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Jcat launches the new, 'Femto' USB card


Elberoth
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Good news for those of us are running PCIe/USB cards.

 

Jcat has just launched their new card, that uses superior, ultra low nosie crystal oscillator (XO or just clock), chance the name 'Femto' (from the amout of jitter the XO has, measured in femto seconds).

 

JCAT-USB-Card-FEMTO-i.jpg

 

The card uses the excellent Crystek CCHD-957 XO, which can be found in Berkeley Audio Designs products and many other, top end DACs.

 

This clock is very expensive at $30 in OEM pricing, which is many times the price of the regular XO used in most of the DACs (common XO cost more like $1-$5), but its specs speak for themselves. The Crystek XO features a typical low close-in phase noise of -100 dBc/Hz @ 10 Hz offset, and a noise floor of -169 dBc/Hz. That is super clock teritory.

 

The Crystek Femto Clock which is located just a few millimeters away from the USB controller chip, which is powered by a dedicated ultra-low noise linear regulator for maximum performance.

 

The whole power regulation has been redesigned as well. In the previous revision of the JCAT USB Card, the USB controller’s digital core 1V power was supplied from the PC via PCI Express lane. The card was redesigned so that all internal circuits are powered by ultra-low noise linear regulators exclusively, if any 5V power supply is connected (either external or internal).

 

FemtoClock.jpg

 

I have one already on order and should have it around Tuesday. It will be my 4th USB card in the past 5 years - I used to have the SOtM PCI, SOtM PCIe, Jcat USB v1.1 and now this. I hope the sonic improvement will be as big as between any of those steps.

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, Jcat Femto USB card, UpTone Audio JS-2 + 2x LPS-1.2 combo, Jcat SSD battery PSU, Jcat SATA cable, TotalDAC D1 USB cable, SOtM sMS-200, W4S Recovery USB, Jcat USB Isolator, Win 2012, AO v2.10

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

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Hi Elberoth,

I'm looking forward to your impressions. Hurry up so I can take advantage of their 50 euro September discount!

Thanks much

2 modified PCs in a streamer with WS2012/ AO 2.20/ Jplay 7/ Fidelizer Pro 8.2/ Process Lasso/

Pachanko lan cables & PPA ethernet switch between pcs > Audio PC JCat Femto usb audio card > iFi Gemini 3.0 dual headed usb cable > iFi iGalvanic > iFi iUsb power 3.0   > iFi iPurifier 3 > Singxer SU-1 (i2s out) > Wyred 4 Sound DAC2V2 DSDse >

1) maxed out Woo WA2 > Beyerdynamic T1 w/ Forza Noir hybrid cable mod

2) Woo WA2 pre amp > Exposure 2010S2 Int Amp + Exposure 2010S2 Power Amp > Von Gaylord Legend Speakers + REL T-5 Sub-Bass System

***Audio system powered by two Equi=Core 300 balanced power sources                                                       

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Marcin told me he expected it to be better, but not expect it to be THAT much better. We will see. It certainly has all the right ingredients, short of battery power (which however can be supplied externally).

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, Jcat Femto USB card, UpTone Audio JS-2 + 2x LPS-1.2 combo, Jcat SSD battery PSU, Jcat SATA cable, TotalDAC D1 USB cable, SOtM sMS-200, W4S Recovery USB, Jcat USB Isolator, Win 2012, AO v2.10

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

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Good news for those of us are running PCIe/USB cards.

 

Jcat has just launched their new card, that uses superior, ultra low nosie crystal oscillator (XO or just clock), chance the name 'Femto' (from the amout of jitter the XO has, measured in femto seconds).

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]29052[/ATTACH]

 

The card uses the excellent Crystek CCHD-957 XO, which can be found in Berkeley Audio Designs products and many other, top end DACs.

 

This clock is very expensive at $30 in OEM pricing, which is many times the price of the regular XO used in most of the DACs (common XO cost more like $1-$5), but its specs speak for themselves. The Crystek XO features a typical low close-in phase noise of -100 dBc/Hz @ 10 Hz offset, and a noise floor of -169 dBc/Hz. That is super clock teritory.

 

The Crystek Femto Clock which is located just a few millimeters away from the USB controller chip, which is powered by a dedicated ultra-low noise linear regulator for maximum performance.

 

The whole power regulation has been redesigned as well. In the previous revision of the JCAT USB Card, the USB controller’s digital core 1V power was supplied from the PC via PCI Express lane. The card was redesigned so that all internal circuits are powered by ultra-low noise linear regulators exclusively, if any 5V power supply is connected (either external or internal).

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]29053[/ATTACH]

 

I have one already on order and should have it around Tuesday. It will be my 4th USB card in the past 5 years - I used to have the SOtM PCI, SOtM PCIe, Jcat USB v1.1 and now this. I hope the sonic improvement will be as big as between any of those steps.

 

Elberoth,

 

Sounds interesting for sure, I think USB cards are very underrated in terms of how much they can improve sound from a PC.

 

I'm interested in learning the differences you heard between the SOtM PCIe and the Jcat, can you elaborate a little on that?

 

Sent from my HTC One M9 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

Hardware:

JCAT NET Card FEMTO -> SOtM tX-USBexp -> iFi iUSB 3.0 > iFi Gemini USB -> Schiit Yggdrasil -> Emotiva Stealth DC-1 (temporary preamp) -> Airmotiv 4s

Software:

Fidelizer Pro 7.3 -> Tidal -> Roon

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I didn't see the €50 discount on the site. Is this off the €422 "sticker price"?

 

 

It seems the 50 Euro discount is for Jplay owners only. You should get Jplay anyway.......then you can get the discount. :)

2 modified PCs in a streamer with WS2012/ AO 2.20/ Jplay 7/ Fidelizer Pro 8.2/ Process Lasso/

Pachanko lan cables & PPA ethernet switch between pcs > Audio PC JCat Femto usb audio card > iFi Gemini 3.0 dual headed usb cable > iFi iGalvanic > iFi iUsb power 3.0   > iFi iPurifier 3 > Singxer SU-1 (i2s out) > Wyred 4 Sound DAC2V2 DSDse >

1) maxed out Woo WA2 > Beyerdynamic T1 w/ Forza Noir hybrid cable mod

2) Woo WA2 pre amp > Exposure 2010S2 Int Amp + Exposure 2010S2 Power Amp > Von Gaylord Legend Speakers + REL T-5 Sub-Bass System

***Audio system powered by two Equi=Core 300 balanced power sources                                                       

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I didn't see the €50 discount on the site. Is this off the €422 "sticker price"?

 

 

It seems the 50 Euro discount is for Jplay owners only. You should get Jplay anyway.......then you can get the discount. :)

 

On the site You can read :

 

"Only in September JPLAY owners can purchase the card with a 50EUR discount! The discount does not expire for customers who purchased the previous revision of the JCAT USB Card.

Please contact us if you are a customer and haven’t received the coupon code."

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Elberoth,

 

Sounds interesting for sure, I think USB cards are very underrated in terms of how much they can improve sound from a PC.

 

I'm interested in learning the differences you heard between the SOtM PCIe and the Jcat, can you elaborate a little on that?

 

Sent from my HTC One M9 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

 

I have switched 2 years ago, when the Jcat just came out. It basicly offered blacker background, more HF air and was smoother. It was a no brainer.

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, Jcat Femto USB card, UpTone Audio JS-2 + 2x LPS-1.2 combo, Jcat SSD battery PSU, Jcat SATA cable, TotalDAC D1 USB cable, SOtM sMS-200, W4S Recovery USB, Jcat USB Isolator, Win 2012, AO v2.10

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

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Could you also make a test with and without your Intona/Jcat isolator in the chain?

Since it isolates and does reclocking, I'm wondering how much effect better upstream components still have...

Thanks!

 

That is the plan.

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, Jcat Femto USB card, UpTone Audio JS-2 + 2x LPS-1.2 combo, Jcat SSD battery PSU, Jcat SATA cable, TotalDAC D1 USB cable, SOtM sMS-200, W4S Recovery USB, Jcat USB Isolator, Win 2012, AO v2.10

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi Elberoth,

 

How did the tests go with the Jcat Isolator?

Also, did you have a chance to test the new Jcat USB Femto against SOtM tx-USBexp combined with sCLK-48.0 Clock?

 

Thanks!

Andru

 

I didn't have the time to test the isolator just yet.

 

I have never tried the SOtM tx-USBexp card combined with sCLK-48.0 Clock.

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, Jcat Femto USB card, UpTone Audio JS-2 + 2x LPS-1.2 combo, Jcat SSD battery PSU, Jcat SATA cable, TotalDAC D1 USB cable, SOtM sMS-200, W4S Recovery USB, Jcat USB Isolator, Win 2012, AO v2.10

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

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I didn't have the time to test the isolator just yet.

 

I have never tried the SOtM tx-USBexp card combined with sCLK-48.0 Clock.

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

I am debating whether to purchase the new Jcat Femto card or the SOtM tx-USBexp and sCLK-48.0 Clock combo, but so far I didn't find any direct comparison between them.

 

PS: I realise I am going out of topic , but could you let me know why did you choose Teradak full ATX linear PSU instead of HD Plex LPSU + HDPLEX HiFi 250W DC-ATX combo?

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Thanks for the reply, Marcin.

Can you please let me know if the Crystek CCHD-957 has the same function as the SOtM sCLK-48.0 Clock?

 

Yes, both should reduce jitter. The difference is that Crystek CCHD-957 XO on the JCAT USB Card is just a few millimeters away from the USB chip while Sotm delivers clock signal via 40cm RF Cable.

 

Regards,

Marcin

JPLAY & JCAT Founder

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Yes, both should reduce jitter. The difference is that Crystek CCHD-957 XO on the JCAT USB Card is just a few millimeters away from the USB chip while Sotm delivers clock signal via 40cm RF Cable.

 

Regards,

Marcin

 

That makes very much sense, indeed. But my other thought is that SOtM has an entire card dedicated to this task, while Crystek CCHD-957 XO is a few cm small box on the USB card (no offence intended :)). Do you believe that the end result is comparable?

 

Best Regards,

Andru

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That makes very much sense, indeed. But my other thought is that SOtM has an entire card dedicated to this task, while Crystek CCHD-957 XO is a few cm small box on the USB card (no offence intended :)). Do you believe that the end result is comparable?

 

Best Regards,

Andru

 

I should not be the one to tell you this as I'm behind JCAT :)

JPLAY & JCAT Founder

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I should not be the one to tell you this as I'm behind JCAT :)

 

Yes indeed :).

 

What can you tell me about JCAT USB Isolator? How big is the sound improvement it makes?

Regarding the USB connection to it, I see that 2 USB cables should be used: one from the PC to the Isolator and the second from the isolator to the DAC.

I already have a very good USB cable and I would like to know whether the addition of a second cable (eg: JCAT USB-ISO Cable) could change the sound signature in any way.

 

Thanks,

Andru

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Yes indeed :).

 

What can you tell me about JCAT USB Isolator? How big is the sound improvement it makes?

Regarding the USB connection to it, I see that 2 USB cables should be used: one from the PC to the Isolator and the second from the isolator to the DAC.

I already have a very good USB cable and I would like to know whether the addition of a second cable (eg: JCAT USB-ISO Cable) could change the sound signature in any way.

 

Thanks,

Andru

 

Please check user reviews here at CA :)

The USB cable from the Isolator to a DAC is more important.

 

Regards,

Marcin

JPLAY & JCAT Founder

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That makes very much sense, indeed. But my other thought is that SOtM has an entire card dedicated to this task, while Crystek CCHD-957 XO is a few cm small box on the USB card (no offence intended :)). Do you believe that the end result is comparable?

 

Best Regards,

Andru

 

The size of the board doesn't say much about the clock performance. You would need to see phase noise graphs to judge its performance, but unfortunately, SOtM doesn't provide any to back up their design (Stuff like Symmetricon TSC5115A meter that is used to measure phase noise cost a small fortune - over $50k new - and very few equipment manufacturers even have one).

 

The XO chosen by Jact for their design - CCHD-957 - is one of the very best sub $100 oscillators available. Coupled to the ultra low noise voltage regulators used, it should provide close to state of the art results.

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, Jcat Femto USB card, UpTone Audio JS-2 + 2x LPS-1.2 combo, Jcat SSD battery PSU, Jcat SATA cable, TotalDAC D1 USB cable, SOtM sMS-200, W4S Recovery USB, Jcat USB Isolator, Win 2012, AO v2.10

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

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