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WHAT IS THE TRUE EXPERIMENTAL TWEAK THREAD ALL ABOUT? I have always wanted a thread where any subject is possible. No experiment is too crazy to add here. No idea is too bold to reveal. Take it away! Enlight your thoughts and share your ideas how to improve SQ and how not to. Anyone can encurage and educate you but no one should let you down, deminage you or simply move you to another thread. Everyone is welcome as long as they accepts a different way of thinking! TOPIC DIGEST With a little help of @austinpop I have realised that this thread is all over the place. Even if this is one of the fundamental ideas behind this thread, it could be a good idea to sum-up the things that have proven to be beneficial to SQ in this thread. I will keep it plain & simple. Remember that these are essentially my own findings in my own setup with Tidal FLAC and Tidal MQA as source. As always YMMV! LAN 1. Cat 6a U/UTP 500Mhz ethernet cables sounds better than Cat5, Cat5E, Cat6 & Cat7+ in my setup. Ghent Audio Cat 6a ET02 with JSSG shielding and Metz plugs rules them all. 2. Network switch improve SQ with input on port 1 and output on the last port. Possible explanation is QoS and also that the ports are in different magnetic boxes inside the switch. 3. Using a AQVOX switch with better clock improves SQ compared to a D-Link DSG-105 network switch. 4. A wireless adapter/wireless bridge/router in client mode into a network switch sounds better than battery powered FMCs and hardwired LAN. 5. Router vastly improves SQ with a floating LPS and even more if the floating PSU is connected to a DC blocker trap filter. IME a router upgrade could be beneficial to SQ. 6. Galvanic isolation/DC blocker in the signal path pre the router improves SQ. 7. Wireless adapter vastly improves connected to a floating IT. 8. RJ45 socket enhancers seems to be more efficient on port 4 & 5. Don't ask me why! GND 1. Grounding a metal chassi network switch to a tourmaline grounding box greatly improves SQ. 2. Different tourmaline grounding boxes improves the sound signature in different ways. 3. Grounding the DC negative terminal of the floating SMPS works great. In my setup it sounds best connected to a grounding box instead of to the power strip safety ground receptacle. Just be aware of possible leakage loops between various network devices. A big thanks @JohnSwenson for this tip. USB 1. Covering the outer USB barrels with electrical tape improves SQ slightly with unshielded USB cables. Capasitive coupling between metal barrel and pins? 2. Uptone Audio´s USPCB improves SQ. 3. ATL Hi-Fi´s 8 conductor USB cable with dual unconnected shields (5v+GND & Data- & Data+) with JSSG loop improved SQ compared to other longer (<50cm) USB cables that I´ve tried. DC 1. Network switch sounds best with dual floating PSUs or battery power (but very important to disconnect the battery charger while listening to music). Dual floating PSU is slightly better than battery power, but battery power is slightly better than single floating PSU. 2. Powering several devices with a single floating SMPS sounds better than powering the very same devices with several battery supplies. Also, powering several devices with a single battery supply sounds better than using multiple identical battery supplies. Self-inflicted noise? 3. Canare 4S6 starquad does improve SQ where ever applied. Canare 4S6 with JSSG seems to be even more effective. Thanks to@JohnSwenson! 4. Grounding the DC negative output of a floating SMPS improves SQ. Grounding the chassi/case decrease SQ. Be aware of shared ground paths since this could potensially decrease SQ. 5. Dual LT3045 ultra-low noise voltage regulators in series with 1v drop-down close to the powered device improves SQ quite dramaticly. AC 1. A DC blocker trap filter pre a safety isolation transformer improves SQ even though it is dead silent (no hum). DC blockers trap filter pre a floating PSU into a router vastly improves SQ. DC stress reliever? 2. SQ improves when battery chargers is connected to a separate powerstrip connected directly to the AC wall outlet, bypassing the isolation transformer completely. 3. A safety isolation transformer with floating secondary improves SQ more than a Ultra Isolation transformer. A balanced isolation transformer with floating center-tap rules them all! 4. Daisy chained floating grounds (dual floating grounds) sounds better than a single floating ground. In my setup floating SMPS's improve SQ connected to a floating IT, even surpassing battery supplies. Thanks for the suggestion @lmitche! 5. AC mains starquad power cables greatly improves SQ. 6. AC mains voltage regulators improves SQ on the signal chain. Even cheaper versions are effective. Not as effective on high power devices such as active speakers and amp due to a still unknown reason.
This post is my attempt to combine a number of questions/concerns about how to get the best sound out of networked audio--without spending a fortune 'buying and trying'. I'm running Roon core on my desktop PC, pulling files from a NAS, feeding 4 zones. My internet is 150G Xfinity, and I live in a house by myself. I don't expect to get a concensus on all of this, but would love to hear what's worked (or failed miserably) for people, and what some of the real theory behind these things might be. It will become clear that I am not an EE or a network engineer, so forgive me in advance if some of these questions are naive/wrong-headed, but it is useful to understand how I may be relying on an incorrect picture/model of how these things work. I also believe that the stuff in the basic textbooks is not always the whole truth either. Here goes, in no particular order: 1.Switches, beside # of ports, and managed/unmanaged, what matters for performance? 2. I've built but not yet tried some of the JS grounding adaptors, but also have a few metal-cased switches that have grounding screws. Should I connect their grounds as well? Should I do this for every wallwart powered network device in the whole network? 3. I have an ASUS AC88U router with a built-in 8 port switch- will it matter whether I use all 8 ports, feeding other switches as necessary, or should I offload the switching functions from the router as much as possible? Is it good/bad/neutral to have data/music flow through mutiple switches, vs a more direct path? 4. Ethernet cables: Is anything above CAT6 enough? Shielded vs. unshielded? Proximity to other cables - AC, e.g.? 5. Will LPS's work better than SMPS, for all of the networking hardware? That's it for now. Thanks in advance for your replies. Mark
I think it's time to see if we can unite in a subject that stir up a lot of feelings here at CA. It is like a new USB cable discussion. So, how about the grounding boxes? Why do they work? How could they possibly improve SQ? Considering the tons of great reviews they must work in some way, right? This thread belongs to both believers and disbelievers of grounding boxes. Let's get this hot subject sorted out ones and for all! 😊 Anything from scientific materials to personal ideas are most welcomed. I am a personal believer in that scientist is just a person with an extremely curious mind. Above all keep it civil and without any personal attacks or "stupid" comments please! 😉
I've been a big fan of proper grounding of a system since actually doing it a few years ago. My main power strip is a Nordost QB8 which has a very convenient ground lug. I have attached to it a separate earth ground (different from my electrical box house ground) and to a Entreq Sliver Tellus using their Apollo wire. This has been my setup for about 3 years now. I was very please with the darkness of my background not only with nothing playing but within tracks/notes the silence where it was supposed to be was great. There are also improvements in the bass as well. I never went the whole way with the Entreq box to ground other components of my system not sure why just never did. Fast forward today I now have two demo Silver Tellus minimus each connected to my Bricasti M28 amps using Silver Eartha cables (connected is to the negative speaker terminal). In-addition to my Silver Tellus I connected to a RCA input to both my Bricasti M1 DAC and Aurender N10 Atlantis using Apollo Eartha cables. I just got it hooked up last night and for those that don't know it takes the Entreq products about a day to reach full potential. So Tonight I plan on doing some listening to see if there are even greater improvements. Also Nordost is coming out with a grounding box called QKore. I should have a demo box here later next week as I want to compare. They have some write up on how its constructed on their web site but its considerably smaller and lighter then the Entreq solution. However I think the $$'s to spend may be similar. From what I've read the Nordost solution is active right away so that will be helpful doing a compare. Both the Entreq and Nordost solutions are passive solutions. I'm sure the cable crowd that thinks cables don't make a difference will jump all over this but infact proper grounding does indeed improve the listening experience. More on this later.