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Sleepow

Where to start: stream or server?

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Hi,

 

Basically, i am looking to improve the chain upstream of my DAC, and i am not sure where to start or what is a better value.

Currently my eXasound DAC is connected to an Allo Audio Signature Player through SPDIF.

The Allo Player is connected to a basic Buffalo router (not directly, but through in wall cables and sockets).

Roon is running on a gaming PC,....

(Note that this is already an improvement from PC to DAC through USB, which i was using until last year)

 

The PC is maybe the worst part in the chain, but from my own logic, i would expect that the components closer to the DAC would have more impact, so should i better upgrade the Allo streamer, router or change to a dedicated server?

Assuming i change only one component at a time, possible options would be:

 Roon Nucleus >> buffalo router >> Allo >> DAC

 (Roon Nucleus >> DAC not possible with eXasound DAC)

 Gaming PC >> buffalo router >> Sonore streamer combo >> DAC

 Gaming PC >> SOTM router >> Allo >> DAC

 

I am open to other server and streamer suggestions as well, but the software would be Roon, and output of streamer if pricier than the Allo, should be USB and SPDIF:

I am looking to upgrade the DAC, and thus might prefer USB, but eXasound does not work with any USB streamer except their own, hanche SPDIF.

 

Cheers

 

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Your streamer is already pretty good. The server over the network is not going to have a big influence on the outcome of the OS. I would look more at the streamer/Dac combo. 
You have a lot of choices here, including whether you want to move to USB or even get a DAC with an integrated streamer. Then the Allo etc becomes moot. 

 

I would suggest you decide if a different DAC will be an upgrade, and how much it will  cost to make a noticeable improvement. If the answer to that is yes, get a DAC, then the DAC will help you decide about what you want to feed it - is the DAC setup to sound best over USB, network, or SPDIF?

The Sonore or SOTM streamers should be a small improvement over the ALLO.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Thanks.

I am looking for a DAC, but that will take some more time (I want to decide only once I had a chance to listen to the yet to be released new PS Audio Ted Smith Signature DAC; other contenders are the Dave and the TotalDAC d1-seven.

 

i am probably a couple of years away from the new DAC, so in the interim, I wanted also to ‘prepare’ a better upstream.

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10 hours ago, Sleepow said:

Thanks.

I am looking for a DAC, but that will take some more time (I want to decide only once I had a chance to listen to the yet to be released new PS Audio Ted Smith Signature DAC; other contenders are the Dave and the TotalDAC d1-seven.

 

i am probably a couple of years away from the new DAC, so in the interim, I wanted also to ‘prepare’ a better upstream.

In that price category, the TotalDac with the integrated streamer could be a killer option if you can afford it. One review compared the TD streamer to the dCS Bridge and preferred the TD streamer to the Bridge. 


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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3 hours ago, firedog said:

In that price category, the TotalDac with the integrated streamer could be a killer option if you can afford it. One review compared the TD streamer to the dCS Bridge and preferred the TD streamer to the Bridge. 

I am sure that you refer to the Michael Lavorgna review in Twittering Machines. I think it only fair to point out that Lavorgna uses a matching TotalDac DAC so the preference in those circumstances for the TD streamer is, perhaps, not surprising.

 

The dCS Network Bridge now has the advantage of the new Mosaic Control interface. TD appears (from their webpage ) to to require that of a third party. Still. as they say, you pays your money and you takes your choice.

 

Still when it comes to paying your money you will need almost twice as much of it for the TD compared to the Network Bridge, at least here in the EU where both are manufactured.

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A rather inexpensive option that I have used to good effect is to insert a switch in between the router and your Allo.  I think most home routers are pretty noisy.  When I did that with a good used HP Procurve switch things got a bit better on my playing computer.  Less grain, blacker background.  I also threw a ferrite on the power supply cord for the ethernet switch to audible effect, but no benefit from another switch at the playback computer.

 

I know how good the Allo stuff is, since I compared a Roon core setup with an Allo USB bridge and my beloved tweeked desktop as an end point.  Let's just say the scale tipped in the Allos favor.  Not huge but audible.  I think there is more to be gained with the source feeding the dac than swapping out dacs randomly.  Doesn't mean a new dac cannot add more good ness though, if you have the cash. 

 

Also, do not be afraid to look into amplifiers.  My local team of geeks is finding more bang there than the slim differences in dacs.

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2 hours ago, bixby said:

A rather inexpensive option that I have used to good effect is to insert a switch in between the router and your Allo.  I think most home routers are pretty noisy.  When I did that with a good used HP Procurve switch things got a bit better on my playing computer.  Less grain, blacker background.  I also threw a ferrite on the power supply cord for the ethernet switch to audible effect, but no benefit from another switch at the playback computer.

 

I know how good the Allo stuff is, since I compared a Roon core setup with an Allo USB bridge and my beloved tweeked desktop as an end point.  Let's just say the scale tipped in the Allos favor.  Not huge but audible.  I think there is more to be gained with the source feeding the dac than swapping out dacs randomly.  Doesn't mean a new dac cannot add more good ness though, if you have the cash. 

 

Also, do not be afraid to look into amplifiers.  My local team of geeks is finding more bang there than the slim differences in dacs.

 

I will look into a switch indeed. Any idea if it is better to have the computer and the Allo on the same switch? Or as you suggest, just a switch for the Allo and the PC anywhere else on the network is fine?

The ferrite on the power supply of? 

 

I will not switch DAC randomly, I will audition them at home :)

I did an audition at the dealer recently, using the same speakers I have (TAD ME1), but different electronics. Dave and PS Audio DS where on top, with TT2 + Mscaler and DCS Rossini close second (The PS Audio has quite a different sound signature to the others, but a like it).

I will probably give other DACs a try, and wait for the new PS Audio, but if nothing else is better, i will audition at home the Dave and DS. (TotalDAC is a wildcard as i cannot audition them in Japan but could buy and return if not satisfied)

 

But what I am looking for now is actually improve upstream of the DAC as much as possible so that those at home auditions can properly highlight the better one for me.

 

For amplifiers, I did this upgrade last year after extensive listening (using my speakers) and i went with Pass.

 

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I run my main file share computer to the router, router to switch and player computer (allo in your case) to switch.  I use this ferrite on the wire coming from the switch outboard power supply and wrap several turns through the ferrite, then plug into swtich.  Also all my computer equipment, router, and switch is on different power circuit from player computer, dac and amp.  This makes a difference in my house.

 

https://www.newark.com/fair-rite/2675821502/length-15mm/dp/70W1683

 

The Pass stuff I have heard is excellent.  Congrats!

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What I have learned is that sadly, everything matters. At least where your network is concerned. Eliminate noise wherever possible. 

If you are serious enough to be looking at total dac, you need a better server. Doesn't mean it has to be as pricey as a Roon Rock...I use a sonic transporter and eventually I will replace its power supply with a linear one...all to get rid of noise. 

Another improvement was adding a gigafoil ethernet filter before my Allo...more relaxed sound...less mechanical more like real music. Changing the power supply helped even more. 

What about your Allo...how are you powering the clean side? Batteries are cheap and sound great. A better ethernet cable between the filter and Allo also helped.

Some day in the near future our networks will be vastly improved with the likes of cleaner switches and routers, etc. Until then its a lot of experimentation. 

Think of it as prep work for the arrival of your future dac....sort of like how a gardener will tell you its all about boring soil prep...

early boring work leads to great results.

 

 

 

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On 7/26/2019 at 1:34 AM, CrushingIt said:

What I have learned is that sadly, everything matters. At least where your network is concerned. Eliminate noise wherever possible. 

If you are serious enough to be looking at total dac, you need a better server. Doesn't mean it has to be as pricey as a Roon Rock...I use a sonic transporter and eventually I will replace its power supply with a linear one...all to get rid of noise. 

Another improvement was adding a gigafoil ethernet filter before my Allo...more relaxed sound...less mechanical more like real music. Changing the power supply helped even more. 

What about your Allo...how are you powering the clean side? Batteries are cheap and sound great. A better ethernet cable between the filter and Allo also helped.

Some day in the near future our networks will be vastly improved with the likes of cleaner switches and routers, etc. Until then its a lot of experimentation. 

Think of it as prep work for the arrival of your future dac....sort of like how a gardener will tell you its all about boring soil prep...

early boring work leads to great results.

 

 

 

 

 

I am looking at servers, but the Nucleus are at twice the US price here in Japan. I will look at the Sonic Transporter, they seem to do Roon DSP without issues and maybe more reasonably priced (if i buy direct from US).

Ethernet filter, I might consider this down the line, but i guess server and maybe better switch (power) is the next step. (I added a switch between wall and Allo, Netgear, not for sound quality, but to be able to connect additional devices)

 

I use batteries for the Allo clean side.

 

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16 hours ago, Sleepow said:

 

 

I am looking at servers, but the Nucleus are at twice the US price here in Japan. I will look at the Sonic Transporter, they seem to do Roon DSP without issues and maybe more reasonably priced (if i buy direct from US).

Ethernet filter, I might consider this down the line, but i guess server and maybe better switch (power) is the next step. (I added a switch between wall and Allo, Netgear, not for sound quality, but to be able to connect additional devices)

 

I use batteries for the Allo clean side.

 

How about building your own Rock? Would that be a cheaper option? 

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If you want to manage cost, starting with an AL/NUC solution for Roon media server will give immediate audible benefits with stock SMPS. At the endpoint,

you need a good power supply, else all is for naught. Keep your DAC but look hard at the coax cable.... I've never regretted buying an AQ Eagle Eye


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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On 7/29/2019 at 1:39 AM, CrushingIt said:

How about building your own Rock? Would that be a cheaper option? 

 

Building my own would be cheaper than Nucleus for sure, although would not be as small, but that is a fair compromise for saving half the cost.

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5 hours ago, davide256 said:

If you want to manage cost, starting with an AL/NUC solution for Roon media server will give immediate audible benefits with stock SMPS. At the endpoint,

you need a good power supply, else all is for naught. Keep your DAC but look hard at the coax cable.... I've never regretted buying an AQ Eagle Eye

 

Sorry, what is AL?

 

The Allo endpoint has two power supplies, one for the input and processor one for the output. They say the output one should be of good quality, so I am using batteries. But indeed, if we try to remove noise upstream, coming only through the Ethernet cable, the input / processing supply should probably be looked at as well.

 

For the coax cable, I am using mogami for now.

 

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On 7/26/2019 at 1:34 AM, CrushingIt said:

What I have learned is that sadly, everything matters. At least where your network is concerned. Eliminate noise wherever possible. 

If you are serious enough to be looking at total dac, you need a better server. Doesn't mean it has to be as pricey as a Roon Rock...I use a sonic transporter and eventually I will replace its power supply with a linear one...all to get rid of noise. 

 

 

 

Btw, which Sonic Transporter are you using?

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15 hours ago, Sleepow said:

 

Sorry, what is AL?

 

The Allo endpoint has two power supplies, one for the input and processor one for the output. They say the output one should be of good quality, so I am using batteries. But indeed, if we try to remove noise upstream, coming only through the Ethernet cable, the input / processing supply should probably be looked at as well.

 

For the coax cable, I am using mogami for now.

 

AL= Audiolinux.  you can get license/software for both PC and RPI OS .

http://www.audio-linux.com/

 

several threads on this site about using/setting up Audiolinux

 

 


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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