Disc versus Computer

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Comments

  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 14,864
    The North Star gear uses i2s via Ethernet and while I know the cable makes a difference (I have added a Wireworld Ethernet to the stable) I don't know how it fares directly to USB or computer vs streamer.

    I do know that so many of these things are supposed to work in basic theory but when it comes to audio it seems the margin of error is much lower or something. Far too many times I've been proven wrong about how something should work and have had to accept that theory and reality are two very different things.

    I subscribe to the same theory Rich does when it comes to doodads. These products can improve your experience but they are band aids and don't address the real issues. I always recommend clients work on other areas they can first like the USB cable and then consider adding any doodads. The improvements these products make are marginal when compared to something like a better cable, though there might be exceptions when there are serious issues going on.

    I struggled to understand why digital cables made a difference but it made much more sense when I understood how digital signals were passed thanks to DK. These cables transmit noise from the originating device and can also pick up other noise if the geometry is bad or no shielding is applied. Metallurgy can improve the signal purity and while this might have no effect on the data being transmitted, it does clean up the sound in the signal itself.

    The power supply is but one area of concern. The other is actual design of the product. Computers are built for processing power. Streamers are built for audio playback. Care is generally taken in the design to help reduce or eliminate potential for noise that is not a requirement in the design of a computer. They are built for two specific purposes and as such you get different design goals and different products.
    audiothesis.com/

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  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 6,912
    edited August 10
    Thorton wrote: »
    Does anyone has experience with or can comment on sending the signal via ethernet vs USB?

    Nice speakers! B)

    Like a hardwired Squeezebox Touch or between transport/server and DAC?


    For the DIY'er, I've used Twisted Pear Digital Transceivers, or Teleporters, to connect a modded Denon 3910 used as transport to my DAC. They have standard ethernet connection and IIRC allowed up to 100 feet of cable between devices without negative effects.

    kdytn5ttw65v.png

    I snagged I2S out of the 3910 to be sent to the DAC. I2S was not designed for long runs. Think inches, not feet. With I2S, clock is separate of data. With SPDIF clock is embedded and the DAC must sort the clock out. Some DAC's do a better job with SPDIF than others, but they usually sound better with well implemented I2S.

    Basically you need two Teleporters, one set to transmit and one to receive. I also snagged I2S out of a Squeezebox Touch using a Teleporter to send to the DAC.

    qpncik5qkbur.jpg


    It worked great, but I did learn quality of the cabling made a difference. By quality I don't mean spending a lot of money. I was getting drop outs playing DSD out of the 3910 with a standard store bought patch cord. BlueJeans Cable offered cables that were Fluke meter tested ensuring the termination was done properly. Like $8 for a tested, one meter cable and it solved the problem.

    https://www.bluejeanscable.com/articles/is-your-cat6-a-dog.htm
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  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,522
    My vote is for dog number two, sporting the cable knit sweater and pea coat. The 8 quarter hat is a nice touch as well.
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  • mantismantis Posts: 15,009
    I have some experience here with ripping CD's to a computer then playing them back through a stereo system.
    Years ago I use to work for a company called Audiolab. This is a place where local Audiophiles would go to purchase their high end gear, get advise and go to seminars that we would bring in an expert from the field.
    When music servers became the thing to do, we went pretty deep in and I learned a lot.
    What I found was ripping a CD onto a Mac using Puremusic software bit for bit sounded better then a high end CD transport running through a high end DAC.
    We also had Bryston's music streamer which was pretty damn good and also to all of us sounded better then a CD spinning in a CD player or transport.
    The computers of choice where always Mac's not Windows Machines. Sure many guys built music servers out of Windows based Machines but they where Windows 7 and I think a few guys used XP.
    J River was one of the Software packaged used on the Windows machines and I always loved the interface. It was really nice clean and so easy to use.
    Using Puremusic ran iTunes on top of it. So basically you had your iTunes library mixed with Rips , Flac files High rez stuff etc.
    Even Vinyl was able to be ripped.
    We did a full seminar with the engineer and owner of Pure Music. He was a little Doc Brown so I had to re explain what he was talking about to our clients as we watched a lot of them glaze over as he spoke.

    I good quality CD player or Transport mated with a good quality DAC and cables is very hard to beat when everything is working 100% meaning no loss or errors. This is what the hard drive is suppose to provide along with a high quality DAC. No Scratches on the Disc no jitter etc. This was back when solid state drives where very high priced not that they came down that much if at all today but we where using high quality 7200 RPM drives not Solid State.

    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,396
    edited August 13
    THIS thread is why I prefer an external usb hard drive plugged directly into my streaming device. Simple, noiseless, no Wi-Fi issues, no endless software configuration to ensure bit-bit accuracy, no dependence on network resources. When the Oppo dies, I'll get a Bluesound Node 2 and continue to march.

    and FWIW, I found long ago that hard drive music sounded better to me, than from a CD player---both tested while connected to the same external DAC. Just MY 2 cents.
    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD | Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2L | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; Belden 1694A Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,712
    Steve, what kind of CD player was it?
    Got Dayens?
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,396
    edited August 13
    C.E.C. CD-3300 via coaxial out to Benchmark DAC. Rare for its breed having both XLR (AES/EBU) digital out and XLR analog outputs. Still have it, minty fresh in a box. As smooth as that player was, the flac files via HDD sounded ever so slightly more natural.
    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD | Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2L | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; Belden 1694A Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,712
    Cool. Thanks for sharing your experience/comparison.
    Got Dayens?
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,784
    steveinaz wrote: »
    THIS thread is why I prefer an external usb hard drive plugged directly into my streaming device. Simple, noiseless, no Wi-Fi issues, no endless software configuration to ensure bit-bit accuracy, no dependence on network resources. When the Oppo dies, I'll get a Bluesound Node 2 and continue to march.

    and FWIW, I found long ago that hard drive music sounded better to me, than from a CD player---both tested while connected to the same external DAC. Just MY 2 cents.

    Steve, I know you like things simple, but I've yet to find an external USB drive that is noiseless, unless you are talking about a large, expensive SSD. That works fine if you have a high quality playback unit that can handle external storage, and has a nice interface for control, but that is pretty uncommon. They also tend to be quite expensive.

    The setup I have expounded (Daphile on an inexpensive thin client) does not require endless software configuration or anything of the sort. Daphile just works out of the box and is already optimized for music playback (bit-perfect). The only setup I had to do was give it a fixed IP address, enter wifi password, and tell it where my network storage was located (server). After some time, it scans the library, gives you artwork, etc. You can easily create playlists, stack as many albums to play as you want, etc. It can handle virtually any digital audio format (only limited by your DAC).

    If you have a high quality access point/router, there are no "Wi-Fi issues." I have never had any streaming issues (related to wifi) with my setup, even going back to when I had a laptop feeding it over wifi using Foobar.

    Yes, it is reliant on my server being up and running, but that is a choice I made a long time ago. It allows me to playback my ripped music on multiple devices around the house. I can play through any one three Roku devices, the Hitachi wireless speaker, my main 2-ch stereo, or even through our tablets, phones, laptops. Plus, when I add new music, I just sync my desktop storage drive to the server. No need to disconnect an external drive and hook it to the computer.

    As I said, I know you like things simple/easy, but that is not for everyone.
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  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,396
    edited August 14
    I use Western Digital MyBook external hard drives, which are basically silent. I put felt feet on the case and get no noise. I have done the Wi-Fi/server type setup in the past with good success (Squeezebox w/laptop and ext HDD)---I'll look into Daphile. I'm always interested in doing things more efficiently. The Oppo just made it very simple, but the interface isn't very flexible.
    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD | Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2L | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; Belden 1694A Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,784
    Daphile is based on on Squeezebox server software, so it might be somewhat familiar to you.
    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • machonemachone Posts: 1,003
    As recommended by Mojo Audio:

    I connected the Quantum Byte via Ethernet and turned off the wireless (airplane mode). Then I reconnected JRiver Gizmo through my router.

    Great listening session.

    All the little things add up B)
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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,733
    steveinaz wrote: »
    THIS thread is why I prefer an external usb hard drive plugged directly into my streaming device. Simple, noiseless, no Wi-Fi issues, no endless software configuration to ensure bit-bit accuracy, no dependence on network resources. When the Oppo dies, I'll get a Bluesound Node 2 and continue to march.

    and FWIW, I found long ago that hard drive music sounded better to me, than from a CD player---both tested while connected to the same external DAC. Just MY 2 cents.

    That's a good description of what happens when you start eliminating the noise in your signal. We like to talk about noise in audio signals in various forms, but what we mean is not noise like you hear when a fan kicks on.

    You almost can't identify the noise, until you hear your music without it. It embeds itself as part of the music that you become accustomed to hearing. Once you start eliminating it, you'll hear a more defined musical presentation. You'll be able to hear deeper into the musical background. Sounds will burst out from a totally black, silent background too.

    I can see why Steve prefers the route he took.
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  • Absolute_ZeroAbsolute_Zero Posts: 72
    edited August 27
    It shouldn't be that hard to get uncompromising audio out of a PC. Windows or Linux.

    My Intel NUC Runs Windows 10 Pro, ran msconfig, and disabled everything there that wasn't needed. Did the same in the services control panel.

    Next I setup WASAPI for Exclusive Mode.

    Use HQ Player and let it do all the DSP/Convolution instead of my Topping DX7.

    Rip CD's Exact Audio Copy for Rips.

    Everything is stored on a NAS and I use WiFi.
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 10,810
    Clipdat wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure that the type of noise we are discussing here isn't the type that manifests itself into a "static hiss". It's not something that is audible during regular listening, but once it's removed, then you have the realization that it's no longer there.

    @F1nut @DSkip @pitdogg2 @tonyb - did I just describe that correctly?
    This I can almost agree with, but clarifying the noise isn’t transferred with the digital file, but from the physical connection from the pc. However IF there is any noise present it would only be a slight static hiss that couldn’t be heard unless your ears were right next to the tweets. So the effect described in your post overstates the issue as this can’t be heard during playback and shouldn’t make the distinction from decent sound to great sound.
    Also this type of noise is noticed with many other sources an individual may be using, so it isn’t specific to the pc. As you stated WiFi eliminates this physical connection so yes streamers can have that advantage. But I will tell you my dedicated laptop has no such issues transferring static over the USB and it’s a straight off the shelf upper tier VAIO from 5 years ago. My tweets are dead silent between tracks.
    F1nut wrote: »
    Clipdat wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure that the type of noise we are discussing here isn't the type that manifests itself into a "static hiss". It's not something that is audible during regular listening, but once it's removed, then you have the realization that it's no longer there.

    @F1nut @DSkip @pitdogg2 @tonyb - did I just describe that correctly?


    Bingo! It's called the noise floor.
    SCompRacer wrote: »
    There are a couple issues with dirty USB power carrying your digital info to a DAC. One is jitter and another is packet noise in the USB receiver of the DAC. Thus you can affect sound output of a DAC with poor USB input. The more processing to determine the bits, the more noise is generated. Like it or not, that’s the truth.

    YES and Rich said it best
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