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Antoine's system
Thank you Antoine.

There are a lot of details to master in this field and your expertise in very valuable indeed. Did the standard cooling pipes fit with the architecture of your motherboard ?

To come back to a broader picture, if I understand you well, there is a trade-off to accept between being able to upsample up to :
  • DSD-256 with a very good server fed with a fantastic LPSU like the Paul Hynes SR-7
  • DSD-512 with a lower quality LPSU (either via a more power hungry CPU or a GPU with Cuda support).
I still have to make up my mind about the importance of the LPSU on the server side. Having received my LPS-1, I have been convinced of the importance to have a very good and low impedance PSU on the NAA supporting device (sMS-200 in my case). But I am still waiting for my Paul Hynes SR-7 and have not been able to transform my iMac so far and I doubt I will make this transformation as I intend to buy a PC instead.

Can you hear a difference on your system when you power the server with your HDPlex instead of your Paul Hynes ?

Have you ever considered adding a T+A D8 DSD to your Devialet ?
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(01-Mar-2017, 23:01)Antoine Wrote: To clarify; I will place this PC inside the 'low board' in which all the AV/Stereo components are placed. It should fit, like it did with my previous music server. This one is smaller.

Hi Antoine,

Might be a silly question, but I am curious as to your new motivation around building Music PC V2.x? I had the impression that your interest in the topic was "dampered" after you scrapped the old one.

BB

@SwissBear: I used to own a DAC 8 which I connected to the Dev. It was a great piece of gear but a bit to "analytical" for my taste.
D250 Pro | Piega Coax 10.2 | JL Audio SW | QNAP TVS-471 NAS  
Win 10 Music PC w HQPlayer & Roon Server | HDPlex 100w PSU
Sonore MicroRendu | Uptone LPS-1 | Mutec MC3+ USB
Trinnov ST-2 HiFi | MX Vinyl | T+A G 2000 R | Woo Audio WA6
Bavaria Germany
Reply
(19-Mar-2017, 18:11)SwissBear Wrote: Thank you Antoine.

There are a lot of details to master in this field and your expertise in very valuable indeed. Did the standard cooling pipes fit with the architecture of your motherboard ?

To come back to a broader picture, if I understand you well, there is a trade-off to accept between being able to upsample up to :
  • DSD-256 with a very good server fed with a fantastic LPSU like the Paul Hynes SR-7
  • DSD-512 with a lower quality LPSU (either via a more power hungry CPU or a GPU with Cuda support).
I still have to make up my mind about the importance of the LPSU on the server side. Having received my LPS-1, I have been convinced of the importance to have a very good and low impedance PSU on the NAA supporting device (sMS-200 in my case). But I am still waiting for my Paul Hynes SR-7 and have not been able to transform my iMac so far and I doubt I will make this transformation as I intend to buy a PC instead.

Can you hear a difference on your system when you power the server with your HDPlex instead of your Paul Hynes ?

Have you ever considered adding a T+A D8 DSD to your Devialet ?

I'm afraid I can't comment much on the HQPlayer requirements. I've never planned to use DSD512 upsampling since I don't have a DAC that supports it. Because of this I also didn't look into it much. There's multiple topics running on CA .com that discuss building a HQplayer server so it may be a good idea to have a look at those.

No, I haven't considered adding an additional DAC, like the T+A you mentioned, to my system. I do still want to experiment a bit with HQPlayer (just as a renderer with perhaps upsampling to 176.4/192kHz) in the near future but as long as I keep getting great results in optimizing for ordinary PCM it has a lower priority for me. Smile

In general I think the lower powered hardware is better for SQ, it's also the reason Jussi from HQPlayer developped the NAA package. This way one can separate the intensive computing from the lightweight rendering process to the DAC. It must also be one of the reasons (low noise and thus higher signal integrity) the microRendu and SMS-200 sound so good. Of course there's multiple schools of thought, one example that comes to mind is the $16.000 Sound Galleries Music Server which is powerful enough for DSD512 upsampling (it has the i7 6700K CPU). They advise to use just this machine for optimum results.

Since this computer audio thing is a constantly moving target it could of course be that the above no longer needs to be true provided one uses the right isolator tweaks etc. What I do know is that the machine I built is a real improvement compared to the DIY NAS PC I previously used. Both at a distance (in a different room) using fiber optic ethernet cabling as well as directly connected to the SMS-200. Of course that PC had an 77W TDP i5 3570K CPU, SSD, multiple spinning disks, a 360W Seasonic SMPS ATX PSU and three fans.

In this new music server; the more dressed down motherboard, low power CPU, fanless operation and excellent power source directly into the mainboard without additional power conversions must have a direct effect. I also now no longer use any networking equipment in the 'signal path' between music server and SMS-200.

What I do not know is if the system would sound less good if I'd place a 6700K/7700K CPU in this system. These are 65W TDP so should work in this Streacom case, though I'd rather buy a bigger case with a greater cooling capacity or the higher cooling capacity HD-Plex mini ITX case. 65W is pushing it with the FC8 Alpha, reviews clearly show this. Without a GPU the Hynes SR7 should be able to power it too. (specced at max. 8A@12V). But again as I don't see a need to go higher powered as I don't need DSD512 upsampling there's no need to risk cooling issues or waste electrical power. The 35W i7 6700T I bought is already way, way, way overkill! Smile

edit: I see I forgot to answer some questions:
- Since I already had the SR7 running before I built this new music server PC I haven't tested with the HDPlex. (And no not going to either, I'm too lazy! Wink)
- The heat pipes fit perfectly with this mainboard. I have to say I was a bit worried about this too. And although I looked very carefully at both pictures of the mainboard and the Streacom building guide before I bought the stuff you'll of course never know for sure until you actually build the thing. I all worked out! Smile


(20-Mar-2017, 16:45)baconbrain Wrote:
(01-Mar-2017, 23:01)Antoine Wrote: To clarify; I will place this PC inside the 'low board' in which all the AV/Stereo components are placed. It should fit, like it did with my previous music server. This one is smaller.

Hi Antoine,

Might be a silly question, but I am curious as to your new motivation around building Music PC V2.x? I had the impression that your interest in the topic was "dampered" after you scrapped the old one.

BB

@SwissBear: I used to own a DAC 8 which I connected to the Dev. It was a great piece of gear but a bit to "analytical" for my taste.

This topic, and the pioneering work of the TS there, is the sole reason: https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forum...icrorendu/ :)

The thing I previously accepted to be true (read in reviews but which I never verified until now), namely that with the microRendu/SMS-200 the upstream hardware and network infrastructure no longer mattered, simply was not true. I also expanded more on it and other reasons in the previous pages of this topic, so please read back a bit. Smile
PS Audio P3, Shunyata ΞTRON Alpha Digital/Lessloss DFPC Signature/Furutech power cables, Paul Hynes SR7EHD-MR4, Roon, SoTM sMS-200, Curious USB cable, Audioquest Diamond RJ/E ethernet, Mutec MC-3+ USB, Shunyata ΞTRON Anaconda Digital XLR AES/EBU, Devialet Expert 250 Pro, Nordost Tyr Reference LS cables, Von Schweikert VR-5 SE Anniversary Edition, Anti-Mode Dual Core 2.0, JL Audio Fathom F112. More detail here.

The Netherlands


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(26-Feb-2017, 16:41)octaviars Wrote:
(26-Feb-2017, 14:34)GuillaumeB Wrote:
(26-Feb-2017, 07:43)octaviars Wrote: How will you use this? What will go into it?

Did you not consider a new sonicTransport also? 

https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/produ...on-1-3-dsp

The new bigger ones has dual ethernet ports for bridge mode, if I will stay with AIR the sonicTransport with Roon and HQ Player looks like a nice combo but a bit pricy compared to building it your self.

The switch will feed my totaldac d1 server, replacing my existing Paul Pang.

Still haven't made up my mind re the sT. I'm not massively enamoured by the DSP of Roon, specifically the upsampling functionality and believe HQPlayer is probably the way to go. 

Anyway the switch was an easier decision to make! Sorry to Antoine for hijacking his system thread!  Wink
ä
Guillaume

Well first of sorry from me to for this very off-topic discusion.

I am also looking in to this network upgrade but as long as the streamerbord is not out I will wait and see what path to choose....

Seems to be some that has a bit of problems with the sT and the cost of the Roon HQ machine is rather high compared to build it your self with off the shelf stuff, the sT with HQ player runs Windows 10 so no advantage of it being Linux.

I see some thinking that the USB on the Pro models is better now than before, I have not tried USB on my 440 so perhaps going with the up-coming Sotm SMS-200 Ultra in NAA mode with HQ Player feed by Roon is a way to go.
Devialet 220Pro, Focal Sopra 2, Focal 1028Be, Linn Klimax DS, Melco N1Z, K+H FM 2002, Linn LP12 Klimax, Cable Audioquest (NRG-10,Diamond,K2,Yukon), MacBook Pro
                                                                       Germany / Bavaria
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(27-Feb-2017, 21:15)Antoine Wrote:
(27-Feb-2017, 11:02)Pim van Vliet Wrote:
(26-Feb-2017, 14:41)K4680 Wrote: Hi folks, I have been using LAN isolators from medical technology successfully for years.  Rolleyes MED MI 1005, complete galvanic isolation, 100/1000 MBit/s. Voltage resistant up to 5KV AC. Price approx. 150 €
http://www.baaske-medical.de

I see they also sell a USB isolator. that could be interesting.

Hi Pim van Vliet, here the test of a USB isolator!
http://www.hifistatement.net/tests/item/...b-isolator

Be very careful with USB isolators. The simple ones usually are USB full speed, you need USB2 high speed (480Mbps) for USB audio 2.0. One well known example of one that's suitable is the Intona, the first real USB2 high speed isolator.

And regarding the USB-ethernet extenders/isolators. Most are not suitable for USB audio. They need to support isochronous (not a typo!) transfer mode. Even then it may be hit or miss. A well know one that works is the Icron RG2304GE-LAN and of course PS Audio's Lanrover.

This or next week Uptone Audio will announce the ISO Regen. The successor of the Regen which supposedly has galvanic isolation built in. See my earlier post.

Regarding ethernet isolators; the Baaske MI-1005 is a well known one. I myself own a EMO Systems EN-HD70. It has slightly better specs than the Baaske.

Hi Pim van Vliet, here the test of the USB isolator!
Devialet 220Pro, Focal Sopra 2, Focal 1028Be, Linn Klimax DS, Melco N1Z, K+H FM 2002, Linn LP12 Klimax, Cable Audioquest (NRG-10,Diamond,K2,Yukon), MacBook Pro
                                                                       Germany / Bavaria
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(20-Mar-2017, 17:23)Antoine Wrote: This topic, and the pioneering work of the TS there, is the sole reason: https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forum...icrorendu/ :)

The thing I previously accepted to be true (read in reviews but which I never verified until now), namely that with the microRendu/SMS-200 the upstream hardware and network infrastructure no longer mattered, simply was not true. I also expanded more on it and other reasons in the previous pages of this topic, so please read back a bit. Smile

Thx, that was somewhat my suspicion but wasn't sure.  Tongue

The referenced CA Thread, and it's positive results on my system, have made such an impression on me that I am also considering taking it a step further. The Melco device and it's DSM (Direct Streaming Mode via on-board DHCP service) caught my eye the other day and I have begun to contemplate if it would be possible to have a direct signal path via Ethernet from NAS to Music PC (hosting Roon & HqPlayer) and then to the mR via bridge. (no switch /router in between) Want to approach my local audio dealer this week and see if he has a Melco to test. Will let you know how things turned out if you are interested.  Smile
D250 Pro | Piega Coax 10.2 | JL Audio SW | QNAP TVS-471 NAS  
Win 10 Music PC w HQPlayer & Roon Server | HDPlex 100w PSU
Sonore MicroRendu | Uptone LPS-1 | Mutec MC3+ USB
Trinnov ST-2 HiFi | MX Vinyl | T+A G 2000 R | Woo Audio WA6
Bavaria Germany
Reply
Thanks Antoine.

What is interesting, in my opinion, is the fact that Romaz is busy trying to reproduce, on his server, all the improvements which have been brought by SGM to its SGM 2015, namely:
  • high stability clock, powered by a low noise PSU, to replace the motherboard's clock
  • low noise PSU for the motherboard and the CPU
  • independant low noise for the SSD
  • aso...

The SGM 2015 is supposed to be connected directly to the DAC, and we can therefore understand all the efforts brought on these items. On the other side, Romaz is using a sMS-200 as an NAA renderer, and I am therefore asking myself whether he is not doing the work twice, especially in the context of the near release of an sMS-200 Ultra which is scheduled to land in April, equipped with a very stable clock. I have read your answer to this question a few pages before and I am not asking this again. I still have doubts of my own.

So the point remains, in my opinion, to decide up to which point it is reasonable and useful to bring those optimizations on a music server connected to a high quality NAA renderer. I guess everyone will judge based on his/her own skills, and I appreciate that you are sharing yours, and his/her listening capabilities.

The first test for me will be to build a new server and to try to listen whether I can hear improvements in my system together with the Paul Hynes LPSU I am expecting in a few weeks now.

Thanks again.
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(20-Mar-2017, 20:51)baconbrain Wrote: Thx, that was somewhat my suspicion but wasn't sure.  Tongue

The referenced CA Thread, and it's positive results on my system, have made such an impression on me that I am also considering taking it a step further. The Melco device and it's DSM (Direct Streaming Mode via on-board DHCP service) caught my eye the other day and I have begun to contemplate if it would be possible to have a direct signal path via Ethernet from NAS to Music PC (hosting Roon & HqPlayer) and then to the mR via bridge. (no switch /router in between) Want to approach my local audio dealer this week and see if he has a Melco to test. Will let you know how things turned out if you are interested.  Smile

Do you mean you will use the Melco as a NAS only device, connect it directly to your PC/music server and connect that to the microRendu? If so that sounds like a potentially great setup too. Though I have to say I'm not sure if streaming files from an upstream network device would be better than from local storage. Thus far my impression from others is that at least the type of local storage matters (SLC compact flash being better than SATA SSD, which in turn is better than PCI-E/M.2 SSD, better than HDD though there's all kinds of exceptions reported for both music file storage and running/storing the OS where running the OS in RAM seems to be best). I did find out that even the SATA cable used has significant impact... Huh It's a weird hobby we have!! Wink

(21-Mar-2017, 00:26)SwissBear Wrote: Thanks Antoine.

What is interesting, in my opinion, is the fact that Romaz is busy trying to reproduce, on his server, all the improvements which have been brought by SGM to its SGM 2015, namely:
  • high stability clock, powered by a low noise PSU, to replace the motherboard's clock
  • low noise PSU for the motherboard and the CPU
  • independant low noise for the SSD
  • aso...

The SGM 2015 is supposed to be connected directly to the DAC, and we can therefore understand all the efforts brought on these items. On the other side, Romaz is using a sMS-200 as an NAA renderer, and I am therefore asking myself whether he is not doing the work twice, especially in the context of the near release of an sMS-200 Ultra which is scheduled to land in April, equipped with a very stable clock. I have read your answer to this question a few pages before and I am not asking this again. I still have doubts of my own.

So the point remains, in my opinion, to decide up to which point it is reasonable and useful to bring those optimizations on a music server connected to a high quality NAA renderer. I guess everyone will judge based on his/her own skills, and I appreciate that you are sharing yours, and his/her listening capabilities.

The first test for me will be to build a new server and to try to listen whether I can hear improvements in my system together with the Paul Hynes LPSU I am expecting in a few weeks now.

Thanks again.

I agree but of course the things you mention are and have always been the 'tools' we have (isolation, high quality clocking, high quality power, low noise hardware, optimised software for lowest, most predictable use of computer resources) to improve SQ. They just get implemented in different ways and differing degrees each time.

It indeed seems he is doing things 'twice' or better said after optimizing his PC based source he -may- find out the renderer (SMS-200 or microRendu) is no longer required or even detrimental to SQ. It's something he is probably going to find out as we all do along the way. Smile He did BTW already upgrade his SMS-200 to SMS-200 Ultra specs using the SCLK-EX board and is using the extra clocks that board gives him (up to four independant clocks per board) to replace other clocks on his motherboard and/or NIC and/or elsewhere.

What's reasonable/usefull or not, is indeed for everyone to judge though along the way usually some consensus starts to form in the community. After that's happened it's usually the time audiophile press starts to write about these solutions. (they're always late Wink) When one waits even longer one doesn't have to resort to all these point solutions we employ but see commercial parties implement these solutions into their products.

Thus far I myself haven't felt 'diminishing returns' have set in yet but I also haven't jumped on the clocking thing yet (replacing clocks everywhere). This is higher risk/high cost though I have been looking at the different solutions for this (Pink Faun, SoTM, Tent, Dexa/NewClass-D, etc.) so it may be my next chapter too.

If the results you get with the SR7 are anything like mine I suspect you'll be surprised/amazed at the importance of a high quality power source, even when it's "just" powering a computer source. Smile I wish it all made real sense to me and I or anyone could explain it in a sound way that's right in every aspect or way you look at it but so far I can't and haven't seen anyone who can. It doesn't stop me from experimenting (even though there's the constant doubt you too describe) and trusting my ears though. Smile
PS Audio P3, Shunyata ΞTRON Alpha Digital/Lessloss DFPC Signature/Furutech power cables, Paul Hynes SR7EHD-MR4, Roon, SoTM sMS-200, Curious USB cable, Audioquest Diamond RJ/E ethernet, Mutec MC-3+ USB, Shunyata ΞTRON Anaconda Digital XLR AES/EBU, Devialet Expert 250 Pro, Nordost Tyr Reference LS cables, Von Schweikert VR-5 SE Anniversary Edition, Anti-Mode Dual Core 2.0, JL Audio Fathom F112. More detail here.

The Netherlands


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Had not yet talked much about the changes in SQ the new music server (or even the direct connection) has made. While I've been very busy these past weeks and couldn't enjoy my system as often as I wanted, it (in the time I did listen) has become clear it's a bigger improvement than I had hoped for. I feel all the time and work I put into it has really paid off.

The improvements the direct connection music server - SMS-200 brought are intensified. The clarity and 'realness' is unbelievable, yet another percentage of what I'd call HF noise/jitter resulting in shimmer/grit/graininess and instability is removed. Of course I have mentioned and experienced this effect many times before but each time it becomes clear there was still more left. Like I said in my previous post, diminishing returns still hadn't set in.

Right now, really nothing bothers or distracts me, not even the most difficult recordings/productions. I just hear an effortless reproduction of whatever I play. Overall things sound tonally balanced and real. Very powerful and dynamic yet relaxed and refined when needed, extremely detailed (both inner detail and on a macro level) and extended but natural, not analytical and completely non fatigueing. Soundstaging is great. I think/am sure it's already one of the strengths of my system (and room accoustics!) but this recent change very clearly improved stability resulting in a very stable holographic/layered deep and wide, room filling stage. Emotion comes through in spades, unveiled and pure. I can really 'loose myself' in the music making listening to music extremely rewarding and depending on my mood energizing or relaxing.

Tonally the new music server did not change much yet bass is more absolutely more powerful and clean/tight at the same time and the mids got a bit fuller which is a good thing in my system as it improves the presence and realness factor of voices.

I'm almost afraid to mess things up so haven't touched many things since I pressed the power button of the new server the first time. Of course there's the stuff on route to me I mentioned earlier of which at least the LPS-1 will be used.

I think it's clear: I'm extremely satisfied ATM and thankful to all these guys (this time especially Romaz) who are pioneering and/or creatively trying out the old tricks in new ways and sharing their results! Smile
PS Audio P3, Shunyata ΞTRON Alpha Digital/Lessloss DFPC Signature/Furutech power cables, Paul Hynes SR7EHD-MR4, Roon, SoTM sMS-200, Curious USB cable, Audioquest Diamond RJ/E ethernet, Mutec MC-3+ USB, Shunyata ΞTRON Anaconda Digital XLR AES/EBU, Devialet Expert 250 Pro, Nordost Tyr Reference LS cables, Von Schweikert VR-5 SE Anniversary Edition, Anti-Mode Dual Core 2.0, JL Audio Fathom F112. More detail here.

The Netherlands


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(Yesterday, 12:54)Antoine Wrote:
(20-Mar-2017, 20:51)baconbrain Wrote: Thx, that was somewhat my suspicion but wasn't sure.  Tongue

The referenced CA Thread, and it's positive results on my system, have made such an impression on me that I am also considering taking it a step further. The Melco device and it's DSM (Direct Streaming Mode via on-board DHCP service) caught my eye the other day and I have begun to contemplate if it would be possible to have a direct signal path via Ethernet from NAS to Music PC (hosting Roon & HqPlayer) and then to the mR via bridge. (no switch /router in between) Want to approach my local audio dealer this week and see if he has a Melco to test. Will let you know how things turned out if you are interested.  Smile

Do you mean you will use the Melco as a NAS only device, connect it directly to your PC/music server and connect that to the microRendu? If so that sounds like a potentially great setup too. Though I have to say I'm not sure if streaming files from an upstream network device would be better than from local storage. Thus far my impression from others is that at least the type of local storage matters (SLC compact flash being better than SATA SSD, which in turn is better than PCI-E/M.2 SSD, better than HDD though there's all kinds of exceptions reported for both music file storage and running/storing the OS where running the OS in RAM seems to be best). I did find out that even the SATA cable used has significant impact... Huh It's a weird hobby we have!! Wink

Yes, that is the intent. The Melco would serve solely as a "audio specific" NAS. Smile I spoke with my dealer today and should have a test unit in 2  weeks time. Curious as to what the results will sound like.

When it comes to streaming from an upstream versus a local device, I guess I am "currently" propagating the idea of specific devices in the signal chain doing specific tasks. One could argue that this is counter productive since more devices could equal more sources for noise, but on the other hand, I have yet to see a single box idea that really covers all the bases without costing more than a compact car. Smile

Fully agree on the weirdness of our hobby. Sometimes one changes something (i.e direct connection) and doesn't expect it to have any real impact but then sits down to listen and experiences the "wow" factor.

Glad to hear about your improvements in SQ.
D250 Pro | Piega Coax 10.2 | JL Audio SW | QNAP TVS-471 NAS  
Win 10 Music PC w HQPlayer & Roon Server | HDPlex 100w PSU
Sonore MicroRendu | Uptone LPS-1 | Mutec MC3+ USB
Trinnov ST-2 HiFi | MX Vinyl | T+A G 2000 R | Woo Audio WA6
Bavaria Germany
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