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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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20 minutes ago, afrancois said:

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.

 

That partly concurs with my recent experience: I hardly heard a difference powering my HQPlayer server (far away from and fiber-connected to my AL+NAA endpoint) with a nonlinear Seasonic 400W PS vs a HDPlex 200W linear PS. I have chosen for the former as it is more powerful and generates less heat. An ever so slight preference for the SQ with the Seasonic could be the result of this 🙂 


 

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6 hours ago, bodiebill said:

 

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.

 

Yes, please publish your findings here when you get them, along with build details and the exact workload (OS, music player, if HQP - what settings) you used. One useful piece of info that will be useful to others will be the relative consumption between ATX and EPS (CPU). 

 

6 hours ago, bodiebill said:

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?

 

Yes, again - this is not meant to be an exact science. Typically, your PSU should have a capacity several multiples of your observed consumption. But it will tell you, for example the relative weight of ATX and EPS, so you can decide how/where to allocate your resources into the capacity of each rail.

 

Also be sure to observe other infrequent, but intensive workloads, like: library scanning, OS and software updates, for example.

 

And finally, of course, a reminder to look at both peak and steady state.

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1 hour ago, austinpop said:

Yes, please publish your findings here when you get them, along with build details and the exact workload (OS, music player, if HQP - what settings) you used. One useful piece of info that will be useful to others will be the relative consumption between ATX and EPS (CPU). 

 

Will do. I just ordered a watt meter...

 

1 hour ago, austinpop said:

Yes, again - this is not meant to be an exact science. Typically, your PSU should have a capacity several multiples of your observed consumption. But it will tell you, for example the relative weight of ATX and EPS, so you can decide how/where to allocate your resources into the capacity of each rail.

 

Also be sure to observe other infrequent, but intensive workloads, like: library scanning, OS and software updates, for example.

 

And finally, of course, a reminder to look at both peak and steady state.

 

In any case, the wattage required by the PC (or CPU, ATX) will be lower than the AC wattage measured, and similar for the amperage. And that is better than the other way around.

 

And thanks for the pointers; I will try to do a thorough test.


 

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30 minutes ago, Superdad said:

Amazing to see all this discussion of power supplies without a single mention of one of nearly the most consequential factor, output impedance. Computers are a very “bursty” load, and given adequate current and even just average noise performance, the supply with the lower broadband output impedance will always win.

 

Can this be measured if it is not mentioned in the manual/specs?


 

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2 hours ago, austinpop said:

Typically, your PSU should have a capacity several multiples of your observed consumption.

In capacity planning for any system, the peak/average ratio of the workload is a key concept so you make an important point.  The measurements people are reporting from various monitors are likely indicative of the average (or maybe average peak).


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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2 hours ago, austinpop said:

 

Yes, please publish your findings here when you get them, along with build details and the exact workload (OS, music player, if HQP - what settings) you used. One useful piece of info that will be useful to others will be the relative consumption between ATX and EPS (CPU). 

 

 

Sorry for the simple question but can you explain why you are distinguishing between ATX and EPS?  Can't they both be power from either an ATX PS or LPS plus regulators?  I am just trying to catch up on the lingo and distinction.

 

TIA.

 


Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7s, 4 M&K ST-150Ts, 1 VCC-5; Amplification: 2 Vandersteen M7-HPAs, CI Audio D200 MKII, Ayre V-6xe; Preamp: Doshi Audio Line Stage v3.0; Phono Pre: Doshi Audio Phono Pre; Analog: Wave Kinetics NVS with Durand Telos composite arm; SME 3012R arm, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2; Reel to Reel:  Technics RS-1500; Doshi Tape Pre-Amp; Studer A810, Studer A812, Tascam BR-20; Multi-channel: Bryston SP-3; Digital: Custom PC (WS 2016/AO/HQPlayer/Roon)> Lampizator Big 7 DAC

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3 hours ago, Superdad said:

Amazing to see all this discussion of power supplies without a single mention of one of nearly the most consequential factor, output impedance. Computers are a very “bursty” load, and given adequate current and even just average noise performance, the supply with the lower broadband output impeadance will always win.


If only there was a company who could design a atx smps with a noise level of LT3045. Wouldn’t that be the ideal power supply? That’s what smps do deliver instant current and I think that’s what computers need. The problem is the noise level over a wide bandwidth. 
With linear power supplies: Would low impedance equal instant current? Would a high capacitance with very low ESR on the output of a linear regulator solve the instant current problem ( lower the impedance??) and help the computers erratic current demand?

I am asking because I initially had a problem with powering my NUC7i7dn.. For experimentation I first powered the nuc with a studer900 regulator ( with modified current limiter) the nuc would only boot in its low power setting. So I bought an other 5A regulator and it could boot the nuc in its normal power setting and go up to 4.2Ghz but not boot in de high power setting. Than I had an idea and put a 20kuF, ESR 7mohm capacitors on the output of the same regulator and now the nuc boots in the high power setting. 
 

What would be the ideal power supply for high end music computer??


🇳🇱
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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I've read various posts on here recommending the HDPLEX 800W DC-ATX supply.  I replaced my HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX supply for one of these recently but can hear zero difference.  I am powering it from the 19V/10A rail of my HDPLEX 200W LPS.  I tried powering both ATX and EPS from the 800W DC-ATX supply and thought this sounded worse than powering the ATX from the 800W DC-ATX supply and the EPS from the 12V/10A rail of the 200W LPS directly.  

 

I know it's early days and we are still finding our way with regard to the ideal power supply for our servers, but perhaps a change of LPS might improve matters?  Or a combination of LPS's dedicated to both ATX and EPS? For information, I am powering an Asus B450m motherboard with AMD Ryzen 2700 and 16GB of Apacer ECC ram.  Also on board is an Intel Optane 260GB SSD.  Wondering where to go next.

 

Thanks

Colin

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On 1/16/2020 at 9:39 PM, bodiebill said:

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)

 

After fabricating another short DC cable with Supra CAT8 to replace the stock HDPlex cable for the motherboard, I am now powering as follows:

 

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

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

- HDPlex 200W 12v/2A (variable output) => MPAudio DLS-HPULN 10.5V/5A(2A) => USB (iFi micro iUSB3.0) => Amanero/Lampizator

 

This is very nice sounding with great slam and dynamics, and not strident. I begin to wonder whether whether my dissatisfaction was with the HDPlex LPSU or its DC cables. With serious cables there seems to be a clear improvement!

 

For the USB I did try with (12V => 10.5V) and without (12V) the MPAudio (which takes 9-12V), but the former is clearly better. More rest and ease! So the MPAudio stays in for now.

 

So for now I am listening to this setup, which has the beauty that I am using one AC power cable less.

 

In a few weeks I expect a Denafrips Terminator, which some say makes the likes of iFi micro iUSB3.0 or ISO Regen redundant...


 

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I'm waiting for the new HDPLEX 300W LPS which will replace the 200W unit.  Due to Chinese New Year, the factory is closed until 2/15 so it's going to be a while yet.  The 300W isn't up on the HDPLEX website yet.  I expect the 300W will cost more than the 200W.

 

Changes from the 200W from Larry at HDPLEX:

 

New customized chassis. Better heat dissipation.

330W transformer.

3A for LT3045 rail.

Redesigned rectifier. No longer using the old rectifier for 19V and 12V.

Protection is now in software and will be much more reliable.


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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5 hours ago, Superdad said:

Amazing to see all this discussion of power supplies without a single mention of one of nearly the most consequential factor, output impedance. Computers are a very “bursty” load, and given adequate current and even just average noise performance, the supply with the lower broadband output impeadance will always win.

 

Good point, Alex. Low output impedance is a prerequisite for a PSU's ability to deliver instantaneous current bursts. Indeed, I wonder if a PSU's inability to respond instantly to current demand can introduce another flavor of induced jitter in the signal.

 

Maybe @JohnSwenson's white paper addresses this aspect as well?

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On 1/11/2020 at 11:48 AM, mourip said:

I would like to try some different memory in my Roon server. It is using an ASRock H87M-ITX board which uses DDR3 1600 un-buffered non-ECC UDIMM memory. I have read through as many posts here as possible and scoured the web for sources and information but have come up dry. It seems like folks like the Apacer high temp DDR4 memory but I have not been able to find a comparable DDR3 UDIMM.

 

So two questions. In searching for better sounding memory what parameters should I look for? The two that I have seen discussed are temperature and that 1R8 chip placement might be a positive factor. Any thing else?

 

The second question is: does anyone have a good source for DDR3 memory that would meet audio needs. I was able to get some Apacer DDR4 SODIMMs from a fellow ASer and this worked well in my NUC but I would still like to try some in my server and my other endpoint, both of which run the same ASRock system board.

 

Thanks for any help or suggestions!

https://www.soselectronic.com/memory-modules?query=Apacer
Just ordered from them to use with my Zen MKIII. It will arrive next week.

cheers Jorge

 


AMP: Electrocompaniet ECI-6D; DAC: Oppo 205 (modded); ECI-6D

Streamer/endpoint: Zen MKIII/ultraRendu; Speakers: Proac Tablette Reference 8 Signature; Cables: Speakers (Acoustic Revive) + RCA (au24sx) + RJ45 (Vodka Audioquest) + USB (Diamond Audioquest) + Power (Pangea's + Actinote's) + iR&oM (Neotech 16AWG OCC Silver + DC 4); Filters/reclockers: Jensen VRD- iFF + Pink Faun Isolator + Acoustic Revive RGC-24 + HMS “The Perfect Match” + isoRegen; Switch: etherRegen + opticalModule; Cisco 2960; LPS: Sboosters MKI & MKII (+ ultra) + HDplex 200 + LPS 1.2

 

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5 hours ago, Superdad said:

Amazing to see all this discussion of power supplies without a single mention of one of nearly the most consequential factor, output impedance. Computers are a very “bursty” load, and given adequate current and even just average noise performance, the supply with the lower broadband output impeadance will always win.

 

Sure we did! We just did not call it with the technical term low 'output impedance'. I called it 'quality'. And absolutely - the low output impedance is one of the main things that makes a LPS 'good quality'.

 

On 1/16/2020 at 12:51 PM, 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. 

 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, Nenon said:

We just did not call it with the technical term low 'output impedance'. I called it 'quality'. And absolutely - the low output impedance is one of the main things that makes a LPS 'good quality'.

 

 

 It isn't just low output impedance that is needed. The impedance also needs to remain as flat as possible from almost D.C. to 1MHz .

 If the Output Z is a little lower at say 100kHz due to the use of Low ESR filter capacitors (or lower value filter capacitors due to size constraints) there will still be a small but noticeable increase in HF detail. This even applies to devices such as the original USB Regen which does also impart a minor boost in HF detail while performing it's intended function very well, even when using only a 12V Li Ion battery to power it into a lower current load such as a USB memory stick.

 In fact, you can still hear the influence of the type and value of the capacitors used in the preceding supply, to some extent, despite it's internal voltage regulators.

 This isn't of course unique, and applies to many physically small devices.


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 26-12-2019

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16 hours ago, Nenon said:

1. For those of you following my 'Building a DIY Music Server' thread, you may know that I switched the AsROCK Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac to the ASUS Z390-I ROG Strix Gaming Intel LGA 1151 mini ITX motherboard. I compared the two, and I liked the ASUS better. It goes on the top of my recommendation list for Intel Core ITX motherboard.

  

4 hours ago, Nenon said:

I am very tempted to compare the two ASUS ROG motherboards. Asked the person I am building the computer for. It's his call and it seems like he is open to it. Keep you posted.

 

Since SOtM should be announcing their own motherboard in the (near) future, it's gonna be interesting to compare the differences between SOtM and ASUS ROG.

 

Besides the challenges of acquiring a fanless chassis for a relatively large EEB motherboard, how about (partially) replicating SGM Extreme with WS C621E SAGE and Xeon Silver @ 85W TDP? It won't boot with UDIMM for a config with dual processors, though a single CPU should still work with D31.23185S.001 that's recommended by @Marcin_gps

 

https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Apacer/D3123185S001?qs=Cb2nCFKsA8prqNusSnCNZw==

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/page/603/?tab=comments#comment-995194

 

Emile attempted to design his own motherboard for SGM Extreme but it just wasn't as good as WS C621E SAGE, therefore SOtM must have done something special or else it might not be able to beat that particular server board.

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2 hours ago, soares said:

https://www.soselectronic.com/memory-modules?query=Apacer
Just ordered from them to use with my Zen MKIII. It will arrive next week.

cheers Jorge

 


I’ll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts.


Digital:  Innuos Zenith Std Mk2 > Shunyata Sigma USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Wireworld Gold Startlight > OPTO DX > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps

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11 hours ago, kennyb123 said:


I’ll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

I will :-)!


AMP: Electrocompaniet ECI-6D; DAC: Oppo 205 (modded); ECI-6D

Streamer/endpoint: Zen MKIII/ultraRendu; Speakers: Proac Tablette Reference 8 Signature; Cables: Speakers (Acoustic Revive) + RCA (au24sx) + RJ45 (Vodka Audioquest) + USB (Diamond Audioquest) + Power (Pangea's + Actinote's) + iR&oM (Neotech 16AWG OCC Silver + DC 4); Filters/reclockers: Jensen VRD- iFF + Pink Faun Isolator + Acoustic Revive RGC-24 + HMS “The Perfect Match” + isoRegen; Switch: etherRegen + opticalModule; Cisco 2960; LPS: Sboosters MKI & MKII (+ ultra) + HDplex 200 + LPS 1.2

 

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15 hours ago, rickca said:

I'm waiting for the new HDPLEX 300W LPS which will replace the 200W unit.  Due to Chinese New Year, the factory is closed until 2/15 so it's going to be a while yet.  The 300W isn't up on the HDPLEX website yet.  I expect the 300W will cost more than the 200W.

 

Changes from the 200W from Larry at HDPLEX:

 

New customized chassis. Better heat dissipation.

330W transformer.

3A for LT3045 rail.

Redesigned rectifier. No longer using the old rectifier for 19V and 12V.

Protection is now in software and will be much more reliable.

That's good news. My HDPLEX 200W Linear Power Supply went up in smoke after only three months.

 

On 10/30/2019 at 10:23 AM, StreamFidelity said:

This specification was too much for my HDPLEX 200W.

 

 

That's probably what happened to me. The good news is that my PC and the JCAT USB and NET cards have not been damaged.

 

The bad news is that the HDPLEX's protection did not trigger! What would have happened if I had not cut off the power immediately? I reported the damage and I'm waiting for the reaction.

 

Regardless, I have to worry about my future specification. An alternative would be the purchase of a Paul Hynes Design SR7 (19V / 10A continuous, 40A transient) which seems to have more margin of stability. When I look at the long delivery times and think about Brexit, I lose the desire. 😂

 

Now I throttled my audio PC and run it on the Keces P8 (19V / 4A), which does a very good job for more a year. The good thing about the Keces P8 is the Over Temperature Protection (OTP)!

 

So I decided to buy another Keces P8 with single output (19V / 8A) and

Over Voltage Protection 19.5V
Over Current Protection 8.2A
Over Temperature Protection 80 ℃.

 

I will use my Audio PC with reduced power in the future. Safety is important.

 

I think the problem is the high power dissipation when sharing 19V with 5V. The HDPLEX 200W always got extremely hot. I advise caution when there is a lot of heat.

 

By the way, I still don't have my HDPLEX 200W back. There seem to be big problems with HDPLEX. Too bad, because I generally like the products.

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16 minutes ago, StreamFidelity said:

That's good news. My HDPLEX 200W Linear Power Supply went up in smoke after only three months.

 

By the way, I still don't have my HDPLEX 200W back. There seem to be big problems with HDPLEX. Too bad, because I generally like the products.

 

My 800W DC-ATX arrived DOA 😪.


Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7s, 4 M&K ST-150Ts, 1 VCC-5; Amplification: 2 Vandersteen M7-HPAs, CI Audio D200 MKII, Ayre V-6xe; Preamp: Doshi Audio Line Stage v3.0; Phono Pre: Doshi Audio Phono Pre; Analog: Wave Kinetics NVS with Durand Telos composite arm; SME 3012R arm, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2; Reel to Reel:  Technics RS-1500; Doshi Tape Pre-Amp; Studer A810, Studer A812, Tascam BR-20; Multi-channel: Bryston SP-3; Digital: Custom PC (WS 2016/AO/HQPlayer/Roon)> Lampizator Big 7 DAC

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Hi does anyone knowledgeable have compatible Apacer memory  module number for a NUC6CAYH DDR3. Just wondering if anyone has bought it, where to order it ? and if its worth the upgrade?

I looked and couldn't see laptop size modules.. 

Thank you if you can help.

 

David 😁

 

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48 minutes ago, Middy said:

Hi does anyone knowledgeable have compatible Apacer memory  module number for a NUC6CAYH DDR3. Just wondering if anyone has bought it, where to order it ? and if its worth the upgrade?

I looked and couldn't see laptop size modules.. 

Thank you if you can help.

 

David 😁

 


I believe your nuc Memory requirements

  • Supports two 1.35V DDR3L SDRAM SO-DIMMs
  • 1600 MHz and 1866 MHz 
  • Unbuffered, non-ECC 
  • Single-sided or double-sided
  • Minimum recommended memory: 2 GB
  • Maximum memory: 8 GB
  • Serial presence detect (SPD) 

This link is a selection of the wide temperature versions, 1600mhz. They do not have the wt version in 1866mhz.

https://www.soselectronic.com/memory-modules?query=Apacer&params=466%3ASODIMM|279%3ADDR3L|181%3A1600|297%3A-40...85&category=3360&param_current=297
 

I have bought here my 4GB ddr4 sodimm wt for my nuc. 
Please check with others if this is correct.


🇳🇱
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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