i had previously reported that adding an Antelope 10m rubidium clock to the Etherregen results in major tightening of soundstage and location of individual instruments. To my great surprise adding filtering on the BNC 75 Ohms connection between clock and Etherregen results in substantial additional benefits. The filter used is a Mini-Circuits BLP-10.7-75+ DCto11MHZ model.
We are only beginning to understand how to maintain clean clocking on digital connections, it is of paramount importance to SQ.
I recently experienced an issue of what I perceive as overclocking with addition of audiophile switch with OXCO clock. Adding switch in front of server, NAS resulted in overly precise sound staging and images. Without switch I have a more natural blending of images, adding the switch drew excessively sharp image outlines, sort of like cookie cutter images. The sense of performers existing within a venue of air and space was replaced by sense of performers existing within individual anechoic sound booths, extreme analytical sound quality. In real life sound waves emanating from individual performers diffuse and spread, multiply the performers and those individual sound waves blend together to some extent creating natural ambience. Decay of those individual sound waves as they blend is also important to this sense of natural ambience, attenuated decay of these sound waves, aka images in case of sound reproduction creates unnatural sound stage.
My take is there can be an excessive amount of clocking within particular streaming setups. I presume this particular switch was doing the exact thing it was designed to do, more precise sound staging and imaging is commonly referred to in clock upgrades. One can go to far, based on my experience.
I agree clocking is of extreme importance. I suspect dac clock input optimization and equipment like usb renderers may provide the optimal amount of clocking with some setups. It will be interesting to explore clock optimization, is my situation unique? I suspect much yet to be fully understood in steaming realm.
I always appreciated your contributions here. But honestly, I’ve lost track of all gazillion tweaks you have reported :-) It would be helpful for readers to learn about all the components in your system. Why not post your system in Virtual Systems?
you are right, however my system is somewhat idiosyncratic and the result of a continuous improvement process over many years.
It goes something like this:
Digital: Router on LPS->DXE Pro Ethernet filter->Ethernet Cat8->Uptone Etherregen driven by Antelope Audiophile 10m with Mini Circuits filter on Sommercable 75ohm BNC and ZeroZone 2020 LPS->Meicord Opal->Innuos Zenith Mk3 on Gingko Audio platform on Black Ravioli Pads on Nordost Brahma PC->custom 2-prong signal and 5v USB cable->Intona Isolator->Intona Reference USB->Antelope Zodiac Platinum on Black ravioli pads driven by Antelope Audiophile 10m clock on dual Sommercable 75 Ohm BNC (Platinum,5v USB and clock supplied by Sean Jacobs DC3/4 LPS on Nordost Valhalla
Analogue: Scheu Das Laufwerk2 Slate wall mounted with Dynavector DV507 Mk2 with Millenium Carbon Headshell and Cartridgeman Isolator and Teres Audio Verus Rim Drive on Nordost Brahma-> Zyx Universe Cu-Lo->Auditorium23 Phono->Bob’s Devices Altec Lansing TBB-663 SUT->Zyx Artisan Phono->Zodiac Platinum
Downstream: dual Auditorium23/ Sommercable Epilogue RCAs (Schroeder Method)-> Wavac EC300b (EAT300b, Svetlana Winged-C 6L6 GC, Mad Scientist, EAT and Duende Criatura Dampers) on Nordost Valhalla, Gingko Audio platform and Black Ravioli Big II footers->Auditorium23 speaker Cable->Bybee Golden Goddess Speaker Bullets->Stein Music Speaker Match->Audioprism Ground Control-> Duevel Bella Luna Speakers with Murata ES 103b on Symposium Svelte Shelf on Final Daruma MkII feet
Upstream: Separate spur with Akiko Gold Stick on Junction box->Russ Andrews fuseless socket->Isotek Vision GII->Acoustic Revive Reference II->2x Acoustic Revive RTP-4, WA QuantumTuning Chips on all power, USb and RCA connections.
Acoustic Revive Ethernet and USB filters, shorting plugs on all unused RCA and balanced connections,fuses by ACME, Furutech and Hifi Tuning
So, it’s all a bit complicated and often the devil is in the detail.
Hope this helps you understand my continued journey.
I’m new here. 40 years audiophile. 30 years designing software and hardware for switches, routers, high performance wifi access points.
Open minded guy, I think. I have iso pucks everywhere, nice cables, power regeneration and what have you…. Clearly not Amir’s best buddy. I believe just about anything can affect sound.
In the process of building networking gear that sold for billions of dollars (if you get out of the house, you have used gear I had something to do with, it’s a small world), I learned a thing or two. And yet, I do not understand anything about audiophile Ethernet switches and cables. The issue here is that I can always at least find some theories on why this or why that can be possible. I am completely empty handed, either reading the specs of those devices or putting to work my fertile imagination.
Our community has been fed so much crap about the wonders of digital music since the first CD, some of those promises are just starting to come true. We were blessed with SPDIF, USB, TOSLINK and other atrocities. None of this stuff has a combination of CRC, forward error connection, retransmission or even any sort of link monitoring. I shell out decent cash on all those connections cables because the whole link layer protocol is just a sac of crap. I guess even the high end audio industry is not found on fixing this, it is a product offerings bonanza.
Now enters Ethernet and TCP/IP. Different ball game. I would not blame anyone to be skeptic, see previous point. There’s no point starting an enumeration here, point is that I can find a thousand reasons why there’s zero chances this networking stuff will change the sound.
I’m going to go one notch farther. I have a brillant idea for a product design that can take all the voodoo out of it. It would be a pain to do this, but we could build a system that would compute the SHA-1 digest of all the bits fed to a DAC chip and report whether piece was authentic to the source file. That would be a really fun project. Or it could be done on SPDIF and USB too. I would love to see this done. That would not completely close debates, my bit is sweater than your bit would go on, but that would do it for me.
In the mean time, I will continue to choose Ethernet cables based on color :-0. Oh one last detail. Last time I checked, 1000base T Ethernet does not have a clock. So there is that, it’s a whole new world.
To everyone except @lmcmalo, who seems to be only one of the rare ones who knows what he is talking about, do others really think a 1 or a 10 gigabit ethernet phy would work if it had faulty clocking to begin with ?
Except @lmcmalo cant help but chip in. Let’s pass the point where some vendor has a RE-clocking product for a protocol without a clock :-0
Ethernet phy layer is an asynchronous. Very roughly it works like this. Very roughly, it’s complicated in practice. The line goes flat, there’s a gap between packets. Then comes a fixed start sequence, the receiver locks on it and then runs its own clock starting from that point on the negotiated speed. It works fine because it’s very brief. The clock has to be in sync for that 1 packet. Because there’s CRC, errors can be detected. Phy errors are uncommon in normal situations And no one cares, the missing packets get retransmitted by TCP..
This isn’t voodoo, but I must have wasted months of my life on « SPF modules ». Those are Ethernet phy modules that can be swapped out in fancy switches instead of RJ-45. Lots of compatibility problems. The beauty is that mostly they work or they don’t… Sometimes it’s in between and then some software detects the problem.
@antigrunge2Well, cheap clock, relative thing. I observe many claim positive results with similarly priced clocks. Whatever, I'm perfectly content with my present network setup, no more switches for me.
the difference between pure digital transmission and audio lies in the analogue domain, where there is no buffering and noise from the digital domain creates havoc, The only way to detect that reliably is using your ears.
To those who believe that a $2 piece of wire and a $20 switch suffice: we all believe in something…
@lmcmalo I wish you could come round to hear my system with its ‘special switch’ and Ethernet RFI filtering. I would give you a demonstration of streaming from Qobuz with the Ethernet signal direct from the router, and then via the special switch and filtering. The difference is stunning, I do this demo a lot to friends and family, none of which have HiFi systems and are inexperienced listeners. They are all amazed by the difference, ‘night and day’ is a commonly used expression.
Once you’d heard this difference you could use your valid experience of designing to help develop even greater products for us all enjoy our streamed music more.
Only problem is, I’m in the UK, but if you’re passing by, please arrange to drop in.
Her is John Quick of DCS as quotedby Austinpop on the merit of external clocks:
We began to employ external master clocks due to our experience in the pro arena, where there are generally numerous clocks running simultaneously, thereby making their use mandatory; though our engineers questioned their efficacy in relatively closed consumer systems, there is both objective/measured and subjective/listening evidence that they can have a profound effect on the sound. The theory why the dedicated, external reference makes a difference has to do with the fact crystal oscillators are electro-mechanical devices, so they are especially sensitive to their physical and electro-magnetic environment. It may be the hammer method, and you can absolutely spoil the performance of an external reference with crummy cables or improper support, but the performance gains are there to be had!
@richtruss I really wish I could, UK is a long way away from California, I'd actually make a bit detour to listen to that. But i am taking your word for it. I will continue to assume that it's possible and be on the look out for some explanation. This is part of what makes this fun.
Look, there are thing not completely explained going on in my own system. Due to the system evolution, i have 3 methods to play files on my Roon Nucleus (that's another thing, when you do this for a living, messing around with DIY NUC is less appealing). It can go this way, all with Roon:
Those 3 methods sound very, very similar. As a reference, not as obvious as changing the M3 filter (Linear/Minimum phase). I'm still trying to fully qualify this. That's were this idea of being able to validate the bit stream the DAC gets would be awesome. Since I have converted everything to Roon, I'd like to get the Naim off the stack, but at this point my perception is that this is the path that sounds best. IMO, the path that has the best chances of presenting the right bits to the DAC would be be second option, no USB or SPDIF involved. The quest continues.
@antigrunge2 Can't argue with DCS products. John is a sales guy, keep that in mind. This quote is out of context. An external clock is useful 'maybe' to synchronize multiple boxes which i am not aware of any needs for doing so in HiFi. There are difficulties with that too.
Again, clocking is not complicated, with the caveat that I am not designing DACs at DCS ;-). One can go to Renesas or Analog Device and buy a a chip of a few dollars that produces a clock with with jitter in the range of a few hundreds femto second. This is another audio mystery to me. I have no idea what is going on in a DCS clock box. The engineer in me says that a 2$ chip right by the DAC is better/cheaper solution if the goal is to present the original bits to the DAC, but what do i know?
I'd try a DCS DAC any day, dont get me wrong (Although i'd buy a Tambaqui in the spot if it would come to used market), but i really, really do not like the external Clock business. Same a the Networking stuff, there is no engineering explanation for it. The gobbledygook from John Quick isn't it. I can speak gobbledygook but i prefer English.
This has zero applicability to Ethernet. THERE IS NO CLOCK GOING ON Ethernet CABLES. I dont know how else to say that. 1000baseT Ethernet has 8 wires, in 4 twisted pair, and they all carry data using the 4 pairs. Every frame, carrying a data packet (typically less than 1500 bytes) starts with a fixed 8 bytes of data that the receiver uses to synchronize its clock to decode the payload. Ethernet 're-clocker' aren't more of a thing than dry water, sorry, there has to be a line somewhere. USB ire-clocker is a different matter, I would not be caught dead buying one, that's a different conversation, but at least there is something to talk about there (there is an actual clock ;-)).
You may choose to believe that or try one of the audio grade switches and report your findings. I believe your system is good enough to render any subtle changes with a switch like Silent Angel. If you choose not to be open minded, we understand that too! After all you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
you’ll forgive me when I believe what I hear rather than what you postulate. This is getting old fast and I distinctly feel that old @cakyolis hiding behind this new moniker. Read the full quote and you’ll see why it’s there
I’d say let’s all welcome @lmcmalohere. We may disagree in several topics, but he seems completely ingenious in what he says and appears to have a very good technical understanding and hands on experience, audio or not.
Let’s not confuse him with typical troll like individuals like the usual @cakyoldude who say NOTHING makes a difference. Not the same
The quote from DCS refers to their Bartok streamer/dac and specifically addresses the superior integrity achievable through external clocks. Likewise John Swenson, designer of the Etherregen specifically refers to improvements achievable through superior clocking. More importantly the benefits as I described in my post are clearly audible. To negate all this by postulating principle based ‘knowledge’ as a network engineer don’t impress me much. Obviously @thyname is entitled to his own view.
I never said NOTHİNG makes a difference. What I said is most of the drivel discussed sometimes in this forum does not make a difference... like Ethernet clocking, like directional fuses bathed in rhino urine, like unobtanium stones lifting speaker cables, etc. etc. There is a difference 😄
@antigrunge2 im not a network engineer. You don’t seem to understand the difference. I design and build networking equipment. The gear I work on provides networking to some of the largest retailers, colleges, etc in the US and worldwide. My gear provides wired and wireless access to 3 of google, Facebook, apple, Amazon ;-). Have you been to Starbucks or McDonald? :-)
You are welcome to remain unimpressed and you should :-). Based on his white paper, I don’t think I’d hire John. Perhaps a bit of critical thinking on what a fellow in company of 2 says would go a long way as well.
i have utmost respect for dcs company and products. But it’s not because it’s audio that everything is suddenly voodoo. I have access like you do if you and acquire knowledge to read them, to components specs. There is zero, I mean zero, need for an external clock device. A 1x1 inch square and less than 10$ makes a clock with 200-300 femto second precision clock that’s at least 1000x better than what anyone can hear. And fact, putting a clock in another box far away can only screw it up more. Who knows, maybe it sounds better this way?
long story short. I am very respectful of of what folks say they hear. Analog, Everything goes. Fuses, 10K cables, I won’t argue. Amir will ;-). The idea that bits aren’t bits is insane. If you don’t believe that, you need to stop surfing the web, put your money in the bank, use a GPS, a computer, digital photography, mobile devices, drive a car made the last 30 years, if a bit isn’t a bit, none of those things work. See my first post on this thread. Bits aren’t bits comes about when you put bits through bad protocols like SPDIF and USB and the delicate operation of a DAC. In the networking realm, a bit is a bit.
I expect you would have achieved better results with a $70 USB isolator, a $100 secondary supply, and $50 cable, than the $400 cable, but that is just a guess.
It seems obvious to me that you understand Ethernet at an implementation level, and your comment about the $10 clock shows you have a good grasp of what it takes to make a DAC work.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of inertia in this hobby and I would expect most you will run into on this and similar forums, certainly the heavy posters, are 50+ if not 60+. They grew up with CD players and TOSLINK, back when jitter could be 3-5nsec, and there was no way to properly address it. Ditto for low tap upsampling, poorer on chip analog, synchronous USB, etc. It's 2021, but the mindset is still from 1990ish. The problems that used to exist and have been long solved, are still being brought up like they exist and are just as substantial ... though some implementation appear to be recreating the problems of 1990. There is a whole portion of the industry that survives on keeping that mind set alive, hence you are fighting memory, inertia, and a motivated crowd working to discredit you, or at least people like you.
you pretend to know it all yet refer to using DSP to adjust your system to whatever suits you. That alone in my mind disqualifies you as a serious audiophile. DSP requires substantial computing power and that creates serious issues with SQ. All your remarks about packet switching and buffering miss the point entirely. Clocking accuracy Through The Chain has major impact on the signal conversion into analogue and if you cańt hear it keep believing whatever. That major designers from DCM and Schiit make the same argument should at least make you think again; Insulting others as retrograde bumpkins to elevate oneself disqualifies you entirely. Over and out.
as usual barking up the wrong tree: just try Roon with and without DSP. If you can‘t hear the difference, I can‘t help you. And the clocking issues I am talking about definitely have nothing to do with synchronising different DACs. Tiresome…
I have tried Roon with and without DSP, I also have DSP in my speakers. I never said you can’t hear differences. I was questioning the notion it creates serious issues with SQ. I am sure it can if you haven’t the slightest idea what you’re doing. Nowsdays DSP should be in every system if you really want state of the art audio reproduction. You evidently don’t understand clocking in digital in properly designed DACs for the last 20 years.
Schitt is trying to sell you stuff. They didn't even have proper measurement tools till quite late. I have no hesitation based on that guessing I know more about clocking and what it does. Did you mean DCS? Once they understood who I was they would say much different things to me than you.
Do you have any tube gear?
Your comment on DSP unfortunately makes your ability to participate effectively in this conversation difficult. Tubes, your speakers, reflections, sound absorbing, and any number of things create far more uncontrolled non linear "processing" than an ADC/DSP/DAC of some quality ever will.
One of the reasons I like and respect Nelson Pass is he makes no excuses or false explanations for purposely using non linearity (distortion}. Don't believe everything you are told.
If you are working to achieve your goals using faith you may stumble on the target but it will be by luck. The results of our hobby are purely subjective preference but the underlying tenets are not and rejecting them because you don't believe them does not change that.
If I placed an ADC/DSP/DAC in your signal chain and you could not tell if it was there or not would you accept that you are currently wrong.