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Article: CAPS Twenty | Part One


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Using stuff that I already had: 1) an old Shunyata cable with the magic dust did very good things for a Theta Gen Va I used to have; and 2) a Versalab Wood Block power line filter, to get good results isolating the Quad Core Mac Mini from the rest of the system.  Believe these products were designed to filter incoming noise, but guessing it's a two way street.  Smoother sound with more depth and detail.  Good stuff.

 

For airborne noise, have to resort to a "Signs" Joaquin Phoenix-style foil hat I guess until graduation to a two computer solution, motivated by HQPlayer's increased capabilities and features.

 

 

Tone with Soul

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I am really interested to read about this - just asking questions is all...

 

🥡

Current:  Daphile on an AMD A10-9500 with 16 GB RAM

DAC - TEAC UD-501 DAC 

Pre-amp - Rotel RC-1590

Amplification - Benchmark AHB2 amplifier

Speakers - Revel M126Be with 2 REL 7/ti subwoofers

Cables - Tara Labs RSC Reference and Blue Jean Cable Balanced Interconnects

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With all of the RF concerns you might want to look at Audiowise products as that is the focus of most of what he offers. In my dealings with Dan he has been very easy to engage and eager to address whatever concerns you have.

 https://audiowise-canada.myshopify.com/

 

Concerning the question about outputs other than USB and the recommendations of Lynx or RME PCI cards... does anybody have any experience with them or recommendations for a BNC SpDIF 2 channel output? I see a lot of options and varieties so hard to dig through them. Ideally one that accepts a word clock.

 

finally, regarding HDplex. His supplies seem to offer a lot for the $$ but there are numerous posts that complain about reliability, admittedly mostly older posts.  Hopefully that is either a thing of the past or was not really an issue in the first place, never the less it would be nice to hear from any of you who have recent experience with them

 

thanks

 

 

 

 

 

see my system at Audiogon  https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/768

 

 

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4 minutes ago, bbosler said:

With all of the RF concerns you might want to look at Audiowise products as that is the focus of most of what he offers. In my dealings with Dan he has been very easy to engage and eager to address whatever concerns you have.

 https://audiowise-canada.myshopify.com/

 

Concerning the question about outputs other than USB and the recommendations of Lynx or RME PCI cards... does anybody have any experience with them or recommendations for a BNC SpDIF 2 channel output? I see a lot of options and varieties so hard to dig through them. Ideally one that accepts a word clock.

 

finally, regarding HDplex. His supplies seem to offer a lot for the $$ but there are numerous posts that complain about reliability, admittedly mostly older posts.  Hopefully that is either a thing of the past or was not really an issue in the first place, never the less it would be nice to hear from any of you who have recent experience with them

 

thanks

 

 

 

 

 

I have experience using Lynx AES16 / AES16e cards sending AES on XLR and receiving word clock on BNC.  Seems like you need S/PDIF out and word clock in. Not sure if the Lynx can do that.

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Terrific Chris,

 

You and your original Site turned me on to Digital Music, so for that I am eternally great-full.    My Music System took off in 2010 as a result of your input and encouragement. 

 

As a 2010 CAPS Lagoon builder it is wonderful to see the 10 year update.   6 months ago I gave my Lagoon a Makeover with the WS2019 install and a new 2tb ssd internal storage for the tunes, but the MB, Ram and Sotm USB card are all still working well from day 1.

 

I love the look of the new case.

 

Appreciate all the time you spend and the professionalism of this site.

 

Kudos.

 

Regards Cazzesman

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11 minutes ago, Cazzesman said:

Terrific Chris,

 

You and your original Site turned me on to Digital Music, so for that I am eternally great-full.    My Music System took off in 2010 as a result of your input and encouragement. 

 

As a 2010 CAPS Lagoon builder it is wonderful to see the 10 year update.   6 months ago I gave my Lagoon a Makeover with the WS2019 install and a new 2tb ssd internal storage for the tunes, but the MB, Ram and Sotm USB card are all still working well from day 1.

 

I love the look of the new case.

 

Appreciate all the time you spend and the professionalism of this site.

 

Kudos.

 

Regards Cazzesman

Thanks for the kind words and the story. Love to read this stuff. 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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22 hours ago, Cazzesman said:

Terrific Chris,

 

You and your original Site turned me on to Digital Music, so for that I am eternally great-full.    My Music System took off in 2010 as a result of your input and encouragement. 

 

As a 2010 CAPS Lagoon builder it is wonderful to see the 10 year update.   6 months ago I gave my Lagoon a Makeover with the WS2019 install and a new 2tb ssd internal storage for the tunes, but the MB, Ram and Sotm USB card are all still working well from day 1.

 

I love the look of the new case.

 

Appreciate all the time you spend and the professionalism of this site.

 

Kudos.

 

Regards Cazzesman

That's awesome, that's around the same time I found CA too. I was already into digital music then, but I couldn't figure out how to buy or put together a music computer that was better and more stable than my laptop. I loved reading those articles, building the systems, and seeing the community take flight these past 8-10 years. 

 

This is right in line with #5 above. Chris's work with the components, recommendations, troubleshooting, and manufacturer collaboration all lead to us getting devices that are stable, get us listening to more music and wasting less time figuring out why not, and have upgradability and repurposing designed in from the get go. 

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47 minutes ago, Ben-M said:

1. Needs to run Windows 10, so those poor T+A DAC 8 DSD owners like myself, and many other DACs, can leverage the USB input of their DAC to get that sweet, sweet DSD512 injection. DSD256 and DSD512 input over USB have a low support rating via Linux to the DAC due to the hardware configurations/limitations of many USB input interfaces in the DACs. DSD512 especially so, so Windows it has to be, unless you either don't have the sample rate need or don't have the DAC interface issue, in which case Chris already advised us all, this is probably not the one for you.

Doesn't the DAC 8 use the Amanero USB interface?  It can easily do DSD 512 via linux, in fact I am doing so right now with no problems via a microRendu, no need for Windows...  You just need the 2006be 11 firmware, or newer...

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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On 6/25/2020 at 1:20 PM, 57gold said:

OK, amongst serious CA folks with tech savvy, so excuse the continued silliness one my part, but, if the 20.1 is just handling already upsampled data from a heavy duty computer (which is doing the serious lifting), why the big heavy, mostly empty box, with heat sinking and oversized or super duper power supplies, not in the big box, to run relatively light weight stuff?

 

Just an exercise of the possible...belts, suspenders and gaffers tape, because one can?

 

For the uninformed here, I was wondering if this comes naturally or do you need to do the hard yards and actually practice?

 

Regards Cazzesman

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8 minutes ago, barrows said:

Doesn't the DAC 8 use the Amanero USB interface?  It can easily do DSD 512 via linux, in fact I am doing so right now with no problems via a microRendu, no need for Windows...  You just need the 2006be 11 firmware, or newer...

I'm not trying to be a shit, but I'm going to rephrase your comment with the full picture:

 

You can play DSD512 via a Linux PC right now, you just need to reflash the DAC's USB interface with a beta firmware released by the DAC's lead designer, on the side, not an official one by the company. And you need to use several hacked cables to do it and a custom software app, unless the designer's full homebrew app has been released now too. And once you've done so, you can't return it to the stock T+A firmware, your only option is a generic Amanero one that no longer reads "T+A DAC 8 DSD" when connected to Windows or when found on Roon. Oh, and the beta firmware doesn't support Windows, so you've got to pick one or the other. You could send it back to T+A in Germany to be fully reflashed with the old Windows USB firmware though. 

 

Yes, I followed that topic for 3 years and talked with both Amanero and T+A, and you, all throughout it. 

 

But that's a DAC side hack, and you could say "that's up to you, it is available", and you're right, but that's also not doing the whole story justice.

 

I'm happy with Chris's story here. I have a Windows based renderer now from Fidelizer because of the exact issues above, but it doesn't have a fancy USB card nor a fancy NIC. Fidelizer said they could do that, but then we'd be looking at a custom build and the costs go way up.  

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@Ben-M, it is actually quire easy to re-flash the Amanero interface with the 2006be 11 or 13, or whatever firmware.  

 

But if you are OK running a windows renderer that is fine as well.  I was just responding to your claim that T+A DAC owners "need(s) to run Windows 10, ... to get that sweet, sweet DSD 512 injection."  Which is just not true, 10 minutes to reflash the Amanero is all it takes to run DSD 512 on linux.  I am pretty sure many DAC 8 users have done just that.  Although I did find it frustrating how long it took the Amanero guys to finally get it right. 

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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1 hour ago, barrows said:

I was just responding to your claim that T+A DAC owners "need(s) to run Windows 10, ... to get that sweet, sweet DSD 512 injection."  Which is just not true. 

Since you're splitting hairs and trying to say that you consider an aftermarket mod to the USB firmware of a DAC that was never designed to accept DSD512 via Linux a non-point, and that I said opposite to that, I will also split hairs. I didn't claim that T+A DAC owners needed to run Windows 10. When reviewing the context of the post, I was summarizing the main points of the new CAPS Twenty.one, and why it has to run Windows 10.

 

"To summarize what I gather are the main concepts of the 20.1 renderer...

 

1. Needs to run Windows 10, so those poor T+A DAC 8 DSD owners like myself, and many other DACs, can leverage the USB input of their DAC to get that sweet, sweet DSD512 injection. [/...] so Windows it has to be, unless you either don't have the sample rate need or don't have the DAC interface issue..."

 

From that, you can see that the post is referring to CAPS Twenty.One AND it clarifies that if your DAC doesn't have that input limitation, then you don't need to care. The T+A DAC 8 DSD does have that limitation, as it is spec'd and sold.

 

I know you're out here to to help let people know, and I think I helped in doing that as well when I described the process and some of the cons of flashing the T+A DAC 8 DSD's Amanero USB interface with the beta firmware. I never said it took a long time, I outlined what was involved and some of cons of the aftermarket mod. You can't disagree that the DAC as its built and sold by T+A doesn't support recieving DSD512 via Linux. But via aftermarket mods, which do take some research, are not foolproof, and do have known limitations themselves like then not being able to play via Windows without another reflash, are not standard. And as comfortably as you can say many DAC 8 DSD owners have individually flashed their DACs, I can comfortably say that only represents a small percentage of the total ownership of DAC 8 DSDs, then by which my earlier statements apply and the purpose of the CAPS Twenty.One is valid for the owners I made reference to. 

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This is a fascinating project, and let's be honest, it looks pretty cool too.

 

As it happens, the CAPS Twenty would not really be much use in my system.  My DAC / Devialet prefers a 24/192 input, and indeed cannot accept anything higher than 32/192 via USB.  So not for me. 

 

It has got me thinking though, what would my perfect "end point" look like?  Well, it would probably have AES/EBU output.  I do not have strong views regarding USB versus S/PDIF (I know some do), it is just a that that I find the Devialet sounds best when fed via AES/EBU, so in my case that is what my perfect end point would have.  I'd also like to be able to utilise my Mutec REF10.  So I guess I will be little more that an interested observer of this particular product, but it has got me thinking about what might be possible in this area.

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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On 6/23/2020 at 9:44 PM, The Computer Audiophile said:

You can absolutely use a PCIe AES card like those from RME or Lynx.

yes but they are multi channel products with integrated dsp, solutions born for other purposes! I would need a card with direct XLR cannon connection for a single stereo connection, I use an AesEbu Nordost Valhalla 2 cable and I wish there were no other cheap cables in the middle ... I think all this is only for USB connections!

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46 minutes ago, gionaz said:

yes but they are multi channel products with integrated dsp, solutions born for other purposes! I would need a card with direct XLR cannon connection for a single stereo connection, I use an AesEbu Nordost Valhalla 2 cable and I wish there were no other cheap cables in the middle ... I think all this is only for USB connections!

Not sure what I did to deserve the multiple exclamation laden post, but I’ll assume you’re just excited :~)

 

I think you’re looking for a card that doesn’t now and has never existed unfortunately. 

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2 hours ago, Confused said:

So I guess I will be little more that an interested observer of this particular product, but it has got me thinking about what might be possible in this area.

I love that it got you thinking about what’s possible. It got others thinking about nefarious things. 

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1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I love that it got you thinking about what’s possible. It got others thinking about nefarious things. 

Those VU meters give me nefarious thoughts, I have to admit.  👀

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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7 hours ago, Confused said:

 it is just a that that I find the Devialet sounds best when fed via AES/EBU, so in my case that is what my perfect end point would have.  I'd also like to be able to utilise my Mutec REF10.  S

 

I am doing this with a pro audio interface. Doesn't avoid USB but sounds really good. In my case an Antelope Audio Eclipse 384. Feed it with USB and it will output the digital stream over toslink, SpDIF, and AES. They  use the phrase de-jittered outputs. I use the SpDIF. It has a very excellent internal clock for the digital outputs that will follow the rate on the USB input so you don't have to manually change the rate every time the song rate changes. It also accepts your  10MHz reference clock. It was a $7000 interface before being discontinued. You can find them for around $2500. It looks like their Pure 2 and Amari will do the same. I assume others but ones that accept the Mutec are limited. 

https://en.antelopeaudio.com/products/eclipse-384/

 

As a bonus it has excellent ADC and DAC sections and if used as a DAC has a built in preamp with analog, relay controlled volume. The headphone out can drive high efficiency speakers directly like Ray-Dude is doing in the Extreme thread with his DAVE (as am I)..

 

to avoid USB you could get a DCS bridge that accepts a network connection and use a word clock like an Antelope Trinity that accepts a 10 MHz reference.. shameless plug as I have a trinity for sale. But overall  more $$ than the first option.

 

yea , I know, kind of defeats the purpose of the CAPS, but I need to get USB to the Antelope anyway as I digitize my vinyl with it and Pure Vinyl software

 

 

 

see my system at Audiogon  https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/768

 

 

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I just spent a half hour rehearsing my explanation to She Who Is the Final Judge of All Things On Display Other Than In the Basement as to why we need this three box thing added as an endpoint to a component stack that already tests her design sensibilities, and I'm just not cutting it. But I am looking forward to the Twenty, because I've been through a few different server designs, and while the NUC we have now is less visually objectionable than previous solutions, it's still got fan noise, and because a fan, the tendency to suck in dog hair from time to time that requires disassembly and cleaning. Fan free it's gotta be.

 

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1 hour ago, ednaz said:

I just spent a half hour rehearsing my explanation to She Who Is the Final Judge of All Things On Display Other Than In the Basement as to why we need this three box thing added as an endpoint to a component stack that already tests her design sensibilities, and I'm just not cutting it. But I am looking forward to the Twenty, because I've been through a few different server designs, and while the NUC we have now is less visually objectionable than previous solutions, it's still got fan noise, and because a fan, the tendency to suck in dog hair from time to time that requires disassembly and cleaning. Fan free it's gotta be.

 

Completely understandable. 

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Those analogue gauges are cool enough to almost ignore the use of separate computer boxes. Great article. Will be interesting - if your time allows - to see some experiments testing whether one can get close to the sound of both devices with CAPS 20 alone (e.g., what happens when you put the JCAT USB card into the main system and isolate it extremely well).

 

In your description of people who react to this as either enjoying putting it together or believing it is the farthest thing from having fun, there may be a third group - those who would very much enjoy building this, and are open to the idea of better sound through better digital delivery, but are worried that CAPS 20 plus CAPS 20.1 will soon be combined into a device smaller than a cell phone (with a tiny slot for your 10 TB nano card).

 

 

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Great Job Chris.looks great in build quality, aesthetics, visually and needless to say about how masterfully and meticulously you have selected the components. a worthy successor to the original CAPS.

you are the reason i got inspired and motivated to switch to computer & streaming audio, when you launched the original CAPS server   years ago.

keep up your great work.

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