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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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1 hour ago, BigAlMc said:

 

Hi Peter,

 

Yeah that was why I was asking. Given the shortage of 2016 models it would be great to understand how the 2008 compares.

 

Cheers,

Alan

So you think that 2008 is easier to source? I don't think so. It is out of production and can't be found anywhere. Some last pieces are available on eBay and that's all! 

With the same power supply, I can't find any logical reason for the 2016 to play better than 2008. The hardware inside is the same with only difference being the ability to drive 16 ports. In my case all ports are off besides the two in use. 

Tomorrow is the big day. 2008 vs ubiquity er x sfp! 


Design & Manufacture of High Fidelity Audio Equipment

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4 hours ago, Nenon said:

 

I know what you mean :).

IMG_3416.thumb.jpg.59aa2aeab651b5092398a8eaba02f150.jpg

 

There is also an etherREGEN missing from the picture. 

I find those switches pretty harsh without linear power supply. So if you like them with the stock SMPS, you might be in for a treat when you power them up with a good LPS.

 

Maybe it's because you don't use linear power supplies, or it might be system dependent, but I don't have a benefit using the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter as a switch in my system. I find it to even degrade the sound a little (very little). And I believe its strong point as running as a router and replacing the much noisier ISP provided all-in-one routers. I highly recommended it there but not as a switch. Sorry about the spoiler before your big test. Maybe you will discover something else, but I have done quite a few of these tests, and that's what I think. 

If that's the level of improvement you hear from the 2008 switches, something tells me that the 2016 might be much much better than the 2008... or you are not getting the full benefit without good clean power. I don't know. Keep exploring and let us know. Good stuff! There has not been many fresh experiments shared here compared to a year or two ago. 

 

It might be a bit off topic, but I would like give another perspective on this, because all that digital stuff may not be as simple as it sounds. I probably know a lot more about switch architecture than I know about audio, but without going into too much depth, here is a quick comment from me. Unless we know the exact internal architecture of the Broadcom chip, and a lot of details they would not share without an NDA, we cannot assume that the 8-port switch is the same, and the only difference is "the ability to drive 16 ports". That may be true but it may be completely off! Let me try to make this easy and simple for most people to understand. Here is the architecture of a random switch I picked:

379698808_ScreenShot2020-06-29at10_11_22PM.thumb.png.cad55cf5e71d655df2192c5ded0d5b7c.png

 

Port 1,2,3,and 4 share the same ASIC. That means when they communicate between each other, they don't have to go through the fabric. But if they need to talk to another port, let's say port 1 needs to talk to port 5, that traffic needs to go through the Fabric (shown as "Fabric 2" on the diagram). 

 

I am not saying that diagram has anything to do with the Buffalo switch design. But it's a good example how the only difference is NOT the ability to drive more ports. There is a fundamental difference between a 4-port switch and an 8-port switch with the architecture from the diagram above. 

 

We don't know why Melco decided to use a 16 port switch and disable 8 of the ports. We also don't know why Melco's instructions say that the first 4 port are special and designed to connect your streamer. Could there be some extra isolation as it can be seen on the picture? Why not... 

 

Another benefit of the 2016 model is that it has two SFP ports and we can do fiber optic isolation. Could that be the only reason why Melco picked that switch and can the 2008 switch model sound identical with copper ports? Why not... I don't know.

And I am not going to speculate. All I wanted to do is give another perspective why we need to dive deeper and think more in depth about the digital chain. It's compex and there are a lot of things that are not quite visible on the surface. 

 

Anyhow, switch architecture is way offtopic and we should try to stay on topic here. What is my listening experience? Most of you already know, but... Yes, these switches make a difference. Two switches is better than one. Three switches is better than two. And we can keep going, but we are reaching diminishing returns very quickly. My experience is not that adding a fourth switch has a bigger overall improvement that all the previous 3 switches made combined together. Not even close. Also, clean power, vibration treatment, better cables (DC and ethernet) and all the audiophile jazz still applies here.

 

But a very important point I would like to make - even with that many switches in my chain, I prefer to listen to my local music over KVM with my network cards disabled. It sounds more natural and more effortless. All these network tweaks act like tone controls. I don't know how or why, but it feels like they are modulating the noise in a good way (perhaps similar to the way tubes add second harmonics distortion that so many people, including me, like). I have boosted bass and boosted treble with no lost of details. Actually it sounds like I have more details and more air and more body with the network tweaks. As soon as you disconnect the network you feel like you are missing something. But the more you listen the more you realise how natural and effortless everything sounds without network. 

Obviously if you are streaming Qobuz or Tidal, those network tweaks are quite necessary!

 

And last note - that picture is not my normal daily set up. I'd like to think that I have some sanity left that would not let me daisy chain 6 switches for good. But it was a fun experiment. In fact, I am getting rid of some of these switches, so I don't get tempted :). 

Hmmm, I wish I could write short posts :).

 

Hehe, I might really need a treat! 🙂

LPS does make a difference, this is well known since prehistoric era. But I believe that if something is good, it should be good even with SMPS. 

I did that out of curiosity. I am not that crazy with all this digital gear, not in a way that it does not contribute to the end result but in a way that their contribution is sub-subminimal compared to the one of the amplifier and of course the loudspeaker. I am 80% amp & speakers guy, network stuff is not my field but I really enjoy making some mods here. 

What I have been told by one of the biggest net gurus here is the fact that switches for audio purposes must be used in pairs and on the same port for solving issues related to noise rejection. Trying other switches proved that he is right but the degree of rejection does not seem to be identical. 


Design & Manufacture of High Fidelity Audio Equipment

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13 hours ago, Ricardo007 said:

Thanks MOURIP which référence did you look for? Is it industrial ones?

I am pretty sure that I used a part number that someone had posted here that seemed likely to work with my 3 year old system board that uses older DDR3 non-ECC memory. It does work without any issues however I cannot say that it improved sound quality in a noticeable way.



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

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It is still easy to find and order a Buffalo bs gs2016 at fromjapan.co.jp 

as Seeteeyou mentioned earlier ;0)

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On 6/8/2020 at 12:58 PM, John769 said:

Buffalo BS-GS2024

Does the larger model have the same magic sauce as the 16 port one?  Thanks

 

On 6/8/2020 at 4:16 PM, Nsxturbo said:


I have one and other than the extra ports, it uses the same Broadcom processor and similar topology.

It sounds equally good here to the BS-GS2016, each running off the same model linear power supply.

 

I'm just wondering if anyone has opened up a 2024 to visually check they are essentially the same, other than the ports?  Thanks a lot for the feedback on SQ.

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1 hour ago, flkin said:

I have found something quite interesting with the way Euphony/Stylus buffers music in the queue. After only a few seconds of download, Euphony/Stylus buffers NOT ONLY a part of the Tidal track BUT the entire Tidal track played at the moment. AND ALSO the next entire track in the queue. I found this out after disconnecting the LAN cable from the network seconds after starting the first track. I’m aware that Euphony data movements has been discussed in detail previously and can be monitored it real-time within the app. What I didn’t notice or read about was that entire multiple tracks of Tidal could be queued and played without further network access. I didn’t previously know this was possible.

 

Thank you for sharing 🙂

Audirvana works similar with tracks from Qobuz which I get via Wi-Fi.

After pre-loading the tracks into RAM I turn Wi-Fi off.

BTW, do you now have a Taiko Extreme?

 

Matt

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44 minutes ago, matthias said:

 

Thank you for sharing 🙂

Audirvana works similar with tracks from Qobuz which I get via Wi-Fi.

After pre-loading the tracks into RAM I turn Wi-Fi off.

BTW, do you now have a Taiko Extreme?

 

Matt


I don’t have access to Qobuz and cannot try it in Euphony. I wonder if it works the same way too?
 

Ah no, the picture of the Taiko Extreme isn’t mine. Someone sent it to me to show the PF cable on it. I’m perfectly happy with my 2.16x for the moment. 

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I owe you a response so I am back for my listening impressions.

 

A local friend here in Athens has purchased a pair of Melco S100 switches some time ago. He runs them in series using linear power supplies for both machines. I cannot remember the brand name of these power supplies. They are a commercial product and not a DIY component.

 

I brought together one pair of the discontinued Buffalo BS-GS2008 in order to evaluate them against the reference Melco pair.

The Melcos were untouched, as they come from the manufacturer, with external linear power supplies, one per unit.

My Buffalos were also untouched inside. The evaluation was performed by replacing one machine upon the other, going back and forth for several times using the same linear power supplies. My Buffalos had gone some kind of adjustments, more specifically only two ports were active, all others were suspended. Also power saving and some other parameters were adjusted exactly as it has been presented in this thread.

 

The final listening impressions were as follows: Initially it was very hard to tell any difference. The character (or maybe lack of) was the same. Identical. Flavor of sound reproduction was the same. No need to focus more on this, same means absolutely same. After some turns of going back & forth, to my ears, I was starting to distinguish a small difference between two models, something that is quite logical IMHO. More specifically, the adjustments presented here in this thread were starting to make the difference in favor of the 8-port switch. Less ports open and some fine tunes showed their teeth but the difference was sub-minimal. To my ears the smaller models played just a tick better, in the way that 'less is usually more'. Same character, same flavor but everything was just a tick higher. Transparency, dynamics, spatial information, treble energy, all were just slightly higher.

 

As a conclusion, the Buffalo BS-GS2008, carrying the same chip inside as the bigger BS-GS2016 and the Melco S100, has the same character and flavor with their bigger brothers and it is a real bargain for those who were able to source this fantastic network component.

 

For those who haven't sourced their Buffalo(s) yet, go and get everything you can find around, 8, 16 or 24 port, regardless the asking price, in whatever condition, used or new. It is certain that they will play music like no other switch, second only to the famous M12 Gold Switch.


Design & Manufacture of High Fidelity Audio Equipment

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On 6/30/2020 at 9:41 AM, flkin said:

I have a particularly good recording of the ubiquitous Jazz at the Pawnshop by Naxos and at the beginning of the “High Life” track around the 25 seconds mark, I’m able to clearly hear an order and the bartender’s reply for bottled water. This is with the entire tinned copper loom so it shows that details are resolved just fine. For a bit of fun, can anyone say which brand of water it is? 😄


I can hear the exchange clearly, but I don’t recognize the brand. Not surprising, as I’m not an expert on bottled waters available in Sweden in 1976! 
 

Pray tell. 

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1 hour ago, austinpop said:


I can hear the exchange clearly, but I don’t recognize the brand. Not surprising, as I’m not an expert on bottled waters available in Sweden in 1976! 
 

Pray tell. 

 

I believe it's a well renowned one beginning with E.

Have another listen and it may be clearer now🤓


PH SR7 > MacMini+Uptone MMK Mod > Audirvana 3.2 > re-clocked D-LInk switch/LPS1.1 > sMS-200Ultra/LPS1.2 > tX-USBUltra/PH SR7 > Chord BluDave > Focal Utopia(Norne Silver) or Voxativ 9.87/ Stereo REL G1 Mk II

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4 hours ago, austinpop said:


I can hear the exchange clearly, but I don’t recognize the brand. Not surprising, as I’m not an expert on bottled waters available in Sweden in 1976! 
 

Pray tell. 

 

2 hours ago, HeeBroG said:

 

I believe it's a well renowned one beginning with E.

Have another listen and it may be clearer now🤓

 

I think you both got it 😄

 

Yes, I think it starts with E. For others that want to play the game, I'll confirm it (that is if I heard it correctly) in a few days time.

 

 

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On 6/27/2020 at 1:37 PM, zerung said:

 

ae197624-5b26-4a38-9856-2c9d4ad2cc1f.jpeg

 

Hi,

due to shortage of GS2008 & GS2016 I bought a GS2024... to try & expecting that would sound like the other 2.

FYI, please find here my report with photo of the GS2024 : http://forum-hifi.fr/thread-16891-post-375360.html#pid375360

here the photo to compare roughly PCB of 2024 vs 2016 : http://forum-hifi.fr/thread-16891-post-375393.html#pid375393

& here my last report regarding the voltages on the PCB (should be the same on GS2008 & 2016) : http://forum-hifi.fr/thread-16891-post-375472.html#pid375472

 

Has anyone tested the GS2024 ? and compared vs GS2008/2016 ?

Straight out of the box, with its internal SMPS, that's quite harsh...

 

Regarding the mods like in the picture above, if I find it is a big & great job, I think it is a waste of time & money to feed the PCB with super clean 12VDC, whereas this 12VDC is cut in small pieces (1V / 1.5V / 3.3V) just after.

As I explain in my link above, there are some holes on the PCB just after the downstep regulations (12>3.3 ; 12>1.5 ; 12>1VDC).

Thus it is simple to feed the PCB with 1/1.5/3.3VDC.

And there are some power supplies based on LT3045 (ldovr / mpaudio) that can supply the PCB with dead clean voltage @ rather low price. Pink Faun clock is a great idea, but, this money, into 3 external PS based on LT3045 may be far more efficient. My 2 cents.

Rgds


Optical LAN & hifi setup layout => here

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1 hour ago, tgb said:

Has anyone tested the GS2024 ? and compared vs GS2008/2016 ?

Straight out of the box, with its internal SMPS, that's quite harsh...

 

Yes, as I stated just a few posts up, @Nsxturbo compared SQ and found them 'equally good' (link below)

 

Your photos do show some differences compared to the GS 2016, so thanks for confirming. No great surprise that it sounds harsh straight out of the box, tbh. Does modding the unit to accept LPS require soldering or any other 'challenges'?  (speaking as a non-diyer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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37 minutes ago, Peter Avgeris said:

Now, if you have soldering skills, you are maniac for best sound and can manipulate the p/s section inside 2016 or 2024

Not what I wanted to hear for connecting LPS..but thanks for the info.

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Edgerouter ER-X SFP

 

Chaps, there a lot of positive opinions about the SFP model. I purchased the non SFP version a few weeks ago but the ER-X SFP is available again in the EU currently. I'm just wondering if there's any difference in SQ between them, bearing in mind that I have two switches ahead of the router (Cisco and Buffalo) where finisar/planet SFPs are used, to an OM at the endpoint.

 

I don't mind at all taking a small hit by swapping over edgerouter models.  Any opinions appreciated.

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8 minutes ago, John769 said:

Edgerouter ER-X SFP

 

Chaps, there a lot of positive opinions about the SFP model. I purchased the non SFP version a few weeks ago but the ER-X SFP is available again in the EU currently. I'm just wondering if there's really much difference in SQ between them, also bearing in mind that I have two switches ahead of the router (Cisco and Buffalo) where finisar/planet SFPs are used, to an OM at the endpoint.

 

I don't mind taking a small loss by swapping over edgerouter models.  Any opinions appreciated.

 

They should be the same except for the SFP port.  If you want to galvanically isolate using fiber then that's the use case for that model.

 


Digital chain: Synology DS1815+ -> Modified Buffalo switch-> SOtM sNH-10G-> Custom Audiolinux server (sCLK-EX modified motherboard, Mutec REF 10)-> EtherRegen-> AL NUC NA (sCLK-EX modified)->  Holo Spring L3 -> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H, JL Fathom sub

Power: Paul Hynes SR7, Uptone LPS-1.2, sPS-500, Topaz 91001-31 Isolation Transformer

Analog chain: VPI Prime with Ortofon Quintet Black cart -> Simaudio Neo 310LP-> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H

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On 6/29/2020 at 3:22 PM, Peter Avgeris said:

Tomorrow is the big day. 2008 vs ubiquity er x sfp! 

Hi Peter,  did you ever make this comparison? If so, did you try 2 units of the ER X SFP?

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16 minutes ago, Johnseye said:

 

They should be the same except for the SFP port.  If you want to galvanically isolate using fiber then that's the use case for that model.

 

I understand that. But I'm sure quite a few ER-X SPF users are also galvanically isolating further up the chain with their switches, so don't quite understand such a positive opinion towards the SFP model.  

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