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

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3 hours ago, Mark62 said:

 

Since my question wasn't clear, I'll restate it...on Page 1 of this thread, there was a theory put forward by @austinpop that essentially said if a setup did "not need to use the not-so-good" underlying comms layers, sound would be better through a device like a computer to rendu...and further that bridging achieved this.

 

My question (rephrased) was this:  "Does anyone disagree that if 2 approaches both do that, then (all else equal...for now) their sound should be equal if the underlying comms theory is correct"  (And I was adding that most switches stay at level 2 and bridges also operate at level 2, so...all else equal, there's no reason to expect them to sound different).

 

You added in latency, higher quality NIC's, and 1 less power supply as additional possible variables...good points, but I'd like to stick to the comms layer part for now in getting my question answered.

 

Thanks, Mark

 

Mark,

 

There's a bit of history here. The original OP (and the first post you refer) was not authored by me, it was @romaz, who participates very infrequently in the forums. So OP status was transferred to me, but I am not the original author.

 

In the almost 2 years since Roy launched this thread, there has not been a good explanation of why bridging seems to improve SQ. Of course, at the time, we didn't have the plethora of options we now have with reclocked switches, John Swenson's grounding findings, known "good" switches like the Netgear GS105, etc.

 

To your point, using bridging, or particular switches, has never been about functionality at the layer 2 of the stack. You can get that with any old switch. What is of importance here is the empirical finding that using bridging, or certain switches, seems to improve SQ. We don't know why yet.

 

So if you want an explanation - get in line! We're all waiting for folks like John Swenson and others in the industry to figure out what the exact mechanisms are at play here to explain what we are hearing. Until then, you can either choose to try it anyway, and see what you think, or wait until the whole "how/why does the network affect SQ" space is better understood.

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18 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Mark,

 

There's a bit of history here. The original OP (and the first post you refer) was not authored by me, it was @romaz, who participates very infrequently in the forums. So OP status was transferred to me, but I am not the original author.

 

In the almost 2 years since Roy launched this thread, there has not been a good explanation of why bridging seems to improve SQ. Of course, at the time, we didn't have the plethora of options we now have with reclocked switches, John Swenson's grounding findings, known "good" switches like the Netgear GS105, etc.

 

To your point, using bridging, or particular switches, has never been about functionality at the layer 2 of the stack. You can get that with any old switch. What is of importance here is the empirical finding that using bridging, or certain switches, seems to improve SQ. We don't know why yet.

 

So if you want an explanation - get in line! We're all waiting for folks like John Swenson and others in the industry to figure out what the exact mechanisms are at play here to explain what we are hearing. Until then, you can either choose to try it anyway, and see what you think, or wait until the whole "how/why does the network affect SQ" space is better understood.

 

I didn't mean to imply that it was "known" why bridging is claimed to help - that's why I called it a "theory".  As far as what it is, until someone has a more clear idea on "why" what some folks heard helps - then we're just chasing after ghosts in hope of finding something better.  Net, I'll wait and see instead of trying more w/bridging or swapping out other gear.

 

Right now, I am thrilled with the improvement an ultraRendu gave my system with it and the PC running of a switch.

 

About the only thing I might do different at this point is use a different power supply on my switch.  I heard an improvement on my DAC updating its power supply, but I didn't hear any difference with the ultraRendu between an uptone LPS-1 and Small Green Computer's own power supply.  Who knows if I will hear a difference w/one on my switch but worth trying.

 

Mark

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1 hour ago, Mark62 said:

As far as what it is, until someone has a more clear idea on "why" what some folks heard helps - then we're just chasing after ghosts in hope of finding something better.  Net, I'll wait and see instead of trying more w/bridging or swapping out other gear.

In audio, the shortest route offering the least resistance / lowest latency results in the least distortion. The direct route from PC to renderer will give the best performance / degrade the signal the least. A PC cannot be connected via an ethernet connection direct to a renderer unless its part of that network. Therefore the network bridge is just the link to the network, the signal follows the direct path from PC to renderer. I found the difference in sound quality  not subtle when I first tried this with a microrendu, especially with content stored directly on the PC. Even if you place an audiophile switch in the pathway that acts as a reclocker it still follows the direct path.

Regarding your original post, Roon is quite buggy in terms of locating storage other than the conventional path. I would look at the usb connection from NAS to router that might be causing a problem. I dont know if it's possible to connect up via ethernet.

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1 hour ago, Mark62 said:

 

I didn't mean to imply that it was "known" why bridging is claimed to help - that's why I called it a "theory".  As far as what it is, until someone has a more clear idea on "why" what some folks heard helps - then we're just chasing after ghosts in hope of finding something better.  Net, I'll wait and see instead of trying more w/bridging or swapping out other gear.

 

Right now, I am thrilled with the improvement an ultraRendu gave my system with it and the PC running of a switch.

 

About the only thing I might do different at this point is use a different power supply on my switch.  I heard an improvement on my DAC updating its power supply, but I didn't hear any difference with the ultraRendu between an uptone LPS-1 and Small Green Computer's own power supply.  Who knows if I will hear a difference w/one on my switch but worth trying.

 

Mark

 

Hi Mark - I'm mostly a lurker that implements cost-effective versions of suggestions presented on this forum to improve my system. I have indeed noticed substantial improvements as a result of some of the changes suggested here. My two cents with respect to your situation are as follows:

  1. Figuring out "why" making a change causes an improvement is great, but not necessary... I, for one, want the sound improvement more than I want to know why I got that improvement in the first place...  
  2. An important assumption here is that you have to be able to trust your ears so you can assess the size of the improvement... we can't measure everything... all we can do is try what others suggest and see if it makes things better or worse
  3. Sometimes a change highlights other deficiencies. I recently bridged my PC to my Allo Digi One, changed the connection speed to 100MBPS half duplex, and JSSG360 my BNC cable feeding my Chord 2qute from the Allo Digi One. The result was thrilling - a lot more definition and heft across all frequencies, a darker background, and improved dynamics. However, the sound became much "harsher" in the high frequencies. I have no clue why, but I suspect the Chord's switch mode power supply, the Allo's iFi iPower, and the source computer's switching mode power supply are contributing to this. I could try grounding all the switch mode supplies, but I'd rather just install some decent LPSUs. Since I'm poor, I plan on building a few Sigma 11 PSUs from AMB instead of purchasing more expensive units. I also plan on implementing an AudioLinux based server solution after that (see posts from Roy and Larry). One improvement begets another area for improvement. The work never ends. And I'm grateful for that.
  4. Don't give up easily! The struggle is the fun part - it is where we learn the most. I would fiddle with different connection speeds for the bridge. I would also ensure you have the latest LAN drivers for your NICs installed. Sometimes doing basic blocking and tackling can solve problems.

I wish you success in your bridging quest!

 

Nikhil

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59 minutes ago, LTG2010 said:

In audio, the shortest route offering the least resistance / lowest latency results in the least distortion. The direct route from PC to renderer will give the best performance / degrade the signal the least. A PC cannot be connected via an ethernet connection direct to a renderer unless its part of that network. Therefore the network bridge is just the link to the network, the signal follows the direct path from PC to renderer. I found the difference in sound quality  not subtle when I first tried this with a microrendu, especially with content stored directly on the PC. Even if you place an audiophile switch in the pathway that acts as a reclocker it still follows the direct path.

Regarding your original post, Roon is quite buggy in terms of locating storage other than the conventional path. I would look at the usb connection from NAS to router that might be causing a problem. I dont know if it's possible to connect up via ethernet.

 

Out of curiosity, prior to your bridging, what was you network path from router to PC and ultimately your microrendu?

 

Also, for me - Roon finds my NAS just find until I create the bridge.  The same is true for my PC.  But, once I bridge, neither Roon nor the PC can find the NAS.

 

Mark

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42 minutes ago, taipan254 said:

 

Hi Mark - I'm mostly a lurker that implements cost-effective versions of suggestions presented on this forum to improve my system. I have indeed noticed substantial improvements as a result of some of the changes suggested here. My two cents with respect to your situation are as follows:

  1. Figuring out "why" making a change causes an improvement is great, but not necessary... I, for one, want the sound improvement more than I want to know why I got that improvement in the first place...  
  2. An important assumption here is that you have to be able to trust your ears so you can assess the size of the improvement... we can't measure everything... all we can do is try what others suggest and see if it makes things better or worse
  3. Sometimes a change highlights other deficiencies. I recently bridged my PC to my Allo Digi One, changed the connection speed to 100MBPS half duplex, and JSSG360 my BNC cable feeding my Chord 2qute from the Allo Digi One. The result was thrilling - a lot more definition and heft across all frequencies, a darker background, and improved dynamics. However, the sound became much "harsher" in the high frequencies. I have no clue why, but I suspect the Chord's switch mode power supply, the Allo's iFi iPower, and the source computer's switching mode power supply are contributing to this. I could try grounding all the switch mode supplies, but I'd rather just install some decent LPSUs. Since I'm poor, I plan on building a few Sigma 11 PSUs from AMB instead of purchasing more expensive units. I also plan on implementing an AudioLinux based server solution after that (see posts from Roy and Larry). One improvement begets another area for improvement. The work never ends. And I'm grateful for that.
  4. Don't give up easily! The struggle is the fun part - it is where we learn the most. I would fiddle with different connection speeds for the bridge. I would also ensure you have the latest LAN drivers for your NICs installed. Sometimes doing basic blocking and tackling can solve problems.

I wish you success in your bridging quest!

 

Nikhil

 

The only reason I am interested in "why" is that it help narrow what to try.  Let's face it, there are an infinite number of things to try these days.  If I tried them all, I'd spend all my day installing and removing equipment and software.  I'd prefer to spend more time listening...which relates to your #2...I do trust my ears, but...again...not just going to go chase ghosts.

 

I took a stab on a microrendu recently (borrowed from a friend) and was shocked, so I bought an ultraRendu and was even more shocked so I kept it an returned my friend his loaner.  Each were as "night and day" different from my prior system as I had ever heard.  Pleased with that step.  If there's another I can find - I'll take it.

 

But regarding "the struggle" with bridging, I'm done w/this one.  I've tried every option I could (and yes - drivers fully up to the latest, etc.).  And, I don't think that "bridging" inherently creates what people claim to have heard...it's something else that is creating the claimed improvements - not inherently the fact that it's bridged.  And right now, my system sounds spectacular...best I have ever heard in my room.  Bridging looked like an easy thing to try, but turned out to not work in my system.  Net, I'll just "jam on"!

 

Mark

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59 minutes ago, Mark62 said:

Out of curiosity, prior to your bridging, what was you network path from router to PC and ultimately your microrendu?

Router/modem via long ethernet cable to netgear gs105 switch. Pc and microrendu  connected to switch via 1m cables. Then connected microrendu direct to pc ( removing connection to switch) and bridged pc's ethernet ports. I don't have a NAS.

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8 hours ago, Johnseye said:

 

Do you know if that crimper is absolutely necessary?

Sorry for the late reply...been quite busy lately.

 

No, crimper used to crimp ATX connectors can do the job just as well, and there are many other alternatives available that costs lower.

 

Here is one example, but there are others just as good or better:  https://mod-one.com/mdpc-x-crimp-tool-ctx3/

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14 hours ago, Mark62 said:

 

The only reason I am interested in "why" is that it help narrow what to try.  Let's face it, there are an infinite number of things to try these days.  If I tried them all, I'd spend all my day installing and removing equipment and software.  I'd prefer to spend more time listening...which relates to your #2...I do trust my ears, but...again...not just going to go chase ghosts.

 

I took a stab on a microrendu recently (borrowed from a friend) and was shocked, so I bought an ultraRendu and was even more shocked so I kept it an returned my friend his loaner.  Each were as "night and day" different from my prior system as I had ever heard.  Pleased with that step.  If there's another I can find - I'll take it.

 

But regarding "the struggle" with bridging, I'm done w/this one.  I've tried every option I could (and yes - drivers fully up to the latest, etc.).  And, I don't think that "bridging" inherently creates what people claim to have heard...it's something else that is creating the claimed improvements - not inherently the fact that it's bridged.  And right now, my system sounds spectacular...best I have ever heard in my room.  Bridging looked like an easy thing to try, but turned out to not work in my system.  Net, I'll just "jam on"!

 

Mark

Why dont u try auto sensing hardware bridging with this

I use it with a Clones Audio Shaar PCIe audiophile USB 3.0 card

HQPLAYER pc to modem/switch

Plug this into the PCIE usb card connect one CT 6 cable to modem/Switch

Use a second cat 6 cable from this device to the NAA .

Power on tge HQPLAYER PC

Setup all Intermet coonections as per nornal

no need to fuss with fix IP just use DHCP

Power on the NAA 

and it will auto bridge with the HQPLAYER PC

If u use Fidelizer or Audiophile Optimizer then Hqplayer launches quick

Make sure your NAA connects to the bridge quickly

otherwise the NAA wil mot show up in the setup box for Ipv4

You can use Linear 5v clean DC for theUSB Card and this usb/ethernet bridge device

SQ Is great

 

 

 

 

BDFCF42D-E286-46F8-AB4D-E1EDFABAB316.png

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2 hours ago, kelvinwsy said:

Why dont u try auto sensing hardware bridging with this

I use it with a Clones Audio Shaar PCIe audiophile USB 3.0 card

HQPLAYER pc to modem/switch

Plug this into the PCIE usb card connect one CT 6 cable to modem/Switch

Use a second cat 6 cable from this device to the NAA .

Power on tge HQPLAYER PC

Setup all Intermet coonections as per nornal

no need to fuss with fix IP just use DHCP

Power on the NAA 

and it will auto bridge with the HQPLAYER PC

If u use Fidelizer or Audiophile Optimizer then Hqplayer launches quick

Make sure your NAA connects to the bridge quickly

otherwise the NAA wil mot show up in the setup box for Ipv4

You can use Linear 5v clean DC for theUSB Card and this usb/ethernet bridge device

SQ Is great

 

 

 

 

BDFCF42D-E286-46F8-AB4D-E1EDFABAB316.png

 

Thanks - that seems worth a try.  I'm heading out of town but will look into trying it once I get back.

 

Mark

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11 hours ago, Mark62 said:

 

Thanks - that seems worth a try.  I'm heading out of town but will look into trying it once I get back.

 

Mark

Forgot to mention that since my SOTM Ultra Neo has no wifi , the signal has to be coming thru the bridging device and from the OXCO clocked Shaar USB3.0 card

But i hv a further refinement to my network bridging connection.. The SHAAR usb card has not enough voltage/current for the usb bridge maintain a steady network connection .

so get this (see photo) with the added benefit of injecting super clean 5v dc power

 

so the usb output from my Shaar usb card goes into this usb filter and the Usb/ethernet bridge is plugged into this device .. then the connection to the NAA

 

Further SQ Gains

5DBA4747-6EEE-4A4F-A9AF-C08C3F1E9BF2.png

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51 minutes ago, RickyV said:

Very interesting info on digital audio from Gordon Rankin .

 

 

Rick ?

 

Ah, is this the legend that had the white macbook with the 80 TB harddrive?

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If ramboot were too much work while we're looking for something that's better than eMMC drives, there's another $199 RAM disk route via SATA

 

http://www.hyperossystems.co.uk/07042003/products.htm

https://www.ebay.com/itm/ACARD-ANS-9010BA-5-25-Dynamic-SSD-SATA-x1-RAM-Disk-Ram-Modules-Not-Included-/253824230228

http://www.supremelaw.org/systems/acard/ANS-9010Q(E).pdf

http://www.supremelaw.org/systems/acard/ANS-9010.compatible.list.pdf

http://www.supremelaw.org/systems/acard/ANS-9010_9010B_9010BA.compatible.list.pdf

 

DDR2 really don't cost that much anymore, roughly 80 bucks shipped if we're talking about 32GB

 

https://www.amazon.com/Buffered-Server-Memory-PC2-5300-667MHz/dp/B00JENY37U

 

Of course we could also find even cheaper deals somewhere else, the tricky part should be finding something that's actually compatible with ACARD ANS-9010BA.

 

Their eSATA version requires 12V while DDR2 only needs 1.8V, most likely that job should be done by a rather lousy regulator

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/ACARD-ANS-9010E-5-25-inch-eSATA-Dynamic-SSD-RAM-module-not-included/261286232848

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On 10/12/2018 at 8:06 PM, kelvinwsy said:

Forgot to mention that since my SOTM Ultra Neo has no wifi , the signal has to be coming thru the bridging device and from the OXCO clocked Shaar USB3.0 card

But i hv a further refinement to my network bridging connection.. The SHAAR usb card has not enough voltage/current for the usb bridge maintain a steady network connection .

so get this (see photo) with the added benefit of injecting super clean 5v dc power

 

so the usb output from my Shaar usb card goes into this usb filter and the Usb/ethernet bridge is plugged into this device .. then the connection to the NAA

 

Further SQ Gains

5DBA4747-6EEE-4A4F-A9AF-C08C3F1E9BF2.png

 

Interesting - that doesn't seem to add up given USB 3.0 provides 5v / 900 ma, and the Clones Audio USB card you have shows 5v / 500 ma.  Have you tried your USB device w/o this other device and had issues w/network connectivity?

 

Mark

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Hi Mark 

You are correct but theory is one thing and practice is another. I plug in my Unitek USB 3.0 into the SHAAR USB3.0 sound card usb socket it only works intermittently..  Luckily i had the Elfidelity USB 3.0 power filter unit on hand.. and all is well (The wall wart for this Elfidelity unit is listed 5.32v output!! and it is 5amp current output max)

Anyway what matters is the signal going into the SOTM Ultra Neo is from the SHAAR audiophile card usb output .. SQ improvement

Heh i wont knock what works

And this whole dialogue is bcos you complain bridging was such a pain for u as it was the same for me .. At one time I had 2 usb to ethernet adapters in additionto the regular ethernet outlet port.. As I power off my entire system until my weekend listening sessions , it was a pain bridging one ethernet adapter after another.. 

Using the startechnir Unitek bridge is painless

Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

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On 10/11/2018 at 5:43 PM, lmitche said:

John, do you have a crimper?

 

Sorry for the delayed response.  I have your crimper. :)

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4 hours ago, kelvinwsy said:

Hi Mark 

You are correct but theory is one thing and practice is another. I plug in my Unitek USB 3.0 into the SHAAR USB3.0 sound card usb socket it only works intermittently..  Luckily i had the Elfidelity USB 3.0 power filter unit on hand.. and all is well (The wall wart for this Elfidelity unit is listed 5.32v output!! and it is 5amp current output max)

Anyway what matters is the signal going into the SOTM Ultra Neo is from the SHAAR audiophile card usb output .. SQ improvement

Heh i wont knock what works

And this whole dialogue is bcos you complain bridging was such a pain for u as it was the same for me .. At one time I had 2 usb to ethernet adapters in additionto the regular ethernet outlet port.. As I power off my entire system until my weekend listening sessions , it was a pain bridging one ethernet adapter after another.. 

Using the startechnir Unitek bridge is painless

Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever tried the USB to dual ethernet adapter our of a "standard" USB 3.0 port?  I ask because I noticed that the Clone Audio card only has ~1/2 the amperage of traditional USB 3.0 - maybe that has something to do w/the issue you had w/the Clone Audio device.

 

And, for the record - bridging wasn't a "pain" for me.  It was really easy to set up - it just didn't work.  And, it does sound like having to bridge adapters over and over after a shutdown would certainly be a pain.  In my case, if I set up a bridge and shut down - it stays intact.  But, it does not work before or after shutdown.  (I tried austinpop's suggestion to shut down my entire network and reboot in a certain order, and that didn't help at all - but the bridge stays intact through the shutdown/restart.)

 

Also FYI, I just reached out to the startech.com folks who make the USB to dual port adapter you mentioned and was asking them some questions.  They said their dual port USB-based adapter did not "autobridge" as you say.  They say it's 2 distinct IP addresses - one for each port no matter what.  Can you confirm whether yours it truly bridged or just 2 separate IP addresses?  I would appreciate that.

 

Thanks,  Mark

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10 hours ago, flkin said:

Hey guys, I've finally completed my Listening Tests of my Pink Faun 2.16x streamer. It's to be found below in the Pink Faun thread. I write about comparisons with the Trifecta, SonicTransporter i5 and the Antipodes Ex and Cx combo. A bit on the AudioLinux OS and benefits of convolution as well.

 

Please enjoy ?

 

Kin

 

 

Nice report! Thanks to Kin for the interesting read.

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