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austinpop

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Everything posted by austinpop

  1. Thanks. A very kind AS'er from this thread reterminated the cable for me, and it is working great! I love this community.
  2. Thanks for sharing! It's great to hear that these changes have brought you sonic improvements. As you know, my baseline setup is also a Meze Empyrean with Chord HMS/TT2. I find I am listening to my HD800 less and less. Yup, all excellent steps. You should reach out directly to the cable manufacturers, and see if they can special build you a cable with the right connector. Adapters are definitely a compromise. Some people swear by the epiphany wrought by a different Ethernet cable, but strictly in my experience and my system, the Ethernet cable effect is smaller than the USB cable. YMMV. I hear you. If you do succumb to the siren call, you can do it in 2 steps, by going with the HMS first, then after the coffers recharge, the TT2. You're welcome.
  3. Hi all, It seems this thread has gone quiet in terms of posts by some of the "regulars" who have followed it from the beginning. My assumption, or at least hope, is that people are just happy with their systems now, and hence have no reason to post. So as a way to revitalize this thread, I have a proposal. Please consider posting a description your system in its current state. If possible, please showcase which of the optimizations we've covered in this thread's long history you've tried, and what you found. You can be as terse or verbose as you want. For example, here's an update I posted on July 31: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/?do=findComment&comment=977429 BTW - this isn't just for old-timers. New followers of this thread are welcome to join in. I just want the focus to be on: changes that have resulted in SQ improvement, as experienced by direct listening changes in the general area of the digital transport chain upstream of the DAC, which is the primary focus of this thread - although we do stray from time to time! Feel free to share where you think you might optimize next, or if you're done optimizing (i.e. "happy"), say so. To jog your memories, I'm listing the categories of optimizations that we have covered over the lifetime of this thread. I very likely may have missed a category or two. But you get the idea. Bridging Ethernet interfaces on music server Better PSUs (upstream of DAC) Better quality system clocks for USB, Ethernet, and system Better quality word clocks - for example in DDCs like Mutec MC-3+, SOtM dX-USB HD Ultra, Singxer DC-1 Reference 10MHz clocks USB regenerators Ethernet regenerators (switches) Standalone vs. distributed - where did you land? Endpoint optimization - NUCs etc Server optimization - mobos, cards, etc OS optimization - AL, Euphony etc Music SW optimization - Roon, HQPlayer, SL, Stylus etc Assorted: Digital cables - USB, Ethernet, clock, etc Power cables Power optimizations Dedicated circuits Regenerators, conditioners, isolation transformers etc. Cable shielding - JSSG, JSSG360 Isolators, filters Grounding - JSGT, etc Fuses Other accessories
  4. Here is another update on Euphony OS with ramroot. I am running a standalone server. The more I listen to ramroot with additional musical selections and genres, the more I am noticing how much it improves over the non-ramroot case on my system. The 2 scenarios I mostly run in my system are: Roon+StylusEP Stylus (no HQPlayer, no upsampling) In general, while the benefit is quite significant on Roon+StylusEP, I feel the scenario that shows the biggest benefit is Stylus. This has caused the SQ gap between Stylus and Roon+StylusEP to increase further, which is honestly bittersweet for me, since I much prefer the Roon UI. Before the ramroot fix came along, I had gotten into a pattern of doing most of my listening on Roon+StylusEP, even though I knew Stylus sounded somewhat better. Now the difference is just too big to ignore. I still listen to Roon+StylusEP for exploration, discovery, and if I'm "grazing," but for any sustained listening, I take the trouble to switch to Stylus and listen there. I also tried to compare SQ in ramroot with "Use cache" enabled vs. disabled. This only applies to Stylus, as Roon Core does not interact with the cache. Also, when comparing, it's important to check that you are indeed listening to the cached version. The easy way to do that is to click on the album thumbnail on the bottom left of the screen, which opens up a full screen detailed view. One of the fields shows the location of the file. If a file is in cache, it will be in /data/Music/E_CACHE/... At least to my ears, the "Use cache" case sounds better with ramroot, just like it did without ramroot. Another caveat to note: my music files live on a NAS, so loading the original music file occurs over the network. It's possible that if your music lives on a locally attached disk, your findings may be different.
  5. For those testing with Stylus, one other experiment to try is to see if caching - via the "Use Cache" flag makes a sonic difference when in ramroot mode. I was unclear about how caching works, so got some more insight from Željko. Here are the salient points: the cache is maintained in the /data/Music/E_CACHE directory NOTE: this directory is NOT loaded into RAM in ramroot mode, because it is on a separate disk partition on first play of a file, the stream is loaded from the original location, while in the background, the file is copied into the cache subsequent plays load from the copy in the cache The cache is allowed to grow until the free space in the /data partition falls below a threshold of some N GB. After that any new additions to cache result in evictions using a standard LRU policy.
  6. First, with regard to your question above. Optane's 3-D X-Point design may be faster than traditional SSD NAND, but it is still nowhere as fast as DRAM. For reference, see this table from Intel: Source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/21/storage_approaches_memory_speed_with_xpoint_and_storageclass_memory/ For this workload shown (not specified) Optane access is 35x slower than DRAM. Note that SSD is much slower - "...150 times slower than DRAM for writes and 600 times slower for reads." Obviously the exact numbers will vary with workload and different brands, but the basic point is clear - Optane's latency is still much higher than DRAM, while much lower than NAND SSD. But all that said, this experiment being discussed here isn't related to the speed of Optane. It's to try ramroot mode on Euphony, just like it's been used on AudioLinux for all this while. Plenty of users are using ramroot on AL, while using Optane as their persistent storage. They still hear improved SQ. The question being posed here, and what people testing the prototype are trying to determine with their ears is - is the same true with Euphony OS? My ears tell me - yes.
  7. Not a dumb question, and no apology necessary! Loading the OS from an NVMe SSD (which is what your internal Optane drive is) is different from Ramroot: In normal mode, the boot loader will load the operating system (Euphony or AL, since both are based on Arch Linux) from the partition on the SSD that contains the root filesystem, i.e. that contains the / filesystem. In Ramroot mode, the boot loader proceeds with an extra step. Early in the boot process, it creates a RAM disk partition (/dev/zram0) in memory, copies the contents of the / partition from the SSD to this partition, and then completes the boot from this RAM disk partition. What this means is that the filesystem containing the kernel and the OS files is now completely in RAM. Why exactly this sounds better is yet to be explained, although a lot of theories abound, having to do with reducing the latency of OS operations due to all OS files being in RAM.
  8. For folks who are using Euphony OS, you may be interested in this. Željko now has an experimental build where he has implemented ramroot support, which can be enabled/disabled from the Expert Settings area of the UI. I've been trying it out for a couple of days, and my results so far have been promising. Just like in AL, enabling ramroot (loading the root partition into a RAM disk, and then booting from it) results in a definite uptick in sound quality. Željko wants to get a few more proof points before releasing it, and asked me to convey this call for testers. If you're interested in testing it out, and reporting your results here in this thread, please reach out to him by opening a support ticket in the Euphony system.
  9. Cool your jets, brother! Anything a manufacturer says prior to a product's actual release is a claim, which remains to be verified once it's real. I'm not putting down Uptone when I say that. Many of us here are eagerly awaiting the EtherRegen, and hoping it sounds outstanding. If indeed it also eliminates all differences in Ethernet cables (and end world hunger while it's at it), that will be an interesting result. I'm not sure they ever made that claim - do you have a link to a post by @Superdad or @JohnSwenson where that was claimed? This thread has always been about actual listening experience, not speculation and conjecture. So until the EtherRegen is in people's hands, let's table this discussion. BTW - this is what John Swenson recently wrote on the EtherRegen thread. Recently as in yesterday. Note the phrase "the fully functional EtherREGEN simply does not exist at this point in time."
  10. Speculation is pointless. Wait until the product is out, and test it for yourself.
  11. Taste is such a personal thing. I found the opposite. The Roth did nothing for me, but I really like the Vänskä, even if it's not my absolute favorite 1st. For that, my nod goes to: MTT San Francisco Symphony Benjamin Zander, Philharmonia Orchestra That said, I love your blog. Keep the reviews coming.
  12. Indeed. Nenon, if you're interested, I looked into this interrupt behavior in the context of another workload: Squeezelite with large buffers on AL in ramroot. Different code, but similar behavior on the network. Here's the link: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/54933-audiolinux-and-nuc-troubleshooting-and-tuning/?do=findComment&comment=904234 Let's followup on that or the Euphony thread, as it's definitely OT here.
  13. Interesting scenario. I certainly have tracks that exceed 1GB in size. Are you referring to Stylus on Euphony OS - i.e. "Buffer before playing = 100%"? If so, while it is definitely true you'll incur the pre-load delay for the first track, it should not be an issue for subsequent tracks. Especially if you've also set the "Use Cache" flag. In that case, all tracks that are added to the Queue start getting loaded into the local filesystem cache, from where they are then loaded to RAM for playback. While you'll wait for the first track to transfer, the remaining tracks will transfer while you're listening. Additionally, the gapless playback algorithm in Stylus preloads the next track (from cache), so you really don't have to incur the delays on every track. That said, another place I've found 100Mbps to be limiting is during system upgrades, especially if it involves a full OS upgrade of the DAC-attached endpoint/server. Presumably, if you keep the NAS and the music server on the same side of the moat, while you don't get isolation, I'm guessing you still get reclocking? Good question.
  14. Good point. AirPlay does work. To be clear, this isn't Roon - you just need to have an Airplay server running on the DAC-connected machine (be it standalone music server, or streamer/endpoint), or the DAC itself in some cases, like dCS. I tried it with Euphony OS, one of whose modes is Airplay Server. I assume other endpoints have similar support. I was then able to run Jazz Groove on my laptop running MacOS/Chrome, and "cast" the output to the Airplay Server.
  15. I had the same thought... could PS Audio produce audiophile inverters using just the inverter stage of their regenerator products. I don't know what DC voltages these home solar/battery systems use, and how it compares to the internal DC used in the Power Plants.
  16. I read about this in Paul McGowan's blog today. I understand they're struggling, but unless they can supply the premium lossless streaming through Roon via URL, it's a tough sell...
  17. For my system, yes. Not sure. I’ve not tried the basic one.
  18. @Nenon has really addressed this in his answer above. There is no way I could even begin to give you the answer you want, because I have only heard a small handful of products, and there are a lot of choices out there. So yes - study this thread and focus on the listening reports. Then try to correlate findings with what you yourself have heard, and make up your own mind as to which reports are worthy enough for you to trust. I know over time, I have identified a set of contributors here whose findings I pay close attention to, and will act on their findings on faith - because their past findings have proved worthy to my ears. This is a kind of trust-building, and we all do it our own way. For example, when @romaz first reported his results with his sCLK-EX modified trifecta back in March 2017, it was a leap of faith for me to spend the $$$ to buy the same. Once I realized how much of an improvement I was hearing, I began to trust his findings much more. It's also important to "know thyself." There are two clear and parallel tracks here. One is the tweaky path, with spaghetti, mods, and DIY. The other is to stick with established products. Often people don't know themselves and find themselves on the wrong path. If you're not into tweaking, you may get very frustrated with the tweaks and spaghetti. Many people here do well to stick with established products, ranging from a few $100s to $10k+ for Innuos Statement, Pink Faun, and SGM Extreme. When I was first told that a cheap NUC could beat the performance of a sMS-200ultra Neo, I was incredulous. But since that time, I have directly experienced the benefit of powerful CPUs for SQ, the impact of OSes like AL and Euphony, while the benefits of low phase-noise clocks and low-noise, low-impedance power supplies continue to matter. And so this is my final point. This space is changing rapidly. What is thought to be "the best" today may not be tomorrow. I know this upsets a lot of people, but it's just a fact about digital streaming and audio - the pace of progress is still very fast. This is why I've chosen to stick to the experimental tweaky side of things. I'm not shy about investing in the things I'm convinced are always important - the best PSUs. This is why I've spent 1000s of $$ to acquire my Paul Hynes SR-7s. But for the other stuff (mobo, processor, adapters etc), if it turns out that tomorrow there is a new way to go, I'm not out a huge amount of money. I don't have an infinite budget. Even if I could afford to spend the $20-30k+ for the top solutions from PF, SGM, Aurender, and Innuos, I'm scared that they may be obsolete in a year or two.
  19. I’m ambivalent about some of Brautigam’s Mozart Piano Concerto recordings, but I’ve got to say his 27th on this album is spectacular.
  20. Fellow Austinite and Spectrum customer here. The max we can get in our neighborhood is 300Mbps down, 30 Mbps up. No complaints about downloads, but 30Mbps up is a bit painful for some use cases. For a while there was all this buzz about Google Fiber and AT&T GigiPower, but they always seem to start with the "underserved" areas, which is fine, but then there's been no expansion.
  21. Not really. I don't consider my build to be the "optimal." It was actually built by @romaz before he refined his choices for his next build, for which he picked a gaming Z390 board. Does the H370M sound worse than the Z390? Hard to say.
  22. Not all LSO recordings are great, but this one is marvelous. Got this from the B&W Society of Sound, back when it was a thing. How I miss it. Luckily this is on Qobuz too.
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