet, since price was brought up as a reason not to buy an ATX LPSU for the MOBO and CPU, DC for USB card, which I would spend the money on over any fancy modifications for powering your SSD's or HDD's. Instead just power up those HDD's separate with their own power supply, like an old PSU (then you won't need any SOTM filters, fancy conversion or new SSD's), hint the one you have after you purchase a new ATX LPSU (HDplex 300 W) for your MOBO, CPU, OS SSD, USB card and even a Regen, if you talk sweet to Larry he might even convert the 19V DC output to 5V to power any other 5V SSD's or HDD's.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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Instead just power up those HDD's separate with their own power supply, like an old PSU (then you won't need any SOTM filters), hint the one you have after you purchase a new ATX LPSU (HDplex 300 W) for your MOBO, CPU, OS SSD, USB card and even a Regen,

 

The moment you introduce an external ATX SMPS into the equation you are likely to cause degradation of the improvements resulting from your new LPS supply ,due to RF/EMI back through the AC mains supply and quite possibly earth loop related problems as well.

 

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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The moment you introduce an external ATX SMPS into the equation you are likely to cause degradation of the improvements resulting from your new LPS supply ,due to RF/EMI back through the AC mains supply and quite possibly earth loop related problems as well.

 

Power it from a separate circuit if your worried about the mains supply.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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Why would members want to replace an existing ATX SMPS with a Linear PSU, only to reintroduce another ATX PSU into the equation ?

9vv.gif

 

It should be clear to most, that they are going this costly route to obtain higher SQ than they can obtain with their existing ATX SMPS. Neither is it practical for most members to power the reclaimed ATX SMPS off a separate AC mains circuit.

Many members are also replacing SMPS supplies for external HDDs/SSDs and CD/DVD writers with external Linear PSUs for the same reason. Why are many members also powering their USB Regens from Linear power instead of the supplied +7.5V Meanwell SMPS , and reporting worthwhile improvements ?

 

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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And thus we get to the crux of it all.

 

If you believe that non streamed digital data makes perfect copies from one drive to another or via internet to your drive, then your only concerned about the power feeding back into the system via direct connection. Or anything involved with your data once streamed. Thus any data drives powered separately are outside contaminating the streaming regardless of power supply choosen for those data drives. Especially if your streaming from memory!

 

or

You believe that non streamed data does not copy exactly ones and zeroes and that somehow this data retains any electrical contamination???

 

Note: OS drive should be given it's own clean source because of it's handling of streamed data, also Regen falls under streaming, should be given it's own clean power. CD data transport does not effect streaming if not streaming from itself, thus power it with the external ATX like the data hard drives, power source does not matter.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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Why are you even using a USB Regen if you don't believe that RF/EMI etc. degrades the Signal Integrity of exported Data ?

 

Let's see how many decide to take your impractical advice and separately power their SSDs from a reclaimed ATX SMPS, when many others are using separate LPSUs and even battery power for sensitive areas.

 

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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Where did I say that the Regen did not effect the stream? Why do you try to confuse the argument, your a smart guy. I think you purposely make misleading statements, but for what gain? I don't get you Sandyk, sometimes your very smart, other times you play stupid.

 

Again, anything that effects the stream once initiated is due it's own clean source. In fact, your suggestion of not giving the MOBO it's own clean source to begin with is wrong in itself. As much as the motherboard will contaminate the input with it's own switching, does not preclude the fact that a clean source of power initially, will definitely effect SQ in a positive way.

 

 

In fact, I bet that a clean LPS ATX source for the motherboard (MOBO) will far outweigh any perceived SQ gains via CD data drive/data drives all powered by their own LPS source individually, which in my book is zero gain.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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As much as the motherboard will contaminate the input with it's own switching, does not preclude the fact that a clean source of power initially, will definitely effect SQ in a positive way.

 

So why do you advise feeding the SSDs with crappy SMPS +5V from a reclaimed ATX SMPS ? It's not only impractical, but it's also unwieldy.The motherboard has numerous onboard voltage regulators to take care of it's internal power needs. Using improved power to peripheral devices not only gives them cleaner power, but more importantly helps to isolate the motherboard and it's sensitive Xtal oscillator, and subsequent PLLs from garbage via the main PSU, due to sharp power variations as a result of current spikes from SSD/HDD and CD/DVD writers etc. Some members are now even using markedly improved PSUs and Xtal oscillators, such as from Paul Pang, to replace the onboard Xtal oscillator to help improve system clock stability. Even when using a replacement Linear PSU, it's still a good idea to supply SSDs separately from the existing +12V (etc.) rail via a low noise voltage regulator. Several members have already verified this does result in a further worthwhile SQ improvement..

 

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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Even when using a replacement Linear PSU, it's still a good idea to supply SSDs separately from the existing +12V (etc.) rail via a low noise voltage regulator. Several members have already verified this does result in a further worthwhile SQ improvement..

 

As you know, an SSD does not use a +12V rail and nobody is hooking up a separate LPSU via 12V and 5V to an SSD? What are you talking about?

Oh, you mean when they are hooked up to the main motherboard power supply and then when they cut off the 12V feed to the SSD's and only supply the 5V they notice a difference in SQ. I would hope so.

 

Are you smoking or drinking? You know all this already, why are you making confusing statements?

Have a nice day Sandyk!!!

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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Are you smoking or drinking? You know all this already, why are you making confusing statements?

Have a nice day Sandyk!!!

 

Perhaps you are the one smoking or drinking ?

There are several members who are now using the internal +12V supply (SMPS or Linear) into a Low noise voltage regulator such as at the attached link, to give a much higher quality, and isolated +5V supply to their OS SSD and Music storage SSD. There are several other members who are also presently waiting on delivery of theirs.

 

Ultra LOW Noise 40

JyFvvX.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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I think you mislead them Sandyk. These are all minor perceptible changes from the posts I've read, not life changing SQ differences, that could be attributed to wishful thinking, just like your CD data ripping claims. But I'll give you credit for giving good directions to these folks even though I think it's not a worthwhile endeavor for better SQ between a 12V reduced feed to 5V or a direct 5V feed, other than they separated from the main motherboard power supply. In that, there is better SQ.

 

Good enough, I think other readers can make up their own minds now about these two very different schools of thoughts on the matter.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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These are all minor perceptible changes from the posts I've read, not life changing SQ differences,

 

W.T.F, do you expect from only a $30 investment ? Many members pay far more for a USB cable to obtain a similar order of improvement.

According to you, the changes they heard are impossible ! Try telling that to them though.

Which begs the question, why would you suggest using a reclaimed ATX PSU to supply +5V to SSDs if you genuinely believed that it couldn't possibly result in an improvement ?

My own dual 12V to +5V supply is more sophisticated, and gives more obvious differences, but it requires DIY electronics skills including soldering and PCB populating.

 

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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Which begs the question, why would you suggest using a reclaimed ATX PSU to supply +5V to SSDs if you genuinely believed that it couldn't possibly result in an improvement ?

Again you confuse the issue. ANY (including ATX PSU) external power supply to the data hard drives separated from the main motherboard or features involved in the streaming, will result in markedly improved SQ, due to the fact that there is no leakage or back feed of dirty power via their power leads that infects the power in the main streaming components.

 

Your suggestion of 12V to 5V supply is basically a wasted effort other than you make use of a 12V supply. In other words there is no SQ improvement to be found regardless of the power source (again we're only talking about data hard drives, fans, or CD data drive) as long as there is sufficient and correct power being supplied and this power supply is separated from any streaming components power supplies.

 

The OS drive is a special consideration that falls under streaming components.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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Your suggestion of 12V to 5V supply is basically a wasted effort other than you make use of a 12V supply. In other words there is no SQ improvement to be found regardless of the power source (again we're only talking about data hard drives, fans, or CD data drive) as long as there is sufficient and correct power being supplied.

 

 

I give up ! Now I know how Eloise felt with her previous Avatar !

 

BYE !

 

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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Why do you fail to grasp the simplicity of these concepts is beyond my fathoming.

 

There are two concepts happening here.

 

1. The separation of non essential streaming components power supply (data hard drives) from the streaming components power supply. Big change in SQ.

 

2. The actual separated power supply used to power those non essential streaming components, being data hard drives, cd data drive and fans. It doesn't matter how clean this power supply is, within reason for normal functioning. Thus an ATX PS is sufficient to accomplish the task. Fancy conversion of 12V to 5V is a bit over the top. No change in SQ.

 

In other words SandyK, you get number 1 correct. But you do so by unnecessary measures in number 2 whereas a simple ATX PSU could accomplish the task of number 1 just as effectively.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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Just following along this interesting thread, as I do on many, but it's so unfortunate that a poster here is so often exhibiting troll-like behavior. Look at his other posts everywhere, telling people how wrong they are and how smart he is.

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Sorry again Kilroy, I'm walking all over myself this morning.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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