Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Digital Audio Setup

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Digital Audio Setup

    I have asked numerous times for members who are way into digital audio to diagram out all of the digital dingle berries you need to have in your chain to achieve a high level of SQ for playback of files and streaming. No one has addressed this yet. I'm trying to see if there is any consensus on the devices that are needed vice brand names that you are using at this point. I am beginning to understand that my choice of using a laptop for a server is not an optimized solution.
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

  • #2
    I'll let others respond for the higher end stuff, but I would like to start with it all depends on what you are using as a source, and whether you will be sending the signal via USB, COAX, Toslink (probably not) or a network cable. If you are using a PC or any device that will send through a USB port, one essential thing to try (though not necessarily need) would be a USB power supply. These do not effect the DAC, but clean up the electrical noise from the source components and send a cleaner, quieter signal to the downstream devices.

    Since I use an off the shelf, inexpensive Windows Notebook for my server, I understand that I have a noisy environment for the USB. It is essential in my system that i use a USB power supply, currently an iFi iUSB3. This was a big improvement over the two I used previously (an original iFi iUSB or a Schiit Wyrd). Both of those were very effective, but the iUSB3 is simply better in all regards. However, the effectiveness with all of these is based almost entirely on the source device. I've had four different notebooks over the past several years, and all were improved by using the USB power supply, regardless of what DAC i used.

    Currently, I go from:
    Notebook USB to iFi iUSB3 via an old upmarket ($150 USB cable, though I can't remember the brand right now)
    iUSB3 to an iFi iPurifier2 via the double headed iFi Gemini cable (one head for power alone, one for data signal only)
    iPurifier2 plugs straight into the iDAC2,
    iDAC2 to the preamp, via a Vermouth Audio Black Pearl interconnect.

    Not including cables I'm just under the $1000 mark, and very satisfied with the digital part of my system.

    I do have an Audioquest Jitterbug to try out, just haven't plugged it in yet.
    Steve Lefkowicz
    Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
    -
    Analog: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 19a, iPhono2; Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Sumiko Pearl, iFi iPhono.
    Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi iDAC2, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2.
    Electronics: Burson Conductor Virtuoso, DIY switch-box with TKD 10K pot, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso, Jolida JD1000P, B&K ST140.
    Speakers: Tekton Double Impact, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7, ELAC Debut2 B6.2, Debut F5 and Debut B6, Emotiva Airmotiv B1, Sound Dynamics 300ti.
    Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Nordost Solar Wind, Audioquest Evergreen
    Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Nordost Solar Wind, Nordost Flatline, Audioquest Q2.
    Digital cables: Straightwire USB Link, Aural Symphonics Digital Standard xxv USB, Belkin PureAV.
    Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan racks, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Sound Organization speaker stands, Pangea Audio speaker stands, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
    Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More MK801, 1More Triple Driver IEM

    http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

    Comment


    • dsnyder0cnn
      dsnyder0cnn commented
      Editing a comment
      I like what you've done here...I did something similar for several years. The iFi iUSB3.0 is great, but I've since found that it works even better if you feed it a cleaner source. Like you said, a laptop is an electrically (and sometimes physically) noisy environment. If you replace the laptop with a network bridge (sometimes called a renderer or streamer), the iUSB3.0 will have less work to do and fewer errors will get through to the DAC. Popular options include the Allo.com USBridge, SOtM sMS-200/200Ultra, SONORE microRendu/ultraRendu, etc.

  • #3
    Before Gary Koh designed and built the Genesis server (a very nice, although expensive unit), you may remember that he used a laptop with only software modifications, which he freely shared. Maybe PM or email him to see if he might want to contribute here, since I suspect he knows more about electrical engineering and computer audio software than most other posters here.
    Modwright Oppo 205 full tube mod
    Pass Labs INT60
    Daedalus Audio Ulysses v.2
    REL S3
    Daedalus/Wywires and Acoustic Zen cables
    Torus IS5

    Comment


    • #4
      Originally posted by mep View Post
      I have asked numerous times for members who are way into digital audio to diagram out all of the digital dingle berries you need to have in your chain to achieve a high level of SQ for playback of files and streaming. No one has addressed this yet. I'm trying to see if there is any consensus on the devices that are needed vice brand names that you are using at this point. I am beginning to understand that my choice of using a laptop for a server is not an optimized solution.
      There are a couple of active threads on the subject on WBF, as for myself I find my iPad as good or even better than any computer front end I’ve heard at any price , they’re just not right IMO.

      david
      Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
      Distribution: NEODIO

      Special Sales: van den Hul
      Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

      Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
      http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
      http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

      Comment


      • #5
        (2) Synology DS1515 5-bay desktop NAS with 36 terabytes of storage capacity (twin 36tb NAS units, mirrored........one in the house, one in the barn) --> whole house giga network --> Sound Music Galleries (SGM) server ---> USB cable ---> MSB Select II dac (Femto 33 clock) + dual mono power supplies (one for the digital circuits, one for the analog circuits)----> 'zeel' interconnect --> darTZeel preamp.

        SGM server has HQplayer and Roon with Tidal streaming over the network (most decent servers will have these things). and uses an I-pad for navigation over wifi. in daily use transparent and easy to use. SGM comes with lots of handholding and remote support (not all servers have this part) and would work for anyone who had the interest to purchase it. no techie skills required other than willingness to learn and adapt.

        I also have a separate laptop station set up on the network for remote file download and ripping of discs. easy to download quite large hirez files from my main laptop and move to NAS and map in Roon. minimal (drag and drop files) skills necessary.
        https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/615

        Comment


      • #6
        mep,

        There's more than one way to skin that cat.

        If you're just starting on this thing, and you don't have a massive digital file library, I'd get a good music server, with lots of built-in functionality (so you won't need a common computer at all), and a DAC that you like, preferably with a good USB interface and/or Roon-enabled Ethernet.

        I've found out that the Innuos servers that we carry fit the bill better than most, at very decent price points.

        It will rip your CDs in bit perfect quality, store your music (ripped or downloaded), help you label/organize your collection, back it up automatically, and play the files back either via USB or Ethernet, so in a way, it's relatively future-proof. It's also fairly easy to use, as everything is configured/set through a web browser, so no app to download or mess with.

        I suggest you use Roon as your user interface. It's not free, but it's by far the most capable, interesting and reliable. Again, the Innuos shine here, as it is able to not only serve as a Roon Core (Server), but also as a Roon Player. Most servers out there are only Roon Player compatible, which means you will still require a computer to run your Roon Core on, which just adds complexity.

        As for the network, the Innuos needs a hardwired Ethernet connection. Since you'll be accessing the Innuos to control it, and that'll most likely happen through an iPad on your local Wi Fi network, make sure the bridge between the Wi Fi and the fixed Ethernet network is reliable. I see a lot of folks who wire their entire house, but have spotty Wi Fi in their man cave, which means the iPad is always losing connection to the server.

        That done, all you have to do is plug the USB out of the Innuos into your DAC and configure it in the Roon UI.

        For now, forget about all that other stuff about upsampling, USB gadgets, etc. and just enjoy the new experience. Yes, better USB cables will matter, as will better power cords on the server, but leave that for later


        Disclosure:
        Alma Music and Audio - La Jolla, CA
        Aqua Hi-Fi - Audio Research - Audioquest - Audionet - Audiopax - Auralic - Aurender - Bergmann - Brodmann - D'Agostino - darTZeel - Devialet - DEQX - ELAC - Evolution Acoustics - Hegel - iFi - Innuos - IsoTek - Kii Audio - Koetsu - Kronos - Kubala Sosna - Kuzma - Larsen - Linn - MSB Technology - Music Hall - Ortofon - Solid Steel - Technics - Wharfedale - Wilson Audio - YG Acoustics
        [ http://almaaudio.com ]

        Comment


        • dsnyder0cnn
          dsnyder0cnn commented
          Editing a comment
          Ohhh...got it! I like the HiFiBerry products. I've built streamers around their DAC+ Pro, Digi+ Pro, and AMP+ cards. These are attached to Raspberry Pi 3 Model B small board computers running DietPi (a Linux distribution) and Roon Bridge.

          The Raspberry Pi is not so great as a USB bridge though because USB and Ethernet share the same bus. If you'll be pairing the streamer with a USB DAC, I recommend the Allo.com USBridge. This product is based on their Sparky small board computer which provides dedicated buses for USB and Ethernet. Allo does not seem to have a US distributor (that I've found), so it takes a while to get here and shipping is expensive (~$20 for the $149 version), but I think you'll find it's worth the wait. This product comes fully assembled and pre-installed with DietPi, Roon Bridge, and a bunch of other software (all of which I disabled, but some could be handy depending on how you will use it).

        • dsnyder0cnn
          dsnyder0cnn commented
          Editing a comment
          Here are a couple of links with more information about the USBridge:

          https://darko.audio/2018/02/step-up-...tals-usbridge/

          https://youtu.be/f0tMX8EdP4Y

        • Tapetech
          Tapetech commented
          Editing a comment
          You should stop using that archaic and offensive term (your 1st paragraph).

      • #7
        I’m surprised to read anyone still advocating USB as an ideal connection between the server and DAC. It turns out USB is the bottleneck. Putting your DAC directly on your network and connecting to the server via ethernet produces a superior audible result. Not subtle.

        PROGRESSIVE SOUNDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
        www.lasercd.com
        www.lasersedgegroup.com

        Rockport Aquila, Boulder 2010, Boulder 2008, Boulder 2060, Transparent Audio Reference XL, Nordost Quantum QBase8, TW Acustic AC Anniversary, TW Acustic Raven 10.5 arm, Lyra Atlas, Bricasti M1 Special Edition, SRA Scuttle3 rack + various SRA/Symposium stands

        Comment


        • #8
          I like the simplicity and reasonable high performance of the Lumin network music players.

          Click image for larger version

Name:	Network Music Player Example using the Lumin D2.jpg
Views:	442
Size:	108.9 KB
ID:	78754

          Comment


          • #9
            Click image for larger version

Name:	Lumin Network Music Player Wiring Diagram Example using the Lumin A1.jpg
Views:	573
Size:	95.7 KB
ID:	78756

            Comment


            • #10
              Now we are getting somewhere. I need to set the record straight here lest anyone think I don't have any digital in my system. I have had a laptop server (the one Rob describes that Gary Koh gave out instructions on how to modify) for years now and I have two external hard drives filled with both DSD and PCM. Both drives are USB. I have owned the Mytek Stereo 192 DAC for years. I started out by running Foobar and switched to JRiver which I now officially don't like. I just installed Roon yesterday and I haven't been able to get it to synch up to my DAC yet. I use an iPad as a remote to run the server. I have reviewed numerous DACs and a server and I currently have another server inhouse for review.

              But, the world of digital audio has been evolving over the past few years and surprise, surprise, there doesn't seem to be consensus on the optimum way to setup your digital network and I'm not talking about arguing over brand names. As we can see above, LaserCD doesn't like USB between the server and the DAC. Alex is all about using USB. There also seems to be a relatively new bunch of digital dingle berry devices that are finding their way into the digital networks.

              One of the issues in my new room is that it's not wired for ethernet and I have to use a wifi connection to my network. Because my room is upstairs, I don't know if I can run an ethernet cable to the room. What I want is a nice stable network that will seamlessly switch between PCM and DSD. I know I need a "real" server with an LPS, but I don't know if NAS drives are the way to go now.
              Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

              Comment


              • lasercd
                lasercd commented
                Editing a comment
                Generally when it comes to these things I'm a bit of a lemming. I leave it to the big boys to sort out. I've been a Bricasti M1 owner since its been available and done every update made available. Brian Zolner sang the praises of the network card he was developing for the M1, telling me that it turned out that USB was the bottleneck...and he was right. The M1 was a very special DAC to begin with but the addition of the ethernet card was transformative. Bricasti has introduced a relatively low cost box called the M5 which will put any DAC on the network.

                I know Alex longer than anyone on this forum and he's a friend who has a pretty good set of ears. He's an advocate for MSB. I'm sure once MSB comes up with a networkable version of their DACs he'll hear the difference. Its obvious.

            • #11
              I'm a big fan of JRiver Software. Alot of the audio rag reviewers use it as well. It is a bargain for $50. It behaves with just about any soundcard/DAC combo in a bit perfect fashion. The interface is excellent, and the user can control just about anything related to sampling/SQ. There is also a nice remote APP called JRemote. Their forum is a one stop shop for info and the software> 30 day free trial too.
              https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php
              TT- ATLP120 mod> AT120eb (Lofgren), Denon 103
              Pre- Emotiva XPS-1 Phono, McCormack Line Drive
              Power- Parasound New Classic 2125v2
              Dig- JRiver 20 server> Adcom GDA-700.
              Speakers- Mirage M7si, Stax SR5, Stax SR34
              Wires- Transparent, Kimber, AQ, Tributaries

              Comment


              • #12
                Originally posted by Boltman92124 View Post
                I'm a big fan of JRiver Software. Alot of the audio rag reviewers use it as well. It is a bargain for $50. It behaves with just about any soundcard/DAC combo in a bit perfect fashion. The interface is excellent, and the user can control just about anything related to sampling/SQ. There is also a nice remote APP called JRemote.
                Yeah, yeah. I have been using JRiver for years along with the JRemote. I'm no longer a fan and I am switching over to Roon now. Oh, reviewers do take umbrage with audio magazines being referred to as "rags."
                Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                Comment


                • Boltman92124
                  Boltman92124 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Sorry. I actually subscribe to the printed versions of TAS and Stereophile for 30 years...didn't mean to offend them! What don't you like about JRiver? I bet it locks in on your 192 without a hitch!

                • mep
                  mep commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Bet you would be wrong. Anytime I switch DACs in my system and then go back to the Mytek, there were always issues with JRiver.

              • #13
                Right now I am fighting with Roon to enable my Mytek Stereo 192 DAC and I'm losing.
                Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                Comment


                • #14
                  With so many devices on the market to reduce USB noise, it kinda makes one think USB is not the best connection. I've tried some of them. My experience is they make a little bit of difference.

                  I replaced my laptop and USB connection with a Bricasti M5 - added bonus, it does not house drives in the same box. The M5 made a huge difference. It does have USB output however both the spdif and AES connections are better. In my system, AES is best.

                  YMMV

                  http://www.bricasti.com/en/consumer/m5.php


                  Click image for larger version

Name:	2018-02-09 08.24.34.jpg
Views:	386
Size:	3.66 MB
ID:	78785

                  Comment


                  • mep
                    mep commented
                    Editing a comment
                    How did the M5 replace your laptop when it still has to be connected to a server? From the website link you posted:

                    The Bricasti M5 network player is a network interface and media renderer that connects to your server via a local area network.

                  • RandyRobinson
                    RandyRobinson commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I didn't store files on my laptop, only used it to run JRiver. I have the library on my NAS and on my desktop. Since I have faster drives on my desktop, I prefer connecting to the library on my desktop over the NAS. I always seemed to have one drop/pause per session when using the NAS as a source. With the M5, I run JRiver media server on my desktop and use the desktop to control what's played. I emailed Bricasti and Brian answered my questions. He also set me up with a dealer who gave me an in home trial. They sent me instructions and screen shots to do the setup.

                • #15
                  Mark- I'm largely an ignoramus when it comes to modern digital audio, but one thing I do know from my days of messing with high end video is that you need hard wired internet for signal, not wi-fi (which may be fine for a controller). If you are on a second floor, can't you run conduit outside the house and up to the room? That was done for ac power in my old place in NY, per code) and at the time, I had a hardwired ethernet connection run to my room via cabling exterior to the house (i was on the third floor for the home theatre). It wasn't a big deal- because I didn't have to do it!
                  I'm watching this thread with interest regarding the rest.

                  Comment

                  Working...
                  X