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hols

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  1. Hi Cool_Chris, Thank you for your questions. I think I may not be able to answer all of them and it is not really appropriate to discuss other gears in this Sponsored forum. I shall try my best to report those observations that are related to ER when they are fully burned in. And for your information I don't use Tidal or Quobus or Spotify because I have more than 10Tb files ripped from my own CD collection.
  2. You are right that I daisy chained the SOtM switch and the ER both clocked to Cybershaft OP20 but it is used between the server HQPe and the endpoint NAA. Another ER was placed between Router and NAS without clocking because physical distance too far from Cybershaft.
  3. Please see the network diagram I uploaded in response to Alex's request. I finally did not use any fiber in the whole network.
  4. My struggle with EtherRegen first 72 hours Some background on my system. I have been a 'loyal' Uptone supporter all along and I still am. I have in my possession one JS2, two LPS1.2, LPS1.0 and isoRegen and now two ER. Before using the ER in my system I have been using a SOtM switch (highest spec) and fed by Cybershaft OP20 as 10M reference and using Habst cryo'ed silver clock cable. I have been using the SOtM switch between my Doppio server (designed by my buddy) HQplayer embedded and the NAA and connected via USB to Denafrips Terminator. There is no problem with connection all along. We have tried to stack 2 SOtM switches connected by single mode optical and sounded excellent compared with only one. And we have been looking forward to the EtherRegen and see whether it can achieve that kind of improvement. I first used the Uptone SMPS and internal clock to replace my SOtM and I would say there is a very significant drop in wattage of the resulting SQ. There is shrinkage in soundstage, loss of detail and sound is dull. This is not unexpected because this is the first 15 minutes of connection and one cannot make any conclusion from that. I then powered off the ER and connected the 10M clock input pushed the button to external clock and then powered up again. And I immediately encountered stuttering which lasted for 10 minutes without improvement. I have to power off and then power up again and this time after stuttering for a few minutes it runs normally without dropout. The sound improves a lot compared to without 10M clock but to my ears the sound is not on par with the SOtM. My estimate is only about 50% to 70% of that of the SOtM. This is again not unexpected with a not yet boiled gear. I then changed the power supply to LPS1.2 and I would say there is not much of improvement with using the LPS1.2 and there was again some dropouts in the beginning. I then changed to JS2 giving it a 12V power supply. The sound appears a bit more solid but there is a slightly heavy mid range with JS2. That is about 1.5 hours after using the ER. My friend came over to join me at that juncture and I was playing a DGG Fournier & Gulda Beethoven Cello sonata. One thing that caught us both is that the piano comes off with excellent shape as if the Grand piano just stands up and you can hear all the delicate touch by Gulda. But at the same time the cello becomes shrunken. I guess this is due to a more quiet background and better delineation of the highs and SuperHighs compared with lows that contributes to this spatial delineation of the grand piano. This is a very different presentation compared with SOtM which gives a much richer timbre especially in the range of Cello. We then decided to try to stack the ER behind the SOtM and see whether we can get the best of both worlds(I have studied the manual a few times and know that the B side of the ER should always be closest to the DAC to prevent leakage currents from interfering). I connected through single mode fibre SFPs and when powered up we face stuttering again and this time it persisted for 10 minutes or so so I have to change it to RJ45 ports with ethernet cable. There is some scattered dropouts and it goes on normally afterwards. As for the sound there is a combination of the 2 characters, the balance between Cello and piano is more natural now. The piano is still excellent but there is a less holographic presentation compared with before. But I would say that the SQ still lacks behind that of 2 stacked SOtM switches. The ER is left powered on till next day When I played music through the next day there is not much of improvement compared with before which is again not unexpected because the boiling process need to continue a bit longer. But I encountered some stuttering again when I changed to other files. And I found out from this forum that I am not alone and John is trying his best to deal with it. At that time one of my buddies just communicated that he has no problem on the first day but on second day there is stuttering and then cannot even connect. Hope that John can find out solutions to that. After stabilizing a bit the music seems to be stable and I tried to experiment with my second ER. This time I tried to put it between my Asus 88 router and my Synology NAS using RJ45 ports and ethernet cable. There is stuttering again and this time the stuttering continues. But amidst the dropouts I can hear that there is an improvement in SQ. But I have to give up because after a while there is interrupted connection. Onto the third day today and I've got the biggest surprise which I didn't expect. The system is still on the SOtM +ER stack (without NAS ER)there is some improvement in the sound the orchestra sound more coherent with good layout and yet hearing more details. No stuttering. And I continue to explore by adding a ER between my NAS and router and voila suddenly the orchestra opens up and the widest and deepest soundstage I have ever achieved. And more important is that I can hear the details and ambiance and the air around the instruments are the best ever. The double bass are just rock solid in their place way back in the soundstage and yet giving out a detailed and musical sound echoing the other instruments of the orchestra. The layout is very natural and not the artificial pinpoint focus. One can just feel the rapport amongst the various instruments of the orchestra. As my friend commented it's like being the conductor of the orchestra. And fortunately there is no more dropouts today. And it seems that adding this second ER gives the best reward and is well worth its price. Now the SQ has surpassed the 2 stacked SOtM switches. Bravo Alex. So to conclude my first 72 hours impression with ER (1) Direct comparison with SOtM the ER may not have advantage and will need further boiling before any definitive conclusion (2) The sound character of ER is different from SOtM (3) The stacked SOtM with ER can give additive effect (4) Second ER between NAS and router can give big boost in SQ (5) The power supply to the ER needs further testing And in my system using two ER becomes a must. Having said that I am still confused about the cause of the dropouts and I shall raise the questions over in the installation thread. Thanks again for your great product Alex and John.
  5. Thanks. You are right that I need to fix the problem of it cannot access the DAC. I changed the NAA network back to default DHCP without bridging and also disabled the onboard soundcard and it works again. Sound is good. But there is still a problem of music stopping after playing for a few minutes. On checking the log it says network engine stopped. And on hitting play it can resume playing. How should I proceed to check what went wrong? I have checked the CPU temperature it is 57 degrees Celsius. Thanks.
  6. I need some help here. I am exploring the HQplayer embedded on Audiolinux OS on a NUCi7 one as server and one NUCi7 as endpoint running NAA feeding my Chord Blu2 and Dave. I succeded yesterday through web interface to configure and authenticate and got some very good sound. I changed to HQPDcontrol and and it also works but there were some hiccups and stops after one minute or so. I decided to change the server and endpoint to a static IP( a different one than before). I then tried to use web interface to connect again with the new IP address. I can only get to the configuration page but when I try to do the authentication it failed repeatedly and no sound comes out and I cannot get to the library or main page. I have tried the default passwords but they all failed. Anything I have done wrong or how should I go on from here? Thanks.
  7. Thank you Rajiv for a really excellent review of the HMS+TT2. Your vivid description coincides with my own impression of Chord Blu2 + Dave. There is one small issue that I hope I can ask for your opinion. To me DSD playback in Chord Blu2+ Dave cannot achieve the same level as PCM playback. This is because the mscaler in Blu2 will convert the DSD to PCM before upscaling to 705.6 or 768 and pass to Dave(or TT2) . I saw that you mentioned playing DSD from HMS to TT2 using improved DSD filters. Does that mean that there is new programming that DSD is sent as DSD intact or it still requires conversion to PCM and then upscale to 768 and then convert back to DSD ? Thanks
  8. Agree that Supra cat 8 is good for its price. To me the sound is proper and accurate. Expensive ethernet cables give you something more than accurate. Vertere is said to be using hair thin wire and giving you some real good high frequencies. Both material and design can give you some different sound. I am not sure but I think Supra does not give floating shield because part of the plug is metal and so cannot isolate the ground.
  9. I use 2 Vertere pulse HB ethernet cables. These help to give a more lively sound and especially good high frequencies. Dalby ethernet cable is the other one I have tried on my system. It is very musical and rich in timbre but it is two times the price of the Vertere pulse HB cables. After using the sNH-10G the difference among different ethernet cables is less pronounced as before but I would say still easily distinguishable. I use Supra cat 8 ethernet cables in other less strategic areas and I changed some of them to Telegartner plugs.
  10. new 200W HDPLEX with 2 fixed outputs 12V and 19V and 2 variable outputs using total eight lt30451
  11. Hi Greenleo, I have been using a linux dual machine system developed by my buddy all these years. It is not a commercial product and I am sorry I do not have his permission to disclose any detail. So I propose not to talk about it at this moment. On the other hand I can talk about some of my observations as I tried to tweak the AL OS. First to answer your questions 1. Yes the dual system(both AL lqxt) is having better sound than a single machine but not significantly so(from what I can observe at this early stage of tweaking). 2. I am using the SOtM switch sNH-10G with reference clock from Cybershaft OP20. And now my observations. I am using the Chord Blu 2 and Dave in this big room system and several things that one need to pay attention to with this combo. One of which is that the galvanic isolation of USB input of Blu 2 is not perfect. I noticed that because I have a LP system also hooked up to the same system . Any noise from the digital stream will be noticed even if I play solely from the LPs. So I need to to put the isoRegen in the line of the USB chain just after the NAA computer to 'filter' this digital noise. There is a side effect resulting from this arrangement is that the NAA will lose contact with the DAC on any slight change of cables and it sometimes takes repeated attempts to reset every gear before it can be connected again so it becomes a headache to tweak the OS in this system. So you can imagine it would be a tedious job to tweak the AL from normal boot to ramboot and then headless and then extreme 2 because it involves repeated reboot and sometimes it will not recognise the DAC after reboot. And I do not have time to do all these tweaks yet so I did say that it is not a critical evaluation yet. But one thing I noticed is that on connecting the dual machine NUC7i7 AL the noise that can be heard from the speakers is significantly greater than my original system (when I try not to use the isoRegen) and this is already using linear power supply to both NUCs including Uptone JS-2 , HDplex 200W . I am not sure whether other NUC users have noticed this in their system or not ? My wild guess is they are also present to a certain degree and that is why a really good LPS is essential in driving these NUCs in order to minimise all these leaking currents or dirty ground loops that might be present in these compactly packed NUC motherboards. And that is also why one must try to go for ramboot and take away all the SSD or SATA or any unused devices before one can get really good sound. So probably still a long way to go in tweaking these NUCs. As for the SOtM switch it has stayed in my system for more than a month now and has become an indispensable part of the system. I agree with Roy that it is probably the single most important product that SOtM has produced. Everything becomes more musical after putting it in the chain. The improvement is surprisingly not in improving accuracy or sharper focus but more on timbre, naturalness and immediacy. Everything comes out more smooth but everything feels just right. No more need to sit in the golden seat to enjoy music. You can listen to one speaker and yet can still enjoy all the details of your music. I just put the switch in between the HQplayer and the NAA and that is already good enough. And of course it needs a good LPS and I am giving it my Uptone LPS 1.2. So sorry I could not give you any straight answer for your questions because I still need more time to tweak the AL before I could make any comment.
  12. A comparison of 3 NUCs with AL in my second system After having read so much about NUCs in the past months I have finally got a NUC7PJYH Kit and 2 NUC7i7DNBE in their Plato X7D akasa case. And I have been familiarizing with these NUCs in the past month or so when some of my friends came over last weekend with a NUC8i7HVK kit. This is a rare chance that 3 different NUCs can come together and we think it might be an opportunity to compare these NUCs and see is there any significant difference. This is by no means a fair comparison because first it is not a blinded test Second my NUCs are intermittently used for a month or so though only very sparingly used while my friend's NUC8 is just right out of the box. Third the DDR4 ram are different. NUC7PJYH has a pair of 8GB Corsair 2400 CL16 (Tried HyperX 2400 8GB but like Roy has reported it is not compatible, but surprisingly a 16GB HyperX is compatible). The NUC7i7 has a pair of HyperX 2400 8GB inside. The NUC8 also comes with SSD and stock Ram. Fourth the NUC7i7 has a fanless akasa case but the NUC8i7 only comes with its kit and fan. The power supply we use for all is the new HDplex 200W (burned in for one month now). Fortunately we have several very experienced audiophile present at the audition so that hopefully can understand the possible impact of these differences.The setup is using this NUC(with Lush USB cable) to feed my Holo Spring DAC connecting to Cello Encore preamp and MC2 S1400 poweramp and to a pair of Gauss Optonica speakers in my small room. No use of isoRegen or switch or clock devices in this system. We have tried to use theses NUCs as a single piece server using HQplayer to play 44.1 wave files(Oistrakh playing Beethoven violin concerto) in a USB stick. The result is very obvious to everyone present. The 7PYJH gave a very pure and musical sound and is thought to be of exceptional value for its price. It probably excels in chamber music and probably not so much in full scale orchestral music. 7i7DNBE gave a much more stable soundstage with much better details especially in low frequencies and a much more lively sound. The immediacy and ambiance is also much better felt. 8i7HVK came up and all are just astonished that the sound can become even more dynamic than the 7i7. But to all our surprise is that after about 5 minutes on some harsh sound appears most noticeable in the high frequencies coming out together with the violin sound as if the recording becomes one of the very old recordings. So the 8i7 is more dynamic but perhaps a bit too powerful as to be giving some 'noise'. We have also tried in each NUC stepwise to change from normal boot to ramboot and also by removing the boot USB stick. Every time Ramboot gives a much better sound than normal boot while after removing the boot USB stick there is still another veil got removed. This has been consistent in all three NUCs tested. We have also tried to use these NUCs as Roon bridge while the Roon server resides in my Win 10 desktop computer next door, again playing the same 44.1 wave file without upsampling. The same observations as a single piece HQplayer is maintained when they serve as Roon bridge here. We have also tried to use these NUCs as HQplayer devices under Roon and playing the files in NAS through Roon. The sound is more to our liking than using Roon bridge in the sense that Roon bridge has a more smooth sound but the details appears a bit covered up as result of this smoothening of the sound). Even this HQplayer under Roon is still not as good as HQplayer alone without Roon in our setting.That is also the main reason why I have not been using Roon much even I have got the license for a long time. I understand that there might be personal preference and different system synergy in force here. A few other observations. One of the reasons that this NUC8i7 is chosen by my friend is because of its optical output from the Intel motherboard. It is also present in the NUC7PJYH but not in NUC7i7DNBE. We cannot make it sound with HQplayer or Roon but we succeded to connect it to my Holo Spring when we use jriver. The sound is mediocre if you use the adapter as shown in photo but the sound opens up when we use a good toslink optical cable(Lifatec optical cable). It is only slightly inferior to the USB connection or some of us think that it is not inferior but only of a different style(More analog or slightly more smooth sound). We have also compared Win10 OS using audiogate compared with AL using HQplayer in the NUC8i7HVK and the latter is quite obviously the winner even not using Ramboot. We have also tried to use the stock 19V SMPS that come with the NUC8i7 Kit and the sound is way way inferior to my HDplex 19V output. Dual machine We have also listened to but not critically(because not really optimised. no ramboot yet because need some time to setup in another system) on using NUC7i7 as HQplyer server and another NUCi7 as NAA(endpoint) and connected to switch without bridging over in my bigger system. The sound is good but not yet up to the standard of my existing server(also Linux system). Summary This is only an early report of the three NUCs in the same system. YMMV. Despite all the inadequacies in the comparison it seems that the NUC7i7DNBE is the optimum to go for either as a one piece server or as an endpoint. NUC8i7HVK seems to be a bit too powerful as to be causing some harsh sound(not sure it is the fan, or the higher power required that caused EMI RFI interference). Unless you need the optical output or the high power for upsampling to DSD512(which we have not tested because not enough time) or the like one could probably settle comfortably with the NUC7i7DNBE.
  13. hols

    HQ Player

    Can I ask if I use HQplayer to play a 44.1 PCM file and output it in the same native rate 44.1 PCM should I expect any difference if I choose different filters or different dithers?
  14. My Audio Clock Journey Hi CTU I am not so slow this time. I got my Cybershaft OP20 Limited 2(same as Ultimate but with 3 outputs instead of 1 output ) a month ago and has been burning it continuously for a month now. And it is about time to give a review of my audio clock journey as it has probably come to an end(really end game). I started to use master clock way back 15 years ago when I use the Drawmer M-clock with my Prismsound ADA8. My next clock is the Antelope Trinity + 10M(rubidium) about 10 years ago when I started my CAS journey using Linux OS and RME AES soundcard which like many professional equipments has a clock in in order for all equipments to use a synchronized clock. As has been discussed a lot in these pages that the majority opinion is saying that using internal clock is often better than using an external clock because of deterioration during the transfer of the clock signal. There is probably no dispute in professional gears because of the need to synchronisz multiple gears so using a master clock is often beneficial. However I think a lot of other factors need to be taken into consideration including (1) Accuracy of the clock --- a femtoclock is so much more accurate than a clock in the range of ppm (2) Phase noise of the clock -- this is often not stated in many clocks but this is probably by far the most important determinant of whether an audio clock can give good sound or not. (3) Power supply-- I remember that after using Paul Hynes SR9(old type) instead of the stock SMPS of the Trinity and 10M the SQ jumps significantly for my Antelope Trinity & 10M although I have also waited for more than 1 year before delivery 7 years ago. (4) clock cable used There is often a combination of these factors in coming to a final result and of course the final judgment is your own ears and see whether or not the resulting SQ improvement is justified or not. For me the Antelope Trinity +10M has stayed in my system for 6 years and served my RME AES soundcard, EMM Labs transport and Dac6e, MSB DAC IV. It has persistently improved the SQ by giving both a more precise soundstage layout, better timbre and instrument focus. The 10M especially give a warm and more analog feel persistently. They are actually very helpful in giving a much more analog sound when coming to high resolution files because in the early stages of high resolution files are typically very harsh. All over these years we have had comparison with other clocks including Esoteric P0 and the Antelope can still stand all the competition.Then came the Cybershaft claiming that the rubidium advantage of long term stability is not suited for audio and the OCXO has a better short term accuracy is more suite to audio. I was a bit slow and can only get a Premium OP13 initially but it is already good enough to kick out the Antelope 10M. It is at about this time when I added the SOtM txUSB ultra and the OP13 is attached to the SOtM. I gradually escalated to OP14 when I got a chance. The improvement of OP14 over OP13 is very significant as one of my friends commented it is like upgrading to a much higher level DAC. In May this year I changed to the Mutec Reference 10 and yes it is better than the Cybershaft OP14 by a wide margin both in stage layout and in instrument timbre. But most importantly it gives a warmer and more analog sound than the OP14. I think this is because it has a better phase noise at -116dB compared to -114dB in OP14. Secondly the power supply may be better in Mutec. And when this new generation of OCXO type 2 clocks from Cybershaft comes to the market with such a high price range and that I have only changed to Mutec for 4 months it is really a dilemma whether I should go ahead or not. I consider myself lucky to have decided to buy the OP20 early which is quickly sold out. And on connecting the Cybershaft OP20 for 30 minutes I know that this one is definitely worth it. The sound is so natural and like going to a concert. The last bit of harshness is gone. One of my friend cannot stand my system being so detailed and sometimes a bit powerful on the ears when it comes to a double forte passage so he used to stay in the back seat instead of in the golden seat. But now he commented that it is very enjoyable now in the golden seat. As was well said in the review in our local forum, the OP17 is like looking through a very well cleaned glass window and for OP20 there is no more glass there. And it is also true to say that the improvement from OP13 all the way to OP17 is incremental step by step but when when you get to OP20 you know that you are leaving this world and entering Elysium. At about this time the Habst cables arrived and I will report on the different clock cables later.
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