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Building a DIY Music Server


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3 minutes ago, Marcin_gps said:

But I'd like to see hard data to justify Taiko DC-ATX superiority other than an opinion of 2 users. 

 

EOT

IMO there is no data that will show how the thing sounds, before I shell out that much for an ATX I want to audition it and I plan to do just that if possible or I'll pass and will tinker away on a PSU myself.  

ISP, cat8.1, Zylix switch, Finisar <1321>Solarflare 8522, AMD 9, Aorus X570 Elite, Corsair AX1200i, 8Gb Apacer Ram, Pink Faun I2S OCXO on LPS, home grown RJ45 I2S cable, Metrum Amethyst (modded to accept I2S), Klangfilm 204a, Klangfilm Trionor (3Tesla 835, JBL2402)

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21 hours ago, Marcin_gps said:

Please check 4 last posts on JCAT blog for more details: https://jcat.eu/editorial/

 

According to intel specification, max supported CPU TDP is 95W. Please see the table below:

130572436_822199581902493_1051247600043748590_n.thumb.png.22d51f550c7316b7f563ddfc39a0a624.png

Data points.... What’s the total capacitance? I know Pink Faun 2.16 has about 800K and Taiko about the same (on top of my mind)

 

Also what’s the brand of the caps? We know Taiko uses Mundorf and Duelund. 

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31 minutes ago, Topk said:

Data points.... What’s the total capacitance? I know Pink Faun 2.16 has about 800K and Taiko about the same (on top of my mind)

 

Also what’s the brand of the caps? We know Taiko uses Mundorf and Duelund. 

110.000 uF per rail so 330.000uF in total in the power supply section.  (Taiko mentions 700k in the spec on their website)

 

The capacitors were selected for both their properties and best sound during R&D while keeping the cost and final price of the PSU affordable. 

 

The headline is this: OPTIMO ATX is the world's first truly linear ATX power supply. It is a unique product that has no competition. (if you know a similar product, please mention it)

 

By world's frst truly linear ATX power supply I mean that:

- it complies with ATX 2.2 restrictive norm

- it has very advanced power management system with real-time monitoring of key parameters

- it is safe for end user and the equipment: complies with directive 2014/35/UE EMC, 2014/30/UE RoHS 2, 2011/65/UE, EN 62368-1, EN 50419 and EN-61558-1.

 

Taiko uses DC-ATX converter in their server. 

 

To be continued

JPLAY & JCAT Founder

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57 minutes ago, Marcin_gps said:

110.000 uF per rail so 330.000uF in total in the power supply section.  (Taiko mentions 700k in the spec on their website)

 

The capacitors were selected for both their properties and best sound during R&D while keeping the cost and final price of the PSU affordable. 

 

The headline is this: OPTIMO ATX is the world's first truly linear ATX power supply. It is a unique product that has no competition. (if you know a similar product, please mention it)

 

By world's frst truly linear ATX power supply I mean that:

- it complies with ATX 2.2 restrictive norm

- it has very advanced power management system with real-time monitoring of key parameters

- it is safe for end user and the equipment: complies with directive 2014/35/UE EMC, 2014/30/UE RoHS 2, 2011/65/UE, EN 62368-1, EN 50419 and EN-61558-1.

 

Taiko uses DC-ATX converter in their server. 

 

To be continued


That’s very helpful, thank you. 

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4 hours ago, Nenon said:

 When everyone was crazy about low-powered CPUs, I tested some high-powered CPUs (with Euphony) and realized there is something special about them. That was before I knew about any high-powered CPU audio servers on the market. I reached out to several manufacturers to ask about a high current LPS (something in the 10-20A range). The only person who got back to me with a positive response was Sean Jacobs. He told me he had been working on a design but does not really know how It sounded yet. I was familiar with Sean’s designs having built a DIY version of his DC3 LPS for my computer and jumped on the opportunity. I bought his high current modules (paid full price for them) from Sean and started playing with them. They were feeding the 12V EPS on my computer and were good for about 10A of continuous current (as long as you have a massive heatsink as they were dissipating about 80W of heat at 10A and even more in the later revisions) and could handle 20A of peak current. Good enough to power many decent CPUs. That is how my journey with high-CPUs started. I tried several Intel i7/i9 CPUs and some AMD Ryzen CPUs. A lot of these experiments have been documented later here and in the novel thread.

 

In the meantime, Sean suggested that there are some parts of the design that can be voiced. He gave me a few ideas, and I started experimenting with different things, just to realize how important the LPS feeding the 12V EPS rail was. I changed some parts and some small sections of the design. And I realized I could tweak the sound of my server to my liking. I got actively engaged with Sean on this project, and at one point I seriously considered starting my own business and making the first high-end high-current LPS designed for audio. Sean was okay with this idea, and we were bouncing around some ideas of the terms of the relationship if we were to go that route. But the main thing was the product. It had to be the best in the world. In fact, I remember telling Sean that I would only go ahead with this if he can design the best high-current power supply in the world. Something that no one else can compete with. Not even the unobtainable Paul Hynes custom dual regulated SR7 XLR. Sean accepted the challenge, and we started working on it. He sent me different prototype boards to listen to and kept improving and tweaking the design based on my feedback. He implemented parts of his DC4 design and continued to refine this high current LPS. The biggest problem was the heat dissipation but with good heatsinks, that wasn’t really a problem. The prototype was a beast that could do 20-30A continuously and 60A peak if the heatsink allowed.

 

Sean then released his DC4 LPS and he got a bunch of pre-orders. He got super busy. And his orders queue kept growing and growing. I think at some point it was getting closer to 6 months wait time on new orders. Our high-current power supply product was 99% ready, but Sean all of a sudden did not have time to work with me and finish the last 1% so we could go to production. This was an absolute cost no object LPS we were working on. It was much more expensive than the DC4. We considered everything available including massive Duelund caps that cost over $2K each, massive Bocchino connectors and other things I’ve never seen done before. 

 

I could not believe how good the sound in my system was at the time, but I could not share much with the world and I could not finish the product I wanted to release. 

Two things happened while I was waiting for Sean to free up some of his time:
1. Someone gave me a hint that Taiko might be developing a groundbreaking power supply that would change the market. 

2. I offered Sean to help him with some of his DC4 orders, so he can clear up his queue and continue working on our design. Sean gladly accepted my offer and that is how my affiliation with Sean started.

 

In the meantime, I built my dual ASUS Sage motherboard and powered it with the latest prototype of the high current LPS Sean and I nearly perfected. 
I was following the Taiko thread on WBF, and one day I decided to send a message to Emile showing him what I have done. I expected my message to be ignored in a typical big manufacturer manner, but to my surprise Emile welcomed my DIY build in a very warm way. He told me that he has been sharing a lot of details about the Extreme design in the hopes that people would try these parts and follow this path. He actually genuinely seemed happy to finally see someone in the DIY world doing it. He told me my passive cooling solution looked better than his first mockup, asked me how I liked it, and even gave me some hints of what to try. All that was a big surprise to me, and I tried to open a communication channel with Emile, while trying to also be respectful of his time and IP. He was open about some aspects of the Extreme, and he was completely closed about some of the secrets he did not want to share. 
 

What surprised me even more was how passionate Emile was. He is the biggest DIY-er I have met up to date… He told me that the main reason he started Taiko Audio was to experiment with things that are not available on the market and require solid investment to make. 


We started chatting from time to time and sharing ideas. Let me explain what “sharing ideas” with Emile means… I would suggest a new idea I would like to try to Emile, and he would respond with when he had tried this, what the results were, and add a bunch of other similar things he has tried (basically taking the idea into extremes I could not even imagine). That’s typically how those conversations went. But I’ve learned a lot from that!
 

At some point, while I was helping Sean clear up his queue with DC4 orders, Emile reached out to me and told me about the DC to DC ATX he has developed. He explained some of the design concepts. I gave my word to keep those confidential, so you will not hear about them from me. The main thing is that this SMPS DC to DC ATX is super transparent and doesn’t switch at KHz but at MHz frequencies. He thought it might be good for DIY and asked me if I am interested to evaluate it. Of course I accepted right away! 

That’s something that Emile would learn from this post, but when he sent me his Taiko ATX last year, I was still thinking about releasing the high-end high-current LPS with Sean. I was absolutely convinced that regulated Linear power supplies is the way to go and had what I believe was (and perhaps still is) the best high-current LPS in the world. I was convinced in that just like some of the people who posted earlier here.

 

I received the Taiko ATX, and the first thing I did was swapping out the HDPlex 800W DC to DC ATX. Big improvement right away just like @Exocer reported. It was a big eye opener (or a reminder of) how noisy that HDPlex ATX was. 
Note: Let me clarify something here. I didn’t always use the HDPlex DC to DC ATX to power my computer. The HDPlex powered up only the 3.3V and 5V rails on the ASUS SAGE motherboard. I used to power those up with separate rails of DC3/DC4 LPS. But since I was constantly tinkering with this build, I ran a few times into BIOS resets and other issues where an ATX-speced power supply was needed. So, I accepted some level of sound quality degradation with the HDPlex in favor of the convenience of the ATX controller. 
Replacing the HDPlex (which was only feeding the 3.3V and 5V) with the Taiko ATX was a big improvement. But Emile told me the strength of the Taiko ATX is in powering the 12V EPS rail. I put together a higher current higher voltage LPS (mine was 12V which was not enough for the Taiko ATX) and while experimenting I managed to destroy one of the rails on the Taiko ATX. Oops! That happened on the day I received it. Emile added protection in the design, so all the units he is selling have that now. But it took a while to send me a new unit. However, I managed to bypass the ATX on the Taiko ATX and just use the 12V EPS rail on the Taiko ATX. Did that sound better than my pimped out high-current LPS? No, it did not! At least not at the time. I rolled up my sleeves and started working on this unregulated LPS with some help from Emile. I quickly realized how transparent the Taiko ATX was. Any change you make to the unregulated LPS, and you can immediately hear. I played with different transformers, different rectifiers (including mosfet rectifiers), different capacitors, bypass capacitors, inductors, etc. I have been doing this for about 6 months. 
 

This is becoming a very long post already, so let me shorten the story a little bit and get straight to the point. What I learned from this experience is how noisy linear regulators become under high current. No matter what regulators you use… and I’ve tried many – Belleson, paralleled LT3045s, Sean’s regulators, etc. It’s that type of noise that you never thought it was there until it was gone. I can see a bunch of LPS manufacturers attacking me on this and telling me “my design does not have any noise”. Yeah, right! I thought the same. Let’s not argue about that until you try the stuff I am referring to.
To me, based on experience, a rule of thumb is: if it draws more than 5A, LPS is NOT the best way to go. But the most important thing is that I called Sean, explained what I heard with the Taiko ATX, and we decided not to release the special high-current LPS. In my point of view our design (as good as it is) was already obsolete. In fact, I consider myself lucky that the Taiko ATX came in my hands before licensing Sean’s high-current LPS technology and starting my own business. 
 

Now that you have the full “behind the scenes” story, let’s talk about my affiliation. I have been completely transparent about that.
- I do make power supplies for Sean Jacobs. Whatever I make from this is mainly invested in my system and my DIY experiments. It’s a way for me to support this expensive hobby with my hobby (and not drain my bank account). 
- I also have a full-time job that pays my bills. 
- And I have zero financial affiliation with Taiko. I haven’t paid the Taiko ATX that was sent to me last year to test, and that is the only benefit I have received by Taiko. I did however send a DAVE DC4 to Taiko, because we have a big DAVE community and Extreme servers, and Emile thought the DAVE is a horrible DAC. The DAVE DC4 is a game changer, and I wanted him to hear that. Shortly after I sent the DAVE DC4 to Emile, I asked him if I can buy one of the Taiko USB cards from him. He refused and told me that the USB card would only be available to Extreme users. I will not hide that I was disappointed from that message, but it clearly shows that I don’t get special treatment for spreading the word about the Taiko ATX. As mentioned, the Taiko USB card I have in my system was loaned to me by a friend who has an Extreme server. 

 

Although I decided not to start my own company and release a high current LPS, Sean has been offering high current LPS for quite some time, both as finished units and for DIY. They don't have a buil-in ATX controller, but 99% of the time you don't need the ATX section.

I work with Sean. If anything, I should be hiding the Taiko ATX and pushing the Sean Jacobs power supplies instead. It makes sense, right? I don’t make anything from Taiko’s sells. And I do make some profit from the Sean Jacobs power supplies I build. Make your own conclusions from that. 

 

All I can say is the Taiko ATX is a game changer. I am not saying it’s the best way to power any computer on the market. But I am not going back to regulated linear power supplies for this dual CPU build. And this dual CPU build I am using is way better than any other source I have tried. 

 

I can see how my posts can disappoint some manufacturers. I am sure I have pissed off many manufacturers before. That's not the first time and won't be the last. 

 

JCAT is releasing a new fully linear ATX LPS. I am sure there will be plenty of customers for this product. I haven't tried it and I can't comment on it. 

Sean Jacobs offers a high current LPS. Farad is coming up with an ATX product. HDplex has one. Paul Hynes has some good products. It's a competitive market, and that is good for the consumers.

 

I have no desire to try other lower power CPUs at the moment. And I certainly have no desire to try other regulated linear power supplies and compare them with what I use. Other people would need to do that part and share. I also don't have any desire to argue objectively or subjectively and try to prove anything to anyone. I don't make claims what's best, just share my experience. I've spent more than 2 years of my life trying all kinds of power supplies and a lot more years doing all kinds of DIY projects.

My system has never sounded better and my digital source has never been better. My digital source consists of:

- a DIY server using the same motherboard, CPUs, OS, and internal storage as the Taiko Extreme. The server is powered by the unregulated LPS I am sharing for DIY (around $1000 in parts) and the Taiko ATX (1250 Euro).

- I have a JCAT XE in the server that I recommend powering with the best linear power supply you can get. In my case this the Sean Jacobs DC4. Please note, the Taiko ATX does NOT work best here! 

- A Chord DAVE DAC powered by DC4 using offline upsampled files with a program called PGGB. BTW, I can't stand the stock DAVE DAC.

 

I am sorry if sharing my findings upset manufacturers. It's hard to be honest and transparent and not upset someone. But I am committed to remain transparent and honest to the DIY crowd. The good news is there are plenty of new products for people to test. I encourage people to test, compare, share, etc. That's what these forums are about.

 

While i was reading this i was wondering, we need more honest People !!

 

Thanks for the honesty and all the support to all of us during this time,  👏👏👏

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4 hours ago, Nenon said:

The server is powered by the unregulated LPS I am sharing for DIY (around $1000 in parts) and the Taiko ATX (1250 Euro).

Hi Nenon, 

How are you powering the 12v 6pin PCIE connector on the Sage motherboard? There are 2 x12v outputs  on the Taiko DC -ATX, as opposed to 3 on the HDPlex 800.

The options seem to be:

1) 1 output for each CPU and leave the 6 pin PCIE disconnected.

2)  2 CPUs share an output and 1 for PCIE.

3) PCIE share 1 output with 1 CPU,

( It draws current from nearest CPU when left unconnected according to my mesurements).

How have you connected up?

I too discussed with Sean regarding a high current linear supply  but after experimenting ended up with a linear unregulated supply with the HDplex, so looking forward to receiving the Taiko DC - ATX.

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17 hours ago, Marcin_gps said:

Taiko uses DC-ATX converter in their server. 

 

"MULTI-STAGE ULTRA LINEAR POWER SUPPLY

Our 400W linear power supply is a new inhouse development, especially created for the Extreme and its special needs. It is comprised of only the very best capacitors from Mundorf and Duelund, combined in a way we found to be most neutral to the sound. The chokes are supplied from Lundahl and were selected also by ear."

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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2 minutes ago, matthias said:

 

"MULTI-STAGE ULTRA LINEAR POWER SUPPLY

Our 400W linear power supply is a new inhouse development, especially created for the Extreme and its special needs. It is comprised of only the very best capacitors from Mundorf and Duelund, combined in a way we found to be most neutral to the sound. The chokes are supplied from Lundahl and were selected also by ear."

 

Matt

In combnation with DC-ATX switching board. 

 

JPLAY & JCAT Founder

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1 minute ago, Marcin_gps said:

In combnation with DC-ATX switching board. 

 

Can you provide a link for this assumption?

Thanks

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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My main question for the PSU is, how much of an effect does AC ripple have on SQ AKA how much ripple current is acceptable? I mean to adequately filter 20Amps or so @12V you need a whopping capacitance, however if that ripple decreases due to the MB creating 1 V out of the 12V there is a reasonable chance that the remaining ripple current decreases.

 

 

ISP, cat8.1, Zylix switch, Finisar <1321>Solarflare 8522, AMD 9, Aorus X570 Elite, Corsair AX1200i, 8Gb Apacer Ram, Pink Faun I2S OCXO on LPS, home grown RJ45 I2S cable, Metrum Amethyst (modded to accept I2S), Klangfilm 204a, Klangfilm Trionor (3Tesla 835, JBL2402)

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4 minutes ago, MarcelNL said:

My main question for the PSU is, how much of an effect does AC ripple have on SQ AKA how much ripple current is acceptable? I mean to adequately filter 20Amps or so @12V you need a whopping capacitance, however if that ripple decreases due to the MB creating 1 V out of the 12V there is a reasonable chance that the remaining ripple current decreases.

 

 

 

It will be known to the public soon. 

JPLAY & JCAT Founder

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2 minutes ago, Marcin_gps said:

 

It will be known to the public soon. 

the picture is not showing if that is the answer to your somewhat cryptical response ;-)

 

BTW: I am referring to AC ripple due to rectifying, not any over/undershoot after current surges/variations...those are another topic alltogether that is causing me some headaches (in a class A amp it's simple enough as the current is steady)

ISP, cat8.1, Zylix switch, Finisar <1321>Solarflare 8522, AMD 9, Aorus X570 Elite, Corsair AX1200i, 8Gb Apacer Ram, Pink Faun I2S OCXO on LPS, home grown RJ45 I2S cable, Metrum Amethyst (modded to accept I2S), Klangfilm 204a, Klangfilm Trionor (3Tesla 835, JBL2402)

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