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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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  • 3 weeks later...

please can someone explain to me the differences between the blue and grey versions of these two transceivers?

 

The 1318 version (blue) works fine in my router, but the 1324 one (grey) doesn't. Presumably there is something subtly different in the spec of these?

 

Fortunately my Hifi Rose RS130 likes either, so I am able to use the 1324 at the streamer end, and the 1318 at the router end. I find the 1318BTL ever to slightly bright, hence trying the 1324 which is more organic sounding.

 

FTLF1324P2BTV has a blue pull, like the 1318BTL so I wonder if that will work with my router 🤨

 

17074870075316912594677824182117.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
On 6/9/2017 at 12:52 AM, austinpop said:

I thought it might help to clarify the network topologies that are such an integral part of this thread. In particular, there is a lot of confusion about the role of a switch with sCLK-EX mods. Perhaps these diagrams will make this clearer.

 

The Traditional Topology

 

This is what most of us were using prior to the initial post from Roy that introduced the "direct" connection.

 

5939e05377885_ScreenShot2017-06-08at6_35_42PM.thumb.png.9084193da4a448437c70611945b06e98.png

 

Traditional Switched Topology

 

This is just a variation of the traditional topology, recognizing that many of us have a switch between the endpoint and/or music server and the router. Note: this switch's role is the traditional role of a switch - to expand connectivity to more devices.

 

5939e0531580f_ScreenShot2017-06-08at6_35_55PM.thumb.png.f34526e82424fa5ec6a555b44b9d095e.png

 

Direct (Bridged) Topology

 

This is the topology that Roy introduced in the first post of his thread, where he claimed to have discovered a significant SQ benefit. Subsequently, many readers of this thread, myself included, have validated this finding in our own setups.

 

5939e0527469b_ScreenShot2017-06-08at6_36_14PM.thumb.png.6679174c5d033306a0b6ac93a9822d28.png

 

Direct with reclocking switch Topology

 

Finally, this is the topology that introduces a switch in the direct path, but note: this switch's role is not to provide expanded connectivity. It merely exists to exploit a free clock tap from an sCLK-EX board, and provides another reclocking of the Ethernet stream. Roy, I, @limniscate, and possibly others were surprised by the level of SQ improvement we heard. Anyone interested should go back and search posts by our handles for more details.

 

5939e051f4174_ScreenShot2017-06-08at6_36_26PM.thumb.png.99fa32b886064050a7ab289c72de2313.png

 

I hope this brings some clarity to the topologies and terminology frequently discussed on this thread. Please note - the diagrams shown are simplified - there are many variations on each theme, but these pictures distill the ideas into as few as I could manage.


So this was very helpful thank you and I have found that this can be enhanced further as follows:

 

1) Upgrade Router PSU - I use an iFi Power X

2) Dedicate one of the Router’s LAN ports solely for the line to a bridged music server such that only the music server and streamer are on this line

3) Place a quiet switch just before the server

4) Place another quiet switch just before the streamer

5) Keep Ethernet cables between music server & final switch and final switch & streamer as short as possible.

 

Router > Switch > Music Server > Switch > Streamer

 

Now for the switch I have found Reiki Audio’s SuperSwitch Master used with an iFi Power X to be exceptional here.  I use two Masters (£1.250 no PSU each) but you could use a Master and a Servant (£995 no PSU each) and you can upgrade the PSU later to a Reiki Pro.

 

I really liked the approach Reiki have taken here in so far as the objective of their switch is solely to remove incoming RFI/EMI and not add any itself, the objective is not to connect additional devices, additional devices can be connected to the router’s other ports directly or indirectly using standard switches, isolated from the dedicated feed to the music server.

 

Interestingly it appears that in the Ethernet space clock accuracy is a red herring, all you need is a clock that meets the Ethernet protocol, this is very different to re-clocking bitstream data.

 

Innous Pulsar streamer

Innous Zen III server

Muon Pro USB2

Chord Scaler

Muon ENO dual BNC

Chord TT2

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I should add that since the only role of both switches here is to remove the incoming RFI/EMI by re-clocking and ensuring that the switch doesn’t add any RFI/EMI to the output.  This is the only way a switch can improve sound quality.

 

As such the only audiophile switch design objective must be to be minimise RFI/EMI.  Connecting additional devices and/or unused ports can only make the achievement of this objective harder.

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On 2/9/2024 at 1:54 PM, Psilonaught said:

please can someone explain to me the differences between the blue and grey versions of these two transceivers?

 

The 1318 version (blue) works fine in my router, but the 1324 one (grey) doesn't. Presumably there is something subtly different in the spec of these?

 

Fortunately my Hifi Rose RS130 likes either, so I am able to use the 1324 at the streamer end, and the 1318 at the router end. I find the 1318BTL ever to slightly bright, hence trying the 1324 which is more organic sounding.

 

FTLF1324P2BTV has a blue pull, like the 1318BTL so I wonder if that will work with my router 🤨

 

17074870075316912594677824182117.jpg

Did you ever get your answer to this? I've had a poke at the spec sheets and the only difference I can see is the data rate: the '1318 is 1.25 Gbps and the '1324 is 4.25 Gbps. So if you have a 1 Gb capable device, it may or may not handle the '1324.

 

Not sure if this helps! I stick with the '1318 and it sounds absolutely fine to me, none of the brightness you mention.

 

 

Reiki Audio

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11 hours ago, TheFlash said:

Did you ever get your answer to this? I've had a poke at the spec sheets and the only difference I can see is the data rate: the '1318 is 1.25 Gbps and the '1324 is 4.25 Gbps. So if you have a 1 Gb capable device, it may or may not handle the '1324.

 

Not sure if this helps! I stick with the '1318 and it sounds absolutely fine to me, none of the brightness you mention.

 

 

Hiya,

 

Yes I think my Nighthawk doesn't like anything over 1Gb. To my ears the 1318 isn't bright sounding, it is mechanical sounding. Piano doesn't sound right. The 1324 sounds perfect.

 

Just bought a used Finsar FTLF8524P2BNV for £3 on ebay as a punt and that doesn't work either. It's 4gb unit.

 

I will keep looking.

 

As am aside I continue to believe that the best switch is no switch, and I love the fact I can connect my router directly to my transport directly.

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1 hour ago, Psilonaught said:

Hiya,

 

Yes I think my Nighthawk doesn't like anything over 1Gb. To my ears the 1318 isn't bright sounding, it is mechanical sounding. Piano doesn't sound right. The 1324 sounds perfect.

 

Just bought a used Finsar FTLF8524P2BNV for £3 on ebay as a punt and that doesn't work either. It's 4gb unit.

 

I will keep looking.

 

As am aside I continue to believe that the best switch is no switch, and I love the fact I can connect my router directly to my transport directly.

Thanks, and good luck with your SFP search.

 

As an aside, I’m not sure belief is relevant… though experience is.😊 If you’ve heard any decent switch installed properly (ie. just before your streamer) and it did not improve sound quality then you have an unusually RFI-resistant streamer and/or DAC: congratulations if so. 
 

 

Reiki Audio

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@Psilonaught I have to politely disagree.  If the Router adds more RFI/EMI to the feed into the streamer/transport than the switch then there will be more RFI/EMI going into the streamer.

 

Routers are notoriously cheap and very noisy whereas you can get switches that have been specifically designed to minimise RFI/EMI.  The re-clocking removes the incoming RFI/EMI and the shielding, PSU and circuit design minimises the amount of RFI/EMI added to the output.

 

I think so far this is not contentious.

 

Now for some potential subjectivity, if RFI/EMI entering the streamer impacts sound quality because it gets through to the DAC (many here including myself have experienced that it does significantly).  If this is the case a switch after router just before the streamer will by definition be better than no switch (direct connection to the Router).

 

I have found in the past that an EE 8 Switch, Network Acoustics Muon Pro filter, EE filter and Reiki SuperSwitch Master have all had meaningful improvements to detail and timing but I have landed on two Reiki SuperSwitch Masters; one between streamer and bridged server immediately before the server and one immediately before the bridged server.

 

I would thoroughly recommend a trial and many of the companies in this space offer a 30-60 day no quibbles money back return so you can see for yourself.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mark Sinclair said:

@Psilonaught I have to politely disagree.  If the Router adds more RFI/EMI to the feed into the streamer/transport than the switch then there will be more RFI/EMI going into the streamer.

 

Routers are notoriously cheap and very noisy whereas you can get switches that have been specifically designed to minimise RFI/EMI.  The re-clocking removes the incoming RFI/EMI and the shielding, PSU and circuit design minimises the amount of RFI/EMI added to the output.

 

I think so far this is not contentious.

 

Now for some potential subjectivity, if RFI/EMI entering the streamer impacts sound quality because it gets through to the DAC (many here including myself have experienced that it does significantly).  If this is the case a switch after router just before the streamer will by definition be better than no switch (direct connection to the Router).

 

I have found in the past that an EE 8 Switch, Network Acoustics Muon Pro filter, EE filter and Reiki SuperSwitch Master have all had meaningful improvements to detail and timing but I have landed on two Reiki SuperSwitch Masters; one between streamer and bridged server immediately before the server and one immediately before the bridged server.

 

I would thoroughly recommend a trial and many of the companies in this space offer a 30-60 day no quibbles money back return so you can see for yourself.

 

 

 

 

Um that's all well and good however I am connecting my router (nighthawk x10 powered by a 19v LPSU) directly to my Rose RS130 via SFP.

 

And when I say direct I mean direct. Both units have SFP ports.

 

Why on earth would I want to add a router in the middle of the chain.

 

My approach creates a extremely black background with a level of naturalness that I adore. Digital that sounds totally "analogue".

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4 hours ago, Psilonaught said:

Um that's all well and good however I am connecting my router (nighthawk x10 powered by a 19v LPSU) directly to my Rose RS130 via SFP.

 

And when I say direct I mean direct. Both units have SFP ports.

 

Why on earth would I want to add a router in the middle of the chain.

 

My approach creates a extremely black background with a level of naturalness that I adore. Digital that sounds totally "analogue".

That should work just fine. How far apart are your router and DAC? The best imo is the Cisco AOC which come premade in various lengths. You can find them at bargain prices on eBay etc (be sure to source an OEM one). It's SFP+ but backwards compatible with 1GB. 

SERVER CLOSET (in office directly below living room stereo):NUC 7i5BNH with Roon ROCK (ZeroZone 12V on the NUC)>Cisco 2690L-16PS switch>Sonore opticalModule (Uptone LPS 1.2)>

LIVING ROOM: Sonore opticalRendu Roon version (Sonore Power Supply)> Shunyata Venom USB>Naim DAC V1>Witchhat DIN>Naim NAP 160 Bolt Down>Chord Rumor 2>Audio Physic Compact Classics. OFFICE: opticalModule> Sonore microRendu 1.4> Matrix Mini-i Pro 3> Naim NAP 110>NACA5>KEF Ls50's. BJC 6a and Ghent Catsnake 6a JSSG ethernet; AC cables: Shunyata Venom NR V-10; Audience Forte F3; Ice Age copper/copper; Sean Jacobs CHC PowerBlack, Moon Audio DIN>RCA, USB A>C. Isolation: Herbie's Audio Lab. 

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24 minutes ago, charlesphoto said:

That should work just fine. How far apart are your router and DAC? The best imo is the Cisco AOC which come premade in various lengths. You can find them at bargain prices on eBay etc (be sure to source an OEM one). It's SFP+ but backwards compatible with 1GB. 

 

Unfortunately my Rose streamer is doesn't like the CISCO AOC cable, it only likes SFP transceivers. 

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1 minute ago, Mark Sinclair said:

@Psilonaught

 

So you are using an optical link?   My response was from experience with wired links.  I have no experience with optical but now understand your view.  The optical context is critical here.

Yes, the streamer and router connect directly (no media converters of ethernet cables).

 

I therefore have no need for a router. 

 

The Nighthawk is a great bit of kit. It is set to bridge mode and takes the signal from my home mesh. 

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10 hours ago, Psilonaught said:

Um that's all well and good however I am connecting my router (nighthawk x10 powered by a 19v LPSU) directly to my Rose RS130 via SFP.

 

And when I say direct I mean direct. Both units have SFP ports.

 

Why on earth would I want to add a router in the middle of the chain.

 

My approach creates a extremely black background with a level of naturalness that I adore. Digital that sounds totally "analogue".

An optical connection has a lot to be said for it, good choice.

 

A switch is of course not a router. And if it is literally in the middle of the chain then it's not where it will make its maximum difference! A switch must be the shortest possible ethernet connection from the streamer as its audio purpose is not digital at all - like your optical connection, its role is to minimise RFI reaching the DAC via the streamer and it can only do this if it's at the last possible point in the pre-streamer chain. But I think you might know this!

Reiki Audio

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6 hours ago, Psilonaught said:

 

Unfortunately my Rose streamer is doesn't like the CISCO AOC cable, it only likes SFP transceivers. 

Did you work out why? Is it because of the data rate? The Cisco AOC's I've experimented with are all 10G not 1G. Otherwise, I'm at a loss as to why a device accommodating optical SFPs should object to an Attached Optical Cable. For what it's worth, while a Cisco 10G AOVC did work in my Optical Bridge, it sounded terrible! I confess to thinking optical was optical until that point but clearly not; much happier with 2 x Finisar '1318 joined by an OS2 Single Mode cable.

 

All the best

Reiki Audio

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