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MDAC First Listen (Part 00101001)

Discussion in 'audio' started by JohnW, Aug 12, 2015.

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  1. tonerei

    tonerei pfm Member

    I picked this post to quote but I could choose any of them as you just keep repeating the same thing. Nothing to see here no point in trying/making improvements etc etc.
    We know your position and as I have said my experience and plenty of others totally contradictions your subjective view on improving transports. We have established that you are entitled to your view and I accept you have that viewpoint but this is an open forum where JohnW seems to have access to good measurement tools and has identified something he can work on. Asking him to consider either expanding that testing by trying an optimized PC or at least think about it or investigating if he knows somebody locally who could bring one to him is worthwhile imho.

    I am delighted JohnW has seen the light on USB issues and just hoping he keeps digging.

    To answer your question on how I did it. I didn't do it I listened to a variety of people and collaborated where possible to test/trial a variety of components. I ended up with a linear power supply (3.3v 5v,12v) into regulators and on into lifepo4 batteries. No pico on the motherboard and luckily a friend was able to replace 2 mobo clocks and they are powered directly rather than thru the mobo. Operating system is on ram(Ramdisk). No internal hard drive when pc is running. Just Win2012R2 running in ram. Optimized operating system(approx 30 tasks running) and external LS powered HDD. MQn minimal player that loads music into ram. Others have gone a lot further or have bypassed the battery route and gone for better quality power supplies. BTW initially I started and still use in a second system a maplin linear supply thru 12v motorcycle battery into pico on mobo. Operating system on USB and that is realistically priced and achievable and is well ahead of a laptop. (IMHO to close off any attacks)

    BTW it is not lost on me that if John Kenny,Mark from Item or myriad others suggested something like a Detox it would ala Cantona bring the seagulls round to circle the pirate ship. Sure to finish off I will give you one of your knowing winks;)
  2. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    I noted that some on this forum were (& maybe still are) in denial about the fact that USB power is inadequate for powering audio devices - there was a time when it was considered by them to be "fit for purpose" & no external PS would improve a USB audio device. This is following the same trajectory!

    I never said that treating the PC will remove all issues. So far all we have seen identified on JohnW's measurements is LF noise modulation. At this stage we don't know if this noise modulation, RF noise, packet jitter or whatever else (or everything together) is the root issue so it's a bit premature to be nominating them as of special interest for removal.

    Fact of the matter is, that it's well known that trying to remove noise & distortion that has been intermingled with a data signal is far more difficult to do than preventing it encroaching on the signal in the first place.

    It seems to me that if we insist on using general purpose PCs then the optimal solution is to do some treatment on them to reduce these noise issues & to use downstream devices also (or incorporate them in the receiving USB audio device :))

    If we are talking about "joe ordinary" then what is the point of this conversation - he is happy listening to MP3 via his phone & isn't concerned about any of this

    By the fact that he can hear improvements in side by side comparisons between treated & non-treated PC. Yes, the Regen device is being investigate dby John because of the anecdotal reports about it - just the same anecdotal reports as are found for PC treatment. Yes, John is beginning to specifically identify issues (hopefully) that have already been recognised as effective sound improving devices - the Regen, for instance. Similar improvements are wrought by Tony & others' treatment of PCs.

    Maybe jitter is no longer an issue but I look on noise & jitter as being effectively the same issue & interchangeable. Let's leave the AR DAC in the past, OK?
  3. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    I hope it's not lost on others that the whole concept of low frequency jitter & it's audibility raged for two pages & then a single post of JohnW's that he has measured & heard the effects of low frequency jitter was accepted as-is without demands for his measurements or accusations of frigged tests or any such.
  4. BE718

    BE718 pfm Member

    It is abundantly clear that you don't understand my position.

    For a start you seem to be under the impression that I don't think improving the data delivery (not sure why you refer to it as transport) could not potentially improve the sound. Where have I said this?

    Where have I said there is no point in making transport improvements? However it is fairly clear that it is a limited solution for a limited number of people who are willing and technically able to indulge in such things. A solution that will bring variable and unquantifiable results.

    Equally I wasn't suggesting for one second that john shouldn't measures these things that you suggest, in fact I would say it is a pre requisite for properly investigating the wider issue, so long as the actual end effects in the audio output are also quantified.

    My point was a broader one, regarding improving the design of dacs that to minimise these variables, which would be the best solution for the widest number of people.

    It appears lost on you.

    However I must confess your last paragraph is totally lost on me.

    No I don't keep repeating the same thing, and if your implication is that I should shut up, well guess what, not going to happen.
  5. iansr

    iansr pfm Member

    There's a very good reason for that. Those of us who have been following John on forums for years know with total certainty that John is a man of utmost integrity and that bullshit is anathema to him. I ain't no sycophant, I'm just tellin it like it is.
  6. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    Yes, I understand - we all do this - judge the messenger, not the message but in matters of science & technology we are meant to use our logic more than our emotions - that is the theory but practise is often different to this
  7. tonerei

    tonerei pfm Member

    No point in having a 60 page rant You did You didn't etc etc. Let's not fill up the thread with more pointless ping pong.

    JohnW if you are viewing and can wade through all the treacle back to my original query have/would you consider exploring in the optimized PC direction also? You hinted at surprise on what your testing seemed to show.
  8. AndyU

    AndyU pfm Member

    But Ethernet exists, can transfer several orders of magnitude more data than USB, can be galvanically isolated, and doesn't need a horrifically noisy PC on the end of it to get data and noise from. Linn and naim, not to mention Logitech, make good DACs that connect to your network via Ethernet so there's nothing needed invented.
  9. Rune

    Rune pfm Member

    I can understand that you would like your optimized computer to sound better. Because you have spend a lot of time and money on it.

    If the Detox can solve the problem for JW's average noisy PC, then it is completely irrelevant and a waste of time to look at how a optimized PC sound/measure. Because there will be no difference.

    If the Detox can achieve this then I would consider it a game changer or the holy grail of computer audio :cool:
  10. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    Although Tony's setup is only for the dedicated, I can assure you that it does sound better & I have not spent any time or money on it. Others report the same sonic improvements with the well known treatment that Tony has done - much the same numbers if not more than attest to the SQ improvements with the Regen device.

    Sure, agreed!
  11. Rune

    Rune pfm Member

    You misinterpret what I am saying. I agree that there is a difference between a optimized or non optimized PC.
    But hope that the Detox can remove this difference!
    Especially so I don't have to read about people going on an on about tweaking their windows and PC which I find boring.
  12. Rune

    Rune pfm Member

    That is an ridicules argument. USB has more than sufficient bandwidth for audio.

    Most PC these days does not make a lot of noise, unless it is a gamer PC.

    And there are lot of streamers that is not PC's that use USB for instance Auralic Aries, Aurender.

    Linn and Naim are one box solutions DAC and Streamer in one box.

    But many of us do not want a one box solution because the loss of flexibility and the high risk of obsolescence of the streamer/software.
  13. BE718

    BE718 pfm Member

    Yes, I hope we don't talk at cross purposes, because I actually agree with you.

    USB is just an irritating necessity for me because my Mdac doesn't have a wifi connection. I have to plug in my laptop or RPI to stream music to it. I would far prefer to stream music directly to it.

    However, the secondary issues that apply to USB data transfer will potentially apply to ethernet or wifi. I suppose you could also argue that it's better to keep that Ethernet/wifi subsystem out of the dac enclosure due to noise issues, but I find that a bit contradictory as it seems we are happy to stuff the thing full of fpga and DSp processing for the upcoming Minidsp functionality.
  14. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member

    When I consider the Detox, I'm really not bushiness minded about it, I just want to remove "unknown variables" so that I can be assured that FDAC / MDAC owner is starting from a known variable - we know the quality of the USB input signal.

    It be sure nice to start manufacturing and shipping something - the Detox is nice small project to start with :) I do dread the days I'll have to spend at some isolated factory in China - I hate leaving Renata and the pups but its was good to "have a life" again in HK....

    Here in Czech I'm an outsider, people are not very friendly and very jealous, I'm always looked upon as the "rich foreigner" which is hardly true.... I always hear the attitude dates back to the communist days but hey its be over 30 years or so now, there's no longer an excuse.

    I've personally heard differences between FLAC / WAV file playback on my own PC , I should have looked into it in more detail but have yet had the time. I'm ashamed to say I didn't even comparer if the data was the same. I hope that once the Detox is ready I can invite Jiri over (or anyone who wants to pop over on the cheap Whizzair flights to Brno), and we can do some listening tests.

    If the FLAC / WAV Data is the same as it should be (at a purely digital level) then I'm be VERY pleased if the Detox removes the difference - I can then say its really worth it!
  15. BE718

    BE718 pfm Member

    And this is the point, it makes all that messing around with pcs irrelevant.
  16. Richard Kimber

    Richard Kimber pfm Member

    Well ... there are other ways. How about ethernet? We can receive bit-perfect data from the other side of the world, so it seems an obvious option.

    - Richard.
  17. Ciunas Audio

    Ciunas Audio Trade: Ciunas Audio

    My perspective is that I would like to get a clear understanding of what exactly is coming into the audio device that is detrimental to the SQ. This is what I hope & believe John's measurements are working towards!
  18. BE718

    BE718 pfm Member

    Sorry I can't agree with that position, if we are using normal pcs, the the dac must be able to deal with the variables that will create. This is absolutely a case of the dacs internal design / operation being affected by a normal variation of the incoming data.

    I'm not doing this to be argumentative jk, honest, but I can't agree with you on the second point here either. There are plenty of audiophiles (hope we are not classifying them as abnormal) who have no computer knowledge or desire to mess around with such things, but expect their expensive new dac to work optimally on USB or spdif.
  19. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member

    Yes - this is one of the reasons I considered the DeTox projects as I want to have a USB with a known signal quality - removing many "potential" variables from the picture.

    I think ultimately the Detox will only bring a small improvement (not in the league of a speaker upgrade or the FDAC etc), but its cheap and good to be assured that the Detox has "taken care" of a whole host of potential problems with the USB / Audio system interface... Depending upon the system, some will benefit more then others, but with the DeTox we shall all be "equal" :) when it comes to the quality of the USB input signal to our DAC's :)

    Shame the Detox cannot have a simple "Bit Accurate test" indicator as that's a more fundamental problem with the complexities of the PC software / setup...
  20. BE718

    BE718 pfm Member

    Yep agree, see my post 1013 a few up :)
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