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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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5 hours ago, rickca said:

The USA price is $3150.

 

Wow. Now if only the Phoenix would provide true galvanic isolation.  Wish that, along with the "femto" clocking, a ton of LT3042 regulators, a USB3.1 hub, and a floating LT3045 power supply could be had at a more modest price, say $695.  Oh wait...x-D 

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6 hours ago, rickca said:

The USA price is $3150.

 

17 minutes ago, Superdad said:

 

Wow. Now if only the Phoenix would provide true galvanic isolation.  Wish that, along with the "femto" clocking, a ton of LT3042 regulators, a USB3.1 hub, and a floating LT3045 power supply could be had at a more modest price, say $695.  Oh wait...x-D 

 

Doesn't really matter. What matters is how it sounds and to most that is the _only_ deciding factor why one would buy the Phoenix (assuming the price is digestible to them) over the ISORegen 😊

 

 

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24 minutes ago, matthias said:

...how long?

Sorry, guess you did not get the joke.  I was referring to the long-available $695 ISO REGEN/UltraCap LPS-1.2 bundle which delivers all that I mentioned.

 

25 minutes ago, Dev said:

Doesn't really matter. What matters is how it sounds and to most that is the _only_ deciding factor why one would buy the Phoenix (assuming the price is digestible to them) over the ISORegen 😊

 

I don't disagree. But no matter how one slices it, $3150 is an awful lot for a small hub-chip based board in a big box with a low-current power supply. 

Guess we are just missing the [gravy] boat...9_9

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4 hours ago, Superdad said:

Sorry, guess you did not get the joke.  I was referring to the long-available $695 ISO REGEN/UltraCap LPS-1.2 bundle which delivers all that I mentioned.

 

I don't disagree. But no matter how one slices it, $3150 is an awful lot for a small hub-chip based board in a big box with a low-current power supply. 

Guess we are just missing the [gravy] boat...9_9

I have to agree that you are quite right in that this $3150 is rather costly, though clocks can be expensive (except the Chinese market seems to be producing cheaper great clocks too!). But for $3150 it is rather too much. But perhaps there is some other magic in the box that we are not aware of ? 

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I have Innuos Zenith Mk.II.  I tried it with iFi iSilencer 3.0 (plugged into Zenith USB ports) and iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 into my DAC.  I can hear improvement.  I don't think I can afford PhoenixUSB but I would like to hear comparison of PhoenixUSB with other [cheaper] USB enhancement devices by reviewers.

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27 minutes ago, Anwar said:

I have Innuos Zenith Mk.II.  I tried it with iFi iSilencer 3.0 (plugged into Zenith USB ports) and iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 into my DAC.  I can hear improvement.  I don't think I can afford PhoenixUSB but I would like to hear comparison of PhoenixUSB with other [cheaper] USB enhancement devices by reviewers.

What DAC and LPS/ power cables are u using? The ifi products are helpful in eliminating inherent noise in your system so I am wondering if there are still some noisy parts that still need to be addressed? 

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45 minutes ago, Chopin75 said:

What DAC and LPS/ power cables are u using? The ifi products are helpful in eliminating inherent noise in your system so I am wondering if there are still some noisy parts that still need to be addressed? 

It's Marantz SA-10 SACD player used as a USB DAC.  I have Torus AVR16, so my system is dead quiet.  More details in my profile.

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https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/34613-optane-ssd-as-boot-drive-sq-nirvana/page/10/?tab=comments#comment-825445

On 5/22/2018 at 12:30 PM, tims said:

This addonics board is exactly what I'm after but don't have any spare PCLe slots left on my server/player,  Anyone know of any way I can make it work externally with external power and using spare USB ports?

 

Thanks

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/page/462/?tab=comments#comment-900522

On 11/29/2018 at 10:06 AM, austinpop said:

 

  1. On the Dell:
    • Compared to NAS (default), music in RAM was again noticeably better
    • However, interestingly, music on NVMe Optane SSD was almost as good as in RAM.

 

For those of us who aren't able to try Optane without any PCI-Express or M.2 slots available, both ElecGear NV-C01 and ElecGear NV-i9 are supposed to work with multiple Optane models when they're connected via USB


https://www.amazon.com/NVMe-PCIe-Gen2-Enclosure-PCI/dp/B07GNZSN3R
https://www.amazon.com/NVMe-PCIe-Gen2-Enclosure-PCI/dp/B07MLJ7FRD

Quote

Intel Optane memory 600P, 660P, 760P, 800P, 900P


UK ones

https://www.amazon.co.uk/USB-NVMe-PCIe-Enclosure-PCI/dp/B07M9LJG53
https://www.amazon.co.uk/USB-NVMe-PCIe-Enclosure-PCI-M-2/dp/B07GPB1VR4

In addition, Optane drives could be powered externally if our USB ports (e.g. tX-USBultra or tX-USBexp) were accepting external power.

However, 600P / 660P / 760P ain't even Optane to begin with. No M.2 models for 900P whatsoever while the only 905P is 22110 instead of 2280. Finally we've got 800P but that's limited to 118GB.

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On ‎9‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 2:29 PM, Chopin75 said:

What DAC and LPS/ power cables are u using? The ifi products are helpful in eliminating inherent noise in your system so I am wondering if there are still some noisy parts that still need to be addressed? 

  

Shielding of internal SSDs perhaps ? ¬¬


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 18-06-2019

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5 hours ago, seeteeyou said:

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/34613-optane-ssd-as-boot-drive-sq-nirvana/page/10/?tab=comments#comment-825445

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/page/462/?tab=comments#comment-900522

 

For those of us who aren't able to try Optane without any PCI-Express or M.2 slots available, both ElecGear NV-C01 and ElecGear NV-i9 are supposed to work with multiple Optane models when they're connected via USB


https://www.amazon.com/NVMe-PCIe-Gen2-Enclosure-PCI/dp/B07GNZSN3R
https://www.amazon.com/NVMe-PCIe-Gen2-Enclosure-PCI/dp/B07MLJ7FRD


UK ones

https://www.amazon.co.uk/USB-NVMe-PCIe-Enclosure-PCI/dp/B07M9LJG53
https://www.amazon.co.uk/USB-NVMe-PCIe-Enclosure-PCI-M-2/dp/B07GPB1VR4

In addition, Optane drives could be powered externally if our USB ports (e.g. tX-USBultra or tX-USBexp) were accepting external power.

However, 600P / 660P / 760P ain't even Optane to begin with. No M.2 models for 900P whatsoever while the only 905P is 22110 instead of 2280. Finally we've got 800P but that's limited to 118GB.

 

Putting an Optane card in such enclosure and connecting via USB defeats the purpose of using (low latency) Optane. One might be better off with some of the other USB storage methods discussed here in that case. 

 

Although, it may still sound good, I would argue that all the listening tests done with Optane connected to the M.2 slot with direct and low latency access to the CPU would need to be re-evaluated for USB-based connectivity. 

 

In other words, the quote in your post was NOT intended for USB-based usage of Optane. 

5 hours ago, seeteeyou said:

However, interestingly, music on NVMe Optane SSD was almost as good as in RAM.

 

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Hi, not sure if this is the right place on the forum or not but I seen Romas talking about NUC motherboards. Nuc7i7bnh

 

My TLS db-7 uses a Akasa plato case. Looks really cheap and nasty. I have searched for other options, but nothing I see that can fit. If i was to say, I don't necessary have a budget, but if it was top end would anyone have any recommendations of better pc case?

 

Thanks in advance

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6 hours ago, ASRMichael said:

Hi, not sure if this is the right place on the forum or not but I seen Romas talking about NUC motherboards. Nuc7i7bnh

 

My TLS db-7 uses a Akasa plato case. Looks really cheap and nasty. I have searched for other options, but nothing I see that can fit. If i was to say, I don't necessary have a budget, but if it was top end would anyone have any recommendations of better pc case?

 

Thanks in advance


Intel NUC7i7DNHE

https://www.quietpc.com/akasa-plato-x7d

 

Good results with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut.


Computer (Ethernet)  D-Link DGS-105 (Ethernet)  Intel NUC7i7DNHE (USB)  Denafrips Terminator (XLR)  AMB Laboratories β22 (Balanced)  Focal Utopia (Headphones)
 
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On 9/9/2019 at 2:24 PM, austinpop said:

 

 

Just a caveat - are you sure a single Farad 3 supply has enough power for your needs? It's a great PSU, but it's limited to 3A, as you know.

 

The whole point of the single server that Roy mentioned - see this post and this one - is to power it with generously overprovisioned PSUs, which we think contribute to the outstanding dynamics. Even with his current server, which I believe he mentioned consumes under 50W steady state, he is powering it with 2 rails from his SR-7:

  • a 19V/5A rail to an HDPlex DC-ATX adapter, which then feeds the ATX input (12v, 5v, 3.3v) of the motherboard.
  • a separate 12V/5A rail to the EPS input of the motherboard, to power the CPU separately.

That's way more than a single Farad Super 3 can supply - nor is it designed to.

Sorry for the delayed response here.  After having a conversation with Mattijs, I've decided to wait for his upcoming 12V 12A that he's still prototyping as that would be perfect for my scenario and the audio pc I'm building.  Rather than refund me for my Farad 3 purchase, I decided to use the credit and wait for him to finish up his "Super 12".  Hopefully he'll have that out before the end of the year. 

 

In the meantime, I'll be using a second HDPlex 200w LPS I have, along with the HDPlex 400W DC-ATX adapter (the latest version of the adapter that Larry just started shipping a couple of weeks ago).  After trying out the latest version of the HDPlex 400W DC-ATX,I noticed an improvement in sound over the version I had purchased back in January of this year.  I've been using that unit in an audio PC I built earlier this year.  However, after I swapped it out with the newest version, I noticed a slight improvement in SQ.  I'm not great at explaining things in audiophile speak, so please forgive my lack of specific details.  It just sounds slightly more forward and detailed, with even a little extra texture to the mids and highs is the best way I can put it.  At only USD$95, it was a bargain for slight improvement I noticed.  Mattijs is also planning to build his own similar 400W DC-ATX converter but that's a little farther down the road he said. 

 

Lastly, I'm very curious about the use of an I2S Bridge vs. USB interface between audio PC and DAC.  I'm quite happy with the SOtM tX-USBexp PCIe to USB audio card I installed and found it a definite improvement over the standard USB provided by the Mobo.  However, I've noticed that PinkFaun offers an I2S Bridge for the same price as their base USB Bridge (USD $325 without clock upgrades).  My PS Audio Direct Stream DAC is on their list as compatible with this card.  Here's a link to the PinkFaun I2S bridge:

 

https://www.pinkfaun.com/shop/bridge/69-2726-i2s-bridge.html#/164-compatible_i2s_dac_s-hdmi_ps_audio_direct_stream_dac/195-bracket_height-792_mm_3118_inch/196-additional_clock_for_bridge-no

 

Has anyone tried out this type of I2S link and compared it to a similar quality USB connection (e.g., SOtM, JCAT, etc.)?  If there's a unique thread for a discussion along those lines, please point me towards it.

 

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1 hour ago, LJONESATL said:

Has anyone tried out this type of I2S link and compared it to a similar quality USB connection (e.g., SOtM, JCAT, etc.)?  If there's a unique thread for a discussion along those lines, please point me towards it.

 

Yes, and I like the I2S better than USB... especially if you get the OCXO clock and a good external LPS. Give it a try if you have a chance. 

Just keep in mind that the I2S card does not work on Intel Core CPUs.

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1 hour ago, Nenon said:

 

Yes, and I like the I2S better than USB... especially if you get the OCXO clock and a good external LPS. Give it a try if you have a chance. 

Just keep in mind that the I2S card does not work on Intel Core CPUs.

That's surprising to hear.  Does it only work on AMD CPU's then? 

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6 hours ago, LJONESATL said:

That's surprising to hear.  Does it only work on AMD CPU's then? 

 

It works on Intel Atom CPUs. Not sure about other models - I haven't tried it. 

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Thanks for the information @Nenon

 

I was thinking of retrofitting a Pink Faun I²S bridge into an Intel NUC and compare it's sound quality against the USB output. 😊

 

Since the USB output from the Intel NUC is controlled by dPLL, it's clock cannot be upgraded. For this reason I originally wanted to go with an tX-USBUltra to clean up the USB signal before sending it to the DAC, but figured it might be more worthwhile to use an I²S bridge in the NUC for an improved clock output and no longer requiring the DAC's USB input clock to reduce jitter further.

 

I'm not sure if the Pink Faun I²S bridge can be fit into the NUC, but early plans is to use an M.2 to PCI-E x4 adapter and extender cable so it could be side mounted out the back of the NUC. The extender cable will be paid attention to so it can be as short as possible. I'll have it sit above the DAC so the HDMI cable can be kept at 0.3M for optimal performance. Furthermore I have found flat design HDMI cables like WireWorld to sound better than the traditional round ones as it seems the horizontal spacing between the conductors help with crosstalk and ultimately the jitter.


Computer (Ethernet)  D-Link DGS-105 (Ethernet)  Intel NUC7i7DNHE (USB)  Denafrips Terminator (XLR)  AMB Laboratories β22 (Balanced)  Focal Utopia (Headphones)
 
= ︿ =

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1 hour ago, Nenon said:

Given that most DACs don't reclock the I2s signal, it is important to have a good clock at the source.

 

Hi Nenon:

Nice post.

While I too enjoy using the I2S/LVDS input (on the Holo Spring L3 currently), what you say about most DACs not reclocking the I2S is not correct.  DACs such as the PS Audio units, most ESS Sabre DACs, and most others do not rely solely on the audio clock of the external I2S. The Holo Spring and I am sure a couple of others are the exception (and certainly this accounts for the large delta I hear when feeding it a well-clocked I2S).

Cheers,

--Alex C.

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10 minutes ago, Superdad said:

 

Hi Nenon:

Nice post.

While I too enjoy using the I2S/LVDS input (on the Holo Spring L3 currently), what you say about most DACs not reclocking the I2S is not correct.  DACs such as the PS Audio units, most ESS Sabre DACs, and most others do not rely solely on the audio clock of the external I2S. The Holo Spring and I am sure a couple of others are the exception (and certainly this accounts for the large delta I hear when feeding it a well-clocked I2S).

Cheers,

--Alex C.

Alex,

What are you using, currently, to feed the I2S input of the Holo?  Still the SU-1?  Sorry, I haven't been keeping up.

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