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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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47 minutes ago, seeteeyou said:

 

Both Buffalo BS-GS2016/A and Melco S100 seemed to look pretty much the same when we're comparing the PCB inside each unit, unfortunately the clock itself couldn't be seen without removing the heat sink as shown in the second link

 

https://www.hiendy.com/hififorum/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=107184

http://my-hiend.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/DSC_5221mm.jpg

 

If that heat sink were actually removed, we couldn't really put it back on without messing with the thermal paste and therefore I'd rather stay from that.

 

I'm expecting that both Melco N100 and S100 would share a very similar type of clock from NDK since that should be a good fit under the heat sink of S100, either picture linked below is showing that 24MHz NDK clock for NEC / Renasys µPD720201 where "X17" could be found

 

http://my-hiend.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/melco_n100_002.jpg

http://my-hiend.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/melco_n100_006.jpg

 

I also have D10 and it's the big brother of D100 as shown in the following picture, 24MHz for NEC / Renasys µPD720210 on the left and 30MHz for µPD720231 on the right respectively

 

http://my-hiend.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/DSC_5221mm.jpg

 

They might have scratched the surface of the clock and there's no way to identify the model. However, NZ2520SD looked like a potential candidate to me

 

https://www.ndk.com/en/products/search/clock/index.html

https://www.ndk.com/en/products/search/clock/1190904_1433.html

 

Nowhere close to the performance of megabuck OCXO products like NDK DuCULoN or even MSB Galaxy, though it's still a pretty darn good deal for such an affordable option

 

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/lks-audio-mh-da003.745032/page-20#post-12775721

https://www.arrow.com/en/products/nz2520sd-25.000000m-nsa3449e/ndk

 

It might be somewhat challenging to put Fidelity Audio C5 inside S100 because of that heat sink mentioned above, it's also requiring its own PSU and therefore I'd rather leave S100 as is.

 

OTOH, HFS1155 from JS PC Audio could be another avenue since it's so easy to replace the clock

 

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/sotm-snh-10g-network-switches-x2-the-new-king-of-usb-network-gadget-setup.27758/page-21#post-625621

 

Dimensions of C5 are 100mm × 55mm versus 230mm × 180mm for HFS1155, that Connor Winfield accepts either 5V or 3.3V but C5 needs at least 6.5V to operate

 

http://www.conwin.com/datasheets/cx/cx259.pdf

https://www.fidelityaudio.co.uk/c5-signature-low-jitter-clock-4461-p.asp

 

Of course there's also this 25MHz clock that costs as much as S100 itself

 

https://www.pinkfaun.com/shop/clock/67-ultra-ocxo.html

https://www.pinkfaun.com/shop/sheets/PinkFaunUltra25MHz.pdf

 

However good sounding S100 would seem to be, there's still a lingering question for me. All audiophile switches still have low power CPUs while some supervisor modules from Cisco are much more powerful

 

https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/switches/nexus-7000-series-switches/models-comparison.html

OEPhZf1.jpg

 

Since music servers with Xeon / Core i9 / Ryzen would tend to perform so much matter when compared to similar options with Pentium / Celeron / Atom, just wondering if a network bridge with Asus WS C621E SAGE + dual Xeon Scalable + Apacer wide temperature RDIMM + modified JCAT NET Card FEMTO were gonna totally smoke all switches out there

 

https://www.windowscentral.com/how-set-and-manage-network-bridge-connection-windows-10

 

That's a lot to chew on!  Thanks for taking the time to put all of that information together and for sharing your thoughts.

 


 

 

 

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Over here, I am back to bridged USB NICs hanging off two direct to CPU USB 3 ports. Zero PCH traffic. Bliss!


nuckleheadaudio.com

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7 minutes ago, lmitche said:

Over here, I am back to bridged USB NICs hanging off two direct to CPU USB 3 ports. Zero PCH traffic. Bliss!

Sounds good. Thinking of trying bridged USB NIC, any specific models to look for?  Hard to find any "professional"

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29 minutes ago, henke said:

Sounds good. Thinking of trying bridged USB NIC, any specific models to look for?  Hard to find any "professional"

With Linux it seems the Realtek chipset NICs are best. My two cost $20 each.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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1 hour ago, lmitche said:

With Linux it seems the Realtek chipset NICs are best. My two cost $20 each.

 

Larry, what Ethernet cables are you using ? Audiophile ethernet is costing a bunch and now two of them 🤯

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1 minute ago, lmitche said:

Bouncing between Cable Matters and MonoPrice Cat 8s.

 

Ahh...that's a sigh of relief for experimenting 👍

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17 hours ago, lmitche said:

With Linux it seems the Realtek chipset NICs are best. My two cost $20 each.

Actually having plans on running it bridged to an eRED-DOCK from an USBridge sig on Linux based OS, all built in a chassis with an lps inside. Do you happen to have a link or name for the USB NIC/s your using, thanks.

 

This seems quite good with 4kV optical isolation

https://www.exsys.ch/en/usb-2-0-3-0-3-1/usb-3-0/ethernet/usb-3-0-ethernet-1gigabit-lan-incl-din-rail-kit-metal-case.html

It has Realtek RTL8153B chipset

Although a bit worried the isolation might add more noise than one without

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23 minutes ago, henke said:

Actually having plans on running it bridged to an eRED-DOCK from an USBridge sig on Linux based OS, all built in a chassis with an lps inside. Do you happen to have a link or name for the USB NIC/s your using, thanks.

 

This seems quite good with 4kV optical isolation

https://www.exsys.ch/en/usb-2-0-3-0-3-1/usb-3-0/ethernet/usb-3-0-ethernet-1gigabit-lan-incl-din-rail-kit-metal-case.html

It has Realtek RTL8153B chipset

Although a bit worried the isolation might add more noise than one without

One example is a TP Link UE300. $10 on Amazon. Likewise this one is also a Realtek RTL8153 device and works well with both Linux and Windows.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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2 hours ago, lmitche said:

One example is a TP Link UE300. $10 on Amazon. Likewise this one is also a Realtek RTL8153 device and works well with both Linux and Windows.

Thanks will look in to it. Quite an contrast to the crazy audiophile prices. 😁

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8 hours ago, henke said:

Thanks will look in to it. Quite an contrast to the crazy audiophile prices. 😁

Yeh, it can't be any good at this price. 😁

 

The trick is to use cpu direct USB ports.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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Just received my kit Furutech + Mundorf Wire for my OPPO 205.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Oppo-BDP-93-95-103D-105D-UDP-203-205-Kit-Furutech-Inlet-R-IEC-Mundorf-Wire-/123213854445

For 150$ you get a notable better SQ in what concerns timbre and stage. After all this years still surprised how cables make such a difference... 🙂

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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9 hours ago, lmitche said:

Yeh, it can't be any good at this price. 😁

 

The trick is to use cpu direct USB ports.

 

How does one determine that a USB port is "CPU direct"?

Thanks!



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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2 hours ago, mourip said:

 

How does one determine that a USB port is "CPU direct"?

Thanks!

Look at the block diagram for your motherboard, if you can find one.


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12 hours ago, lmitche said:

Yeh, it can't be any good at this price. 😁

 

The trick is to use cpu direct USB ports.

mmm, doesn't that translate into PCIE board?


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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34 minutes ago, davide256 said:

mmm, doesn't that translate into PCIE board?

Do you mean that a PCIE board can be CPU direct as well? If so, that is true, but not all PCIE slots are CPU direct. Only one or two depending on the motherboard.


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17 minutes ago, lmitche said:

Do you mean that a PCIE board can be CPU direct as well? If so, that is true, but not all PCIE slots are CPU direct. Only one or two depending on the motherboard.

 

Hi Larry, I'll admit some ignorance here. Your comment about CPU-direct sent me scurrying to look for my mobo specs. Mine is the ASRock H370M-ITX/ac. Their manual didn't help much, other than confirm the location of the ports on the board (see page 13).

 

Then I looked at the architecture of the Intel H370 chipset, and came up with this picture, at this link: https://techreport.com/review/33420/exploring-intels-h370-b360-and-h310-chipsets/

 

image.png

 

The article talks about the USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports being natively supported by the H370. Is this what you meant by CPU direct? Or are there mobos where there is a USB controller hanging off the CPU?

 

I will say that in my listening tests to optimize my configuration, my ears did prefer and settle on the USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports on the H370M-ITX/ac.

 

Final point - the PCIe x16 slot is directly attached to the CPU. This is the slot where my JCAT Net Card Femto resides.

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Very interesting.  I have never looked at my motherboard’s block diagram.  According to the one in the Supermicro manual both PCIE slots are CPU-direct.  The M.2 slots go directly to to the Intel C246 chipsets.

 


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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27 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Hi Larry, I'll admit some ignorance here. Your comment about CPU-direct sent me scurrying to look for my mobo specs. Mine is the ASRock H370M-ITX/ac. Their manual didn't help much, other than confirm the location of the ports on the board (see page 13).

 

Then I looked at the architecture of the Intel H370 chipset, and came up with this picture, at this link: https://techreport.com/review/33420/exploring-intels-h370-b360-and-h310-chipsets/

 

image.png

 

The article talks about the USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports being natively supported by the H370. Is this what you meant by CPU direct? Or are there mobos where there is a USB controller hanging off the CPU?

 

I will say that in my listening tests to optimize my configuration, my ears did prefer and settle on the USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports on the H370M-ITX/ac.

 

Final point - the PCIe x16 slot is directly attached to the CPU. This is the slot where my JCAT Net Card Femto resides.

Yes, some AMD machines have USB controllers on the processor chip so the PCH is not needed or used.

 

I haven't looked at latest generation Intel solutions for 12 months so don't know what happens in that world.

 

Clearly our SOC based NUCs are all direct to CPU, which may be one reason they sound so good.


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11 minutes ago, Aberrant-Decoder said:

What does soc mean plz?

SoC = System on Chip.  It is a chip that integrates all components of a computer or other electronic systems.

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6 hours ago, austinpop said:

The article talks about the USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports being natively supported by the H370. Is this what you meant by CPU direct?

That diagram indicates all the USB ports come from the H70 chipset, so they are NOT CPU direct.  I don't think you can get CPU direct USB from Intel unless you use a SOC.

 

Native support for USB 3.1 Gen 2 on the chipset just means that motherboard manufacturers don't need some other USB controller like one from ASMedia in addition to the Intel chipset.


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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On my Z270 mobo I use a Startech 4-USB card (PCIE) and then will use Larry's idea of two bridged NICs to get ethernet direct to/from cpu.  And other two USB ports are direct (I think), one to my StarTech hdd enclosure.

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2 minutes ago, rickca said:

That diagram indicates all the USB ports come from the H70 chipset, so they are NOT CPU direct.  I don't think you can get CPU direct USB from Intel unless you use a SOC.

 

Native support for USB 3.1 Gen 2 on the chipset just means that motherboard manufacturers don't need some other USB controller like one from ASMedia in addition to the Intel chipset.

 

Understood. But with that said, I don't want to leave anyone with the impression I am suffering. :) As I've documented in the posts about my journey - to my ears, I still preferred the SQ going direct from my i7-8700T custom server to the DAC compared to what I had with the NUC7i7DNBE endpoint with SOtM clock mods. I'm not saying this is the right approach for all, just reiterating my own journey.

 

It had always been my intention that in my next server, I would forgo the native USB ports and go with a motherboard with 2+ PCIe direct-CPU-attached slots that could accommodate both JCAT Net and USB boards without risers. I will get there, but right now, the SQ out of my server is just so darn good, my motivation isn't that strong.

 

Anyway, just to reiterate - if there is a SQ penalty for a PCH-attached native USB 3.1 Gen 2 port, it's certainly not affecting my setup.

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