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Stereophilus

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  1. Agreed, but I was rebutting your more general point about “digital noise” affecting the analog domain.
  2. These topics interest and frustrate me. I’m interested because the science does not always explain the effect of something that is audible (to some). In fact, established science may even refute certain things that are disputably audible. This poses a conundrum for audio hobbyists, including me…. I’m a scientist, with degrees in medicine, psychology and physics, but I hear audible differences with cables that shouldn’t make a difference according to established science. Confounding this issue is the marketing speak and pseudo-science espoused by companies seeking to explain “how” and “why” to a group of people who, on the whole are somewhat suggestible. Slick wording and loose truths sell cables. This is distasteful, and possibly the root of the SR lawsuit. But whatever way we cut it, the explanations and marketing alone do not disprove audibility. We have also seen discussed on these forums that establishing proof of audibility is no mean feat. Many of the tests used are poorly set up, poorly conducted and sometimes ignore psychological effects associated with critical listening and psycho-acoustics. I don’t see the debate going away anytime soon. However you frame it, whichever side you take, it is not something to debate lightly. This debate polarises audio enthusiasts and has potential to become draining and upsetting to those involved. My involvement here will be brief, for my own mental health! Please, treat your fellow audio hobbyists with kindness and respect. By all means debate, but do so with empathy. Experiences, however misguided or biased, are real. Seek to further the understanding of others and challenge yourself to comprehend different perspectives.
  3. Digital noise arriving at a DAC can cause distortion in the analog output of a DAC. Digital domain noise can affect the DAC clock, the DAC reference voltage (including the ground reference) and the DAC input signal. This effect is measurable and very real.
  4. Add me to the list of satisfied Renolabs customers. I recieved my "ultimate" switch yesterday. The sandblasted aluminium case has some very minor imperfections, but is otherwise a very solid unit and easy on the eye. It is also less clutter than the ER with LPSU. I slotted it in place of my JS2 powered, separately grounded ER to compare AB-ing. As others have noted, my impression is that the Renolabs unit is a league above the ER. It's a difference that is clear, but not "night and day". The ER was always something of a subtle tweak in my system, even with JS2 and grounding. In recent times, after the OLADRA upgrade to my CX, my setup has been as follows: Router -> CX -> ER -> Makua With the Renolabs outperforming the ER in my system, I have moved the ER further upstream: Router -> ER -> CX -> Renolabs -> Makua Not sure if I can hear much difference with the ER in this position, but worth keeping for now, unless someone else wants it? That goes for the JS2 as well.
  5. Perhaps. Not all wifi solutions are created equal though. By all accounts the Auralic built-in wifi units are very good for audio. I'm not sure all WAPs are going to perform to their standard though. Wired solutions are still going to compete and maybe outperform wifi on reliability and also SQ. It all depends.
  6. Completely unsurprising to many here, but it does fly in the face of what the "bits is bits" crowd preach.
  7. Separating server from renderer onto 2 different CPUs will usually yield a SQ improvement. The StreamIF over P-link is also designed to be the best device to feed a PlaybackDesigns DAC.
  8. Agreed Although I agree the K40 is probably going to sound better in this scenario (networked server only), higher CPU power is not always better for sound quality. Higher CPU power is useful for processing large music libraries in Roon though. This may be true for MSB, but as @dbastin said, streamers built into DACs can be the best sounding input. This is of course very much dependent on the streamer itself and the network. Definitely worth some experimentation on the Bartok in my view.
  9. You may want to look at this for more info on the Mosaic app and how to manage your music through it.
  10. I understand that Mark at Antipodes and several members here report files played from internal SSD drives to sound better than the same file streamed remotely. I have previously had the same experience, for many years, with my modified Mac mini, a W4S MS2 server, and also with Antipodes DX1, DX2 and CX. I have also tried with Aurender and Innuos servers, which were not my own. I have spent considerable time and effort in getting streamed files to sound as good as the files from SSD. There are ways to do this, and it is very satisfying to know that services such as Qobuz (Tidal not so much, due to MQA) can sound as good as CD purchased from a store. I actually went out and purchased 4 CDs today just to prove it to myself again. To achieve the same liquidity and relaxed nature from streamed music as you get from files stored locally on SSD you do need to invest in network tweaks though. The StereoNet threads on network audio set up by @dbastin are a valuable resource and highly recommended.
  11. Agreed, the K40 would a better choice if you intend on using the Bartok streamer. However, the S30 + S60 combo would be very close to the K40, possibly not even worth the upgrade price. The K50, on the other hand, gives you an option to bypass the Bartok streamer by using the K50 streamer. I don’t know if that will be better than the Bartok streamer, but definitely a consideration if you are gunning for the best possible sound from the Bartok.
  12. I’ve recently had an opportunity to try out the AIM Shieldio NA7 Ethernet cable and also the NA5. http://www.aim-ele.co.jp/avd/english/products/na7/ My previous experience with Ethernet cables has been mostly underwhelming in regards to SQ changes. I have settled on the Acoustic Revive red cables because they provided slightly more bass extension to my ears. I use 2 x 0.75m cables in my setup in between switch, server and streamer. I have previously tried Audioquest Diamond, Audioquest Cinnamon, Supra Cat8, AMPCom cat 8, and a range of cat5e to cat7 patch cables, all with no audible difference. The AIM cable is the first ever time I’ve hear a significant difference with Ethernet cable. Very significant to my ears. The NA7 cable replaced an AR red cable into my streamer (the last link) and there was an immediately noticeable sheen to the treble. The high frequencies seemed cleaner and smoother which was very pleasant. There was no further improvement in the bass unfortunately. Adding the second cable (the NA5) further upstream did not add any benefit for me. I am very impressed with the AIM cable, especially the NA7, and I fully intend on ordering 1 or 2 for my system.
  13. It may be that AES input on the Holo Spring L2 is a better sounding input than the USB input. I know the Holo May has a fancy PLL for the USB, but I don’t think the L2 spring has this… Also worth noting AES has some sample rate limitations that may be important if you want to do high sample rate streaming. Built in streamers, especially on high-end DACs tend to be very good and hard to beat. Given that your Bartok DAC has a streaming input, you should focus on this initially. Use Ethernet from a good quality network switch (this is a whole other topic) and attach the S30 to another port on the switch. As the S30 only has 1 Ethernet port, you can’t connect it directly to the streaming input on the Bartok. The next logical upgrade is to get an S60 to power your S30. If you want to go all-in, then get a K50. With a K50 you can try any i/o combination, from USB to AES to streaming and compare them all. That way you can decide for yourself!
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