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

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On 3/19/2017 at 8:22 PM, amgradmd said:

I've been following this topic with significant interest. I recently purchased the PS Audio Directstream DAC and had a Bridge II on order. My goal was to try the bridged ethernet config from my Mac Mini and run that cable to my DS DAC and have the Mac connected to the switch. So I followed the directions by Romaz on how to add a Thunderbolt ethernet connection. I found I could only add under Network Settings with "Thunderbolt Ethernet" and not "Thunderbolt Bridge". By doing this, both the DS DAC and Thunderbolt would see the router and get an IP address using DHCP. But Roon could not see the Bridge as an endpoint. I rebooted everything and even tried difference ethernet cables but nothing worked. Then I tried to assign each an IP address, both on the same subnet mask and directed to the proper IP address of the router. Nothing. Roon was blind to the DS DAC. I'm no networking expert, but I'm confused as to why this isn't working. Can anyone help me with this? Thanks.

Adam

 

Just bumping this since nobody has responded. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated! 

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1 hour ago, lmitche said:

 Using the m.2 ngff to Sata connection card was definitely an upgrade with tighter bass and greatly increased top end extension.

I'm sorry, but what is that, and where does it live, and what does it accomplish?  Are you saying your Red drive was an M.2? 

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Sorry for the hijack but are you saying you have OS and music on same 3.5" drive and it's better than separately powered SSD and NAS music?  You are direct, right (i.e no NAA)?  I wonder if NAA reduces these changes (like NAS vs local HDD)

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25 minutes ago, ted_b said:

Sorry for the hijack but are you saying you have OS and music on same 3.5" drive and it's better than separately powered SSD and NAS music?  You are direct, right (i.e no NAA)?  I wonder if NAA reduces these changes (like NAS vs local HDD)

Yes, system and music on one drive, and yes direct to DAC via lps-1 powered Adnaco USB.  When you think about it, is rather like an NAA without the ethernet link and processor, using a fiber connection and pcie to USB interface instead.

Edited by lmitche

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Fascinating idea about using an HDD instead of SSD.  I have an old 2.5" HDD laying around that I will put into my NAA PC to see if makes any difference.  I wonder if the noise from the SSD is why people (me included) hear improvements when changing SATA cables???

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4 hours ago, tboooe said:

Fascinating idea about using an HDD instead of SSD.  I have an old 2.5" HDD laying around that I will put into my NAA PC to see if makes any difference.  I wonder if the noise from the SSD is why people (me included) hear improvements when changing SATA cables???

 

My various testing experiments over the years pointed to the SATA  interface itself as being less than ideal for various reasons. 

 

Too bad that low power IDE/ATA drives got supplanted by SATA before capacities made it up to 1TB. I think the largest were 500GB--and those were multi-platter 3.5" units. 

 

And do IDE cards even exist for modern PCI slots? o.O

Edited by Superdad

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22 hours ago, amgradmd said:

 

Just bumping this since nobody has responded. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated! 

 

 

I used to own the PS Audio DirectStream but I sold mine before Bridge II came out and so I can't say for sure but I'm guessing your Bridge II isn't considered a Roon Ready endpoint like the mR or sMS-200 are.  This would be my guess as to the reason Roon installed on your Mac wouldn't see Bridge II as an addressable device.

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51 minutes ago, Superdad said:

 

And do IDE cards even exist for modern PCI slots? o.O

 

 

Here are a couple:

 

https://www.amazon.com/IO-Crest-SI-PEX40059-6Gbps-ATA133/dp/B00BI4Z4H6/ref=sr_1_33?ie=UTF8&qid=1490132710&sr=8-33&keywords=ide+pcie

 

https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-Express-Controller-Adapter-PEX2IDE/dp/B000YAX13Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490214555&sr=8-1&keywords=ide+pcie+card

 

The problem is that you have to have a motherboard with IDE mode capability.  The newer motherboards have done away with it and only have AHCI or RAID as an option.  For example, none of the motherboards with 1151 sockets are capable but the older motherboards with 1150 sockets still have this mode.  This is why I had to switch motherboards with my build.

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45 minutes ago, romaz said:

 

I used to own the PS Audio DirectStream but I sold mine before Bridge II came out and so I can't say for sure but I'm guessing your Bridge II isn't considered a Roon Ready endpoint like the mR or sMS-200 are.  This would be my guess as to the reason Roon installed on your Mac wouldn't see Bridge II as an addressable device.

Actually the Bridge II is a Roon endpoint and normally shows up in preferences. That's why it's confusing that it is hooked up to the network, obtains an IP address, but is not seen by Roon. Any suggestions weclome!

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4 hours ago, Superdad said:

 

My various testing experiments over the years pointed to the SATA  interface itself as being less than ideal for various reasons. 

 

Too bad that low power IDE/ATA drives got supplanted by SATA before capacities made it up to 1TB. I think the largest were 500GB--and those were multi-platter 3.5" units. 

 

And do IDE cards even exist for modern PCI slots? o.O

Alex,

 

Do you still regard playing music files from RAM disk sound best?

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14 minutes ago, greenleo said:

Alex,

 

Do you still regard playing music files from RAM disk sound best?

 

It is a pain in the neck, and sometimes it can almost be too revealing, but yes, for me it is the gold standard.  Often (well nothing is often for me these busy days) I'll use it as a comparative reference to judge other file playback locations/interfaces/etc.

There is just something about the unity of the wavefront launch (sorry, I'm bad at describing what I hear, and that term is the best I've come up with) when the track is played back from a RAM disk.

I recall the benefit was greater with Audirvana than with HQ Player.

 

--Alex C.

 

P.S.  I sure wish the phone company would hurry up and fix the big service box that was flooded in last night's storm.  We have been without landline phone service and internet for 24 hours.  I am really tired of typing on my cell phone (though at least now I paired a keyboard with it).

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On 3/21/2017 at 5:40 PM, amgradmd said:

 

Just bumping this since nobody has responded. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated! 

Hi there, see my post above. I suspect that this might have to do with the interface metric issue that I have described. Try setting the lowest interface metric to the DS DAC network connection. I'm not sure if this applies to the MacOS environment, but there probably is a similar setting under the hood somewhere...

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10 minutes ago, seatrope said:

Hi all,

 

Thanks to Romaz for writing about this tip of directly connecting to the microrendu. This has in fact solved a long standing problem of mine which I will detail later, but I wanted to share a solution I uncovered in my system for getting direct connection working on a Windows setup without resorting to the wifi adapter trick.

 

My HQPlayer computer has two NICs, a 10GB chelsio to the main network and a dinky built-in Realtek 1000 NIC which is directly connected via ~100ft of Cat5e to the microrendu (HQplayer processor is in the basement). Now I tried bridging the connections, and like many others found that although the microrendu interface showed up via web browser, HQplayer refused to see it as a valid NAA. I also tried using a DHCP server on the HQplayer computer without bridging, which resulted in the same thing.

 

I suspected that the multicast packets from HQPlayer were in fact somehow being routed to the main network instead of going over the secondary interface to the microrendu. So I messed around with the windows routing table, and discovered that the problem can be solved simply by setting the "Interface Metric" option.

 

To do this, go to Network Properties -> IPv4 -> Advanced and UNCHECK automatic metric on both your network interface going to the main network and the interface directly connected to the microrendu.

Then, select the interface connected to the microrendu and type in "5" or some other LOW number for the Interface Metric.

Finally, select the interface connected to the main network and type in "10" or some other number that is HIGHER than the number you typed for the microrendu's interface.

 

Basically, Interface Metric is a number that tells Windows which path costs more. I.e. the lower the number, the higher the preference for packets to go out via that interface. So by giving the microrendu interface the lowest metric, the HQPlayer multicast discovery packets for NAA will go out mainly through the microrendu interface. Internet access, roon connectivity and Remote Desktop accessibility are all preserved still.

 

This is probably why the addition of a wifi adapter allows the bridged configuration to work - it adds another interface with a higher interface metric so pushes the NAA multicast packets to to microrendu interface.

 

Hope this helps to clarify the issue, and to help eliminate the wifi dongle trick for those who want to pare down their system.

 

Note that I have only tested this with the DHCP server technique and have not verified that it will work with the "bridged" connection technique. My guess is that you'd have to set the interface metrics before bridging.

 

The last discovery I made is that making the direct connection got rid of all my HQplayer upsampling stuttering!

 

Thanks so much. Hope this helps. 

Seatrope, thanks for this answer which is so obvious in hindsight, well done!

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Seatrope, nice post!  Well-written, easy to follow and, if it makes me personally succeed in this, a geniune classic! :) I've never heard of this approach, but makes sense logically.  Maybe folks like AudioPhil (AudiophileOptimzer) could add this to his setup wizard (he already accounts for HQPlayer in a custom shell).  Thanks!  

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25 minutes ago, seatrope said:

Hi all,

 

Thanks to Romaz for writing about this tip of directly connecting to the microrendu. This has in fact solved a long standing problem of mine which I will detail later, but I wanted to share a solution I uncovered in my system for getting direct connection working on a Windows setup without resorting to the wifi adapter trick.

 

My HQPlayer computer has two NICs, a 10GB chelsio to the main network and a dinky built-in Realtek 1000 NIC which is directly connected via ~100ft of Cat5e to the microrendu (HQplayer processor is in the basement). Now I tried bridging the connections, and like many others found that although the microrendu interface showed up via web browser, HQplayer refused to see it as a valid NAA. I also tried using a DHCP server on the HQplayer computer without bridging, which resulted in the same thing.

 

I suspected that the multicast packets from HQPlayer were in fact somehow being routed to the main network instead of going over the secondary interface to the microrendu. So I messed around with the windows routing table, and discovered that the problem can be solved simply by setting the "Interface Metric" option.

 

To do this, go to Network Properties -> IPv4 -> Advanced and UNCHECK automatic metric on both your network interface going to the main network and the interface directly connected to the microrendu.

Then, select the interface connected to the microrendu and type in "5" or some other LOW number for the Interface Metric.

Finally, select the interface connected to the main network and type in "10" or some other number that is HIGHER than the number you typed for the microrendu's interface.

 

Basically, Interface Metric is a number that tells Windows which path costs more. I.e. the lower the number, the higher the preference for packets to go out via that interface. So by giving the microrendu interface the lowest metric, the HQPlayer multicast discovery packets for NAA will go out mainly through the microrendu interface. Internet access, roon connectivity and Remote Desktop accessibility are all preserved still.

 

This is probably why the addition of a wifi adapter allows the bridged configuration to work - it adds another interface with a higher interface metric so pushes the NAA multicast packets to to microrendu interface.

 

Hope this helps to clarify the issue, and to help eliminate the wifi dongle trick for those who want to pare down their system.

 

Note that I have only tested this with the DHCP server technique and have not verified that it will work with the "bridged" connection technique. My guess is that you'd have to set the interface metrics before bridging.

 

The last discovery I made is that making the direct connection got rid of all my HQplayer upsampling stuttering!

 

Thanks so much. Hope this helps. 

Thank you for your post.  Certainly one more way?

 

For the network bridge introduced Cutter(if my memory serves me right), no setting of the WiFi adapter is needed and no fiddling with the metric is needed in W10.  No knowledge of ToL in TCPIP is needed.  You may try☺

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16 minutes ago, ted_b said:

Seatrope, nice post!  Well-written, easy to follow and, if it makes me personally succeed in this, a geniune classic! :) I've never heard of this approach, but makes sense logically.  Maybe folks like AudioPhil (AudiophileOptimzer) could add this to his setup wizard (he already accounts for HQPlayer in a custom shell).  Thanks!  

Thanks guys! Hopefully it works in systems other than mine. I always worry about posting something that only works in my system though from my understanding of network mechanics it does make sense.

 

Yeang

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Well, today I tried getting the metric change trick to work on two bridged connections (instead of using DHCP server technique to provide an IP to the microrendu). No go. I could not find a way to change the preferred metric of the two bridged connections and the prior setting does not appear to stick.

 

If someone can find a way to change the metrics of the two interfaces in a bridged connection let me know. It may not be possible since they may be considered one connection now, but that doesn't explain why it still does not work.

 

Switching back to DHCP server with the metric trick gets it working again - the interface metric is sticky so you don't have to reset it every time.

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16 hours ago, ted_b said:

Seatrope, nice post!  Well-written, easy to follow and, if it makes me personally succeed in this, a geniune classic! :) I've never heard of this approach, but makes sense logically.  Maybe folks like AudioPhil (AudiophileOptimzer) could add this to his setup wizard (he already accounts for HQPlayer in a custom shell).  Thanks!  

+1 Great Post Seatrope!

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Today I took delivery and spent several hours listening to a new SATA Pcie card recommended by Romaz. I disabled the motherboard SATA ports in the bios.

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AZ9T41M/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

It definitely sounds different, but I can't tell if it sounds better or not.  It needs to break-in and seemed to improve in the first two hours of use. I am definitely hearing new things in familiar tracks, depth is great.  Image weight seems a little lighter but this it may be due to higher precision.  Female sibilance has increased.  However I was able to listen to an entire Norah Jones track, the harsh breathiness of her voice was gone. Mixed bag so far, but I am leaning towards keeping it.  More later.

Edited by lmitche

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11 minutes ago, lmitche said:

Today I took delivery and spent several hours listening to a new SATA Pcie card recommended by Romaz. I disabled the motherboard SATA ports in the bios.

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AZ9T41M/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

It definitely sounds different, but I can't tell if it sounds better or not.  It needs to break-in and seemed to improve in the first two hours of use. I am definitely hearing new things in familiar tracks, depth is great.  Image weight seems a little lighter but this it may be due to higher precision.  Female sibilance has increased.  However I was able to listen to an entire Norah Jones track, the harsh breathiness of her voice was gone. Mixed bag so far, but I am leaning towards keeping it.  More later.

Larry,

Is this comparison vs SATA or vs M.2 ngff adapted SATA.

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Ted, yes indeed. Roy put me up to it!  

 

It's not the slamdunk the m.2 card is.

Edited by lmitche

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3 hours ago, lmitche said:

Today I took delivery and spent several hours listening to a new SATA Pcie card recommended by Romaz. I disabled the motherboard SATA ports in the bios.

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AZ9T41M/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

It definitely sounds different, but I can't tell if it sounds better or not.  It needs to break-in and seemed to improve in the first two hours of use. I am definitely hearing new things in familiar tracks, depth is great.  Image weight seems a little lighter but this it may be due to higher precision.  Female sibilance has increased.  However I was able to listen to an entire Norah Jones track, the harsh breathiness of her voice was gone. Mixed bag so far, but I am leaning towards keeping it.  More later.

 

 

Thanks for posting your findings, Larry.  I'm presuming you've placed this card on a PCIE slot that bypasses the Platform Controller Hub?   I have this same PCIE card but I'm in no position to test it right now and so your findings are very valuable.  I have to decide if it's worth it to send this card to SOtM to have its clock replaced.  

 

The card is based on a Marvell 88SE9235 chipset, probably not the best SATA chipset in the world but the name brand chipsets from the likes of Intel are basically only found in high power RAID cards which I think would defeat the purpose of what I'm trying to achieve, meaning low power/low noise.  As I've done some reading, the PCIE bus operates on either 3.3V or 12V depending on the card that is used.  I'm pretty sure this one operates on 3.3V which is obviously going to be noisier than 12V but the manufacturer states that the chipset only consumes 1 watt and so that should be a draw of only about 0.3A since this card doesn't provide SATA power.

 

Anyway, SOtM has indicated they can replace the switching regulator on this card with one of their ultra low noise linear regulators and so that should help filter against noise coming in from the PCIE bus.  Furthermore, they have indicated they can add a capacitor and so I'm hoping that might improve the lighter weight of the sound you're hearing.  

 

Lastly, I specifically chose this card since it has 4 SATA ports (many have only 2 SATA ports) with the intention of grounding this card through one of its SATA ports while still leaving me with 3 SATA ports (one for the OS and two for data drives).  As I've analyzed the pin layout of a SATA data connector, it has 3 ground wires (pins 1, 4 and 7) and so what I plan to do is to sacrifice a cheap SATA data cable by removing the positive and negative leads and using only the ground wires, I will use this cable as a grounding cable.  That means the SATA end will connect to one of the SATA ports and the bare wire end will connect to a Synergistic Research Grounding  Box.  How good this will sound is anyone's guess.

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Roy,

 

The SATA card is plugged into the PCIe 3.0 x16_1 slot of my Asus z170m plus motherboard. From the rear of the motherboard that's the slot closet to the CPU. While I can't find any documentation suggesting that it is or isn't PCH connected, I doubt it is.  This also makes me wonder if I should move the pcie x1 Adnaco card to the PCIe 3.0 x16_2 slot.  Feel free to take a look at the documentation on this board and let me know what you think.  Any input is appreciated.  Thanks.

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