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About Cruncher

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  1. I had the same thought about using an adapter to minimize signal path and in the end I used both. The primary driver was practicality. I had a laptop with a 3.5mm out and I found the adapter with RCA cables put pressure on the jack. Also the gap between the RCA connectors on the adapter were to close for my high quality RCA cables. I bought a 3.5mm to RCA cable and it worked well. Later, I bought a portable DAC (similar to the Audioquest DragonFly ) so I revisited the adapter. I found RCA cables put pressure the USB port. I bought a small USB tail from the laptop to the DAC and which helped. In my permanent static environment I used makeshift cable lifters and supporters to relieve weight and strain, but even then it was fairly fragile. Towards the end I started question putting expensive RCA cables behind a 3.5 mm connector and a USB tail.
  2. I have been using Harmony for a while and it is one of the best products I have purchased. I am quiet technical while the rest of the household isn’t. When I first started I had a motley assortment of devices ( TV, Set top box, audio receiver, CD player, Apple TV, Wii, VCR player) most these devices had component / composite / SCART interfaces. I had 7 remotes and I had to use my TV as a hub. All the permutations and combinations made the system brittle and close to unusable. I purchased the original Harmony and tamed the beast. One the best features I liked was the ability to set start-up order and delay. My Topfield PVR takes a while to start up and before, if someone had switched on the TV first and then the Topfield and a TV show did not instantly appear they would assume that they had got it wrong and would hit random 9 buttons on 5 remotes somehow thinking they were making it work. Now I start the Topfield first, then the AV amp and when the TV turns on the TV shows are magically playing. In more recent years I bought a AV amp and made it the hub of my system and converted most things to HDMI and bought a newer Harmony remote. While things are simpler I use the features in the Harmony to tune each activity.
  3. 1) "fibre is not really intended for short distance transmission" Don't forget about Toslink, been around 30 years, uses short Optical cables. 2) along the optical cable there's bugger all EMI along the line. Optical Cables are made of glass ( or plastic) which are insulators. The only thing to travel down the cable is light and nothing else. 4) If it's reclocking (suspect they are) then slot in a nicer oscillator The devices / networks we are talking about are Asynchronously connected. Therefore the source has it's own clock and the destination has it's own clock, and the two clocks have nothing to do with each other. The receiver has a challenge because the incoming signal will be completely out of step with what is happening on the inside of the device. When the data comes into the receiver, it's job is to try and decode the incoming stream. To do this it has to dynamically adapt to the incoming stream. The receiver measures the incoming signal ( Light / No Light) and the middle of the width of the bit pulse, where the signal is nice and stable. A receiver does not sample the signal at the transition / rising edge as this is way way too unstable and it risks bit flip ( clocks are the opposite they are all about edge transitions and hence very susceptible to jitter). Once the Ethernet frame is read in serially, it is put into some type or memory. On transmission it will be read out of memory and clocked onto the outgoing port. So no super accurate clock in the Optical Transceiver module. And all Ethernet frames are re-clocked through Ethernet switches, otherwise you could not have for example a 10G Ethernet network connecting to a 1 G Ethernet network.
  4. I bought a pair of XLR cables a year ago from March Audio and I am happy with the cables. Earlier this year a bought a P252 stereo power amp and I am very happy with the product. On both occasions I found service very good, and March Audio easy to do business with.
  5. I bought a Integrated amp because I was just starting off and even though a pre + power amp combo may have been better, I was not confident that I had the skills to purchase a combination that would outdo a good integrated without several rounds of amp swapping. On the digital side, I put my toe in the water with a small investment and I got a nice increase. Over the years I have a few upgrades, added devices, gadgets and tweaks. On the down side I have a chain of devices and which the total cost is not small. On the upside I have been able to minimize risk by spreading my spend over several years and small purchases and take my time and evolved my chain, as the technology and market has changed. If there was a 'Ultimate streamer' that would be future proof I would prefer a one box solution. Hence I keep an eye on what is happening on the forums.
  6. I have a Topfield TRF-7160 after many years of faithful service the HDD started to play up about a year ago. Everyone in our home is used to the interface so there was no other option but replace the HDD. I bought a Western Digital Purple HDD, which is what they recommend for video surveillance ( 24 /7 operation) for about $80. I bought a 1T drive even though WD sells larger versions I had read that the Topfield can not understand drives over a certain size. From memory, I simply unplugged the other drive and replaced it with the new drive and the Toppfield did the rest. I purchased an external HDD to USB caddy device because I thought I may have to format the new drive with my PC. Since it was not needed I put the old Topfield HDD into because we had some content we wanted to access. Only the Toppy could read the old HDD (there may be a way with a PC but I did not easily figure it out). I think I could copy shows from the old HDD to the new HDD and play then from the old HDD but it was clunky. I reached a point that I questioned why I was spending my time copying a 5 year old episode of a soap opera TV show that no one had watched, across to a new HDD so that no one would watch it. A lot of the content was recorded automatically using Intelligent record and no one had bothered to cull. I wished I had done some culling or build a short list before replacing the drive or not let on I had the ability to migrate stuff 😀
  7. @SBM I am not sure of you environment, budget and use cases. I will explain my journey. Set Up : Over many years of collecting gear, I have finally created two systems. (1) Family room AV everyday setup (2) Dining Room setup. 1a) Chomecast into AV setup - I use my mobile phone or sometimes my laptop and stream using WiFi to the Chromecast device to AV system 1b) Family Room / Blousound Node2i Setup Originally : Internet - Wifi - BlueSound Node2i ( Source + DAC) - analogue - AV amp - speakers Now : Internet - Wired Ethernet - Blousound Node2i (Source) - optical Toslink - DAC1 - analogue - amp - speakers Casual users stream music (often YouTube ) using Bluetooth from their phones (iPhone or Andriod) or laptops to Nod2i. No system knowledge required. Power user can use the BlueOs app (easy to use) and either use Tidal or music off my NAS. WiFi at my place is crap. The BlueSound into the amp was a simple clean, good solution ( Good sound, easy to use) ..... until one day I foolishly added a DAC that I was supposed to be selling onto it and it sounded better. A lot of users of DAC1 preferred the using a USB-to-Toslink bridge / re-clocker rather than USB input. The only digital output on the Node2i was Toslink, so that is what I use Toslink into DAC 1. 2) Dining Room / Computer Audio Setup Originally : Internet - Computer (Source) - USB - DAC 2- amp-speakers Now : Computer (Source ) - Ethernet - [ Bridge ] - USB - DAC 2 - amp - speakers The original Dining room set up was great. The challenge was the dining room was where the Internet entered my place so there was a NTU, wireless router, computer, DAC, amp, speakers which made the room look like a badly cabled corporate Data Center. More recently the opportunity came up to move the Internet connection into the living room and move the NTU and wireless router there as well. I purchased a Ethernet -USB bridge and ran a Ethernet cable between the two rooms, this allowed me to migrate my computer out of the dinning room, and leave only a small footprint of gear. Lesson Learnt : I started off many years ago with a headless MacMini as a source into my AV amp. I then added DAC (connected via USB ) to the Mac mini. Many years later I am still happy with the MacMini as my source. As my kids grew up, my wife and kids found this too hard to use as there was too many moving parts, so I purchased a BlueOS Node2i. At this stage I realized that I had underestimated the value of 'easy of use'. The kids could stream from their phones and not know anything about the system and the amount of music being played and the enjoyment in our home went up. BlueOs is easy to use and has a good app. When I split my 2.0 Hifi system off ( bought 2 channel amp, new speakers) I started chasing the best sound quality by swapping components, cables, power supplies, tweaking, Raspberry Pi etc. I was always fiddling and my system became brittle. Plus the costs were silently mounting to a unhealthy level. I have seen vendors sell $6,000 audiophile Ethernet switches, $3,000 / meter Audiophile Ethernet cables, vibration platforms, $$$ cable lifters, which I don't have a problem with if you have the cash, but it I don't think it would be wise to have a cable worth more than the DAC it is plugging into. I spend most of my money on my speakers and they are the foundation of my system. I have added and upgraded components over time. I understand the Gieseler Klein DAC is very good ( excellent price / performance ratio) it will easily beat the Chrome-cast and the DAC in my Blousound Node2i, so you may want to look at streamers either does not have a DAC or that can be used with a external DAC. If you have a computer or a Raspberry Pi you can use this as a source ( does the Chromcast have Optical out ?) and experiment for low / no cost ( volumio / Moode on raspberry pi, Roon, Foobar, Tidal, Spotify etc). I experimented and it helped me tune what was important and not important for me. You can always add on a re-clocker etc later on. I will let others comment products you should shortlist.
  8. I just saw your post @zway . Good to hear that you got a improvement. I have ELAC BS244 speakers and I love them, I found that if you spend time on placement they can give a nearly holographic soundstage. I had a Bluesound going directly into a power amp into the ELAC. Recently I put a dedicated DAC in the chain and noticed a improvement. I was surprised that I could get more out of my speakers with a amp and DAC change. I have heard them on a much more expensive system and they were better again. From my experimenting, speakers have made the biggest difference and has allowed me to upgrade the chain over time. I understand the room acoustics are really important but I have little control over them.
  9. Ok .... I now know who's not going to be invited then .... 😀 Maybe the speed comparison was clumsy. When I first looked at 10GE over twisted pair cable, a transceiver would consume 10 Watts ( 2 x 10w = 20W cable). When I questioned this with one of the engineers he said that it was getting dis-proportionality harder to ramp up the speed on twisted pair. Each jump in Ethernet speed meant tighter specs cables, more complex transmitters and receivers, more signal processing, more cost and shorter maximum cable length ( which you highlighted) to the point he predicted it would only be good for patch cables or back plane lengths. You will not see this for optical cables. My Source and streamer are connected via a 1GE cable that is about 10 meters long. It runs through the ceiling past down lights and transformers and past the back of the fridge. Having read some manufactures threads about noisy Ethernet, phy problems, jitter, ground plane noise from incoming traffic etc and I decided swap it out, I would probably switch over to Optical. It would give me isolation, and upgrade path and allow me to chose transceivers (TX / RX) built by a company that actually understands digital transmission, because the audio companies are clearly struggling. And I could do this at what I consider a reasonable price. The best thing about Ethernet and Optical is we benefit from economies of scale and silicon price curve. p.s I could invite @Hytram over and he could bring his favorite Optical cable and we could listen to them. Maybe while eating Tasmanian lobster and Tasmanian fine wine or Gin.
  10. In the audiophile Ethernet switch thread people are swapping switches. In the Ethernet cable thread people are swapping cables (twisted pair). In the Ethernet cable thread I have not seen is people having two SFP devices ( source / destination, two Ethernet Switches ) and A/B testing Twisted Pair vs Twin-Ax , Twisted Pair vs Optical, Twin-ax vs Optical. In my mind, if Ethernet is implemented properly ( standards conformance is a excellent start) then you should not hear the difference, which a lot of people experience. So I assume that some devices have poor implementations, or something specific to that implementation. I am keen to track down the root cause. I don't agree with the reasons offered by some manufactures. While I hear what you are saying, I think it is different. I have a CD transport and a DAC. I feel I could A/B toslink v.s. coax fairly reliably. When I read the forums I see people adding bridges ( USB -> TosLink, Ethernet -> USB etc) and re-clockers / re-generators.. What amazes me is the massive variety of sources and playout devices, which all seem to have lots of moving parts. ( just see the thread on building a audiophile music server here). With more pure-play Ethernet and Optical, I see people inserting Optical media converters into the chain (E/O/E)or optical to their device ( O/E or E /O). I have not seen people A/ B in all the Ethernet speed variations ( 10M, 1G, 10G ...) and Optical combinations (SM, MM etc). I think you are are trying to cause mischief by suggesting this. Oh dear.
  11. Sorry to burst your bubble but there is and have been around for years (10G & 40G), although 100G and 400G copper do exist No bubble burst here, thanks for picking up my inaccuracy. I should have been more specific when I posted. My post should have read ..... Above 10GE ( 40GE, 100GE, 400GE) there is no Ethernet over Twisted Pair copper and there will never be. Unless I am mistaken, there is no standard for running 40GE, 100GE, 400GE over twisted pair copper ( i.e. cable with RJ-45 connectors). Also, given the context of the discussion e.g home audio and the audio products that have been mentioned had RJ-45 ports etc. I felt people were most likely using Twisted Pair copper Ethernet cables. I did think about modifying my post, but in the end I didn't as I felt most people would get the jist of the post regardless. You are correct, you can run 10GE / 40GE / 100GE over copper cables using Twinaxial Cables or sometimes called Direct Attach Cables, not Twisted Pair ( e.g with SFP, SFP+ connectors). Even still, I have not seen any specs for 400GE over Twin-ax copper.
  12. "Oh, by the surprised expression on your face, you can not believe that I made this myself ! after only watching half of a YouTube video " 😀
  13. Nor should you really have to know how it works. We supplied a finance application to a small company who were experiencing ‘random’ outages that was bringing the business to it’s knees. Troubleshooting went like this : Finance Application -> DB -> Storage -> Network ( which was dropping up to 30% traffic) . They found the culprit and it looked a bit like this …. I am not really a cabling guy but even I can pick up fake Cat6 cable, uneven length wires, 8 cm untwist ( untwist should be in mm, will cause NEXT / FEXT), a nice big kink in the middle and the list goes on. Under instructions from management, the cable was cut in four and sent to the four corners of the earth. It turned out a tech had decided to “save the company money” and not buy those expensive ( $30 ?) retail cables so he bought a spool of Cat6 cabling for a bargain price, a bag of Ethernet connectors and a terminating tool, all off the Internet. I was amazed their system worked at all. For most people, Ethernet just works. When there is problem there is usually logical explanation.
  14. I don't want my post to come across the Optical solves all problems.
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