Jump to content
austinpop

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

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Thanks Austinpop,

What I would like to know, if you dropped all the Ethernet components and went straight server usb no 5V to tX-usb ultra to DAC.  How does it sound?

Edited by ElviaCaprice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ElviaCaprice said:

Thanks Austinpop,

What I would like to know, if you dropped all the Ethernet components and went straight server usb no 5V to tX-usb ultra to DAC.  How does it sound?

 

I just answered this question a couple days ago here: https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-the-sms-200-and-microrendu/?do=findComment&comment=659401

 

 

Short answer - no, I can't do this comparison in a meaningful way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rajiv--

 

I just want to say thank you for your overall body of posts and, particularly, these posts describing your experiments with the "Ultra stack." Your combination of logic, empirical method, ability to describe sonic impressions, and (not least of all) humor make for some very entertaining and educational posts. I will continue to follow your journey and reap the benefits.

Share this post


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

in favor of "no Intona."

I found the same as well. I concluded that the intona was good when our chain was at a lower level. Now with the Sotm new clock, the intona just takes away the magic. 

Share this post


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

I found the same as well. I concluded that the intona was good when our chain was at a lower level. Now with the Sotm new clock, the intona just takes away the magic. 

mozes, are you using direct server to tX usb ultra to DAC or can test? Nevermind, I see that is what you do.  What we need is a comparison testing.  Someone with both Ethernet and USB card  with the tX USB Ultra.

Edited by ElviaCaprice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, austinpop said:

My Ultra Trifecta Study Part 2: More Experiments

 
Having baselined the full ultra stack, shown below, I now went back to answer some of my own burning questions. I'll address them in no particular order.
 
590f8c5a877d8_ScreenShot2017-05-07at3_21_48PM.thumb.png.7ed27dd3264163daf79c415058e4e738.png
  1. Look Ma, no USB galvanic isolation!

    Jokes aside, one consequence of going from my old stack to my new stack was the loss of the Intona, that potentially was blocking leakage currents on the USB signal path. My new chain has isolation from the AC mains via the LPS-1 PSUs, but was I still leaving something on the table due to the lack of GI from the Intona?

    So I added back the Intona between the sMS-200 and the tX-USBultra. Result: not good. Remember my "snap into focus" analogy? Well, this was the opposite. The sound became more recessed, the image shrunk, and it sounded subjectively almost woolly in comparison.

    Now remember - there are two competing effects at play here. Potentially the Intona blocks leakage currents via its isolation, but at the expense of signal integrity, due to higher jitter and a poorer clock than the sCLK-EX.

    Whatever the reason, the equation comes out in favor of "no Intona."

    I am very curious to find out whether the ISO-Regen upstream of the tX-USBultra produces a net further improvement. I will wait to hear how that turns out for @romaz, @mozes, and others. I was so itching to pre-order it, but knowing these folks would be able to evaluate it first gave me the strength to resist. That - and my overheated credit card!
     
  2. Are the ultra components additive?

    As many of you who've been following this thread know, my entire project with the Ultra chain was inspired by Roy's original experiments in this area. Roy's premise was that by optimally using the clock taps from the sCLK-EX board resident in the tX-USBultra, you would get a chain of 3 components with the best possible clock immediately upstream of the DAC. Moreover, he found the effect of these 3 components in series was cumulative, with each raising SQ further.

    In my setup, I decided to test this finding for myself using a subtractive approach. Having heard, and baselined the SQ of the full trifecta, I now selectively removed components and evaluated the impact on the SQ.

    Cutting to the chase, everything Roy described, holds for me too.

    I first removed the tX from the path. I then removed the switch from the path. With each step, something was lost. The first attribute was image size. Remember my French horn metaphor from my main review? Well, with each step it seemed the French horns ability to set you afloat diminished, and it sounded smaller.

    The second aspect was focus and dimensionality. The ability to disambiguate instruments playing together, and the palpable texture of each instrument was diminished with each step.
I know many of you will want to know how the sMS-200 "ultra" sounds relative to the sMS-200 stock? Since I did not have a stock sMS-200 on hand, and can only rely on memory, I really can't answer that, other than to say - better.
 
But all in all, I am incredibly pleased with my investment in the Ultra stack. Many, many thanks go to @romaz for his trailblazing efforts! While this stack is not cheap, I am astounded how much better my system is sounding without changing either the DAC or anything in the analog chain!

Hi Austinpop,

 

Have you mR as well?  If so what is the SQ of

mR followed by tx Ultra vs 200 Ultra?

 

For your subtractive approach, which affects the SQ more, removing the switch or removing the to Ultra?

 

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, greenleo said:

Hi Austinpop,

 

Have you mR as well?  If so what is the SQ of

mR followed by tx Ultra vs 200 Ultra?

 

Sadly, no. The one I had for my last comparo was a loan that has since gone back to the original owner.

 

I may be able to get my hands on one from a local CAer, but no promises. 

 

17 minutes ago, greenleo said:

For your subtractive approach, which affects the SQ more, removing the switch or removing the to Ultra?

 

Thank you.

 

That's a tough one. A lot more listening is required. I'll get back to you.

 

But I see where you're going - or could. What if you got only the upcoming sMS-200ultra with a modded switch? How much would you be leaving on the table without an additional, expensive tX-USBultra?

Share this post


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

 

But I see where you're going - or could. What if you got only the upcoming sMS-200ultra with a modded switch? How much would you be leaving on the table without an additional, expensive tX-USBultra?

 

This is my question as well. What is the cumulative gain from redundant USB clocks of the same type and when does it diminish? 

Share this post


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

My Ultra Trifecta Study Part 2: More Experiments

 
 
  1. Look Ma, no USB galvanic isolation!

    Jokes aside, one consequence of going from my old stack to my new stack was the loss of the Intona, that potentially was blocking leakage currents on the USB signal path. My new chain has isolation from the AC mains via the LPS-1 PSUs, but was I still leaving something on the table due to the lack of GI from the Intona?

    So I added back the Intona between the sMS-200 and the tX-USBultra. Result: not good. Remember my "snap into focus" analogy? Well, this was the opposite. The sound became more recessed, the image shrunk, and it sounded subjectively almost woolly in comparison.

    Now remember - there are two competing effects at play here. Potentially the Intona blocks leakage currents via its isolation, but at the expense of signal integrity, due to higher jitter and a poorer clock than the sCLK-EX.

    Whatever the reason, the equation comes out in favor of "no Intona."

    I am very curious to find out whether the ISO-Regen upstream of the tX-USBultra produces a net further improvement. I will wait to hear how that turns out for @romaz, @mozes, and others. I was so itching to pre-order it, but knowing these folks would be able to evaluate it first gave me the strength to resist. That - and my overheated credit card!

I guess I'm not totally surprised by this result since SOtM deliberately avoids galvanic isolation. And, FWIW, Mike Moffit at Schiit at some very strong opinions about its "worth" on his thread over at HF. I'd link to it, but since they did that shitty website "upgrade" you can't search a thread. #fail

 

At any rate, I too have an ISO-Regen on the way so we'll see what we shall see.  BTW, what switch did you have SOtM upgrade and what do they put in it? Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, ChrisG said:

I guess I'm not totally surprised by this result since SOtM deliberately avoids galvanic isolation. And, FWIW, Mike Moffit at Schiit at some very strong opinions about its "worth" on his thread over at HF. I'd link to it, but since they did that shitty website "upgrade" you can't search a thread. #fail

 

SOtM has told me that they have as yet not found a GI solution that didn't degrade jitter considerably.

 

Quote

 BTW, what switch did you have SOtM upgrade and what do they put in it? Thanks

 

Zyxel GS108b v3.

 

They changed 2 regulators to linear regulators that could handle 7V input - sorry I don't have details on exactly which. They also replaced a capacitor.

 

And of course, clocked from the sCLK-EX.

Edited by austinpop

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think you can pre-judge galvanic isolations worth by the Intona.  Purely because of it's poor clocking it's not a good candidate.  But for Chord DAC's with galvanic isolation, I can say it's extremely effective.  Remember, Romaz has galvanic isolation in the DAVE at the end of his chain.  We will see what the ISO Regen brings to the table. 

Humm, has me thinking it might be worth replacing that clock in the ISO Regen to the sCLK-EX.  Might make the ISO Regen the most effective component over any of the Ultras.   Would be easy to do, having modified the Regen before.

Edited by ElviaCaprice

Share this post


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

But for Chord DAC's with galvanic isolation, I can say it's extremely effective.  Remember, Romaz has galvanic isolation in the DAVE at the end of his chain.  .

 

Upon what do you base the claim that it is "extremely effective"?  I also have a Chord DAC, the Hugo TT.  Lacking the ability to defeat its galvanic isolation, I can see no way to determine how much it's benefitting me.  What lead you to reach your conclusion?

 

I also have an ISO REGEN on the way.  I imagine that if I hear no further lowering of the noise floor with this in place then your assertion is probably correct.  We shall see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, kennyb123 said:

 

Upon what do you base the claim that it is "extremely effective"?  I also have a Chord DAC, the Hugo TT.  Lacking the ability to defeat its galvanic isolation, I can see no way to determine how much it's benefitting me.  What lead you to reach your conclusion?

 

I also have an ISO REGEN on the way.  I imagine that if I hear no further lowering of the noise floor with this in place then your assertion is probably correct.  We shall see.

Having had the Chord Hugo without galvanic isolation and using the Intona/Regen (extremely beneficial to the Hugo), I find the 2Qute's galvanic isolation far better than the previous combination with the Hugo.  Both used LPS-1's.

Edited by ElviaCaprice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ElviaCaprice said:

I don't think you can pre-judge galvanic isolations worth by the Intona.  Purely because of it's poor clocking it's not a good candidate.  But for Chord DAC's with galvanic isolation, I can say it's extremely effective.  Remember, Romaz has galvanic isolation in the DAVE at the end of his chain.  We will see what the ISO Regen brings to the table. 

Humm, has me thinking it might be worth replacing that clock in the ISO Regen to the sCLK-EX.  Might make the ISO Regen the most effective component over any of the Ultras.   Would be easy to do, having modified the Regen before.

 

I'm not sure you understood my experiment or its intent. Or - I may not have explained it well. So let me try. Here is some key background:

  • In my previous setup, I used the following:
    590ff634704d9_ScreenShot2017-05-07at3_21_22PM.thumb.png.0903a7474b9ff14d92f2d8a4efb64f56.png
    In this setup, I had found consistently that the Intona improved the sound quality. So the implication was that in some way, shape, or form, GI as implemented in the Intona was beneficial in my specific system. The question then was that when I moved to the Ultra chain, without GI in my USB path, was I allowing some leakage current (and loss of SQ) back into my setup, even if the net effect was an improvement in SQ?
     
  • Since Roy's DAC - the DAVE - has galvanic isolation, was he perhaps less dependent on an Intona-like component in the USB chain than me, since my DAC, the Codex, doesn't claim any galvanic isolation, to the best of my knowledge.

So bearing these two factors in mind, perhaps the reason for my experiment (adding the Intona in the chain) is clearer now?

Edited by austinpop

Share this post


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

 

I'm not sure you understood my experiment or its intent. Or - I may not have explained it well. So let me try. Here is some key background:

  • In my previous setup, I used the following:
    590ff634704d9_ScreenShot2017-05-07at3_21_22PM.thumb.png.0903a7474b9ff14d92f2d8a4efb64f56.png
    In this setup, I had found consistently that the Intona improved the sound quality. So the implication was that in some way, shape, or form, GI as implemented in the Intona was beneficial in my specific system. The question then was that when I moved to the Ultra chain, without GI in my USB path, was I allowing some leakage current (and loss of SQ) back into my setup, even if the net effect was an improvement in SQ?
     
  • Since Roy's DAC - the DAVE - has galvanic isolation, was he perhaps less dependent on an Intona-like component in the USB chain than me, since my DAC, the Codex, doesn't claim any galvanic isolation, to the best of my knowledge.

So bearing these two factors in mind, perhaps the reason for my experiment (adding the Intona in the chain) is clearer now?

Not really, I think you misunderstand me.  Yes, I can understand the Intona helping your previous Ethernet chain (another form of galvanic isolation) without the Ultra components, because the poor clocking of the Intona (minimal benefit due to noise from your Ethernet endpoint) was not a detriment to better clocking.  But, when you added the Ultra components, now you adding a poor clocking device, the Intona after a superior clocking device the sms-200Ultra.  It follows that the Intona would harm the SQ.  Unlike the DAVE with superior clocking.

 

I agree, good question about whether your missing something without further galvanic isolation along the USB path, or are you gaining something because the Ultra clocks overcome the need for galvanic isolation?

 

My guess would be that the ISO Regen would not benefit, possible harm your SQ in the Ultra setup.  Strictly due to poorer clocking.

Edited by ElviaCaprice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thus I am at a stand still.  I definitely will avoid the Ethernet chain and remain in the USB direct.  Question is, still, the Adnaco route with new clocks or tXUSB pcie card and TX usb ultra.  I am checking on if the tX usb ultra can be fitted with two extra clocks on the sCLK-ex board and still remain under power with an LPS-1.  If so, then I would run the extra clocks to the USB card and motherboard.  That would give me 3 great clocks in a row.  Whereas the Adnaco would be 4, but yet unproven and a pain in the ass to get to Korea. 

Just to be sure I'll wait for ISO Regen testing/feedback or Roy/Adnaco.

Edited by ElviaCaprice

Share this post


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

Having had the Chord Hugo without galvanic isolation and using the Intona/Regen (extremely beneficial to the Hugo), I find the 2Qute's galvanic isolation far better than the previous combination with the Hugo.  Both used LPS-1's.

Well said.  Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed it was an enlightening afternoon at @austinpop

 

To clarify, my impressions were a little different than reported by austinpop.  Of all of the changes that we made, I think the Dave had the least amount of impact.  I don't think that the Dave had as big of an impact as the switch.  

 

I'd say that the switch and swapping the microrendu for sMS-200 Ultra had about an equal impact, which I must say, was quite large.  The next biggest impact was the tX-USB Ultra, and a distant third was the Dave.

 

We plan to run the same experiments on my system on Thursday, so it'll be interesting to hear the differences on my Magnepan 3.7i's versus austinpop's headphones.  The differences between the Dave and Ayre Codex were similar to what I noted between my Schiit Yggdrasil and the Dave.

Edited by limniscate

Share this post


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

Ultra Trifecta Study Part 3: "I'm sorry I can't do that, DAVE"

 

Here are the results of a very interesting afternoon of critical listening . . .

 

Fascinating stuff, Rajiv. As the owner of a Chord DAVE, I'm surprised at @limniscate's finding that his DAVE had the least amount of impact. I migrated from an Ayre QB-9 DSD to a DAVE and found the delta quite large. I also owned a Schiit Yggy for a brief spell and found it inferior to both the Ayre and DAVE. For what it's worth, I think the consensus among DAVE owners is that it really excels with PCM and DSD is a clear second best. Certainly the designer, Rob Watts, prefers PCM. So you might try setting it to PCM in your next evaluation. 

 

In any event, it's exciting to hear that a lowly modded switch can have the impact you heard. I currently run a switch modded by Paul Pang with a TXCO clock between my server and sMS-200. I wonder if SOtM would be willing to modify it? If not, it's probably worth having them modify another switch based on these results (and pending the results you hear on the Maggie speaker system). 

Share this post


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

Indeed it was an enlightening afternoon at @austinpop

 

To clarify, my impressions were a little different than reported by austinpop.  Of all of the changes that we made, I think the Dave had the least amount of impact.  I don't think that the Dave had as big of an impact as the switch.  

 

I'd say that the switch and swapping the microrendu for sMS-200 Ultra had about an equal impact, which I must say, was quite large.  The next biggest impact was the tX-USB Ultra, and a distant third was the Dave.

 

We plan to run the same experiments on my system on Thursday, so it'll be interesting to hear the differences on my Magnepan 3.7i's versus austinpop's headphones.  The differences between the Dave and Ayre Codex were similar to what I noted between my Schiit Yggdrasil and the Dave.

Excellent Eric, Rajiv!!!  Eric is it possible in your system to try the tX-USB Ultra in a server direct USB setup only to DAVE?  Would be nice to get a reference to the Ethernet setup.  Try comparing to the mRendu tX-USB DAVE.

   Thanks

Edited by ElviaCaprice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting findings @austinpop, happy that the ultra trifecta works so well for you.

34 minutes ago, austinpop said:

This does not bode well for the ISO-Regen in the path as well, but it will be most interesting to see how this pans out with Roy's and @mozes's experiments.

In my system, I expect that the ISO-Regen will make a positive impact as I don't have the SOTM clock in front of it. In my chain, I only have the tX with the sCLK-EX, so probably there is more potential for the ISO-Regen than in my system.

 

Do you connect the SMS-200 ultra directly as recommended in this thread, if this is the case then the switch is adding a lot of improvement even in the direct mode

 

Share this post


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

Excellent Eric, Rajiv!!!  Eric is it possible in your system to try the tX-USB Ultra in a server direct USB setup only to DAVE?  Would be nice to get a reference to the Ethernet setup.  Try comparing to the mRendu tX-USB DAVE.

   Thanks

Yeah, but we won't be able to use a Curious USB cable between the sever and tX-USB Ultra.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, limniscate said:

Yeah, but we won't be able to use a Curious USB cable between the sever and tX-USB Ultra.

That's no problem, would be nice if you could disconnect the 5V vbus, since the tX-USB Ultra doesn't need it.  In fact give us a heads up between mRendu only vs. tX-USB Ultra only, both with DAVE.  Would be very interesting.  Do not use the upgraded switch with clocking.

Add the sms-200 ultra in the mix only, please, again no extra upgraded clock components!!

This would clarify if 1 Ex clock sotm component USB only vs. Ethernet renderer no upgraded clock.vs sms-200 Ultra only.

 

Fantastic, this has never been done, would answer a lot of question and bring up some new ones!!!  With the DAVE is perfect, because the question of galvanic isolation is covered.  It's a fair fight.

Edited by ElviaCaprice

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

×