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Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server (Read 652 times)
GroovySauce
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Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
10/09/21 at 15:14:57
 
I was messaging with another forum member about streaming, I suggested he upgrades how his streamer is connected to the network. Iím going to use server and streamer interchangeably for now. For how inexpensive this is and the potential for increased SQ I want to share with everyone.

Iím a fan of hard wiring servers, the issue is there is a lot of noise on our home networks.

The solution is to use an ethernet media converter. Itís a box that takes a standard ethernet cable and converts it to fiber optic. You then have another identical box that converts it back to standard ethernet. It can be 1 foot or 1,000+ feet. What this does is remove all the noise from your modem, computer, switches smart TVís and anything else that is plugged into the network.

Yes the box its self will have some noise, In my experience adding a media converter between your server and the rest of the network has a positive effect on SQ.

What you will need.

2x Media converter. I use TP-Link Fast Ethernet SFP to RJ45 Fiber Media Converter (MC100CM)

https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-Ethernet-Converter-Multi-Mode-MC100CM/dp/B0034CMZ...

1 compatible fiber cable. Multimode Duplex Fiber Optic Cable

https://www.amazon.com/Meter-Multimode-Duplex-Fiber-Optic/dp/B001B1JEWM/ref=sr_1...

2 media converters and 1 cable will run as low as $50 depending on the length of cable.

If you do this setup and experience an increase in SQ, you can then add a LPS on the server side or ďclean sideĒ for the media converter. ifi power supply is $50 and is much better than the standard wall wart SMPS.

Iíve been using media converters for a few years now. They are reliable and very easy to install.

Iíve used a 1 foot run of fiber and had the boxes sitting next to each other. †I found running the fiber for a long distance is much better than running ethernet for a long distance.

Anyone else running fiber your streamer or server?
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MrDerrick
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #1 - 10/09/21 at 19:53:58
 
I am a firm believer in using FMCs for isolation.

Others opinions may vary, but I subscribe to having some form of isolation between every network component.

That thought process also applies to having separate power supplies for all network components.

My network ecosystem revolves around components from Small Green Computer and Sonore. HQPlayer embedded with filters by Home Audio Fidelity help to slice and dice the data stream.

I either stream form Qobuz or play files locally from an external SSD.
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CAJames
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #2 - 10/09/21 at 21:01:15
 
Yes, I don't stream exactly because I don't want to mess with stuff like this, but have been doing computer networking for a long time and am very familiar with media converters. They seem like a great idea, but the thing I wonder is if there would be an advantage for using single mode fiber for audio? It costs more, but preserves the digital signal better (so for example you can send it a longer distance). It may very well be that over the distances traveled at home it doesn't matter, and any advantage may get lost when the signal is converted back to copper ethernet, but in a world where everything matters, I wonder.
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MrDerrick
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #3 - 10/09/21 at 21:16:35
 
I use the original Sonore OpticalModules along with the embedded Sonore OpticalModules in the SonicTransporter i9 optical and Sonore Signature Series Rendu Optical.

The SFPs that I currently use with these oMs are Finisar FCBG110SD1CA5.
I believe these use single mode in the assembly.
These SFPs and FOC are an complete integral cable assembly.
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CAJames
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #4 - 10/09/21 at 22:05:18
 
It looks like those are 10 gig over OM3 multimode, FWIW. Which seems pretty sweet to me. Very high bandwidth.
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will
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #5 - 10/09/21 at 22:17:17
 
Separate power supplies and convertors make sense to me for solving noise, but I often wonder about the perhaps less ideal effects from transforming the stream/data multiple times without highly sophisticated gear that was developed by good tech and by careful listening comparisons to real music.... like some DACs spec well based on the information we have, but do not sound a lot like music. And designs, parts and ways of transforming the energy and data must surely effect this???

Not that some companies mentioned do not work to make their gear sound like music.... just wondering out loud to you folks who have a lot of experience with these, to me, obscure technologies in hopes of learning.

Related, for me, all those acronyms integrated with a lot of unexplored gear and processes, is similar to trying to digest a foreign language I barely know. I have looked at mygreencomputer, and Sonore stuff †at times over years, but last I looked their write-ups were pretty vague. Then go to many forums, and it is often like the news, where they expect you to have been following along, leaving a lot of the fundamentals out. Or like Roon, last I looked there, they put up a lot of information, but scattered around, and it is still hard to tie all together consciously without background for me.

Beside my sound being amazing as it is, for me, these sorts of things have been barriers to exploring streaming beyond my hard drive to computer, to DAC. So I wonder if you all can recommend simple and easy to take in primers somewhere out there.
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CAJames
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #6 - 10/09/21 at 22:37:03
 
You are not alone Will. Computer network administration at a mid-major research university was my day job for over 10 years. And partly because and partly in spite of that I want nothing to do with it in my audio system.  Partly I just don't trust it to transport the bits properly (without putting a lot of work and $$$) and partly I just don't want to mess with it in order to enjoy my music. I have a (very) large collection of physical media, and a growing library of downloads, but for me I have no desire to steam. In fact I download files to my big desktop upstairs, where they are backed up, and then copy them to a portable drive that I "sneakernet" between my desktop and the laptop downstairs that plays the files via Foobar2000 and USB. For a long time the laptop didn't even have a network connection but recently I set it up so I can use my phone to control Foobar from the listening seat, but it isn't "on the internet."

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MrDerrick
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #7 - 10/10/21 at 02:53:18
 
Networked audio is a love hate relationship for me.
When it works its great and when it doesn't it can be total hell.

There is often next too nothing or nothing at all explaining how to get up and running.
God forbid that you reach out with a problem, because it will always be due to your own poor network scheme.
It is never somebody else's hardware or software, its always your network.

Sometimes I miss my clunky vintage Empire 398 and Atma-sphere MP3 and sometimes I don't.

I have very limited IT experience ( meaning zero ) and have to force myself to work through most of my problems.

Many years ago I was told that the reason that the www works is that it was designed to function with packet loss, how does that work with streaming audio?
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CAJames
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #8 - 10/10/21 at 04:35:00
 
Many years ago I was told that the reason that the www works is that it was designed to function with packet loss, how does that work with streaming audio?

I have avoided getting into this, mostly just as a matter of principle, but you teeíd this up so perfectly I canít resist.

The difference is, when dealing with a website, bits really is bits. And if some of the bits donít make it the computer is perfectly happy to try again and again until it gets it right. Because (to a large extent) time doesnít matter to the computer.

When dealing with digital music bits are really an analog representation of a square wave propagated across an imperfect media. The ďdigitalĒ part of digital music is there is a particular voltage that the hardware detects as the †transition between a 0 and 1, but what the voltage actually looks like when it gets out of your streamer or CD player or whatever and across your wires and connectors and interacts with all electromagnetic noise in your house can be very different from the cartoons of ďbitsĒ we are shown when we are taught ďbits is bits.Ē † And when exactly that voltage transition happens determines what the output musical waveform looks like. Or, put another way, time matters critically to digital audio.

So, if you stop thinking about digital music as bits and start thinking about it as an analog signal same as e.g. what comes out of your preamp things start to make a lot more sense. At least they do to me, YMMV of course.
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will
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #9 - 10/10/21 at 06:16:07
 
Nicely put CAJames.
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GroovySauce
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #10 - 10/10/21 at 13:51:56
 
I didnít mention it in my first post. Iíve noticed improvements with the two different rooms Iíve setup using media converters. I took my media converters to a dealer 2 years ago I told him I would leave it with him for a few days. It only took a few minutes to setup, As we were setting up one of his clients showed up and all three of us heard improvements. He ended up ordering some for himself that same day.

Iím not very knowledgeable about networking and all the options available. Single mode might be a better option. Itís not too much more expensive to give it a try sometime. Iím guessing it also comes down to how quiet the server side FMC is electronically.

I bought a Jayís Audio CDT in the spring because I was curious about how many people were saying CDT sounded better than there server streamer setups. I found that the CDT surpassed my streaming in a significant way. A lot of my music Iíve purchased the last year or so is only available as digital downloads. I was burning the albums to CD. Issue is I started to get a sizable collection of generic CDs with my sloppy hand writing on them. Flipping through them became a time consuming endeavor and organization was starting to break down.

I decided to relook at my server which was a Roon core on a basic computer with HQPlayer going to a Sonore MicroRendu using the FMC between the switch and Rendu. After reading a lot I decided to go with the Innuos ZENith MK3. 1 box that does everything. Ethernet and power go in USB comes out. That did the sounds similar to better than what I was getting with the CDT. With a one box solution it removes a few steps of complexity setting up the networked audio.

Will, I hear you on the complexities of networking. I donít have a source for a primer. I can say that Innuos, Lumin, Aurender and others make 1 box solutions that make the networking part a lot easier and very plug and play friendly. If you can setup a smartTV, you can setup one of these units. That means sometimes it goes off without a hitch, Other times it can be a frustrating weekend and still not have it working how you expect.

AFAIK the two major ways of getting information to your DAC is 1. Server that sends information over a network to an end point that is connected to a DAC. 2. Server connected to a DAC. Both have merits.

CAJames, I agree, nicely put.
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MrDerrick
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #11 - 10/10/21 at 14:50:57
 
Thank you CAJames!
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Tony
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #12 - 10/10/21 at 20:00:59
 
So, if you stop thinking about digital music as bits and start thinking about it as an analog signal same as e.g. what comes out of your preamp things start to make a lot more sense.

So, if I compared (by some common mean or metric) what comes out of my preamp from a vinyl source compared to a digital source would there be an expected difference?  Would that difference be lessened (improved upon) via the original suggestion of this post by employing a media converter?

As a strategy for signal improvement, I am hearing that theoretically,  yes it might work, but it will never sound exactly like analogue.  And, I am also hearing from some who have tried the media converter, that it  improved perceived sound quality and listening pleasure.

Does that sound right?

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CAJames
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #13 - 10/10/21 at 21:36:26
 
So, if I compared (by some common mean or metric) what comes out of my preamp from a vinyl source compared to a digital source would there be an expected difference? †Would that difference be lessened (improved upon) via the original suggestion of this post by employing a media converter?


So, what I was talking about is the digital signal: the bits, is really an analog signal that is subject to many factors that can impact its quality, †same as the music signal that comes out of your preamp, from whatever source. And just as you want to carefully preserve the music signal from your preamp as closely as possible you also need to be careful about preserving the bits as carefully as possible as they move from the source, be it a streaming service or a hard disk or CD transport to the DAC, where they are converted into a music signal.

Technically, the digital signal is a square wave that is composed of every frequency while a music signal typically has a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, but the same general ideas apply to both. And specifically, I think yes, if you need to move bits a media converter has a lot of advantages over wifi, and perhaps even over twisted pair (copper) ethernet. The better the bits are when they get to the DAC the better the music that comes out of the DAC.
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will
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #14 - 10/11/21 at 00:37:21
 
Thanks Groovysauce for additional explanations of how your front ends developed, gear you have tried and liked, and ways a network can be set up! I appreciate it!

I don't doubt that media convertors and other audio network solutions have worked well for solving issues. But having heard notable differences by changing about anything in the front end here, including seemingly subtle stuff, and how easily degradation can be introduced, I have been reticent to change beyond tuning along with what I have.

Progressive modifications and refinements over many years continue to turn a really great front end into an amazing one. And just now I am using a NOS Tranquility DAC (though notably modded) I have had Ī10 years, and a souped up computer from 2011. This is part of why I find Roon compelling, because I tend to being an adjuster of good stuff more than one who regularly chases sound with new and different gear, and my front end OS and software are growing old! Worrying my beloved player software (Pure Music) that gracefully allows transparency and adjustments I depend on might break, and most new software not being compatible with my now ancient Mac Mavericks based OS (heavily trimmed for audio), I am beginning to look around. So I appreciate all of your input.

But having worked so hard to get here, especially in terms of retaining and conveying the more fragile, "subtle" recorded information, even though every aspect of this front end is designed to allow it, it is so fragile that I get squeamish considering new arenas that add more components, wires, parts, and internet streaming.... For me, presence of this very fine musical information indicates less loss of critical information in the DA conveyance, conversion and beyond... information that enlivens everything, not just decays and textures and spacial information, but attacks, body complexity and richness, bass definition, extension, and certainly not least, that magically relaxed feel that traditionally has been challenging in digital. Dependent on lack of truncation, distortions, smearing, we know exceptional timing and noise resolution are critical, but there are so many other ways to screw up the finest fragile stuff I find it a little scary to change having gotten this far...

Also, I am pretty sure now that since many of us grew up with our systems lacking these critical (to me) aspects of real music to various degrees, as well as growing up with fear of hard detail that lacks complexity.... I think trying to mimic the "analog" sound we knew, rather than sort of starting over and seeking to uncover all we can from digital, has been a barrier to digital development. And in this pursuit, developmental priorities for front ends and the rest have probably tended to be more about trying to "solve" digital's clearer potential by seeking beauty that is "forgiving" rather than more complete. Associated, the more obvious aspects of the musical matrix being easier to get to sound good, and parts and wires that can resolve recordings more completely, gracefully and smoothly being more costly, seems to me our standards for development have been compromised by long habits of thought. Luckily, we seem to be breaking out of the pattern of artfully hiding stuff rather than revealing more of the exquisite finer information that solves hardness more conclusively while enlivening everything else with pristine and musical complexity if done well.

But in my pattern of adjusting more than buying, I may well be missing some important innovations in digital. I have heard from folks like you, and from careful listening friends who share my views on how critical complete fine detail in space is, that the 5K+ Innuos, and the 5K+ Holo May DACs are taking things into more natural and complete sound levels similar to and better in some respects than what I am getting with my highly tuned front end, but at considerably more cost.... And mine gets better and better as I dig more into DAC modifications and cable making refinements.... Makes me wonder what modifying a base Holo 3 or May might do...

Not easy choices, but I am starting to dig...

I do have a simple CAT7 wired network for internet, movie streaming, and between computers, so feel like I could make it work for music if had the right tools. And I will look into these converters and fiber for use with the movie setup at least, that DAC running through my main system also... Hopefully it will excite me enough that I might get off my butt and try Roon starting with my iMac as a core and my other Mini for the endpoint??? Then I can perhaps tell if I want to go further... I thank you all for the encouraging tips!
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Tony
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #15 - 10/16/21 at 16:59:03
 
I wanted to report back to anyone following this topic, that I gave this suggestion a try with good results.  On 10/09/21, GroovySauce recommended a solution for controlling a noisy internet connection:

The solution is to use an ethernet media converter. Itís a box that takes a standard ethernet cable and converts it to fiber optic. You then have another identical box that converts it back to a standard ethernet

Using the above link, I ordered the parts and installed them into my system.  I do not have a particularly noisy Internet, I thought, so was not sure of what to expect.

Results were much better than I hoped.  As soon as I completed installing the two converter units and fiber optic cable into my system, I heard an improvement in bass.  Not louder, but more present.  I did not have time for anything more than the first impression following that hook-up until last night.  After 3 hours of listening to music I know well on Qobuz, the improvement in sound was remarkable.   In addition to improved bass (fuller, richer) I noted another change that is harder to describe.  There was more contrast between sound and not sound - more clarity.

So, as an N of1, I am reporting excellent results.  Well worth the small investment for a streaming based audio system, that I would not have described initially as performing in a noisy environment.
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CAJames
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #16 - 10/16/21 at 17:15:39
 
The one other thing I'll add to the media converter discussion is that media converters have a finite lifetime (esp. the less expensive ones). I'm sure they will last longer in your house than in some of the (nasty) comm closets were I have deployed them but the power supply and/or the laser can both go bad. My advice would be if you are using these to invest in a spare. The price isn't high and and if/when yours fail it will be easier to replace with the same if you have one on hand rather than track one down years from now (or replace both because you can't make it work with different brands). JMO/FWIW as always.
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MrDerrick
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #17 - 10/16/21 at 18:07:21
 
You can take the performance level up considerably over the standard FMCs with the Sonore opticalModules, if they are ever available again.

https://sonore.us/opticalModule-Deluxe.html
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HQPE + HAF 705.6/768 20 Bit PCM
oM > FOC > STi9 Optical
oM > FOC > SSR SE Optical > USB > Holo Audio KTE May
SA1X/47 > ZBIT > ZSTAGE25 > SE84UFO25
Avantgarde Duo Omega Horns & Townshend Super Tweeters
IsoMax > Rives Parc > Sub225s
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will
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #18 - 10/18/21 at 02:01:40
 
So I used the posted links from the first post of the thread, and bought a trial setup, but when they arrived, the cables did not fit the fiber media convertor boxes. So I looked around on amazon more, and probably not the best place to learn, but it appears to me the linked FMC takes an SC fiber connector, and the linked fiber cables have LC ends? Whatever is up, I am stuck, thinking I need to return the cables I got, and get SC end fiber cables???

Wondering what you who know think?

Thanks,

Will
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All Modified: Power-PSA P5, Brickwall/Shunyata Defender>RevolutionMacMini/PureM>Kitsune Singxer/Gustard x20pro or NOS Tranquility DAC; CSP3, ZRock2, Torii IV, HR1, DIY ZBIT; Cables DIY: PCs, ICs, USB, I2S, Speaker; Feet- Archie's platform, alum/ball bearing, SR+
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CAJames
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #19 - 10/18/21 at 02:11:09
 
I agree with your assessment Will. †Based on the Amazon pics the media converter is SC and the fiber jumper is LC and you should return the cable. FWIW the pneumonic I use for keeping the 3 types of fiber connectors straight is:

SC = Square Click
LC = Little Click
ST = †Small (or Single) Twist

Also FWIW multimode fiber is orange, single mode is yellow.
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #20 - 10/18/21 at 03:32:08
 
Will, you are correct, sounds like wrong cable.  My cable  was SC to SC. There were plenty of other cables to be had, but I did find the right one at the leghth I wanted from Amazon.
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will
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #21 - 10/18/21 at 05:19:09
 
Thanks guys. I just ordered the right one.
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All Modified: Power-PSA P5, Brickwall/Shunyata Defender>RevolutionMacMini/PureM>Kitsune Singxer/Gustard x20pro or NOS Tranquility DAC; CSP3, ZRock2, Torii IV, HR1, DIY ZBIT; Cables DIY: PCs, ICs, USB, I2S, Speaker; Feet- Archie's platform, alum/ball bearing, SR+
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GroovySauce
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #22 - 10/18/21 at 15:24:22
 
Will.  So sorry I linked the wrong cable!

Iíve been traveling and donít have my laptop with me so on my phone.

mrDerrick Iíve been keeping an eye out for the sonore media converter.

Tony glad you have gotten such good results.  

Iíll engage more when Iím back home.  
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Rega P8 | SS Zephyr MIMC Star | Innuos ZENith MK3 | FTA Callisto USB | Holo Audio May KTE DAC | ZP3 25th ZMC1 | ZR2 25th | EMIA Remote Autoformer | Torii MKIV 25th | Snake River Audio Cables | PAP Quintet 15 1.6 Vox | PiAudio uberBUSS
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will
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #23 - 10/18/21 at 16:42:33
 
Don't worry GroovySauce, I know it is hard to keep up with so much of our lives in "screen time," the fast lane, wading through all this mixed tech, links, etc...... I'll get there on Thursday when the new cables show up, and though I am just comparing a DVD/movie streamer at this point, I suspect it will be telling with the picture also, so looking forward! Have a good trip.

Edit: I do wonder if there is a way to change your initial link though....
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