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ray-dude

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Everything posted by ray-dude

  1. From Van Morrison to David Gray to Foy Vance...quite the lineage! I'm listening to a lot of Foy these days...much needed SoulFi (as my buddy Mario calls it) Thanks for the prod, just dropped the needle on this one!
  2. A detour, then back to OT I've done a lot of user experience testing over the years (a LOT). I've also been heavily involved in more formal scientific testing (drug clinical trials, etc). The former seems more germane to our humble hobby, but that's neither here nor there. What I found with user experience testing is that the best insights and outcomes didn't come from asking people which they preferred, but from watching them think about it, then designing for that insight. User experience testing that focused on direct measurement ("Do you prefer the menu on the left or the right?") would more often than not lead us astray because we were misinterpreting what we were measuring. For example, most of us are of an age where we remember the Pepsi challenge. People would try blinded Pepsi vs blinded Coke, and people would prefer Pepsi. Pepsi is better than Coke, right? Heck, let's make it double blind by having the person handing out the samples in white papercups not know which is which. That will make us even more scientific. If you prefer Coke, you're wrong! The problem is that that test was measure first use preference, not long term use preference. Pepsi had (has) a stronger sugar slam, but it lacks depth and subtle over time. Based on first use, Pepsi wins more often than their market share. However, purchasing preference and people trying Pepsi but going back to Coke indicates that based on long term use, Coke wins over Pepsi for most people. This paralleled my experience with user experience testing, where most testing results were interesting but irrelevant because we were measuring first use preference. You really had to observe long term behavior to infer proper preference, and even then, more often than not, the value was getting an insight that then fed into the next design iteration. Back to audio. Same pattern gives us dynamic range compression. First listen sounds better when things are "louder". Over time, it is an ick of an experience for a lot of us. Loudness wars mastering is Pepsi, high dynamic range masterings are Coke. Some people prefer Pepsi, I prefer Coke. I guarantee that if you were to do extended DBT testing of low DR masterings vs high DR masterings and ask what people prefer, a huge majority would prefer the low DR mastering based on first listen (yes you could carefully volume match, etc, but I'm offering this as an example, not as an experimental design). I bring this up on this thread, because SFPs are falling into that same pattern for me. This is a class of component where I'm finding I have to ignore my initial experience and preference, and gauge my mood after extended listening. Do I want to listen to music longer? Am I able to focus on work more or less when listening to music with a particular SFP pair? Like my user experience example above, once I identify a long term preference, I then look for what short term identifyable characteristic is a "tell" for what that long term experience will be, then look for components that have more or less of that tell. I'm starting to find that "tell", but I still have to lean into extended listening
  3. As I traveled backwards on my internet chain, I kept shaking my head in disbelief that better power and cables that far upstream could be audible. Everything in that chain seems to be cumulative. I have one of Alexey's DXP dual regulated PS's powering my fiber ONT and EdgeRouter X, but I suspect my Paul Hynes SR4 may be better still (I just haven't had the heart to put a Paul Hynes supply in a communication closet...yet) I was only half joking in my Extreme review about breaking in to the fiber concentrator up the street and hacking in a better power supply
  4. ray-dude

    HQ Player

    Depending on the filter you are using, yes this is normal. With the sinc-M filter, believe it or not the sound you are hearing is processed from the recording in the future and the recording in the past, so HQP needs to accumulate data for a couple seconds before it can calculate what you should be hearing now. For the gory details, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whittaker–Shannon_interpolation_formula As you use different filters, they will require a different window of time for their processing, so you'll have different delays.
  5. I think this is very dependent on the DAC you are using. With Chord DACs, I (and most folks I know) prefer PCM to DSD. With other DACs, folks seem to have a strong preference for DSD. For folks that want to really take advantage of the more advanced filters in HQP, they tend focus on DACs that do better with DSD content. Generally speaking, I try to acquire music in the format that is closest to what it was recorded/mastered in. That is virtually always PCM, but there are some audiophile labels that record straight to DSD (Blue Coast Records, etc).
  6. I'm definitely in the "more stubborn than clever" stage! I suspect once Emile pushes out his beta of the Taiko Audio Server, the rules of the game will change again as the computer/power budget of the box gets turned upside down (again)
  7. Hi Alan...I highlighted that part of the journey in part 4 of my Extreme review. I was just losing too much with the Extreme going across the moat on the EtherRegen (100mb), so I reluctantly sold it. If/when Alex/John have a version with 1gb ethernet across the moat, I'll be first in line to preorder it and give it a listen. With the Extreme, I was just giving up too much going to 100mb ethernet, and I found the opticalModule to be a better pure FMC than the EtherRegen (at least with the power supplies I have available to me...Roy has had very positive feedback on the EtherRegen+Paul Hynes DR rail combo, but alas, I don't have any Paul Hynes DR rails to play with). I'm currently have a dedicated audio network on my EdgeRouter X SFP, with my home network optically isolated on a second ERX SFP. I am going short copper from ERX to opticalModule (with Finisar) to fiber to Extreme startech optical NIC (with finisar). I recently got a couple 5V supplies from Alexey, so I'm experimenting where it does the most good. Once all that settles, I'm going to go back to copper NIC on Extreme to compare again (still haven't decided which I prefer) I have not (yet) dug into having a premium switch, or trying @jabbr's suggestion about 10gb ethernet. Still very early days on the network side, but it seems clear that there is a lot of leverage to be found on the network side of the chain (which is very surprising).
  8. On my daydream list is to use an accelerometer app on my phone to measure vibrations, and make some correlation with what I'm hearing. That would make tuning infinitely faster That being said, 80% optimized is AMAZING, so I'm happy taking a detour into network optimization now I am still trying to get my head around vibration isolation for speakers. I have my speakers on isolated platforms, but it is very unclear to me what a SQ mechanism could be, or even if I'm hearing something material. Whenever I move speakers, I use mono pink noise to get to phase alignment (<1mm), so it takes a bit of effort to do any sort of A/B (alas). Are you seeing a big benefit with speakers on platforms with isolation?
  9. I'm still in the Macgyver stage...I had a machinist friend custom machine a bunch of bowls of various dimensions, I snagged a variety of precision ball bearings of different hardness and precision, and experimented with a bunch of different polishing techniques. Add in a couple trips to Home Depot and the local tile shop to get smooth ceramic tiles and smooth marble platforms, and things got pretty obsessive around here for a while. For horizontal isolation, I found that the lower resonant frequency I got (shallower the bowl) and the longer I could get the platform oscillating (I went from 10-15 seconds up to more than 2 minutes), the better my soundstage became. Quite shocking how audible it was/is. With Daiza, I'm starting over. I'm currently coupled directly from DAC to Daiza. I will slowly start introducing other components in and see where I can end up. That being said, what I'm hearing with a vanilla Daiza is pretty sweet.
  10. The best place to start is direct coupling between your device (in this case DAC) and the Daiza. On my Chord DAVE, I use 3 small ceramic tiles between the DAC case and Daiza (rubber feet are dangling). Once you have that baseline, then listen again with rubber feet directly against Daiza. Things may be better or they may be worse, but you'll need to be able to listen to find out (the entire mechanical system will have different mechanical properties....think of the rubber feet like adding a capacitor to a circuit). The Daiza is about draining vibrations away (resistor). A direct coupling to the DAC case will give you a solid baseline, then you can start adding more complex factors (rubber feet) into the mix. For me, I lean very heavily into a Chesky binaural surround demo called "Four Voices". It has four people, two in front, two in back, taking turns talking. I've found that vibrational control on my DAC results in a HUGE increase in depth resolution (or put another way, vibrations have an outsized impact in deteriorating depth resolution). The more I dial in vibrational control, the more natural and holographic the soundstage becomes. When the voices behind me are as detailed and nuanced and placed in space as the voices in front of me, I know I'm in the right place. The tough part here is that you're tuning vibrational modes to be away from wherever your DAC is sensitive, and draining away vibrational energy so it doesn't induce electrical noise in your DAC. Details will vary from person to person and set up to set up (where in the room resonant modes are, cabinetry, specific electronic elements in your DAC, etc). Critical to have a way to measure when things are getting better (in my case, depth resolution) so you don't drive yourself nuts randomly trying things. All that being said, the lift in SQ I've gotten in paying attention to vibrations is second only to power, and relatively inexpensive if you're using passive components (I have not tried active vibration isolation for audio). YMMV.
  11. My understanding is that the spirals are to tune resonant modes. From a DIY perspective, the accelerometers in our phones are pretty damn sensitive. When you have your servers properly mass loaded, may be useful in dialing in and tuning the bases.
  12. ray-dude

    HQ Player

    It can be hard to get started on HQP, just because all the choices can seem so overwhelming. Once you have a working setup that you like, much easier to tweak up different filters and settings to tune to your ear. As Rajiv and others have mentioned, with TT2 you want to target 16fs (768kHz for PCM, 44.1*256 for DSD). sinc-M + LNS15 will give you a sound profile closest to Hugo mScaler. Setting Vol Min and Vol Max to -3dB will force all volume control to be with your TT2, and give headroom for the upsampling so you don't get clipping. A lot of the rest of the parameters are dependent on your streamer and preference. There are MANY other Filter and Dither combinations to try. Once you get sinc-M going, try sinc-L and sinc-S (I find sinc-L to be quite nice) Once you start finding a preference, it gets easier because you can start exploring other filters within a family (MP vs LP filters, etc). I happen to be a hard core LP guy, but others really enjoy what MP brings to the party. I've found that the more your ear gets accustomed to what HQP is doing, it becomes a lot easier to dial it in to your taste and your equipment (alas, there is no optimum configuration, which is why there are so many options!)
  13. "I was a freedom rider When we thought the South had won Virginia in the spring of '61..."
  14. A thousand times this! When we finally unravel all the secret sauce, I suspect a huge part of it will stem from conceptualizing all of these as aspects of a single component in the design. I keep relearning basic metrology - what you measure/observe is only as good as the integrity of your weakest reference. Especially for digital systems, perfect reference power and timing, and a lot of "problems" just go away! And since we're sharing untold stories, somewhere in the garage I "unofficially" have a memory board from a Cray 1S. As a whipper snapper engineer, I learned so much from studying that board (and for programming for the Cray). The entire board design was about clock and power distribution, with a twist of cooling mixed in to keep it from (literally) melting. Complete brute force design, like a lot of Cray designs back in the day, but overwhelming brute force focused like a laser on the key things that mattered most. I was thinking a lot about that board as I studied Emile's design.
  15. The other wrinkle is Emile sharing that high quality clocks actually take away SQ in the Extreme (although he is understandably proprietary about his clock strategy). He is definitely taking the road less traveled when it comes to power supplies and clocking. That being said, that many rails of Sean Jacobs DC4 rails would be something to behold! I only have one Sean Jacobs supply (DC3'ish) but it was custom built/configured for my DAC, so I haven't had the opportunity to hear this bespoke supplies further back up the digital chain. Alas, I suspect that by the time my SR7 custom build gets here, we will have all moved on to Mr. Fusion power supplies
  16. Fantastic Nenon! I did similar back of the envelope math earlier this year, then added in a fudge factor because while I knew I would eventually get to the more premium end of the spectrum, I also knew I would feel compelled to travel the intermediate steps to get there. That's how I got to spitting distance of jumping on the Extreme train and skipping the intermediate 5 steps. It's amazing how much power (and to a lesser extent clock) dominates the calculus. We're basically building power supplies and clock generators with some electronics and storage attached. I continue to have a nagging tingle from my spidey sense that Emile's "mother of all capacitor banks" for filtering will have a LOT more running room on the power side of the equation than the incredible supplies from Sean and Paul et al. If one were to have (theoretically) perfect filtering capacity with an arbitrarily large and fast filter bank, your options on the power side of the bank REALLY open up (who cares if you have a noisy supply if the filter bank takes care of business?). From a DIY perspective, Sean certainly leans heavy into crazy large filters, but even he is an order of magnitude off what Emile is doing. Has anyone seen another power supply maker take a similar strategy?
  17. Thankfully it is Fathers Day, so all dad jokes get a pass (my kids are suffering today too i have the panzerholtz footers on my Extreme, but I did not look into footers for my Chord DAVE. that would be worth a quick listen (I can hear the impact of mechanical changes pretty quickly with the binaural tracks you’ve been sampling Rajiv...that holographic sound stage is very sensitive) Previously I had a stack of an Acoustic Revive platform to Black Ravioli pads to rubber footers to DAVE. When I added roller balls to get horizontal isolation, that had a huge impact, but the BR pads actually made things worse. I got best sound when the roller balls were rigidly coupled to the Acoustic Revive base, and my DAC was rigidly coupled to the horizontally isolated base. The Daiza by itself is pretty good. On my list is to revisit horizontal isolation with the Daiza, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
  18. i have my DAC on a Daiza as well. I have the body of the DAC resting on three small ceramic tiles (vs the rubber feet) to get that direct coupling. Alas, tuning a mechanical system can be an iterative process. For example the weight of the DAC will impact coupling and resonance frequencies as well, so weights on top of the DAC could also have an impact, depending on which vibrational frequencies are having an audible impact in the DAC. Conceptually, the goal is to drain vibrational energy away, and/or shift it to frequencies that are less impactful. For us EE types (vs ME types) it has been helpful for me to think of the mechanical system as a circuit, that is coupling through a transducer (capacitors, clocks, wires, etc) to the electrical system in the DAC
  19. Mark, my apologies! I have no idea how "Paul" settled into my brain, but certainly no disrespect was intended. Thank you Alex for the gentle correction (as well as the info that you shared)
  20. Paul, I have a couple different components that are SFP capable: The StarTech PEX1000SFP2 PCIe optical Network card in my Taiko Audio Extreme (2x) Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X SFP's Sonore opticalModule I recently sold my Uptone Audio EtherREGEN, but I was experimenting with the SFP port on the ER in my Taiko Audio SGM Extreme review (part 4 for those subjective findings) I currently have some TP Link multi-mode SFPs connecting my two EdgeRouter X SFPs. ERX1 is my router/gateway and connected to my ATT fiber ONT. It has a audio subnet that I connect by copper to my opticalModule. I run fiber from the opticalModule to my Extreme. I've run both the Planet Tech SFPs and Finisar SFPs on my audio net. I have the rest of my home network (including WiFi) on ERX2, galvanically isolated from ERX1. ERX2 is configured as a simple switch, but I do have a couple VLANs for my WiFI (guest network, IoT network, etc) With the Planet Tech SFPs, I preferred copper NIC on the Extreme (fiber to the opticalModule+PlanetTech to copper to the Extreme). With the Finisars, I'm back to preferring the optical NIC, esp. now that I have my audio network isolated from my home network, but it isn't a clear preference. FWIW, subjectively, reduced network traffic to the my music server NIC does have an impact. This is contributing to my hypothesis of laser switching-induced electrical noise being the mechanism in play. All of the above is with streaming TIDAL content to Roon to HQP to DAC. The network part of my system is very much in flux right now, because of what I've been hearing. There are a couple of permutations I'd like to try to see if it helps develop a hypothesis for a what a core mechanism could be. Here is my wish list for things to try if I had proper equipment in quarantine with me: * Probe power rails on the SFP modules and look at spectrum of noise generated on same by network traffic. If that spectrum is the same, my hypothesis can filed in the "oh well" cabinet. If different, then the question shifts to whether that difference is audible (and if so, how). * Build an extender and wire to SFP cage outside of NIC/FMC/Routers/etc. Rig so that I can swap between powering SFP externally or via the cage leads. If there is variability with different class power supplies, that would generally support the laser-switching-noise hypothesis. If not, back to the "oh well" cabinet we go. * Get access to OEM data sheets for SFP modules and find the lowest power consuming unit available...give it a listen, get another subjective data point @Superdad without asking you to divulge anything proprietary, did you or John look into any of these things when you were designing and prototyping the ER? (and if that is poking at things that you consider proprietary, my apologies in advance)
  21. FWIW, at the engineering schools I went to the reaction would have been "No way! Let me hear that... Huh... Wow... What the hell is going on? Cool, let's try to figure this out!" This is the exciting stuff! I hope that is the spirit of this thread. Alas, I have very limited access to measurement equipment right now, so I'm limited to offering (somewhat) informed hypotheses and experiences, and feedback on any experiments or interpretation of results that folks do. Wish I could do more, since given what I'm hearing, this is a pretty compelling topic for me.
  22. Thank's for the pointer to this topic Ken. My hypothesis is that switching to the laser is causing a correlated pulsing on the reference voltage and/or ground planes that is having an indirect impact on the DAC. My basis for this is that in previous experiments with coax SPDIF signals to my Chord DAVE, that particular DAC seemed to have a strong susceptibility to parasitic signals in the 2-3GHz band. Copious ferrites on the dual coax connectors to the DAC had a surprising benefit to SQ. IIRC Rob Watts (designer of the DAC) attributed the impact to noise floor modulation in the DAC (I would have look up some old notes to confirm). It is easy to replicate this by having a WiFi basestation configured for 2.4Ghz and bringing it close to this DAC, or having music server on WiFi that is close to the DAC. All above is hypothesis or experiential.
  23. Even for mundane Cat8 cables from Monoprice and Cable Matters, I found that they needed ~80-100 hours before the SQ with my old EtherREGEN settled out. Aside from shock that ethernet cables were audible at all, the fact that they changed over the first couple days was a definite punch to the stomach. The impact was visceral though (literally...the better the cable, more the visceral bass became, and the more tangible space became) I have no hypothesis for break-in, but now I am a true believer in the impact of ethernet cables (running the amazing Sablon Audio 2020 ethernet cable for all the copper in my digital audio signal path) (and thank you to Alex and Chris and all the contributors here for creating the community space where real discussion and exploration can happen)
  24. Emile has written about Linux vs Windows before. His opinion is that he is able to strip/tune Windows to better SQ than he able to get on Linux (and certainly Linux wold be easier to lock and support than Windows...this was a SQ decision). That being said, Euphony has demonstrated that it is possible to get to very good SQ on the Linux side, and their progress over the past year has been most impressive. I often lament that Zelko and team are diluting their (considerable) efforts between SQ (core Euphony) and user experience. I would MUCH prefer that the open up the APIs to the core, and count on the community to advance the user experience, and double down on SQ and the core. As far as weight, I was a bit put back by same, but as I highlighted in Part 2, there seems to have been an engineering/design driven objective for all the big casework decisions (for example, using copper for the CPU heat fin, or the thickness of the aluminum with the ventilation holes since they are designed as waveguides) The extravagance of the casework seems to all be in service of passive cooling, vibration control, and RF control. Of course, there is a decision to be made in any build whether one needs that level of CPU, etc. As a practical matter, I did not enjoying moving and positioning the Extreme at all. With a bit planning and furniture sliders and a lot of huffing and puffing (for the last bit, I literally had to use a crow bar!), I was able to do so without injury, but my motivation to ever move it again is zero. (as an aside, I'm not terribly happy to be back in a Windows environment after 13+ years...I would be VERY happy if Emile is able to figure out how to get Linux to the same level, and I suspect from a support perspective, the Taiko folks would be too)
  25. This will most definitely be my album of the evening June 26! (a new Khruangbin album definitely is welcome news for a Monday!)
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