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

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Maybe off-topic but I read the following paragraph about how a DAC's USB receiver setup can be a major limitation to SQ by the comparatively noisy USB implementation in the DAC itself, no matter what's in front of it - ISO regen, tx-USBULTRA etc (they are discussing a ISO-regen).

"Even if it did everything it claimed, and servicing those claims resulted in audible benefits, it's still going to be limited by the comparatively noisy USB implementation in the DAC itself (speaking generally, the USB receiver setup inside the DAC will be far noisier than S/PDIF implementations). In other words, as long as it's still USB there are hard limits as to what you can achieve and no external box can fix the USB issues that exist in the DAC itself.
If you must add a box between your source and DAC, stick to something that doesn't keep you in USB land."

 

http://superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/uptone-iso-regen-thoughts.4331/

 

Anyone more knowledgeable than myself got any thoughts on this - should money rather be spent on a DAC with a totl femto clock with reclocking circuitry, super regulators etc?

 

Thanks

 

 

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8 hours ago, tims said:

Maybe off-topic but I read the following paragraph about how a DAC's USB receiver setup can be a major limitation to SQ by the comparatively noisy USB implementation in the DAC itself, no matter what's in front of it - ISO regen, tx-USBULTRA etc (they are discussing a ISO-regen).

"Even if it did everything it claimed, and servicing those claims resulted in audible benefits, it's still going to be limited by the comparatively noisy USB implementation in the DAC itself (speaking generally, the USB receiver setup inside the DAC will be far noisier than S/PDIF implementations). In other words, as long as it's still USB there are hard limits as to what you can achieve and no external box can fix the USB issues that exist in the DAC itself.
If you must add a box between your source and DAC, stick to something that doesn't keep you in USB land."

 

http://superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/uptone-iso-regen-thoughts.4331/

 

Anyone more knowledgeable than myself got any thoughts on this - should money rather be spent on a DAC with a totl femto clock with reclocking circuitry, super regulators etc?

 

Thanks

 

 

If you've followed this thread totally, you should have already known that atomic clock may not be the most sensible option.  How about define your budget and then come back.  Then members may be able to help you better.  The quote was pretty narrow minded IMHO.

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Just a quick update on my side.

 

I emailed May from SOTM and asked her whether it's possible for them to modify the clock of an Intel NUC LAN controller so that it can use the superior clock inside the sms200Ultra and they said yes!

 

The idea is to use the Intel NUC with the modded LAN clock as Roon server (probably with the Roon OS), and then connect it directly via Ethernet to my sms200ultra. This way a switch in between can be avoided.

 

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1 hour ago, AmusedToD said:

Just a quick update on my side.

 

I emailed May from SOTM and asked her whether it's possible for them to modify the clock of an Intel NUC LAN controller so that it can use the superior clock inside the sms200Ultra and they said yes!

 

The idea is to use the Intel NUC with the modded LAN clock as Roon server (probably with the Roon OS), and then connect it directly via Ethernet to my sms200ultra. This way a switch in between can be avoided.

 

 

That's what Roy is doing, although he's taking it a little further than that.  We're all waiting to see if it makes a substantial improvement.

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Im waiting for the similar solution, JCAT Net femto card with two ethernet plugs and clock.

 

Btw, wanted to ask, if anyone tried to use mR with linux music PC instead of windows, would it give any SQ improvements?

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3 hours ago, AmusedToD said:

Just a quick update on my side.

 

I emailed May from SOTM and asked her whether it's possible for them to modify the clock of an Intel NUC LAN controller so that it can use the superior clock inside the sms200Ultra and they said yes!

 

The idea is to use the Intel NUC with the modded LAN clock as Roon server (probably with the Roon OS), and then connect it directly via Ethernet to my sms200ultra. This way a switch in between can be avoided.

 

 

This is a very interesting approach, and I look forward to your findings. Let me make some comments and ask you for some clarifications.

  1. How long do you expect you'll need the clock cable from the sMS-200ultra to the LAN controller? You should confirm this with May, but the SQ degrades the longer this cable is. My clock cables (hardwired, before SMB was offered) are of the order of 30cm. So if you're looking at much longer lengths, keep this in mind.
  2. The approach Roy advocated, and I followed and verified, is to use all 4 clock taps on the sCLK-EX board. The sMS consumes 2 clocks, and you've talked about using another for the LAN controller. What are your plans for the 4th clock tap?
  3. If that 4th tap is free, I do recommend you consider using it for one more reclocking. Candidates would be either a modified switch between the NUC and the sMS, or modify a tX-USB-HD on the USB chain between the sMS and the DAC.

I do understand that exploiting each additional clock tap with a modified component does add cost.

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2 hours ago, Johnseye said:

 

That's what Roy is doing, although he's taking it a little further than that.  We're all waiting to see if it makes a substantial improvement.

 

I know several folks here are in the process of getting an Ultra stack of various flavors, so it is going to be really exciting to hear their impressions. 

 

I do want to distinguish between 2 categories of stacks:

  1. a stack that utilizes all 4 clock taps from an sCLK-EX board, whether housed in an sMS-200ultra, a tX-USBultra, or a dX-USB HD Ultra
  2. a stack that includes using clock taps from more than one sCLK-EX boards, specially upstream of the sMS or the switch preceding it.

Last I heard, Roy was pursuing #2 above, which gets into mods within the music server's internal clock, or even further upstream in network gear like routers and modems.

 

It's an exciting time.... ah, never mind! :D

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35 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

This is a very interesting approach, and I look forward to your findings. Let me make some comments and ask you for some clarifications.

  1. How long do you expect you'll need the clock cable from the sMS-200ultra to the LAN controller? You should confirm this with May, but the SQ degrades the longer this cable is. My clock cables (hardwired, before SMB was offered) are of the order of 30cm. So if you're looking at much longer lengths, keep this in mind.
  2. The approach Roy advocated, and I followed and verified, is to use all 4 clock taps on the sCLK-EX board. The sMS consumes 2 clocks, and you've talked about using another for the LAN controller. What are your plans for the 4th clock tap?
  3. If that 4th tap is free, I do recommend you consider using it for one more reclocking. Candidates would be either a modified switch between the NUC and the sMS, or modify a tX-USB-HD on the USB chain between the sMS and the DAC.

I do understand that exploiting each additional clock tap with a modified component does add cost.

 

Well, I will try to answer your questions:

 

1. I don't need a long cable because the NUC is rather small and can sit very close to the sms200Ultra on my shelf. I believe 30-40cm will do just fine.

2. No plan for the 4th tap for now. Modding another device (perhaps a switch) will increase the cost significantly (I would need to buy a switch, pay for the modifications and get a linear PSU for it). I am also short of wall sockets, so adding another device to the chain would mean buying a power conditioner of some sort.

3. Well, the answer is as above.

 

I don't think a switch is really needed in my chain because I am using a direct Ethernet connection through Sotm's LAN filter (which is $350). 

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32 minutes ago, AmusedToD said:

I don't think a switch is really needed in my chain because I am using a direct Ethernet connection through Sotm's LAN filter (which is $350). 

 

It's your choice whether to use that 4th tap.

 

But be careful about your logic above. The effect of the switch (which really means, another reclocking) and the effect of the "LAN filter" - not sure if you mean the ISO-Cat6 or the dCBL- Cat7 - are not mutually exclusive, as Roy reported. 

 

Remember - and I find myself saying this over and over - the switch in this case is in the direct path! Direct path means a bridged server that isolates you from the router. I hope this is clear.

 

I know I found that 4th reclocking in the switch added profoundly to the SQ, even without any "LAN filters." Roy found the same.

 

Roy then found an additional profound improvement by using the combo of dCBL-Cat7 + ISO-Cat6. He didn't find the ISO-Cat6 in isolation to add much.

 

So pick your choices. I strongly recommend the switch mod, but obviously you should make your own choices.

 

But don't imply that the switch is not needed for additional SQ, because it is. You just need to choose whether to buy it or not.

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7 hours ago, limniscate said:

My order has shipped.  @austinpop and I should be able to do some testing next week.

 

??

 

Eric, I have some travel scheduled 16-21st, so sometime after that should be good. That will give you time to do some burn-in.

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On 6/8/2017 at 0:55 AM, Marcin_gps said:

Oh, it is coming very soon - still in June! 

 

Hi @Marcin_gps

 

Can you kindly share some details about this.


Is it going to be a high end switch (i.e. multiple ethernet ports) or a device with a single ethernet input and a single ethernet output?

 

And what features will it have? Linear regulators, re-clocking, signal integrity regeneration etc?

 

Cheers!

 

Sean

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9 minutes ago, Em2016 said:

 

Hi Marcin

 

Can you share some details about this.


Is it going to be a high end switch (i.e. multiple ethernet ports) or a device with a single ethernet input and a single ethernet output?

 

And what features will it have? Linear regulators, re-clocking, signal integrity regeneration etc?

 

Cheers!

 

Sean

 

Hi Sean, 

 

It is a a dual-port 1Gbit PCI Express network adapter with femto clock using ultra-low noise linear power supplies exclusively. Similar design to our JCAT USB Card FEMTO only for Ethernet.

 

Best regards,

Marcin 

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20 minutes ago, Marcin_gps said:

 

Hi Sean, 

 

It is a a dual-port 1Gbit PCI Express network adapter with femto clock using ultra-low noise linear power supplies exclusively. Similar design to our JCAT USB Card FEMTO only for Ethernet.

 

Best regards,

Marcin 

 

Hi @Marcin_gps,

 

Will it be possible to install the network adapter in an Intel NUC?

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Quick update regarding the modular SMB clock connectors vs. the "hard wired" approach in Roy's and my original mods.

 

May had promised to send me an update after they'd done some internal comparisons. Well, I just learned the results from her.

  1. For short lengths comparable to mine (0.3m), they favored the SQ of SMB connectors
  2. However, when SMB cables of 1m length are used, the SQ is worse.
  3. It appears they are shipping the SMB versions with 1m cables, which makes no sense to me given point 2 above, so I have a question out to her. 
  4. @limniscate had got the same info, and I think he's sourcing his own shorter cables. Perhaps he can clarify.

I know several folks were pursuing this, so if you have more info, please add your knowledge here.

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I recently ordered an "Ultra stack" of sMS-200 Ultra, tX-USB Ultra, and the modded Ultra D-Link switch supplied by Crux Audio. I also ordered two lengths of dCBL-Cat7 ethernet cable. The plan is to power the tX with a dedicated LPS-1 and power the combination of the sMS-200 and switch with another LPS-1 and Y cable. I am trading in my 5-month old sMS-200 (unlike some here, I found the trade-in package offered by Crux/SOtM to represent fair value). The only reclocking cable in this scenario is a cable connecting the tX-USB Ultra to the modded switch, and I was told that it would be 20cm long (by Crux Audio). 

 

At the same time I'm upgrading a Mac Mini to MMK status, to be powered by a JS-2. All this will feed into a Chord DAVE. I will report my impressions when this is in place, but I don't expect that to happen until mid-July, as I have travel plans and I have not even sent my old sMS-200 to Crux Audio yet (or modified the Mac Mini). 

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1 hour ago, Always.Learning said:

I recently ordered an "Ultra stack" of sMS-200 Ultra, tX-USB Ultra, and the modded Ultra D-Link switch supplied by Crux Audio. I also ordered two lengths of dCBL-Cat7 ethernet cable. The plan is to power the tX with a dedicated LPS-1 and power the combination of the sMS-200 and switch with another LPS-1 and Y cable. I am trading in my 5-month old sMS-200 (unlike some here, I found the trade-in package offered by Crux/SOtM to represent fair value). The only reclocking cable in this scenario is a cable connecting the tX-USB Ultra to the modded switch, and I was told that it would be 20cm long (by Crux Audio). 

 

At the same time I'm upgrading a Mac Mini to MMK status, to be powered by a JS-2. All this will feed into a Chord DAVE. I will report my impressions when this is in place, but I don't expect that to happen until mid-July, as I have travel plans and I have not even sent my old sMS-200 to Crux Audio yet (or modified the Mac Mini). 

Are you sure you can power both sMS-200Ultra and ULTRA D-Link switch using a single LPS-1 and Y-cable

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1 hour ago, Always.Learning said:

I recently ordered an "Ultra stack" of sMS-200 Ultra, tX-USB Ultra, and the modded Ultra D-Link switch supplied by Crux Audio. I also ordered two lengths of dCBL-Cat7 ethernet cable. The plan is to power the tX with a dedicated LPS-1 and power the combination of the sMS-200 and switch with another LPS-1 and Y cable. I am trading in my 5-month old sMS-200 (unlike some here, I found the trade-in package offered by Crux/SOtM to represent fair value). The only reclocking cable in this scenario is a cable connecting the tX-USB Ultra to the modded switch, and I was told that it would be 20cm long (by Crux Audio). 

 

At the same time I'm upgrading a Mac Mini to MMK status, to be powered by a JS-2. All this will feed into a Chord DAVE. I will report my impressions when this is in place, but I don't expect that to happen until mid-July, as I have travel plans and I have not even sent my old sMS-200 to Crux Audio yet (or modified the Mac Mini). 

 

Outstanding! Can't wait to hear your impressions.

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6 minutes ago, sadekkhalifa said:

Are you sure you can power both sMS-200Ultra and ULTRA D-Link switch using a single LPS-1 and Y-cable

 

Good question. You may be cutting it real close. I could try it on my setup, but the closest I could come is to see if the tX-USBultra + switch can run off a single LPS-1. Well, the other difference is I have a Zyxel switch.

 

Just going by how hot the LPS-1 driving the tX-USBultra gets, my guess is I'm already pulling close to capacity current.

 

So it MIGHT be enough, but Sadek's question is valid. You should be prepared to handle the case where a single LPS-1 is not enough.

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BTW - and @Superdad will probably just shake his head at this :D - I couldn't resist picking up my 3rd LPS-1 when one popped up for sale here a few days ago.

 

So I am now running like this:

Capture1.thumb.PNG.aa5614275951df8b16d4aa902721dfb5.PNG

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Hi, 

idea/question is it possible to replace a crystek 575 clock with one of the sclk-ex's tabs? Then you could add the iso regen into ultra clock tab mix. Just between ground and the clk padd of the 575.

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