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About Energy

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    Audio Sophomaniac

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    San Leandro

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  1. lol thanks for the compliment. I thought I'd use the word to be a little more sarcastic. 😄 The NUC7i7 with SR7 you have is already beyond good. I had the ASROCK iBOX-V1000 and although it did sound 7% or so better, it wasn't a significant jump. It mainly came from ECC, faster CPU/GPU, and 12V DC input hence less DC-DC conversion. There's not many places you can jump to right now unless you built your own endpoint as you would similarly to a server. But since I haven't exactly finished the build I cannot say if it sounds any better then the NUC method yet.. It could be worse. I first plan to boot it without any add-on cards to make it an even comparison. Seeing if the faster CPU makes a difference than the lower core count one. From there would I start adding in the JCAT's NET and USB card's one by one. In this hobby that consumes a plethora of money, the only way to make these purchases worthwhile is to confirm that it isn't placebo. The only way to do that is A/B each change one by one. A time consuming process.. 😔 I'm building another linear PSU of similar quality for the endpoint so I'll most likely create a public thread on how other people can build themselves one as well. It will be comprised of many different levels and options. Those who want to spend more to get more noise reduction can increase capacitance, inductance (for pi filter), boutique parts (iec, fuse, diodes, transformer, capacitor, connectors, wires, etc), or add another voltage regulator for dual regulation. I will break down the science on why each part is used for each area of the build and why it is superior. I'll also be introducing a new method of grounding that people on here hasn't used yet called Hybrid Grounding along with an infusion of John Swensen Shielding Guideline added to the mix that I call Hybrid Grounding JSSG 360°+. It utilizes a 3-Pin XLR connector as the DC connector. High frequency noise that is picked up by the shield is discharged to the shell of the connector. It's a slightly more advanced method of JSSG but can only be applied with a certain connector. Last but not least, I will share a personal compendium that details every thought out part of an audiophile system. Even from the minute the power cable leaves the circuit breaker to upon it's arrival at the audio room and how things should be optimally connected. To give some examples...why star grounding copper rods spaced 20FT away is recommended, why 3-phase power circuit breakers are worthwhile, why using a 8-10AWG magnet wire pushed through PTFE tubing and twisted tightly counterclockwise as a powerline cable is better than Romex, how to properly use a ferrite core for audio by picking out the right mix to block high frequency EMI, how to improve a ferrite core by cutting a gap into it to reduce saturation, utilizing MuMetal sheet or iron foil to redirect an isolation transformers magnetic field, how to build a music server and power supply, or which boutique part really matters. The list goes on... I only named like a few out of 100. There will be a table of contents that will explain it all. I plan to put it on a PDF.
  2. The lower phase ITX could have performed better due to not using doublers and or parallel connections. Often times when there are too many that are not in use, the PWM Controller (voltage regulator) turns off some of them. Which lanes open/close at times could be at random similarly to how CPU cores work. What is available happens at varied intervals. The MOSFET's that are sitting further away from the controller could be the ones that are in use. It may not look like a long distance to us but there is a latency lag when gates open and close. Along the path there are different traces the signal must travel through, each attributing to crosstalk and a potential capacitance created between them. The Aorus I mentioned features the newer server grade PCB weaving for less signal loss. The 6 or 8 layers PCB (depending on model) improves crosstalk since these traces no longer have to inter-lap one another so closely. The 2X copper increases signal fidelity and improves thermal dissipation. In the newer X570 designs there is also an impedance improvement for the traces that go from the CPU to the PCI-E and M.2 slots. This benefits the add-on cards and Intel Optane storage. All that I labeled could be a potential link to why those transient attacks and timing quality didn't meet your expectations. Other reasons not yet listed could be difference in inductor value (higher is better), capacitor value, trace/signal arrangement, or natural noise created by the voltage regulator. There are probably even more that are outside of my area of expertise (I'm an audio mixing/mastering engineer). The feedback you received from the linked post, I would say that I agree with everything the writer says. First I would recommend starting with a clean linear power supply, then pick out a motherboard that has a capable VRM with the benefits posed above, then everything else from add-on card to CPU to Industrial/ECC RAM are of smaller importance. The same can be said for the endpoint. The only time the CPU is as important as the motherboard or clean power is when you are deciding how that CPU will function. For example, If you need it to do heavy DSD upsampling then the motherboard VRM is vital and the linear PSU has to be able to supply the large amount of current required. These three components affect one another which is why they are of similar importance. If the device you are building is an endpoint then the CPU is less important than the motherboard while clean power is more important than both. Although the unit will perform better with more CPU cores even at a lighter workload, the motherboard is more important because of the VRM's, board layout, possibility of handling ECC RAM, slots availability for add-on cards, and it's functionality plays a bigger role. Lastly clean power triumphs both. This last mention can be seen by those who have upgraded their power supplies for their endpoints and have found it to be a drastic change. In short, a CPU just processes information, the motherboard should be more important since it is the technical grid but most motherboards are made pretty similarly nowadays whereas clean power supplies are not, especially for audiophile. This is why the priority is set this way. For power I do not recommend SMPS's aka conventional power supplies (AX1600i, SuperFlower). Although they are good, they are only good for the average consumer. Their quality is comparable to high quality Seasonic which have under 20mV (20,000uV) of ripple noise, but compared to an HDPlex 400W (3mV), it is 17mV higher. A Paul Hynes have noise in the single digit uV's (probably). It's a big difference. So when it comes to endpoint power, purchasable brands like Paul Hynes, Sean Jacobs, Farad is probably is good as you'll get. There may be some just as good out there waiting to be discovered, but just without a reputation worthy enough for any of us to take a risk. One thing worth mentioning is although Paul Hynes SR7 can do 12A at 12V, it may still be a little low for a music server that wishes to use some of the higher filters and modulators that is provided on HQPlayer, as doing so will require a CPU with a higher TDP. These TDP numbers also lie since my 105TDP CPU actually does 150W during full throttle so if 14A is cutting it close for me then 12A might be a little under but that heavily depends on what CPU you are using. I remember running Poly-Sinc-XTR-LP with ASDM7EC at DSD256 with an Intel i7-9700K before which is also rated 95W but I never measured how much it consumed before switching over to AMD for ECC compatibility. There are not a lot of build-able linear power supplies other than using Belleson or Sean Jacobs (albeit having to get familiar with current boosters). I went with the more simpler path. For a computer, 3.3V, 5V, and 12V voltages are required. With the Belleson I am able to achieve the following: - Belleson SPHP 12V (14A) - Belleson SPX 5.0V (7.2A) - Belleson SPX 3.3V (10.91A) The reason for SPX is that it has less noise and lower impedance than the SPHP but cannot handle as much current. Since the lower voltage rails are not as important, this drops the price of voltage regulator down while offering better performance (-$20). On a side note, Belleson has not tested their SPHP to perform over 10A, but given their datasheet if you provide it with a 5V headroom, meaning the transformer that supplies voltage to the regulator is at least 5V higher, it can potentially do 14A. This much amps at 12V is 168W. The 3900X I use on my music server draws 150W at full 100% load, but during DSD upsampling it is only around 90W. The idea of having the Belleson be able to handle that high of a current is for the sake of headroom. You never want to run a power supply at full throttle. The standard orientation of the build: IEC > Transformer > Rectifier Bridge > Filtering Capacitors> Belleson SPHP/SPX > DC Output For my more advanced build: (Balanced, Pi FIlter, Dual Regulation) IEC > Balanced Transformer > Rectifier Diode > 700,000uF Pi Filter > Belleson SPX > Belleson SPX > DC Output Hopefully that was all understandable.
  3. Not anymore. I've decided to leave the NUC route and make an endpoint out of the following: Build: - HDPlex H3 V3 Fanless Chassis - X570 Micro-ATX Motherboard - AMD Ryzen 7 3700X - Innodisk ECC/Industrial SODIMM DDR4 RAM - JCAT NET Card FEMTO - JCAT USB Card FEMTO - Clocked with sCLK-EX (from SOtM tX-USBultra) - AudioLinux Operating System (Headless) Power Supply: (dual regulated) - Belleson SPHP 12V (14A) - Belleson SPX 5.0V (7.2A) - Belleson SPX 3.3V (10.91A) Only this way can I have two add-on cards with the addition of them being directly connected to the CPU. I just need to find a suitable X570 motherboard first. Since the job of the endpoint isn't as severe as the DSD upsampling music server, I've decided on a Micro-ATX form factor despite it offering less VRM's. For my main system I went with Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master (and Xtreme) because they are the first motherboards in existence to offer TRUE 16 PHASES. What this is is that the PWM controller (voltage regulator) has 16 lanes that connect to the MOSFET's that are used to feed the CPU. Normally in any advertised 16 phase, there is only actually 8 lanes that have doubler MOSFET's on them. Doubler's take one frequency voltage and divides it into two working frequencies. The other method is using two MOSFET's in parallel to achieve these two frequencies required by the CPU. These methods come with problems. A single device outputting two signals does not perform that good and two in parallel sharing one lane comes with it's own problems as well. This motherboard that I am speaking of however has 16 lanes with each an independent MOSFET handling only one job. There is no overworking of a single transistor or two that is bottle-necking one lane and having poor communication with the PWN controller. This improvement leads to higher efficiency, lower voltage tolerance, lower latency, and perfect load balance. To put it short, on paper it should be the best sounding motherboard for audio use. After the PWN controller and MOSFET, there is an inductor and solid polymer capacitor that filters out the high frequency noise away from the CPU circuit. I plan to increase the capacitance of the solid polymer capacitor. Increasing it cost money but as an audiophile I am not limited to what the manufacturer's BOM was limited to. Increasing the capacitance helps lower the voltage ripple noise and gives the CPU a higher capacity reservoir for pulse currents. I'll then bypass/shunt each of them with ceramic and film/foil capacitors to lower the ESR further so that more high frequency noise can be removed from the system. This further attributes to a lower ripple although most of it is highly dependent on the power supplies's rail. The reason for using different types of capacitors is that their ESR depends on capacitance and frequency. Brief: There are various areas that can be improved on the motherboard. It's just not since they're marketed towards the average consumer hence having to fit tightly to meet the bill of material.
  4. I concur. However I found it to perform better when an independent conductor was used for ground, Lead and Neutral twisted to improve on magnetically induced voltage coupling, and JSSG to be floating with at least 2 separated layers that are tied at the ends for the noise currents to rotate into infinity.
  5. Are those additional electrolytic's on the input and output required for the stack? I thought tantalum's were better for the output (lower ESL), better transient response.
  6. Thank you @JohnSwenson. Hearing your replies are always a delight. It is safe to say that an OCXO would probably last one's lifetime of being an audiophile as long as it's handled carefully then. 🤭
  7. Thank you @Superdad for shining light to the subject and offering us your opinion on the matter. It seems there is no issue with using reclaimed units as long as they're properly inspected and functioning well within their specs. A company like CyberShaft is doing just that. They offer customers with various levels of performance as far as their budget is willing to proceed. Their prices are high in some cases, but as Alex has said, this shows how good of a bargain a regular MUTEC REF 10 can be. Other clocks like SOtM sCLK-OCX10 may perform similarly with more jaggedness in it's phase noise plot, but it requires an external power supply. Cybershaft & MUTEC does not. These are things worth being factored in. Those who use Connor-Winfield OH4 OCXO on a converter board and placing it further from the replacement location is not only is using an inferior oscillator compared to Crystek, but the distance is another problem. If the PCB isn't made stable or decoupled, this could affect the phase noise given the added vibration. This problem goes outside of just wires and traces alone. Then there comes the impedance issues. It's better to have low phase noise Crystek's right where it needs to be. Given the experience, despite all clocks being produced with a variation that deviates from what their datasheet states, more of them perform similarly within reasonably good levels when compared to other clocks like NDK's where even Analog Research say good ones that are better than Crystek are a dime in a dozen and only 2/10 perform decent. The rest either gets thrown away or resold. So unless you're using a very high quality masterclock on the EtherRegen that bests it's internal one, it's better to just stick to it. Both @elan120 and I have found that our MUTEC REF 10 & SOtM sCLK-OCX10 helps with the sound quality. Your mileage may vary. Sometimes even if you manage to use a masterclock that is only marginally better than the EtherRegen's internally implemented clock, as the signal travels through the coaxial cable, it actually may end up be on the same par or some some cases, worse. It's up to the user to experiment. A lot of factors play in how much the phase noise can get degraded. 75Ω vs 50Ω impedance, internal conductor thickness and material, cable geometry, shielding technique, insulation material, cable length, connector quality, soldering vs crimping, or how close in proximity the cable is to other magnetic fields. The list goes on. On a side note, I want to ask Alex a question.. It's been said that atomic clocks with their long term drift (in ppb) does not matter as much as having lower phase noise, but when you speak of the 10MHz clock drifting in frequency over the years, how much drift is too much to where the frequency causes suffering to the circuit when it can no longer be locked (due to the frequency drifting too far) or at what ±% does it start to potentially affect an oscillator's operation?
  8. I know what slot connects to the CPU directly and am using it. It's just unclear if the JCAT using a x1 from the x8 slot would make the graphic card switch into x8 from x16 mode of not.
  9. I have a question that is hard for me to answer. If using one graphic card runs the PCI-E slot at x16, but using two graphic cards is x8/x8... Would one graphic card still be operating at x8 even if the second card is a JCAT Net Card operating at x1? Now if it does do x8 and x1, does that mean I would have x7 additional PCI-E lanes that directly connects to the CPU? Outside of the x4 that I'm already given for NVMe drives that is.. This is for the AMD X470/X570 chipset by the way.
  10. Energy

    HQ Player

    I use Roon as a front end to pass Tidal streams over to HQPlayer for DSD upsampling. It works well for both methods, upsampling or not. When listening to PCM files as PCM, I find HQPlayer to sound better but not by much. I would say it's more leaning on a smoother sound, perhaps from the filters. As @der_yeti has said, DSD upsampling is a must. In some cases, it's comparable in sound improvements as Hugo M-Scaler. Aside from that, Roon is nice although expensive. I like using their iOS app to play music from my iPhone. It let's me play Tidal or even music stored on my computer through my phone. Given the portability, you could have a long optical fiber or Ethernet cable going from the music server all the way to the living room loudspeaker setup and connect it to an endpoint. This way both setups can share the processing power of a single server. Although one drawback with this is that you'd still have to have a DAC and AMP out in the living room. To solve this problem I have all my audio gear on a 5-Tier rack with mini silicone wheels so whenever I want to listen in the living room I just pull the whole setup out. This includes the isolation transformer, linear power supplies, music server, DAC, and headphone amp all sitting on the rack. As for the speaker amp/power amp/monoblocks, you can just have them sitting outside always connected. Just ideas. 😗
  11. As those have said above, a heavily crimped spade would be better than bare wire. If bare, solid core would be best. However be careful of the receptacles that have the screw placed in-between two wire holes as the screwing down process would be slanted and not make a good connection with the wire. For this purpose it would be better to either directly solder the wire to the contact area or create a fish hook shape out of the bare wire to tunnel it down before pulling up for an even clamping pressure. Otherwise go with the spade method for simplicity. If you want more assurance, flux and solder after crimping onto the spade.
  12. New ATX12VO Spec's https://www.pcworld.com/article/3518831/how-intels-changing-the-future-of-power-supplies-with-its-atx12vo-spec.amp.html?fbclid=IwAR2iLZt41xB3KZGkXRjt6hVE5oCqqPJrlb9YR58EmUO-Tr-y6Zwk8RrVvdM If they are placing the 3.3V & 5V's on the motherboard instead of having the rails on the power supply..this means more DC-DC converters. It's going to be tough building an audiophile PC unless that section is bypassed.
  13. @StreamFidelity Did you by any chance listen before and after applying the new BIOS configuration to listen for audible changes?
  14. Nice find Nenon. For those wondering, It's an optical USB cable with optional USB 2.0 Micro-B input for 5V Power. The optical part adds jitter but the jitter must be minuscule compared to what is gained from blocking out server noise. It would be interesting if the cable was shorter with Type A and Type B male for a direct connection from server to DAC. I can modify the connector ends, but the long run still bothers me as it wouldn't be a direct comparison to an audiophile USB cable (since it's shorter). However, if the idea is that it makes whatever USB cable that is used with it even better, then it should be better no matter the length.
  15. I wanted to give it a shot here on my end but it was a hard pillow to swallow without AudioLinux as a renderer. I wouldn't be able to use HQPLAYER for upsampling. Thinking of purchasing it anyway to try next month with JPLAY FEMTO so I'll report back then.
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