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austinpop

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

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5 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Well, it's still under development. As I understand it, it is a 10MHz reference clock, but most other details are unknown. Lee and May are expecting to show a prototype at the Denver RMAF in October. I expect that is when we will learn a lot more about it.

 

That's great, please keep us posted! :) 

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2 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

I managed to get a chunk of late night time to do some experiments.

 

I set my baseline as:

- sMS > Curious 0.2m > ISO-Regen > USPCB > tX > Lush 0.7m > Codex

 

I was able to try these configurations:

  1. - sMS > Lush > ISO-Regen > USPCB > tX > Curious 0.2m > Codex
  2. - sMS > USPCB (90º) > ISO-Regen > Lush > tX > Curious 0.2m > Codex
  3. - sMS > Lush > tX > Curious 0.2m > Codex (to mimic @[email protected]'s scenario)

 

Hi austinpop.  Have you tried the sMS > USPCB > ISO-Regen > USPCB > tx combination?

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6 hours ago, matthias said:

 

How does sMS > Lush > Codex compare to the other configurations?

Thanks

 

Matt

 

Matt,

 

I haven't tried the config you asked, since it would bypass all the gains achieved. So it would sound worse.

 

if you're following this thread, then you would know how I got to this configuration. If you aren't, then go back to the index in the first post, and browse the posts under the heading "clock mods" and "ISO-Regen."

 

 

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5 hours ago, str-1 said:

Hi austinpop.  Have you tried the sMS > USPCB > ISO-Regen > USPCB > tx combination?

 

No not yet. That would require some Kama Sutra-like positioning, mainly to level the ports, and support the IR, so I left that for another day. 9_9

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11 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Yes. Yes.

 

Sorry if you were hoping for a different answer. 9_9

Thanks.  I can handle the truth.

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You're a saint Austin. A big thanks for the help! 

 

A point of clarification: are you still using the dCBL-Cat7? Any plans for a second unit to keep things linear? I recall your positive commentary on the cable (and discomfiture with the price), but have your thoughts evolved in any way? I suppose it's not easy to isolate the impact of secondary components from the totality, but if your thoughts have ripened in any way, I'd love to know. I'm very much on the fence regarding the dCBL. This is owing mostly to my satisfaction with the ultra-affordable Supra's. 

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54 minutes ago, dgarretson said:

I've had enough run-in now to compare powering the sMS-200Ultra and USBultra on the sMS-500 at 9V, to a double-regulated 7V rail on my Hynes SR7.  The comparison is a bit unfair: the sMS-500 uses their standard copper Y-umbilical, as compared to a more heroic .999 solid silver umbilical with Oyaide connectors that I made for the SR7.  Each conductor in the thick trunk portion is a twist of eight strands of 20awg(totaling around 11awg.) The trunk divides into two tributaries of four strands each(totaling around 14awg) into two Oyaide DC-2.1G plugs(2.1 x 5.5mm.)  I particularly like the Oyaide DC connectors for their oversized solder points relative to standard Digikey items.
 

In this configuration, the SR7 is an obvious step up from the sMS-500.  More clarity, separation, depth, airiness, general refinement, on a dead- calm background.  Of course there is a huge difference in price between these power supplies.   

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Thanks for sharing your impressions, it would be interesting to have that amazing silver DC cable on the sms-500.

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I think your making far to much of the cable.  Just keep it short as possible and use star quad, screw on connectors are fine when possible.  As demonsrated in the DIY dc cable thread.  

Also note, with additional outputs to the SR7, it becomes closer to the pricing of the sotm supply per output.  

 

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27 minutes ago, ElviaCaprice said:

I think your making far to much of the cable.  Just keep it short as possible and use star quad, screw on connectors are fine when possible.  As demonsrated in the DIY dc cable thread.  

Also note, with additional outputs to the SR7, it becomes closer to the pricing of the sotm supply per output.  

 

 

Perhaps more than the significance of the DC-cable is the importance of the power cable used with the SOtM sPS-500. A nicely made DIY power cable will do small wonders instead of the run-of-the-mill power cable that follows the sPS-500 - as I've found out in my own setup. 

 

Seems to me though the most fair comparison would be to use two sPS-500's - one for the tXUSBultra and one for the sMS-200ultra - when compared to the Hynes SR7 used in this specific case, and care taken with cables to the sPS-500's as well. I believe two SOtM's will still be cheaper..

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1 hour ago, phusis said:

Perhaps more than the significance of the DC-cable is the importance of the power cable used with the SOtM sPS-500. A nicely made DIY power cable will do small wonders instead of the run-of-the-mill power cable that follows the sPS-500 - as I've found out in my own setup

The comparison was made alternating between a Synergistics Master Coupler PC and a DIY PC of Furutech Alpha III bulk cable and high-end Furutech AC plugs into a Signal DU-5 balanced power transformer. 

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On 8/7/2017 at 10:55 PM, atxkyle said:

Re: the Dell PC, I guess we Austin guys are loyal to the local Dell brand huh? (I live in Austin too if you didn't gather that from my handle).  

 

Yes, indeed. Awesome to have another Austin based CA'er.

 

On 8/7/2017 at 10:55 PM, atxkyle said:

My PC doubles as office PC and Roon Server.  From a quick look at the AO manual it sounds like it only intended for a dedicated audio PC? 

 

Yes, correct, since it strips down WIndows to its bare bones, it's best suited for a dedicated PC.

 

Look in the index on the first post for some links to folks' experiences with AO, and other tools like Process Lasso (PL).  This isn't a make or break, just something to consider at some point in your journey.

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2 hours ago, ElviaCaprice said:

As demonsrated in the DIY dc cable thread. 

 

Just learned that Ghent Audio can make Canare 4S6 based star quad cables using the HR10A-7P-4P(73) connector for the sPS-500.

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Just a quick comment to say that the Hirose connectors look a bit intimidating, but they aren't that difficult to work with. I made an sps-500 to sms-200ultra cable using Canare 4s6. It's working well.

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43 minutes ago, ronfint said:

Just a quick comment to say that the Hirose connectors look a bit intimidating, but they aren't that difficult to work with. I made an sps-500 to sms-200ultra cable using Canare 4s6. It's working well.

 

Well then you are a better man that me. :D  I have terminated a couple of our Oyaide/Belden star-quad cables to Hirose connectors (for JS-2 buyers to use it to power their Merging NADACs).  Maybe it is due to our wire being 4 conductors of 18AWG, but I really could not imagine the four 20AWG wires of the Canare 4S6 being much easier to fit onto the tiny pins of the Hirose. Not to mention getting the jacket in and everything shoved in so the terminal block and shell can go back together.  Iended up soldering a pair of smaller wires, running those out the back, solder splicing, and doing multiple heat shrinking to cover the whole mess.

 

To be fair, I guess that unlike for the NADAC--which uses just two of the pins--I guess it would be easier with star-quad if all four pins were used, 2 for +, 2 for "ground."  Still, they are very close together.  

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I only bared enough wire on each connector to exactly fit the solder cups of the Hirose connector. This is very small. I tinned everything, then touched each connector in place with a hot iron. Really -- no problem. I was surprised that it worked as easily as it did. I did wear two pairs of glasses to be able to see well enough, though. (My age is really beginning to show.)

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9 hours ago, dgarretson said:

I've had enough run-in now to compare powering the sMS-200Ultra and USBultra on the sMS-500 at 9V, to a double-regulated 7V rail on my Hynes SR7.  The comparison is a bit unfair: the sMS-500 uses their standard copper Y-umbilical, as compared to a more heroic .999 solid silver umbilical with Oyaide connectors that I made for the SR7.  Each conductor in the thick trunk portion is a twist of eight strands of 20awg(totaling around 11awg.) The trunk divides into two tributaries of four strands each(totaling around 14awg) into two Oyaide DC-2.1G plugs(2.1 x 5.5mm.)  I particularly like the Oyaide DC connectors for their oversized solder points relative to standard Digikey items.
 

In this configuration, the SR7 is an obvious step up from the sMS-500.  More clarity, separation, depth, airiness, general refinement, on a dead- calm background.  Of course there is a huge difference in price between these power supplies.   

IMG_2616.JPG

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Dgarretson,

 

I'm waiting on a PH SR7 and was thinking about building DC cables similar to yours but didn't know what male/female(?) connector to buy to plug into the SR7 end.  

Appreciate if you could give me a link or the connector type you used for this.

 

Thanks

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7 hours ago, dgarretson said:

I've had enough run-in now to compare powering the sMS-200Ultra and USBultra on the sMS-500 at 9V, to a double-regulated 7V rail on my Hynes SR7.  The comparison is a bit unfair: the sMS-500 uses their standard copper Y-umbilical, as compared to a more heroic .999 solid silver umbilical with Oyaide connectors that I made for the SR7.  Each conductor in the thick trunk portion is a twist of eight strands of 20awg(totaling around 11awg.) The trunk divides into two tributaries of four strands each(totaling around 14awg) into two Oyaide DC-2.1G plugs(2.1 x 5.5mm.)  I particularly like the Oyaide DC connectors for their oversized solder points relative to standard Digikey items.
 

In this configuration, the SR7 is an obvious step up from the sMS-500.  More clarity, separation, depth, airiness, general refinement, on a dead- calm background.  Of course there is a huge difference in price between these power supplies.   

IMG_2616.JPG

IMG_2617.JPG

IMG_2619.JPG

 

Very nice post.

 

As has been the case in the past few months, it seems it is only at airports when I can find the time to catch up with forum activity and that is the case once again as I wait for my flight to Fiji to take off.

 

I, too, have an sPS-500 along with SOtM's copper single DC lead (not a Y-cable).  To my ears, this is a very good PSU, easily better than my HDPlex and so I would agree with several posts that a linear PSU is not always better than a switching PSU.  Having spoken with Lee about this PSU back in Munich, this switching PSU has a measured ripple noise of about 100mV, which is horrendous!  How does a PSU with such high ripple noise sound so good?  I have already stated this in previous posts but if you haven't figured it out for yourselves by now, Lee's (SOtM's) products are all about filtration.  I liken Lee to a PhotoShop artist.  Those of you who are photographers know that it's generally always better to get it done right in the field than to have to fix it in post but post-production tools like PhotoShop have gotten so good that even when the shooting environment is less than ideal, PhotoShop can lead to excellent results.

 

Case in point, I have found a reputable motherboard manufacturer who is willing to develop and build an Intel X86-based audiophile-grade motherboard for me (for a development fee that would probably start at around $1,500).  I would envision this motherboard would contain no noisy internal switching regulators and having discussed this idea with Lee, while he had some interest in the idea, he also felt it wasn't that important because he believed he had already largely figured out how to filter out the noise that comes from many of today's noisy motherboards.  His filtering methods are on display with his current Ultra endpoints and especially with his Ultra PCIe USB cards and so I will leave it to those who own such devices to decide how successful Lee's filtering methods are.  In my own situation, I have stopped pursuing the development of my own motherboard.  

 

This filtration approach is also the basis for his sPS-500 PSU and his upcoming mT-1000 AC power strip.  While SOtM makes their own linear and battery-based PSUs, reading between the lines with the comments they have made to me, they believe their switching sPS-500 is their best sounding PSU.  Are his filtering algorithms impervious to the very worst AC conditions?  Not surprisingly, his answer is "no."  Just like with PhotoShop, the better the starting material, the better the final product.  According to Lee, the sPS-500 benefits from good starting power and especially a good AC power chord.  

 

What do I think of the sPS-500?  I have to be careful with what I say here because my sPS-500 doesn't have a lot of hours on it yet (I've been gone a lot lately) and so I suspect it will continue to improve.  I have read Steven Plaskin's review and I respect his findings but I don't agree with them.  To my ears, against my HDPlex, it is A LOT better and so we are both in agreement there.  Against my LPS-1, I find the LPS-1 easily superior with respect to dynamic contrasts, both macro but especially microdynamics.  Against my SR7, the gap is even larger in all the ways that you have found.  As good as its filtration schemes are, I think its limiting factor is its output impedance, which according to Lee, measures about 50 milliohms.  This is more than 16x the output impedance of the SR7.

 

With regards to the impact of DC cables, I am of the opinion that they all cause harm and just like with clocks, the very best they can do is to cause no harm.  With the very best low impedance PSUs, the best DC leads can make a noticeable impact from the standpoint of keeping line resistance (and, therefore, impedance) as low as possible.  Unlike with AC leads, the dielectric used (which can be the basis for why some AC cables cost so much) doesn't really matter since DC cables don't have to contend with issues such as HF smearing or roll-off.  Metallurgy matters but only from the standpoint of line resistance.   Silver is a better conductor than copper (and I generally use high purity silver every chance I get) but silver is only a 5% better conductor than copper.  Large gauge copper can be more effective and a better value.  I have 12 inch 18 AWG UP-OCC silver DC lead that is noticeably improved upon by Sonore's 12 inch DC4 cable that uses 15 AWG copper.   If you're using 14 AWG silver, your cable for sure is making a difference.

 

With regards to star quad (vs twisted pair), with short cables, to my ears, I can't hear a difference, at least not with DC cable.  I would put my money on the largest gauge and shortest cable you can get away with.

 

I think the bigger problem (and perhaps the limiting factor) is not the DC cable but the barrel connectors used in most of these small devices.  I use Oyaide barrel connectors exclusively as I don't know of a better brand but barrel connectors are not low impedance connectors and serve as a bottleneck to the very best PSUs.  Here is what Paul Hynes has to say:

 

"I usually fit Switchcraft barrel connectors, as they are a good solid 
connector that fits well and the metal surfaces are well plated unlike 
the lower cost connectors often used. However, I can fit Oyaide Barrel 
connectors on request... The Oyaide connector 
offers a small but noticeable improvement over the Switchcraft.

To be frank, I am not a big fan of barrel connectors as they are not low 
impedance connectors. Usually the mating PCB connectors fitted to the 
equipment PCBs are poor quality connectors and this would be the 
limiting factor even with Oyaide barrel connectors. In my product range 
I use precision gold plated DIN for low cost applications (approx 5 
milliohm), silver plated XLR for my standard power supplies (approx 3 
milliohm) and military spec silver plated XL (not XLR) connectors on all 
high performance applications (leas than 1 milliohm). These offer 
progressively better performance than barrel connectors with the XL 
connectors being exceptional and the best I have tried. Unfortunately, 
with many of today’s audio products there is just not the room to fit 
these connectors so I usually end up migrating circuit boards to larger 
enclosures to allow their use with high end applications."

 

Each of my SR7s have Paul's XL connectors on the PSU end but Oyaide barrel connectors on the component end.  With the tX-USBultra, which will be the endpoint that connects directly to my DAC,  I am contemplating hard-wiring the DC lead directly to the PCB.

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@romaz, nice to see you contribute here, your posts and comments are highly appreciated and respected on this forum.

 

Thanks for the sPS-500 and LPS-1 comparison, it sheds a different light on this topic.

 

Have you had the chance to test the sPS-1000 linear PSU from SOTM? It's the most attractive potential buy for me as it appears to be a highly versatile unit (and probably better than the HDPlex), even capable of powering a small PC like NUC via the high current output. I couldn't find a single review of the unit itself (apart from being reviewed together with some other components).

 

Regarding those multi output PSU's, I think our options are:

 

1. HDPlex with 4 (or perhaps 5) different voltage outputs, the cheapest on the list 

2. W4S modular PSU with 4 possible outputs

3. Sotm sPS-1000 with 3 outputs

4. Uptone JS-2 with 2 outputs

5. MCRU multi output PSU

6. Paul Haines SR7 with 2 (?) outputs

 

Any others worth mentioning?

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1 hour ago, AmusedToD said:

@romaz, nice to see you contribute here, your posts and comments are highly appreciated and respected on this forum.

 

Thanks for the sPS-500 and LPS-1 comparison, it sheds a different light on this topic.

 

Have you had the chance to test the sPS-1000 linear PSU from SOTM? It's the most attractive potential buy for me as it appears to be a highly versatile unit (and probably better than the HDPlex), even capable of powering a small PC like NUC via the high current output. I couldn't find a single review of the unit itself (apart from being reviewed together with some other components).

 

Regarding those multi output PSU's, I think our options are:

 

1. HDPlex with 4 (or perhaps 5) different voltage outputs, the cheapest on the list 

2. W4S modular PSU with 4 possible outputs

3. Sotm sPS-1000 with 3 outputs

4. Uptone JS-2 with 2 outputs

5. MCRU multi output PSU

6. Paul Haines SR7 with 2 (?) outputs

 

Any others worth mentioning?

 

I have found the HDPlex to be easily bettered by many of the things I have tried although this is an incredibly versatile and affordable PSU.  I have 2 of them and even though they have been collecting dust, because of their versatility, I have kept them on hand for backup and comparison purposes.

 

I have heard the W4S PSU used in the W4S room at RMAF last year and at the LA Audio show this year and in both instances, I thought the overall presentation of those rooms was very good but I have no direct experience with this PSU with my personal gear.  Like the HDPlex, its strong points appears to be its versatility and reasonably affordable cost.  I would be surprised if its performance is at the level of the LPS-1 or SR7 but that is only my conjecture.

 

I have not personally heard the sPS-1000 but a good friend that owns this PSU along with SOtM's sMS-1000SQ server found the presentation to sound thin and so he has ordered a multi-rail SR7 but I'm not sure he has received his yet to have made a comparison.  Once again, my inference based on comments that SOtM have made to me is that their sPS-500 is their best sounding PSU.

 

I have no firsthand experience with the JS-2.  Obviously, based on the principals involved and the numerous wonderful feedback provided by many who own it, I have to believe it to be superb but having also read comments made by many here on CA including John Swenson himself, the LPS-1 appears to be superior to the JS-2.  If you need more than the 1.1A that the LPS-1 can provide, no doubt this would be an excellent choice.

 

I have no personal experience with the MCRU which is made in the U.K. but several I have spoken with who also own a Paul Hynes PSU (not even an SR7) have suggested it isn't in the same zip code.

 

If you can afford it and have the patience to wait for it, I can't recommend Paul's SR7 highly enough.  In fact, I have another dual rail DR SR7 on order.  Depending on the track, there are instances when it is indistinguishable from the LPS-1 and other instances when it is very noticeably superior.  It is hard to fully put into words what the SR7 provides but there is just a correctness to the presentation of the music.  Regardless of the complexity of the track, nothing trips it up.  The presentation is always clean, smooth, refined, fluid, tonally rich, effortlessly dynamic and eminently musical.  I consider it the foundation to my digital gear and I wish Paul could design a PSU for everything I own.  In fact, having made this comparison already, I would choose SOtM's standard sMS-200 paired with the SR7 over the sMS-200ultra when powered by my HDPlex.  According to Paul, his dual rail SR7 (which utilizes 2 independent transformers) is better than his quad rail SR7 which uses one very large transformer and 4 separate windings but I only have experience with his single and dual rail SR7s.

 

One other multirail options that I can think of would include Paul's more affordable SR5 (but I believe wait times are just as long as the SR7).

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1 hour ago, romaz said:

Against my LPS-1, I find the LPS-1 easily superior with respect to dynamic contrasts, both macro but especially microdynamics.

Were you using the sPS-500 and LPS-1 to power a tX-USBultra at 7v?

 

My SOtM Ultra units are 12v and I had to run 2 x LPS-1s in series to get 12v which obviously isn't ideal.  In this config I preferred the sPS-500.

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I need to go back and research some posts by @paulhynes and @JohnSwenson, but I think I remember that the key principles for a PSU were:

  1. lowest possible output impedance
  2. highest possible impedance to ground - a.k.a lowest possible leakage currents, not just at DC or 50/60Hz, but through the audio frequency range
  3. lowest possible ripple noise

I may be wrong, but #1 and #3 have been a design goal for high-quality PSUs for some time now. It would be very interesting to look at the specs for all these excellent PSUs side by side.

 

#2 seems to be something that the LPS-1 (and VR Mini) popularized with the use of their ultra-capacitor design. I don't want to put words in @paulhynes's mouth, but I think he has posted on this here on CA before. I think he said he achieves the same goal, but without the use of ultracapacitors. I also seem to remember him declining to disclose how he does this, which is of course, his prerogative.

 

My dilemma right now is that I am really concerned that my tX-USBultra driving my Codex is at the very edge of the LPS-1's capacity. It runs blazing hot, yet the LED stays green. I also had a failure in the LPS-1 that was driving it, which @Superdad of course replaced in exemplary time. Now - this could have just been a random failure - so please do not read too much into this. I was wondering if the sPS-500 may be the answer here, but now @romaz's comments give me pause.

 

Much to think about.

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26 minutes ago, Bamber said:

Were you using the sPS-500 and LPS-1 to power a tX-USBultra at 7v?

 

My SOtM Ultra units are 12v and I had to run 2 x LPS-1s in series to get 12v which obviously isn't ideal.  In this config I preferred the sPS-500.

 

All my SOtM endpoints are 12V devices (in truth, they are actually 9-12V devices).  The only component I have had on hand where I could directly compare the sPS-500 against the LPS-1 is the Iso Regen and with the Iso Regen, it was clear to me which sounded better although with further burn-in, the sPS-500 may improve.

 

The great thing about the sPS-500 is that it can do 7, 9 and 12V at up to 5A and 19V at up to 3.3A.  This is ridiculously versatile especially given how compact this PSU is.  

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I have compared the sPS-500 to the following for a few weeks:

 

2 x LPS-1s in series

Sbooster 12v

MCRU (Longdog) 12v

Teddy Pardo 12/2 12v

 

It is a clear winner.

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