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Antoine's system
#31
(01-Oct-2014, 16:56)Antoine Wrote: Like Kunter did (see: http://devialetchat.com/Thread-CuBox-Project-X) and just for fun I've also ordered a Cubox i4Pro! Smile It's currently out of stock but hopefully I'll receive it and the other items next week.

Also ordered:
Anker E4 2nd gen 13000mAh battery
Anker E5 15000mAh battery
Akasa Lokstor X21 ESATA-SATA Enclosure
2x Sandisk Ultra microSDHC memorycards 8GB

I'm curious how this solution compares to my Server2012/AO/AIR setup. If it's not better sounding or not as convenient I'll find other uses for this hardware or sell them again.

Planning to use the Voyage MuBox MPD realtime OS package as well (first). http://mubox.voyage.hk/ Later I might also try Volumio and VortexBox/Squeezelite.

---

For my main music server I've also ordered some new items to experiment and play with:

Intel i210 server NIC (to replace the Intel Desktop CT gigabit adapter which isn't officialy supported in Windows Server 2012 R2)
ApeXi - PCI/PCI-e filter card which should filter the PCIe power inside the PC, see: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ApeXi-Power-Filt...43cfef6982

Plus some better PCI-E 1x risers to install both inside my Streacom case.

Nice work, Antoine. I've also been thinking of getting some inexpensive linear PSUs. What is your subjective impression of their effect?

I'm getting very fidgety seeing all these great streaming solutions, but everything here's on hold until we move house next week.

Sonos Connect (W4S) > DSpeaker Antimode 2.0 > Sanders Magtech > Martin Logan Montis
Sonos Connect (W4S) > Devialet 200 > Vivid V1.5
Silver Phantoms (just the two)
London
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#32
Thanks Jwg1749. So far I've only changed the SMPS power 'brick' of my former PicoPSU clone (DC ATX converter) and the clone itself for the HDPlex models. In the near future I might change this to a full linear ATX PSU. Difference is that I now have a HDPlex linear PSU that supplies 19V to the HDPlex DC ATX converter which converts it to the voltages requeired by the mainboard (including 3.3, 5, and 12V). A full linear ATX PSU is more expensive but is better, at least theoretically because it directly supplies the different voltages to the mainboard without conversion. Downside: it's more expensive and less power efficient. edit: I forgot I also use a linear power supply to power my ethernet switch now. To this switch my music server has a connection. The Devialet has a direct ethernet connection to the music server but is indirectly/electrically also connected to this switch of course.

The improved power setup improved things somewhat, not a day and night difference but noticable. Especially the highs got cleaner, less grainy.

Next step: powering the SSD separately with one of the ordered Anker battery supplies (the other one I'll use for the Cubox i4 Pro). I've read a lot of reports that isolating the noisy SSD drive really helps things forward, especially in USB setups so I'm going to try it 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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#33
Today the Cubox i4Pro has been delivered so I had to brush up on my Linux skills again! Big Grin Since I have no active Linux systems running I downloaded a Fedora Live CD image and setup a USB stick to boot from that on my regular PC. After that I followed the instructions on the http://mubox.voyage.hk/cubox-i website and all is up and running now. I of course installed the real-time kernel.

I cut the end of the DC power cable from the power brick of my PicoPSU clone since it has a 2.1x5.5mm DC plug (and a ferrite core) and soldered the +5V and ground wires to the red and black wires of a shielded USB cable. For now I power the Cubox using a USB output of my music server but when my Anker batteries arrive (should be tomorrow) I can plug it into one of those since these have USB outputs as well.

It's too late now for critical listening but of course I wanted to test the Cubox and I do already like what I'm hearing at low volumes. Smile

I'm playing music over ethernet for now from my NAS PC. It's advised to use the E-SATA connection for the best quality possible, so later I will copy the music to a SSD and install that in the Akasa X21 ESATA enclosure that's currently on route to me as well.

Here's a picture of the Cubox, for now lying on a central heating radiator behind the set. Of course I'll move it later to a nice and better spot inside my rack. Only connections you see are the Vodka USB, no-name CAT 7 ethernet cable and my home made power cable.

edit: I'll post this in the Cubox thread as well.
edit2: The real time tuning settings (http://mubox.voyage.hk/realtime_kernel_cuboxi) are not persistent and thus lost after a reboot. I created a script and call that from rc.local to reapply these settings after every reboot. Smile

Code:
for IRQ in /proc/irq/* ; do echo 1 > $IRQ/smp_affinity ; done
for PID in $(pgrep ci_hdrc) ; do taskset -pc 1 $PID ; done
echo 2 > /proc/irq/72/smp_affinity
echo 2 > /proc/irq/75/smp_affinity
taskset -pca 2,3 $(pgrep mpd)
chrt -f -p 49 $(pgrep cifsd)
ps -eLo pid,group,lwp,rtprio,priority,time,cmd | egrep "cifsd"


Attached Files Image(s)
   
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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#34
Last Saturday both of my Anker Astro batteries have been delivered and earlier this week I also received the Akasa eSATA enclosure and Apexi PCI/PCI-E bus power filter.

One of the batteries is now powering the Cubox through a home made cable in a USB A<->DC 5.5x2.1mm plug configuration. The other battery is powering the SSD inside my music server PC, also through a home made cable (USB A<->SATA power).

Today I starting looking at a USB Y cable to separate data and power. The Devialet's unfortunately need the USB power ground active (it can do without an active +5V from USB). Through coincidence I stumbled upon a 2nd hand ad for a Kingrex Unanimous Ucraft USB Y cable together with a Kingrex U-Power battery PSU. It has good reviews and new the USB cable costs around €600 and the battery PSU €199 but he sold both together for €250, a price so good (less than six months old) that I immediately called the seller and arranged the pick up! Smile

The Kingrex is a cable that's 'dual-head' so at one side it has two USB A connectors, one for power and one for data. I can now feed the Devialet clean power instead of USB bus power out of my music server PC and/or the Cubox. And I can choose to use an Anker battery or the Kingrex U Power. I think the Kingrex is better as this one uses a linear regulator to "downvolt" the internal battery's voltage to 5V. The powerbank types of batteries usually use a high frequency DC-DC switching converter that of course generates it's own noise.

Sidenote, yesterday I told Kunter in the Cubox topic that I needed to slow down a bit because at the moment I'm changing things in both the Server2012 R2/AO/JRiver and Cubox/MuBox/MPD setups so fast I almost can't keep track of the differences created by each change, let alone describe them here at this forum. Today, by buying the Kingrex stuff, I failed in slowing down again! Wink Big Grin But now that everything is in house I can take my time! Smile

For reference, for those interested:
Kingrex Unanimous Ucraft USB Y cable: http://www.kingrex.com/products.php?c=9&s=19
Kingrex U Power: http://www.kingrex.com/products.php?c=6&s=14


Attached Files Image(s)
       
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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#35
(09-Oct-2014, 19:47)Antoine Wrote: Sidenote, yesterday I told Kunter in the Cubox topic that I needed to slow down a bit

Smile
D800, Rockport Altair, Cubox, Clearaudio Master Solution, AR REF2SE Phono, Echole Omnia, Audioquest Diamond, Torus, Entreq
Istanbul, Turkey
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#36
Antoine, do check out the iFi iUSB Power we were talking about some days ago. Especially if you can borrow one and try it: it has separate outputs for power and music, and it definitely made a perceivable positive difference in my pre-Dev system (through a NAD D3020)... I'm sure this difference will be even more noticeable with a higher end system as yours.

Cheers!

L
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#37
Thanks L, I might try to borrow one in the future as there are a lot of dealers that supply the iFi stuff here in the Netherlands. And I do see advantages, e.g. low noise and always up; no need to charge anything like with battery supplies. Downside is that it has a switching/switch mode wallwart power supply and I don't want that but of course this can be changed. 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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#38
Well, mine actually came with another cable to supply the device with power from another USB port, turning unnecessary plugging it to the wall. I don't know if this would help, though...

Cheers!

Luis
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#39
It looks like Devialet AIR was restricting playback quality as I've now made quite a serious jump in sound quality switching to USB with both the Kingrex items (Y cable+Li-ion battery). It feels like switching to USB has also 'unlocked' some of the magic that the Windows Server 2012 R2 + Audiophile Optimizer 1.30 combination can bring, and I generally see people raving about. All the usual aspects of reproduction have improved again, similar to the improvements the Diamond ethernet cable brought but now in bigger 'quantities'. One of the most noticable improvements in comparison to the Diamond cable has been the bass reproduction, this has become much more dynamic and tight. But also the clarity is absolutely amazing, inner/fine details, it's all there without sounding clinical/cold; just true to the source!

Yesterday I've actually uninstalled AIR from the 2012 setup and also removed the second (Intel) physical network adapter since I currently no longer see a need for both. This also means I could go on and sell both Audioquest cables (Carbon USB and Diamond RJ/E ethernet) again, as they are also no longer needed.

For now I'm fully focusing my efforts on the music server PC, the Cubox has to wait a bit longer. Last items on my list (for now Wink) are an improved SATA cable and JCAT/SoTM/PPA Audio USB PCIe interface card.

Also found out that the kernel streaming (KS) option is also available for Devialet's USB input in core mode of the 2012/AO server setup. This is the recommended setup. Devialet uses a fully customized Thesycon USB 2.0 audio driver for it's XMOS USB implementation that includes all interface types including WDM, DirectX, WASAPI, ASIO and thus also KS. https://www.xmos.com/download/public/USB....23%29.pdf

Devialet has chosen to not include the control panel functionality of the Thesycon USB driver BTW. I'm going to see if I can hack that back in so I can try to optimize the (sound quality improving) latency settings.

And of course I'm not forgetting to enjoy the music, which I do very much (now and before!) Smile

PS: I've updated the specs of my system on page 1 of this topic, for people that are interested and can't 'keep up' following all these 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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#40
Well that was easy! Big Grin

1. Download the Thesycon drivers of the same version as Devialet (1.67) from a different XMOS supplier. Here for example: http://www.luckit.biz/downloads/Luckit%2....67.0).rar

2. Copy the tusbaudiocpl.exe (Control Panel tool) and tusbaudiospy.exe (monitoring tool) in the archive to the installation directory of the Devialet USB driver. In my system that's: C:\Program Files\Devialet\USBDriver

Run the exe's from there and you're done, see screenshot. Smile Tested it on my Windows 8.1 system first.

Default settings for the Devialet USB driver (under 'buffer settings' in the control panel tool) is 'safe', which doesn't provide the best quality but as the setting says is safe for a general system. Also power saving is switched on. This of course can be improved on, on a low latency tweaked system.

The monitor tool can be used to monitor the streaming functionality, errors etc.



A bit more information about these latency settings. From the Audiophile Optimer manual (http://www.highend-audiopc.com/PDF/audio..._guide.pdf)

Quote:Latency Settings
If an adjustment is possible at all, don’t forget to adjust the latency settings of your DAC/DDC driver to minimum latency. You may also set the streaming mode to "always on”. We use a SOtM dx-USB HD with super clock upgrade and intelligent dual-Battery Power Supply(SOtM mBPS-d2s).

USB Streaming Mode set to minimum latency is crucial for having the most magical sound quality possible. It’s better to have higher buffer values in JPLAY than raise the latency in the USB Driver Control Panel. But the minimum latency also causes a lot of stress on your hardware. If your hardware is not up to the task it will possibly sound better with a less aggressive latency setting. You will have to experiment to find the optimal setting for your setup.


Attached Files Image(s)
   
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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