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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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I noticed that a number of people's system configurations included a Arris SB8200 cable modem, so I replaced the one provided by my cable provider, and I got a very nice uptick in SQ.

 

Now I am considering an upgrade from the Netgear Nignthawk AC1900 that I have been using as my router for quite some time now.  I have noticed that a number of people's system configurations include an Edge router.  Can someone suggest which model of the Edge routers seems to provide the best SQ?   I do not need one with WiFi since I'm using an Eero system for that, but I could use one with at more than 4 ports.

 

Thanks

     

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I’ve always wondered If i bought a wireless Walk plug/adapter, played two albums, then turned off the wireless adapter that is connected to my EtherRegen what would happen? Sq wise?
 

I’m not at that fanatic stage yet, but sure this forum will drive me to it one day “every last bit of sq)

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Thanks ray-dude, ASRMichael, and bodiebill.  That's just the kind of info I needed.

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24 minutes ago, bodiebill said:

I could have spared myself a lot of cost (including that for the LPSU's) and much trouble, but it was fun to do. And I may occasionally go back to a network setup for convenience. But the SQ I am now hearing is hard to resist and forgo.

 

This is awesome. 

 

For my particular usecase, I stream and currently prefer to stream my music for various reasons...so unfortunately for me removing a network is just not an option.

 

Will consider doing this long-term when I build up a local library of music I like.

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3 hours ago, bodiebill said:

For many no option I guess, but I am now enjoying the best thinkable network topology with no network devices or -connections having an adverse effect on SQ: namely no network at all.

 

I tried many things in order to eliminate the nasty effects of network activity on the sound. RJ-45, fiber, JCAT net card FEMTO, MikroTik and Cisco SFP routers, LPS's to match, and the SQ got better and better. Converging to the SQ that can only be had by... no network at all.

 

I did try this before, over a year ago, but then I had a DAC (Lampizator) that made DSD sound much better than PCM, and upsampling to DSD256 with HQPe/EC was the best achievable. This for me required a network.

 

Now I have a DAC (Denafrips) with glorious PCM and I no longer feel the need to convert/upsample to DSD256. And wtfplay is an gorgeous player for PCM that eliminates all frills and totally concentrates on SQ. In spite of many requests the author of wtfplay has not added remote control via network to his player, and I can understand why. It would lower the SQ.

 

Controlling wtfplay with a tiny keyboard with trackpad and a monitor (a tv) is actually quite easy and user friendly. You can even create a playlist and then play it from the command line, with no need for a GUI. 

  

I could have spared myself a lot of cost (including that for the LPSU's) and much trouble, but it was fun to do. And I may occasionally go back to a network setup for convenience. But the SQ I am now hearing is hard to resist and forgo.

Hello! 

I have read your statement with so much interest. To make the long story short, if you are looking for maximum sound quality, your approach, although understandable and acceptable, to my experience is absolutely wrong. 

On the other hand, overdoing the net way is also completely wrong. The truth seems to be lying in the details and clever moves & decisions. 

I will note some issues. First of all, the magnitude of impact of the VGA is probably enough on its own to make you abandon this idea in a couple of minutes. In all my systems, the presence of an active VGA adapter either on the MoBo or inside the CPU is absolute catastrophe. In addition, splitting the server and playback services in different pcs is a move you can't go backwards. I have been through this numerous times. A fine tune (not to the max) of a two pc setup can't compete against a single pc setup. Not a chance. 

I could mention several more parameters. You can enjoy your music through a single point but when we are talking of sophisticated network builds, we talk of totally different scales of quality. 

With kind regards

Pavgeris


Design & Manufacture of High Fidelity Audio Equipment

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32 minutes ago, Peter Avgeris said:

[...] splitting the server and playback services in different pcs is a move you can't go backwards.

 

Quote

A fine tune (not to the max) of a two pc setup can't compete against a single pc setup. Not a chance. 

 

Hi pavgeris. If I understand well you always prefer a 2 box setup (with network) to a one box setup? I am asking as the second sentence seems to say the opposite.

 

I did not mean to be categorical and remain open to different topologies, but reported the change in SQ between my previous complex 2 box setup and the new 1 box setup.

I did wonder about the effect of the hdmi and keyboard, compared to that of a NIC (and everything behind it).

 

Hard to identify the key reason for the 1 box setup to sound better (to my ears), as so many things are different, including the SW. But given that it does and that so many devices can be removed, makes me prefer it for now. 

 

 


 

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39 minutes ago, Peter Avgeris said:

First of all, the magnitude of impact of the VGA is probably enough on its own to make you abandon this idea in a couple of minute

Can you expand on this? I've not come across this report before. 

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5 hours ago, bodiebill said:

 

 

Hi pavgeris. If I understand well you always prefer a 2 box setup (with network) to a one box setup? I am asking as the second sentence seems to say the opposite.

 

 

 

 

You are sooo right. I wrote exactly the opposite, thank you for your attention. 


Design & Manufacture of High Fidelity Audio Equipment

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5 hours ago, bodiebill said:

 

 

Hi pavgeris. If I understand well you always prefer a 2 box setup (with network) to a one box setup? I am asking as the second sentence seems to say the opposite.

 

I did not mean to be categorical and remain open to different topologies, but reported the change in SQ between my previous complex 2 box setup and the new 1 box setup.

I did wonder about the effect of the hdmi and keyboard, compared to that of a NIC (and everything behind it).

 

Hard to identify the key reason for the 1 box setup to sound better (to my ears), as so many things are different, including the SW. But given that it does and that so many devices can be removed, makes me prefer it for now. 

 

 

I have no experience with keyboard /mouse but the video adapter is for sure detrimental. 

I am now upgrading my network, I will let you know about my results. 


Design & Manufacture of High Fidelity Audio Equipment

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4 hours ago, Downtheline said:

Can you expand on this? I've not come across this report before. 

Very easy! 

Fine tune everything and after you have finished by being able to fully control remotely, take off the vga adapter or alternatively, switch it off through the bios or jumpers. You can't go backwards. It is beyond logic to upgrade all your stuff and leave vga working! 


Design & Manufacture of High Fidelity Audio Equipment

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1 hour ago, Peter Avgeris said:

Very easy! 

Fine tune everything and after you have finished by being able to fully control remotely, take off the vga adapter or alternatively, switch it off through the bios or jumpers. You can't go backwards. It is beyond logic to upgrade all your stuff and leave vga working! 

Got it, I'll try that in my upcoming build. 

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8 hours ago, bodiebill said:

Hard to identify the key reason for the 1 box setup to sound better (to my ears), as so many things are different, including the SW. But given that it does and that so many devices can be removed, makes me prefer it for now. 

More chance of Earth Loops etc, when you need to use separate PSUs. Not all Earth Loops cause obvious symptoms, but may result in a slight haze with low level detail. It's best to have a single 0 Volt/ "Earth Reference" where possible.


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 28-06-2020

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Well, the ground noise from monitor can be easily remedied by using an optical fiber HDMI. You can also use a wireless keyboard which has a tiny trackball on it, the keyboard will go to sleep after a while.

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I must say that even I'm already using the Telegartner M12 switch, by using ROON to play local file only, unplug the network cable still improve the SQ for about ~20%.

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6 hours ago, Peter Avgeris said:

Very easy! 

Fine tune everything and after you have finished by being able to fully control remotely, take off the vga adapter or alternatively, switch it off through the bios or jumpers. You can't go backwards. It is beyond logic to upgrade all your stuff and leave vga working! 

 

Does the same as VGA apply to HDMI?


 

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Actually it is possible to play whole tracks removing

(1) wtfplay usb stick (wtfplay OS is completely run from RAM)

(2) music usb hdd (wtplay loads complete individual tracks into memory)

(3) hdmi connection to monitor

(4) usb dongle for remote mini keyboard

 

(2) is of course less practical as it requires plugging in and out the hdd with the music between separate tracks.

(3) and (4) are less cumbersome as it can be done for each complete playlist (instead of per track).

 

@darkfrank

I think you are right about the remote keyboard going to sleep: mine turns off its light after about a minute.

 

In any case, the effect on SQ of all these permutations is easy to check, and I will do so when I find the time.


 

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13 hours ago, Peter Avgeris said:

In all my systems, the presence of an active VGA adapter either on the MoBo or inside the CPU is absolute catastrophe.

 

In my early days I also had problems with graphics drivers. It can be seen that dxgkrnl.sys causes high latencies.

34559957dl.jpg

 

With update the graphics driver repaired. In the meantime I used the Shell replacement from AudiophileOptimizer and bypass the graphics driver. In the current expansion stage, I switch off the graphics driver completely, since I carry out occasional maintenance of my audio PC by remote control.

38597661cs.png

 

I now have very low latencies and no more interference. And you can hear that. You can see a 96kHz / 24bit stream, which is converted from HQPlayer to DSD 256.

38597662lv.png

 

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On 3/30/2020 at 12:51 PM, romaz said:

My single- and dual-stage regulation power supplies from @[email protected] arrived a few weeks ago and I felt I owed it to Alex to comment on just how good these power supplies have been in my system:

 

1240920623_DXPWR.thumb.jpeg.52afb720c1e06ef0afcef2155d0c3b2e.jpeg

 

First of all, the attention to detail and the build quality of these units are superb.   Second, they do exactly what I hoped they would do -- noise floor drops and dynamics and control improve.  They've improved everything I've connected them to including various cheap SMPSs I had lying around, a PowerAdd battery, an sPS-500, LPS-1.2, SR4, and SR7.  While the improvement was smallest with a DR SR7, considering the low asking price for these units, even with the DR SR7, I would consider purchasing one.  As the photo depicts, I have purchased 5 and I now have more on order. 

 

The greatest beneficiaries among the PSUs that I've tried are the PowerAdd battery, sPS-500, and LPS-1.2 and for these PSUs, the dual stage regulation models especially are transformative.  For these PSUs, the DXP-1A5DSC should be considered "must haves" imho. 

 

Using a PowerAdd battery set to 16V and a DXP-1A5DSC with the pre-regulator output set to 15V and the final regulator output set to 13.5V, the drop in noise floor and the improvement in dynamics and control with my Hugo TT2 is just unbelievably better when compared against the PowerAdd by itself or against the stock 15V SMPS.  It's like a completely upgraded DAC with this little device even though this DAC is powered internally with supercaps.

 

My LPS-1.2s have taken on new life as well.  My units have largely gone unused as of late because with any components that draw close to their max rating of 1.1A, I have found these quickly lose steam (likely due to voltage sag) and in some instances, like with the etherREGEN, the LPS-1.2 is only barely better than the stock SMPS.  Presently, I'm using one of my LPS-1.2s at 9V feeding a DXP-1A5S set to 5V which is then feeding my Monoprice SlimRun USB 3.0 optical extender and this combo not only provides me complete galvanic isolation between server and DAC but the addition of even the single-stage regulation power supply dramatically improves dynamics.  

 

What about the SR4 and the new SR4-Turbo (SR4T)?

 

SR4s.thumb.jpeg.1f371af31647bc453f2f7f2b68e80e15.jpeg

904924212_SR4Turbo.thumb.jpeg.77d0aae27c65e95c79bd50b0409abe17.jpeg

 

Because of the greater 2A headroom of the SR4s, these PSUs don't run out of steam as quickly as the LPS-1.2 and the SR4-Turbo especially maintains its composure with much more gear including any of the JCAT cards and most network switches that I've tried.  The standard SR4 + DXP-1A5DSC (dual regulated) is roughly the equivalent of an SR4-Turbo by itself but an SR4-Turbo with this same dual regulated module takes it very scarily close to a DR SR7 with respect to dynamics for low power devices like the etherRegen or JCAT's latest XE USB card.  At close to 400 GBP, especially with such a good exchange rate, I cannot recommend the SR4-Turbo more highly.

 

Where an SR7 continues to have an edge even over an SR4-Turbo + DXP-1A5DSC is with tonal density and color saturation.   There also remains a relaxed and more effortless quality to the SR7 that sounds more natural and pleasing to my ears.  Clearly, headroom matters even for low power devices.  When you add the DXP-1A5DSC to a standard SR (single regulated) SR7, just like with the other PSUs, it sings bigger and bolder and blacker.  It is still not exactly equivalent to a DR SR7 but to my ears, its 50-60% there.

 

Are there downsides or limitations to Alex's units?  Yes, presently they cap out at 15V and 1.5A of output and this is due to the limitation of the LT3045s and so don't expect these units to power a big motherboard or high-power CPU.  Alex is working on SR units that can output up to 20V and DR units with a final output of 15V and up to 2.1A and so this opens up the possibility of powering an i7 NUC with a PowerAdd battery. 

 

The big challenge of course is heat.  The internal parts used including caps, etc. are rated for >100 deg C.  According to Alex, the LT3045 has a max input voltage of 20V (absolute max of 22V) but he recommends, based on the heat dissipation abilities of the chassis that is used, that you don't go beyond 4w of heat dissipation for an SR unit and 6w for a DR unit.  That means for an SR unit with a desired output of 5V/1.5A, if your feeding supply is 7V, that amounts to 3w of heat that will need to be dissipated (2V x 1.5A = 3w) and so this should be acceptable.   If your component only draws 0.5A, then your feeding supply can go as high as 13V for an SR unit.   Hopefully, the math here is clear.  Should you do something stupid and go significantly overboard, Alex has assured me that there are thermal safeguards in place that will prevent you from frying whatever gear you're powering.  I think these recommendations are probably conservative because my units are barely warm to the touch. 

 

Is there an advantage for using a larger spread?  Yes, it sounds better.  According to Alex, larger spreads result in less ripple.  With the DR SR7, for example, Paul is using a spread of 7V and those who have compared an SR vs DR SR7 knows just how much better the DR sounds.  If you're unsure as you place your order, it's probably best to discuss your plans with Alex.  In my case, I am using a 12V rail from my SR SR7 to feed a DXP-1A5DSC with a 10.5V pre-reg and 9V final output to then feed an etherREGEN and the results are simply stunning.  

 

As for the quality of the DC cabling used, not surprisingly, they make a big difference.  I use the 16AWG OCC copper with JSSG360 shield that Ghent sells and they pair exceptionally well with Alex's units.


Need some advice. I have 2 of LPS-1 and 2 of LPS-1.2. (The LPS-1 is not in use). 
 

Will adding a DXP-1A5DSC to either of the UpTone LPS give same result if I’m after 5V ?
This is the main question, as then I probably can achieve a lot using my present power supplies adding Alexey’s modules. 

 

I need a better way to power my opticalrendu than my present LPS-1.2. After upgrade to 2.8 I got problems. 

My first taught was the Farad supply, but maybe parallel two LPS-1.2 with the correct combination of @[email protected] modules will add the extra amp I’m after. I understand limit is 1.5A, so maybe still a bit low, but should be ok or ? (Just noticed Sonore PS output 1.5A, so I guess 1.5 is OK then). 

If so, what (boxed) items need to purchased ? And at what voltages ?

 

Another thought is using 4 LPS-1 in serial and parallel with Alexey’s boxes, if I’m able to get 2 more LPS-1 at a very reasonable price.

 

I have the etherRegen powered by Uptone stock SMPS, and an unused opticalModule.
 

The second LPS-1.2 is powering the 5V to my modded SU1. 
 

So good advices how to best put all this together at the most reasonable price (and best SQ) would be very helpful. 


I think my opticalrendu sounds a bit better at 9V than 7V. What’s other people’s experience ?

 

I suppose if Sonore sold their 7V supplies in 9V versions, then adding the DXP-1A5DSC would be equal to using Farad ?
That said, I think Sonore’s PS is equal to some very cheap Chinese PS. At least I’ve seen some that looks equal. If I’m able to find these Chinese PS again, and adding the DXP-1A5DSC, is this a way to go ?

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