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


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Most important: please realize this thread is about bleeding edge experimentation and discovery. No one has The Answer™. If you are not into tweaking, just know that you can have a musically satisfying system without doing any of the nutty things we do here.

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10 minutes ago, Always.Learning said:

Last and not least, I try to remember that it's about the music. In the right context, I can get goosebumps listening to my crappy car radio. You don't need megabucks to get goosebumps, you just need to be mindful and open to experience.

100% spot on. I always find myself getting lost in tunning my system and listening to the components rather than the music. Lately, I noticed that I am enjoying the same tracks in my car more than I do at home. The reason is that I am not thinking of how this or that component sounds or what that last tweak did to my system.

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2 hours ago, Always.Learning said:

@feelingears  Thank you for the compliment!

 

My process for improving my system is multi-pronged.

 

First, I try to listen to a lot of music, in a lot of different contexts. I personally attend a good deal of chamber music concerts, recitals, jazz concerts, and the occasional pop or rock concert. I try to listen to other people's systems and have been fortunate to develop friendships with folks who care about audio in Puget Sound.

<...snip...>

Last and not least, I try to remember that it's about the music. In the right context, I can get goosebumps listening to my crappy car radio. You don't need megabucks to get goosebumps, you just need to be mindful and open to experience. 

 

Those are some of the key things that come to mind -- hope you find it useful. 

 

Uh-oh. I'm in Puget Sound, too... And yes, point 4: gotta hear things at home! Thanks for the detail. I enjoy reading people's thought process in this hobby. 

 

What I was getting at with my question is if/how you've tuned your sound based on your comparative listening. Your earlier post suggests that you have a somewhat orderly approach to listening to your system. As a brief example, I observe/analyze changes to my system by how one change sounds (generally only after break-in, not before) in the bass, upper-bass/lower-mids, high mids, and treble/extension. Timbre, too. Soundstage is secondary. (All the usual things, right?) 

 

Often I get an improvement in one (treble/air) at the cost of another (bass clarity/definition/presentation/edge & decay/etc.). So I've kept changes that have compromised the sound as little as possible top to bottom. In this process I've found, as I asked/suggested, that a combination of small improvements can add up to more than the sum of the parts (to use a worn but apt phrase). Maybe this is because I compromise the areas that matter less to me while amplifying the changes that do? And maybe all this is just natural tuning for the room you have.

 

So, curious what you've found, in part because you have a lot of "variables" to tweak!

 

 

Sum>Frankenstein: Schiit Yggdrasil A2+Shunyata Venom/PS Audio P3 Regenerator+AVOptions Tibia, W4S Remedy/Uptone LPS-1.2, Linn LP12/Hercules II/Ittok/Denon DL-103R, Naim 72/HiCap/250 DR, Tellurium Black II, Monitor Audio Silver 500, Epos, Uptone Audio ISO & EtherREGENs, Witch Hat/Audience/Silnote/ZenWave/Mapleshade/Shunyata/Transparent Audio cables/cords, and nice room w/treatment.

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@elan120 I've just read your SU-1 mod posts and am impressed with your G-10 blank plate.

 

I'm going to order some 1/8"(3mm) G-10 and will probably make a poor attempt to copy this.:) 

SOtM sMS-200ultra (12v, silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

SOtM tX-USBultra (12v, silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

Singxer SU-1 (7v SOtM sCLK-EX, silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

W4S DAC2v2 SE (SOtM sCLK-EX silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

Mutec REF 10, Bryston BP6, Trinnov Altitude 32, 9 x Bryston 7B³s, B&W 800D3s, B&W HTM1 D3, 2 x Arendal Sub 3,

SOtM dCBL-CAT7 (ISO-CAT6 SE), SOtM eABS-200 installed on all components, JCAT NET Card FEMTO, mRendu, dCS Rossini DAC, Chord Hugo 2, Schitt Yggy, Chord Qutest (ordered for home office), UpTone ISO Regen, 5 x UpTone LPS-1s, 4 x PH SR4s, 5 x UpTone LPS-1.2s

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While testing the modded W4S DAC2V2SE DAC I am now able to set the Jitter Eliminator setting to level 1 and also disable it.  I couldn't lower this setting below the default level 3 before the mod without frequent dropouts.

SOtM sMS-200ultra (12v, silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

SOtM tX-USBultra (12v, silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

Singxer SU-1 (7v SOtM sCLK-EX, silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

W4S DAC2v2 SE (SOtM sCLK-EX silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

Mutec REF 10, Bryston BP6, Trinnov Altitude 32, 9 x Bryston 7B³s, B&W 800D3s, B&W HTM1 D3, 2 x Arendal Sub 3,

SOtM dCBL-CAT7 (ISO-CAT6 SE), SOtM eABS-200 installed on all components, JCAT NET Card FEMTO, mRendu, dCS Rossini DAC, Chord Hugo 2, Schitt Yggy, Chord Qutest (ordered for home office), UpTone ISO Regen, 5 x UpTone LPS-1s, 4 x PH SR4s, 5 x UpTone LPS-1.2s

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10 hours ago, Always.Learning said:

Last and not least, I try to remember that it's about the music. In the right context, I can get goosebumps listening to my crappy car radio. You don't need megabucks to get goosebumps, you just need to be mindful and open to experience. 

 

Agree with your post on all points.

 

10 hours ago, mozes said:

100% spot on. I always find myself getting lost in tunning my system and listening to the components rather than the music. Lately, I noticed that I am enjoying the same tracks in my car more than I do at home. The reason is that I am not thinking of how this or that component sounds or what that last tweak did to my system.

 

 

This is an interesting phenomenon.  There is no doubt that when I start getting analytical, listening for specific differences between gear, being hyper focused on specifics, I miss a big piece of what I need to be listening for when doing a comparison.  I've found that if I randomly cycle through a large playlist on shuffle listening to a couple minutes of a song then forward through, that I don't get sucked in and can get that 5000 foot perspective.  I will still listen using the usual songs I know well and with what to look for, but the more relaxed listening approach is another helpful technique that's helped me.

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4 hours ago, Bamber said:

@elan120 I've just read your SU-1 mod posts and am impressed with your G-10 blank plate.

 

I'm going to order some 1/8"(3mm) G-10 and will probably make a poor attempt to copy this.:) 

@Bamber, G-10 is an excellent material for this application, and hope you don't mind me offer couple tips in cutting (hopefully not something you already know)...1) G-10 is a hard and abrasive material, using regular saw blade will dull the blade rather quickly, and it is best to use a carbide cutter and set the feed speed slow.  2) The dust generated from machining contains very fine fiberglass, breathing these powder is extremely harmful to the lung, and contact with skin will make you itch easily, so wear good quality personal protection gears while fabricating, and I high recommend using respirator, long sleeve closing, and surgical gloves.  Although the second tip may look to be excessive, but it is not especially when working with materials like G-10, FR4, carbonfiber...etc.

 

Hope this helps, and let me know in case you have questions about getting your back plate cut.

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@feelingears and @Johnseye:

 

I think Johnseye makes an excellent point:  it's too easy to lose the forest when focusing on individual trees when auditioning a component. That's why I like to insert a component and do as much relaxed listening as possible before doing the nitty gritty comparisons. Part of this is just paying attention to your body as you listen -- are you relaxed, receptive, flowing with the music, tapping your toes, etc. Or are you disengaged, tense, thinking about other things?

 

Of course there could be many reasons for the latter, and that's why you need to listen for longish periods of time to cycle through your moods and ups and downs. When I'm in this relaxed state of mind, I'm not trying to pinpoint differences or worry about how much bigger or smaller the soundstage is (unless it's just popping out at me). I'm really more concerned about the overall gestalt -- is the music drawing me in? In critical listening mode, that's when I start thinking in terms of the usual audiophile labels and I'll be much more conscious about precise differences. 

 

Feelingears asks if I focus on specific attributes of sound more than others or if I have an "orderly process" for comparing components. Other than what I said above about the overall approach, I don't necessarily have an "orderly process."

 

Of course I have my personal biases, as all of us do, and most good pro reviewers will explicitly disclose those biases over time. My musical/sonic priorities are these:  

  • I want/need to understand the musical intent of the performers -- this is paramount.
  • Listening should be an emotional experience; if I find that I’m thinking too much about the “sound,” then that’s an indication something is off.
  • Tone is critical, in terms of color or timbre, but especially in terms of density and substance.
  • Immediacy and presence are close cousins to tone; I want to hear performers in the room in terms of immediacy, but the stereo system should recover all the air and ambience of the venue when appropriate.
  • Resolution is important, but not at the expense of a natural, fatigue-free listening experience.

Through the years, my analog system has generally bettered my digital system in each of the above areas, though of course it all depends on the quality of the recording, source file, vinyl pressing, etc. 

 

In the last year, however, I feel that digital has made great strides, and with the help of CA, and this thread in particular, digital is sounding better than ever, rivaling vinyl in general and sounding better in some respects, though yielding a different presentation.  
 

 

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4 hours ago, Bamber said:

While testing the modded W4S DAC2V2SE DAC I am now able to set the Jitter Eliminator setting to level 1 and also disable it.  I couldn't lower this setting below the default level 3 before the mod without frequent dropouts.

 

Very interesting! I guess this is the DAC's way of confirming your input has very low jitter.

 

Curious what this does, but I'm not expert on DAC internals. 

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57 minutes ago, austinpop said:

Curious what this does, but I'm not expert on DAC internals. 

This setting controls the digital tracking for the ESS 9038PRO.   The lower the number the narrower the tracking window becomes and SQ can improve.

 

Previously if I lowered this setting to 2 while playing DSD128 or DSD256 tracks it resulted in dropouts.

SOtM sMS-200ultra (12v, silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

SOtM tX-USBultra (12v, silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

Singxer SU-1 (7v SOtM sCLK-EX, silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

W4S DAC2v2 SE (SOtM sCLK-EX silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

Mutec REF 10, Bryston BP6, Trinnov Altitude 32, 9 x Bryston 7B³s, B&W 800D3s, B&W HTM1 D3, 2 x Arendal Sub 3,

SOtM dCBL-CAT7 (ISO-CAT6 SE), SOtM eABS-200 installed on all components, JCAT NET Card FEMTO, mRendu, dCS Rossini DAC, Chord Hugo 2, Schitt Yggy, Chord Qutest (ordered for home office), UpTone ISO Regen, 5 x UpTone LPS-1s, 4 x PH SR4s, 5 x UpTone LPS-1.2s

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2 hours ago, elan120 said:

Hope this helps, and let me know in case you have questions about getting your back plate cut.

Thank you for helpful tips, I will send you a PM if I have any further questions.

SOtM sMS-200ultra (12v, silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

SOtM tX-USBultra (12v, silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

Singxer SU-1 (7v SOtM sCLK-EX, silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

W4S DAC2v2 SE (SOtM sCLK-EX silver internal DC cable, 75Ω external clock input),

Mutec REF 10, Bryston BP6, Trinnov Altitude 32, 9 x Bryston 7B³s, B&W 800D3s, B&W HTM1 D3, 2 x Arendal Sub 3,

SOtM dCBL-CAT7 (ISO-CAT6 SE), SOtM eABS-200 installed on all components, JCAT NET Card FEMTO, mRendu, dCS Rossini DAC, Chord Hugo 2, Schitt Yggy, Chord Qutest (ordered for home office), UpTone ISO Regen, 5 x UpTone LPS-1s, 4 x PH SR4s, 5 x UpTone LPS-1.2s

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2 hours ago, Bamber said:

This setting controls the digital tracking for the ESS 9038PRO.   The lower the number the narrower the tracking window becomes and SQ can improve.

 

Previously if I lowered this setting to 2 while playing DSD128 or DSD256 tracks it resulted in dropouts.

 

So much to explore! Take your time @Bamber!

 

BTW - Does the DAC2v2 SE do native DSD or does it require DoP?

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Has anyone else using the microRendu experienced frequent network conflicts (manifesting in loss of playback from Roon until you reboot the mR) when using this bridged-connection scheme?  And figured out how to resolve it?  

 

I suspect it has to do with the microRendu using a dynamic connection - static IP not supported in their OS. I contacted Sonore - the response was that they don't/won't support this connection scheme.

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Just a quick teaser on my next area of exploration.

 

I've had my eye on the Cybershaft reference clock, ever since @hols wrote about it. I also got @zephyr24069's help and advice. He put me in touch with Kenji at Cybershaft, from whom I learned that their entire production run was sold out, and there was no ETA on a new product with the quality of the OP-14.

 

Well, my luck has turned. I was able to locate an OP-14, and it has been shipped to me. My intent is to use this as a reference clock for my trifecta, feeding the single 50 ohm master clock input of my tX-USBultra.

 

Just to set the context, the OP-14 is a curated unit, where the OCXO has been measured to have a 1Hz phase noise of -114.0 to -114.9 dBc/Hz. The Ref 10, by contrast, is even better, with a claimed phase noise of   -116 dBc/Hz at 1Hz. But at a third of the cost used, the OP-14 seems like a promising option.

 

Once I have my findings, I will report back. 

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32 minutes ago, atxkyle said:

Has anyone else using the microRendu experienced frequent network conflicts (manifesting in loss of playback from Roon until you reboot the mR) when using this bridged-connection scheme?  And figured out how to resolve it?  

 

I suspect it has to do with the microRendu using a dynamic connection - static IP not supported in their OS. I contacted Sonore - the response was that they don't/won't support this connection scheme.

 

I've only ever had borrowed mR's for a few weeks at a time, but I've never seen any network issues with bridging, using DHCP with the mR.

 

I don't think the problem and potential solution lie in static IP addressing.

 

If Jesus can't help you, then your last resort is a hail Mary. :D

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8 hours ago, Always.Learning said:

Through the years, my analog system has generally bettered my digital system in each of the above areas, though of course it all depends on the quality of the recording, source file, vinyl pressing, etc. 

 

In the last year, however, I feel that digital has made great strides, and with the help of CA, and this thread in particular, digital is sounding better than ever, rivaling vinyl in general and sounding better in some respects, though yielding a different presentation.  

 

+1 My digital chain is finally sounding like a sibling of my vinyl chain. And I agree with your points although for me, the awareness or sense of the sound is mixed in with my definition of musicality, which I'd define as a blend of all your points (timbre, substance, etc.). And I listen over time too, which is perhaps where I feel I hear/feel the additive nature of complimentary components despite mood and attention swings.

 

Sum>Frankenstein: Schiit Yggdrasil A2+Shunyata Venom/PS Audio P3 Regenerator+AVOptions Tibia, W4S Remedy/Uptone LPS-1.2, Linn LP12/Hercules II/Ittok/Denon DL-103R, Naim 72/HiCap/250 DR, Tellurium Black II, Monitor Audio Silver 500, Epos, Uptone Audio ISO & EtherREGENs, Witch Hat/Audience/Silnote/ZenWave/Mapleshade/Shunyata/Transparent Audio cables/cords, and nice room w/treatment.

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8 minutes ago, austinpop said:

Just a quick teaser on my next area of exploration.

 

I've had my eye on the Cybershaft reference clock, ever since @hols wrote about it. I also got @zephyr24069's help and advice. He put me in touch with Kenji at Cybershaft, from whom I learned that their entire production run was sold out, and there was no ETA on a new product with the quality of the OP-14.

 

Well, my luck has turned. I was able to locate an OP-14, and it has been shipped to me. My intent is to use this as a reference clock for my trifecta, feeding the single 50 ohm master clock input of my tX-USBultra.

 

Just to set the context, the OP-14 is a curated unit, where the OCXO has been measured to have a 1Hz phase noise of -114.0 to -114.9 dBc/Hz. The Ref 10, by contrast, is even better, with a claimed phase noise of   -116 dBc/Hz at 1Hz. But at a third of the cost used, the OP-14 seems like a promising option.

 

Once I have my findings, I will report back. 

Congrats! This is a great value master clock and its performance seems to be very close to the Ref 10. 

I hope it brings the improvements you are expecting.

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6 minutes ago, austinpop said:

If Jesus can't help you, then your last resort is a hail Mary.

This is your best line in quite some time.  Bravo!

NUC7PJYH/AL --> Berkeley Alpha USB --> Jeff Rowland Aeris --> Jeff Rowland 625 S2 --> Focal Utopia 3 Diablos with 2 x Focal Electra SW 1000 BE subs

 

i7-6700K/Windows 10 Version 2004/HDPLEX 300W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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15 minutes ago, austinpop said:

Just a quick teaser on my next area of exploration.

 

I've had my eye on the Cybershaft reference clock, ever since @hols wrote about it. I also got @zephyr24069's help and advice. He put me in touch with Kenji at Cybershaft, from whom I learned that their entire production run was sold out, and there was no ETA on a new product with the quality of the OP-14.

 

Well, my luck has turned. I was able to locate an OP-14, and it has been shipped to me. My intent is to use this as a reference clock for my trifecta, feeding the single 50 ohm master clock input of my tX-USBultra.

 

Just to set the context, the OP-14 is a curated unit, where the OCXO has been measured to have a 1Hz phase noise of -114.0 to -114.9 dBc/Hz. The Ref 10, by contrast, is even better, with a claimed phase noise of   -116 dBc/Hz at 1Hz. But at a third of the cost used, the OP-14 seems like a promising option.

 

Once I have my findings, I will report back. 

Congratulations...very glad to hear you found an OP14 level Cybershaft! Send me a PM and let me know details....

Legacy Audio CaliberXD custom, dual Legacy Foundation Subs with Legacy Wavelet, Esoteric P-02, D-02, C-02, and A-02, Cybershaft Custom Premium Limited OP21 10 mHz Clock, SHUNYATA TRITON v3 & TYPHON QR, Environmental Potentials EP-2050 & EP2750, CH Copper Busbar Main & GE Sub-panel, 20-amp dedicated circuits, Dual 10’ Ground Rods, CADWELD bonding, Avatar Acoustics AfterBurner8 duplexes (5), Elrod MASTER SERIES Statement Gold Powercords (4), Elrod Statement Gold Powercords (2), Elrod Statement Silver Powercords (1), Elrod Statement Gold XLR (2 pair), Shunyata SIGMA AES/EBU 110ohm (2), Shunyata SIGMA CLOCK-50 (3), Shunyata SIGMA XLR, Shunyata Anaconda Zitron XLR, B.M.C. PureUSB1, Elrod Statement Gold custom speaker cables, Elrod MASTERS SERIES SG JUMPERS (4), Adona AV45CS4, AV45, Composite Audio CF-2010, HRS DPX Damping Plates (11), Stillpoints UltraSS w/Ultra Bases

 

Computer Audio/Rip Playback: Apple MacBook Pro 15” 2019, 6-core i9, 32 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD (Music Library, Playback S/W & O/S here), Audirvana+ v3, iTunes, etc….

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17 minutes ago, austinpop said:

I've had my eye on the Cybershaft reference clock

It's great that you've been able to source one.  Cybershaft sounds like a great name for some DPRK malware.

NUC7PJYH/AL --> Berkeley Alpha USB --> Jeff Rowland Aeris --> Jeff Rowland 625 S2 --> Focal Utopia 3 Diablos with 2 x Focal Electra SW 1000 BE subs

 

i7-6700K/Windows 10 Version 2004/HDPLEX 300W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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33 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

I've only ever had borrowed mR's for a few weeks at a time, but I've never seen any network issues with bridging, using DHCP with the mR.

 

I don't think the problem and potential solution lie in static IP addressing.

 

If Jesus can't help you, then your last resort is a hail Mary. :D

Haha, good one!

 

I don't know what the issue is, but it happens a lot and rebooting the mR always fixes it.  I definitely prefer the sound with the bridged connection, but the frequent mR rebooting is a nuisance.

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10 hours ago, elan120 said:

@Bamber, G-10 is an excellent material for this application, and hope you don't mind me offer couple tips in cutting (hopefully not something you already know)...1) G-10 is a hard and abrasive material, using regular saw blade will dull the blade rather quickly, and it is best to use a carbide cutter and set the feed speed slow.  2) The dust generated from machining contains very fine fiberglass, breathing these powder is extremely harmful to the lung, and contact with skin will make you itch easily, so wear good quality personal protection gears while fabricating, and I high recommend using respirator, long sleeve closing, and surgical gloves.  Although the second tip may look to be excessive, but it is not especially when working with materials like G-10, FR4, carbonfiber...etc.

 

Hope this helps, and let me know in case you have questions about getting your back plate cut.

Hi,

 

Could you provide link or pic where is this G-10 material being mentioned? I have not heard about this material before, so I would like to find out more.

 

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31 minutes ago, lateboomer said:

Hi,

 

Could you provide link or pic where is this G-10 material being mentioned? I have not heard about this material before, so I would like to find out more.

 

 

 

Below post has a finished back plate made out of G-10.

 

 

Here is the link to the brief description of G-10.

 

 

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