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Shunyata Zi-Tron Cobra (new not King Cobra) (Video Inside) - Page 3

post #31 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Finally, a product out of the Southern Hemishphere - free delivery if you live in Oz or NZ:

 

http://www.antipodesaudio.com/music_servers.html

 

gallery_AMS_black_low.jpg

 

Now all I have to do is find 2400 AUD and find some way of getting this to Thailand when I move in 2014. Other than that, its all good downunder right now - huzzah !   biggrin.gif

 

Forgot about this - aaarrggghhhh  - half of bloody NZ lives here, but we would still have to pay Customs Duty per this example:

 

If the Customs value (CV) of imported Goods = $1,500.00 
Then the Customs Duty @ 5% of the $1,500 (CV) = $75.00 (Payable) 
Assuming the international transport and insurance (T&I) = $125.00 
Then the VoTI = (CV) + Duty + (T&I) = $1,700.00 
GST = 10% of the VoTI = 10% x $1,700 = $170.00 (Payable) 
Therefore the Total Duty plus GST payable = $245.00

 

 Quite a good looking unit - this appears to be a large part of the puzzle in that box

 

 The SOtM tx-USB output card

 

 SOtM-PCI.jpg

 

 That and the power supply

 

 "We also offer a high quality Linear Power Supply for 220-240V 50-60Hz operation, with ripple <0.05% RMS. This AMS Linear Power Supply

 lifts the performance of the AMS with a lower noise floor, greater resolution and dynamics.

Dimensions: 55mm (H) x 165mm (W) x 237mm (D).

The AMS Linear Power Supply meets:
- EMC Radiated Noise & Conducted Noise Standard EN55022-A
- EMC Safety Standard IEC950 & AS/NZ3260:1993
"

 

 You could in theory build it for less - the SOtm card for example is $300USD + freight, the case would be pricey for sure and that power supply - no idea.

 

 The rest is just DIY PC bits and bobs available from any PC tech shack.

post #32 of 61

That's the main issue I have with a lot of these $3,000 servers, they are mostly standard computer parts. Custom cases with integrated heatpipe fanless cooling systems are expensive on their own, but you can use a standard MATX case and something like the Nofan CR-95C and achieve pretty much the same effect. The Adnaco completely severs the USB ground, which the SoTM card can't do.

 

I'm also not convinced that these Linux builds can outperform JPlay in full hibernation/overdrive mode.

post #33 of 61

I'm pretty sure Marcin (admin from JPlay) stopped using SOTM once he found the adnaco s3.

 

The benefit of the SOTM USB is that power can be supplemented from an external source or disconnected completely - if a Calyx DAC with outboard PSU / battery or something like a JKSPDIF / pure power ap2 converter with battery power is used it will pretty much negate the effects of the SOTM usb card.

 

There are also posts on the JPlay forum where people take out the SOTM SATA filters in their systems after a while..

 

 

Gwarmi - look up the PICO PSU - put that in a PC and connect it to a _good_ linear power supply and you could be on to a winner.  Even using it with a laptop style power brick is meant to be ok.

 

The fact that the antipodes server uses a standard PCI card and runs Linux shows that it is nothing more than a tweaked HTPC.  It may be a really good one however... :)

post #34 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

That's the main issue I have with a lot of these $3,000 servers, they are mostly standard computer parts. Custom cases with integrated heatpipe fanless cooling systems are expensive on their own, but you can use a standard MATX case and something like the Nofan CR-95C and achieve pretty much the same effect. The Adnaco completely severs the USB ground, which the SoTM card can't do.

 

I'm also not convinced that these Linux builds can outperform JPlay in full hibernation/overdrive mode.

 

Wasnt that the whole concept behind the CAPS Server ? From memory, at least per Chris' specs, it still comes in at 1500USD and you have to build the thing yourself. He lost me when he chose the most bloated version of Win 7 as his OS - I know Chris has put a lot of time and effort into evaluating different operating systems, but I'd love to DBT the finished product against the competition - be it PC-based or a network streamer from NAD/Marantz/Naim. Most of the focus on various forums seems to have shifted away from the objectives Chris set himself for the project - I think they are worth revisiting - 

 

 

  1. Absolutely silent.
  2. Capable of great sound.
  3. Great looking.
  4. No moving parts.
  5. Fairly inexpensive.
  6. No legacy components.
  7. Easy to operate.
    1. Directly or
    2. Remotely
  8. Easy to assemble / install
    1. Assembly / installation by one's self or
    2. Assembly / installation by local computer shop, son, daughter, neighbor, or friend.
  9. Small size.
  10. Low power consumption.
  11. Low heat.
  12. Accept an add-in card for audio or additional capabilities. Hardware & Software must accept appropriate add-in cards.
  13. Play 16/44.1, 24/44.1, 24/88.2, 24/96, 24/176.4, and 24/192 all bit perfect.

 

I don't know about anyone else, but I believe you CAN achieve all of those with a barebones Linux-based PC and a NAS box - the biggest potential stumbling block being drivers for some of the more exotic cards - but Chris took a different path.

 

 

 

The thing that stands out about any such build is that the urge to keep tinkering would be tough to resist - for some thats a bonus, but it doesnt spell 'budget build' in my universe. I know some people have modded 'black boxes' like the SB Touch, but for most folk such gizmos are plug, play and ignore - regardless of the sonics relative to something like the CAPS server, the black box approach has a lot of appeal for those of us who dont want to keep swapping cards in the eternal quest for that elusive silver bullet. wink.gif

post #35 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

 

Wasnt that the whole concept behind the CAPS Server ? From memory, at least per Chris' specs, it still comes in at 1500USD and you have to build the thing yourself. He lost me when he chose the most bloated version of Win 7 as his OS - I know Chris has put a lot of time and effort into evaluating different operating systems, but I'd love to DBT the finished product against the competition - be it PC-based or a network streamer from NAD/Marantz/Naim. Most of the focus on various forums seems to have shifted away from the objectives Chris set himself for the project - I think they are worth revisiting -

 

Well the CAPS as he laid it out isn't exactly hard to build. You don't even need any thermal paste, you just screw a few parts in and you're done. I could build that in.. ten minutes? What I don't understand is where the value is with some of these products. The Auraliti PK90 USB is $750, and it includes the SoTM card. Granted there's no internal storage, but even a 512GB SSD will only add a few hundred more dollars. Why are these other servers $2-3K, when they do exactly the same thing? I'm betting there's a lot of profit margin in most of these boxes, many of which are from companies that didn't exist two years ago.

 

I do understand the appeal of a box you buy, plug in, and turn on. Unfortunately they don't solve everything, at least not yet. There's still many USB products that either don't work with Linux at all, or with certain flavors of Linux - the Empirical products being big ones. The old Auraliti which I think has been discontinued used a Juli@ for its output (as does the Bryston server which is Auraliti based), which isn't even on the same planet as something like the Off-Ramp. Many of the others use a Lynx card which can match the $500 and below converters, but is still not ideal.

 

The DIY PC server is definitely for someone who likes to tweak, and if you do go the JPlay hibernation route, it's far less convenient than the servers which offer full web/iOS/Android control. If it doesn't sound better than the PK90 USB, or the Sonore server or any of the others, there's little reason to do it.

post #36 of 61

Good points - I tried JPLAY Hibernate and didnt have much luck. It doesnt seem to work with the MSII - works straight from the HO on my laptop but that's kinda defeating the whole 'better sound' thing ..... 

 

Still, I'll definitely keep a weather eye on those forums - JPLAY and CA - those guys are continually ferreting out new and interesting ways to spend what can only be impressive trust funds !  P86 once intimated to me that he feels the average CA user seems to have more disposable income than the average Head-Fier - based on some of the sigs over there, I suspect they have more disposable income than most Australian State governments ....  eek.gif

 

I'm hoping that the first commercially available 3D printers for the home will allow me to assemble a very impressive set of hi-fi lookalikes so I can update my sig too.   biggrin.gif

 

3d-printer-bicycle.jpg

post #37 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Good points - I tried JPLAY Hibernate and didnt have much luck. It doesnt seem to work with the MSII - works straight from the HO on my laptop but that's kinda defeating the whole 'better sound' thing ..... 

 

Still, I'll definitely keep a weather eye on those forums - JPLAY and CA - those guys are continually ferreting out new and interesting ways to spend what can only be impressive trust funds !  P86 once intimated to me that he feels the average CA user seems to have more disposable income than the average Head-Fier - based on some of the sigs over there, I suspect they have more disposable income than most Australian State governments ....  eek.gif

 

There's a thread on the JPlay forum covering DACs which work, or don't, with hibernation mode. If anything I think a DIY JPlay box can act as quite a bargain in terms of a source. Parts cost will be a bit more than the CAPS in some areas because little Atom CPUs won't cut it, but you don't have to blow $300 on a case like Chris did. Even the $5K Aurender S10 is using what appear to be off the shelf internal SATA cables, when getting the drive out of the box entirely (and using an optical rather than electrical connection) is a much better option. I've also seen less than amazing results from the $4500+ Bladelius.

 

Its quite possible that one of the mega buck Naim servers would crush everything in its path, I certainly wouldn't be surprised. For a source under $2K though, I think the custom JPlay box makes a very strong case for itself.

post #38 of 61

I should probably start a new thread as this topic deserve its own thread, and is also getting off-topic.

 

anyway, my desktop PC is a two-year old Dell Studio XPS. it's not the fastest PC, but it's not slow either, by any standard. I've always felt that the PC was the weakest link in the system, always. but I didn't know what to do. I tried different DACs, cables, etc., which it all helped in some way or another, but there's still this nagging sensation or frustration of something not quite right at the sound. as I found out was it totally justified as the PC it's c**p.

 

what makes the AMS so much better that a regular PC I don't really know. I can speculate that the SOtM card may have something to do with it. but I think there's more to it than just assembling various PC parts IKEA style. that's the reason the CAPS didn't appeal to me. whether the CAP or any other similar styled server mentioned here or elsewhere are better than the AMS is not the issue for me. the fact still remains the AMS is good, maybe not perfect, but really good. what I'm hearing is hi-end audio, and it's beautiful. with the PC it's a mediocre mid-fi sound in comparison. when I say I'd rather use the AMS with a cheap DAC than a very expensive one with a desktop PC I'm not kidding or exaggerating one little bit. would I rather spend the money on upgrading the speakers? absolutely 100%.. NO.

 

I think we've become stuck with the idea that a DAC is the main part in the system; like you need to use an expensive DAC with your PC to get the best sound. of course a good DAC will help more than a cheap one, but it's not the be all and end all holy grail. far from it. the saying garbage in, garbage out still very much applies here, at least in my case. I know these kind of servers are still relatively new in the audiophile scene, probably because the previous once were not much better than a notebook, but I think eventually they will replace the CD player. it already has in my case.


Edited by Lenni - 6/30/12 at 11:01am
post #39 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenni View Post

what makes the AMS so much better that a regular PC I don't really know. I can speculate that the SOtM card may have something to do with it. but I think there's more to it than just assembling various PC parts IKEA style. that's the reason the CAPS didn't appeal to me. whether the CAP or any other similar styled server mentioned here or elsewhere are better than the AMS is not the issue for me. the fact still remains the AMS is good, maybe not perfect, but really good. what I'm hearing is hi-end audio, and it's beautiful. with the PC it's a mediocre mid-fi sound in comparison. when I say I'd rather use the AMS with a cheap DAC than a very expensive one with a desktop PC I'm not kidding or exaggerating one little bit. would I rather spend the money on upgrading the speakers? absolutely 100%.. NO.

 

I think we've become stuck with the idea that a DAC is the main part in the system; like you need to use an expensive DAC with your PC to get the best sound. of course a good DAC will help more than a cheap one, but it's not the be all and end all holy grail. far from it. the saying garbage in, garbage out still very much applies here, at least in my case. I know these kind of servers are still relatively new in the audiophile scene, probably because the previous once were not much better than a notebook, but I think eventually they will replace the CD player. it already has in my case.

 

It's not just parts selection. Any regular desktop computer that you use for web browsing and word processing and is loaded with AV software and whatever else is just not going to work. You can't have a general purpose computer that's also an ultra high-end source, it's just not possible at least with the hardware and software currently available. If you want to go the PC route, you have to build one solely for the purpose of music playback. Windows (stripped down to the bare essentials) USB DAC or converter drivers and that's it. A linear power supply isn't really practical for something Core i5 powered, but you want a PSU that has an iron grip on its 12V and 5V rails, not something Dell buys in bulk at the lowest possible cost.

 

The SoTM card is fine, better when externally powered, but the Adnaco goes a step further. No direct electrical connection will always be better than even a heavily filtered one when it comes to controlling noise.

 

A common theme around these parts is either the completely misguided "digital is digital" crowd who thinks anything bit-perfect is "flawless", or the slightly less but still very much misguided "DACs fix everything" crowd who believe that a $50 DVD player will sound the same as a $50K belt driven Burmester transport because the input stage of any "well designed DAC" is some sort of miracle cure-all. It would be absolutely fantastic if that were the case, you could then use any PC with optical out and get the greatest sound in the world. Unfortunately that completely ignores a little thing called timing that both the "bit perfect" and "DACs are perfect" crowds utterly fail to understand.

 

I should also add that most of these servers including the AMS and Sonore run VortexBox, which is free to download and available to anyone per Linux rules. There's nothing stopping you from making your own VortexBox server as opposed to Windows and JPlay.


Edited by DaveBSC - 6/30/12 at 1:43pm
post #40 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenni View Post

I should probably start a new thread as this topic deserve its own thread, and is also getting off-topic.

 

anyway, my desktop PC is a two-year old Dell Studio XPS. it's not the fastest PC, but it's not slow either, by any standard. I've always felt that the PC was the weakest link in the system, always. but I didn't know what to do. I tried different DACs, cables, etc., which it all helped in some way or another, but there's still this nagging sensation or frustration of something not quite right at the sound. as I found out was it totally justified as the PC it's c**p.

 

what makes the AMS so much better that a regular PC I don't really know. I can speculate that the SOtM card may have something to do with it. but I think there's more to it than just assembling various PC parts IKEA style. that's the reason the CAPS didn't appeal to me. whether the CAP or any other similar styled server mentioned here or elsewhere are better than the AMS is not the issue for me. the fact still remains the AMS is good, maybe not perfect, but really good. what I'm hearing is hi-end audio, and it's beautiful. with the PC it's a mediocre mid-fi sound in comparison. when I say I'd rather use the AMS with a cheap DAC than a very expensive one with a desktop PC I'm not kidding or exaggerating one little bit. would I rather spend the money on upgrading the speakers? absolutely 100%.. NO.

 

I think we've become stuck with the idea that a DAC is the main part in the system; like you need to use an expensive DAC with your PC to get the best sound. of course a good DAC will help more than a cheap one, but it's not the be all and end all holy grail. far from it. the saying garbage in, garbage out still very much applies here, at least in my case. I know these kind of servers are still relatively new in the audiophile scene, probably because the previous once were not much better than a notebook, but I think eventually they will replace the CD player. it already has in my case.

 

 Early adopter times Lenni biggrin.gif

 

 It can be frustrating, not only with one's own music but also battling with the status quo that seems content with hooking up $3,000+

 DAC's to simple, multi application laptops (read: setup for web, email, virus protection etc etc)

 

 I hear you in any case - I've thrown myself into the deep end chasing a lower noise floor and blacker ground via this power cord pursuit,

 but make no mistake the real dividends will pay off when I finally fire everything up with a proper music server build.

 

 Good news is that I may have an encounter soon enough with an Antipodes (NZ) server in the coming days or weeks - very keen to assess it.

 

 Here is the test that I propose - Take a DAC in the $1,000-ish region (<add your own>, Burson, Rega, AudioLab, Audio-gd Ref 5.2) -

 now let's hook it up to a Woo Audio transport and play the following single track - Hotel California - from this album:-

 

 Eagles.jpg

 

 Next, we turn to 'Exact Audio Copy' or EAC as most of us know it by - straight to *.WAV on the Antipodes music server and let's see the results.

 

 FYI - the test CD rig will comprise of either the Woo Audio WTP transport or a Luxman D05 SACD player (used as a transport via

 optical out - remember it remains a $5,995 player down here in Oz). 

 

 Results? Stay tuned - no idea myself - I can say this though regarding another 'tangent' of audio - I have this for the remaining weekend.

 

 pure p.jpg

 

Has it helped? Well it has exposed my interconnects without doubt as the source of my woe - everything matters. Head-Fi is nothing more than

a condensed, micro version of the Hi-Fi world.

post #41 of 61

Gwarmi, I'm tempted to post a couple of paras from Stereophile into this thread, but I've been part of a major derailment already so I'll leave it there. All I will say is that Steve Nugent claims he can re-clock almost any source and give your DAC  a much better shot at wrestling those bits into something resembling aural bliss, and Stereophile seemed happy to march to that tune. I have no idea how well that does or doesnt work with JPLAY in Hibernate mode, or whether its an instant panacea for every digital nasty out there. 

 

Look forward to further developments in your quest for the 'ultimate'. 

post #42 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Gwarmi, I'm tempted to post a couple of paras from Stereophile into this thread, but I've been part of a major derailment already so I'll leave it there. All I will say is that Steve Nugent claims he can re-clock almost any source and give your DAC  a much better shot at wrestling those bits into something resembling aural bliss, and Stereophile seemed happy to march to that tune. I have no idea how well that does or doesnt work with JPLAY in Hibernate mode, or whether its an instant panacea for every digital nasty out there. 

 

Look forward to further developments in your quest for the 'ultimate'. 

 

 Mate, no need for explanations on the derailment - I'm sure we're both old and crusty enough to know that

 this site reveals the most insightful views on segway threads :-) At least, that's my experience anyway

 - derailments tend to take care of themselves unless of course we are discussing another thread along the

 lines of 'Dre Beats Vs AT-M50 Mega Showdown, Live Live - Be There!!'

 

 As for relevant revelations concerning the subject of this thread - I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself last

 night with the C5 to IEC connector on my Rega source with the Nordost Heimdall Revision 2

 

 Nordost.jpg

 

 Now this cable in 'theory' - is not in the same league as the forthcoming Shunyata Cobra

 nonetheless, it gave me a rendition of Roy Orbison's classics like I'd never heard before

  there is an element of 'blackness' to his material, his voice emanating from a distant place

  it remains hauntingly good.

 

 Recycling back to the very start of this thread - I am starting to believe and understand

 ol' Caelin Gabriel when he says

'

There was a noisy grain always riding the music'.

post #43 of 61
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gwarmi View Post

 Now this cable in 'theory' - is not in the same league as the forthcoming Shunyata Cobra

 nonetheless, it gave me a rendition of Roy Orbison's classics like I'd never heard before

  there is an element of 'blackness' to his material, his voice emanating from a distant place

  it remains hauntingly good.

 

 Recycling back to the very start of this thread - I am starting to believe and understand

 ol' Caelin Gabriel when he says

'

There was a noisy grain always riding the music'.

Uh oh, back on topic! In my old system I experimented with quite a few power cords and conditioners, and I was quite surprised by the differences that many of them brought.

 

I started with the old PS Audio cords of two generations ago. The Prelude IIRC was a sub $200 cord. Not amazing, but definitely better than the stock cord on my Parasound amp. The removable ground pin also solved the hum that old Parasound amps are well known for, without having to use a performance destroying $2 cheater plug made out of the cheapest metal imaginable. From there I moved to a Statement, which was a pretty good lesson on how not to design a power cord. It was basically 800 tons of copper and 800 tons of shielding - following the "more is more" school. The sound was muddy and lifeless.

 

From there I went to an entry-level Siltech which was nice, but a little bass lean, definitely more of a source cord. Then came a Wireworld Electra, which as far as I could tell did absolutely nothing over stock. Unless I'm mistaken, the WW also had its shield connected at both ends, which is how you don't use a shield.

 

I had an absolutely mammoth Custom Power Cord Company HCF, which was impossible to handle and mostly sounded weird, rather than good. Then came the ElectraGlide Epiphanys, first one, then more so that every component in the system had an Epiphany cord attached. That was the best the system sounded at that point. Unfortunately the owner of EG was not that reputable, and the quality of his cords went WAY downhill until he finally closed up his shop entirely.

 

After selling that system and going to headphones exclusively, I changed to a B-P-T conditioner and tried a bunch of stuff, and I ultimately settled on Kubala Sosna Emotion which are the best I've heard to date. I'm sure the K-S Elation and Jorma Prime and the mega buck Siltech Royal series are all wonderful, but they also all cost silly amounts of money.

post #44 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

Uh oh, back on topic! In my old system I experimented with quite a few power cords and conditioners, and I was quite surprised by the differences that many of them brought.

 

I started with the old PS Audio cords of two generations ago. The Prelude IIRC was a sub $200 cord. Not amazing, but definitely better than the stock cord on my Parasound amp. The removable ground pin also solved the hum that old Parasound amps are well known for, without having to use a performance destroying $2 cheater plug made out of the cheapest metal imaginable. From there I moved to a Statement, which was a pretty good lesson on how not to design a power cord. It was basically 800 tons of copper and 800 tons of shielding - following the "more is more" school. The sound was muddy and lifeless.

 

From there I went to an entry-level Siltech which was nice, but a little bass lean, definitely more of a source cord. Then came a Wireworld Electra, which as far as I could tell did absolutely nothing over stock. Unless I'm mistaken, the WW also had its shield connected at both ends, which is how you don't use a shield.

 

I had an absolutely mammoth Custom Power Cord Company HCF, which was impossible to handle and mostly sounded weird, rather than good. Then came the ElectraGlide Epiphanys, first one, then more so that every component in the system had an Epiphany cord attached. That was the best the system sounded at that point. Unfortunately the owner of EG was not that reputable, and the quality of his cords went WAY downhill until he finally closed up his shop entirely.

 

After selling that system and going to headphones exclusively, I changed to a B-P-T conditioner and tried a bunch of stuff, and I ultimately settled on Kubala Sosna Emotion which are the best I've heard to date. I'm sure the K-S Elation and Jorma Prime and the mega buck Siltech Royal series are all wonderful, but they also all cost silly amounts of money.

 

 Cor, makes my looming Shunyata Cobra seem like a meal coupon smile.gif

 

 $3,000 per metre!

 

 Kubula.jpg

post #45 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwarmi View Post

 

 Cor, makes my looming Shunyata Cobra seem like a meal coupon smile.gif

 

 $3,000 per metre!

 

 Kubula.jpg


Where'd you see that? When I got them they started at $1,000, I think they are a bit more now, but only like $1200-1400, not $3,000.

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