Jump to content
austinpop

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

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

38 minutes ago, auricgoldfinger said:

 

Please share some photos of your finished product.

 

You can purchase USB and Ethernet cables with this JSSG implemented. Other cables can be made on order. Even with your specified commercial cables available like the Belden brand.

 

"Nothing" beats the USPCB though :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/14/2017 at 6:36 AM, jean-michel6 said:

Hi

I have also experiment with ferrite . However you need to be careful on which cable you use them.

All current are electromagnetic waves as well as Emi-rfi that we are trying to get rid of. 

Ferrite is effective with positive results ( from an audio perspective ) on digital cables ( USB, lan,...  ) on power cords. 

On interconnect , it has a negative effect as it just kills the sound making it softer and less engaging. 

One very effective way to shield all cables from emi-rfi is the use of mumetal , with two layers to passively cover cable. 

One cable company in france HiFi cable is using this  technology on all their top line cable with very good results. 

I have treated my digital cables with very good results. 

The main difficulty is to find mumetal for this at a reasonable cost. 

I haven't heard of mu-metal before.

I've done the same but with 3M paper. 3M around cables isn't possible, so mu-metal tape would be interesting.

 

Here is a link of someone who's had very good results with mu-metal.

 

http://audiophile-musings.blogspot.nl/2015/08/mu-metal-part-1.html

http://audiophile-musings.blogspot.nl/2015/08/mu-metal-part-2.html

http://audiophile-musings.blogspot.nl/2015/08/mu-metal-part-3.html

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, lmitche said:

After success with the Lush cable, the remaining signal carrying cables were covered with tinned copper sleeving.  Additionally the ends were tied together with an insulated 14 stranded copper cable wrapped around the sleeving at the endpoints and soldered in place. Treatment for the HDD USB 3 cable and ethernet cabling to the newly grounded Netgear switch was completed.

 

All digital signal carrying cables in my system have now been treated.

 

From the first note there was an immediate and terrific improvement. Even more clarity and openness. It is hard to describe the impact. Everything's improved.

 
John Swenson is a genius. I am grateful.

 

47 minutes ago, auricgoldfinger said:

 

Please share some photos of your finished product.

 

+1

 

Agreed, I'm sure many here would appreciate a couple pictures to see how you tied off the sleeve and terminated the copper cable.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, afrancois said:

I haven't heard of mu-metal before.

I've done the same but with 3M paper. 3M around cables isn't possible, so mu-metal tape would be interesting.

 

Here is a link of someone who's had very good results with mu-metal.

 

http://audiophile-musings.blogspot.nl/2015/08/mu-metal-part-1.html

http://audiophile-musings.blogspot.nl/2015/08/mu-metal-part-2.html

http://audiophile-musings.blogspot.nl/2015/08/mu-metal-part-3.html

 

 

Just had a quick look. It seems to me this is basically Faraday's Cage. (Or JSSG if you like).

Would be interesting to test on a switch. Maybe wrap around my MicroRendu, but I guess it already has enough "protection" ?

 

Wonder if just plain alu folio would do. Really need mu-metal ? Maybe not so good.

 

A quick google:

Mu-metal is a nickel–iron soft magnetic alloy with very high permeability, which is used for shielding sensitive electronic equipment against static or low-frequency magnetic fields. It has several compositions. One such composition is approximately 77% nickel, 16% iron, 5% copper and 2% chromium or molybdenum.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, dgarretson said:

I haven't personally worked with mu-metal, but my understanding is that it loses much of its permeability when bent and needs to be heat-annealed thereafter to restore permeability.

 

From Wiki:

 

""Mu-metal objects require heat treatment after they are in final form—annealing in a magnetic field in hydrogen atmosphere, which increases the magnetic permeability about 40 times.[4] The annealing alters the material's crystal structure, aligning the grains and removing some impurities, especially carbon, which obstruct the free motion of the magnetic domain boundaries. Bending or mechanical shock after annealing may disrupt the material's grain alignment, leading to a drop in the permeability of the affected areas, which can be restored by repeating the hydrogen annealing step."

 

I think putting your cable in a large oven might cause problems. ;)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the next level of cable shield:

http://custommagneticshielding.magneticshield.com/viewitems/magnetic-shielding-for-wiring-applications/co-netic-aacableshield

 

Of cause we need new boxes for the UR & MR, the SU-1, switches and more. :D

(SoTM as well.)

 

It remain to see how much difference the mu-metal actually  will do vs a normal Faraday's Cage ....

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, R1200CL said:

Here is the next level of cable shield:

http://custommagneticshielding.magneticshield.com/viewitems/magnetic-shielding-for-wiring-applications/co-netic-aacableshield

 

Of cause we need new boxes for the UR & MR, the SU-1, switches and more. :D

(SoTM as well.)

 

It remain to see how much difference the mu-metal actually  will do vs a normal Faraday's Cage ....

 

Mu metal is mainly used when magnetic screening (H field) is required. Any holes (slots or seams) in your shielding could make the shielding redundant or even worse make the interference problem worse. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, R1200CL said:

Here is the next level of cable shield:

http://custommagneticshielding.magneticshield.com/viewitems/magnetic-shielding-for-wiring-applications/co-netic-aacableshield

 

Of cause we need new boxes for the UR & MR, the SU-1, switches and more. :D

(SoTM as well.)

 

It remain to see how much difference the mu-metal actually  will do vs a normal Faraday's Cage ....

 

 

Interesting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, lmitche said:

After success with the Lush cable, the remaining signal carrying cables were covered with tinned copper sleeving.  Additionally the ends were tied together with an insulated 14 stranded copper cable wrapped around the sleeving at the endpoints and soldered in place. Treatment for the HDD USB 3 cable and ethernet cabling to the newly grounded Netgear switch was completed.

 

All digital signal carrying cables in my system have now been treated.

 

From the first note there was an immediate and terrific improvement. Even more clarity and openness. It is hard to describe the impact. Everything's improved.

 
John Swenson is a genius. I am grateful.

 

Dang Larry, you always have something up your sleeve! ;) 

 

Brilliant stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Dang Larry, you always have something up your sleeve! ;) 

 

Brilliant stuff.

No brilliance here, just execution of Mr. Swenson's advice.  It is very good advice.

 

I tried the same on a ghent audio dc cable today.  No good, the music died. Stay tuned for more.

Edited by lmitche

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, dgarretson said:

I haven't personally worked with mu-metal, but my understanding is that it loses much of its permeability when bent and needs to be heat-annealed thereafter to restore permeability.

 

From Wiki:

 

""Mu-metal objects require heat treatment after they are in final form—annealing in a magnetic field in hydrogen atmosphere, which increases the magnetic permeability about 40 times.[4] The annealing alters the material's crystal structure, aligning the grains and removing some impurities, especially carbon, which obstruct the free motion of the magnetic domain boundaries. Bending or mechanical shock after annealing may disrupt the material's grain alignment, leading to a drop in the permeability of the affected areas, which can be restored by repeating the hydrogen annealing step."

Hi ,

 

The only thing i can say is that it does work . The impact of mumetal on cables is a quieter background , noise floor is decreased .

Even though bending may decrease it's permeability .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/14/2017 at 11:41 AM, austinpop said:

@Bruce Orr@limniscate, and I just concluded a very entertaining and enjoyable digital audio meet on Eric's wonderful setup. Bruce is a CA'er from Dallas - so he practically lives in our back yard; this is Texas! He was gracious enough to fly down for the day, and brought with him some goodies which we were very interested to compare - the UltraRendu, and the sPS-500 PSU with SOtM silver Y-cable. Between his gear, Eric's, and mine, we had more digital front end gear than you could shake a stick at. Funny expression, that. Why shake a stick at digital gear? What am I saying! We're audiophiles - if it improves SQ, you can bet we'll shake sticks and more. 9_9 But I digress...

 

Since this was a single session of 7-8 hours total, not all of which was listening, all my impressions below are necessarily preliminary. Please bear that in mind. I fully expect Bruce and Eric to jump in with their impressions as well.

 

Since our interest was in the UltraRendu and the sPS-500, and Bruce's in our trifectas, we designed a manageable set of listening comparisons to satisfy most interests. Even so, we inevitably ran out of time. The baseline configuration, which was held constant, and so is implied in the comparison sections below, was:

  • Roon Core bridged server > dcBL7 > iSO6 > dCBL7 > endpoint or switch
  • In configs with switch, the switch > endpoint cable was dCBL7
  • USB cables:
    • Lush into DAC
    • USPCBs for intermediate
  • Unless otherwise specified, each device was powered by an LPS-1
  • The rest of the chain was held constant to Eric's setup:
    • Yggy DAC (fed via USB) > Audio Research Ref6SE > Sanders Magtech (?) > Magnepan 3.7i with dual Rythmik subs

Comparison 1: UltraRendu vs. sMS-200ultra (standalone)

We compared

  • UR > DAC with
  • sMS-200ultra > DAC. No reference clock was used. The sMS-200ultra was powered by 2 LPS-1s in series.

This one was very close. My preference varied with the track selection. One of our go-to tracks that emerged that day was the 5th movement (Rondo - Finale) of the recent BIS release of Mahler's 5th performed by the Minnesota Orchestra:

MI0004254225.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

 

On the Mahler, I found the sMS-200ultra to have just that extra air, timbre, and refinement. However the UltraRendu was no slouch, and on some other jazz and blues tracks, had  a bit more pleasing weight and slam. Let's put it this way - if I owned one, I wouldn't be tempted to sell it to buy the other.

 

Comparison 2: UR+IR vs. full trifecta medley

Here we compared the following:

  • UR > ISO-R > DAC, with
  • modded switch > modded sMS-200 > ISO-R > tX-USBultra > DAC. Cybershaft OP-14 connected to tX-USBultra clock input

This wasn't a fair comparison, given the price differential between the two configurations, and the results were consistent. The full trifecta medley was head and shoulders better. I'll let Bruce give us his impressions here, as this was his first listen to the full trifecta.

 

The one observation I will make here is this. Depending on how you count, the price difference between the 2 configurations is $2600-3000. What I have found is that the SQ bump I hear from the $3k additional investment in this part of the digital audio chain is far greater than the difference I heard by stepping up to a DAC that was $3k more expensive than mine. Indeed in the cases of the DAVE and the QX-5, the difference was more like $10k and $7k respectively, and I don't feel the difference in SQ was as stark as what I am hearing in this region of the chain.

 

I know I keep harping on this point, but I'm a fan of value for money, and this area - for now - has proved to be a rich vein for me. FWIW.

 

Comparison 3: LPS-1 vs sPS-500

We used the full trifecta configuration: modded switch > modded sMS-200 > ISO-R > tX-USBultra > DAC. Cybershaft OP-14 connected to tX-USBultra clock input. We varied the PSU used on the tX-USBultra, because from past experience, the tX-USBultra in this chain seems to be the most sensitive to PSU quality. We compared:

  • LPS-1 with Ghent starquad DC cable, set at 7V
  • sPS-500 with SOtM silver Y-cable (only one output used), set at 7V
  • sPS-500 with SOtM silver Y-cable (only one output used), set at 9V.

This one was just too close too call. Perhaps with more time and extended listening, subtle differences would emerge, but in the limited time we had, we just could not discern enough to tell these apart. We did wonder how much of a boost the silver DC cable was providing, but since the sPS-500 uses the funky Hirose connectors, we had no standard alternatives to swap in.

 

On the one hand, one could say the sPS-500 sounded wonderful, for an SMPS. On the other hand, one could say that the LPS-1, once again, demonstrated the sonic gem it is at its unbeatable price point.

 

Summary

I cannot overemphasize how much fun these meets are. I'm just amazed at how easy it is to click with fellow audiophiles. I hope to do this again with more local CA'ers.

 

I thought the sMS-200 Ultra was better than the Ultrarendu, but the difference seemed smaller than the sMS-200 versus the microRendu.  The sPS-500 also seemed a hair better than the LPS-1, but I'm not sure I could discern the difference in a blind test.

Share this post


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

I tried the same on a ghent audio dc cable today.  No good, the music died. Stay tuned for more.

Could be because it's a star quad cable designed to attenuate EMI, if it's the one using Canare 4s6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, limniscate said:

The sPS-500 also seemed a hair better than the LPS-1, but I'm not sure I could discern the difference in a blind test.

In my set up they sound completely different, I must be in the minority, 9_9listening is essential I suppose, don't just rely on recommendations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/14/2017 at 6:57 PM, austinpop said:

Beyond this - there are infinite tweaks, nuances, improvements, and each one is a deep rathole that some of us dive into.

 

It's not a rathole Rajiv--rather I think of it as the nest you are feathering... :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, austinpop said:

Dang Larry, you always have something up your sleeve!

 

In this case it's his cable up his [braided] sleeping.  ^_^

Share this post


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

 

It's not a rathole Rajiv--rather I think of it as the nest you are feathering... :D

 

Alex - I hope you’re just joking. You do realize that nest-feathering essentially means you’re saying I’m lining my pockets?

 

Before I read too much into what might just be an attempt at humor - please do clarify.

Share this post


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

You do realize that nest-feathering essentially means you’re saying I’m lining my pockets?

It also means to beautify @ austinpop as in furnish your nest (system)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

It also means to beautify @ austinpop as in furnish your nest (system)

 

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/feather+nest

feather one's (own) nest 

1. Fig. to decorate and furnish one's home in style and comfort. (Alludes to birds lining their nests with feathers to make them warm and comfortable.) With the new family room and expanded kitchen, they seem to have feathered their nest quite comfortably.
2. Fig. to use power and prestige to provide for oneself selfishly. (Said especially of politicians who use their offices to make money for themselves.) The mayor seemed to be helping people, but she was really feathering her own nest.The building contractor used a lot of public money to feather his nest.
 
To be honest, I've rarely seen definition 1 used, but when you think about it, it is - literally - what the expression means. 
 
Apologies for my overreaction. Let's move on with the game. Oh, it's my turn?
 
I'll take "PSUs > 7V" for $400, Alex! :D For you Jeopardy fans...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Johnseye said:

Thought I'd give an update to my SOtM modified equipment.  My experimentation has just begun, but I have everything installed and have been able to spend a few hours listening with everything in line.  I pulled out all the ferrite I had installed on cables over the weekend as I wanted to get back to where my system had been.  This allows me the best perspective for a comparison.  I'll end up putting the ferrite back, slowly cable by cable once I've settled in on how I want my SOtM gear setup.

 

sCLK-EX & tX-USBexp installation

 

While it's fairly straight forward there are a few quirks to watch out for.  Make sure you know what your device frequencies are.  The frequencies and associated sCLK taps are on a sticker on the sCLK-EX, but not the devices they attach to.  I used the picture sent by SOtM to identify which tap to cable to which device.  The RF cable connectors are small and can be tough to connect in tight spaces.  The Streacom case uses half height, or slim PCI case slot covers.  They don't lock down well to the case and the tX-USBexp slot cover in particular sits fairly loose because the screw hole doesn't line up.  Think about how you want to mount the sCLK to the PC chassis.  I don't know how Roy did it.  What I ended up doing was drilling holes into the case then using a screw tap to drill in mounting points for the card itself.  I removed the card from its tray mount because it's a little tight with that tray.  I can now install the sCLK-EX as I would the motherboard, to the case with risers.  I will also be doing the same for the Intel X25 E drive, but since the drive has mount holes I need to do it a little differently.  Otherwise these devices can sit loosely on risers inside the case.

 

Intel X25 E and SATA II filter

 

Installation is easy and straightforward.  I installed Windows 2016 Server on this drive and it's slow compared to what I've been used to.  What I mean by slow is that the installation, patching and program installs take awhile.  Much patience is required.  I'm sure the Celeron has an impact.  For a quick but not good apples to apples comparison, I installed ROCK on an M.2 drive.  I wanted to know what the difference would be in these scenarios.  The X25 with SOtM filter makes a huge difference.  With it my system has never sounded more organic.  This experiment initially tells me there is a lot of noise on that M.2 drive.  Because there are other factors involved this needs to be taken with a couple grains of salt, but those are my findings so far.  If it holds up, I'll never go back unless SOtM comes up with a new filter.

 

Power

 

Based on my experience to date, powering the tX-USBexp from the internal 12v molex adapter does not allow you to power the sCLK-EX via the J403 output on the tX-USBexp.  May is telling me it should and I owe her a picture so she can validate I have it connected correctly.  Since the instructions say the J403 is from external power I think it's just a misunderstanding.  The only way I got the tX-USBexp to power the sCLK-EX was by powering the tX from its external 9v adapter.  This is how I have it now, then with the sCLK-EX feeding the tX-USBultra USB card via an external DC cable.  My thought is to power the tX-USBexp alone from the motherboard with the 12v molex adapter.  Since the motherboard is powered by the SR7 it's pretty clean power.  I'm more curious to know how the 9v vs 12v influences the sound with both devices.  If there's no impact I'll likely revert to the 9v external power.  I will do the same with the sCLK-EX and power it directly from the SR7 using 12v from the external adapter.  The sCLK-EX will continue to feed the tX-USBultra USB module as I want to take advantage of the power filtering it does.

 

I had the Intel X25E drive being powered by the motherboard but I changed it to being powered by an LPS-1.  At this time I don't know if there's a difference.  There are too many larger impacts occurring so this will be a test on a later date.

 

Quirks

 

I have a lot going on.  I need to dial it in and the equipment needs burn in time.  I am bridging my server's NICs and have the NAS directly connected to the server.  This allows me to eliminate the switch between the two.  Only Tidal goes through the router.  Bridging the NICs was quirky at first as they wouldn't connect to the Internet and I'm not sure if the issue was Windows or clock related.  It works fine now.

 

I am having a concerning issue and do not know the cause yet.  My DAC, like many others, uses the USB Audio Class Driver Control Panel when connecting direct with USB.  This isn't necessary with an endpoint.  It allows me to set the USB Streaming Mode and ASIO Buffer Size.  In the past I could set this at Minimum Latency and the sample size could be very low.  Now when set there I get dropouts or clicks.  I need to increase the Streaming Mode to either Standard or Relaxed and increase the buffer.  I still have a lot of variables floating around so I don't know the cause yet.  Using the tX-USBexp alone allows me to use WASAPI so I will compare with that.  I've played around with Roon's settings as well as HQPlayer and with both I can't get aggressive with the latency/buffer.  Whether upsampling is used or not doesn't seem to have an impact.  With ROCK installed on the M.2 drive I did not have the issue.  I can also install JRiver and see if it's the same.  If anyone has any thoughts as to the cause please let me know.  Ultimately I'd like to get to Minimum Latency with as small of a buffer as possible.

 

I briefly tried connecting the ISO Regen to the end of this chain and with it in line, Windows can't see the DAC.  Same quirky stuff I initially experienced with the IR before.  It was much more stable with the sMS-200 but direct USB doesn't play well.  Everything is grounded.  I'm tabling this for much later.

 

Subjective impressions

 

The sound.  What I hear is pretty stunning.  The timbre is full and meaty.  Much fuller than with the sMS-200 and ISO Regen.  The soundstage is taller, wider and deeper from front to back.  Instruments and vocals have a bigger presence.  It's the most dimensional, organic, "analog like", real to life that I've ever heard from a digital source.  It effects everything I listen to.  Every single song is improved.  Vocals sound like a real person in front of me and the background is so quiet I can hear more subtleties in the music that I never heard before.

 

These opinions are with the tX-USBexp, sCLK-EX, tX-USBultra USB module and SATA II filter in line.  As I mentioned, I swapped out the X25 with SATA II filter (standard SATA cable) for the M.2 drive (no cables).  What I heard with the M.2 drive was a harder edge.  The sound was digital again. It makes that much of a difference.  I ordered a 6" SATA cable to tie me over until AudioPhil puts on his Black Friday sale, then I think I'll pick up the Pachanko SATA cable.

 

I have a lot more tweaking and tuning to do.  This is just from the first day of listening.  At first I thought the SR7 had a bigger, or at least equal impact.  After listening to more music I don't know.  I do know it's contributing to what I hear now.  I have no plans on putting the HDPlex switching power supply back in place to test, so I won't know how much.  The combination of it all is everything I hoped.  Just stunning.  Now, to iron out those quirks so I can relax and enjoy the music.

 

Great report! Can't wait to hear how it all sounds after you iron out the kinks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×