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numlog

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  1. numlog

    ditching USB for SPDIF on PC?

    could you specify the source and type of spdif connection you used? btw my experience with the iDefender is that it degrades sound quality slightly and should only be used for ground loops problems, this was after comparing the same USB cable with tape over power pins in the connector vs using the iDefender. I think it might be due to the data lines passing through a PCB and 2 extra connectors, but if you dont own or believe in ''audio grade'' USB cables then you might not think that matters.
  2. numlog

    ditching USB for SPDIF on PC?

    The USB interface is using I2S defining ''better'' is what makes it difficult, just as you''d expect the old USB-I2S was techinically superior to the MoBo spdif, as in more musical data ended up at the headphones, but it sounded more unpleasant/unnatural. Is SPDIF masking this unpleasantness or was USB adding it? The interface and USB PCIe card had seperate low noise supplies, the USB cable was short and very well shielded with ground and power disconnected. USB with XMOS and Amanero interfaces were always technically better than the MoBo SPDIF and these things improved it further but the USB ''sound''' always remained. if this problem was related to the PC or DAC it should still be present over spdif so it has to be USB. Based on Sandy's experience SPDIF from a PCIe card should be better than the MoBo SPDIF but without another USB interface there wont be a definitive answer as to whether or not USB introduces other ''problems'' and if SPDIF's jitter problem is less or more of a problem than said ''problems''.
  3. there are often bypass caps for for crystal inputs and outputs, neutrino clocks specify to remove these caps when connecting their external XO: http://www.newclassd.com/images/neutrinoconnect1.png Im not sure how it important this actually is, the PPA guide doesnt mention it. All I know is that my MoBo has them and the results were not good, I want to remove the caps and retest but its a huge gamble. if its still bad then replacing those crumb-sized SMD caps will be really difficult, without knowing the capacitance either
  4. numlog

    ditching USB for SPDIF on PC?

    Just what I was hoping to hear. Like most other PCIe cards the clocks and powersupply can be upgraded on these soundcards too so there might some real potential there. Have you tried HDD for music storage with SSD for OS? 5400 rpm HDD sounded much better than a M.2 and a SATA SSD as storage drive. its similar to the difference noted above with the MoBo SPDIF vs USB, SSDs have the sharper and tighter sound (but not necessarily more dynamic) with a similar glare and unnatural sound like USB. HDDs are more liquid and pleasant to listen, unlike coax it is quite a bit more resolving across the frequency range than SSD
  5. The USB interface in my DAC broke, instead of replacing it I was considering some alternatives to USB. Since a lot had been done to improve the rest of the USB chain the only alternative to replacing the USB interface worth trying was PCie to SPDIF because its not expensive. My MoBo has HD Audio optical SPDIF output and the resolution is very poor compared to USB but it doesnt suffer from the glare of USB, until now I had contributed the poor resolution to the inherently jittery SPDIF protocol and the lack of glare to a combination of the galvanic isolation of optical and a side effect of the muddier sound, After some investigation I discovered the electrical SPDIF signal driving the optical transmitter in the MoBo could fairly easily be used with a coax SPDIF input , the resulting sound from this was actually pretty good. the optical format was largely to blame for the poor sound quality, resolution is still not good as USB but a lot better than optical, and the mellow and smooth sound is still entirely there... I actually think I prefer the sound of this to USB though it might change after more time, a lot of time was spent on the USB chain and while succesful in improving resolution and timing didnt really change the unnatural digital character of USB. Electrical SPDIF doesnt have this. Im considering buying a PCIe to SPDIF soundcard, easy to mod and not expensive. replacing the USB interface alone is quite expensive and further improvements like reclockers and galvanic isolators are big investments... and I have a feeling that they will never truly get of rid of the USB ''character''. and at that point it would better to switch to ethernet. Any thoughts on this? There were some posts mentioning that after some upgrades they still prefer CD player SPDIF out to their PC, but this is a bit different. Also should mention the DAC is Sabre , working in async mode with a local clock...
  6. I would agree with that. I tried a few versions of S2016 with audiophile optimizer and XXHE minimized OS, some versions sounded better than others but all better than Win10. After installing S2019 on a spare drive even without AO or XXHE, only Jriver and disabling a few major services, I think it might already be better than S2016 in a lot of ways. still too early to adopt it fully but so far very promising,
  7. numlog

    PCIe to I2S?

    ok, thanks for the help. Based on a few forum posts It might be possible cheaply utilize this chip by finding a soundcard that uses it and fitting my DAC inside the PC to connect the I2S lines over a very short distance, maybe upgrade clock, use a better power supply. I can see how for a lot people the Pink Fauns LVDS solution is very useful as bringing your DAC that close to the PC is not going to be possible in most cases, like speaker systems, plus with the power supply option and use of high quality components its not a bad deal
  8. numlog

    PCIe to I2S?

    that would be the CM8888? it looks like the Pink Faun is using that chip too. Is that converting to USB internally is the question. the block diagram for it shows PCIe > MCU > I2S, MCU could mean anything, maybe there is some more clues in datasheet as to whats happening but its too complicated for me
  9. numlog

    PCIe to I2S?

    Is PCIe to I2S really not possible yet? is there a reason other than cable length why USB and USB-to-I2S interfaces are used when DAC chips have I2S inputs? There is the Pink Faun I2S interface and this apparently is a PCIe to USB to IS2 converter, which you could kind of suspect since there are no PCIe to I2S chips in existence.
  10. numlog

    PCIe USB and SATA card modified for audio

    I had bought an M.2 NVMe drive to see how it sounded compared to SATA SSD as an OS drive, the M.2 did seem technically better, it was less musical and less natural (more glare) but the slight smear, fogginess of the SATA in comparison was gone, it was hard to choose between them. Both were using low noise linear supplies. Really the M.2 wasnt better at all, even its advantage of being a native PCIe device wasnt the explanation to its technical ability. It was simply that the M.2 was more isolated from the storage HDD and PCIe slots. The SATA OS SSD was connected via the PCIe SATA Card along with the SATA storage HDD when comparing it to M.2 SSD using MoBo M.2 slot, this was the issue. Individually both these SATA drives had sounded best from the PCIe SATA card instead of internal SATA, Assuming that both of them using the card at the same time would still be best turned out to be wrong. With the SATA SSD using the internal chipset SATA interface and the HDD storage drive using the SATA card the SQ improved beyond the M.2 drive without the undesirable qualities. Using another seperate PCIe SATA card for the SSD is an option but Im going to assume that internal chipset SATA provides an extra layer of isolation from the PCIe lanes, which could be important not just for the storage drive SATA card but other PCIe cards too. There is also power supply isolation to consider. The HDD and SATA card use a low noise supply. the PC sounds better when the OS SSD were powered by the noisier but more isolated PC PSU than the same supply as the SATA card and HDD. One or both are interfering with the other. I was hoping M.2 would be better so buying a highend SATA cable could be avoided but at least since SATA is now truly superior a better cable will feel like an upgrade and less like a bandaid for the sound issues. EDIT: I dont mean to wrtie off M.2 NVMe drives, these impressions could have been different if other M.2 NVMe and SATA SSDs were used . Samsung 850 EVO 2.5'' SATA SSD and Kingston A1000 PCIeX2 NVMe SSD were used here - both 240GB. newer, faster SATA SSDs or NVMe SSDs could be different. There are also M.2 SATA drives to try.
  11. With full size desktops its typical for MoBo ground to be connected to the case in many places, it could be good idea to isolate it and have the case like a floating JSSG shield. PSU mounting screw, MoBo standoff screws and PCIe bracket screws are some of the main connection points.
  12. this didnt work well for me. it was largely ok but there were some weird issues, PCIe 16X slots worked but the PCIe X1 slots refused to detect anything. the previous customized BIOS settings no longer booted up, the cause was the undervolt I applied to the ''PCH core'' setting. PCH core is directly connected to chipset too so that wasnt a good sign, PCH core undervolting does help with SQ so that was a loss also. In the end the sound was terrible, I cant understand how it could still boot when the clock mod was having a blatant negative influence on the sound at the USB port. this was with B150 chipset and the clock was 3.3V XO91 EuroQuartz
  13. this is what I mean about connecting 3.3V supply, the trace for 3.3V ont he back of the card is very big so its not too hard. dont forget there is a single 3,3V pin on the front too. Its not necessary to do it on ground plane for GND, the SATA and MOLEX sockets have ground, I prefered the neater wiring (also the wires I used are way too thick). You could even connect wires from the unused 5V and 3.3V input on SATA socket to this trace and USB port fuses and have a neat an easily disconnected external sata supply. also see in the pic in the previous post, most of the unlabeled pins arent connected to the card, tape over these too, the bigger surface will help the tape stay in place.
  14. the original idea involved cutting the PCIe power pins, but you did mention before that you wouldnt like to do that. Instead of cutting these pins you could try putting tape over them. the 12V input uses a switching converter to get 5V and introduces noise to the rest of the card even if you dont use the internal 5v output so for the best results you need to stop the 12V getting into the card at all by taping the PCIe power. To see if the tape is working test the green fuses at the ports with multimeter to check that the internal 5V power is disconnected. you can wire a DC jack to the fuses for the external supply. know that the card will give a false ''current overload'' warning if there is no 5V supply at all. (I discovered with the 2 port version if you dont want/need a 5V supply from the card you can connect the 3.3V supply to the disconnected 5V output on the ports and it will trick the USB chips into not giving this error, the reason is the 5V output is connected to ''current sense'' pins on the chip) Powering the chips is not easy, especially with the 4 port version. The ASM1142 USB chips need 3.3v and 1.2V, the 2 port card used PCIe 3.3V directly and surprisingly there was linear regulator on board that drops that down to 1.2V. problems with 4 port version: there are more switching voltage converters visible on the 4 port version, i guess it might use it to convert 3.3V to 1.2V, not as ideal but it would still be worth using an external 3.3V. there is one advantage, the 1.2V switching converters would draw much less current than a 1.2V linear regulator so load on the 3.3V supply is lessened. There are no big 3.3V input filter caps visible on the 4 port card (unless they are on the other side) that you could solder the external supply to, you would need to scrap away some of the solder mask on 3.3V supply traces to connect it.
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