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SOtM USB-tx and noise filters


ggking7

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You may want to read through Chris' CAPS v2 article (http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Computer-Audiophile-Pocket-Server-CAPS-v2) where he discusses the SotM products.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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There was a recent post by a C.A. member who found that using a SotM SATA noise filter resulted in an apparent increase in HF that quickly became fatigueing.

I tried a DIY C.L.C. filter (capacitance-inductance-capacitance) in line with an internal LG BR writer and got similar results.I did however find that 2 large value parallel electrolytic capacitors(2 x 2,220uF) at the writer end rectified this problem, as long as they weren't both low ESR. types.(In both +12V and +5V supply rails.)

Yes, we are talking about digital here, so that isn't supposed to happen.

Alex

 

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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There was a recent post by a C.A. member who found that using a SotM SATA noise filter resulted in an apparent increase in HF that quickly became fatigueing.

 

I didn't read that, nor do I have the experience, but it is exactly what I expected from it (and warned for that on my own forum).

 

Regards,

Peter

 

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2.5      Ethernet^3     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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I ordered a SOtM SATA filter for my PC yesterday. It should be here by the weekend, and I'll post back with some impressions.

 

todd

 

Win7 64bit / iTunes / Xonar ST / Behringer DEQ2496 / Wyred4Sound DAC-2 / Wyred STP-SE preamp / dbx 233XL / 4 Outlaw m200 monoblocks / DIY active GR Research LS9\'s / Quad 15 inch subwoofers

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Hi Peter

This is only likely to be noticeable with pretty high resolution playback equipment and high quality music files.

I did send a PM to the original poster detailing my own experiences after seeing his post.

Alex

 

 

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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The Auraliti website for some actual measurements of noise reduction achieved with the SOtM SATA filter.

 

I would love to hear some specualtion on why/how this filter could have subjectively objectionable results?????????

BTW, the filter is capacitors and inductors...

 

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

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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He also owns Peter's dac. I'll leave his name out of the quote...

 

"I had a chance to install the SOtM-SATA and SOtM-PCI-to-USB boards today. Here's what I think:

 

SOtM-SATA: This is difficult to evaluate really because I didn't have a chance to have a good listen before installing the board. But I think there is an improvement - things just sound a tad more 'fluid'.

 

SOtM-PCI-to-USB: Well, there's definitely a big difference between this and my mobo USB feeding the NOS1. The sound is more 'forward' and 'alive' - exciting I guess. It seems 'cleaner' somehow and more dynamic also. In my system, I prefer it! Switching back to the mobo USB, everything sounds really 'nice' and relaxed - the sort of sound you could sit and listen to for hours. But it doesn't sound as real or exciting to me.

 

I'm not sure what Peter's exact concerns about the SOtM-PCI-to-USB board might be. Of course it could be that it's actually adding some sort of 'distortion', which is compensating for an inadequacy elsewhere in my system. But overall, it definitely sounds better than the mobo USB... to my ears... in my system.

 

Oh, and this has nothing to do with the fact that you can switch the USB power off at the board. I'm using a USB cable that has a separate power leg which I unplug from the PC anyway. But I'm not sure the NOS1 really 'cares' whether the USB cable carries any power or not - I'm pretty certain the USB power leg is not connected.

 

So in all, that's $365 very well spent in my book (though I did have to pay an additional $100 in import duty & VAT)."

 

Jesus R

www.sonore.us

 

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Jesus R

I am not trying to knock these products, and the Fan filter is a great idea.

"The sound is more 'forward' and 'alive' -

exciting I guess. It seems 'cleaner' somehow and more dynamic also...."

 

Ever wondered if that is due to a small increase in HF detail ? My experience with a DIY C.L.C. filter suggests that it is, as replacing one of the 2 x 2,200uF parallel low ESR capacitors in my DIY version with a normal type 2,200uF electrolytic, gave a more balanced sound. Of course, you would not be able to fit such large value capacitors too easily on a PCI card.

I believe that you need a very low and FLAT PSU impedance across a wide bandwidth.That is where a good "shunt" as used by Barrows and many others, excels. Looking at the photos of the SOtM SATA filter suggests that the impedance is likely to be lower at frequencies well above the normal voice range.

This should not matter with digital though, should it ? (grin.)

Alex

P.S.

I bet that he also heard a wider and deeper soundstage too.

Again, this can be the result of a small added amount of HF detail.

 

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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I thought it appropriate to contact SOtM on this matter as "they" have information on the product "you" don't. They are very responsive and a great company to work with. It's just facts and not speculation...except at the end where I think it was needed:)

 

Jesus R

www.sonore.us

 

Note from SOtM:

This is some SATA filter technical information:

SATA filter includes 2 kinds of noise filters. One is a high frequency noise filter and the other is a ripple filter. The HF filter reduces noise above MHz and the ripple filter reduce noise in the KHz range.

 

In computer systems, HF noise is generated by digital circuits like

CPU, RAM, controllers and HDD. Ripple noise is generated by HDD, power supply and DC-DC converter on M/B for CPU. HDD generate more noise than other component in the PC.

 

This HDD noise degrades the audio quality. The SATA filter reduce HF noise and ripple noise from HDD so the PC audio quality is not degraded.

 

SATA filter use 3 kinds of capacitors and 2 kinds of inductors so it can reduce a wide band of noise.

 

Important thing is SATA filter does not affect PC sound and instead it just reduces noise.

 

If the user feels he is not getting good sound form computer after the SATA filter or tX-USB is installed, I suggest change other components in the PC because the bad sound is coming from the user's computer. Some obvious things to look at are the power supply, M/B and USB cables.

 

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"Important thing is SATA filter does not affect PC sound and instead it just reduces noise."

 

Of course they would say that !

Their graphs tell an interesting story, but try and explain with any certainty, why this should affect a stream of 1s and 0s.It does of course make sense to try and reduce any PSU effects on the device itself, and any EMI and sudden supply demands that may reflect back into other areas.

The best way to achieve this would be with a very low impedance power supply, aided perhaps by a high quality "shunt" regulator.

There are a lot of things that happen with digital that so far aren't fully explained, although theories abound.

For example, there are many die hard EE's that still insist that the type and construction of a USB cable should make no difference either.That is NOT the experience of many well respected C.A. members.

Alex

 

P.S.

I am aware of the technicalities of their designs,

having previously checked their graphs and explanations, as well as having a close look at their provided photos.

I also tried constructing a +12V and +5V C.L.C. filter using much larger value capacitors at the output end. It was fitted in a small Jiffy box with a short lead to a 4 pin Molex plug on the input end, and a Sata power plug on the other side, which plugged in to a LG BR writer.

 

 

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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that any of these approaches have any effect at all at the digital data stream-this can be easily verified to check for bit perfect operation.

On the other hand, what is likely the real effect, is lower noise in the computer making its way to the DAC chip itself (and the clocks on the USB receiver and/or DAC). Noise getting into the DAC chip can couple directly to the (analog) output, and noise getting to the clocks can result in jitter.

Sure, powering the the server via multiple shunt supplies would probably be even better-would doing so enter into the realm of diminishing returns??? There is only one way to find out: eliminate all switching supplies on the MOBO and in the server, and use many, many shunts for all the individual supplies (including every DC/DC converter. I am sure someone out there will go this extreme and report the result at some point...

 

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

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Barrows.

I have since gone past that approach with a C.L.C. filter, in favour of using an external (internal type) LG BR writer via USB 2.0 supplied via a +12V 2A and +5V 2A Linear PSU using JLH "shunt " regulators. Results appear to be markedly better than trying to filter an internal SMPS feed to an internal Optical device.Especially in the area of dynamics.

Other people have also tried this approach with similar improved results.One is even using an external, expensive, Plextor BR writer powered by a 12v 4Amp Linear PSU with a JLH "shunt"

Alex

 

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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I do not suppose...

 

that any of these approaches have any effect at all at the digital data stream-this can be easily verified to check for bit perfect operation.

 

Thank you for responding in this fashion and with your further explanation regarding where noise may have an effect. I personally was getting ready to say something along the lines of "If I see one more person say it's 'just a stream of 1s and 0s'...aarrrggghhh!!!!"

 

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Jud

"bit perfect" operation is not affected by use of either a SoTm filter, DIY C.L.C. filter, or using an external Linear PSU.

Alex

 

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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"bit perfect" operation is not affected by use of either a SoTm filter, DIY C.L.C. filter, or using an external Linear PSU.

 

Yes, that's exactly what I just agreed with barrows about.

 

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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have not heard any explanations of why using an SOtM SATA filter, and/or SOtM USB output card could possibly hurt the system performance, although some people have claimed this is so?

Sure some have suggested approaches which could make further improvements, but how could adding a filter which measurably reduces noise hurt the performance vs the stock set up?

To me, the USB card seems like it could be a significant improvement vs the MoBo USB ports, especially as this card has a separate power supply connection, and could be powered from an isolated low noise supply.

 

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

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Barrows

I certainly can't explain it, but with my experiments using the DIY C.L.C. filter, the noise level did appear lower,the soundstage became much larger,as did apparent separation between instruments etc.However, it sounded larger than life

and became fatiguueing to listen to due to apparent HF accentuation. Doesn't make much sense does it ?

FWIW, I am not prepared to go further in open forum for fear of upsetting some.

However I would be prepared to send you a great deal more information via PM if you are interested.

Alex

 

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Put the SATA filter on my already quiet fanless server. Seems to have made a small difference, in a good way. Not dramatic.

 

Based on my experience, it's a good tweak on a good setup; if you don't have a quiet computer setup it might make more of a difference than it does for me.

 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Barrows,

 

One of the problems we all have with these audio systems is that each part of it has been separately "tuned" by the author for what he (it is usually is a he) thinks is most appealing to him, within his own system. There's lots of variables within each circuit topology and circuit realization that can be adjusted to make subtle changes in the sound performance. These changes may not affect the measured performance for the usual audio tests, like THD, but might rather manifest themselves as frequency selective noise floor rises with program content just to mention one trivial possibility.

 

So, if for example the preamp designer favors a subjective tipped up treble that may have been because his system - or his own listening mechanism - has some section that subjectively otherwise would have a tipped up bass performance. The tipped up treble tends often tends to balance out a tipped up bass.

 

Now, when I suggest a tipped up treble, I don't mean that the swept frequency response is in any way not flat. Although it could be... What I mean is that the distortion profile of higher order intermodulation products might be such that most people's hearing would perceive the treble to be elevated. Also, keep in mind that these distortion products, which could even manifest themselves as what may be perceived as noise, may even be due to power supply junk or even junk that travels in on the AC mains. Indeed the latter may even be generated by other portions of the audio system. (That last bit is a reason why power cables could possibly affect the sound quality, even "after the power has traveled through miles of wire already" or when all the audio components are plugged into a common uber slick regeneration power filter...)

 

So, cleaning up some noise source could in essence remove some masking signal that otherwise covers up some more egregious property of the system. It's a bit like really cleaning a window after some months only to find that the plant just outside isn't quite as attractive as you thought for all those months. Strip away the make-up...

 

I could go on about the details of all this, but probably more than enough people are probably pissed off by this and think it's a load of el toro poopoo. No need to incite a riot.

 

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A couple of folks have mentioned not wanting to "upset" people with what they're saying. If I contributed to that feeling at all, my apologies. We should all be able to discuss reasonably what we think on this forum.

 

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I would say that your results are typical and your prediction is spot on based on our findings.

 

CG/Jud, don't hold back on my account. I'm a big boy and I can take it:) I will say this though....I'm set in my ways about the SOtM products and I stand behind them enough to add them to all my servers. I told Grant that this was zero risk for him and to report his findings as he sees fit. Also, if you want to try the sata filter I'll put them in the mail no strings attached...

 

Jesus R

www.sonore.us

 

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Yes, you are spot on in your analysis. What you describe often happened with my customers/dealers at PS Audio: they would add a power conditioner to a system which has already been "tuned" for pleasing tonal balance, and find that the power conditioner would upset the tonal balance and then blame the power conditioner for the "problem". In most cases I could explain to them why things sound different, and how to proceed with re-tuning the system to achieve their pleasing tonal balance, while taking advantage of the lower noise floor offered by the conditioner.

I would add: that if the subjective results are being altered negatively by adding these components (SOtM) as CG suggests, what is happening is that other faults in the system are being exposed, and that the ultimate approach to dealing with them would be to find the source of those faults, and then deal with them at that source. Technically, this analysis accepts that the SOtM components are doing their job, and improving the technical performance (and that they are not doing anything technically negative towards sound quality).

 

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

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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