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austinpop

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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I dunno, Sarah Àlainn's cover did "measure" very well according to whatever "metrics" the score was based on but somehow Let It Go sounded quite boring to me. May J.'s cover was a joy to listen to but she still lost that competition just because she couldn't "perform like a machine" if you ask me. LOL

 

https://vimeo.com/139789819

When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/02/when-evidence-says-no-but-doctors-say-yes/517368/

Quote

It found that atenolol didn’t prevent heart attacks or extend life at all; it just lowered blood pressure. A 2004 analysis of clinical trials—including eight randomized controlled trials comprising more than 24,000 patients—concluded that atenolol did not reduce heart attacks or deaths compared with using no treatment whatsoever; patients on atenolol just had better blood-pressure numbers when they died.

 

All Hail to DBTs and RCTs!

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39 minutes ago, MrUnderhill said:

My DAC is the Audionote 2.1. This famously measures poorly; and yet I would say it is well designed and sounds GREAT.

Its an exceptional example of compromise where the designer has knowingly chosen a component or technique based on sound quality, its unlikely to measure badly in every respect.

A lot is spoken here of power supplies, even taking a simple component as a diode, each has its own sound signature. Shottky's measure well and have a low voltage drop and are used in the  best PS designs. You can however get better measurements using a mosfet diode bridge a lower voltage drop and more efficient design less heat dissipation and more efficient use of transformers. Therefore which is better?

Then we can move on to capacitors, resistors, regulators, transformer design, etc, etc. Compromises need to be made as there is also a budget to consider.

Therefore when a reviewer with a bit of technical knowledge sticks his  reviewerscope on the end of a carefully designed component, it doesn't always give a complete picture.

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1 hour ago, MrUnderhill said:

Interesting observations.

 

I have had issues with digital glare, I have found that these have been related to POWER not to the operating system.

 

In my case I resolved the issues by paying close attention to grounding, isolation and applying good quality DC. I would encourage any reader to pay attention to this before looking at anything else.

My observations for a recent experiment I did., 

I use a heavily modded and filtered 6709k HQplayer Pc. Changed to a Corsair RM550x (5-8mv) from a Corsair Ax760 (25mv)and found a quieter sound ., Ripple specs of ATX PSU does matter. Got myself a Corsair HX850 when my Ax760 packed up! Experimented with powering this 6700k Cpu with this second HK850 psu. More power = slightly better instrument/vocal image position and solidity at the Cost of Increased Glare!!? JSSG all the power cables and added a Emf/Rfi power filter to contain the glare.. went back to a single Rm550x ATX PSU..

Power Does Corrupt?

 

Second Observation : I switched from Win10pro / Process Lasso/Fidelizer 8.2 Pro

to WinServer2016 Core Mode/AO/Fidelizer 8.2pro... WinServer 2016 wins ..?quieter, better sound imaging .. Dynsmics etc -less background process.. OS DOES MATTER.. Win10Pro .. I use Ramdisk to load say 6-8 CDs size music and Hqplayer was in second Ramdisk! (-Jussi says HQPLAYER SW and music loads into RAM anyway

WinServer server is better!

3rd observation

Not every NUC low power is good SQ

I was using a Minix Neo Z83 Cherry trail fsnless minipc 4 gb 32gb emmc as HQplayer NAA

Win10pro OEM OS with process lasso /fidelizer 8.2pro

My new SOTM SMS200ultra Neo beats it hands down

 

My new intel i7 8550u fanless minipc arriving next week

First experiment will be to load Jussi's bootable HQPLAYER Linux NAA 

Next will be AL on ramboot

 

SQ comparison 

reports will follow

 

Maybe AL ramboot on my 6700k server too

But no Roon License m..maybe use 1 month free trial license to try?

 

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, greenleo said:

thank you for the info.  In the blind test, did Rajiv find the SQ close or was it an easy pick?

I said that I doubt I could distinguish blind. Then we blinded him, and to his surprise, he picked the ZENith. Prior to blinding him, he thought he could easily hear the difference. 

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7 hours ago, jean-michel6 said:

Thank for your answer . Yet I do not fully understand what was the preferred configuration in this blind test :

Zenith SE alone ( server and endpoint )

compared to ZenithSE ( server ) - NUC endpoint   ?

Correct 

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4 hours ago, yellowblue said:

@austinpop any comments? Was it with the new firmware?

 

This was a quick test we ran, when I came to drop off Eric's SR-7. I brought my new i7 NUC with me so we could have a quick listen.

 

If you read my NUC impressions, I've made the point repeatedly that the NUC over the SE was a subtle improvement, which I heard in my system, only with my Dell running AL as the server, and a TLS OCXO switch in the path.

 

In Eric's system, we didn't have a reclocked switch in the path, and we ran the NUC from the bridged port of the SE running Roon Core with the 1.4.0 firmware.

 

In this configuration, the difference was indeed small. However, the key finding, that Eric agreed with, was that we were achieving essentially similar level of SQ on his system with a NUC costing 10% of his SE.

 

Finally, don't discount the benefit of the Tranquility Base. Whatever that thing does, it makes a positive impact on SQ. We've done an experiment in the past where we stacked up all his spaghetti in a neat wertical sandwich, and moved it on and off the Base. Damned if it didn't sound better.

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15 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

This was a quick test we ran, when I came to drop off Eric's SR-7. I brought my new i7 NUC with me so we could have a quick listen.

 

If you read my NUC impressions, I've made the point repeatedly that the NUC over the SE was a subtle improvement, which I heard in my system, only with my Dell running AL as the server, and a TLS OCXO switch in the path.

 

In Eric's system, we didn't have a reclocked switch in the path, and we ran the NUC from the bridged port of the SE running Roon Core with the 1.4.0 firmware.

 

In this configuration, the difference was indeed small. However, the key finding, that Eric agreed with, was that we were achieving essentially similar level of SQ on his system with a NUC costing 10% of his SE.

 

Finally, don't discount the benefit of the Tranquility Base. Whatever that thing does, it makes a positive impact on SQ. We've done an experiment in the past where we stacked up all his spaghetti in a neat wertical sandwich, and moved it on and off the Base. Damned if it didn't sound better.

It was actually an even older firmware.

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29 minutes ago, limniscate said:

Yes we will test again at some point. 

It would be great if you guys could hear the NUC on speakers known for accurate imaging like Wilson's or Focals . . .  To my ears, so much of the NUC sound is about the space it creates. I am not sure you can hear this from headphones or planar speakers.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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13 hours ago, limniscate said:

@austinpop and I tested his NUC versus my ZENith SE.  In blind testing, he picked the ZENith.  However, the NUC was not on the Synergistic Research Tranquility UEF base.

In my mind, this test is voided, something sitting on SR Tranquility Base?

 

I have tested lot of SR gear in the past, and they always apply electrical current to their equipment, which I think applies some sort of electromagnetic field, and alters the performance of the gear. Not my cup of tea.

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8 minutes ago, lmitche said:

It would be great if you guys could hear the NUC on speakers known for accurate imaging like Wilson's or Focals . . .  So much of the NUC sound is about the space it creates. I am not sure you can hear this from headphones or planar speakers.

 

Dang it Larry, warn me before joking like this - you made me snort coffee out of my nose!

 

Anyone who's heard Eric's setup will tell you that imaging is one of it's major strengths. No problems there.

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4 hours ago, mourip said:

 

It seems like most of the folks who gravitate to this thread are of the school " If it sounds good and measures poorly then you are measuring the wrong thing." and it's corollary " If it measures great and sounds bad ...then why would you listen to it." ? 

I actually like the concept of ASR, but unfortunately in its current guise it doesn’t seam to work.  One issue is the underlying agenda it seams to have with certain manufacturers, then this combined with basing everything on a fairly limited range of things they can actually measure.  I’m sure that if the measurement techniques were significantly better and more encompassing, then it might be worth reading.  At the moment it strikes me as being more praganda based on selective and limited use of science.  I do visit from time to time though to see how it is developing, maybe one day they will get there. 


Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, sPS-500, SOtM modified switch, Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.

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4 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Dang it Larry, warn me before joking like this - you made me snort coffee out of my nose!

 

Anyone who's heard Eric's setup will tell you that imaging is one of it's major strengths. No problems there.


Planars can't image accurately. They image differently than traditional speaker, with a huge sweet spot. No doubt some people like this, but it is not accurate as there is no point source.

 

My Wilson dealer carries Magnepans as well and we have done this comparison before.

 

Sorry about your nose.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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1 minute ago, lmitche said:


Planars can't image accurately. They image differently, with a huge sweet spot. No doubt some people like this, but it is not accurate as there is no point source.

 

Sorry about your nose.

It's completely the opposite with Magnepans if you have the tweeters on the inside, i.e., the sweet spot is tiny.

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2 minutes ago, limniscate said:

It's completely the opposite with Magnepans if you have the tweeters on the inside, i.e., the sweet spot is tiny.

It would be great to have you do this DBT with traditional speakers known for precise imaging, that's all. If you can't that's OK too.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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3 minutes ago, limniscate said:

Unfortunately, I don't have a pair of box speakers.

OK cool.

 

Here is a writeup on Maggies in a reputable magazine that makes my point better then I can.

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/magnepan-207-loudspeaker-1/

 

It would be interesting to compare the NUC and Zenith SE in this regard. Let me see if I can do that at a dealer here.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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3 hours ago, kelvinwsy said:

My observations for a recent experiment I did., 

......

 

SQ comparison 

reports will follow ....

 

Hi Kelvin,

 

Interesting.

 

From my POV I have generally worked hard NOT to use a PC/Server in my immediate HiFi environment. One advantage of the NUC is that I can power it from a LPSU, which is what I do. Wherever I can I remove SMPS.

 

I have found that increasing the amount of current available to NORMALLY be an advantage, but not always.

 

Like you I have found addressing ripple to be an advantage, and so make use of LT3045s.

 

I would emphasis that this is NOT within a PC/Server such as you are using. I think this would be an interesting series of experiments and observations, although not, perhaps, for this thread?

 

M

 

 

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