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

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35 minutes ago, auricgoldfinger said:

 

Adrian told me he has shipped a few in the past week or two.  There may also be special introductory price for early adopters, but you'd have to confirm with him directly.  Here is the price list:  http://thelinearsolution.com/assets/files/2018%20TLS%20Price%20List-12-1.pdf

 

 

Do you know which NUC board he's used?

 

And apart from the mention of clocks, any idea if switching regulators have been replaced with ultra low noise linear regulators? For example.

 

Or apart from the mentioned clocks, it's just the stock NUC board?

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39 minutes ago, auricgoldfinger said:

 

Yes, in my "serendipity" post from yesterday, I mentioned Adrian's role in the discovery of sound quality improvements due to NUCs and AL in RAM.

 

The TLS DS-1 appears to be finally shipping. If you look at the latest pictures, Adrian has found himself a really classy looking case. As I've mentioned before, I am expecting to have one in for evaluation soon.

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22 minutes ago, auricgoldfinger said:

 

Adrian told me he has shipped a few in the past week or two.  There may also be special introductory price for early adopters, but you'd have to confirm with him directly.  Here is the price list:  http://thelinearsolution.com/assets/files/2018%20TLS%20Price%20List-12-1.pdf

 

Even though I can't afford DS-1 at the moment, its pricing sounds very reasonable.  I eagerly look forward to Rajiv's review and the comparison with his new NUC and Plato X7 chassis.

 

At the moment, I'm enjoying my humble 7CJYH and patiently waiting for Newton JC's arrival.

 

Was there a video in this thread showing how to assemble a computer using Asaka chassis?  Anybody help?

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1 hour ago, greenleo said:

Even though I can't afford DS-1 at the moment, its pricing sounds very reasonable.

$1599! ~ wake up! compare that to the humble NUC. These are the 'salad days', the golden period of discovery! Less than $200.

GET THE NUC/AL while it lasts! ALL the big guys WILL jump on board and do the same! The sky's the limit, and they don't care! You can put the NUC in a fanless case with AL and be damn close to the linear solution for much less cash! You can clone it for a lot less money! I knew this would happen, and the rest don;t want TLS to have the monopoly! They all want a piece of the pie with their own variations of this discovery! And do the same as they did in the past - BUT YOU ALL NOW HAVE THE INTERNET AND THIS THREAD IN WHICH YOU CAN USE YOUR BRAINS AND FIGHT BACK!!! - don't succumb to the sales pitch anymore - you are collectively more intelligent and have no need to have the wool pulled over your eyes, you can dictate the market - you do have the power!! You can collectively say "No!". Actually we think the DIY NUC's are much better value for money and therefore we will NOT buy your over priced alternative. VOTE WITH YOUR WALLETS - DON'T LET THEM DECEIVE YOU WITH THEIR FANCY MARKETING TACTICS!! Don't buy the TLS NUC alternative! Show them with your internet collective connection that you have SOLIDARITY. Support the NUC's, then see how those big companies respond when you all say "WE'RE NOT BUYING IT ANYMORE - WE KNOW BETTER - WE HAVE A UNITED COMMUNITY - NOT DIVIDED/UNCONNECTED INDIVIDUALS ANYMORE, but instead a wealth of knowledge in a communal database which ultimately gives us the knowledge and power to dictate the market place - you don't need to be pushed around anymore! You don't need to pay $10,000+ anymore, the NUC/AL proves this without a shadow of a doubt. For Gods sake, tell the big name companies, were to go and drastically re-examine there pricing policies in the interconnected (web based) world! That's were your real power lies. If you collectively refuse to purchase, they have no choice but to revise price scales or go out of business! And who cares if they choose to go out of business when you have the cheap NUC/AL alternative? TIME FOR BIG CHANGE IN THE SO CALLED HI-FI WORLD. Larry and Roy started this and I think they should push this through all the way to the bitter end, and finish what they started! OK, so they discovered it! - but now what? You don't just simply let a load of profiteers cream off your hard work, which they are obviously beginning to do even now- "NO!". You offer better pricing, you look for cheaper alternatives, you don't just give in and hand it to them on a plate. Technically - you are there boys! - now it's time for serious business and go head to head with the established big names! yes you have the right to challenge the establishment and set a new precedent for future Hi-Fi pricing. Don't put up with it - cheaper is no longer inferior. The NUC/AL proves it. Take active measures and think on your feet.

Also, austinpop for very large contributions, well done man, I love you for your forward thinking!

It would be truly obscene to just hand over these discoveries to the profiteers after all this hard work that everyone has done here - DON'T let it happen, NOT HERE, NOT THIS TIME, NOT AGAIN! I care passionately about keeping prices down and the humble NUC proves it.

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14 minutes ago, greenleo said:

Hi Doc,

 

Thank you for the reply.  I read through each of your words, literally.  Have you read my post carefully?  Or the post of the others carefully?

 

I use the NUC and promote the NUC+AL.  Otherwise, what's the point of providing the foolproof (I hope that it's foolproof) guides to the CAers here?  Why I'm wasting my time to serve others here.  All these are done as a labour of love.

 

On the other hand, there are people, who are willing to pay, who can't learn (no intention of humiliation) for whatever reasons, who just want to enjoy and can afford.  Then the $1599 is very reasonable.  The producer need to test mobo, try the sw, select the RAM, use the OCXO and all these costs. Remember, there there are after sale services as well.  I have no skin in the game and I know that the 1st music server I built was around $1500 (I guess I've posted here).  It's certainly not as good sounding as my NUC (sigh).  Knowledge is costly.  Great implementation is costly.  I guess the Ds-1 would be in great implementation.

 

Finally, look at the prices of the servers posted here.  Most of the them are more than $1600 without OCXO, sw, ... etc.  Even though I'm money sensitive, I feel the price reasonable.  YMMV

 

Regards.

 

 

Hi Greenleo,

 

Yup couldn't have put it better myself. I was very wary about trying the NUC approach and encountered a few bumps along the road.

 

Turnkey solutions at a higher price will suit many people and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Many different ways to sonic happiness.

 

Cheers,

Alan

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5 minutes ago, BigAlMc said:

 

Hi Greenleo,

 

Yup couldn't have put it better myself. I was very wary about trying the NUC approach and encountered a few bumps along the road.

 

Turnkey solutions at a higher price will suit many people and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Many different ways to sonic happiness.

 

Cheers,

Alan

You're welcome Alan. 

 

As a matter of fact, my fight with the network bridge using WiFi adapter hasn't end yet.  I've been defeated thrice at least, still fighting, no kidding.  The tiredness  of tweaking a system, I only know it too well.?

 

Cheers.   

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1 hour ago, austinpop said:

So how does it sound? Wow, this i7 NUC is quite a nice step up in SQ! Roy and Larry were spot on, as usual. Even cold - I'm sure even NUCs need some breaking in - it sounds stunning.

 

Two things.

 

Rajiv - bravo! Another epic post. Great stuff.

 

&

 

Rajiv - dammit! Damn you on behalf of my wallet! ?

 

I ordered the i7DNBE yesterday (but its not clear when it'll be delivered) with the plan of trying to build a server around it. But based on this report and that 80/20 ratio attributed to endpoint vs server I've changed tact and will repurposed the i7DNBE for endpoint duties and instead base the server on an NUC7I7DNKE Which can be here on Friday.

 

Figure since the DNBE is harder to source (I'm half expecting the supplier to tell me its on back order) that I should put it closer to the DAC where it matters most. Whereas the DNKE should make a great basis for a server and the superfluous WiFi card is less of a concern.

 

Cheers and dang you!

Alan

 

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1 hour ago, austinpop said:

My NUC Impressions - Part 2

 

Shortly after I posted my initial NUC impressions yesterday, FedEx and DHL dropped off the last of the parts for my own NUC. Let me back up. The day after I received Roy's loaner NUC, which happened to be Cyber Monday, and having heard it in my system, I decided to go ahead and order my own. Since the NUC7CJYH was sold out everywhere, and since Roy (and then Larry) has mentioned how they found the NUC7i7DNBE to sound even better, I went ahead and ordered the NUC7i7DNBE with the classy looking Akasa Plato X7D case. I'm glad I did, as it seems to be backordered now.

 

First - I must tell you the Plato X7D case is stunning in its look and feel. I have to admit I had some trepidation about how the build would go. I'm not a system builder, and although I was comfortable about the general process, having seen the video @Middy posted a few days ago on this thread, I was paranoid I'd get the thermal paste application wrong. Larry and Roy were helpful in their advice, and in the end, the build was fairly easy, even for a first timer. Even after a whole day of running AL Extreme, CPU temp is stable around 40ºC, so I guess the paste went on properly! Plus, I think this case is outstanding for heat dissipation. I suppose it helps that I have absolutely no additional devices other than what's on the original mobo. I tuned the BIOS as described in the tuning thread.

 

So how does it sound? Wow, this i7 NUC is quite a nice step up in SQ! Roy and Larry were spot on, as usual. Even cold - I'm sure even NUCs need some breaking in - it sounds stunning.

 

Holding everything else constant, and powering both NUCs (CJYH and i7DNBE) with a 12V SR7 DR rail, I was not expecting as big a difference as I heard. These are just initial impressions, but here's what I'm hearing on the i7 compared to the Celeron:

  • A hint more dynamic, but dynamics are not the biggest difference
  • Richer, creamier sound
  • More coherent, better texture and timbre
  • fuller and denser
  • a bit more authority on the low end
  • double bass lines better articulated
  • a larger image.

In short, even more of the good stuff. I am so pleased with this purchase! My Zenith SE is on its way to its proud new owner, and now this handsome Plato X7D-encased NUC is a worthy replacement and improvement, at a fraction of the cost.

 

At this point, I just can't stop listening to the music, and so will take a break from all the tweaking and tuning. Eventually, I will dabble with a different/better server than my generic Dell desktop, and of course, I look forward to the "clash of the switches!" 

 

But until then, this truly is approaching endgame for the digital transport chain. And I don't say that lightly.

That clarifies the choice ... i was hesitating between te PJYH and the I7DNBE .

Can you buy only the board ? Where did you buy it  .

Here in Europe the I7NDBE is quite expensive , i have seen nothing for less than 650 Euros ...

 

I guess it is impossible to power this I7 NUC with the LPS1.2 . Hopefully i also have the best sean jacobs PSU in a 12 V set up . I have never been able to compare it to a paul hynes .

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39 minutes ago, greenleo said:

Hi Doc,

 

Thank you for the reply.  I read through each of your words, literally.  Have you read my post carefully?  Or the post of the others carefully?

 

I use the NUC and promote the NUC+AL.  Otherwise, what's the point of providing the foolproof (I hope that it's foolproof) guides to the CAers here?  Why I'm wasting my time to serve others here.  All these are done as a labour of love.

 

On the other hand, there are people, who are willing to pay, who can't learn (no intention of humiliation) for whatever reasons, who just want to enjoy and can afford.  Then the $1599 is very reasonable.  The producer need to test mobo, try the sw, select the RAM, use the OCXO and all these costs. Remember, there there are after sale services as well.  I have no skin in the game and I know that the 1st music server I built was around $1500 (I guess I've posted here).  It's certainly not as good sounding as my NUC (sigh).  Knowledge is costly.  Great implementation is costly.  I guess the Ds-1 would be in great implementation.

 

Finally, look at the prices of the servers posted here.  Most of the them are more than $1600 without OCXO, sw, ... etc.  Even though I'm money sensitive, I feel the price reasonable.  YMMV

 

Regards.

 

yes I read carefully.

mine is done as a labour of human rights and collective peer pressure and I don;t feel TLS price is reasonable compared to $120 NUC.

"enjoy and can afford", maybe more money than brains? Just need re-educating, have you seen:rich kids go skint - on TV? Maybe "with compassion" they could 'see' a more economical alternative, than simply paying out regardless, e.g. £4000 for a pair of trainers! Yes maybe they can afford it, but is it right and are the one percent super rich really dictating market forces? I beg to differ "IF" the other 99% united in solidarity using the FREE (TBL) WWW.

I also built a one box solution for £1650 and now see the error of my ways inlight of the NUC/AL discovery!

$1600?

respect for your input!

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22 minutes ago, BigAlMc said:

Rajiv - dammit! Damn you on behalf of my wallet! ?

 

:D What can I say! 

 

BTW - I'm holding off on optimizing the server until we know where the sweet spot is. Based on the experiments Roy has reported, it seems like more horsepower really matter, but there may be an optimum point, where adding horsepower comes at the cost of excessive electrical noise.

 

So is the DNKE powerful enough to be the server? I can't say. I'm sure it will sound great, but as with all these findings, much remains to be learned.

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2 minutes ago, austinpop said:

- I'm holding off on optimizing the server until we know where the sweet spot is. 

 

Chicken!

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5 minutes ago, austinpop said:

So is the DNKE powerful enough to be the server? I can't say. I'm sure it will sound great, but as with all these findings, much remains to be learned.

 

It's an i7 7th Gen with 8mb cache and 4 cores. I'm sure it's powerful enough for AL and Roon server duties.

 

But as per my previous musings on Optane or not, your point about the sweet spot is well taken.

 

Looking forward to the journey to find that sweet spot tho.

 

Cheers,

Alan

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10 hours ago, the_doc735 said:

$1599! ~ wake up! compare that to the humble NUC. These are the 'salad days', the golden period of discovery! Less than $200.

GET THE NUC/AL while it lasts! ALL the big guys WILL jump on board and do the same! The sky's the limit, and they don't care! You can put the NUC in a fanless case with AL and be damn close to the linear solution for much less cash! You can clone it for a lot less money! I knew this would happen, and the rest don;t want TLS to have the monopoly! They all want a piece of the pie with their own variations of this discovery! And do the same as they did in the past - BUT YOU ALL NOW HAVE THE INTERNET AND THIS THREAD IN WHICH YOU CAN USE YOUR BRAINS AND FIGHT BACK!!! - don't succumb to the sales pitch anymore - you are collectively more intelligent and have no need to have the wool pulled over your eyes, you can dictate the market - you do have the power!! You can collectively say "No!". Actually we think the DIY NUC's are much better value for money and therefore we will NOT buy your over priced alternative. VOTE WITH YOUR WALLETS - DON'T LET THEM DECEIVE YOU WITH THEIR FANCY MARKETING TACTICS!! Don't buy the TLS NUC alternative! Show them with your internet collective connection that you have SOLIDARITY. Support the NUC's, then see how those big companies respond when you all say "WE'RE NOT BUYING IT ANYMORE - WE KNOW BETTER - WE HAVE A UNITED COMMUNITY - NOT DIVIDED/UNCONNECTED INDIVIDUALS ANYMORE, but instead a wealth of knowledge in a communal database which ultimately gives us the knowledge and power to dictate the market place - you don't need to be pushed around anymore! You don't need to pay $10,000+ anymore, the NUC/AL proves this without a shadow of a doubt. For Gods sake, tell the big name companies, were to go and drastically re-examine there pricing policies in the interconnected (web based) world! That's were your real power lies. If you collectively refuse to purchase, they have no choice but to revise price scales or go out of business! And who cares if they choose to go out of business when you have the cheap NUC/AL alternative? TIME FOR BIG CHANGE IN THE SO CALLED HI-FI WORLD. Larry and Roy started this and I think they should push this through all the way to the bitter end, and finish what they started! OK, so they discovered it! - but now what? You don't just simply let a load of profiteers cream off your hard work, which they are obviously beginning to do even now- "NO!". You offer better pricing, you look for cheaper alternatives, you don't just give in and hand it to them on a plate. Technically - you are there boys! - now it's time for serious business and go head to head with the established big names! yes you have the right to challenge the establishment and set a new precedent for future Hi-Fi pricing. Don't put up with it - cheaper is no longer inferior. The NUC/AL proves it. Take active measures and think on your feet.

Also, austinpop for very large contributions, well done man, I love you for your forward thinking!

It would be truly obscene to just hand over these discoveries to the profiteers after all this hard work that everyone has done here - DON'T let it happen, NOT HERE, NOT THIS TIME, NOT AGAIN! I care passionately about keeping prices down and the humble NUC proves it.

 

I commend your zeal, but honestly, you are tilting at the wrong windmill here.

 

The Linear Solution are a small company and hardly the Big Bad Corporation, and their products are quite fairly priced for what they deliver. As others have already pointed out, many people are not up for DIY solutions, and are willing to pay for a polished product with full support. And if you look at the DS-1, Adrian tells me they have managed to get OCXO clocking on all the clocks - system, USB, and Ethernet.

 

Of course, claims are one thing, and the proof of the pudding will be in the hearing. I spent nearly $800 for my i7 NUC, and I had to assemble it myself, futz with AL, the BIOS and all that. I am fine doing it. But if a $1599 product comes along that delivers it turnkey AND potentially delivers more SQ - TBD, I hasten to add - then I am perfectly cool with that.

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3 minutes ago, jean-michel6 said:

Here in Europe the I7DNHE is much more easy to find than the I7NDBE  ... they seem to me to be almost the same according to the intel data's

 

Any opinion ?

 

I think the main difference is the DNBE doesn't have built in WiFi which is a potential source of noise.

 

On paper its better suited but the difference might be small.

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2 minutes ago, austinpop said:

Obviously any of these machines can run basic Roon server functionality without even breaking a sweat.

 

Just in case others were wondering, the NUC7i7DN** can do quite a bit more than running Roon Server... including HQPlayer DSD512 up-sampling for quite a number of -2s filters (all but xtr-2s in my testing).

 

 

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Just now, Em2016 said:

 

Just in case others were wondering, the NUC7i7DN** can do quite a bit more than running Roon Server... including HQPlayer DSD512 up-sampling for quite a number of -2s filters (all but xtr-2s in my testing).

 

 

 

No one is stating otherwise. You are missing my point.

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18 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

No one is stating otherwise. You are missing my point.

 

I get your point.

 

In the context of the NUC7i7D*** specifically, "Obviously any of these machines can run basic Roon server functionality without even breaking a sweat" doesn't give the full picture.

 

A few people have messaged me surprised that this NUC can do what I've said/shown, so others may not know.

 

This is to help others that may have missed this. I was surprised too...

 

For information only...

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3 hours ago, austinpop said:

My NUC Impressions - Part 2

 

Shortly after I posted my initial NUC impressions yesterday, FedEx and DHL dropped off the last of the parts for my own NUC. Let me back up. The day after I received Roy's loaner NUC, which happened to be Cyber Monday, and having heard it in my system, I decided to go ahead and order my own. Since the NUC7CJYH was sold out everywhere, and since Roy (and then Larry) has mentioned how they found the NUC7i7DNBE to sound even better, I went ahead and ordered the NUC7i7DNBE with the classy looking Akasa Plato X7D case. I'm glad I did, as it seems to be backordered now.

 

First - I must tell you the Plato X7D case is stunning in its look and feel. I have to admit I had some trepidation about how the build would go. I'm not a system builder, and although I was comfortable about the general process, having seen the video @Middy posted a few days ago on this thread, I was paranoid I'd get the thermal paste application wrong. Larry and Roy were helpful in their advice, and in the end, the build was fairly easy, even for a first timer. Even after a whole day of running AL Extreme, CPU temp is stable around 40ºC, so I guess the paste went on properly! Plus, I think this case is outstanding for heat dissipation. I suppose it helps that I have absolutely no additional devices other than what's on the original mobo. I tuned the BIOS as described in the tuning thread.

 

So how does it sound? Wow, this i7 NUC is quite a nice step up in SQ! Roy and Larry were spot on, as usual. Even cold - I'm sure even NUCs need some breaking in - it sounds stunning.

 

Holding everything else constant, and powering both NUCs (CJYH and i7DNBE) with a 12V SR7 DR rail, I was not expecting as big a difference as I heard. These are just initial impressions, but here's what I'm hearing on the i7 compared to the Celeron:

  • A hint more dynamic, but dynamics are not the biggest difference
  • Richer, creamier sound
  • More coherent, better texture and timbre
  • fuller and denser
  • a bit more authority on the low end
  • double bass lines better articulated
  • a larger image.

In short, even more of the good stuff. I am so pleased with this purchase! My Zenith SE is on its way to its proud new owner, and now this handsome Plato X7D-encased NUC is a worthy replacement and improvement, at a fraction of the cost.

 

At this point, I just can't stop listening to the music, and so will take a break from all the tweaking and tuning. Eventually, I will dabble with a different/better server than my generic Dell desktop, and of course, I look forward to the "clash of the switches!" 

 

But until then, this truly is approaching endgame for the digital transport chain. And I don't say that lightly.

Rajiv, 

Thank you for the great post.

 

Please describe your system in more details.  Which is the audio PC, which is the control PC?  Or both are used as the audio PC with an identical server?  

 

Suppose the best SQ is 10, what is the score for the 7CJYH?  It would be great if the SQ of the NUCs using the stock PSU are described as well.  SR7 is an unobtainaium and the queue takes at least a year.  Hence the SQ of the NUCs being powered by a lesser PSU would be very useful.

 

Thank you.

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4 hours ago, austinpop said:

But until then, this truly is approaching endgame for the digital transport chain. And I don't say that lightly.

Please remind me, are you still using tX-USBultra/REF10 with this endpoint?  If so, how significant is the contribution to SQ compared to using it with the SE/AL endpoint? 

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