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About gstew

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    Rabid Audio Tweaker & DIY'er

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    MS, US

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  1. I've played with using ferrite core chokes (mostly the clamp-on type) since the late 1990's. Where I've found them useful: - On the AC cords of any non-audio-system household electronics and appliances... washers, dryers, microwaves, refrigerators, garage door openers, lamps (ESPECIALLY THOSE WITH DIMMERS!), phone chargers, laptop power supplies, computers & peripherals, basically anything plugged into your AC line in the house that MIGHT make noise! - On the AC cords and DC cables of any audio system pure-digital gear... NASs, USB drives, switches & routers, FMCs, source computers in a 2-computer setup... basically everything up to the endpoint. Also if you have gear that have separate AC connections for digital versus analog sections, on the digital side (I do this when I modify gear such as my Sony HAP Z1-ES). - Ethernet cables, especially prior to the connection to your endpoint in a 2-computer setup. I've not found them useful on any analog signal, power, or AC cables. Occasionally on the AC and DC power connections to some endpoints, but as the endpoints get better, less useful... for example I found them useful on a stock RPi endpoint with iFi or other SMPSs or just average linear supplies, not useful on RPis modified with all-linear regulators replacing the DC-DC converters OR with a USBBridge Signature where I'd use them with very good linear power. I treat AC noise control with a 'defense-in-depth'... ferrites on household appliances and other AC-connected items that will produce noise in the house along with local parallel noise filters, audio system computer & network gear on a separate AC circuit with extensive parallel filtering (especially when using a galvanic isolation barrier such as optical networking or an EtherRegen), and good power regeneration (PS Audio Power Plants) along with pre-regeneration parallel filtering. In my setup and to my ears, it all makes a difference! Greg in MIssissippi P.S. Thanks Barrows for your Charles Hanson ferrite story. I'd heard part of that before, but not the part of using a tape demagnitizer on the ferrites to restore them. I'll add that to my regular maintenance regime!
  2. What I posted a week or so ago: On 10V vs 12V, I don't remember seeing any controlled tests that suggested a preference. Greg in Mississippi
  3. @Heckyman and anyone else interested, The SD Card Players such as the SDTrans384 and DIY'd ones based on inexpensive ones from EBay CAN provide a very good I2S source for feeding an I2S-connected DAC, either DIY or the few commercially available ones. In addition, the SDTrans384 includes a wired S/PDIF output and a PS Audio-style I2S-over-HDMI cable output for use with other DACs. AND with a bit of DIY work you can add those to the inexpensive EBay units. Benefits CAN BE a top-notch I2S feed for great sound. Of course that is all dependent on power supplies, clocks, good (and for native I2S, SHORT!) signal routing, and other implementation details. Use of one of these is not by itself a guarantee of good results. Drawbacks are due to the limited source material you can fit on an SD Card... typically the units will operate with 32Gb or 64Gb cards max. AND the SDTrans384 won't read compressed files, which for PCM limits you to non-compressed WAV files. I have a likely mid-sized library of roughly 1.5Tb of music files, most in FLAC, so roughly 2Tb uncompressed. You have to deal with making the music you want to hear available to use on the player, which can be setting up a process for easily copying it to an SD card or pre-loading a bunch of cards with your preferred music and cataloging which card contains what. Definitely back to the stone-age (or vinyl / CD age) for content management. AND they don't support streaming at all, though with some care and advanced DIY'ing, I suspect you can create a setup that supports both. As I've posted here and other places, I implemented an SDTrans384 setup in an effort to get a good reference for my DIY efforts. It has served well in that capacity for several years. In my thirst for the best sound, I'd put up with limited and kludgy access to my music library. Over that time some upgrades to both the SDTrans384 and the attached Soekris DAM DAC along with the attendant power supplies have kept them at the forefront. In Mid-2018 I modified a couple RPi 2B with LDOVR.COM's RPi Mezzanine board to replace the RPi's DC-DC converters with good linear regulation, I felt that setup with the best power supplies I then used put an RPi-based network player at roughly the same level as the SDTrans384 sourced setup when used with basic power supplies. While that configuration didn't challenge the SDT/SDD combo's sonic supremacy in my setups, it was getting into the same range. My recent moves to the USBBridge Signature as an RPi replacement AND Uptone Audio's EtherRegen as my switch have together made such a difference that I suspect once I take the time to compare the SDTrans84-connected Soekris DAC setup to my RPi/USBBridge Sig-connected one, now the SQ difference may be so small that the limitations and headaches of using the SD-Card players may no longer be worthwhile. I'll try that sometime next year and report back. More info: SDTrans384: https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-source/142562-microsd-memory-card-transport-project.html https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/group-buys/260565-gb-sdtrans384-micro-sd-card-digital-transport.html?highlight=sdtrans384 http://www.tirnahifi.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3705 Other SDCard Players: http://www.tirnahifi.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3750&start=20 http://www.tirnahifi.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=4541 https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-source/285630-sd-card-memory-flac-wav-192-24-player-ess-crescendo-ii-ak4495-dv20a.html https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/55533-audiophile-sd-card-transport/page/6/ https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/55818-qls-quloos-qa361-dap-as-servertransportplayer/?tab=comments http://www.tirnahifi.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4682 https://www.ecdesigns.nl/en/ (currently offering USB-Stick players, used to offer SD Card Players) Greg in Mississippi
  4. See this post in the Firmware update thread... I felt the author did a good job of describing the experience of the process. Greg in Mississippi
  5. I have 2 Shanti here in daily use, powering a USBBridge Signature in each of my 2 setups. I like them a lot and feel in that appication they compete with much more expensive commercial units and my over the top DIY efforts. See my comments on using the unit in posts 222, 258, and 594 of this thread on DIYAudio.com: https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/vendor-s-bazaar/337859-shanti-dual-lps-5v-3a-5v-1-5a.html I did compare them with some LPS-1.2 setups (LPS-1.2 singly and 2 paralleled via a dual-section MPAudio 3-paralleled LT3045 board) and found it was roughly equivalent in my opinion with some tradeoffs. AND definitely less expensive! To definitively beat the Shanti for powering DAC / digital interface cards and USBBridge Signature's, I have to use supplies that float-charge a pair of 325F Ultracaps as the final output buffer. These sound amazing, but are clearly expert-level supplies that have to be pre-charged before use and require a lot of care in use lest one blow up either the charging power supply or what is being powered. IF you have to have it explained to you, you really don't want to use them. They are THAT challenging! The good thing is that the Shanti, with a 3.3F Ultracap pair as output buffers on each rail give you a good taste of what one can get with a 100x larger buffer! LOL... I agree with @nbpf on the form factor and captive cables, BUT I also don't expect much in and from a $160USD power supply with 2 outputs. In that context, I think the Shanti produces an amazing performance at the price, punches WAY above its weight class, and recognize that a more convenient form factor and better cables would have likely increased the cost and may have compromised performance. I also totally agree with @Tucker on vibration damping for the Shanti. See my comments in post 335 of the above thread and poster @chipsahoy in post 349. Greg in Mississippi
  6. @Heckyman, No I have not. I use the Logitech Squeezebox architecture with the RPi endpoint with the PiCorePlayer distro/Squeezelite SW combo. Playing local files would require running the LMS music server software on the RPi and my experience has been getting the best SQ out of computer audio means the lowest SW load one can achieve on the player. SO I'd expect that to be a step backwards. BUT honestly, I haven't tried it. If you scan the Uptone Audio ER Listening Impressions thread, you'll see comments that the ER brought streamed source up to the level of local file-served source. BUT that is not the same as what you're asking. Sorry, I can't help you here. OTOH, see my comments on TirNaHiFi here: http://www.tirnahifi.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=4541&p=89937#p89937 Summary... my reference digital playback source is a modified SDTrans384 SD-card player. In an effort to close the gap between that and my file-served music, I modified a couple of RPi 2B's with all-linear regulated voltage rails from an LDOVR.com Mezzanine board replacing the noisier on-board DC-DC converters. This took the RPi source into the realm of the SD player, though as the lowest level of that unit's range. When I got the USBBridge Sigs in, I had been running my RPi setups using those modified RPi and the USBBridge Sig was a significant step up from them. With the additional jump in SQ from the ER, I now know I need to recompare this source to the SD card player to see where they stand. I'm not expecting the file-served music through the ER on the USBBridge Sig to beat the SD card player, but I suspect it is VERY close to parity now. BUT honestly, the results I'm getting now are so good that I've lost much of my will to even do these comparisons and have been focused more on DAC and power supply upgrades and getting more of my music library available on my LMS server. Greg in Mississippi P.S. I've posted this elsewhere, but I think it bears repeating here. I was not expecting a significant SQ boost out of the ER. My main reason for wanting them in my systems was to eventually make use of hi-quality upsampling with SW like HQPlayer, which will require MUCH more powerful (NOISY!!!) music server computers. My networked music servers setups are very low-power Zotac picocomputers feeding a switch selected for good SQ (ZyXEL) and a optical link to eliminate the possibility of ground noise contamination, again with FMCs selected for SQ (Trendnet sending, Delock receving). ALL of the gear was powered by at least DIY'd linear supplies with crucial pieces (switch and receiving FMC) powered by Uptone Audio LPS-1.2s. I modified the receiving Delock FMCs with linear regulation. AND the music files were stored on an SD card into the picocomputer which I found sounded better than a USB stick in this setup. Given all of that I was expecting a modest SQ boost from the ER. I got much more.
  7. @matthias, Actually I already have. I have used the ER in 2 setups, both using a USBBridge Sig as the player endpoint. One has a somewhat modified Katana stack, the other a somewhat modified Ian GB FiFoPi/Dual-Mono ES90338Q2M/IVStd stack. Both benefited greatly from the ER. I strongly suspect the USBBridge Sig works synergistically with the ER. If you look at my last 12 or so posts on this board, almost all are raves about the ER in these setups. AND my emails to Ioan at Allo about this have been even more enthusiastic! Interestingly, I felt the Katana setup benefited more from the addition of the ER. Before the ER, I would have put my Ian GB setup a little ahead of the Katana. Now I'd say the tables have reversed. Though I'm listening to a different discrete opamp in Ian's IVStd tonight as I type and the tables may have turned again... will see after I get some hours on them. Greg in Mississippi
  8. @ray-dude, Thanks for that very measured, organized, and informative report. Honestly, after getting my ER in and through a couple hundred hours of run-time, things sound so good I've lost my will to try different things out with it and have instead been focused on listening to music and trying various options and tweaks on the downstream side to see where I can take my setup. I did do a couple of quick trials with lesser linear supplies than the 2xLPS-1.2 paralleled via a dual-section MPAudio 3||LT0345 board. They confirmed that the dual LPS-1.2 setup was superior, though I haven't put the stock SMPS back in to see how it compares again. Based on your comments, I'll soon try a single LPS-1.2 soon alone and also with an MPAudio single 3||LT0345 board just for reference. Based on using the dual LPS-1.2 / MPAudio setup powering RPi endpoints (stock, modifed with linear regulators replacing the DC-DC converters, and the very nice Allo USBBridge Signature, basically an audiophile RPi) along with my SDTrans384 SD card player and other various DIY DACs, I expect the dual setup to come out on top. Of course I'm using about $1000 of power supply setup for the ER. AND sorry, living in rural Mississippi, I don't have access to a PH SR4 to throw into the mix. And I'm curious what @kennyb123 finds with the Farad supplies. I suspect they will work very well too. My current top DIY DAC supplies use an LPS-1.2 charging a ultracap pair. BUT part of why I do DIY is that I can do things that are difficult, dangerous, or expensive to build into a commercial product. From what I've read, Farad uses roughly 4F UCs in their supplies, presumably some number in series based on a unit's output voltage due to the typical 2.7V max per UC. In contrast I've been using a pair of 350F(!!!) UCs for each of the rails (typically 2) on my DIY DACs. And another pair for the 5V to the USBBridge Sig. This has to be heard to be appreciated, especially in comparison to other supplies I have available. AND I suspect it will be VERY difficult to turn something like this into a product, as at a safe 1/4 amp charging rate it takes roughly 1/2 hour to get a 350F UC pair charged to 3.3V with 5V taking a little longer. AND I have a pair of 3000F UCs to try on the USBBridge Signature 5V supply based on the recommendation of another over-the-top DIY friend! I'm expecting overnight charging for these! I say this because I DO need to try a 4-350F UC string at 10V into the ER, energized by the dual LPS-1.2 setup I use now. Could be interesting! Honestly, based on what I'm hearing, the ER DOES work very well with the stock SMPS. AND my experience (and why I do this DIY thing), better power always produces better sound! Greg in Mississippi P.S. Since I wrote this, I saw your cable comparison too. THANKS! I haven't experimented much here yet, thanks for a great guide forward @ray-dude!
  9. Not a single one that I know of. See John Swenson's comments on the various LPS-1/1.2 threads to understand that topic better if you don't already. AND read the monster 'A novel way to massively....' thread and others to see reports on various power supplies that suggest that leakage matters but is not everything. Jud, You hit the nail on the head. I still need to do some comparisons with much more humble supplies and see how they do. BUT if I can't improve over a $50 or so supply with a roughly $1000 setup, I need to turn in my DIY'er / Tweaker secret decoder ring! Greg in Mississippi
  10. An ER Firmware Upgrade experience… Alex sent it to me as I had an interesting issue with my somewhat unique setup when I first put in the ER a couple of weeks ago. I have a very simple setup with no streaming and not even a connection to the Internet. I have a Zotac picocomputer I use as an file server (Logitech LMS server) and an old 2.4G WiFi router I use as an access point for connection via a cellphone to control the system. They were both connected to a ZyXEL switch which fed a sending Trendnet FMC (sounded better than the TP-Link ones I had here) and that connected to fed a slightly-modified DeLock receiving FMC (added a 3.3V regulator on board so I could feed it with a good linear supply instead of the included SMPS). When I got the ER, I pulled the 2 FMCs and the ZyXEL switch out and connected everything to the ER. I could not get a connection to the file server via the WiFi even though the lights on the jacks were blinking. I played around with it a little and found that bringing the ZyXEL switch back, connecting it to the ER, and connecting EITHER the Zotac file server OR the WiFi Router through the switch to the ER A side worked ok. Weird! I’d been in touch with Alex about the issue (it is such an un-common system that I didn’t want to trouble-shoot in the forum) and he sent me the firmware update to try. First, Alex’s instructions were flawless and it worked like a charm as described with no issues. Second, when I pulled the ER to do the update, I just connected everything back into the ZyXEL. Instant SQ drop. YUCK! I’m GUESSING that was due to the increased noise fed via the Ethernet connection into my endpoint even though the bits being played were ones still in the buffer that had been transmitted via the ER (my setup will play several minutes after disconnecting the input to the endpoint). I did the firmware upgrade and went back to the system. It might have been my imagination, but the SQ drop seemed larger. Possibly because now the bits being played came through the ZyXEL with no ER regeneration. DOUBLE YUCK!!!! I put the ER back in with the setup configured just like before and things worked as before. Then I tried reconnecting everything through the ER and now it worked ok without the ZyXEL switch! Happy camper. AND my impression was that the overall SQ went up a notch post firmware update. Most notable was better definition and dynamics at very low levels (while my wife is home and I can’t play it as loud as I like). A winner got even better! Greg in Mississippi
  11. We're these 6" StarTech cables Cat6, Cat6A, or something else? Thx! Greg in Mississippi
  12. LOL... if @joelha is a card-carying audiophile, I suspect I'm considered a rabid audiophile! @catman, You're welcome. I remember reading that report on the double rail SR-7. I also remember @tubelover's (RIP) and others comments on the positive effects of cascaded LT3045 regulator modules. Of course, feeding the MPAudio dual 3||LT3045 modules with LPS-1.2's actually gives you triple regulation... each Ultracap string has an output TPS7A400, followed by a paralleled pair of LT3045 which is then fed into a side of the MPAUdio board. Likely why it has worked well for me. I don't have any experience with MPAudio's L Series. But I suspect that would provide additional benefits, especially with an AC-connected power supply like the HD-PLEX200. AND while it doesn't feature 2 stages of regulation, I've heard very good things about the 'ideal diode bridge' setup as is used in the LSIB-HPULN. That product with a good transformer may be a good, lower cost alternative to the HD-PLEX200 coupled with a DC-input MPAudio board. Because of that, consider trying the HD-PLEX200 / MS-HPULN combo first in each of your applications, then get an LSIB-HPULN to try on the ER. The care Uptone put into the power network may reduce the sensitivity to alternative power. On soldering the precision resistors to make for trouble-free paralleling, I use small SMD resistors because I can. Good .1% leaded resistors should also fit where the pot is on the MPAudio boards and work just as well. Ask if he'll do that for you. On connectors, I use a high-current model aircraft connecter, the Deans Ultra Plug. You can find them at Horizon Hobby, your local hobby shop, OR you can find a Chinese copy at Amazon. I solder them directly on the MPAudio boards input and and output pads... IMHO, the best wire is no wire. AND if one must use wire, keep it as short as possible. From the LPS-1.2's to the inputs on the MPAUdio boards, I use short (6"-8") output leads fashioned from the Canare 4S6 as described by John Swenson in this thread: On the output side I'm using whatever short Dean to barrel connector leads I have around from other projects. At some point I'll replace them with some good Canare 4S6-based leads. On enclosures, sorry, I don't use no stinking enclosures. Honestly, I generally don't. All of my digital gear is DIY & subject to change. So it all sits out in the open with Kapton tape and heatshrink insulation where needed to prevent accidents. I used the dual LPS-1.2 / paralleling MPAudio board setups for the ER because they are one of the best setups I have here that I can run at 10V. For my lower-voltage (3.3V-5V) player and DAC supplies I'm going over to directly-connected LiFePO4 (3.3V or multiples only) or Ultracaps (325F-3000F!). With the Ultracaps (that have a much lower overall watt-hour capacity than the LiFePO4 cells) I float-charge them with either LPS-1.2 or good AC-connected linear supplies like the Allo Shanti. These combos are all expert level DIY supplies and I don't recommend them for an inexperienced DIY'er. BUT two commercial products that implement similar setups for a 10V-12V output are the the Cuinas Audio 10V Ultracap supplies or the Farad 10V or 12V supplies. I've read good things about these and would certainly consider them. Finally, I have some other less-expensive DIY options to try... modified Jameco Linear-Regulated wall warts replacing the 2 LPS-1.2 into the dual MPAudio board and a single 6||LT3045 MPAudio boards I can feed from a larger DIY AC-connected supply. Again, because of the sophistication of the ER power network, I wonder if these may work nearly as well as my more expensive dual LPS-1.2 option. I have some time off next week during the US Thanksgiving Day holiday and will try these and report back. Greg in Mississippi
  13. @Superdad, Absolutely. Sorry for starting it in this thread. Could you move the relevant posts to a 'EtherRegen Power and Cable Experiences' thread? OR if it is better (and can be done), I can start that thread and you could move the posts there afterwards. Let me know. Greg in Mississippi
  14. @cat6man, first, my apology... it is mpaudio.net. I have edited my post above. Back when he started he sold un-populated boards on DIYAudio. I bought several of these. The ones on his website today that are closest to what I built are his MD-HPULN PS. The boards I used are an earlier version of this. I modify them by not populating the rectifier diodes as I feed it DC. You could also use his DC-input-only SD-HPULN. As I populated them myself, my builds are a bit different than stock. The LT3045 regulators and associated chip caps and resistors are nearly identical to his products. Instead of a pot on each side to set the voltage out, I use an SMD 33K resistor (that gives 9.85V... 33.4K will get you closer to my 10V target) that I solder across the input/output through-holes where the pot would go. I use electrolytic caps that I've had good results with in other builds, United ChemiCon KYB series. AND I directly solder some high-current connectors onto the board at the input and output sides. If you went for an SD-HPULN from him or an MD-HPULN setup for DC input, replaced the pots with 33K or 33.4K precision resistors (leaded resistors would work as well and be easier to use... also ask, he may be able to do this if you are not comfortable with soldering), paralleled the outputs, and fed each input with an LPS-1.2 set to 12V, your results would be very similar to mine. Greg in Mississippi
  15. That was how I felt for the first 3 or so days. BUT last night I put in my target power setup for the ER... 2 LPS-1.2's set to 12V with each feeding 1/2 of an MPAudio.net dual-section 3||LT3045 regulator board with both halves set to 10V (using .1% resistors to keep them REALLY closely mattched) with the outputs tied together to parallel the LPS-1.2 outputs. This is a setup I have used with much success to power sources such as RPi's, Allo's USBBridge SIgnature, and my SDTrans384 SD Card Player. Compared to a good 2A-3A linear supply 1 LPS-1.2 seemed to have lessened dynamics although it clearly had quieter backgrounds and more clarity. Paralleling 2 this way brought the dynamics into parity with the AC-connected supply with no negative impacts. Using this setup replacing either the stock SMPS OR a good (but not great) linear supply turned my ER into a dynamics and emotive expression MONSTER!!!! AND kept all the subtleties and increased bass definition and separation between instruments / voices and greater harmonic density and etc etc etc... BUT turned them all up to 20! Longer report in the next few days. I didn't think I could be this happy with a single upgrade! Edit... and as Dutch said below, the DC-DC converter John/Alex uses does not behave the same as a linear regulator. It will run about the same temp or even lower with a higher voltage input. AND the voltage to the downstream linear regulators will always be the same As far as the sonics with a different supply, see above! Greg in Mississippi
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