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Next round of tweaks on my Audio PC


al2813
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I have been reading this forum for about a year now since starting in Ernest my own little adventure in audiophilia. My audio PC has been an important part of this adventure as it is by far my most used source. I bought a second hand rig which I modified quite a bit since. As I built my 2 setups (main and room) from scratch the money had to be split across many items so the approach for my PC was to start small and build up. For me this (alongside the flexibility I have on the SW side), this was the key element to choose this route. It allowed me to tweak a lot (which I like :-), and build up aithout having to sell and buy from scratch. 

 

My current rig still uses the base components - a Jetway NF9M N2900 motherboard, 8gb of RAM, two SSDs - one mSATA running my Euphony OS (with Roon core on top) and a second Samsung EVO 960 2Tb SSD storing my local library. I also have a JCAT USB FEMTO card. The original power supply (a not that great homegrown LPS) was replaced since by an HDPLex 300 LPS. The PC uses now two rails in my HDPlex - 19v which I plug directly into the DC in jack in the motherboard and 5v feeding the JCAT card. I would like now to explore the possibility to achieve further granularity in powering the PC. From reading here, I understand this has potential to further improve SQ. With the HDPlex I can directly power the Samsung SSD as I have a connector included. However, with this motherboard there's nothing else I can power separately as this is not an ATX board. Hence getting an HDPLex DC-ATX complement will only make sense if I change the motherboard. I am open to do this, but would love to hear opinions if this can make a real difference. While this mobo is low power, it was advertised by the store who built the original PC as a low noise motherboard tweaked specifically for audio purposes. Not sure how real this statement is. I don't have necessarily a desire for more processing power as I do not over sample (my DAC is NOS and I like it), and while Roon can be a bit sluggish in the odd case, it still performs relatively well and Euphony is very efficient and allows me to run in RAMROOT with no major hassle. 

 

Open to recommendations/ideas :-) 

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10 hours ago, al2813 said:

I have been reading this forum for about a year now since starting in Ernest my own little adventure in audiophilia. My audio PC has been an important part of this adventure as it is by far my most used source. I bought a second hand rig which I modified quite a bit since. As I built my 2 setups (main and room) from scratch the money had to be split across many items so the approach for my PC was to start small and build up. For me this (alongside the flexibility I have on the SW side), this was the key element to choose this route. It allowed me to tweak a lot (which I like :-), and build up aithout having to sell and buy from scratch. 

 

My current rig still uses the base components - a Jetway NF9M N2900 motherboard, 8gb of RAM, two SSDs - one mSATA running my Euphony OS (with Roon core on top) and a second Samsung EVO 960 2Tb SSD storing my local library. I also have a JCAT USB FEMTO card. The original power supply (a not that great homegrown LPS) was replaced since by an HDPLex 300 LPS. The PC uses now two rails in my HDPlex - 19v which I plug directly into the DC in jack in the motherboard and 5v feeding the JCAT card. I would like now to explore the possibility to achieve further granularity in powering the PC. From reading here, I understand this has potential to further improve SQ. With the HDPlex I can directly power the Samsung SSD as I have a connector included. However, with this motherboard there's nothing else I can power separately as this is not an ATX board. Hence getting an HDPLex DC-ATX complement will only make sense if I change the motherboard. I am open to do this, but would love to hear opinions if this can make a real difference. While this mobo is low power, it was advertised by the store who built the original PC as a low noise motherboard tweaked specifically for audio purposes. Not sure how real this statement is. I don't have necessarily a desire for more processing power as I do not over sample (my DAC is NOS and I like it), and while Roon can be a bit sluggish in the odd case, it still performs relatively well and Euphony is very efficient and allows me to run in RAMROOT with no major hassle. 

 

Open to recommendations/ideas :-) 

What’s your budget? Which type of sound improvement are you trying to obtain? 

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11 hours ago, Topk said:

What’s your budget? Which type of sound improvement are you trying to obtain? 

 

No budget specifically - yet. I have no issue to admit I cannot spend thousands of euros/USD etc for tweaking an audio PC, but always look for opportunities to improve things. Just looking for recommendations from people with similar situation. 

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40 minutes ago, al2813 said:

 

No budget specifically - yet. I have no issue to admit I cannot spend thousands of euros/USD etc for tweaking an audio PC, but always look for opportunities to improve things. Just looking for recommendations from people with similar situation. 

If it were my money I would look into: 1) the LPS for the Jcat... really deserves the best LPS for best sound and that makes a huge difference (SJ, Uptone, Jcat...), 2) getting rid of SATA entirely (disable in the BIOS). Maybe use a NAS but then you should have a Jcat XE/Femto Net or a Solarflare. Or at least use SLC SSD 3) Another direction for big change is to move to a high power PC like an Intel or AMD Ryzen with at least 8 cores. That will dramatically increase SQ

 

When I built my audio PC, my biggest changes is having the right LPS for my output card eg USB (i settled on Uptone JS2) and moving from i7 to AMD Ryzen 3700x (and ultimately 3950x). Getting rid of SATA was another one and moving to Euphony too.

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17 minutes ago, Topk said:

If it were my money I would look into: 1) the LPS for the Jcat... really deserves the best LPS for best sound and that makes a huge difference (SJ, Uptone, Jcat...), 2) getting rid of SATA entirely (disable in the BIOS). Maybe use a NAS but then you should have a Jcat XE/Femto Net or a Solarflare. Or at least use SLC SSD 3) Another direction for big change is to move to a high power PC like an Intel or AMD Ryzen with at least 8 cores. That will dramatically increase SQ

 

Thank you. This was the sort of advice I was looking for. I will post in the specific Euphony thread for more specific advice on motherboard/CPU models. Out of the three pointers, going into a high power PC could be an option I can relatively action quickly. Right now local SSD playback does not sound different then NAS playback which means I guess that my overall system/room do not allow that extra benefit, or I need as you say to work on the Ethernet side of things. 

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28 minutes ago, al2813 said:

 

Thank you. This was the sort of advice I was looking for. I will post in the specific Euphony thread for more specific advice on motherboard/CPU models. Out of the three pointers, going into a high power PC could be an option I can relatively action quickly. Right now local SSD playback does not sound different then NAS playback which means I guess that my overall system/room do not allow that extra benefit, or I need as you say to work on the Ethernet side of things. 

You can go to the Build music server thread or PM me, I have pretty good advice on this :-)

Short answer: go with Asus with good VRM (B550-E or Dark Hero) and I recommend AMD, possibly 5800x. Depends how much $ you want to allocate...

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