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

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Remember I am not knowledgeable on this stuff so the questions may seem naïve but here goes

 

1) When I use my Sonicorbiter link (which as set up now in my system) I currently see an isp for the microRendu. Is the address I use when I hook up the micro Rendu directly to the pc separate Ethernet port?

 

2) or do connect the microRendu to the pc , let the pc assign a new isp, then insert that into the bridging command?

 

Right now I connect my pc to my router. Then I run a separate Ethernet cable from the router to the Rendu. Since I use a Vinnie Rossi DHT which by definition has triodes I turn the VR off when not listening. This turns off the Rendu. Then everytime I turn the VR on, load HQP the system goes through discovery of the network connection. Sometimes I have to power cycle the Rendu several times to successfully connect it.

 

3) So will this complicate my use of a bridging connection?

Regarding question #1, yes, you could choose to use the IP address you see listed. As that address has already been assigned to your mR, then you know it isn't being used by any other device.

 

It sounds like your setup is more complicated than it has to be if you are having to turn off your mR each time you shut down your LIO but of course, if you are using your LIO battery bank to power your mR, then I understand. Does this complicate a bridging connection? I don't think it would since the static IP address you assign the mR will always be reserved for it even when the mR is shut off.

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Ok, sorry for not completely understanding all of this which leads me to a few questions...

 

1) how many LPS-1 units do you have in place? You make it sound like ONE unit can power multiple devices? sorry i don't own an LPS-1 nor know that much about it yet, I have a TeraDak now powering my uRendu.

 

2) Is the SR7 powering the mac mini or your modem/router or both? where does one purchase an SR7?

 

3) I'm still somewhat confused about the chain of components here, are you still using FMC's and fiber before the uRendu or have you ditched the FMC's?

 

4) Right now i'm using the TeraDak PSU (30W DC9V2.5A) to power my uRendu, it'd be nice still get use out of it for another component, any suggestions?

This has no bearing at all on what I told you: you're missing a fundamental and crucial change to SQ that the LPS-1 can do (and the VR ultra-cap solution as well), which isn't a feature available in the Teradak or HD Plex PSUs.

 

This has to do with noise because of ground loops and also Leakage Currents and breaking these or the flow thereof.

 

In other words, you're comparing apples to oranges and making mistaken conclusions there.

 

To be able to conclude that it is the low impedance that makes the change, you'd have to change only that variable, which you aren't doing.

 

Following this flawed conclusion, you are unjustly putting down both Teradak and HD Plex, which offer Linear, Regulated PSUs, but not AC-disconnected ultra-cap PSUs which power the load disconnected from the mains. Both the Teradak and the HD Plex, by their very nature will still have some connection to the mains, and will still be participants in Leakage Currents, which the LPS-1 breaks the flow of.

 

I'm not sure how to make this clearer for you if by now you haven't understood the principle of what I am telling you.

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Ok, sorry for not completely understanding all of this which leads me to a few questions...

 

1) how many LPS-1 units do you have in place? You make it sound like ONE unit can power multiple devices? sorry i don't own an LPS-1 nor know that much about it yet, I have a TeraDak now powering my uRendu.

 

2) Is the SR7 powering the mac mini or your modem/router or both? where does one purchase an SR7?

 

3) I'm still somewhat confused about the chain of components here, are you still using FMC's and fiber before the uRendu or have you ditched the FMC's?

 

4) Right now i'm using the TeraDak PSU (30W DC9V2.5A) to power my uRendu, it'd be nice still get use out of it for another component, any suggestions?

There's a very handy feature of CA, which members who always provide a reference to which they allude to when posting ensure they fill in, and that is using their signature to include what their current system is.

 

You can read mine below each post, below a gray line...

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Ok, sorry for not completely understanding all of this which leads me to a few questions...

 

1) how many LPS-1 units do you have in place? You make it sound like ONE unit can power multiple devices? sorry i don't own an LPS-1 nor know that much about it yet, I have a TeraDak now powering my uRendu.

 

2) Is the SR7 powering the mac mini or your modem/router or both? where does one purchase an SR7?

 

3) I'm still somewhat confused about the chain of components here, are you still using FMC's and fiber before the uRendu or have you ditched the FMC's?

 

4) Right now i'm using the TeraDak PSU (30W DC9V2.5A) to power my uRendu, it'd be nice still get use out of it for another component, any suggestions?

My SR7 is a multi-transformer, multi-rail PSU. Paul can build supplies that can incorporate up to 4 transformers and 4 independent outputs in a chassis. Mine has both 12V/5A and 9V/3A outputs. Its voltages can be set to +/- 3V to allow for flexibility although the transformer windings are optimized for 12V and 9V. It is a very flexible device but also very expensive although I can assure you that you get what you pay for. No expense was spared with this PSU and it was ordered with Paul's finest annealed silver DC cabling and utilizes his mil spec ultra low impedance connectors (<1 milliohm) between the PSU and DC leads. I requested that Paul install Furutech's best NCF IEC inlet and also specified the Oyaide barrel connectors. I have upgraded my fuse to the new Audio Magic Beeswax SHD fuse with favorable impact. For the price I paid, I expected it to be better than anything else I have previously owned and I have not been disappointed.

 

Should you wish to contact Paul to order your own custom SR7 (he also makes a lower model and less expensive SR5 and SR3), you can reach him directly at [email protected]. He is based in Scotland and I believe he is presently away on holiday but he is generally very responsive and very helpful. He now has help and he is claiming a lead time of about 2 months from design to completion but it depends on how long his queue is at any given moment.

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Ok, MASSIVE is a bit of an overstatement at this level of high-end audio but now that I have your attention, I would say that this improvement is quite significant, nonetheless, and once you hear it, I suspect you will not wish to go back to your previous setup. More importantly, this is neither difficult nor expensive to implement.

 

Hi @romaz

 

I'm trying to understand your experiment in the context of the rest of your setup. Can you clarify a few things for us?

 

  • What are physical distances involved here?
    • Between your Mac Mini and the switch?
    • Between the Mac Mini and the mR/SMS-200? Did you change this for your experiment, i.e. move the Mini closer to your mR/SMS-200?

     

    [*]What is on which AC circuit?

    • Of the following: Mini, NAS, and switch, which of these, if any, is in the same room, or on the same AC circuit as your audio gear - i.e. mR/SMS-200 and downstream devices?

     

    [*]Did cabling stay the same? So before, you had the Mini, the NAS, and the mR/SMS-200 connected to your switch. It sounds like the big epiphany (and audible improvement) for you was moving the cable from the mR/SMS from the router to the Mini (with bridging enabled, of course)

    • So other than that port change, were the cables unchanged in type, or length?

     

    [*]And final question :D

    • Can you enumerate your "massively improved chain" from end to end? What PSUs are in place? What isolation do you still have in place for: AC, DC, Ethernet, and USB?

 

Also, I wanted to comment on the following quote:

 

This excerpt is taken from John Darko's review of this latest generation DX server:

 

"A third way to plumb Roon inside the DX is to have Roon Core talk to Roon Ready directly. Think of this scenario as Roon playing out the server-client model not on a LAN but inside a single computer.

 

Jenkins clarifies: "They [Roon Core and Roon Ready] talk using RAAT but when they are in the same device they do not need to use the not-so-good comms layers that sit underneath RAAT when the two apps talk across a network."

If you read that from the perspective of someone who's familiar with OS kernel internals, he could be talking about some kind of local optimization, where if Core and Ready processes are running on the same OS instance, with the same IP address, they could detect that and bypass TCP/IP "comms" (for example, AF_INET sockets) and use a different form of IPC (inter-process communication), like UNIX domain sockets, pipes, or even shared memory.

 

I apologize if the above sounds very mumbo-jumbo, but the key point for the lay person is that when using Ethernet bridging, your endpoint (i.e. mR/SMS) still has a distinct IP address from your Mini, so I'm afraid the "not so good comms layer" is still in effect, as the Core and Ready processes are not "local" to each other.

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Yes, you're absolutely right. A dual box JPlay system operates under (and benefits from) the same principles but I will say that my friend's dual box system with WinServer 2012R2 + AO + JPlay doesn't sound as good as what I have now. With that said, I do believe the control PC absolutely matters and so I am in the process of installing WinServer 2012R2 + AO + Roon on my Mac Mini and am hoping that this optimization will result in further improvement.

 

With regards to the impact of the Intona, that tweak will be system dependent. My Chord DAVE already incorporates very effective galvanic isolation on its USB input. Good enough that when I connected an Intona Industrial USB isolater and W4S Recovery powered by an LPS-1 between my mR and DAC, I could detect no difference at all.

romz You just saved me $200 bucks, thanks bud!

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There's a very handy feature of CA, which members who always provide a reference to which they allude to when posting ensure they fill in, and that is using their signature to include what their current system is.

 

You can read mine below each post, below a gray line...

I am not a frequent poster on CA and so I have not taken the time to update my signature yet but I will do so. I am generally found on Head-Fi. Please note that because of all the testing that I do, my reference setup changes often. You can look up my complete equipment list by clicking on my profile but my setup is as follows. Above all else, the qualities I value most are transparency, resolution and balance:

 

TP-Link Cable Modem/Router powered by Paul Hynes SR7 > BJC CAT6A ethernet cable > FMC 100Mbit isolators with receiving end powered by LPS-1 > BJC CAT6A ethernet cable > Paul Pang TCXO 100Mbit switch powered by LPS-1 > BJC CAT6A ethernet cable > Mac Mini modified with Uptone Audio MMK and powered with Paul Hynes SR7 > direct connection using SOtM dCBL6 ethernet cable with SOtM iSO-CAT6 isolator > sMS-200 (and microRendu) powered either by SR7 or LPS-1> Clarity Cables Natural USB cable > Chord DAVE DAC (which also functions as my headphone and speaker amp) > High Fidelity Cables Pro Series RCA interconnects > connected to custom junction box that inputs RCA and outputs to speaker binding posts > High Fidelity Cables CT-1 Ultimate Speaker Cables (soon to be upgraded to HFC Pro Series Speaker Cables) > Omega Custom Alnico monitors + JL Audio Fathom F110V2 subwoofer. For headphones, I connect directly from Chord DAVE's headphone output directly to High Fidelity Cables new Trinity Helix (a passive device that magnetizes my headphone signal) > DHC Silver Spore4 headphone cable > various headphones which include the Focal Utopias, Abyss 1266, HE-1000 and TH-900. This signature will change again soon with Chord's release of Davina.

 

In case you're wondering, the Chord DAVE was never meant to drive speakers directly but I am using it to do so, nonetheless. Because of its very low output impedance of 0.055 ohms (damping factor 145) and because it can output 2 watts at 8 ohms through its single ended outputs (the cleanest and most transparent 2 watts a pair of speakers will ever see), the DAVE very effectively drives my high efficiency single-driver Omega monitors and it is the most transparent speaker setup I have yet to hear.

Edited by romaz

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I used these instructions for Windows 10. Works perfectly. Has screenshots and everything:

 

How to set up and manage a Network Bridge connection on Windows 10 | Windows Central

 

in short, before bridging, check your (outside internet adaptor)'s IP address, default gateway etc etc. Mine is connected to the internet via a USB adaptor "Ethernet 1", and my laptop's ethernet port "Ethernet 2" feeds an fmc setup which feeds my SMS-200. So I copy the details for "Ethernet 1".

 

After collecting this info, select both network connections, right click and bridge. Then right click the bridge (a new icon will appear for it) and to to IPv4 settings and update with the info for "Ethernet 1".

 

You should be all set!

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I am not a frequent poster on CA and so I have not taken the time to update my signature yet but I will do so. I am generally found on Head-Fi. Please note that because of all the testing that I do, my reference setup changes often. You can look up my complete equipment list by clicking on my profile but my setup is as follows. Above all else, the qualities I value most are transparency, resolution and balance:

 

TP-Link Cable Modem/Router powered by Paul Hynes SR7 > BJC CAT6A ethernet cable > FMC 100Mbit isolators with receiving end powered by LPS-1 > BJC CAT6A ethernet cable > Paul Pang TCXO 100Mbit switch powered by LPS-1 > BJC CAT6A ethernet cable > Mac Mini modified with Uptone Audio MMK and powered with Paul Hynes SR7 > direct connection using SOtM dCBL6 ethernet cable with SOtM iSO-CAT6 isolator > sMS-200 (and microRendu) powered either by SR7 or LPS-1> Clarity Cables Natural USB cable > Chord DAVE DAC (which also functions as my headphone and speaker amp) > High Fidelity Cables Pro Series RCA interconnects > connected to custom junction box that inputs RCA and outputs to speaker binding posts > High Fidelity Cables CT-1 Ultimate Speaker Cables (soon to be upgraded to HFC Pro Series Speaker Cables) > Omega Custom Alnico monitors + JL Audio Fathom F110V2 subwoofer.

 

Ok, have a better picture of it now.

 

So your Mac mini is downstream from the FMC's to give you a more direct connection to your sMS-200 so I'm assuming that your Mac mini is in the same room and connected with a fairly short CAT6a cable? I'm would not be able to do this since my Mac is on the 2nd floor of my house and my system is on the first floor connected by 50' of fiber patch. Do you think I would I see any benefit from connecting the fiber network directly to my Mac rather than the wireless router?

 

Looks like you have total of 3 LPS-1 units and the SR7, is that right?

 

Also is your music is stored on the Mini?

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For those of us running the music server (like MinimServer) directly on the NAS, this may be a "bridge too far!"

 

So far, I haven't found any easy way to set up bridging on a Synology NAS with 2 Ethernet ports.

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Jplay has been a long time advocate for using a separate Ethernet card to connect their Audio PC and Control PC.

 

BTW, speaking of improving microRendu and SOtM sMS-200 performance - try putting Jcat isolator (Intona) and Wyred Recovery inseries after the microRendu (uR > Intona > Wyred Recovery, with uR powered by LPS-1). HUGE gain in dynamic contrast, soundstage dimensionality and clarity. My jaw literally hit the floor yesterday, when I first tried this combination (and that was after trying all sorts of PSUs on those gizmos, which also brought some improvement).

 

Adam,

I updated my Spring dac review today with exactly that: an Intona after the microRendu (no Wyred for now) changed how I listen to the Spring. I am now convinced that all PCM should be upsampled to 352k, not DSD (while still keeping DSD upsampled to the other side of the Spring dac, the DSD512 side). The Intona brought out great dynamics, reduced or eliminated a sort of digital edge to the upper midrange/lower treble (which made PCM sound glorious going through the PCM side) and quite a bit better in immediacy, or the feeling of loading the room.

 

I will ask the bridging/direct-to-uRendu questions once I have them all lined up.

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At surface value, I would agree with you but here are 4 reasons why I believe such a device could prove beneficial or at least very convenient:

 

1) With my current modem/router, powering it with my Paul Hynes SR7 has resulted in a very noticeable improvement in terms of dynamics in the same way that I am noticing that a good PSU benefits the microRendu. Clearly, the modem/router/switch that we all use has some impact.

2) With the exception of a Melco N1A or N1Z which incorporates its own internal router and functions as its own DHCP server, all other routers I am aware of utilize noisy switching regulators and so if you are streaming from a NAS or streaming from Tidal, it would make sense to me to believe that the stream would be adversely impacted as those streams have to go through this router/switch.

3) I currently employ a Paul Pang switch with TXCO clock in my system and it is connected between my FMC (receiving end) and my Mac Mini. It is connected to the Mac Mini with a short 1 meter BJC Cat6A cable and you can look at it as an "ethernet Regen." This device is a native 5V device and uses no regulators and so powered directly by my LPS-1 set at 5V, its output is very clean. While the improvement is small it is very meaningful. It has not only improved SQ but because it serves as a buffer, I have noticed significantly fewer dropouts with it in the chain. Regardless, reclocking the ethernet stream shortly before it arrives to the server seems to provide benefits in the same way that a USB Regen can benefit a DAC. All routers have clocks and so it would make sense to replace this clock with a much more stable clock if someone was out to design an audiophile class router. In fact, SOtM's newest clock, the sCLK-EX has exactly such an application in mind.

4) There has been plenty said about the benefits of optical isolation in a network. It would also make sense to me to incorporate this option in an audiophile-class router/switch to make life easier.

 

At the end of the day, an internet modem/router/switch is a streaming device just like an Auralic Aries and if you believe the femto clock/LPS upgrade for the Aries resulted in an improvement, there should be no reason to believe a router would be any different.

 

Yeah, I guess the way my network is there wouldn't be much of an advantage. Using the Eero's it's all wireless.

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Hi @romaz

 


  • What are physical distances involved here?
    • Between your Mac Mini and the switch?
    • Between the Mac Mini and the mR/SMS-200? Did you change this for your experiment, i.e. move the Mini closer to your mR/SMS-200?

From my Paul Pang switch to my Mac Mini is a 1 meter BJC CAT6A cable. From my Mac Mini to the SOtM (or microRendu), I have a 1 meter SOtM dCBL-CAT6 cable + iSO-CAT6 isolator. I suspect these cable lengths could be much longer without detriment but it just so happens these pieces are in close proximity to each other.

 

  • What is on which AC circuit?
    • Of the following: Mini, NAS, and switch, which of these, if any, is in the same room, or on the same AC circuit as your audio gear - i.e. mR/SMS-200 and downstream devices?

 

I have one dedicated 20A circuit for the things that matter and an adjacent non-dedicated 15A circuit where I plug in items that I don't want polluting my setup including the switching PSU that powers the transmitting FMC, the Meanwell feeder supply for my LPS-1, etc. I have a NAS in another room on a separate circuit but I use it mainly for backup and comparison testing. I am finding better SQ (smoother with less edge) from a single 4TB Samsung SSD connected to a Thunderbolt hub that also houses a DVD-ROM that I use to rip my CDs. The hub is connected directly to my Mac Mini using a Synergistic Research Active SE Thunderbolt cable and it is this cable that is responsible for the smoother and less edgy SQ. I have compared several Thunderbolt cables including Corning's optical Thunderbolt cable which I was sure would sound best but interestingly, while it sounds very detailed, there is an unpleasant grain. This Thunderbolt hub (12V) is currently being powered independently by my now repurposed HDPlex. I am afraid to try the SR7 on this hub because I am afraid there will be an improvement and I will be forced to consider the purchase of another Paul Hynes supply. Thus far, anything I have connected my SR7 to has been improved by it.

 

  • Did cabling stay the same? So before, you had the Mini, the NAS, and the mR/SMS-200 connected to your switch. It sounds like the big epiphany (and audible improvement) for you was moving the cable from the mR/SMS from the router to the Mini (with bridging enabled, of course)
    • So other than that port change, were the cables unchanged in type, or length?

     

    [*]

 

My cabling has not changed. Instead of connecting the sMS-200 directly to my Paul Pang switch, I now connect it directly to the native ethernet port on my Mac Mini. This is the only variable I have altered.

 

Also, I wanted to comment on the following quote:

[/b]If you read that from the perspective of someone who's familiar with OS kernel internals, he could be talking about some kind of local optimization, where if Core and Ready processes are running on the same OS instance, with the same IP address, they could detect that and bypass TCP/IP "comms" (for example, AF_INET sockets) and use a different form of IPC (inter-process communication), like UNIX domain sockets, pipes, or even shared memory.

I apologize if the above sounds very mumbo-jumbo, but the key point for the lay person is that when using Ethernet bridging, your endpoint (i.e. mR/SMS) still has a distinct IP address from your Mini, so I'm afraid the "not so good comms layer" is still in effect, as the Core and Ready processes are not "local" to each other.

 

I have to admit that what is actually happening with this direct connection is not something I understand well and so someone smarter than I am will have to explain it. While my router is responsible for assigning the sMS-200 its own IP address, there is still obviously some disconnect that has occurred and I have a hard time believing that removal of the intermediary Paul Pang switch was all that was responsible. In fact, I tried removing the switch and directly connecting my sMS-200 to the FMC and then directly connecting it to my modem/router to see if these devices might be contributing to veils and they were not. Removal of the switch and FMCs and directly connecting to the modem/router actually sounded a bit worse.

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Adam,

I will ask the bridging/direct-to-uRendu questions once I have them all lined up.

Hi Ted, I would very much appreciate your ears on this. Roy

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Thanks! Not exactly "easy," but hey, what is!

 

I'll have to study that, as it looks like it it uses static IP's for the two ethernet ports, which is OK, but I need to figure out if the streamer attached to that bridged port (in my case, Aries Mini) can still get a DHCP address.

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Hi Ted, I would very much appreciate your ears on this. Roy

 

Well, here is a poor representation of my system, from router to microRendu. I have the mR powered by an LPS-1 and my NAS FMC powered by an Anker battery. The remaining FMC is powered by a cheap Jameco lps. The Trendnet FMC at the mR is alos powered by a cheap wallwart, but will change that to my JPS-2 (which will be the LPS-1 energizer too).

 

Net/net, I want to try the direct-from-HQP server-to-mR approach and my HQP machine has 2 NICS; an ethernet mobo port (unused currently) and a Mellanox fiber card (connected to the fiber switch currently). Should I utilize the Mellanox to uRendu FMC and use another FMC for the wired ethernet port to fiber switch, or visa versa?

brady wiring.png

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Well, here is a poor representation of my system, from router to microRendu. I have the mR powered by an LPS-1 and my NAS FMC powered by an Anker battery. The remaining FMC is powered by a cheap Jameco lps. The Trendnet FMC at the mR is alos powered by a cheap wallwart, but will change that to my JPS-2 (which will be the LPS-1 energizer too).

 

Net/net, I want to try the direct-from-HQP server-to-mR approach and my HQP machine has 2 NICS; an ethernet mobo port (unused currently) and a Mellanox fiber card (connected to the fiber switch currently). Should I utilize the Mellanox to uRendu FMC and use another FMC for the wired ethernet port to fiber switch, or visa versa?

[ATTACH=CONFIG]31997[/ATTACH]

We are in uncharted territory here so I can't answer that question for you. Even without fiber between server and mR, the clarity I am hearing is exquisite. I suggest you try both ways and report back.

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Another question if you connect the microRendu directly to the pc Ethernet port doesn't that essentially make the risk (from the how to link above) of an unprotected network?

 

Reference from the link : 'You should never create a bridge between an Internet connection and a network connection because it creates an unprotected link between your network and the Internet. This can make your network accessible to anyone on the Internet, which is not good from a security point of view'

 

Still puzzled by all the how to's but still want to try this.

When you bridge 2 networks, you are indeed exposing that 2nd network to whatever risks the 1st network is vulnerable to. But in this case, the only thing on this 2nd network would be your mR/sMS-200.

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Ok, MASSIVE is a bit of an overstatement at this level of high-end audio but now that I have your attention, I would say that this improvement is quite significant, nonetheless, and once you hear it, I suspect you will not wish to go back to your previous setup. More importantly, this is neither difficult nor expensive to implement.

 

Much has been said about how ethernet renderers like the microRendu and the sMS-200 are immune to upstream components. Because ethernet is transformer coupled, it is inherently galvanically isolated and because of the error correcting packet protocol it employs, data is always bit-perfect and so it would seem that ethernet is an ideal data delivery vehicle for a digital audio stream. Indeed, when I first purchased my microRendu back in May, I tested it with a variety of standard sources including a Windows NUC, Windows laptop, Mac Pro, Macbook Pro and sonicTransporter and even when a certain source was powered by my HDPlex, I noticed no significant difference among these sources, at least not enough to care which one was feeding my microRendu. I have also explored and compared a variety of ethernet optimization techniques including optical isolation with FMCs (powered by LPS-1), an audiophile switch with TCXO clock by Paul Pang (powered by LPS-1) and various audiophile ethernet cables (BJC CAT 6A, SOtM dCBL-CAT6 with iSO-CAT6, AQ Vodka + Diamond, Supra CAT8, WireWorld Silver Starlight CAT8) and while they can and do make a difference, even collectively, the difference has never been that great, certainly not enough to want to spend lots of effort or money on these things. At least that has been my experience and so this is a compliment to both the microRendu and the sMS-200, that they are that immune to what is upstream...or are they?

 

Like with many of you, things changed when I received my LPS-1 as this power supply was eye opening in how it transformed my microRendu. This should have come as no surprise as John Swenson had been telling us all along that the microRendu, as a low noise and low impedance device, benefits from a low noise and low impedance power supply. What I wasn't prepared to experience, however, was how a good low noise, low impedance power supply would also transform my upstream components including a simple NUC or Mac Mini even with the microRendu or sMS-200 in place (I own both of these units). It was surprising to find out that even my internet modem/router similarly benefited. It turns out that while ethernet is good for isolating noise, it cannot fix a signal already molested at the modem/router or music server level. In the same way that the LPS-1 improved both the macro and microdynamic capabilities of my microRendu, my Paul Hynes SR7 has also magically transformed my modified Mac Mini and internet modem/router and both the microRendu and sMS-200 fully reveal these benefits but truth be told, these benefits are much more fully realized if these endpoints themselves are powered by a low impedance PSU. This is not some mild transformation that you need to blind test to convince yourself is real, this is something a semi-deaf person can distinguish because the dynamic contrasts with the Paul Hynes SR7 driving both my Mac Mini and internet modem/router is that much more thunderous, enough so that I have had to literally turn my subwoofer down a notch. If you think about it, there's no good reason why this shouldn't be happening. The whole purpose of the microRendu or sMS-200 and devices like the USB Regen is to present a DAC with a signal of the highest integrity. Why wouldn't the microRendu or sMS-200 similarly benefit from being presented with high signal integrity by the components before it?

 

I have come to the conclusion that this impact has more to do with low impedance than the low noise characteristics of the power supply fronting these upstream devices because as you recall, ethernet is transformer coupled and so is inherently galvanically isolated and with the FMCs that I employ in my network (which are powered by my LPS-1), no RF noise or leakage current should be reaching my microRendu or sMS-200. What is the measured output impedance of the Paul Hynes SR7? According to Paul, his SR5 and SR7 measure <3 millohms from DC to 100kHz and so consider this number as a reference point for comparison. Having asked around, it seems no one else can provide these impedance measurements over what John Swenson describes to be his ideal frequency range either because they don't own the measuring equipment to do so or because they don't believe this spec is important. What I can tell you is that neither my HDPlex or Teradak are low impedance LPSUs because neither of these units are good enough to allow me to distinguish one source from another when fronted by either the microRendu or sMS-200 and both are soundly trounced by my LPS-1 and my SR7 when it comes to soundstage dimensionality. While I have not had the opportunity to compare the Sonore Signature Power Supply to either of these two units, based on what I am hearing from respected sources and conversations I have had with Barrows, I have no doubt this is an excellent and very low impedance PSU. Based on how good the LPS-1 is, logic would suggest Vinnie Rossi's ultracap-based supply is likely of similar caliber. The problem with these other supplies is that neither of them have enough juice to power a Mac Mini, Nuc or my TP-Link internet modem/router as each of these devices require at least 12V/3.5A.

 

Of course, this discovery led to quite a bit of curiosity about other areas. What would happen if I directly connected my Mac Mini to either my microRendu or sMS-200? Intuitively, I had a hard time believing this should make a difference. If so, why weren't the microRendu or sMS-200 designed by their wise creators to connect this way? I further had a difficult time believing my internet modem/router or my Paul Pang switch with TCXO clock should have any real detrimental impact on either of these endpoints since the modem/router was currently being powered by my Paul Hynes SR7 and my Paul Pang switch was being powered by my LPS-1 and moreover, I had optical isolation in place and yet Mark Jenkins, owner and developer of the Antipodes line of music servers, had this to say about his latest generation Roon Ready DX music server. This excerpt is taken from John Darko's review of this latest generation DX server:

 

"A third way to plumb Roon inside the DX is to have Roon Core talk to Roon Ready directly. Think of this scenario as Roon playing out the server-client model not on a LAN but inside a single computer.

 

Jenkins clarifies: "They [Roon Core and Roon Ready] talk using RAAT but when they are in the same device they do not need to use the not-so-good comms layers that sit underneath RAAT when the two apps talk across a network."

I'm not sure I know what Mark meant by this exactly but he details a greater clarity and immediacy to the sound of Roon using this method and so I felt compelled to try and create this direct connection between my Mac Mini and my microRendu/sMS-200. This wouldn't be so difficult if either device had the ability to assign itself a static IP. Unfortunately, this was never possible with the microRendu and this feature was taken away from the sMS-200 after firmware 1.9 and because each device must be assigned an IP address by a router for control purposes, it didn't appear as if there would be an easy way to accomplish this.

 

It turns out OSX can function as its own DHCP server and so I used El Capitan to assign an IP address to one of the two ethernet ports I have on my Mac Mini (the Mac Mini comes natively with only one ethernet port but my Thunderbolt hub comes with its own ethernet port thereby giving me two such ports). I connected my sMS-200 to one port and my router to the other port and it worked but there were problems. Because OSX insisted on connecting this second port on a separate subnet, my sMS-200 had no outlet to the internet (for Tidal streaming) nor could it be controlled remotely by my iPad and so this was a "no go." When I manually forced both ports to be on the same subnet, my Mac Mini would get confused as to which ethernet port had control and it would lock up. It then dawned on me that I could bridge the two ethernet ports and BINGO! This accomplished exactly what I wanted to accomplish. Both ethernet ports were now on the same subnet and with one port connected directly to my sMS-200 and the other port connected directly to my router, everything was running smoothly. I could now easily access the sMS-200 remotely from my iPad and other machines that were on the network and the sMS-200 could access the internet. While I have not yet tried my microRendu this way (it is presently on loan), I don't see why it wouldn't work the same way. What is interesting is with this bridged configuration, my internet modem/router is now responsible for assigning the sMS-200 an IP address and yet the sMS-200 is physically directly connected to my Mac Mini without the intermediary "not so good comm layers" that Mark Jenkins describes.

 

So how does this direct connection sound? Simply glorious! While a low impedance power supply brings depth and dynamics to my upstream components, this direct connection brings amazing clarity and immediacy. It's as if one very thick veil has been removed and that my seat has been upgraded from the balcony to the stalls. I would rate the impact of this as equivalent in magnitude to employing a low impedance PSU. Many of you are aware of the claims many are making on several threads here on CA but also on HeadFi of how RedNet and Dante provides this "you are there" clarity. I had a ReNet 3 in my home for evaluation for nearly a month and I agree, it provides this beguiling sense of clarity that has to be heard to be appreciated although the problem with RedNet, I believe, is its inferior switching PSU. These units sound flat and dimensionless compared to my described setup above and so this clarity that RedNet brings almost sounds sterile and lifeless in comparison. Regardless, proponents of RedNet have suggested the problem with USB endpoints like the microRendu and sMS-200 is with USB. What I am hearing suggests USB is not the problem but perhaps the Dante technology by Audinate that RedNet utilizes has figured out how to eliminate the impact of these "not so good comms" in the network signal path. I have now been listening to this arrangement for much of the past week and so the initial emotions that can cloud one's judgement have settled down and my opinion remains the same as the first moment I heard it. To borrow from Chris Connaker, after all of this, I can unequivocally say that my audio system has never sounded better than it has now. For me, there is no going back.

 

For those interested in reproducing what I have done, first of all, you will need a music server with 2 ethernet ports. Current Mac Pros already have 2 ethernet ports. Mac Minis do not but I can verify that you can add a Thunderbolt ethernet port and it works very well. Many Windows PCs have 2 ethernet ports and if not, if you have a spare PCI or PCIE slot, you could inexpensively add one. Will a USB ethernet connection work? I don't see why not but I haven't tried it and I don't know how it will sound. I do know that you can't bridge a wi-fi connection and an ethernet connection.

 

So how do you bridge 2 ethernet ports? If you are on Linux, I can't help you but I'm sure it's possible. If you are on a Mac, here are the fairly simple instructions that I followed. Feel free to use DHCP but you are also free to assign a static IP:

 

https://support.apple.com/kb/PH18510?locale=en_US

 

For Windows, @jelt2359 has confirmed for me that the following directions below worked on his Windows 10 Nuc although he had to manually configure the bridge's DNS and IP addresses.

 

How to create a Network Bridge in Windows 10/8/7

 

Obviously, if you decide to try this, please report back your findings here. If there is consensus that this improvement is universal, perhaps Sonore and SOtM can be convinced to allow their units to be configured to be directly accessed more easily.

 

Thanks for this great and informative post. I like reading such posts that bring new insights to our hobby.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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I agree. I'm waiting for someone to develop an internet modem/router/switch with linear regulators, a really good clock and built-in optical isolation.

 

You can get a small SFP switch that accepts an external Linear or battery supply. The "optical isolation" thread has many specific examples.

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You can get a small SFP switch that accepts an external Linear or battery supply. The "optical isolation" thread has many specific examples.

Thanks, I've seen some of those examples and I've considered them although it would be great if it was more than a switch but also included a router and internet modem. That way, you have one integrated component powered by a single LPSU.

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My cabling has not changed. Instead of connecting the sMS-200 directly to my Paul Pang switch, I now connect it directly to the native ethernet port on my Mac Mini. This is the only variable I have altered.

@romaz

 

I am sure what you are hearing is real and applicable to your system.

 

However, I still have a hard time coming up with any rational explanation for what you are hearing.

 

So, as is always the case with hard-to-explain effects, we wait and see if enough people can replicate this. I will be very curious.

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@romaz

 

I am sure what you are hearing is real and applicable to your system.

 

However, I still have a hard time coming up with any rational explanation for what you are hearing.

 

So, as is always the case with hard-to-explain effects, we wait and see if enough people can replicate this. I will be very curious.

I agree, you should be skeptical by this phenomenon that I have no explanation for. I'm sure Sonore and SOtM are skeptical also but SOtM is interested enough that they are now doing their own internal testing. But what I am suggesting is easy enough and inexpensive enough for many to implement and so I am hoping people will try it and give feedback. I suspect a community effort can only lead to better things. As for me being the only one, actually Jelt2359 has independently tried it in his system (Windows PC > sMS-200) and is hearing the same thing I am hearing.

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