Jump to content
IGNORED

A novel way to massively improve the SQ of computer audio streaming


Message added by The Computer Audiophile

Important and useful information about this thread

Posting guidelines

History and index of useful posts

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.

Recommended Posts

11 hours ago, austinpop said:

I started to write about how I had seesawed at least twice between distributed and standalone topologies, then thought it would be fun to create a chronology of my journey. Maybe this will become the seed of an article at some point. But anyway, for your amusement and edification, here is a chronology of my 10-year journey in computer audio streaming.

 

Note: for simplicity, I focused on topology, so this doesn't address all the other improvements and tweaks to get better SQ.

 

Keep in mind that there is an implied increase in SQ as you go from top to bottom. This core question is what has driven me throughout: what's the next step to better SQ? I started my journey firmly believing in the distributed model being superior. Over time, I learned to shed my dogmas, and just follow my ears.

 

Time Period Music Storage Music Server (HW/SW) Music Endpoint (HW/SW) Standalone Player (HW/SW) Control (HW/SW)
2010-2015 Synology NAS Synology NAS/LMS Squeezebox Touch   IOS/iPeng
2016-2017 Synology NAS Synology NAS/MinimServer Aries Mini/Lightning   iOS/Lighning DS
2017 Synology NAS Desktop/W10, Roon Core Aries Mini/Roon   iOS/Roon
2017 Synology NAS Desktop/W10, Roon Core sMS-200/Roon   iOS/Roon
2017 Synology NAS Desktop/W10, Roon Core SOtM trifecta (switch, sMS, tX)/Roon   iOS/Roon
2018 Local on SE     ZENith SE/Roon, Roon+SL iOS/Roon
2019 Synology NAS Desktop/W10, Roon Core NUC7i7DNBE+Plato/AL, Roon   iOS/Roon
2019 Synology NAS Desktop/AL, Roon Core NUC7i7DNBE+Plato/AL, Roon   iOS/Roon
2019 Synology NAS Desktop/AL, Roon Core NUC7i7DNBE+Plato+SOtM clock mods/AL, Roon   iOS/Roon
2019 Synology NAS Desktop/AL, Roon Core NUC7i7DNBE+Plato+SOtM clock mods/AL, Squeezelite   iOS/Roon
2019 Synology NAS i7-8700T/AL, Roon Core NUC7i7DNBE+Plato+SOtM clock mods/AL, Squeezelite   iOS/Roon
2019 Synology NAS i7-8700T/Euphony OS, Roon Core NUC7i7DNBE+Plato+SOtM clock mods/Euphony OS, Squeezelite   iOS/Roon
2019 Synology NAS i7-8700T/Euphony OS, Roon Core NUC7i7DNBE+Plato+SOtM clock mods/Euphony OS, StylusEP   iOS/Roon
2019 Synology NAS     i7-8700T/Euphony OS, Roon+SL iOS/Roon
2019 Synology NAS     i7-8700T/Euphony OS, Roon+StylusEP iOS/Roon
2019-2020 Synology NAS     i7-8700T/Euphony OS, Stylus iOS/Stylus
2020 Synology NAS     i7-8700K/Euphony OS, Stylus iOS/Stylus


Glossary:

 

Desktop: Vanilla Dell Desktop system

AL: AudioLinux

SL: Squeezelite

W10: Windows 10

LMS: Logitech Media Server

i7-xxxx: custom servers using xxxx processor

 

This is excellent, and as you said, goes against some commonly help beliefs. It is often hard to go against the current here and just follow your ears. The most impossible choice for me is to just say "Wow. This can't get any better!" ...and then just listen to music 🙂

 

One thing that really stands out is that you have nearly always stayed with a NAS for storage. Any ideas why this would consistently sound better than a local drive? Probably the only thing that I have never tried was a single box plus NAS setup.

 

Great post...

 

 


"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/21/2020 at 8:01 AM, austinpop said:

This reinforces to me that systems with more powerful CPUs, with more cores, and bigger caches DO sound better, EVEN though the CPU utilization with the non-upsampling workloads of Stylus or Roon is vanishingly small. The challenge with such systems of course, as Nenon is detailing in his excellent DIY server thread, is getting a power supply that is both outstanding quality AND high-current.

 

Glad you highlighted this point as it's something I've been interested in for a while... the logic behind higher core speed and larger cache I get.  But the technical reason for going for a huge number of cores aludes me as Euphony or Gentoo Player would never use that many cores.

 

I would also like to hear feedback on sound differences between a single many core processor such as a Xeon or Epyc, vs the dual processor setup with Nenon is building.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, mourip said:

 

One thing that really stands out is that you have nearly always stayed with a NAS for storage. Any ideas why this would consistently sound better than a local drive? Probably the only thing that I have never tried was a single box plus NAS setup.

 

 

I have been trying to figure this out for myself as well since I have always had my music on a NAS.  I have an 8 TB library.  That would require a standard mechanical drive.  Would that be quieter than a NAS given the HD vibrations and the fact that the SATA controller attaches to the PCH while my network card goes directly to the CPU (I think)?

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 (Sean Jacobs DC4/Euphony/Stylus)> Lampizator Pacific

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, adamaley said:

Not really. Mainly because it's fanless and, therefore, quiet. I've also seen it mentioned here in the forums. I'm basically only using it to tide me over while I wait for the SJ DC4. 

 

Is this the PSU you were referring to?

 

Seasonic PRIME-FANLESS-TX-700

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

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/18/2020 at 6:02 AM, zettelsm said:

CORRECTION (since I can't edit this post now):

 

The correct feed configuration from LAN to Extreme:

 

DSL modem > copper jumper (Sablon ethernet cable) > Startech FMC/Startech SFP with -10dB attenuator > fiber > Startec SFP with -10dB attenuator/Extreme

 

Obviously, mixing a Planet Tech SFP (1310nm) on one end and a Startech SFP (1550nm) on the other end would not have worked.

 

Also, in musical test track 3. above, it is Mozart's Piano Concerto 20 and not 2.

 

Sorry for the errors.

 

Steve Z

Steve

I agree with everything you tested and I ended of getting the similar setup to "your optimal scenario"

There is only one exception.

I WAS able to make the Startech SFP and Planet Tech SFP wokrk together.

The KEY is to use it in Sonore optical modules.

I was able to make it work BOTH ways. Startech to Planet AND Planet to Startech.

I was surprised tht it did work well with no isuues, BUT the sound is not as good as the PLanet to PLanet.

Startech SFP to Stratech SFP is also great but for the best systems only.

It works on my scenario with much , much better focuse and more control.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Johnseye said:

 

Is this the PSU you were referring to?

 

Seasonic PRIME-FANLESS-TX-700

 

Sorry, allow me to correct myself. I got the Prime Titanium 750W, but it is not fanless. It has a hybrid mode, that keeps the fan off until it hits somewhere close to 70% of a temperature threshold. I was initially going to go with the full fanless option but decided against it because once the DC4 LPS arrives, I would like to be able to replace the 7 year old noisy Corsair in my workstation where I do a bit of gaming with the Seasonic.

If this was to have been a permanent power solution for my build, I would have gone completely fanless. Apologies for the confusion.

 

In the attached image you can see the hybrid switch for the power supply.

IMG_20200422_125251.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, cool_chris said:

I WAS able to make the Startech SFP and Planet Tech SFP wokrk together.

The KEY is to use it in Sonore optical modules.

I was able to make it work BOTH ways. Startech to Planet AND Planet to Startech.

I was surprised tht it did work well with no isuues, BUT the sound is not as good as the PLanet to PLanet.

Startech SFP to Stratech SFP is also great but for the best systems only.

It works on my scenario with much , much better focuse and more control.

 

 

 

To clarify - you had success getting SFPs operating at two different optical wavelengths to play nice together?  And you prefer it that way?

Digital:  Innuos Zenith Mk3 > 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

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, adamaley said:

 

Sorry, allow me to correct myself. I got the Prime Titanium 750W, but it is not fanless. It has a hybrid mode, that keeps the fan off until it hits somewhere close to 70% of a temperature threshold. I was initially going to go with the full fanless option but decided against it because once the DC4 LPS arrives, I would like to be able to replace the 7 year old noisy Corsair in my workstation where I do a bit of gaming with the Seasonic.

If this was to have been a permanent power solution for my build, I would have gone completely fanless. Apologies for the confusion.

 

In the attached image you can see the hybrid switch for the power supply.

IMG_20200422_125251.jpg

 

Please share your thoughts and opinion of DC4 when it arrived.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/16/2020 at 11:52 AM, bodiebill said:

 

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. 

 

 

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.

 

This must be what drew me to the Seasonic as a decent regular ATX supply.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to return the previous generation Hdplex 400watt LPSU. Even driving the GPU with a separate ATX PSU just using it for the CPU 6700k and the MB , it ran hot and the SQ was restrained.. Larry gives great customer service and I shipped it to another customer of his for a complete refund!

Now I use the hybrid Corsair RM 550x (fan still until 65% load).. I offloaded my SSD's and USB pcie card to separate LPSU's the RM550 is silent except when HQPlayer does the initial upsampling then goes silent!

The RM550x peak 12v current rating is 45amp!!

SQ is unrestrained!

I find Linear PSU for ATX application underpowered! Esp for upsampling high TDW CPU ATX systems! Just does not work!

The RM550x is 5mv and I use Elfidelity MB , RAM , Fan, SSD Filters .. Works Great for me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/21/2020 at 2:01 AM, austinpop said:

I still have a few experiments I want to do with my 8700T server, but after that I'll be done with it, so if anyone has an interest in buying it, PM me. Just know you'll need to separately buy a PSU, or use an existing one.

 

I'm done with all my experiments, so this 8700T server is up for sale in the Buy/Sell section. PM me if interested.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Dev said:
JCAT Reference LAN Gold
 
I have been using the JCAT Reference for two week, so hopefully it is well broken in by now. Here is my subjective opinion:
 
A bit of background on my setup - I have the ER, powered by PH SR4, for over a month now. Its connected to Ubiquity fiber which further connects to my wifi router. One port on A side is connected to NAS (home brew running AudioLinux) powered by Mojo-audio Illuminati3. The B side is connected to NUCi7 running Euphony. So far I have been using cheap $10 Mono price CAT8 to connect. The JCAT Signature at 1000 EUR is too rich for my blood and hence I settled in for its lesser brother the JCAT Reference LAN Gold.
 
Needless to say, the ER has brought tremendous improvement to my previous setup which was using Wifi. However, as great as ER is, there was something off that kept me unsettling. I couldn't figure out what was it, neither I could lay my fingers on until I replaced the Monoprice CAT8 with JCAT Reference LAN Gold. It was an eye-opener from the first song I played that I realized how unnatural the tones was previously. The cheap cable had a metallic tone, especially to human voices. The JCAT completely removed it - music is fuller, bigger and natural is what I felt. In other words, if you have a good enough resolving system, a $10 cable will actually sound like a $10 cable after you have replaced it with a better one. I cannot explain why a 1M cable would have such a tremendous effect - the improvements in my system were much bigger than what ER bought to the table. However, both together brings a great synergy in my setup.
 
Marcin says that the Reference is 65% of the Signature which is about twice the price. I can only speculate how Signature can only take things further up the chain.
 
The Reference Gold at 600 EUR is not cheap by any stretch but I am glad that I took the plunge. For those, like me, who are not willing to spend and justify over a 1000 bucks for an Ethernet cable, the Reference takes the prime seat but if you can swing it, my guess is you will be up for a treat.
 
Don't skimp with cheap Ethernet cables and you will be glad (as I am) that you did.

 

 

Off the main topic of your post, but I'm wondering if you've ever directly compared the SR4 to the Illuminati3.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, auricgoldfinger said:

 

Off the main topic of your post, but I'm wondering if you've ever directly compared the SR4 to the Illuminati3.

 

My PH SR4 is 12v and the Illuminati3 is 19v. The NUC actually sounds better at 19v than 12v on the same quality power supply. So it would not be an apples to apples comparison but I do like the Illuminati3.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Over on the “what’s best” “ Extreme” thread they’re talking about The latest Roon release making a detrimental impact on sound quality.

TA was able to fix this issue with some changes of the system. Do any of the extreme owners know if it was only changes to the Roon operating system? And if they saw what was done, can they share those changes here, please?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shame Mundorf stopped making these MPower supplies back in 2013... 30A of continuous low noise power.  Could build some seriously high powered servers with these.

 

I have no idea of their specs (ripple, noise floor, transient response etc....).  You will see that it uses a Mundorf HeadCap (I believe) - I was wondering if these could be added to ATX power rails to smooth the current...

 

 

 

 

 

Mundorf MPower.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed - fans are bad.  I have no idea if they only ramp up under higher loads in this MPower.

 

ATX power supplies sound rolled off in the treble to me.  I don’t know exactly what causes this, but I was wondering if really tight voltage regulation is the answer, which additional caps or a Mundorf HeadCap could help with...

 

Agreed on Acopian I’ve not progressed with these for that reason.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...