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austinpop

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, Metnoc said:


It probably applies to a certain degree since the result is also dependent on the inputs of the dac.
SOtM is not state of the art, but certainly quite good, especially with the new software updates.

You say that the cec: "probably still has less "digitalis" overall" but "less resolution", these things also has to do with taste, I might prefer your cec over your computer.

 

Did you have a tx-USBultra with the sms-200ultra?  When I owned the SOtM stack, I found that the sms-200 Ultra Neo was lacking in resolution without the tx-USBultra SE.  

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1 hour ago, austinpop said:

 

I'm so pleased that, after taking a leap of faith and implementing the NUC solution, you are hearing, and happy with, the SQ improvements you described. And I'm glad you evaluated Miska's NAA, AL, and Euphony for yourself, and picked the one that sounded best - to you. That's what it's all about!

 

Thank you, Rajiv. Little more on NAAs. Each of three I tried and compared would be an excellent choice, and the difference is very small. Also, I tried it with HQP desktop on server, what might be not the best combination for AL and Euphony which may sound better with AL and Euphony software on server too. At the same time, given the difference is not dramatic, I am slightly hesitant to buy Euphony when Miska's NAA is free, and AL is roughly three times less expensive. Comparing two left, I found Miska's NAA very "honest" in its sound, and it should provide excellent combination with Miska's HQP on server. Nevertheless, AL has very small edge over it in sound (in one word it is slightly more coherent), and AL gives also a plenty of settings variations to play with. Still, after trying some (acpi, ramroot, hyper-threading, etc) I returned to default, it gives most neutral presentation to my ears in my set. 

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S'dad - can you add in the amp & speakers to your list?

 

Also, what is your Pearl Jam chain?

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Every NUC used in this forum is a custom NUC one way or other. Generally speaking, its hard to qualify it as a “custom NUC” just by changing the case or tweaking the Bios or s/w - they are meant to be fiddled around by the end user 😀

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Tried Entreq grounding:
Minimus->rg45->switch
Silver minimus->Apollo rca->digital input on dac.

It makes the system sound more like vinyl. 

Vovox vocalis usb, euphoric and sonorous, it lacks some PRaT and size of soundstage, but I enjoy it very much.

IMG_0608.thumb.jpg.5b42e31b0ef970064520a0c9de368fb0.jpgIMG_0602.thumb.jpg.c63c29666aa1603d08ec3bf72f6fc480.jpgIMG_0606.thumb.jpg.5c95909ad22258e80e0e3cf3446e4cd2.jpg

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5 hours ago, austinpop said:
. Here are the PSUs and associated cables that I was preparing to compare:
  • SR-4: Paul Hynes fine silver DCFS3XLR 3A cable, modded with JSSG360. Terminators are XLR-4 to Oyaide 5.5x2.1
  • SR-7 Paul Hynes fine silver DCFS6XL 6A cable. Terminators are Jaeger to Oyaide 5.5x2.1
My cable findings? I preferred all 3 silver cables over the Farad Level 2 cable on the Farad PSU.

 

Another great review Rajiv.

 

I'm curious how the PH 6A cable compares with the PH 3A, using the same power supply?

I opted for the 6A versions when I ordered my SR7, but have occasionally wondered if they really gave a SQ improvement over the 3A - when both driving a small (< 3A) load?

 

When ordering very short lengths, the cost difference between the 3A/6A/10A is significantly reduced.

 

BTW, I found that JSSG360 was detrimental to SQ for my PH cable. Did you do a comparison when you JSSG360'd yours?

 

Edit: Correction: it was my DIY copper Neotech that I had JSSG360'd. It was a star quad construction - 4 twisted wires with no separate screen or ground wire. But this unexpected experience stopped me from JSSG360ing my PH cables.

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4 hours ago, dctom said:

 

 

The latest addition is an installation of an audiolinux licence to see what it would add to the mix. Unfortunately I am not having a great deal of success here - I have got AL up and running ok but for some reason my direct connection won’t pick up NAA on the NUC, HQp on the server will not show my DAC in the settings under NAA.

 

..

 

Comparing Jriver direct connection with HPq through the switch  - Jriver direct sounds better! Further evidence of the importance of direct connection I guess.

 

 Does anyone have any ideas why the switch configuration works and the direct not? The ITX is bridged and the NUC happily shares the internet connection and files in either configuration.

 

 

I have not played with HQp but I have tried two bridged NUCs  with AL LXQt 3x +JRMC 25 running on both.  The AL installation on the 2nd NUC was from a cloned ÙSB drive of the 1st one. I had trouble with the bridge.

1. I had to change the computer name on the second NUC (in the text file /etc/hostname)

2. I originally cloned  it with J River - the license needed to be re-installed on 2nd NUC : deleted /home/audiolinux/.jriver, start JRMC)

3. Even though the NUCs were an i7 & a Pentium they showed the same MAC address. I had to change one of them manually (used - ip link)

I had excellent sound from this JRMC/LXQt3x setup (AL Menu ver. at 123):

NUC1(load NUC2 library)==bridge==NUC2 (i7,ramroot,USB music hdd, =JRMC server)--switch--LAN

                                                                                                   l

                                                                                               DAC

 

I would contact Piero with your detailed installation. He should be able to sort it out quickly.

ATB.

 

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5 hours ago, TheAttorney said:

 

Another great review Rajiv.

 

I'm curious how the PH 6A cable compares with the PH 3A, using the same power supply?

I opted for the 6A versions when I ordered my SR7, but have occasionally wondered if they really gave a SQ improvement over the 3A - when both driving a small (< 3A) load?

 

When ordering very short lengths, the cost difference between the 3A/6A/10A is significantly reduced.

 

BTW, I found that JSSG360 was detrimental to SQ for my PH cable. Did you do a comparison when you JSSG360'd yours?

 

Edit: Correction: it was my DIY copper Neotech that I had JSSG360'd. It was a star quad construction - 4 twisted wires with no separate screen or ground wire. But this unexpected experience stopped me from JSSG360ing my PH cables.

 

No I did not, because the 6A cables available to me both have Jaeger connectors, while the 3a cables have XLR.

 

That is going to change, as I soon expect to have in hand more PH silver cables of both the 3A and 6A persuasion, with XLR connectors.

 

Once I do, I will be able to compare:

- JSSG360 vs not on 3A cable

- 3A vs 6A cable.

 

I’ll let you know.

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On 7/23/2019 at 10:11 PM, Superdad said:

 

After loads of careful comparisons (related to AL, Roon, server, etc., my current system nirvana chain:

 

Headless 2012 quad-core i7 Mac mini (powered by JS-2), booting AudioLinux from thumb drive with HQ Player Embedded and Roon Server >>

Cisco Catalyst 2960 100Mbps switch >>

Custom NUC (powered by UltraCap LPS-1.2) set to low speed running AudioLinux and NAA >>

ISO REGEN (LPS-1.2) >>

Lush^2 USB cable >>

Heavily modified Singxer SU-1 (LPS-1.2) >>

I2S over HDMI to Holo Spring Level 3 >>

Intact Audio 47-position Slagle/Elnaformer autotransformer level control (currently the copper version; silver wound version on may desk waiting to be wired in).  

Player/control via Roon from 27" iMac on my desk.  Music storage dives also on desktop--shared/watched via SMB with Roon.

 

A huge thanks to @lmitche (nuckleheadaudio.com) for many hours of patient work getting all the Linux stuff working and tuned (with a bunch of his own special tricks) and for making various sticks to make my comparison work easy and valid.

 

My SACD rip of the fabulous Ryan K. Smith/Analogue Productions remastering of Nina Simone's "Little Girl Blue" (don't even bother with the awful 24/96 download version done it Europe or any other version) continues to amaze and move me as my system advances. I only wish I had more time to listen to music. :D

 

 

Would you elaborate and tell more about your AL settings? For example, how you set low speed running for AudioLinux and NAA?  What else you set for SQ benefit? Thank you!

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11 hours ago, austinpop said:
 
I didn't want cable quality and materials to affect the comparison, so I discussed this with Mattijs. At Pink Faun, they had shied away from silver, but he was open to the idea. In fact, he has been experimenting with a "Level 3" silver cable, which is still a work in progress. While he sent me a sample, I won't be talking about that until he's finished tweaking, and is happy with the result. In addition, he supplied me with adapters (GX16 to 5.5x2.5 and GX16 to XLR-4) that allowed me to use all my existing silver cables with the Farad - all but the SR-7 cable.
 

 

Thanks for making the extra effort to ensure cable quality and materials were not a factor in your comparison.  I know this required extra time and patience on your part.


 

 

 

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6 hours ago, dctom said:

Does anyone have any ideas why the switch configuration works and the direct not? The ITX is bridged and the NUC happily shares the internet connection and files in either configuration.

 

Thanks for posting your success story. Glad you're hearing hearing improved SQ with your ITX server and NUC combo!

 

Let's try to direct troubleshooting to the appropriate thread.

 

Are you saying the issue is specific to HQP/NAA, or is it system-wide? Can the NUC not see the network at all. If so, that means the network bridge on your ITX server is not correctly working, and needs to be troubleshot - in the AL thread.

 

If the bridge is working fine, the NUC can "see" the network just fine, but it's only HQP/NAA that isn't working, then it's not an OS (AL) issue - that points more to a HQP issue. This should be raised in the HQPlayer thread.

 

 

 

 

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What is the best sounding AMD Ryzen motherboard people have tried here?

I am thinking about building another server with the gen3 Ryzen and doing a side by side comparison with my highly tweaked i9-9900K / AsROCK Phantom Gaming server. It would be an interesting test and will try to keep as many things constant as possible. 

From a quick search I am leaning towards the ASUS ROG Strix X470-I. Any recommendations? 

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On 7/25/2019 at 5:38 AM, elan120 said:

Very nice review as always, Rajiv,

 

Your comparison review is very helpful since I only have some of the power supplies you used in your review, and it is very nice to see how you stack Farad power supply against these other ones.

 

 

I had a chance to try a pair of Audio Sensibility Signature cables terminated with GX16-4 connectors to power my NUC with both Super3-19 and Super3-12, and it is clearly a very good match to the Farad power supply.  Since one of the cable also has JSSG360 treatment, and the result is an even better background as well as finer level detail, I am now motivated to get my own soon.

 

Another interesting discovery is using Farad Super3-12 to power sCLK-OCX10, again, it elevated the SQ up a good notch.

 

Overall, I am very pleased with their power supply, and impressed with their lead-time as well, since all my orders came with a little over a week from placing the order.

 

Thank you, and I will be looking forward to your subsequent review.

 

 

Is it possible to get a 19V output version to power my Audio Store Prestige MX?

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1 hour ago, George Hincapie said:

 

Is it possible to get a 19V output version to power my Audio Store Prestige MX?

There is no straightforward answer to this question,  and it will depend on how the computer is configured and used, such as what components are installed, whether HQPlayer upsampling is used.  If you know the power consumption on your computer, both at peak, which could be challenging to measure, and normal, then it will be easier to determine whether your Prestige MX can be powered by Farad Super3-19 that has a maximum output power rating of 57W.

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On 7/25/2019 at 4:46 PM, austinpop said:

If the bridge is working fine, the NUC can "see" the network just fine, but it's only HQP/NAA that isn't working, then it's not an OS (AL) issue - that points more to a HQP issue. This should be raised in the HQPlayer thread.

 

Thanks, I will enquire at the HPQ NAA thread,

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On 7/25/2019 at 1:50 PM, bit01 said:

I have not played with HQp but I have tried two bridged NUCs  with AL LXQt 3x +JRMC 25 running on both.  The AL installation on the 2nd NUC was from a cloned ÙSB drive of the 1st one. I had trouble with the bridge.

1. I had to change the computer name on the second NUC (in the text file /etc/hostname)

2. I originally cloned  it with J River - the license needed to be re-installed on 2nd NUC : deleted /home/audiolinux/.jriver, start JRMC)

3. Even though the NUCs were an i7 & a Pentium they showed the same MAC address. I had to change one of them manually (used - ip link)

I had excellent sound from this JRMC/LXQt3x setup (AL Menu ver. at 123):

NUC1(load NUC2 library)==bridge==NUC2 (i7,ramroot,USB music hdd, =JRMC server)--switch--LAN

                                                                                                   l

                                                                                               DAC

 

I would contact Piero with your detailed installation. He should be able to sort it out quickly.

ATB.

 

 

Thanks, yes I will contact Piero - I want to find out how to put my MC24 onto audiolinux

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