Jump to content
austinpop

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

The Computer Audiophile

Important and useful information about this thread

Posting guidelines

History and index of useful posts

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.

Message added by The Computer Audiophile

Recommended Posts

On 5/1/2020 at 5:05 PM, bodiebill said:

Not much discussed here, but the € 40 the Elfidelity AXF-100 PRO III Internal USB card for me was a very pleasant surprise.

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/pc-htpc-modules/elfidelity-axf-100-pro-iii-internal-usb-power-filter-for-pc-p-9056.html

In my setup the resulting jump in sound quality was at least as substantial as that when adding the € 435 JCAT net card FEMTO. Apples and pears of course, but still... YMWV 🙂

Both externally powered with 5VDC LPS.

First post after LOTS of reading of this thread. This thread contains a wealth of information.

 

This is my single machine setup, completly inspired by this thread.

 

Hardware:

Asus ROG Strix-I Z390

i7 8700T @ 3.1ghz

Optane SSD58gb (I plan to move away from USB at some point and use this for storage).

Apacer DDR4 2400 8GB

Elfidelity AXF-100 PRO III Interal USB Card

Gotham 18awg OFC DC Cables 

HDPlex 400w DC-ATX Converter (800w has been out of stock forever)

HDPlex AC-DC Converter 400w (Found a deal super cheap. This is temporary until I decide whether to go with the future HD Plex 500W LPSU Larry mentioned, Keces P8 19v (1 to start with, perhaps another directly to the 12V EPS connector in the future or another 19V if I can get my hands on an HDPlex 800W DC-ATX converter).

Etherregen

 

Software:

GentooPlayer Ramrooted - -PF-ST Kernel

UPMPCLI\MPD configured to stream from Tidal\Controlled by Bubble uPNP

 

I don't upsample as I feed the Yggdrasil A2 DAC via motherboard USB (getting to why momentarily).

 

It is a step up from my previous upnp renderer, The Pi2AES Pro Shield, which sent AES output to the Yggdrasil. The server presents a more effortless and transparent sound, with improved bass control and dynamics. The Pi2AES sounds great for the money spent though, even with stock SMPS.

 

Back to why I quoted you @bodiebill, do you use the Elfidelity card in the GentooPlayer endpoint? It wasn't plug and play with GentooPlayer (in my setup) and would appreciate any guidance on this topic. Note: I am not externally powering it yet but will soon have a 5v source for it.

 

Thanks all! What a terrific thread.

 

Cheers,

-Rob

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

 

Thanks Rob for sharing your build. I do expect that the Elfidelity usb card will make a positive difference once you get it to work.

 

The card does not really make contact with the PCIe slot (plastic connection), so it cannot get its power from there. When I first installed it I connected it only to the internal usb 3.0 connection as I was going to exclusively use an external PS. However, that did not work. I also had to connect the internal power cable (in my case to the HDPlex 800W DC-ATX) even though I am not using it in the end. After that the USB port and my connected DAC were recognised

Not sure how you set it up, so don't know whether this is of any help.

 

One quirk with the Elfidelity card is that when I power down the PC, it starts switching like crazy between internal (by then absent) and external PS. So I make a habit of shutting off the external PS before PC shutdown.

Thank you! I appreciate the tip.

 

 I did the same as you, connecting only the internal USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector. That little red light on the rear panel was a bit deceiving.

 

Cheers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, bodiebill said:

 

Yes, here red is always on, green means internal power and yellow shows that external powering is succesful.

 

Will you let us know how you like the card? I suggest a few days of break in.

Excellent. I now understand how the lights work (I lost the little paper it comes with in the storm of building the HDPlex case :))

 

Looking forward to sharing my impressions. I suspect that this USB card will hang around until I can get proper clean power to the server... So several weeks/months.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, bodiebill said:

 

Do you expect that clean power to the server will make the card redundant? That is not my experience. Even with the best of LPSU's the motherboard appears to add noise that ends up in the stock usb connection.

 

Good question. No, I do not believe the clean power will make the card redundant. My comment was a bit misleading. What I mean is I will prioritize clean power to the server first. Then perhaps I will consider replacing the Elfidelity card with something higher end, ala Pink Faun, JCAT Femto USB etc. 

 

So, the card will not immediately come out once I power the server via clean(er) power but the planning of the replacement card will begin once everything is settled in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, bodiebill said:

 

I have the impression that my DAC (a Denafrips Terminator) is less sensitive to USB signal upgrade devices. Maybe because it is fine-tuning the stream with its own clock. However, cleaning the USB signal from electrical noise still seems important. That is why the Elfidelitry usb card (€ 40) appealed to me, as that is exactly what it is doing, without the need for a riser card to connect to the PCIe slot (which could add to the burden of the motherboard and lessen the benefits of the expensive cards).

And it did result in a substantial SQ improvement that does not leave much to be desired. Therefore I am fighting that urge that is part of the audiophile disease, namely to buy a "much better because much more expensive" card. Of course I would be happy to try and compare, but not by spending another € 400 when already perfectly happy.

@bodiebill, yeah, I am sure the Terminator does a swell job with the internal clock. I have read at least one person on the web who preferred the Yggy without re-clocking from an external USB PCI-E card. Would be interesting to see what others have to say on this topic.

 

BTW, I just got the card working and it was indeed plug and play (when powered). Will give this a few days to break in. The card sounds very good so far! Although the USB 3.1 port on the Asus Strix z390-I doesn't sound bad I will say that this card already leans in the direction I prefer. Too early to tell though.

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, matthias said:

 

Just be sure to get the latest card. Cards shipped before April 2020 use ASM1142 chipset. Some vendors may have the old one in stock.

 

Matt

 

Thanks for the suggestion!

 

In other news, my LPS 1.2 just arrived and I haven't decided where to use it yet.

 

My network is as follows:

 

Arris SB8200 > Ubiquiti EdgeRouter SFP > Etherregen (A-Side) > Music server (A-Side).

 

Linksys EA7500 bridged-mode for wireless control and other wireless gadget I'd like to keep away from the server.

 

Will need to read up on current requirements for each of the above devices but I'm thinking the largest improvement will be had powering the Etherregen or Elfidelity card.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, matthias said:

 

There are reports from WBF that the largest improvement is by providing the better power supply for the Arris SB8200 but I am not sure if the LPS 1.2 has enough "juice" for it.

 

Matt

You're right. It pulls a whopping 2A at 12v.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/11/2020 at 1:46 PM, lmitche said:

This avoids the PCH attached Ethernet port.

On the topic of avoiding PCH, excuse me if I missed this but I have two questions.

 

With my Asus Strix Z390-i, there is only 1 PCI-E which I believe does not go through PCH.

 

1. Since it seems as though there is only one expansion slot which avoids PCH, which would yield the bigger sound quality improvement,A or B?

A. Dedicated USB PCI-E card like the Sonnettech/Startech

B. A dedicated Ethernet/Fiber PCI-E card of equivalent quality to A

 

2. If one were to convert an available NVME slot to PCI-E via an adapter, would one be reducing the potential sonic improvements of an add-on card by going through the PCH integrated PCI-E via NVME?

 

Are larger ATX motherboards the only way to avoid this limitation?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, matthias said:

 

Thanks for sharing, being very curious if the card with the later chipset is superior. 

The ASM3142 is the favourite chipset of Emile Bok from Taiko Audio.

 

Matt

Going to order it soon to compare with the Elfidelity. I just wish it had USB-A outputs. I also do not have an LPSU.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/12/2020 at 9:28 PM, lmitche said:

I'd say go with an USB NIC hanging from a good USB 3 card.

@lmitche , would something like this be sufficient? Open to suggestions.

 

https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-USB-C-Gigabit-Ethernet-Adapter/dp/B015FTWD5U/ref=sr_1_18_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=realtech+usb+nic&qid=1589582868&sr=8-18-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUE5MDNZQkVOMDBQRUImZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTEwMDg5NTczMk9DTTVZSk00V0dKJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAyMTA5MzQxMlVFTTVVVTlVVzBFJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYnRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

 

8 hours ago, Peter Avgeris said:

So I found out that there is a ridiculously cheap solution that would outperform many of the highly priced network adapters around. The exact description of the model is TP-Link 3468 v.3, it comes in both tall and narrow mounting bracket and it sells for 6-9.5 Euros

 

I have ordered this to compare to the USB NIC option. It is cheap enough to try.

 

Ordering this as well:

https://www.audioadvice.com/audioquest-forest-usb-c-cable.html

 

By the time i'm done with testing i'm certain I will have some extra parts to spare :)  

 

I don't know if it is a fair comparison considering the Elfidelity will be used with my Schiit Pyst cable.

 

Also on order:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087G7T234/ref=crt_ewc_title_dp_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1XBPHGHAXLHDG

Will report back with observations once everything is settled in.

 

One last question:

 

Has anyone compared the following options?

1. LPSU > HDPlex 400w DC-ATX converter > 5v output to USB/Net PCIE expansion card.

2. LPSU > 5v Output direct to USB/Net PCIE expansion card.

 

This above answer will determine subsequent steps post purchase of LPSU for server.

 

Thanks

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So i'm trying the TG-3468 v3 NIC Card as a small experiment before the PCI-E USB controller comes in and I am pleasantly surprised so far. It sounds really good. Will give it more time before I give final impressions. 

 

Observations:

Slightly lower noise floor

Vocals sound less digital

 

At the moment I am using:

 

1. Elidelity USB filter

2.  TG-3468 v3 NIC

3. LPSU (new Keces P3) powered Arris SB8200, Ubiquiti Edgerouter X SFP & Etherregen A>B side now (LPS 1.2 powered).

 

The Keces P3 is a compromise but I do notice an improvement in noise reduction even with the Etherregen between these devices and my server. My wife noticed a positive impact without knowing anything changed (SMPSs switched for LPSU).

 

This makes for a very decent budget setup..but who am I to judge, I do not have an LPSU for my server yet although I have some plans in the works.

 

Pics or it didn't happen:

spacer.png

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

I could have spared myself a lot of cost (including that for the LPSU's) and much trouble, but it was fun to do. And I may occasionally go back to a network setup for convenience. But the SQ I am now hearing is hard to resist and forgo.

 

This is awesome. 

 

For my particular usecase, I stream and currently prefer to stream my music for various reasons...so unfortunately for me removing a network is just not an option.

 

Will consider doing this long-term when I build up a local library of music I like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, dctom said:

Thanks for this.

Thought I would give the TP-Link 3468 v.3 a try as it is such a low cost. Unfortunately it seems to create a hardware conflict with my Z390 phantom MB and OS. I am running audiolinux are you using windows?

 

 

 

 

 

FYI I tried the card with GentooPlayer. No issues to report.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, guiltyboxswapper said:

 

If you are capable of basic DIY, the MPAudio LSIB with 7VA traffo improved on the 7v Farad Super3 (with SRB fuse, Furutech etc...) with quite some ease.  Blacker backgrounds (!), less hash, richer tones and at ease in comparison to the Farad yet would swing hard when music called upon it. 

 

This was with the oR as the test subject.

 

Edit: Super3 7v is very decent as is, so was surprised it was an improvement to be honest.

 

Intrigued by the MPAudio LSIB solution.

 

Which enclosure did you use and is there a build thread for this? Thanks in advanced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

 

- SR4 19V => HDPlex group 1 => various motherboard + 12V EPS/CPU

- Keces P8 20V => HDPlex group 2 => 12V external usb HDD

 @bodiebill is the P8 on group 2 a single or dual rail unit?

 

If single rail, have you considered switching it for the SR4 powering group 1, essentially switching the power supplies in the above usecases? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So many questions. Thank you ALL for the tremendous help so far. Also, my apologies if this has been answered before.

 

I have an LPS 1.2 and I need to determine whether it makes sense to use it to power my Etherregen or to power my USB PCI-E expansion card (or Elfidenlity USB card).

 

This decision will drive my next LPSU decisions from MPAudio.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please disregard my previous post - I found my answer in this thread. ;) cheers

 

For anyone else with a similar question, this post REALLY helps break it down: 

 

Thanks @austinpop

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to change the current topic but I have compared the following to setups with GentooPlayer OS:

 

Option A:

  1. USB: Startech PCI-E USB-C card -  https://www.startech.com/Cards-Adapters/USB-3.0/Cards/2-port-pcie-usb3-1-card~PEXUSB312C3
  2. Cable AudioQuest Forest USB-C to B cable
  3. NIC : StarTech USB 3.0 Gigabit Nic with Realtek Chipset

 

Option B:

  1. USB: Motherboard USB 3.1 Gen 1 to Elfidelity USB Filter
  2. Cable : Schiit Pyst
  3. NIC: Motherboard input (through PCH)

 

I believe it is too early to tell which one is better but Option A is providing better imaging, larger soundstage and an overall "cleaner" presentation with some leanness compared to option B. Both sound great so far... I will give the card some time to break in but I do think Option A will likely be what I stick with until curiosity sets in.

 

Now, @bodiebill feeds his USB cards with proper LPSU power, so it is possible I have yet to scratch the surface of each card's capabilities.

 

Note: I am feeding both cards via generic cable from HDPlex 400W DC-ATX adapter. A better DC cable is on order, so is LPSU power for the server.

 

Note2: In order to get this USB NIC to work with GentooPlayer, I had to switch to the PF-ST kernel. Otherwise, the NIC went undetected. I did not check if it was the PCI-E card that wasn't detected or the NIC itself.

 

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

 

Interesting. Although hard to pinpoint which device does what as USB cards, cables as well as NIC's are different between both options.

 

And indeed I much preferred external LPSU power (with LT3045 cleansing) to the HDPlex 800W DC-ATX (even when fed by an SR4) for powering the Elfidelity.

 

And soon, I hope, my ASMedia ASM3142 10Gbps USB card will arrive so I can do a similar comparison.

yeah - too many variables changing at once. I would have likd to use the same cable but that was not an option. Even if I were to use an adapter there may be an SQ impact.

 

The NIC, I can switch back to the motherboard to do a more direct comparison.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, ASRMichael said:

Buffalo BS-GU2016 in stock here

 

I just bought one. 

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/402250375981

Does the "GU" use the same Broadcom chipset as the GS? Has it been proven to be equivalent to the GS for audio applications? If so, this would certainly be a more readily available cost-effective alternative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, ASRMichael said:

Well spotted! Didn’t see the GU

 

I almost made the same mistake myself! Always willing to help a fellow audiophile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Nsxturbo said:

I have some interesting news for anyone looking for a Buffalo BS-GS2016A. I just discovered that the BS-GS2016P POE model uses the same main board, it just adds a piggyback board, POE relays and a higher voltage and current SMPS, all of which can be removed or bypassed. 
 

This might open up some additional sourcing opportunities😉

 

 

@Nsxturbo, thanks to your post, I have picked up the BS-GS2016P from Adorama:

 

https://www.adorama.com/bubsgs2016p.html?utm_source=adl-gbase-hometech

 

Although my plan was to wait for confirmation on the BS-GS2008 from @Peter Avgeris and @Nenon.

 

Officially heading down the rabbit-hole... I do not currently have an LPSU for this switch but will likely source something from MPAudio.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/8/2020 at 3:11 PM, seeteeyou said:

Both Juniper SRX300 and revision C1 of D-Link DGS-1210 series are sharing the same BCM53343 (Broadcom Hurricane 2 SoC) inside Buffalo / Melco

 

Wondering if anyone has compared these options to the mighty BS-GS2016. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, jean-michel6 said:

Hi ,

 

About the buffalo , you purchased the 2016p which is the Poe version of the 2016 .

 

Does it use the same Broadcom chip as the 2016 and can you deactivate the Poe function to make it work like a regular 2016 ?

 

There are some differences with the in-built PSU but it too can be bypassed like the BS-GS2016. 

 

Same chipset as the Melco and BS-GS2016.

 

See this post from @Nsxturbo:

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites



×
×
  • Create New...