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

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Mozes, any chance you could test the TX ultra vs. the ISO Regen without the galvanic isolation?  Straight comparison? I think this would tell us more about the design and clocking between the two.  Curious what score you would give the ISOless Regen?

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When I originally received my SOtM stack, I couldn't really hear a difference between the sMS-200 Ultra (HD-Plex @ 12V) and the microRendu (LPS-1).  Obviously, this really bothered me and I was hoping that it was the power supply because I'd heard the standard sMS-200 with LPS-1 versus the microRendu with LPS-1 and preferred even the standard sMS-200 to the microRendu.  I'd also heard @austinpop's modded sMS-200 to Ultra status versus the microRendu in both my system and his.  My initial testing of the sMS-200 Ultra with HD-Plex versus the microRendu with LPS-1 was conducted without a bridged connection.  

 

When @austinpopcame over with his stack, we first tested the microRendu with LPS-1 versus the sMS-200 Ultra with HD-Plex, and I immediately heard the difference.  I was stunned that I could not tell the difference before when I first received my SOtM stack.  But this time we were using a bridged connection from my PC, so I'm wondering if the sMS-200 is not only very sensitive to power supply, but also to ethernet input.

 

We then added the LPS-1 to the sMS-200 Ultra and the difference was even more pronounced.  Prior to @austinpop coming over, @romazhad me worried because he said that he tested the HD-Plex versus LPS-1 on the microRendu and described the difference as night/day.  I cannot distinguish the two power supplies on the microRendu after testing it on multiple occasions.  @Bamberand I started PM'ing, and he seems to agree with me about the microRendu not being that sensitive to power supplies, which gave me some relief.   

 

I need to revise some of my previous impressions of the tX, switch, and sMS-200.  Originally, I said that they all added an equally significant improvement.  After this round of testing, I'd say that the switch probably has the largest effect.  The sMS-200's impact is probably slightly below or equal to the switch.  The tX-USB Ultra seemed to have the least amount of impact to me, and in fact, I couldn't even really notice any improvement, which perturbed me because I thought I could easily distinguish the tX from @austinpop and I's previous two testings (one in his system, one in mine).

 

I'm strongly considering returning the dX-USB Ultra and modding my Singxer SU-1 to accept a DC connection, but I'm wondering if the master clock option could make a huge difference or if the dX-USB Ultra is more sensitive to power supplies than the Singxer.  The impressive aspect of the Singxer is that both @austinpop and I thought it sounded better than the dX-USB Ultra even though the Singxer was stock and the dX-USB Ultra was powered by two LPS-1's in series to achieve 12V.

 

 

 

TL;DR

Switch mod is definitely worth it.

sMS-200 Ultra is also a fairly large jump.

tX/dX USB Ultra is questionable depending on whether you already have a DDC and/or which input sounds best on your DAC.  I believe @romaz hypothesized this as well because he said the dX had the least amount of impact on his system when he had both the tX and the dX (probably because the DAVE DAC sounds best with USB), but I'd say the tX had less of an impact than the dX in my system but only because my DAC (Schiit Yggy) sounds best with AES.

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41 minutes ago, limniscate said:

After this round of testing, I'd say that the switch probably has the largest effect.

 

That seemed to further explain why romaz was getting these results back in May

 

https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-the-sms-200-and-microrendu/?page=61#comment-658475

Quote

To add to the mystery, here's one more observation.  Over the weekend, a good friend lent me a pair of his SOtM dCBL-CAT7 ethernet cables ($500 each).  According to SOtM, combining a pair of these cables along with their iSO-CAT6 LAN isolator ($350) can lead to dramatic improvements.  As I already own (and have currently been using) SOtM's dCBL-CAT6 combined with their iSO-CAT 6 LAN isolator in my direct connection (which has resulted in decent gains in SQ over my BJC CAT6A by itself), I thought there would be no way their CAT7 Ethernet cable that incorporates a "filter" would do that much more.  Boy, was I wrong.  I elected to place SOtM's recommended "ultimate" combination of dCBL-CAT7 + iSO-CAT6 LAN isolator + dCBL-CAT7 between my Mac Mini and my Trend Net reclocking switch within the "direct connection" pathway and compared this against my dCBL-CAT6 by itself, a Supra CAT8 cable, and a BJC CAT6A cable and the improvement was nothing short of stunning in the form of a larger and more holographic soundstage and improved dynamics.  It's as if those other cables were suffocating my music.  The midrange sounded a bit more recessed than I would prefer but overall, the SQ improvement was tremendous and of similar impact as the reclocking switch itself!  In fact, it literally doubled the impact of the switch and nearly matched the improvement of the sMS-200 Ultra in terms of "air" and dynamics.

 

Now I actually understand why multiple audiophiles in Japan would shell out the cash for this endgame switch that's costing an arm and a leg, either all of them were "stupid" or the switch must be THAT good

 

http://audiofan2013.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-918.html
http://audiofan2013.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-919.html
http://audiofan2013.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-920.html
http://asoyaji.blogspot.com/2017/02/m12-gold-switch.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/04/m12-gold-switch.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/04/m12-gold-switch1.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/05/asoyaji-dacm12-gold-switch.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/05/m12-switch-gold3.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/05/m12-switch-gold4.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/06/m12-switch-gold5.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/06/m12-switch-gold6.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/06/m12-switch-gold7.html

 

FYcAFdD.jpgqOSuK2r.jpg

 

41 minutes ago, limniscate said:

The impressive aspect of the Singxer is that both @austinpop and I thought it sounded better than the dX-USB Ultra even though the Singxer was stock and the dX-USB Ultra was powered by two LPS-1's in series to achieve 12V.

 

It's hard to imagine what would happen once we replace all regulators with even better ones, feed SU-1 with LPS-1 and then Crystek CCHD-575/957 series clocks could be replaced by sCLK-EX accordingly.

 

If Singxer were able to sell SU-1 for only 400 (actually it's $379 w/ free international shipping on eBay) bucks, one could only speculate what they would do with SU-2 etc.

 

Not confirmed yet but someone from Taiwan did mention that successor might be released in August

 

https://www.ptt.cc/bbs/Headphone/M.1498290403.A.E42.html

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1 hour ago, ElviaCaprice said:

I'm just thinking that you may get fairly close to the ISO Regen/TxUSB Ultra combo at half the total cost.  Also the ISO Regens are much friendlier cascaded with the new adapter.  You can even use the same LPS-1 power supply for both Regens, no penalty, for a further reduction in cost.

That's my thinking as well.  I'll formulate my hypothesis later.  However, I'm not sure if both the IR may be powered by one LPS-1 without SQ impact.

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1 hour ago, ElviaCaprice said:

I'm just thinking that you may get fairly close to the ISO Regen/TxUSB Ultra combo at half the total cost.  Also the ISO Regens are much friendlier cascaded with the new adapter.  You can even use the same LPS-1 power supply for both Regens, no penalty, for a further reduction in cost.

I agree, I think so too. The tX design of placing the USB input and output next to each other in the back made it so hard for me to do these tests especially when trying to use the USPCB.

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39 minutes ago, seeteeyou said:

 

That seemed to further explain why romaz was getting these results back in May

 

https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-the-sms-200-and-microrendu/?page=61#comment-658475

 

Now I actually understand why multiple audiophiles in Japan would shell out the cash for this endgame switch that's costing an arm and a leg, either all of them were "stupid" or the switch must be THAT good

 

http://audiofan2013.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-918.html
http://audiofan2013.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-919.html
http://audiofan2013.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-920.html
http://asoyaji.blogspot.com/2017/02/m12-gold-switch.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/04/m12-gold-switch.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/04/m12-gold-switch1.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/05/asoyaji-dacm12-gold-switch.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/05/m12-switch-gold3.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/05/m12-switch-gold4.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/06/m12-switch-gold5.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/06/m12-switch-gold6.html
http://hyper-pc-audio.blogspot.com/2017/06/m12-switch-gold7.html

 

FYcAFdD.jpgqOSuK2r.jpg

 

 

It's hard to imagine what would happen once we replace all regulators with even better ones, feed SU-1 with LPS-1 and then Crystek CCHD-575/957 series clocks could be replaced by sCLK-EX accordingly.

 

If Singxer were able to sell SU-1 for only 400 (actually it's $379 w/ free international shipping on eBay) bucks, one could only speculate what they would do with SU-2 etc.

 

Not confirmed yet but someone from Taiwan did mention that successor might be released in August

 

https://www.ptt.cc/bbs/Headphone/M.1498290403.A.E42.html

 

My dCBL7 cables may not be burned in yet, but so far, I'd have to disagree with @romaz  They don't seem to impact the sound quality very much, if at all.

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9 hours ago, hols said:

I would like to share my experience with the SOtM ts-USB Ultra with 10M reference clock input which has arrived a week ago.

 

...Cybershaft OCXO 10M reference clock...

 

Very cool stuff!

 

Do you know if the Cybershaft is available in the US?

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6 hours ago, Cornan said:

 

May I suggest that you try powering the switch with battery and the charger disconnected from AC mains. IME especially network switches sounds best with battery power. I strongly believe switches kick a lot of noises back into the AC mains. 

 

I'm working on writing up my results, but to this point - we did intend to try a battery, since we didn't have enough LPS-1's to go around. But sadly the battery turned out to be not sufficiently charged (operator error). So this will have to wait for another day.

 

But seriously - I have never found a battery to sound better than an LPS-1.

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27 minutes ago, limniscate said:

 

My dCBL7 cables may not be burned in yet, but so far, I'd have to disagree with @romaz  They don't seem to impact the sound quality very much, if at all.

 

@romaz is using very low impedance PH power supply so he's experiencing lots of resolving power there. Perhaps, wait until you have your PH power supply?

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4 minutes ago, TopQuark said:

 

@romaz is using very low impedance PH power supply so he's experiencing lots of resolving power there. Perhaps, wait until you have your PH power supply?

It's possible that that could make the difference, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Cybershaft should only sell directly from Japan and they do accept payments via PayPal

 

http://www.cybershaft.jp/overseas01.html

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?20827-Reasonably-priced-dual-master-clock-(10Mhz)-Rb-and-OCXO

 

Interesting comparisons between 50Ω versus 75Ω connectors / cables / connections etc.

 

http://www.audioaficionado.org/showpost.php?p=832200&postcount=15

http://www.audioaficionado.org/showthread.php?t=37172&page=2

 

I'd wait for SOtM's 10MHz clock and let's see if that were anywhere close to the performance of Mutec REF 10.

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@limniscate,

after a FW update, I managed to get the virtual switch to work on the HS-251+, thanks ! :)

 

I therefore joined the club of those connected via bridge connection and I got to say I love it !! Going through a basic router when I first connected the sMS-200 seemed to lower the whole frequency range, i.e. more bass & less treble (within reasons) but with the bridge I got my tonal balance back, the sound is more lively & airy.

 

I'm still wondering about the sMS-200Ultra versus the sMS-200 and there are so far not many people reporting on the differences between the 2.

One thing that got me concerned with the sMS-200Ultra is the need for a PSU with higher output than the LPS-1, what do you guys think ?

In your tests, @limniscate & @austinpop, you seem to have powered the sMS-200Ultra with the LPS-1....did you feel like it lacked amps output at any time ?

 

Re. power supplies, why is noone mentionning the Kenneth Lau units ? He proposes 2 product lines I believe, the standard one and the Signature Edition, which I have, and it's an outstanding product !

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Not sure about what romaz purchased but he did try one of those PSUs from Kenneth Lau as mentioned below


https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-the-sms-200-and-microrendu/?page=9#comment-617273

On 1/10/2017 at 4:05 PM, romaz said:

I have high respect for my LPS-1 and it is my highest value PSU by far. For sure, it is playing a role in why my current setup sounds better but presently, it is only powering my switch and one of my FMCs. Compared to my SR7, the SR7 is better although to be fair to the LPS-1, the SR7 is better than PSUs I have from Kenneth Lau, Paul Pang, HDPlex and Teradak by an even wider margin.

 

Maybe not quite in the same league when compared to the top dogs?

 

Paul Hynes Design

UpTone Audio UltraCap LPS-1

Vinnie Rossi MINI PURE DC-4-EVR

 

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5 hours ago, limniscate said:

After this round of testing, I'd say that the switch probably has the largest effect.

Are you just using the switch between a bridged NIC and the sMS-200ultra?

 

I realize the switch mod makes perfect sense since you are transplanting a clock point from the sCLK-EX board in your sMS-200ultra.  The incremental cost is $300 and there is a potential benefit of the clock in the switch sharing the internal reference clock on the sCLK-EX in the sMS-200ultra ... although John Swenson has said he's not sure that's all that important.

 

I'm wondering if the JCAT NET Card FEMTO would give similar results to the SOtM switch mod.  Instead of reclocking in an external switch, it gives you a dual port NIC with a Crystek 957 and ultra low noise linear regulators in the PC that can be externally powered with a 12V/1.5A LPS.  I'm wondering if this would be a good solution for those without an SOtM ultra product.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, rickca said:

Are you just using the switch between a bridged NIC and the sMS-200ultra?

 

I realize the switch mod makes perfect sense since you are transplanting a clock point from the sCLK-EX board in your sMS-200ultra.  The incremental cost is $300 and there is a potential benefit of the clock in the switch sharing the internal reference clock on the sCLK-EX in the sMS-200ultra ... although John Swenson has said he's not sure that's all that important.

 

I'm wondering if the JCAT NET Card FEMTO would give similar results to the SOtM switch mod.  Instead of reclocking in an external switch, it gives you a dual port NIC with a Crystek 957 and ultra low noise linear regulators in the PC that can be externally powered with a 12V/1.5A LPS.  I'm wondering if this would be a good solution for those without an SOtM ultra product.

 

 

Yes. I'm curious about the new JCAT card as well.  I'd also like to hear the Linn Klimax since another member got rid of his SOtM gear for it.

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33 minutes ago, seeteeyou said:

Not sure about what romaz purchased but he did try one of those PSUs from Kenneth Lau as mentioned below

 

Would be good to know which model it was...the standard or the Signature Edition, I have not had the standard one but there is supposed to be a big gap between the 2.

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13 hours ago, lmitche said:

Hols -Did you try the ISO REGEN with uspcb into the tx-USBUltra?

Yes , I am using it already.

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32 minutes ago, austinpop said:

the clock implementation of the SU-1, using the Crystek 975 clock chip is close in quality to the sCLK-EX - a clock about which we have no technical info

 

32 minutes ago, austinpop said:

The above is bolstered by @mozes's findings with the IR in conjunction with the tX, which similarly held its own, and also employs the Crystek 975 as its clock chip.

I'm pretty sure this is just a typo, but the clock in the IR is the Crystek 575.  The ShenzhenAudio website description of the SU-1 says it uses Crystek CCHD-575/957 Series clock, so the SU-1 uses either the 575 or the 957.

 

I don't think there's any such thing as Crystek 975.

 

Awesome amount of work and excellent review.  Thank you so much!

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13 minutes ago, guillaume31 said:

Thanks for the detailed report @austinpop !!

 

Do you think the LPS-1 has enough oomph to power the 6.5V-9V sMS-200Ultra  ?

 

I cannot say authoritatively, as I have never directly used one, but I strongly expect so.

 

Works great with the tX-USBultra.

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13 hours ago, rickca said:

Thanks for a very useful post.  Did you try the ISO REGEN/LPS-1 on its own (without tX-USBultra) and compare it to the tX-USBultra on its own?

I have not tried that.  May try that later after the IsoRegen is burned in.

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3 minutes ago, rickca said:

 

I'm pretty sure this is just a typo, but the clock in the IR is the Crystek 575.  The ShenzhenAudio website description of the SU-1 says it uses Crystek CCHD-575/957 Series clock, so the SU-1 uses either the 575 or the 957.

 

I don't think there's any such thing as Crystek 975.

 

Yes - typo.

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52 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

  1. Compare Z-switch with D-switch, both with sMS-200ultra
    • Z-switch by a nose
    • More boogie factor, PRAT, bit more dynamic
    • Remember, every piece is more than just a clock. The entire component design matters too. It looks like the Zyxel sounds a tad better.
  2.  
Concluding Remarks
  • The sMS-200ultra plus a modded switch is the lowest cost winner here. I think this is the true uniqueness of the sCLK-EX approach, as for whatever reason, previous standalone Ethernet reclocking switches, as reported by Ray, have just not yielded this much SQ improvement.

 

I am convinced after your thorough comparisons. Thanks you so much for your time and effort!

 

I will definitely be sending my sms200Ultra for a switch mod. Could you please write down the exact model number of the Zyxel switch you were using in your test?

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