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WilliamWykeham

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  1. Hey @TomWoB I have a Denafrips Terminator. Yes, same dac. The USB input on the dac is regarded as the best input. I think the nice silver digital cable I’m using from Requisite Audio makes a big difference too; I’m using a Curious Evolved for USB.
  2. Review Part 2: Software and Sound The hardware side of this build was a breeze compared to the software. The first frustration I faced is that I was not able to register my copy of Windows 10 Pro, requiring a call to Microsoft customer service and about an hour of my time to resolve. In the end, the rep had to give me a new product key since the digital license didn’t work. There are apparently two ways of registering Windows 10 that are determined based on the distribution channel through which you’ve acquired Windows. The entire approach is madness. The second frustration was around optimizing the computer. I familiarized myself with bios and applied @StreamFidelity's settings (thanks again!), and then downloaded Audiophile Optimizer, Roon, HQPlayer. I had downloaded AO to my computer, not to a USB stick as recommended in the manual, and ran the Advanced configuration, and then changed registry settings based on StreamFidelity’s list. All this took quite some time, and finally I sat back ready to enjoy some sweet sounds and heard terrible stuttering, confirmed with LatencyMon. Maybe I goofed in the Advanced AO settings, I thought, or erred in the registry. So I ran a fresh install of Windows and downloaded everything again. I confirmed that the computer was working - it sounded good, and ran AO in its basic setting, after which I immediately found that the latency issues had returned. I couldn’t reverse this with the tools in AO, so did a 3rd install. I’m engaged in correspondence with Phil and hopefully we can figure out what’s going on; I seem to be an outlier with regard to this issue. My JCAT USB XE hasn’t arrived yet, and I’m still waiting for a power cable for the JCAT network card which I do have, so I’m using the motherboard’s ethernet and USB ports. Initially I was going directly into the dac with USB, using a Curious Evolved cable, and I labored over the various HQPlayer filters. Sounded OK, I thought. Then I started messing around with 2-box implementations, starting with my SMS-200. Sounded OK, I thought. I next tried my DigiOne Signature with Shanti LPS, which I had written off several months previously when I was using my 2015 MacBook Pro as a Roon Core. With this new computer, the DigiOne Signature completely transformed my system. I was astounded at the degree of clarity I was hearing. Importantly for me, the DigiOne shines regardless of volume; I've learned from past experience that low-volume listening can be an excellent test of the extent to which my system is dialed in. Much of the phenomenal sound is also likely attributable to this excellent silver digital cable from Requisite Audio that I had made. So the lessons I’ve learned through this experience are as follows: Linear power supplies are essential. I was 80% convinced of this before i started this project and I’m completely convinced now. I wonder how much the SMS-200’s performance would be improved with a LPS - any event I have a DigiOne USBridge Signature on order and can use the Shanti LPS to power that for USB / coax comparisons with a LPS The inexpensive DigiOne Signature is a break-through item in my system. I can’t wait to hear what the JCAT XE sounds like in comparison. The USB port on the Asus motherboard is really bad. Don’t even bother. I tried an ISO Regen - couldn’t get the galvanic isolation to work - and the ISO Regen didn’t really help in any event. The ethernet port on the motherboard must be at least passible because I notice a significant improvement with this computer streaming to the DigiOne Signature compared to my MacBook Pro. PCM converted to DSD sounds better to me than PCM. It just does. I should have an update once the XE card and power cable for JCAT network card arrive, in a few months. Impressions upon arrival. BTW, my gear consists of the following: Amp: Benchmark AHB2 in dual mono Power Conditioner: PS Audio P5 Preamp: Cheap Nobsound for passive; Schiit Freya S for active. Still not sure which I prefer after being a passive booster for some time, need to test some more Dac: Denafrips Terminator Balanced Cables: Benchmark cables, cheaper mid-grade Wireworld stuff; I don’t go crazy with this (yet) Digital Cable: Requisite Audio digital silver cable. I need to experiment to see how much of a difference is attributable to this excellent cable Speakers: B&W 702s2 for regular listening - OK, yes, Best Buy speakers but I’m coming from headphones and didn’t have a year to go to audio shows and audition other speakers and I love these anyway. Near-field Speakers: Ascend Sierra 2 for near-field listening. The stereo imaging from these is mind-blowing. These are life-time keepers.
  3. I have had the opposite experience as the OP in my system with my ears. When I added a Digione Signature, it was the cleanest sound I had ever experienced, especially with a high quality silver digital cable. I have a DIY music server going into my Verizon fios router, and then into the Digione - yes, probably more to optimize here, but even with this setup my system sounds better than I've ever heard. I like the Digone Sig much more than my SMS-200 neo, although that endpoint is not being fed from a linear power source, which is also hugely important - I am very glad for having bought the Shanti along with the Digione Sig.
  4. I owned these for about a year and then sold them (only because I decided to move to speakers). I had them connected to a AHB2. Because my friend also had a pair, we could frequently compare changes, and we found major improvement by moving to an 8-wire, thick silver custom cable. The SR1a also benefited from several days of burn in, but it sounds so good fresh this isn’t essential. I also own the Ascend Sierra 2s with Raal tweeters and find them amazing for near field listening.
  5. Review Part 1: Hardware I used the exact same parts as @StreamFidelity, with the exception of (1) the cheaper wi-fi, Hero motherboard, (2) I was not able to find RAM at the frequency he listed, so purchased 3000hz Corsair Dominator RAM instead, and (3) power cables from Ghent Audio. This build would have been impossible for me to do myself without thorough instrucitons like StreamFidelity’s. The HDPlex case is very high quality, and a good value. There are no plastic parts anywhere that I can recall and the construction feels built to last. I appreciated that the case comes with many extra screws, so you will not be in a difficult situation if you happen to misplace a few. The attention to quality extends down to the screws - you will not be at risk of stripping any of them. However, there is some low-hanging fruit for HDPlex around improvements to the manual, which through precise, is extremely difficult to follow, particularly for a first-time computer builder. Installing the CPU was somewhat more confusing than I had expected; luckily I had some tech help from my family. After completing the case assembly I pulled out the stock power cables, and discovered that they were all too short. This was disappointing. Why ship the case with cables, even if temporary ones that will be replaced, that are shorter than longer? So I ordered on Ghent Audio. For those building with a full size Asus Hero ATX motherboard, the cables I purchased are these sizes: 8pin cable – 0.5m 24pin cable – 0.3m DC cable to molex 6pin – 1.0m. If using a Keces, be careful to order 5.5/2.5 type; I accidently purchased 5.5/2.1 and now have to use an adapter. Although Ghent’s website warns about waits up to 70 days, I was happy to find that the cables had been shipped to me after only a few weeks. The 24-pin power cable appeared almost too short at first, but I was ultimately able to get it seated, and now think it is ideal since the cable has much less flexibility than the stock cables, and longer cables might be problematic with the case lid. The 8 pin cable from Ghent extended too far to the side, prohibiting correct installation of the case’s side panel. I simply twisted off the latch on molex connector with pliers and it fit. I ran into trouble with the back panel. The first issue is that I could not attach the plate which holds the AC outlet with the indicated screws (see image in prior post). Luckily I am using the external Keces power supply and plate attachment was not essential. The more important issue is that I ran into difficulty with seating my ethernet PCIe card, finding insufficient clearage at the bottom of the case for both the network card and the back panel. So I have done my best, but I’m unable to tell if the network card is installed correctly, since I am awaiting a power cable from Ghent. I made a few other beginner mistakes like not pushing the RAM in with sufficient force, but when I eventually got everything working, the motherboard lit up in various colors, as did the RAM, impressing me initially but later appearing slightly gaudy. All in all, not too challenging. I could probably do this now in 1/5 the time, and it was a fun project. My initial cooling results did not match StreamFidelity's, so I went back and redid the heat sink, applying more pressure this time (the manual warns against over tightening) and using a bit more thermal paste where the copper block contacts the cpu. Perhaps more importantly, I applied much more paste directly to the grooves in the copper heatsink, and to the grooves in the aluminum cap, instead of tediously thinning this out as I had during my first attempt. I also cleaned off all the thermal paste on the case, and left this bare, contra manual instructions. The temperature reading for the CPU through the motherboard is now in the upper 50s C for a 44.1/16 file, poly-sinc-ext2, ASDM7EC, DSD 256, so approximately that of StreamFidelity's build. Temperatures can push just above 80 C when upsampling to DSD 1024.
  6. I’m trying to get AO working on my Win 10 Pro build without luck. Each time I optimize, whether Express or Advanced modes, I get serious latency issues per latencymon. This latency continues even after trying to restore in AO, and requires a fresh install of Windows. Has anyone come across a similar issue? I’m running out of keys!
  7. I had an impossible time with it too. Still not sure if the PCIe card is seated correctly.
  8. Reinstalled windows. Problem is caused by AO even with Express and is not reversible, required a 3rd windows install, works great otherwise. Will probably redo heat sink anyway. 70-75C with ASDM7EC 256 poly sinc ext2, all cores synced at 4.1. I’ve just started using closed form 16M; now this is the filter for me. Followed by poly sinc long lp.
  9. Actually I could not get EC modulators to function earlier today; I was not able to see tiny settings in windows Remote Desktop on a Mac and didn’t have the EC filter selected. Im leaning toward a fresh install from the start with Windows, I’m not sure what to do about my latency problem otherwise, and I can’t repair a windows in AO making the interface impossible.
  10. Many thanks @Miska and @StreamFidelity I now understand that my prior few posts reflect a completely erroneous understanding about how HQPlayer works. I’ve gotten DSD 256 / EC modulator working great now. Only other thing that’s curious to me is that I have to also check the DoP box to ensure that HQPlayer doesn’t default to PCM, but this is something I can ask Alvin at Denafrips about, as their website looks like the Terminator should support non-DoP DSD.
  11. Why would 176.4k be any more "correct" than any other rate? Thank you; misstatement on my part I think I should have written “HQP selects the output which will allow HQP to play music immediately without requiring a wait for the necessary processing.”
  12. @Miska Context for me and this question is that I have only basic technical understanding about computers and drivers, so there may be parts of this and other questions that are a bit confused. Driver question when using SDM: In a single box setup using Roon and HQPlayer 4.3.3, I got poly-sinc-long-lp working great upsampling to 1536khz. Sounds quite remarkable and smooth through Denafrips Terminator, no dropouts. Now I try me some ASDM7EC DSD 256, but find this won’t work, the music drops out for about a second at about 5 second intervals. I suspect this is because I am using a one-box implementation, and have Wasapi selected in my backend input setting, and Terminator does not support DoP above DSD 64. However I think at this point I am stuck since the output setting is AISO for the Terminator. I have to use Wasapi for the input setting since AISO is taken for the output. Which means the best I can do in my one box setup is DSD 64 DoP into the Terminator. Are any of my assumptions above incorrect? Is there a workaround for Wasapi that will let me stream native DSD instead of DoP into the terminator? Could I try a driver like AISO4all, or will this not work since the output driver with the Terminator has to use ASIO? Thank you! I am eager to compare PCM vs DSD 256/EC modulator in quick A/B test that won’t require switching to a two-box solution - where I use NAA as output backend and SMS200 selected for the device output, and AISO driver for the input backend, with Terminator selected as device. I can get DSD 128 /ASDM7EC working in this two box implementation, but with occasional dropouts, possibly due to network issues that I still need to troubleshoot. PCM meanwhile doesn’t work well yet in this two box implementation. Further context is that my computer has been stripped down to minimal processes after AO and removal of other processes suggested by @StreamFidelity in his thread on his recent server build. Thanks!
  13. @Miska Newish HQPlayer user here, Adaptive rate output question: Why would a user want to leave the “adaptive rate output” box grayed instead of checked? General advice seems to be to leave it gray, but here is my experience: 44.1k file playing, poly-sinc-long filter, 192k sample rate limit selected since many of my streamed files are 48k from Tidal. With adaptive output rate grayed when a 44.1k file plays, HQP selects 192k as the output, causing the program to hang and requiring a restart. With adaptive output rate checked instead of grayed, HQP selects the correct output, 176.4k, all’s good. So when streaming PCM you would recommend to always leave the box checked instead of gray? Any instances when I would want to leave it gray? Meanwhile DSD appears to work as I hoped, with the lower rate as an output when adaptive rate is either checked or when it is grayed; perhaps output would differ if 48k DSD were selected, I will need to experiment with my D90 dac. I’m using Roon as a client and 4.3.3 Desktop, Windows 10 pro.
  14. Interestingly Task Manager said the graphics driver was the most recent, but Intel’s website said it was 6 months outdated. So I’ve updated but Roon still sucks up GPU resources, only when viewing albums (not when I’m in Settings for instance). But my bigger issue now is that in my one-box implementation direct to the dac, I need a replacement for Wasapi but AISO is taken by the dac. I’m trying to compare PCM to DSD in the same implementation. In a 2 box implementation, I can get DSD working optimally and in a one box implementation I can get PCM optimally (poly-sinc-long-lp upsampled to 1411.2 Mhz, minimal processor usage, temp stable at 55 C). I have 70 processes running after AO and your recommendations.
  15. Figured it out. Have Wasapi on the backend input, only supports DoP. So now I have to replace Wasapi with AISO but that’s being used by the output.
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