The DIY'rs Cookbook

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  1. johnjen
    So I recently upgraded my Jggy with the self install Gen-5 USB board.
    And so far I have ≈ 60 hrs on it and it has proved itself a worthy upgrade.

    This is easily the best improvement to USB I have ever heard, and that it cost only $100/$150 is icing on the cake.

    It is very close to my tweako RN3 setup, but thus far, is not quite it's equal.
    The 'gap' remains about the same in terms of the ∆ between them as the rest of the system is also 'settling in' to other tweaks as well.

    IOW as the rest of the system improves so do both the AOIP and USB feeds improve equally, thus the gap between them stays about the same.
    At least thus far.
    And I figure I'll need to give it all more time to fully stabilize, and until it has done so I'll refrain from making a 'final' evaluation.

    But for $100 this is in keeping with the Schiit creed of MOAR 4 less.

  2. gefski
    I'll be interested when you have a feel for the "black backgroundness" of the two. When I went to Dante Ethernet delivery it was the "nothingness" around the entire presentation, and especially micro details that hit me (and still does). That, of course, really led to vital and alive dynamic swings, and "seemed" to make timbre and texture more real, though I didn't feel Yggy's tonality changed in any way.

    Regardless of what we Dante-phools do, it appears Schiit has thrown another wrench into the USB dac competition, raising the bar again.
  3. johnjen
    In my system I hear the "black backgroundness" and "nothingness" which are, in my grasp of this, closely related, to how well the musical waveform is reconstructed.
    By that I mean, when ALL (or more and more) of the source of the acoustical energy is 'contained' or 'concentrated' where it belongs vs spread out over time (either before or after), this results in 2 desirable acoustic aspects.
    #1 The "black backgroundness" and "nothingness" have less 'residual' acoustical energy, and so are 'quieter' (more "black backgroundness" and "nothingness") because there is less energy in those moments where there shouldn't be any.
    #2 The 'voices' themselves become more real, as in all (or more and more) of their acoustical power is properly presented when and where it should be.
    This increases the short term dynamics (Leading Edge Dynamics is how I hear it), because the acoustical energy is focused more precisely thru time.

    This ability to re-create the original wave form with less 'smearing' thru time results in more accurate "micro details" & "vital and alive dynamic swings" & "timbre and texture" all without changing the "tonality" but instead enhancing all of these attributes, and more.
    And the Jggy's ability to re-create the original waveform is among the very best available and so it is 'easier' to hear these subtle differences, assuming the rest of the system can 'keep up' so to speak.

    And at this early stage that is the primary difference I hear between my AOIP and the Gen-5 digital audio feeds, that being, there is a bit of smearing/slight veil/slight, ever so slight drop in Realness when switching to the Gen-5 input.

    And yeah that was the gauntlet that was 'thrown down' to see if USB could be improved enough to 'be all it could be' so to speak.
    And it certainly has taken a 'mother may I' step up in SQ, enough so and with a no-brainer price to boot, that for most (unlike us audiophools) it’s now a rather expensive step up to the next level.
    So Schiit has done it yet again, elevated the level of SQ of 'stock' gear up to that 99% level of attainment, and with bargain basement prices.
    And the net result is more and more folks will be able to hear into the music all the Moar.

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  4. johnjen
    So on Friday 8/18 (the night before our local PNW meet) with about 160hrs of settling in time, the gap between these 2 digital audio transports closed up by ≈ 1/2.

    The G-5 still trails in 2nd place thus far, but the differences are getting smaller.
    And I'll wait until ≈ 200+hrs (which should be tomorrow day, the 21st) before I check to hear what the differences between them has become.

    But it is still amazing that this G-5 USB setup delivers so much for so little.

  5. johnjen
    Progress report at just under 400hrs for the Gen-5 board.

    So once again I (re)learned that turning off SMPS's improves the SQ.
    And these last 3 devices aren't even in the audio chain.
    And granted these are 'noisy' pieces of gear, in that they generate and deal with very hi-freq signals.

    I turn off the cable modem, the wifi router, and the screen, and a whole nuther degree of inner detail comes alive.

    And under these conditions the ∆ between the Gen-5 and my AOIP comes into sharper focus.

    IOW the amount of the veil that becomes apparent when listening to the Gen-5 USB input to the Jggy is about the same as before, only the details are in sharper focus.

    There is a softening, a slight smearing in the details of all 'voices', an added bit of fuzz to the entire acoustic presentation, when compared to my AOIP feed.

    And yes this ∆ is very slight and for most it may not be readily apparent, at all, nor significant.

    So at this point I can say that the Gen-5 USB upgrade is right up there with the very best available right now.
    But in keeping with Schiit's ability to deliver the most for the least, it is certainly a bargain and 3/4's.

    I'll be waiting for another ≈100hrs before I make a 'final' evaluation, but for right now my dialed in AOIP feed still has the upper hand, albeit a slight one.

  6. johnjen
    Last night I Mork'd my system, just a little bit.
    By little bit I mean I only Mork'd one connector pair, my 800 4-pin XLR into The Rok amp.

    And thus far I like my Mork'd system 'Better' than before it got Mork'd.
    Of course it's still a bit early to make a final determination of the results of it getting Mork'd, let alone Mork'ng the rest of the system.
    And of course if you're reading this you're probably aware that if this initial Mork'ification proves itself worthy, I'll jump in with both feet and Mork'ify the rest of my system.
    And if these initial results continue to improve beyond what they are right now, that full meal deal to Mork'fy the rest of the system won't be to far off.

    So I can hear the peanut gallery grumphing from here.
    What is he carrying on about now?
    And what is this Mork business all about anyway…

    Well it's like this see…
    Some may remember the Mork and Mindy show from way back.
    And Mork (Robin Williams) would often mutter Nanu-Nanu as a response to situations.

    In my case it would be Nano-Nano (it's just one letter off).

    I am experimenting with Nano Fluid.
    And I can absolutely unequivocally and categorically deny it has ANY thing to do with snake oil, in any way shape or form.
    No snakes were harmed nor milked for their precious audiophool oil.
    In fact they (Furutech) are quite proud of the fact that they DON'T use snake oil.
    They use Shark (Squalene) Oil instead.
    And they infuse it with nano particles (8 Nm Max., i.e. 8/1,000,000mm) of silver and gold.

    This is a step beyond the silver paste I experimented with previously, which I abandoned when I started playing with metallurgical connector combinations.
    The silver when used with my latest connectors was a small step backwards, but it did take the SQ backwards indeed, so I removed it (remember those XLR cleaning brushes?).

    So now there is WAY less being used and the particle size has dropped by orders of magnitude as well.
    But this stuff does have one draw back, it's like $200 for a tiny bottle with a volume of only 2cc.
    I found it for ≈ 1/2 that price and figured it would be a worthwhile experiment to try.
    And this 2cc of oil is enough to last me for the rest of my life, such is the tiny amount used for each connector pair

    And thus far Getting Mork'd is delightful and I don't have to worry about depleting the worlds limited supply of genuwhine snake oil in the process.
    What a relief!
    And because I can categorically deny that this is snake oil of any sort, I'm safe from the pitchfork and rope noose crowd.

    And the extra bit of focus and resolution I'm hearing after being Mork'd thus far is proving to be yet another tweak worthy of further exploration.

    And so it goes.

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  7. Middy
    I wasn't sure on the silver paste. But for cleaning loose removable connectors.
    ultrasonic cleaners are a few dollars now and a litre of 100% Isopropyl alcohol not that much. I use a small glass dish to hold the alcohol and fill the the rest of the ultrasonic cleaner with water to act as a medium. The advantage with this is it removes fibers as well as surface contamination. 100% Isopropyl alcohol is a great degreaser and cheap with no residue.
    The wife's jewellery and small jobs around the house is a bonus...
    Then ad a tiny amount of your preference coating.

    Good luck all


    ect but cheaper available
  8. johnjen
    So I've exceeded the 500hr. mark on the Gen5 board and will perform an evaluational test comparing it to my AOIP setup in due course.

    But before I do that I have a small tweak to add to the AOIP system.
    Today I added a UWB (Ultra Wide Bandwidth) voltage regulator to the 'output' FMC (Fiber Media Converter) inside, on the board itself.
    This is a secondary regulator 'stage' to feed the FMC since it is being fed by an external low noise LPS.

    Thus far I can't say I hear any improvement, but for $15 it’s a low cost experiment and I figured it simply can't make it worse.
    And this solves another situation at the same time.

    This LPS that powers this FMC is also being used to power a small fan that was being fed by 10 instead of 12VDC, and as consequence spun a tad bit slower.
    I cranked the LPS down to 10VDC so I wouldn't overdrive the FMC which normally runs on 9VDC.
    Now I can crank up the voltage to 12VDCthat feeds the fan and this new secondary voltage regulator that feeds the FMC, and everyone is happy(er).

    Tomorrow I'll be adding 2 more of these regulators to the 2 Mutecs in my AOIP chain, as they too are being fed via an external dual output LPS.

    The thinking goes like this.
    Dacs and other digital audio gear seem to respond well to multiple levels of regulation and the closer the regulation is to the load, the 'better' the results.
    And at $15 each these make it an easy decision to try this experiment.
    And I can't possibly see how this could make anything worse, assuming the specific design parameters are properly dealt with.

    So if you're hanker'n to find a cheap tweak this might just fit the bill.
    And it should be noted this project isn't for the novice DIY'r, as there is a certain amount of fabrication and figure'n required.

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  9. johnjen
    The new 5VDC regulator had a problem so I yanked it back out and will investigate further.
    It only sent 4.5VDC to the Mutec and pulled the LPS 'supply' voltage down by 2 volts.
    Not a satisfactory situation, so emails are going out with replies soon to be received (I hope).

  10. johnjen
    So I optimized my system and compared my tweako AOIP vs. Gen-5 USB.
    And now with ≈ 750hrs on the Gen-5 board in my system the Gen-5 is remarkably close but not as resolving nor as focused and detailed as my AOIP digital audio feed.

    There is a lessening in the Leading Edged Dynamic Impact (LEDI) as well as a very slight softening of inner detail and an ever so slight veil that becomes apparent when switching directly to USB.

    But unless you were in a position to compare directly you'd most likely never notice these differences.
    As in, we're talk'n 5-15% change threshold here. (Threshold of Perception - ToP)
    And unless your hearing was sufficiently 'calibrated', these differences would be all to easily dismissed, and some might even prefer the 'softer' USB presentation in any case.

    Which makes the Gen-5 a bargain by any measure.

    But since I have been monitoring this matchup, this slight degradation in SQ relagates this input as a backup to the AOIP which continues to improve as further tweaks are added.

    And so it goes.

  11. Muziqboy
    There really is no going back to USB once you've heard the benefits of what a tweako AOIP can do for your system at least based on what I am hearing with my rig.
    But I do agree that the Gen5 or EITR is a cheap way of getting closer to the best SQ at least for those who can't go the AOIP route.

    Thanks JJ for doing the comparo!
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  12. johnjen
    Yeah it is a remarkable improvement to USB, one that will stand up to the best of the most tweako setups.
    Highly recommended, even if you do have a tweako setup, just as a backup, and for the $$ a no brainer considering.

  13. mourip
    Well I am a bit late to the game regarding exchanging the SMPS in my Mutec 3+ USB but I did so yesterday. Thanks to all for the tips and tricks!

    Being lazy I decided to find a way to remove the SMPS without removing the motherboard and was successful. The SMPS is soldered to 4 pegs that are also conductors and have through-hole connections. I carefully applied heat to each successive pin while pulling upwards. After a couple rounds of this I had managed to un-solder and release all pins, freeing the board. Before starting I did decide that I had no intention of being able to reverse the mod however so I was not concerned about damaging the SMPS. Luckily it worked out very well.

    I used one of the included cables for my HDPlex LPS by cutting of the DC connector and prepping the leads for soldering to the DC inlet pins that were now well exposed. As I had previously removed the USB board that I did not need with my Dante setup I used that opening to thread the cable in for soldering to the pins. Along with soldering the cable to the pins, being extremely careful to understand the polarity of my cable, I soldered one electrolytic capacitor across the DC leads and paralleled it with a small value polypropylene cap. I did this to help compensate for the longish cable from the LPS. I used the variable output on my LPS and set it to 6.3 volts.

    Did it help? OMG. The clarity which was already great was now remarkable. I can easily follow individual instrumental threads within complex music. Definitely worthwhile.

    On a separate but related note. I have now added a Mutec REF10 to my system. Within a few days I will write that up and post in the AOIP thread.
  14. johnjen
    Yeah ridding our systems of SMPS’s nearly always results in significant improvements, and in some cases these changes are VERY pronounced. And I’ve noticed changes even on peripheral equipment (like a fan). I figure it’s a combo deal of them generating noise that ‘pollutes’ not just the circuit it’s powering but the entire ground plane the our audio systems ‘stand on’. And with tweaked and resolving systems these changes can be rather gratifying, to say the least.

  15. johnjen
    So I'd been on vaca for a month and when I got back the system sounded dull and a bit lifeless with the very bottom dried up and flacid.
    I knew what to do, since I recognized these traits.

    So I cooked the power cables and interconnects and just a bit earlier today put them all back in the system along with a nano treatment to all connections.

    AHHHHHHHHHH… that's more like it…

    The extreme bottom end has returned, the small and large signal dynamics as well as the overall cohesiveness of the acoustic presentation is back where it belongs, in my ears.
    Just like I like it.

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