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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 minute ago, RickyV said:

I believe you also need to limit the current when the super caps are empty. It's almost seen as a short circuit for the regulator. 

 

This also applies to the John Linsley Hood designed PSU add-on that I use, as the simulated capacity of the capacitance multiplier section is typically around 2 FARADS in my modified version, and would draw a destructive current if not limited at switch on.

 This does of course result in a time delay before the unit is fully operational in both cases. With lower current versions of the JLH I use the inbuilt current limiting action of the voltage regulator to achieve this. This of course doesn't help with the huge current capacity of the SMPS in many PCs which would result in a destroyed voltage regulator as well.

 In that case, I use a series resistor at the input to limit the inrush current, with a relay at the output to s/c the series resistor as the voltage at the output gets close to the nominal output voltage when the large capacitance nears fully charged.,

 A similar scheme could be used with Ultracaps ?

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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59 minutes ago, sandyk said:

In that case, I use a series resistor at the input to limit the inrush current, with a relay at the output to s/c the series resistor as the voltage at the output gets close to the nominal output voltage when the large capacitance nears fully charged.,

Could the choke they use serve for that purpose  as well? Double purpose choke.

Meitner ma1 v2 dac,  Sovereign preamp and power amp,

DIY speakers with scan speak illuminator drivers.

Raal SR1a

Under development:

NUC7i7dnbe, Euphony Stylus, Qobuz.

Modded Buffalo-fiber-EtherRegen, DC3- Isoregen, Lush^2

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13 hours ago, bobfa said:

Louis,

 

Can you tell me what you are doing for upsampling?  Tomorrow is listening day!!  

 

Bob

 

Four tests planned.  Xeon and NUC A/B/C/D Stylus and StylusEP with Roon on both.  WHEW

My testing settings are:

 

1. Euphony running on fanless NUC connected via USB to Denafrips DAC, Stylus player only with default settings which are reported at 32 bits 44 Khz PCM plays flawless on my DAC however I cannot play DSD content, even though being an Amanero based board Zeljo just confirmed there is a known problem with my DAC which will be fixed soon. So this rig have no upsampling

2. Roon running from same NUC with AL headless. No upsampling just playing Native content 44 as it comes from streaming Qobuz, sound is very very close or similar. Same notes etc.

3. Fan NUC core i7 running AL headless with Roon server and HQPlayer to an AL NAA connected to the DAC via USB. Upsampling through HQP. Setting in attached picture. DSD256 in this case.

 

I know 3. it is not a fair comparison since there is one more NUC involved.

 

In all cases all nucs are powered by Uptone Audio JS2

 

My point is Euphony + Stylus and AL + Roon sound very very similar on my system with same hardware and DAC. After the DAC I have an Atmasphere MP-3 with stock tubes and Atmasphere MA-1 monos with stock tubes as well connected to AudioKinesis Azel standmount speakers with 4 passive sub array. The subs are powered separate from 2 Dayton 1000W sub amps

 

One thing we have not mentioned much is the gear, it seems to be that most people on this forum have SS gear and I have the feeling my tube rig is very impervious to changes on the digital source, you can hear the changes but not so apparent, before I had a Yamaha S2100 and changes in digital chain were way more noticeable from what I remember.

 

 

image.thumb.png.724af420cb945d6a14a44f056a43c37d.png

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2 hours ago, Blackmorec said:

In the case of the Innovation Adoption Lifecycle, its very clear that NUCs are used exclusively by Innovators, followed later by Early Adoptors.  As there is absolutely no audio marketing development by their manufacturers, that’s as far as adoption will go. There will never be an early majority, a late majority or a group of laggards, so NUCs will never gain a true foothold in the audio market and will only appeal to a few tech-savvy technicians

There are multiple commercial products with NUCs in them.  Two Examples from Roon: https://roonlabs.com/nucleus.html. I am pretty sure that the new NADAC has a NUC in it for another example.  

 

Please let's try to get this thread back on track to listening experiences.

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1 hour ago, bobfa said:

There are multiple commercial products with NUCs in them.  Two Examples from Roon: https://roonlabs.com/nucleus.html. I am pretty sure that the new NADAC has a NUC in it for another example.  

 

Please let's try to get this thread back on track to listening experiences.

 

Hi bobfa,

 

what do you mean with new Nadac? Is there a new Nadac 2 or do you mean the original one?

 

Thank you!

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On 6/22/2019 at 5:13 PM, austinpop said:

You may consider insulting me by calling me Roy's "messenger" and "proxy" to be humor, but I don't. Not everybody earns my respect, but you had. Now you've lost it. 

Hi Rajiv,

 

When you convey a message about another persons SQ observations you are being a messenger. You did that in your original post and there is nothing wrong with that. Indeed you appear to share both my support of NUCs as a high quality music source, and my lament about the lack of SR7 supply.

 

Given this, I can't understand how you found my message insulting especially when I sent a clear signal that it was meant in humor.

 

Best of luck on your audiophile, online moderation and hifi reviewer endeavors.

 

See ya,

 

Larry

 

 

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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4 hours ago, Blackmorec said:

Hi Imitche.

I can understand your frustration on reading that according to one opinion leader, the very best available sound is now coming from power hungry 8 core machines, whose ideal power supplies are no longer available. But getting riled at Austinpop for neatly summarising the current situation with 8 core and NUCs is just ‘shooting the messenger’ . 

I’ve read and enjoyed all these ‘novel way to massively improve the Sound Quality....’ posts since day one; or at least since Austinpop took over their administration. But it was always clear that NUCs weren’t designed as audio boxes, rather as consumer electronics that fortuitously did audio rather well. Fortunately the person who discovered this happenstance was gracious enough to write up their discovery and share it via this Forum. Further, no one really understood what exactly made these NUCs sound so good, which was rather ominous for the future, given the rate at which computer hardware is superseded. Essentially with NUCs, audiophiles are at the mercy of pure chance that the audio capabilities of these units are preserved and indeed bettered through future generations. 

In the case of the Innovation Adoption Lifecycle, its very clear that NUCs are used exclusively by Innovators, followed later by Early Adoptors.  As there is absolutely no audio marketing development by their manufacturers, that’s as far as adoption will go. There will never be an early majority, a late majority or a group of laggards, so NUCs will never gain a true foothold in the audio market and will only appeal to a few tech-savvy technicians. 

So when the next development is discovered and adopted by a few technology pioneers, don’t expect them to give much of a fig whether their discoveries are easily adopted or not. The only thing they care about is moving forward. Discovery and progress are the only names of their game. 

Blackmorec,

 

Many thanks for your thoughtful post. There is a lot here, and it deserves a detailed response. I will send you a PM with a link when I have found an appropriate place to respond.

 

Larry

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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Ill post my findings here as well:

I've tested Optical Rendu with Ci power supply and optical module with ifi iPower for roughly a week VS my own sms200ultra with uptone 1.2 power, both with sonore dc power cord and same digital cables, Supra which is a low budget favourite one for me.

I prefer sms/uptone over OR/ci, the OR seems to have better PRaT and a more open soundstage with greater delineation, however more importantly, the sms has a more "dense" or "full" presentation which is of paramount importance for me. Therefore the OR sounds more "high resolution hifi" in a negative sense (as in lots of analysis but not really organic), and sms more like "music". It's a cliche but it holds up in this comparison. 
No doubt, the OR is a good streamer, but not to my liking it seems.

Used both as Roon endpoints.
The dac is a Aqua la scala mk2 with Mullard nos tubes, Entreq grounding boxes, Karan amp and Verity Parsifal speakers.

IMG_0462.jpg

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28 minutes ago, mozes said:

Since there has been some recent interest in PSU discussion, and more specifically, Farad PSU I will share my experience as this is what this thread is all about.

My end point is based on a 12V Jetway NF596 motherboard that is modded with the sCLK-EX board. I used to power it with sPS-500 using a 50cm 16AWG Neotech UP-OCC silver with JSSG360 treatment. A few months back, I acquired a 12V Farad Super3 PSU with the Pink Faun PCX DC cable. I replaced the sPS-500 with the Farad Super3 and kept the same power cable and I was immediately rewarded with a significant improvement. The main benefits are:

 

1-An enhanced 3D sound stage

2-More density to the notes and specially vocals (this is what I am more sensitive to)

3-Smoother sound. This requires patience. In the first week, the sound was still a bit harsh, but after 4-5 days of 24 hr continuous playback, the PSU settled in quite nicely.

 

Again, I highlight that it was only Farad vs. sPS-500 comparison as I don't and not planning to own any PH PSUs.

 

I am eagerly waiting to read what @austinpop reports in his PSU shootout.

 

I tried to keep my post focused on the SQ of my endpoint and not about the PSU itself, I hope this is not off topic.

 

Thanks Moussa, very interesting. Also - perfectly on topic.

 

I was referring to the posts getting into the minutiae of regulator design...

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4 hours ago, Metnoc said:

Ill post my findings here as well:

I've tested Optical Rendu with Ci power supply and optical module with ifi iPower for roughly a week VS my own sms200ultra with uptone 1.2 power, both with sonore dc power cord and same digital cables, Supra which is a low budget favourite one for me.

I prefer sms/uptone over OR/ci, the OR seems to have better PRaT and a more open soundstage with greater delineation, however more importantly, the sms has a more "dense" or "full" presentation which is of paramount importance for me. Therefore the OR sounds more "high resolution hifi" in a negative sense (as in lots of analysis but not really organic), and sms more like "music". It's a cliche but it holds up in this comparison. 
No doubt, the OR is a good streamer, but not to my liking it seems.

Used both as Roon endpoints.
The dac is a Aqua la scala mk2 with Mullard nos tubes, Entreq grounding boxes, Karan amp and Verity Parsifal speakers.

IMG_0462.jpg

Can I ask what firmware you are running on the sMS-200ultra and if you are using the 100BASE-T option?  Your comparison with the OpticalRendu is interesting, but there is quite a difference between the SOtM firmware versions, so I am interested in the context here.

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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7 minutes ago, Confused said:

Can I ask what firmware you are running on the sMS-200ultra and if you are using the 100BASE-T option?  Your comparison with the OpticalRendu is interesting, but there is quite a difference between the SOtM firmware versions, so I am interested in the context here.

I'm running the latest firmware version. Don't know if its the 100Base-t option, but I can tell you its the 12V version if thats of interest. I'm running Roon core on a zotac 620 nano computer with standard PSU, win10 and fidelizer in purist/streaming mode, fixed cpu frequency at 1,5 ghz because that sounds more "full" than max frequency, no upsampling of any kind, it sounds best not to with my dac, as it also doesn't upsample anything on its own. 
For reference, the best digital transport Ive have had in my system is the cd-transport c.e.c. tl5, it sounded way more "analogue" than sms200ultra, a different level actually, however it lacked some PRaT.

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22 minutes ago, Metnoc said:

I'm running the latest firmware version. Don't know if its the 100Base-t option, but I can tell you its the 12V version if thats of interest. I'm running Roon core on a zotac 620 nano computer with standard PSU, win10 and fidelizer in purist/streaming mode, fixed cpu frequency at 1,5 ghz because that sounds more "full" than max frequency, no upsampling of any kind, it sounds best not to with my dac, as it also doesn't upsample anything on its own. 
For reference, the best digital transport Ive have had in my system is the cd-transport c.e.c. tl5, it sounded way more "analogue" than sms200ultra, a different level actually, however it lacked some PRaT.

Every streaming solution whether it be an sMS-200 Ultra or something else, takes a lot of effort to come even close to the best CD players. CD players are stand-alone units that don't have to cope with the complexity (and electrical pollution) of  a network.

 

I just did my own experiment with my Synolgoy NAS. As this NAS is dedicated to audio streaming, I can slow down the NIC.

 

It is simple to do. Just logon to the Synology using SSH and logon with the admin user and password:

 

"ifconfig" will give you the config. In my case the NIC is eth0.

 

"sudo ethtool -s eth0 speed 100" will set the speed to 100Base-T

 

Worth a little experiment. I have yet to come to a conclusion.

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5 minutes ago, afrancois said:

Every streaming solution whether it be an sMS-200 Ultra or something else, takes a lot of effort to come even close to the best CD players. CD players are stand-alone units that don't have to cope with the complexity (and electrical pollution) of  a network.

Getting my popcorn ready!  :)  This should be good.

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6 hours ago, austinpop said:

Again folks... while the PSU design detail discussion is interesting, it’s OT for this thread.

 

i marked a couple of posts OT just as a gentle reminder.

 

I simply answered questions ,although they were off topic instead of ignoring the poster

Please remove my off topic posts

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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7 hours ago, austinpop said:

Again folks... while the PSU design detail discussion is interesting, it’s OT for this thread.

 

i marked a couple of posts OT just as a gentle reminder.

Sorry it seems that I have missed some posts from sandyk before my first post. Didn’t know he was already warned. And yes I am a sucker for hardware/ electronic/ DIY stuff.

 

Meitner ma1 v2 dac,  Sovereign preamp and power amp,

DIY speakers with scan speak illuminator drivers.

Raal SR1a

Under development:

NUC7i7dnbe, Euphony Stylus, Qobuz.

Modded Buffalo-fiber-EtherRegen, DC3- Isoregen, Lush^2

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I’m sure the Burmester was great. Even their sampler cds were great. My popcorn comment was just cuz I anticipated a good debate starting. CD players have their own gremlins (internal power supplies, spinning platters, laser errors etc etc) but yes I’ve heard darn good ones. But streamers (a broad product category here) can handle so many more sample rates and formats and be supported by powerful infrastructures that they have real advantages.  The efficiencies and techniques espoused by the thought leaders on this type of thread were not even in the gestational stage back in the heyday of cd players

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I've had three CD transports fail that were not inexpensive. In two of those cases, the CD mechanisms supplied by Philips had been discontinued and were no longer available. I feel a lot more confident in the reliability of my computer based system streaming from a NAS..

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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It took a while for me to convert from CD player to streaming. I had various, reasonably, hi end players the last being a Playback designs MPS 5, which was the first digital I could listen to as a real alternative to vinyl. Used to stream from a mac book through the MPS 5's Dac -  playing discs always sounded better. 

 

I then built my first dedicated music pc, this produced much better results using Jriver and then HQplayer - SQ very similar to disc player. Hi rez and upsampling improved the SQ again.

 

Then had the opportunity to borrow a lampizator GG DAC to compare to the MPS 5 side by side. Streaming to the GG from pc trounced the  MPS 5 playing CD and SACD. Have moved on considerably now with pc + NUC set up. CDs that were flat and thin sounding (after ripping) are now filled out with better harmonics, richness and sense of scale.

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Speaking of Playback Designs MPS-5, there's a shootout among AQCD / Crystal CD / DSD64fs / high quality CD-R (Green Tune CD-R = $7.99 a piece and then $1.85 for MAM-A 24Kt. Gold) for audio mastering

 

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/crystal-disc-us-1600-was-played-with-genesis-speaker.11773/page-16#post-219732

 

Basically CD transports could only sound as good as the quality of the media themselves, IMHO pressed CDs are supposed to be nothing to write home about due to the cost constraint.

 

BhsQHtE.jpg

 

CG6uvYR.jpg

 

Of course it would be fun to add tX-USBultra between Pioneer BDR-S12J-X and music server, then play one of those media for audio mastering while comparing that to stuff like Hi-Res downloads on an Optane or a RAM drive etc.

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15 hours ago, Allan F said:

I've had three CD transports fail that were not inexpensive. In two of those cases, the CD mechanisms supplied by Philips had been discontinued and were no longer available. I feel a lot more confident in the reliability of my computer based system streaming from a NAS..

Need one of those zoo signs up 😉

"don't feed the animals"

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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