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

The Computer Audiophile

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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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I agree, you should be skeptical by this phenomenon that I have no explanation for. I'm sure Sonore and SOtM are skeptical also but SOtM is interested enough that they are now doing their own internal testing. But what I am suggesting is easy enough and inexpensive enough for many to implement and so I am hoping people will try it and give feedback. I suspect a community effort can only lead to better things. As for me being the only one, actually Jelt2359 has independently tried it in his system (Windows PC > sMS-200) and is hearing the same thing I am hearing.

 

That's great news. My Aries Mini attaches to my router via a long run to the other side of the house. This is about an 80' run. The NAS/music server is next to the router.

 

Assuming the Synology bridging works, I'll certainly try it. But I don't have any fancy PSes on the NAS or router, just FMC isolation between router and streamer.

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That's great news. My Aries Mini attaches to my router via a long run to the other side of the house. This is about an 80' run. The NAS/music server is next to the router.

 

Assuming the Synology bridging works, I'll certainly try it. But I don't have any fancy PSes on the NAS or router, just FMC isolation between router and streamer.

Don't let the lack of any other devices stop you. This tweak (if you want to call it that) stands on its own merit. Even when I use my noisy Mac Pro which is not optimized for audio at all, the benefits of doing this are still very very obvious.

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Don't let the lack of any other devices stop you. This tweak (if you want to call it that) stands on its own merit. Even when I use my noisy Mac Pro which is not optimized for audio at all, the benefits of doing this are still very very obvious.

 

Glad to see you bringing up the topic of eliminating the Ethernet switch from your chain. What's old is new again. ;) From a little over 3 years ago:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f27-uptone-audio-sponsored/uh-oh-i-beat-my-sd-card-trick%3B-bypass-your-ethernet-switch-and-make-your-external-drives-sound-close-ram-disk-using-apple-thunderbolt-ethernet-adaptor-and-second-network-connection-18475/

 

I must admit though, I have not yet tried or been successful with bridging (was fussing with ifconfig until you pointed out OS X's "Manage Virtual Interfaces" controls) such that I could directly connect my microRendu to run it as NAA for HQ Player. HQ Player is fussy about the NAA getting a DHCP-assigned IP address. So if I have the time to fidget with this again, that would be my goal.

 

I find my tweaked Mac mini (JS-2, beta-enchanced and galvanically-isolated REGEN powered by LPS-1, slimmed SD-card boot, etc.)--directly wired to my desktop (BJ/Belden CAT6a) for shared drive music access and headless control--sounds so good running HQ Player. I really think the only reason it presently beats my LPS-1-powered microRendu as NAA by just a hair is because I have not yet been able to get the mR/NAA to work with a direct to desktop connection (and I admit that I do not have an LPS on my Cisco switch or any LAN isolators).

 

But now that I see OS X's easy GUI controls for bridging, I may take another pass at this. Can anyone here confirm that they can get a Mac running HQ Player to play to a microRendu as NASS with a direct computer to mR cable? That's my only goal at the moment.

 

Thanks!

 

--Alex C.

 

P.S. My iMac on my desk has an Apple Thunderbolt>Ethernet adapter (with cable to my Cisco switch; DHCP addresses coming from the ADSL modem connected to the switch), and the 25ft. BlueJeans/Belden cable is plugged into the iMac's built-in Ethernet port (EN0) and runs straight to the DAC-connected 2012 i7 Mac mini (where I presently run HQP).

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Glad to see you bringing up the topic of eliminating the Ethernet switch from your chain. What's old is new again. ;) From a little over 3 years ago:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f27-uptone-audio-sponsored/uh-oh-i-beat-my-sd-card-trick%3B-bypass-your-ethernet-switch-and-make-your-external-drives-sound-close-ram-disk-using-apple-thunderbolt-ethernet-adaptor-and-second-network-connection-18475/

 

I must admit though, I have not yet tried or been successful with bridging (was fussing with ifconfig until you pointed out OS X's "Manage Virtual Interfaces" controls) such that I could directly connect my microRendu to run it as NAA for HQ Player. HQ Player is fussy about the NAA getting a DHCP-assigned IP address. So if I have the time to fidget with this again, that would be my goal.

 

I find my tweaked Mac mini (JS-2, beta-enchanced and galvanically-isolated REGEN powered by LPS-1, slimmed SD-card boot, etc.)--directly wired to my desktop (BJ/Belden CAT6a) for shared drive music access and headless control--sounds so good running HQ Player. I really think the only reason it presently beats my LPS-1-powered microRendu as NAA by just a hair is because I have not yet been able to get the mR/NAA to work with a direct to desktop connection (and I admit that I do not have an LPS on my Cisco switch or any LAN isolators).

 

But now that I see OS X's easy GUI controls for bridging, I may take another pass at this. Can anyone here confirm that they can get a Mac running HQ Player to play to a microRendu as NASS with a direct computer to mR cable? That's my only goal at the moment.

 

Thanks!

 

--Alex C.

 

P.S. My iMac on my desk has an Apple Thunderbolt>Ethernet adapter (with cable to my Cisco switch; DHCP addresses coming from the ADSL modem connected to the switch), and the 25ft. BlueJeans/Belden cable is plugged into the iMac's built-in Ethernet port (EN0) and runs straight to the DAC-connected 2012 i7 Mac mini (where I presently run HQP).

Hi Alex,

 

During my research into this direct connection, I came across your pioneering efforts and was inspired by it. Much credit goes to you.

 

As for HQ Player, I have tried it with Roon and with my sMS-200 in HQP NAA mode, this direct connection works beautifully. I'm afraid my microRendu is out on loan at the moment but I see no reason why it wouldn't work in the same way. Since you are already equipped for direct connection with your setup, please let us know what you find.

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Just a quick note to say I have succeeded in using network bridging with my fanless Windows 10 PC to give my microRendu a direct network connection to this PC. I cheated a little by plugging a USB3-to-Gigabit adapter into this PC to use as a second NIC to connect the microRendu.

 

I'm glad HQ Player can see the microRendu as NAA over a bridged network. I did have trouble with this same HW setup while running Windows Server 2012 R2 instead of Windows 10. I should probably go back and boot WS 2012 R2 again to give network bridging another go.

 

As for listening test, it's getting late here in California and tomorrow is a normal work day, so I need to take a raincheck.

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Glad to see you bringing up the topic of eliminating the Ethernet switch from your chain. What's old is new again. ;) From a little over 3 years ago:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f27-uptone-audio-sponsored/uh-oh-i-beat-my-sd-card-trick%3B-bypass-your-ethernet-switch-and-make-your-external-drives-sound-close-ram-disk-using-apple-thunderbolt-ethernet-adaptor-and-second-network-connection-18475/

 

" HQ Player is fussy about the NAA getting a DHCP-assigned IP address. So if I have the time to fidget with this again, that would be my goal."

 

This is my only concern about trying this (Romaz) tweak. So as a proof of concept (for me at least) cant I just connect my microRendu/Ethernet cabling directly to my pc's 2nd Ethernet port? I know I wont have access to the internet for microRendu updates and all but if this works I'll know that HQPlayer will find the microRendu. And if it does then taking the next step of bridging will be an easy decision. Since I do not fully understand networking I am concerned about going back to a router connection if this whole thing does not work for me.

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The idea that the switch has deleterious effect on SQ has no basis when optical Ethernet is used, and when LPS or batteries are used to supply the switch. I suppose a faulty piece of equipment could be a problem but generally the optical switch will reclock and clean any signal degradation.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


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I tell you my experience.

I recently changed my network configuration.

In short, what I did was to remove the additional switch used to connect renderer and NAS to the main home network.

The improvement was remarkable.

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Ok, MASSIVE is a bit of an overstatement at this level of high-end audio but now that I have your attention, I would say that this improvement is quite significant, nonetheless, and once you hear it, I suspect you will not wish to go back to your previous setup. More importantly, this is neither difficult nor expensive to implement.

 

 

We have two ethernet ports on our sonicTransporter HQplayer addation just for this purpose.

 

https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/collections/custom-units/products/sonictransporter-roon-server-hqplayer'>https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/collections/custom-units/products/sonictransporter-roon-server-hqplayer

 

 

sonicTransporter for HQplayer has the fastest processor avalible (skylake i7) and the fastest m.2 (Samsung Pro 3.2 GB/s transfer rate) So it's a very good machine for running HQplayer and Roon Server on one quiet fanless box.

 

You could easilly set up bridging between the two ports so you could have a dedicated Ethernet line for your microRendu.

 

Also if anybody is interested I could set up our sonicTranspoter i5 with a USB Ethernet port in bridged mode.

 

If you are interested in any of these solution click the contact us button at the bottom of our home page

 

https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/


agillis

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http://www.smallgreencomputer.com/

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Glad to see you bringing up the topic of eliminating the Ethernet switch from your chain. What's old is new again. ;) From a little over 3 years ago:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f27-uptone-audio-sponsored/uh-oh-i-beat-my-sd-card-trick%3B-bypass-your-ethernet-switch-and-make-your-external-drives-sound-close-ram-disk-using-apple-thunderbolt-ethernet-adaptor-and-second-network-connection-18475/

 

" HQ Player is fussy about the NAA getting a DHCP-assigned IP address. So if I have the time to fidget with this again, that would be my goal."

 

This is my only concern about trying this (Romaz) tweak. So as a proof of concept (for me at least) cant I just connect my microRendu/Ethernet cabling directly to my pc's 2nd Ethernet port? I know I wont have access to the internet for microRendu updates and all but if this works I'll know that HQPlayer will find the microRendu. And if it does then taking the next step of bridging will be an easy decision. Since I do not fully understand networking I am concerned about going back to a router connection if this whole thing does not work for me.

Your microRendu needs to be assigned an IP address somehow which is why you would need connection to a router unless you had some other device on board that can provide this function. Now, OSX can serve as a DHCP server and I was able to access my sMS-200 directly this way without my router being in the picture and it sounded just as good when the music I had stored locally was played back but then I could only control it from the computer. Remote control from any other device like my iPad was no longer possible. Furthermore, there were stability issues as this connection would eventually "time out" and the system would need to be rebooted for it work again.

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The idea that the switch has deleterious effect on SQ has no basis when optical Ethernet is used, and when LPS or batteries are used to supply the switch. I suppose a faulty piece of equipment could be a problem but generally the optical switch will reclock and clean any signal degradation.

 

I hear you. I have optical ethernet employed in my system with the receiving FMC powered by an LPS-1. I also employ a Paul Pang switch with TCXO clock powered by an LPS-1 within 1 meter of my music server to do just what you describe and yet none of this matters. Direct connection still sounds better. Way better

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We have two ethernet ports on our sonicTransporter HQplayer addation just for this purpose.

 

https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/collections/custom-units/products/sonictransporter-roon-server-hqplayer'>https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/collections/custom-units/products/sonictransporter-roon-server-hqplayer

 

 

sonicTransporter for HQplayer has the fastest processor avalible (skylake i7) and the fastest m.2 (Samsung Pro 3.2 GB/s transfer rate) So it's a very good machine for running HQplayer and Roon Server on one quiet fanless box.

 

You could easilly set up bridging between the two ports so you could have a dedicated Ethernet line for your microRendu.

 

Also if anybody is interested I could set up our sonicTranspoter i5 with a USB Ethernet port in bridged mode.

 

If you are interested in any of these solution click the contact us button at the bottom of our home page

 

https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/

Sounds like 2 great options, Andrew!

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Your microRendu needs to be assigned an IP address somehow which is why you would need connection to a router unless you had some other device on board that can provide this function. Now, OSX can serve as a DHCP server and I was able to access my sMS-200 directly this way without my router being in the picture and it sounded just as good when the music I had stored locally was played back but then I could only control it from the computer. Remote control from any other device like my iPad was no longer possible. Furthermore, there were stability issues as this connection would eventually "time out" and the system would need to be rebooted for it work again.

Ok so it won't work without a router. Thanks.

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sonicTransporter for HQplayer has the fastest processor avalible (skylake i7) and the fastest m.2 (Samsung Pro 3.2 GB/s transfer rate)

 

Which processor do you use actually?

 

Matt

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Your microRendu needs to be assigned an IP address somehow which is why you would need connection to a router unless you had some other device on board that can provide this function. Now, OSX can serve as a DHCP server and I was able to access my sMS-200 directly this way without my router being in the picture and it sounded just as good when the music I had stored locally was played back but then I could only control it from the computer. Remote control from any other device like my iPad was no longer possible. Furthermore, there were stability issues as this connection would eventually "time out" and the system would need to be rebooted for it work again.

Just so I can understand what I am doing. You said in your original post that when you hooked an Ethernet connection from your mac to the SmS 200 your Mac set up the address. How do I do that on my pc since does it does not have DHCP server capability. If so I think I am stuck. Also I did the ipconfig cmd and it shows an Ethernet adapter (ok no surprise) but then it shows a tunnel adapter. What is that? Also I did the cmd with and without my connection to the Rendu and its description on ipconfig changes so I know that it is referring to this link to the Rendu. But it shows no ip address that is identical or related to what I get on MySonicorbiter link. Totally confused on this.

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Just a quick note to say I have succeeded in using network bridging with my fanless Windows 10 PC to give my microRendu a direct network connection to this PC. I cheated a little by plugging a USB3-to-Gigabit adapter into this PC to use as a second NIC to connect the microRendu.

 

I'm glad HQ Player can see the microRendu as NAA over a bridged network. I did have trouble with this same HW setup while running Windows Server 2012 R2 instead of Windows 10. I should probably go back and boot WS 2012 R2 again to give network bridging another go.

 

As for listening test, it's getting late here in California and tomorrow is a normal work day, so I need to take a raincheck.

Today I discovered that even network bridging is not absolutely necessary. The second NIC of the HQ Player PC can be assigned a static IP address belonging to a different subnet than the first NIC, and an app like Tiny PXE Server can act as DHCP server on the second subnet to assign an IP address to the NAA (microRendu in my case). It works beautifully, and the NAA being on a different subnet sees pretty much only the streaming audio traffic sent by HQ Player, and none of the usual networking stuff on the first subnet (with internet access).

 

The above may be old news to some folks here, but is a bit of a new find for me.

 

Next, I plan to experiment with adding Ethernet isolator to this "private" network between HQ Player PC and NAA, as well as forcing networking speed down to 100Mbps, to see how the SQ changes.

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Just so I can understand what I am doing. You said in your original post that when you hooked an Ethernet connection from your mac to the SmS 200 your Mac set up the address. How do I do that on my pc since does it does not have DHCP server capability. If so I think I am stuck. Also I did the ipconfig cmd and it shows an Ethernet adapter (ok no surprise) but then it shows a tunnel adapter. What is that? Also I did the cmd with and without my connection to the Rendu and its description on ipconfig changes so I know that it is referring to this link to the Rendu. But it shows no ip address that is identical or related to what I get on MySonicorbiter link. Totally confused on this.

 

For a PC you can download Tiny PXE Server from reboot.pro to use as DHCP server. As mentioned in my previous post, network bridging is unnecessary and the two NICs can be kept on different subnets. For example, the first NIC can be on the "general home network" subnet, e.g. 192.168.0.x, and the second NIC dedicated to connecting the microRendu can be on a different subnet, e.g 192.168.1.x. One way to achieve this is to assign a static IP address to the second NIC. Tiny PXE Server, when configured properly, will take care of assigning a proper IP address to the microRendu connected to the second NIC.

 

One catch with such a separate subnet configuration is that the microRendu config menus can only be accessed with a browser running on the HQ Player PC, and then only with the assigned IP address of the microRendu typed into the browser URL. Typing sonicorbiter.com into the URL box is unlikely to work.

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Today I discovered that even network bridging is not absolutely necessary. The second NIC of the HQ Player PC can be assigned a static IP address belonging to a different subnet than the first NIC, and an app like Tiny PXE Server can act as DHCP server on the second subnet to assign an IP address to the NAA (microRendu in my case). It works beautifully, and the NAA being on a different subnet sees pretty much only the streaming audio traffic sent by HQ Player, and none of the usual networking stuff on the first subnet (with internet access).

 

The above may be old news to some folks here, but is a bit of a new find for me.

 

Next, I plan to experiment with adding Ethernet isolator to this "private" network between HQ Player PC and NAA, as well as forcing networking speed down to 100Mbps, to see how the SQ changes.

Thanks for sharing this. What about your listening experience?

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Thanks for this great and informative post. I like reading such posts that bring new insights to our hobby.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

 

Agreed. Thanks Romaz, a real service to the audio community.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Tidal Streaming only: ATL DC Blocker > Topaz 2.5Kva Isolation Transformer > Sine SA5 Cryo 5 power stripAqvox 8 port network switch NUC Roonserver (16gb Audiolinux Headless RAMboot, Akasa Fanless case) NUC Roon endpoint (4gb Audiolinux Headless RAMboot, Akasa Fanless case) > USPCB > ISO Regen (Battery powered) > Sonore Ultradigital (powered by LPS-1) > PS Audio Directstream Junior Dac > Decware SE84UFO3 Mono Amps > Omega Super Alnico Monitors.

NUCs powered by 2x Paul Hynes SR4s & switch powered by modded Teradak DC30W & LT3045 voltage regulators & PoE Quad Cat DC cables

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For a PC you can download Tiny PXE Server from reboot.pro to use as DHCP server. As mentioned in my previous post, network bridging is unnecessary and the two NICs can be kept on different subnets. For example, the first NIC can be on the "general home network" subnet, e.g. 192.168.0.x, and the second NIC dedicated to connecting the microRendu can be on a different subnet, e.g 192.168.1.x. One way to achieve this is to assign a static IP address to the second NIC. Tiny PXE Server, when configured properly, will take care of assigning a proper IP address to the microRendu connected to the second NIC.

 

One catch with such a separate subnet configuration is that the microRendu config menus can only be accessed with a browser running on the HQ Player PC, and then only with the assigned IP address of the microRendu typed into the browser URL. Typing sonicorbiter.com into the URL box is unlikely to work.

Ok scan this a brilliant answer to my dilemma but I went to Tiny PXE server site and I can't figure out what to download and what to do. Is there any beginners notes or easy way to figure this out for a network newbie?

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Yeah @scan80269

 

How does it sound? [emoji442] [emoji848]

 

Diskless boot sounds terrific -- my NAA is battery powered, diskless and boots from fiberoptic Ethernet


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