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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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15 hours ago, austinpop said:

I have had the same off and on experience with fiber. I currently happen to like it between the sNH-10G and eR, but only after I switched to the Startech - and now Planet Tech - transceivers. Ultimately, you just have to experiment.

 

For some time my setup has been:

modem/router => MikroTik SFP switch => fiber => Intel fiber NIC => server PC with HQPe

same MikroTik => fiber => Intel fiber NIC => audio PC with NAA

 

The last few weeks, after changing to a Denafrips Terminator DAC, many things improved, but I was not totally happy with the sound for classical music. High strings were a little thin and strident.

Inspired by this thread I changed the setup to:

modem/router => MikroTik SFP switch => fiber => Intel fiber NIC => server PC with HQPe

modem/router => copper ethernet => audio PC with NAA

and I like that better. Strings are fuller. The bloom is back.

I do not think it is the fiber as such but maybe the Intel fiber NIC in the audio PC is adding noise/jitter?

 

I could go all-copper, but maybe keeping the fiber upstream to isolate the audio system from the rest of the house is better? Like in:

modem/router => MikroTik SFP switch => fiber => Intel fiber NIC => server PC with HQPe

MikroTik => fiber => 2nd MikroTik => copper ethernet => audio PC with NAA

 

Any ideas?

 

(PS I just ordered a Cisco 2960G-24TC-L to experiment with.)

 


 

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19 hours ago, Nsxturbo said:

Thought I’d chime in to let you know, my first Monoprice USB fiber converter got very hot. I ordered a second one from Amazon and it barely gets warm. I returned the first one. It works wonderfully in my system and I will be keeping it.


Were there any differences in sound perceived between the two cables?
 

Can I assume that you used both cables in the same settings and arrangement?

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1 hour ago, flkin said:


Were there any differences in sound perceived between the two cables?
 

Can I assume that you used both cables in the same settings and arrangement?


The overheating cable would actually suffer dropouts, sudden large “pops”. It’s hard to assess quantifiable differences because of that. And yes, both were in the same location in the same system.
 

I really wanted to mention the overheating cable defect, because the properly functioning one is only slightly warm. There is a good chance that an issue exists with one that is getting very hot. It might not be as bad as mine was with the dropouts, but perhaps it’s affecting the audio performance of the cable.

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32 minutes ago, austinpop said:

I don't have experience with those switches and NIC, so in a general sense, the only advice I can offer is to continue experimenting.

 

In my experience, I find that the fiber vs. copper difference is a subtler, second order effect. This is just a suggestion for you to consider - your efforts might yield more fruit by first cleaning up the PSUs in the chain, starting with your audio PC and working backwards.

 

Are you willing to consider an etherREGEN? If so, I'd suggest it instead of the 2nd MikroTik, exactly as you've shown: fiber in, copper out to audio PC.

 

Finally, transceivers do make a big difference, and I've benefitted from the findings of others here who've recommended the Planet Tech MGB-TLX transceivers. It specifically adds density and weight to SQ, so may be useful for your thinness/stridency observations.

 

Thanks! Interesting that the transceivers make a difference also, never thought of that. So many variables to experiment with!

 

I have to control myself and for now will experiment with what I have or what is on its way to me (i.e. the Cisco switch I mentioned and a JCAT net card Femto).

 

I am not sure which functionalities the Femto card and the ER have in common, and what they do different. Is it beneficial to have both?


 

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7 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

Is it beneficial to have both?

In my system, yes, benefits are additive.

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47 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

I have to control myself and for now will experiment with what I have or what is on its way to me (i.e. the Cisco switch I mentioned and a JCAT net card Femto).

FWIW: My chain is control pc ->femto net card ->Cisco 2962CG (incl 2x SFP port) optical -> sonore OM ->audio PC. In other words, part copper and part fibre. Will be interested to read how you get on.

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1 hour ago, John769 said:

FWIW: My chain is control pc ->femto net card ->Cisco 2962CG (incl 2x SFP port) optical -> sonore OM ->audio PC. In other words, part copper and part fibre. Will be interested to read how you get on.

 

Unexpected setup. I was planning to put the Femto downstream, in the audio endpoint. Any reason you chose to put in in the control PC?


 

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44 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

Any reason you chose to put in in the control PC?

I only have one m2 (or PCIE) slot in my NUC i7 endpoint and have opted to fill that with an optane card (for windows). Would you say the femto card is wasted in the control pc? 

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6 minutes ago, John769 said:

I only have one m2 (or PCIE) slot in my NUC i7 endpoint and have opted to fill that with an optane card (for OS). Would you say the femto card is wasted in the control pc? S/w is windows.

 

I would not say wasted: some (f.i. the vendors) recommend to put the Femto card in both the control and the audio PC. I would predict it to have more impact downstream than upstream, but no certainty until tried...


 

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3 hours ago, austinpop said:

your efforts might yield more fruit by first cleaning up the PSUs in the chain, starting with your audio PC and working backwards.

 

The audio endpoint PC is powered by an SR4, the ISO regen going into the DAC by a Studer900 via ldovr LT3045, and the MikroTik's by decent LPSU's. For my (optically isolated) control PC I went back from a HDPlex 200W LPSU (got incredibly hot!) to a nonlinear PSU, a Seasonic Titanium 400W fanless. The latter sounds more at ease.


 

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On 4/1/2020 at 9:37 AM, Johnseye said:

For those using the PowerAdd Pro battery, are you needing to unplug the battery from the outlet and use until drained, or can you leave it plugged in without ill effect?

Wondering the same thing John.  Also, to be clear, you all are using these Poweradd batteries to power LPS-2's?  Which model?


Ryzen 7 2700 PC Server, NUC7CJYH w. 4G Apacer RAM as Renderer/LPS 1.2 - IsoRegen/LPS-1/.2 - Singxer SU-1/LPS1.2 - Holo Spring Level 3 DAC - LTA MicroZOTL MZ2 - Modwright KWA 150 Signature Amp - Tidal Audio Piano's.  

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1 hour ago, bodiebill said:

 

I would not say wasted: some (f.i. the vendors) recommend to put the Femto card in both the control and the audio PC. I would predict it to have more impact downstream than upstream, but no certainty until tried...

Interesting.. I suppose I could try reversing things, so the OM was at after the control and the net card in the audio, and see how it sounded.  Plenty of time right now;)

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51 minutes ago, John769 said:

Interesting.. I suppose I could try reversing things, so the OM was at after the control and the net card in the audio, and see how it sounded.  Plenty of time right now;)

 

Yes, I would be interested to know your verdict! 🙂


 

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On 4/1/2020 at 9:37 AM, Johnseye said:

For those using the PowerAdd Pro battery, are you needing to unplug the battery from the outlet and use until drained, or can you leave it plugged in without ill effect?


I leave mine plugged in.  Initially I had the chargers for my two PP2 batteries plugged into a smart outlet that I could power on/off with my iPhone.  I struggled to hear a difference when switching it on/off from my listening chair.  A friend struggled too.
 

My system’s noise floor is a lot lower now so maybe I’d arrive at a different outcome if I did that comparison again.  I feel no inclination at this point though.


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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On 4/2/2020 at 2:49 PM, Forehaven said:

Wondering the same thing John.  Also, to be clear, you all are using these Poweradd batteries to power LPS-2's?  Which model?

 

Chris, I hope all is well and you're enjoying beautiful Oregon.  Right now I'm using a Poweradd Pro battery to power my router directly.  The nice thing about this battery is it has a controlled variable voltage output and based on what I've read at 4.5 amps.  Excellent output.

 

23 minutes ago, kennyb123 said:


I leave mine plugged in.  Initially I had the chargers for my two PP2 batteries plugged into a smart outlet that I could power on/off with my iPhone.  I struggled to hear a difference when switching it on/off from my listening chair.  A friend struggled too.
 

My system’s noise floor is a lot lower now so maybe I’d arrive at a different outcome if I did that comparison again.  I feel no inclination at this point though.

 

Thanks for the response.

 

Do you know how these device stand up in terms of SQ against a LPS-1.2, sPS-500 or even an SR-4?  I can do these tests myself in time, but wondering if anyone's done it yet.


Digital chain: Synology DS1815+ -> Modified Buffalo switch-> SOtM sNH-10G-> Custom Audiolinux server (sCLK-EX modified motherboard, Mutec REF 10)-> EtherRegen-> 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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9 minutes ago, Johnseye said:

 

Chris, I hope all is well and you're enjoying beautiful Oregon.  Right now I'm using a Poweradd Pro battery to power my router directly.  The nice thing about this battery is it has a controlled variable voltage output and based on what I've read at 4.5 amps.  Excellent output.

 

 

Thanks for the response.

 

Do you know how these device stand up in terms of SQ against a LPS-1.2, sPS-500 or even an SR-4?  I can do these tests myself in time, but wondering if anyone's done it yet.

 

I think Rajiv made these comparisons somewhere in this thread.


 

 

 

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1 minute ago, auricgoldfinger said:

 

I think Rajiv made these comparisons somewhere in this thread.

 

Thanks, I'll search.


Digital chain: Synology DS1815+ -> Modified Buffalo switch-> SOtM sNH-10G-> Custom Audiolinux server (sCLK-EX modified motherboard, Mutec REF 10)-> EtherRegen-> 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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On 4/2/2020 at 10:17 AM, bodiebill said:

 

For some time my setup has been:

modem/router => MikroTik SFP switch => fiber => Intel fiber NIC => server PC with HQPe

same MikroTik => fiber => Intel fiber NIC => audio PC with NAA

 

The last few weeks, after changing to a Denafrips Terminator DAC, many things improved, but I was not totally happy with the sound for classical music. High strings were a little thin and strident.

Inspired by this thread I changed the setup to:

modem/router => MikroTik SFP switch => fiber => Intel fiber NIC => server PC with HQPe

modem/router => copper ethernet => audio PC with NAA

and I like that better. Strings are fuller. The bloom is back.

I do not think it is the fiber as such but maybe the Intel fiber NIC in the audio PC is adding noise/jitter?

 

I could go all-copper, but maybe keeping the fiber upstream to isolate the audio system from the rest of the house is better? Like in:

modem/router => MikroTik SFP switch => fiber => Intel fiber NIC => server PC with HQPe

MikroTik => fiber => 2nd MikroTik => copper ethernet => audio PC with NAA

 

Any ideas?

 

(PS I just ordered a Cisco 2960G-24TC-L to experiment with.)

 

 

I've been using a very similar setup to your last model :

Mac Mini => Mikrotik RB260GSP => Mikrotik fiber => Mikrotik RB260GSP => Cat6A copper => SOtM SMS-200 => SOtM tX-USBHub => DAC

Each of these devices are plugged to LPS.

The Cat6A copper is a deliberate choice : the one sounding best.

On the 2nd Mikrotik switch the Sotm is the only device plugged in ethernet.

I wouldn't comment on the sound because the DAC and amp and speakers are doing a lot after this chain of devices.

All I can say is this is the best SQ I've managed to get, and I like it very very very much : it is natural, full, and brings a lot of joy in my home.

 

My 2cts advice : try, try and try again, change your cables, change the order of your installation, etc. not only it is fun to try new ideas, it provides a better understanding or control of your audio installation. :) 


Mac mini server mid 2011 w/ Audirvana+ 3

SOtM SmS-200, SpS-500 and tX-USBhubEX

W4S DAC2 DSDse

Audia Flight FL2

B&W CM10 S2

(and several very good or excellent cables... Lessloss, Actinote, Atohm, Furutech)

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1 hour ago, dgilz said:

I've been using a very similar setup to your last model :

Mac Mini => Mikrotik RB260GSP => Mikrotik fiber => Mikrotik RB260GSP => Cat6A copper => SOtM SMS-200 => SOtM tX-USBHub => DAC

Each of these devices are plugged to LPS.

The Cat6A copper is a deliberate choice : the one sounding best.

On the 2nd Mikrotik switch the Sotm is the only device plugged in ethernet.

I wouldn't comment on the sound because the DAC and amp and speakers are doing a lot after this chain of devices.

All I can say is this is the best SQ I've managed to get, and I like it very very very much : it is natural, full, and brings a lot of joy in my home.

 

My 2cts advice : try, try and try again, change your cables, change the order of your installation, etc. not only it is fun to try new ideas, it provides a better understanding or control of your audio installation. :) 

 

Interesting, and thanks for sharing. I am also more happy now with the upstream fiber / downstream CAT6 setup. Indeed a more natural and fuller sound than with fiber alone. Although I tend to think that this is not due to the media itself (glass vs copper), but to the noise that the Intel fiber-NIC creates in the endpoint.

 

So already a clear improvement, and that is still without the Cisco 2960G-24TC-L switch and the JCAT NET card FEMTO that are both on their way to me...

 

And I agree with the try&try&try strategy! It is the only way. 🙂


 

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15 hours ago, Johnseye said:

 

Chris, I hope all is well and you're enjoying beautiful Oregon.  Right now I'm using a Poweradd Pro battery to power my router directly.  The nice thing about this battery is it has a controlled variable voltage output and based on what I've read at 4.5 amps.  Excellent output.

 

 

Hi John!  Oregon's been a dream, though I must admit I'm getting a bit tired of clouds and rain lol  Though we have our first 71F and sun this coming week!  ;)

 

That's a pretty cheap/affordable activating ps!  Thanks!

I see below that the battery alone isn't as good as the LPS2, but surpasses with Alexey's regulators.  

Does anyone know, are these dual regulated devices better than two LT3045's in series?


Ryzen 7 2700 PC Server, NUC7CJYH w. 4G Apacer RAM as Renderer/LPS 1.2 - IsoRegen/LPS-1/.2 - Singxer SU-1/LPS1.2 - Holo Spring Level 3 DAC - LTA MicroZOTL MZ2 - Modwright KWA 150 Signature Amp - Tidal Audio Piano's.  

.

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1 hour ago, Nenon said:

 

The new JCAT USB card with OCXO clock was released today. According to early testers (I was not lucky enough to be one of them):

a. It is very good.

b. It scales with a really good LPS. In other words the better LPS you use, the better it sounds. 

 

Order placed and will report back soon. 

 

Did anyone compare it to the Pink Faun with the upgraded clock?

 


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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10 minutes ago, dminches said:

 

Did anyone compare it to the Pink Faun with the upgraded clock?

 

Not that I am aware of. There is one member here using the PinkFaun USB with ultraOCXO who is planning to do that at some point. 

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