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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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2 hours ago, austinpop said:

Sigh. Guys. Please. 

 

Once again: PSU design discussion goes here: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/56673-the-ultimate-power-supply-units-for-music-servers-and-other-devices-for-cleaner-power-source/

 

Sometimes I feel like Bill Murray's character in Groundhog Day.

 

 

I hear you.

 

My era was similar to Cool Chris' - back in the early noughties this stuff was quite exciting, but little new ground seems to have been broken since. Successive generations have come variously far along a road to conclusions that were reached in about 2010. In fact, in some respects, more has been forgotten than learned.

 

Getting past noisy rectification remains - and will always be - the biggest single issue in play. Commercially, few solutions still exist. It seems to have been mislaid that one discrete power supply is needed per rail - per chipset, ideally.

 

The best, big servers today are still running customised Windows or Linux derivatives, but don't sound significantly more transparent than the best available a decade ago. Such was the meandering nature of progress, few got to hear them then, and only the wealthy do now. SoTM remain the leaders in hardware development. A few people make nice boxes and don't screw up the software. There's HQPlayer. I2S remains the elephant in the room: recognised as the gold standard, yet rarely deployed. Clocking has achieved the recognition it always deserved - but always had in the professional domain. Mass, vibration control, EM-absorption, low latency, riding the trade-offs between wide pipes and hot silicon . . . it's enough to make an old man nostalgic.

 

And still we don't describe digital-domain listening in terms of approaching 'no sound' - although I see this is Pink Faun's new motto - good on them. Character is distortion. The perfect server leaves no trace. Yet we still read about digital products thoughtlessly said to impart a consistent 'flavour' to a recording as if that's a good thing. And still you can read that 'bits are bits' . It's enough to make an old man cry. I suppose there's Roon - which concertedly tries to join the dots - and has, at least, made us think more about ethernet - a bit like Linn did in 2007. It would be churlish not to welcome the newest wave of lightweight OS built for audio, although it's not clear what they offer sonically we weren't getting from a procrustean approach to Windows XP (steady 1 microsecond DPC latency). I suppose they're cheaper.

 

But this thread (which I took today off and read) is a great snapshot of current thinking, and contains some valuable insights. Thanks. It's almost enough to get me excited about building again!

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If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound?  How does my different typology sound compared to other systems; I may never know?

 

I am glad that we are talking about the impact of the NAS.  I tried to bring this up previously and the subject did not get traction.

 

If a NAS does not have a fan, is fed clean power and has no SSD, is it still considered noisy?

 

My old NAS used to be located in a separate closet.  I did not use it with my system.  My CAPS Pipeline had a SSD with my music and Roon Server with Tidal.  The closet with the FIOS router & Netgear GS108, is 30 feet away.  The 30 foot Ghent JSSG ethernet cable was connected directly to the Pipeline server.  I installed a Cisco switch near my equipment rack, connected the 30' cable to it and then a 3 foot cable to the Pipeline and it was a nice increase in SQ.  I purchased a QNAP HS-453DX fanless NAS and installed it in the closet. (I did not install the SSD) Music from the NASs HDDs did not hurt SQ.  I moved the NAS into the rack so I could connect it directly to the Cisco switch and had a bump up in SQ.  I removed the SSD from my Pipeline, installed AudioLinux to run from RAM, I moved Roon to the NAS to lighten the load on the Pipeline and of course after all that, there was an increase in SQ.  The NAS has two ethernet ports, 10Gb & 1Gb, they look different so they are easy to identify.  The NAS has a utility to create all types of bridges.  I created a bridge using the 1Gb connected directly to the Pipeline and the 10Gb to the switch and got a very nice increase in SQ.  I added a custom Sean Jacobs regulator for the NAS and this is icing on the cake.  I wonder how this sounds compared to other systems?

 

I am looking forward to the Uptone EtherRegen to replace the Cisco Switch.  I will connect both bridged cables the EtherRegen and run a third cable from the "clean" output to the pipeline.

 

The Cisco switch does not allow for an easy power upgrade, the AC cord is hardwired.  The Cisco switch is connected to my Ultra-Isolation transformer.  Which would you consider nosier, the switch or the NAS?  I am not sure if I have the will power to test it and may just wait for the EtherRegen.

 

My Pipeline has two ethernet ports.  Do you think that there would be value in bridging them and connecting them both to the EtherRegen. (I can find how many ports it will have)

 

My plan is to eventually add an endpoint to this setup.  Something like the SOtM motherboard with one of these high-power low watt Intel CPUs that are coming out.

 

I have added a sketch incase anyone would like to make a suggestion.

Thank you

Bill

 

  

 

 

Audio Layout Summer2019 j.jpg

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2 hours ago, drjimwillie said:

If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound?  How does my different typology sound compared to other systems; I may never know?

 

I am glad that we are talking about the impact of the NAS.  I tried to bring this up previously and the subject did not get traction.

 

If a NAS does not have a fan, is fed clean power and has no SSD, is it still considered noisy?

 

My old NAS used to be located in a separate closet.  I did not use it with my system.  My CAPS Pipeline had a SSD with my music and Roon Server with Tidal.  The closet with the FIOS router & Netgear GS108, is 30 feet away.  The 30 foot Ghent JSSG ethernet cable was connected directly to the Pipeline server.  I installed a Cisco switch near my equipment rack, connected the 30' cable to it and then a 3 foot cable to the Pipeline and it was a nice increase in SQ.  I purchased a QNAP HS-453DX fanless NAS and installed it in the closet. (I did not install the SSD) Music from the NASs HDDs did not hurt SQ.  I moved the NAS into the rack so I could connect it directly to the Cisco switch and had a bump up in SQ.  I removed the SSD from my Pipeline, installed AudioLinux to run from RAM, I moved Roon to the NAS to lighten the load on the Pipeline and of course after all that, there was an increase in SQ.  The NAS has two ethernet ports, 10Gb & 1Gb, they look different so they are easy to identify.  The NAS has a utility to create all types of bridges.  I created a bridge using the 1Gb connected directly to the Pipeline and the 10Gb to the switch and got a very nice increase in SQ.  I added a custom Sean Jacobs regulator for the NAS and this is icing on the cake.  I wonder how this sounds compared to other systems?

 

I am looking forward to the Uptone EtherRegen to replace the Cisco Switch.  I will connect both bridged cables the EtherRegen and run a third cable from the "clean" output to the pipeline.

 

The Cisco switch does not allow for an easy power upgrade, the AC cord is hardwired.  The Cisco switch is connected to my Ultra-Isolation transformer.  Which would you consider nosier, the switch or the NAS?  I am not sure if I have the will power to test it and may just wait for the EtherRegen.

 

My Pipeline has two ethernet ports.  Do you think that there would be value in bridging them and connecting them both to the EtherRegen. (I can find how many ports it will have)

 

My plan is to eventually add an endpoint to this setup.  Something like the SOtM motherboard with one of these high-power low watt Intel CPUs that are coming out.

 

I have added a sketch incase anyone would like to make a suggestion.

Thank you

Bill

 

  

 

 

Audio Layout Summer2019 j.jpg

Bill,

 

 

I do not think I can/should/would tell you where to go.   I can tell you where I am and what I have found.  Up until a couple of weeks ago I had settled on using my Xeon machine as my endpoint and server.  I was running Euphony on it. When I put the Element-h USB card in it I found that it did not matter to run Roon+StylusEP or Stylus for me.  So it was happily set to Roon+StylusEP. My music has been on my NAS in the basement for quite a while.  This all made me very happy! It was simple and sounded darn good.

 

There is always more to come.

 

Bob

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Metnoc said:

Just received a copper ethernet input module for the OR, so I can compare copper and optical ethernet.
Took roughly 2 seconds to come to the conclusion that copper sounds more right in my ears.
Will test back and forth for a few days and repot on my findings.

Romaz said that:

"With the optical cable compared against a heavily shielded 1.5m SOtM dCBL-CAT7 cable, the noise floor was equivalent (at least to my ears) but tonality with the SOtM cable sounded more natural."

I have a similar impression, the tonality sounds more natural with copper ethernet.


 

What's Feeding the OpticalRendu when you used optical SFP?


customer server+AudiophileOptimizer >>UltraRendu (SR4) >> Lush(JSSG360) >>> IsoRegen(SR4) >>> Lush^2 >>> blu2 >>Blaxius^2D >> Dave > HD800(SDRmod)

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15 minutes ago, Jiffi32 said:

What's Feeding the OpticalRendu when you used optical SFP?

A Sonore optical module powered by a uptone lps 1.2.
Worth mentioning, the Speakers are Verity Parsifal and they are resolving enough to "react" to most things.

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On 6/29/2019 at 4:14 AM, Ricardo007 said:

Have you created vlans? Where (on which switch) and for which equipments?

 

I'm glad to report I'm using a VLAN for HiFi now. VLAN 20 is for HiFi.

The EdgeRouter allows inter VLAN routing per default, so I had to block this in the firewall.

 

The only way to join the HiFi VLAN is by WiFI or by plugging a cable in one of the dedicated EdgeWitch 10xp's that are part of the HiFi network.

 

I've included the configuration of my EdgeRouter for those who have similar equipment.

 

It could be that I have to open another port so that the Roon Server can verify my Roon License. 

For now, everything works.

 

Main LAN = 192.168.1.0/24

HiFi LAN = 192.168.10.0/24

 

 

EdgeRouter6P.txt

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21 hours ago, drjimwillie said:

 

I installed a Cisco switch near my equipment rack, connected the 30' cable to it and then a 3 foot cable to the Pipeline and it was a nice increase in SQ. 

I purchased a QNAP HS-453DX fanless NAS and installed it in the closet. (I did not install the SSD) Music from the NASs HDDs did not hurt SQ. 

I moved the NAS into the rack so I could connect it directly to the Cisco switch and had a bump up in SQ. 

I removed the SSD from my Pipeline, installed AudioLinux to run from RAM, I moved Roon to the NAS to lighten the load on the Pipeline and of course after all that, there was an increase in SQ. 

I created a bridge using the 1Gb connected directly to the Pipeline and the 10Gb to the switch and got a very nice increase in SQ. 

I added a custom Sean Jacobs regulator for the NAS and this is icing on the cake

 

Hi Bill, 

 

Thanks for your NAS findings. Very useful.

 

21 hours ago, drjimwillie said:

 

I wonder how this sounds compared to other systems?

 

Ah, there's the rub, isn't it. Impossible to know unless you can find one to do a direct head to head comparison.

 

21 hours ago, drjimwillie said:

I am looking forward to the Uptone EtherRegen to replace the Cisco Switch.  I will connect both bridged cables the EtherRegen and run a third cable from the "clean" output to the pipeline.

 

The Cisco switch does not allow for an easy power upgrade, the AC cord is hardwired.  The Cisco switch is connected to my Ultra-Isolation transformer.  Which would you consider nosier, the switch or the NAS?  I am not sure if I have the will power to test it and may just wait for the EtherRegen.

 

My Pipeline has two ethernet ports.  Do you think that there would be value in bridging them and connecting them both to the EtherRegen. (I can find how many ports it will have)

 

My plan is to eventually add an endpoint to this setup.  Something like the SOtM motherboard with one of these high-power low watt Intel CPUs that are coming out.

 

I have added a sketch incase anyone would like to make a suggestion.

Thank you

Bill

 

Audio Layout Summer2019 j.jpg

 

Kudos on the extremely logical and well laid-out diagram. Based on what I see, your system is already very well optimized. As you have already learned, the only way to really find out what will improve your system to your ears is to try things for yourself, as you did with the NAS.

 

I agree that the next optimizations to try are the same as you outlined:

  1. EtherRegen
  2. Endpoint to run NAA. Make sure to power it with the best PSU you can procure
  3. I assume you've confirmed that your 750VA isolation transformer :
    • has sufficient juice to power your sources AND your pre/power amps?
    • And - it's one of those super low capacitance units discussed over in the AC mains isolation thread?
    • actually makes a positive SQ gain when in the path?

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3 hours ago, Metnoc said:

Just received a copper ethernet input module for the OR, so I can compare copper and optical ethernet.
Took roughly 2 seconds to come to the conclusion that copper sounds more right in my ears.
Will test back and forth for a few days and repot on my findings.

Romaz said that:

"With the optical cable compared against a heavily shielded 1.5m SOtM dCBL-CAT7 cable, the noise floor was equivalent (at least to my ears) but tonality with the SOtM cable sounded more natural."

I have a similar impression, the tonality sounds more natural with copper ethernet.


IMG_0538.thumb.jpg.245c6a4c62860ddf9bda00d377e3cb7a.jpg

Not sure if u have done so, but u may need longer warmup time for optical setup due to the need for conversion from electric to optical and vice versa, at least from my own experience with optical USB

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So many different topics covered here, but lots of discussion on DC power cables of the JSSG360 variety.

 

Im looking to feed my ultraRendu and would love anyone’s compaitive impressions on the following:

 

Gotham GAC 4 - star quad

Neotech UPOCC 7N copper - solid core 16awg

Neotech UPOCC 7N copper - stranded 18awg

Canare - star quad

 

I know many prefer the Neotech Silver version, but can anyone comment on the audible characteristics of the above? Note that I have tried the Gotham and like its mid range and bass, but a specific band of its lower treble is forced and unnatural. But thats just my experience, what have others found? And can anyone give their objective comparisons of the above?

 

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23 hours ago, Chopin75 said:

Not sure if u have done so, but u may need longer warmup time for optical setup due to the need for conversion from electric to optical and vice versa, at least from my own experience with optical USB

I used optical for a couple of weeks, never sounded right.
Copper ethernet input sounded right after 2 seconds, and today even better.
Will use copper ethernet input for a few days and then switch back and report on it.

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18 hours ago, rickca said:

For those contemplating building a server with a Ryzen 3000 series CPU, here's a guide to a bewildering number of new X570 motherboards.  If you are particularly interested in the VRM/power delivery design, this same article has an excellent summary table.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/14161/the-amd-x570-motherboard-overview

 

 

Those chipset fans are a huge turn off, but the worst part for us I think is the needlessness of that power consumption and resulting heat.

You'd have 2 bifurcated CPU Gen4 slots, and CPU Gen 4 Nvme/SATA slot, enough for the majority of situations to fully avoid the chipset.

 

I wonder how much of that power consumption is constant, and how effective disabling all chipset features could be at reducing the footprint of the chipset. 

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38 minutes ago, luisma said:

Optical is touted as the holy grail of galvanic isolation and most here adopt it as such but just a few realize that to convert electrical signals to wavelength an oscillator and other circuitry generating HIGH RFI / EMI must be present, learned my lesson 3 years ago and I will stay away from now. Just like you

Interesting, I do not have much issue with the Corning USB optical cable. I did use the Regen USPCB to block off any leaving Vbus current which helps a lot. I tried using a isilencer or some EMI USB filter after the corning Cable but that made things worse. The Corning optical beats my copper USB big time, despite being 10 M long! (they don't make shorter than 10 M) But then USB may be quite different form ethernet cable.

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Does anyone have a chance to compare Ghent audio 2 ethernet cables offerings:

 

- Belden 1303E Catsnake CAT 6A JSSG360

 

versus:

 

- Linkway CAT8 JSSG360

 

They are sold at the same price

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9 hours ago, luisma said:

Optical is touted as the holy grail of galvanic isolation and most here adopt it as such but just a few realize that to convert electrical signals to wavelength an oscillator and other circuitry generating HIGH RFI / EMI must be present, learned my lesson 3 years ago and I will stay away from now. Just like you

Like a LED!

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10 hours ago, Chopin75 said:

Interesting, I do not have much issue with the Corning USB optical cable. I did use the Regen USPCB to block off any leaving Vbus current which helps a lot. I tried using a isilencer or some EMI USB filter after the corning Cable but that made things worse. The Corning optical beats my copper USB big time, despite being 10 M long! (they don't make shorter than 10 M) But then USB may be quite different form ethernet cable.

Hi, I was not referring to the Corning optical cable "specifically", all I am saying is that while we get the impression that laser provides complete galvanic isolation (which it does) for the associated equipment to be able to convert an electrical signal to laser and back laser to electrical this equipment generates "VAST" amounts of RFI/EMI on single frequency bands, in RF terms I'm talking 40 dbm that reach easily 40 - 80 ft of propagation. That tiny media converter that doesn't look like much does that. When the device or cable used provides adequate and good shielding the effect is minimized of course. I have personally tested the RFI effect but I don't know how much / less will affect the audio SQ, I have not tested or quantified the EMI surrounding effect but if we know empirically that a CPU in turbo mode degrades SQ (and someone maybe can confirm this last statement) it is just logical to think that LED could potentially do the same.

EDITED. IOW there is always a trade off

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On 6/24/2019 at 1:52 AM, austinpop said:

 

Great teaser post from Eric!

 

I have acquired a Farad Super3 12V PSU from Mattijs, and am burning it in. Given how long it took for my SR-4 to fully burn in, and the level of interest I'm sure there is for this comparison, please be patient. :) 

 

Once I feel the Farad is fully burned in, Eric and I will conduct a PSU shootout between the Farad Super3, the LPS-1.2, the SR-4, and the mighty SR-7, all set at 12V.

 

It's an exciting time to be an, um, LPSU fan.

Any news, austinpop? I'm quite anxious to find out more about the Farad Super3...

 

P.S. You can answer in any thread you like, of course. I don't want to start an OT discussion here!


Triangle Magellan Cello II < AudioQuest Everest < BAT VK-655SE < AudioQuest Hurricane HC < AudioQuest WEL XLR < exaSound e32 DAC w UpTone JS-2 Power Supply < AudioQuest NRG-5 < SOtM tX-USBultra < AudioQuest Diamond USB < MacMini w UpTone DC Conversion Kit < Squeezelite w Logitech Media Server < Stillpoints UltraSS, Omicron Harmonic Stabilizer, Gold Evolution SE & Classic < IsoTek Sigmas GII w Optimum EVO3 < Furutech FT-SWS < Solid Tech Hybrid

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1 hour ago, austinpop said:

 

Working on it...

 

🍿


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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