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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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4 hours ago, Cipollae said:

Just arrived!  Found this forum after reading Rajiv's excellent review of the iFi Pro iDSD.  As it happens, that is the DAC I recently purchased and I am now thinking of upgrading the power supply.  The Farad Super 3 looks extremely promising (also based on Rajiv's and some other people's reviews here 😃), but I am a little worried the 3A might not be enough - especially since the Pro iDSD comes with a 15V/4A SMPS and iFi suggests a "minimum of 60VA rating".  However, the same goes for Rajiv's Chord TT2 and he seems to be using the Farad without any issues nonetheless.  

 

Would anyone be willing to comment on whether it might be unwise to go for the Farad?  Would the Paul Hynes SR5 perhaps be a safer option?  Or am I being overcautious because the Pro iDSD will never draw 4A with normal use?

 

Hi, welcome to AS.

 

This is a very good question, and you're in luck - a local friend of mine has just gone through exactly this thought process with this DAC. He really liked the Farad Super 3 15V driving the Pro iDSD, but then realized how much better it got when we tried my 15V/6A SR-7 rail with it. He ended up getting an SR5-15F which has a 5A continuous/30A transient capacity, and this was a big step up from the Farad.

 

It's no knock on how good the Farad is - the DAC use case really benefits from current capacity, so the PSU selection process needs to weight current capacity much more in this use case.

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33 minutes ago, austinpop said:

 

Hi, welcome to AS.

 

This is a very good question, and you're in luck - a local friend of mine has just gone through exactly this thought process with this DAC. He really liked the Farad Super 3 15V driving the Pro iDSD, but then realized how much better it got when we tried my 15V/6A SR-7 rail with it. He ended up getting an SR5-15F which has a 5A continuous/30A transient capacity, and this was a big step up from the Farad.

 

It's no knock on how good the Farad is - the DAC use case really benefits from current capacity, so the PSU selection process needs to weight current capacity much more in this use case.

 

Hi Rajiv

 

Thanks!  That is a very clear answer - the SR5 it shall be then.  

 

Perhaps a bit of a silly question, but would you also happen to know what kind of connector I would have to order for the Pro iDSD (2.1 mm or 2.5 mm)?  I am asking because the iFi DAC has not been delivered yet and I thought it might be wise to win some time by ordering the SR5 right away... 

 

Thanks again!

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15 minutes ago, Cipollae said:

Perhaps a bit of a silly question, but would you also happen to know what kind of connector I would have to order for the Pro iDSD (2.1 mm or 2.5 mm)?

 

Oddly, despite the current rating, the DC input jack on the iFi Audio Pro iDSD is 5.5mm x 2.1mm.  (I know because there are a bunch of JS-2 owners powering their Pro iDSD units at 12V.) The Pro iDSD is specified for 9V~18V with lower current drawn at higher voltages, indicating that its DC input stage is handled by DC-DC switching regulators (which is of course fine when done properly).

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6 minutes ago, Superdad said:

 

Oddly, despite the current rating, the DC input jack on the iFi Audio Pro iDSD is 5.5mm x 2.1mm.  (I know because there are a bunch of JS-2 owners powering their Pro iDSD units at 12V.) The Pro iDSD is specified for 9V~18V with lower current drawn at higher voltages, indicating that its DC input stage is handled by DC-DC switching regulators (which is of course fine when done properly).

 

Hi Superdad

 

Wonderful, many thanks!  I would in fact have expected 2.5mm, so it's good that I asked 😁

 

 

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23 hours ago, motberg said:

Hi Alexy,

 

Are you shipping yet?

Alexy shipped a couple of units to me last week.  Just heard from UK Customs and I should receive tomorrow.  His website is currently showing out of stock.


Zenith SE > USPCB (5v off) > tX-USBultra 9V (SR4) > Sablon Reserva Elite USB > M Scaler > WAVE Stream bnc > DAVE > Prion4/Lazuli Reference > Utopia/LCD-4/HE1000se

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, str-1 said:

Alexy shipped a couple of units to me last week.  Just heard from UK Customs and I should receive tomorrow.  His website is currently showing out of stock.

 

Has anyone already done this? It is use as a second regulator for the ER. All through holes connected. Especially the SET through hole.

 

IMG_1741.thumb.JPG.30fb77427ac9c963a30bea7b0b80d4c8.JPG

Edited by RickyV

🇳🇱
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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41 minutes ago, [email protected] said:

Looks nice

Yes,  someone already tried.... 

Screenshot_20200323_232553_com.whatsapp.png


😁 yes we know you can do that, we talked about that back in February 2018


🇳🇱
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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3 hours ago, [email protected] said:

Looks nice

Yes,  someone already tried.... 

Screenshot_20200323_232553_com.whatsapp.png

Hi Alexey, can you please repost your pictures from February 2018. I can't find them.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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8 hours ago, lmitche said:

Hi Alexey, can you please repost your pictures from February 2018. I can't find them.

 

 

IMG_1751.thumb.JPG.3662bf2a3037008ee720ee7eff5d6f45.JPG

 

The set through hole is left/above the +out. 

 

 


🇳🇱
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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16 hours ago, [email protected] said:

Looks nice

Yes,  someone already tried.... 

 

Are those additional electrolytic's on the input and output required for the stack? I thought tantalum's were better for the output (lower ESL), better transient response.


Computer (Ethernet)  EtherRegen (Ethernet)  Endpoint (USB)  Holo Audio May (XLR)  AMB Laboratories β22 (Balanced)  Abyss AB-1266 Phi TC (Headphones)
 
= ︿ =

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U should try what I have done! JSSG your power cords with a shield grounding lead and then tie this to the Earth pin in your power bar/power conditioner. Bet you will hear the background noise reduce by another 2-3 dba

 

Kelvin

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55 minutes ago, kelvinwsy said:

U should try what I have done! JSSG your power cords with a shield grounding lead and then tie this to the Earth pin in your power bar/power conditioner. Bet you will hear the background noise reduce by another 2-3 dba

 

I concur. However I found it to perform better when an independent conductor was used for ground, Lead and Neutral twisted to improve on magnetically induced voltage coupling, and JSSG to be floating with at least 2 separated layers that are tied at the ends for the noise currents to rotate into infinity.


Computer (Ethernet)  EtherRegen (Ethernet)  Endpoint (USB)  Holo Audio May (XLR)  AMB Laboratories β22 (Balanced)  Abyss AB-1266 Phi TC (Headphones)
 
= ︿ =

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https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/taiko-audio-sgm-extreme-the-crème-de-la-crème.27433/page-155#post-633348

Quote

A week ago I tried the unpowered Sablon 2020 USB cable in my system connecting extreme with SoTM tx-USB Ultra. Compared with my Habst Ultra III Cryoed silver USB cable it has a slightly warmer mid range but both the high and low are not as satisfying as my Habst cable. The weakest point about the Sablon 2020 in my system is that it lacks layering and that is why I think if the King Sablon is in my system the result may be different. Product synergy is one of the things that is most difficult to predict and sometimes may explain why YMMV.

 

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14 minutes ago, sbenyo said:

Many great reviews for new 2020 Sablon usb. Anyone compared it to Habst Ultra III or Intona Ultimate?

 

 

@austinpop and I compared the Sablon to two different Intona cables and a Habst cable, but I'll let him speak to the differences because he probably took notes.

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51 minutes ago, sbenyo said:

Many great reviews for new 2020 Sablon usb. Anyone compared it to Habst Ultra III or Intona Ultimate?

 

 

They are all excellent cables, and honestly the one you prefer comes down to your ears and your system.

 

I did a comparison of exactly these 3 cables and posted my impressions here: https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/sablon-usb-cable-2020-model.29912/post-627980. In my system, I really felt the Sablon's were the best in my system, as I described.

 

39 minutes ago, limniscate said:

 

@austinpop and I compared the Sablon to two different Intona cables and a Habst cable, but I'll let him speak to the differences because he probably took notes.

 

More recently - but before we all went into self-isolation, Eric and I did a comparison in his system. We compared the Habst, Intona Ultimate, and Sablon unpowered between the Zenith SE and tX-USBultra. We kept the second leg from tX-USBultra to the DAC (Ayre QX-5) fixed with a Sablon powered cable.

 

In this case, we both liked the Habst the best, followed very closely by the Sablon, with the Ultimate much further. The Habst is a little prominent on the low mids and upper bass, but also has a very clean, dense, saturated presentation. The Sablon is actually more balanced, but in this system, we both found the Habst more satisfying.

 

I suspect in my headphone system, which is so revealing, the smoother signature of the Sablon was why I preferred it over the Habst. It's amazing how system-dependent this stuff is!

 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, seeteeyou said:

 

FYI - someone read Rajiv's recent review and he's inspired to try cascading multiple switches

 

http://www.headphoneclub.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=736428&page=8#pid5136712

 

Buffalo BS-GS2016/A (modified) followed by Melco S100 (stock) turned out to be yet another winning combo, the improvements were VERY obvious when compared to what solo Melco S100 could accomplish on its own. There's also another Cisco switch sitting between FTTH and router but not sure if that were relevant.

 

He's an owner of £55K dCS Vivaldi One

 

http://www.headphoneclub.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=735399&page=10#pid5096518

 

I tried Melco --> Buffalo BS-GS2016 (modified) --> EtherREGEN as I mentioned in my post below.

It sounded better than Melco --> EtherREGEN, which sounded better than just an EtherREGEN. 

Diminishing returns but it gets better.... 

On 3/15/2020 at 3:10 PM, Nenon said:

Not yet, because I am using LVDS I2S over HDMI cable currently. I was stupid enough to think that the Silmrun HDMI extender may work and bought one but had to return it. Working on my USB-based rig... looks promising that I may be able to switch to USB soon. 

I was hoping there would be some feedback on the USB Slimrun extender by now. It's a relatively inexpensive thing to try, easy to return, and also gives you the option to move the computer further away from your audio system, which may be beneficial. 

 

You know, that's interesting actually. I only like using the A-side only and not crossing the moat in a very particular scenario:

- fiber from the eR to my router.

- JCAT Signature Gold ethernet cable to my server.

With the JCAT ethernet cable my Qobuz streaming becomes a lot more transparent. So transparent that I think the 1Gbps on my server (vs. using 100 Mbps) brings more than crossing the moat on the eR. But with any other cable I have tried, I prefer to connect the A-side to my router and the B-side to my server. Very interesting. Of course I can try hardcoding the speed to 100Mbps when using the A-side exclusively, but I haven't had a chance to do that test. 

 

Currently, I am using the B-side as I am testing a Melco switch upstream from the etherRegen.

 

@austinpop is absolutely right! Adding the Melco switch between my router and the etherRegen brings Qobuz streaming to yet another level. 

Currently I have the following network: Cable modem --(copper)--> Ubiquity router --(copper)--> Melco switch --(fiber)--> (A)etherREGEN(B) --(copper)--> JCAT NIC on the server (one box solution connected directly to the DAC). And that sounds better than without the Melco. 

 

But I have a second Melco(*) switch (more on that in some future posts). So would adding a second Melco switch be even better?

Cable modem --(copper)--> Ubiquity router --(copper)--> Melco switch --> Melco(*) switch --(fiber)--> (A)etherREGEN(B) --(copper)--> JCAT NIC on the server.

 

Yes! It is better with 3 switches in the chain. The song I used for A/B comparison was even more enjoyable with the chain of 3 switches. 

459044627_ScreenShot2020-03-15at2_27_29PM.png.f4884f2eb1c8b49bae5fa46ef7bd7242.png

 

Is it worth doing that? IMO - no.

Does it ever end? NO!

 

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, romaz said:

My single- and dual-stage regulation power supplies from @[email protected] arrived a few weeks ago and I felt I owed it to Alex to comment on just how good these power supplies have been in my system:

 

1240920623_DXPWR.thumb.jpeg.52afb720c1e06ef0afcef2155d0c3b2e.jpeg

 

First of all, the attention to detail and the build quality of these units are superb.   Second, they do exactly what I hoped they would do -- noise floor drops and dynamics and control improve.  They've improved everything I've connected them to including various cheap SMPSs I had lying around, a PowerAdd battery, an sPS-500, LPS-1.2, SR4, and SR7.  While the improvement was smallest with a DR SR7, considering the low asking price for these units, even with the DR SR7, I would consider purchasing one.  As the photo depicts, I have purchased 5 and I now have more on order. 

 

The greatest beneficiaries among the PSUs that I've tried are the PowerAdd battery, sPS-500, and LPS-1.2 and for these PSUs, the dual stage regulation models especially are transformative.  For these PSUs, the DXP-1A5DSC should be considered "must haves" imho. 

 

Using a PowerAdd battery set to 16V and a DXP-1A5DSC with the pre-regulator output set to 15V and the final regulator output set to 13.5V, the drop in noise floor and the improvement in dynamics and control with my Hugo TT2 is just unbelievably better when compared against the PowerAdd by itself or against the stock 15V SMPS.  It's like a completely upgraded DAC with this little device even though this DAC is powered internally with supercaps.

 

My LPS-1.2s have taken on new life as well.  My units have largely gone unused as of late because with any components that draw close to their max rating of 1.1A, I have found these quickly lose steam (likely due to voltage sag) and in some instances, like with the etherREGEN, the LPS-1.2 is only barely better than the stock SMPS.  Presently, I'm using one of my LPS-1.2s at 9V feeding a DXP-1A5S set to 5V which is then feeding my Monoprice SlimRun USB 3.0 optical extender and this combo not only provides me complete galvanic isolation between server and DAC but the addition of even the single-stage regulation power supply dramatically improves dynamics.  

 

What about the SR4 and the new SR4-Turbo (SR4T)?

 

SR4s.thumb.jpeg.1f371af31647bc453f2f7f2b68e80e15.jpeg

904924212_SR4Turbo.thumb.jpeg.77d0aae27c65e95c79bd50b0409abe17.jpeg

 

Because of the greater 2A headroom of the SR4s, these PSUs don't run out of steam as quickly as the LPS-1.2 and the SR4-Turbo especially maintains its composure with much more gear including any of the JCAT cards and most network switches that I've tried.  The standard SR4 + DXP-1A5DSC (dual regulated) is roughly the equivalent of an SR4-Turbo by itself but an SR4-Turbo with this same dual regulated module takes it very scarily close to a DR SR7 with respect to dynamics for low power devices like the etherRegen or JCAT's latest XE USB card.  At close to 400 GBP, especially with such a good exchange rate, I cannot recommend the SR4-Turbo more highly.

 

Where an SR7 continues to have an edge even over an SR4-Turbo + DXP-1A5DSC is with tonal density and color saturation.   There also remains a relaxed and more effortless quality to the SR7 that sounds more natural and pleasing to my ears.  Clearly, headroom matters even for low power devices.  When you add the DXP-1A5DSC to a standard SR (single regulated) SR7, just like with the other PSUs, it sings bigger and bolder and blacker.  It is still not exactly equivalent to a DR SR7 but to my ears, its 50-60% there.

 

Are there downsides or limitations to Alex's units?  Yes, presently they cap out at 15V and 1.5A of output and this is due to the limitation of the LT3045s and so don't expect these units to power a big motherboard or high-power CPU.  Alex is working on SR units that can output up to 20V and DR units with a final output of 15V and up to 2.1A and so this opens up the possibility of powering an i7 NUC with a PowerAdd battery. 

 

The big challenge of course is heat.  The internal parts used including caps, etc. are rated for >100 deg C.  According to Alex, the LT3045 has a max input voltage of 20V (absolute max of 22V) but he recommends, based on the heat dissipation abilities of the chassis that is used, that you don't go beyond 4w of heat dissipation for an SR unit and 6w for a DR unit.  That means for an SR unit with a desired output of 5V/1.5A, if your feeding supply is 7V, that amounts to 3w of heat that will need to be dissipated (2V x 1.5A = 3w) and so this should be acceptable.   If your component only draws 0.5A, then your feeding supply can go as high as 13V for an SR unit.   Hopefully, the math here is clear.  Should you do something stupid and go significantly overboard, Alex has assured me that there are thermal safeguards in place that will prevent you from frying whatever gear you're powering.  I think these recommendations are probably conservative because my units are barely warm to the touch. 

 

Is there an advantage for using a larger spread?  Yes, it sounds better.  According to Alex, larger spreads result in less ripple.  With the DR SR7, for example, Paul is using a spread of 7V and those who have compared an SR vs DR SR7 knows just how much better the DR sounds.  If you're unsure as you place your order, it's probably best to discuss your plans with Alex.  In my case, I am using a 12V rail from my SR SR7 to feed a DXP-1A5DSC with a 10.5V pre-reg and 9V final output to then feed an etherREGEN and the results are simply stunning.  

 

As for the quality of the DC cabling used, not surprisingly, they make a big difference.  I use the 16AWG OCC copper with JSSG360 shield that Ghent sells and they pair exceptionally well with Alex's units.

Really appreciate Roy for coming back with your new experiments.

 

Keep posting as much as you can, thanks in advance.

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1 hour ago, romaz said:

JCAT's latest XE USB card

 

Is this the new 'Game Changer' that Marcin been talking about?


Synology NAS (LPS)/MiniMc(Uptone JS-2/MMK JS-2, LPS-1)>Ultra Rendu(JS-2/LPS-1)/Uptone Audio IsoRegen (LPS-1)>LampizatOr GoldenGate(R2R)/Meridian 808.3>Wavac EC300B/PRT1/MD-805m, Lavardin IT>Tannoy Canterbury SE

 

Synology NAS/MiniMc (LPS)>MRendu(LPS-1)/(LPSU)>LampizatOr GoldenGate>/Woo WES/Ifi ICan (LPSU)>Stax SR-009, Audeze LCD2

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A couple of years ago when I was using a Focusrite Rednet D16 I removed the internal SMPS and put in two LT3045-A Ultra Low Noise LDO Voltage Regulator boards from ldovr.com. They were daisy chained to go from 7.5v-in to 6v to 5v-out for a minimum of voltage drop per regulator for low heat dissipation. It worked great and for some might be a less expensive and "in-stock" partial DIY solution, especial if you want to replace an internal SMPS. You also need to keep track of the current requirement of your device so you can pick the right boards. Bare boards are available up to 1.5A and are usually in-stock .



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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