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Thanks Andru26. Just reading a review and was disappointed to hear:

 

"For those of you wishing to use Windows 10, AudioPhil (program designer) feels that Windows 10 Pro will offer the greatest potential for sonic improvement over the Home version. The Home version is not able to process group policies and offers less potential for optimization. Also, it should be noted that the client versions of Windows 10 only offer a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and not the Core or Minimal-Server modes such as those offered in Windows Server 2012 R2."
Read more at https://www.audiostream.com/content/audiophileoptimizer#c1hlh0i1sfbpMxHd.99
 
Unfortunate for me as I have the Windows 10 Home version.
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1 hour ago, dmance said:

For those who believe that cpu/cache/ssd/OS alter the bit perfect nature of usb transmitted audio ...I say: you are deluded, sorry.

Don't repeat the faulty "digital is just analog" misunderstanding of what is going on. Bits are bits all the way from the algorithm to the DAC input.  Period.

 

For those willing to become enlightened, put several ferrites on your USB cable to squash the high freq noise mucking up the analog portion of your DAC. Then you will hear no difference.

 

Over on HeadFi you will find plenty of posts....

 

There is a very "simple" thing that affects digital audio. It's called jitter. Basicaly, the digital conversion has to performed in a very exact manner. It's called timing. If the timing is not 100% perfect, then the audio reproduction is altered.

I had many USB cables in my system, from printer ones to high-end ones and they sound different. Why? Because everything makes a difference.

 

The best material about digital jitter I found is this video. If this doesn't convince you about the importance of treating the digital aspect of a system, then nothing will. 

 

All the best!

 

 

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6 minutes ago, musicbuff said:

Thanks Andru26. Just reading a review and was disappointed to hear:

 

"For those of you wishing to use Windows 10, AudioPhil (program designer) feels that Windows 10 Pro will offer the greatest potential for sonic improvement over the Home version. The Home version is not able to process group policies and offers less potential for optimization. Also, it should be noted that the client versions of Windows 10 only offer a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and not the Core or Minimal-Server modes such as those offered in Windows Server 2012 R2."
Read more at https://www.audiostream.com/content/audiophileoptimizer#c1hlh0i1sfbpMxHd.99
 
Unfortunate for me as I have the Windows 10 Home version.

 

There's no reason to despair. On AO website at the bottom there are links to Windows Server 2012/16 Evaluation ISO, which have a trial period of 6 months and can be extended twice by 6 months each. I think this is more than reasonable. I'll be happy to help with any advice if you choose to go this route.

Phil from AO is also very helpful in this regard.

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Andru: Question re AO you may be able to answer.  For those of us who have optimized a PC for use with HQPlayer, but who also do other work on that PC (in my case including digital photography, but also regular email, web, etc.) are there portions of AO that can be implemented to optimize sound quality without limiting the computer's use for other purposes?  If so, how would you know which aspects only affect sound, versus which otherwise limit non-audio capabilities?

Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO P4000 Win10>Qobuz+Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>DSD512> Fiber Switch>Ultrarendu (NAA)>SMSL M500 DAC> Bryston SP3 pre>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

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4 hours ago, sdolezalek said:

 

"Period" is a pretty definitive attitude for someone with 7 total posts... If you spend more time on CA you'll find that most here agree with the "bits-is-bits perspective," but also acknowledge that the analog portions of audio equipment can be affected by more than just the arriving flow of digits.  We pretty much agree that if data errors were introduced into the digital bit stream that it would cause far bigger problems in the data realm than the music realm.  But we also tend to agree that in the music realm there are other things that can affect the sound of a piece of equipment and that some of those can travel from one piece of equipment to another. 

 

Are you suggesting that a PC, NAS, or DAC cannot possibly be affected by anything other than the stream of digits it processes? If so, it would imply that there cannot be qualitative sound differences between DACs; as even the cheapest DAC can correctly decode the bit stream without error.  

Even the cheapest DAC decodes the bitstream without error.  

...just like this CA post is coming from a distant server thru over half a continent of wires and switches. I don't see you touting using special laptops or phones to accurately decode the bits to English. That's stupid, right?

 

I don't want to flog a dead horse but 18 months ago I walked in your shoes and believed the same things.  

My education came from the frustration of a CD player over spdif sounding much better than the same ripped CD on a laptop thru USB.  Same DAC in both cases and its the same case you are making: system A sounds better than system B even tho the bits are the same.

 

I made ludicrous attempts at fixing this ...magic cables, audiophile tuning the laptop, changing OS, loading the song to Ram, etc.  Yes these improved/changed the laptop sound but I could never match the $100 CD player. 

 

So if you are going to believe in the invisible and intangible ...at least make it scientifically sound.

 

Understand that the electronics in the laptop are buzzing with radio frequency noise. MHz to near GHz and these find their way across metal in the USB cable and into the DAC. These don't manifest as digital clicks and pops, of course, rather the noise mucks up the DACs analog stage final conversion so I lose things that my ear/brain needs: depth, separation, etc.

 

So, I got the laptop to sound  exactly as good as the CD by adding an intona AND 15 clamp-on ferrites to the USB cable.  This squashes the noise on the sheath and the four wires in the cable. I consider this a 'solution' to the problem rather than the 'try-this/try-that' hacks that move the noise or alter its character without understanding how close to perfect you can get.

 

So please understand that a raspberry Pi delivers the bits as reliably as a $10,000 server ...to your USB DAC ...but sounds worse because it throws huge noise into the USB. You can make the raspberry sound the same by adding an intona and $50 worth of ferrites.

 

But nobody reading this post will believe or try this. 

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10 minutes ago, dmance said:

But nobody reading this post will believe or try this. 

Actually, I did this and sold my Intona over two years ago. You have some good ideas here, but there is much that has been learned since.

 

Keep reading, as no one is going to spoon feed you.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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Both the ISO REGEN and Intona require 2 USB cables, correct? One from computer "to" the device and another "from" the device to the DAC. I have a WyWires Platinum USB cable. To utilize either of these devices with 2 WyWires USB cables would not be cheap, OR are you saying that 2 inexpensive USB cables can be used with either of these devices and will render all the stated improved sonic qualities?

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11 minutes ago, musicbuff said:

Both the ISO REGEN and Intona require 2 USB cables, correct? One from computer "to" the device and another "from" the device to the DAC. I have a WyWires Platinum USB cable. To utilize either of these devices with 2 WyWires USB cables would not be cheap, OR are you saying that 2 inexpensive USB cables can be used with either of these devices and will render all the stated improved sonic qualities?

 

The ISO Regen comes with a USPCB A>B adapter to use in place of a second USB cable, most commonly placed between the ISO Regen and the DAC. It is a solid adapter reputed to be superior to any USB cable.

"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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16 hours ago, lmitche said:

A NH-C14S fits nicely in a Silverstone Grandia case. You don't need any case fans, so best to remove them to open things up.

 

14 hours ago, Quadman said:

I use the NH-D9L fan in my Grandia 09 case and it has kept my 6700K processor very cool and now my ryzen 1800x also very cool (usually in the mid-40C while doing DSD512 for hours on end) that said I do have 5 additional case fans installed for cooling all low noise and SPL 1 meter from PC is 32 db according to a phone SPL meter.  The D9L fan is about $20-30 cheaper than the C14S and even a bit lower in profile.  I also have 4 sticks of ram in the Pc (corsair Vengeance) so it does provide enough clearance.  Even with he fans I have SQ is breathtaking.

 

Thanks Quadman for your feedback! That definitely reassures me in the direction I am looking towards.

 

 

BTW when it comes to casing (with HDPlex already out of the window), the next alternative/option for me is either a mid tower chassis (Silverstone Grandia), or, test bench chassis....

 

Between these two options, which one would you pick? Any thoughts/feedback/opinions about it?

 

 

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4 hours ago, FatalethaL said:

 

 

Thanks Quadman for your feedback! That definitely reassures me in the direction I am looking towards.

 

 

BTW when it comes to casing (with HDPlex already out of the window), the next alternative/option for me is either a mid tower chassis (Silverstone Grandia), or, test bench chassis....

 

Between these two options, which one would you pick? Any thoughts/feedback/opinions about it?

 

 

You want to prevent RFI/EMI from getting to your DAC. The Grandia case is going to reduce this better then an open case.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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12 hours ago, sdolezalek said:

Andru: Question re AO you may be able to answer.  For those of us who have optimized a PC for use with HQPlayer, but who also do other work on that PC (in my case including digital photography, but also regular email, web, etc.) are there portions of AO that can be implemented to optimize sound quality without limiting the computer's use for other purposes?  If so, how would you know which aspects only affect sound, versus which otherwise limit non-audio capabilities?

 

Hi, good question. Actually the software has a wizard which asks you about different settings, such as turning on/off specific services or packages. The wizard also gives you some hints on the recommendations for some of these settings. 

 

Ideally AO should be installed on a PC which is dedicated to music playback. I personally also do photography and I ended up using my regular PC for these tasks and build a second fanless PC powered by linear power supply to play music on. And if you're wondering, you don't need any peripherals for it, as you can use Remote Desktop to control it from your main PC. At least this is how I do it :)

 

 

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8 hours ago, andru26 said:

Ideally AO should be installed on a PC which is dedicated to music playback. I personally also do photography and I ended up using my regular PC for these tasks and build a second fanless PC powered by linear power supply to play music on. And if you're wondering, you don't need any peripherals for it, as you can use Remote Desktop to control it from your main PC. At least this is how I do it :)

 

Yeah...That is what I was afraid you'd say. :(  Upsampling to DSD512 in HQPlayer (depending on filter choice) can obviously tax even a high-end system and, in my case, I went with a powerful CUDA graphics card so it could do double duty for photography and HQP.  That being said, since this is a T+A DAC 8 DSD thread, I guess the T+A is still limited to in-room rather than NAA applications, so it really does best with its own dedicated low noise computer.  I'm using an NAA with Fiber solution that minimizes noise transmission from the HQP processing computer, but AO might still provide some benefit, even in that configuration. 

Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO P4000 Win10>Qobuz+Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>DSD512> Fiber Switch>Ultrarendu (NAA)>SMSL M500 DAC> Bryston SP3 pre>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

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21 hours ago, sdolezalek said:

Andru: Question re AO you may be able to answer.  For those of us who have optimized a PC for use with HQPlayer, but who also do other work on that PC (in my case including digital photography, but also regular email, web, etc.) are there portions of AO that can be implemented to optimize sound quality without limiting the computer's use for other purposes?  If so, how would you know which aspects only affect sound, versus which otherwise limit non-audio capabilities?

I have a similar situation and I just dual boot ... one instance of Windows 10 Pro with AO and one instance without.  When running the AO instance, I can certainly do things like email and browse the web, although I guess it's best for sound quality to not have that non-audio workload running concurrently.  

NUC7PJYH/AL --> Berkeley Alpha USB --> Jeff Rowland Aeris --> Jeff Rowland 625 S2 --> Focal Utopia 3 Diablos with 2 x Focal Electra SW 1000 BE subs

 

i7-6700K/Windows 10 Version 2004/HDPLEX 300W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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2 hours ago, sdolezalek said:

 

Yeah...That is what I was afraid you'd say. :(  Upsampling to DSD512 in HQPlayer (depending on filter choice) can obviously tax even a high-end system and, in my case, I went with a powerful CUDA graphics card so it could do double duty for photography and HQP.  That being said, since this is a T+A DAC 8 DSD thread, I guess the T+A is still limited to in-room rather than NAA applications, so it really does best with its own dedicated low noise computer.  I'm using an NAA with Fiber solution that minimizes noise transmission from the HQP processing computer, but AO might still provide some benefit, even in that configuration. 

 

I think AO should help in any situation, however if you're using the same PC for both music and video editing at the same time, the audio performance might drop since the resources are shared between the 2 processes.

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3 hours ago, rickca said:

I have a similar situation and I just dual boot ... one instance of Windows 10 Pro with AO and one instance without.  When running the AO instance, I can certainly do things like email and browse the web, although I guess it's best for sound quality to not have that non-audio workload running concurrently.  

 Thanks :D That's an elegant and smart way to handle it.  Once I'm in listening mode, I'm in a different room anyway, so no need to use the computer for anything but music.  

Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO P4000 Win10>Qobuz+Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>DSD512> Fiber Switch>Ultrarendu (NAA)>SMSL M500 DAC> Bryston SP3 pre>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

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On 27/02/2018 at 2:17 AM, dmance said:

Even the cheapest DAC decodes the bitstream without error.  

...just like this CA post is coming from a distant server thru over half a continent of wires and switches. I don't see you touting using special laptops or phones to accurately decode the bits to English. That's stupid, right?

 

I don't want to flog a dead horse but 18 months ago I walked in your shoes and believed the same things.  

My education came from the frustration of a CD player over spdif sounding much better than the same ripped CD on a laptop thru USB.  Same DAC in both cases and its the same case you are making: system A sounds better than system B even tho the bits are the same.

 

I made ludicrous attempts at fixing this ...magic cables, audiophile tuning the laptop, changing OS, loading the song to Ram, etc.  Yes these improved/changed the laptop sound but I could never match the $100 CD player. 

 

So if you are going to believe in the invisible and intangible ...at least make it scientifically sound.

 

Understand that the electronics in the laptop are buzzing with radio frequency noise. MHz to near GHz and these find their way across metal in the USB cable and into the DAC. These don't manifest as digital clicks and pops, of course, rather the noise mucks up the DACs analog stage final conversion so I lose things that my ear/brain needs: depth, separation, etc.

 

So, I got the laptop to sound  exactly as good as the CD by adding an intona AND 15 clamp-on ferrites to the USB cable.  This squashes the noise on the sheath and the four wires in the cable. I consider this a 'solution' to the problem rather than the 'try-this/try-that' hacks that move the noise or alter its character without understanding how close to perfect you can get.

 

So please understand that a raspberry Pi delivers the bits as reliably as a $10,000 server ...to your USB DAC ...but sounds worse because it throws huge noise into the USB. You can make the raspberry sound the same by adding an intona and $50 worth of ferrites.

 

But nobody reading this post will believe or try this. 

 

 

i have a keep old Wadia8 transport and sometimes my wife use it for her own CDs  ( she ate computer audio)   and sadly the sound is very good if not better than the same track with Tidal.roon/hqplayer in Pcm  ( DSD  upsampling keeps the advantage))

 

intona helps in my system too

 

i have a double boot , one with normal windows 10 , and one stripped version with Fidelizer and AO  and yes tehy have a different sounds but sometimes i find the normal windows more sweet sounding and relaxed..  dont know why ?

 

 

PC audio /Roon + HQPLAYER / HOLO Spring 2 / / DIY AD1 SET tube amp  /  DIY Altec 2 way horn Speaker

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5 hours ago, juanitox said:

 

 

i have a keep old Wadia8 transport and sometimes my wife use it for her own CDs  ( she ate computer audio)   and sadly the sound is very good if not better than the same track with Tidal.roon/hqplayer in Pcm  ( DSD  upsampling keeps the advantage))

 

intona helps in my system too

 

i have a double boot , one with normal windows 10 , and one stripped version with Fidelizer and AO  and yes tehy have a different sounds but sometimes i find the normal windows more sweet sounding and relaxed..  dont know why ?

 

 

 

I also have dual boot OS. One with normal Windows 10 Pro, while the other one with Windows Server 2016 Core Mode optimized by using AO (Ultimate Mode).

 

I am pretty sure that both HQPlayer and NAA running on AO optimized Windows OS (particularly Windows Server 2016) are of much better sound quality (smooth and analogue) than that coming from ordinary non-optimized Windows OS.

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On 2/27/2018 at 2:28 AM, FatalethaL said:

BTW when it comes to casing (with HDPlex already out of the window), the next alternative/option for me is either a mid tower chassis (Silverstone Grandia), or, test bench chassis....

 

I have used many cases in my builds, it is easier to work on tower builds, I agree with Larry that open cases allow more EMI/RFI in or out of PC.  So look for ones with full metal sides like corsair carbide quiet Q series or Fractal Design define R5.  The HTPC solution like the Granadia series from Silverstone allow one to put the PC on a audio shelf are metal and can accommodate up to a full ATX sized board if desired.  They are a bit more difficult to build inside than a tower case but certainly manageable.  Water cooling with a HTPC case is usually not a option unless you want to go the DIY route and cut part of the stock case.  Those Noctura fans mentioned above are great options and can fit both Intel or AMD Ryzen CPU's.

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On 2/26/2018 at 8:17 PM, dmance said:

So please understand that a raspberry Pi delivers the bits as reliably as a $10,000 server ...to your USB DAC ...but sounds worse because it throws huge noise into the USB. You can make the raspberry sound the same by adding an intona and $50 worth of ferrites.

 

But nobody reading this post will believe or try this. 

 

There are like 5000 posts on CA saying the same thing, essentially.  Okay not exactly with all those ferrites, better to use stardust** in a cable, it's less reactive.  You could start reading the posts, or... believe it.  If that $$$ server wins by just a hair, or even a lot more, I'll stick with a quiet, modest NAA.  Because I know it works very well for HQP.  :)

 

** Shunyata's FeSi material.

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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34 minutes ago, Sam Lord said:

 

There are like 5000 posts on CA saying the same thing, essentially.  Okay not exactly with all those ferrites, better to use stardust** in a cable, it's less reactive.  You could start reading the posts, or... believe it.  If that $$$ server wins by just a hair, or even a lot more, I'll stick with a quiet, modest NAA.  Because I know it works very well for HQP.  :)

 

** Shunyata's FeSi material.

 

I have my very serious doubts about ferrite beads in USB cables. I even remember an AR DAC that used a ferrite bead internally in its USB input. Someone suggested removing it and the SQ changed but for a better one. Oh, and also a USB cable that has a built-in ferrite bead :)

 

Roch

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3 hours ago, elcorso said:

I have my very serious doubts about ferrite beads in USB cables. I even remember an AR DAC that used a ferrite bead internally in its USB input. Someone suggested removing it and the SQ changed but for a better one. Oh, and also a USB cable that has a built-in ferrite bead :)

 

Why do you have doubts? Most sensitive equipment come with USB cables that have ferrites, like digital cameras, scanners and such.

 

I have ferrites on my USB cables used for connecting DACs. Just helps taming the RFI/EMI entering the DAC.

 

I'd be interested to see measurements demonstrating any adverse effects in the DAC's analog output.

 

P.S. I don't use expensive audiophile USB cables, as I have never seen certified ones. I use standard inexpensive certified cables.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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4 hours ago, Miska said:

 

Why do you have doubts? Most sensitive equipment come with USB cables that have ferrites, like digital cameras, scanners and such.

 

I have ferrites on my USB cables used for connecting DACs. Just helps taming the RFI/EMI entering the DAC.

 

I'd be interested to see measurements demonstrating any adverse effects in the DAC's analog output.

 

P.S. I don't use expensive audiophile USB cables, as I have never seen certified ones. I use standard inexpensive certified cables.

 

 

Maybe I have had bad luck with ferrite beads. I have seen intensive use of these in the DC output of PSUs, mostly in Japanese equipment. Easy to measure in said cable.

 

I have measured a lot of RFI / MF noise in USB cables of USB 3.0 / 3.1 equipment

 

I do not have the equipment to measure the analog output of the DAC with / without ferrite beads in USB cables, but even if I had it, I am guided more by the auditory analysis of the SQ that I like.

 

I prefer to route differently if a USB cable is being affected by RFI / MF noise, or if that cable is causing the noise.

 

Roch

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On 2018-03-15 at 6:02 PM, volpone said:

I'm interested in @Miska opinion on latest AMANERO FW (Linux NAA).

Seems still some glitches and no news from Amanero according to https://github.com/lintweaker/xmos-native-dsd/issues/12 isn't it ? However perhaps is it usable on DAC8 DSD ?

I reached out to T+A a few months back when the new Amanero firmware was about to be released and then after it(or a beta) was released. They said they'd had minimal contact with Amanero, but that once they were ready to go they'd make sure the new firmware never introduced any new, negative effects at the cost of attaining any new features. Their main target was on maintaining the current playback quality and delivery, and as long as that could be secured, then they'd explore what the new firmware might grant them. 

 

My takeaway was that, very unfortunately, any progress with T+A updating out DAC 8 DSD's firmware to accept DSD512 from Linux was a LONNNNNG ways off. And I think I confirmed that any USB firmware upgrade like that would require the DAC 8 DSD to be sent back to T+A or a distributor that could perform the updating. 

 

Anyone have any other news or feedback on a DAC-off they've done recently? I'm playing with the idea of picking up a Mivera Audio Purestream DAC (native DSD 256 limit and preference) and having the two duke it out. It'll be another month before I've got my listening setup fully back together, though. 

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