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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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8 hours ago, tapatrick said:

 

Further thoughts on NUC/AL and listening experiences

What  a lot happened overnight! I’m reading all this with great interest and pondering what the expressions of OMG&WOW can mean for those who proclaim it on this thread and secondary why the need for some to try to discredit all as Fairy Tales.
 
Context
Last night I went to hear The Tord Gustavsen Trio on the opening night of the London Jazz festival. This was at the lovely Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, a beautiful venue. The concert was an extraordinary aural treat of meditative nordic mastery and I was as always listening intently to the live sound. 
 
Being an acoustic piano, drums and double bass trad trio I mostly heard the sound direct as it filled the venue so there was a natural sublime sound quality. 
 
The wonderful support duo was an albanian singer and guitarist Elina Duni & Rob Luft. The singer was amplified and again some of her voice was heard direct but I noticed how the trailing amplified ssssss’s in her voice still had a trace of what I am always trying to remove from my system at home. 
 
The revelation to me was that this obviously did not matter at all as the live music was not defined by this minor detail. Live music is all around, immersive, direct and when good its an uplifting, ecstatic emotional journey.
 
OMG WTF WOW FAIRY TALE
The night before, (in the light of recently reporting earlier in the thread how amazing my NUC running Audiolinux/Extreme/Ramboot/Roonbridge is) I had loaded AL/GUI in Ram mode on my MacBook Pro to run as a roonserver to serve the NUC endpoint. 
 
This was just a quick trial and I was not prepared for what happened. This was my OMG/WTF/WOW/ moment. I say this without hesitation. I have spend many years of time and money, researching, listening, isolating, clean powering, testing and tweaking by homing in on certain aspects of sound quality with some significant progress by my standards.
 
The combo of the Mac/AL server and NUC/AL endpoint is truly a revelation. This isn’t even set up the way I intend with AL/Headless/Ramboot and without any special cables, just connected via a thunderbolt/ethernet plug and a no name 5 metre cat cable to my router. 
 
The music is Alive
How this relates to the above story is that the quality of live music, as mentioned with Larry previously, is what I am now hearing at home. There are aspects of the voice that are not perfect and I’m now understanding that recording and amplification will always add a degree of artefact to the sound, and I'm not pretending that my system now sounds equal to the concert at the Cadogan Hall BUT the ambience, reverberations, nuances are in the WOW/OMG category - as the pianist shifts and strokes the keys, how the guitarist plucks strings, how the wood on the double bass squeaks, how breath sounds.
 
All these details are heard AND much more importantly carried in an atmosphere of being ALIVE. The sound of air pulsating with music is spine tingling and spooky NOT JUST THE DETAIL or black background, or etc ALONE. I’m not sure how this can be yet, and more trials and tests are on the cards but whatever is going on I highly recommend you try in order to see and feel for yourself, not just rely on beliefs and theories...

 

YOU >>>> The night before, (in the light of recently reporting earlier in the thread how amazing my NUC running Audiolinux/Extreme/Ramboot/Roonbridge is) I had loaded AL/GUI in Ram mode on my MacBook Pro to run as a roonserver to serve the NUC endpoint. This was my OMG/WTF/WOW/ moment.

 

======

now if only they could sell a usb stick pre-configured that you could boot from and do all of that from one single computer, then we would have something (smile).

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38 minutes ago, austinpop said:

I will practice the withdrawal method and report the results.

This is sounding like sex ed for computers.


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/HDPLEX 200W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> ISO REGEN/LPS-1.2 --> iFi iDSD Micro --> Focal CMS50's 

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13 hours ago, Em2016 said:

 

Thanks.

 

Rob Watts has  shared a lot on the Head-Fi forum about how increased RF (from the digital source/chain) can cause increased IM distortion in the DAC and can be mistaken for more 'detail', bigger soundstage and more dynamics... 

 

This is not a knock on you at all but IF he is right in this case (we don't know, but he is an expert in this field) I wonder if you are hearing the results of increased RF and simply enjoying this perceived increase in detail for example?

 

From Rob Watts:

"As you know, RF noise creates noise floor modulation, as the intermodulation distortion from random RF noise is a white noise modulated by the wanted signal. This then results in noise floor modulation, and is very very audible. It accounts for the things sounding brighter and less smooth; additionally, when you reduce RF noise, things sound considerably warmer and darker, and one consequence of this is perception of tempo - more midrange gives the impression of a slower tempo, as individual instruments have much more body.

Now if somebody prefers the brighter sound from more noise floor modulation, then fine - that's their taste and preference. But it's not accurate."

 

 

In terms of tweaking with the digital chain, he says that it's technically better to go with a source/chain that results in a smoother, warmer, darker sound...

 

 

We will never know exactly what is happening in each and every one's system obviously. It's all fascinating stuff to me anyway.

 

And we're all clearly enjoying the music, which is the most important thing.

 

 

Are you going to always use this bull shit argument/excuse by Rob to discredit someone else's observations/listening experience, when you don't agree or refuse to acknowledge the possibilities?  

Might be best to keep your discrediting opinions to yourself.


(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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6 minutes ago, ElviaCaprice said:

 

Are you going to always use this bull shit argument/excuse by Rob to discredit someone else's observations/listening experience, when you don't agree or refuse to acknowledge the possibilities?  

Might be best to keep your discrediting opinions to yourself.

 

Oh me, oh my. Seems you missed the last part of my post and the very respectful spirit of ALL my posts in general...:

 

We will never know exactly what is happening in each and every one's system obviously. It's all fascinating stuff to me anyway.

 

And we're all clearly enjoying the music, which is the most important thing.

 

Seems like one of us needs to chillax, just a little ?

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14 hours ago, Em2016 said:

From Rob Watts:

"As you know, RF noise creates noise floor modulation, as the intermodulation distortion from random RF noise is a white noise modulated by the wanted signal. This then results in noise floor modulation, and is very very audible. It accounts for the things sounding brighter and less smooth;

 

 

I won't comment on the last part. but this section is spot on .
Barry Diament has described it to me as " as though some random treble energy surrounded the details in the recordings."


"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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14 hours ago, flkin said:

 

I've always found HQP to sound better than Roon but recently that's changed. 

 

I believe believe once you reach a certain level, touching the digital signal as little as possible is better than manipulating it for whatever the reason.

 

Roon/Raat is now exceeding HQP for me.

It's system dependent. 

well inspired by your remark I did a little test and took out both Roon and HQP and went straight Tidal into Sonicorbiter (in MPD/DLNA mode using Linn Kazoo as Ipad app) on my Sonore Signature Rendu SE...and...It sounds much better (to me in my system) then the Tidal/Roon/HQP routine I got used to...I'll be damned 

 

Thank you for making me think about and test this again!

 

this might mean my Roon lifetime and HQPe licenses are rendered useless but who cares is the music sounds better...


main: Synology 916+/Tidal --> 6700K  with JCAT USB & NET on E Roon/StylusEP—> Sonore Ultra Digital + LPS-1--> Pink Faun DAC 2.32 --> Ayre AX5 --> Paradigm S8 

office: Synology 916+/Tidal -->  Sonore SRse --> Wavelenght Wavelink USB/SPDIF converter --> Kii control --> Kii Three

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1 hour ago, Em2016 said:

 

Oh me, oh my. Seems you missed the last part of my post and the very respectful spirit of ALL my posts in general...:

 

We will never know exactly what is happening in each and every one's system obviously. It's all fascinating stuff to me anyway.

 

And we're all clearly enjoying the music, which is the most important thing.

 

Seems like one of us needs to chillax, just a little ?

 

No harm, just calling out the fact you've been using this Rob W/RF noise example once too often to try and discredit others observations in your so subtle ways.    In other words, it's gotten old and has already been hashed over in this thread to death.

  ?


(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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17 minutes ago, ElviaCaprice said:

 

No harm, just calling out the fact you've been using this Rob W/RF noise example once too often to try and discredit others observations in your so subtle ways.    In other words, it's gotten old and has already been hashed over in this thread to death.

  ?

 

Noted. So you believe that sharing a potential technical mechanism to discuss (in a respectful and friendly manner...) some of the observations noted recently, is actively discrediting other people's observations?

 

If so, then I'm sorry that you see it that away.

 

I'm sure Rajiv or anyone else can look at my posts holistically and see my posts are always respectful and polite and I try very hard to be balanced.

 

Let's get back on topic and keep things friendly and polite.

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5 minutes ago, Em2016 said:

 

Noted. So you believe that sharing a potential technical mechanism to discuss some of the observations noted recently, is actively discrediting other people's observations?

 

I wouldn't if your we're giving some original thought other than the ghost of Rob W., which many, including Austinpop are already well aware of or even present in Rob's company.

Agree, move on.


(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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7 minutes ago, ElviaCaprice said:

I wouldn't if your we're giving some original thought other than the ghost of Rob W.  

Agree, move on.

 

The funny thing is I mention Rob Watts name publicly because his posts on this are public over on Head-Fi... but I've had the same comments from a couple other well known and respected DAC designers, in private discussions... Seems to be a common theory among some respected experts... But that's just sharing my own experiences in private discussions of course.

 

So to point out the obvious, to remove any chance of doubt and mis-interpretation, I'm certainly not claiming that me hearing it from a few experts then makes the theory absolute and final...  Other people's personal discussions with other experts may (probably will) vary and that's not just OK but very valid too...

 

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4 minutes ago, Em2016 said:

 

Noted. So you believe that sharing a potential technical mechanism to discuss (in a respectful and friendly manner...) some of the observations noted recently, is actively discrediting other people's observations?

 

If so, then I'm sorry that you see it that away.

 

I'm sure Rajiv or anyone else can look at my posts holistically and see my posts are always respectful and polite and I try very hard to be balanced.

 

Let's get back on topic and keep things friendly and polite.

 

Yes, let's move on.

 

Do note that you've been outed - this isn't the first time you have used the "are you sure you're not just hearing what Rob Watts calls RF noise?" tactic of casting doubt.

 

You've made whatever point you think you're making. No more, please.

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On 10/29/2018 at 7:01 PM, romaz said:

At this point, I'm not sure where the sweet spot will be for a RoonServer but at the very least, I now have a new SQ benchmark that is considerably better than anything I have ever heard in my system.

 

While both June Canyon (NUC7CJYH) and Dawson Canyon (NUC7i7DNBE) running Roon Bridge seemed to be winners so far, it's tricky to find that sweet spot for the other side where Roon Core is located.

 

Roy was going from HP Z820 to Mac Pro and it's a massive upgrade once Piero guided him to get ramboot working. The only thing that didn't seem to matter that much should be the PSU of a server (even ATX power supplies didn't really hurt?)

 

Dell XPS 8700 with i7-4770 and 12GB of non-ECC RAM @austinpop

https://ark.intel.com/products/75122/Intel-Core-i7-4770-Processor-8M-Cache-up-to-3-90-GHz-

 

Mac Pro with E5-2697 v2 with 64GB of ECC RAM @romaz

https://ark.intel.com/products/75283/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E5-2697-v2-30M-Cache-2-70-GHz-

 

Asrock Z270M-ITX/ac + sCLK-EX with i7-7700K @Johnseye

https://ark.intel.com/products/97129/Intel-Core-i7-7700K-Processor-8M-Cache-up-to-4-50-GHz-

 

Macbook Pro @tapatrick

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6 hours ago, rickca said:

The AudioLinux website says 

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). 

 

So this means I need 16GB to run the GUI version in memory?  

8GB is good enough for the 0.2 image.

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8 hours ago, Johnseye said:

 

This is the same experience I had.  It's good to get confirmation and validation from others that I'm not crazy. :)

Thanks!

Me too!


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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2 hours ago, austinpop said:

....."are you sure you're not just hearing what Rob Watts calls RF noise?"....

I'm sure 'I'm not just hearing what Rob Watts calls RF noise' because everything is bigger, better, fuller.... what else can folks say here to get others to try and find out for themselves... :) but I could be deluded...


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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38 minutes ago, mozes said:

Quick question,

If NUC+AL is so good, then what about Pico-ITX +AL?

It has a smaller motherboard, maybe there is more to it....

yes, give it a go.  Running the OS from memory benefits SQ.  Not exactly a new theme.  But much easier to do with a Linux OS like AL than Windows OS, with less memory.  


(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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