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Pink Faun 2.16

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I just took possession of my new top of the line Pink Faun 2.16 server, and it is an absolute revelation. I had been using their earlier model for a few years and while it worked fine, I was never in love with it - it did not blow the earlier multi media servers I had been using out of the water. To be honest, I had not experienced step change improvements between any of the servers I have been using for a decade. Then I traded it in for the 2.16 and this is an entirely different animal. Nothing in the CAPS evolution can hold a candle to it. Separation between instruments, air around the instruments, spacial cues, the works. Then entire audiophile lexicon applies. It runs Windows, so unlike the vast majority of other turn key servers you can run windows on it, allowing you to run Dirac live. I am using it in MCH mode using their 8 channel I2S output card and a stack of 3 PS audio dacs. Just thought I'd share this so anyone interested in acquiring a high end server is aware of this option. 

https://www.pinkfaun.com/index.php/products/streaming-audio/pink-faun-streamer-2-16.html

 

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I own a Pink Faun 2.16 streamer, and I 100% percent sure it does not run/support Windows.

I do believe that it provides excellent sound, and although not cheap, it's delivering great value .

If you can afford, strongly recommended. Great service as well

Dirk

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I've been working with Jord this past week to finalize my 2.16 build.  He said he can install Windows if one chooses.  I'll stick with near real-time Linux kernel but did ask if Windows was supported for potential future use.

 

edoor, did you opt for the OCXO throughout?  I'm going with I2S 2ch into PSA DS.

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Ah, good to see a Pink Faun thread at last. I recently picked up a 2.16x. Arch Linux OS with USB output. Mine has 4 OCXO clocks.

 

Jord did say he can install a windows OS if required but I opted for his recommended Arch Linux OS which was described to be "as stable as a 16 legged elephant”. Haha

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2 hours ago, flkin said:

I recently picked up a 2.16x. Arch Linux OS with USB output. Mine has 4 OCXO clocks.

Congrats, thats a mighty server configuration!

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9 hours ago, flkin said:

Does anyone here use his HQplayer embedded? If so what settings are you using?

 

I plan to try it out but I will be feeding a DirectStream which takes all inputs to 20x DSD so I'm not sure there is much value in spending CPU cycles on the server when the FPGA is going to do it by design.  

 

Did you get HQPlayer trial or licensed?  I haven't asked Jord but the website says a licensed, embedded version is included but via email he mentioned a trial version, perhaps its changed.

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9 hours ago, FredM said:

Congrats, thats a mighty server configuration!

 

Thanks, it's still breaking in but sounds quite good already. The streamer is playing with 3 clocks now. The forth one will come when the new LAN board is complete and hopefully with the new low phase noise OCXO (-130 DB@10hz) installed.

 

1 hour ago, lpost said:

 

I plan to try it out but I will be feeding a DirectStream which takes all inputs to 20x DSD so I'm not sure there is much value in spending CPU cycles on the server when the FPGA is going to do it by design.  

 

Did you get HQPlayer trial or licensed?  I haven't asked Jord but the website says a licensed, embedded version is included but via email he mentioned a trial version, perhaps its changed.

 

My embedded HQPlayer is licenced and was included without me asking for it. 

 

Ive been using HQPlayer on my Mac for years and somehow I preferred the sound of redbook feeling the upsampled version was too thin and sharp. Not analogue enough for my liking. 

 

But with the Pink Faun, I've found that upsampling is another experience altogether. Pretty amazing details, presence and holographic soundstage. 

 

20 times DSD? Wow, thats some heavy computing. 

 

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new low phase noise OCXO (-130 DB@10hz)

12 minutes ago, flkin said:

new low phase noise OCXO (-130 DB@10hz) installed.

 

Wow, that is low phase noise at 10Hz.  It's hard to find OCXO lower than about -100dB@10Hz in my few searches.  I'm not totally convinced the OCXO oscillators are warranted, it could be they are simply better built and therefore much less noisy as the long-term accuracy means nothing to music.  I don't care if a clock drifts 8 seconds a month from now, but certainly want it to be super accurate over the course a few micro seconds.  This is to be my ultimate server that plays for 7-8 years (at which point I'll probably be too old to replace it) so I figured the extra $ is a small price to pay for what I have to believe is better.  Plus I like these guys and don't mind throwing them some extra dough.  I like to support smaller, music focused outfits vs. big conglomerates. I hope PF never changes and yet still provides the 2-3 guys a decent living.

 

Jord has been a pleasure to communicate with, made me a good deal and tossed in a hdmi cable.  I love their passion for eeking out the very best but not wasting money on fancy covers and sparkles that do nothing for the sound.  I won't ever see the box once it's been racked so for me it works great.  

 

I'm trying to not set my expectations too high as I have a pretty decent sound now, though I'm sure I will appreciate this machine more and more for many years to come.

 

My DAC is the fairly well known PS Audio DirectStream, designed and FPGA coded by Ted Smith.  He started out, after 7-8 of dev at 10x DSD and a couple of code revisions ago took it to 20x.  I will play around with HQPlayer but I expect it will just be different not necessarily better. This paired with a BHK preamp triode input stage feeding M700 monoblocks to Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2 and I do lots of headphone listening via BHK to Senn HD580.  All is fed by PS Audio P10 from dedicated 10awg circuit.  I've done all this installation and setup myself.

 

The PS Audio gear has gone through many changes early, mostly the DAC but also the BHK, ups and downs but after a few hundred hours both have settled nicely.  I expect the 2.16 will take a few weeks as well, so much capacitive capacity to run in and I supposed the oscillators will take a good long while to stabilize after a long trans-Atlantic trip.

 

I've put my $ in the upstream components and its paid dividends.

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Sounds like you have a very nice system there!

 

Yes PF's new clock should be great especially on board component. Looking forward to trying it out once it's launched. I understand it's going to be soon.

 

The 2.16 was already sounding great when I first set it up but has improved quite a bit in the past week of constant playback. I think the clocks need at least a month to bed in properly. It's a great month for me, like going to concerts every night 😄

 

 

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It's been a journey but coming along nicely.  I downsized to a much smaller home, giving up my dedicated room in the process.  I've never known a better 'chore' than enjoying the process of building a system.  Its all what one makes of it.  Enjoy the process!

 

Let me know how your 2.16 comes into its own over time and I'll do the same here.

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On 6/14/2018 at 4:44 PM, lpost said:

I've been working with Jord this past week to finalize my 2.16 build.  He said he can install Windows if one chooses.  I'll stick with near real-time Linux kernel but did ask if Windows was supported for potential future use.

 

edoor, did you opt for the OCXO throughout?  I'm going with I2S 2ch into PSA DS.

Sorry I missed this for a day. If I understand the architecture over I2S correctly, upgrading clocks at the source does not benefit sound because the clocking is not used. I could be wrong. You could ask Ted @ PS audio to validate this. No doubt folks on the forum can weigh in as well. 

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Speaking of nice systems. This is my 5.2 setup. All vivid speakers. Nothing I owned before (including more expensive stuff) comes close to it. Streamer took things up a notch or two. Electronics are all PS audio. P20 power is sitting behind the rack. 3x Directstream for MCH duties. 

 

Sub 2018.jpg

Surround 2018.jpg

System 2018.jpg

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Love those speakers. Had a chance to hear a pair during a show a month ago with a Chord front end and they were very real sounding. Reminds me of the Opera Diva singer from 5th element. 😄

 

I have to mention that during this burning in period, I found the PF benefited when the USB signal was processed through a reclocked SOtM tX-USBultra (by a Mutec Ref10 clock) and iFi Purifier prior to the DAC. Clarity and presence was improved.

 

I hope that over time I can retire these additional components and play from the PF directly to the DAC.

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Nice system, 3 DS is impressive alone.  Those mains are organic looking, like they were born.  They would not work in the aesthetic of my 1950s mid-century house.  I do miss my dedicated room, treated and all.

 

Regarding the clocks, I know Ted says the clocks don't matter upstream of the DS but Pink Faun says their goal is not more stability rather lower phase noise.  As a statement piece, I'm springing for the 'better' clocks.  Jord says the latest super low phase noise clocks are still being tested but will be swappable in the field if one wants to upgrade.  I bet they will be pricy.

 

My 2.16 build begins Monday.  

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Jord shared this with me about the new clocks. The key would be they are on the streamer boards at the required frequency rather than external to the streamer as a reference clock and having to be converted to a correct frequency through multiple connections. 

Phase noise 26 MHz.pdf

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Thanks, he confirmed they are still testing the prototypes and don't know when they'll be ready but they would simply replace the existing clocks.  Maybe they'll work a trade-in deal.

 

I'm not sure what you mean by on the streamer boards vs. external in this context.  If they are drop in replacements, the 'wiring' or multiplier can't be changing.

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Just saying that external ref clocks (like with Mutec or Cybershaft reference clocks) have even lower phase noise. My Cybershaft OP14 works at -114@1Hz. Unfortunately for them to operate they have to undergo multiple connections and frequency conversions as compared to PF's approach with on board clocks at the required frequencies. It wasn't about the clock swaps. 

 

On that matter, swapping add on card clocks would be a simple matter of mailing in the old card but for the motherboard or processor clock that would probably require returning the streamer in my case. I had Jord move the latter 2 clocks to the bottom of the motherboard to shorten the signal path of the clock.

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10 hours ago, flkin said:

I have to mention that during this burning in period, I found the PF benefited when the USB signal was processed through a reclocked SOtM tX-USBultra (by a Mutec Ref10 clock) and iFi Purifier prior to the DAC. Clarity and presence was improved.

 

Darn, with the clocked 2.16x you have a fantastic streamer, now I wonder at what level additional devices are redundant? Or is it a myth? Sure hope that after the clocks are all settled, the difference is negligible. 

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On 6/15/2018 at 7:53 AM, flkin said:

Does anyone here use his HQplayer embedded? If so what settings are you using?

 

I am using HQplayer embedded in the combination f the Pink Faun Streamer 2.16 connected via USB to the T+A 8 DSD dac.

I upsample everything to DSD128 (via DoP) as the Amanero USB interface does not (yet !?) support native DSD higher than DSD64.

Benefit of this mimitation is that I can use the most demandign filter settings.

It all sounds fantastic, but still would love to be able to apply native DSD512.

I have listened to native DSD512 at the Pinkfaun office on their DAC 2.32, and it sounded great as well  !

it does not make sense trying to compare, because everything else in the chain is so different - room, amplification, speakers,  ....

 

Attached are my current HQe settings

 

Dirk

HQPlayer Settings.jpg

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41 minutes ago, ddetaey said:

 

I am using HQplayer embedded in the combination f the Pink Faun Streamer 2.16 connected via USB to the T+A 8 DSD dac.

I upsample everything to DSD128 (via DoP) as the Amanero USB interface does not (yet !?) support native DSD higher than DSD64.

Benefit of this mimitation is that I can use the most demandign filter settings.

It all sounds fantastic, but still would love to be able to apply native DSD512.

I have listened to native DSD512 at the Pinkfaun office on their DAC 2.32, and it sounded great as well  !

it does not make sense trying to compare, because everything else in the chain is so different - room, amplification, speakers,  ....

 

Attached are my current HQe settings

 

Dirk

HQPlayer Settings.jpg

 

Hi Dirk

 

Thanks for sharing your settings. I was trying to get the same poly sinc xtr ls upsampled 44.1 to DSD512 but wasn't able to do playing natively to my LIO DAC2.0. Managed it with the -2s settings from 44.1 to 512/48 but I think the filter doesn't sound as good as the non -2s setting.

 

Thanks for the idea to try it DoP rather than native. Will give that a go.

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1 hour ago, flkin said:

 

Hi Dirk

 

Thanks for sharing your settings. I was trying to get the same poly sinc xtr ls upsampled 44.1 to DSD512 but wasn't able to do playing natively to my LIO DAC2.0. Managed it with the -2s settings from 44.1 to 512/48 but I think the filter doesn't sound as good as the non -2s setting.

 

Thanks for the idea to try it DoP rather than native. Will give that a go.

I do not believe that DoP had anything to do with this. It's just simply CPU power.

When I listened at Pink Faun at native DSD512 we also needed to use the -2 settings.

If you do not like those, you will need to choose a 'less CPU hungry' filter than xtr and/or go for DSD128 or 256, for you to try out.

Alternatevely, AMD has released recently more powerfull CPU than the one used by Pink Faun.  I already asked Jord at Pink Faun if the used motherboard woumd support these new processors, which he confirmed. I don't know if this new CPU will be strong enough to support the full xtr filter. Jord's recommendation was to hold of for a year or 2.

Dirk

 

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