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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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2 hours ago, matthias said:

Comparing specs of Startech card

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

 

to the Sonnet card

https://www.sonnettech.com/product/allegro-usbc-pcie.html

 

>>>The Sonnet seems to have an advantage for powering devices like USB-DACs from the USB Vbus.

Both cards use ASM3142.

 

Matt

Well they are all inexpensive enough to try two, or three and to have a listen.  If you do this, please let us know how it goes.

 

Thanks,

 

Larry


nuckleheadaudio.com

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On 5/11/2020 at 1:46 PM, lmitche said:

This avoids the PCH attached Ethernet port.

On the topic of avoiding PCH, excuse me if I missed this but I have two questions.

 

With my Asus Strix Z390-i, there is only 1 PCI-E which I believe does not go through PCH.

 

1. Since it seems as though there is only one expansion slot which avoids PCH, which would yield the bigger sound quality improvement,A or B?

A. Dedicated USB PCI-E card like the Sonnettech/Startech

B. A dedicated Ethernet/Fiber PCI-E card of equivalent quality to A

 

2. If one were to convert an available NVME slot to PCI-E via an adapter, would one be reducing the potential sonic improvements of an add-on card by going through the PCH integrated PCI-E via NVME?

 

Are larger ATX motherboards the only way to avoid this limitation?

 

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I would appreciate peoples thoughts on the two setup options?

 

Option 1 - Edge Router > Ethernet > Sonore OM > Fiber - EtheRegen > (NUC acting as NAS running Euphony Share, A-side of EtherRegen) > Ethernet > Server

                                                                        

Or

 

Option 2 - Edge Router > NUC acting as NAS running Euphony Share on router Eth port) > Ethernet > Sonore OM > Fiber > EtheRegen > Ethernet > Server

 

Note NUC & Server both powered by SJ LPS, Option 2 effectively isolating the NUC.

 

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1 hour ago, Aberrant-Decoder said:

i had bought that card before I saw mattias post to say its the later chipset that is associated with improved audio, so i have ordered one of these PEXUSB312C2 And will be able to compare them.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/StarTech-com-Dual-Port-USB-C-Card/dp/B071WYWFJC/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=startech+usb+c+pci&qid=1589373070&s=computers&sr=1-3

 

Thanks for sharing, being very curious if the card with the later chipset is superior. 

The ASM3142 is the favourite chipset of Emile Bok from Taiko Audio.

 

Matt

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11 hours ago, matthias said:

 

Thanks for sharing, being very curious if the card with the later chipset is superior. 

The ASM3142 is the favourite chipset of Emile Bok from Taiko Audio.

 

Matt

Going to order it soon to compare with the Elfidelity. I just wish it had USB-A outputs. I also do not have an LPSU.

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Hello, i hope i post in the right thread, anyway, i assume the experts are here.

I’m running a PC with a Supermicro X11SCH-F / Xeon E-2136 under windows 2019. The MB is powered by a HDPLEX DC/ATX 800W powered by 2 Keces P8 : a 19/20V and a 19/12V. 

The 2 rails of Keces P8 are connected to group 1 and Group 2 of the HDPLEX and the 12V of the Keces is connected to the 8Pin cpu connector of the MB.

I have been surprised to see that no current was pulled from the Keces on the 12V of the CPU Connector. So i decided to remove the 8 pin connector and the MB is booting fine while the manual is saying that the 24 AND the 8 pins connectors need to be powered.

 

Do you see any rationale behind that ?

 

Thanks for your expertise.


patatorz.com / Leedh E2 glass / dCS Vivaldi / JCAT Netcard Femto / Cybershaft OP21A / Ypsilon Phaethon

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3 hours ago, Exocer said:

Going to order it soon to compare with the Elfidelity. I just wish it had USB-A outputs. I also do not have an LPSU.

 

There is another Sonnet with USB-A and most certainly ASM3142. They mentioned ASM1142 but I think it should be a typo:

 

https://www.sonnettech.com/product/allegro-pro-usb31-pcie.html

 

I would confirm with Sonnet that the latest production use ASM3142.

 

The drawback is that it is a four output card and so much more expensive.

 

If you must use USB-C there is a cheap Oyaide USB-C to -B from the professional line, the green one.

 

Matt

 

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I haven't taken the plunge yet in investing in a hifi switch, however I thought I should test another regular switch. I'm not an engineer but, my thinking is that a switch with more ports and than the usual 8 or so might sound better, because it might need better CPU? in order to be able to handle all those ports. 

Well, I bought a D-Link GO‑SW‑16G, a switch with 16 ports and a external 12V psu which makes it easy to test other power supplies. My digital chain:

 

Router -> Supra cat8 -> switch 1 (a "regular" 8 port with standard psu) -> supra - > roon core server ethernet port 1 -> Supra from roon core server ethernet port 2 -> D-Link GO‑SW‑16G, port 1 -> Supra from D-Link GO‑SW‑16G, port 16 -> endpoint.

So the D-link switch is in effect placed in a direct connection between the server and endpoint.

Does it affect sound quality?
Yes, I would say it does. The timing is better and the highs get better extension, but perhaps a little bright. However that was out of the box, and I will have it in the system for a couple of weeks and then take it out for more fair comparisons. 

 

The mainboard of the D-Link switch, it looks "clean" to my "non-engineer eyes".
I could identify two 25 Mhz ethernet clocks.

Could someone please the describe the different parts of the mainboard?

Thanks.


IMG_2465.thumb.jpg.63da0e23542c8d6ed450f3624df3040e.jpg

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Before I read through all 655 pages.....

Has anyone been able to improve SQ using a Roon Nucleus and SOtM sMS-200 Neo both attached to the same stock Zyxel switch?  All powered with an HDPlex 200.

I cannot find any info on bridging these two together.


Netgear modem > Synology router > Roon Nucleus / HDPlex LPS > Kii Control > Kii Three > w/Supra cables

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17 minutes ago, fpalm69 said:

Before I read through all 655 pages.....

Has anyone been able to improve SQ using a Roon Nucleus and SOtM sMS-200 Neo both attached to the same stock Zyxel switch?  All powered with an HDPlex 200.

I cannot find any info on bridging these two together.

 

Sorry, I'm not sure what your parameters are.

 

Are you asking if there is a way to get better SQ without any change of equipment or expenditure? Short answer is - possibly. It depends on whether ROON ROCK now supports bridging across 2 Ethernet interfaces.

 

Or is it a more aspirational question? Short answer is - YES!

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On 5/12/2020 at 9:28 PM, lmitche said:

I'd say go with an USB NIC hanging from a good USB 3 card.

@lmitche , would something like this be sufficient? Open to suggestions.

 

https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-USB-C-Gigabit-Ethernet-Adapter/dp/B015FTWD5U/ref=sr_1_18_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=realtech+usb+nic&qid=1589582868&sr=8-18-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUE5MDNZQkVOMDBQRUImZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTEwMDg5NTczMk9DTTVZSk00V0dKJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAyMTA5MzQxMlVFTTVVVTlVVzBFJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYnRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

 

8 hours ago, Peter Avgeris said:

So I found out that there is a ridiculously cheap solution that would outperform many of the highly priced network adapters around. The exact description of the model is TP-Link 3468 v.3, it comes in both tall and narrow mounting bracket and it sells for 6-9.5 Euros

 

I have ordered this to compare to the USB NIC option. It is cheap enough to try.

 

Ordering this as well:

https://www.audioadvice.com/audioquest-forest-usb-c-cable.html

 

By the time i'm done with testing i'm certain I will have some extra parts to spare :)  

 

I don't know if it is a fair comparison considering the Elfidelity will be used with my Schiit Pyst cable.

 

Also on order:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087G7T234/ref=crt_ewc_title_dp_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1XBPHGHAXLHDG

Will report back with observations once everything is settled in.

 

One last question:

 

Has anyone compared the following options?

1. LPSU > HDPlex 400w DC-ATX converter > 5v output to USB/Net PCIE expansion card.

2. LPSU > 5v Output direct to USB/Net PCIE expansion card.

 

This above answer will determine subsequent steps post purchase of LPSU for server.

 

Thanks

 

 

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3 hours ago, Exocer said:

@lmitche , would something like this be sufficient? Open to suggestions.

 

https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-USB-C-Gigabit-Ethernet-Adapter/dp/B015FTWD5U/ref=sr_1_18_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=realtech+usb+nic&qid=1589582868&sr=8-18-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUE5MDNZQkVOMDBQRUImZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTEwMDg5NTczMk9DTTVZSk00V0dKJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAyMTA5MzQxMlVFTTVVVTlVVzBFJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYnRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

 

 

I have ordered this to compare to the USB NIC option. It is cheap enough to try.

 

Ordering this as well:

https://www.audioadvice.com/audioquest-forest-usb-c-cable.html

 

By the time i'm done with testing i'm certain I will have some extra parts to spare :)  

 

I don't know if it is a fair comparison considering the Elfidelity will be used with my Schiit Pyst cable.

 

Also on order:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087G7T234/ref=crt_ewc_title_dp_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1XBPHGHAXLHDG

Will report back with observations once everything is settled in.

 

One last question:

 

Has anyone compared the following options?

1. LPSU > HDPlex 400w DC-ATX converter > 5v output to USB/Net PCIE expansion card.

2. LPSU > 5v Output direct to USB/Net PCIE expansion card.

 

This above answer will determine subsequent steps post purchase of LPSU for server.

 

Thanks

 

 

Hi Exocer,

 

I haven't tried any of the USB C NIC solutions.  However the Startech you reference above has the same Realtek - RTL8153 chipset as those used here (albeit in USB 3.0 form). It should work well.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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The problem with my new usb pcie card is that it’s usb c, and my existing usb lead is usb a.  The only budget cable i could see was a cable matters brand from amazon and it’s possibly too cheap at £7.

 

anyway audioquest have an adapter for £12, which is probably fine for me, better then starting to rebuy more expensive usb leads (I think my last one was only £50), but anyway, thought I’d share.

 

https://www.futureshop.co.uk/audioquest-usb-3-0-a-to-c-adaptor/

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On 5/15/2020 at 5:22 PM, Peter Avgeris said:

I see here that quite a few guys have experimented with this Startech SFP network interface card. I would just like to add my two cents here.

 

First of all, this card carries the Realtek 8168 B/E etc chipset, which costs really nothing. Cents of a dollar. On top of this, this Startech NIC requires the addition of a SFP module to function. And the impact of these modules to the final SQ has been already demonstrated by a lot of guys. For my set up I need 4 cards, one in my NAS, two inside my audio server and one on my audio endpoint.

 

I find the price of Startech NIC ridiculously expensive, that does not make sense for a massively commercially released product, specially when the heart of the NIC costs cents. So before throwing 1.000+ Euros into the bin, I decided to make a little research.

 

Back in the old days, light transmission was never better that the copper interfaces. I am sure you remember the old optical interface vs. the coaxial interface. It seems that for small distances (and not 100s of meters in length) the copper solution might outperform the optical. So I did a little research to figure out what was better in Startech NICs. It should not be the light interface, to my instinct, it is the chipset that should make the difference, at least up to +90%. So I performed a search in order to find a reasonably priced NIC, with copper interface, good old trusted Ethernet copper connector, of course equipped with the same Realtek 8168 chipset, as this is the beating heart of the Startech adapter.

 

So I found out that there is a ridiculously cheap solution that would outperform many of the highly priced network adapters around. The exact description of the model is TP-Link 3468 v.3, it comes in both tall and narrow mounting bracket and it sells for 6-9.5 Euros. Yes! Less than 10 Euros for a NIC that carries the same beating heart as the Startech device does! I need four cards, so I got some more. Seven pieces in total. I also told of this story to a friend living in Germany. He got the same cards as well.

 

To his surprise (and mine, too!) this card was found to greatly outperform well known commercial applications that cost in excess of 400 Euros per piece. A couple of seconds of a heads-up battle was enough to tell the winner without the slightest hesitation. And if you consider that here we have no extreme power supplies, no extra clocks or oscillators, nothing but the core, then this device has a truly great potential to be the absolute winner! Although Realtek devices are considered to be real crap things for servers (due to lack of drivers, support, etc.), it is found that for audio applications, they really outperform probably everything out there!

 

So, before spending 1000s of Euros in NICs, please do me a favor and spend a mere -20 Euros for a pair of this 'crappy' (!) NIC! I am pretty sure that you will be surprised (at least!). This little thing surprised me to the point of thinking of manufacturing a final product for the HiFi community, equipped of course with truly exotic power supplies and premium oscillators, that would cost less than 100 Euros as a final product, all included! Although my tube amplifiers cost ridiculously high amount of money, with exotic iron double c cores, etc, in excess of 100k Euros, at the same time I am a strong believer of doing your best effort for the lowest price you can.

 

FYI, this lovely little crap is currently breaking in. It is found to be extremely close to the Startech NIC equipped only with the flagship Planet module (all else are clearly inferior!), so damn close that properly breaking it in might tell this the final winner. So damn close! I will inform you further.

 

DSC_0861.JPG

 

Can you post a link and what is the difference between V.2 and V.3?

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16 hours ago, beautiful music said:

 

Can you post a link and what is the difference between V.2 and V.3?

I really have no idea. Maybe minimal upgrades? v3 is the current production model. I do not know, maybe it could perform worse than v.2...


Design & Manufacture of High Fidelity Audio Equipment

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So i'm trying the TG-3468 v3 NIC Card as a small experiment before the PCI-E USB controller comes in and I am pleasantly surprised so far. It sounds really good. Will give it more time before I give final impressions. 

 

Observations:

Slightly lower noise floor

Vocals sound less digital

 

At the moment I am using:

 

1. Elidelity USB filter

2.  TG-3468 v3 NIC

3. LPSU (new Keces P3) powered Arris SB8200, Ubiquiti Edgerouter X SFP & Etherregen A>B side now (LPS 1.2 powered).

 

The Keces P3 is a compromise but I do notice an improvement in noise reduction even with the Etherregen between these devices and my server. My wife noticed a positive impact without knowing anything changed (SMPSs switched for LPSU).

 

This makes for a very decent budget setup..but who am I to judge, I do not have an LPSU for my server yet although I have some plans in the works.

 

Pics or it didn't happen:

spacer.png

 

 

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