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£200 streaming option beats all comers upto £5K
#21
(05-Dec-2018, 17:22)TheFactsOfLife Wrote: I put together an Intel Nuc with the lattest I7, top notch ram, set up poon and boy did it make a difference, next i brought the SBooster psu, brilliant.
This has been inconstant daily use since install, got better over time, the last edition to the pile was a PS Audio PP5 regenerator, fist running the front end then after a week or so evaluating plugged the 2 LE 200's in, i wasn't expexting much but i couldn't believe what i was hearing.
To put it to the test i invited fellow audio friends around on different times who all asked what was different, the hifi is in a small room nex to my listening room. They all agreed the differnce in sound for the better.
The most important thing is i can now listen to the Beonicks loud with no distrortion, bass bottoming, shrill top end, it's stoppedme looking for new speakers.

Curious as to specifically which I7 and what the NUC replaced?

Thx
Kii Three Speakers | JL Audio Fathom Subwoofer  | Gordian Lab 12 Power Conditioner
Innuos Zenith SE Mk II | Melco N1ZH60 | Trinnov Amethyst | Mutec MC-3+ USB
Mutec Ref-10 | Oppo UDP-205 | T+A G 2000 R | Gold Note PH-10
Bavaria Germany
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#22
Last Thursday evening I picked up the replacement NUC (I bricked the first one as described earlier) from the post office after which I set it up.

I first tweaked the BIOS settings, disabling everything not needed for the diskless NUC connecting to just the Mutec Mc-3 USB. This time I did not touch the video related settings and documented all settings and rebooting in between per category of settings.

Then I set up and tweaked AudioLinux Headless 0.6 after writing the boot image to USB stick. After everything was configured and worked OK I set up ramboot and then transferred the NUC internals into the Akasa Newton JC fanless case (very easy). By then it was too late to set it up in my system so I saved that and the first listen for Friday evening.

Chain:
DIY i7 6700T Server 2012/AO/Fidelizer Roon server with dual NIC. One NIC to my network and one NIC directly to NUC7PCJYH ->(usb) Mutec MC3+ ->(AES/EBU) D250Pro CI

Both Roon Server and NUC endpoint powered by the Hynes SR7 (as is the Mutec). Had to use a cheap 2.5 to 2.1 DC barrel to power the NUC. A better DC cable is en route to me from Ghent Audio.

First listening impressions: it sounded great but definitely no ‘Wow!’ moments like I’ve had many times in the past and described by some of the people on CA. Compared to the same chain with the SOTM Sms-200 in place the changes are more subtle. What I can hear is about the same tonal presentation just a tad more bright. I do think it’s more true to the recording, brighter recordings sound brighter others about the same. What I can appreciate in this is the cleaner/‘blacker’ soundstage in which I can hear instruments decaying longer and (even) more delineated. Also overtones/harmonics can be heard better which attributes to the realness of instruments. Background vocals are clearer as well.

I did not yet try AL on the i7 server, will do sometime in the near future.

The original recipe as described by Romaz did include a high-end switch between server and endpoint. I don’t have that yet but I’m very interested in Uptones ETHERregen as I think this will improve through isolation.

One caveat, I haven’t had the D250 Pro back (with CI) for very long yet and I think I heard the brightness before as well. In my non-CI I had removed the DUET WiFi card. Now there’s a completely new CI card inside the D250 running a Linux computer, new clocks etc. So to rule out what changed what I will, after listening more to the current setup, switch back the SMS-200 and see what changes.
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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#23
Quote:Compared to the same chain with the SOTM Sms-200 in place the changes are more subtle. What I can hear is about the same tonal presentation just a tad more bright. I do think it’s more true to the recording, brighter recordings sound brighter others about the same. What I can appreciate in this is the cleaner/‘blacker’ soundstage in which I can hear instruments decaying longer and (even) more delineated. Also overtones/harmonics can be heard better which attributes to the realness of instruments. Background vocals are clearer as well.

Intresting.

I run a SOtM sMS-200 ultra Neo and a tX-USBultra after that both driven with their own SR4 PSU and Ghent DC cables, wonder how that would compare to a NUC with AL.

I also have plans to get the ETHERregen and run fiber from my Ubiquiti router (got two SFP 1310nm and Corning Clearcure single mode cable waiting for the switch) to the Uptone switch and connect my NUC with ROCK to one of the dirty ports and my sMS-200ultra Neo to the clean port.

A SR7 with 4 rails powering switch, NUC and both SOtM products would perhaps be a gain in sound quality as the SR7 seems to be really good.
Main system
TAD D1000mk2, TAD M2500mk2, TAD CE-1, Ansuz Mainz 8D, Ansuz Darkz D-TC
Tidal Hifi -> Roon ROCK on NUC -> Netgear GS108 -> SOtM sMS-200ultra Neo -> USB -> SOtM tX-USBultra -> USB -> DAC
HD Plex PSU (4 rail for ISP fiber, router, switch and NUC), 2x Paul Hynes SR4 PSU (for sMS-200ultra and tX-USBultra)

Second system
Tidal Hifi -> Devialet Dialog, Devialet Silver Phantom, Devialet Tree
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#24
@Antoine - Congratulations on getting the AL NUC up and running. I know I would struggle with this, I am sure it would take me ages, together with many frustrations. Also, thanks for the rather sober review, which does contrast to some of the CA posts a week or so ago. I will certainly be interested in how you find it after you have been running it in your system and living with it for a while, often this yields different results versus the first impressions. Meanwhile, well done and enjoy!

@octaviars - there are a number of posts on CA that state the NUC is better than a tweaked referenced clocked SOtM sMS-200 ultra / tX-USBultra set ups and similar. Although I would agree, Antoine's first impressions seem to suggest this is unlikely. Ultimately, there is nothing like trying yourself, and I think personal preferences, system synergy and a whole host of other factors come into play.

As a final note, after my SOtM experiences this year, I am a little surprised to read Antoine's words that the NUC is a touch brighter, maybe an AL NUC is not for me! I also wonder if cleaner treble does sometimes sound subjectively brighter, things become very subtle at this level.
1000 Pro - KEF Blade - SOtM sMS-200Ultra Neo - tX-USBultra - Mutec REF10 - MC3+USB - Pro-Ject Signature 12
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#25
@Confused I follow the thread on CA but recently I have not followed it so much as I think some will never be happy they will always search for something better/different and in a couple of weeks/month something else will be the best thing since sliced bread. I think it is easy to exaggerate diffrences between things you try out as I know from testing stuff in my system and sometimes it is darn hard to hear any diffrences between products.
Main system
TAD D1000mk2, TAD M2500mk2, TAD CE-1, Ansuz Mainz 8D, Ansuz Darkz D-TC
Tidal Hifi -> Roon ROCK on NUC -> Netgear GS108 -> SOtM sMS-200ultra Neo -> USB -> SOtM tX-USBultra -> USB -> DAC
HD Plex PSU (4 rail for ISP fiber, router, switch and NUC), 2x Paul Hynes SR4 PSU (for sMS-200ultra and tX-USBultra)

Second system
Tidal Hifi -> Devialet Dialog, Devialet Silver Phantom, Devialet Tree
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#26
(09-Dec-2018, 17:15)Antoine Wrote: First listening impressions: it sounded great but definitely no ‘Wow!’ moments like I’ve had many times in the past and described by some of the people on CA. Compared to the same chain with the SOTM Sms-200 in place the changes are more subtle. What I can hear is about the same tonal presentation just a tad more bright. I do think it’s more true to the recording, brighter recordings sound brighter others about the same. What I can appreciate in this is the cleaner/‘blacker’ soundstage in which I can hear instruments decaying longer and (even) more delineated. Also overtones/harmonics can be heard better which attributes to the realness of instruments. Background vocals are clearer as well.

I did not yet try AL on the i7 server, will do sometime in the near future.

The original recipe as described by Romaz did include a high-end switch between server and endpoint. I don’t have that yet but I’m very interested in Uptones ETHERregen as I think this will improve through isolation.

Thanks for the impressions and glad that you are back to the forum. It is good to hear a more down to earth feedback on the NUC topic.

I also sense a bit of hype from the CA crew. Although I respect their findings, (they all have more knowledge and passion around the topic than I ever will..) statements like "end game" make me a bit weary. I also note a strong tendancy to push SOtM, which are excellent products, but probably not everyones' cup of tea. (I sold mine 4 weeks after I bought it ...)

Really curious about the switch idea. Given that you have been somewhat of a propagator of bridging in the past, why would putting a switch in between a server and an endpoint be preferrable to a straight bridged connection?
Kii Three Speakers | JL Audio Fathom Subwoofer  | Gordian Lab 12 Power Conditioner
Innuos Zenith SE Mk II | Melco N1ZH60 | Trinnov Amethyst | Mutec MC-3+ USB
Mutec Ref-10 | Oppo UDP-205 | T+A G 2000 R | Gold Note PH-10
Bavaria Germany
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#27
(09-Dec-2018, 18:15)octaviars Wrote:
Quote:Compared to the same chain with the SOTM Sms-200 in place the changes are more subtle. What I can hear is about the same tonal presentation just a tad more bright. I do think it’s more true to the recording, brighter recordings sound brighter others about the same. What I can appreciate in this is the cleaner/‘blacker’ soundstage in which I can hear instruments decaying longer and (even) more delineated. Also overtones/harmonics can be heard better which attributes to the realness of instruments. Background vocals are clearer as well.

Intresting.

I run a SOtM sMS-200 ultra Neo and a tX-USBultra after that both driven with their own SR4 PSU and Ghent DC cables, wonder how that would compare to a NUC with AL.

I also have plans to get the ETHERregen and run fiber from my Ubiquiti router (got two SFP 1310nm and Corning Clearcure single mode cable waiting for the switch) to the Uptone switch and connect my NUC with ROCK to one of the dirty ports and my sMS-200ultra Neo to the clean port.

A SR7 with 4 rails powering switch, NUC and both SOtM products would perhaps be a gain in sound quality as the SR7 seems to be really good.

Nice developments Octaviars! As you might have read I have been 'away' from anything audio related so my system is the way as it was in March 2017. Otherwise I would have probably had a Ultra Neo/TX-USb Ultra as well today and perhaps the JCAT NET card or even a Mutec REF-10. Smile But 'the itch' came back recently (not because I'm unhappy with SQ but because I know it can always be bettered, there is no endgame in sight AFAIC. I know better than say that) so I'm jumping in again and can of course 'start' with the knowledge of today.

The SR-7 seems to be the best at this moment if we're to believe many who write about it. I guess I was lucky to get one when it was still possible. But now there's much raving about the DR (dual regulated) version and I have just the SR version. Big Grin There's always something better just around the corner..I fully realize that and I think most do.

I look forward to the release of the ETHERregen, can't wait to read the first reports and the moment I can try it out in my own system.

As to the AL NUC, I agree with Confused; one should really try this out in ones own system. We can of course read about the experiences of others and those can help us get the best out of something or to get inspired to check for ourselves but the proof of the pudding is the eating.


(09-Dec-2018, 18:35)Confused Wrote: @Antoine - Congratulations on getting the AL NUC up and running.  I know I would struggle with this, I am sure it would take me ages, together with many frustrations.  Also, thanks for the rather sober review, which does contrast to some of the CA posts a week or so ago.  I will certainly be interested in how you find it after you have been running it in your system and living with it for a while, often this yields different results versus the first impressions.  Meanwhile, well done and enjoy!

@octaviars - there are a number of posts on CA that state the NUC is better than a tweaked referenced clocked SOtM sMS-200 ultra / tX-USBultra set ups and similar.  Although I would agree, Antoine's first impressions seem to suggest this is unlikely.  Ultimately, there is nothing like trying yourself, and I think personal preferences, system synergy and a whole host of other factors come into play.  

As a final note, after my SOtM experiences this year, I am a little surprised to read Antoine's words that the NUC is a touch brighter, maybe an AL NUC is not for me!  I also wonder if cleaner treble does sometimes sound subjectively brighter, things become very subtle at this level.

Thanks Confused! Of course you decide on your own priorities and I know it's easy to say for an IT guy like me but setting up an AL NUC isn't that hard or time consuming. With this I mean that I think you're perhaps letting yourself get scared by all the discussions between people who are tweaking.

The latest releases of AL Headless come with a configurator and the basics are setup to work from the box. You'll transfer the image using Rufus to a USB stick (instructions are in the CA topic) and when you boot it'll get an IP address from DHCP. You can then enable Roon Bridge which is pre-installed using a menu (alconf) and you're off. Then you can build from there and install additional modules if/when needed and finally enable RAMboot.

Yep, I'll continue listening and following the ongoing discussions. This is my first setup and really my first impressions. There's more stuff I'd like to check as well. I'm not unfamiliar with the two steps foward, one step back principle. Smile

Regarding the brightness; I haven't ruled out yet this is because of the CI upgrade and think I also heard it but I need to go back to the SMS-200 to check. As you know it's never a good idea to change more than one thing at a time and I should have spent more time with my old setup upgraded to CI level but my curiosity of the NUC stuff made me impatient.

I don't think the brightness is a result of cleaner treble. It's minor though I think I recognize it as HF junk riding the highs so it could be noise, jitter or whatever caused by the direct connection (or elsewhere in the chain) which needs to be isolated/removed, something power related or something else. I've battled it before many times in the past and there always seems to be a fine line for me between the clarity+lifelike highs I like on the one side and too much energy/it becoming too pronounced on the other side. If it's a result of noise it'll become unnatural sounding as well. Today I read someone removing the SSD from the server as well fixed it for him. I now need to find out what's causing it in my system. Smile

(09-Dec-2018, 20:30)baconbrain Wrote:
(09-Dec-2018, 17:15)Antoine Wrote: First listening impressions: it sounded great but definitely no ‘Wow!’ moments like I’ve had many times in the past and described by some of the people on CA. Compared to the same chain with the SOTM Sms-200 in place the changes are more subtle. What I can hear is about the same tonal presentation just a tad more bright. I do think it’s more true to the recording, brighter recordings sound brighter others about the same. What I can appreciate in this is the cleaner/‘blacker’ soundstage in which I can hear instruments decaying longer and (even) more delineated. Also overtones/harmonics can be heard better which attributes to the realness of instruments. Background vocals are clearer as well.

I did not yet try AL on the i7 server, will do sometime in the near future.

The original recipe as described by Romaz did include a high-end switch between server and endpoint. I don’t have that yet but I’m very interested in Uptones ETHERregen as I think this will improve through isolation.

Thanks for the impressions and glad that you are back to the forum. It is good to hear a more down to earth feedback on the NUC topic.

I also sense a bit of hype from the CA crew. Although I respect their findings, (they all have more knowledge and passion around the topic than I ever will..) statements like "end game" make me a bit weary. I also note a strong tendancy to push SOtM, which are excellent products, but probably not everyones' cup of tea. (I sold mine 4 weeks after I bought it ...)

Really curious about the switch idea. Given that you have been somewhat of a propagator of bridging in the past, why would putting a switch in between a server and an endpoint be preferrable to a straight bridged connection?

Thanks BB! Of course there's a bit of hype and then there's the initial euforia. I agree, I would also never call anything 'endgame'. There's balanced replies in the topic as well including from those who brought this to the world. There's still a lot of variables and the recipe is not yet finished/done. I think it's important to really understand what the people write, to see where they're coming from and what they'd like to achieve. I value Romaz's posts the most in this regard, followed by Austinpop's.

Bridging and the isolating switch aren't mutually exclusive. One can have a bridge with an isolating switch inserted in the direct path between server and renderer. I'm hoping this will lessen the importance of the server or even make its configuration irrelevant. I've not yet experienced any of it yet myself and am basing it for the larger part on Romaz's experience. I'd surely read his posts below. You can see his path to where he is today in all this as well.
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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#28
Thx for sharing. Although I have read several of Romaz’s posts, I missed the 8 Aug one. Lost in the depths of that massive thread ...

Extremely interesting, although I struggle to find the logic of how these switches positively influence the SQ to the degree claimed. I also wonder how much his cable run of 53 feet plays into it ... The distance between my server and endpoint is only 10 feet at most.

Still I want to remain open to the idea and am curious as to your impressions once you get your hands on the Uptone unit.
Kii Three Speakers | JL Audio Fathom Subwoofer  | Gordian Lab 12 Power Conditioner
Innuos Zenith SE Mk II | Melco N1ZH60 | Trinnov Amethyst | Mutec MC-3+ USB
Mutec Ref-10 | Oppo UDP-205 | T+A G 2000 R | Gold Note PH-10
Bavaria Germany
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