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

The Computer Audiophile

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For folks who are running AL in ramroot and using Optane to store Roon DB, do you heard any difference between having the DB in the Ram vs Optane ? Is there a penalty ? Currently my library is in the ram, growing rapidly and I have very less free space. So either I increase the amount of ram from 8Gb to 16Gb or get an Optane. Hence wanted to know what has been your experience ?

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10 minutes ago, Dev said:

For folks who are running AL in ramroot and using Optane to store Roon DB, do you heard any difference between having the DB in the Ram vs Optane ? Is there a penalty ? Currently my library is in the ram, growing rapidly and I have very less free space. So either I increase the amount of ram from 8Gb to 16Gb or get an Optane. Hence wanted to know what has been your experience ?

 

I have heard no difference. I would not expect there to be one, as the Roon DB is not directly in the playback path.

 

Most of the access is read only, when you navigate in the UI. Writes are rare, and only occur when you add albums/tracks/playlists, and to increment play counts, apply favorites, etc.

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24 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

I have heard no difference. I would not expect there to be one, as the Roon DB is not directly in the playback path.

 

Most of the access is read only, when you navigate in the UI. Writes are rare, and only occur when you add albums/tracks/playlists, and to increment play counts, apply favorites, etc.

Does the DS-1 use Optane to boot from or is something else?

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42 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

I have heard no difference. I would not expect there to be one, as the Roon DB is not directly in the playback path.

 

Most of the access is read only, when you navigate in the UI. Writes are rare, and only occur when you add albums/tracks/playlists, and to increment play counts, apply favorites, etc.

 

thanks @austinpop I am going to give it a shot.

 

Looks like the 32Gb is out-of-stock most of the places. Either there is a new version coming out or AS'er have depleted it 😁

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39 minutes ago, Dev said:

Either there is a new version coming out or AS'er have depleted it

Well, there is a new version of M.2 Optane ... you can buy the M10 32GB here

https://www.provantage.com/intel-mempek1j032ga01~7ITSP1MW.htm

 

Or if you want larger capacity M.2 Optane (58GB and 118GB) there's the 800P.

https://www.amazon.com/Intel-Optane-800P-58GB-XPoint/dp/B078ZJSD6F

 

 

 

 

 


Innuos Zenith SE --> 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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I noticed today that for some reason running XXHighend from a RAMdisk instead of storage drive greatly improved the SQ when using a SSD as storage putting it much closer to a HDD. This difference with that is FLACs are not decompressed on the storage, they go to RAM directly and it all happens there, not sure why it seems to affect the SSD more..

 

The HDD was still had the edge as storage but using a HDD optimally  in this system complicates things a lot, it only sounds best when used on a seperate  SATA interface to the SSD, in this case PCIe card. One or both of the drive types (HDD/SSD) or functions (OS/storage),  seem to interfere with each other in some way and seperate interfaces helps with that.

...So with RAMdisk - removing the HDD, disabling internal SATA and using the SSD for OS and storage with PCIe card improves improves SQ beyond what the 2 seperate drives offered.

 

it still doesnt rule out the possiblity that the HDD could be the better substitute for an all-in-one OS+storage drive, since it was still preferred as storage.

 

 I think this just supports the idea that you should use a NAS drive and get the best of both worlds

.

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2 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Bob,

 

DS-1 is intended to be an endpoint, not a server. Since it’s basically a PJYH, there’s no M.2 slot for an Optane.

I forgot that.  I want to run an Optane stick in my endpoint to see if I can hear a difference.  In the server I get no influence.

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1 hour ago, rickca said:

Well, there is a new version of M.2 Optane ... you can buy the M10 32GB here

https://www.provantage.com/intel-mempek1j032ga01~7ITSP1MW.htm

 

Or if you want larger capacity M.2 Optane (58GB and 118GB) there's the 800P.

https://www.amazon.com/Intel-Optane-800P-58GB-XPoint/dp/B078ZJSD6F

 

 

 

 

 

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/compare.html?productIds=99742,135454

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2 hours ago, numlog said:

I noticed today that for some reason running XXHighend from a RAMdisk instead of storage drive greatly improved the SQ when using a SSD as storage putting it much closer to a HDD. This difference with that is FLACs are not decompressed on the storage, they go to RAM directly and it all happens there, not sure why it seems to affect the SSD more..

 

The HDD was still had the edge as storage but using a HDD optimally  in this system complicates things a lot, it only sounds best when used on a seperate  SATA interface to the SSD, in this case PCIe card. One or both of the drive types (HDD/SSD) or functions (OS/storage),  seem to interfere with each other in some way and seperate interfaces helps with that.

...So with RAMdisk - removing the HDD, disabling internal SATA and using the SSD for OS and storage with PCIe card improves improves SQ beyond what the 2 seperate drives offered.

 

it still doesnt rule out the possiblity that the HDD could be the better substitute for an all-in-one OS+storage drive, since it was still preferred as storage.

 

 I think this just supports the idea that you should use a NAS drive and get the best of both worlds

.

When you state SSD for OS and storage with PCle card, you mean the SSD is powered like a PCle card ? Please clarify. Is it also using internal or separate external Power supply ? 

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Maybe this storage performance problem is related to the software involved.

 

In my recent experience:

 

StarTech 2-Port USB3.1 (10Gbps) Card with 2x USB-A PCIe Interface
Powered by extra back-panel rail of HDPlex 400W ATX PS using iFi DCiPurifier
to
Intona Industrial Isolator
to
StarTech.com USB 3.1 (10Gbps) Enclosure for 3.5” SATA Drives -Supports SATA III
with WD Red WD40EFRX 4TB SATA 6Gbps Buffer 64MB IntelliPower HDD for NAS
Powered by TeraDak 3A 12V PS using w/wo iFi DCiPurifier

 

Using HQPlayer and also JPlay on .wav files only - using a Samsung 1 TB SSD with separate LPS was preferable. The sound quality from the external box solution seemed veiled and strained by comparison.


This was tested on a single PC, Asus B150M-Plus, NOFAN, i7-7700T, 8GB, INTEL SSD X25-E 64GB for OS, HDPlex ATX 400 LPS w/separate LPS's for the SSD's, JCAT USB card powered by Uptone LPS-1 with LT3045 1.5A box, Winserver2012 core w/AO

 

Dedicated listening room using speakers with a measured in-room rise approx. 6db after 10kHz

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I think these kind of differences are inevitable no matter what software is used, it will always be  matter of finding whats most optimal.

 

OS is server2016 GUI with AO (plus  XXHE minimized OS).

 

And the HDD ended up being reconnecting, but now through the PCIe SATA card along with the SSD.

Using the RAMdisk the interference between SSD and HDD is also lessened, internal sata can be disabled and both can share SQ benefits of the SATA card's mods . No matter what the SSD ''sound'' has ended up becoming unappealing to me.

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52 minutes ago, numlog said:

I think these kind of differences are inevitable no matter what software is used, it will always be  matter of finding whats most optimal.

 

OS is server2016 GUI with AO (plus  XXHE minimized OS).

 

And the HDD ended up being reconnecting, but now through the PCIe SATA card along with the SSD.

Using the RAMdisk the interference between SSD and HDD is also lessened, internal sata can be disabled and both can share SQ benefits of the SATA card's mods . No matter what the SSD ''sound'' has ended up becoming unappealing to me.

        Just to confirm, when you are comparing SSD vs HDD, are you only using them as music storage, not for OS ? 

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Does anyone have experience with the NUC8I7BEH or its motherboard, the NUC8i7BEB?  It has an i7 proc and 28w TDP.  That's 13w more than the NUC7i7DNBE and while both will run at 12-19v it has a little more demand.  I read a few posts where that extra power did pose a challenge.

 

I'm currently powering my NUC7i7DNBE with 12v from my SR7.  It isn't perfect.  There are times when the HDMI won't display.  Then magically it does.  I can power it from my 19v rail but I'll then have to power my server with an SMPS until I get another LPSU.  I'm going to experiment a bit and see how much impact the SR7 has on the server vs an HDPlex SMPS.  I have heard upstream power's influence before so am not thrilled with this option.  Keep in mind, the server is behind the NUC and a switch in the chain.  I'm currently not using my tX-USBultra, but that will change when I get the caps upgraded.


Digital chain: Synology DS1815+ -> Linear Solution OCXO switch-> Custom 2016 Server (sCLK-EX modified motherboard, Mutec REF 10)-> AL NUC NA->  Holo Spring L3 -> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H, JL Fathom sub

Power: Paul Hynes SR7, Uptone LPS-1.2, sPS-500, Topaz 91001-31 Isolation Transformer

Analog chain: VPI Prime with Ortofon Quintet Black cart -> Simaudio Neo 310LP-> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H

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Hello, I'm new here so I hope it's OK to ask and on topic? If not(?) then just delete this please.

 

I was wondering if a NUC can be used to clone a Sonic Transporter at a more reasonable cost?

 

Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Chopin75 said:

        Just to confirm, when you are comparing SSD vs HDD, are you only using them as music storage, not for OS ? 

The storage SSD is the OS drive aswell in this case, there is little difference using a seperate SSD for storage.

 

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37 minutes ago, valveboy said:

Hello, I'm new here so I hope it's OK to ask and on topic? If not(?) then just delete this please.

 

I was wondering if a NUC can be used to clone a Sonic Transporter at a more reasonable cost?

 

Thanks!

 

i think you'll find that you can't really do it for much cheaper -- nuc, case, memory, drive.  you also get their software that isn't sold separately.  finally, the people that run small green computer are real stand-up people and are there for support.

 

imo, you build one yourself because it's more fun, not necessarily to save money.


source:  intel i5 nuc (audiolinux, roon core) > intel i5 nuc (audiolinux, roon bridge) > schiit yggdrasil (gen 5, analog 2)
amplification:  axiom ii walker mod xlr > parasound a21 > monitor audio gx100s
phones:  mjolnir audio kgsshv (400v) > stax sr-l700
other software: roon v1.6, dirac live v1.1, audiophile optimizer v2.20, fidelizer pro v8.1, jriver mc23
cables: signal cable interconnects, speaker cables, power cords, aq coffee usb

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4 hours ago, Johnseye said:

Does anyone have experience with the NUC8I7BEH or its motherboard, the NUC8i7BEB?  It has an i7 proc and 28w TDP.  That's 13w more than the NUC7i7DNBE and while both will run at 12-19v it has a little more demand.  I read a few posts where that extra power did pose a challenge.

 

I'm currently powering my NUC7i7DNBE with 12v from my SR7.  It isn't perfect.  There are times when the HDMI won't display.  Then magically it does.  I can power it from my 19v rail but I'll then have to power my server with an SMPS until I get another LPSU.  I'm going to experiment a bit and see how much impact the SR7 has on the server vs an HDPlex SMPS.  I have heard upstream power's influence before so am not thrilled with this option.  Keep in mind, the server is behind the NUC and a switch in the chain.  I'm currently not using my tX-USBultra, but that will change when I get the caps upgraded.

 

Hi Johnseye, 

 

Not much experience at all with this, but Austinpop insists on staying at or below 15W TDP, and Romaz tells me that the NUC7i7DNBE was tested and sounds the best.

 

What are you connecting the HDMI output to? If it's a display, could you try a different one? 

 


Disclosure: Authorized dealer in many product lines, see https://neal.audio

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4 hours ago, Johnseye said:

Does anyone have experience with the NUC8I7BEH or its motherboard, the NUC8i7BEB?  It has an i7 proc and 28w TDP.  That's 13w more than the NUC7i7DNBE and while both will run at 12-19v it has a little more demand.  I read a few posts where that extra power did pose a challenge.

Those boards are the consumer line.  They are also the next generation processor and I think not tested here.  The Dawson Canyon boards are the commercial line.  I have not researched the differences.  

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2 hours ago, valveboy said:

Hello, I'm new here so I hope it's OK to ask and on topic? If not(?) then just delete this please.

 

I was wondering if a NUC can be used to clone a Sonic Transporter at a more reasonable cost?

 

Thanks!

I am quite satisfied with the synergies between the STi5 and the uRendu. Why not consider a second hand STi5 ? Cheers.


AMP: Electrocompaniet ECI-6D; DAC: Chord Qutest, iFi iDSD BL, Oppo 205, ECI-6D; Streamer/endpoint: Sonic transporter i5 + uRendu

Speakers: Proac Tablette Reference 8 Signature; CD/SACD: Oppo 205

Cables: Speakers (Acoustic Revive) + RCA (au24sx) + RJ45 (Vodka Audioquest) + USB (Diamond Audioquest) + Power (Pangea's + Actinote's)  

Filters: Jensen VRD- iFF + Pink Faun Isolator + Acoustic revive ground isolator RGC-24

Switch: Cisco Catalyst 2960 8 Port

Others: Sboosters MKII + HDplex 200  

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3 hours ago, austinpop said:

Therefore, this is not a "one size fits all." Use your ears and experiment.

Such true words.

 

 I have another thing for folks to test out.  I setup my NUC with Euphony Stylus today.  I really. REALLY need someone else to try this.  My son and I were really impressed today.  There were some comments about AL endpoints being "thin" and folks trying Windows again.  I think I found a path to not thin today..  

 

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3 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Further experiments with Custom Frequencies on the reclocked NUC7i7DNBE Endpoint

 

Given the recent comments about TDP a few posts ago, this may be timely. This is a followup to my last post on the topic of custom frequencies, quoted above, where I focused on the effect of frequencies on the server. In this post, I'll talk about the endpoint. Some things have changed since then:

  1. AL v103 now has support for custom frequencies in the AL menu
  2. My endpoint is now the NUC7i7DNBE, reclocked by the sCLK-EX card in my tX-USBultra, which in turn is reference clocked by a Mutec Ref-10
  3. Endpoint is powered by SR4-12.

Also recall that the NUC7i7DNBE is rated at a TDP of 15W at the base frequency of 1.9GHz. But this CPU can operate up to a peak of 4.2GHz. So this new round of experiments was to determine if I could improve the SQ of my endpoint NUC (reclocked, SR-4 powered) by going up in frequency.

 

Step 1 is to go into the BIOS and turn off Turbo. After I did that, I found that I could only go up to 2.2GHz with the AL menu, no matter if I selected a higher frequency. Then I realized I had to go back in the BIOS and switch from Low Power to High Power mode. Once I did, I was able to set the frequency all the way up to 3.9GHz. For some reason, I could still never go all the way up to the full peak at 4.2 GHz.

 

Observations

  • At 3.9GHz, my SR-4 was running very hot, something I've never observed it do. So clearly, at this frequency, the effective TDP is much higher than the nominal 15W at base frequency. CPU temps also rose from the base of 39 C to about 60C.
  • At 3.9GHz, the sound was much more dynamic, but definitely harsher than what I heard at the base frequency of 1.9GHz.
  • After experimentation, I found the sweet spot to be around 2.4GHz. At this operating point:
    • CPU temps were modestly higher: 46C vs. 39C
    • sound was more dynamic than base frequency, with no increase in harshness
    • SR-4 was slightly warm to the touch.

In contrast, @romazis powering his reclocked NUC7i7DNBE with an SR7 DR rail. He is finding his sweet spot to be around 3.2GHz. Is this because the SR7 is a lower-noise, better-regulated PSU, with a rail capable of much higher current? Very likely.

 

Conclusion

While setting the BIOS to Low Power and Turbo OFF is a good starting point for tuning a NUC7i7DNBE endpoint, I recommend exploring custom frequencies with it, to see if you can squeeze even better SQ from it. Much depends on your PSU. Therefore this is not a "one size fits all." Use your ears and experiment.

Rajiv,

 

What PC is used with your SR4?  Thank you.

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