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

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1 minute ago, unbalanced output said:

 

I hope that you just typed this from a notebook which was charged by a LPS charged by a LPS :D

It was typed on a battery powered cellphone but using WiFi from a router on an unregulated stock switching PSU.... Aaarrgghhh.... :P

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13 minutes ago, Johnseye said:

 

100w for $146.  Is this thing any good?

 

or I should say 100w for $195

 

It is not 100W.  Even assuming it can produce (continuous?) what it is rated at (see above and somewhere I posted photos of my test session with its smaller brother), the math shows that 100W is erroneous.  From the eBay page of the choices--and I will type in the V x A = Watts results:

 

1. 5V /6A    = 30W
2. 9V /5.7A  = 51.3W
3. 12V /5.5A  = 66W
4. 15V /5.3A  = 79.5W
5. 18V /4.4A  = 79.2W
6. 19V /4.2A  = 79.8W
7. 24V /3.3A  = 79.2W

 

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57 minutes ago, Superdad said:

 

Well if you guys really want an LPS (to energize your UltraCap LPS-1s) that kicks nothing back in to the wall, then the choke-filtered, power-factor corrected JS-2 is about the best you can do. 9_9 

The big choke in series after the Schottky diodes and snubbered R-core trans make it so the JS-2 conducts current over 97% of the AC wave cycle--versus 50% for most traditional trans>diodes>caps>regulator LPS units.  SMPS units have super high frequency harmonics, but standard LPS's kick back harmonics of 50/60Hz.

(Of course the real evil of the SMPS is its massive leakage current--but that is cut off by the LPS-1 since they are just a "disconnected from output" charger.)

 

I cringe at the idea of our beautiful JS-2 being used just to charge a bunch of LPS-1s.  Where the JS-2 really shines is in powering a real audio device. (Have been selling lots of them to Brooklyn DAC owners lately--and they are VERY happy.)  

 

But since the JS-2 can produce 7.2 amps at 12V all day long, you could set both outputs to 12V, use 2 'Y' cables, and power 4 LPS-1s.  

My assistant just finished building another 14 units.  I'll be testing/burning in over the weekend, yet only 11 of the 14 are pre-sold and slated for shipment on Tuesday.  Are you tempted Rajiv? B|

 

I get the idea of the choke-filtered harmonics feeding forward and backwards the line frequency (50 Hz for me). I also accept the fact that the LPS-1 will not feed forward those frequencies. However, is there any real life effect other than hum that the LPS-1 would cause to other choke-filtered power supplies connected to the same rail? 

 

Also, if I understand you correctly from the isolation and grounding thread, it would be better to not connect the digital components (computer, router) to the same PS as the renderer, right? 

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Hey Alex, didn't you have a cheap LPS-1 supply project at one time?  Maybe you should revive that? Or design one and license it to a Chinese manufacturer?

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If all your energizing supplies for the LPS-1 are behind an isolation transformer, does it really matter if they are smps or lps ?

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14 minutes ago, Dev said:

If all your energizing supplies for the LPS-1 are behind an isolation transformer, does it really matter if they are smps or lps ?

 

I agree!  And to me it would seem that if one has all other equipment fed from the output of an isolation trans, then just plugging the SMPS units into the wall will render them benign.  Or you can do like some and give them their own small IT.

It all seems a bit over the top to me.  LPS-1 blocks all leakage from SMPS, and output (noise, impedance, etc.) is unrelated to "energizing"/charging voltage.

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50 minutes ago, lmitche said:

Hey Alex, didn't you have a cheap LPS-1 supply project at one time?  Maybe you should revive that? Or design one and license it to a Chinese manufacturer?

 

Well, John and I sketched out a plan for a small hybrid supply (to use as a charger for the LPS-1) whose sole focus would be to kick nothing back into the wall.  It would be based on an entirely unique idea John had (sorry, not revealing it here), and would have very few parts.

 

Where we got stuck was that I wanted it to be priced at about $100.  That means using a flat, circuit board mount transformer, and PCB mount AC switch, inlet, fuse, voltage selector--to keep labor down--and using a chassis larger than the LPS-1 itself.  Hard enough to do.  But then I thought it would be nice to have it be able to power two LPS-1 units.  Of course that doubles the wattage, and makes the transformer larger.  So at that point we were looking at a 40W supply.  

No longer $100--at least not from us. Parts sourcing, production planning, inventory, bundles, etc.  

And for what?  The few people who don't want any SMPS around?  Then having to explain to everyone else why we offer a special supply for our special supply?

 

Honestly, we have so many more interesting products on the drawing board. (Though I would eventually like to do a big fancy UltraCap supply--but it will need a special, giant "energizer!")

 

So best if those for whom this is issue to just pick some modest LPS to charge with.

 

BTW Larry, you said "license [a design] to a Chinese manufacturer."  That's not what they do!  Can you cite an example of such?  How do you think they can turn out products for almost nothing?  Do you really think Ti Kan of AMB Laboratories is receiving royalties from China for his Sigma11 design every time someone copies it? Don't think so.:/

 

 

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33 minutes ago, Superdad said:

 

Well, John and I sketched out a plan for a small hybrid supply (to use as a charger for the LPS-1) whose sole focus would be to kick nothing back into the wall.  It would be based on an entirely unique idea John had (sorry, not revealing it here), and would have very few parts.

 

Where we got stuck was that I wanted it to be priced at about $100.  That means using a flat, circuit board mount transformer, and PCB mount AC switch, inlet, fuse, voltage selector--to keep labor down--and using a chassis larger than the LPS-1 itself.  Hard enough to do.  But then I thought it would be nice to have it be able to power two LPS-1 units.  Of course that doubles the wattage, and makes the transformer larger.  So at that point we were looking at a 40W supply.  

No longer $100--at least not from us. Parts sourcing, production planning, inventory, bundles, etc.  

And for what?  The few people who don't want any SMPS around?  Then having to explain to everyone else why we offer a special supply for our special supply?

 

Honestly, we have so many more interesting products on the drawing board. (Though I would eventually like to do a big fancy UltraCap supply--but it will need a special, giant "energizer!")

 

So best if those for whom this is issue to just pick some modest LPS to charge with.

 

BTW Larry, you said "license [a design] to a Chinese manufacturer."  That's not what they do!  Can you cite an example of such?  How do you think they can turn out products for almost nothing?  Do you really think Ti Kan of AMB Laboratories is receiving royalties from China for his Sigma11 design every time someone copies it? Don't think so.:/

 

 

Alex, here is an interesting article on the IP protection problem in China.

 

http://www.chinalawblog.com/2017/06/how-to-stop-your-china-manufacturer-from-selling-your-product-to-others-dont-let-this-happen-to-you.html

 

I don't know the legal fees for getting these protections in place, but it can be done. The scale needed to make this economically feasible is unclear.

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4 hours ago, Dev said:

If all your energizing supplies for the LPS-1 are behind an isolation transformer, does it really matter if they are smps or lps ?

 

4 hours ago, Superdad said:

 

I agree!  And to me it would seem that if one has all other equipment fed from the output of an isolation trans, then just plugging the SMPS units into the wall will render them benign.  Or you can do like some and give them their own small IT.

It all seems a bit over the top to me.  LPS-1 blocks all leakage from SMPS, and output (noise, impedance, etc.) is unrelated to "energizing"/charging voltage.

 

So just to be clear, I am not yet sold on the need for LPSes for energizing. Until I hear, and can gauge the extent of further improvement, the jury is still out.

 

What I can report is that my approach - of putting the energizing SMPSes on their own small, cheap IT ($100), and modest audiophile power cables (3 x $50) gave me perhaps a 5-10% further boost in SQ. At a total cost of $250 over 3 LPS-1s, that's an additional $80ish per LPS-1, or a 20% price overhead.

 

Is that a good price-performance investment, and would I actually advise people to do it? I'm not sure. I also think it took my system to reach this level of SQ - a large leap from where it was the last time I tested power cables, for example, for these effects to even be noticeable.

 

So my 20 cents - since I do tend to be verbose 9_9 - for 95% of LPS-1 owners, this isn't even something to worry or care about. If you're nutty enough to try chains like mine, then well, yeah, by all means explore this too.

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1 hour ago, austinpop said:

 

 

So just to be clear, I am not yet sold on the need for LPSes for energizing. Until I hear, and can gauge the extent of further improvement, the jury is still out.

 

What I can report is that my approach - of putting the energizing SMPSes on their own small, cheap IT ($100), and modest audiophile power cables (3 x $50) gave me perhaps a 5-10% further boost in SQ. At a total cost of $250 over 3 LPS-1s, that's an additional $80ish per LPS-1, or a 20% price overhead.

 

Is that a good price-performance investment, and would I actually advise people to do it? I'm not sure. I also think it took my system to reach this level of SQ - a large leap from where it was the last time I tested power cables, for example, for these effects to even be noticeable.

 

So my 20 cents - since I do tend to be verbose 9_9 - for 95% of LPS-1 owners, this isn't even something to worry or care about. If you're nutty enough to try chains like mine, then well, yeah, by all means explore this too.

 

These are all subjective opinions off coarse. Somebody would be a fool to think that its going to improve the same level if they had exactly followed what you have. I think everyone understands the beauty of LPS-1 on the output side where it totally isolates but my question was rather on the input side of things - does it make the LPS-1 even a better power supply or does your system sound better because the energizing supplies are not able to kick back noises into the power line. As with anything in audio everything probably matters and an isolation transformer is really a good investment if you aren't willing to spring for a JS-2. As for me, I have dedicated 20A line for my main audio gears and all smps (computers, routers, switches, nas, cable modem, etc) are connected to the other normal line through an isolation transformer. So for me the chances of improvements of LPS are subtle at best and I don't think I am going to venture into it.

@SuperdadAlex brings out an interesting point where he suggests to put the main audio rig behind an isolation transformer which kind of makes more sense but you really need a high wattage one and need something that might be audiophile quality as well - which means you are also looking into non current limiting power cords and outlets (all my dedicated outlets are Furutech NCF) - well, that can be a project for some other time :-) 

 

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8 hours ago, Superdad said:

 

 

b) When you see $0.50 bridge rectifiers in an LPS, you can know right away that these will exacerbate transformer ringing and lots of harmonics will be kicked back into the line. 

5967d9c9d536f_BridgeRect.thumb.jpg.1eb2a212af808a84543febbc47fd86e8.jpg

If you are looking for an LPS that is a little more "line quiet" (short of our JS-2 design), then at least find one with discrete Schottky diodes.

 

 

These are great points and something to keep at the back of your mind when shopping for cheapo LPS. Does anyone really make them and in prices alike the cheapo ones ?

 

 

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On 7/13/2017 at 7:36 AM, austinpop said:

In the next day or two, we should be doing another listening session at Eric's, so will report on that soon. I suspect many folks will want to know how this combo sounds:

Looking forward to it as always.  I've spent at least 10 mins catching up on this expansive thread :)

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On 7/13/2017 at 3:48 PM, Johnseye said:

 

Good stuff Rajiv.  Lots of changes going on.  When I hear you say "finally banished the last remnants of the slightly thin SOtM house sound" and "these just vanquished the last trace of thinness" I think to myself, what are we really trying to achieve with these devices?  If we think in painting terms, are we just painting different shades or colors of the music to achieve a sound that is more pleasing to our ears?

 

What is each reviewers ultimate goal when listening to these devices?  Are we looking to reduce noise as much as possible, thus revealing as much of the music as possible, are we looking for a sound that most closely represents live or an analog sourced recording, or are we looking for a sound that is most pleasing to our ear and does that qualification change?

 

There are certain components that contribute to a thin sound.  Solid state vs tube in the pre or amp is one.  Cable material is another.  And I wonder how you came to the conclusion that SOtM products sound thin because I've come to that same conclusion myself.  What is your point of reference in which a device sounds fatter that you are measuring against?  I found that the microRendu sounded fatter.  However the sms-200 was slightly clearer while also sounding thinner at the same time.  I think it may be hard to get one without the other, but I chose thin and clear vs. fat and clouded.  Analog music such as that from vinyl is one exception.  I think that can be clear and fat.  Almost buttery, but it's also noisy.  When I listen to music that's my reference point.  I can hear the difference between an analog sourced piece of vinyl and a digital sourced.  It's not hard, one sounds thinner than the other.  My end goal is to hear digital music as clearly as possible, with as little extraneous noise as possible, providing a clean, transparent, multi dimensional image that is buttery like analog.  That's my point of reference and critical in understanding why I think a device, a musical source or a setting may sound better than another.  It's the compass that guides my audio decisions.

Very well said. What I have noticed is that when your systems gets better, it tends to get a bit thinner. Less jitter, less noise gives a more precise sound that we are simply not used to hearing from recordings. You could of course argue that this is not the case with live performances, but listen to the background noise during these live concerts! Good studio recordings have a black background we almost never encounter in our daily lives. My conclusion is that noise attributes in a perception of a fatter sound. Once you get used to the precise and perhaps a bit thinner sound you want go back. This also is true for real digital amplifiers. You need to get used to them. Btw. I only have a full digital pre-amplifier. My mono-blocks are analog.

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14 minutes ago, kennyb123 said:

 

I typically think of "thin" as the absence of weight or tonal density.

 

I totally agree about the more precise sound, but at the same time I tend to hear an increase in tonal density as a result.

 

The terms I'd probably use instead of "thin" to describe what I hear as a system gets better are "more focused" or "less smeared".  

I agree it would be better to talk about focus instead of thin. Thin however would be used be people less exposed to high end. Of course those are not the ones visiting these forums. 

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@austinpop switched in the tX-USB Ultra.  I didn't necessarily know if it was in the chain or not, but I knew he was conducting that test instance with or without the tX in the chain.  I'm still not confident about the consistency of hearing the benefits of the tX.

 

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17 minutes ago, kennyb123 said:

 

I typically think of "thin" as the absence of weight or tonal density.

 

I totally agree about the more precise sound, but at the same time I tend to hear an increase in tonal density as a result.

 

The terms I'd probably use instead of "thin" to describe what I hear as a system gets better are "more focused" or "less smeared".  

 

Words that come to mind specific to more focused or less smeared are "defined" and "clear or clarity".  As in, I can hear an instrument clearly now, it is more defined when with the other component it fell into the background, or was hidden.

 

Thin to me at least is different than this.  However it often accompanies clarity.  It's what I first heard when I changed amps or speaker wire.  The interesting thing is that that thinness tends to disappear as I become accustom to the sound and just the clarity remains.

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10 minutes ago, Johnseye said:

 

Words that come to mind specific to more focused or less smeared are "defined" and "clear or clarity".  As in, I can hear an instrument clearly now, it is more defined when with the other component it fell into the background, or was hidden.

 

Thin to me at least is different than this.  However it often accompanies clarity.  It's what I first heard when I changed amps or speaker wire.  The interesting thing is that that thinness tends to disappear as I become accustom to the sound and just the clarity remains.

I believe than burning in of equipment is important, however I also know that I have to get used to a new/better sound. I think at a subconscious level our brain needs some burning in as well. 

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9 minutes ago, afrancois said:

I believe than burning in of equipment is important, however I also know that I have to get used to a new/better sound. I think at a subconscious level our brain needs some burning in as well. 

 

For sure.  If you'v ever lived near a train it's incredibly noisy when you first move in.  Not long after you hardly notice it's there.  Our brains become accustom to things and sounds is no exception.  That example also shows how you can leave an environment and come back experiencing the same effect.  Not until you consciously compare to listening situations and "pay attention" to the differences do they become noticeable again.  It's great that some vendors give you 30 days to trial.  If you can put enough time into a component to where you become used to its sound, then change things up again, then you'll get a more accurate understanding of what it will be like burned in.

 

To add to that, anything that draws your attention away from the characteristic of the component or music, such as reading, drinking liquor, eating, talking, and even thinking will alter your perception.

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On 6/28/2017 at 6:14 PM, lmitche said:

Hi hols, by using a fresh ISO Regen your comparison seems premature to me.  Break-in time for components containing clocks is significant and SQ changes as the parts stabilize. I am also finding the USPCB changes dramatically as it breaks-in, taking much longer then a normal cable.

 

I'd like to hear the results of your comparison after more time has passed.

Hi Larry,

 

Now that I have further burned the isoREGEN  and USPCB for more than 2 weeks it seems an appropriate time to give it an intermediate term assessment. Yes there is some marked improvement of the isoREGEN and USPCB so much so now it becomes even more musical than before. It is most noticeable when you take it away when it seems somehow there is a great drop in voltage of the musicality. But in my system it still gives me a too full bodied sound so much so that the violins are too heavy to make it fly. The character of the violin moves more towards the mid range. the silky violin is no longer evident. The character of the cello also moves more towards mid range rather than the mid bass range. The layering of the soundstage is not as good as before. In other words the transparency is not as good as before. And for myself I would prefer doing without the isoREGEN when the sound is more natural even though a little bit less musical. (Please don't take it that I don't like Uptone products. It is just the reverse because I have all along been a supporter of all Uptone products). And of course just at this time a miraculous USB cable Lush by phasure just arrived and using it without the isoREGEN and USPCB gives you both musicality and transparency. Really something worth exploring.

 

Having said that I must give some background of my gears. I have been using quite a lot of power conditioning in my setup. I use a PS Audio P10 for my power gears. And separate power conditioners for my analogue and digital gears. Almost every gear is connected to a ground box. Whether is it because use of these power conditioning and ground treatment ended up in a different result or not is difficult to say. So actually I am eagerly awaiting the results of others modding the clock of motherboard and switch and router and Adnaco. 

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4 hours ago, hols said:

But in my system it still gives me a too full bodied sound so much so that the violins are too heavy to make it fly. The character of the violin moves more towards the mid range. the silky violin is no longer evident. The character of the cello also moves more towards mid range rather than the mid bass range. The layering of the soundstage is not as good as before. In other words the transparency is not as good as before.

@hols, I think this is an important observation. When I included the Iso Regen in my chain - it sounded better to me in nearly every aspect. And I still think that the IR(+USPCB!) is one of my best hifi-purchases I ever made. But I admit that it caused some change in the tonality of my system. I got much more bass (more quantity and definition) and that made my system sound darker.

In contrast to you I think I got more transparency and details due to the IR but with certain music the midrange and the bass could sound too thick (with the result that it got harder to hear treble detail). It became much better when I integrated a tx-USBUltra in my chain - behind the IR, and I hope to get the sound yet more transparent and detailed by getting the microRendu 1.4 upgrade. The tx-USBUltra (after long burn in) added more air and transparency. I think I would have missed that in the long term.

With other words - and as we all know - it is the whole chain that matters. And a mix of Sonore, Uptone and SoTM products should be taken into account (even if some SotM-products are for expensive compared to what a much cheaper IR can add to your system).

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4 hours ago, hols said:

Hi Larry,

 

Now that I have further burned the isoREGEN  and USPCB for more than 2 weeks it seems an appropriate time to give it an intermediate term assessment. Yes there is some marked improvement of the isoREGEN and USPCB so much so now it becomes even more musical than before. It is most noticeable when you take it away when it seems somehow there is a great drop in voltage of the musicality. But in my system it still gives me a too full bodied sound so much so that the violins are too heavy to make it fly. The character of the violin moves more towards the mid range. the silky violin is no longer evident. The character of the cello also moves more towards mid range rather than the mid bass range. The layering of the soundstage is not as good as before. In other words the transparency is not as good as before. And for myself I would prefer doing without the isoREGEN when the sound is more natural even though a little bit less musical. (Please don't take it that I don't like Uptone products. It is just the reverse because I have all along been a supporter of all Uptone products). And of course just at this time a miraculous USB cable Lush by phasure just arrived and using it without the isoREGEN and USPCB gives you both musicality and transparency. Really something worth exploring.

 

Having said that I must give some background of my gears. I have been using quite a lot of power conditioning in my setup. I use a PS Audio P10 for my power gears. And separate power conditioners for my analogue and digital gears. Almost every gear is connected to a ground box. Whether is it because use of these power conditioning and ground treatment ended up in a different result or not is difficult to say. So actually I am eagerly awaiting the results of others modding the clock of motherboard and switch and router and Adnaco. 

Thanks Hols for the nice write-up.  Just to be clear, you are preferring the sound of the Lush cable, without the ISO Regen and uspcb correct?

 

I saw a picture with a PC > ISO Regen> Lush cable into a DAC.  Did you try that configuration as well?

 

 

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2 hours ago, lmitche said:

Thanks Hols for the nice write-up.  Just to be clear, you are preferring the sound of the Lush cable, without the ISO Regen and uspcb correct?

 

I saw a picture with a PC > ISO Regen> Lush cable into a DAC.  Did you try that configuration as well?

 

 

Correct for the first question. I like the sound of Lush cable without the the isoREGEN and USPCB  because it  is more direct.

 

For the second question yes too.

I have posted in another thread because there were queries whether the Lush cable can be used in systems other than the Phasure DAC and there were also suggestions to try to use the USPCB instead. So I experimented to replace the USPCB (in the position going from the isoREGEN to the Holo Spring DAC) with the Lush cable and to my ears it is better using the Lush cable than the USPCB. The mid range boost seems not so dominant after using the Lush cable there. I am a firm believer that position for the USB cable closest to the DAC seems to be most important in giving the final result of the USB chain and using the cable that best fits one's taste seems to be in order. So for me putting the Lush cable there gives me the quality that I like most. 

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