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

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Great! I just got in a couple of microRendu's and am going to give this a try this week. Is it safe to assume if one has a external thunderbolt HD and since thunderbolt daisy chains devices that the thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter will still work when daisied off a TB drive connected to mac? I'll find out I guess when I give this all a try. :-)

I don't see why a daisy chained Thunderbolt ethernet port wouldn't work. Please report back your findings.

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I don't see why a daisy chained Thunderbolt ethernet port wouldn't work. Please report back your findings.

 

My USB ethernet ports work and I don't have any native ethernet ports on my Surface Pro.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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Ok, another new revelation. The improvement I am hearing with this direct connection has nothing to do with bypassing the switch. At least, it has nothing to do with bypassing my Paul Pang 100Mbit switch with TCXO clock powered by my LPS-1. This switch has no noisy switching regulators. It is a 5V device as is the TXCO clock. Previously, as I had stated, it resulted in a small but meaningful difference in my system. I have now connected it in my "direct" path. It is flanked on both ends by a short SOtM black LAN cable. One cable connects directly to my Mac Mini and the other connects to my sMS-200. The improvement is now even larger with a bigger soundstage and even crisper details, easily heard with guitar plucks. While the improvement is not anywhere as huge as the direct connection, it is now MUCH more pronounced than when I had it connected before my Mac Mini! This switch is staying exactly where it's at.

 

I bought this switch used from another CA member for $99 and figured it was worth the risk. It's turning out to be a truly excellent buy. For those interested, you can buy one new from Paul Pang himself. It appears he no longer sells the slower 100Mbit switch that I have although it's unclear to me if one speed sounds any better than the other.

 

SHOPPING AREA: AUDIO GRADE SWITCH

 

Regarding the LPS-1, this is an excellent indication for this PSU. Compared to my switching 5V PSU, the improvement is very significant.

 

Tomorrow, I will see if my FMCs in this "direct" path results in any benefit.

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Ok, another new revelation. The improvement I am hearing with this direct connection has nothing to do with bypassing the switch. At least, it has nothing to do with bypassing my Paul Pang 100Mbit switch with TCXO clock powered by my LPS-1. This switch has no noisy switching regulators. It is a 5V device as is the TXCO clock. Previously, as I had stated, it resulted in a small but meaningful difference in my system. I have now connected it in my "direct" path. It is flanked on both ends by a short SOtM black LAN cable. One cable connects directly to my Mac Mini and the other connects to my sMS-200. The improvement is now even larger with a bigger soundstage and even crisper details, especially with guitar plucks. While the improvement is not anywhere as huge as the direct connection, it is now MUCH more pronounced than when I had it connected before my Mac Mini! This switch is staying exactly where it's at.

 

I bought this switch used from another CA member for $99 and figured it was worth the risk. It's turning out to be a truly excellent buy. For those interested, you can buy one new from Paul Pang himself. It appears he no longer sells the slower 100Mbit switch that I have although it's unclear to me if one speed sounds any better than the other.

 

SHOPPING AREA: AUDIO GRADE SWITCH

 

Tomorrow, I will see if my FMCs in this "direct" path results in any benefit.

 

Ooh this sounds really intriguing!

 

So are you saying this configuration is even better than the direct connection without the switch? And you attribute it to the SotM cables? Or is the Mac Mini still doing the bridging to the router?

 

Trying to understand. Given my difficulties getting bridging to work, this may be a more viable option.

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Ooh this sounds really intriguing!

 

So are you saying this configuration is even better than the direct connection without the switch? And you attribute it to the SotM cables?

 

Trying to understand. Given my difficulties getting bridging to work, this may be a more viable option.

No, with this switch in the "direct" path, you will still need to bridge. I am seeing no way around this.

 

This switch now has no direct connection to the router like I had it before.

 

Before, it was internet modem/router > ethernet cable > FMC > optical cable > FMC > ethernet cable > Paul Pang switch > Thunderbolt ethernet port on Mac Mini > Mac Mini > native ethernet port on Mac Mini > 50 cm SOtM LAN cable > iSO-CAT6 isolator > 30 cm SOtM LAN cable > sMS-200.

 

What I have done is I have replaced the iSO-CAT6 isolator with the Paul Pang switch and connected the receiving FMC directly to my Mac Mini. Nothing else has changed. I had previously verified that the iSO-CAT6 was causing no harm although it didn't result in any major improvement either. As I have swapped out the iSO-CAT6 isolator and swapped in the Paul Pang switch, the improvement is quite notable.

 

Two lessons learned:

 

1. Having the switch in my network path (at least in my case) was never the problem and so bypassing this switch has nothing to do with the improvement heard with this direct connection.

 

2. It appears this direct pathway can be improved further.

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Ok, another new revelation. The improvement I am hearing with this direct connection has nothing to do with bypassing the switch. At least, it has nothing to do with bypassing my Paul Pang 100Mbit switch with TCXO clock powered by my LPS-1. This switch has no noisy switching regulators. It is a 5V device as is the TXCO clock. Previously, as I had stated, it resulted in a small but meaningful difference in my system. I have now connected it in my "direct" path. It is flanked on both ends by a short SOtM black LAN cable. One cable connects directly to my Mac Mini and the other connects to my sMS-200. The improvement is now even larger with a bigger soundstage and even crisper details, easily heard with guitar plucks. While the improvement is not anywhere as huge as the direct connection, it is now MUCH more pronounced than when I had it connected before my Mac Mini! This switch is staying exactly where it's at.

 

I bought this switch used from another CA member for $99 and figured it was worth the risk. It's turning out to be a truly excellent buy. For those interested, you can buy one new from Paul Pang himself. It appears he no longer sells the slower 100Mbit switch that I have although it's unclear to me if one speed sounds any better than the other.

 

SHOPPING AREA: AUDIO GRADE SWITCH

 

Regarding the LPS-1, this is an excellent indication for this PSU. Compared to my switching 5V PSU, the improvement is very significant.

 

Tomorrow, I will see if my FMCs in this "direct" path results in any benefit.

 

These kind of discoveries make me wonder if an Ethernet based direct connection to a renderer have anything over a server only tweaked USB stream. Whereas the galvanically isolated power supplies (LPS-1) have changed the game for both.

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No, with this switch in the "direct" path, you will still need to bridge. I am seeing no way around this.

 

Ah I see. Well, I haven't given up, so will see if I can make this work in my setup.

 

Before, it was internet modem/router > ethernet cable > FMC > optical cable > FMC > ethernet cable > Paul Pang switch > Thunderbolt ethernet port on Mac Mini > Mac Mini > native ethernet port on Mac Mini > 50 cm SOtM LAN cable > iSO-CAT6 isolator > 30 cm SOtM LAN cable > sMS-200.

 

What I have done is I have replaced the iSO-CAT6 isolator with the Paul Pang switch and connected the receiving FMC directly to my Mac Mini. Nothing else has changed. I had previously verified that the iSO-CAT6 was causing no harm although it didn't result in any major improvement either. As I have swapped out the iSO-CAT6 isolator and swapped in the Paul Pang switch, the improvement is quite notable.

 

OK, understood.

 

But in this scenario, why use the switch at all? Is anything else connected to it besides the Mini and the SMS-200? Even with the clean LPS on the Pang switch, it's still one more active device in the chain?

 

Did you see if this had a similar gain? I.e. just remove the switch:

 

internet modem/router > ethernet cable > FMC > optical cable > FMC > ethernet cable > Thunderbolt ethernet port on Mac Mini > Mac Mini > native ethernet port on Mac Mini > 50 cm SOtM LAN cable > iSO-CAT6 isolator > 30 cm SOtM LAN cable > sMS-200

 

I would also be very interested to see you try:

 

internet modem/router > ethernet cable > Thunderbolt ethernet port on Mac Mini > Mac Mini > native ethernet port on Mac Mini > 50 cm SOtM LAN cable > FMC > optical cable > FMC > 30 cm SOtM LAN cable > sMS-200.

 

This is all very interesting!

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These kind of discoveries make me wonder if an Ethernet based direct connection to a renderer have anything over a server only tweaked USB stream. Whereas the galvanically isolated power supplies (LPS-1) have changed the game for both.

This is a very good question. I have a lot of experience with various single box purpose-built music servers with USB streams including a TotalDac-d1 server, Aurender N100 with Ken Lau PSU, Aurender N10, Aurender W20, Lumin U1, CAD CAT, Auralic Aries with femto clock and LPS, various custom-built CAPS servers and more. Here is the thread I started on Head-Fi:

 

REVIEW: Comparison of 5 High End Digital Music Servers - Aurender N10, CAD CAT server, TotalDac d1-Server, Auralic Aries, Audiophile Vortex Box

 

None of those single box units ever sounded anywhere close to what I am hearing now. That is how special both the microRendu and sMS-200 are, imo. This direct connection has much to do with it also but so does my Paul Hynes SR7 which I just got recently. I am finding these things to be the key pieces so far.

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This is a very good question. I have a lot of experience with various single box purpose-built music servers with USB streams including a TotalDac-d1 server, Aurender N100 with Ken Lau PSU, Aurender N10, Aurender W20, Lumin U1, CAD CAT, Auralic Aries with femto clock and LPS, various custom-built CAPS servers and more. Here is the thread I started on Head-Fi:

 

 

REVIEW: Comparison of 5 High End Digital Music Servers - Aurender N10, CAD CAT server, TotalDac d1-Server, Auralic Aries, Audiophile Vortex Box

 

None of those single box units ever sounded anywhere close to what I am hearing now. That is how special both the microRendu and sMS-200 are, imo. This direct connection has much to do with it also but so does my Paul Hynes SR7 which I just got recently. I am finding these things to be the key pieces so far.

 

 

But then you didn't have the LPS-1 to make the comparison fair?? The LPS-1 has transformed my USB stream.

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But in this scenario, why use the switch at all? Is anything else connected to it besides the Mini and the SMS-200? Even with the clean LPS on the Pang switch, it's still one more active device in the chain?

I did this as an exercise to see if bypassing the switch was responsible for the improvement I was hearing with this "direct" connection as many have assumed. I wasn't necessarily expecting to hear an improvement, I was just wanting to see if placing the switch directly in the path would result in deterioration which would suggest that yes, the switch is the guilty party and so it was a pleasant surprise to hear that SQ actually improved.

 

Another question I wanted to answer for myself was whether relocking the signal just prior to sending it to the sMS-200 would make a difference as my Mac Mini has no special clock of its own. Both the microRendu and sMS-200 have their own audiophile-class clocks but if I made their jobs easier by sending them a freshly reclocked signal, would it make a difference? The concept is identical to the concept behind the USB Regen, that if you feed a component a high integrity signal, then SQ potentially improves. That may be what is going on here.

 

I did try using just a short 30 cm LAN cable between Mac Mini and sMS-200. Initially, I wondered whether such a short LAN cable might result in worse SQ due to reflections but that doesn't appear to be the case. It sounds great with just this short cable. As I stated, adding the iSO-CAT6 isolator to this chain resulted in no harm and maybe a touch of improvement and so I kept it in.

 

Tomorrow, I will try the exact configuration you have requested.

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But then you didn't have the LPS-1 to make the comparison fair?? The LPS-1 has transformed my USB stream.

I have high respect for my LPS-1 and it is my highest value PSU by far. For sure, it is playing a role in why my current setup sounds better but presently, it is only powering my switch and one of my FMCs. Compared to my SR7, the SR7 is better although to be fair to the LPS-1, the SR7 is better than PSUs I have from Kenneth Lau, Paul Pang, HDPlex and Teradak by an even wider margin. It is expensive but it is the finest PSU I have ever experienced and it has very significantly transformed my sMS-200, mR, Mac Mini and internet modem/router. I now have another Paul Hynes SR7 on order but this time, it will be Paul's very best as the outputs will have double regulation and between 150-160dB of line rejection.

 

If I had to prioritize the key reasons for why my current setup sounds so good (better than anything I have tried before), as I stated, I believe it is largely due to the sMS-200/mR, this direct connection and the Paul Hynes SR (in no particular order) but as always, everything matters.

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This is a very good question. I have a lot of experience with various single box purpose-built music servers with USB streams including a TotalDac-d1 server, Aurender N100 with Ken Lau PSU, Aurender N10, Aurender W20, Lumin U1, CAD CAT, Auralic Aries with femto clock and LPS, various custom-built CAPS servers and more.

 

romaz,

did you try the SGM 2015 as well?

 

Matt

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romaz,

did you try the SGM 2015 as well?

Matt

 

No, I am very intrigued by that device although I am in a unique situation from many. My Chord DAVE DAC upsamples much higher than HQPlayer does with its FPGA. With Chord's new M-scaler (which is built into the new Blu Mk2) which I have on order, combined with my DAVE, I will soon be up to 1 million TAPS. HQPlayer will never come close to this with even the most powerful computer. Nonetheless, I bought HQPlayer and having tried HQPlayer with upsampling either to DXD or DSD512, DAVE by itself sounds better.

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Which server did you set-up with HQPlayer and which DAC did you feed with DSD512?

Thanks

 

Matt

HP Z820 workstation with dual 8-core Xeons and Nvidia Quadro K5000. Unfortunately, a very noisy machine. Like I said, I have a Chord DAVE DAC which can handle DSD512 and PCM up to 768kHz but internally, it upsamples much higher, all the way to 2048FS.

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I have high respect for my LPS-1 and it is my highest value PSU by far. For sure, it is playing a role in why my current setup sounds better but presently, it is only powering my switch and one of my FMCs. Compared to my SR7, the SR7 is better although to be fair to the LPS-1, the SR7 is better than PSUs I have from Kenneth Lau, Paul Pang, HDPlex and Teradak by an even wider margin. It is expensive but it is the finest PSU I have ever experienced and it has very significantly transformed my sMS-200, mR, Mac Mini and internet modem/router. I now have another Paul Hynes SR7 on order but this time, it will be Paul's very best as the outputs will have double regulation and between 150-160dB of line rejection.

 

If I had to prioritize the key reasons for why my current setup sounds so good (better than anything I have tried before), as I stated, I believe it is largely due to the sMS-200/mR, this direct connection and the Paul Hynes SR (in no particular order) but as always, everything matters.

 

I don't doubt SR7 is a fine power supply, go to know, thank you. But it still has no relevancy as to making a comparison of a server tweaked USB using todays superb power supplies as opposed to doing so with a renderer via Ethernet/USB. I also find USB chords irrelevant to my SQ. In fact, upon eliminating the 5Vbus, even distance is irrelevant between the Intona and Regen. Would be nice to see a comparison today with the newer power supplies. Everything does matter or does it?

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Strange things happening here : The LAN bridging trick did work for me under W10 : very good SQ.For a short while I went back to listen to a direct USB connection from my W10-NUC to my DAC.

 

 

Then I deinstalled some old DAC drivers and started to get back to the direct SOTM200 link to my NUC with the bridge in place. Everything seemed OK until I started playing with Jriver MC20 DLNA server to the SOTM200.Severe Stuttering : tracks take a long time to start playing. DAC indicates OK and first second sound is OK then only stuttering!I tried a number of things to see where the problem might be.

 

- Updated the device driver for my Startech-USB-LAN : no change

- Switched LAN cables (SOTM in the Startech, normal NIC to router and vice versa) : no change

- Let MC20 play directly to my TV (hdmi connection) : is OK- Played tracks directly from my PC's SSD disk : still stuttering

- Installed LMS server on my NUC and used the SOTM's Squeezelite option : still stuttering

- Went back to the normal switch connection (NUC and SOTM to switch, connected to router) : still stuttering as long as I left the bridged situation on my NUC. As soon as I deleted the bridge : everything back to normal sound.

 

So I can exclude that it is the connection to my NAS, where I keep my music.And I can exclude that there is something wrong with my server programs (MC20 DLNA or LMS squeezelite)It must have something to do with the bridge situation? But why now and not when I first used the bridge?Remember that I mentioned earlier that under W2012R2 I could make a bridge, but there I heard the same stuttering as I hear now under W10.

 

Has anyone encountered a similar problem? Any suggestions that I could try? At the moment I play again without bridge and with a switch, but I would rather go back to the bridged situation. I know it sounds better!

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I don't doubt SR7 is a fine power supply, go to know, thank you. But it still has no relevancy as to making a comparison of a server tweaked USB using todays superb power supplies as opposed to doing so with a renderer via Ethernet/USB. I also find USB chords irrelevant to my SQ. In fact, upon eliminating the 5Vbus, even distance is irrelevant between the Intona and Regen. Would be nice to see a comparison today with the newer power supplies. Everything does matter or does it?

 

The Supra USB cable made my system sound better quite a lot, and I'm not a cable fatishist.

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Check that your route to the NAS is defined properly. I had a situation where the playerPC was routing to the NAS via the bridge in the NAS, out to the router, and then back to the NAS. Not good for SQ. You can use traceroute to check the routing tables on most OSes.

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The Supra USB cable made my system sound better quite a lot, and I'm not a cable fatishist.

 

So you ran a supra USB cable from your sMS-200 to your Schiit gungnir? And the cable made a difference in SQ?

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ok I'm bridged but now hqplayer cannot see my dac. Any comments/suggestions on this?

What computer are you using?

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I think its a dell. Got it at Best Buy. Its windows 10 os. Could be a HP. I had been successfully running HQP via my router but now it is direct connected on a bridged Ethernet thingie.

 

Tried going back to Rendu connected to Router and I still cant music out of HQPlayer.

Edited by Theobetley

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So you ran a supra USB cable from your sMS-200 to your Schiit gungnir? And the cable made a difference in SQ?

 

Yes, a simple USB cable between the Sotm and the gungnir was replaced by the Supra. It made quite a significant improvement.

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Yes, a simple USB cable between the Sotm and the gungnir was replaced by the Supra. It made quite a significant improvement.

 

You probably have some ground loop or stray AC current in that segment of the stream. Get rid of this and the USB chord shouldn't matter other than proper impedance (Supra being a good cable for this, best a Regen plus adapter at the DAC).

Eliminate the 5Vbus if possible for your DAC.

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