Bilbo

Laptop Replacement - SOtM SMS-200 Impressions

93 posts in this topic

10 days on, and I am still besotted by my SOtM SMS200. It is a fab. purchase and comes highly commended by me.

Like Bilbo [the O.P.] I like a cheap tweak, and have ordered in stuff to pursue his "dc cables matter" theme in this thread. Watch this space.

History...I have played from computers, built fanless Atoms, and owned various usb to sp/dif  converters for many a moon. I settled on and I am stepping up from a Squeezebox Touch with a linear PS and a usb out mod. called EDO. I played it via ethernet from my bedroom computer and controlled it via Logitech Media Server and a 10 inch Android tablet with an app called Orange Squeeze. [very good!]

In truth, the SMS200 is doing exactly the same. But the SQ is clearly better. My power source is a car battery.

So it seems the breathed-on Touch is surpassed as a reasonably priced streamer. 

If you buy a MicroRendu, you must use Ethernet. With the SMS200 you can choose Ethernet or external hard drive or usb stick. Most people have tried devices that use the SMS200 power, and say it is a backwards step. I agree. Bilbo likes an external hard drive in a powered dock. I have tried that and find the sound flatter [dimensionaly] than with Ethernet. Soon, I will retry by improving the dock's power supply. For now at least, Ethernet is best.

My retired SBT has freed up my 5 volt linear PS. I now power my Uptone Regen with 5 volts and really like it. [My DEQX HP4 usb input gets internal power, and seems to handshake with the SMS200 nicely].

So my SQ is inching upwards very nicely.

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Interesting @smiledon .

I first used the ethernet connection as I had JRiver setup already with the HDD library on my office PC.

That sounded very good but once I tried the HDD in a dock attached to the SMS-200 I found it marginally better.

It was when I changed the dock to the Astone that made it sound better. With the 12V 5amp LPS the sound improved even more such that I found it superior to the ethernet connection.

In fact it sounds compressed or squashed a little if I use the ethernet path compared to directly connecting the HDD in the dock attached to the SMS-200.  The opposite of what you have encountered.

 

Last week we compared two similar versions of the power supply I mentioned earlier.  One with the toroidal transformer and the other with the R core.  Note however that the R core unit came with emi/rfi filters built into the IEC receptor and it did not sound as good. Removing that filter and replacing it with just an IEC receptor (with no fuse) improved things considerably such that it now sounded better than the toroidal.  So as an experiment I swapped the generic 2.5amp fuse with a ceramic 5amp fuse on my toroidal unit and bingo - we could now not tell the difference between the units.  So it appears the fuse makes a greater difference than the type of transformer in this case.  It's a shame you have to use a fuse at all as it does degrade the sound.  Perhaps those fancy expensive ones do have a claim to fame - but that's another story.

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To Bilbo,

I think we are cut from similar cloth, so to speak, for as soon as I read your post re. dc cables, I was on the net buying bits and bobs. Today, the screw coaxial connectors arrived [below, for interested bystanders] , so, Phil,  forget gardening and housework :- out with the cable strippers!  I have some star quad microphone cable [shielded] that is only 24 gauge compared to the recommended 20 gauge, but no matter, I am out to prove a concept here. And yes, I applied John Swenson's coupling from 1 end of the shield to the other. [https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/31554-diy-dc-power-cables/?page=9 post of May 5th 2017.

 

Bilbo, you are right...dc cable matters quite a bit!!!  I will not go back!  1st I built a cable based on starquad,,- car battery to SOtM SMS200. Oh! notably better. Then a cable based on starquad from my newly freed-up 5v  linear power supply from my retired Squeezebox Touch to power the Uptone Regen instead of it's supplied smps.. Better yet!!!  Yes, in my system the Regen sings happily on 5v. Or, rather, my dac sings happliy without an external 5v. Oh yes, I slipped a bit of insulation tape inside the A male of my Chord [the cheapest one] USB cable to keep power out of it, as it is not required. I have not a/b' ed it. Just did it because <Curious>  reckons separation or absence of 5v power  helps the audio.

Bilbo, The journey has just begun! Lets keep comparing notes. I have 10 metres of cheap cat7 coming to trial against my cat5e. Also I have yet to power my hdd dock with anything decent, and retry your preferred delivery. [I bought a purple WD drive, BTW]. 

 

Interested bystanders...a lot of this is based on Bilbo's post of June 11th in this thread. I thoroughly encourage you to pursue it. It is cheap at <$50 and is mighty interesting to boot, as it spits in the eye of the "bits are bits" crowd. "Bell wire was good enough for my grandfather, its good enough for me!"

A clue may be here. I have barely read this and offer it up in case some find it interesting. https://www.audiostream.com/content/cables-bits-and-noise-how-cables-can-make-sound-difference

In short, Bilbo and John Swenson are right [IMHO] and I will not go back.  I love my new sound. And all the above is based on listening, not on "knowledge".

 

screw connects.jpg

ISOcompat_test.jpg

shield connect.jpg

bits are bits.jpg

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Would you think I'm crazy if I suggested those screw type plugs don't sound as good as the soldered style? That's what I found anyway.

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@Bilbo

@smiledon

good to see this thread again, excuse my lack of tech knowledge but do you think the DC cable difference you are talking about above will apply to me, i have the sms200 and the mBPS-d2s power supply using the supplied cable??

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Yes+1.

Because SOtM offer 2 cables so it would clearly matter. Quote from their website for the mBPS...

 

You can choose the wire between copper or silver wires, and the length choice could be made among 30cm, 50cm or 100cm.

Normally the copper wire sounds relatively calm and neat, and the silver wire is relatively open and more delicate. 

  • 7N UPOCC Copper cable : it brings a very clean sound without having any distortion in sound.
  • Standard Copper cable : it brings a clean sound with much musical nuance without having any distortion.
  • Stranded 7N UPOCC silver cable :Compared with copper wires, it brings more detailed and dynamic scenes, and brings the distinctive bright and precise sound propensity of silver wires.
  • Stranded 7N UPOCC Copper cable :Compared with the standard copper wire and silver wire, the sound character is middle of their propensities, it bring very detailed musical nuance.

Depending on which dc cable is used, it effects sound in your system hugely, so select the proper dc cable for your system according to your sound taste.

The standard DC power cable which is supplied as a basic accessory is 30cm, copper wire and the jack size at then end is ID2.1-ID2.5.

 

The secret sauce [IMHO] in the dc cable we are both extolling is the star quad cable. It is a self shielding geometry. I am a tinkerer and an obsessive fiddler.

If you are not, this Chinese craftsman will make 1 for you. Double check, but I think you need 5.5mm by 2.5mm at both ends to feed your SMS200.

Priced in $US...http://www.ghentaudio.com/part/dc03.html 

 

Written while smiling...Bilbo...you bastard!

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There you go - I'm not that crazy!!!   :thumb:

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I am a convert to the importance of dc cables. Links are further up in this thread.Thank you Bilbo.

John Swenson [part designer of the Sonere MicroRendu and also the Uptone Audio Regen range] recommends a Canare unshielded speaker wire with 20 gauge star quad wires. This is not easy to source in Australia.

I began using a Canare shielded microphone cable with 24 gauge star quad wires. I modified it according to his thread so the floating shield has a wire connecting 1 end of the shield to the other. This is to allow a Faraday cage effect...ie a current will flow within the shield. He suggests that this is the best way to use a shield but really thinks the star quad arrangement minus shield is sufficient to produce a good dc cable.

I liked my cable very much and made another one for the Regen.

For Australian DIYers, Jaycar sells a star quad speaker cable with 18 gauge wires. It is called Response WB-1762. I bought some to replicate an unshielded Canare as per Swenson,  and built a dc cable for the SOtM SMS200.

I have a definite preference for the Canare [modified] microphone cable. I got mine from Swamp Industries in Sydney [using ebay]. Canare L-4e6s.

This may be at odds with others, but I am confident it is right for me.

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Just to confirm - did you prefer the shielded over the unshielded version?

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I preferred the shielded cable  with the loop wire.

 

Edited by smiledon
Clarify

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I have also compared cat6 ethernet cable with the existing cat5e cable and prefer it enough to keep it. It is nothing fancy...10 metres of cat6 from Bunnings Australia for @17.50.

I will buy some cheap Chinese cat7 on eBay, just for laughs.You never know!!!  I am not tempted by Audioquest et. al., owing to the extortionate cost.

 

When comparing A with B, please be aware that there is an internal buffer in the SOtM SMS200 that will play a flac file for 1 whole minute after the source cable is removed.

If you are not careful, you will compare A with A from the buffer.

 

In the good old days you could flip a cable over quickly and compare, but not nowadays in the age of buffers , handshakes and auto-reboots.

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9 hours ago, smiledon said:

I preferred the shielded cable  with the loop wire.

 

 

OK - I'd better give the looped shield a go - haven't tried it yet.

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This is interesting , as I'm also using a SBT with EDO and a LPS from Gieseler atm. I was thinking a microrendu might be in my future (and I will be running it via ethernet), but now the sms200 is on my radar too. Anyone done a comparison between the two in terms of SQ?

CHeers, Steve :-)

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This is interesting , as I'm also using a SBT with EDO and a LPS from Gieseler atm. I was thinking a microrendu might be in my future (and I will be running it via ethernet), but now the sms200 is on my radar too. Anyone done a comparison between the two in terms of SQ?
CHeers, Steve :-)

There is comparisons over at Computeraudiophile. As usual different opinions. Power supply to both is important.
I am looking at both. I think in the end will depend on the one that is the easiest to connect.
Also note that both have newer/better versions.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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@Jventer Also note that both have newer/better versions.

 

Yes,very new, so no reviews yet...also at 2x the cost of the basic. eg $us 900 for the SOtM SMS200 Ultra compared with $us 450 for the vanilla...

For me, that is excessive, and smacks of exploitation. The basic  is soooo good. I stepped up from the SBT with edo and LPS....WOW!!!   Mind you, I have a high resolving electrostatic system.

 

Re. connection ease...I have always succeeded in the end. Some frustrations early on, but now a doddle. I use a car battery, [almost free, as it won't crank my car, but...]

Also, an Android tablet using Orange Squeeze, to control Squeezelite on the server.

@Wiffle  The consensus is the SOtM SMS200 has the slight edge and is cheaper. Also easily available via cruxaudio.au on eBay. Try Youtube. Interesting to watch.

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Slight correction there @smiledon , the Ultra is almost three times the AUS$ price so I hope I haven't blown my dosh.  Anyway I'll have one in a couple of days and post my views.

 

As far as making a choice between the SMS-200 and Micro Rendu, I think (given they both get excellent reviews) the choice comes down to flexibility of use.  The SMS-200 does everything the MR does when used in a server driven system but the MR cannot operate on it's own controlled by an app on your iPhone/iPad as far as I'm aware.  To put it in a computing perspective, the MR is a "client" device whereas the SMS-200 is a "server" device that can be remotely controlled from a phone app.

Edited by Bilbo

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