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austinpop

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

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2 hours ago, austinpop said:

Enter the new SOtM switch. Boy this thing is a beast. If the Zyxel and TLS switches are chihuahas, this thing is a golden retriever.

 

Hi austinpop

 

Can you describe what the actual differences are to your ears and personal tastes?

 

As you know from discussions with Rob Watts, some people actually like the sound of more RF (and that is fine), which can present itself as more detail, when in reality it can be increased IMD they are enjoying.

 

I know this is all subjective but when you say there’s “a substantial boost in SQ” it may help if you could share your own subjective personal opinion/observations  on how so. 

 

Do you hear more detail? Or does the SQ becomes warmer, darker sounding? More bass? Less bass?

 

I’d love to know what “a substantial boost in SQ” actually means to your ears and tastes.

 

Cheers!

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38 minutes ago, Em2016 said:

 

Hi austinpop

 

Can you describe what the actual differences are to your ears and personal tastes?

 

As you know from discussions with Rob Watts, some people actually like the sound of more RF (and that is fine), which can present itself as more detail, when in reality it can be increased IMD they are enjoying.

 

I know this is all subjective but when you say there’s “a substantial boost in SQ” it may help if you could share your own subjective personal opinion/observations  on how so. 

 

Do you hear more detail? Or does the SQ becomes warmer, darker sounding? More bass? Less bass?

 

I’d love to know what “a substantial boost in SQ” actually means to your ears and tastes.

 

Cheers!

 

Gee thanks - the one time I don't describe the SQ improvement in detail, I get called out on it! Man, tough crowd! :D 

 

Yes, I've had the "clock improvements - you think it's an SQ improvement, I hear it as RF noise." discussion with Rob and Roy. In this particular instance, I have to disagree with Rob. Like Roy and many of us here, I hear the effect of a better system clock (mobo/Ethernet/USB) as an improvement, not as "noise."

 

I've discussed the SQ benefit from a better switch before. Feel free to check out my previous posts in the index. For example, the last time, when I described the TLS OCXO switch:

 

On 5/18/2018 at 6:53 PM, austinpop said:

It was the usual uptick in coherence, texture, focus, one hears with a clock improvement.

 

For the full post. see https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/?do=findComment&comment=824004

 

 

Hope this clarifies things for you!

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8 minutes ago, austinpop said:

Gee thanks - the one time I don't describe the SQ improvement in detail, I get called out on it! Man, tough crowd! :D 

 

Hehe many thanks. Any ranking is always more helpful with some sort of description of why/how they are different, even if it's highly subjective.

 

8 minutes ago, austinpop said:

I've discussed the SQ benefit from a better switch before. Feel free to check out my previous posts in the index.

 

Noted but I was asking about this particular SOtM switch...

 

8 minutes ago, austinpop said:

Yes, I've had the "clock improvements - you think it's an SQ improvement, I hear it as RF noise." discussion with Rob and Roy. In this particular instance, I have to disagree with Rob.

 

Respectfully noted. I don't always agree with Rob (and he doesn't mind) but on this one, my ears do agree with him.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Em2016 said:

Hehe many thanks. Any ranking is always more helpful with some sort of description of why/how they are different, even if it's highly subjective.

 

Noted but I was asking about this particular SOtM switch...

 

OK fair enough. Yes, the improvement I heard with the SOtM switch over the TLS OCXO was a further opening up of the soundstage, instruments were more defined, easier to tell apart, and there was more micro-detail.

 

1 minute ago, Em2016 said:

 

Noted. I don't always agree with Rob (and he doesn't mind) but on this one, my ears do agree with him.

 

Ah, now it's my turn. Could you clarify the context of "my ears do agree with him." What did you listen to - in the context of better clocks - and what did you hear?

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16 minutes ago, austinpop said:

Ah, now it's my turn. Could you clarify the context of "my ears do agree with him." What did you listen to - in the context of better clocks - and what did you hear?

 

Hehe I already hinted in my first reply to you. I've always found adding these external clocks sounded brighter. In this case I do agree with Rob that it's potentially artificial increased brightness which may be increased RF causing increased IM distortion. Emphasis on potentially - I wouldn't have a clue at all at the actual technical mechanisms involved.

 

So when I read these switch reviews (and any component upstream of the DAC, i.e. digital) I try to look/listen for things like warmer, darker sounding, rather than more detail (personal preference and taste)

 

Having said that, it can vary case by case, product to product. I haven't heard the SOtM unit that you ranked as 10/10 though. I will give it a listen.

 

16 minutes ago, austinpop said:

OK fair enough. Yes, the improvement I heard with the SOtM switch over the TLS OCXO was a further opening up of the soundstage, instruments were more defined, easier to tell apart, and there was more micro-detail.

 

Much appreciated.

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4 minutes ago, Em2016 said:

 

Hehe I already hinted in my first reply to you. I've always found adding these external clocks sounded brighter. In this case I do agree with Rob that it's potentially artificial increased brightness which may be increased RF causing increased IM distortion. Emphasis on potentially - I wouldn't have a clue at all at the actual technical mechanisms involved.

 

So when I read these reviews, I try to look for things like warmer, darker sounding, rather than more detail.

 

Having said that, it can vary case by case, product to product. I haven't heard the SOtM unit that you ranked as 10/10 though. I will give it a listen.

 

 

Much appreciated.

 

If I heard clock optimizations as added brightness, I'd never have gone down this path. No - quite the contrary, the cumulative effect of all the clock and PSU optimizations in my system has been a profound decrease in listening fatigue, and perceived brightness.

 

I think I've mentioned my experience at RMAF (with Roy) and at AXPONA, where some rooms, even when playing obscenely expensive digital gear, sounded unbearably bright. We both agreed one of the most enduring impacts of our upstream chain optimizations has been the reduction in digital glare.

 

You should draw your own conclusions based on your own ears, of course.

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17 minutes ago, austinpop said:

If I heard clock optimizations as added brightness, I'd never have gone down this path.

 

Noted. For example, you've said the SOtM switch added micro detail. Linking back to Rob Watts, increased perceived detail can actually be increased brightness (it doesn't need to be the unbearable brightness you described), which can be increased RF causing increased IM distortion. We have no real way of knowing, so it's just fun chatter about potential technical mechanisms.

 

17 minutes ago, austinpop said:

You should draw your own conclusions based on your own ears, of course.

 

Agreed. Thanks for at least now sharing a description alongside the 10/10 ranking.

 

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49 minutes ago, Em2016 said:

 

Noted. For example, you've said the SOtM switch added micro detail. Linking back to Rob Watts, increased perceived detail can actually be increased brightness (it doesn't need to be the unbearable brightness you described), which can be increased RF causing increased IM distortion. We have no real way of knowing, so it's just fun chatter about potential technical mechanisms.

 

Noted. But for the record, I have listened to this change (SOtM switch vs. TLS switch) carefully, considered whether what I was hearing was an increase in brightness, and definitively decided it was not.

 

The way I make that decision is based on fatigue. For me, it's not bright or dark so much as it is relaxed vs. fatiguing. I can immediately tell when a change is more fatiguing, and I am watchful for that. 

 

Beyond that, of course I encourage people to listen with their own ears and decide. Don't go by what I say.

 

Just out of curiosity, Sean, what is your end to end chain?

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27 minutes ago, austinpop said:

Just out of curiosity, Sean, what is your end to end chain?

 

Always changing Rajiv ?

 

Currently Roon ROCK (fanless build) to HQPe (fanless build) to iFi Pro iDSD to MrSpeakers AEON Flow Closed cans.

 

Previously Hugo2, Dave, HD800, HD800-S and others in all sorts of different combinations.

 

Like you, I prefer to judge components/changes up-stream of the DAC based on listening fatigue, over long periods in my case.

 

Quick A/B'ing is rarely useful for me. I tend to like stuff that makes me want to crank the volume louder even after a long listening session - and tend to not like stuff that makes me want to turn down the volume of my favourite music (even if just a touch down) during a long listening session.

 

I don't claim anything scientific here. Just based on my personal preferences, tastes and 'feeling'.

 

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Hi Rajiv 

 

Thanks for the test. Interesting findings and quite applicable to my own situation as I too use a streamer with internal ssd to dac directly but also use Tidal quite a bit. 

 

Just want to confirm your setup when you were testing the SOtM switch and getting good 10/10 results with Tidal. Do I understand it correctly that you had it like this? 

 

Router 

SOtM switch 

Zenith SE streamer 

tx-USBultra (clocked)

DAC 

 

If so, how did you setup the cables connecting the router to switch to streamer? Did you use your SOtM cables? 

 

Thanks 

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Great work and report, Rajiv! Looking forward to the Uptone switch so we can add that to the mix before I look at replacing my SoTM-modded switch.  Initially, I thought you were using another device - instead of the  Zenith - to locate the Roon Core, so that was a bit of news, at least to me.  Not sure if your library was also located somewhere else earlier on. You are using e-net all around, no wifi.  I archive a few topology maps from people, and have added a few things to yours that are relevant to my set up. Let me know if I have it right?  Thanks, Bruce

Rajiv Audio Topology Map Roon 08.30.18.jpeg

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54 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Hi Bruce,

 

This is a total Witch Hunt. Oops sorry, wrong Bruce Ohr. :D

 

As for my topology - sorry for any confusion. That picture I posted was from when I had the Ayre QX-8 in my system, which has the option of running a Roon endpoint within it. So ignore the direct link from the QX-8 to the switch. My music path is still as follows:

  • Roon Core on SE
  • Music stored locally on SE's SSD
  • music flows from SSD to USB output to tX-U to DAC, through luscious Lush cables.

 

Got it. The SE is both server and player?  Are you upsampling?  I know Innuos has admitted to not having the processing power to do much upsampling. 

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1 hour ago, Bruce Orr said:

 

Got it. The SE is both server and player?  Are you upsampling?  I know Innuos has admitted to not having the processing power to do much upsampling. 

 

Nope, no upsampling. I go native all the way, baby!

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7 hours ago, Bruce Orr said:

 

Got it. The SE is both server and player?  Are you upsampling?  I know Innuos has admitted to not having the processing power to do much upsampling. 

 

Hi Bruce,

 

I know the question was to Rajiv but fwiw I'm giving upsampling in Roon to Max PCM x2 a go on my SE and no issues so far. No stuttering or dropouts.

 

Also on another previous topic I've ordered a 1 meter JSSG360 LAN cable from Ghent Audio. Want to compare it to my Sablon LAN cable.

 

Also currenly burning in a pair of Lush^2 cables with promising first impressions.

 

Cheers,

Alan

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Thanks, Alan

 

thanks for sharing results of your SE upsampling. Appears both you and Rajiv are getting a bump in SQ?  That would have to be because of either using the local SE library or the integrated SE Roon server/player or both?

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4 hours ago, Bruce Orr said:

Appears both you and Rajiv are getting a bump in SQ? 

 

Bruce, not sure what you're asking? Bump in SQ relative to what?

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12 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Bruce, not sure what you're asking? Bump in SQ relative to what?

 

Hi Bruce,

 

Yup - I'm similarly confused. My comment was that I'd enabled Roon DSP with no issues. Can't say I've noticed any difference whatsoever. But perhaps I've just not listened closely enough.

 

Cheers,

Alan

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15 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Bruce, not sure what you're asking? Bump in SQ relative to what?

 

Relative to Roon Core not on the SE; and relative to the library not being on SE

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3 minutes ago, Bruce Orr said:

 

Relative to Roon Core not on the SE; and relative to the library not being on SE

 

I'm running Roon Core on the SE and have my library on the SE.

 

I might be missing a trick but I didn't spend that sort of dough on a server with 2TB storage to relegate it to endpoint duties.

 

Although I accept there are many ways to skin the cat.

 

Cheers,

Alan

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7 minutes ago, BigAlMc said:

Ghent just sent me this based on the custom JSSG360 LAN cable he made for me and has just shipped ?

 

https://www.ghentaudio.com/part/et11.html

 

 

et11-5.jpg

Very nice looking cable.  Looking forward to your impression when you get it.

 

I am currently using the JSSG version of this cable, and curious how the JSSG360 compares and wonder if SOtM dCBL-CAT7 will be better still?

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