Spec an Audiophile PC With Me Using CAPS 3.0 as a Starting Point, Adding HDMI for Multi-Channel Hi Rez Audio!!! - Page 28 - AVS Forum
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post #811 of 840 Old 09-03-2014, 01:37 PM
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You can measure the noise on the power supply rails until the cows come home.

But is any of this same noise measurable on the decoded analog audio signal? And let's further clarify if it is, at what amplitude and frequency range?

And, this is important, does any of the measured noise change significantly with an external linear power supply?

As for increased jitter, again that has to be filtered at the PLL. Just using a quieter power supply could but in most cases will not make any difference.

If putting these so called audiophile power supplies on commodity computer hardware makes someone feel better that's fine. But IMPE, it will not make any quantifiable improvements to reproduced audio quality of a digital output HTPC.

If you are using internal DACs on a sound card, that's a different matter.

Of course the lack of any cooling fans is an important attribute when an HTPC is used within the listening environment. I get that.

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post #812 of 840 Old 09-03-2014, 02:02 PM
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Have you even tried it? I doubt it... You may well be surprised.

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post #813 of 840 Old 09-03-2014, 02:18 PM
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Have you even tried it? I doubt it... You may well be surprised.
Well what do you mean by "tried it"? Does that mean running measurement with a scope and other test gear or simply doing an A/B listening test between a standard PC power supply and an audiophile PC power supply?

Keep in mind that and A/B test will take at least 5 minutes to swap the power supply connections including boot down and back up. That's a long time for our aural memory. And of course we want the linear supply to sound better because it's considered a step up in audiophile circles. Placebo has a powerful advantage in this test.

Now I have dealt with noise on power supply rails for over 25 years. I had some deep experience in the late 1980s with a computer controlled analog video color corrector where we had to go to an outboard linear supply for the very reasons you guys here are doing it for your HTPCs. But that color corrector was pure ANALOG signal processing and as a secondary capable color corrector it had very high gain, wide bandwidth, video amplifiers in the variable matrices. When this technology went to all DIGITAL video signal processing around 1995, a big 1kw switch mode power supply went back into the signal chassis with no image noise issues what so ever - as would be expected.

And of course the computer card(s) we not in the analog signal chassis either. The parallel control interface buss was also "quite" in that data was only transmitted to the signal processor frame when changes were needed and then only during the H&V blanking intervals. My point is that there is also a lot more engineering involved than just the power supply in making analog systems quiet when working with sister digital equipment. DSP (meant generically) has freed the electronics industry from these specific and expensive problems. Seems that the audiophile vendors want to bring these old problems back totally out of context in the name of profits.

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post #814 of 840 Old 09-03-2014, 03:24 PM
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Well, when you've built a very high quality, low-noise power supply (I don't care what the typology is, linear or an excellent switching design, although I know which one is easier to design and build) and tried it in an audio server and reflected on the outcome, I will listen. Until then, you can hypothesise while others dare to try things out. "Audiophile" hasn't got anything to do with it.

You've graduated to JRiver. Keep on experimenting. You have the background to do so more than many others and it doesn't cost a lot.

PS I do agree with you that to is better to place a psu in the same enclosure as the motherboard but that's just a typology choice. If anyone can do better with it in a separate enclosure by all means they should present their completed design.

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post #815 of 840 Old 09-03-2014, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by stevekale View Post
Well, when you've built a very high quality, low-noise power supply (I don't care what the typology is, linear or an excellent switching design, although I know which one is easier to design and build) and tried it in an audio server and reflected on the outcome, I will listen. Until then, you can hypothesise while others dare to try things out. "Audiophile" hasn't got anything to do with it.

You've graduated to JRiver. Keep on experimenting. You have the background to do so more than many others and it doesn't cost a lot.

PS I do agree with you that to is better to place a psu in the same enclosure as the motherboard but that's just a typology choice. If anyone can do better with it in a separate enclosure by all means they should present their completed design.
I say this with all due respect to those here but this blind "have you tried it" approach is exactly that of a hobbiest. A hobbiest home cook may throw spices and foods together to "try it" where as a professional chef would know better.

IMO, spending more than $150 on a good PC power supply is a waste of money. I do agree to stay away from these $39 power supplies but a good "PC POWER and COOLING" brand unit is all you need. Again this is my opinion based on my professional experience. If somebody hears a difference, well then they do.

But there are glaring contradictions to the idea of better linear power supplies for PCs that I outlined in post #804 . Nobody has challenged those here on their technical merit. So before I embark on such a venture with a linear power supply for my JRiver, I want to see some evidence of the benefit. I don't see any yet. All I see is the layman idea that a quieter power rail relates to a quieter decoded analog audio output. It's just not that simple with the complex chain of PC based digital audio to someone with an electronics background. I could probably throw together a linear power supply just like the Teradak from my loose parts inventory in my garage. But again I don't see any benefit to the time and trouble to do so.

And my Jriver conversion was certainly a step up on terms of user interface and general convenience. I have run VLC for years with my ripped DVHS collection and wanted to go totally diskless including BluRay. But audio wise, I don't really think there was any improvement over my AES output modified Elite Bluray player. The only room there would be is in the application of the software codecs. Certainly the AES hardware between the Pioneer and the Lynx card isn't going to make any significant difference in audio reproduction. In fact if anything, the jitter is probably worse on the Lynx versus the hardware player but it's still not audible. Video wise I think the Pioneer was also better by a very small margin but not enough to give up the convenience of a server based system. And again I beleive this difference is based on decoding algorithms, not better power supplies.

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post #816 of 840 Old 09-03-2014, 04:28 PM
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I recently moved to JRiver from VLC/CollectorZ and now have all my BluRays ripped which VLC didn't support (at least for me). I run two audio profiles. For my ripped DVHS library I output bitstream via SPDIF into a Lexicon MC8. For BluRay rips I use a Lynx AES16 which goes around the Lexicon.

My audio is very good. I can't see any room to improve it on the server side. I even think the AC3 sounds better versus the VLC player but I know that can't be as both were bit streamed though the exact same hardware. Placebo effect in my case.
BTW, I did find what was going on here. The AC3 decoder in VLC was forcing the Lexicon into 5.1 L7 mode even for 2.0 DD stereo audio. The surround channels were very weak. The JRiver application properly instructs the Lexicon only to enter 5.1 modes when the source is indeed flagged as 5.1. Could also be a Lexicon fault as well in how they read the flags.

So now my movies in DD 2.0 are reproduced with 2.0 sourced Logic7 versus 5.1 Logic 7. So I get a much better simulated surround effect from DD 2.0. For years I was listening to compromised material which I though was just based on a poor audio track.

My point here is that when something doesn't make sense from an advanced technical perspective, there is always technical reason. As in this case, it wasn't voodoo cables or bad power supplies. It was a demonstrable and repeatable software error in VLC's AC3 decoder feeding a Lexicon MC8.

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post #817 of 840 Old 09-04-2014, 12:56 AM
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Ah, where's your sense of adventure? There are lots of people believing such things make a very audible difference. Perhaps they're all mad or perhaps they're all on to something. Rather than sitting there as a naysayer why not try it to prove your point? Spend a few hours cobbling in your garage rather than chattering here. I just wouldn't use the Teradac as a benchmark for a quality supply... Or, if you aren't prepared to be adventurous, at least stop repeating the same old points. It gets tiring.

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post #818 of 840 Old 09-04-2014, 01:00 AM
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IMO, spending more than $150 on a good PC power supply is a waste of money. I do agree to stay away from these $39 power supplies but a good "PC POWER and COOLING" brand unit is all you need. Again this is my opinion based on my professional experience. If somebody hears a difference, well then they do.
BTW I think your professional experience has a poor sense of pricing for PC power supplies (at least given my browsing experience here in the UK) but that's not central to the topic...

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post #819 of 840 Old 09-04-2014, 02:30 AM
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One last comment: let's not use the term "hobbyist" in such a derogatory fashion. Over at DIYaudio there are many extremely well-skilled electrical engineers applying their skills to their hobby - audio. It's a diverse community with a diverse range of skill-sets. These guys might work in different fields of electronics or may simply have held a practical interest in the subject for many years. Bob Cordell pays homage to the DIYaudio community in the preface to his book, staple reading for anyone interested in amplifier design. Douglas Self is a participant. Jan Didden is another. Others come from backgrounds such as aviation electronics design, defense etc. They all have a common interest in audio as a hobby. Some of the builds being done are startling: one thread I have been following is an amplifier design and build, class A-B 200W into 8 ohms, with fully proven performance that betters Theta's Citadel by a very good margin. The design, circuit and pcbs are available to all so long as it's not for non-commercial use. Not bad for a "hobbyist".

The application of low noise power supplies to computer audio is an interesting space and, yes, it is full of predators praying on the uninformed. In an all-digital domain it shouldn't be so important. Yet, it contains many surprises even for skilled e-engineers (just ask a guy like John Swenson). It is worth - and fun - exploring.

Egglestonworks Andra III, Andra III Centre, Rosa (as surround). Rel Stentor II. Theta CB IV. Krell FPB 200 and two KAV 150a amps. Custom-built audio server. Oppo 103EU. Apple TV. Pioneer PDP-LX608D. Synergistic Research "Element Copper" front speaker cable. Cardas Clear Light bal interconnects.
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post #820 of 840 Old 09-04-2014, 12:12 PM
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One last comment: let's not use the term "hobbyist" in such a derogatory fashion. Over at DIYaudio there are many extremely well-skilled electrical engineers applying their skills to their hobby - audio. It's a diverse community with a diverse range of skill-sets. These guys might work in different fields of electronics or may simply have held a practical interest in the subject for many years. Bob Cordell pays homage to the DIYaudio community in the preface to his book, staple reading for anyone interested in amplifier design. Douglas Self is a participant. Jan Didden is another. Others come from backgrounds such as aviation electronics design, defense etc. They all have a common interest in audio as a hobby. Some of the builds being done are startling: one thread I have been following is an amplifier design and build, class A-B 200W into 8 ohms, with fully proven performance that betters Theta's Citadel by a very good margin. The design, circuit and pcbs are available to all so long as it's not for non-commercial use. Not bad for a "hobbyist".

The application of low noise power supplies to computer audio is an interesting space and, yes, it is full of predators praying on the uninformed. In an all-digital domain it shouldn't be so important. Yet, it contains many surprises even for skilled e-engineers (just ask a guy like John Swenson). It is worth - and fun - exploring.
I was unclear in my general comment towards hobbyists. I was referring to audio hobbyists with light to no electronics background. Electronics hobbyists are a different animal to which I too am a member. I also participate in some of the forum you mentioned. John Swenson does indeed design some good linear regulator circuits.He no doubt promoted them for digital audio applications such as DACs or other analog circuitry in the total digital audio system. But its a leap to claim he and others like him support the idea of a linear power supply in a commodity PC outputting AES, SPDIF, or USB audio data. What these guys are probably saying, which I agree with 100%, is that because digital audio has such a great dynamic range and that the digital processing sections do not impart circuit noise on the signal, it it very important to use clean quite linear power supplies in the analog conversion and subsequent processing of the signal as well as analog clock generation circuitry. An electronics novice can easily extrapolate that to thinking low noise linear power supplies are better for the entire digital audio chain. And as usual the charlatan audiophile vendors are right there in line with products to match these unfounded suspicions.

You want me to be adventuresome? Ok, but I'm going to need a little more than some internet reports from non technical audiophiles that putting a linear power supply in my media PC will make a "very audible" improvement. Because I have the professional expereince to know it won't. I have outlined some specific engineering problems with this idea in post #804 which you nor anybody else has disputed, let alone even commented on.

I further have a problem with the idea that many electrical engineers have tried this linear PC power supply and heard positive results. Any electrical engineering professional which includes non degreed engineers and technicians understands the issues I outline in post #804 . So lets say the are adventuresome and do build a linear power supply anyway based on Steve Kale's efforts. Well behold, it does work. It sounds much better with a linear power supply! Ok where are the reports in the hobbyist forums?

You want us to believe a true hands-on engineer with a hobbyist electronics passion is just going to sit back and accept this success and not dive into why. They have been trained this cannot happen yet when it does they aren't going to do a full analytical dissection of the phenomenon? Come on!

On further reflection I was wrong about my cobbling together a PC linear supply in my garage. Yes, I could but as I understand the true issues with high current, that is above 5 amps, lnear power supplies, that's not the route I would probably take. I would go to my local surplus yard and buy some old Lambda, HP, or Power One linear supplies, recap them, repair as needed, and mount them in a case.

Why? Because I understand the complexities of building a 3.3volt 25amp power supply from discrete parts. Not worth the effort for a hobby project when I can buy professional scrap supplies that have already been properly engineered to sometimes military standards.

The point is as I have said before, building a power supply of the capacity needed is not some 3 terminal IC regulator on steroids. Example, how are you getting the pass transistor current capacity? Bioplar transistors? How are you getting enough base current to drive multiple devices? Do you know how to calculate beta droop? MOSFETS? Ok, that solves the current gain problem, MOSFETS are easy to drive due to the high gate impedance and the near zero current drive requirements. But that invites HF instability. How are you compensating that so it doesn't become a high powered oscillator when Windows get to point X in the boot up and causes a 10 amp current surge for a few microseconds?

Yup, linear power supply design is simple. I built this analog audio preamp with these three terminal regulator chips, how much more difficult can a 25amp version be?

And speaking of power capacity. I see some posts around where a PC really only needs a few amps at 3.3 and 5 volts. Well how was that measured? Please don't tell me with a basic DMM. I hope you guys used a current probe and compared it with voltage droop or spikes in the microsecond range.

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post #821 of 840 Old 09-04-2014, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by stevekale View Post
One last comment: let's not use the term "hobbyist" in such a derogatory fashion. Over at DIYaudio there are many extremely well-skilled electrical engineers applying their skills to their hobby - audio. It's a diverse community with a diverse range of skill-sets. These guys might work in different fields of electronics or may simply have held a practical interest in the subject for many years. Bob Cordell pays homage to the DIYaudio community in the preface to his book, staple reading for anyone interested in amplifier design. Douglas Self is a participant. Jan Didden is another. Others come from backgrounds such as aviation electronics design, defense etc. They all have a common interest in audio as a hobby. Some of the builds being done are startling: one thread I have been following is an amplifier design and build, class A-B 200W into 8 ohms, with fully proven performance that betters Theta's Citadel by a very good margin. The design, circuit and pcbs are available to all so long as it's not for non-commercial use. Not bad for a "hobbyist".

The application of low noise power supplies to computer audio is an interesting space and, yes, it is full of predators praying on the uninformed. In an all-digital domain it shouldn't be so important. Yet, it contains many surprises even for skilled e-engineers (just ask a guy like John Swenson). It is worth - and fun - exploring.
I was unclear in my general comment towards hobbyists. I was referring to audio hobbyists with light to no electronics background. Electronics hobbyists are a different animal to which I too am a member. I also participate in some of the forums you mentioned. John Swenson does indeed design some good linear regulator circuits.He no doubt promoted them for digital audio applications such as DACs or other analog circuitry in the total digital audio system. But its a leap to claim he and others like him support the idea of a linear power supply in a commodity PC outputting AES, SPDIF, or USB audio data. What these guys are probably saying, which I agree with 100%, is that because digital audio has such a great dynamic range and that the digital processing sections do not impart circuit noise on the signal, it it very important to use clean quite linear power supplies in the analog conversion and subsequent processing of the signal. An electronics novice can easily extropolate that to thinking low noise linear power supplies are better for the entire digital audio chain. And as usual the charlatan audiophile vendors are right there in line with products to match these unfounded suspicions.

You want me to be adventuresome? Ok, but I'm going to need a little more than some internet reports from non technical audiophiles that putting a linear power supply in my media PC will make a "very audible" improvement. Because I have the professional expereince to know it won't. I have outlined some specific engineering problems with this idea in post #804 which you nor anybody else has disputed, let alone even commented on.

I further have a problem with the idea that many electrical engineers have tried this linear PC power supply and heard positive results. Any electrical engineering professional which includes non degreed engineers and technicians understands the issues I outline in post #804 . So lets say they are adventuresome and do build a linear power supply anyway based on Steve Kale's efforts. Well behold, it does work. It sounds much better with a linear power supply! Ok where are the reports in the hobbyist forums?

You want us to believe a true hands-on engineer with a hobbyist electronics passion is just going to sit back and accept this success and not dive into why. They have been trained this cannot happen yet when it does they aren't going to do a full analytical dissection of the phenomenon? Come on!

On further reflection I was wrong about my cobbling together a PC linear supply in my garage. Yes, I could but as I understand the true issues with high current, that is above 5 amps, lnear power supplies, that's not the route I would probably take. I would go to my local surplus yard and buy some old Lambda, HP, or Power One linear supplies, recap them, repair as needed, and mount them in a case.

Why? Because I understand the complexities of building a 3.3volt 25amp power supply from discrete parts. Not worth the effort for a hobby project when I can buy professional scrap supplies that have already been properly engineered to sometimes military standards. And you can also readily find these NOS online for pennies on the dollar.

The point is as I have said before, building a power supply of the capacity needed is not some 3 terminal IC regulator on steroids. Example, how are you getting the pass transistor current capacity? Bioplar transistors? How are you getting enough base current to drive multiple devices? Do you know how to calculate beta droop? MOSFETS? Ok, that solves the current gain problem, MOSFETS are easy to drive due to the high gate impedance and the near zero current drive requirements. But that invites HF instability. How are you compensating that so it doesn't become a high powered oscillator when Windows get to point X in the boot up and causes a 10 amp current surge for a few microseconds?

Yup, linear power supply design is simple. I built this analog audio preamp with these three terminal regulator chips, how much more difficult can a 25amp version be?

And speaking of power capacity. I see some posts around where a PC really only needs a few amps at 3.3 and 5 volts. Well how was that measured? Please don't tell me with a basic DMM. I hope you guys used a current probe and compared it with voltage droop or spikes in the microsecond range.

P.S. I glanced through this thread.

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/pc-ba...lp-advice.html

There's a pro linear PC power supply user there with the handle of "SGK" out of London. Is that you? Based on post #90 I think it is!

Seems most of the professionals there echo what I have stated. And it's also full of audiophile voodoo that is called out.

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Actually I had been reading through this topic page after page, and had remembered seeing someone call attention to PS Audio using an FPGA instead of the more common IC DAC implementation. Co-incidentally, Stereophile magazine had arrived a week earlier with a review of the PS Audio FPGA DAC, and I was not particularly impressed with the measured performance, especially considering its selling price.

If it makes you feel good selecting the DAC2, you made a good choice! The DCS Vivaldi outperforms it and is the one to beat, but look the price! If you want sonic neutrality and accuracy at an affordable price, I don't think you can beat the Benchmark product.
The DCS stack is incredible and I've spent a few hours entranced by it at my local hi-fi store. But a bit rich for me right now...
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I'm not going to continue this "discussion". It's clear you are stuck in your ways. Just a few points:

- just as an example, John Swenson designed and sells a linear power supply for computer audio. He very much supports it, particularly with sense implementation which is almost a pre-requisite, in my view, for an external supply. Here's a pic:



Yes I can distinguish between a discussion relating to a DAC and a discussion relating to an all-digital device

- there's plenty of the feedback and reports you seek at Computeraudiophile.com and on diyaudio.com you will see a number of implementations. The latter is a more interesting forum as the discussion is more technical. It's where the stubborn and educated speculators meet whereas CA is more "novice".

- there is no way in the world you need 25A of 3.3V - not even close. Nor for 5V. Only if you have a whopping great big thirsty graphics card will you need high current and then only on the 12V line. To give you a sense of perspective, I have monitored my audio pc current demand through the 12V linear rail I have feeding its picoPSU. It doesn't get over 2.5A at any point - boot up, upscaling DVD video with ROHQ, playing multichannel DSD files with on the fly conversion to MCLPCM, never. For audio playback it hovers closer to 1A. Now you might question if it's all being drawn in 3V3 but the ATX Power Supply Guide and users who have built their own linear supplies suggests otherwise (I am interested to hear what sort of current Bulldogger's graphics cards draws.)

- frankly I wouldn't go over 5A per rail (and if I ever needed more 12V current I'd add another rail) - 7.5A max. Stick with well-proven regs at the core...enhance them for considerably better PSRR. I suspect, although it's difficult to judge from the pictures, the Teradac doesn't venture past 5-7A per rail and merely employs multiple rails to provide the current it advertises although why you'd ever need it I have no idea.

- The questions you list are all basic ones. For example, any design should have been modelled and tested for lack of oscillation and correct damping via transient and loop gain analysis. That's easy to model in LTspice and test with a scope. Also, collapse the design requirements to more sensible specs and things get a lot easier although compounding amplifier circuits can get tricky.

As to whether a good low noise power supply is worth the hassle, I haven't concluded my thinking and won't until I've completed my project. There's certainly plenty of literature regarding the need for good PSRR in digital circuits and a good clean PSU as a starting point certainly can't hurt. We'll see. (My audio pc has always had a 12V linear rail with a super regulator feeding a picoPSU. The SSD has always been powered from a separate circuit. So the power supply hasn't been bad from the start.) At least I'm prepared to experiment. That required me to learn a lot of new stuff and I'm still learning. Should be easier for you... I don't knock Bulldogger's desire to experiment. I merely caution him with regard to the item he is thinking of purchasing. I'm sure he will research things very thoroughly as he seems to do so already.

Ciao for now

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post #824 of 840 Old 09-04-2014, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by stevekale View Post
- there's plenty of the feedback and reports you seek at Computeraudiophile.com and on diyaudio.com you will see a number of implementations. The latter is a more interesting forum as the discussion is more technical. It's where the stubborn and educated speculators meet whereas CA is more "novice".
I am getting tired of this formal education bashing on these forums. So because a person has taken the time to earn a college technology degree and/or has the equivalent industry experience, they are closed minded, untalented, in your words "stubborn and educated"?

Did it ever occur to you that the reason we don't just run out and "try" something we see on an audiophile forum is because we have the experience and education to realize it isn't going to work? What's the point of any formal education or expereince if we as a society eschew the work of those before us and re-invent the wheel every generation. Where would we be today?

I and others over on the audio DIY forum have raised very similar technical questions as to the viability of a linear PC power supply within the context beiing discussed here. Nobody on your side dares to challenge those questions but rather hides behind the "well have you tried it" wall. That's not the way any engineering is done and hasn't been for at least 100 years. We take the accumulated knowledge of our parents generation and build on it. That's how technology advances.

So you did just measure the current draw with a DMM! OK, you have also found the transient and loop gain functions of LTspice (the free version). Do you have the mathematics knowledge to utilize these functions. Since you obviously didn't measure the current draw properly, that is under AC conditions, how are you going to model a load in Spice to test your circuit design?

Let's not BS the EEs here!

And those Swenson power supplies you show are for MacMinis. They are not for ATX PC power supply replacements. I find the whole idea of the MacMini linear power supply rather silly. There is a big old switch mode regulator inside the MacMini. So what's the point of the outboard linear supply? The sales carp form Swenson and his side kick are just that. Let's invent a problem we can sell a solution for. I see absolutly no engineering review or specifications on the performace of thse power supplies.

This is not about you or me. My goal here and I do think we have both clearly explained our views and objectives, is this:

1) There is no documented engineering evidence that a linear power supply in a media PC will improve audio quality over a generic switch mode power supply. To be specific we are talking about media servers that output a digital signal stream, AES,SPDIF,USB, Ethernet, Wifi, ect.

2) Showing a lower noise floor from an isolated resistively loaded linear power supply does not satisfy the requirement for determining the total system EMI generated inthe computer. In layman terms, the computer circuits themselves generate prolific levels of EMI and RFI. The power supply is a small contributor to the total system noise floor.

3) Digital signal processing systems are immune to electrical noise below the logic voltage threshold. Now it's true that digital cables can carry this noise into sensitive outboard analog circuits. It is also true that noisy power rails do aggravate clock circuit jitter. However the important thing to keep in mind here is that merely replacing the PC power supply will not negate these problems because the source of the contamination problem is not the power supply.

4) As I outlined above, power supply systems for high speed digital system are complex to design. Your home PC is a highly complex digital system. If a home built or incompetently designed commercial after market power supply does not have the needed transient response or current reserve, the computer will be unstable. That means crashing as a well as other serious operating system errors. IOW, bad audio will be the least of your problems.

5) To spite many incompetent claims on audio forums, digital audio is not considered a high speed data medium. AES or SPDIF timing requirements are pale compared to some of the timing tolerances on your mother board. Do you think that 1gbs serial PCIe data transfer is not sensitive to timing errors? If your system timing was as sloppy as some audiophile's claim the computer would never even boot up.

6) Linear power supplies are subject to over voltage under failure conditions. That means your 5volt rail could suddenly become 10 volts or more with full current. Good linear power supplies have protection built in to try and protect against this. Switchmode power supplies by the nature of their design cannot overvoltage. There is no risk with switch mode power supplies on the primary power rails.

It is my professional opinion as well as others you can check out on the DIY audio thread I referenced that replacing your PC power supply with a linear power supply from a niche unknown vendor with unverified technical credentials is asking for trouble - possibly destruction of your entire media server. And all for what - where is the scientific evidence that a linear power supply in this context offers any improvement.

That's my warning. At least readers here can weight the opposing views and decide for themselves.

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The DCS stack is incredible and I've spent a few hours entranced by it at my local hi-fi store. But a bit rich for me right now...
Me too! But as a hardware design engineer, I still admire the design and construction. I think we're sort of "interlaced" with the shooting gallery here.
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post #826 of 840 Old 09-05-2014, 01:56 AM
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Oh boy.

At what point in the above is there "formal education bashing"? You don't seem to read very well. In that sentence, "the stubborn" is a collective noun and "educated speculators" is another. I suggested that diyaudio.com is where these two groups meet, along with, of course, many others. There is often an interesting and cooperative exchange there between people with views such as yourself and those with EE experience that have tried new things, and speculation as to why the latter hear what they hear. I intended to portray diyaudio as a forum for the better educated (as it relates to audio engineering) and technically capable than CA, that's all.

You asked for user reports and feedback I pointed you in their direction. Hell, there's a body of people on Computer Audiophile.com who think that powering their data SSD with a lithium ion battery pack makes a world of difference! Of that I am hugely sceptical, but they are adamant. Perhaps I am not sympathetic to their claims simply because I am already benefiting from a power supply to my SSD which has a noise floor well below that of a lithium-ion battery pack.

"on your side" - which "side" might that be?

Mathematics isn't hard. Some find spelling and punctuation more challenging. Just because someone spent their college or university years (where I come from college or, worse, technical college is for those that can't get into university, but I suspect that's not what you meant) studying something other than EE doesn't mean they're incapable of understanding a little mathematics. The contributors here are mostly rather smart and successful people. Don't belittle the intelligence of those without formal training in your particular field. It is you who are bashing those without "formal education".

Yes, LTspice from Linear Technology is made available free of charge. It's a fabulous tool for modelling ahead of building and testing. Why would one want to find a version of Spice which one has to pay for? Oh ... I never said how I had observed the current demands of my motherboard. You merely inferred from my comments.

Now you've said your piece, leave others to experiment as they desire. Either assist them in their experimentation or desist completely. Bulldogger would like to experiment with a linear supply. That's his right. I only caution him that the linear supply he is considering may not be that good and that if it is to serve as the platform for his experimentation then he ought to investigate thoroughly its qualities as just because it is linear doesn't mean it is low noise. (I don't believe there is any 'magic' in a psu just because it is linear. I've made my views on this clear in relation to the Prometheus.) I don't attempt to distract him from his goal of examining the effect of low noise power supplies on his system.

PS: your 'fear of God' warning in 6 is the reason why any sensible design will provide for such protection. A casual examination of the board I posted above by an informed observer such as yourself would see that under and over voltage protection is in place.

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post #827 of 840 Old 09-05-2014, 09:51 AM
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The contributors here are mostly rather smart and successful people. Don't belittle the intelligence of those without formal training in your particular field. It is you who are bashing those without "formal education".
I am hardly belittling those without formal education. I am belittling those who shrug off the people who do in the subject of interest. If these contributors here are so successful and intelligent, which I also acknowledge, why do they reject proper scientific method and put their faith in unsubstantiated reports? In your case you are not an EE or have deep equivalent experience by your own admission. You are learning electronics as a hobby and doing very well from what I can gather. But don't shrug off higher level issues regarding this power supply topic just because you have not reached that phase in your learning yet. Your power supply may work quite well from what I have seen so far. But there will be plenty other that are poorly engineered and constitute a destructive threat to PC motherboard.

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You asked for user reports and feedback I pointed you in their direction. Hell, there's a body of people on Computer Audiophile.com who think that powering their data SSD with a lithium ion battery pack makes a world of difference! Of that I am hugely sceptical, but they are adamant. Perhaps I am not sympathetic to their claims simply because I am already benefiting from a power supply to my SSD which has a noise floor well below that of a lithium-ion battery pack.
Wow, it just gets better and better! So now we have the idea that putting a low noise power supply specifically on a SSD improves the audio playback quality?

Do any of you believers have any idea how a computer disk drive works? How the data is buffered? And of course i'll bet there is not a stitch of measurements or data to prove this claim - right?

I did read most of the thread over on CA. Several people asked for some test reports and it was to be done. Well that thread was born on January of 2014. Still not a hint of any proper scientific testing or evidence of the phenomenon. Yes you did point me in that direction for what I asked for. Unfortunately when I got there, it was completely barren of any scientific method. Just more audiophile bunk.

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post #828 of 840 Old 09-05-2014, 09:58 AM
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Do any of you believers

Which "believers" are you addressing here? Read carefully. Pop over to CA and address them directly.

Which thread? There are lots of them. Be more specific.

This is tiresome...

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post #829 of 840 Old 09-05-2014, 10:13 AM
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Which "believers" are you addressing here? Read carefully. Pop over to CA and address them directly.

Which thread? There are lots of them. Be more specific.

This is tiresome...
The low noise power supply on a SSD. You did say you are also doing this.

Well, just how does this make an audible improvement?

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post #830 of 840 Old 09-05-2014, 10:49 AM
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I did need to insert a DC-DC regulator (from 12V to 5V) yes. I did not say I was a "believer". In fact, I said the complete opposite. As I have explained, this regulator was in place from the beginning and so there was nothing to compare it to.

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post #831 of 840 Old 09-05-2014, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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This is gettin' like a 12 round boxing match. Except we don't have the cute gals in between rounds!

"Doug Winsor" used to troll at some AV Forums as "Steve Bruzonsky"! My home theater at:
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I agree. Bring on the babes for some lighter entertainment! How's your new hip?

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I did need to insert a DC-DC regulator (from 12V to 5V) yes. I did not say I was a "believer". In fact, I said the complete opposite. As I have explained, this regulator was in place from the beginning and so there was nothing to compare it to.
OK understood now.

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This is gettin' like a 12 round boxing match. Except we don't have the cute gals in between rounds!
What are you talking about? You think Glimmie is not cute? Just look at that picture.

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OK understood now.

I did the regulator to learn more about electronics, particularly (compounded) amplifier stability (the circuit is based on an LM317 combined with an SPX431), LTspice, Eagle etc. A little exercise that taught me a good deal.

Have a good weekend everyone!

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post #836 of 840 Old 09-05-2014, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Bryston's new BDP-1USB, with USB out and no internal DAC, has a - - - linear power supply.
Bryston is well known and respected in both the pro audio and consumer audio circles. Bryston's engineers would not have included a linear power supply unless they felt it was a benefit from a price-performance standpoint:

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...urce=email-285

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post #837 of 840 Old 09-05-2014, 06:15 PM
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Bryston's engineers would not have included a linear power supply unless they felt it was a benefit from a price-performance standpoint:
Not necessarily. That product is aimed at the audiophile market. That's the market populated with all sorts of mystical (voodoo) beliefs. They might have put it in there for marketing reasons because they thought linear power supplies are in vogue these days. I'm sure it works well, but the product could be designed to work just as well with a switching type of power supply. Ultimately, it gets down to what YOU want to believe.
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Not necessarily. That product is aimed at the audiophile market. That's the market populated with all sorts of mystical (voodoo) beliefs. They might have put it in there for marketing reasons because they thought linear power supplies are in vogue these days. I'm sure it works well, but the product could be designed to work just as well with a switching type of power supply. Ultimately, it gets down to what YOU want to believe.
You nailed it. That's exactly why they did it IMO. One thing I did learn in researching the links Steve provided is that linear power supplies are all the rage now in digital music servers even units with no analog facilities. Yet nobody seems to dare show us any before and after measurments with the audio signal.

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Ultimately, noise is determined by the quality of the grounding employed in the pwb design in conjunction with careful component layout and organization. Whatever was designed into your equipment's pwb, you're stuck with. Changing power supply regulation isn't going to compensate for poor pwb layout and grounding. I know you're well aware of that, but it probably went over the head of everyone else.

I've been designing power conditioning, power control and power supply circuitry (amongst other things) for decades. Long before so called high-end digital design. What always amazes me is how the high-end community is always "discovering" what has been the status quo in electronic design for a long time. They must all be "wet behind the ears".

Power supply designs in electronics sensitive to noise are often hybrid designs. They employ a mixture of switching -and- linear components. Switching for high efficiency and high current delivery and local linear regulation for low noise and ripple decoupling. There are all sorts of LDO (low dropout) and low noise linear regulators designed for this purpose.

What initially attracted me to this thread was software, not power supply implementation. Was curious what others were using and how well it worked. Between user comments posted here and over at CA, it seems that all the packages have their share of quirks and bugs.

ps - you going to be at the AES 137 out in LA next month?
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post #840 of 840 Old 09-06-2014, 12:48 PM
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- (I am interested to hear what sort of current Bulldogger's graphics cards draws.)



... I don't knock Bulldogger's desire to experiment. I merely caution him with regard to the item he is thinking of purchasing. I'm sure he will research things very thoroughly as he seems to do so already.

Ciao for now
I love to experiment. I've said this many times before,some of the work I have done is published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. I am certain I have forgotten more about expectation effects and designing experimental paradigms to reduce them than most will ever know. I count several electrical engineers and Ph.Ds in physics as among my close personal friends. Eggheads attract other eggheads . This egghead, graduated high school at 16, just wanted to make more money than experimental psychology would pay.


I have also had to embarrass a few of them along the way as well. The one with the master in electrical engineering from Georgia tech and Ph.D in physics in particular, just had to be. He set out to show me that he could build electronics superior to the "rip-off" audiophiles stuff that I had. Damn his stuff was horrible when we did our shoot out. Just like cooking, there is an art to it, not just chemistry. To this day, 20 years later, he will not acknowledge it, other than saying ,"Your stuff was better." It was more than just better. He soundly lost and made a fool of himself in fact. Another electrical engineer I know is one of the "worst" audiophiles I know. He has all kinds of tweaks. Hey, this stuff is a hobby after all.

My graphics card made a Seasonic 520 watt Platinum power supply unstable and it shut down my HTPC. It was fine with the stock setting of RO HQ but when I increased them my HTPC shut down within secs. But it was enough for me to get a glimpse of the picture quality. I'm sure I didn't need a 1200 watt power supply but it was only $30 more and I was still stinging from the money I lost on my first R9 290x. My first R9 290x was damaged when the Seasonic 520 watt Platinum supply became unstable. I lost a few hundred dollars and going forward will make damn sure the power supply is robust enough to handle my GPU.


I don't know why my HTPC can not beat my laptop for sound quality over HDMI. I am hoping that a linear power supply will bring benefits. There are too many differences between my HTPC and laptop for me to know what variables are at play. All differences between the two machines are surely beyond what should be testable for audibility from an engineering perspective but I sure of what I hear. I had a clear expectation as to what the outcome of my hooking up my new server would be. It would be better. It was not better sounding that's for sure. My laptop is a cheap ass Gateway thing that I got for $70 bucks as a result of the settlement of a class action law suit with E machines from a cheap computer I bought a decade ago. It works well but how can it be beating my "masterpiece" for sound quality over HDMI .


Typically you see placebo with such things as "branding." For example, subjects will report more pain reduction with Bayer aspirin than a generic brand. Expectation generally works in greater correlation between the experimental variable, when the variable is known, and it is considered some how "better," than the control variable even before experimentation begins. As a former experimenter, when I have such a clear expectation in one direction but my experience is in the complete opposite direction, it sets me into motion. I had not really believed there were that much differences in PC sourced data over HMDI. I will really be surprised, considering the number of variables, if simply adding a linear supply will make that much difference. However it is easy enough to try a linear supply. I will get around to it. I'm at a different point in my life. Audio is very limited right now. Soccer and gymnastics practices are consuming my free time.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.

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