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Computer Audiophile


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About austinpop

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  1. As OP - I am going to just stipulate that this thread is about listening impressions. We do not: Demand proof Require a specific methodology Require measurements. Further, if anyone comes in here, makes no contribution, and attacks people, I have the right as OP to ask @The Computer Audiophile to delete their posts.
  2. I think I've said this before, but it bears repeating from time to time, so people reading this thread are clear about all the confusing clock mods that get tossed around here! The whole approach being discussed here with sCLK-EX and reference clocks is NOT ABOUT replacing clocks IN THE DAC! Why? Because most DAC designers - like Ted explains in his video - already take extraordinary care to use high-quality, low-phase-noise clocks in their DACs. It takes an extraordinary clock to improve on this. No - the clock mods being discussed here apply to the usually crappy oscillators found in switches, mobos, Ethernet and USB interfaces, and the like. Replacing these with high-quality, low-phase-noise clocks like the sCLK-EX, and further improved by OCXO reference clocks like the Ref 10, Cybershaft, etc, is what is yielding the SQ improvements so many of us are hearing. I also want to be upfront about the fact that we do not really understand why we are hearing these SQ improvements. The SQ improvements undoubtedly exist. Our ears don't lie, and so many here have now heard the benefit. But the fact remains that there is not (yet) a clear scientific explanation for why we are hearing an SQ improvement. This is the usual point of divergence between the subjectivists and the objectivists. The former will accept and enjoy the benefit, while the latter will question whether, absent an explanation, the SQ benefit actually exists. I like the approach @JohnSwenson is taking. Rather than being dogmatic, he's digging into the "why" and appears to be making some real headway into understanding what is going on. Even though I am a subjectivist, I am not blind to the fact that this is a puzzle. So - what is the puzzle, really? Primarily, it relates to buffers - or buffering. Ted refers to this in the video. Simply put, the question is this: why would the "quality" of an upstream clock matter, when the data being clocked is flowing into a buffer? What is a buffer? In the most abstract sense, it is an area of storage (in this context, in a device's memory) where data is staged before being sent on. In a buffer, data can arrive and leave at different (clock) rates. Think of the buffers involved in a Tidal stream playing through Roon: The stream flows in from your ISP into your modem/router Switches and routers often have buffer memory at each port data flows into the Roon server over the network interface, into a memory buffer in the Roon application, from which it then flows out over the network interface data flows into a streamer (like the sMS-200ultra) over the network interface into a memory buffer in the Roon Ready app, before then flowing out over the USB interface many DACs implement a buffer into which data flows in over USB, say, and is then internally clocked in via the DAC's clock. At every such buffer, if the data is received without error, then it is reasonable to ask - why on earth does the phase noise or jitter characteristics of the clock upstream of the buffer have any effect downstream of the buffer? It's a reasonable question, and is ofter the point of contention when people start arguing about this stuff. Pending breakthroughs by the people actually digging into this - like John - I only have some conjectures. My strong suspicion is that what we are hearing is the effect of low phase noise clocks on good ol' fashioned analog noise. Let's not think of our long spaghetti chains in terms of their digital functionality, but rather as a connected chain of electronic components, through which analog noise can propagate. Perhaps the impact of low phase noise clocks upstream of the DAC is not in the digital domain, but rather to somehow reduce or mitigate analog noise, either in the data path, the ground plane, or both. Again - this is just a conjecture on my part. One of the primary reasons for this conjecture is our other observation of what drives massive SQ improvements in this upstream chain - PSU quality. I've said before that clock quality and PSU quality are independent axes of optimization. We have ample evidence that extreme optimization on either of these axes has a marked effect on SQ. I'll leave you with an intriguing thought. Do extreme optimizations on the PSU axis reduce the impact of clock optimizations? Roy's latest findings (over on head-fi) with the Zenith SE suggest this might be a distinct possibility. The Zenith SE does not have any heroic clock optimizations that we know of. What it does have are extreme PSU optimizations. The fact that Roy found it equalled or surpassed his reclocked server - at least in some areas - is highly intriguing. I expect to explore this further soon. But it does underscore the fact that there is much more research and analysis needed to explain why we are hearing these SQ improvements.
  3. CA Readers Choice Awards 2017

    I appreciate your intent... ...but this is the danger. Based on other newbie votes, they don't seem to be the only one. I would rather just trust you to pick from your aggregate experience with the forum over the year. It's better than these fraught internet polls. Perhaps an electoral college... (runs for cover!)
  4. The Lush cable is a good cable, but it does not substitute for components like the tX-USBultra or the ISO-Regen. Not sure what you're asking?
  5. The Paul Hynes SR7

    That is my understanding too. So Eric - it's 2 different production streams, and the SR7 just takes more time. Hopefully you can achieve equanimity when your SR7 trounces my SR4 in a future head-to-head listen-off?
  6. CA Readers Choice Awards 2017

    SOtM sCLK-EX technology. Contained in the Ultra line (sMS-200ultra, tX-USBultra) Uptone LPS-1 Released late 2016, but really came into focus in 2017 Cannot be beat for price/performance Roon
  7. Congrats, Moussa! This looks awesome. i am eagerly awaiting your extended listening impressions. With a system of this refinement, you will be amazed how much better the SQ will get with PSU upgrades.
  8. Have you considered API-based services, to incent support by Roon, JRiver, etc?
  9. New daily deal at eclassical!

    You're missing this magic link: http://www.eclassical.com/pages/christmas17.html
  10. @Cornan - make sure you have a clear objective in mind wrt clock mods. Feel free to PM me as well.
  11. Just to set this in context, a few clarifications: The term "word" clock, in my understanding, is used for the frequencies directly connected to the music's sample rate. This may just be convention, but when you say "word," most audio folk will think you're talking about 44.1 or 48 kHz, or multiples. The 24 and 25 MHz frequencies typically used for USB, Ethernet, and motherboards, are usually referred to as system clocks. Hence the use of the term "sCLK" by SOtM. Although - it's not that simple, as the sCLK-EX board can generate (synthesize) both system and word clocks. Most of the clock enhancements in this thread have been in the context of modifying switches, mobos, USB and Ethernet interfaces to accept an external clock supplied by an sCLK-EX board, optionally driven by a Mutec/Cybershaft reference clock. The idea of replacing a fixed frequency system clock oscillator with another oscillator - like a Crystek - is not something we've seen attempted here. Although - this is exactly the approach that the ISO-Regen and UltraRendu have taken to realize the sonic benefits over their predecessors - the Regen and the mR. All that said - intrepid DIYers are certainly welcome to try, and report their experiences!
  12. New daily deal at eclassical!

    Given how much I loved Dausgaard and Swedish Chamber Orchestra's Brahms Symphony 2, I am taking a chance (at $6.62 ) on one of today's specials:
  13. The Ethernet signaling mechanism uses a “symbol rate” of 125 Mega Symbols/sec. The 25Mhz clock drives a PLL to derive the 125MHz rate needed for this to function. Per JS: https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/?page=134&tab=comments#comment-709735 but Google will return a plethora of links about the symbol rate. Bottom line: there is a functional reason for exactly the 25 and 24 MHz clocks needed for Ethernet and USB, which is integrally related to their nominal 1000 and 480 Mbps data rates.