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  1. This USB configuration has been in place in my system since November 2016, so I'm just catching up with this BLOG post, but I think there are a few things worth saying about it.


    After fooling around with Regens and various USB cables, and with a lot of input from CA Forum experimenters reporting their experiences, last Fall I came to the conclusion that a galvanic isolator like the Intona, followed by a USB ‘cleaner’ like a Regen, and then the best short cable (Curious) I know of, was probably as good a USB connection as one is likely to get. A number of CA reporters found this or similar configurations to be their favorite. When I found a good deal on a used Intona isolator, I set out to complete my implementation.


    Now, as I complete this writeup, the UpTone Audio “Iso Regen” is marching its last steps towards its public release, I feel vindicated in my ‘design’, and confident that my SQ is not too far behind Alex’s and John’s fine new device !



    The six parts of my 'In-iso-Regen' USB connection:


    * A Supra .7m USB cable from my Mac Mini to the Intona input. Nice, but nothing special. I don't consider this cable all that important to the sound of the entire 'connection’. It was available and is generally good quality. The +5v line is unnecessary and blocked by a little tape strip on the A connector. ***


    * Intona ‘USB Isolator’ (the Standard version is fine with me, and I got mine used, so less expensive), I wrapped the circuit board in copper foil for RFI protection. *


    * USB ‘hard’ adaptor (similar to UpTone supplied one). The Regen input is closely attached to the Intona output by this adaptor **. I got it online because it fit better in the tight spaces behind my Benchmark DAC, also was useful in my dual Regen experiment.


    * Uptone Audio Regen - ‘Green’ version (I still like the sound of the original version, and don't think the the ground lift resistor in the ‘Amber' version is important in this isolated configuration) Managed to obtain a metal case for it (Thanks, Alex !), to protect from RFI.


    * My DIY low noise LPS (adj. voltage, 1 amp) for the Regen (see previous BLOG post for description). Unfortunately in this configuration the power cable plug into the Regen is pretty cramped, but doable.


    * Curious Cable 200mm "Regen Link" USB cable from Australia (also bought used for a savings) ***. Short, stiff, but oh, so transparent :)



    Implementation details:


    * Intona RFI upgrade: With a metal case for the Regen, I didn’t want to leave the Intona ‘out in the cold’, so I ordered some RFI blocking copper foil from eBay. After removing the Intona PC card by separating the halves of the plastic case, I insulated the bottom of it with bits of regular black electrical tape over the largish USB connector leads (trimmed short with nippers, and a little filing), then added a piece of packing tape over the entire bottom of the PCB. I built up a little (upside down, ‘U’ shaped) box from scribed and bent clear acetate to cover the lumpy top of the PCB, and taped it in place with transparent wrapping tape.


    Now that all the circuitry was protected from shorts, I wrapped the ‘box’ with the copper tape. First one end got two complete warps of the copper, then the other end, and then the middle, gently smoothing the foil down with a fingernail. I cut two 2” x 2” pieces of foil for the ends and pushed the foil side into the protruding part of the two USB connector shields to guide my X-acto knife in cutting out the holes for them. I left a gap around the ‘Device’ (A) connecter shield, and made the ‘Host’ (B) connector hole undersize to have the copper wrap grounded to the shield there, and open on the other side. Make sure of no ground loops through the cable shield, otherwise the whole point of the Intona (Isolation) is lost ! I figure that if radio waves are going to induce a charge into my shield, then, like an antenna, that charge should be routed to ground IMNSHO.

    The holes for the PCB hold-down screws are inaccessible now, but the wrapped PCB fits snugly enough inside the box that a small piece of foam is sufficient to hold it in place.



    ** Regen case support: I found a 2” x 4-1/2” piece of .090” ABS sheet to glue to the bottom of the Intona case (off-center to lineup w/ Regen) and cantilever out 3-1/2“, to support a small (1” x 1-1/2” x .090”) shim pad for the Regen. After applying Cramolin contact enhancer to all USB connectors, a piece of double-stick tape under the Regen, tucked it, the Hard Adaptor, and Intona solidly, and safely, in place together.



    *** Cabling: My two USB devices are now combined in one physical unit, making connections with the two USB cables easier and cleaner. The Supra cable has a ’S’ shape, coming from the back of the Mini server (sitting to the left of the DAC), looping to the front, secured to the side of the Intona box with a Velcro strap, and curving 180° around to enter the front of the Intona, sitting on top of my DAC. The Curious ‘Regen Link’ is bent to a ‘U’ shape, to curve down from the back of the Regen, into the back of the DAC. Short and sweet :)



    The Results (drum roll, please):

    My total cost ran to about $385 (excluding an Uptone Amber set, now available). Not too bad considering, but limited to my experiences. As they say YMMV. Well, that is if, you attempt to replicate my experiment here :) It’ll be interesting to see how the new Iso Regen prices out. But, of course, you have to add in an LPS-1 to the package ! As a matter of fact, I am rushing to get this write up done and posted before Alex release his new toy. Bragging rights ? Nah… :)


    After assembling all these parts, I was so pleased, I just wanted to listen to all my favorite music all over again ! You probably know that feeling, it is one of the reasons we are audiophiles :)


    I found the most obvious SQ improvements in Redbook material, not all, but the better stuff. The differences are more subtle with Hi Res files. As I attempted to quantify the magnitude of SQ changes I feel as if the SQ improvements I perceived with the initial Regen has been increased by about 3x with this new USB connection configuration, and along the same veil-lifting lines. I’ll call that 3RE (Regen SQ Equivalences). This is my new attempt to quantify SQ changes at this level. Will it catch on ?? Nah… :)


    What it comes down to is, color me a very happy camper :) !


    Dave A


    1) Intona and other parts laid out

    2) wrapping the PCB box in copper foil

    3) wrapping the ends with foil

    4) ready for finial assembly

    5) completed unit

    6) my DIY LPSU for Regen (on power strip)

    7) Curious 200mm USB(yellow), (blue/black) power leads, (gray) Supra USB

    8) front of my digital source with USB upgrade



  2. I think I found your problem. But seriously, it shouldn't that much matter. For convenience sake, use the iFi volume control to match levels with the second input on your Schiit and use the Schiit's volume control to match levels with the other sources to your Yamaha. Use the Yamaha volume to control final playback level.


    If you're using the Schiit volume because it's closest to you, then turn the Yamaha down and set the Schiit to maximum. Turn the Yamaha up to the loudest you'd ever listen, then use the Schiit volume control going forward. The last thing I'd recommend is leaving the Yamaha ragin', full on.


    Thanks, I am now getting more range of volume control with the Schiit SYS. I knew there was good answer out there. With my Schiit Modi2 it was not a problem. The nano has a built-in headphone amplifier and I just had the Yamaha repaired, so I was perplexed on which combo of settings would sound best. The volume control on the nano is great when used as a headphone amp, and my thinking was that Yamaha needed to be running 100%, but everything sounds better with the receiver at 50% output, the nano at 100% and the Schiit has full range of volume control...

  3. Intona is a great piece and they have indeed a great service, for a "poluted PC" it does a great job

    I used to have one intona and after that 2 regen in series with linear power supplies.

    I put that in the garage, because I found this amazing device the 3R by ideon audio.

    I also use 2 in series but with one you get 85% of the improvement

    It is cheaper than the intona, and works way better [than the regen as well]

  4. DM's Blog

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    Group Test: USB gadgets (AQ Jitterbug, Uptone Regen, iFi iUSB3.0, iPurifier, iPurifier2, Intona, w4s Recovery any more …)


    Disclaimer: For people who knew me, they all knew that I can be a bit critical, if you don’t like what you are reading, please simply ignore my reviews and enjoy the music.






    The title may be a little misleading, a few years ago, these groups of USB gears are surely classified as gadgets, but nowadays, I would say they are indispensable in a computer audio system, mainly because:


    1. USB audio device is one of the primary music sources now; and

    2. USB connection is horrible for transmission audio,


    so something has to be done.


    A couple years ago, I did a small group test of the USB DACs, link here.


    With those I started racking up different USB gadgets over time (man needs new toys). Again, I tested those with my Macbook, Shure 535 and Sennheiser HD 800, also with a pair of QMS active speakers. I also included some noise measurements result I took with a friend at his office lab (with a EMU0404).


    1. Computer USB port


    Lab (Power Noise Measurement)




    This is a measurement taken on the computer USB port with loading. In an idea world, the noise line should be around -140dB (~a few uV, the green line), but in reality, the computer USB port is a lot worst. In fact, the computer USB port is ~1000 times (60dB) worse than the ideal.




    When directly connected to the computer, all the DACs had the hallmark of the “digital sound”, dry, edgy, flat, boring and basically horrible.


    2. Audioquest Jitterbug ($49) and iFi iPurifier ($99, discontinued)


    The discontinued original iFi iPurifier probably was the first of its kind filtering both the USB Data and Power, later came the Jitterbug which did a Chinese copy (minus the Aluminum case) at half the price. As those two are so similar I lump those two reviews in one.


    Lab (Power Noise Measurement)




    Both of the iPurifier and Jitterbug’s graphs were so close, they basically overlap with each other, so I only posted one graph. they have almost no measurable effect on power supply noise in the range below 96kHz, above that they did reduce the noise spikes a little.




    Put is simply, they work, but the overall effect is subtle (but any improvement on USB audio is nice). The sound is slightly more coherent and has a bit more depth, jazz vocal is reproduced with a bit more clarity. I found that the iFi iPurifier might have a slightly darker background than the Jitterbug, but it’s very close call.


    Adding one more jitter bug into the system (one on the used port, one on the unused port), improve things a little but really not worth the extra effort.




    Overall, I will rate the Audioquest Jitterbug a score of 49 and the iFi iPurifier 50 out of 100, so so for the money and don’t expect miracle, they both had their days but it’s time to move on. I would not recommend getting any of them nowadays.


    50 iFi iPurifier (discontinued)

    49 Audioquest Jitterbug


    To Be Continued...

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    After looking around online for some new speaker cables and not finding the “right” cable at a price I was happy with, I decided it was time for a project. It’s been a while since I went the DIY cable route so I needed to research a bit and find good sources for the materials. The last item arrived this past Thursday just in time for my free weekend.


    .999 Pure Silver


    This project seemed a perfect time to kill 2 birds with 1 stone (so to speak) and build some solid silver speaker cables. Cables made with this precious metal intrigue me but the cost of admission is a bit off-putting. Enter DIY. First and foremost I want to mention an article and website where I found a wealth of information including where to source some of the materials I used:


    Make Your Own Silver Audio Cables

    by Joseph Levy, The Vinyl Tourist


    The article was last updated in 2010 but remains relevant today.


    I decided on 16 gauge .999 pure soft annealed solid silver, 14 gauge clear PTFE jacketing, and Audioquest SureGrip bananas. Originally I was not going to terminate the wire but the APPJ PA0901A requires bananas for connection. I made 8’ cables (ordered enough for 9’) and opted not finish them with an outer jacket. My budget for the project was $200 (sans shipping) and I came in slightly below that amount.


    I’m very happy with the results .. I think they sound great.




    Make Your Own Silver Audio Cables









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    If you think this seems far-fetched, look no further than to HD video. To produce a Blu-ray player, you must agree to limit the picture to DVD resolution if the display connection doesn't have HDCP encryption. MQA could become the music industry's equivalent of HDCP.
    {just riffing off of your post mansr}


    This is why MQA = DRM in it's current form (which I put at 1.1 - 1.0 being the original hardware only version). You can not produce a hardware or software decoder TODAY without agreeing to limit the output to the 24/48 (putting aside it is only 'really' 17 bits at most) content. As a consumer, you can only access the "Hi Res" content TODAY unless you agree to the terms and conditions (purchasing a license, etc.) and if you do try to access said content you are in violation of the agreement, IP, patent laws, etc. You, as a consumer are being "managed", by a "digital product" - your "rights" are limited legally and technically - what is this called? That's right, it has a name and it is:


    DRM ("Digital Rights Management")


    Now, I know many believe DRM to be something different - they believe DRM = copy protection. This is one form of "digital management" that DRM can take (among many), and it is a specific technical implementation of DRM, but DRM can in no way be reduced to just copy protection, any more than all dogs can be reduced to Chihuahuas. Let's look at the first two sentences of Wikipedia's entry for DRM:


    Digital rights management (DRM) schemes are various access control technologies that are used to restrict usage of proprietary hardware and copyrighted works. DRM technologies try to control the use, modification, and distribution of copyrighted works (such as software and multimedia content), as well as systems within devices that enforce these policies.


    Notice the generality, the multiplicity, and the emphasis on "proprietary", etc. Copy protection is but one form of DRM, and DRM can not be reduced to copy protection/prevention schemes. It is the larger "Rights Management" of the consumer through "Digital" means, but more than that through legal (i.e. IP, patents, etc.) that is the important take away. DRM turns your software/hardware into a legal mechanism to control your behavior. Open formats and standards have neither the digital implementation and design to do this, and more importantly they do not have the legal status to do this. The Wikipedia entry does not mention "copy protection" until several sentences late when it is listing several ways DRM is implemented as an example.


    Now, I understand that many consumers are "ok" with all sorts of DRM as long as it is not the dreaded "copy protection", but remember others are not and DRM is not such a limited concept - never has been and never will. Not only is MQA DRM in its current form, it actually is a good example of it...

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    Hi All- I'm looking into some room treatment options and have found a few suppliers, Auralex and Vicoustic, that seem like good options. Attractive and quality are important for this project. Any ideas?! Thanks.

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    Latest Entry
    Selling Luxman da-06 230V European

    It was bought in march 2015 from Acoustic Gallary Paris

    it was a demo unit

    For paypal please add 4%, price is 3200euro,

    I replaced 7 fuses inside with SR20 fuses. which cost 350euros.

    Any questions are welcome.


  5. I wanted to build a server that is capable of running multichannel pipeline matrix processing (including convolution) and upsampling to the 8-channel exaSound e28 DAC at DSD256.


    One challenge was finding a nice CPU for the task. When the new Broadwell-E generation of CPUs became available the choice became easier. Either 8-core i7 6900K with 3.2 GHz base frequency, or 10-core i7 6950X with 3.0 GHz base frequency. I ended up selecting the 6950X because then there's a core per channel and two extra cores for other tasks like running the OS, Roon, etc. These also have four memory channels for DDR4 2400 RAM to keep the CPU employed.


    Next I wanted to select a GPU. Since the GeForce GTX 1080 (check the full specs) based on the newest Pascal architecture became available recently, it was a natural choice. The newest Titan X and Quadro P-series were not yet available. Since I was earlier happy with ASUS Strix-series GTX 980, I picked up GTX 1080 from the same series. Luckily I didn't choose anything bigger, as you'll see later, this is already a monster. Strix-series has three large fans and a large heatsink, making it fairly quiet because the fans then run at slower speeds making less air noise.


    Next interesting task was to select a motherboard for the system. I wanted something that was available, and some of the features in Gigabyte's G1 Gaming series are interesting. For example the DAC-UP USB interfaces that have noise filtering and also possibility to turn off the +5V supply from BIOS settings!


    Since the microATX size X99M-Gaming5 model had all the necessary features (including UltraDurable), no wireless components and was well available it ended up being selected.


    I wanted the computer look like normal audio gear, so I wanted a HTPC case with brushed aluminum front panel and typical measures. Based on previous good experiences, one from Fractal Design's range was a natural choice the Node 605. Now this choice started to place some interesting constraints. For example based on the specs, the graphics card wasn't even supposed to fit...


    Now it was necessary to find a PSU that could power all this and be silent as possible. The Corsair RM850x matched my requirements, was available in the store and based on the specs would also fit in the case.



    As last items, I selected storage for the OS (music is on a network server) and RAM. For storage, I knew I wanted something extremely fast. Samsung 950PRO M.2 NVMe fit the bill exactly. As an additional bonus it nicely fits on the motherboard which was good since I knew I'd need to remove all the HDD cages from the case to fit the GTX 1080 card. For RAM I ordered fastest spec matching RAM I could get and that was Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4 2400 with CL12 (not available anymore, but similar part is now available in the Savage-series with smaller heatsinks).


    Since this module had long delivery time and large heatsinks I wasn't sure if it's going to fit, I also purchased more regular Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 2400 with CL16.


    For CPU cooler, the only suitable one, that was both expected to be quiet and also fit the case was Noctua NH-U9B that I already had in storage, now replaced in the product portfolio by slightly updated NH-U9S model. The newer model directly supports LGA2011-3, for the older model I took mounting kit from the NH-D15 cooler kit I'm anyway going to use on another machine with LGA1511 socket.




    Getting started with the installation, the PSU just fit the case, one millimeter bigger and it wouldn't have fit there.



    Looking at the motherboard...


    This one has kind of "hifi" sound card on-board, with shielding on the DAC (box saying "AMP-UP Audio"), Nichicon audio caps, adjustable output gain and swappable op-amp (default is TI/BB OPA2134). I'm not going to use it, but there it is anyway... The board looks pretty neat overall.


    Then installing the CPU, cooler, RAM and the SSD. Here those parts installed, with the Crucial Ballistix RAM modules. Taller RAM modules would get pretty close to the cooler, I don't know yet if the HyperX Predator modules are going to fit or not.



    And then, everything goes into the case. This wasn't easy, I knew it was going to be tight with the Strix-series GTX 1080. In addition to the HDD cages, I had to remove the front panel USB/FW/audio connector board and even then bend top of the rear panel steel for the duration of installation, otherwise the card didn't fit in. But it doesn't matter, because those connectors would be behind front-panel lid and I don't need those anyway. The middle case stiffening rod will need to be left out.



    And at last, the machine running, still with lid open. You can see that only middle GPU fan is running because there's no real load on the GPU yet. Fancy led stripes on the motherboard and graphics card that can be adjusted to do different stuff. Not going to be visible in this case...



    Here are load figures from the first test run. Source is 5.1 channel 48/16 DVD-rip, upsampled to 12.3 MHz DSD256 using full poly-sinc-short-mp and ASDM7. CUDA offload is being used.


  6. I do most of my music listening on my phone in the car. That's where I have the most free time to pay attention to music. It's great when I have an opportunity to sit down and listen to an album all the way through on the HIFI but generally speaking, I'm jamming in the car.



    I used to have an iPod but got rid of it when I got my android as it has expandable storage and is customizable and I can do all my things with one computer (that can call people). So I went looking for the best music player on Android. I found it. It is called GoneMAD Music Player, GMMP. It is easily the most customizable player on android and I have been able to make it look close enough to the ipod to ease the transition. The best thing about it though is smart playlists.



    I have almost 8000 songs on my phone and mostly like to listen to albums but I do like to shuffle every once in a while and when I do, I don't want to hear and bunch of either intro tracks or 30 minute songs that take up the whole ride by themselves. So I made a smart playlist that only gives songs over 90 seconds, under 15 minutes and only greater than or equal to 3 star rating.



    Having so much music there's bound to be stuff I come across on shuffle that I don't like. Smart playlists to the rescue. I set the default rating of all my music to 3 stars out of 5. I have swipe gestures where if I swipe up it increases rating, swipe down decreases rating, left skips track forward and right skips backwards. So when I hear a crap song, I swipe down and then left. This decreases the rating to less than 3 and skips it. Given that my smart playlists update automatically, I'll never hear that song on my shuffle playlist again since it has to be at least 3 stars based on the rule.

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    My name is May and I’m working for SOtM as a marketing manager. It’s so pleasure to introduce myself here officially and great chance to announce the sMS-200 availability through this chance.


    Some may already have known our sMS-200 but some may not know about this brilliant mini network player, so here I briefly introduce what sMs-200 is,


    It features

    - Excellent modern design.

    - Use the separated audio power board.

    - Use the exclusive large audio condenser.

    - Use the exclusive audio components to reach forward to analog sound.

    - Use the heat sinks for the stable operation and anti-noise.

    - Use the high standard noise reduction technology which has been qualified by SOtM’s tX-USBexp, SATA filter and others.

    - Use the high standard active noise filter and UKJC which has been qualified by SOtM’s tX-USBexp, sDP-1000EX and others.

    - Use the High-End audio grade USB port.

    - Use the 2 x standard USB ports for USB storage device.


    The pictures below prove how sMS-200 is valuable. And the new features are planning to be also updated step by step.



    And there will be the same series of products coming up, the USB audio signal re-generator called tX-USBUltra will be the next up which has the upgraded "sCLK clock" board installed and the audio grade power supply will be following up soon. All these combinations will bring you the most satisfaction.


    This is the certificate of Richard Beers Innovation Award, the award honors “those who contribute to the growth of our industry and encourage innovation every year”.


    Please check more details including specification on our website, click here. and also you can purchase sMS-200 through our website. Click ‘Buy sMS-200’ button and it will lead you to SOtM shop to purchase sMS-200.


    Every user who purchases a sMS-200 would get a 2 months free trial Roon license and we can offer a 1 year Roon license at the very special price if you request.


    Lastly, we are preparing the event for our valuable customers who are currently using our sMS-100.The event will be arranged by this simple way, but this is not fully confirmed yet, I will need to discuss more details in next few days and get back to you shortly..

    Step 1. Return your sMS-100 to us.

    Step 2. Buy sMS-200 in US$350.


    Thank you for taking your time to see what sMS-200 is and how valuable it is. I may need to update few more information after this weekend. In the meantime if you have any question regarding sMS-200 or our products, please feel free to leave a message or question.


    Thank you very much.

    Warmly, May




    Do not allow cheap products. Don’t be blinded by well-advertised products. But enjoy your music life with the valuable audio products made by SOtM.

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    Thanks for the reply,My dac ( Ayre QB9 DSD ) does not do this , I have to do from the Audirvana . The question is whether a sample etched , for example , 44/16 , wins by upsampling resolution ... if the information is not in the sample how can you make it sound better upsampling doing ?


    Please see:


    Q&A with Charles Hansen of Ayre Acoustics Page 2 | AudioStream


    for a discussion of how the QB9 does upsampling / oversampling.


    The real issue is whether you think the QB9 does *better* upsampling than an external software player can do. Many of us think that that doing the upsampling outside of the DAC can sound better, given your PCs higher processing power, better flexibility in choosing upsampling filters / modulators, etc.




    Thanks,So my conclusion is that better not to apply any filtering ( now I have Audirvana so on ) but yesterday beta probe with the DSD filter on and does not convince me the result. I think my MacBook Air with 4GB of memory is not enough, the CPU load is very high and stopped working twice

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    There is so much in audio (and not only in audio) that we can't explain, or only can make up some sort of dubious technical explanation for, it's sheer incredible.


    Robert-Jan Kamstra was here today, and he was so kind to come with his Windows laptop (huge as it is), and update my Brooklyn with the MQA activation. NICE! GREAT! THANKS! I don't mean MQA, but Robert-Jan.


    MQA will be the next item to consider here. I have one bought album from 2L and some (not all) free downloads, and will try to see/hear for myself if it was worth waiting for.


    But now it's time to go to the kitchen.



    It is Kamsma not Kamstra ;-)


    There is new verwoon of the manual 1.3


    To be able to manipulate the filter settings of PCM one must first disable MQA otherwise the default of minimum phase remains on.

  7. This was actually a reply to a forum thread, but I thought it should have its own blog entry. These are a list of things to try to explore for better sound within the context of computer audiophilia and documents some findings along my journey.

    1. Studying and researching computer audiophilia with the following viewpoints:



    a. There must be a way to make digital sound at least as good as analogue



    b. Just as we used to do with Hi-Fi analogue systems, we should optimise the digital playback chain



    c. There's more to great music reproduction than just frequency response, which is a solved problem. Things like phase, attack transient smearing, filter ringing, etc...



    d. If you can't afford to buy it, build it yourself



    This costs nothing except time, and allows me to move forward and get great results while others are still debating 'bits-are-bits', which format is better, cables make no difference, and while trolls are thinking posting here is a kind of popularity contest and that being able to research is a kind of disease.



    2. Room diagnosis with R.E.W.



    This is free as well with just a forum registration, and you can't really hear your gear until you have tamed your room response, so it's a good first thing to do.



    So if you think you're getting great sound but haven't yet done that, you may be surprised when you come to it and in the meantime, you aren't yet hearing your system.



    3. Acoustic Room treatment with DIY acoustic panels and bass traps.



    Not very expensive: looked for glass fiber/wool at the hardware store (they were already cut in useable panel sizes), and a suitable textile material from curtains. Also took some rolled up glass/fiber material that I placed in the corners of the room for bass standing wave trapping.



    At this point, it made a huge change already.



    I recommend doing the organic, acoustic treatment and solely this if you can. The goal isn't to make your room completely dead, but tame the biggest peaks and troughs of the room response.



    It's only in case of very stubborn or difficult to tame peaks and troughs that you can consider DSD for room treatment as this also has its own sonic signature and will colour the sound to some extent.



    People who head for the easy DSP EQ right away aren't getting as good results than those with a more natural/organic treatment process.



    4. Building stands for my Studio Monitors.



    Just the cost of wood and wood glue and wood screws, and some time figuring our how to do the geometry properly (I'm more of a Computer Science Engineering guy than a manual work guy).



    This allowed me to move the monitors off the desktop (which was vibrating with music) to the stands, and hence dissipate any remaining cabinet vibration down to the stand.



    Very, very large improvement in sound definition, more clarity in the high frequency range.



    I since obtained Totem Mite bookshelf speakers which are now on the stands with fantastic results.



    Bookshelf speakers on stands is one of the best things you can do, rather than get huge speakers with a lot of cabinet resonance (Vivid might be one of the rare exceptions, Dickie was working in sound reinforcement before doing speakers, so he brought a lot of his expertise from there to speakers).



    In other words, don't think that 'bookshelf' means you have to put them in yours - that's the worst you could do. Instead, build or buy stands for them.



    5. Trying DSD



    That has made a tremendous different for me, with regards to 1 (a) above, even when I was merely listening with Audirvana -> PCM soundcard.



    6. Researching and trying audiophile players, and getting Audirvana+ for playback instead of iTunes.



    Damien is clever and on top of that, has a great ear for good sound.



    Doing this is paradigm-shifting.



    7. Researching about DSD vs PCM and getting a native DSD128 DAC, the iFi iDSD Nano



    Finally, native DSD at home for around $200, and a huge, huge sound that is worth 10+ times more that it goes for! Total game-changer by Thorsten's team at AMR/iFi - it changed the industry.



    8. Studying what these guys came up with: John Swenson, Thorsten Loesch, Bruno Putzeys, Dieter (Trinity DAC), Lukasz Fikus (Lampizator), Jon Risch, Miska, Hiroyuki Yokota, PeterSt, sbgk, Damien Plisson, Caelin Gabriel, Charles Hansen, Ted Smith, David Berning, Townshend, del Sordo, Tony Lauck, Kimura, Kusunoki, Lawrence Dickie, George at Tubelabs, Y.N. (cPlay), and many more.



    Paying attention to credible people in this forum on top of those already mentioned, like Chris, Jud, Superbad Alex, Sandyk Alex (you may find some of his claims outlandish, but once you step in the realm of Yokota as well as the DRAM thread and do some tests, they aren't at all), EuroDriver, Geoffrey Armstrong, jabbr, tranz, etc... The people who know what they're talking about, have actually tested things and freely share information for the greater enjoyment of the community and this is info you can use to test things yourself. Just Superbad Alex and John S. have made tons of free contributions that are worth several times their new product price IMO.



    Costs nothing except dogged determination and intellectual effort, and gives me a thorough understanding of how the field clicks and where it's going, while the idiots clamor you're here to increase your post count and say you know how to use Google as if it's something to be ashamed of. Eff' em: their mediocre thinking will only bring them mediocre sound unless it's handed to them as a product. Conclusion: waste no time with the idiots and trolls and instead read what the above-mentioned guys say and try to understand why and/or apply in a DIY build.



    9. Critical listening sessions for comparisons between:



    - lossy and lossless

    - lossless compressed vs uncompressed

    - PCM and DSD

    - lower-rate DSD vs higher rate DSD

    - different HQ Player setups (computer to DAC direct vs client-server mode, different filter and modulators)

    - realtime PCM-to-DSD vs offline up-conversion

    - different DAC filter settings

    - different Audirvana+ filter settings (esp. regarding phase)

    - different Audirvana up-sampling settings (Redbook to DXD, no over-sampling, power of 2, etc...)

    - FLAC/ALAC vs WAV

    - Solid State amplification vs Tube amplification

    - Generic USB cable vs DIY USB cable

    - Default power cable vs DIY power cable

    - Default equipment support vs DIY equipment vibration isolation

    - Default room response vs DIY room treatment response

    - Default AC power vs DIY AC filtered power

    - Default equipment system connection vs DIY System Chassis Grounding

    - Default equipment system connection vs DIY Signal cleanup (some say 'Grounding' here, but it isn't that in reality)



    This costs just time, but is crucial in honing my listening skills as well as filtering out what works from what doesn't (while the others are wasting time debating double blind, blind, measurements, ABX, etc... which only matter if the effects are too close to discern convincingly and if you're trying to prove something for science), give me a good reference for tweaks/changes, makes me know my system inside out and finally allowed to find the sweet spot of my system. The sweet spot is DSD128 and above. Hence:



    10. Re-ripping and/or converting all my library in uncompressed (AIFF)



    Best foundation for high-quality reproduction (you could choose WAV on a non Apple system too).



    11. Up-conversion of my tracks to DSD128/DSD256 for critical listening and musicophilia



    This is sublime. If you think about it, I am doing a smaller version (with less features and a few different steps missing) of what the PS Audio DirectStream does with PCM.



    Last night's example: my gf asks to listen to Billy Ocean, I play 'Loverboy' first in PCM, then in offline up-converted to DSD128. At the beginning of the DSD version she says she finds no difference (while I already hear much clearer sounds, what I call 'texture', i.e. the individual constituents of the sounds), then when the vocals hit, she agrees there is a large difference, and then when a percussion hit, we both simultaneously point to the speaker where we heard the sound, then look at each other quizzically and smile.



    12. Taming Equipment vibration:



    This, with Room Acoustic and Room treatment is a fundamental issue you need to take care of, and here, it's not just vibration from outside into your equipment, but also vibration internal to the equipment, and from equipment to another as well.



    This can make a large difference, especially when it comes to bass response, DIY and materials do not cost a lot.



    I designed a way to tame vibrations for large and small speakers, the description of which is in the related thread.



    13. AC filtering, isolation, conditioning, linear power, balanced power



    [NB: safety first if you tinker with this yourself]



    This is a third (not necessarily in that order) fundamental issue you need to take care of. Not only can noise enter your system from outside, but it can also be from inside in two ways: other non-audio equipment, but indeed, shockingly (ah ah ah) from your own audio equipment.



    With my DIY AC filter box this brought a lot of presence, clarity and detection of 'new' sounds and performances from albums I know very well.



    I have more experiments along the way with this, including implementing a design I invented but which is the subject of quite recent scientific research, so getting the proper material for DIY may be difficult for now.



    Some designs are described in the thread.



    Read about great products from manufacturers and what they use in them. Many use Plitron transformers and there are reasons for that.






    14. Grounding, eliminating Ground Loops



    This is also fundamental and you won't know what you're missing until you do this properly. Here again, do not listen to nay-sayers who tell you it shouldn't work or how this is supposed to work: the reality is that in heterogeneous systems you are likely to end up with (many different manufactures and cable constructions and different grounding schemes, coupled with dirty AC power), there are a lot of issues.



    Moreover, and you should find this flabbergasting as I did: the subject is quite complex, and many manufacturers have seriously compromised the engineering of their equipment by cutting corners. Some of them make the issues worse!



    By all means, check the related thread (it's the same as the AC one), and read about the Tripoint Troy devices, as well as the Entreq Tellus ones and what they do and the results people are getting with them then go and do the same.



    Many learned people will give you an incomplete or outdated theoretical model of how things should work here. They are WRONG, as they forget to include the modern situation of being surrounded by cellular EMI/RFI.



    In fact, many just ignore the issues surrounding EMI/RFI completely when it comes to computer audiophilia (and cables...).



    Read everything you can get about Electromagnetic Compatibility. In particular, read everything from Ott, Morrison, Keith Armstrong, Jim Brown, Neil Muncy, Bill Whitlock, Philip Giddings. Apart from Ott, Morrison, and Giddings, many of these references came from Speedskater, but who gets the basics wrong when he forgets to add that currents want to loop back to their source distributed preferentially through lowest impedance paths. Additionally, IMO he also gets it wrong when he talks about 'at these low frequencies it doesn't matter' where I specifically talked of high frequencies and make no assumption on their source.



    Read, then go and do it, or if you can, just go do it. The results are immense: tall soundstage, clarity, presence, much of what you get with cleaner AC power.



    15. DIY USB cable



    This was mind-blowing: I didn't expect any results at all here, and in fact expected the worse: drop-outs or total disconnection or no detection of the DAC.



    My cable sounds stellar. This proved to me that a 'digital' cable can have a bearing on SQ. The difference is big especially when it comes to attack transients, soundstage, reverb tails, dynamics. This cable makes you want to get up and dance.



    It isn't the kind of difference that is close so as to make you even think 'it's close I should perhaps do a DBT'. It is a 'night-and-day' difference.



    This is all about shielding and geometry. I have posted the design on a thread somewhere here. Doesn't cost more than some time, some shielding and a normal USB cable as donor.



    16. DIY Power Cable



    If there was a second thing expected to make no difference just like 'digital' cables, it sure was power cords. So, I jumped in and built my own power cable for the amplifier. Right, right, here's another myth busted from the get-go: I have a much larger detailed audio range now with my DIY power cable.



    Here, it's about shielding again, but also using solid-core wire. Very low-cost but high return!



    17. DIY Single-Ended Triode Tube Amps



    While researching Tube amps for my build, I settled for the Single-Ended Triode architecture which isn't perfect technically but is revered for SQ. Further research and study brought me to the Tubelab section on diyaudio, and to George's website. I liked what he wrote and his methodology, ordered the PCB (looks stunning), researched transformers and ordered 3 large Edcor ones, researched Tubes and got a whole Russian set (Electro-Harmonix KT-88 and others).



    It sounds sublime, totally beats my SS amp when it comes to fast attack transients. Needless to say what this does to: soundstage, presence, rhythm/timing, etc...



    The cost here was mainly in the transformers, the other parts do not cost a lot, even the tubes aren't that expensive. In all, it probably cost me in the range of $300-375.


    18. Learning about the inner workings of computer audiophile setups and the preponderance of gray areas and EMI/RMI



    The DRAM bit-flipping thread and the papers I researched with as well as the great ensuing conversations with John Swenson, Miska, PeterSt, and sbgk had a lot to do with furthering my knowledge of what really happening in digital land.



    Digital land has a lot of gray areas which have a lot to do in reality with analogue phenomena and the issues with them.



    The gray areas are related to A/D and D/A and the EMI/RFI of digital equipment along the processing chain. It's near the little magnets in HDDs, around the caps in your DRAM, the analogue signals in your USB cable, in the memory pathway you use in your audio software...



    This brought me to start work on a prototype DIY audiophile player which sounds great out of the box, but whose next iteration should be mind-blowing if I get it right.



    In the meantime, the clueless are still stuck in the 'bits-are-bits' paradigm, so far removed from the challenges we face in reality.



    Bit-perfection is necessary but not sufficient for great SQ.



    Reading that thread costs time but that's it.



    19. Continuing to read, research, learn and build and optimise along the whole digital playback chain



    This costs just time, and allows for fruitful exchanges with other knowledgeable people intent on furthering the field, and also allows you to filter out the trolls (like Daudio, 4est, kumakuma, etc... who haven't done the tenth of my efforts to date) to spend more time with the former.



    I have already designed my ultimate setup, and one day I will build it. While it may take me years to get there, I already know what is going to be in it and it will require me to build my own speakers among a few other things.

  8. I am sure we have all witnessed the rising of a full moon. What is a mystery and amazing is how the moon changes size. From the time the moon first pokes over the very edge of the horizon until it is higher in the sky there is at least a 3 to 1 if not a 4 to 1 size difference. And while this is observed by billions of people no one can explain it.


    How can the size of the moon possibly change? And why only the moon? What is uniquely special about it?


    Ahhh- this is uite worth writing an essay about, given the humorous spirit t was posted in. Will hqve to write ine now that I accidentally blogged it... Later.

  9. I have read this strange myth about major label engineers not caring about sound here a number of times and am unsure where this comes from. Sure they have deadlines and large volumes of work, so they have to draw the line on perfection somewhere.


    These companies can hire the cream of the crop, and it is with any specialty where it is highly competitive, if you do not perform well you will be replaced. Add to that the quality of studio equipment they can afford.


    Check out some of the vids here to gain appreciation for these highly skilled pros that do very much care about sound and making the artist sound as good as possible:







  10. Introduction

    The application of deconvolution to signal processing dates back to work by MIT's Norbert Wiener during the Second World War.


    Deconvolution is widely used to deblur signals in both the spatial and temporal domains.


    End to end deblurring of an audio signal can be performed by deconvoluting the signal with a measured deconvolution kernel, extending what is the same process as room correction to the entire audio signal chain.


    Room correction corrects the spatial domain, and a similar deconvolution kernel can be applied to the temporal domain ... or simply use a multidimensional kernel.




    The term "temporal deblurring" has been used as a feature of MQA which promises end to end improvement in sound.



    It is certainly possible that the way MQA works is to apply a system wide deconvolution kernel to the music file.


    I have no actual knowledge of the details of MQA ... at the time that I am writing this they have not been published, and for all I know never may be. Any relationship to what I am posting and MQA is pure speculation.

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    First off, you have to ask yourself "Why do I want to transcribe my vinyl?" Do you have a collection of vinyl which is rare and unavailable in digital formal, or are you hoping to get better quality than you can get from CD?


    If the latter, then you need to start from a point where you have good quality playback equipment and clean vinyl. Anything else is just trying to polish a turnip ... whatever you do it will still be a turnip. So with that in mind, do you have a vinyl playback system which is as good (ideally exceeds) your expectations?


    Next you have to decide if you are happy with the record as it plays: pops, clicks and all; or if you will want to edit and correct these distortions. If you are trying to capture the experience and quality of the vinyl playback (without worrying about the distortions) then a DSD capture system would be best, if you want to do editing (beyond simply cutting tracks) then you will need PCM (or to convert DSD to PCM after capture).


    Now IF you had an unlimited budget, then you would look at something like a Linn LP12 (or one of the other high end turntables) and a good cartridge, get a good phono stage, a Metric Halo ULN8 or Tascam DA-3000 and a good record cleaner, but this is obviously not an option for you.


    So my advise would be (a) look what of your records you can get copies of on CD, buy as many as possible second hand, look at streaming services too for other material. For the material you can't get digitally, then look at transcribing. Start by getting your turntable set up well so that you actually enjoy playing the records and listening; that will be your benchmark. Not sure what is available where you are ... but start with something like Spin Clean Vinyl Washer System - Superfi to clean the records. If you have some in particularly dirty condition which are particularly treasured, try local record shops or hifi stores they may have a record cleaning service.


    Now you need some method to get the "music" into your computer. Without spending a lot you can get a pretty decent 24/96 ADC - look at brands such as Focusrite and EMU as well as lower end products from RME and (if you have a Mac) Apogee. A good place to look is a local professional music store. You will need a phono-pre but if you have a integrated amp with phono input you can connect an ADC to the record loop of the amplifier.


    One thing definitely to avoid is "all in one" recording turntables. Even if you are buying a new turntable you will get much better results from something like Pro-jects entry level turntable and phono-pre than these.


    A couple of other comments - you asked about storage. My thought would be to store a straight recording of the record in WAV (or AIFF). This is your "master" copy and you never alter that (except for topping and tailing the rerecording and possibly splitting it into tracks). Some of this will be dependent on what software you are using of course. This master copy will be in 24/96 (or whatever resolution you feel best). Once you have the master, you can load that into your editing software and do any declicking, altering levels, etc. you need to do, convert it and save as a FLAC, reducing quality down to 16/44.1 if you prefer a smaller CD quality version - but whatever you do make sure you keep the master safe as if you want to go back do different editing you can then easily load it without having to rerecord.

  11. Dear valued Readers


    We'd like to proudly inform you about the new SOtM flagship product, the sMS-1000SQ Windows Edition with AudiophileOptimizer & Roon and take the chance to start the official thread in coordination with SOtM Audio and Chris Connaker.


    The SOtM sMS-1000SQ Windows Edition is a joint-venture between SOtM Audio & Highend-AudioPC. For this high-end music server we are using the already well-known SOtM sMS-1000SQ hardware and combine it with Windows Server 2012 R2 and our AudiophileOptimizer. We combined the excellent hardware of SOtM Audio with all the know-how about Windows Server and audio high-end audio optimization of ourselves to create a "ready-to-run" high-end music server. What came out in the end is truly spectacular!




    The Music Server comes with Windows Server 2012 R2 (Essentials Edition) as well as AudiophileOptimizer pre-installed and pre-licensed. All Updates & RollUps of Windows Server are already installed as of December 2015.



    The coming upgrade for AO 2.00 is already included, so the upgrade will be free to all future sMS-1000SQ Windows Edition owners. On top of that the "AudiophileShell" is included as bonus. The AudiophileShell is a launcher Tool, it will make it very easy to launch your MediaPlayer, reboot or shutdown your music server, etc. By pressing "I" (a hidden option) the AudiophileShell will configure itself as Shell Replacement.





    The image SOtM is using to deploy the music servers is made by Highend-AudioPC from A-Z, so you can be assured you'll get the very best installation of Windows Server possible. Alternatively you can choose between two software variants, the standard variant has no Media Players pre-installed and the second variant comes with RoonServer, TIDAL, Qobuz, Foobar2000 & JRiver pre-installed (only trial versions of the media players).


    The unit is available in two colors (silver & black) and three different hardware variants: USB, Analog & Digital.



    The USB version comes with a tX-USBexp based USB output.





    The digital version comes with AES/EBU, Coaxial, Optical and tX-USBexp based USB output.





    The analog version features balanced and single ended outputs as well as the tX-USBexp based USB output.




    You can choose between various combinations of SSD's and hard disks, ranging from 32Gb SSD for the OS up to 4TB HDD for music storage. An Ultra Low Noise Clock-Upgrade (SuperClock based on sCLK-2224) is available as well for all three editions.


    To see more details about all possible configurations, pricing or even directly place your order please visit: SOtM sMS-1000SQ Windows Edition with AudiophileOptimizer

    Please also have a look at the very detailed guide (attached below) about how to setup the sMS-1000SQ with AudiophileOptimizer as Roon Endpoint.


    Please don't hesitate to contact either SOtM audio via or us directly via if you have any questions.



    Very best,


  12. Bury My Heart - Scott Clark 4tet




    The story behind this stunning free jazz album: ScottClark4tet “Bury My Heart” on Clean Feed Records Nov. 3rd « Scott Clark: Percussionist // Composer // Improviser


    Excellent recommendation. Thanks.

  13. OK, I'm a Genelec fanboy.

    You know that if you are a regular at CA.


    Do they really sound better?

    Are Genelecs for everybody?

    What is the secret technology?



    Do they really sound better?


    Genelec stands out as the best monitors for money (IMNSHO) because they just sound invisible.

    But it is not magic and as any other system, they sound best when you feed a great signal and place them wisely in a treated room. Just like anything else.


    But that is where the "Just like anything else" stops.

    Genelec goes to great lengths to help you get the best sound in the room you actually have.

    They use all the tricks in the book: technology, topology, acoustic adaptation and education of their customers.

    Check the chapter on technology.



    Are Genelecs for everybody?




    But they can be for most audiophiles depending on your preferences and how you go about your hobby.

    Where Genelecs definitely are not the solution:


    a) Users that prefer no-linear coloured sound: bass heads etc.

    b) Users that prefer wood veneers or other specific colours (WAF etc)

    c) Users that prefer towers

    d) Users that love exchanging equipment and influencing sound that way.

    e) Users that just prefers a lot of separates.

    e) Under USD 800 budget for a satellite CA stereo system including DAC/AMP/Speakers/Cables (8010)

    f) Under USD 3700 budget for a total CA pure digital room compensated stereo system 20-20kHz all included (PUC2, 8330, 7350)

    f) Under USD 7000 budget for a total CA pure digital room compensated 5.1 surround system 20-20kHz all included (Lynx Aurora 8, 8330, 7260)

    h) High end users that dislike even subtle DSP room optimization (SAM series)

    i) High end users that insists DSD is the only way to go (SAM series - PCM only)

    j) High end user that insists on the excellence of DXD or higher files (SAM series downsamples to 96/48kHz mid/high & bass)



    What is the secret technology?


    None of them are secrets, most are actually just common sense for smart engineers.

    Some are patented but most are available to any manufacturer in some form.

    You could say Genelec just does many more things according to the forces of nature.


    But let's have a look under the hood (bonnet).

    I'll be stealing the points from this page and providing my own comment for easy overview





    Directivity Control Waveguide (DCW™)

    Enhances flat on- and off-axis response by using the curved cabinet as an acoustic lense.


    Laminar Integrated Port (LIP™)

    Makes for precise bass reproduction.


    Minimum Diffraction Enclosure (MDE™)

    The rounded design of the cabinet makes for uncoloured sound reproduction without refraction

    Sharp edges would work as secondary sound transducers muddling up the sound


    Iso-Pod™ Stand

    Vibration decoupling Iso-Pod™

    Rubber stands that improves sound image definition and flexible horisontal angling.


    Highly efficient Laminar Spiral Enclosure (LSE™)

    Provides accurate low frequency reproduction, a super well thought out implementation of the bass reflex port on subs.


    Reflex Port Design

    Advanced reflex port design for extended low frequency response, a super well implemented bass reflex port on monitors.



    Transducers and Materials


    Acoustically Concealed Woofers (ACW™)

    Provides controlled directivity down to low frequencies on the new 8351 monitor while allowing a coaxial driver in a cabinet size normally only suited for 2 drivers.


    Minimum Diffraction Coaxial (MDC™) Driver

    Implementation of a coaxial transducer that produces outstanding sound image.


    Natural Composite Enclosure (NCE™) Technology

    The environmentally attractive wood/polymer has been selected for its resistance and durability, its high internal damping and its resilience against impacts and physical damage. The material features many of the outstanding acoustical properties found in wood fibres, being 100% stiffer than the common ABS plastics typically used in loudspeaker enclosures.


    Versatile Mountings

    Many options and accessories enables optimum installation in all spaces.



    Electronics and Networking


    Active crossovers operating at low signal levels.

    Splits the audio signal into separate frequency bands so the individual power amplifiers and the transducers they drive can be fully optimized for a their frequency band.

    Active crossovers come in both digital and analogue varieties.

    Bass Management System

    The bass content of the main channels and the Low Frequency Effect (LFE) channel are directed and reproduced only by loudspeakers capable of handling them, whether they are main system loudspeakers or one or more subwoofer(s)


    Optimized Amplifiers

    Each transducer is driven by its own optimized amplifier, see Active crossovers


    Room Response Compensation

    Fully linear frequency response in real rooms is the aim of precise compensation.

    Manual DIP switches on analogue input models

    Automatic DSP room compensation on digital input models (SAM)


    Protection Circuitry

    Sophisticated drive unit protection circuitry for safe operation on both analogue and digital input models.


    Smart Active Monitor (SAM™) Systems

    Networked Smart Active Monitor (SAM™) Systems feature automatic room compensation using a calibrated microphone.

    SAM's take both analogue and digital inputs, but all signals are converted to digital.





    Value for money


    The Genelec 8260's IMO kicks the ass of Bower & Wilkins 800 Diamond speakers

    The 800's may be better if everything is at its best: the room, the speaker placement, the DAC and the source and amps.

    A situation where room correction will make no difference and where the amps are humongous Class A monsters.


    The B&W's are notorious for being picky with amps, as they are insanely power hungry.

    Somebody should probably rip those passive X-overs out of them and convert them to fully actives.

    That is: do the proper job B&W didn't have the balls to do.


    Now do the math:

    USD 9300 - Two Genelec 8260's, a Yellowtec PUC2 DDC + cables (ie. everything)

    USD 23000 - Two Bower & Wilkins 800 Diamond speakers - no DAC, no amp, no cables




    Now go have a listen to some Genelecs ;-)

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    Well,just had the time of my life trying to setup my new system or should i say the audio through the HDMI of the GPU to the receiver.I tried always possible with the help of anwaypasible and i was about to give up and call it a day.I went through the settings on the AV receiver and found the solution in the HDMI settings.If you come across this yourself switch o the TV in the AV receiver in the HDMI.

    Well heres to not going bed now and a very long weekend of films and beer :).....


  14. Hi,


    For your convenience (and mine) I've created the `alsa-capabilities` script, which shows the available alsa interfaces for audio playback in (or connected to) your linux computer, including USB DAC's, and the digital audio formats and sample rates each sound card or external USB DAC supports.


    You can run it straight from the web, by copying and pasting the following command in a terminal screen:

    bash <(wget -q -O - "")
    ## or 
    bash <(curl -s "")


    Or, you can first download it and run it from your local file system:

    wget "" && bash alsa-capabilities


    To display the sample rates each interface supports, add the -s (or --samplerates) option. CAUTION: be sure to mute the audio outputs because sample rate detection plays (pseudo) random noise on each interface, except USB Audio Class (UAC) devices.


    bash <(wget -q -O - "") -s
    ## or
    bash alsa-capabilities -s


    More information can be found on:


    I hope you enjoy it!