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

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11 hours ago, Confused said:

I am running a Devialet amp, which is generally reckoned to perform best when fed via it's AES/EBU input.  As I posted earlier, in this set-up with a Mutec MC3+USB feeding the Devialet via AES/EBU, the change from adding the REF10 was transformational, everything more detailed but at the same time more natural sounding, plus a big step up in dynamics, impact from drums, new textures becoming apparent in the bass, this kind of thing.  I cannot comment on what the REF10 might add to a system running asynchronous USB, but adding a REF10 to a MC3+USB feeding AES/EBU is a genuine step up in performance.  The REF10 was expensive, but worth every penny in my system.  I have the REF10 on a 30 day sale or return deal.  It is not going back!

 

Do try the experiment we discussed earlier - running the chain without the MC-3+ USB. You would be running the Ref-10-clocked chain, but with tX-USBultra feeding the Devialet over USB.

 

This is a test. This is only a test. No audiophiles will be harmed in this test.

 

Clearly, if the Devialet is "generally reckoned to perform best when fed via it's AES/EBU input," this will be evident in the SQ of this configuration being worse than your baseline.

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50 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Round 3: After 200+ hours of LPS-1.2 burn in

 

I was out of town for about 5 days, which for audiophiles is pure gold, as it means "burn-in baby, burn-in!" Before I left, I also corrected another difference in setup, by replacing the stock power cords of the LPS-1.2 energizing supplies with a couple more of my trusty Pangea AC-14SE MkII power cords.

 

Well, whether it was the extra 100 hours, the power cords or both, I'm now just about ready to declare a tie. I'd say the LPS-1.2 with the Pangea power cord for the energizing supply, and with 200 hours of burn-in, is neck-to-neck with the SR-4.

 

I found one track to be particularly useful in this evaluation: Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, from Paul Simon's Graceland 25th Anniversary 96/24 album. This track can veer towards sibilance very easily with a lesser system. The LPS-1.2 at 25 hours exhibited this sibilance markedly - especially Paul Simon's voice when he said "soles" or "shoes." By 200+ hours, the sibilance is gone, and replaced with a rich but smooth tonality.

 

Tonality-wise, I would still say the LPS-1.2 is the "brighter" and the SR-4 the "darker." But I would not equate one to "better" or "worse." This is where system synergy comes in. If you are trying to tame brightness in your system, the SR-4 would be a great fit. On the other hand, if you want just a hint more sparkle, the LPS-1.2 would fit the bill.

 

And of course, if you're UK-based, the SR-4 is certainly a very good value, whereas for US buyers, the LPS-1.2 is a bargain.

 

I'll do one more round with the LPS-1.2 with silver cable @mozes is lending me, once it gets here.

The LPS-1.2 is simply marvelous. In my system it only took a few seconds for me to realize that it is very special. I didn’t think it was possible to significantly improve upon the LPS-1. The downside is that It will make it harder for me to sell my LPS-1s :) 

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Hi,

 

For those running bridged connection on a Mac with both ethernet port and thunderbolt port (w/ Apple's Thunderbolt-Ethernet Adapter), have you compared between these two for feeding the network audio component?

 

I know the Apple's Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter has Broadcom 57762 controller. I'm not sure how it compares to the ethernet implementation. I'd love to know if you've made the comparison and on which computer and other details. 

 

Thanks!

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16 hours ago, Confused said:

Well this thread has dived all over the place since I last posted regarding my new set up of Mutec REF10 / MC3+USB / sMS-200Ultra / tX-USBultra!

 

Anyway, time for an update.  Regular readers with very good memory may recall that last weekend I set up the Mutec REF10 with the MC3+USB and my existing microRendu, and I could not have been happier with the result.  The improvement from the REF10 was sensational, everything I had hoped for and more.  Better dynamics, more definition everywhere, the most realistic bass I have ever experienced, everything good.  That was last Saturday.

 

On the Sunday, I connected up the SOtM 'bundle' of sMS-200Ultra + tX- USBultra + sPS-500.  Immediate impressions were a little mixed, there was some definite magic there, but somehow I was not enjoying the system as much as I should be.

 

So that was last week.  Following this I had a very busy week, with most of my time spent miles away from my system, no time for listening.  The SOtM kit has been kept powered up 24/7, and I have spent some time feeding it from Roon Radio.  The hours are going on the kit.  

 

Unfortunately, this weekend I was also very busy with many things, but I did get time to for a couple of listening sessions.  To be honest, my initial impression from last weekend is little changed.  That said, I do have a bit more insight into what might be troubling me with the addition of the SOtM kit.  Almost everything seems to be good, but to me the treble seems to be a little overemphasised, and has a slightly unpleasant 'glassy' characteristic to it.  You could say a 'digital edge' is there that I do not think was apparent with the humble microRendu.  Although one caveat here, this is a characteristic that seems far more apparent with some pieces of music.   I am posting this now as an update, and to see if anyone perhaps has any insight into this aspect of the SOtM kit.

 

One thing does occur to me here, I note in the Steve Plaskin review of the Sonore Signature Rendu versus the SOtM ultra bundle he does refer to the microRendu's 'somewhat dark sound'. 

 

https://www.audiostream.com/content/audiophile-conundrum-sonore-vs-sotm

 

So maybe this is what I am experiencing?  The change from this darker sound.  Although maybe whatever this dark sound might be, perhaps it is something I happen to like or happens to suit my system, maybe it's just what I am used to, and it's my brain that needs more burn in time.

 

Meanwhile, I have a plan for this coming weekend.  I will try feeding the MC3+USB with three combinations, the sMS-200Ultra with tX-USBultra, the microRendu on it's own, and the micrRendu with the tX-USBultra.  Depending on how this works out, I could try the sMS-200Ultra without the tX-USBultra.  This should give me some insight into what each component is bringing, or is taking away, from the end result.  Maybe this will clarify matters?  We time will tell.

 

 

I went through a similar exercise a while back.  mR and sMS-200.  Came to a similar conclusion, but thought the mR was a bit muddier and I was after clarity.  Since then I've come to the conclusion that the SOtM gear filters more noise than Sonore. 

 

Ultimately it comes down to what you like.  If you like a thicker meatier sound, and it fits better with your other gear, then that's all that matters.

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3 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Round 3: After 200+ hours of LPS-1.2 burn in

 

I was out of town for about 5 days, which for audiophiles is pure gold, as it means "burn-in baby, burn-in!" Before I left, I also corrected another difference in setup, by replacing the stock power cords of the LPS-1.2 energizing supplies with a couple more of my trusty Pangea AC-14SE MkII power cords.

 

Well, whether it was the extra 100 hours, the power cords or both, I'm now just about ready to declare a tie. I'd say the LPS-1.2 with the Pangea power cord for the energizing supply, and with 200 hours of burn-in, is neck-to-neck with the SR-4.

 

I found one track to be particularly useful in this evaluation: Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, from Paul Simon's Graceland 25th Anniversary 96/24 album. This track can veer towards sibilance very easily with a lesser system. The LPS-1.2 at 25 hours exhibited this sibilance markedly - especially Paul Simon's voice when he said "soles" or "shoes." By 200+ hours, the sibilance is gone, and replaced with a rich but smooth tonality.

 

Tonality-wise, I would still say the LPS-1.2 is the "brighter" and the SR-4 the "darker." But I would not equate one to "better" or "worse." This is where system synergy comes in. If you are trying to tame brightness in your system, the SR-4 would be a great fit. On the other hand, if you want just a hint more sparkle, the LPS-1.2 would fit the bill.

 

And of course, if you're UK-based, the SR-4 is certainly a very good value, whereas for US buyers, the LPS-1.2 is a bargain.

 

I'll do one more round with the LPS-1.2 with silver cable @mozes is lending me, once it gets here.

Where  you put the energizing smps? wall,regenerated supply,or...?

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26 minutes ago, flkin said:

Reading about the recent posts here about the Ref 10 and the MC3+USB, I thought some would be interested to hear that @Kritpoon and I have done some tests over the weekend with our joint SOtM Trifecta and @Kritpoon's Antipodes with Ref10/MC3+ system. It's in the other thread about the Antipodes located here:

 

 

Interesting results that will probably involve both of us spending more money! 9_9

 

Will be writing it up over the next few days and posting it in that Antipodes thread and here as well. Some of the questions I will be answering will be:

  1. Cybershaft OP14 vs. Mutec Ref.10
  2. Antipodes with MC3+ vs. SOtM Stable with MC3+
  3. Bridged Macbook unoptimised with MC3+ vs. Antipodes with MC3+
  4. Bridged Macbook unoptimised vs. Antipodes with MC3+
  5. Antipodes with SOtM Stable with MC3+ vs. All of the above
  6. Antipodes to UltraRendu to MC3+ vs. (5)

2-6 will be clocked by the Mutec Ref.10 wherever possible.


Will be back..

 

Wow what fun! Eagerly awaiting your results.

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51 minutes ago, hurka said:

Where  you put the energizing smps? wall,regenerated supply,or...?

 

All the LPSes and SMPSes plug into a PS Audio Dectet power center, which plugs into the P5 regenerator.

 

See latest picture. There is a 2nd LPS-1.2 not shown that is alternating with the SR-4 to power the tX-USBultra. Its energizing supply is also plugged into the Dectet.

 

5a9e30b3ac9ca_Audiotopology.thumb.png.af344cfee023b4d4c545dc6f2c80d2ed.png

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4 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Round 3: After 200+ hours of LPS-1.2 burn in

 

I was out of town for about 5 days, which for audiophiles is pure gold, as it means "burn-in baby, burn-in!" Before I left, I also corrected another difference in setup, by replacing the stock power cords of the LPS-1.2 energizing supplies with a couple more of my trusty Pangea AC-14SE MkII power cords.

 

Well, whether it was the extra 100 hours, the power cords or both, I'm now just about ready to declare a tie. I'd say the LPS-1.2 with the Pangea power cord for the energizing supply, and with 200 hours of burn-in, is neck-to-neck with the SR-4.

 

I found one track to be particularly useful in this evaluation: Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, from Paul Simon's Graceland 25th Anniversary 96/24 album. This track can veer towards sibilance very easily with a lesser system. The LPS-1.2 at 25 hours exhibited this sibilance markedly - especially Paul Simon's voice when he said "soles" or "shoes." By 200+ hours, the sibilance is gone, and replaced with a rich but smooth tonality.

 

Tonality-wise, I would still say the LPS-1.2 is the "brighter" and the SR-4 the "darker." But I would not equate one to "better" or "worse." This is where system synergy comes in. If you are trying to tame brightness in your system, the SR-4 would be a great fit. On the other hand, if you want just a hint more sparkle, the LPS-1.2 would fit the bill.

 

And of course, if you're UK-based, the SR-4 is certainly a very good value, whereas for US buyers, the LPS-1.2 is a bargain.

 

I'll do one more round with the LPS-1.2 with silver cable @mozes is lending me, once it gets here.

Thank you @austinpop I've just placed an order for an SR4. I have been sitting on the fence for a while between an lps-1.2 and the SR4. Your review helped me make up my mind?

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SR4 is more expensive than LPS 1.2 actually. I'm do curious about the SPS 500 too. Which one is the best power supply among those ones (SR4, LPS 1.2 and SPS500)?

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18 minutes ago, welldone said:

SR4 is more expensive than LPS 1.2 actually. I'm do curious about the SPS 500 too. Which one is the best power supply among those ones (SR4, LPS 1.2 and SPS500)?

I don't have the LPS1.2 but I have the SPS-500, an SR3 and an Uptone JS-2. I prefer the latter two on the SMS-200 ultra.

I must admit though that I have not experimented with HQ power cords on the SPS-500 and I still use the stock short DC cable that came with the power supply. In my comparison, I used the same power cord for SR3 and an equally short DIY DC cable for the SR3.  

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6 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Round 3: After 200+ hours of LPS-1.2 burn in

 

I was out of town for about 5 days, which for audiophiles is pure gold, as it means "burn-in baby, burn-in!" Before I left, I also corrected another difference in setup, by replacing the stock power cords of the LPS-1.2 energizing supplies with a couple more of my trusty Pangea AC-14SE MkII power cords.

 

Well, whether it was the extra 100 hours, the power cords or both, I'm now just about ready to declare a tie. I'd say the LPS-1.2 with the Pangea power cord for the energizing supply, and with 200 hours of burn-in, is neck-to-neck with the SR-4.

 

I found one track to be particularly useful in this evaluation: Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, from Paul Simon's Graceland 25th Anniversary 96/24 album. This track can veer towards sibilance very easily with a lesser system. The LPS-1.2 at 25 hours exhibited this sibilance markedly - especially Paul Simon's voice when he said "soles" or "shoes." By 200+ hours, the sibilance is gone, and replaced with a rich but smooth tonality.

 

Tonality-wise, I would still say the LPS-1.2 is the "brighter" and the SR-4 the "darker." But I would not equate one to "better" or "worse." This is where system synergy comes in. If you are trying to tame brightness in your system, the SR-4 would be a great fit. On the other hand, if you want just a hint more sparkle, the LPS-1.2 would fit the bill.

 

And of course, if you're UK-based, the SR-4 is certainly a very good value, whereas for US buyers, the LPS-1.2 is a bargain.

 

I'll do one more round with the LPS-1.2 with silver cable @mozes is lending me, once it gets here.

I found one track to be particularly useful in this evaluation: Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, from Paul Simon's Graceland 25th Anniversary 96/24 album.

 

Note that this song dropped to DR8 coming from DR16 on the original album/CD. This per se has nothing to do with sibilance, but it can. Just to give you an idea of those remastered, anniversary, special editions, etc... I'm sure you are very aware of this phenomenon.

Btw.:  the original song has no sibilance whatsoever. The 25th-anniversary version has some on my system but not very much.

 

Also see: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/694232-compressing-vocals-without-increasing-sibilance.html

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27 minutes ago, welldone said:

SR4 is more expensive than LPS 1.2 actually. I'm do curious about the SPS 500 too. Which one is the best power supply among those ones (SR4, LPS 1.2 and SPS500)?

I would say it depends what they are driving and system synergy. The sPS500 is a 5 AMP supply and can be used to power a bigger variety of items eg Music servers, Dacs and can be used with a Y cable to power a couple of items. For lower powered use it 'seems'

the other 2 might have the edge, but a detailed comparison between the 3 is needed.

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8 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Definitely give it some more burn in time.  

 

I've spoken often about the SOtM house sound being a little thin. I think some of that is perceptual. The Ref 10-level clocking throughout the chain is delivering a huge increase in resolution, and sometimes that can come across as analytical.

 

In any case, I find that once you lock in the clock and power improvements, you can fine tune and tailor the tonality with cable and PSU choices. However, the resolution from superior clocking, once lost, cannot be regained.

 

So give it some time, and then decide where to tinker.

Well the burn in is in progress!  I found a playlist on Roon yesterday that is about 14 days long, hit play, left everything running.  I left the house early this morning but a quick check revealed that music was still streaming nicely.  If nothing else, this tells us something about the stability of Roon, HQPlayer, the SOtM kit and software.  So by the time I get to some comparisons this weekend we should be at something like 300 hours powered up and maybe 130 hours streaming 

 

As for sounding 'thin', I don't think this is how I would describe things.  Definitely brighter than the microRendu, but not thin by any means.  In fact I have been very impressed by the layers, detail and tonality in the bass, punch of drums, this kind of thing.  And yes, the additional resolution from adding the REF10 is apparent everywhere.  In terms of system synergy, I would not say I have a thin sounding system, it's just a touch of HF harshness and a slight digital edge that is bugging me a little.

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8 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Do try the experiment we discussed earlier - running the chain without the MC-3+ USB. You would be running the Ref-10-clocked chain, but with tX-USBultra feeding the Devialet over USB.

 

This is a test. This is only a test. No audiophiles will be harmed in this test.

 

Clearly, if the Devialet is "generally reckoned to perform best when fed via it's AES/EBU input," this will be evident in the SQ of this configuration being worse than your baseline.

Agreed, it is worth trying.  I think it is useful to try these things irrespective of the result or what you might think the result will be.  It can only add to the knowledge of the individual pieces of kit and the system as a whole. 

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1 hour ago, afrancois said:

I found one track to be particularly useful in this evaluation: Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, from Paul Simon's Graceland 25th Anniversary 96/24 album.

 

Note that this song dropped to DR8 coming from DR16 on the original album/CD. This per se has nothing to do with sibilance, but it can. Just to give you an idea of those remastered, anniversary, special editions, etc... I'm sure you are very aware of this phenomenon.

Btw.:  the original song has no sibilance whatsoever. The 25th-anniversary version has some on my system but not very much.

 

Also see: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/694232-compressing-vocals-without-increasing-sibilance.html

 

I would love to know where to get a DR 16 version of the song. According to Roon, the “original version” I have only has a DR of 9.3, as does the hi-rez version (9.2). That said, the 96/24 sounds way better.

 

In any event, this is tangential to the point I was making, that sibilance was greatly reduced after burn-in!

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22 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

I would love to know where to get a DR 16 version of the song. According to Roon, the “original version” I have only has a DR of 9.3, as does the hi-rez version (9.2). That said, the 96/24 sounds way better.

 

In any event, this is tangential to the point I was making, that sibilance was greatly reduced after burn-in!

I don't use Roon's DR values. I notice that highly compressed music sometimes get's good scores with their DR algorithm.

The TR24 version that I also have, sounds very good though. Very low noise floor, this makes it up for some compression.

 

This is the CD I have. http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/view/88987

 

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7 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Round 3: After 200+ hours of LPS-1.2 burn in

 

I was out of town for about 5 days, which for audiophiles is pure gold, as it means "burn-in baby, burn-in!" Before I left, I also corrected another difference in setup, by replacing the stock power cords of the LPS-1.2 energizing supplies with a couple more of my trusty Pangea AC-14SE MkII power cords.

 

Well, whether it was the extra 100 hours, the power cords or both, I'm now just about ready to declare a tie. I'd say the LPS-1.2 with the Pangea power cord for the energizing supply, and with 200 hours of burn-in, is neck-to-neck with the SR-4.

 

I found one track to be particularly useful in this evaluation: Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, from Paul Simon's Graceland 25th Anniversary 96/24 album. This track can veer towards sibilance very easily with a lesser system. The LPS-1.2 at 25 hours exhibited this sibilance markedly - especially Paul Simon's voice when he said "soles" or "shoes." By 200+ hours, the sibilance is gone, and replaced with a rich but smooth tonality.

 

Tonality-wise, I would still say the LPS-1.2 is the "brighter" and the SR-4 the "darker." But I would not equate one to "better" or "worse." This is where system synergy comes in. If you are trying to tame brightness in your system, the SR-4 would be a great fit. On the other hand, if you want just a hint more sparkle, the LPS-1.2 would fit the bill.

 

And of course, if you're UK-based, the SR-4 is certainly a very good value, whereas for US buyers, the LPS-1.2 is a bargain.

 

I'll do one more round with the LPS-1.2 with silver cable @mozes is lending me, once it gets here.

Thanks for the update.  I look forward to learning if the LPS-1.2 pulls ahead with the silver cable, or whether that will make it sound too bright.

 

There might be a place for both the LPS-1.2 and the SR4 in my system.  I already have the ISO Regen, and the tx-USBultra is due today.  For the sake of reducing the number of components I have and be able to sell some gear, I am hoping that the tx-USBultra on its own will prove to deliver the best sound quality.  But I will of course try it in tandem with the IR (IR > tx-USBultra/SR4), running the IR initially with one of the LPS-1s I have but also with an LPS-1.2 once the tx-USBultra and SR4 are fully run-in.  With both an IR and tx-USBultra, two USPCBs, 8 inch Curious Link and 70cm Lush USB cables (plus short and long stock USB cables), an SR4 and two LPS-1s, and then a LPS-1.2 (on trial),  I should have enough options to find a tone I like.

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1 hour ago, Confused said:

I would not say I have a thin sounding system, it's just a touch of HF harshness and a slight digital edge that is bugging me a little.

Hopefully the burn in will have effect. As for the sPS500 I found the stock DC cable a bit 'gritty' this can definitely be improved by their OFC copper DC cable and also Ghent audio make a star quad version with Oyaide plugs at a cheaper price but it's very good, smoother tonality in both cases. I also have a Kimber mains lead and either a braded or shielded 'non bright sounding' mains cable will help also. It can also be helped further with choice of USB cables eg, Lush cables mentioned earlier. SOTM's Cat 7 network cable is very good but pricey.

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2 hours ago, welldone said:

SR4 is more expensive than LPS 1.2 actually.

That will certainly be the case in the US, but in tne UK the SR4 (with copper dc cable) is cheaper than the LPS-2.1.  Prices today (including VAT and UK delivery) are:

 

LPS-1.2 (without mains cable)    £433.80 (£439.80 with UK mains cable)

SR4    £415 (£450 with silver dc cable)

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Rajiv-to confirm, you’re using your Pangea power cord on the LPS-1.2? Also what exactly is the ‘energizing’ supply connected to the LPS-1.2?

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