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About ray-dude

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    Person To Blame

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    Southern California

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  1. So true! When I got my Extreme, I spent more time studying it than any other piece of hardware since I got my NeXT '030 Cube WAY back in the day. I learned so much by studying the design decisions made by Emile and team, and I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface. There is as much (if not more) nuance in the configuration of the OS to match the hardware. As we heard during the Great Disruption, even a small change on the software side could have a profound impact on SQ. That cemented in my mind the criticality of synergy between SW/OS/HW to get optimum results from a digital chain. Emile and team's huge contribution is advancing the state of the art and showing what is possible. There are many paths up that mountain. Once folks know something is achievable, we will find ways to figure out how to get there, and along the way figure out what attributes/factors really matter the most.
  2. Not disappeared, still here and very much interested in all the ways folks are advancing the state of the art! As we've all seen along this journey, each mountain top is a chance to see the next possible peak to climb. I'm definitely again in climbing mode, but too soon to say what climbing paths and peaks are worth digging into.
  3. Because it has been that kind of week, the always incredible MA on SA from the incomparable Todd Garfinkle, paired with roasted tomato soup, ugly but tasty cuñapes, and a nice glass (or three) of Malbec...bliss (and these new SR Orange fuses are sounding better and better after each glass
  4. Geoff, I used this as the baseline for my setup: https://github.com/mjp66/Ubiquiti/blob/master/Ubiquiti Home Network.pdf Far more complex than most folks need, but you can filter down from here. My mods were to connect a second ERX-SFP (configured as a generic switch) to one of the ethernet ports for the home network, and connect my WiFi access point (with my WiFi VLANs) and home wired ethernet to the second ERX (this optically isolated my home ethernet and WiFi network from the first ERX) I also configured one of the other ethernet ports on the first ERX to have its own subnet and DHCP server, for my audio network. Basically, on the first ERX I have the above setup, with my audio net configured on its own subnet on the home network (192.168.9.x), the SFP port on the first ERX configured as part of the home network and connected to a second ERX via fiber (configured as generic switch) where the rest of my home network plugs in (WiFi, and wired ethernet) My first ERX is powered by a DXPWR dual regulated 12V supply, energized by a PowerAdd Pilot2 battery. Same supply is powering my ISP-provided ONT (basically the equivalent of a cable modem for fiber). My audio network is ERX ethernet port to Sonore opticalModule (powered by DXPWR dual regulated 5V supply, energized by PowerAdd Pilot2 battery) to Finisar SFP module to single mode fiber to Sinisar SFP module to StarTech optical NIC in my Extreme. See below for details
  5. Now there is an old friend! My '030 Cube is safely in a storage locker, as is the Megapixel Display case that some former coworkers kindly converted into a fish tank for me. Extraordinary how much of the future was invented from whole cloth 30 years ago...
  6. I've been in absolute denial about everything Nick has done and is doing with DC4 and DAVE. With my DC3-era SJ supply, the lift with DAVE was second only to mScaler, but at this point, I'd prefer the DC3 to mScaler with DAVE. Hope to be able to hear a DC4 in my chain soon, and fall completely off the denial wagon
  7. Jason Isbell has been opening up his vault of concert recordings, and making them available on Bandcamp. With Bandcamp's Friday "all proceeds go to the artist" deal, I picked up a bunch today. The Alabama date is absolutely lovely, and really captures the feel of being at an Isbell concert. Looking forward to giving the CO and NY dates a listen as well.
  8. I think the term VLAN can be confusing...it is a specific way to configure a network, while most folks are speaking to the general concept of isolating (fully or partially) a network, not setting up an actual VLAN. With the goal of minimizing network traffic seen by my music server (mainly background broadcast traffic), I looked at the following approaches: 1 (LAN) - Isolate my audio server on a dedicated audio network by configuring a dedicated network for a specific ethernet port on my ERX 2 (VLAN) - Isolate my audio server on a dedicated audio network by configuring a VLAN 3 (Subnet) - Isolate my audio server on a dedicated audio subnetwork I started with 1. In this situation, there was a firewall between my home network and my audio network. To allow my laptop (running Roon remote) to connect to my audio server, I set up a firewall rule that said that if I initiate a network session from my laptop to the music server, the firewall will allow traffic between the computers. Worked well, but I had to ping the music server to initiate a session before being able to use Roon remote. OK for me, but definitely not civilian friendly. I did however hear a marked improvement in SQ with the music server isolated from all the background network traffic, so I was encouraged to keep moving forward. With 2, in a VLAN you configure the network interface on devices to assign them a VLAN ID (1, 2, 3, etc). The router can then use the VLAN ID to configure virtual networks where only devices with the same VLAN ID can see each other. Same idea as 1, but you don't need a shared physical ethernet connection to manage isolation, so easier to move wired devices between VLANs without having to rewire the network. From a routing perspective, you need to play the same firewall rule tricks to allow traffic from one VLAN to the other VLAN. No net benefit to me over 1 I ended up with 3. I configured my ERX to have the ethernet port for my audio network on its own subnetwork (I happen to use 192.168.9.x), with a DHCP server for that subnet. In this configuration, routed network traffic can freely go between the subnet with my laptop/phone etc and the subnet with my music server (no firewall hacks needed). However, broadcast network traffic is not routed between subnets. Works like a charm. I should note that in all these scenarios, Roon relies on broadcast packets to discover roon devices/remotes/endpoints on the network. When you fire up Roon on your laptop, you will not see the Roon server on its own LAN/VLAN/subnet. On the Choose Your Roon Core it will sit there looking and nothing will show up. The trick is to hit the help link, which will allow you to enter the IP address of your Roon Core (on a different network). Once you do that, Roon will use routed traffic to make the connection with the Roon Core, and it will show up and work as normal. Net net, at this point if I disconnect the network connection to my music server, I honestly can not tell the difference (maybe the barest hint of a difference, but so vanishingly small that I have zero confidence in calling it a difference).
  9. Key to my new world order has been the high efficiency single driver speakers, driven directly by my DAC. It has allowed me to eliminate the cross over in the speaker (devastating to my sense of reality) and the amplifier (ditto, but less so with the right amp) My speaker drivers are 104dB sensitivity, so they are remarkably light and fast, and they are point source so I can have perfect phase alignment and no dispersion between drivers. My DAC (Chord DAVE) has remarkably low noise floor and remarkably fast dynamics, with only a couple of elements on out the output (the 2W "amp" is intrinsic to the analog output stage, so the analog signal goes through remarkably few components) It is the speaker that is the biggest compromise for "traditional" high fi for me. I came from B&W 802d3's and adore the B&W sound. These were life time dream speakers. As soon as I heard a modest $1400/pair set of Omega Super Alnico Monitors (single drivers), it was a revelation, and I knew I needed to leave the B&W dream behind. I struggled mightily for a long time to get that sense of reality from the B&Ws, but I just couldn't With the single drivers, the biggest things I give up are tonal balance, and the sense of "power" (not loudness...plenty loud even with 2W). Interestingly, I found that within a couple days my brain fully adjusts to tonal imbalances and doesn't notice them, but it NEVER adjusts to the sense of reality being gone. With the sense of "power", one never gets that with a live singer or piano player or horn player, one instead gets a compelling sense of space from the power of their voice/playing/etc. The single drivers have an amazing sense of space. I am transplanted into the physical space where the recording was made but I have given up the "blow your hair back power cord" feeling, Before this life pivot, tonal balance and physicality were key for me, with a sense of space being a nice occasional bonus. That has completely inverted. I appreciate deeply a MegaFi setup that delivers perfect tonal balance and tangible physicality, but I infinitely prefer to be in the studio with Coltrane.
  10. At the risk of being the person intruding in a passionate debate at a dinner party... At RMAF and my local dealer, I have heard amazing systems that are the pinnacle of a sound that I sought for decades, but they hold only intellectual interest for me now (which is remarkable, given how passionately I sought out those heights for so many years). They are truly a world class HiFi experience of listening to music, but only hint at what I've come to think of experiencing and participating in an in person performance. I shared the experience before that even when walking down a street, I can tell whether it is a live performer in a coffee shop or whether it is recorded playback. Needless to say, the distortion through walls and glass with street noise raising the noise floor is atrocious HiFi, but I know it to be real, and one draws me in, and the other does not. With traditional HiFi rigs, the analogy I use is moving from looking at a photo of a forest to an even better photo of a forest to a full 100" 4k HDR OLED photo of a forest, where you start to get an inkling of what it is like to look through a window at a forest. If you work hard enough, the "through a window" feeling becomes more and more prevalent and the window gets more clear and larger and you start to get the barest hint of being in a forest with no window at all. I compare that to walking through a forest, where even with scratched up sunglasses that cast a yellowish tint, I am unambiguously IN A FOREST, and all my senses have shifted to a completely different of experience and engagement and feeling of being alive. That difference is not due to fidelity of the image. It is the amalgam of sensory inputs that cause my brain (which has been trained by Darwin and 53 years of hard knocks) to switch to "this is real, pay attention" mode. It takes precious little to break that sense of reality and go back to trying to get a better and better photo, then a better and better window. The last several years for me have been about starting all over, and trying to get that sense of reality from the ground up. It has been devastaingly humbling, but incredibly rewarding. So much that I put on the first tier "this can never be compromised" I've realized just doesn't matter once my brain kicks into "this is real" mode. Back to my earlier analogy, given a choice between listening to Carly Simon live in a noisy coffee shop with the crappiest acoustics and listening to Moonlight Serenade on a $1M PinnacleFi system, find me in the coffee shop, completely engaged and over the moon delighted for the experience, leaving afterwards inspired and elevated by the artistry. I listen to the mega Wilson and YT setups and I'm blown away by how incredible they are (truly...after decades of tweaking and tuning I know intimately what an incredible achievement and performance level they are delivering), but it is now a intellectual interest rather than a passion. I'll happily give up 90% of what they deliver, to get that sense of reality (the walking in the forest experience) that they struggle to deliver (at least for my brain). All that being said, the reaction of people when they hear my rig is decidedly bimodal: there are those that have a proverbial red pill moment and want more and more of that reality rush, and others that are scratching their heads going "I thought you had a nice stereo system...what's up with this?" The former group has had their brain click in on that sense of reality, the later is focused on what I was willing to give up to get that sense of reality. The sharp divide I've seen in my living room really highlights how differently our brains get triggered, and the different response we all seek in music.
  11. Dan (@dmance) is indeed a fellow traveler! My last way excessive write up was for his Opto*DX product (with some wide detours into RF/power hygiene). See: https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/audiowise-opto•dx-optical-isolation-bridge-for-dual-spdif.23757/reviews#review-22155https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/audiowise-opto•dx-optical-isolation-bridge-for-dual-spdif.23757/reviews%23item-review-22155 It was quite remarkable what one can hear as one starts to strip away all the things that were keeping you from hearing it. For me, DAC's like the Chord DAVE are true reference pieces. Everything else in a chain takes something away from it. The trick is to eliminate those things or minimize the impact of those things, to get as close to true references as you can.
  12. with a vlan, I’d have to tag traffic and the vlans would be fully isolated without routing/forwarding rules. Since I want my audio server to be able to talk to Roon remote on my laptop and phone (and my file server), that would have been a pain. I had it set up this way initially, but the way I had firewall rules basically required session initiation (I used ping) before the connection would be open. Probably better ways to do it, but not very civilian or audio guest friendly. with a separate subnet, broadcast traffic is not going between the subnets. Only routed traffic goes to and from the audio server, so I can minimize packets to my audio server without having to play wild routing/forwarding games (my audio server is the only device on my audio subnet)
  13. My home ethernet traffic (including WiFi) is on my 2nd EdgeRouter X SFP, including my Unifi Access Point for WiFi. I have LANs on my WiFi for guest, IoT devices, and home to isolate WiFi traffic (security and privacy for data traffic). My audio net is on a separate subnet on my first EdgeRouter X. I don't use WiFi for audio.
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