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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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Really? You are so naive...O.o:ph34r:


Aqua Acoustics La Voce + Luxman 505uXmkII + Audio PC LPS+Neutrino clock+SoTm USBexp + Win10 + Fidelizer Pro

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On 4/2/2018 at 11:42 PM, Johnseye said:

Kind of like when Pioneer stopped making TVs after the Elite line of plasmas. 

 

I still have my FT-101PRO Elite plasma.  Still hard to beat.  But Samsung got their tech.  I just don’t see anyone taking on the Oppo tech, though. 

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1 hour ago, Hauser said:

This is what I have been thinking for some time now too.  Should it not be asked of SOTM, why they don't offer a TX USB with a direct connected 10MHz clock to the card rather than selling expensive upgrade clocks, making the previous ones redundant and adding more and more boxes and cables?

 

Martin.

 

I wish that's so simple but tX-USBultra can't work with 10MHz reference clock directly. It does require 12MHz system clock (that's why it's shipped with sCLK-EX12 in the first place) and 10MHz reference clock is optional.

 

Regarding sCLK-EX, once again those 50Ω RF cables terminated with tiny little U.FL connectors might happen to be the weakest link. For now we could get the ones from Digi-Key etc. while "much better" ones might not be available unless we're willing to cut those expensive 50Ω clock cables up ourselves. Of course we're assuming they're thin enough for U.FL connectors to begin with.

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On ‎06‎/‎04‎/‎2018 at 3:39 PM, auricgoldfinger said:

 

I have two sPS-500's, one with the Evox caps and the other without.  When powering a tX-USBultra, I prefer the supply with the Evox caps.  The sound is more open as if a veil were lifted.  I didn't spend time doing a more detailed analysis because the difference was quite obvious when I first made the substitution.

 

I'm not really sure what May means by more energy, but it's hard for me to imagine why better caps would be detrimental to an audio device, and particularly, a reference clock.  I have never heard anyone complain after upgrading caps.

I hope you don't mind me asking, but can I ask how much the Evox caps mod costs?  In your case did you order as a modified unit, or was it a case of you sending you existing sPS-500 back to SOtM for the upgrade?


Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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1 hour ago, Confused said:

I hope you don't mind me asking, but can I ask how much the Evox caps mod costs?  In your case did you order as a modified unit, or was it a case of you sending you existing sPS-500 back to SOtM for the upgrade?

 

I don't mind.  SOtM charges $125 per device for the Evox caps.  I ordered both my sCLK-OCX10 and sPS-500 with Evox caps as modified units.  I would send my other sPS-500 back to Korea for an upgrade if the shipping cost alone weren't $150-175 for the round trip.


 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Confused said:

I hope you don't mind me asking, but can I ask how much the Evox caps mod costs?  In your case did you order as a modified unit, or was it a case of you sending you existing sPS-500 back to SOtM for the upgrade?

 May quoted me USD100 to upgrade the sCLK-OCX10 caps to Evox when ordering.  I am in the UK and would expect Elite Audio to charge the same (incl. VAT) for that upgrade when ordering through them.  I’ve just ordered an sCLK-OCX10 without that upgrade.


Zenith SE > USPCB (5v off) > tX-USBultra 9V (SR4) > Sablon Reserva Elite USB > M Scaler > WAVE Stream bnc > DAVE > Prion4/Lazuli Reference > Utopia/LCD-4/HE1000se

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4 hours ago, seeteeyou said:

I wish that's so simple but tX-USBultra can't work with 10MHz reference clock directly. It does require 12MHz system clock (that's why it's shipped with sCLK-EX12 in the first place) and 10MHz reference clock is optional.

Clearly you need the sCLK-EX in the tX-USBultra to provide the master clock connector to synchronize with the 10Mhz clock.  I think the underlying question is whether the quality of the internal reference clock on the tX-USBultra still makes a difference when it's using the 10MHz master clock input.  I think it's a good question.


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 1903/HDPLEX 200W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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My Mac Mini Uptone MMK upgrade worked out, in spite of the instructions being really rough and trying to follow 3 different sets of "tear down" videos in lieu of better instructions, and the sound after a couple of days is improved by a fair amount vs. pre-upgrade, and a bit over the immediate post-upgrade sound.  In my case this is coupled with an Uptone JS-2 LPS, and since that's the only only 12v LPS I own, I can't yet compare the individual impact of the JS-2 vs. the MMK powered by some other LPS.  When I get my LPS 1.2, I will maybe do a side-by-side and see if the JS-2 is better, and by how much. 

 

I would say the biggest improvement is to the size of the soundstage, which got wider but probably more notably taller (which has actually been something I've been seeking in my system/room).  There is more air now too, after another day or so.  The improvements really took a day of burn in to come out, and in reality I'm only 36 hours in so perhaps it will improve further.  These upgrades made a bigger improvement than the SD card OS upgrade, alone anyway.  If you already own a spare 12v LPS, then the MMK is a really cheap Mac Mini upgrade if you're handy enough not to brick your Mac Mini in the tear down and put-back-together steps.  Since I spent another $1k on the additional LPS (even though it will power my SOTM switch when that arrives too), then the cost now puts the Mini + PS into close to $2k, and more with a good mains cable for the JS-2.  Now you're into or above where you could probably build or even buy a pretty decent Windows or Linux low-powered server, right?  That would be an interesting side-by-side, which someone probably already did in the 300 previous pages and I don't remember now.

 

In the upgrade I think I broke the IR connection, and related/not-related the little light that shows whether the Mac is on or not is also not working.  That's slightly inconvenient on a headless Mac, but my connected drive has a light which tells me whether it's receiving power or not as a substitute.  I'll assume it's for the better since I had already turned off the IR anyway, and that little light was probably introducing all kinds of noise into the computer!  It's a feature!

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16 hours ago, seeteeyou said:

 

Well, I learned something new from reading this post by @romaz and maybe the question is more like this - why don't we go for an OCXO system clock directly (provided that we're able to source an OCXO with the right frequency) instead of resorting to 10MHz reference clock with a significant degradation?

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/review-comparison-of-5-high-end-digital-music-servers-aurender-n10-cad-cat-server-totaldac-d1-server-auralic-aries-audiophile-vortex-box.787020/page-79#post-14120317

 

Before sCLK-EX was introduced, we could only find a very limited number of components with 10MHz clock inputs by default. Now we do have an option to modify anything with sCLK-EX ourselves or pay SOtM to do that for non-audio devices. However, the clocks inside sCLK-EX itself will be disabled once we sync them with 10MHz reference clock and therefore we might wanna ask ourselves how could we pay so much for those relatively expensive clocks in the first place when we aren't really using them? On top of that, we're also paying for a REALLY expensive 10MHz reference clock while it's inevitable that signal is gonna be degraded significantly as mentioned above.

 

Anyways, the improvement is still there and it ain't even a subtle difference for sure. Though part of it might simply owe to the fact that most system clocks should be pretty lousy to begin with.

 

I started to respond to this, then paused and said to myself: "This feels like deja vu." And no wonder. 9_9 Here's my own post from a couple of months ago. See if this makes sense.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, austinpop said:

I started to respond to this, then paused and said to myself: "This feels like deja vu." And no wonder. 9_9 Here's my own post from a couple of months ago. See if this makes sense.

 

 

 

It's even more striking when that $659 The Linear Solution OCXO switch (with $55 Connor-Winfield OH4610LF-025.0M) turned out to sound as good as modified D-Link 5-port switch powered by sCLK-EX + Mutec REF 10 + Paul Hynes SR7 combo

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/review-comparison-of-5-high-end-digital-music-servers-aurender-n10-cad-cat-server-totaldac-d1-server-auralic-aries-audiophile-vortex-box.787020/page-78#post-14117902

 

Heck, the clock cable (i.e. €700 Habst 5N Cryo) alone would cost more than The Linear Solution switch itself. What's going on?

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I got a sMS-200ultra on loan. I will be comparing it to my sCLK-EX server tonight

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18 minutes ago, mozes said:

I got a sMS-200ultra on loan. I will be comparing it to my sCLK-EX server tonight

 

Good timing.  Rajiv will be bringing Eric's next Sunday.  We'll be able to share comparisons.  Looking forward to your impressions.  Are you able to feed the sMS from a non-sCLK modified server as well?


Digital chain: Synology DS1815+ -> SOtM sNH-10G-> Custom 2016 Server (sCLK-EX modified motherboard, Mutec REF 10)-> AL NUC NA (sCLK-EX modified)->  Holo Spring L3 -> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H, JL Fathom sub

Power: Paul Hynes SR7, Uptone LPS-1.2, sPS-500, Topaz 91001-31 Isolation Transformer

Analog chain: VPI Prime with Ortofon Quintet Black cart -> Simaudio Neo 310LP-> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H

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4 hours ago, jay said:

When I get my LPS 1.2, I will maybe do a side-by-side and see if the JS-2 is better, and by how much. 

 

 

The LPS 1.2 will not provide enough current to power the MMK, unless i am mistaken (1.1A vs 5A )

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1 hour ago, Johnseye said:

 

Good timing.  Rajiv will be bringing Eric's next Sunday.  We'll be able to share comparisons.  Looking forward to your impressions.  Are you able to feed the sMS from a non-sCLK modified server as well?

I mainly want to use it without any PC server at all. Bubble UPNP on my Android Tab streaming Tidal to the sms-200ultra configured as a renderer.

 

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1 hour ago, mozes said:

I got a sMS-200ultra on loan. I will be comparing it to my sCLK-EX server tonight

 

Nice! Can you enumerate what will be the 2 chains you will be comparing?

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Just now, austinpop said:

 

Nice! Can you enumerate what will be the 2 chains you will be comparing?

I want to keep it simple.

1-sCLK server>tX-USBultra>tX-USBultra

2-sMS-200ultra>tX-USBultra>tX-USBultra

 

I will be using the same sPS-500 to power my server and the 200ultra to keep it ? to ? 

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Just now, mozes said:

I want to keep it simple.

1-sCLK server>tX-USBultra>tX-USBultra

2-sMS-200ultra>tX-USBultra>tX-USBultra

 

I will be using the same sPS-500 to power my server and the 200ultra to keep it ? to ? 

 

Looking forward to it!

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1 hour ago, Frojo said:

 

The LPS 1.2 will not provide enough current to power the MMK, unless i am mistaken (1.1A vs 5A )

 

You're spot on...thank you.

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I'm not surprised by the results, quite expected.  Thanks @mozes.  


(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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I also need to clarify that if I used Jplaystreamer with the sCLK server instead of Jriver DLNA then the gap with the sCLK server would be larger. I didn’t use it as it is Jplaystreamer is not available in the sMS-200ultra. 

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8 minutes ago, ElviaCaprice said:

I'm not surprised by the results, quite expected.  Thanks @mozes.  I suspect a simple sCLK-EX server with tXBexp USB, good power fed throughout will give just as close results.  For the price and flexibility in options, is what I still would suggest to anyone looking for great source SQ server/endpoint to DAC, whether internet or HDD streaming.  I have not seen any viable option that rivals it, yet, to date, once cost and software flexability are factored in.  Keep it so simple, reigns again.

Yes you can build an sCLK server for under $2K, and almost nothing at that price can beat it. At least for now!

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17 minutes ago, mozes said:

I also need to clarify that if I used Jplaystreamer with the sCLK server instead of Jriver DLNA then the gap with the sCLK server would be larger. I didn’t use it as it is Jplaystreamer is not available in the sMS-200ultra. 

Okay, I'll bite, why use Jplaystreamer with sCLK server?  Are you saying that this media player gives you better SQ than JRiver direct USB to DAC?  Or better as Rob Watts would say, you like the sound of this RF noise maker more so?  x-D


(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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31 minutes ago, ElviaCaprice said:

Okay, I'll bite, why use Jplaystreamer with sCLK server?  Are you saying that this media player gives you better SQ than JRiver direct USB to DAC?  Or better as Rob Watts would say, you like the sound of this RF noise more so?  x-D

Jplaystreamer is also direct usb to dac. It is just another software on the sCLK server. Try installing it on your PC. I only use it with Tidal. http://jplay.eu/download/

You can try it for free

 

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2 hours ago, mozes said:

Yes you can build an sCLK server for under $2K, and almost nothing at that price can beat it. At least for now!

This is great info. May I ask, is it necessary to replace the mb’s system-, lan-, etc clock by the sclk? Or can one benefit by letting the sclk take controll over 1 or 2 usb cards and and approach that level? And what’s the difference between the sclk-ex and this sclk48?

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