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Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server (Read 2308 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. I’m 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.

I’m 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. It’s 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 TV’s 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 “clean side” for the media converter. ifi power supply is $50 and is much better than the standard wall wart SMPS.

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

I’ve 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 tee’d this up so perfectly I can’t resist.

The difference is, when dealing with a website, bits really is bits. And if some of the bits don’t make it the computer is perfectly happy to try again and again until it gets it right. Because (to a large extent) time doesn’t 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 “digital” 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 “bits” we are shown when we are taught “bits is bits.”   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 didn’t mention it in my first post. I’ve noticed improvements with the two different rooms I’ve 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.

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

I bought a Jay’s 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 I’ve 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 don’t 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 ±10 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. It’s 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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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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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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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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Tony
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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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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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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!

I’ve been traveling and don’t have my laptop with me so on my phone.

mrDerrick I’ve been keeping an eye out for the sonore media converter.

Tony glad you have gotten such good results.  

I’ll engage more when I’m back home.  
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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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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #24 - 10/29/21 at 16:15:14
 
Will, Did you get the media converter setup and running? I did see if there was a way to change the original post and I didn't see a way to do it.

I did a test with my ZENith MK3 server -> Holo May DAC. Playing local files I disconnected the Ethernet cable. I did notice a slight improvement, everything seemed to get a little more crisp and relaxed at the same time. This wasn't a huge difference but quickly noticeable.

Now will an ethernet cable get me closer or do I need to get a fancy media converter like the Sonore?
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #25 - 10/29/21 at 17:38:40
 
I sent an email to Sonore about their opticalModule Deluxe. I got a response saying they are planning "A totally revised version" early next year.

I'm going to give it a go when it's released.

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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #26 - 10/29/21 at 19:17:31
 
Interesting. Not having tested this myself, your result seems to mimic what I heard from a friend who is a listening stickler, and has been at trying to effectively "solve" digital a long time. His ultimate references have been from master tapes and very good, tuned up tables.

He still says that internet streaming does have negative effects on the sound compared to quality local drives with a high quality, natural and complete sounding server and DAC. Having used a carefully tricked out Mini with a stripped down for music OS for years, seems he finds your server comparable in SQ, and Holo really good overall, especially for the money (in comparison to many other top quality modern DACs). So I guess he is likely a good comparer relative to your setup. And he and his fellow testers are pretty intense in scrutiny, where everything matters, so they are not messing around with anything that does not pull the most from the signal for optimal and the most completely musical SQ they can get. Anyway, hard to say all of why.... all those so-called 1's and 0's going through so many channels and so much manipulation as they travel from wherever in "cloud land," and finally to our DACs... But his bottom line, internet streaming is not something he will use at his point.

I did get a small test in with my Media Converters before heading out on the road. Not an AB, it was inclusive, but I thought I saw and heard a little improvement in our movie streaming setup. I guess it is possible that I may have a pretty quiet internet system relatively speaking, not sure. But it is not directly connected to a cable or DSL grid. It is a dish that interfaces line-of-sight with a big rig on the mountain nearby, that big rig directly connected to my ISP servers in town who are all fiber connected as far as I know. I went from the dish with 200 feet of buried CAT7 into the house and a small use-specific modem thingy, then a router and beyond with CAT7 cabling, mainly to two daily use computers and one streamer for movies.

On the music computer and movie leg (music computer only hooked up now and then for updates), the  chain is a router, a 25 foot CAT7 cable to a switch (router and switch TP-Link also), a 1 ft CAT7 cable between switch and media convertor, a 1 meter optical cable between media convertors, and a 5 foot CAT7 cable to the movie streamer... All these internet routing boxes and power supplies have a bit of ERS cloth to help with noise and all my system components are on either a modified Brickwall for sources, or a modified PS Audio P5 with a modified Balanced Transformer in front of it for the rest. I find for more noisy things that ERS can help if carefully sized and placed... too much of it I find deadening.

For my next test, I have a longer optical cable I can use in the place of the 25' CAT7 cable heading to the streamer and audio computer switch. So next test will be direct, from the router, through media converters with the long run optical cable between, and then direct to streamer. After that, I will try this setup with the switch in line for comparison.

Won't be able to do it for a few weeks, but it will be fun to see what happens. Then if all seems worth it, more media converters and fiber scattered around will be the next test.

As to "audiophile" cleaning boxes, I finally stopped using those I had. I had liked a Jitter Bug and Uptone USB regen (maybe 2nd generation???) used together with lesser system, DAC and USB cables. But with my current modified DACs and a couple really nice USB cables (liking a homemade one best overall)... last I checked, I preferred the sound without USB treatment. I never loved the Uptone, a little tinselly and clinical for me, but with the Jitter Bug, it seemed pretty good. Now though, the system is better from power, to computer, to cables and DACs and everything else... and I prefer a good USB cable alone.

From the Uptone/jitterbug setup, and other similar, and having had to modify the main power units I do use to sound really transparent and musical without much degradation from house power or from the main power cleaning units, I have grown circumspect about popular fixit boxes. But I have not "played the field" by any means, and Sonore is certainly popular, so I hope that works out well once you get one! Amazing world and changing faster and faster with cleaner and cleaner tech.... great times!
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #27 - 10/30/21 at 00:13:29
 
The I do agree with you that the nature of our individual networks will have a large or small impact on the overall sound we get from our internet connected stereo. Having a good power cleaning / grounding setup I say is critical for getting the most out of a stereo. Sounds like you live away from high population areas which,  is has a high likelihood of being a boon for lower air borne and hardwired noise.

I really don’t want more boxes and cables, when it comes to the media converters at least they are small and easy to place and as far as audiophile things go the price of entry for performance can be really high.

I’ve come to accept that digital can be more fiddly than vinyl!

I’m still happy to listen to Qobuz streaming.

I’m thrilled with the components I have no desire to change things. I’m going to turn my focus back to room acoustics.

I’m looking forward to your experiments and observations when you have time.
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #28 - 10/30/21 at 08:01:59
 
With the recent addition of Roon… I have had a chance to play with a variety of methods for listening to digital music. I went 2 years with a Google Chromecast audio and a simple optical cable going into my new Schiit Multibit Bifrost DAC streaming Qobuz and Tidal.  The sound was decent but very anemic. I obtained a really nice optical cable from forum member HK, and the sound quality improved noticeably.

I then decided to add a Raspberry Pi (interfaced through Roon) to the equation and go through my USB input.  I heard that the raspberry pi was prone to digital noise and needed a good power cleaning solution. While it sounded good out of the box… When I connected the standard power supply through my monster power center with digital filtering, the sound got ALOT better.  Schiit’s  new Unison USB is brand new, and is preferred over Optical according to Schiit, so I am guessing that the Unison USB  had a lot to do with the sound quality as well.… and it now beats the Google Chromecast audio by far.

Last but not least… When I play my local FLAC files I uploaded to Roon and interfaced through the Pi… this is by far the cleanest and most detailed sound I get thus far.  Eventually I will upgrade to a better power supply for the raspberry pi… But for the time being I am experiencing really good sound.  

I still use my Google Chromecast audio quite often when I am not in the mood to turn on my computer and run Roon for a quick music listening session.  I find it interesting to hear the difference in sound quality I get from different interfaces; and that way when I make tweaks in other areas, I can do a side by side comparison which forces me critically listen.  

Dom

P.S….I also Stream Tidal through my iPhone which then goes through my AQ Dragonfly Red and allows me to listen MQA songs. This is a whole other story since some songs sound really good and others sound just OK. Well I’m sure the mastering has a lot to do with it… I have just found inconsistencies with MQA files on Tidal that it throws me for a loop.  

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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #29 - 10/30/21 at 16:36:48
 
I will report back Groovy, hopeful and enjoying the exploration.

Dom,

Have you compared Flac to uncompressed, error corrected files? When I compared them many years ago, subtle in some ways, but in the big picture, the differences were quite notable. For the all important fine detail in space qualities... textures, atmosphere, and all nuance areas, the files were simply truncated, showing the more obvious information, but lacking too much of the finer stuff  for my needs... to me, the critical information that makes the music sound more real. There was enough difference in my setup, that I never used Flac again, especially with drives having gotten cheaper... And now, maybe 10 years later, with my system logarithmically more refined, I miss so much with Flac converted to WAV, that though I love the music, I rarely listen to those few recordings anymore.

Flac not being as good as advocates wanted it to be, this is part of the reason that I have been reticent to adopt streaming, especially MQA, or other less artfully compressed music. No matter how clever the compression,  in my main system, it seems compression is always damaging in some meaningful ways.

This is part of why this thread got me excited... hoping the Media Converters might make the conceptually much more advanced Roon and Qobuz more comparable with my current hard-drive-based and very resolving digital music setup.



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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #30 - 10/30/21 at 17:41:33
 
Quote:
Posted by: GroovySauce      Posted on: Today at 00:13:29

...I’ve come to accept that digital can be more fiddly than vinyl!


Sure, but of course we aren't trying to play our vinyl from across the house, or from the cloud. And when you put it like that it sort of explains why (subconsciously) my digital setup has evolved to look a lot like my vinyl setup, i.e. a very short signal path: files on a laptop HD connected to my DDC via USB and then vis I2S to the dac. See below re: DDC, but I guess I just naturally gravitated to a solution that trades the convenience of streaming for the improved resolution (and reliability) of hardwired connection. In fact my laptop sits next to my turntable on the top shelf of my equipment rack.

Quote:
Posted by: will      Posted on: Yesterday at 19:17:31

...As to "audiophile" cleaning boxes, I finally stopped using those I had.


Which just goes to show (yet again) how much bits are much more than bits.  In my case, after being blown away by my new Terminator 2 DAC I started paying attention to online posts about the Denafrips DDCs (digital to digital converters aka "audiophile" cleaning boxes, sort of on steroids). And long story short after a month or so of research I bought one of those too, and a fancy I2S cable and it has proved to be a very nice upgrade on top of the new DAC, for both USB and my Audiolab transport via coax. I don't pretend to know why or how this stuff works at a fundamental subatomic level, but in a world where everything matters having everything from the power supply to digital inputs to the digital clock done at a very high level adds up to really really good sound. Sound where humble CDs and 16/44 digital files sound at least as good as my (pretty nice) vinyl setup, and often better. I think having the clocks synchronized between the DDC and the DAC, and doing the final transport over I2S are probably the biggest factors.

My recent digital journey, while expensive, (compared to the rest of my system, although not compared to how much I have invested in CDs) has been very rewarding, and it isn't done. I just got an email this morning my new Jay's CDT2 has left Hong Kong and I should be at my house late next week. Hopefully that will do it for digital upgrades for a while.


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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #31 - 10/30/21 at 18:27:16
 
Quote:
Posted by: will      Posted on: Today at 16:36:48

...Dom,

Have you compared Flac to uncompressed, error corrected files?...


Dang, I guess you posted this while I was composing my reply to your previous post. I find your question, and experience, both very interesting and disturbing. To be clear though, are your FLAC files losslessly compressed? I guess I'm shocked that recreating a WAV file from a losslessly compressed FLAC would result in any difference at all. Just as I'd be shocked if recreating the original file from e.g. a ZIP archive would not not faithfully recreate the original file.

In my case the short answer is no, but I have compared (lossless) FLAC rips of CDs (via USB) to the CDs themselves (played on my Audiolab transport or previously on my Yamaha CD 2100 CD/SACD player) and found files to sound as good or better than the original CDs. I also compared DSD rips of SACDs to the SACD themselves and also found the files to be at least as good as the original disk.

Comparing compressed to uncompressed files is a cliff I don't even want to look over (probably) but beyond the question of lossless compression I wonder how much your experience is driven by your software, and computer - DAC interface? In my case I'm using Foobar2000 on M$ Windows, and while I have no love for Windows I feel like it does a really good job of turning a digital music file into a USB bit stream. And in the case of both my current Denafrips and previous Yamaha I have a custom driver for the DAC, vs the generic one that Macs use.

Now, after writing all this I guess I need to take only of my demo tracks and rip it to a WAV file and go listen.  Dang it.
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #32 - 10/31/21 at 01:01:20
 
Yes there has been a lot of talk about Flac versus WAV, FLAC in theory being lossless, so just as good. But in my experience it was not lossless musically, which made some sense to me if you consider the files can be roughly half the size. And it was is long ago, so I don't really remember why I converted FLAC to WAV... it may have been to work better with the Pure Music Player software I was using at the time??? Or was it that there were reports of it sounding better for some reason... can't remember, but as always, I would have been listening carefully and do not have any recollection that the conversion did any harm...

Testing a few of the popular Mac apps for CD ripping back then, I preferred XLD, and still use it. Since I was checking these things out as I just got into computer audio, I was carefully seeking the best sound. I am pretty sure this must be the software I originally used to compare FLAC rips to error corrected, uncompressed WAV or AIFF rips, ripping CDs into each format and comparing. It is also likely the software I used to convert some FLAC records I had downloaded to WAV or AIFF. And I listened pretty happily to those for years even though I preferred uncompressed rips in direct comparisons, but as my system improved, the FLACs did not, so they don't get much play time now.

During the same testing period, I had heard convincingly that Mac Minis sounded better than laptops, perhaps the fairly heavy aluminum case allowing less noise, while still using efficient parts in order to be small, and efficient parts likely being less noisy.... but also, the laptop display energy likely causing noise.... Whatever it was, I had started computer audio with my wife's MacBook Pro, a nice computer, and played it from battery. When I got a Mini, using the same software, I heard enough difference without any tuning to be glad I got it. And Pure Music limiting system software functions, and being very efficient itself in order to quietly focus computing mainly on music, it was notably better sounding than iTunes. Then I got a nice external drive in hopes of further reducing noise from stopping using the internal hard drive for music files. I also used the Firewire buss to avoid noise and interference on the USB buss which I was using for the DAC. This too was a worthy improvement. Anyway, as you say, it all matters, and that computer/software system was not nearly as good as it is now, having taken everything further.

Sorry, I was not clear talking about my Uptone regen, etc, and confusing it by also talking about mains power cleaners like PS Audio regenerators. But what I meant to say was two things... that with system and cable improvements, the little USB things I have tried no longer seem beneficial to me. And some very popular mains power cleaners were surprisingly in need of improvements for my tastes.... I was starting with pretty clean home power, and I guess this reference was part of hearing downgrades in ultimate transparency along with the benefits of respected power cleaners. And I learned that modifying those main power rigs I had considerably improved them. So this need to upgrade them indicated, that for me, being highly respected was not necessarily a good thing for finding what I needed.

That said I like my power cleaners now, and with my Gustard DAC, I liked what I heard from a more intensely designed and engineered Kitsune Tuned Singxer USB bridge. Even though the Gustard has a nice USB board, using the Singxer to go from USB to I2S was a nice shift. But putting my Uptone Regen in the USB before the Singxer was not an improvement for me at this point... This may be in part because my Jitter Bug died, and I liked how it worked with the Uptone, contributing smoothness as I recall, but the Uptone's particular "cleanliness" was not to my liking compared to quality USB cables alone.

This was the same with my pretty notably modified NOS Tranquility DAC that is USB only.... Now it is also better with my current system just running a nice cable to it without USB treatment.

I love my digital, and have for years, often surprised when knowledgable and experienced people complained about digital being so deficient compared to good vinyl or tape. But I think I got lucky with my advisors and choices, so guessing I was not struggling with same issues to notable degrees, issues that luckily seem to be resolving in big ways with recent tech improvements.

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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #33 - 10/31/21 at 16:40:03
 
Quote:
Posted by: will      Posted on: Today at 01:01:20
Yes there has been a lot of talk about Flac versus WAV, FLAC in theory being lossless, so just as good. But in my experience it was not lossless musically, which made some sense to me if you consider the files can be roughly half the size. And it was is long ago, so I don't really remember why I converted FLAC to WAV...


Yes, and since it was long ago there isn't any point in trying to rehash what happened, but there are a couple of things I know for sure (today). The first is that the CD music format uses a "fixed point" representation of numbers (if that means anything to you) but the bottom line is it is a  computationally efficient but space inefficient way of storing data. Which means it is indeed possible to get significant truly lossless compression, albeit at the cost of increased computational load (although not much, esp. with current CPUs). And the FLAC algorithm is in fact lossless both in theory and practice. I took a WAV file, converted it to FLAC and back to WAV and compared before and after in a binary editor and they are (essentially) identical. WAV and FLAC sound identical too (closer than comparing either file to the original CD).

I guess the bottom line is we both have digital processes that work for us, and I'm certainly not encouraging you to do anything different, but if you are ever #FlacCurious in the future, and find they sound different from an uncompressed file I'm going to say you have a problem somewhere because I don't see any reason they should.



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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #34 - 11/02/21 at 04:05:47
 
Will,

Sorry for the late reply.  I have not had the chance to compare my FLAC files to the corresponding WAV file. My entire CD collection was ripped bit perfect with XLD on my MAC.  It was done for archiving purposes, and with it being lossless, I was fine with the format for the space savings at the time.  At the time I was running Audirvana so there were no compatibility issues.  I had actually had XLD setup for a double rip, it created a FLAC and an AIFF file as well.  The AIFF was mainly used for playback and the FLAC were never touched.  
Once I built my OWC RAID drive, I made a duplicate of my FLAC collection and started using that as my main playback source.  When I compared AIFF vs FLAC, I felt that AIFF was just missing something.

The past few days, I have had some sonic advancements with tube rolling a new Raytheon 5u4G GB rectifier and my Marigo green dots for my ERR’s, so I’ll post that soon.  

Plus I went off the reservation and splurged with a Holy grail tube purchase of a matched pair of Tesla Blue Tipped Cross Swords Gold Grid Dome 6922 signal tube.  I should get that by the end of the week, so I’ll  have something to evaluate.  I had worked some overtime the other day, and I just decided to pull the trigger because I wanted a fabulous tube to compare all others against.  I almost want to wait until my house is done to try them out, but I know there is no way I would be able to hold out for another 6 months.


Dom











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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #35 - 11/02/21 at 17:59:47
 
Dom,

At the risk of getting terminally OT those sound like really cool tubes. I got similar cross swords, frame grid 1960s vintage E83CCs a couple years ago (the most expensive tubes I’ve ever bought) and they completely transformed my phono stage, that I thought sounded pretty good already. I expect you’ll be very happy with the purchase. I’m a big fan of Tesla tubes.

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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #36 - 11/03/21 at 03:09:04
 
Dom,

I am glad you ripped both formats in case you want to switch to uncompressed files one day. Preferring FLAC over AIFF is a new one for me. I wonder if that comparison would end the same today with your much improved setup? If you heard FLAC like I did, I suppose the sort of consolidating vibe I heard could be felt to be a benefit depending on the system... like if there is glare or grunge from subtle noise making the signal tinselly. Then I suppose a more resolving file could potentially seem worse? Sounds like fun with the tubes, dipping in deeper at a nice easy pace… I like getting to know a change before trying other things too, and it is cool you finally got a Decware amp to play with! I bet the Marigo dots were an interesting change. In my main system, I do not use many, but would not be without them, speeding things up, tightening bass, evening spectral balance, and clarifying smearing throughout with my HR-1s.


CAJames,

I hear you, and am glad you have verified your thoughts around FLAC with listening and measurements. So many using FLAC as a way to save disk space when ripping CDs, would ripping both file types from a few very well recorded CDs and listening to those fill out the test? At any rate, based on your findings, if my current player software can play FLAC (one I love the sound from, and that can play with my special, but old OS), I will retest this in my system when I get home.

That said, your explanation of FLAC sounds similar to back in the day when I was checking it out in hopes of saving disk space. But I was also prone to sound testing since there had been many things that tech explains differently than I hear it. So I learned to trust my perception over tech theory and specs, testing to verify what the theory said, or not. Also I recall I was not alone, other serious listeners having had similar experiences as I had with FLAC, supporting my choice to play it safe and stick with uncompressed, error corrected files.

I guess this fits in the context of questions and variables we are looking at in this thread, investigating things that might help digital playback, and potential issues. And I look forward to some new tests that may well corroborate your thought that something was wrong in my initial FLAC tests ….or it might not… it will be good to check out with my current system.

Also relative to this thread, whether Media Convertors and fiber potential in networks… looking at internet streaming through a network versus local hard disk play… and honing careful listening to better hear all that is there…. Seems to me a bottom line is to be very careful to retain and improve all we can as we make big changes… and/or know that any sacrifices are worth it to us.

So I suggested to Dom that FLAC versus AIFF or WAV might be worth checking out. And to me, if there were and  a glimmer of doubt, these days, with drives so cheap, I would start now with ripping and using uncompressed files. And if we hear any differences, even if I preferred FLAC sound for some reason…. I would consider that any difference was likely compression, and integrating even subtle compression artifacts or losses can’t ultimately be a prime reference for developing our systems and getting the most from them.




This, as always, gets me thinking about wildcards in what we hear being based on many things beyond our actual hearing, pointing to what we hear being dependent on what our system/rooms can reveal, as well as what we can discern.

Especially with all pretty nice components, cables alone are amazingly variable to me…. In my system, far from secondary, digital, power, ICs, speaker…every one of them clearly shapes the system sound for better or worse. And even with really “good sounding” cables, I have found over and over that any one can notably change the sound to be more or less complete and balanced. So “sounding good” is just a start to me.

Really, for me every part of a system can have a relatively powerful sound shaping effect….indicating also, that anything can be a weak link!

Thinking of reading strong rhetoric that tech specs define cable sound quality, companies promoting perhaps OK for the money cables, but not as good comparatively as the rhetoric implies... I suppose there could be something to it…. maybe with systems that are not as revealing, or comparing the cable to similar with lesser specs. But for those who buy the rhetoric, and have pretty great components, I always wonder how they would like their systems with better sounding cables. And I feel sad that convincing tech arguments can perhaps too often sway folks away from a more ultimate musical experience.

Related, if the room muddles bass or mids, and nulls/dulls some frequencies while making some over-stated, we might for the time prefer lesser cables who’s deficiencies in revelation happen to mask or adjust those room issues. But is it “better” in the long run?

Similarly, as far as I can tell, with the really good DACs I have anyway, all aspects of the digital front end are critical to musical completeness, the first step of the whole of our musical experience. Yet often, at least partially overlooked or misunderstood, seems many people limit their DAC potential with cables that steal completeness from the music file, and therefore from the music. Also often based on tech beliefs, I find this really sad too. I had tried a few decent USB cables before getting to the ones I love, and they sounded pretty different. As are the two I love different sounding. Both reveal the very fine stuff well, but one leans a little leaner and more expressive of very fine detail and space. The other reveals those same things, but is a bit more solid/dynamic, and balanced a little more toward bass, so gives a different quality to the fine detail and space. And those before these just did not tell the whole story.

I also did a test with a friend when getting into I2S. He had bought a number of relatively inexpensive commercial HDMI cables, looking for hidden audio gold! He sent maybe 8-9, wanting to hear what I thought. We listen for similar completeness and balances, and both have resolving systems, and what we heard from each cable was pretty much the same. Also the hierarchy of what we liked was pretty much the same. And most could be thought to sound pretty good on their own without comparison. But one rose above all the others for both of us in revealing space and fine detail with decent spectral balance.

Related, as I pointed to in an earlier post, potential computer and software issues are often sorely overlooked in my opinion. I have heard it too many times not to trust that the important subtler information can be made better or worse than the refined resolution our Decware systems can reveal. The tricky part to me, sometimes damaged resolution and subtle noise artifacts can sound like clarification in some ways. But if they are not real resolution, these qualities cause off-putting characters too. And obviously, if the deeper beauty of musical complexity and completeness is not in the front end, it does not exist.

Anyway, I just wanted to touch on a few areas I have experienced in terms of trying to resolve weak links… context being so influential in what we each hear, or can’t hear.




So broadly, we have variability in what our systems can reveal; variability in our discernment of what we perceive; and not least, we know that shifts improving transparency, resolution, and musicality change what we are able to perceive and discern, opening new doors. For me this cycle seems perpetual.

And to get “there” effectively, I think open-mindedly trusting our perception and ever-developing discernment is critical, setting the stage for cultivating better listening skills by creatively enjoying the quest. Without that, we might be limiting our potential by getting pushed and pulled a little too much by “authorities” and trends defined by “authorities,” perhaps even dropping us on the audio treadmill. I think investigating cool new things is fun and natural, but without a cohesive thread that ties it all together for the best musical experience, I figure “getting there” is a crap shoot.

At the same time, knowing our system/rooms are not complete in transparency, resolution, and musical balances; and knowing our ability to discern what we perceive is an ongoing development… we can clearly get a lot from the discoveries of others, utilizing pointers that appeal as a beginning for exploring ourselves.



Within this complex, when some people can’t hear something from their system/rooms, and others can in theirs, beyond variations in “measurable hearing” abilities, variability seems perfectly logical. But finding something we can’t hear in our system and room can be a sort of endpoint in exploration (“if I don’t hear it, it does not exist”), or it can be a beginning (“if I don’t hear it, is there anything I can I do to find it”).

Interesting to me, we all start wherever we are right now in discernment and in system/room capabilities. Which makes us all beginners no matter where we start in seeking to uncover what is more musically complete, entrancing and fulfilling. So I always figured, if the folks who awaken my excitement about new potential are known to be careful listeners with transparent and resolving systems… if they hear something I can’t, it might imply that something is not complete in my system.

And like most of us, many breakthroughs came from these sorts of pointers. It may not end up just the same as was implied, but an opening to finding something out is always illuminating to me.



Which takes me back to the progression of positive change. After many years with countless fairly in-depth experiments, as the system/room becomes more resolving, truly musical information and balances I literally did not know were possible show up. So I am always weighing toward trusting my perception and discernment, but also trusting that others with good perception and discernment can help me get better. And if in doubt at all, I avoid any potential compromises that might not be a big deal now, but could become habitual, and hold the system back in the future as it gets better.

In my experience, my not hearing something has pretty much always been either because the system could not yet fully reveal it; or its spectral balance was off enough that some parts overwhelm important aspects of the whole; or because my discernment was not yet developed enough to identify it. Usually a mix, the good side… as more is revealed, hearing more, more clearly, my discernment widens, allowing better identifying impediments to the deeper beauty and ways to solve them.

In the end, knowing that there always seems to be unrealized potential, also means that there always tend to be unresolved impediments to potential. Thus the audio quest.

Leading to my "broken record" for what I have found a really nice tool to help solve impediments. To me, a relatively easy indicator of truer resolution and transparency can be listening for the finest information... is it more fully present… harmonic information… textures, complex edges…. and perhaps especially, the spacial decays near and between players, along with the presence and length of broader decays across the spectrum. If it is there in more notable ways, even if the spectral balance may be a little off, the presence of fine detail in space is a good indicator of more complete representation from a recording…. less truncation, masking and smearing… more resolution. And if it is not much there, it can point me to looking at the many things that can cause this information to be compromised and lost…

Finally, there is no doubt to me that if I can’t hear something, it does not mean it is not there for some listeners, or that it would not be there in another system, or in ours with careful improvements.

At the same time, old assumptions that may have seemed true at one time, may not be fully true today… So I look forward to re-looking at my old assumptions about FLAC versus error corrected, uncompressed files. And looking at Media Converters, it would seem all this could effect our conclusions also.
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #37 - 11/06/21 at 00:10:34
 
Back to our regularly scheduled program, Network Noise;

Eliminating all Ethernet cable except for a 6 inch CAT6 STP stub has taken SQ up another notch.

The 6 inch stub connects my cable ISP modem to a small 3 port Planet FMC switch.
1 port is gigabit Ethernet and the other 2 ports are SFP cages.

1 SFP module has 20 meters of duplex fiber to my sonicTransporter i9 optical.
The other SFP module has 20 meters of duplex fiber to the Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical.

The sonicTransporter and Rendu have Sonore optical modules embedded in them.

Next I'll replace the Planet FMC switch with a pair of first gen Sonore opticalModules and see if they make a difference for the better. The only drawback is that I'll need to add more Ethernet connections.
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #38 - 11/07/21 at 06:06:33
 


I am glad you ripped both formats in case you want to switch to uncompressed files one day. Preferring FLAC over AIFF is a new one for me. I wonder if that comparison would end the same today with your much improved setup? If you heard FLAC like I did, I suppose the sort of consolidating vibe I heard could be felt to be a benefit depending on the system... like if there is glare or grunge from subtle noise making the signal tinselly. Then I suppose a more resolving file could potentially seem worse? Sounds like fun with the tubes, dipping in deeper at a nice easy pace… I like getting to know a change before trying other things too, and it is cool you finally got a Decware amp to play with! I bet the Marigo dots were an interesting change. In my main system, I do not use many, but would not be without them, speeding things up, tightening bass, evening spectral balance, and clarifying smearing throughout with my HR-1s.


Will….Yes it is very possible now with my new amp and set up that I will likely hear a difference between the two file types that was not discernible before.  When I get a chance I’ll bring my Raid drive out from the computer room and hook it up to the Roon server to have a listen.

I completely agree with you about the Marigo dots… After having them installed… I don’t think I can live without them either.  Check out my post in the ERR section about the addition of the dots.  

https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1635862716/2#2

I am glad I bought a double batch because my bookshelf speakers will be the next ones I work on.  Tube rolling has definitely been a lot of fun and I like taking my time to let a tube settle in before I make other changes.  



At the risk of getting terminally OT those sound like really cool tubes. I got similar cross swords, frame grid 1960s vintage E83CCs a couple years ago (the most expensive tubes I’ve ever bought) and they completely transformed my phono stage, that I thought sounded pretty good already. I expect you’ll be very happy with the purchase. I’m a big fan of Tesla tubes.



CAJames..
Yes these tubes definitely caught my attention and I have read that others have really enjoyed the Tesla tubes so I felt compelled.  Even though I just started tube rolling with my Torii, I have already played around with a bunch of signal tubes in my Z stage. This was by far the most I’ve spent on any single tube… So will be interesting to hear how these sound.  I’ll report back in the near future since  I am still waiting for my Raytheon rectifier NOS tubes to settle in before I jump into these new Teslas.

Dom



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GroovySauce
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #39 - 11/22/21 at 20:55:05
 
When playing from the SSD on the ZENith it’s possible to unplug the ethernet cable and still play music. I’ve played around with this, there is a definite improvement when the ethernet cable is unplugged.

There are two main issues 1. Getting up to pull out the ethernet cable is a drag. 2. I don’t like to mess with connections, constant plugging in and out will cause wear and tear on a device that isn’t designed for a lot of use in that way.

Currently I’m using a Supra ethernet cable. It get’s very positive reviews. I ended up ordering a stupid expensive cable, FTA Metis ethernet cable.

When disconnecting the ethernet cable, there is an expansion of the sound stage. The sense of space around the notes / instruments is increased. The music is more relaxed and detailed at the same time. A nice richness across the board. There is added weight even for higher frequencies like cymbals. Yes, added weight to cymbals. Maybe more tangible is a better descriptor.

Does anyone else reread what they wrote about audio and shake their head? What a crazy hobby! Sometimes I don’t like referring to it as a hobby, it’s a way of life, life is good!
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will
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #40 - 11/23/21 at 00:30:05
 
Hey GS,

Just for clarification, your test was using the SD for play in both scenarios right, the only difference whether the Ethernet cable was attached to the server? Sounds like it, but just wanting to be sure. If so, this actually fits with many of my experiments, showing that noise can easily damage digital data more than is "known," or at least digital playback.

Beyond rudimentary things like the digital we use being conveyed as analog, and read from voltage levels that can be quite variable and still be read as an accurate 1, or a 0... Though in theory this would seem correct, but are there other music damaging issues with this voltage, and voltage variability, and/or from whatever causes the variability? .... Or similarly, with "digital" cables being analog, and analog being prone to carrying noise, is it mainly the noise carried on the line between components, or does the noise mess up the variable voltage information somehow, effecting what is read by the DAC in ways that hurt the music? Or when timing that was messed up from the file, or computer, or beyond on the trip to the DAC circuit.... even when processed in sophisticated ways to be more "correct" before the actual digital to analog conversion... does this give the same sound quality as if it was never messed up to start with???

The real causes to digital music issues seem pretty mysterious, if only because our measurement systems, or assumptions for what needs to be measured (or not) are not sophisticated enough yet, or whatever... My guess is that we will be able to explain these things clearly one day, but only if we stop imagining we are already so smart that we understand.... and how often does that happen in culture where delusions are held to be real...where beliefs that are only true enough for us to be able to feel they are true are thought to be true if it suits us. And when these are believed by groups of people, the belief gains power and solidifies as the truth... Then these collective delusions are typically assiduously defended, if for no other reason, as a means to maintain the delusion that we are smarter than we are... thus the nature of delusion, and I think a primary cause for slow development.

But lucky for us, your test method is the same one that I trust most myself, unbiased listening as a means to uncover a better musical experience! And though this illustrates how sad the state of the knowledge and testing is, it also shows that our perception and discernment can be amazing measurement devices, especially with progressive dedication to cultivating perception and discernment. And what better stimulus than seeking musical beauty in our audio systems. In a resolving system, seeking and finding ways to improve our sound is a catalyst for finding better solutions, but also a natural tool for progressively improving "listening" and discernment practices.

Changing to my current operating system in my server was a lot like your description of what you heard from taking out the Ethernet cable, but probably on steroids... it was pretty bigtime.

The original OS was an earlier leaner Mac system, and BY-SOUND it was stripped down by people who hear the subtitles of music well from long practice and open mindedness. So they also have extra good discernment.... As I understand it, code was trimmed when it could be if not needed for basic functions, and each musical improvement from code removal was progressively built on for a leaner and leaner, and more musical OS. What did these things do to make the music better? The music files did not change, only what the OS did with them and perhaps the player software, and presumably, whatever that OS doing less did to make the server quieter, more efficient, and cleaner electronically.

The result to me was so much more complete resolution and density that I had to adjust my system in pretty notable ways toward a more revealing and open baseline as a means to get back to my normal spectral balance that makes the music more real to me. At first, I thought, really, this is better? In many ways it was, clearly a more resolved and smooth signal, but it was too dark and full. Then once I figured out to just go with it and make the system better accommodate the "new" signal these OS changes facilitated, once there, wow.... smoother and more resolved music that was more real than ever!

So I am guessing the previous system, being brighter, and less smooth probably had to do with residual glare and grunge, and truncation that shifted the sound brighter. And brighter and less smooth, it caused me to compensate with smoothing and resolving adjustments in the system to make the digital sound more complete and real. And it did sound pretty beautiful, but the baseline was clearly off once the new system revealed how much damage had occurred do to the original OS. And this was after already using many software and hardware tricks to chill down system activity and noise inside and outside the computer.

So your Ethernet cable connection test got me to thinking. I always figured streaming could be another area where theory and reality may not be the same. Why couldn't it potentially do undiscovered damage to the digital bits and timing like so many damaging things we have previously not recognized in large part due to belief in theory and measurements. And how do we begin to shift these patterns of belief, lots of times due to what we hear, to listening tests? Now, if I am recalling correctly, wasn't this a test you did? Streamed playback versus disk playback? And found the SD was better? And now, with this knowledge from just unplugging the Ethernet cable... we could presume the SD versus streamed issue was mostly or all the Ethernet system. Or is it possible that the stream, that in theory, is pretty right for music after being put back together in the server... could it too be in part responsible? Not having streaming, I can't explore this myself, but I do find it all interesting, probably in part since I sometimes think about trying streaming.

Bottom line, I think it is mainly discoveries like these, from listening, that can push measurement and development to be better, and I am glad you tested this. And I look forward to more of your discoveries and solutions. Thanks!

Will
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GroovySauce
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #41 - 11/23/21 at 13:22:08
 
Will,

You are correct, this test was playing music off of the internal SSD of the Innuos with the ethernet connected and disconnected. Isolating the ethernet connection as the only variable.  

I buy digital albums through Qobuz from time to time. Playing the same album I’ve bought and downloaded and then streaming, the downloaded does sound better, that’s a whole other topic of discussion. Or maybe not any they are closely linked and we don’t yet see the relationship between downloaded and streamed music.

Last night I found another difference when unplugging the ethernet cable. The sound stage shifted up about a foot. Most noticeable was voices,  the sound stage was more expansive top to bottom. I don’t recall a change that shifted the sound stage up like that before.
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #42 - 11/23/21 at 15:20:25
 
Quote:
Posted by: GroovySauce      Posted on: Today at 13:22:08

...I buy digital albums through Qobuz from time to time. Playing the same album I’ve bought and downloaded and then streaming, the downloaded does sound better, that’s a whole other topic of discussion.


I buy albums from Qobuz too, and a few other places as well. I've always been, lets say hesitant, about streaming because I felt like playing the files from a local disk had to sound better, or at least no worse (also I didn't want to have to mess with the network to play my music). And you kinda confirm my suspicion.

The comparisons I do are between CDs (and previously SACDs, when I had a SACD player that was also a USB DAC) and rips of same that I played over USB from a Windows laptop running Foobar2000. The differences are small, and my front end has changed considerably over the couple years: from a Yamaha CD-S2100 CD/SACD player/DAC to Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia and a Jays CDT2 Mk3.  What I know for sure is my digital sounds really good now, both physical media and files. In fact the thing that is most striking is how good humble 16/44 disks and downloads sound now vs. hi rez. It's like when they settled on the CD standard back in the 70's they knew what they were doing .
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #43 - 11/24/21 at 13:22:25
 
I have benefitted tremendously from you all as well as other forums.  I thought I could pass this along for others who are still learning:
https://youtu.be/l_fsgtV1vEs
I followed what GS described above and it has made a SQ difference in my humble ears.
Bob
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #44 - 11/24/21 at 14:49:19
 
CAJames,

I still do use Qobuz to stream music, it sounds really good. If I really want the best musical experience I play from my SSD... and for right now unplug the ethernet cable.

I would say the majority (90%) of the music I've purchased in the last year has been digital albums, no options for LP or CD. I was blown away with how good the Jay's Audio CDT2 MKIII was. That was actually the catalyst for me to look into a better music server and streaming option.

Bob,

I'm glad you realized benefits from adding the media converter. For the money invested, in certain situations, it could be some of the best bang for the buck available.
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Tony
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #45 - 11/28/21 at 18:26:22
 
In my area, Sonic Fiber-Optic Internet service is aggressively marketing its connections.  Currently, I am using Comcast Infinity for the Internet, and they seem to provide a clean signal in my area.  No connection problems.  

Does anyone know or have an opinion on the benefits of a fiber option service vs. cable service about sonic benefits?  Would listening to Qobuz sound better with fiber vs. cable or is it 6 of one and half dozen of the other?

Also, I assume that the use of the 2X Media converter that GS described at the start of this topic would not be used with a fiber optic service -- is that correct?
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #46 - 11/28/21 at 19:16:17
 
Quote:
Posted by: Tony      Posted on: Today at 18:26:22

...Does anyone know or have an opinion on the benefits of a fiber option service vs. cable service about sonic benefits?  Would listening to Qobuz sound better with fiber vs. cable or is it 6 of one and half dozen of the other?


I would say technically fiber is a better solution, but as far as playing music IMO what matters is the ISP's backend infrastructure, not the physical media over which the service is delivered to your house. So, short answer is probably a pick-um. For me personally I hate the cable companies so much I'm still on DSL and waiting on a fiber optic option to get "real" internet.

Quote:
...Also, I assume that the use of the 2X Media converter that GS described at the start of this topic would not be used with a fiber optic service -- is that correct?


No, fiber optic gets the internet i.e. your music into your house. You still need to get it from your router to your steamer/DAC and media converters are a great way of doing that.
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #47 - Today at 02:55:49
 
RE:  Optical Rendu Deluxe V.2

I wrote to Sonore today and asked about the availability of their Optical Rendu Deluxe V.2.  For those interested, here's Adrian's response:

"Yes we are expecting to the Optical Rendu Deluxe V.2 available sometime in February 2022.  Most likely middle part of the month.  It will be a small batch so I recommend you start following our website at or around 3rd week of January 2022.  There is huge supply chain issues with parts and the next batch will not be available until Dec 2022."

I wrote back and asked if they were taking names for a waiting list, and she said no.  Just stay tuned.
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MrDerrick
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Re: Removing Network Noise From Your Streamer / Server
Reply #48 - Today at 03:12:02
 
I am not quite ready to fully report on my further findings, but I can say that the addition of an UpTone EtherREGEN with external master clock before my MeLE NAA device makes quite a difference, especially at 1.4/1.5 MHz rates.

I have given up on USB input/output devices to try to lower the network noise floor.
I am getting much better results addressing the Ethernet path before it enters the NAA.

I am patiently awaiting my new 2nd gen USB card for my Holo Audio KTE May, this will allow the Mays USB input to be compatible with my Sonore Sig Rendu SE optical NAA at 1.4/1.5 MHz.
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