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A novel way to massively improve the SQ of the microRendu / ultraRendu

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On 9/3/2017 at 0:07 PM, Cxp said:

Hi Everyone after hooking up my UltraRendu it clearly beats out the IR in multiple ways. There is an effortless and 3D imaging like i've never heard before here. I've tried the IR after the UltraRendu but I prefer the UltraRendu by itself powered by the LPS1. In combination, the IR thickens things up a bit but imaging suffers quite a bit and there is a lack of realism. The UltraRendu has a very transparent musical sound all by itself.

 

I have noticed however there is a slightly fatiguing sound using the UltraRendu... in the high frequency range where cymbals are a bit too forward and exaggerated. I have never heard any fatiguing sound out of this PS Audio SGCD/S300 setup... even with straight USB from Mac it has never been fatiguing. Because of this, outside of the UltraRendu the new factor is now my cable modem/router is connected via Ethernet into the system. I suspect this may be a source of this imbalance and a source of this fatiguing sound. I have ordered in some FMC's but in the meantime will be doing some experiments to identify if the modem/coax is the source of noise. Remember guys... you can use the fact that the UltraRendu holds a decent amount of music in memory to do comparisons. I will unplug and move things around to see how things change and report back. :)

Hi, I am not clear on exactly what your Coax cable comes from, is it a satellite box or Comcast, or...  Often, these devices have a different ground than the the rest of the home, and this invites the potential for bad ground loops.  If you find disconnecting the coax results in improvement, it very well could be causing a ground loop.

I would recommend adding an isolation transformer for your coax cable, if the problem is caused by a ground loop, this will solve it.  see here:

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&O=&Q=&ap=y&c3api=1876%2C{creative}%2C{keyword}&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5_Oyi8WO1gIVw7fACh2PtAJ4EAQYBSABEgJqW_D_BwE&is=REG&sku=1344635

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15 minutes ago, barrows said:

Hi, I am not clear on exactly what your Coax cable comes from, is it a satellite box or Comcast, or...  Often, these devices have a different ground than the the rest of the home, and this invites the potential for bad ground loops.  If you find disconnecting the coax results in improvement, it very well could be causing a ground loop.

I would recommend adding an isolation transformer for your coax cable, if the problem is caused by a ground loop, this will solve it.  see here:

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&O=&Q=&ap=y&c3api=1876%2C{creative}%2C{keyword}&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5_Oyi8WO1gIVw7fACh2PtAJ4EAQYBSABEgJqW_D_BwE&is=REG&sku=1344635

The coax is for Comcast internet. I also have Directv which has its own coax line. I had thought about the ground loop thing initially, this could be the source of the issue. The Comcast is on a dedicated line, the Directv is on a common line... if the coax lines are grounded to the same point we could have a nasty ground loop going on. Regardless, FMC's will solve this problem as well. I have the TPlink MC110's and I'm awaiting Corning single mode fiber... should be here Thursday. I have been in contact with SoTm regarding FMC modification and for a pretty low price <$100 they can modify FMC's with linear regulator and upgraded capacitors. 

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On August 26, 2017 at 9:09 AM, kennyb123 said:

 

There have been several reports where the Lush was favored over the Curious.  I've owned both - but not at the same time.  

 

I presently favore the USPCB over the Lush but could easily see why some might prefer the Lush.  It's definitely worth trying both.

Kenny, curious why you are using an ISO Regen along with the microRendu (HW 1.4). I would have thought using the MR into the DAC would have obviated the need for the ISO Regen, or am I missing something? 

 

Thanks, Puma Cat aka Stephen

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On August 26, 2017 at 6:52 AM, BCRich said:

Thanks for the feedback. I am presently using a ZenWave power cable from the LPS-1 to my mR. The feed to the LPS-1, my hard drives and network switch (Pakedge) are all being powered via a PI Audio Battery Buss so no SMPS's anywhere in my system. Using Audioquest Ethernet cables along with a EN70-HD and Aquvox GISO LAN Isolators. The mR is fed directly from my Mac Mini using the Network Bridge setup.

The Hard Discs and Switch are all 12v so the LPS-1 presently is not an option.

I am on my second Battery with regards to the Buss, so I may look to do something different down the road as they are expensive. We'll see, may decide to do a custom LPS at some point. On a side note I may try the "Lush" USB Cable in place of the Curious USB.

So, BRich.....tell me about this ZenWare power cable for the LPS-1 (to power the mR). Is this an aftermarket power cable that provides improved performance? I am powering the "brick" for the LPS-1 with a Shunyata Venom PC plugged into a Shunyata Triton distributor. 

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8 hours ago, Puma Cat said:

Kenny, curious why you are using an ISO Regen along with the microRendu (HW 1.4). I would have thought using the MR into the DAC would have obviated the need for the ISO Regen, or am I missing something? 

 

 

I'm not sure I've heard anything conclusive about that being the case.  I've yet to get around to confirming the ISO REGEN's contribution myself. 

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11 hours ago, Puma Cat said:

So, BRich.....tell me about this ZenWare power cable for the LPS-1 (to power the mR). Is this an aftermarket power cable that provides improved performance? I am powering the "brick" for the LPS-1 with a Shunyata Venom PC plugged into a Shunyata Triton distributor. 

It's a DC power cable between the LPS-1 and the device the LPS-1 is powering.  Not anything to do with feeding/charging the LPS-1.  I have one as well, and it's a nice upgrade on the stock DC cable that comes with the LPS-1.  It's made out of Zenwave's UPOCC silver/gold conductors, and terminated with nice Oyaide barrel connectors and a nice quality jacket.

 

If interested, mine is available for sale along with my 1.4 version microRendu at Audiocircle.    

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26 minutes ago, genjamon said:

It's a DC power cable between the LPS-1 and the device the LPS-1 is powering.  Not anything to do with feeding/charging the LPS-1.  I have one as well, and it's a nice upgrade on the stock DC cable that comes with the LPS-1.  It's made out of Zenwave's UPOCC silver/gold conductors, and terminated with nice Oyaide barrel connectors and a nice quality jacket.

 

If interested, mine is available for sale along with my 1.4 version microRendu at Audiocircle.    

Hi Genjamon,

Thank you very kindly for the explanation. I figured that that is what the Zenwave cable did; provide improved transfer of DC between the LPS-1 and mR.  I'm looking for something that will provide improvments along the lines of what Shunyata does with power cables, i.e., to provide improved attenuation & shielding/rejection of RFI and EM noise; which really reduce the noise floor. It seems to me that to maximize the sonic gains a very good power supply provides, the actual DC power cable between the power supply and the device should reject/attenuate RF and EM noise as much as possible, or some of the benefits of the LPS are not fully realized. Is it possible to buy your cable separately from your microRendu? I already have a 1.4 Rev microRendu. Thanks, Stephen aka Puma Cat. 

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3 hours ago, kennyb123 said:

 

I'm not sure I've heard anything conclusive about that being the case.  I've yet to get around to confirming the ISO REGEN's contribution myself. 

Thanks, Kennyb. 

 

My general experience has been to remove as many components/cables/interfaces from the amplification chain as much as possible as all powered devices and cables add some level of noise/veiling to the system. It's tyring to get back to that old "straight wire with gain" ideal. So, i'd be very interested in the results of your experiment if you take the ISO Regen out and compare the differences. Thank you, Stephen aka Puma Cat. 

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1 hour ago, Puma Cat said:

My general experience has been to remove as many components/cables/interfaces from the amplification chain as much as possible as all powered devices and cables add some level of noise/veiling to the system. It's tyring to get back to that old "straight wire with gain" ideal. So, i'd be very interested in the results of your experiment if you take the ISO Regen out and compare the differences. Thank you, Stephen aka Puma Cat. 

 

I agree with your thinking.  Having said that, I'd be very surprised to find that the ISO REGEN is adding noise or veiling.  The clarity is mind-blowing at present.  

 

I'll experiment this weekend as temperatures will be cooling off.  The listening room has been way too hot to piddle with such things.

 

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3 hours ago, kennyb123 said:

 

I agree with your thinking.  Having said that, I'd be very surprised to find that the ISO REGEN is adding noise or veiling.  The clarity is mind-blowing at present.  

 

I'll experiment this weekend as temperatures will be cooling off.  The listening room has been way too hot to piddle with such things.

 

Ha! I *totally* get that!. Last week, one of my newly adopted 5 month old kittens got behind the stereo rack and pulled one of the ICs out of the back of the power amp; left channel disappeared. Had to haul the amp out of the rack to reconnect, and try to shove it back into place on those darn HRS Nimbus damping couplers. What a hassle! ;) Going to have to break the cats of getting back there. O.o

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On September 5, 2017 at 1:22 PM, Cxp said:

The coax is for Comcast internet. I also have Directv which has its own coax line. I had thought about the ground loop thing initially, this could be the source of the issue. The Comcast is on a dedicated line, the Directv is on a common line... if the coax lines are grounded to the same point we could have a nasty ground loop going on. Regardless, FMC's will solve this problem as well. I have the TPlink MC110's and I'm awaiting Corning single mode fiber... should be here Thursday. I have been in contact with SoTm regarding FMC modification and for a pretty low price <$100 they can modify FMC's with linear regulator and upgraded capacitors. 

I have my concerns about "modified" gear....safety first! The FMC will add unnecessary complexity to the system and require clean power. The isolation transformers would be my preference. Anyway, keep us posted.

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41 minutes ago, vortecjr said:

I have my concerns about "modified" gear....safety first! The FMC will add unnecessary complexity to the system and require clean power. The isolation transformers would be my preference. Anyway, keep us posted.

I have a feeling a comparison is in order?

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If the cause of the problem is the coax feed, the (very likely) fix is isolating the coax feed.  Ground loops are very common with coax sat, cable, and internet services.

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I will have my FMC setup going tomorrow. I just ordered isolation transformer from Amazon, I will compare isolation transformer to FMC setup on Friday.

 

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1 hour ago, vortecjr said:

I have my concerns about "modified" gear....safety first! The FMC will add unnecessary complexity to the system and require clean power. The isolation transformers would be my preference. Anyway, keep us posted.

Jesus, why are you in denial regarding FMCs, with good power as you mention (but only needed on the downstream FMC) ?

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9 minutes ago, d_elm said:

Jesus, why are you in denial regarding FMCs, with good power as you mention (but only needed on the downstream FMC) ?

I think this a legitimate point from Jesus.... however I am willing to complicate the system slightly for the sake of SQ. I would prefer to keep it simple if possible.

 

Even assuming the isolation transformer blocks the ground loop we still have the question of which is lower noise (1) a modem/router combo or (2) the receiving FMC. This I'm very curious about. The benefit I see with the FMC is that it is about 1/4 the size of my modem/router with much less internal stuff inside. However, I'm not sure if there are individual components inside the FMC that do more harm by themselves. Regarding the power supply front though... that plays an equal role in both strategies.

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32 minutes ago, d_elm said:

Jesus, why are you in denial regarding FMCs, with good power as you mention (but only needed on the downstream FMC) ?

I will answer with my own opinion, and let Jesus follow, if he feels the need.  There is no doubt in my mind that there could be some advantages with fiber isolation, but it is important to remember that Ethernet is already galvanically isolated via transformers at each end of any cable run.  Additionally, any isolation provided by an FMC-fiber-FMC set up is still limited by the noise signature of the final FMC, which is not in isolation. So any noise inherent to the FMC unit itself, will still be present on the ethernet cable.  As the FMC device is going to have, essentially equal noise to any Ethernet (copper wired) transmission device, it is somewhat daft to suppose that this is a "total solution".  Yes, powering the FMC at the receive end with a really good ultra low noise supply should help, but still, any noise borne from the Ethernet transmitter will be present, as well as noise caused by internal (poor) regulators etc.

In CXP's case, it appears that the cause of his ills are the coax cables (almost certainly a ground loop issue), so I would suggest that addressing that cause should be his first concern.

 

I would add one more thing.  Always remember that noise is cumulative.  By adding two FMC devices and their power supplies, one is adding two more sources of noise: this violates the KISS principle. By no means am I trying to suggest that fiber is a bad idea in general, but one should consider the potential downsides, especially before adding additional potential noise sources (and complexity) to any system.

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4 minutes ago, Cxp said:

I think this a legitimate point from Jesus.... however I am willing to complicate the system slightly for the sake of SQ. I would prefer to keep it simple if possible.

 

Even assuming the isolation transformer blocks the ground loop we still have the question of which is lower noise (1) a modem/router combo or (2) the receiving FMC. This I'm very curious about. The benefit I see with the FMC is that it is about 1/4 the size of my modem/router with much less internal stuff inside. However, I'm not sure if there are individual components inside the FMC that do more harm by themselves. Regarding the power supply front though... that plays an equal role in both strategies.

I have the same FMC, MC100CM and also have MC200CM, 1gb.  The FMCs have switching regulators and do generate noise. And with an LPS-1 at 5V, in my system, the downstream FMC generates less noise than is dropped by the fibre.  Battery powering the FMC was also good.  Various SMPS were not as good.  The SMPS provided by D-LINK was the worst for this application.

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9 minutes ago, d_elm said:

I have the same FMC, MC100CM and also have MC200CM, 1gb.  The FMCs have switching regulators and do generate noise. And with an LPS-1 at 5V, in my system, the downstream FMC generates less noise than is dropped by the fibre.  Battery powering the FMC was also good.  Various SMPS were not as good.  The SMPS provided by D-LINK was the worst for this application.

Have you tried an iFi? I mention since this is what I have on hand that may be better. I may be trying out an Sbooster 9V for the UR in which case I would have the LPS1 to power the receiving FMC :). I know the iFi does have increased leakage current though :(

 

We'll see... maybe the isolation transformer = the FMC....

 

 

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46 minutes ago, Cxp said:

(1) a modem/router combo or (2) the receiving FMC. This I'm very curious about.

Just one other thing to consider here.  I agree with the above assessment, but be assured these levels of noise are at every low levels and almost certainly no the cause of your initial concern (coax ground loop).  That does not mean that I am suggesting that they are inconsequential otherwise though (everything matters).  Still, ranking might be in order here, prioritizing that is.

Just a wire itself (in this case Ethernet cable) will reduce noise over a distance (there will be more noise reduction the higher the frequency of noise we are concerned with).  Any wire has inductance, resistance, and capacitance, and these properties reduce noise over length.  So, the router noise is reduced over the distance of router to (rendu or other).  If an FMC is placed close to the (rendu or other) the FMC's self noise may prevail.

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19 minutes ago, Cxp said:

Have you tried an iFi? I mention since this is what I have on hand that may be better. I may be trying out an Sbooster 9V for the UR in which case I would have the LPS1 to power the receiving FMC :). I know the iFi does have increased leakage current though :(

 

We'll see... maybe the isolation transformer = the FMC....

 

 

I tried the iFi iPower 9V.  Better than D-LINK SMPS but not as good as lithium battery.  Battery was only an experiment so I purchased an LPS-1 and found 5V best.  I have all SMPSs on a power strip that is plugged into an Array Solutions AC-7 and that is plugged into an Elgar 1KVA isolation transformer.  Nothing else is on the isolation transformer.  My other gear does not like the isolation transformer.

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12 minutes ago, barrows said:

@Cxp  If you are powering the microRendu form an Ifi, I would suggest forgetting all about FMCs etc.  You have much bigger sound gains to be had for a better power supply for the microRendu.  This is a question of priorities.  Things like Ethernet transmission tweaks are going to offer way smaller SQ gains that high quality power to the endpoint (microRendu).

Right now using LPS1 to power the ultraRendu, I mentioned the iFi before since that is my spare supply that I have.

 

I'm considering trying an Sbooster to see if I prefer over the LPS1... if not I could power FMC with Sbooster. Or vice versa move LPS1 to FMC. This is all subject to me finding the FMC to having a better sound

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23 hours ago, Puma Cat said:

Kenny, curious why you are using an ISO Regen along with the microRendu (HW 1.4). I would have thought using the MR into the DAC would have obviated the need for the ISO Regen, or am I missing something? 

 

It was hot and humid in my listening room tonight, but i figured that since I was already sweating I might as well get off my butt and do a couple of comparisons.

 

i compared with and without the ISO REGEN.  When without the IR, the mR was powered by the LPS-1,  When with the IR, the LPS-1 powered the IR and the 2nd rail of the JS-2 powered the mR.

 

i favored the sound with the IR in place,  Without it, the sound flattened out both in terms of depth and width - with images less holographic.  The sound also became slightly grainier.  Additionally dynamics lost some of their "pop".   I recall the IR improving things more with the 1.3 board such that the IR was easily a no-brainer purchase,  i think it might still rise to that level for me at least as I found the music a bit less compelling without the IR, but I would have to spend more time without it another day under cooler temperatures to confirm for sure.

 

I imagine that the ISO REGEN might bring the microRendu 1.4 a bit closer to the ultraRendu - though jumping directly from the 1.3 to the ultraRendu is likely the better step for those who don't already have an ISO REGEN.

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