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

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8 hours ago, kennyb123 said:

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.

 

Kenny, I am assuming that when powering the microRendu with the JS-2, the other rail is powering your Mini?  If so this would put the microRendu at a distinct disadvantage, as it would be sharing noise with the mini.  Additionally, if the mini is close enough to the audio system to be powered by the same JS-2, this is another area where you might find gains by getting the Mini much farther away.

When doing these kind of comparisons, to really be able to draw any conclusions you need to be changing only one thing, not completely switching power supplies and adding the ISOregen.  

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i am in the process of adding the IR with my uR. Alex at Uptone advised that both the uR and IR could be be powered simultaneously by my LSP-1 with the aid of a "Y" splitter cord (not available from Uptone).  I've ordered that and look forward to hearing how the IR improves SQ. 

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53 minutes ago, barrows said:

 

Kenny, I am assuming that when powering the microRendu with the JS-2, the other rail is powering your Mini?  If so this would put the microRendu at a distinct disadvantage, as it would be sharing noise with the mini.  Additionally, if the mini is close enough to the audio system to be powered by the same JS-2, this is another area where you might find gains by getting the Mini much farther away.

When doing these kind of comparisons, to really be able to draw any conclusions you need to be changing only one thing, not completely switching power supplies and adding the ISOregen.  

 

Great points.

 

My primary aim was to determine whether it made sense for me to keep the ISO REGEN in place after the microRendu 1.4 as that's what I was asked to comment on a few times.  What I kept consistent was the power supply powering the device directly feeding the DAC - it remained the LPS-1.  Obviously the applicability of my findings will be limited to those who might want to follow in my footsteps.  I thought it was worth reporting them with that in mind, and was careful to point out how both devices were powered when I made my comparison.

 

I think my findings are more interesting (at least to me) in light of what you smartly pointed out about the downside of powering the mR from the second rail of the JS-2.  That I hobbled the mR with noise from the Mac mini and yet still preferred it when using the IR speaks well to the IR's contribution, I think.

 

Interesting point about getting the Mac Mini much further away too.  I'll experiment with that.  Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Bruce Orr said:

i am in the process of adding the IR with my uR. Alex at Uptone advised that both the uR and IR could be be powered simultaneously by my LSP-1 with the aid of a "Y" splitter cord (not available from Uptone).  I've ordered that and look forward to hearing how the IR improves SQ. 

How is that possible? How much current do they need: uR, IR and device behind IR, all together less than 1.1A??

Can you share the link for Y cable as well?

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1 hour ago, Bruce Orr said:

i am in the process of adding the IR with my uR. Alex at Uptone advised that both the uR and IR could be be powered simultaneously by my LSP-1 with the aid of a "Y" splitter cord (not available from Uptone).  I've ordered that and look forward to hearing how the IR improves SQ. 

 

I tried this at one point using a cheap Y-cable sourced from Amazon to power both an IR and mR.  I found a strong preference for powering both devices from separate supplies (with the LPS-1 preferred on the IR).  Cheap enough to try though.

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1 hour ago, Bruce Orr said:

i am in the process of adding the IR with my uR. Alex at Uptone advised that both the uR and IR could be be powered simultaneously by my LSP-1 with the aid of a "Y" splitter cord (not available from Uptone).  I've ordered that and look forward to hearing how the IR improves SQ. 

This is good to know, thanks, Bruce.

 

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1 hour ago, kennyb123 said:

 

Great points.

 

My primary aim was to determine whether it made sense for me to keep the ISO REGEN in place after the microRendu 1.4 as that's what I was asked to comment on a few times.  What I kept consistent was the power supply powering the device directly feeding the DAC - it remained the LPS-1.  Obviously the applicability of my findings will be limited to those who might want to follow in my footsteps.  I thought it was worth reporting them with that in mind, and was careful to point out how both devices were powered when I made my comparison.

 

I think my findings are more interesting (at least to me) in light of what you smartly pointed out about the downside of powering the mR from the second rail of the JS-2.  That I hobbled the mR with noise from the Mac mini and yet still preferred it when using the IR speaks well to the IR's contribution, I think.

 

Interesting point about getting the Mac Mini much further away too.  I'll experiment with that.  Thanks!

 

Kenny, thank you for doing these experiments and providing the feedback. I know it was a bit of a hassle to do this for all us, so it is very much appreciated. I think for the time being, I'm going to stick to the mR 1.4 > DAC being powered by the LPS-1. I moved my Mac Mini into my bedroom at the far end of the house, so I would imagine the inverse-square law applies and I've reduced the noise from a very dirty and noisy component ( the high-bandwidth processors in computers spew out an incredible amount of noise/grunge/garbage) from my audio rack, which, based on the theory I've read, can only be a good thing. Given the benefits I've seen from installing a full Shunyata power distribution and power cord system, which were a significant as a major preamplifier upgrade, I've experience first-hand how much removing sources of noise can improve a system's sonic performance and attributes. I should have pointed out in my previous message about the V1.4 hardware upgrade that my current configuration from my mR to my DAC involves going through the new Schiit Eitr Gen 5 USB/SPDIF convertor. The new Schiit Gen 5 USB was designed to provide the benefits of a device lilke the ISO Regen. Here's the scoop from Schiit about the Gen 5 USB implementation and about Eitr: 

itr (and the new Schiit Gen 5 USB implementation) does the following (intro by Mike Moffat):

 

“Throw away your decrapifiers, regenerators, isolators, magic boxes, and all the rest of those USB band-aids,” Mike Moffat, Schiit’s Co-Founder said. “You don’t need them with our Gen 5 USB input.”

 

Mike Moffat notes that the Gen 5 USB technology achieves its UAC2 high-speed capability in a different way than most other USB inputs, using transformer coupling rather than optoisolation. “Transformers gave us better jitter performance,” Mike added. “This, coupled with much better local clocking, makes for the highest-performance USB input we’ve sold. I like to say it’s so good, we skipped a generation (from 4 to 5.)”

 

From Jason: And, as far as I know, it’s the only USB interface using transformer isolation. When everyone else sees how good the transformers perform, they’re probably start showing up everywhere else.

  1. Regarding Eitr: 
  1. It offers electromagnetic and electrostatic isolation from the USB source via a unique transformer-coupling method. This, we’ve found, is superior to optocouplers, which are inherently high-jitter devices.
  2. It eliminates any connection between the USB power and ground and system power—Eitr's low-noise and rechecking sections are completely self-powered.
  3. It provides much higher quality, independent crystal-based clocks for the USB input and SPDIF output, operating at both 44.1 and 48kHz multiples.
  4. Ultra-low-noise voltage regulation and exotic aluminum organic polymer caps are already built in.
 

In additon to this, the SPDIF output section has its own separate electrostatic and electromagnetic isolation, so one is getting two "stacked" layers of isolation with the Eitr.

 

From Jason: Seriously, though, Eitr is a great USB-SPDIF converter, with the same kind of attention to detail you’d expect from us, from the linear, low-noise power supply to the latest SPDIF formatting chip with high-precision local crystal oscillators for both clock multiples, to transformer-coupled output. Eitr’s coaxial output is even isolated itself with its own transformer! It’s got, like, even more isolation on your isolation.

 

I'm then running out of Eitr with a Shunyata RCA digital coax SPDIF cable, which I am also sure is very well-shielded from EM/RF noise to my Schiit Modi 2 Uber "interim" DAC (my Gungnir is in the shop at Schiit for a Gen 5 USB and Multibit Upgrade). My Modi 2 Uber is plugged into my Shunyata Triton, as well as the LPS-1's " transformer brick" with a Shunyata Venom power cable. 

 

Eitr really works, when using it with my Gungnir, it sounded notably better using Eitr and connecting to the DAC via SPIF than a USB cable into the Gen 2 USB port on my original-specification Gungnir. It also significantly improved the performance of my Modi 2 Uber. 

 

One of the experiments I plan on doing when I get my Gungnir back is determining whether there is a difference between going from mR directly to Gungnir's new Gen 5 USB , or using Eitr to provide Gen 5 USB and then SPDIF (with it's extra layer of noise isolation) to Gungnir via the SPDIF port/cable.  

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2 hours ago, Puma Cat said:

I moved my Mac Mini into my bedroom at the far end of the house, so I would imagine the inverse-square law applies and I've reduced the noise from a very dirty and noisy component ( the high-bandwidth processors in computers spew out an incredible amount of noise/grunge/garbage) from my audio rack, which, based on the theory I've read, can only be a good thing. Given the benefits I've seen from installing a full Shunyata power distribution and power cord system, which were a significant as a major preamplifier upgrade, I've experience first-hand how much removing sources of noise can improve a system's sonic performance and attributes.

 

Did you actually hear a benefit from moving your Mac Mini?  I wonder about the tradeoff of a running a long run of ethernet to your microRendu.  I'm using a bridged configuration presently, where I keep the leg to the microRendu short.  The other leg goes back to my wall outlet, which then depends a long run of Cat5e installed in the walls to get to my NAS, which is stored in the closet where all the network connections terminate.

 

I'm using a better ethernet cable for that short run (WW Startlight) and there was definitely an advantage using that there.  The longer run to the wall also benefitted by a better-than-generic ethernet cable (WW Chroma).

 

Also, like you I found great benefit from going all in with Shunyata power products.  I have a Denali plus a mix of Alpha power cords.

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1 hour ago, kennyb123 said:

 

Did you actually hear a benefit from moving your Mac Mini?  I wonder about the tradeoff of a running a long run of ethernet to your microRendu.  I'm using a bridged configuration presently, where I keep the leg to the microRendu short.  The other leg goes back to my wall outlet, which then depends a long run of Cat5e installed in the walls to get to my NAS, which is stored in the closet where all the network connections terminate.

 

I'm using a better ethernet cable for that short run (WW Startlight) and there was definitely an advantage using that there.  The longer run to the wall also benefitted by a better-than-generic ethernet cable (WW Chroma).

 

Also, like you I found great benefit from going all in with Shunyata power products.  I have a Denali plus a mix of Alpha power cords.

Hey Kenny, I wish I could answer your question, but unfortunately, the USB port on my Gungnir failed immediately after I moved the Mac Mini out of the audio rack, and then re-connecting the Sonore to the Gungnir, so I could not do a proper A/B. Dang. I think that replugging in the USB cable from the Sonore to the USB port on the Gungnir caused a static electricity-induced failure mode (which Schiit says they see a lot of in repairs), because nothing I plugged Gungnir after that would see the DAC any longer at all, not my two Macbook Pros, or my Retina iMac. So, I had to resort to listening to my little LH Geek Out or my Schiit Loki (which STILL rocks as a DSD-only DAC, that little thing sounds AMAZING) as my DAC until I could get a new wall-wart for my Modi 2 Uber. So...no chance for a proper A/B test. The USB port failure happened within days of Schiit announcing the new Gen 5 USB upgrade, and I needed to get the USB repaired, so I opted for the Gen 5 and MB upgrades. 

 

I am just going on the assumption it would sound better given how frickin' noisy computers are, and I figured that getting the computer as far away as possible from all the audio components and cables (particularly the speaker cables, which are notorious for serving as antennas in picking up this kind of noise) is a good thing based on sound principles of physics; the same as when manufacturers (like CJ, Naim, etc) sometimes do two-box components, one separate, shielded chassis for the PS, the other for the amplification circuitry. 

 

Yeah, the Shunyata stuff ROCKS. I was astonished how much of an improvement it brings to a system. Heard great things about Denali and Alpha power cords; I'm still using an original Triton and Zitron/Venom power cables. Caelin Gabriel of Shunyata is a genius, IMO. 

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57 minutes ago, Puma Cat said:

I am just going on the assumption it would sound better given how frickin' noisy computers are, and I figured that getting the computer as far away as possible from all the audio components and cables (particularly the speaker cables, which are notorious for serving as antennas in picking up this kind of noise) is a good thing based on sound principles of physics; the same as when manufacturers (like CJ, Naim, etc) sometimes do two-box components, one separate, shielded chassis for the PS, the other for the amplification circuitry. 

 

I'm guessing that the inverse square law applies to a computer such that emitted noise will drop proportionally to the square of distance the from it.  If I understand that law correctly, I might not need to banish the Mac mini from my listening room to gain some benefit. 

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2 minutes ago, kennyb123 said:

 

I'm guessing that the inverse square law applies to a computer such that emitted noise will drop proportionally to the square of distance the from it.  If I understand that law correctly, I might not need to banish the Mac mini from my listening room to gain some benefit. 

That may be true; just move it away as far as "practicable". It's the speaker wires that are generally the biggest culprits. If they are not shielded (and many are not), they act just like an antenna, and as such, are particularly susceptible to this high-bandwidth noise, and most importantly, this noise often feeds backward into the power amp to be amplified as a noise component. John Atkinson had an interesting article about this exact problem some time ago that can probably be found searching on Google or the like. FWIW, my DNM speaker cables (which look almost exactly like a flat-ribbon FM antenna) are not shielded. Which makes me think that I should probably snag a pair of Shunyata Venom speaker cables. 

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30 minutes ago, kennyb123 said:

 

I'm guessing that the inverse square law applies to a computer such that emitted noise will drop proportionally to the square of distance the from it.  If I understand that law correctly, I might not need to banish the Mac mini from my listening room to gain some benefit. 

At the very least, you want to make sure the mini is not powered form the same circuit as the audio system, even better if it (and any network gear) is on the opposite phase AC.

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11 minutes ago, barrows said:

At the very least, you want to make sure the mini is not powered form the same circuit as the audio system, even better if it (and any network gear) is on the opposite phase AC.

Really good points. 

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33 minutes ago, barrows said:

At the very least, you want to make sure the mini is not powered form the same circuit as the audio system, even better if it (and any network gear) is on the opposite phase AC.

 

I have two dedicated circuits.  The amp is alone on one, the Denali is on the other.  The Denali has three zones - the preamp has one to itself while the phono stage has another to itself.  The third zone is shared by three devices:  1) the JS-2 powering my Mac mini, 2) the SMPS that charges the LPS-1 and 3) the SMPS that charges the batteries and ultracapacitors in my Chord Hugo TT.   The TT is thus fully isolated from AC.

 

As far as my amp and preamp, the Denali has component-to-component filters that reduce noise between components by >60db (from 500 kHz – 10 MHz) and >24db (from 100 kHz – 30 MHz).  But I guess I could move the JS-2 to the non-dedicated circuit in that room as there'd be an even greater reduction, though the JS-2 might be getting dirtier power if I do that.  I'll have to add that to my list of experiments.

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Cooler---the LSP-1 using a connecting Y cord would only be powering the uRendu  and the ISO REGEN. Nothing more. Here are links to two Y cord sources provided to me by Alex at UpTone. 

 

Less expensive

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007Q8IKRE/

 

Mire expensive Ghent Audio $60+

https://www.ghentaudio.com/part/dc11.html

here I was advised the model needed is 2.1G to 2.1G (x 2)

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54 minutes ago, kennyb123 said:

 

I have two dedicated circuits.  The amp is alone on one, the Denali is on the other.  The Denali has three zones - the preamp has one to itself while the phono stage has another to itself.  The third zone is shared by three devices:  1) the JS-2 powering my Mac mini, 2) the SMPS that charges the LPS-1 and 3) the SMPS that charges the batteries and ultracapacitors in my Chord Hugo TT.   The TT is thus fully isolated from AC.

in total isolation either

As far as my amp and preamp, the Denali has component-to-component filters that reduce noise between components by >60db (from 500 kHz – 10 MHz) and >24db (from 100 kHz – 30 MHz).  But I guess I could move the JS-2 to the non-dedicated circuit in that room as there'd be an even greater reduction, though the JS-2 might be getting dirtier power if I do that.  I'll have to add that to my list of experiments.

It would be a mistake to really believe the "zones" on the Denali are "isolated".  Do you have a multi meter?, if so measure the resistance between the grounds of the input to the Denali, and the outputs.  the JS-2 has excellent filtering built in, I would certainly power it from another circuit and not the Denali.  Do not be so sure that switching ultra capacitor banks are actually in total isolation either (there can be capacitive coupling from the charging circuit to the output circuit).

Beware that whenever the word "isolated" is said, it is almost never total.  Of course even dedicated lines are not really isolated, as they are all connected in parallel back at the box.  But, log runs of wire alone have quite a bit of filtering (at least at high frequencies) due to their capacitance, inductance, and resistance...  Distance is often the best form of "isolation".

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I have nothing to change with Barrows' comments. We are just trying to help you guys "prioritize" and we are going to challenge some of the connection schemes. If you really want to see what makes a difference you should start with the best power supply at the micro/ultraRendu. The best power supply at the micro/ultraRendu should be the constant and not the variable in your tests. Just my 2 cents. 

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Just got FMC's hooked up and going. Very nice sound now... clearly different than before with what I and multiple here suspect is a ground loop on the incoming internet coax.

 

Receiving FMC is powered by iFi 9V, UltraRendu is powered by LPS1 and DC-4 cable, then WW7 silver starlight into PS Audio SGCD DAC. Router to FMC 1 connected via BJC cat6 and outgoing FMC to UltraR has BJC cat6a.

 

Sound is very smooth with absolutely no aggressiveness or harshness. Incredible imaging... very real.

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4 minutes ago, Cxp said:

Just got FMC's hooked up and going. Very nice sound now... clearly different than before with what I and multiple here suspect is a ground loop on the incoming internet coax.

 

Receiving FMC is powered by iFi 9V, UltraRendu is powered by LPS1 and DC-4 cable, then WW7 silver starlight into PS Audio SGCD DAC. Router to FMC 1 connected via BJC cat6 and outgoing FMC to UltraR has BJC cat6a.

 

Sound is very smooth with absolutely no aggressiveness or harshness. Incredible imaging... very real.

What is powering the downstream FMC ?

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Interesting note I'm hearing dramatically different things depending where the iFi is plugged in. iFi in the Dectet in zone where MeanWell is plugged in results in overly smooth but feels like there is a blanket over everything. iFi plugged into spare separate dedicated outlet sounds better... clearer transients and tighter sound. I'm curious if having iFi and MeanWell in the same zone is bad due to the MW backwashing and the iFi sucking it up.

 

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14 minutes ago, Cxp said:

Interesting note I'm hearing dramatically different things depending where the iFi is plugged in. iFi in the Dectet in zone where MeanWell is plugged in results in overly smooth but feels like there is a blanket over everything. iFi plugged into spare separate dedicated outlet sounds better... clearer transients and tighter sound. I'm curious if having iFi and MeanWell in the same zone is bad due to the MW backwashing and the iFi sucking it up.

 

You can plug the SMPSs into an Array Solutions AC-7 to absorb the kickback into AC. https://www.arraysolutions.com/ac-7

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2 hours ago, barrows said:

It would be a mistake to really believe the "zones" on the Denali are "isolated".  Do you have a multi meter?, if so measure the resistance between the grounds of the input to the Denali, and the outputs.  the JS-2 has excellent filtering built in, I would certainly power it from another circuit and not the Denali.  Do not be so sure that switching ultra capacitor banks are actually in total isolation either (there can be capacitive coupling from the charging circuit to the output circuit).

Beware that whenever the word "isolated" is said, it is almost never total.  Of course even dedicated lines are not really isolated, as they are all connected in parallel back at the box.  But, log runs of wire alone have quite a bit of filtering (at least at high frequencies) due to their capacitance, inductance, and resistance...  Distance is often the best form of "isolation".

 

What you are saying makes a lot of sense.  Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts. 

 

You are certainly correct about offering caution about "isolated".  Total is never the case in this hobby.  I will admit though that there are limits to how much I'll want to obsess about some things in this hobby.  That the Hugo TT freed me from having to obsess about how I was powering it seemed like a nice additional benefit.  Isolation may not be perfect, but the noise floor is far lower than I imagined possible.  I could stop right here and remain delighted.  

 

(But of course I won't.  Not yet, but I'm getting closer.)

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40 minutes ago, d_elm said:

You can plug the SMPSs into an Array Solutions AC-7 to absorb the kickback into AC. https://www.arraysolutions.com/ac-7

Have you found the AC-7 effective at improving system sound quality?  I'm curious if it could be used for studio monitors like my Focal CMS50.  It has a Class AB amp and must use some kind of SMPS.  It says max power consumption 150W on the back.

 

Is using an AC-7 with powered monitors inappropriate?  Is it only for computer accessory type things?

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1 minute ago, rickca said:

Have you found the AC-7 effective at improving system sound quality?  I'm curious if it could be used for studio monitors like my Focal CMS50.  It has a Class AB amp and must use some kind of SMPS.  It says max power consumption 150W on the back.

 

Is using an AC-7 with powered monitors inappropriate?  Is it only for computer accessory type things?

It was developed by a HAM operator. Best to check the description on the web site. It  is rated for 125V 7A. With a friend with good ears we tested the AC-7 last week and it's presence was noticed but subtle. Another improvement then gained by plugging the AC-7 into an Elgar 1KVA isolation transformer, again subtle.  But each of the little improvements add up.

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