JCAT Femto USB Card


I would like bring awareness to something that has drastically changed my computer audio experience: the JCAT Femto USB card.

The USB was very easy to install specially since Win 10 Pro recognizes the card without installing a driver - true plug-n-play. I was initially unimpressed with the sound and decided to burn in the card by continuously feeding signal through it for a week. OK, now I'm impressed. The imaging is so surefooted/solid and are emerging from a black background that I'm now experiencing my system in a way I have not experienced before. Even bass and midbass produces a solid image. The soundstage has become well layered and has grown a bit in height possibly due to increased midrange clarity. I thought my computer setup was excellent which is why I did not anticipate such a great improvement. My system is very revealing and all components have been modified with upgrades such as capacitors, resistors, diodes, fuse swaps, etc. This upgrade is a large step toward realism and allows my system to show off it's capabilities. The JCAT USB Femto card is highly recommended.

I ordered from the highend-audiopc website and had a positive purchasing experience.

It's good to see new products in the small PC audio market. Hopefully, in time, we'll see better competition and prices.
c_avila1

I've been using the original JCAT USB PCie card with its own power supply, with the JCAT 2 into 1 USB cable for 3 years now. It feeds into my Antelope Platinum DAC (+Rubidium Clock) and the music is as good as you can get. I use HD-800 phones so I can hear all the music issues as I convert each.

I convert my own music to WAV 24/196 and use the JCAT setup to vet each recording before sending to my NAS storage. I have been considering changing to the Femto card but they are expensive. Heck all our gear is expensive!

@c_avila1

Thanks for sharing your impressions. I’m glad you’re enjoying my product.
If you connect a linear PSU to the card, it will get even better. 

Best regards,
Marcin
JPLAY & JCAT Founder
@marcin_gps 

I'm definitely considering a linear PSU for the JCAT USB card once I complete a speaker project that is underway. 

I look forward to the increase in sound quality but I don't look forward to adding another component that I have to turn on and off when I use my system. 

Mojo Audio has an internal voltage regulator that is powered by a molex cable. I would have loved to use this with the USB card but Mojo does not have the aluminum plates and can only sell the bare circuit board leaving the customer to find an aluminum plate / heat sink. 

Would it be possible for you to develop a component similar to Mojo Audio's internal regulator module? That would be very convenient to someone like me who prefers less components connected to the wall or power conditioner. 
@c_avila1 

The internal regulator from Mojo provides a nice improvement, even when combined with a linear PSU (I've tested it). But like you said, there is the heat issue - it must be installed on a large heatsink otherwise it gets extremely hot. 

I have no plans to develop such a product in the near future. Hope you can find an alternative solution

Best regards,
Marcin
I installed the Mojo Audio voltage regulator inside the PC using a heat sink purchased from Mouser that fit the regulator almost perfectly (Mouser #: 436-F-DA50D). I used leftover thermal grease from my CPU/cooler project to couple the regulator plate and heat sink together.

So far so good. The regulator provided a bit of focus to the already great soundstage and removed grit from the sound. Mojo's regulator is definitely a worthwhile upgrade to a revealing system.
I forgot to mention that I used a pair of #8 x 1/2 inch screws + nuts to fasten the heatsink and regulator plate together.
@c_avila1 Could you please post a picture of the installation?
@marcin_gps

The following links are photos of the installation. I posted a typo in the previous message: The correct screw size is 8-32 x 1/2".

You’ll notice a smaller heat sink in the photos. It’s the same size except the fins are much shorter. I used the shorter heat sink but I opted for the larger heat sink for good measure.

I almost used an entire container of 3.5 grams of Arctic Silver 5. I consider it an upgrade for the sake of thermal management.

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h162/triggr_357/20180611_2042532_LI.jpg

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h162/triggr_357/20180611_203950.jpg

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h162/triggr_357/20180611_203504.jpg

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h162/triggr_357/20180611_203611.jpg

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h162/triggr_357/20180611_203431.jpg

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h162/triggr_357/20180611_203114.jpg

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h162/triggr_357/20180611_203050.jpg
@c_avila1 thanks for uploading the pics - looks good! :)
@marcin_gps  I finally bought a linear power supply for the USB card. The jumper was set to "no filter". The soundstage is way more spacious and layered, digital glare is gone, detail is more realistic yet smooth, and bass is abundant and solid. It is imperative for the JCAT USB card to use an LPS. The power supply that I'm using is the UltraCap LPS 1.2 which was purchased directly from Uptone Audio. I regret not having purchased an LPS sooner.

I have a question about the,  JCAT Femto USB card.

I am wondering if using this card would improve the sound quality of my very entry level system?

Here is my equipment:

- HTPC (built it myself)
- Questyle CMA400i DAC
- Vincent Audio SV-500 Integrated Amp
- Martin Logan Motion 40 Speakers
- Jriver Software

I have also read that getting a better USB cable could also improve sound quality.

From my computer, I listen to the following formats of music: DSD, Qobuz and ripped CD's (FLAC).

I would say everything sound pretty good but am wondering if combo of the  JCAT Femto USB card. + better quality USB cable could produce significant improvements?

Would I need anything else? I was also reading about a power supply?

Is that a optional power supply that connects to the USB card and is it necessary?

And final question, I am assuming I would need to configure Jriver to work with the USB card, is that correct?

Thanks
If anyone is interested you will get even better sound by getting yourself a JCat Femto Network card and your streaming will sound wonderful.
@jay73 There's no doubt that my system cannot sound the same without the JCAT Femto USB card. It's sound quality is at least 70% of the improvement that the Pass XA25 provided to my system and only a 5th of the price when you also include the price of a linear power supply.  

It's imperative that you use an LPS with the USB card. I cannot recommend the USB card without it. 

@jim204 I don't have a home network to stream music from one room to another. I don't my system will benefit from the network card. Let's see if @marcin_gps can chime in on this topic. 
@c_avila1    I have to say that anyone will notice a difference if they are using a wired network to stream music and I do agree that an LPS is mandatory. I use both cards with one and can really recomend them as they have made an incredible difference to the sound from my PC.