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Componant upgrade with surprising result


rce
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Hello all CA readers

First of all this is my first post in a long time, I rarely post.

However, on this occasion I am keen to share my recent experience with my PC based 2 channel system/music server.

 

The PC that I was using for playback was well over 'speced' for its current use - 4790K cpu, z87 higher end mobo, 16gb ram etc.

I decided to sell those components on Gumtree (a popular Aussie buy/sell site) along with a high end GPU - they sold quickly for a decent price.

 

I then updated to a higher end Z170 mobo, Skylake 6600K CPU and 16gb ddr4 ram @3200mhz. (I won't go into brands as that is not the point here) The Z170 had some nice connectivity features I was looking for namely, M.2, USB 3.1 etc.

Obviously I built this system for flexibility so again its way over speced for its primary use as a music source/ server via JRiver (looking at trying Roon shortly as I've read some good things)

 

So, post upgrade I then connect my Cambridge 851D dac via USB 2.0 async from PC then balanced out to amps/speakers

I did not do this component upgrade with any thought or intention of attaining a SQ improvement but to my surprise that's exactly what happened and the improvement was not subtle!

 

In the past I realised worthwhile improvements by upgrading my PSU to one of the better high units currently available and from moving from HDD to SSD - both changes netted a nice SQ improvement by lowering the noise floor.

 

Now these latest component upgrades have given me yet another improvement - again to my utter surprise. This has been the most appreciable step up in SQ of any other changes I have made over the past 5 years of computer based audio.

 

Why have these components made such a positive impact on my system?? now that's the 64 million dollar question.

The short answer is I don't know for sure (I'm not a PC expert or an electrical engineer) but I'm prepared to have a considered guess: Cleaner power?! Is it the fact the Z170 mobo has robust 22 phase digital power control? Is the Skylake 6600K more 'quite' as compared with 4790K? (doubtful) Is it the DDR4 ram making the difference? (highly unlikely) Or is it somehow a synergy of all components coupled with the AX860i PSU that the older components just couldn't achieve?

And yes I know that audio fed from PC via USB 2.0 to async external DAC shouldn't mater but in my instance it has and its been a really pleasant surprise!!

So before you spend big bucks on that lovely new DAC upgrade - maybe consider some better (and often much cheaper) components for your source first? Just a thought..

Cheers

Richard

listen with your \'ears\' not your wallet

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Hello all CA readers

First of all this is my first post on CA and only my 3rd in total on any forum, I rarely post.

However, on this occasion I am keen to share my recent experience with my PC based 2 channel system/music server.

 

The PC I'm currently using for playback is over 'speced' for its current use - 4790K cpu, z87 higher end mobo, 16gb ram etc.

I decided to sell those components on Gumtree (a popular Aussie buy/sell site) along with a high end GPU - they sold quickly for a decent price.

I then updated to a higher end Z170 mobo, Skylake 6600K CPU and 16gb ddr4 ram @3200mhz. (I won't go into brands as that is not the point here) The Z170 had some nice connectivity features I was looking for namely, M.2, USB 3.1 etc.

Obviously I built this system for flexibility so again its way over speced for its primary use as a music source/ server via JRiver (looking at trying Roon soon as I've read some very good things)

 

So, post upgrade I then connect my Cambridge 851D dac via USB 2.0 async from PC then balanced out to amps/speakers

I did not do this component upgrade with any thought or intention of attaining a SQ improvement but to my surprise that's exactly what happened and the improvement was not subtle!

 

In the past I realised worthwhile improvements by upgrading my PSU to one of the better high units currently available and from moving from HDD to SSD - both changes netted a nice SQ improvement by lowering the noise floor.

 

Now these latest component upgrades have given me yet another improvement - again to my utter surprise! This has been the most appreciable step up in SQ of any other changes I have made over the past 5 years of computer based audio.

 

Why have these components made such a positive impact on my system?? now that's the 64 million dollar question.

The short answer I don't know for sure (I'm not a PC expert or an electrical engineer) but I'm prepared to have a considered guess: Cleaner power?! Is it the fact the Z170 mobo has robust 22 phase digital power control? Is the Skylake 6600K more 'quite' as compared with 4790K? (doubtful) Is it the DDR4 ram? (highly unlikely) Or is it somehow a synergy of all components coupled with the AX860i PSU that the older components just couldn't achieve?

And yes I know that audio fed from PC via USB 2.0 to async external DAC shouldn't mater but in my instance it has and its been a really pleasant surprise!!

So before you spend big bucks on that lovely new DAC upgrade - maybe consider some better (and often much cheaper) components for your source first? Just a thought..

Cheers

Richard

 

It's all of the points you mention.Skylake uses much less energy in all its components and therefore has less distortions.

Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu / SOtM SMS-200 --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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