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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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2 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

You can use Jriver in Audiolinux lxqt it sounds fantastic and outperforms Roon with PCM at least.

The jump up in quality from Windows to Archlinux is equivalent to going from a standard setup to a sclk-ex one. The better the components the more the improvements become apparent such as the standard motherboard USB output to that of a tx USB- exp with sclk - ex.

Get off that fence :)

Your claims are a bit over the top which makes me hesitant about this OS.

Any testimonials or folks that have tried this?  Links?  Video playback?  All I could find was this on JRiver.    That site is a mess at Audiolinux. 

My experience with OS change has been minimal SQ change and more often driver issues.   I do not find much SQ benefit even from Windows 10 optimizations other than cleaner functional OS.


(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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3 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

The second point regarding the RAM OS is simply the removal of the very noisy OS SSD/HDD which introduces a large amount of jitter in the playback chain.

 

I'm not sure I completely agree with this statement.  SD cards are electrically very quiet, certainly much less quiet than an SSD or HDD but they are high latency drives.  I have a Mac Mini which runs its OS from an SD card and it sounds nowhere as good as the NUC that runs AudioLinux in RAM.  This isn't just about the noise that a drive makes.

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1 hour ago, austinpop said:

Believe it or not, this is what most of us want very much. A DAC that is 100% immune to the upstream chain would save people a lot of money and effort.

Rajiv

Please read right through before telling me I am delusional.

 

 That's not likely to happen when the PSU area of the PC mainly, and how electrically quiet it is, mainly  governs how a digital Audio or Video file will sound or  look. 

Both Digital A and V are subject to similar PSU area differences that also apply to Analogue Audio, both at the creation and playback stages.  

For example, if the PSU area has a lower Z at say 100KHZ than at mid range, the digital files will have increased HF detail, both with A and V, just as with Analogue . Yes, according to currently accepted theory this should NOT happen.

 You need to use a power supply in the PC that has a very low and fairly constant output impedance from " DC to Daylight"

New recently posted image links in My Profile will help to illustrate this point. They were taken from paused TV screen images of pairs of videos with identical .md5 checksums using a cheap tripod. The HF detail can even be increased excessively. You would have to be " Blind Freddy" not to notice the very obvious differences.;)

 If you use for example , a 12V to 5V regulator to power an OS SSD or internal music storage SSD, and put a very low ESR capacitor at it's output, you will notice an increase in HF detail with saved digital audio or digital Video files. (Both at the same time !)

 Some of you DIY guys should try adding parallel very low ESR electros at the output of your linear PSUs for SSDs etc.and see if you end up with a tonally balanced audio file. It's easy enough to verify this if you are willing to try it.

 Don't just dismiss this based on purely theoretical grounds, as this thread is more of a hands on thread for new ideas and techniques.

This is exactly the type of thing Micael (Cornan) and others were doing with  daisy chained LT3045s and very low ESR electros at it's output to get increased HF detail from Tidal.

No 1s and 0s were harmed in the process either ! 

 

Alex


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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31 minutes ago, ElviaCaprice said:

Your claims are a bit over the top which makes me hesitant about this OS.

Lol.

You are hesitant to pay $29 and burn the image to a USB stick and try it for yourself.

Once you pull the USB stick out you are back to your old OS.

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49 minutes ago, the_doc735 said:

....but surely all that toxic rubbish is inherent & intrinsic to the electronics, hardware & software? Yes reduce to a minimum level! BUT surely 100% clean is impossible; like you say: "even very expensive DAC's don't achieve this". I would say it is impossible to totally eradicate the toxicity?

 

-140 dB will be JUST fine


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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9 minutes ago, sandyk said:

Rajiv

Please read right through before telling me I am delusional.

 

 That's not likely to happen when the PSU area of the PC mainly, and how electrically quiet it is, mainly  governs how a digital Audio or Video file will sound or  look. 

Both Digital A and V are subject to similar PSU area differences that also apply to Analogue Audio, both at the creation and playback stages.  

For example, if the PSU area has a lower Z at say 100KHZ than at mid range, the digital files will have increased HF detail, both with A and V, just as with Analogue . Yes, according to currently accepted theory this should NOT happen.

 You need to use a power supply in the PC that has a very low and fairly constant output impedance from " DC to Daylight"

New recently posted image links in My Profile will help to illustrate this point. They were taken from paused TV screen images of pairs of videos with identical .md5 checksums using a cheap tripod. The HF detail can even be increased excessively.

 If you use for example , a 12V to 5V regulator to power an OS SSD or internal music storage SSD, and put a very low ESR capacitor at it's output, you will notice an increase in HF detail with saved digital audio or digital Video files. (Both at the same time !)

 Some of you DIY guys should try adding parallel very low ESR electros at the output of your linear PSUs for SSDs etc.and see if you end up with a tonally balanced audio file. It's easy enough to verify this if you are willing to try it.

 Don't just dismiss this based on purely theoretical grounds, as this thread is more of a hands on thread for new ideas and techniques.

This is exactly the type of thing Micael (Cornan) and others were doing with  daisy chained LT3045s and very low ESR electros at it's output to get increased HF detail from Tidal.

No 1s and 0s were harmed in the process either ! 

 

Alex

 

Alex,

 

Not sure why you're preaching to the choir? :) I was making an aspirational statement.

 

How many vendors of digital gear have declared that their device is fully immune from upstream effects due to a combination of galvanic isolation or buffering, or whatever else? I've lost count. Yet, we have yet to encounter a single one that is fully immune to the upstream optimizations discussed here - in PSUs, in clocks, grounding, isolation, etc, etc.

 

Far be it from me to discount any experimental finding! Keep at it.

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20 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Alex,

 

Not sure why you're preaching to the choir? :) I was making an aspirational statement.

 

How many vendors of digital gear have declared that their device is fully immune from upstream effects due to a combination of galvanic isolation or buffering, or whatever else? I've lost count. Yet, we have yet to encounter a single one that is fully immune to the upstream optimizations discussed here - in PSUs, in clocks, grounding, isolation, etc, etc.

 

Far be it from me to discount any experimental finding! Keep at it.

Hi Rajiv

 Please take the time to look at the latest images in My Profile,. The cheap tripod couldn't completely stop the camera moving when the button was pressed, but the differences should be very obvious to most.

Incidentally, you guys are right on the money with improved clocking too. I replaced the 24.576MHZ oscillator in my old X-DAC V3 with a .3PPM TCXO and although there wasn't much difference with 16/44.1 there was a marked jump in SQ at 24/192. I also used a very low noise  PSU to power it.

 

 An ex workmate from Telstra said this yesterday in an email  :

Quote

Not quite sure of the technical side of things without doing a bit of research, but the difference between your “png” image files is pretty obvious, even to a blind person

Kind Regards

Alex


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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18 minutes ago, romaz said:

This isn't just about the noise that a drive makes.

I didn't say it was- but its part of it as well as the latency which is well documented by Piero on his website. Most users have SSD / HDD OS systems and are hearing the benefits when removing them. I believe Innuos play back from RAM to cut out some of the SSD noise.

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11 minutes ago, LTG2010 said:

I believe Innuos play back from RAM to cut out some of the SSD noise.

 You can also cut out most of the SSD noise using the +12V supply and regulating down  to +5V with a low noise voltage regulator.

 This prevents most of it getting back into other areas via the PSU.

 The attached JLH PSU add-on separately powers my OS SSD and Music SSD (12V IN, and 2 x separate +5V Out )

Dual +5V PSU for 2 SSDs.jpg


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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3 minutes ago, sandyk said:

You can also cut out most of the SSD noise using the +12V supply and regulating down  to +5V with a low noise voltage regulator.

 This prevents most of it getting back into other areas via the PSU.

 The attached JLH PSU add-on separately powers my OS SSD and Music SSD (12V IN, and 2 x separate +5V Out )

Yes, Ive seen this and it looks very well thought out. I also use dedicated 5V rails for SSD and HDD from a linear power supply.

Just that the sound is so much clearer when the SSD has been removed with playback from RAM, I have no affiliations with Audiolinux I just spotted one of Larry's posts a while back mentioning it and tried it out myself.

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7 minutes ago, lmitche said:

I have machines here that cover all these bases and still don't sound as good as the NUC.

I have tried out the little NUC and it does sound great, so I don't intend to knock it, Ive also seen your website and good luck with that.

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11 minutes ago, LTG2010 said:

Just that the sound is so much clearer when the SSD has been removed with playback from RAM,

 

Using JRiver and playing from System RAM via an Asus Xonar D2X internal soundcard via Coax SPDIF I can hear clear differences with the same high quality audio file played from either HDD, SSD or USB memory.

 


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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54 minutes ago, romaz said:

My Chord M-Scaler has a galvanically isolated USB input, BNC SPDIF input, and a Toslink input and as you know, Toslink is completely immune to RF noise.  The BNC connections between my M-Scaler and Chord DAVE DAC are further galvanically isolated.  Having compared the USB input, SPDIF input, and Toslink input, they are each comparable meaning to say they each sound very good with USB and Toslink sounding virtually equivalent.

 

Respectfully, I do believe this is a little bit presumptuous also. TOSlink is immune interference but Rob himself will tell you the galvanic isolation of Dave's USB input and M-Scaler's BNC outputs are not perfect - there is still coupling to upstream mains electrical connections (unless your source is battery operated and therefore disconnected from mains completely).

 

While you say USB and TOSlink sound virtually equivalent (to your ears), there are numerous other owners who say the opposite. Which links to Rajiv's earlier point a few posts up - there's still room for improvement, even in some of the word's best and most expensive DACs out there.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Em2016 said:

 

Respectfully, I do believe this is a little bit presumptuous also. TOSlink is immune interference but Rob himself will tell you the galvanic isolation of Dave's USB input and M-Scaler's BNC outputs are not perfect - there is still coupling to upstream mains electrical connections (unless your source is battery operated and therefore disconnected from mains completely).

 

While you say USB and TOSlink sound virtually equivalent (to your ears), there are numerous other owners who say the opposite. Which links to Rajiv's earlier point a few posts up - there's still room for improvement, even in some of the word's best and most expensive DACs out there.

 

 

 

I'm not sure where I've made a presumption here.  As a transmission medium, Toslink is completely immune to RF and so that isn't a presumptuous statement.  I was responding to a post that suggested "crap" was going through my DAC's USB port and while this isn't an untrue statement, to my ears, as I have compared Hugo M Scaler's USB input to it's Toslink input, I am finding them to be "virtually" identical, at least close enough to not care whether I am using one or the other.  It really doesn't matter to me if other people hear it differently since it is my ears that I have to satisfy.

 

As for DAVE's USB input or M-Scaler's BNC outputs or DAVE itself being perfect, I never said they were and so you have "presumed" too much from my post ?.  I am well aware of Rob's position on how he believes there can be coupling to mains noise from upstream components since this was the explanation that he offered to me for the differences we heard when he came over to my house earlier this year.  To be quite honest, I am not sure I completely agree with this since I can hear differences among different battery-powered sources which is once again why I don't think SQ is just about RF noise. 

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2 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

I didn't say it was- but its part of it as well as the latency which is well documented by Piero on his website. Most users have SSD / HDD OS systems and are hearing the benefits when removing them. I believe Innuos play back from RAM to cut out some of the SSD noise.

The reason is actually a little different. In the linked discussion, Nuno Vitorino states they buffer the music in memory from SSD so that none of the components used

in SSD playback will be active during play.  So we can be talking about SATA controller, etc. Does imply also that your OS, player software used during play should be in memory, not accessed from SSD

 

 


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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9 minutes ago, romaz said:

I'm not sure where I've made a presumption here.  As a transmission medium, Toslink is completely immune to RF and so that isn't a presumptuous statement. 

 

Ya if it wasn't clear, I agreed with you on TOSlink...

 

9 minutes ago, romaz said:

I was responding to a post that suggested "crap" was going through my DAC's USB port and while this isn't an untrue statement, to my ears, as I have compared Hugo M Scaler's USB input to it's Toslink input, I am finding them to be "virtually" identical, at least close enough to not care whether I am using one or the other.  It really doesn't matter to me if other people hear it differently since it is my ears that I have to satisfy.

 

Ya, I agree, his statement wasn't untrue (except for perhaps a battery powered USB source...)... But when you called his comment presumptuous and explained that to your ears USB sounded virtually identical to TOSlink I 'presumed' that you too were being presumptuous in hinting that the USB isolation of Dave is perfect.

 

I think we agree on most points to be honest, so I'm happy to end this exchange ?

 

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1 hour ago, hopkins said:

Wow... So many broad statements about things you obviously know very little about!

 

None of these topics suffer from approximation, and you should restrain from making conclusions based on either your limited testing or understanding. 

 

Wow... what a fast easy route to my ignored member list, congrats, I'm sure others will follow suit.

 

 


no-mqa-sm.jpg

 

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How high is the obsession level here?

Is the equipment more important than the actual music? e.g. Like guys that repair TV's but never watch any programs!

 

If someone came up with a noise free, ripple free, EMI free, RFI free device/DAC/PSU/server/streamer/renderer/player, would you all concede that the music output can't possibly get any 'better', or would you all still pursue higher sound quality in some other direction perhaps?

 

Very interested to know, genuine, serious question!

 

Respect to all those that are brave enough to answer!

Many Thanks!

 

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56 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Speaking only for myself, my record (no pun intended!) speaks for itself. Look at my posts in the Album of the Evening, Tidal MQA Gems, Qobuz, and other music threads. It is, and will always be, about the music.

 

As for ever reaching a point where 'it can't get any better'... Is that even a question?! :) What true audiophile is ever content with the current state of their system?

 

Folks who are active on this thread like living on the bleeding edge. Let's be real - we'll always be looking for improvements.

 

But take a look at the masthead above: it says Computer Audiophile. Enough said.

thank you for your opinion. Take care, respect!

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7 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Believe it or not, this is what most of us want very much. A DAC that is 100% immune to the upstream chain would save people a lot of money and effort. All the experimentation you read here comes from the fact that current DACs do not achieve this ideal - even very expensive DACs.

It would be very easy to achieve 100% isolation from upstream LAN sources (albeit not from internet sources) if users would accept some delays: just equip DACs with sizeable local memories.

 

If one requires the replay of data that are in the local memory, no data exchange is needed and replay can start immediately. If the track or album to be replayed is not in the local memory, first fetch it and then start replay.

 

With this approach, a manufacturer could focus on optimizing replay from (known) local memory instead of having to fight noise that is inevitably system dependent and largely unknown.

 

I have been advocating this simple solution in many occasions but I am not actually sure that so many users actually want a 100% source agnostic DAC: we seem to like fiddling with cables, optimizing sources , cleaning up streams ...   

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7 hours ago, the_doc735 said:

....but surely all that toxic rubbish is inherent & intrinsic to the electronics, hardware & software? Yes reduce to a minimum level! BUT surely 100% clean is impossible; like you say: "even very expensive DAC's don't achieve this". I would say it is impossible to totally eradicate the toxicity?

It is both possible, easy and actually very cheap if a user accepts that the replay of a track or of an album only starts after that track or album has been completely transferred to the DAC's local memory. It is just a matter of waiting a little bit, like when we were using a CD player and we had to wait for the tray to close for replay to start.

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