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bytheway

FS: UNUSED Computer Audiophile Dream Setup: CAPS micro ZUMA / SOtMtX-USBexp / Uptone Audio USB Regen/ Cawsey LPS! Cost >$4230

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Item:

  1. CAPS micro ZUMA music server built by Small Green Computer incorporating SOtm tx-USBexp PCIe card for dedicated USB output (see specifications and design rationale below)
  2. Uptone Audio USB Regen: for reclocking and clean power for USB output to USB DAC or DDC
  3. Brilliant Cawsey Audio Linear Power Supply 19v at 5A (7A peak)

 

Location: Melbourne
Price: $2250
Item Condition: unused / mint
Reason for selling: never set it up due to having young children, going to continue to use my Esoteric SACD player
Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, Bank direct deposit


Extra Info:

So here is the story.  When we had our first child back in late 2014 (we now have two kids) I found it difficult to use CDs and SACDs just because you barely get a spare second.  I thought I would convert to a computer based music server so that I could initiate music playback with my phone, but already having a high end setup (Esoteric SACD player and custom built amplification and active crossover speakers from Cawsey Audio in Melbourne) I wouldn’t compromise on sound quality.

 

So I set out to get it set up.  I had always kept an eye on computeraudiophile.com and settled on their high end CAPS design, the ZUMA (see https://www.computeraudiophile.com/ca/bits-and-bytes/computer-audiophile-pocket-server-c-a-p-s-v3-zuma ).  These were built by Small Green Computer and I contacted Andrew there to get one built.  Since the design release he had updated the design with newer components that had resulted in sound quality improvements and a smaller form factor.  We came up with the following custom build:

 

Micro ZUMA fanless case: solid aluminium case so RF and EMI shielding is excellent, and allows fanless design therefore essentially silent (important in a listening room) and no moving parts (lower electrical noise).  Also very attractive!

Asus Q87T motherboard: from Andrew: “This board I am using has a great power design for audio. it very low power, small, and runs on 12v volts. There is nothing like it for Skylake.  I work more on small fanless designed and how the system sounds then always having the latest chip. I spend hours testing different board, chip, and memory combinations to come up with something that works really well for audio.”

Intel i7 Processor: powerful enough to run any software including DSP, DSD processing, etc

500GB Samsung mSATA SSD: large capacity for music storage while maintaining no moving parts and essentially silent.

8GB RAM

SOtM tX-USBexp: from https://www.audiostream.com/content/sotm-tx-usbexp-audiophile-pcie-usb-audio-card-and-mbps-d2s-intelligent-battery-power-supply : $350 you would be hard-pressed to find a better investment in your PC-based playback than the SOtM tX-USBexp PCIe to USB card.   It provides a greater level of improvement than any USB cable I've heard, for just one example, and it costs less than a lot of them.

Windows 10 Pro: allows one to use Audiophile Optimizer to further improve sound quality, have a Roon or other “shell”, etc, see https://www.highend-audiopc.com/audiophile-optimizer 

 

The above server cost AUD 2781.92 (USD 1962 which included USD 87 shipping). Can provide invoice on request.

I also got the Uptone Audio USB Regen based on several favourable reviews, eg https://www.stereophile.com/content/uptone-audio-usb-regen which is >AUD 200

Then I had my audio guru Garry Cawsey http://cawsey.com.au/   build me an amazing and brilliant linear power supply (LPS) to provide clean and pristine power to the whole system.  This LPS is housed in a stunning black case and weighs a tonne!

A great review of a system similar to mine is here: http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/1114/Micro_Zuma_CAPS_v3_JPLAY_SOtMtX_USBexp_HDPLEX.htm except the LPS is clearly of lower quality.   The Cawsey LPS involved some trading of equipment but is valued at >$1250.

BUT…I never got around to setting it all up.  The task of ripping all my CDs overwhelmed me and I cannot see a time to do it.  I do not want to sound compromise of streaming services (I know TIDAL do lossless but there are reviews that say this is inferior to ripped CDs) and I am content with disc playback for now.

I have never taken the CAPS micro ZUMA out of the box.  It has Windows 10 installed but not activated.  I have the Windows 10 DVD and product key (you don’t actually need the DVD, the Windows 10 is installed and ready to just activate).

If you are after a very high end computer music solution and want it at a huge bargain, this is it.  Lots of photos below.  Thanks for considering.

 

Pictures:

 

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Edited by bytheway
Fixed hyperlink

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Hi

 

can I ask about the clocking?

 

skylake allows external clock what about this mb ?

 

what about sotm card its clocking and power supply

 

thx

 

calax

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5 hours ago, bytheway said:

I know TIDAL do lossless but there are reviews that say this is inferior to ripped CDs

 

Sorry for tc..... While true, downloading the tracks rather than streaming shows little to no difference from my own research. Get an android tablet that can send audio via its usb so you can download the tracks.

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2 hours ago, Calax said:

Hi

 

can I ask about the clocking?

 

skylake allows external clock what about this mb ?

 

what about sotm card its clocking and power supply

 

thx

 

calax

Regarding clocking:

  1. Not sure what you mean that skylake allows external clocking, do you mean clocking of the USB audio output?  In any case, this motherboard was chosen by an experienced audiophile server builder through listening tests.
  2. In designing the chain, I have tried to optimise the clocking by the following:

SOtM tX-USBexp: from the product page, "If you want to use a PC as a hi-end audio source device via USB connection, the various types of noise should be blocked from the inside of the digital devices. To reduce such types of noise, tX-USBexp has the special filter circuits, an Ultra low-noise Voltage regulator and an ultra-low jitter clock."  See https://www.sotm-audio.com/sotmwp/english/portfolio-item/tx-usbexp/

 

Uptone Audio USB Regen: this reclocks the data and provides clean power (mitigating any electrical noise generated thus far in the chain) especially if you add a linear power supply to the USB Regen, eg their own https://uptoneaudio.com/products/ultracap-lps-1 .  From the USB Regen product page: The USB REGEN takes the digital audio stream from your computer or other music streaming device, and generates a completely new USB data signal to feed to your DAC.  It accomplishes this by combining a carefully chosen USB hub chip with an ultra low-noise regulator and low-jitter clock.  See https://uptoneaudio.com/products/usb-regen

 

Essentially with this chain you should have almost as pristine as you can get USB output to connect to your USB DAC or USB to SPDIF converter.

 

Perhaps have a look at some reviews of the CAPS micro ZUMA, SOtM tX-USBexp and USB Regen to see if the claims are backed up by user opinion.  Obviously I did this first and was satisfied that the components were backed up by positive reviews.  I keep an eye on the latest technology and SOtM tX-USBexp and USB Regen are still all the rage, in fact the USB Regen frequently goes out of stock from the supplier.

 

You can get an integrated system that may do the above slightly better such as the http://www.aurender.com/page/w20 or http://www.aurender.com/page/n10 but they are USD 17,600 and USD 7,999 respectively.

 

Also, regarding an external clock, I would think this would be much more useful at the DAC than into the computer motherboard, because most DACs reclock the USB input, and that is where a precision clock would matter more.  External clocks can be tens of thousands of dollars.  The Aurender W20 I referenced above at USD 17,999 accepts a master clock input FYI.

 

Thanks for the question and interest!

 

Edited by bytheway

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Guest

Hi thanks for answer

 

Though not relevant to your advert but general info 

 

 

An example : -

 

http://pinkfaun.com/index.php/pink-faun-clock-ocxo.html

 

Sotm make a variety of clocks for mobo and USB  or both 

 

you can can also power the soTm USB board with a battery and sotm make several power supplies :) also ...

 

Sorry I was not meaning external clocking at all

 

yes your right a lot has been done in this build to address some of these issues

 

excellent advertisement in terms of detailed information 

 

GLWTS

Edited by Calax

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Are you open to selling items individually?

 

If the Uptone Audio USB Regen is the amber version, I can take if off your hands. Can collect it this weekend.

 

Thanks,

Corey

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Not going to separate at the moment and if I did would keep the regen, sorry.

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Hi all, I have sold the computer and USB Regen as a package but the planned Cawsey LPS sale (why I separated the items) fell through...so I will list the Cawsey LPS again separately.  Thanks for the interest.

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