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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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16 hours ago, auricgoldfinger said:

 

You should expect a more dynamic presentation.

Thanks.  I am already hearing that after just two days.


Zenith SE > USPCB (5v off) > tX-USBultra 9V (SR4) > Sablon Reserva Elite USB > M Scaler > WAVE Stream bnc > DAVE > Prion4/Lazuli Reference > Utopia/LCD-4/HE1000se

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Can anyone recommend which Optane drive to use with my NUC 7i7DNHE? I was looking into this one on amazon and the compatibility tool there says it's not sure if Intel NUC is compatible with that particular Optane. 

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Any Suggestions:

 

I have been trying Euphony vs AL...

 

I have a MacMini and a NUC as the Endpoint, i have powered the NUC with an HDPLEX 200W.

 

When i listen to AL, the MAC is the server and the NUC the Endpoint.

 

When i use Euphony i select "ROON Server" using a USB stick on the NUC and the Macmini manages Roon

 

I have heard little differences between the two, so far Euphony being having more emphasis in the high region and AL being smoother but very little those differences.

 

Well here is where the things gets interesting and very frustrating for me, i have had Audirvana + for so long and i update to the latest version with made no cost and i have the idea that when i switch back to regular MacMini using A + compared with AL or Euphony the difference was going to be huge in favor of AL/Euphony, to my surprise it is not, all that cross to my mind is frustration, cause i have been investing to make this NUC deal shine and at the end i am not hearing what i should i think, so i guess maybe i am doing something very wrong here, something i must be missing, maybe i should change my Macmini server in order to extract the best from AL/Euphony and invest in a new dedicated PC with all the right ingredients.

 

My Mac mini has not any tweak, the only thing that has on the power input is an adapter with two Less Loss Firewall which indeed makes a difference sound, without them the sound is smaller and less open. I am thinking that maybe because of those FireWalls the Mac is being more competitive ?...

 

NUC + Akasa Case + HDPLEX 200W + AL + Euphony + Ghent DC Cables are what i have invested so far to NOT use the Macmini as i did before but i don't feel so far it has been a well worth investment...Either i am missing something or i definitely trowed my money away.

 

Any suggestions guys ?

 

Thanks !


Fully Grounded Audio Room - Topaz 1KVA - OYAIDE outlets - MacMini (late 2012) Server + LessLoss Firewall 64x - NUC (AL/Euphony) / HDPLEX 200W with Ghent DC cables - LUSH USB Cable - DENAFRIPS Terminator DAC (updated version) + LessLoss Firewall 64x - Tellurium Ultra Black II XLR and Speaker cables - KINKI EX-M1 Integrated - PMC Twenty5 26 speakers. (power cords LessLoss DFPC Signature)

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2 hours ago, mikicasellas said:

Any Suggestions:

 

I have been trying Euphony vs AL...

 

I have a MacMini and a NUC as the Endpoint, i have powered the NUC with an HDPLEX 200W.

 

When i listen to AL, the MAC is the server and the NUC the Endpoint.

  

When i use Euphony i select "ROON Server" using a USB stick on the NUC and the Macmini manages Roon

  

I have heard little differences between the two, so far Euphony being having more emphasis in the high region and AL being smoother but very little those differences.

  

Well here is where the things gets interesting and very frustrating for me, i have had Audirvana + for so long and i update to the latest version with made no cost and i have the idea that when i switch back to regular MacMini using A + compared with AL or Euphony the difference was going to be huge in favor of AL/Euphony, to my surprise it is not, all that cross to my mind is frustration, cause i have been investing to make this NUC deal shine and at the end i am not hearing what i should i think, so i guess maybe i am doing something very wrong here, something i must be missing, maybe i should change my Macmini server in order to extract the best from AL/Euphony and invest in a new dedicated PC with all the right ingredients.

 

My Mac mini has not any tweak, the only thing that has on the power input is an adapter with two Less Loss Firewall which indeed makes a difference sound, without them the sound is smaller and less open. I am thinking that maybe because of those FireWalls the Mac is being more competitive ?...

 

NUC + Akasa Case + HDPLEX 200W + AL + Euphony + Ghent DC Cables are what i have invested so far to NOT use the Macmini as i did before but i don't feel so far it has been a well worth investment...Either i am missing something or i definitely trowed my money away.

 

Any suggestions guys ?

 

Thanks !

 

Some random thoughts from me:

  1. MacMini with Audirvana sounds pretty good to begin with.
  2. Roon is not the best sounding software…  I haven’t done any comparisons in a while, but I did like Audirvana better on MacMini than Roon when I tried a while ago. 
  3. You did not specify which NUC you are using. Not all of them sound very good.
  4. Some NUCs are very sensitive on noise coming from the network. Try unplugging the network cable while playing (a local file) and see if that makes a difference.
  5. HDPlex 200W is not the best power supply. You can do a lot better. And the power supply makes a big difference. 
  6. Have you changed your BIOS settings per some of the recommendations here? That gives a nice improvement on a NUC.
  7. Have you tried Euphony as an all-in-one solution and eliminate the MacMini as a streamer?
  8. Also, I would try to use Euphony / Stylus playing local files in RAM and compare to the MacMini/Audirvana. You probably need to use Roon, but that test would eliminate a bunch of variables. 

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On 5/3/2019 at 7:18 AM, Marcin_gps said:

Hello Guys, 

 

Just a quick update: both JCAT NET Card FEMTO & JCAT USB Card FEMTO are back in stock and all pre-orders will ship on Monday. 

 

How did shipping go?



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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3 hours ago, mikicasellas said:

Any Suggestions:

 

I have been trying Euphony vs AL...

 

I have a MacMini and a NUC as the Endpoint, i have powered the NUC with an HDPLEX 200W.

 

When i listen to AL, the MAC is the server and the NUC the Endpoint.

 

When i use Euphony i select "ROON Server" using a USB stick on the NUC and the Macmini manages Roon

 

I have heard little differences between the two, so far Euphony being having more emphasis in the high region and AL being smoother but very little those differences.

 

Well here is where the things gets interesting and very frustrating for me, i have had Audirvana + for so long and i update to the latest version with made no cost and i have the idea that when i switch back to regular MacMini using A + compared with AL or Euphony the difference was going to be huge in favor of AL/Euphony, to my surprise it is not, all that cross to my mind is frustration, cause i have been investing to make this NUC deal shine and at the end i am not hearing what i should i think, so i guess maybe i am doing something very wrong here, something i must be missing, maybe i should change my Macmini server in order to extract the best from AL/Euphony and invest in a new dedicated PC with all the right ingredients.

 

My Mac mini has not any tweak, the only thing that has on the power input is an adapter with two Less Loss Firewall which indeed makes a difference sound, without them the sound is smaller and less open. I am thinking that maybe because of those FireWalls the Mac is being more competitive ?...

 

NUC + Akasa Case + HDPLEX 200W + AL + Euphony + Ghent DC Cables are what i have invested so far to NOT use the Macmini as i did before but i don't feel so far it has been a well worth investment...Either i am missing something or i definitely trowed my money away.

 

Any suggestions guys ?

 

Thanks !

Yah, I agree with above comment. The use of Roon for Euphony is too much a variable.Euphony/stylus is a primarily single box design & so is Macmini + Audirvana, so try to get rid of ROON and do simple single box comparison:

 

E.g.  Macmini+ audirvanna vs Euphony /stylus + Macmini . in a single box

 

I definitely can hear much improvement with Euphony

 

or NUC + AL  vs NUC + Euphony,

 

Keep every the same as much as possible between switching the OS. 

 

If you want to keep the server same, e..g Roon 

then :

 

Roon server ---> NUC + AL .  vs Roon Server ---> NUC +euphony OS

 or something like that

 

This one you can't test  Euphony stylus, but at least you have same Server/software playback 

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2 hours ago, Nenon said:

 

Some random thoughts from me:

  1. MacMini with Audirvana sounds pretty good to begin with.
  2. Roon is not the best sounding software…  I haven’t done any comparisons in a while, but I did like Audirvana better on MacMini than Roon when I tried a while ago. 
  3. You did not specify which NUC you are using. Not all of them sound very good.
  4. Some NUCs are very sensitive on noise coming from the network. Try unplugging the network cable while playing (a local file) and see if that makes a difference.
  5. HDPlex 200W is not the best power supply. You can do a lot better. And the power supply makes a big difference. 
  6. Have you changed your BIOS settings per some of the recommendations here? That gives a nice improvement on a NUC.
  7. Have you tried Euphony as an all-in-one solution and eliminate the MacMini as a streamer?
  8. Also, I would try to use Euphony / Stylus playing local files in RAM and compare to the MacMini/Audirvana. You probably need to use Roon, but that test would eliminate a bunch of variables. 

 

Can you describe your current system for us?



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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3 minutes ago, Nenon said:

 

I have more than one, but the one that’s currently playing (and I am playing with) is similar to the top Innuos servers - similar motherboard, similar power supply (arguably better parts), two massively oversized (500VA) toroidal transformers (planned for 10 rails), separate rail for everything (8 rails so far), JCAT cards, EMI absorption, highest purity silver wiring all around, fancy footers, power cords, fuses, etc. Running a trial of Euphony and AL but prefer Euphony. I bought Roon a while ago, but kind of gave up on sound quality with it and use it more to explore music. And I have a bunch of NUCs, Macs, modded switches, network filters, etc. in the closet. It’s a never ending lab exercise, and I don’t remember when was the last time my computer had a cover on. 

But my main rig is analog, and I listen to a lot of vinyl. Oops, I should not have said that here :). But it's true. 

 

Haha, vinyl is still great! I am listening to DSD transfer of vinyl, still misses the vinyl sound. I am going to switch back to vinyl in a moment. My PC is not working at the moment as I am waiting for the new HDplex LPS to arrive. The current Macbook + euphony is ok, juvenile stuff.... so yah need the vinyl for now! 

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I love Jeff's work.  He's been my acoustician since 2011 (redid my NE Ohio music room and it was transformational; wrote it up on Audio Circle back then).  He's designing my new Colorado home music room currently.  We chat and exchange plans and tweaks weekly if not more.  Jeff knows acoustics, and is a great bass player (once played with Chuck Berry at end of Chuck's career).  His services are tremendously high value.

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46 minutes ago, Johnseye said:

I also need to let the new SOtM components burn in as well as apply EMI RF shielding to the SMB cables.

 

Congratulations on your recent changes and acquisitions!  I'll be interested to know how you decide to shield the SMB cables since their diameters are so small.


 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Nenon said:

 

Some random thoughts from me:

  1. MacMini with Audirvana sounds pretty good to begin with.
  2. Roon is not the best sounding software…  I haven’t done any comparisons in a while, but I did like Audirvana better on MacMini than Roon when I tried a while ago. 
  3. You did not specify which NUC you are using. Not all of them sound very good.
  4. Some NUCs are very sensitive on noise coming from the network. Try unplugging the network cable while playing (a local file) and see if that makes a difference.
  5. HDPlex 200W is not the best power supply. You can do a lot better. And the power supply makes a big difference. 
  6. Have you changed your BIOS settings per some of the recommendations here? That gives a nice improvement on a NUC.
  7. Have you tried Euphony as an all-in-one solution and eliminate the MacMini as a streamer?
  8. Also, I would try to use Euphony / Stylus playing local files in RAM and compare to the MacMini/Audirvana. You probably need to use Roon, but that test would eliminate a bunch of variables. 

 

- I have the HDPLEX 200W with my NUC7PJYH

- Having the NUC extracted fro its original case and put in Akasa case, do i still have WIFI ? i remember disconnecting 2 little cables that i believe were wifi.

- I have NO ssd inside the NUC and i don't know how to use a local file in the NUC, i am running both AL and Euphony from a USB stick...Any suggestions ?

- I have read that PH SR4 is so much better than the HD PLEX.

-  BIOS is in its place

- I have tried Euphony Stylus alone from the USB stick on the NUC and managed from MacMini, and the sound is not a lot better, so this could confirm the Ethernet noise on this particular NUC and the use of HDPLEX to power it that could cause this "lack of the expected quality" vs the MACMIni + A+

 

- My system:

Dedicated Room Power + Grounded -  TOPAZ 1kva .001pf - DIY strip with OYAIDE plugs - TP-Link | AC2600 Wifi Extender - TP-Link | TL-SG105 Switch - MacMini - NUC7PJYH + HDPLEX200W - Denafrips Terminator DAC / OPPO 205 - Kinki Studio integrated amplifier - PMC Twenty5 26 / Power cables Less Loss Signature, Transparent - Speaker cable Audio art cable, Interconnects XLR Tellurium Ultra Black, DC cables Ghent audio for NUC and Switch, LUSH USB cable, firewalls (DAC & MAcMini)


Fully Grounded Audio Room - Topaz 1KVA - OYAIDE outlets - MacMini (late 2012) Server + LessLoss Firewall 64x - NUC (AL/Euphony) / HDPLEX 200W with Ghent DC cables - LUSH USB Cable - DENAFRIPS Terminator DAC (updated version) + LessLoss Firewall 64x - Tellurium Ultra Black II XLR and Speaker cables - KINKI EX-M1 Integrated - PMC Twenty5 26 speakers. (power cords LessLoss DFPC Signature)

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1 hour ago, auricgoldfinger said:

 

Congratulations on your recent changes and acquisitions!  I'll be interested to know how you decide to shield the SMB cables since their diameters are so small.

 

My plan is to use Tinned Copper Metal Braided Sleeving then another sleeve over the copper.  You can easily get a copper sleeve as small as .08" in diameter.


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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47 minutes ago, Nenon said:

 

With AL, you can copy files directly to RAM using SFTP. If you are using Windows, you can try Win SCP. If you are using Mac OS you can do it from the command line. You can also use the AL "menu" to mount an external drive.

 

With Euphony, you can upload files directly via the web gui. Point your web browser to http://euphony.local:8080. Open the Euphony drive. Click Advanced, and the buttons to create new folder / upload / etc. would show up. That might be the easiest option if you are not familiar with CLI or SFTP. 

 

 

Thanks Neon !


Fully Grounded Audio Room - Topaz 1KVA - OYAIDE outlets - MacMini (late 2012) Server + LessLoss Firewall 64x - NUC (AL/Euphony) / HDPLEX 200W with Ghent DC cables - LUSH USB Cable - DENAFRIPS Terminator DAC (updated version) + LessLoss Firewall 64x - Tellurium Ultra Black II XLR and Speaker cables - KINKI EX-M1 Integrated - PMC Twenty5 26 speakers. (power cords LessLoss DFPC Signature)

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6 hours ago, Ricardo007 said:

What is the interest of bridging if you use audio switch like sotm?

 

In my case simplicity, cost, and debatable benefit of one over the other. I got a very nice increase in SQ when I bridged my onboard NIC with my Intel PCIe NIC in my Roon Core server. I use FMCs to isolate my "clean-side" server from the LAN and connect my server directly to my NUC endpoint from my Intel card.

 

Also, using an audiophile switch still leaves you with the issue of how to arrange clean-side/dirty-side. How do you the isolate the clean-side audiophile switch for power and ground from the rest of the LAN ? FMCs to another dirty-side switch? Seems expensive and needlessly complex.

 

Hopefully this week I will receive a JCAT NIC which will replace my single port Intel card for bridging. Still cheaper than the other route.

 

Try both and let us know what you prefer 🙂



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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On 5/6/2019 at 2:40 PM, shahed99 said:

Can anyone recommend which Optane drive to use with my NUC 7i7DNHE? I was looking into this one on amazon and the compatibility tool there says it's not sure if Intel NUC is compatible with that particular Optane. 

Yeah, the 32 GB Optane works in the NUC7i7DNXX series.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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Does anybody know whether a passive PoE (power over ethernet) solution like

https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-Passive-Injector-Ethernet/dp/B01J6JP8XE

could also work for AC?

The reason I am asking is that I feed my DIY Stereo Coffee LDR preamp with 12V AC rather than with DC. 

Quoting Stereo Coffee designer Chris Daly:

"The main board provides are rather unique bridge rectifier, comprised of two conventional bridges in parallel
placed inside a third rectifier comprised of 2 mosfets for the negative and two thyristors for the positive.   
Connecting a linear DC supply sadly misses out what the bridge rectifier provides. So a AC 12V supply
applying to the stereo coffee board, is really the best for sound quality."

 

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7 hours ago, Ricardo007 said:

What is the interest of bridging if you use audio switch like sotm?

At the risk of another "death by a thousand cuts" episode, one can think of the software bridging of two nics rather like a type of isolating switch but in the server.  The level of isolation depends on  the physical isolation and power source used for the nic cards used to create the bridge(switch).

 

Bridged nics in a server complements the isolation provided by isolated switches like the SOTM device.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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Question for those who have had their NUC modded by SOTM:

 

I have experienced some occasional (1-2 times a day) loud hissing noise mixed in with music using Roon with the modified NUC and external REF10 master clock recently. I never heard this before NUC was modified, not sure if it could be from some problem with the NUC modification.
 
If I pause the music and hit play the noise keeps going. If I go back to beginning of the track and play, the noise goes away.
 
Has anyone experienced anything similar? Obviously this could be related to any number of things included network issues, Roon glitches or DAC problems as well.
 
thanks!

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21 minutes ago, seatrope said:

Question for those who have had their NUC modded by SOTM:

 

I have experienced some occasional (1-2 times a day) loud hissing noise mixed in with music using Roon with the modified NUC and external REF10 master clock recently. I never heard this before NUC was modified, not sure if it could be from some problem with the NUC modification.
 
If I pause the music and hit play the noise keeps going. If I go back to beginning of the track and play, the noise goes away.
 
Has anyone experienced anything similar? Obviously this could be related to any number of things included network issues, Roon glitches or DAC problems as well.
 
thanks!

 

I can get a similar hissing noise issue when upsampling with HQPlayer to PCM 384. I believe it's interrelated to the upsampling multiplier, HQPlayer and my Spring DAC. If I start out listening at 352 then pause and bump it up to 384 it works. 


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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