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Old 27th April 2012, 05:42 AM   #1
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Default What are your favorite chip players (SD card, CF card, etc. . .)?

I have noticed that sound cards, no matter what they cost, are easily affected by the computer power supply and the motherboard power circuit as well, which is really a large mess of noise not actually intended for audio.

The day I noticed was the same day I plugged in a cheap little chip player module (to 5v regulated power, a chip with music on it, and a good audio amp), and this easily beat the X-Fi and M-Audio sound cards.

From what I can see, the chip player's means to beat the finer sound cards is a significant power circuit difference, specifically, the difference must have come from the chip player running from simple clean regulated power, which is surely better quality.

I wonder what options are available in chip players?
Do you have a favorite chip player?
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:55 AM   #2
erin is offline erin  Australia
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Originally Posted by danielwritesbac View Post
I plugged in a cheap little chip player module (to 5v regulated power, a chip with music on it, and a good audio amp), and this easily beat the X-Fi and M-Audio sound cards.

I wonder what options are available in chip players?
Do you have a favorite chip player?
I dont understand what you mean by chip player?

Do you mean a media player?
What are you using perhaps you can provide a link?

Competent media players which are good for audio are the Popcorn hour, the Patriot box office, and the Netgear EVA series.
They all sound good. I still find that playback from the PC using CMP cPlay sounds better than all of these, all of them including the PC are bit perfect, the difference in sound is small, and comes down to the matter of dynamics and presentation. Choose which one sounds best to you...
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Old 8th May 2012, 03:30 AM   #3
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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How about the little SanDisk players? They even play FLAC files.
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Old 8th May 2012, 03:45 AM   #4
erin is offline erin  Australia
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How about the little SanDisk players? They even play FLAC files.
Thats a good point Pano, but we wont know until Danielwritesbac.
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Old 8th May 2012, 04:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielwritesbac View Post
I have noticed that sound cards, no matter what they cost, are easily affected by the computer power supply and the motherboard power circuit as well, which is really a large mess of noise not actually intended for audio.
<snip>
I use a Niles Audio DA on the analog output of my Gigabyte mobo with a Realtek ALC889 codec. The Niles feeds 2 Technics receivers, one for speakers and the other for a pair of Koss ESP-9 electrostatic phones. I sometimes run a pretty high SPL in the phones and the noise level is extremely low. No, I haven't measured it but I do audio alignment for a living and safely guess it at better than 85 dB down. The mobo manufacturer claims 108.

If analog noise is a problem for you you could try a differential input even on an unbalanced source. Tie the '-' inputs to the to the RCA shields and the signal to the '+' inputs. I've used this technique in my car for a portable CD player to the input of the 'receiver'. There was no trace of alternator, ignition or CD servo noise. The Analog Devices SSM2141 or TI/Burr Brown INA134 make this very simple to build with excellent common mode rejection as the critical components are laser trimmed at the factory.

G
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Old 8th May 2012, 06:14 AM   #6
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Hi Pano and Erin

I can't find my favorite, but I did find one with the same tuner chip on a very similar looking big red board. The tuner isn't built into the mp3 player chip. The tuner is on its own chip and the audio quality of the tuner is astonishing. Hooked up to the Yagi, I got 44 stations clear, which was rather remarkable, especially considering the quality.

The device also does a decent job with mp3, and it isn't victimized by a computer's complex power circuit (muddy). It beats the computer so easily.

My favorite, which seems to be discontinued, had an inductor and an additional chip on the power circuit. Without those parts, the device is able to amplify hf power noise and thus problematic for SMPS (causes noise) or even regulator (doesn't stop noise) operation. There's a fix for this: Teddy's 'Regulator booster' adds HF filtering to the 7805. Perhaps there are other similar solutions too?

On a lark, I plugged it into my netbook's USB port for 5v. This didn't work. The netbook gave it 5.19v which freaked it out. SO, I connected a 1n5819 series to v+ and it all ran just fine, but it sounds better on regs instead.

Remote USB-SD AUX Mp3 FM Radio Player Module -B | eBay
This type of chip player varies by each production run and those with more features have more errata. From what I can see, the technology is excellent but the manufacturers have witless zero attention span, so don't expect any upcoming refinements.

The question is, where is something better? It is a hard question because they did raise the bar slightly. It seems that the main advantage is being able to run from an excellent power supply rather than a mess.
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Old 8th May 2012, 08:39 AM   #7
erin is offline erin  Australia
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I've been waiting for a $20 player that plays lossless, and has spdif or i2s output. Still waiting!
It doesn't surprise me that this little beastie sounds ok

So your main interest is analog radio or mp3?

Last edited by erin; 8th May 2012 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 8th May 2012, 10:46 AM   #8
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I do have a nice CD player, but chasing discs every day is not my thing. I also have a variety of sound cards, and of these, the M-audio is a bit more tolerant to PC power. The Revo in particular is better than most. The little stand-alone players do beat the x-fi though, since I can't quite give super clean power to an x-fi with the caveat of it being stuck in a computer.

For Mp3, I use Nero MP3pro with the MP3pro feature shut off so as to make high definition standard MP3 that anything can play. In comparison to this, LAME lives up to its name.

And I do have a Sony HD radio, which is a super tuner with a super awful af section that makes the audio considerably less useful. It sits atop an awesome sounding Technics with excellent audio quality but such limited reception that static defeats it. These are both unplugged.
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Last edited by danielwritesbac; 8th May 2012 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 8th May 2012, 11:24 AM   #9
erin is offline erin  Australia
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well my suggestion to you is to get yourself a usb spdif converter and a dac and build a silent pc and playback music from your pc. The usb spdif will isolate the dac from the pc electrical noise and you can also stream radio from the internet. This will 100% give you much better sound than cheap mp3 players, although it will also come down to your choice of dac / playback software and usb spdif converter.

Despite my perrsonal search for the same thing as you, a stand alone hdd/cf/usb player of audiophile quality, none of the available options sound quite as good as the pc setup I mention above. And all of them still involve the use of a pc to transfer the files either over the network , or copying fles to a usb stick or cf card. Using the pc for playback seems like a more simple and pure approach.

I know that other people use external linear power supplies for their pc soundcard. Perhaps this is an option for you?

Last edited by erin; 8th May 2012 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 8th May 2012, 11:49 AM   #10
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The tuners are RDA5807SP, and it is hi-fi. Implementations do differ.
I'll admit that I like that tuner better than the rest of the system.
Datasheet is attached.
Attached Files
File Type: zip RDA5807SP-16-pin-sop.zip (707.3 KB, 27 views)
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