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A novel way to massively improve the SQ of computer audio streaming


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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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Good to see others are coming around to the idea that the network needs to be physically disconnected to see a baseline of the effect of the network connection has on the sound and this would then be the target to achieve with network optimisations. Anything else is added flavour to the network sound and for some might actually sound better which indicates that their downstream devices needs further work. 

 

I would like to repeat/add that in the current version of Euphony, both Tidal and Quobuz files are totalling downloaded into the streamer's buffer before playing. So disconnecting from the network will still play fine (for up to the end of the next track). However this doesn't seem to apply to the embedded HQPlayer from within Euphony.  The current playing track isn't totally buffered and only plays for a few seconds longer before stopping. Nor is the following track buffered. So in Euphony/HQPlayer's case, disconnecting from the network is not possible.

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28 minutes ago, flkin said:

Good to see others are coming around to the idea that the network needs to be physically disconnected to see a baseline of the effect of the network connection has on the sound and this would then be the target to achieve with network optimisations. Anything else is added flavour to the network sound and for some might actually sound better which indicates that their downstream devices needs further work. 

 

I would like to repeat/add that in the current version of Euphony, both Tidal and Quobuz files are totalling downloaded into the streamer's buffer before playing. So disconnecting from the network will still play fine (for up to the end of the next track). However this doesn't seem to apply to the embedded HQPlayer from within Euphony.  The current playing track isn't totally buffered and only plays for a few seconds longer before stopping. Nor is the following track buffered. So in Euphony/HQPlayer's case, disconnecting from the network is not possible.

Would be good if Euphony could find a way to automatically disconnect/shutdown LAN card/traffic whilst playing songs. Would be nice feature to have. 

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46 minutes ago, hols said:

To this end I can only try to install HQplayer onto extreme and try use PCM upsampling in both servers and have a more apple to apple comparison.

 

This would be a very pertinent comparison, well within the capabilities of both machines.

 

46 minutes ago, hols said:

And our impression then was the sound of DSD1024 and PCM 1536 are very similar and is it possible that when the resolution gets higher and higher the difference between DSD and PCM becomes minimal.

 

Very interesting point, and one that I've wondered myself. If so, it also gives a path forward (with PCM1536) that does not require heavy lifting in terms of CPU utilization.

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36 minutes ago, Nenon said:

The good news is that Emile is considering creating some products for the DIY market instead of developing an Extreme mini. I really hope that happens. It must be a hard decision for him, so I will encourage everyone who likes the idea to hit the LIKE button on his post:

https://whatsbestforum.com/threads/taiko-audio-sgm-extreme-the-crème-de-la-crème.27433/page-235#post-667366

That would help him gauge the interest and make a decision. 

 

This is fantastic...The DIY community will benefit greatly from this decision and I do not think it will affect the TAE sales that much. A win win for everyone IMHO.

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I was really looking forward to the Extreme Mini. It is disappointing to hear that it might not be released. Still, Emile has to do what is best for his company, of course. 

 

That is an amazing problem to have: that is, it might be too successful and overwhelm their ability to provide quality service to all their customers!

 

It says a lot about what he has accomplished and his dedication to maintain such stellar standards. 

 

 

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Very interesting findings @hols. Thank you very much for going back and doing this comparison.

 

I am also enjoying HQP+NAA on the Extreme, and there is indeed an SQ bump from separating the noisier (relatively, since PCM upsampling is very light) HQPlayer process doing upsampling and the NAA doing rendering onto different processors. This is just another example of why having 2 physical NUMA nodes (aka processors) enables a raft of optimizations that were just not possible on my single processor custom server.

 

I'm intrigued by the benefit of PCM1411.2/1536. Did you compare just PCM705.6 vs. PCM1411.2 — holding everything else constant? It sounds like you did. And that suggests that there is a benefit to DACs going to this higher speed in future versions.

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Hols, what is your NAA computer?  And will you report back when you do the NAA daemon on the other Extreme cpu instead?

 

Also, does anyone have HQP V3 on an Extreme and can compare to a reinstall of V4 (being that V3 runs on both cpus and V4 runs, currently, on only one)?  I realize auditory memory can be fleeting, especially after the time it takes to reinstall V4.

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22 hours ago, austinpop said:

I'm intrigued by the benefit of PCM1411.2/1536. Did you compare just PCM705.6 vs. PCM1411.2 — holding everything else constant? It sounds like you did. And that suggests that there is a benefit to DACs going to this higher speed in future versions.

Yes, all others are constant during comparison of 705.6 and 1411.2  I think there is some very worthwhile benefit in going to 1411.2 but it probably needs some tweaking (maybe different filters) before its full potential can be confirmed.

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21 hours ago, ted_b said:

Hols, what is your NAA computer?  And will you report back when you do the NAA daemon on the other Extreme cpu instead?

 

Also, does anyone have HQP V3 on an Extreme and can compare to a reinstall of V4 (being that V3 runs on both cpus and V4 runs, currently, on only one)?  I realize auditory memory can be fleeting, especially after the time it takes to reinstall V4.

My comment on the NAA computer also affects the SQ comes from my past experience. I have three NAA computers using similar Asrock motherboards Pro4 but three different CPUs , Intel 8700T, 9700K, and 10700 and I have compared the three  with the same HQplayer computer and the SQ is in the same ascending order from 8700T to 9700K to 10700, clearly audible though not night and day difference. And I am quite convinced that the NAA installed in extreme would result in an excellent SQ.

It is unlikely that I will conduct any more further NAA computer comparison because of my past experience explained above.

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1 hour ago, hols said:

My comment on the NAA computer also affects the SQ comes from my past experience. I have three NAA computers using similar Asrock motherboards Pro4 but three different CPUs , Intel 8700T, 9700K, and 10700 and I have compared the three  with the same HQplayer computer and the SQ is in the same ascending order from 8700T to 9700K to 10700, clearly audible though not night and day difference. And I am quite convinced that the NAA installed in extreme would result in an excellent SQ.

It is unlikely that I will conduct any more further NAA computer comparison because of my past experience explained above.

Sorry I didn’t look up your previous posting experience. I will do a search to find out more about your NAA (OS, etc)

 

edit: your build post doesn’t say whether your NAA is also Linux-based, like your non-Extreme server build

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On 8/21/2020 at 4:55 PM, hols said:It is not so much as the same as DSD which still gives a more sumptuous body and well harmonized soundstage.

Great feedback @hols  what do you mean by the above sentence... do you mean DSD still sounds better than PCM upsampled at the same rate?  Is the difference large enough to warrant the huge processing requirements for DSD?

 

I ask because I run T+A DAC 8 DSD, I can’t do NOS PCM, and am presently CPU limited (like most) to DSD256 for demanding filters.

 

Elsewhere a report of someone preferring straight PCM: 

 

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Ok, I’ll admit it: I have a problem when it comes to fuse upgrades for my Spectral amp.  Moving to the latest color from Synergistic has always been a worthwhile move that easily justified the price.  Over the years the progression has been: stock fuses, HiFi Tuning Supreme, SR Red, SR Black, SR Blue, and now SR Orange.

 

Each of those steps had brought worthwhile gains.  What each of the steps leading up to the Blue had in common was a reduction in harm that the fuse itself was causing by overlaying a signature onto the music.  Each fuse’s signature didn’t become evident until the next fuse showed up.  There was always this surprise that the prior fuse wasn’t as transparent as it has seemed to be when it replaced its predecessor.  I had thought, for example, that the Black had totally vanished as it seemed that way relative to the Red.  But then the Blue showed up and made it evident that the Black had been overlaying some harm onto the music.

 

I wondered if it was finally safe to say that the Blue totally vanished as I couldn’t imagine how SR could advance things even further.  But then the positive reports started rolling in on the Orange fuse, so I figured I had to eventually take the plunge.  I swapped the Orange fuses into my amp a week ago but have only been able to get my arms around their contribution the last couple of days.  The portable AC that I was forced to use in my listening room was a bit too noisy.  At present it’s a lovely 73 degrees with no AC thanks to cooler outdoor temperatures.

 

It turns out that I might have been partly right about the Blue in that it had vanished - at least as far as overlaying harm onto the music.  With the Orange, I hear no evidence that a signature had been stripped away.  What I do hear though is a very nice step forward in openness and naturalness that’s well worth the price I paid (I took advantage of the buy two get one free promotion). “More organic” is how I described the improvement Orange fuses brought to each of my Super3 power supplies.  I hear that with the substitution of Orange in my amp too.

 

I’ll summarize all this by saying that if you are using any fuse less than a Blue, it’s likely doing harm and you should audition either a Blue or Orange.  If your component has a Blue fuse now, it’s in a really good place. But if you really liked what you heard from the Blue, it’s very likely you’ll like an Orange even more.

Digital:  Innuos Zenith Mk3 > Shunyata Sigma USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Wireworld Gold Startlight > OPTO DX > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps

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I am considering T+ and Gaia, but based on @hols reporting above if higher speeds in PCM and perhaps in DSD sound better, then Gaia will limit you to DSD512, and PCM to 768 kHz. Don't know if T+ at higher speed is better than T+ and Gaia combo at lower speed. Thoughts? Experience?

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On 8/22/2020 at 12:21 AM, austinpop said:

Very interesting findings @hols. Thank you very much for going back and doing this comparison.

 

I am also enjoying HQP+NAA on the Extreme, and there is indeed an SQ bump from separating the noisier (relatively, since PCM upsampling is very light) HQPlayer process doing upsampling and the NAA doing rendering onto different processors. This is just another example of why having 2 physical NUMA nodes (aka processors) enables a raft of optimizations that were just not possible on my single processor custom server.

@hols and @austinpop

 

Hi guys,

 

Can you please elaborate to a computer nube like me what you mean by an NAA on the Extreme?

Is this another program to install when using HQP4?

 

Cheers,

 

G

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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NAA (Network audio adapter) is an HQPlayer audio daemon (application) that resides on a different box than the hard-working HQPlayer.  Its intent is to isolate the dac interface from all that heavy lifting, and thereby reduce noise.  All that runs on the NAA box is the DAC interface (driver).  In the case of the Extreme, and the fact that, currently, HQPlayer V4 only occupies one of the Extreme cpus, the thinking is to install NAA on the OTHER cpu....thereby virtually creating a networked HQPlayer-to-NAA environment.

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23 hours ago, ted_b said:

Sorry I didn’t look up your previous posting experience. I will do a search to find out more about your NAA (OS, etc)

 

edit: your build post doesn’t say whether your NAA is also Linux-based, like your non-Extreme server build

Sorry I haven't posted about previous experience about NAA. I only mean that I have already had an experience of comparing different NAA computers. My NAA are Linux -based. 

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