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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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7 hours ago, matthias said:

 

There are reports from WBF that the largest improvement is by providing the better power supply for the Arris SB8200 but I am not sure if the LPS 1.2 has enough "juice" for it.

 

Matt

You're right. It pulls a whopping 2A at 12v.

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6 hours ago, bodiebill said:

 

@matthias Did you (or anyone else) compare the Sonnet USB card with an audiophile usb card?

 

Not yet,

I am on Mac platform and the cards must be compatible which is the case for ASM3142 cards. AFAIK, the only audiophile one with this chipset is the new JCAT XE. @romaz posted some impressions with the XE here on AS and compared it to JCAT FEMTO.

 

Matt

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On 3/30/2020 at 9:26 PM, kennyb123 said:

 

Yes ... but in my case it would have been a bit more difficult. Per Alexey, here's what it would have taken to convert mine to dual stage:

 

"Yes, you can add preregulator board (i can send preregulator board, Copper heatbride with thermal tapes, set of srews and nuts, interconnect jumpers), but the Inut/output board shipped with 15VDC out (it might be possible to change setting and configure for 12VDC out, but need to solder internal jumper)."

 

I figured it would be easier to just order a new one as I don't have soldering skills.  

 

I may repurpose my single stage model into a different use - or just sell it to someone needing a 15v output.


 

Hi Kenny,

 

I'd like to order these regulators for my mscaler\tt2.  Is double regulator the way to go, or does that leave the resulting voltage too low ?  I think i remember rob watts saying the devices take a range of voltages and internally it converts it down to 12, but i may be confused.

 

Id like to be able to place an order, but just need a hand to understand the best possible configuration for these regulators and mscaler\tt2.

 

Thanks in advance.

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6 hours ago, lmitche said:

You may want to try a lower voltage like 5 volts. Many of these switches use commodity 12 volts power supplies and then drop the voltage to 3.3 or 5 volts for use internally. I did this recently with a Linksys RE9000 labelled for 12 volts. It works fine and sounds better fed at 5 volt with a two step two amp lt3045 dc to dc regulator.

 

I do not think that will work with the Cisco 2960G. When I hook up a LPSU lower than 12VC (f.i 9VDC), it does not boot. No lights, no activity.


 

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7 hours ago, lmitche said:

A bunch of us have been using Startech PEXUSB314A2V USB cards with Intel motherboards since they were first discovered by @rickca almost 3 years ago. They contain Asmedia 1142 chips and work nicely with Startech HDD enclosures using the same chipset. These need to be powered at 12 volts via the Molex or Sata connectors to sound best. They are dual channel cards with a pair of ports on each channel. Using one device on a channel two devices can be configured to run at 10 GPBS (USB 3 gen 2 speeds) each simultaneously. Plug one into a direct to CPU slot and it's a great solution.

 

The newer AMD motherboards often contain Asmedia 3142 controllers connected via the PCH to the processor. I have one, but don't use it as the processors have onboard USB 3.0 Gen 1 controllers directly on the CPU chip. This mini-SOC solution beats the SQ going through the PCH, so the PCH is disabled entirely.

 

Thanks Larry. Would you expect any Asmedia 3142 card to perform well SQ-wise when plugged into a CPU PCIe slot? Or should I look for certain brands?

 

Also, I would have to use a riser card. Would this be detrimental to SQ?


 

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17 hours ago, bodiebill said:

 

Thanks Larry. Would you expect any Asmedia 3142 card to perform well SQ-wise when plugged into a CPU PCIe slot? Or should I look for certain brands?

 

Also, I would have to use a riser card. Would this be detrimental to SQ?

HI Bodiebill,

 

As a rule, I don't like to guess on how equipment is going to sound preferring to hear it with my own ears first. Nevertheless, if I were spend some money to experiment with a new off-the-shelf USB card for an Intel system, I'd look for:

  • an Asmedia chip, 1, 2 or 3 generation series with USB 3 gen 2 support
  • 5 or 12 volt power injection through a molex or sata connector
  • and at least two channels at 10gbps each on a single card

The Startech card referenced above ticks all these boxes.

 

Larry


nuckleheadaudio.com

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18 hours ago, bodiebill said:

 

I do not think that will work with the Cisco 2960G. When I hook up a LPSU lower than 12VC (f.i 9VDC), it does not boot. No lights, no activity.

Too bad, and good to know. After responding to your post yesterday I opened up my Cisco 2960G-8TC-L having forgotten how it was last wired. The LiteOn SMPS was removed and I had added a 5.5mm x 2.1 DC input jack directly to the board. I expected to test various voltage levels today, so thanks for saving my time.

 

In the end I expect it will benefit from a 12 volt output from a lt3045 chain from Mpaudio, or LDOVR, (DXPWR). I'm not sure how much current it needs. The spec sheet says 11 watts, so 1amp should do it. Likewise LPS1.2 power may be perfect.

 

Thanks, Larry


nuckleheadaudio.com

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1 hour ago, lmitche said:

In the end I expect it will benefit from a 12 volt output from a lt3045 chain from Mpaudio, or LDOVR, (DXPWR).

 

I definitely will try that, using f.i. a 13 or 14VDC LPSU and an MPAudio LT3045 PSU. 

 

1 hour ago, lmitche said:

I'm not sure how much current it needs. The spec sheet says 11 watts, so 1amp should do it. Likewise LPS1.2 power may be perfect.

 

Quoting from one of my earlier posts regarding my fanless Cisco 2960G with 8 ports:

"I first checked the current draw with a Keces P8 and it never came above 0.9A with 1 SPF and one RJ-45 connected."


 

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2 hours ago, lmitche said:

As a rule, I don't like to guess on how equipment is going to sound preferring to hear it with my own ears first. Nevertheless, if I were spend some money to experiment with a new off-the-shelf USB card for an Intel system, I'd look for:

  • an Asmedia chip, 1, 2 or 3 generation series with USB 3 gen 2 support
  • 5 or 12 volt power injection through a molex or sata connector
  • and at least two channels at 10gbps each on a single card

The Startech card referenced above ticks all these boxes.

 

Thanks Larry, I will ponder on it 🙂

 

You mentioned above that powering (f.i.) the Sonnet card with 12 volts sounds best via the Molex or Sata connectors. Does this mean that all the power for the card comes from there? Or is some of the power drawn from the PCIe connection? Good to know if one aims for a purist (LPSU only) solution...

 

 

 


 

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16 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

 

Thanks Larry, I will ponder on it 🙂

 

You mentioned above that powering (f.i.) the Sonnet card with 12 volts sounds best via the Molex or Sata connectors. Does this mean that all the power for the card comes from there? Or is some of the power drawn from the PCIe connection? Good to know if one aims for a purist (LPSU only) solution...

 

Just to be clear, it's a Startech card, not a Sonnet card. Yes, I understand the card switches to external 12 volt power when available. It sure sounds improved when powered this way. My guess is that the 5 volt input powers the VBUS, and the 12 volt powers the card.

 

Larry


nuckleheadaudio.com

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54 minutes ago, lmitche said:

Just to be clear, it's a Startech card, not a Sonnet card. Yes, I understand the card switches to external 12 volt power when available. It sure sounds improved when powered this way. My guess is that the 5 volt input powers the VBUS, and the 12 volt powers the card.

 

Larry,

 

it seems that at least the new JCAT XE with ASM3142 can be powered completely by an external 5V power supply:

 

https://jcat.eu/featured/usb-card-xe/

 

Matt

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4 hours ago, bodiebill said:

You mentioned above that powering (f.i.) the Sonnet card with 12 volts sounds best via the Molex or Sata connectors. Does this mean that all the power for the card comes from there? Or is some of the power drawn from the PCIe connection? Good to know if one aims for a purist (LPSU only) solution...

 

 

 

 

Here is the answer from Startech:

 

I have heard back from our development team and 3 to 5W will always be drawn from the PCI-e slot when using the PEXUSB314A2V.

 

I have provided a chart below with further detailed information:

image.png.b2559daa268cbc089a49f45a054504a9.png


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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9 hours ago, rickca said:

Here is the answer from Startech:

 

I have heard back from our development team and 3 to 5W will always be drawn from the PCI-e slot when using the PEXUSB314A2V.

 

I have provided a chart below with further detailed information:

image.png.b2559daa268cbc089a49f45a054504a9.png

 

Thanks rickca. So it looks like an external PSU (connected via SATA or molex) will take over duty for the 12V rail, which should make a positive difference in terms of electrical noise as this rail has the highest load, correct?


 

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On 5/10/2020 at 4:11 PM, lmitche said:

HI Bodiebill,

 

As a rule, I don't like to guess on how equipment is going to sound preferring to hear it with my own ears first. Nevertheless, if I were spend some money to experiment with a new off-the-shelf USB card for an Intel system, I'd look for:

  • an Asmedia chip, 1, 2 or 3 generation series with USB 3 gen 2 support
  • 5 or 12 volt power injection through a molex or sata connector
  • and at least two channels at 10gbps each on a single card

The Startech card referenced above ticks all these boxes.

 

Larry

Are there any good suggestions for an ethernet card, similar to the startech USB card that a budget minded DIY'er could investigate?

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11 minutes ago, Aberrant-Decoder said:

Are there any good suggestions for an ethernet card, similar to the startech USB card that a budget minded DIY'er could investigate?

 

I use an Intel Converged Network Adapter X540-T2 with great satisfaction.

Second hand prices variable in the usual places i.e. eBay. Take reasonable care to avoid imitations (https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/intel-x540-t2-fake-chinese-counterfeit.9715/).

Please see my system for context.

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14 minutes ago, Aberrant-Decoder said:

Are there any good suggestions for an ethernet card, similar to the startech USB card that a budget minded DIY'er could investigate?

Many of us with the startech card use a simple inexpensive internet dongle (rj45 to usb). 

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5 minutes ago, ted_b said:

Many of us with the startech card use a simple inexpensive internet dongle (rj45 to usb). 

Is this because the star tech usb card is also leveraged to handle the Ethernet via the dongle?

or was that a decision based on lack of slots on the motherboard ?

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On 5/10/2020 at 5:11 PM, lmitche said:

The Startech card referenced above ticks all these boxes.

 

AFAIK, there is only one Startech card with the "best sounding" ASM3142 chipset, the PEXUSB312C3.

 

Matt

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1 hour ago, matthias said:

 

AFAIK, there is only one Startech card with the "best sounding" ASM3142 chipset, the PEXUSB312C3.

 

Matt

I am sure you are right.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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2 hours ago, Aberrant-Decoder said:

Is this because the star tech usb card is also leveraged to handle the Ethernet via the dongle?

or was that a decision based on lack of slots on the motherboard ?

This avoids the PCH attached Ethernet port.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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3 hours ago, matthias said:

 

AFAIK, there is only one Startech card with the "best sounding" ASM3142 chipset, the PEXUSB312C3.

 

Matt

This exclusively uses usb-c, so it all the same to the Dac to use a usb-c to usb-a cable to connect it to the card?

 

https://www.startech.com/uk/Cards-Adapters/USB-3.0/Cards/2-port-pcie-usb3-1-card~PEXUSB312C3

 

or you could use an adapter 

https://cpc.farnell.com/pro-signal/psg91229/adapter-usb3-0-type-c-male-a-female/dp/CS29239?mckv=s983Q4I1w_dm|pcrid|224689766569|kword||match||plid||slid||product|CS29239|pgrid|49729733449|ptaid|pla-737233862611|&CMP=KNC-GUK-CPC-SHOPPING&gclid=CjwKCAjw7-P1BRA2EiwAXoPWA7BNfO3NbkHGel0oavW_apm81HmnLe1PQY4iGcYAYnP9LCyLIRYY5xoCpG8QAvD_BwE

 

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