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The problem of oscillations of sound quality


Forgisound
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I have a HTPC (AMD 910e, Gigabyte MBO 890GPA-UD3H, Seasonic gold serie power suply), Berkeley USB interface, Berkeley DAC v1, Audioquest Diamond USB cable, Nordost Valhalla AES / EBU cable.

 

Most of the time the sound is great, but sometimes it happens that the sound is inferior, piano ringing, sound as if they are slow and muddy. This occurs immediately after power-HiFi until the next day.

 

The mains voltage is within the permitted level, 230 V AC + -5%.

 

I suspect that the problem is in the HTPC.

 

Do you have any similar experiences?

 

Would solve the problem of acquiring specialized digital transport?

My HiFi: HTPC, AudioQuest USB cable, Berkeley Alpha USB, Nordost Valhalla AES / EBU, Berkeley Alpha DAC, AudioQuest Amazon IC, Ayon Croassfire II SET integrated amplifier, Nordost Valhalla speaker cable, DIY 3 way Accuton ceramic speakers, Nordost Valhalla power cords.

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I have a HTPC (AMD 910e, Gigabyte MBO 890GPA-UD3H, Seasonic gold serie power suply), Berkeley USB interface, Berkeley DAC v1, Audioquest Diamond USB cable, Nordost Valhalla AES / EBU cable.

 

Most of the time the sound is great, but sometimes it happens that the sound is inferior, piano ringing, sound as if they are slow and muddy. This occurs immediately after power-HiFi until the next day.

 

The mains voltage is within the permitted level, 230 V AC + -5%.

 

I suspect that the problem is in the HTPC.

 

Do you have any similar experiences?

 

Would solve the problem of acquiring specialized digital transport?

 

Not sure what a specialized transport would do to help there. Even if it was battery operated I can't imagine that would help with the system as a whole sounding "off key" for a day after powering things down. The good news is that it sounds like it comes back after a day of running, sooooo, just wait until it comes back to where you love it and voila after a day or so and off you go.

David

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The situation with the OP is very familiar, put up with it for a few months, eventually trying AES3 out of PC instead with better results.

 

In the days of using USB, prior to Regen, the SQ would wander, especially at startup. Some DACs require thermal stability for clocks, and this can take a few hours/day to settle. The Yggradsil requires power to be on all the time for optimum results.

 

That's one issue, but I found after installing USB fixers especially 1000V + galvanic isolation, the problem of wandering SQ would reduce or totally be gone and the SQ would consistently be the same.

 

By logical extension, this is attributable to loss of ground loops and cleaning up packet noise, correcting cable impedance and various other advantages. USB cabling is a real crap shoot, as it is, which doesn't help much!

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Hi forgisound - I want to make sure I understand the issue. Are you saying that when you power on your system it can take one day for it to sound its best?
The sound is great 5-6 days, 1-2 days and then bad. Then again repaired and play 4, 5, 6, or 7 days great.

DAC and USB interface never put out. HTPC turn on only when I want to listen to music.

The voltage does not fluctuate significantly.

My HiFi: HTPC, AudioQuest USB cable, Berkeley Alpha USB, Nordost Valhalla AES / EBU, Berkeley Alpha DAC, AudioQuest Amazon IC, Ayon Croassfire II SET integrated amplifier, Nordost Valhalla speaker cable, DIY 3 way Accuton ceramic speakers, Nordost Valhalla power cords.

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The situation with the OP is very familiar, put up with it for a few months, eventually trying AES3 out of PC instead with better results.

 

In the days of using USB, prior to Regen, the SQ would wander, especially at startup. Some DACs require thermal stability for clocks, and this can take a few hours/day to settle. The Yggradsil requires power to be on all the time for optimum results.

 

That's one issue, but I found after installing USB fixers especially 1000V + galvanic isolation, the problem of wandering SQ would reduce or totally be gone and the SQ would consistently be the same.

 

By logical extension, this is attributable to loss of ground loops and cleaning up packet noise, correcting cable impedance and various other advantages. USB cabling is a real crap shoot, as it is, which doesn't help much!

Thanx for post.

What is AO, SQ?

 

I'm not an expert on digital audio and my English isn't perfect.

 

Please, can you recommend concrete steps to the existing configuration, try to solve the problem?

 

Or simply buy Aurender, Auralic, Lumin, or Bladelius digital transport?

My HiFi: HTPC, AudioQuest USB cable, Berkeley Alpha USB, Nordost Valhalla AES / EBU, Berkeley Alpha DAC, AudioQuest Amazon IC, Ayon Croassfire II SET integrated amplifier, Nordost Valhalla speaker cable, DIY 3 way Accuton ceramic speakers, Nordost Valhalla power cords.

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Questions:

 

1) is the HTPC used for audio only?

2) if you run task manager on day 1 and again on the day sound quality declines, do you see significant new tasks running?

 

Windows has always suffered issues with memory leaks and orphaned processes, making it a poor choice for an "always on" OS. Linux is far better for that purpose.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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Thanx for post.

What is AO, SQ?

 

I'm not an expert on digital audio and my English isn't perfect.

 

Please, can you recommend concrete steps to the existing configuration, try to solve the problem?

 

Or simply buy Aurender, Auralic, Lumin, or Bladelius digital transport?

 

The abbreviation AO around at CA is Audiophile Optimiser, but I didn't quote this.

 

SQ = Sound Quality

 

I think a few further questions are needed to track down the problem, things are pointing to the OS so far, and also may require hardware correction, let's see what others can think of.

 

The solution is not another server, just yet.

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What do you think would be able to help some of the programs such as JPay, Fidelizer, Audiophile Optimizer, Roon?

Which program you can recommend for my needs?

My HiFi: HTPC, AudioQuest USB cable, Berkeley Alpha USB, Nordost Valhalla AES / EBU, Berkeley Alpha DAC, AudioQuest Amazon IC, Ayon Croassfire II SET integrated amplifier, Nordost Valhalla speaker cable, DIY 3 way Accuton ceramic speakers, Nordost Valhalla power cords.

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On Tuesday and Wednesday my HiFi sound bad.

 

Today I tried the two programs, Fidelizer and JPlay.

 

With Fidelizer works great, until JPlay in this configuration is not celebrated.

 

I hope that Fidelizer, at least to some extent solve the problem of oscillations SQ. I will listen to ten days, if the sound will not become bad, it will be a great and inexpensive solution.

My HiFi: HTPC, AudioQuest USB cable, Berkeley Alpha USB, Nordost Valhalla AES / EBU, Berkeley Alpha DAC, AudioQuest Amazon IC, Ayon Croassfire II SET integrated amplifier, Nordost Valhalla speaker cable, DIY 3 way Accuton ceramic speakers, Nordost Valhalla power cords.

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Crazy thought, but is there any chance you are just having bad hearing days? Diet, sleep deprivation & stress can all affect our hearing.

 

It happens to me all the time.

Roon Rock->Auralic Aria G2->Schiit Yggdrasil A2->McIntosh C47->McIntosh MC301 Monos->Wilson Audio Sabrinas

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Crazy thought, but is there any chance you are just having bad hearing days? Diet, sleep deprivation & stress can all affect our hearing.

 

It happens to me all the time.

Agree, much more impact on our perception of sound quality. Of that I am personally convinced.

 

In this event was attended by more experienced audiophiles who often visited me and know my HiFi. One HiFi veteran he was sure that I have changed the crossover speakers (speakers are DIY). And I did not touch anything.

My HiFi: HTPC, AudioQuest USB cable, Berkeley Alpha USB, Nordost Valhalla AES / EBU, Berkeley Alpha DAC, AudioQuest Amazon IC, Ayon Croassfire II SET integrated amplifier, Nordost Valhalla speaker cable, DIY 3 way Accuton ceramic speakers, Nordost Valhalla power cords.

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Have not asked, which player you use on the HTPC?

I using Foobar2000, it is best for me. Have Media Center and Media Monkey, but in my setup, Foobar have best sound.

 

The same problem with all three software.

My HiFi: HTPC, AudioQuest USB cable, Berkeley Alpha USB, Nordost Valhalla AES / EBU, Berkeley Alpha DAC, AudioQuest Amazon IC, Ayon Croassfire II SET integrated amplifier, Nordost Valhalla speaker cable, DIY 3 way Accuton ceramic speakers, Nordost Valhalla power cords.

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I using Foobar2000, it is best for me. Have Media Center and Media Monkey, but in my setup, Foobar have best sound.

 

The same problem with all three software.

 

OK. If all three programs behave the same way, then we need to look outside the PC. USB is the most likely culprit.

 

Choices:

 

a) Add in either Intona isolator or W4S recovery from PC to Alpha USB (there was some issue in the past with BADA and Intona, but believe this is now fixed). Requires additional USB A to USB Cable to match the system spec.

 

OR

 

b) Add in Mutec MC-3+USB between PC and Alpha DAC. This provides galvanic isolation (to 4kV) and great reclocking to the Alpha DAC. Supports AES3 cable, so you can keep the Valhalla. No extra USB cable required and replaces the Alpha USB. Allows DSD256 or PCM to 384kHz as a bonus.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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OK. If all three programs behave the same way, then we need to look outside the PC. USB is the most likely culprit.

 

Choices:

 

a) Add in either Intona isolator or W4S recovery from PC to Alpha USB (there was some issue in the past with BADA and Intona, but believe this is now fixed). Requires additional USB A to USB Cable to match the system spec.

 

OR

 

b) Add in Mutec MC-3+USB between PC and Alpha DAC. This provides galvanic isolation (to 4kV) and great reclocking to the Alpha DAC. Supports AES3 cable, so you can keep the Valhalla. No extra USB cable required and replaces the Alpha USB. Allows DSD256 or PCM to 384kHz as a bonus.

Now, with Fidelizer, sound is OK. I wil, wait, if the sound will not break, I will not touch anything. If the sound breaks down again, then I'll try anything.

 

I'm no expert, but would not Berkeley Alpha USB should have a good USB isolation?

 

The proposals seem to be good and reasonable, but I'll have to reconsider. If I buy any of the proposed unit, I need additional cables. It is quite close to prices Auralic Aries.

My HiFi: HTPC, AudioQuest USB cable, Berkeley Alpha USB, Nordost Valhalla AES / EBU, Berkeley Alpha DAC, AudioQuest Amazon IC, Ayon Croassfire II SET integrated amplifier, Nordost Valhalla speaker cable, DIY 3 way Accuton ceramic speakers, Nordost Valhalla power cords.

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Do you have another PC you could use for a source? A laptop, spare desktop, even an iPad would do. Just something you could use for a few days to see if the source is the problem. Try this other source and see if you suffer the same problem or the problem goes away. This is a better approach than blindly just guessing then purchasing what you hope is a fix.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Agree, much more impact on our perception of sound quality. Of that I am personally convinced.

 

In this event was attended by more experienced audiophiles who often visited me and know my HiFi. One HiFi veteran he was sure that I have changed the crossover speakers (speakers are DIY). And I did not touch anything.

Have you checked the crossovers for a loose connection?

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Have you checked the crossovers for a loose connection?

Also a good suggestion.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I'm no expert, but would not Berkeley Alpha USB should have a good USB isolation?

 

I looked at the specification for the level of USB isolation for the BADA USB but couldn't find it. The devices they use are certainly capable of high levels, but without knowing what's behind or in front of them, makes speculation and guessing rife.

 

Typically, all signals, USB, AES3 are converted to I2S, sent through the galvanic isolation barrier, then are re-created the other side to interface to USB or AES3 again. Seems logical for a DAC to use I2S and be done with it, but I2S only has a good distance of a few cm. To send I2S further, it needs another transmission layer, LVDS is one of them, but no one has come up with an accepted industry standard to have this input on a DAC. At the moment, it's a hodge-podge of proprietary methods from the same manufacturer only that work.

 

If you have headphones, you could check when the sound goes bad, if the bad sound is heard through the headphones, the source is the problem, if the sound is good, then as your friend made a comment, perhaps the amp/speaker is a problem. A poor joint can develop anywhere and is intermittent.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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Crazy thought, but is there any chance you are just having bad hearing days? Diet, sleep deprivation & stress can all affect our hearing.

 

It happens to me all the time.

 

I thought exactly the same, but waited to see what others thought.

Blood Pressure variations can also do the same. In fact, good sleep patterns help to reduce BP and may also improve hearing.

 

Post 5 by one and a half is right on the money too

 

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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Once again thanks for the advice.

 

Crossover speakers are OK, it is checked.

 

I tried with a laptop. The laptop sounds a lot worse than my HTPC (comparing when HTPC works well). I did not bother to listen to ten days. However, if the sound again breaks down, I'll try with this laptop.

 

Headphones have, but I do not know where they can connect. Neither BADA or amplifier have a headphone output. If you connect to a sound card HTPC, it will only work as a direct sound to you? What can thus find out?

 

Today, on the third day with Fidelizer sound is good. It would be nice to keep it that way.

My HiFi: HTPC, AudioQuest USB cable, Berkeley Alpha USB, Nordost Valhalla AES / EBU, Berkeley Alpha DAC, AudioQuest Amazon IC, Ayon Croassfire II SET integrated amplifier, Nordost Valhalla speaker cable, DIY 3 way Accuton ceramic speakers, Nordost Valhalla power cords.

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Once again thanks for the advice.

 

Crossover speakers are OK, it is checked.

 

I tried with a laptop. The laptop sounds a lot worse than my HTPC (comparing when HTPC works well). I did not bother to listen to ten days. However, if the sound again breaks down, I'll try with this laptop.

 

Headphones have, but I do not know where they can connect. Neither BADA or amplifier have a headphone output. If you connect to a sound card HTPC, it will only work as a direct sound to you? What can thus find out?

 

Today, on the third day with Fidelizer sound is good. It would be nice to keep it that way.

 

Good the speakers are OK.

 

Laptop sounds worse, presume, still use Foobar on this machine and outputs to the BADA Alpha USB. Does laptop sound worse when working on battery or worse when plugged into AC power?

 

If Fidelizer is working ok for 3rd day, it's the longest that the system sounds good, which is a good sign (points to software/interface issue). Please report back if trouble occurs again.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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Laptop sounds worse, presume, still use Foobar on this machine and outputs to the BADA Alpha USB. Does laptop sound worse when working on battery or worse when plugged into AC power?

It seems that the laptop sound worse when running only batteries, secondary when the battery is charging, and is best when working on a battery charger without a battery.

My HiFi: HTPC, AudioQuest USB cable, Berkeley Alpha USB, Nordost Valhalla AES / EBU, Berkeley Alpha DAC, AudioQuest Amazon IC, Ayon Croassfire II SET integrated amplifier, Nordost Valhalla speaker cable, DIY 3 way Accuton ceramic speakers, Nordost Valhalla power cords.

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