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SOTM SMS 200 Ultra - what’s next?


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Some years ago, I purchased the SOTM SMS 200 Ultra (internally silver wired and powered by a Paul Hynes SR8) for my main HiFi-setup - been fully satisfied by its sound quality!…🤓

But as it is, I’m always looking for the next step up?!?…🤷‍♂️🙄

Anyone with experience upgrading from the SOTM SMS 200 Ultra?…🤓

All inputs is highly appreciated - thanks!…👍🏻

Best wishes Carsten

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I'm with you - I've had the SMS200 ultra (DIY Neo) with SPS500 power supply for 4-years or more. Everything sounds great. Most other network streamers, bridges, transports, etc have bunches of features I don't want. I use my SoTM with a Chord Hugo TT2 so I don't need a DAC in my streamer. I use Roon with HQ Player so I don't need an app or music player in my streamer.

 

A big display seems like it would be nice and I don't like being stuck with only one output... just USB. I suggested to SoTM that they should release a SMS300 model that is just an updated SMS200 with a display and all flavors of digital outputs. But got silence on that idea.

 

I don't want to take a step down to some $800 streamer with tons of unneeded features or a step up to a $3000 streamer with a DAC I'll never use.

 

Recently, I added a Audiowise SRC-DX which takes the SoTM's USB output and converts it to S/PDIF BNC outputs and has two BNC outputs to use with Chord DACs to get 768hz from S/PDIF. That's been a real improvement and it only costs about $300 so it's not an expensive option. The sound improvements even with just one BNC output instead of USB into the Hugo TT2 is very evident and welcomed.

 

I'm not a big believer in high priced USB cables but recently needed a new USB cable to replace my near bottom tier Audioquest USB and found a pretty cheap price on a 3-levels higher Audioquest (Carbon) cable. I didn't expect any improvement, but as long as I needed a cable that I'd get one that was "better." To my surprise, I do hear a noticeable improvement. Shocked! So, depending on what you're using you might play with boutique USB cables.

 

Also, you might consider getting a DDC for your SoTM to experiment with different outputs to your DAC, especially if your DAC has multiple different input options like AES-EBU or I2S.

 

I had been looking for a Holo Audio Red - Streamer/DDC but I'm not convinced it will do much more for me than what I've already got.

 

Maybe some others here will have other options to consider.

Analog: Rega P8 'Table > Ortofon Cadenza Black Cartridge > Bob's Devices SUT 1:20 > Naim Supernait3 Phono Section

Network Streaming: SoTM SMS200 Ultra w/ SoTM SPS500 power supply > Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE DAC
Digital Disc: Shanling ET3 CD Transport > Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE DAC

Audio: Naim Supernait3 Integrated> Harbeth P3ESR Speakers w/ Two Goldenear Forcefield 3 Subwoofers
Power: PS Audio Stellar PowerPlant3

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On 3/10/2024 at 10:01 AM, Carsten Chr said:

I’m always looking for the next step up?!?…

The biggest improvement I got was provided by using a linear power supply.

Audio Switch, super Ethernet cable can't do miracles. UTP Cat6 works fine.

I have 200 ultra neo

Gerardo

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I used to have the sMS-200Ultra Neo together with the tX-USBultra. The best improvement I found was from feeding the 'Ultra via HQPlayer, rather than the various alternatives.

 

Worth at least trying if you are not already doing this.

Windows 11 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, Focus Fidelity convolutions, iFi Zen Stream, Paul Hynes SR4, Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection. Desktop system; RME ADI-2 DAC fs, Meze Empyrean headphones.

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The other things I've tried:

 

I added a Netgear GS305 network switch between my main router and the SoTM and noticed no difference, but when I changed the OEM wall wart PS of the switch to the iFi SilentPower iPower2 for $60 this did make an improvement in SQ.

 

I switched from Cat 5e to Cat 6 and saw perhaps a small bit of improvement in SQ. Very small.

 

I bought the SoTM iSO-CAT6 Network Isolator - but I hear no changes at all. None.

 

Going from an Audioquest Forest USB to an Audioquest Carbon USB made a dramatic improvement. I plan to try some other USB cables now. I'm not much of a cable believer but this changed my mind some.

 

As I said previously, the Audiowise SRC-DX USB>S/PDIF converter made a substantial improvement - at least with my Chord Hugo TT2 DAC.

 

A year ago I made the power cap change in my SoTM Ultra to make the device on par with the OEM Ultra Neo and this too made a noticeable improvement. I was able to find and use the same power supply cap used by SoTM. The swap was slightly intimidating but ultimately very simple.

Analog: Rega P8 'Table > Ortofon Cadenza Black Cartridge > Bob's Devices SUT 1:20 > Naim Supernait3 Phono Section

Network Streaming: SoTM SMS200 Ultra w/ SoTM SPS500 power supply > Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE DAC
Digital Disc: Shanling ET3 CD Transport > Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE DAC

Audio: Naim Supernait3 Integrated> Harbeth P3ESR Speakers w/ Two Goldenear Forcefield 3 Subwoofers
Power: PS Audio Stellar PowerPlant3

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37 minutes ago, creativepart said:

but when I changed the OEM wall wart PS of the switch to the iFi SilentPower iPower2 for $60 this did make an improvement in SQ.

I agree. I believe that quality of PS is very important. I have a chinese Switch Audio that use LPS and 10M ox and I get small improvement. I think depends on LPS. 

37 minutes ago, creativepart said:

Network Isolator

I believe that Network isolator could not give any improvement. 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Using a high quality SMPS (Teddy Pardo) for my Internet hub, an LPS for the SoTM 200 and an Innuos Phoenix NET all had a noticeable impact, with the LPS possibly having the biggest of them all.

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Carston, if you don't mind getting your hands dirty, my recommendation would be to take the sms200 apart and remove the power supply board. Supply the main board directly with a Paul Hynes supply (at the appropriate voltage of course). I did this a few years back and it gave me a good uplift to the sound. If you want to get more adventurous, you can upgrade the clocks on the main board. This yielded further benefits for me. 

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