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About _JL_

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  1. Correction: The second demo track where a bunch of "musicians" run around is not from Stereophile. It's from Chesky Records' "Best of Chesky Jazz and More Audiophile Tests Vol.2", in a track called "General Image and Resolution Test".
  2. Interesting topic. It's definitely possible but uncommon in normal recordings as few have instruments/voices intended to be behind the listener. One good demo is from one of the Chesky audiophile sampler discs (forgot which one) where David beat a tom-tom while running around the mic. It also has another track with the tom-tom positioned electronically. Interestingly, I found the electronic version even more convincing than the real acoustic version. In yet another disc I think is from one of Stereophile's demo discs where there is a track where a bunch of musicians making sounds while running around the mic. The effect is also very real when played in just stereo. So subjectively it is possible to reproduce sounds that appear to be coming from behind using just a pair of speakers. How that can happen is another matter altogether as human auditory perception is far from fully decoded. What is even more difficult to reproduce in stereo, IME, is height. Outside of very specific demo tracks, I have not encountered any tracks that can exhibit acoustically recorded height.
  3. I'm currently registered via Qobuz France as their catalog is better suited for me than the US one. So anyone has news on whether Qobuz Europe (France in particular) will follow the new US/UK pricing anytime soon? I like Qobuz but the pricing disparity is getting very annoying for me. I tried to sign-up Qobuz US and also UK (using VPN) but it seems they no longer accept payment methods not registered in US/UK. Anybody know how to work around that? It's amazing how difficult it is to give money away these days.
  4. Most cable/ADSL modems only allocate one IP address (either public or private IP) so if one wants to share the Internet access with multiple devices then a NAT (Network Address Translator) will be needed. The NAT will use the ISP's assigned address in the outgoing link and then allocate private IPs (192.x.x.x or 10.x.x.x) to devices inside the home network. As the external/internal networks are in different subnets it is a Layer 3 router rather than a Layer-2 Ethernet switch (which doesn't process IP headers at all). In many use cases the router is also a WiFi AP.
  5. The new firmware is definitely more reliable, presumably by fixing the EEE issue. I can now cascade two ERs without issue. However, as a few others have reported I also find the original firmware to sound better. In comparison, the new firmware is too smooth and not as alive sounding as before. Even the video quality seems to be flatter. Would Alex/John be so nice to offer a version of the firmware that just fixes the EEE issue and kept the rest the same? This sort of thing often is system dependent and obviously many likes the new firmware's sound so if both EEE-fixed firmware versions can be made available it's actually not a bug, it is a feature! Please kindly consider it. Much appreciated!
  6. Not sure about the new X5 but my F30 can play FLAC files.
  7. I have been using the UltraCap LPS 1.2 to power the ER. I will try using a more ordinary LPS (KECES) to power it later to see if it makes any difference. Hopefully not then I can repurpose the UC elsewhere. Otherwise I'll have to get another UC for my second ER. Bad for the wallet.
  8. Updated Impressions After Run-in I have my ERs running continuously for a couple days so it's time to reassess it. Previously I found connecting the uplink to the SFP port sounds better than the normal A port. This turns out to be due to (lack of) run-in. Now I realize that the ER fresh out of the box sounded rolled-off in the treble (which is consistent with some other members' reports) and was not as transparent as the SFP port. After run-in it changes significantly - it now sounds smooth and resolving. The difference between the A port and the SFP port is now very very slight, with the SFP port perhaps a bit brighter but the A port is smoother and quieter. Now I prefer the normal A port over the SFP port running copper Ethernet for the uplink. I wonder if the SFP cage has the same isolation transformers as the normal A ports? Perhaps Alex/John can shed some light on this. I'll revisit this once I receive the fiber SFP modules. Internal Clock vs External NewClassD NeutronStar-2 10Mhz Clock The NS2 clock is powered by a KECES DC-116 LPS at 12V. A short matching 50-ohm coaxial cable is used to connect it to the 50-ohm version ER. The NS2 clock has a few days' continuous run-in. The two clocks do sound different but the difference is very small after run-in. The NS2 clock has a slightly more lit-up treble than the internal clock which can be appealing in darker sounding systems. In comparison, the internal clock is smoother, have a deeper soundstage, and slightly better resolution. This suggests that the internal clock probably has lower noise floor than the external NS2 clock. I'm not sure if more run-in will change things but at this point I found the internal clock to be a better and simpler option. Cascading ERs So I tried this again, using two configs. First is with the Internet uplink, Roon ROCK, and link to the second ER all on the A side. Second is with the Roon ROCK moved to B side. In both cases Roon exhibited some connectivity issues. When it works I can't really say if there is any difference at all so I think the ER is working as intended, at least in these two configurations. In retrospect I should have tested linking the upstream ER's B port to the downstream ER's A port. Maybe next time once I receive the fiber SFP modules. Removing Other Devices from A Side I tried removing all other devices (ATV-4K, AV Receiver) except for the uplink from the ER's A ports to see if that will improve the sound. I did some back-and-forth comparison and honestly the difference is so small I could have imagined it so I think the ER again is working as intended! Summary So the key findings here are: (a) run-in is a must before serious comparisons can be made; and (b) the ER performs exactly as predicted by Alex/John - practically immune to upstream and concurrent connections in the A ports, and superb internal clock performance. Congratulations to Alex/John for a fine piece of well-engineered component!
  9. I got them from taobao. Need to custom order the heatsink in black. Here are the links: Heatsink: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a1z09. Tape: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a1z09.
  10. I custom ordered heatsinks for the ER (and also Ultracap LPS). The key is to use a heat-transfer tape (blue one) to bond it to the case. The ER runs at ~46 degree w/o heatsink and the latter reduced the temp by ~3 degrees (measured at the case, not the heatsink). Works quite well.
  11. Well my ATV-4K is plugged into one of the A ports, not the B port so it has full 1Gbps bandwidth. The surprising thing is that even that improves the sound and picture of the ATV-4K, compared to my Cisco switch with LPS. I haven't tried plugging the ATV-4K to the B port as I need that for the streamer PC but I think even 100Mbps is more than sufficient for 4K streaming as the incoming link on the A side is 1Gbps. Try it and see if you like it!
  12. External Clock A quick note on using the newclassd Neutron Star 2 10Mhz clock with the EtherRegen. The NS2 defaults to output clock signal at 5V which is not compatible with the ER. At 5V all ER leds lights up correctly and flashing but the link became very unstable, presumably due to input clock signal clipping. I did a speedtest and only got 2Mbps. Next I reconfigured the NS2 to output clock signal at 3.3V and all is well. Speedtest showed 90+Mbps up/down streams. So if one is using external clock make sure it outputs 3.3V or thereabout. This is not the section for sound impressions so I'll just say that the NS2 clock sounded very very different from the internal clock (does this ever end?). Can't say which is better at this point so will let them run-in before doing comparisons. Btw, if anyone is trying NS2 you can buy ready-made coaxial cable at digikey: http://d.digikey.com/LD10KX02iATF0SzQL0N070p
  13. Received my ERs today and spent the day setting it up and did some evaluations. If you just want the conclusion then: don't walk, run to buy one for your system! Okay, now all the details. First my setup (see my system for the audio/video config). Network Setup: (a) ISP Router (Huawei) > GBE > Netgear R7000 (router mode, DHCP server) > Long and lousy GBE cable > ER > Streacom Win10 PC w/ Roon > USB ... (b) NUC ROCK also connects to Netgear R7000 via GBE (c) UTP cables are mostly Bluejeans CAT-6 plus a few others Power Setup: (a) Netgear R7000 and NUC ROCK on Teradak LPS (b) Roon PC on Teradak ATX LPS (c) EtherRegen on UltraCap LPS1.2 on Teradak LPS, EtherRegen grounded to mains Earth ground via ext clock BNC shell. First Impressions: The ER replaced the common Cisco switch which the latter was modded to be powered by the UC LPS1.2. First impressions are: (a) Cleaner across the board with better sense of the ambiance cues. This results in deeper soundstage where instruments previously buried in the background can now be more easily heard. I kept hearing new things in familiar tracks. (b) The ER gets rid of some slight digital artifacts which are most prominent in the treble range, such as female vocal and violin. (c) The sound is much more organic and sounds very much like good vinyl - it's not just smooth sounding mind you, as too smooth could loose resolutions. Here with the ER resolution jumps upward a few notch and at the same time sounded natural and inviting. I kept raising the vol of the amplifier as I can now listen much louder without stress. The sound just blossoms and you keep wanting more of it. Now this is clearly just first impressions as there was not run-in time at all but I am one happy camper already. Cascaded EtherRegen: Okay I bought two ERs as there were reports using other audiophile switches that cascading them further improves the sound. I tested that by installing the second ER upstream between the Netgear R7000 and the long and lousy GBE cable connecting to the downstream ER. I also moved the NUC ROCK to the upstream ER for obvious reasons. Initially it didn't work - because the upstream ER's B side is 100Mbps only but in the downstream ER I connected the upstream link to a copper module plugged into the SFP port which is 1Gbps only. Switching the link to the downstream ER to another A port solved the problem. Now what about the sound? Well, surprisingly it is not positive. In comparing to a single ER the cascaded setup sounded too smooth which rounded attacks and seemingly lowered resolution. I quickly reverted back to the single ER configure and more surprisingly it did not fully restore the sound - halfway maybe but definitely not as good as before. Then I realized the ER's uplink was connecting to a normal A port so I swapped that back to the copper-module SFP port and voila the good sound is back! What this means is that the normal A ports sound different from the SFP port - the latter sounded better in fact! How this is possible is beyond me but that's what I heard. This also implies that the cascaded ER setup was perhaps handicapped by its inability to use the SFP port. I originally installed a copper GBE module to the SFP port only because I needed the extra port. It is a pleasant surprise that using it as the uplink (to the ROCK/Qobuz) sounds even better. In case anyone wonder the module was from fs.com: Cisco GLC-T Compatible 1000BASE-T SFP Copper RJ-45 100m Transceiver Module #11773. An Extra Surprise: If you're still reading then I have another pleasant surprise for you. I have a home theater where I use the Apple TV 4K for Netflix. Naturally I connected the ATV-4K to the ER and when I fired up the projector I was stunned by the improvement in picture quality! The picture appeared to be more solid and the black is much deeper. This really blew me away and frankly the ER is worth it for the improvement in picture quality alone. The sound was also improved, not as significant as in the 2-Ch setup but still clearly discernible. If you have a video streamer then the ER is a must try! Future Work: I now put the second ER in a branch network connecting PCs, NAS, etc., for run-in. I'll likely be getting a second copper GBE SFP for it and possibly give the cascaded ER setup another go. I also have a newclassd NS2 10Mhz clock to experiment with so plenty to try. That's it for now. Thanks for reading!
  14. Thanks. I just tried it again and the problem does not recur so I guess it's a fluke. The CPU thing I narrow it down to playing back audio. Even if the playback is paused it still consumes ~10% CPU time. However if I stop it then it returns to 0%. So I think it's normal behavior then.
  15. I just upgraded to v.3.5 and then Audirvana stops working. When I press play it flash a fraction of a second playing and then back to as nothing, as if it has not been played. I also notice that it is running very sluggish and task manager shows a constant 15%+ CPU util even when nothing is playing. Anyone got any ideas? Thanks.
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