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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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3 minutes ago, hols said:

 

I find the best combination is Intona Ultimate from NAA computer to SOtM Tx USB ultra and Lush 2 A: B-W-Y-R  B: B-W-R from SOtM to DAC

 

Aah so here our findings diverge. For some reason in my setup the Sablon going into the tx-usbultra followed by Lush^2 into DAC resulted in a sort of crackling noise - like static on a record player. But crackling aside I didn't here anything in this combo (like additional details) that was missing in the Lush^2>Lush^2 combo. Might give that another listen when I get home.


AudioLinux NUCi7DNKE server (powered by SPS-500) > AudioLinux NUCi7DNBE endpoint (powered by LPS-1.2) > PS Audio Directstream DAC > Hegel P20 Pre > PS Audio M700 monoblocks > Salk Sound Supercharged Songtowers

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So the little network on the Lush^2 cable is a filter for common mode noise? Dependant on the crud from the source the filter responds. The image quality does suffer when the USB cable is not the right one, e.g. Curious in my system, it sucked badly, other cables were fine. Pity there's no automatic compensation system to determine the noise, then apply the filter, one can dream or just use an Ethernet to Analog converter. 

Interesting concept though, the jumpers would need review once the source was changed, at least the Lush^2 is flexible enough to change. Pity eye measuring systems are expensive and out of reach for us hobbyists, you could watch the eye and tune as you go.


AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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What about Clarity Cable Natural or small brother (Organic)?

 

AFAIK they implementing a good shield and the Clarity Cable Natural USB cable already Roy is using it so far if i'm right.

 

https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/?do=findComment&comment=697211

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8 hours ago, hols said:

I can use an arbitrary scale 1 to 10 to describe the improvements. 

Intona Ultimate awarded 8. The improvement is mainly towards detail and timing, less so over musicality

Lush 2 A: B-W-Y-R  B: B-W-R  awarded 5. The improvement is most significant over 3-D , imaging, layering

Lush 2 A: B-Y & W-R  B: B-Y & W-R  B: B-Y & W-R awarded 5 . The improvement is mainly over musicality and timbre.

Lush 2 A: B-W & Y-R  B: B-W & Y-R (JSSG 360) awarded 2 . The improvement is comprehensive. 

Lush 1 and Lush 2 is 1

 

I find the best combination is Intona Ultimate from NAA computer to SOtM Tx USB ultra and Lush 2 A: B-W-Y-R  B: B-W-R from SOtM to DAC. Of all the cables Intona Ultimate is indispensable because you would lose half of your detail. The position of Lush 2 can be substituted with other cables but you would need probably 5 times its price before you can get the same level of its improvement.

Intona Ultimate in combination with Lush 2 is a synergistic combination. 1+1 is more than 2 in my opinion.

 

Thanks again!

 

BTW - I am particularly struck about your finding about the Intona Ultimate in the upstream position, upstream of the tX-USBultra. I have not found that position to have much of an impact in my past tests, but I will be sure to try it again.

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9 minutes ago, sig8 said:

What is A: B-W-Y-R  B: B-W-R....,etc? Sorry just can't comprehend.

 

The Lush^2 is configurable with different combinations of wires connected to the different available connections. The A: B-W-R is @PeterSt from Phasure nomenclature for describing the different configurations. 

 

See the Lush^2 thread in the general forum for more info.


AudioLinux NUCi7DNKE server (powered by SPS-500) > AudioLinux NUCi7DNBE endpoint (powered by LPS-1.2) > PS Audio Directstream DAC > Hegel P20 Pre > PS Audio M700 monoblocks > Salk Sound Supercharged Songtowers

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12 hours ago, hols said:

So it seems that both material & specification(Intona claims Ultimate 90 Ohm +/- 0.2 Ohm, Reference 90 Ohm +/- 0.5 Ohm) as well as shielding are all important in the final outcome of the sound generated. 

Lush 2.jpg

 

Have you ever tried Viard Platinum HD MasterSync (as a clock cable) by any chance? Race Wong (Hiendy's forum mod) seemed to like that very much while they're also demonstrating 75Ω ± 0.2Ω as follows

 

https://post76.hk/news/2017/11/viard-platinum-hd/

http://my-hiend.com/wp/法國線材專業品牌-viard-audio-ceo-訪談/

http://designwsound.com/dwsblog/2018/05/viard-platinum-hd-mastersync-audiotechnique/

G1YvtBR.jpg 1hs3q5P.jpg

 

7KWzP1j.jpg

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38 minutes ago, BigAlMc said:

 

The Lush^2 is configurable with different combinations of wires connected to the different available connections. The A: B-W-R is @PeterSt from Phasure nomenclature for describing the different configurations. 

 

See the Lush^2 thread in the general forum for more info.

Thank you. My Lush-2 comes in couple of days.

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23 minutes ago, sig8 said:

Thank you. My Lush-2 comes in couple of days.

 

Great stuff. Let us know how you get on with it.

 

Meantime check out the Lush^2 thread as there's many different options and a few configurations getting a lot of recommendations.

 

Its a bit complicated, to me at least, but the system describes what connectors are connected (and in which order) on each side. So A: B-W-R is Black White Red on the USB A connector.

 

Kinda mind boggling but easy to master once you play around with it.

 

Cheers,

Alan


AudioLinux NUCi7DNKE server (powered by SPS-500) > AudioLinux NUCi7DNBE endpoint (powered by LPS-1.2) > PS Audio Directstream DAC > Hegel P20 Pre > PS Audio M700 monoblocks > Salk Sound Supercharged Songtowers

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38 minutes ago, lmitche said:

$4000 of power supplies, isolation transformers, 2 lps1.2s, 1 iso regen, 1 lush cable and DAC

2 x LPS-1.2, ISO REGEN and Lush is around $1500.  If you're still using an iFi micro iDSD BL, that's only $600.  So what's the other $1900?


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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45 minutes ago, rickca said:

2 x LPS-1.2, ISO REGEN and Lush is around $1500.  If you're still using an iFi micro iDSD BL, that's only $600.  So what's the other $1900?

Here is some of it:

 

3 low amp ac isolation transformers $100 each, 1 balanced power transformer $700, ram $80, 4 power cords $150, 3 Gotham power cables and mumetal sleeves ~$300, 4 lt3045s $100, and 3 Lpses $200 each, USPCB.... My estimate is probably low.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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10 hours ago, lmitche said:

Having tested the few humble linear supplies at hand as power sources for the clean side NUC, the 19 volt AMB Sigma 11 with Mundorf caps beats the 13.5 volt Mundorf cap AMB Sigma 11 supply. Adding the 3 amp Mpaudio lt3045 regulator after the 13.5 volt AMB Sigma 11 results in the worse sound of the three options.

Any idea why 19V sounds better than 13.5V?  Or why the 3A MPAudio (6xLT3045) regulator didn't sound good? Interesting results.


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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On 9/23/2018 at 11:25 PM, lmitche said:

In one of the posts above I acknowledged that this NUC exercise is a recreation of a ethernet to usb streamer, a wireless one. And yes it is complicated to setup especially given the immature state of the NUC bios. But that challenge is part of the fun of this, at least for me.

 

I would like to say the sq is better than a microrendu or sms200 and their variants, but I can't. Years ago,  I had early versions of both here, and they were immature products with operational issues that prevented an adequate evaluation. Given this history I have nothing to say about SQ comparisons.

 Maybe I can jump in right here.

I have been reading and watching @Imitche's NUC experiments with interest.

I run a 6700k HQ rig using a Clones USB SHAAR card to a MINIX Neo NUC - Cherry Trail 4gb/32EMMC NAA- IsoRegen/UltraCap iFi Idsd BL - with injection from a LT3045 1 amp into the IsoRegen.

So pretty same same as all of you guys.

 

In my ranking:

HQPlayer USB out into DAC - 3

HQPlayer Clones USB out to DAC - 5

HQPlayer Ethernet out to Minix NAA - 6.0

HQPlayer Clones USB through a USB to ethernet /Bridge to MINIX NAA - 7.5

 

All of the above is with Win 10 PRO Fidelizer 8.2 Pro/Process Lasso and using Task Mgr to shut down to 40 process or so. The Ethernet is through a Netgear GS105 on 12 v linear DC PSU.

 

Then I switched OS to AO and Win Server 2016 Core Mode.

Just the last of the above options HQPlayer Clones USB through the USB/Ethernet/Bridge to Netgear GS105 to Minix NAA - SQ jumps to say 8.5 or so

 

I switch the NAA out to my latest SOTM Ultra Neo - everything else the same the SQ jumps to say 9.5.

My weekend experiment - No very fruitful I think

I will try a Laptop in place of my HQPlayer PC and stream Ethernet to my NAA/ISoRegen/iFi iDSD BL chain.

 

I think the Audiolinux OS change may be responsible for a LOT of the SQ jump. 

If my NAA's BIOS allows for a different OS - IT DOES NOT!  I would certainly try the Audiolinux OS.

May buy another NUC to try. I would go for NUC recommended by Jussi @Miska \ He has this and it can do DSD256 upsampling without a GPU

https://up-shop.org/home/179-up-squared-gatewaypentium-n4200-w8g-memory64g-emmc-boardwovesa-plate.html

 

Cheers

Happy Listening

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1 hour ago, rickca said:

Or why the 3A MPAudio (6xLT3045) regulator didn't sound good?

 Low noise isn't everything. You also need a very low output impedance that is virtually flat from D.C. to way past 100KHZ, preferably to 1MHZ.

Note also that the manufacturer makes no claims for it's suitability with HiFi Audio.

Applications
 RF Power Supplies: PLLs, VCOs, Mixers, LNAs, PAs
 Very Low Noise Instrumentation
 High Speed/High Precision Data Converters
 Medical Applications: Imaging, Diagnostics

 

In fact. it's need to use very low ESR capacitors virtually guarantees that HF detail will be accentuated UNLESS you also use some larger value normal (NOT Low ESR) parallel electrolytic capacitors. Using it straight after a typical PSU with a Bridge rectifier and large value conventional electrolytic capacitors will help to achieve this , as will using a parallel larger value electrolytic capacitor at it's output.

 However, this is at the expense of a reduction in speed which shouldn't normally be a problem with Analogue Audio .

 Several members have obtained a more balanced tonal presentation by doing this.

Micael, on the other hand, uses daisy chained LT3045s to obtain added HF detail. ¬¬


"If you can't hear the difference between an original CD and a copy of your CD,

you might as well give up your career as a tester. The difference between a reconstituted FLAC and full size WAV is much less than that, but it does exist. - Cookie Marenco"

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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3 hours ago, kelvinwsy said:

I think the Audiolinux OS change may be responsible for a LOT of the SQ jump. 

Yes plus the RAM OS - booting into ram eliminates all that noise from  SSD plus the  low latency of RAM and the direct link to CPU makes all the difference, big reduction in Jitter. Lots of digital hardness and glare is eliminated. If the OS is in RAM im not so sure it matters whether its a high powered Desktop CPU or NUC but Ive yet to try the two. Using a high power CPU / good heatsink allows you to try the extreme Kernel offered in audiolinux. Sound quality benefits are immediately apparent but my celeron j1900 just ran too hot, with that tiny heatsink on the X10SBA motherboard.

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18 hours ago, lmitche said:

Adding the 3 amp Mpaudio lt3045 regulator after the 13.5 volt AMB Sigma 11 results in the worse sound of the three options

Maybe ~1000mfd Kemet (or other) output caps are problem. I & others have removed them with improved SQ. Think app sheet only say 10mfd. Worth experiment?

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23 hours ago, seeteeyou said:

 

Have you ever tried Viard Platinum HD MasterSync (as a clock cable) by any chance? Race Wong (Hiendy's forum mod) seemed to like that very much while they're also demonstrating 75Ω ± 0.2Ω as follows

 

https://post76.hk/news/2017/11/viard-platinum-hd/

http://my-hiend.com/wp/法國線材專業品牌-viard-audio-ceo-訪談/

http://designwsound.com/dwsblog/2018/05/viard-platinum-hd-mastersync-audiotechnique/

G1YvtBR.jpg 1hs3q5P.jpg

 

7KWzP1j.jpg

Hi Seeteeyou,


Thanks for introducing Viard Platinum HD. I must admit that I have not heard the sound of Viard cables other than in HiFi shows settings. 

The digital cable I am using now is the Stereolab XV-ultra and is actually a classic created by the legendary cable designer Chris Somnovigo. He first created the illuminati with Kimber cable, then he created the Stereovox cable and then changed its name to Stereolab. In the past few years he has created the popular Black Cat series and at the same time also created several exotic and expensive cables.  The Stereolab XV-ultra that I use has all along been regarded as one of the best if not the best digital cables say 10 years ago. I have used it as my clock cable for almost 10 years both from the Antelope Trinity to my RME  AES soundcard (my first attempt at CAS) and also MSB DAC 4, Merging Technology Horus(for recording) and also from the Antelope 10M to my Antelope Trinity. It has beaten many contenders including Rajiv's secret digital cable the Neotech EVD 2001, Oyaide DB510, Apogee etc. 

 

Actually I have ordered a pair of Habst digital cable with the CA group buy few months ago and should receive it next week. I can report on it after I have burned in the cable sufficiently. 

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On 9/20/2018 at 4:02 PM, lmitche said:

Mostly, it is the unexpected stuff that makes this hard. The NUC bios is pretty awful,. I haven't seen anything this bad since early days of the consumer motherboard business. You can get things to work, but it takes persistence to deal with the inconsistent behavior.

 

I would like to hear what is the awful/problematic part? Because I've been using NUCs as long as they have existed with Linux and haven't had any problems so far...

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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21 minutes ago, Miska said:

 

I would like to hear what is the awful/problematic part? Because I've been using NUCs as long as they have existed with Linux and haven't had any problems so far...

 

Here you go. Remember my experience is on a NUC7CJYH. Pick a recent thread.

 

https://communities.intel.com/community/tech/nuc/content?filterID=contentstatus[published]~category[04-nuc7cjyh-nuc7pjyh-nuc7cjysal]

 

I am not bashing NUCs, as I am thrilled with mine. I just want others to set their expectations appropriately.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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19 minutes ago, lmitche said:

 

By quick glance that model seems to have problems other than related to the OS (Windows too). But I don't have that particular model, but that is not enough to generalize to all NUCs.

 

I've had NUCs as long as they have existed, running Linux. Latest I have is I think 7i7BNH. I don't yet have 8th generation.

 

My Debian 9 builds of HQPlayer Embedded have always been done on NUC5i5RYH.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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17 minutes ago, Miska said:

 

I would like to hear what is the awful/problematic part? Because I've been using NUCs as long as they have existed with Linux and haven't had any problems so far...

 

And I am the living example of unsuccessful NUC boot on AudioLinux. I got the same NUC what @lmitche

has. It just won't boot on AudioLinux. I got another one thinking something wrong with first one, still same. @lmitche shared his bios pictures, i followed one by one, still no. Tried several USB flash drives. It boots without issue on Ubuntu and AudioLinux headless, but not on AudioLinux. Almost gave it up, but if I ultimately go with headless then it won't matter. I was just trying to compare it to my i7-6700 up-sampling vs NOS on NUC in HQPe because Roy raved about this NUC. Same flash drives will boot without issue on my i7 and on my J1900. Done several resets of bios, even updated bios to 0044 on one of them.

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