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


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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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1 hour ago, Gavin1977 said:

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

Check out these guys. Made in the US and have LPSs up to 57 amps continuous.

https://www.astroncorp.com/linear-desktop

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23 minutes ago, Gavin1977 said:

Anyone used one though?

I use the 4A version to power my router, haven't compared it to other LPSs, but it has been running strong for around 3 yrs. Made a positive impact over the SMPS.

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4 hours ago, bodiebill said:
  • Keces P8 19V for the endpoint PC with HDPLex 800W DC-ATX converter
  • Keces P8 9V => LDOVR DXP-1A5DSC (LT3045) => 7.1V for the ISO Regen

 

Handy that the Keces displays the current drawn.

For my endpoint PC (motherboard + CPU) it never goes above 1.1A.

Motherboard only never above 0.7A.

ISO Regen never above 0.3A.

 

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4 hours ago, bodiebill said:

 

This week I received a Keces P8 with dual rails 9V/12V and 18V/19V (both 4A) plus USB 5V (1A). This enabled me to try quite a few permutations, applying the SR4 and the LT3045 boards where they had the most positive effect. For now, for my HQPe server - NAA endpoint setup, after only one day of breaking in the Keces, I have decided on:

  • XT Power battery 5V for the server's JCAT net card FEMTO
  • Paul Hynes SR4 19V for the MikroTik 305 SFP/RJ45 switch
  • Keces P8 19V for the endpoint PC with HDPLex 800W DC-ATX converter
  • Keces P8 9V => LDOVR DXP-1A5DSC (LT3045) => 7.1V for the ISO Regen
  • iFi Power 9V into MPAudio DLS-HPULN (LT3045) => 7V into Chinese PS (LT3045) => 5V for the Elfidelity USB card

The latter (Elfidelity card) sounds clearly better than direct from the Keces P8 5V USB, probably because of the double (serial) LT3045 noise reduction.

 

As 19V supplier for the endpoint PC the SR4 sounded only very slightly better than the Keces. The SR4 made a clear difference on the MikroTik switch.

 

I also tried powering the endpoint CPU/EPS seperately with the SR4's 12V, but this did not give a clear improvement compared to the Keces powering the motherboard + the CPU via the HDPlex 800W.

 

I have ordered a 6V Chinese LPS to be able to further simplify and increase the possibilities 🙂

 

Fyi, for what it is worth...

 

Curious to know what is your endpoint PC configuration.

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On 5/1/2020 at 5:05 PM, bodiebill said:

Not much discussed here, but the € 40 the Elfidelity AXF-100 PRO III Internal USB card for me was a very pleasant surprise.

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/pc-htpc-modules/elfidelity-axf-100-pro-iii-internal-usb-power-filter-for-pc-p-9056.html

In my setup the resulting jump in sound quality was at least as substantial as that when adding the € 435 JCAT net card FEMTO. Apples and pears of course, but still... YMWV 🙂

Both externally powered with 5VDC LPS.

First post after LOTS of reading of this thread. This thread contains a wealth of information.

 

This is my single machine setup, completly inspired by this thread.

 

Hardware:

Asus ROG Strix-I Z390

i7 8700T @ 3.1ghz

Optane SSD58gb (I plan to move away from USB at some point and use this for storage).

Apacer DDR4 2400 8GB

Elfidelity AXF-100 PRO III Interal USB Card

Gotham 18awg OFC DC Cables 

HDPlex 400w DC-ATX Converter (800w has been out of stock forever)

HDPlex AC-DC Converter 400w (Found a deal super cheap. This is temporary until I decide whether to go with the future HD Plex 500W LPSU Larry mentioned, Keces P8 19v (1 to start with, perhaps another directly to the 12V EPS connector in the future or another 19V if I can get my hands on an HDPlex 800W DC-ATX converter).

Etherregen

 

Software:

GentooPlayer Ramrooted - -PF-ST Kernel

UPMPCLI\MPD configured to stream from Tidal\Controlled by Bubble uPNP

 

I don't upsample as I feed the Yggdrasil A2 DAC via motherboard USB (getting to why momentarily).

 

It is a step up from my previous upnp renderer, The Pi2AES Pro Shield, which sent AES output to the Yggdrasil. The server presents a more effortless and transparent sound, with improved bass control and dynamics. The Pi2AES sounds great for the money spent though, even with stock SMPS.

 

Back to why I quoted you @bodiebill, do you use the Elfidelity card in the GentooPlayer endpoint? It wasn't plug and play with GentooPlayer (in my setup) and would appreciate any guidance on this topic. Note: I am not externally powering it yet but will soon have a 5v source for it.

 

Thanks all! What a terrific thread.

 

Cheers,

-Rob

 

 

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10 hours ago, Exocer said:

Back to why I quoted you @bodiebill, do you use the Elfidelity card in the GentooPlayer endpoint? It wasn't plug and play with GentooPlayer (in my setup) and would appreciate any guidance on this topic. Note: I am not externally powering it yet but will soon have a 5v source for it.

 

Thanks Rob for sharing your build. I do expect that the Elfidelity usb card will make a positive difference once you get it to work.

 

Indeed I use the card in the GentooPlayer endpoint. It does not really make contact with the PCIe slot (plastic connection), so it cannot get its power from there. When I first installed it I connected it only to the internal usb 3.0 connection as I was going to exclusively use an external PS. However, that did not work. I also had to connect the internal power cable (in my case to the HDPlex 800W DC-ATX) even though I am not using it in the end. After that the USB port and my connected DAC were recognized

Not sure how you set it up, so don't know whether this is of any help.

 

One quirk with the Elfidelity card is that when I power down the PC, it starts switching like crazy between internal (by then absent) and external PS. So I make a habit of turning off the external PS before PC shutdown.

 

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3 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

 

Thanks Rob for sharing your build. I do expect that the Elfidelity usb card will make a positive difference once you get it to work.

 

The card does not really make contact with the PCIe slot (plastic connection), so it cannot get its power from there. When I first installed it I connected it only to the internal usb 3.0 connection as I was going to exclusively use an external PS. However, that did not work. I also had to connect the internal power cable (in my case to the HDPlex 800W DC-ATX) even though I am not using it in the end. After that the USB port and my connected DAC were recognised

Not sure how you set it up, so don't know whether this is of any help.

 

One quirk with the Elfidelity card is that when I power down the PC, it starts switching like crazy between internal (by then absent) and external PS. So I make a habit of shutting off the external PS before PC shutdown.

Thank you! I appreciate the tip.

 

 I did the same as you, connecting only the internal USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector. That little red light on the rear panel was a bit deceiving.

 

Cheers.

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7 minutes ago, Exocer said:

Thank you! I appreciate the tip.

 

 I did the same as you, connecting only the internal USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector. That little red light on the rear panel was a bit deceiving.

 

Cheers.

 

Yes, here red is always on, green means internal power and yellow shows that external powering is succesful.

 

Will you let us know how you like the card? I suggest a few days of break in.

 

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1 minute ago, bodiebill said:

 

Yes, here red is always on, green means internal power and yellow shows that external powering is succesful.

 

Will you let us know how you like the card? I suggest a few days of break in.

Excellent. I now understand how the lights work (I lost the little paper it comes with in the storm of building the HDPlex case :))

 

Looking forward to sharing my impressions. I suspect that this USB card will hang around until I can get proper clean power to the server... So several weeks/months.

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3 minutes ago, Exocer said:

Excellent. I now understand how the lights work (I lost the little paper it comes with in the storm of building the HDPlex case :))

 

Looking forward to sharing my impressions. I suspect that this USB card will hang around until I can get proper clean power to the server... So several weeks/months.

 

Do you expect that clean power to the server will make the card redundant? That is not my experience. Even with the best of LPSU's the motherboard appears to add noise that ends up in the stock usb connection.

 

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1 minute ago, bodiebill said:

 

Do you expect that clean power to the server will make the card redundant? That is not my experience. Even with the best of LPSU's the motherboard appears to add noise that ends up in the stock usb connection.

 

Good question. No, I do not believe the clean power will make the card redundant. My comment was a bit misleading. What I mean is I will prioritize clean power to the server first. Then perhaps I will consider replacing the Elfidelity card with something higher end, ala Pink Faun, JCAT Femto USB etc. 

 

So, the card will not immediately come out once I power the server via clean(er) power but the planning of the replacement card will begin once everything is settled in.

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1 hour ago, bodiebill said:

 

I have the impression that my DAC (a Denafrips Terminator) is less sensitive to USB signal upgrade devices. Maybe because it is fine-tuning the stream with its own clock. However, cleaning the USB signal from electrical noise still seems important. That is why the Elfidelitry usb card (€ 40) appealed to me, as that is exactly what it is doing, without the need for a riser card to connect to the PCIe slot (which could add to the burden of the motherboard and lessen the benefits of the expensive cards).

And it did result in a substantial SQ improvement that does not leave much to be desired. Therefore I am fighting that urge that is part of the audiophile disease, namely to buy a "much better because much more expensive" card. Of course I would be happy to try and compare, but not by spending another € 400 when already perfectly happy.

@bodiebill, yeah, I am sure the Terminator does a swell job with the internal clock. I have read at least one person on the web who preferred the Yggy without re-clocking from an external USB PCI-E card. Would be interesting to see what others have to say on this topic.

 

BTW, I just got the card working and it was indeed plug and play (when powered). Will give this a few days to break in. The card sounds very good so far! Although the USB 3.1 port on the Asus Strix z390-I doesn't sound bad I will say that this card already leans in the direction I prefer. Too early to tell though.

 

Thanks

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