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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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51 minutes ago, Gavin1977 said:

The Taiko thread is amazing...

 

”The other thing I learned is that this Roon modification made by Emile to my Extreme could be operable to non Extreme but Roon users so stay tuned”

 

I hope we can find out what the tweak is... I may actually try Roon if it’s that good.

 

Also, which software packages can be used to load music (or buffer general network traffic) into memory first?

 

I could be wrong but I don't think Emile did anything to Roon itself.  I believe all the tweaks were to the Extreme (Windows OS).  It is possible that some of those tweaks could be applied to other servers but that would depend on the configuration of those servers.

 


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 (WS 2016/AO/HQPlayer/Roon)> Lampizator Big 7 DAC

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26 minutes ago, dminches said:

 

I could be wrong but I don't think Emile did anything to Roon itself.  I believe all the tweaks were to the Extreme (Windows OS).  It is possible that some of those tweaks could be applied to other servers but that would depend on the configuration of those servers.

 

 

I might be missing what @Gavin1977 meant but my understanding is that Emile at Taiko is ditching Roon altogether and building a new music software system from scratch.

 

Long story short they've concluded Roon sound quality has dropped so much that they are not willing to put up with Roon any longer. As a Roon lifetime license owner I'm a bit concerned and unfortunately the guys are Roon labs are just not worried about sound quality at all. They prefer adding totally bullshit features like being able to cast song lyrics to your TV 😠

 

On the bright side in my case Innuos have kinda saved the day with the experimental mode. This uses Roon as Core but plays to an internal Squeezebox player in the Zenith. The Squeezebox player sounded better than Roon did originally. But Innuos have also configured it to playback from RAM which further improves it. So kudos to the team at Innuos for taking recommendations from their users seriously. I believe that Austinpop was one of the many users including myself that badgered Nuno at Innuos about this. (Keep me honest Rajiv, if I'm wrong here).

 

Likewise, kudos to Innuos to being open minded about reclocking USB. I discussed with Nuno and he was initially very sceptical but said he was aware of the discussions here. But after following the progress of threads like this and feedback from users they embraced the reclocking thoery and voila - the Statement was born and the Phoenix followed later. Bravo for taking your users seriously even if you first suspected they might be crackpots 😆

 

Opposite of kudos (whatever that is? rotten tomatoes? cancellations?) to Roon labs. Your disdain for your audiophile users has been noted. And many will vote with their feet. Not that they care as we're just not the main demographic. 

 

Cheers,

Alan

 

 

 


EtherRegen > Innuos Zenith SE server > Innuos Phoenix > PS Audio Directstream DAC > Hegel P20 Pre > PS Audio M700 monoblocks > Salk Sound Supercharged Songtowers

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35 minutes ago, BigAlMc said:

 

I might be missing what @Gavin1977 meant but my understanding is that Emile at Taiko is ditching Roon altogether and building a new music software system from scratch.

 

Long story short they've concluded Roon sound quality has dropped so much that they are not willing to put up with Roon any longer. As a Roon lifetime license owner I'm a bit concerned and unfortunately the guys are Roon labs are just not worried about sound quality at all. They prefer adding totally bullshit features like being able to cast song lyrics to your TV 😠

 

On the bright side in my case Innuos have kinda saved the day with the experimental mode. This uses Roon as Core but plays to an internal Squeezebox player in the Zenith. The Squeezebox player sounded better than Roon did originally. But Innuos have also configured it to playback from RAM which further improves it. So kudos to the team at Innuos for taking recommendations from their users seriously. I believe that Austinpop was one of the many users including myself that badgered Nuno at Innuos about this. (Keep me honest Rajiv, if I'm wrong here).

 

Likewise, kudos to Innuos to being open minded about reclocking USB. I discussed with Nuno and he was initially very sceptical but said he was aware of the discussions here. But after following the progress of threads like this and feedback from users they embraced the reclocking thoery and voila - the Statement was born and the Phoenix followed later. Bravo for taking your users seriously even if you first suspected they might be crackpots 😆

 

Opposite of kudos (whatever that is? rotten tomatoes? cancellations?) to Roon labs. Your disdain for your audiophile users has been noted. And many will vote with their feet. Not that they care as we're just not the main demographic. 

 

Cheers,

Alan

 

 

 

The WBF topic has had a few posts since Nenons reference - Taiko have stated their reasons...developing their own software for ultimate control and sound quality of their ecosystem... great stuff.  I don’t think they’re necessarily doing it to outmode  Roon.  Plenty of folks have unrevealing HiFi systems where I’m sure that differences in software are not that apparent.

 

Nice idea/request floated on there as well of potentially releasing this software as a wider product for non-extreme owners to use.  Definitely up my street if sound quality is #1.

 

I’m still interested in what the Roon tweaks are through.

 

I might try booting an entire image of Windows into RAM and see how that sounds.

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55 minutes ago, dminches said:

 

Yes, that is happening too.  Taiko is in beta testing now for the TAS (Taiko Audio Software) which will be an option for Extreme users to use instead of Roon.

 

In the meantime, Taiko did some tweaking of people's Extremes to help "improve" the sound with Roon.

 

 

I missed that. Thanks for clearing it up.

 

Interesting stuff.

 

Cheers,

Alan


EtherRegen > Innuos Zenith SE server > Innuos Phoenix > PS Audio Directstream DAC > Hegel P20 Pre > PS Audio M700 monoblocks > Salk Sound Supercharged Songtowers

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35 minutes ago, Gavin1977 said:

I’m still interested in what the Roon tweaks are through.

 

I might try booting an entire image of Windows into RAM and see how that sounds.

 

Yeah I'd be interested too.

 

Let us know how you get on with the RAM thing. I'd a lot of success playing around with AudioLinux and running in RAM on NUCs. The difference was obvious when it booted into RAM.

 

Cheers,

Alan


EtherRegen > Innuos Zenith SE server > Innuos Phoenix > PS Audio Directstream DAC > Hegel P20 Pre > PS Audio M700 monoblocks > Salk Sound Supercharged Songtowers

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1 hour ago, dminches said:

I am in the camp that doesn't feel that Roon has killed the sound.  There are so many moving parts with digital music that any change to software can cause audible differences.  My understanding is that Taiko made modifications to various Windows OS settings to compensate.  I don't own an Extreme so this is just speculation.

 

What is ironic is that for many years people viewed digital music and a convenient, plug and play experience.  While that may be true for some, it is way more complicated than analog music based on my experiences with computer hardware, power supplies, network hardware and software.  Every settings can make an audible difference.

 

 

I agree about Roon. I think that for most true audiophile systems it can give top end performance. Combined with Qobuz it is a gift.

 

While I find the Taiko discussions interesting , given that it costs more than most true audiophiles spend for their whole system I think that it probably lives on a very flat section of the price/performance curve.

 

I look forward to a bit of trickle-down tech for the rest of us. Learning of tweaks to Roon would be nice.



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

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52 minutes ago, Gavin1977 said:

I’m still interested in what the Roon tweaks are through.

 

There is a hint of what Taiko Audio is doing to improve the SQ:

Quote

Christoph is setting up a scheduler application right now in order to update all Extremes, starting today with people employing copper networking while I will work on ironing out the last details for those using fiber networking. Christoph will post details on the procedure shortly.

 

It may have something to do with network settings. In my experience, there is a lot of potential for optimization here. It starts with a fixed IP address, goes on with reduce functions in the network adapter and results in the improvement in latency.

 

Just my thoughts that are completely independent of Roon. To clarify: I do not know what Taiko Audio does because I am not an Extreme owner.

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I have to concur on the gap between Roon and other players.  I am still waiting for the beta of Taiko Audio Server, but based on what I'm hearing as possible with players like Euphony Stylus or HQPlayer direct (no Roon), there is a pretty massive benefit to be had over Roon.  With Roon's focus on every more features and orchestration across multiple rooms and devices, this will only get worse (I suspect it is the network chattiness of Roon that has been at the core of the SQ degradation).  

 

I know it is difficult to say so with a straight face, but I think the Extreme is extremely fairly priced for what it is (there is no price gouging or inflated dealer margins here).  Taiko isn't making a huge amount of margin on these boxes.  

 

The bigger question is whether what it is is necessary or needed for most folks, or if 90% of what is there can be had for 10% of the cost.  (FWIW, a big motivation for the deep dive I did was the hope that some of the design choices in the Extreme could have a nice impact for folks in their own systems).  For folks that want every bit of that last 10%, the Extreme is an incredibly expensive, but high value option.

 

I am looking forward to hearing the Extreme Mini, and seeing what Emile and team can do with a more constrained BOM and price point.

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13 hours ago, Nenon said:

This is also one of the reasons why we found that Stylus sounds better than Roon. Stylus caches the track before playing and tries to minimize any network activity. Roon constantly does something with the network. There is noise that is generated every time a packet is processed. Those are also CPU interrupts that are distracting the CPU from its main purpose - music playing. And no switch can do anything about that. I discovered this when I connected to my computer with KVM and disabled the NICs. Here is my original post about this:

 

https://whatsbestforum.com/threads/taiko-audio-sgm-extreme-the-crème-de-la-crème.27433/page-206#post-655430

Those recent findings made me rethink how much more I should invest in my network. It lowered down my enthusiasm and slowed down the grand plans a little bit. 

 

+1

 

Audirvana caches the track as well before playing but I am not sure if it tries to minimise network activity.

In my set-up I receive Qobuz via Wi-Fi and turn off Wi-Fi after caching the tracks.

I hope that the upcoming TAS (Taiko Audio Server) allows caching the track as well and then disconnects the network during playback for best SQ.

Absolutely agree with your thoughts about further network improvements.

 

Matt

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10 minutes ago, ray-dude said:

I know it is difficult to say so with a straight face, but I think the Extreme is extremely fairly priced for what it is (there is no price gouging or inflated dealer margins here).  Taiko isn't making a huge amount of margin on these boxes.

 

Fair enough at the TOTL range. But meantime it's worth repeating that Innuos 'experimental mode' solves a lot of the SQ issues that Roon Labs are too arrogant/lazy/disinterested to work on.

 

So a £3k Zenith MKIII with trickle down tech from the SE is a great option at a pretty reasonable pricetag. 


EtherRegen > Innuos Zenith SE server > Innuos Phoenix > PS Audio Directstream DAC > Hegel P20 Pre > PS Audio M700 monoblocks > Salk Sound Supercharged Songtowers

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14 minutes ago, firedog said:

but the price of the license went up significantly a few months ago, so if it was sold for the old price, that seems a decent deal.

 

Hey @firedog,

 

I wasn't aware of this. So if that's the case then it perhaps shines a more favourable light on this. That said it's still a "lifetime license" so selling it on still raises my eyebrows. It might be 'legal' but it's not in the spirit of the original deal offered.

 

Cheers,

Alan


EtherRegen > Innuos Zenith SE server > Innuos Phoenix > PS Audio Directstream DAC > Hegel P20 Pre > PS Audio M700 monoblocks > Salk Sound Supercharged Songtowers

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1 hour ago, BigAlMc said:

Firstly, if you sold the Lifetime subscription for the same amount you paid for it, then surely the buyer has been short changed as they are getting a used product at the new price?

 

"Used software"? LOL. Are the algorithms worn out a bit? Or is it more well "broken in?" O.o

But seriously (sort of), if Peter's buyer was younger than Peter, then the "lifetime" license is probably longer--assuming the fellow does not have a falling amplifier crush him. x-D

 

[Of course the real truth is that s/w licensees are rarely transferrable. And the fellow who paid Peter will probable have to log into Roon as Peter for the rest of his life.]

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40 minutes ago, Superdad said:

 

"Used software"? LOL. Are the algorithms worn out a bit? Or is it more well "broken in?" O.o

But seriously (sort of), if Peter's buyer was younger than Peter, then the "lifetime" license is probably longer--assuming the fellow does not have a falling amplifier crush him. x-D

 

[Of course the real truth is that s/w licensees are rarely transferrable. And the fellow who paid Peter will probable have to log into Roon as Peter for the rest of his life.]

 

Hey Alex,

 

I get it. Software doesn't have any scratches on it. Well hopefully 😎

 

BUT. Software doesn't benefit from Burn-In

 

So I'm about to sell my TX-USBUltra. See my post on the Phoenix thread:

 

 

Now I've used this TX with several USB cables and a few PSU's [including at least a couple of yours Mr Crespi 😉]

 

Therefore I can offer my TX to @Peter Avgeris for the same price I paid for it. Which is a bargain as I've spend many of my hours and many bucks burning it in! Honest guv. The Seller and Buyer will both be happy !

 

Sorry I've drifted into being sarcastic now but that's my point. I'll sell the TX for roughly half what I paid for it because the buyer is not getting the same experience I did buying a shiny brand new unit. 

 

Peter - we don't know each other and my sincere apologies for getting off to a bad start. I really try to be respectful here and appreciate the various inputs. But as a professional and hence someone who tries to make a living off of us, I think it's incumbent on you to emphasise where you brought value to your customers rather than emphasising where you broke even. Put simply this was a misplaced boast in my opinion.

 

Cheers,

Alan

 


EtherRegen > Innuos Zenith SE server > Innuos Phoenix > PS Audio Directstream DAC > Hegel P20 Pre > PS Audio M700 monoblocks > Salk Sound Supercharged Songtowers

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1 hour ago, BigAlMc said:

But meantime it's worth repeating that Innuos 'experimental mode' solves a lot of the SQ issues that Roon Labs are too arrogant/lazy/disinterested to work on.

 

I wonder if any Innuos users have tried Euphony and how it compares to their InnuOS. I would disconnect the hard drives, boot from USB and run in ramroot. It would be an interesting comparison. Euphony did not work that well on the Extreme. When hardware and software work hand in hand, it's difficult to change one without impacting the other. So, while Euphony works pretty well on most servers out of the box, I would not be surprised if InnuOS is better tweaked for that hardware. It would be an interesting test anyway.

 

Other things that generally work on DIY servers that Innuos owners (Zenith and up) can try:

- Move the OS to a M.2 Optane card.

- Replace the RAM with wide temperature industrial Apacer RAM. To be honest, I have never tried DDR3 Apacer, so no idea if that would work or what model to try. 

- Install a thick copper plate between the transformer and the motherboard. That may work best on the SE model.

- Replace all the DC wiring with better wire. From all the suggestions this is the one I am most positive it would be an improvement. And that would work especially well on the Statement if anyone wants to void its warranty. 

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2 hours ago, firedog said:

 I don't know when the lifetime license was bought, but the price of the license went up significantly a few months ago, so if it was sold for the old price, that seems a decent deal. In any case, if the buyer agreed to a price, he thought it was fair. 

 

 

The increase in price points to Roon being in better financial health.  The lifetime license helped to bring in upfront cash to allow them to make a more serious upfront investment.  Raising the price indicates that the recurring cash-flow from subscriptions is better covering their needs.  I expect that we might see another increase in the price of the lifetime license before it is eliminated as a choice.  


Digital:  Innuos Zenith Std Mk2 > Shunyata Sigma USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Wireworld Gold Startlight > OPTO DX > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

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5 hours ago, ray-dude said:

I have to concur on the gap between Roon and other players.  I am still waiting for the beta of Taiko Audio Server, but based on what I'm hearing as possible with players like Euphony Stylus or HQPlayer direct (no Roon), there is a pretty massive benefit to be had over Roon.  With Roon's focus on every more features and orchestration across multiple rooms and devices, this will only get worse (I suspect it is the network chattiness of Roon that has been at the core of the SQ degradation).  

I was planning to use Roon playing to HQPlayer Embedded on a SonicTransporter, to get the best of both worlds. Are you saying HQPlayer without Roon sounds better?


SonicTransporter i5 > EtherRegen > opticalRendu (all three powered by Uptone JS-2) > Ayre QX-5 DAC > Ayre KX-R Twenty Preamp > Ayre MX-R Twenty mono amps > YG Kipod Signature Passive speakers.

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1 hour ago, ray-dude said:

I can't speak to the SonicTransporter, but on the Extreme, running HQPlayer with local content (no network) is better than running Roon + HQP, even with local content.  

 

Ray - I know that was the case before the latest upgrade Taiko came up with. Did they apply the upgrade on your Extreme? And what do you think? Is the difference between Roon and HQPlayer smaller now or still pretty big? 

Did you try the BMC / KVM trick? I haven't heard from anybody yet. That's how I listen to local music at the moment - KVM, disabled NICs, and HQPlayer. I will try some different players soon since I don't upsample. For you it makes sense to stay with Hqplayer. 

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