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Old 17th December 2008, 10:12 PM   #2371
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Default cMP squared

Peter,

I had mentioned cics to you a while ago,

I am glad you have noticed it BUT it seems you have not made the jump to the GIGABYTE MB and the e7200.

Also, there is much to be gained by using a JULI@ sound card versus the USB. Of course, I have not heard your USB DAC, but I suspect you could get better sound.

I tried the picoPSU PS, the 200 watt version. I ruined it up trying to replace the electrolytics. I was using a big battery to power. I know you are not surprised!!! I do not think it sounded any better than a ANTEC EA-430 with lowered 12 volts rails and augmented cap banks. The ANTEC in silentpcreview was measured with exceedingly low ripple. It seems to be as good as it gets with off the shelf computer supplies.

You are probably skeptical of the upsampling, but with my DAC which has one of those upsampling chips in it, doing the upsampling in the computer seems to sound MUCH better than having the chip do it.

It is great for YOU to get involved in this. You are needed to help perfect this approach.

I have been wanting to try a linear supply for all rails to see if this would be better than a switcher. Even the picoPSU is still a switcher. What do you think?
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Old 17th December 2008, 10:49 PM   #2372
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I'm using Biostar P4M890-M7 and E2140. So what is it about GIGABYTE MB and the e7200?

I had rather disappointing results with soundcard, but I only used M-Audio Audiophile 24-96. I even modified the output with Canare RCA before and after transformer (after was better):

Click the image to open in full size.

In my experiments, with proper USB connection, the sound into modified NOS DAC was better than from soundcard into Bidat.

The PICO PSU didn't sound any special untill I removed two electrilytics and replaced them with BG N caps. For 12V supply, I'm using 100VA Hammond, 2 x MSR860, LT1083-12 and sorted caps. I was actually surprised how much choice of the caps here was influencing the sound.

The DAC i tried had also one of those upsampling chips from Anagram, but after a while I couldn't really listen to it. With NOS DAC I'm also not using SRC in foobar either.

I would be interested to experiment with linear supplies for all rails, but I would need to know if there are any specific requirements as to sequence of voltages at power on and off.

BTW, it is not easy to surpass the sound of properly build CDT with a computer system, it takes a LOT of tweeking
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Old 18th December 2008, 02:16 PM   #2373
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Peter,

After reading about pc sound systems in your thread I tried it - to start with I managed to blow up my first mother board and processor . However I then tried a mini-itx board (Jetway Fanless) and after several hiccups got this working with an E-MU 0404 soundcard. I run Foobar with SOX upsampler (24/96) and all I can say is I am very happy with the result.

My next try will probably be to run an external 24/96 DAC (i.e. input not upsampling) - when may you be doing one of these??

My system now has simplified and your Premium 3875 is now well run in and sounding excellent with one Polish transformer / psu per side. I never got to the bottom of the switch-off thump with my Orion speakers but I am now trying some Hawthorne SI's which seem to match up with the amplifiers very nicely.

Thanks as always

Alan
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Old 18th December 2008, 05:24 PM   #2374
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Default No one said it was easy

eternal vigilance is more like it. cics is constantly updating the cPLAY software.

You should look at cics's cMP and cPLAY threads.

As far as parts, no need to re-invent the wheel. He has come up with what is probably the best that are available. He got GIGABYTE to do some BIOS changes for the board he recommends. Unfortunately, this board has been discontinued though I am sure they are around somewhere.

Soundcards are not created equal. He has found the JULI@ to do a good job. Some of the participants have added caps to this card, of course, taking my lead from you I used 100uF 50V BG N's. We have directly connected a BNC connector to the card and bypassed the break-out cable. All of these make useful differences. I have found there is NO comparison to the quality of this soundcard to using USB. To temper that opinion, I was using the HAG-TECH device between my PC and the DAC. I have no idea how it compares to other devices though in my searches they all seem to use that TI chip which has limitations.

Your desoldering skills are superior to mine. I am sure that is when I ruined the picoPSU but I still wonder if it is actually better than the ANTEC with a good quality bank of capacitors at the "pins".

The e7200 can run on minimal voltage. cics has his running at 0.875, the best my board and chip will allow is 0.881. This allows the machine to use less power and no need for heat sinking the CPU. Mine stays at 23 degrees C. I leave it on all of the time.

cMP allows memory playback which is superior to HDD. cics advises the use of low latency HYPER X memory, one 512 kB - only one. I see you are using only one stick but not this one. I have tried various brands of low latency and they do influence the sound.

Even if you do not want to use cPLAY you should be using cMP.

Of course, you have some really good CD transports but I know what I am using now makes the THETA JADE I had laughably bad.

Bye,
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Old 18th December 2008, 09:14 PM   #2375
leflu is offline leflu  Germany
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Hi peter,
which caps did you change to what BGs on the pico psu?

Greetings ulf
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Old 18th December 2008, 09:32 PM   #2376
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There were originally 2 x 180uF caps there: one is on the input of 12V and this one I removed completely (the one in regulator, BG N 100/50 is enough) the other cap is BG N 100/16. That might still change after I start building proper enclosure.

Untill I removed those caps I couldn't set tonal balance correctly, no matter what I did with 12V regulator.
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Old 18th December 2008, 09:36 PM   #2377
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Default Re: No one said it was easy

Quote:
Originally posted by rickmcinnis

You should look at cics's cMP and cPLAY threads.
I actually wasn't aware of those other projects, I've only seen the original Art. Will check it out.

I wouldn't be dismissing USB that easily, when implemented properly, it can sound amazingly good.
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Old 18th December 2008, 09:38 PM   #2378
leflu is offline leflu  Germany
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Aha, thanks...
anything you changed on the motherboard?
At the moment im trying similar things. Im using
a passive cooled jetway board also with pico psu.
But im not very happy with the sound right now
but im going digitaly out with the motherboards
spdif and then into your spdif DAC.
Maybe i should try usb out

Greetings ulf
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Old 18th December 2008, 09:50 PM   #2379
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I didn't touch motherboard yet. What is your 12V supply for PICOPSU?

After yesterdays mods, I'm seriously impressed with USB, it is more analog now that my CD transport, and before I had problems with that.

But custom cable, as short as possible, is the main element here, and it's really worth it.

I did some mods to a standard USB DAC as well (V-caps, TF020 Caddocks and changed some electrolytics)
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Old 18th December 2008, 10:32 PM   #2380
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Default With my experience as my guide

All I can say there is no comparison.

With USB there were occasional burps and such, with JULI@ this never happens with the GIGABYTE G31 board. I have been trying out the Q35 board you will see mentioned and it makes all kinds of noises. I have no idea why, I tried it out as a favor to cics since he cannot get one yet (he is not in the US).

Without following his instructions to the letter you have no idea what is possible.

My limiting factor in my system I feel is probably my DAC. But, I have used the same one throughout the process and have been able to judge the evolution of his technique.

Remember the picoPSU is not a regulator (I think I am speaking correctly here) it contains dc-dc converters. If this is not so, I will get another one.

I told you before: I was using the largest OPTIMA YELLOW TOP battery to power the pico. The spec sheet said it could handle more than 12 volts, but something went wrong. THEN I tried to install the caps, well, I did install the caps, after than nothing happened. Though, it might have been already gone. Excuse my horrible protocols.

The ANTEC sounds pretty good.

I figure this is how you do a linear supply. You retain the standard supply, using it to power relays that then turn on the linear supplies. One could extend the wires that have to be connected to the MB from the standard supply. This way we could find a way to isolate the thing. I guess one retains the possibility of antenna effects from the remaining wires. They could be shielded?

Getting really clean linear power to the soundcard would have to be a great advantage. It could not hurt for the CPU either, at least, that is how it seems to me. Old audiophile tricks seem to make a difference here, also.

I can assure you your journey has just begun. I am getting sound that in some respects is better than any turntable I have ever heard. Bass that is astounding in tone and power. High frequencies from RED BOOK that are not supposed to be possible. Along with the ridiculous convenience of having all of your stuff on a hard drive. It is fun to spin the mouse and hit the GO button and be surprised by what comes up.

I really think upsampling as implemted in cPLAY will change your mind about this if you have a less than good opinion of it at the moment. It is a severely hot-rodded version of SECRET RABBIT CODE with a s/n ration of -144db. The original was in the middle 90's. Details are simply there with nothing to obscure them. Or I am not able to hear them, YET.

It is still reproduced sound, I know, but it is very good.

Can your DAC accept 24/192 ?

As I said with JULI@ I have direct connected a BNC connector at the card and I am using the STEREOVOX cable to connect to the DAC, again through a BNC.

Again, I am really excited about you getting interested in this. You know how much I respect your sensibilities and your thinking. This project, by that I mean cics's project, will benefit from your involvement.
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