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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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19 hours ago, Nenon said:

I am also planning to compare two AMD-based motherboards - an Asus gaming motherboard (ASUS ROG Strix X470-I) with a AsROCK server motherboard (X470D4U) with ECC RAM. Keep you posted on that as well.

Hi Vassil

Looks very interesting! to compare the 2 prevailing schools of thought: go for gaming board (VRMs etc...) OR go for professional server (Xeon or AMD, single or double; ECC RAMs...).

Are they price wise comparable?

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It appears I completely misunderstood then. I was referring to comments in the EtherRegen thread about upstream components making no difference. Apologies all. As mentioned, I shall be buying one, then I shall know.

 

@austinpop I wasn't aware of the thread's purpose. Comments noted.

 

Also 'Cool your jets Brother!' - LMAO! I knew you liked me really B|

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On 8/16/2019 at 9:51 AM, mourip said:

 

Thanks. Always nice to hear of new options.

 

Do you have any association with Farad Power Supplies?

 

On 8/16/2019 at 10:25 AM, Ricardo007 said:

No need to ask...

 

Not trying to offend but actually there is a reason to ask. You would be surprised how many times vendors with few posts have popped up here without revealing their industry affiliation and then recommended their own products. It has been a very slippery slope. If you had not mentioned HDPlex by name I probably would not have asked...

 

Let us know if you buy one of those Farad supplies and it is an improvement over the HDPlex. Sounds like a promising development.

 



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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Mourip in my opinion the farad3 lps is one of the best affordable ones one the market right now. Top highs; tight lows and believe me ive compared a lot. Another good one is the sPS500 Sotm a SMPS very good and adjustable voltages..

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On 8/10/2019 at 7:21 AM, seeteeyou said:

 

Recently Marcin went from previous generation of Apacer 75.B93H7.G000B to their latest wide temp. model

 

https://www.apacer.com/News/Detail/DDR4High-PerformanceWide-TempMemory

http://jplay.eu/forum/index.php?/topic/2786-ram-adventures-extremely-interesting-results/page-2#entry49239

 

Mostly likely B93H0 should be a typo, it's good for 0 °C ≤ TC ≤ +85°C

 

http://eflash.apacerus.com/spec/DRAM/75.B93H7.G000B.pdf#page=12

http://eflash.apacerus.com/spec/DRAM/75.B93H7.G000B DDR4 ECC DIMM 2400-17 512x8 4GB SA-E Anti-Sulfuration HF.pdf#page=12

 

Even that would cost $130 for 4GB, imagine how much we're gonna pay for the new one

 

https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Apacer/75B93H7G000B?qs=0lQeLiL1qya80yN9UFKvQw%3D%3D

 

This is what Marcin was talking about and it's announced back in April

 

https://industrial.apacer.com/en-ww/DRAM/DDR4-Wide-Temp.-UDIMM

 

Maybe that's the next best thing when compared to what we're getting from Taiko Audio? Though there's always something even better that could go all the way up to +125°C

 

https://www.micron.com/products/dram/dram-for-automotive

 

Not that we'll reach that kinda temperature by any means, it's just a matter of stringent quality that's gotta require (much) better materials in the first place.

 

Do you know the model number of the new Apacer memory? 

 

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hi,

my nuc7 i7 and ramroot works with 12Gb of sodimm.

4 Gb no chance. 8Gb :stutter.

Sounds phantastic.

Server nuc pjyh with daphile as squeezeserver

and NUC 7 as squeezclient on Euphony. Imho better than stylus, which is already very good.

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10 minutes ago, austinpop said:

Hi all,

 

It seems this thread has gone quiet in terms of posts by some of the "regulars" who have followed it from the beginning. My assumption, or at least hope, is that people are just happy with their systems now, and hence have no reason to post.

 

So as a way to revitalize this thread, I have a proposal. Please consider posting a description your system in its current state. If possible, please showcase which of the optimizations we've covered in this thread's long history you've tried, and what you found. You can be as terse or verbose as you want. For example, here's an update I posted on July 31: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/?do=findComment&comment=977429

 

BTW - this isn't just for old-timers. New followers of this thread are welcome to join in. I just want the focus to be on:

  • changes that have resulted in SQ improvement, as experienced by direct listening
  • changes in the general area of the digital transport chain upstream of the DAC, which is the primary focus of this thread - although we do stray from time to time! 9_9

Feel free to share where you think you might optimize next, or if you're done optimizing (i.e. "happy"), say so.

 

To jog your memories, I'm listing the categories of optimizations that we have covered over the lifetime of this thread. I very likely may have missed a category or two. But you get the idea.

  • Bridging Ethernet interfaces on music server
  • Better PSUs (upstream of DAC)
  • Better quality system clocks for USB, Ethernet, and system
  • Better quality word clocks - for example in DDCs like Mutec MC-3+, SOtM dX-USB HD Ultra, Singxer DC-1
  • Reference 10MHz clocks
  • USB regenerators 
  • Ethernet regenerators (switches)
  • Standalone vs. distributed - where did you land?
  • Endpoint optimization - NUCs etc
  • Server optimization - mobos, cards, etc
  • OS optimization - AL, Euphony etc 
  • Music SW optimization - Roon, HQPlayer, SL, Stylus etc
  • Assorted:
    • Digital cables - USB, Ethernet, etc
    • Power cables
    • Power optimizations
      • Dedicated circuits
      • Regenerators, conditioners, isolation transformers etc.
    • Cable shielding - JSSG, JSSG360
    • Isolators, filters
    • Grounding - JSGT, etc
    • Fuses
    • Other accessories

 

+1

It would be great to share more actual experiences, fully in the spirit of this topic.

 

Ps. I very much like reading along in this topic, but I’m holding back to start building a server myself. With the ‘bits and pieces’ of information I personally find it hard to determine (1) a proper HW/SW configuration, (2) how the sum would perform SQ-wise and (3) if I’m capable to build the project. Personally I think it would be great when C.A.P.S. would get some kind of a revival, where one or a couple of proven setups are shared in former C.A.P.S. style, ie ranked on SQ/budget or required DIY skill level. I reckon it could be very informative, lower the threshold and could even create a common ‘AS benchmark’, at the same I realise it’ll take a considerable amount of time.

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18 hours ago, seeteeyou said:

Hello, 

 

I'm using D31.23185S.001  DDR4 4GB ECC UDIMM at the moment. This is the latest model based on the newly developed Samsung IC. It's a step up from the previous Apacer industrial E/T RAM. 

 

The best way to purchase Apacer ram is to call Apacer and ask them about the dealer in your neighbourhood. It worked for me. 

 

Regards, 

Marcin


JPLAY & JCAT Founder

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On 8/1/2019 at 6:02 PM, austinpop said:

Apologies for an admittedly OT post, but since so many of the regulars here are accomplished DIYers, I wanted to tap into your expertise.

 

One of the DC cables I got from purchasing my used SR7MR3 is a Paul Hynes DC3FSXLR fine silver cable, but it's terminated with a 4-pin Molex. I need to get it reterminated with an Oyaide 5.5x2.5 connector, which I have in hand. I've been checking around for local electronics repair places who might do the retermination for me, but I'm concerned about shoddy materials.

 

For a cable of this quality, should I be looking for them to use a particular solder? Any other considerations? Any US-based DIYer here who could do the retermination for me? I'd pay, of course.

 

Anyway, since this is OT, please PM me if you have thoughts or suggestions.

Other than WBT silver solder as already suggested, Cardas quad eutectic solder is also regarded very highly (this is what I use)  as is Audio Note solder.  I don't think there's much point in looking beyond these options as they represent the finest options.

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16 hours ago, mriguy said:

Hi Everyone, 

I'll play along!  I've been meaning to publicly thank everyone (especially austinpop) for the improvements and joy that this thread (and the Euphony/AL threads) has yielded in my musical enjoyment. For me, I've been trying to get my system "sounding right" for about 4 decades. Up until about 6 years ago, it was all speaker based, but then it finally dawned on me that getting it really right in the speaker world is beyond my budget and beyond my ability to control my room acoustics. 

 

My first move in this new era was to get a Mojo, with some decent IEMs (Etymotic, Alclair and then Perfect Seal). Then came a move-up to the Sennheiser 800S. At home, all of the Mojo was driven by a Mac Mini running  Audirvana Plus, via USB. It was then that I discovered Roon. Wow, there's a new world. Roon needs an endpoint, which became a Raspberry Pi / HifiBerry, via USB. That was upgraded to a DigiOne, via SPDIF, all with great results. The physical flexibility of endpoints was a problem-solving revelation. I was quite happy here, for a quite a while. Then I was able to afford an upgraded to a Hugo 2. Oh man, that was unbelievable. Next, I discovered our "Novel/Massive" thread started digging into it and "trying" to catch-up and assimilate it. That takes a while! There was no turning back at that point.

 

So all of that brings my story up to recent history. I got hooked (read, hook, line and sinker) on the unfolding story of NUCs, AL and Euphony. I actually had a friend give me his unused NUC6i3! I know, what a friend! I tired a trial of Euphony running on a USB stick. My music library remained on the Mac Mini, as the NUCs internal drive has been removed. The stock fan is still there running. The USB cable is an Audioquest Cinnamon (USB-A to USB-micro) The PS is still the stock SMPS. And yet dispite these sins, it sounds totally wonderful. Euphony running non-distributed in combo StylusES / Roon absolutely and totally rocks, highly recommended.

 

The next chapter was a monster one. I sold my 800S and got a pair of Empyerian after listening to them at a really cool dealer, here in Chicago named "F1 Audio." They're great. They are well on their way to becoming the premier high-end headphone shop here in Chicago. It's was invaluable being able to hear so many great headphones there, for as long as I wanted. They are even a Chord dealer as well. I have always been a "detail guy," probably to a fault. I have a unfortunate and expensive history of mistaking brightness for detail. Been there, done that, don't like it. So the Empyerian are definitely not bright. It took me a little while for my brain to reprogram itself from the detail of the 800S, but reprogramming is complete and I couldn't be happier. The Empyerians are almost chamelian like in thier ability to always display satisfying detial, without ever being too bright, regardless of the song's mix. Helping them out is the detail and timing accuracy of the Hugo2, with an assist from a 3rd party cable upgrade to the Norne Silverguarde S3 cables. Wow... just wow.

 

From there, I next took a comparatively tiny chance (financially that is) on the Cisco Router model that several people have been talking about here on our thread. Cost me all of $22!  Well, that was a very nice and worthwhile improvement. Highly Recommended! Everyone talking about it on our thread was right.... yet again.

 

Thanks for sharing! It's great to hear that these changes have brought you sonic improvements. As you know, my baseline setup is also a Meze Empyrean with Chord HMS/TT2. I find I am listening to my HD800 less and less.

 

16 hours ago, mriguy said:

So... what's next for me? Here's my plan, in my planned order. Your comments, guidance and correction are more than welcome!

  • Upgrading the PS to a Sean Jacobs DC3. I'm already in the queue for September! Very exciting.
    • The above supply is going to be 19V at 5A to power the NUC (or any NUC in the foreseeable future).
    • It will have a secondary, regulated output of 12V at 2A
    • This secondary supply is to power a EtherRegen, down the road sometime. I'm hoping, like everyone else, that it really does its thing.  
  • Upgrade the NUC to an i7, with Optane
  • Get rid of the fan with a fanless case.... Porcoolpine or Akassa
  • EtherRegen - TBD... waiting for the release, reviews and discussions to begin.

 

Yup, all excellent steps.

 

16 hours ago, mriguy said:
  • Upgrade the USB cable
    • This turns out to be a bit of a challenge...
    • It's challenging to find a great USB cable with a Micro-USB for the Hugo2
    • There is the Audioquest USB-B to USB-micro adapter
    • But it will put more stain on the Hugo 2's tiny USB connector
    • How much of the new cable's performance will be lost in the adapter (???)

 

You should reach out directly to the cable manufacturers, and see if they can special build you a cable with the right connector. Adapters are definitely a compromise.

 

16 hours ago, mriguy said:
  • Ethernet cable upgrade. Is this more important or less important then the USB cable upgrade.... not sure?

 

Some people swear by the epiphany wrought by a different Ethernet cable, but strictly in my experience and my system, the Ethernet cable effect is smaller than the USB cable. YMMV.

 

16 hours ago, mriguy said:
  • Maybe upgrade to a TT2 and/or Mscaler.... lot's of money there.... that's not happening anytime soon!

 

I hear you. If you do succumb to the siren call, you can do it in 2 steps, by going with the HMS first, then after the coffers recharge, the TT2.

 

16 hours ago, mriguy said:

So, I'm really quite happy (satisfied), even as I stand right now. After the Paul Hynes PS upgrade, we'll see. I might decide to stop right there. TBD. After all this time, trying to get things right, I fully believe I'm knocking on the door... loudly. Thanks from the bottom of my heart to all of you guys for your pioneering and experimenting spirit and your willingness to share that hard-fought-for-knowledge with everyone.  

 

Best Regards... Happy Listening!

 

You're welcome.

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25 minutes ago, Blackmorec said:

Hey Gavin,

 

Really nice post! It sounds like you’re getting a lot of enjoyment and rewards from the hobby, which is what its all about. Regarding your comment about £5-8000 commercial offerings....I get what you’re saying. But this is one of those strange hobbies where you don’t always GET what you pay for. That’s because what you pay for are amplifiers, loudspeakers, media players etc whereas what you really want to get is a highly believable illusion of music being performed.  You can spend practically any amount of money these days, but unless there’s some real skill applied in its application, you may not get anywhere like the result you desire.  So your real success isn’t in emulating £5-8000 commercial products, its in using your skills to get really great sound sound for an affordable budget, which isn’t straightforward...regardless of budget. 

Also, re your comment that source is king. You’re right that without a good source, you’ll never actually get anywhere, but just the same, if a great source is played through poor loudspeakers, you still won’t get too far. The most important message, I think, is that EVERYTHING matters.  You could have one of the finest sounding systems in the World but if one little thing, a bass resonance, a slight hardness or ‘shoutiness’,  keeps pulling you out of the illusion, you still won’t fully enjoy your system.  The 2 most important attributes of your system are:

  • its ability to draw you in and INVOLVE you with the music
  • Its ability to let you relax and KEEP you involved

Essentially when you are listening to and enjoying music with your entire being, without any intruding thoughts, then your system is truly kicking-ass 😁

 

A fair summary - perhaps what I'm trying to say is that a decent set of £500 speakers with a superb source and preceeding chain can sound WAY better than a pair of £5k speakers fed by a very poor preceeding chain.  Based on what I'm hearing now, I think that even if you're on a limited budget it would be better to have cheaper speakers and a better source/preceeding chain.  This wasn't something I would have suggested even a few months ago prior to me learning the above.

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1 hour ago, Gavin1977 said:

A fair summary - perhaps what I'm trying to say is that a decent set of £500 speakers with a superb source and preceeding chain can sound WAY better than a pair of £5k speakers fed by a very poor preceeding chain.  Based on what I'm hearing now, I think that even if you're on a limited budget it would be better to have cheaper speakers and a better source/preceeding chain.  This wasn't something I would have suggested even a few months ago prior to me learning the above.

I totally agree 😉

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