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All the little improvements that do seem add up to greatly improved sound


sdolezalek
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Thanks to the help of many Computer Audiophile contributors, I have continued to both learn and make incremental improvements to my computer front-ended sound system. A year ago, this would have been impossible simply because I didn't know the systems, the terminology, or the technology. Today, without making any change in the fundamental equipment in my original sound system, I can say that I have greatly improved both my sound quality and ease of music enjoyment.

 

I assume many others here are somewhere along that same journey. I also know that I still have more to learn and that the next big step will come when I upgrade my DAC to a 6-channel DSD512 capable DAC. Some of you may have suggestions to make to improve upon or correct what I have done.

 

But, the one thing that would have helped me along significantly in this journey, was a simple diagram of what all the parts are and how they actually fit together. So I have attempted to create one for the benefit of those travelling along the same route.

 

Do feel free to comment, improve upon or correct me, as this thread is intended as an ongoing learning experience (and already newer technologies are arriving that could be used to update some of the parts I purchased as then "state of the art" only a few months ago).

 

System Diagram.jpg

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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Outstanding representation of a computer audio based network.

If anything, I would suggest a left to right or top to down "flow" ...

 

Source > Switch > Network / Interface > USB Device > DAC > Stereo

 

Regards.

Win10 Transport + Fidelizer 8.7 + JRMC 28 & HQPlayer | Mutec MC-3+ Smart Clock USB |  Job INT | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

 

 

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It's a good start but for me it crucially misses out powering everything with LPS, using W4S recovery over the REGEN and adding Intona USB isolation.

Source:

*Aurender N100 (no internal disk : LAN optically isolated via FMC with *LPS) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch - split for *LPS) > Intona Industrial (injected *LPS / internally shielded with copper tape) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > W4S Recovery (*LPS) > DIY 2cm USB adaptor (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > *Auralic VEGA (EXACT : balanced)

 

Control:

*Jeff Rowland CAPRI S2 (balanced)

 

Playback:

2 x Revel B15a subs (balanced) > ATC SCM 50 ASL (balanced - 80Hz HPF from subs)

 

Misc:

*Via Power Inspired AG1500 AC Regenerator

LPS: 3 x Swagman Lab Audiophile Signature Edition (W4S, Intona & FMC)

Storage: QNAP TS-253Pro 2x 3Tb, 8Gb RAM

Cables: DIY heavy gauge solid silver (balanced)

Mains: dedicated distribution board with 5 x 2 socket ring mains, all mains cables: Mark Grant Black Series DSP 2.5 Dual Screen

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Please don't take this the wrong way, but I think a newbie looking at that diagram would have the (expletive deleted) scared out of him. :)

"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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Please don't take this the wrong way, but I think a newbie looking at that diagram would have the (expletive deleted) scared out of him. :)

 

I'm not a newbie and it scares me. :)

 

It's real purrty though.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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It's a good start but for me it crucially misses out powering everything with LPS, using W4S recovery over the REGEN and adding Intona USB isolation.

 

You are correct that adding in more LPS (I'm using a couple of the iFi iPower Power Supplies to power the Regen and the SonicOrbiter) is another next step. I have been thinking about the Intona, but may see what the Sonore MicroRendu does as a step up from the Sonicorbiter first.

 

Except for the fact that it gets even harder to read, maybe I'll do a version of the diagram that identifies a set of popular choices for each "node" in the system, even if i haven't yet tried them.

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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Please don't take this the wrong way, but I think a newbie looking at that diagram would have the (expletive deleted) scared out of him. :)

 

Allan: I don't disagree, but think about trying to follow all the stuff that gets talked about on these threads without some kind of a roadmap. :) It took me months to figure out just what many of the acronyms meant, never mind where they fit in the system.

 

But, I will say that for not a lot of expense you can get as much or more improvement out of all this than pieces of equipment I paid 10X that for.

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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I've been using Pi2 (moode) as WIFI streamer connected via USB to my Peachtree nova220se integrated w/DAC. Files are all stored on Synology NAS on home network. It has handled everything I've thrown at it so far nary a glitch (up to and including 24/192). I have been alternating between the standard power supply that came with the Pi and an Anker battery. I was quite impressed with the the sound quality. Not as impressive as using my MacBook Pro w/Audirvana, but impressive for its size, etc.

So last night, I took delivery of W4S Recovery. Connected it straight away using the supplied power supply. I have a Furutech ADL Formula 2 USB cable from Pi to Recovery and an Audio Sensibility Silver Statement USB (which is tremendous value USB cable folks) from Recovery to Peachtree. The sounds, out of the box, was transformative. I have to do a little more comparison, but it has taken the Pi to next level sonics. I may end up leaving the Pi in my chain and retiring the MacBook to the office.

I have new Furutech receptacles on the way. But I am very happy with out of the box results of the Recovery.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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I'm not sure I'm getting any benefit from my optical switch, FMC's, LPS's to power them, script optimizations, etc since i introduced an aries mini which is streamed wirelessly. It's really simplified the goal of isolation.

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Except for the fact that it gets even harder to read, maybe I'll do a version of the diagram that identifies a set of popular choices for each "node" in the system, even if i haven't yet tried them.

That would be a great public service. One suggestion is to list popular examples of each main type of software such as Windows music players, OSX music players, control point software for tablets and phones.

Digital Source: Synology DS415+ NAS  and Small Green Computer SonicTransporter i5 Running Roon Core > Blue Jean Cable Cat6a >TP optical converter > Sonore OpticalRendu with Sonore LPS> Curious USB > Denafrips Pontus DAC

Analog Source: Dynavector XX2 mk2> Audiomods Series 5 silver arm > Sota Nova Series VI turntable w/Condor & Roadrunner motor controller/tachometer > Nagra BPS battery powered phono stage>

Both: BAT VK51SE preamp> Krell FPB300 power amp > Sound Lab A3 ESLs > > Custom room treatment > 50 yr. old ears(left-handed)

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Computer Audio Network Diagram.jpg

 

Constructive criticism and additions highly welcomed :)

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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For now, I have my music stored in a laptop that sits on a shelf with my audio components. It is hooked to a USB/SPDIF converter with a 1m USB cable. The PC fan comes in occasionally and it is annoying. So I'm looking for a way to move the PC that avoids using a long USB cable. This looks like a solution but seems a bit complicated for what I want to achieve with my laptop. And, for all the time I have been lurking here, I still feel computer-infantile.

That I ask questions? I am more concerned about being stupid than looking like I might be.

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First of all, great work OP on this. I will say that in all my years of enjoying this maddening hobby the two biggest improvements for me came from clean power and room treatments. Messing around with room treatments is never as fun as getting some new piece of hardware and I have largely ignored my room for years. When I recently added panels to my ceiling I was shocked how much more clarity and realism I was getting from my system. I know these items may not be the focus of your awesome diagram but at least for me, I think its most important to get the room right before you can truly appreciate what you system is capable of. Once you do this, you can more easily hear what little tweaks like cables, usb cards, etc does.

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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First of all, great work OP on this. I will say that in all my years of enjoying this maddening hobby the two biggest improvements for me came from clean power and room treatments.

 

Add vibration isolation and you have a sort of holy trinity of audio.

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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I wouldn't disagree with that formula. Fortunately, I had the advantage of being able to build a dedicated room and that helped on the first two. As to vibration, I'm a believer, but I still struggle to understand exactly what we are doing inasmuch as so many of the vibration solutions seem to consist of vertical coupling plus horizontal isolation. Only Barry Diament seems to have constructed a system that seems focused on both (inner tubes for vertical and roller bearings for horizontal). But then, that would be a whole different thread...

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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As to vibration, I'm a believer, but I still struggle to understand exactly what we are doing inasmuch as so many of the vibration solutions seem to consist of vertical coupling plus horizontal isolation. Only Barry Diament seems to have constructed a system that seems focused on both (inner tubes for vertical and roller bearings for horizontal). But then, that would be a whole different thread...

 

Vibration isolation is more complex than that. Proper isolation would require it to be done around several axes, not just two, three actually.

 

Additionally, one should also consider internal isolation of components (e.g. capacitors which can be subject to vibrations), as well as air-borne vibrations.

 

Coupling is the opposite of isolation in ideal terms. This said, you can sometimes couple to a larger mass and drain energy (what we do in speakers + stand arrangement sometimes).

 

Barry Diament only repeated things done by others earlier than him, he didn't invent these, and actually misunderstood the concept of horizontal isolation.

 

I made a thread on vibration isolation which probably has more information than you could ever wish for since some papers on actual earthquake vibration isolation are in there :P

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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Vibration isolation is more complex than that. Proper isolation would require it to be done around several axes, not just two, three actually.

 

I made a thread on vibration isolation which probably has more information than you could ever wish for since some papers on actual earthquake vibration isolation are in there :P

 

Yes, I've read that entire thread in detail. Unfortunately the conclusion I came to was that there were very few solutions that both met the "WAF factor" (something that doesn't make you think of Rube Goldberg or look like the anti-vibration tools were larger than the components they were isolating) and met the reasonableness in price factor. Given the general consensus that these things do have meaningful positive benefits you would think there would be a giant market for a good device at the $100-$200/component price range.

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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there were very few solutions that both met the "WAF factor"

 

Ah, you mean the OSMWP factor! (Oops-I'm-Stuck-in-a-Marriage-with-the-Wrong-Partner) :D

 

I don't have this issue.

 

I think there is a bigger issue with the ball-and-cup arrangement though, especially when used either at the bottom of tall speakers of at the top of a stand just underneath bookshelf speakers, and that is physical stability.

 

However, in that same thread, I shared a design which solves it.

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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