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A novel way to massively improve the SQ of computer audio streaming


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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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1 hour 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.

Aren't you trying to cover up the blind listening test, in which you pointed the Zenith SE as better sounding compared to the NUC?

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On 11/20/2018 at 6:24 PM, Johnseye said:

I asked Jussi @Miska to add ramroot to his bootable HQPlayer NAA and he quickly put it in his build.

 

https://www.signalyst.eu/bins/naa/images/

naa-3552-x64.7z 

I like what I'm hearing.  I've only listened to a couple songs at first listen it's similar if not the same as what I hear with Audiolinux headless running HQPlayer NAA.

As soon as I get my new home's audio room built I plan on having Larry build me a NUC for HQPlayer NAA (I already have a powerful upsampling server, currently running Win10 but likely running whatever you guys tell me, aka AL ramboot; Note: I ran HQPlayer embedded and started that thread in my past life, but then went back to single pc Windows for whatever reason).  But, I'd like to ask those of you (johnseye, elan120, Em2016, etc) who are instead running Jussi's own bootable Linux ramroot NAA image (and comparing it favorably) two things:

1) would my endpoint NUC decision be any different if I focused on Jussi's bootable ramroot NAA image instead of AL (i.e smaller, larger, different RAM, etc) as my goal;

2) what are you folks running as an upsampler machine, and how connected to the ramroot-NAA? 

Thx

Ted

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5 minutes ago, ted_b said:

As soon as I get my new home's audio room built I plan on having Larry build me a NUC for HQPlayer NAA (I already have a powerful upsampling server, currently running Win10 but likely running whatever you guys tell me, aka AL ramboot; Note: I ran HQPlayer embedded and started that thread in my past life, but then went back to single pc Windows for whatever reason).  But, I'd like to ask those of you (johnseye, elan120, Em2016, etc) who are instead running Jussi's own bootable Linux ramroot NAA image (and comparing it favorably) two things:

1) would my endpoint NUC decision be any different if I focused on Jussi's bootable ramroot NAA image instead of AL (i.e smaller, larger, different RAM, etc) as my goal;

2) what are you folks running as an upsampler machine, and how connected to the ramroot-NAA? 

Thx

Ted

Ted,

 

While not a direct answer, with boot from the USB stick, it is trivial to try various boot images, so it will be easy for you try to various settings. In a similar way, changing the player software on the server is also very straightforward within Audiolinux.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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2 minutes ago, lmitche said:

Ted,

 

While not a direct answer, with boot from the USB stick, it is trivial to try various boot images, so it will be easy for you try to various settings. In a similar way, changing the player software on the server is also very straightforward within Audiolinux.

Larry,

Thanks.  When I was dabbling in HQPlayer embedded I understood the USB boot flexibility.  My real question was, given that HQPlayer will be the player, and that a NUC will be the endpoint, whether this table stake affects NUC choices (Celeron, Pentium, i7, etc) and choices within the NUC architecture (RAM, etc).  I'd hate to have you build a NUC based on what sounds best for Roon endpoints, for example.

 

My other question is about the server OS and whether I should change not only the OS (Windows vs Linux) but possibly the hardware.  In either case I don't expect the server to be in the room with me (assuming we settle on a 2 box solution with NAA Linux-flavored) and can be open to Al ramroot'd monster-NUC (oxymoron) server if necessary.  I plan to continue to do NOS-based dac seeing up to DSD512 via HQPlayer.

 

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20 minutes ago, ted_b said:

As soon as I get my new home's audio room built I plan on having Larry build me a NUC for HQPlayer NAA (I already have a powerful upsampling server, currently running Win10 but likely running whatever you guys tell me, aka AL ramboot; Note: I ran HQPlayer embedded and started that thread in my past life, but then went back to single pc Windows for whatever reason).  But, I'd like to ask those of you (johnseye, elan120, Em2016, etc) who are instead running Jussi's own bootable Linux ramroot NAA image (and comparing it favorably) two things:

1) would my endpoint NUC decision be any different if I focused on Jussi's bootable ramroot NAA image instead of AL (i.e smaller, larger, different RAM, etc) as my goal;

2) what are you folks running as an upsampler machine, and how connected to the ramroot-NAA? 

Thx

Ted

Ted,

 

1)  Using NUC build by Larry with standard spec'ed for Roon bridging, you can test Roon bridging and HQP NAA setup in AL image as well as Jussi's ramroot NAA image with the same hardware.

 

2)  My current updampler is a Windows PC I recently build running DSD512 non-2s filters (mostly poly-sinc-xtr), and connected to ramroot NAA first via wifi, later bridged, and now bridged with a OCXO clocked ZyXEL switch.

 

Hope this is clear enough to your 2 Q's

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4 hours ago, limniscate said:

Correct 

Wow , I am impressed by this result . This new firmware must be something  to make the innuos se (server-player) prefered to a dual pc set up ( innuos - NUC )

 

I think it will be important to confirm these results .

PCserver Supermicro X11SAA under Daphile  ,Jcat pcie net card ,Etherregen,e-red dock endpoint,powered by LPS 1.2 , SPS 500 , Sean Jacobs level 3 psu,  DAC Audiomat Maestro 3, Nagra Classic Amp , Hattor passive preamplifier , Martin Logan montis

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16 minutes ago, jean-michel6 said:

Wow , I am impressed by this result . This new firmware must be something  to make the innuos se (server-player) prefered to a dual pc set up ( innuos - NUC )

 

I think it will be important to confirm these results .

We haven't tested the new firmware yet. 

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1 hour ago, elan120 said:

Ted,

 

1)  Using NUC build by Larry with standard spec'ed for Roon bridging, you can test Roon bridging and HQP NAA setup in AL image as well as Jussi's ramroot NAA image with the same hardware.

 

2)  My current updampler is a Windows PC I recently build running DSD512 non-2s filters (mostly poly-sinc-xtr), and connected to ramroot NAA first via wifi, later bridged, and now bridged with a OCXO clocked ZyXEL switch.

 

Hope this is clear enough to your 2 Q's

Very clear!  Thanks!

 

I may indeed opt for the largest endpoint NUC Larry recommends, assuming no SQ hit, since we don't know what additional renderer requirements are coming down the road (nothing too cpu intensive likely, otherwise defeats the purpose of isolated renderer...but who knows).

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1 hour ago, ted_b said:

Larry,

Thanks.  When I was dabbling in HQPlayer embedded I understood the USB boot flexibility.  My real question was, given that HQPlayer will be the player, and that a NUC will be the endpoint, whether this table stake affects NUC choices (Celeron, Pentium, i7, etc) and choices within the NUC architecture (RAM, etc).  I'd hate to have you build a NUC based on what sounds best for Roon endpoints, for example.

 

My other question is about the server OS and whether I should change not only the OS (Windows vs Linux) but possibly the hardware.  In either case I don't expect the server to be in the room with me (assuming we settle on a 2 box solution with NAA Linux-flavored) and can be open to Al ramroot'd monster-NUC (oxymoron) server if necessary.  I plan to continue to do NOS-based dac seeing up to DSD512 via HQPlayer.

 

I am running RAMroot AL on an i7 machine with HQPe , and +4,000 album JRiver managed library as control, based on your other thread, no problems. Also tried AL headless NAA on Celeron based PC. NUC to come shortly to be used as NAA.

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9 hours ago, Middy said:

Turning off unwanted features in bios

 

which ones did you turn off @Middy

ATL DC Blocker > Topaz 2.5Kva Isolation Transformer > Sine SA5 Cryo 5 power strip > EtherRegen switch powered with Ciunas Supercaps 7.5v LPS > Laufer Mini Memory Player> EC Designs U192 USB Transport plus Fractal DAC > Decware SE84UFO3 Mono Amps > TNT UBYTE-2 Speaker cables > Omega Super Alnico Monitors. PH SR4 & Ian Canada UConditioner Ultracap 5V power supplies. 

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5 hours 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.

 

How is the topology of your system today?

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@tapatrick

All but wifi and  No speed step.

I reduced my GFX memory but iam using Serial? Blue connector on an old monitor not HDMI. There are 6 usb listed but 4 ports?

 

I should get my memory for the i3 NUC tommorow.  If i get a chance i will swap out the 2 gig installed.

It came from ebay with Kodi i think media player. I hope when i buy AL i dont have to buy another Key for win or Win server. I am still lost on what to do...the  very very basics.

 

Never connected 2 PCs, hopefully just an Ethernet cable will do.

I wont attach internet router just transfer my small.music collection from usb memory onto hd.

I am trialling ROON atm very nice and polished.

My current goal is:

AL on celeron end point

AL on i3 for roon core

2 memory sticks.

Hopefully i can set up( haha)..try normal AL version and use roon to act as headless remote. Not headless AL.

This to me seems complicated enough.

If i stay on roon (trial) and figure out basics i can go from there next year.

HQP, uptone switch, more power add ons ect.

I have loads of basic questions really basic stuff i wont ask now.  I got daphile working once by luck too give  you an idea how bad i am....

Linux dyslexia posts above are beyond me yet. Id have to fly to Italy and kidnap someone... 

Or Miska.. just need to find chloroform on Ebay..??

 

 

 

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53 minutes ago, Miska said:

 

It is actually not very hard, thanks to (at least uRendu) being hardware-wise similar to CuBox-i.

 

I just uploaded updated image for CuBox-i and µRendu, tested briefly on µRendu too and for me it is working fine. No web interface or such though.

 

 

Wow! Thanks Jussi !

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2 hours ago, sig8 said:

I am running RAMroot AL on an i7 machine with HQPe , and +4,000 album JRiver managed library as control, based on your other thread, no problems. Also tried AL headless NAA on Celeron based PC. NUC to come shortly to be used as NAA.

Ashok,

I will email you since most of what I need to ask is OT.  Thx!

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1 hour ago, Miska said:

 

It is actually not very hard, thanks to (at least uRendu) being hardware-wise similar to CuBox-i.

 

I just uploaded updated image for CuBox-i and µRendu, tested briefly on µRendu too and for me it is working fine. No web interface or such though.

 

Thanks for this, very interesting.  Is there any possibility that this would work on a sMS-200?  Although I do also have a microRendu, so can at least try that when I get some time.

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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14 hours 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 . . .  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.

Very true Larry, I’m a Focal Utopia fanboy myself ?

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3 hours ago, kelvinwsy said:

This hobby is fun isn't. ]

 

Hope everyone keeps good humour

 

I read many comments and arguments being traded when no one can really explain our subjective SQ observations which are always system dependent.....

 

HiFi is a HOBBY Isn't it . Supposed to be FUN?

 

Happy and Peaceful listening everyone.

Kelvin

Hi Kelvin,

 

Not sure about fun, feels more frustrating at times, especially when things appear to be two steps forward and one step back. Listening to music is certainly fun.

 

I think that a lot of the variation that is heard can simply be placed at the door of context. This is why i think laying out how ones system is built is pretty essential to TRYING to come to a common understanding; as you say, system dependent.

 

M

 

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3 hours ago, Em2016 said:

Is this Rendu image also ramroot? Not that I really care for SQ reasons but it should make pulling power on the Rendu out a bit safer if i need to poweroff, if nothing is being written to the Rendu's SD card?

 

No, it is not. Usually these devices have so little RAM that I don't see a point in wasting large percentage of it to hold the image. Most of the image content are things like device firmwares and drivers for WiFi interfaces and such. It would be holding a lot of things in RAM that end up being never used. On a PC it is less problem to hold 600+ MB of unused data in RAM.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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1 minute ago, Miska said:

 

No, it is not. Usually these devices have so little RAM that I don't see a point in wasting large percentage of it to hold the image. Most of the image content are things like device firmwares and drivers for WiFi interfaces and such. It would be holding a lot of things in RAM that end up being never used. On a PC it is less problem to hold 600+ MB of unused data in RAM.

 

 

No problem.

 

Nothing is being written to the SD card, right? So like your other non-ramroot NAA bootable images, there's no issues in pulling the power of the Rendu right?

 

There is no safe way to shutdown anyway (no power on/off button) so I guess there's no choice but to just yank the power cable.

 

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1 minute ago, Em2016 said:

Nothing is being written to the SD card, right? So like your other non-ramroot NAA bootable images, there's no issues in pulling the power of the Rendu right?

 

There is no safe way to shutdown anyway (no power on/off button) so I guess there's no choice but to just yank the power cable.

 

Nothing much, the OS itself may write some small amounts of runtime information, but nothing critical. It is journaling filesystem so if you pull the plug it will fix up unfinished things on next boot up. And if it ever goes bad for what ever reason, you can just dump the image on card again and that's it.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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