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Paul Pang musicserver/pc my experiences

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I take no pleasure in doing this, but I feel that it`s my duty to warn other enthusiasts.

 

 

I ordered the top of the line fully assembled and set up musicserver from Paul Pang 08.01.2015.

The server was payed in advance through Paypal as requested by PPA, and deliverytime was 30 days.

After 10 weeks the server had not materialised, but I had received the external powersupply with transformers.

The posersupply had damaged corners on frontplate when I received it.

My mails regarding delivery was not answeared.

 

 

I contacted Paypal to make a complain and claim my money back, after first sending mails to Paul Pang and informing what I felt I had to do.

After some weeks I got the money back through Paypal.

 

 

18.06.2015 I contacted Paul Pang again and asked what happened, if he was well etc.

He told me he had not been well, but he was ready to deliver a musicserver now.

I ordered a musicserver again.

29.07.2015, after 5 weeks and several unansweared mails I received a tracking number for the package.

I received the musicserver 04.08.2015.

 

 

 

 

I was not able to play music through the PPA usb card, and the music disc came and went.

When connecting dac to motherboard I was able to play music if musicdisc was in the mood.

There was ore and more boot problems, and after a couple of days I was not able to boot the server at all.

 

 

10.08.2015 I returned the server to PPA for repair.

27.11.2015 after 7 weeks and lots of unansweared mails I received the server after rapair.

 

 

After first boot and dac usb driver installation I was able to play music through the PPA usb card.

Tha day after I was not able to play through PPA usb card, and there was a lot of boot problems.

When connecting to usb on motherboard I was able to play if I managed to boot the server.

The boot problems got worse and worse, and after a few weeks I was not able to boot the server at all.

During these weeks I sent several mails to Paul what to do, but they where not answeared.

I tried to install a fresh Windows 10 to see if I was able to boot, but after installing and startup I get the message "disc error".

 

 

Can anyone help getting in contact with Pang?

Does anyone have similar problems?

Greateful for any help.


Andervik Audio

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You are patient man. So after over a year you are still dealing with this? At this point, I would get my money back and look for other options.

 

This post worries me a bit since I was planning on getting the PP USB V4 card soon.


12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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Sorry to hear of your problems. What is music disc? A CD?

Sounds like your SSD OS is on the blink or done. But you we're able to do a fresh install??? The clock is bad???

 

I would recommend you go thru Phil.


(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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Sorry to hear of your problems. What is music disc? A CD?

Sounds like your SSD OS is on the blink or done. But you we're able to do a fresh install??? The clock is bad???

 

I would recommend you go thru Phil.

 

English is not my first language, but I am doing my best. With music disc I mean the SSD dedicated to storing music files.

I had to try several times to make the fresh Win 10 installation, so maybe I was "lucky" to make the installation.

It can be the OS SSD that is the problem, but I guess it can be the motherboard to. This is clock modified also.

 

I have not tried to replace anything since I have been waiting and hoping for Pang to sort this out.

 

Who is Phil?


Andervik Audio

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You can get ahold of Phil thru this thread and his profile here on CA. He works closely with Paul on any builds thru him. But maybe he could help.


(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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Hi

 

We are very sorry to hear about that story. But please understand that we can only help if parts were bought through us, what was not the case with this server.

 

Best,

Phil


ıllıllı [  ...AO 3.00 IS HERE... ] ıllıllı
____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Shop | Core Audio Music Server | Reviews | Reference System | AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 | PDF Guide

 

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Adding a little extra infromation regarding the music server experience.

 

I received the server fully assembled and software installed from Pang. Win 10 and Foobar.

Both first time I received it, and second time after "repair" I did not connect it to the internet to avoid updates to Win 10 os or other updates before testing it out. I did not install any software except the usb driver for my dac.

The server still malfunctioned both times.

Because of this, it is quite clear to me that it is not a user related error which of course could be an issue with a server like this.

 

Best Terje


Andervik Audio

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Hi

 

No need to worry if you get single parts at all. We've done hundreds of Paul Pang sales and can honestly tell that the failure rate is below 0,5% which is excellent. All products we have in our shop are worry-free and we stand behind them. (Thats why we choose very carefully what we offer and what we don't offer)

 

best,

Phil


ıllıllı [  ...AO 3.00 IS HERE... ] ıllıllı
____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Shop | Core Audio Music Server | Reviews | Reference System | AudiophileOptimizer 3.00 | PDF Guide

 

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I'm a luckier man then you are. Though I waited 10 months to receive my server, it works perfectly fine. Sounds to me The OS SSD is giving the problems. Which one are you using? The TCXO or OCXO? If OCXO, there is an issue in booting if the SSD board is powered before the clocks. I'm using separate PSU to power the SSDs. Thus, I have to power up the server first, then power the SSDs, then boot up.

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I'm a luckier man then you are. Though I waited 10 months to receive my server, it works perfectly fine. Sounds to me The OS SSD is giving the problems. Which one are you using? The TCXO or OCXO? If OCXO, there is an issue in booting if the SSD board is powered before the clocks. I'm using separate PSU to power the SSDs. Thus, I have to power up the server first, then power the SSDs, then boot up.

 

Hi Planner

Both SSDs are OCXO. I don't know how they are powered up since it is all built by Pang, and I have not wanted to do anything with it to avoid being accused for making the problems myself.

First time I received the server it was problems with the music SSD falling out, or not getting detected at boot.

And both times the PPA OCXO usb cards have not been working with my dac, although motherboard usb have worked.

 

Since I cant get in contact with Pang anymore, I guess I will have to start throwing out his modified parts and replace one and one with standard parts to see if I at least can make the server work.

 

Very sad to spend one year, thousands of dollars and lots of frustration to end up with this result.


Andervik Audio

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Sounds like SSD or their associated clock problems. They are sensitive to power supply and start-up sequence issues. Could be the SATA cables as well. Do you know which cables he used?

 

I'm debating whether to post about my issues with PPA. I too have a recent large investment in his parts and have had my share of issues. The fact that Pang doesn't answer emails just exacerbates the problem.

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To add, if you have the case open, try replacing a SATA cable with a standard cheap cable and see if that does anything. If not, simple enough to put the old one back. While in there first check the existing cables are making good contact. Even if they seem ok, I found that moving the cable a bit can sometimes improve the connection. The mechanical connection seems better than the electrical one.

 

Careful with this though, the mechanical connection to the SSD on his cables can be a very tight fit and you don't want to damage the SSD part of the connection.

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Sounds like SSD or their associated clock problems. They are sensitive to power supply and start-up sequence issues. Could be the SATA cables as well. Do you know which cables he used?

 

I'm debating whether to post about my issues with PPA. I too have a recent large investment in his parts and have had my share of issues. The fact that Pang doesn't answer emails just exacerbates the problem.

 

To add, if you have the case open, try replacing a SATA cable with a standard cheap cable and see if that does anything. If not, simple enough to put the old one back. While in there first check the existing cables are making good contact. Even if they seem ok, I found that moving the cable a bit can sometimes improve the connection. The mechanical connection seems better than the electrical one.

 

Careful with this though, the mechanical connection to the SSD on his cables can be a very tight fit and you don't want to damage the SSD part of the connection.

 

Thank you for your tips Kilroy.

 

I have not yet opened the case. Was hoping to the last that Pang should take contact.

I will try out your suggestions with cabels. It is black sata that are used, but without the metal plugs he told me when I was waiting for the server to come back from repair.

 

I really appreciate small players in hifi like Pang, and thought about posting this for a long time.

I am sorry to do it, but there are limits to my patience, and I find not responding to emails from a customer that have had so much problems unacceptable.

I hope to find a solution to my problem, and that Pang keeps going, but he can not run his business in this way.


Andervik Audio

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I think your waiting is not doing you any good, non reply is obviously giving you the message to either take control of the situation like you did the first time or open up that server and trouble shoot.

 

Really, after shipping a long distance it could be just a loose connection like Kilroy suggested. PPA products ordered directly are really for hands on audiophile builders, in my opinion.


(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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I fully understand what you are saying ElviaCaprice.

The first time I received the server I opened and checked without finding something.

But I will start trouble shooting this time also, there is no other alternative :-(


Andervik Audio

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I fully understand what you are saying ElviaCaprice.

The first time I received the server I opened and checked without finding something.

But I will start trouble shooting this time also, there is no other alternative :-(

 

Andervt, we're here to help, lots of good folks here to help you help yourself. If you have the time, I'm sure it will be a rewarding experience.

First thing first, I would unplug and plug back in, carefully, all connectors. Then fire it up and see what happens. Since your OS drive is the main issue. Keep any other data drives disconnected, for now.


(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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Andervt, which server model did you order from PPA? Did you get a manual for your motherboard? What is your experience level on working with PC builds?


(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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The Black SATA cables are extremely stiff. You must use caution when working with these. Be sure to pull the connector straight away from the SSD, no sideways or up and down motion. I would just remove these and put in a cheap cable first. Then reboot and check the drive is visible in the BIOS. If not, it's likely not the cable. If you reinstall the Black cable, it's best to bend it into its final shape before re-attaching to the motherboard and drive to remove the pressure of the cable on the connector, otherwise there is a possibility of breaking the SSD connector.

 

For the TXCO clock, make sure the 3-pin clock connector on the connection wire is firmly attached to the tab on the clock. That's the small PC board assembly at the end of the SSD with the large silver metal cover. The other 2 ends of the wire usually connects to a motherboard USB 2.0 connector +5V pin and a USB ground pin. Make sure these are attached. If they are not attached consult your motherboard manual for the USB connector pin-outs and attach the 2 leads. You can also go to the PPA website, on the SSD page there are photos of where the clock connection wires should connect to the USB connector. Be sure to get this polarity right. You'll know if the clock connection is right because the metal clock case on top of the SSD will get warm when the server is powered on for a minute or two. If it's not warm, it's not connected or there's another problem.

 

Barring an outright faulty clock or SSD, these are maybe the most likely things to cause boot issues with the TXCO unit.

 

Can you tell us what motherboard is in the server? You might be able to match it against the ones on his website, although he changes the motherboards based on availability.

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Don't know if this is any help but your description of the boot problem is very similar to mine. I use the same Mboard as PP and built a music server myself. I had purchased a black sata cable + OCXO clock.

During the Operating system install, I had terrible problems with the install, sometimes reboot sometimes not.

 

I then swapped out the PPA cable for the std cable that came with the mBoard, and instantly no more problems!

 

I contacted Paul about this, and he went on about me upgrading the bios (which I had not)...but eventually he came back and told me he was sending his new SATA red cable, which he assured me would fix the problem.... and to be fair to him, it DID!

 

So, swap out the sata first... these black PP ones appear not to work properly or reliably with modern Mboards and in my case the Samsung SSD!

 

Hope that helps!

 

As for the clock... well, modifying the mobos by following PPs instructions is fraught with danger in my opinion. I am quite good with soldering board components, but I ended up with a dead brand new Mboard!!!! Even the engineering company I took it to could not resurrect because they are multilayer and it is way too easy to destroy the contacts without knowing, even with a big magnifying glass! So, I ended up having to shell out for a new Board!

 

I am enjoying my Musicserver without the mod for a while before I attempt the clock-thing again!

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Thank you for your constructive support ElviaCaprice, Kilroy and 3Dee.

 

The motherboard is Asus B85M-G.

Tha SATA cables turned out to be red this time when I opened.

Both SSD's, motherboard and usb card have OCXO clocks.

PPAserver.jpg

I visually checked all Connections, and it all looked very good. All connections was secured With melting glue.

Checked OCXO's and they all was hot after a short time. Power ok.

Disconnected power to Music SSD and usb. Not able to boot.

Changed SATA cabel for OS SSD with standard. Server now booted.

Connected Music SSD and usb card Power. OK.

Reinstalled PPA SATA cabel on OS SSD. Server still working.

I therefor assume there have been a bad connection in sata. A much simpler problem then I imagined.

Thank you again for Your advices.

 

But there is another problem.

I am still not able to connect to my dac With the PPA V4 usb card. Have reinstalled Renesas drivers from link on PPA pages with no result.

When connecting the dac to usb on motherboard everything works fine.

The dac is April Music Stello D700 Reference DSD dac, and uses Xmos chip and Thesycon usb software.

See picture from device manager below when dac is Connected to PPA usb card.

Has anyone had similare experiences? Suggestions to things I could try?

ConnToPpaUsb.jpg


Andervik Audio

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Thank you for your constructive support ElviaCaprice, Kilroy and 3Dee.

 

The motherboard is Asus B85M-G.

Tha SATA cables turned out to be red this time when I opened.

Both SSD's, motherboard and usb card have OCXO clocks.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]23656[/ATTACH]

I visually checked all Connections, and it all looked very good. All connections was secured With melting glue.

Checked OCXO's and they all was hot after a short time. Power ok.

Disconnected power to Music SSD and usb. Not able to boot.

Changed SATA cabel for OS SSD with standard. Server now booted.

Connected Music SSD and usb card Power. OK.

Reinstalled PPA SATA cabel on OS SSD. Server still working.

I therefor assume there have been a bad connection in sata. A much simpler problem then I imagined.

Thank you again for Your advices.

 

But there is another problem.

I am still not able to connect to my dac With the PPA V4 usb card. Have reinstalled Renesas drivers from link on PPA pages with no result.

When connecting the dac to usb on motherboard everything works fine.

The dac is April Music Stello D700 Reference DSD dac, and uses Xmos chip and Thesycon usb software.

See picture from device manager below when dac is Connected to PPA usb card.

Has anyone had similare experiences? Suggestions to things I could try?

[ATTACH=CONFIG]23655[/ATTACH]

 

 

Great, there's one problem taken care of. I have found the PPA cables to be very temperamental so be prepared to play with with them again. My Black cables were, and sometimes still are, a source of problems. One was outright defective and Pang replaced it.

 

Device Manager looks ok for the USB card, drivers show and no error messages. My v2 card is defective (and Pang will not respond about it), it shows an error message in DM and also does not see the DAC on one port. Is this clock warm as well?

 

There is a Thesycon USB audio device in Device Manager, no problems shown with this. Isn't this your DAC? Also above this is an XMOS subdevice with a yellow problem indicator. I'm not a driver expert so can only guess that this may be a part of the problem. Are you sure that the DAC driver and software is okay for running on Windows 10? Do you have the latest or the correct drivers installed? Can you do a manual install of the driver directly from Device Manager, using the .inf file instead of the .exe file? But still not sure how to reconcile all this with the fact that your DAC will play through the motherboard USB....

 

Do you have any other devices in the signal path between the server and DAC-- REGEN, Intona, etc? If so remove these and try again. You might try a different USB cable. If you are using something exotic, try a standard cheap cable or a USB-compliant cable like the Belkin Gold. Just guessing here really...

 

You might also contact the DAC manufacturer for his input.

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The SATA cable shown in the picture is the new version of black which is deem to be compatible with Windows 10 by Pang. I have 3 of those in my server as well.

 

I was wondering why he didn't replace his RAM as he told me it wasn't compatible with Windows 10. I'm using Kingston Savage instead.

 

As for the USB card, still a mystery to me. I didn't have to install any driver for the card to work on Windows 10. I'm using the V4 as well.

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Hi Kilroy

I have nothing between server and dac except usb cable.

 

Theyscon and Xmos are related to my dac yes.

 

As you say there is a warning in Device manager under "other Devices - Xmos subdevice". I am not shore what this means, but when rightclickig on it I get up a New Message. See Picture.

This says driver for this Device not installed.

Driver is installed, and that dac Works fine when Connected to motherboard should indicate that driver is ok I thought?

ConnToPpaUsb2.jpg

Shall try some more with the driver. It is the newest avaliable.


Andervik Audio

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I am at a loss for now but will think about it. Until the XMOS subdevice issue is resolved, meaning either it is or is not part of the problem, it's hard to say. XMOS is related to USB. Could be the USB card is fine but we don't know.

 

Perhaps someone else will have some ideas. Try talking with the DAC manufacturer as well.

 

If nobody else chimes in you might post this as a separate specific issue where it will receive more attention. There are a few forum members with technical expertise in these areas that might be able to provide some answers.

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