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A novel way to massively improve the SQ of computer audio streaming

The Computer Audiophile

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Most important: please realize this thread is about bleeding edge experimentation and discovery. No one has The Answer™. If you are not into tweaking, just know that you can have a musically satisfying system without doing any of the nutty things we do here.

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On 12/30/2017 at 9:29 PM, bobfa said:

What an amazing collection of information. It took me over three days of “spare” time to read the whole thing.  Thanks to EVERONE.

 

I am evolving my systems and have upgraded my DAC/AMP  to the new Brooklyn DAC+ and AMP.  My current front end is Sonic Transporter i5 and an microrendu.  I have SOTM SMS-200 ultra and a modded switch on the way. I have held off on the USB re-clock part for just a bit.  I am looking at the grounding and shielding ideas that I can do on my own.  The idea of sleeving the USB with a shield and grounding the Switchs, etc.  will be fun.

 

i have a couple of server questions.

 

Has anyone used the new Sonic Transporter i7 bridged server?

 

I am looking to try my i7 Intel NUC with Windows 10 to see how that works for sound quality and bridging networks.  There was a whole section in the thread on out manually optimizing windows.  Does anyone have any thoughts about that or one of the methods?

 

—-RJF

 

Welcome. You are in for a lot of fun and much improved sonics.

 

Be sure to read John Swenson's posts on grounding.



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Has anyone tried the ET02 Belden 1303E CAT6A Metz Ethernet(JSSG) Cable in their system? I was considering it for connecting my audio server to my Focusrite Rednet ethernet to AES converter.

 

Thanks!



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26 minutes ago, seeteeyou said:

Does it actually make sense or not?

 

Ethernet or WiFi – which is better for high-end audio streaming?
https://darko.audio/2018/08/ethernet-or-wifi-which-is-better-for-high-end-audio-streaming/

 

 

My take-away from his article was just that this choice is not black or white. It is about implementation as always.

 

I have always avoided Wi-Fi close to my audio equipment as much as possible, including using ethernet for my nearby TV and streaming boxes. I use ethernet to connect my audio PC to my Dante based Focusrite Rednet D16 ethernet to AES converter and have ethernet coming into my audio PC for remote control of JRMC and for copying music files. I have experimented with fiber media converters for connections between my audio PC and other devices but found that they did not help much, preferring working on using LPS's for power and the grounding scheme that John Swenson has described here.

 

For me the answers have been found in wired ethernet, LPS power, grounding, isolation transformers, and simple signal paths.



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7 hours ago, seeteeyou said:

Here's a link to (possibly?) the only USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet adapter with external DC power input just in case you're looking for something that's potentially better than those on-board Ethernet ports

 

https://www.amazon.com/IO-Crest-SY-HUB24047-Gigabit-Network/dp/B01N16C75R

 

 

Thanks. Good scouting. Unfortunately the IO-Crest has an AC power adapter so it probably has in internal SMPS. We would probably need to mod it in order to use an LPS.

 

Package Contents

 

1038347389_Alternate-Image3.jpg

 

  • USB 3.0 to 4 Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Adapter
  • 1 x USB type A to Type B cable
  • 1 x AC power adapter


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By AC power adapter they probably just means that it gets power from the wall. Thanks for the correction!



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On 9/19/2018 at 11:40 PM, austinpop said:

 

Yes, it would be good to confirm whether the MC-3+ USB:

  1. has the same quality (i.e. phase noise) clock for USB as it has for the sample rate clock(s), and
  2. if the USB clock is also disciplined by the reference clock input?

I wouldn't be surprised if the answer is no. The idea of improving "system" clocks (USB, Ethernet, mobo) is really something that gained traction with this thread (courtesy Romaz), although, to be fair, there were vendors dabbling in it - like Paul Pang, SOtM, SGM, among others.

 

After the discussion on the Chinese Gustard DDC that CTU posted, it got me thinking - imagine how great a DDC the Mutec MC-3+ USB would be if:

  1. it had an input for an external PSU, so powered with an SR-4 or SR-7
  2. it had an I2S output
  3. it's USB clock was of the same quality as the sample rate clocks, and could be disciplined by the input reference clock.

Something like that from Mutec would be pretty special.

 

I am part way there...

 

I removed the internal SMPS of my M3USB and replaced it with a LT3045 6v regulator and pulled the USB board. The M2USB is fed from a Rednet D16 via AES. A Mutec REF10 provides master clock for the M3USB which in turn provides word clock back to the RN D16. The M3USB re-clocks the signal to my DAC.

 

Pretty nice sound for me.



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On 9/29/2018 at 11:13 AM, smodtactical said:

Guys I just got a denafrips terminator + HE9 and I am trying to optimize the sound. It sounds good out of the front of my desktop with usb but I have a feeling it can sound much better. I want to use my pc to control my music and if possible stick to foobar wasapi if I can. But I am willing to use other desktop software to control an external device.

These are the options I'm considering:

 

Do you recommend any of the following: 

1) iusb3.0 + igalvanic3.0
2) Singxer SU-1
3) Schiit eitr

 

Or totally separate devices

1) Aurender streamer
2) ultrarendu
3) Sotm sMS-200 Ultra

 

Which direction would you go?

 

Welcome to CA. Lots of good information here.

 

I would suggest that you start a fresh thread. This one is mostly about tweaking but has currently devolved into bickering.



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I looked on their web page just out of curiosity and found no mention of their statement device yet but did notice that everything but their entry level box was listed as "Sold Out".

 

I thought that BigAlMc's comments were perfect. For the non-tweaker a well made but expensive one box solution could actually save money and avoid the agony of system matching. Personally I find the DIY chase to be part of the fun.



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22 hours ago, seeteeyou said:

 

For the NUC form factor, most likely 8MB SmartCache from an i7-8650U should be as good as it gets for now.

 

For 3.5" SBC form factor, there's Avalue ECM-CFS with 4-pin Molex internal power connector

 

http://linuxgizmos.com/intel-coffee-lake-appears-on-3-5-inch-sbc/

https://www.avalue.com.tw/Product/Embedded-PC/Single-Board-Computer/3.5"/ECM-CFS_2709

 

We're getting 12MB SmartCache from an i7-8700T (25W with TDP-down) and the price is about $305 at the moment

 

https://www.provantage.com/intel-cm8068403358413~7ITEP5YR.htm

https://ark.intel.com/products/129948/Intel-Core-i7-8700T-Processor-12M-Cache-up-to-4-00-GHz-

 

Next up is an unlocked i9-9900K with 16MB SmartCache and 95W TDP, it would be interesting to see what's happening to power consumption when 7 outta 8 cores are disabled. We only have Mini-ITX motherboards with Z390 chipset at the moment, not sure if there were any Micro-STX or Mini-STX in the future

 

https://ark.intel.com/products/186605/Intel-Core-i9-9900K-Processor-16M-Cache-up-to-5-00-GHz-

 

There's a little birdie ASRock X299E-ITX/ac for i9-9980XE with 24.75MB SmartCache / 165W TDP

 

https://ark.intel.com/products/189126/Intel-Core-i9-9980XE-Extreme-Edition-Processor-24-75M-Cache-up-to-4-50-GHz-

 

Somehow they still managed to keep unlocked 28-core processors (38.5MB SmartCache / 255W TDP) running without a single fan

 

https://wccftech.com/intel-28-core-cpu-lga-3647-socket-6-channel-memory-aorus-motherboard/

t8NPitc.jpg

 

https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/ROG-Dominus-Extreme/

https://wccftech.com/asus-rog-dominus-motherboard-skylake-x-28-core-cpu-announced/

 

How do we take advantage of dual 24-pin ATX connectors?

 

8Q7uNUC.jpg

 

Perhaps a system board intended for server use and adapted for redundant power supplies?



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+1 for grounding, LPSU, 3045 regulators and I would also add isolation. These things will make good equipment show their potential.

 

...I would also add Duelund tinned copper interconnects and speaker wires.



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On 11/2/2018 at 7:09 PM, greenleo said:

I try to help for the GUI version.

 

My setup is a PC with local drives and UEFI boot possible.

 

1. Buy the GUI version(not the headless) image download it.

2. Download the RUFUS 2.x version.

3. Run it in Win7 (I tried) with your USB disk(at least 16GB) attached already.

4. Your USB disk will be found automatically.  Select the dd (not ISO) option from the dropdown menu.  Select your image.  Most options cannot be selected now.

5. Click start and burn the USB disk.  Warning: everything in the USB disk will be erased!

6. Once burning finished, restart your PC.

7. Hit the key to enter the UEFI (this is mobo dependent, mine is F2)

8. Choose boot menu and the UEFI USB disk as the boot device.

9. Be patient and don't worry about some of the warnings.  After sometime, say 1 to 2 mins, AudioLinux will be up and now you are in an GUI environment.

9. Click the folder Start Here (top left)

10. You should see your local disk listed.  Click the one that contains your music files and mount it.  The password is audiolinux0

11. Make sure you may see the contents of the drive.

12. Now you may use the HQPlayer (as an example) to play music.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Question. Can AudioLinux accommodate a somewhat wide variety of hardware or is it mainly for NUCs?

 

I have a small fan-less ASROCK H87M-ITX based PC that I would like to try it on.



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22 hours ago, beautiful music said:

Since there are many folks here are using Roon with NUC running Audiolinux, so what about the jRiver?

 

How did you find jRiver with NUC mentioned here?

 

Also curious to know is there a superior benefit in SQ from Roon over jRiver, because if so I will switch to Roon eventually.

 

When I moved from Windows 2012 server to 2016 I also moved to Roon and found the SQ to be better.

FWIW. I also use Audiophile Optimizer.

 

Even if they were tied for SQ I would stay with Roon because it will allow Qobuz integration once Qobuz is finally released in the US.



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Has anyone here used AudioLinux in a setup where they are doing USB out to a Mutec 3+ USB?



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This information is probably already buried in the wonderful but cavernous thread but here is a link for a US vendor of all things NUC, Jetaway, BRIX, Mini-ITX, fanless, ROON ROCK capable, and AudioLinux capable.

 

http://www.mitxpc.com



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1 hour ago, Cornan said:

 

Nice to see you around Dave and hope your baby is healthy and growing! :) 

Here is a couple of my latest pictures. Nothing audio realted so I will mark this post as off-topic though! ;) 

 

I do not want to encourage such reckless off-topic behavior ?

 

...so I will not ask you what camera you are using?



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6 hours ago, Chopin75 said:

 Ignore the top, for some reason, it keeps pasting this automatically.

 

Has anyone tried HdPlex PC + its LPS? 

 

I have been using one of their fanless cases with a 200w HDPlex LPS for several years. Works great with an ASROCK ITX board. It has seen several incarnations. Win2012 with Ethernet out to Rednet D16. Next was Win10 with USB out to Mutec USB. JRMC in both configs.

 

Recently completely changed to run Roon ROCK as a dedicated Roon server with files on NAS. ROCK will run on many PCs but Roon only supports specific NUCs. Soon I will move the music back to an internal SSD. I also want to try AudioLinux with it to serve up Roon.



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41 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 

mourip

If you intend powering an internal SSD from an earlier version (?) HDPlex 200W PSU , do NOT adjust the adjustable 19V rail down to +5V to power it. ( . 9V (user adjustable between 5V & 19.5V) via XLR)

 There may be too much heat dissipation and the supply may fail and give the  FULL unregulated supply voltage (i.e. > 19V )  to the SSD unless it has an auto shut down protection feature as in later model PCBs .

I doubt that  HDPlex envisaged users wanting to power devices drawing up to 1A at +5V from the 19V rail, as it is never good a good idea  to have such a large voltage drop at a relatively high output current.

 

Alex

 

Thanks Alex. I always use the 5v outputs for powering SSDs and other 5v devices. It always surprised me that they would even offer that wide a voltage range for the exact reason you outlined. Personally I would not use the 19 to 5v output for lower than 12v.

 

The Roon ROCK will be external to my "clean" side so I may even go back to an SMPS. There is a lot to be said for the way Roon can be configured to separate and isolate each function.



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8 hours ago, Chopin75 said:

Ok, noted, I will keep that in mind. BTW, I don't think the HdPlex 200W LPS can drive 2 devices that need 19V at the same time? 

 

It might be capable of it but will get pretty hot, especially running two PC's.

 

On another note. I have two audio computers, both using the same ASRock H87M-ITX board. This board runs on 12v. On case is a large Streamcom fanless and the other is a very compact HDPlex fanless. For the Streamcom I used an older HDPlex 100w internal DC-DC converter while in the HDPlex case I used a much smaller "pico" supply. I mention this because the larger internal converter takes a 19v input for the 12v board while the smaller unit only requires a 12v input. Depending upon the board you use and the size of the case this will affect your PS choice.



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22 hours ago, Cooler said:

I wanted to try Nuc as roon server, but with surprise found, that all nucs are with 1 ethernet port. :(

Nobody mentioned that!

 

I wanted to connect it(nuc) to roon endpoint directly to eliminate any switch between.

 

Do you know guys nuc versions with two ethernet ports?

 

Here is a vendor that carries all things NUC and this page is for dual port cases. Some are fanless.

 

The Jetaway cases that @ElviaCaprice mentioned look good...



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On 11/12/2018 at 7:21 PM, Em2016 said:

For those running Audiolinux + Roon Bridge on the current popular lower power NUC - have you tried installing Roon OS (ROCK) on the NUC ?

 

There's no need to enable 'Roon Core' - after installed ROCK. Don't set it up as a  'Core' and it will appear as a Roon Bridge endpoint on your existing Roon Core. And this is an OS built from scratch by Roon Labs themselves - not based on an existing Linux distro... which makes me guess it may be optimized as well as possible for RAAT.

 

While Roon recommend a short list of officially supported NUC models for installing ROCK (Roon OS), many have found it works fine on all kinds of PC's, even if unsupported.

 

Especially if just using the Roon Bridge functionality and the OS is completely built by Roon Labs, one would think it's optimized as well as possible for RAAT?

 

 

I have been enjoying Roon for a couple of months and last week installed Roon ROCK on my HDPlex(fanless case)/ASRock(system board) headless PC to use as my dedicated Roon Core. Music is on an internal SSD. Works really great and the SQ easily beats my previous setup using JRMC.

 

Last night I purchased AudioLinux "headless" and plan to use it on my Roon Bridge PC which feeds my main system. It looks like it will support USB out to my Mutec 3+ USB  but I will need to bypass my Rednet D16 ethernet to AES converter for this experiment as I am sure that there is no way that AL will support Dante. They do list my Mutec as supported.

 

I will post my impressions...



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On 11/5/2018 at 2:43 AM, greenleo said:

It seems that a few members are still waiting for the guide.  I'll post, for the computer illiterate.

 

AudioLinux Installation Guide 1:

Resources:

Steps

0. download the RUFUS and but the image from Piero.

 

Process A: Installation to an USB disk

1. LaunchRufus

2. Choose the DD option

3. Select the image

4. Burn the image to the USB disk

5. Everying will be erased.  click OK to proceed.

6. Wait till and 100% and wait more.

7. When the burning is truly finished, the start button will be available again.

 

Will try to do some screen capture for the running of the lxqt (GUI) version and post it here later.  Hope everybody may enjoy this sw, one of my best invested $29 ?

 

 

 

 

Step00_Resources.png

Step01_LaunchRufus.png

Step02_ChooseDD.png

Step03_SelectImage.png

Step04_Burn.png

Step05_Warning.png

Step06_100%.png

Step07_BurningFinished.png

 

Thanks so much for this series. It is very helpful. I downloaded the image last night and am embarking down this new trail.

 

As an aside. RUFUS is now on version 3.3.1400 and the screen choices are somewhat different. I did not see a selection for "DD Image".

 

Best,

 

Paul



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3 minutes ago, beerandmusic said:

 

Will burning audio-linux to usb in this fashion make it bootable and fully contained on the bootable usb stick with ability to just point to local hd or network share for music?

 

That is my understanding and the assumption that I am using. I will be using my current Windows2016 endpoint as a test and would be very grumpy if it reformatted my OS SSD!  ?



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3 hours ago, TubeMan said:

already have,
last 10 or so AL install working perfect,
even to HDD in USB enclosure

no need to select iso or DD image on 3,x
Rufus auto detect image

 

 

Thanks. It ran without a hitch and since it did not ask about DD I assumed that it now auto-detects.

 

BTW. What is DD? Direct to disk?



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5 hours ago, greenleo said:

Use the RUFUS 2.18 as suggested in my 1st guide.   DD can be found there.

Thanks for posting these guides. It is a big help for those of us who are well experience in IT but stupid in Linux!

Before I even started I downloaded all three guides posts here earlier and created Word documents with them to follow.

 

Your first guide does not specify a version. Luckily it seems to work with the later version.

 

"0. download the RUFUS and but the image from Piero"

 



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