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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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21 minutes ago, Blake said:

 

Thanks for posting your feedback.  One follow-up question- are you hearing more detail, or the same amount of detail, just presented in a more relaxed manner?

You are welcome...there is more detail for sure, more nuances. What I find most striking is how details make spaces around musicians tangible and the sense of the room where recordings have been made is there. I imagine this is due to the rendering of subtle reflections. I can only describe this as more emotionally satisfying - not just sterile detail


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 those running Audiolinux + Roon Bridge on the current popular lower power NUC - have you tried installing Roon OS (ROCK) on the NUC ?

 

There's no need to enable 'Roon Core' - after installed ROCK. Don't set it up as a  'Core' and it will appear as a Roon Bridge endpoint on your existing Roon Core. And this is an OS built from scratch by Roon Labs themselves - not based on an existing Linux distro... which makes me guess it may be optimized as well as possible for RAAT.

 

While Roon recommend a short list of officially supported NUC models for installing ROCK (Roon OS), many have found it works fine on all kinds of PC's, even if unsupported.

 

Especially if just using the Roon Bridge functionality and the OS is completely built by Roon Labs, one would think it's optimized as well as possible for RAAT?

 

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2 hours ago, tapatrick said:

What I find most striking is how details make spaces around musicians tangible and the sense of the room where recordings have been made is there. I imagine this is due to the rendering of subtle reflections. I can only describe this as more emotionally satisfying - not just sterile detail

Patrick,

 

Your description is terrific. I'm really enjoying live recordings as well, feeling like I'm in the room. There is a natural feeling to the sound that is just spine tingling. I'm having a tough time turning the system off.

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

 

Larry

 

P.S. Checkout either one or both of the Cowboy Junkies live Trinity and Trinity Revisited Sessions on the NUC. Just fantastic!


nuckleheadaudio.com

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2 hours ago, tapatrick said:
As several folks got in touch with me curious to hear my opinion, here is my assessment of using the NUC with Audiolinux.
 
Once again big thanks to @lmitche and @romaz!
 
 

My case coming tomorrow, cheers for the tip. Did you remove the WIFI card as you dont need it( just a thought) if that adds anything even turned off??

Any tips for assembly let us know.

Hopefully Ted at PS new snowmass is the icing on the cake and happy

christ-snow-mass for you mate.

The audio elves are busy this year..

Thanks

Dave.

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2 hours ago, Hauser said:

This may be a good time to take a short break from NUCs to share my recent upgraded power supply project.   

 

 

DSCF3242.JPG

 

 

That is a thing of beauty Martin. Aesthetics and attention to detail just lovely.

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, MikeyFresh said:

 

Not at all, but I do object to the condescending tone and presumptive know-it-all stance of that post.

 

This is particularly true relative to whom it was directed at (the actual thread starter prior to Austinpop's assumption of stewardship), however it almost doesn't even matter who that reply was directed at, statements like " things you obviously know very little about! " and " based on either your limited testing or understanding" are unwarranted, inaccurate, and pompous to say the least.

 

Hence the immediate ignore list election.

Just want to point out that the highlighted texts are not my comments. Thank you. @hopkins  wrote that.

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3 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

I ran a small test on video with Jriver it seems to work fine with Hi res just like the windows version.

4GB RAM is a problem, the lxqt version has an image size of 3.6 GB you'll need to install Jriver but I suppose a large amount of stuff can be removed.

One thing about Celeron processors is that they will work with larger amounts of RAM than their specs. My motherboard is rated at 8GB max- but works fine with 16GB.

 

Great, thanks for testing.  So I take it you tested on the non headless version, lxqt?  

From the audiolinux website  "From version 1.9.7 you can load the entire system to RAM as an option. For this you need at least 16GB RAM (8 GB for AudioLinux headless). There is the option to save the entire system in "ram mode"

 

I gather that running AL lxqt from a hard drive is not nearly as beneficial as from RAM?  Looks like minimum specs from the website require 16GB for full GUI/video?  But you think I could get by with 8GB?  8GB is doable with a new dim, according to my mobo specs.  4GB sounds like it would be pushing it, especially since JRiver needs over 1GB just for memory loading of tracks.  Also might try 16GB RAM.

 

Not so sure about the loading of JRiver media center to AL.  Guess I'll worry about that bridge if I get there.  

 

So all I would need is a 16 to 32 GB usb key and use Rufus to create a bootable drive from this USB key in Windows 10?  No need to create a hard drive partition since I would only be loading AL to RAM.   Which is really where this OS has it's greatest benefit to SQ.  That makes sense, I always wanted to try Windows OS from RAM.

 

Once AL is operating from RAM, I take there will be no problem communicating with my SATA HDD for JRiver library data and my unique mini pcie to pcie 1X adapter will function for streaming via my txUSBexp pcie card to Chord DAVE?  Fingers crossed?  

 

I may give this a try, thanks.  Why do I get a sense that there will be many more issues as I get into it??


(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 minutes ago, ElviaCaprice said:

Great, thanks for testing.  So I take it you tested on the non headless version, lxqt?  

From the audiolinux website  "From version 1.9.7 you can load the entire system to RAM as an option. For this you need at least 16GB RAM (8 GB for AudioLinux headless). There is the option to save the entire system in "ram mode"

 

I gather that running AL lxqt from a hard drive is not nearly as beneficial as from RAM?  Looks like minimum specs from the website require 16GB for full GUI/video?  But you think I could get by with 8GB?  8GB is doable with a new dim, according to my mobo specs.  4GB sounds like it would be pushing it, especially since JRiver needs over 1GB just for memory loading of tracks.  Also might try 16GB RAM.

 

Not so sure about the loading of JRiver media center to AL.  Guess I'll worry about that bridge if I get there.  

 

So all I would need is a 16 to 32 GB usb key and use Rufus to create a bootable drive from this USB key in Windows 10?  No need to create a hard drive partition since I would only be loading AL to RAM.   Which is really where this OS has it's greatest benefit to SQ.  

 

Once AL is operating from RAM, I take there will be no problem communicating with my SATA HDD for JRiver library data and my unique mini pcie to pcie 1X adapter will function for streaming via my txUSBexp pcie card to Chord DAVE?  Fingers crossed?  

 

I may give this a try, thanks.

16 GB USB disk should be enough for the bought image.  To fully use this USB disk, you'd better go for the official installation guide in the audio-linux website (the hypen is needed).  Using RUFUS as described in my guide will not fully utilize it.  More software may be installed on the USB disk, though I've never tried.  Piero is very helpful and prompt in response.

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13 minutes ago, ElviaCaprice said:

Great, thanks for testing.  So I take it you tested on the non headless version, lxqt?  

From the audiolinux website  "From version 1.9.7 you can load the entire system to RAM as an option. For this you need at least 16GB RAM (8 GB for AudioLinux headless). There is the option to save the entire system in "ram mode"

 

I gather that running AL lxqt from a hard drive is not nearly as beneficial as from RAM?  Looks like minimum specs from the website require 16GB for full GUI/video?  But you think I could get by with 8GB?  8GB is doable with a new dim, according to my mobo specs.  4GB sounds like it would be pushing it, especially since JRiver needs over 1GB just for memory loading of tracks.  Also might try 16GB RAM.

 

Not so sure about the loading of JRiver media center to AL.  Guess I'll worry about that bridge if I get there.  

 

So all I would need is a 16 to 32 GB usb key and use Rufus to create a bootable drive from this USB key in Windows 10?  No need to create a hard drive partition since I would only be loading AL to RAM.   Which is really where this OS has it's greatest benefit to SQ.  That makes sense, I always wanted to try Windows OS from RAM.

 

Once AL is operating from RAM, I take there will be no problem communicating with my SATA HDD for JRiver library data and my unique mini pcie to pcie 1X adapter will function for streaming via my txUSBexp pcie card to Chord DAVE?  Fingers crossed?  

 

I may give this a try, thanks.  Why do I get a sense that there will be many more issues as I get into it??

8GB RAM is enough for the current lxqt version.  Again, if more software has been installed, the more RAM is needed.  It seems to me that the stock AL image take less than 6GB RAM.

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1. AudioLinux with Jriver and 4,000+ album library works with 8GB RAM, lxqt version, in RAM mode (don't know about video side).

2. Piero has warned several times; "it will wipe your disk", no matter what you try, partitions or no, so make sure if you load on HDD, it will be wiped clean.

3. Rufus is all you need; GPT partition, F2 and make AL UEFI Image your first boot option if there is more than one connected to the computer.

4. I have my music stored on an external 4tb USB HDD.

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Is @vortecjr and the Sonore Company listening to this thread I wonder?

 

They like to base their products on listening to purchasers requests and innovations.

So, do Sonore have any plans for a "load everything to RAM" product ? (or have done already?)

Cheers!

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8 hours ago, Hauser said:

This may be a good time to take a short break from NUCs to share my recent upgraded power supply project.   Although the thread title says 'massively improve', everything in audio is relative and I consider the upgrade significant and well worth the effort if DIY is of interest and for those confident working with AC.

 

The project has involved several months of research, design, execution and a few repairs.  The original construction of the box was to house a TX USB hub Ex and Iso Regen along with a couple of LPS1s and SMPS to power them and accomodate all the associated cabling.

 

Some, probably ill founded, doubts over SMPSs led me to explore the potential to change the supplies to linear, regulated.  I upped the challenge by adding a third supply for the Aries in the same box.   This required external transformers and for aesthetic reasons, toroids with custom stainless covers.

 

More important was the selection of the power boards.  Recommendations from posts on DIY Audio, Audio Asylum and Seeteeyou, suitable dimensions, cost and availability as completed boards made the Studer 900 the board of choice.  The vendor had limited knowledge of the board's performance and suggested testing.  From my testing, the board's power requirements seem similar to the Sigma 11 which is extensively covered on the AMB site and proved to be a valuable source to achieve success.

 

Modding the board by replacing the large cap with an industrial Kemet brought a worthwhile improvement.  Replacing the other caps with Panasonic FCs, nothing conclusive.  Adding the LT3045s made the sound subtly smoother.  I used Toroidy 30VA transformers.  These sustain higher voltages than another commercial transformer I tried.  Schedule 5 Stainless pipe will comfortably sleeve these transformers; I had to ream schedule 10 pipe.

 

Compared to the previous power supplies: more bass and treble extension, better detail and more realistic sound and more stage depth.  

 

For a very modest material cost there is a potential very worthwhile sonic benefit to be had for those with the time available, not to mention the satisfaction.  Just don't get zapped.

 

Martin. 

DSCF3239.JPG

DSCF3242.JPG

DSCF3243.JPG

DSCF3244.JPG

DSCF3245.JPG

DSCF3248.JPG

DSCF3249.JPG

DSCF3250.JPG

 

Beautiful work!  Really nice job squeezing everything into that Takachi case.  Did you have someone local do the mill work for you?

Can you tell us what is housed in the various sections?

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13 hours ago, romaz said:

 

I never said your DAC is no good because it’s NOS and so if you somehow inferred that, than I apologize.  But my claims are valid and I stand behind them.  As I stated, NOS and oversampling DACs aspire to different things and in the ideal world, I believe we each would desire to faithfully recreate the original analog waveform if we could and not just get the best out of the digital recording.  The problem is with the execution and there are successes and failures on both sides.  I can name plenty of NOS DACs that sound better than oversampling DACs and visa versa.

 

I used to own a TotalDac d1-monobloc, an R2R NOS DAC that to this day is the 2nd best sounding DAC I have ever owned.  NOS DACs are known for their musicality and I imagine that your NOS DAC excels in that virtue, otherwise, you wouldn’t be extolling it.  However, both from a conceptual and experiential standpoint, I prefer to oversample and I believe there are ways to oversample today to gain the advantages of resolution while still maintaining musicality, but that’s just me and so this statement shouldn’t be looked at as some gospel truth.  

 

There is no way to know if someone will like a DAC based on its topology or its stat line alone and so maybe I would be floored by your DAC given the chance to evaluate it but resolution is the inherent limitation of NOS DACs and that isn’t BS.  Ultimately, resolution is only one factor and I concede that in the big picture, musicality, as we each define it, is the more important factor.   Peace.

 

I don't know why you shifted the debate to NOS versus oversampling DACs. It has nothing to do with my original post. If you do want to learn more about that specific DAC I mentioned (which l do not have, I have the Mosaic UV) you can read that long thread on Diyaudio. You will find out how NOS DACs can achieve high resolution. Here is a link to some explanations on one of their models: https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/79452-building-ultimate-nos-dac-using-tda1541a-post4298065.html

 

That thread offers a wealth of information. They have come up with some innovative solutions which will, I believe, significantly improve digital audio playback. 

 

To get back to my initial point... given the sensitivity of DACs to the incoming signal quality (and don't think a simple galvanic isolation is going to solve that), and the complexity of all the processing that is involved in computer based playback, it is highly improbable that you can achieve breakthrough results using the type of solution you recommend (NUC, LPS, AO). 

 

Sorry for my skepticism... 

Peace indeed!

 

 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, hopkins said:

To get back to my initial point... given the sensitivity of DACs to the incoming signal quality (and don't think a simple galvanic isolation is going to solve that), and the complexity of all the processing that is involved in computer based playback, it is highly improbable that you can achieve breakthrough results using the type of solution you recommend (NUC, LPS, AO). 

Would you mind clarify/define the "breakthrough results" in the text?  I want to learn more.

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Ask Austinpop if he would review it on his journey. His series of Dac reviews is/ has been great read. I am sure the Dutch manufacturer would also. Its been a while since that DAC popped  up on the radar, at its price point and glowing review. I though it died until it was mentioned here. I am glad its still going and improving. Cable lovers may not like it....there arent many needed...

 

I am sure a few would like a third party opinion... more is better in this game..

Good luck

Dave

 

 

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5 minutes ago, hopkins said:

If you do not get the point of my post, I do not see how I can be more clear. 

You made us curious but I am not going to read a whole thread.

 


Meitner ma1 v2 dac,  Sovereign preamp and power amp,

DIY speakers with scan speak illuminator drivers.

Under development:

NUC7i7dnbe, Euphony Stylus

Clock modded FS105 v3, Clock modded Isoregen, Lush^2

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2 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

Yes the GUI vesrion (non headless) 8GB is fine.

Perfect, might take me a while to get a new dimm.  In the jungle for now.  

 

2 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

There are scripts pre prepared by Piero and you can reduced the desktop to a black screen with the taskbar and start up and use Jriver as the windows version.

I do this already in my own Windows 10 optimized and in the end shut down taskbar.  Interesting option for AL running from the USB styx.  

 

2 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

There's also a script to booting into RAM which is essential to get the best out of it.

This is really what I am after and see as a potential upgrade in SQ.  Shall be an interesting comparison from a sCLK-EX NUC to see what, if anything, can be gained.  If I couldn't accomplish this feat with my current NUC, I probably wouldn't bother with AL.

 

2 hours ago, LTG2010 said:

Regarding foreseeable problems, you'll need to update the system first before installing Jriver (again there is a pre prepared script) and it takes quite a while. You'll need to enter the password (audiolinux0) several times, click on N (no) when asked if you want to edit packages and Y (yes) or Y followed by enter, several times to install each package.

After that, install Jriver the command is in a pre prepared text in the Jriver folder, just copy and paste it in the terminal in root. Or use the same terminal after the update is finished.

 

I take this will be a one time affair?  Or do I need to go thru this setup every time I power up the NUC?  For JRiver loaded to RAM via AL I will need a Linux license, copy, I assume?  

Just to clarify, I want to load AL from boot, not from Windows 10?  But can do either, just that for RAM only I need to do it from boot?


(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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5 minutes ago, ElviaCaprice said:

I take this will be a one time affair?  Or do I need to go thru this setup every time I power up the NUC?  For JRiver loaded to RAM via AL I will need a Linux license, copy, I assume or is Windows 10 working in the background?  

Or I want to load AL from boot, not from Windows 10?  But can do either, just that for RAM only I need to do it from boot?

No only once, it will boot automatically into RAM everytime you boot.

You'll need a new linux license, but the trial is 30 days plenty of time to decide if you want to keep the system.

You'll need to setup your bios to boot from USB, so when the USB key is inserted it will boot into audiolinux not windows. If you take out the USB key then it should automatically boot into your hard disc (windows) without changes the bios again.

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1 minute ago, LTG2010 said:

No only once, it will boot automatically into RAM everytime you boot.

You'll need a new linux license, but the trial is 30 days plenty of time to decide if you want to keep the system.

You'll need to setup your bios to boot from USB, so when the USB key is inserted it will boot into audiolinux not windows. If you take out the USB key then it should automatically boot into your hard disc (windows) without changes the bios again.

Perfect, look forward to giving it a go.?  Thanks for walking me thru it.


(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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2 hours ago, hopkins said:

If you do not get the point of my post, I do not see how I can be more clear. 

If your terms are just like massive, terrific, ...  Then I can't see how your statement can be verified or falsified. In this case I find that the terms you used in the original text pretty useless. 

 

Also, anybody's progress can be not massive in your point of view.  This is my point.

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11 hours ago, lmitche said:

Patrick,

 

Your description is terrific. I'm really enjoying live recordings as well, feeling like I'm in the room. There is a natural feeling to the sound that is just spine tingling. I'm having a tough time turning the system off.

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

 

Larry

 

P.S. Checkout either one or both of the Cowboy Junkies live Trinity and Trinity Revisited Sessions on the NUC. Just fantastic!

many thanks Larry, I'll check out the Cowboy Junkies tonight.

 

With live music, to have the venue come more to life at home is indeed a revelation especially with something like Van Morrisons classic live album 'It's too late to stop now' ..

 

I always want to get closer to music, to the soul of the musician, for me it's purely emotional. So (probably like you) I'm staying up way too late these days as the NUC setup is so fabulous. 


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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12 hours ago, Middy said:

My case coming tomorrow, cheers for the tip. Did you remove the WIFI card as you dont need it( just a thought) if that adds anything even turned off??

Any tips for assembly let us know.

Hopefully Ted at PS new snowmass is the icing on the cake and happy

christ-snow-mass for you mate.

The audio elves are busy this year..

Thanks

Dave.

Hi Dave, I didn't remove the wifi card just switched off in Bios, but that might be a good idea to remove.

 

The most difficult part I found was getting the motherboard out of the old case. Once you have taken out the holding screws and disconnected the cables, it's necessary to pull the sides of the chassis out slightly so that the plugs etc can clear the chassis in order to slide out. The video posted further back in the thread is excellent help. Also make sure to use gloves and/or grounding strap.

 

Yes it certainly seems like Xmas has come early..:)


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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