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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 minutes ago, drjimwillie said:

This is interesting and counter to what Austinpop reported. That higher amperage sounded better, than a better quality and less amperage PSU, when powering the CPU.

I wonder if he was powering the server or the endpoint?  Or a one box system?

I wonder if increasing the amperage to the CPU of the server makes an improvement when sending data over ethernet to the endpoint?

 

For a heavy-lifting server I can imagine a lot of headroom will help. The PS supply of my HQPlayer server (Seasonic fanless 400W) for instance can deliver 33A.

 

But maybe it is a question of 'enough is enough'? If the CPU of my minimized endpoint PC only draws, say, 1.5A (as it seems to do), why would it care if the PS is able to offer more?

Of cause that is just rational reasoning which should never overrule our ears. 


 

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54 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

If the CPU of my minimized endpoint PC only draws, say, 1.5A (as it seems to do), why would it care if the PS is able to offer more?

 

If the CPU draws 1.5A, I would feed it with a LPS that can provide 8A, or it least 6A. That from my experience sounds a lot better. It's what other people have reported too. Oversizing the power supply feeding the CPU makes a difference. Don't ask my why... I have a theory but not worth getting into it. 

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1 minute ago, drjimwillie said:

Bodiebill- how much of that 33A goes to the CPU and how many watts is the CPU, please?

 

I did not measure the amperage drawn in the server, but the CPU is a 95W TDP i7-7900K.

Before the Seasonic I used the 200W/10A HDPlex into a 400W HDPlex DC-ATX converter, and that worked without problem, apart from excessive heat. As I heard no SQ benefits using the latter LPSU, I went bac to the Seasonic.


 

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42 minutes ago, drjimwillie said:

@bodiebill is the 400 W Seasonic currently feeding the 400W HDPlex DC – ATX?

What is the amperage limit of the 12V rail or output feeding the CPU/EPS?

 

No, for the server I only use the Seasonic. This is a regular (nonlinear) power supply, but high quality with low ripple and voltage variance.

I wouldn't know how to let the Seasonic power the HDPlex as the latter needs 19V and the Seasonic only delivers 12V and downwards. 

 

39 minutes ago, drjimwillie said:

Also, are you saying that changing the PSU of the server did not affect the sound quality of the endpoint?

 

For SQ I slightly preferred the Seasonic but the difference was hardly noticeable -- perhaps even imaginary. What I do know is that I did not like the extreme heat of the 200W HDPlex.


 

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1 hour ago, Nenon said:

If the CPU draws 1.5A, I would feed it with a LPS that can provide 8A, or it least 6A. That from my experience sounds a lot better. It's what other people have reported too. Oversizing the power supply feeding the CPU makes a difference. Don't ask my why... I have a theory but not worth getting into it. 

 

Thanks Nenon, I tried the same setup except using the HDPlex normal 12V/10A output instead of its (variable) 12V/2V LT3045 output. Indeed I think I prefer the 12V/10A. Better slam, dynamics.

 

Downstream I now need to power:

A. motherboard with 19V

B. CPU with 12V

C. iFi micro iUSB3.0 with 9-12V

 

When my Paul Hynes arrives I will have the following power linear power supplies:

P1. Paul Hynes SR4: 9, 12, 15 or 19V / 2A

P2. SBooster BOTW ECO MkII: 19V / 1.75A

P3. HDPlex 200W: 12 or 19V / 10A or 5, 9, 12 or 15V / 2A (latter LT3045 based)

P4. MPAudio DLS-HPULN (LT3045 based): anything up to 15V / 5A (to be powered by anything up to 17V)

 

In addition I have three Studer900 LPSU's (9v/15W, 12V/30W, 15V/25W) and a nondescript Chinese 19V/?W.

 

Currently:

P2 => A

P3 12V/10A => B

P3 12V/2A => P4 => C

 

For best SQ, what to power with which?

 

Of course I will try, compare and report back, but it would be nice to know your and other's expectations...

 


 

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Some audiophiles in Taiwan actually went all out to power their components with (used) industrial power supplies from Daitron / Cosel / ETA etc. They're reporting tremendous improvements after going for the 600W (12V / 50A) or even 1200W (12V / 100A) ones despite having those always-on cooling fans

 

https://www.ptt.cc/bbs/Audiophile/M.1546187053.A.9FC.html

https://www.stsd99.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=2722&start=60

http://www.my-hiend.com/vbb/showthread.php?5404-走向超值而極緻的-HI-FI電腦訊源(連載)/page485

 

Things were getting even better once they added 3 (also used) giant caps such as Electronicon E50.N23-185N50 but they're well aware of the potential risks involved

 

http://img.alicdn.com/imgextra/i1/136635359/O1CN011pSSyzLgeQx2FfO_!!0-item_pic.jpg

http://img.alicdn.com/imgextra/i2/136635359/O1CN011pSSyxxr1HQUayd_!!0-item_pic.jpg

http://img.alicdn.com/imgextra/i4/136635359/O1CN011pSSyyAWZN8418l_!!0-item_pic.jpg

 

It's kinda like a recurring theme of some sort, industrial-grade stuff (even though they're SMPS instead of LPS) might tend to perform on a quite different level IMHO. Of course none of them seemed to be familiar with Paul Hynes / Dr. Sean Jacobs etc. so it's hard to tell if they're actually the "real deal" or otherwise.

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@Nenon here's just what you need to pimp out your new server.  Just kidding.  It's amazing what gamers will buy.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/15394/all-of-the-rgb-lian-li-strimer-plus-same-sketchy-name-upgraded-lighting


NUC7PJYH/AL --> Berkeley Alpha USB --> Jeff Rowland Aeris --> Jeff Rowland 625 S2 --> Focal Utopia 3 Diablos with 2 x Focal Electra SW 1000 BE subs

 

i7-6700K/Windows 10 Version 1903/HDPLEX 200W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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In the past I have used a 19v 10A SR7 to power my server which upscales DSD to 512 using HQPlayer without any issue. Processor is an i7 -7700K 91 TDP @ 4.5GHz.  It required the HDPlex DC to ATX converter. When I moved to a NUC endpoint architecture I shifted the SR7 to the NUC (no converter) and now use an HDPlex 400w LPSU for the server which has multiple rails and different amps per rail.  I prefer this sound character.

 

@Nenon I like your eye avatar.


Digital chain: Synology DS1815+ -> SOtM sNH-10G-> Custom 2016 Server (sCLK-EX modified motherboard, Mutec REF 10)-> AL NUC NA (sCLK-EX modified)->  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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28 minutes ago, Johnseye said:

@Nenon I like your eye avatar


Mmmmm 🤫 I don’t know. I feel a bit peeked at.😁


🇳🇱
Meitner ma1 v2 dac,  Sovereign preamp and power amp,

DIY speakers with scan speak illuminator drivers.

Under development:

NUC7i7dnbe, Euphony Stylus

EtherRegen, Clock modded Isoregen, Lush^2

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1 hour ago, Nenon said:

This is hard to answer or even give you any recommendation. I have only used the SBooster and HDPlex from your set of power supplies at very early stages of experimenting with music servers. I don't have them anymore and would not consider them in my system again. I have not tried the SR4 or the MPAudio. 

 

Instead of trying to map a power supply to component, let me try tell you what I think in general. There are two factors - power and quality. Typically the best quality power supplies cannot provide a lot of power. 

 

If 'quality' was the only factor, it would have been a really easy recommendation:

You put the best quality power supply you have on the USB. The second best goes to the CPU. The third best goes to the motherboard. 

 

If 'power' was the only factor, it would have been a really easy recommendation too:

You put the most powerful power supply you have on the CPU. The second most powerful goes to the motherboard. The third most powerful goes to the USB.

 

The problem is when you have to balance between those two factors and introduce a dozen other factors - then it gets really complex. You would have to experiment and see what works best. A good starting point for those experiments would be to:

  • Put the most powerful power supply on the CPU.
  • From the remaining power supplies, pick the best quality one and put it on the USB.
  • From the remaining power supplies, try the best quality power supply on the motherboard; but you may also try the most powerful, or something in between. 

Good luck with the tests and let us know what works best. 

 

Oh, and one more note - I am increasingly starting to think that building a computer with multiple rails of the same power supply and wire accomplishes more natural sound overall. Look at my Building a DIY Music Server thread for example of what I mean by that. 

 

Thanks Nenon, that makes sense. I guess experimenting with several setups will tell.

But it looks like this would a good starting point:

- SBooster 19V/1.75A => HDPlex 800W DC-ATX => motherboard

- HDPlex 200W 12v/10A => CPU

- SR4 12V/2A => USB (iFi micro iUSB3.0)

 

Or for the latter, even better (for additional power cleansing) : 

- SR4 12V/2A => MPAudio DLS-HPULN 10.5V/5A(2A) => USB (iFi micro iUSB3.0)

 

Alternatively, looking at your last remark (multiple rails of same PS):

- HDPlex 200W 19v/10A => HDPlex 800W DC-ATX => motherboard

- HDPlex 200W 12v/10A => CPU

- SR4 12V/2A => MPAudio DLS-HPULN 10.5V/5A(2A) => USB (iFi micro iUSB3.0)

 


 

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That sounds like a S.M.A.R.T. approach @austinpop !

 

Am I right to suppose that if the Kill-a-watt meter (to be had for EUR 15) measures a maximum of 24W AC (!) power on the 12V CPU line, then the LPSU should supply 2A as an absolute minimum?

 

What makes this measurement difficult? Sounds rather easy to me.


 

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38 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

That sounds like a S.M.A.R.T. approach @austinpop !

 

Am I right to suppose that if the Kill-a-watt meter (to be had for EUR 15) measures a maximum of 24W AC (!) power on the 12V CPU line, then the LPSU should supply 2A as an absolute minimum?

 

What makes this measurement difficult? Sounds rather easy to me.

The meter measure the current draw on the AC side of the system.  This does not translate to the actual current that is being provided on the DC side.  There are losses in the supply.

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1 hour ago, bodiebill said:

That sounds like a S.M.A.R.T. approach @austinpop !

 

Am I right to suppose that if the Kill-a-watt meter (to be had for EUR 15) measures a maximum of 24W AC (!) power on the 12V CPU line, then the LPSU should supply 2A as an absolute minimum?

 

What makes this measurement difficult? Sounds rather easy to me.

 

First of all, as @bobfa rightly points out, these numbers are AC watts drawn by the PSU, not the DC watts being delivered to the server. I neglected to mention this measurement is only meant to serve as a rough guide.

 

My point about difficulty was addressed at people who are trying to size a PSU for a system that they haven't built yet. Even if you assemble the system, you still need to find temporary PSUs to run ATX and EPS. I don't know - that seems pretty inconvenient to me.

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16 hours ago, drjimwillie said:

@bodiebill is the 400 W Seasonic currently feeding the 400W HDPlex DC – ATX?

What is the amperage limit of the 12V rail or output feeding the CPU/EPS?

 

I checked the manual: 33A for the 12V rail.


 

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7 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

First of all, as @bobfa rightly points out, these numbers are AC watts drawn by the PSU, not the DC watts being delivered to the server. I neglected to mention this measurement is only meant to serve as a rough guide.

 

My point about difficulty was addressed at people who are trying to size a PSU for a system that they haven't built yet. Even if you assemble the system, you still need to find temporary PSUs to run ATX and EPS. I don't know - that seems pretty inconvenient to me.

 

I see your point re inconvenience.

But with an existing system (such as my audio PC) the kill-a-watt meter approach seems like a good sanity check.

 

So I guess with the conversion loss the measured AC power will be higher than the actual DC power supplied. That means that if we calculate amperage required from the LPSU based on the AC power, we will in fact have some headroom as actually less is needed. Correct?


 

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Given the current (no pun intended) thread here regarding power supplies I have a question... or more of an observation.

 

I have always believed in the importance of well constructed, stiff, over-built power supplies. When modifying or building analog preamps and amps I have always gone for overspec'd transformers, big caps, tight regulation and well thought out grounding. The payoff is usually better accuracy, a more realistic sound stage and especially improved dynamics.

 

For music servers and endpoints I am certainly a fan of linear supplies, good grounding technique, and isolation however once one has met the peak current requirements to avoid sag during high computational needs I really do not understand when someone talks about "improved dynamics" of the actual music. It seems to me that once a good digital stream is produced then the downstream analog components starting with the DACs analog output would determine music dynamics. I can certainly understand how an under-spec'd supply could cause audible issues but I just do not understand how, once the peak needs have been reached, that an over-spec'd supply would improve perceived music dynamics.

 

I am interested in how this might work. Perhaps the subjective experience of improved dynamics comes from finally meeting the actual needs of the server and not from surpassing its real needs?

 

Thanks!



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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23 minutes ago, mourip said:

Given the current (no pun intended) thread here regarding power supplies I have a question... or more of an observation.

 

I have always believed in the importance of well constructed, stiff, over-built power supplies. When modifying or building analog preamps and amps I have always gone for overspec'd transformers, big caps, tight regulation and well thought out grounding. The payoff is usually better accuracy, a more realistic sound stage and especially improved dynamics.

 

For music servers and endpoints I am certainly a fan of linear supplies, good grounding technique, and isolation however once one has met the peak current requirements to avoid sag during high computational needs I really do not understand when someone talks about "improved dynamics" of the actual music. It seems to me that once a good digital stream is produced then the downstream analog components starting with the DACs analog output would determine music dynamics. I can certainly understand how an under-spec'd supply could cause audible issues but I just do not understand how, once the peak needs have been reached, that an over-spec'd supply would improve perceived music dynamics.

 

I am interested in how this might work. Perhaps the subjective experience of improved dynamics comes from finally meeting the actual needs of the server and not from surpassing its real needs?

 

Thanks!

 

Interesting questions/observation. Not that I have an immediate answer, but in the discussions above it is not always clear to me when we are talking server or endpoint, or maybe better: high-lifting PC (such as HQPlayer) or Spartan audio streamer (such as AL, Euphony, NAA). I think this makes a big difference. I do not think there is one PS-related 'truth' for both.


 

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10 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

 

Interesting questions/observation. Not that I have an immediate answer, but in the discussions above it is not always clear to me when we are talking server or endpoint, or maybe better: high-lifting PC (such as HQPlayer) or Spartan audio streamer (such as AL, Euphony, NAA). I think this makes a big difference. I do not think there is one PS-related 'truth' for both.

 

Agreed. Certainly one needs the "right tool for the right job". I am mostly interested in how a power supply for a digital front end affects musical dynamics.

 

Thanks!



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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42 minutes ago, mourip said:

Given the current (no pun intended) thread here regarding power supplies I have a question... or more of an observation.

 

I have always believed in the importance of well constructed, stiff, over-built power supplies. When modifying or building analog preamps and amps I have always gone for overspec'd transformers, big caps, tight regulation and well thought out grounding. The payoff is usually better accuracy, a more realistic sound stage and especially improved dynamics.

 

For music servers and endpoints I am certainly a fan of linear supplies, good grounding technique, and isolation however once one has met the peak current requirements to avoid sag during high computational needs I really do not understand when someone talks about "improved dynamics" of the actual music. It seems to me that once a good digital stream is produced then the downstream analog components starting with the DACs analog output would determine music dynamics. I can certainly understand how an under-spec'd supply could cause audible issues but I just do not understand how, once the peak needs have been reached, that an over-spec'd supply would improve perceived music dynamics.

 

I am interested in how this might work. Perhaps the subjective experience of improved dynamics comes from finally meeting the actual needs of the server and not from surpassing its real needs?

 

Thanks!

I recently went from a dedicated AL music server to RoonServer on a QNAP NAS. Granted, I use separate VLAN's and a dedicated NIC on the QNAP. In my opinion if the server is powerful enough and behind a fiber connection it doesn't matter how optimized the memory, power supply, etc, is. I never had better sound since I switched to a NAS behind fiber and that is far away for my HiFi rig. That said, I hope that the ER I received will even further enhance THE SOUND 🙂

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