Jump to content
austinpop

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

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

8 hours ago, lmitche said:

The new optane nvme sticks are going to be an interesting.  I'd definitely get an optane compatible motherboard for a new build.  The optane memory will be used for cache against a local drive.

I'm looking to know your opinion when you get it in your hand 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really thanks to Roy @romaz for all your advices and indeed the direct connection raised hole things to a new level.

 

But I'm asking if someone is using jRiver MC21 as my DSD music files didn't went a bit perfect to my DAC, in fact it down sampled to 176 kHz, I don't know why despite I leaved the bits as it is in my jRiver 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys, I need some advice as I got confused o.O  

I have an Audiophile PC and I was originally planning to buy the SMS-200 powered by my existing LPS-1 but since this TX-USB Ultra not sure what's the best next step to take. Let me describe my frustration in bullet points:

  1. is it better to save more money and buy the tX-USBUltra first and then SMS-200?
  2. is it any better to have just the Tx-USB Ultra with my PPA v4 USB card?
  3. is there any upcoming sms-200 Ultra that I should consider? 
  4. or should I just buy the SMS-200 now, powering with my LPS-1 and enjoy it?
  5. in terms of the direct and bridged connection is there any benefit using my PPA v4 USB card with a LAN adapter or is it better to buy a PCI express LAN card and get rid of my beloved PPA card as there is no more sense to keep it along with the SMS-200?

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Tom

 

 

 

Edited by Tom75
formatting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, sadekkhalifa said:

Really thanks to Roy @romaz for all your advices and indeed the direct connection raised hole things to a new level.

 

But I'm asking if someone is using jRiver MC21 as my DSD music files didn't went a bit perfect to my DAC, in fact it down sampled to 176 kHz, I don't know why despite I leaved the bits as it is in my jRiver 

 

Check out my JRIver videos in the link below.  Net/net, make sure bitstream is set to DSD.  But more importantly, make sure your DAC is DSD-capable.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Johnseye said:

 

I'm hesitant to even go down to the 35w 7700T because I'd like this server to be able to upsample.  That puts things at 65w and I'm tempted to give the Ryzen a try as it's 8 cores.  This is where I'm at in my search for optimal components.  My desire to upsample causes me to compromise.

I was checking out the Ryzen as well and it seems to fit my preference for a fanless system.  However, as I understand it that chip does not include any sorts of graphics so I think you will need to add a graphics card.  No big deal as these are cheap unless you want to use one for CUDA offload with HQP.  However, even with a low end card, I am concerned that I am introducing more noise and issues?  This is why I am leaning back towards an intel cpu.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, tboooe said:

I was checking out the Ryzen as well and it seems to fit my preference for a fanless system.  However, as I understand it that chip does not include any sorts of graphics so I think you will need to add a graphics card.  No big deal as these are cheap unless you want to use one for CUDA offload with HQP.  However, even with a low end card, I am concerned that I am introducing more noise and issues?  This is why I am leaning back towards an intel cpu.

 

Some mobo's will have onboard graphics, but what's the impact I don't know.  It does separate it from the processor which would be a positive when considering processor performance.  Unless I want to wait a year or more for the kinks to be worked out I suspect mobo manufacturers are going to need some time with the new architecture.  I've been reading about bugs and I abandoned AMD years ago because of issues on the bleeding edge.  Another issue is the lack of micro sized boards currently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is my method to make a direct connection:

 

1- I made a bridge between my Wifi and useless ethernet network

 

2- Holding a little bit to ensure that the internet came back.

 

3- Connecting my sMS-200 or microRendu to the bridge.

 

4- Assign a static IP to my network bridge with different than a default IP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, romaz said:

 

My personal opinion is that it would be a shame to not use the PPA V4 USB card.  That is an excellent card that uses Paul Pang's best OCXO. Another CA member who also used to own the V4 found that SOtM's new sCLK-EX performs even better and the reason I bring this up will become clearer as you read on.

 

My theory on clocking, based on personal observations, is that you put your very best clock at the very end of your server chain and just before the DAC.  My observations are also that several reclockings can be a good thing with additive benefits but there are guidelines you should be aware of.  A bad clock that follows a good clock will negate the benefits of that good clock (at least partially) and so as you go down the chain, you want each subsequent clock to have at least equal performance, if not better, than the previous clock.  Also, because these clocks are directly in the signal path, if you don't power them cleanly, these clocks become a source of added noise to the signal itself and so they have as much ability to cause harm as benefit.  

 

With these concepts in mind, don't plan to go off the deep end with clocking unless you can power each clocking device to an equivalent high standard.  Also, it would probably be detrimental to get a tX-USB Ultra and follow it with a standard sMS-200 since the clock in any Ultra will be better than SOtM's standard products.

 

In your particular situation, if it were me, I would hang on to your excellent PPA V4 and forget about bridging 2 LAN ports because almost certainly, your V4 will have a better clock than any standard LAN card.  If your DAC excels in USB, I would then get the tX-USB Ultra and connect this directly to your DAC.  If your DAC's SPDIF, optical or AES/EBU inputs are better than its USB input, consider going from your PPA V4 to SOtM's dX-USB HD Ultra, which is their USB-to-SPDIF converter that has each of these outputs and also uses their new clock.  

 

Looking at your profile, it appears you have a Chord 2Qute and I believe Rob Watts has stated that this DAC's best input is its optical input.  The 2Qute's USB input is also good but it isn't galvanically isolated whereas all optical inputs are.  While the optical input on most DACs is rarely its best input due to high line jitter, since pulse array DACs are inherently immune to line jitter up to 2 microseconds, all of the optical inputs on Rob's DACs are spectacularly good and so the dX-USB HD Ultra may be your best bet.  The benefits of using an Ethernet device like the sMS-200 is because Ethernet provides a degree of galvanic isolation but you will already have that if you go optical to your DAC.

 

Just to correct you on this point, the 2Qute is galvanically isolated and in fact I've read where it's of the same design as the DAVE.

I agree, the tX-USB Ultra may be the way to go.  But it won't be cheap with a proper power supply, more than the value of your 2Qute alone.  I would first use that PPA V4 USB card and directly feed your 2Qute via USB adapter.  I would upgrade your 2Qute power supply with 2-LPS-1's in a series.  This sounds great on my system.

Note:  I also added a Topaz isolation transformer 1kVA, made a huge difference on overall system sound.

Edited by ElviaCaprice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent advice as always from @romaz

 

The only caveat I would add is that I don't believe the Ultra version of the dX-USB HD has been released yet, nor even announced AFAIK. It makes all kinds of sense, but I would suspect it's later in the roadmap after the sMS-200 Ultra.

 

Of course, SOtM should be open to doing a mod for you like they did for Roy - i.e. take the stock dX-USB HD and embed the sCLK-EX board. On their website, they offer and "sCLK-2244" upgrade, which is the usual confusing jargon SOtM is so fond of. I think that is their "not as good as EX" sCLK, but I'm just guessing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, ElviaCaprice said:

 

Just to correct you on this point, the 2Qute is galvanically isolated and in fact I've read where it's of the same design as the DAVE.

 

You're absolutely right. I stand corrected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, austinpop said:

Excellent advice as always from @romaz

 

The only caveat I would add is that I don't believe the Ultra version of the dX-USB HD has been released yet, nor even announced AFAIK. It makes all kinds of sense, but I would suspect it's later in the roadmap after the sMS-200 Ultra.

 

Of course, SOtM should be open to doing a mod for you like they did for Roy - i.e. take the stock dX-USB HD and embed the sCLK-EX board. On their website, they offer and "sCLK-2244" upgrade, which is the usual confusing jargon SOtM is so fond of. I think that is their "not as good as EX" sCLK, but I'm just guessing.

 

It's not advertised but because the new sCLK-EX fits in the standard dX-USB HD chassis, you can order one immediately. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, ElviaCaprice said:

 

Just to correct you on this point, the 2Qute is galvanically isolated and in fact I've read where it's of the same design as the DAVE.

 

10 minutes ago, romaz said:

 

You're absolutely right. I stand corrected.

 

I have nothing but the greatest respect for Rob Watts and the Chord DACs, but just a point of order, since galvanic isolation is such an overloaded term.

 

Many vendors claim GI, but only in the conventional sense of DC isolation. Yet, as @JohnSwenson has pointed out many times on CA, the real challenge is isolation from leakage loops at higher frequencies.

 

So can y'all clarify - is Chord's claim of GI truly isolation from leakage loops? I sure hope (and expect) so, but just wanted to ask.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 On this point of clock quality - while I've found @romaz's experiments fascinating and educational, one aspect really puzzles me. Perhaps someone with a deep technical knowledge of digital audio clocking can educate me/us?

 

The question is this - unlike S/PDIF and AES/EBU that are synchronous, most DACs these days implement an asynchronous USB interface. I guess the pedants would say isochronous USB using the asynchronous transfer mode. Whatever.

 

So for synchronous interfaces, I can certainly see how the quality of the clocks upstream of the DAC come into play.

 

But what about the async USB case? Here, the clocking is controlled by the DAC, isn't it? So how and why does the quality or accuracy of the clocks in the upstream components come into play?

 

I wouldn't be surprised if @JohnSwenson has a treatise on this somewhere on CA, but apologies, I couldn't find one.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 On this point of clock quality - while I've found @romaz's experiments fascinating and educational, one aspect really puzzles me. Perhaps someone with a deep technical knowledge of digital audio clocking can educate me/us?

 

The question is this - unlike S/PDIF and AES/EBU that are synchronous, most DACs these days implement an asynchronous USB interface. I guess the pedants would say isochronous USB using the asynchronous transfer mode. Whatever.

 

So for synchronous interfaces, I can certainly see how the quality of the clocks upstream of the DAC come into play.

 

But what about the async USB case? Here, the clocking is controlled by the DAC, isn't it? So how and why does the quality or accuracy of the clocks in the upstream components come into play?

 

I wouldn't be surprised if @JohnSwenson has a treatise on this somewhere on CA, but apologies, I couldn't find one.

 

 

Actually you know what - as I read this back I realized the answer is most likely - we don't know why.

 

This is no different than the question - why do USB regenerators improve SQ for asynchronous USB DACs? 

 

So sorry for opening this can of worms. Let's not take the lid off, shall we? 9_9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

 

I have nothing but the greatest respect for Rob Watts and the Chord DACs, but just a point of order, since galvanic isolation is such an overloaded term.

 

Many vendors claim GI, but only in the conventional sense of DC isolation. Yet, as @JohnSwenson has pointed out many times on CA, the real challenge is isolation from leakage loops at higher frequencies.

 

So can y'all clarify - is Chord's claim of GI truly isolation from leakage loops? I sure hope (and expect) so, but just wanted to ask.

 

The impact of leakage current is variable and ultimately, what it results in are ground loops.  John's words of wisdom are always welcome but in previous posts, he has stated that it's impact is generally low level although obviously worth addressing where possible.

 

Galvanic isolation, or resistance to DC, is a term that is thrown around loosely and so this is where you have to use your ears to tell you how effective the implementation is.  In my experience, it is a relative term with varying degrees of effectiveness.  With the galvanic isolation that Rob Watts employs in his "floating USB" design, the isolation isn't 100% which is why he employs further filtering but even that probably doesn't completely eliminate it.  Galvanic isolation, however, can introduce other problems, as you know, especially jitter, and so there's no such thing as a free lunch here.  Ethernet, because it is transformer-coupled, inherently offers galvanic isolation but as we know, there are plenty of LAN isolators you can introduce that result in further improvement.  Even optical isolation, however, which completely blocks RF, is not a panacea fix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Actually you know what - as I read this back I realized the answer is most likely - we don't know why.

 

This is no different than the question - why do USB regenerators improve SQ for asynchronous USB DACs? 

 

So sorry for opening this can of worms. Let's not take the lid off, shall we? 9_9

 

I agree, I think we don't know but I think one thing we can all agree on is the benefits of signal integrity (SI) and how presenting your DAC a digital wave form free of noise artifact and with proper amplitude and low rise times allows even the best DACs to perform even better.  It really isn't just about 1s and 0s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Tom75 said:

Hi guys, I need some advice as I got confused o.O  

I have an Audiophile PC and I was originally planning to buy the SMS-200 powered by my existing LPS-1 but since this TX-USB Ultra not sure what's the best next step to take. Let me describe my frustration in bullet points:

  1. is it better to save more money and buy the tX-USBUltra first and then SMS-200?
  2. is it any better to have just the Tx-USB Ultra with my PPA v4 USB card?
  3. is there any upcoming sms-200 Ultra that I should consider? 
  4. or should I just buy the SMS-200 now, powering with my LPS-1 and enjoy it?
  5. in terms of the direct and bridged connection is there any benefit using my PPA v4 USB card with a LAN adapter or is it better to buy a PCI express LAN card and get rid of my beloved PPA card as there is no more sense to keep it along with the SMS-200?

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Tom

 

 

 

Just a comment re: option 5 -bridged connection.

I am using the PPA v2 USB card with the Anker Ethernet adapter into the mRendu with great success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JohnSwenson said:

Bingo!

 

Thanks, John. Part 2 specifically gave me a lot to think about. I found Gordon Rankin's comments rather interesting too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JohnSwenson said:

 

Yes this explains what we're all chasing in our playback chains. Thank you @JohnSwenson

 

One interesting piece of information makes me question whether Intel's new Octane will help with reducing memory access noise. 

 

"A major part in this memory access noise is what is called cache performance. Every processor includes a “cache memory”, this is memory in the processor which operates in sort of a shadow mode. Once the processor accesses a particular memory location, it stores that data in the cache, so the next time it tries to get that location, it doesn’t have to access main memory. There is only a fairly small amount of cache memory available, so an access does not always get the value from cache, this is called a cache miss. Cache is used for both instructions and data.

A program can influence the cache performance in many ways. One of the easiest to understand is just plain size of code. If the main loop of a program is small enough to fit entirely in cache, the program doesn’t have to do any main memory accesses for its instructions."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, JohnSwenson said:
 
 
 

 

Much appreciated, John.

 

Rajiv also inquired about leakage current which I know you've extensively covered already here on CA.  Here are notable excerpts from some of your posts:

 

On 8/18/2016 at 0:17 PM, JohnSwenson said:

As I have posted many times now, there are two very different mechanisms by which an AC power supply can interact through the AC mains:

1) traditional "noise injected back into the AC line", this is easy to measure, easy to grasp what is happening, and many devices exist to try and filter out this sort of noise.

 

2) Leakage current, this is created by capacitances between the AC line and the DC output of the supply, it ALWAYS exists but varies from supply to supply. This is hard to measure, hard to grasp what it is and how it propagates through a system. After everything else is taken care of the leakage current is still there, I consider it to be the last great untouched detriment to great sound.

 
 
 
 

 

On 8/19/2016 at 1:20 PM, JohnSwenson said:

Just a quick word about leakage current loops, anywhere you have a device which is AC mains powered connected to another device that is mains powered with some form of electrical connection, such as audio interconnects, copper digital connection etc, you WILL get a ground loop. It may or may not be grossly audible, but it will be there. For some loops the only indication it was there is that when you break it the sound is better.

1

 

On 8/18/2016 at 0:17 PM, JohnSwenson said:

Leakage current has always been there, but has not been a big issue until recently for two reasons:

A) it is fairly low level in most systems so its effects have been masked by all the other problems preventing our systems from being their best, as these other sources of problems have been identified and addressed, the sonic results of the leakage current are now much more obvious.

B) leakage current from SMPS is usually much higher than from LPS, so the inclusion of computers (which are usually run from SMPS) into systems has greatly exacerbated the sonic detriment due to leakage current.

 
 
 
 
Edited by romaz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Johnseye said:

 

Yes this explains what we're all chasing in our playback chains. Thank you @JohnSwenson

 

One interesting piece of information makes me question whether Intel's new Octane will help with reducing memory access noise. 

 

"A major part in this memory access noise is what is called cache performance. Every processor includes a “cache memory”, this is memory in the processor which operates in sort of a shadow mode. Once the processor accesses a particular memory location, it stores that data in the cache, so the next time it tries to get that location, it doesn’t have to access main memory. There is only a fairly small amount of cache memory available, so an access does not always get the value from cache, this is called a cache miss. Cache is used for both instructions and data.

A program can influence the cache performance in many ways. One of the easiest to understand is just plain size of code. If the main loop of a program is small enough to fit entirely in cache, the program doesn’t have to do any main memory accesses for its instructions."

 

*Optane

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, romaz said:

 

Much appreciated, John.

 

Rajiv also inquired about leakage current which I know you've extensively covered already here on CA.  Here are notable excerpts from some of your posts:

 

 

 

 

Thanks for pulling these together in one place, Roy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2017-4-10 at 1:13 PM, Tom75 said:

Hi guys, I need some advice as I got confused o.O  

I have an Audiophile PC and I was originally planning to buy the SMS-200 powered by my existing LPS-1 but since this TX-USB Ultra not sure what's the best next step to take. Let me describe my frustration in bullet points:

  1. is it better to save more money and buy the tX-USBUltra first and then SMS-200?
  2. is it any better to have just the Tx-USB Ultra with my PPA v4 USB card?
  3. is there any upcoming sms-200 Ultra that I should consider? 
  4. or should I just buy the SMS-200 now, powering with my LPS-1 and enjoy it?
  5. in terms of the direct and bridged connection is there any benefit using my PPA v4 USB card with a LAN adapter or is it better to buy a PCI express LAN card and get rid of my beloved PPA card as there is no more sense to keep it along with the SMS-200?

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Tom

 

 

 

1

 

Thanks everyone, specially @romaz 

I know the Chord 2Qute's galvanic isolation is not perfect so I'm sure there is some room for this kind of optimisation but I think the best what I can do is getting a tX-USBUltra or a Mutec first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×