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Author Topic: New user a few questions  (Read 7693 times)
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Sonic Defender
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« on: July 07, 2014, 12:57:54 am »

First, I hope to spend some time around here. I am a fairly active member over at head-fi which is how I learned about XXHighEnd. So before even bothering with trying the demo I need some opinions.

I currently run JRiver 18 and I find the sound quality to be quite high so the potential that XXHE can improve on this is very exciting. Why do I want to use XXHE? In a nutshell I have a decent NOS dac, Schiit Gungnir. I prefer the NOS sound as far as I can tell as I sold my Audiolab 8200CD which was an OS dac player. I have gone all computer audio, lossless files only. I have read that using upsampling on the computer before the dac mitigates some of the issues associated with the NOS approach. To that effect, I want to use the best upsampling filters available, and it sounds like XXHE provides that.

So, my computer is a basic Dell (retired government computer) about 5 years old and has only an Intel Core2 Duo and the memory is only about 2 GB. I can bump up the RAM no problem, but I really don't intend to purchase a new computer as JRiver runs without a hitch on the machine so my belief is that if in order to provide the upsampling that I hope to try requires me to spend another $1000 in hardware that is a deal breaker. So can I use my basic (Win 7) Dell with XXHE and still realize a performance improvement over JRiver?

For what it is worth, next year I intend to build a much more powerful music server, but as the one I have now works well, my hope is to get through another year as is. Thank you in advance for your thoughts. Cheers.

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AlainGr
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2014, 01:56:28 am »

Hi Sonic,

I can only speak on my behalf of course, but I can assure you that you should hear improvements with XXHighEnd over JRiver. While I sometimes use JRiver (I discovered JRiver before XXHE) on my all purpose PC, when it comes to my sound system, I only use XXHE.

I have upgraded things up to a desktop 2 years ago, but before I was playing with XXHE on a 4GB HP NX7400 (I still am in fact, when I go on vacation), with a 1.6GHZ core 2 duo (not really powerful). It was playing with no hiccups, even if sometimes, depending on the format of your files and the adjustments I would make with XXHE, it could take longer after pressing the "Play" button to have the music started. And if you really push the system to its limits with the adjustements (and it is very possible), you could have some hiccups. There are "safe adjustments", not necessarily the best, but it will prevent those hiccups and still let real good sound come out of your speakers Happy

For sure, you can try XXHE in demo mode. It will not allow you to use all the adjustments one can make once you get a licence for it, but it will already show you a good part of all that it can offer.

I am sure that Peter will make a better portrait about XXHE than I can, but at this precise time, I think it is almost 1am on his side of the world Happy

But he will answer you, that's for sure !

Regards,

Alain
PS: I don't have the best ears in the world, but if I can hear what XXHE has that the other software don't, I am quite sure you will be able to hear something really good !
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Desktop with ASUS Sabertooth X79 motherboard,Intel 3930k 6 cores (+ 6) at 1.2 GHZ,32GB ram 1333Mhz,Win 10 pro build 14386 64 bit with no updates,OS + XXHE on external Sata III SSD (Esata), music (WAV) on external 5200 rpm drive through network, OS MInimized, XX with engine 4 adaptive,4096 (buffer size), CPU with scheme 3,Player = Low,Thread = RealTime, Q1 = 14,Q345 = 1,1,1,Q1x=1,Clock res = (variable),Stop Desktop Services,Stop Remaining Services,Stop Wasapi,,LAN on,persist = on,all OSD off,SFS = 2,PE off,PA off, Arc Prediction,x16 Upsample, Straight Contiguous,Lush USB  cable,Phasure NOS1a DAC,Meitner PA-6 preamp, Spectral Audio DMA-180  Power Amp, Tannoy System 15 DMT II, Tannoy St-100 supertweeters, Tannoy TS2.12 subwoofers (2). * On hiatus for a while...
Sonic Defender
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2014, 02:12:40 am »

Thanks for the reply AlainGR, I really appreciate a responsive community! On head-fi where I am active like you I have over 700 posts; so weird to be the newbie. I won't be pushing my system as best I know. I will of course be using DSP, but my goal is to stay as close to bit-perfect while performing the requisite upsampling/digital filtering needed to overcome the rolled off approach of a NOS dac. For the record I love my Schiit Gungnir, I am simply intrigued by the notion that with a little software mojo my system might sound even better.

I use a NAD M3 integrated and have a pair of wonderful (to my ears) Neat Motive 1 speakers supported by two Rel T-Zero subs. I value neutrality and accuracy, but a little warmth in sound doesn't scare me much either. I am also a headphone user with a soon to arrive HiFi Man HE560 driven by a Schiit Asgard 2 headphone amplifier. That isn't all meant as "gear dropping", just trying to add a little more information to my "sonic signature" Cheers.
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AlainGr
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2014, 02:59:58 am »

Hi Sonic,

No problem at all Happy We are all in the same hobby Happy Don't be fooled by the amount of my posts. It is so friendly here that it is easy to do so.

By the way, I should have done it first...

 Welcome !

Alain Happy


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Desktop with ASUS Sabertooth X79 motherboard,Intel 3930k 6 cores (+ 6) at 1.2 GHZ,32GB ram 1333Mhz,Win 10 pro build 14386 64 bit with no updates,OS + XXHE on external Sata III SSD (Esata), music (WAV) on external 5200 rpm drive through network, OS MInimized, XX with engine 4 adaptive,4096 (buffer size), CPU with scheme 3,Player = Low,Thread = RealTime, Q1 = 14,Q345 = 1,1,1,Q1x=1,Clock res = (variable),Stop Desktop Services,Stop Remaining Services,Stop Wasapi,,LAN on,persist = on,all OSD off,SFS = 2,PE off,PA off, Arc Prediction,x16 Upsample, Straight Contiguous,Lush USB  cable,Phasure NOS1a DAC,Meitner PA-6 preamp, Spectral Audio DMA-180  Power Amp, Tannoy System 15 DMT II, Tannoy St-100 supertweeters, Tannoy TS2.12 subwoofers (2). * On hiatus for a while...
Sonic Defender
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2014, 03:24:27 am »

Nice. Thanks for the welcome. I think it is fun to know what gear people use; I often learn about good, but obscure pieces that way. Not sure if we aren't supposed to say where we are from (I doubt that restriction is in effect here), but I especially like to know where people are from, I just find it interesting. I am in Ottawa the capital city of Canada.
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CoenP
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2014, 08:22:39 am »

Hi,

I think your setup is up to the task. Three years ago I hade a quite nice xx setup running with an Atom and a 96Khz capable m-audio dac. With the free version you can get the flavour of XX and get an impression where it heads to. Yet I have to admit, there are substantial benefits in running the paid version and it might just need that to convincingly surpass J-river on your system.

Further down that road you might reconsider more memory (i might have a 4g stick lying around) or a new pc alltogether. There is tons of information about dialing in settings, you will discover yourself.

Now get the demo and let us know what you think of it sounds good !

Regards, Coen
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Settings: Qn: , SFS: , timeres: XT tweaks: , buf: 4096, driver: 8 ms,

Audio PC (jan 19): XXHE PC v1 with RAMdisk w.o. videocard and 1 of 2 cpu fans + BRIX/USB3 storage musicserver. ETN to Fibre converters (linear supplies), 500m SFP modules & 5m OM4 cable. Power cable PE not connected, together with nos1 and poweramp in separate "audio" powerstrip.

Clarixa set + Intona (or Lush 1m), Phasure NOS1a-75B G3 USB (buf 16 ms)-> Blaxius ->SE EL95 (0,8W triode) + cheap link to Abaqus 300W plateamps> Bastanis cable-> Bastanis Sagarmatha Duo ("DIY").

[other sources: TD124/3009SII-i/Grace F9/lounge LCR phono; Rega Planet 1997 vintage]
PeterSt
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2014, 08:35:43 am »

Hi there over in Ottawa, Wink

Although not many will be used to 2GB of memory only (read : no experiences) I think these days this will work all right. "These days" because this is about one of the settings named "SFS" and these days we tend to have that very low (and now consumes almost no memory).

Notice that you should have no issues really, but - an I think Alain said that already - all is about "limits" and usually we want to be over them (some how crossing limits always is for the best SQ ... well, just under that limit eventually). What I try to say is that the faster the PC the more features (or combinations of them) will work and usually it is for the better SQ. But hey, what we can't try (because crossing such limit) we won't know either. But stupid example : if my PC which normally runs at 4GHz now runs at 430MHz for the better SQ it first must be able to still do that stutter free (and such).
But you will see automatically and the forum is there to ask (what to do if what happens).

One thing I'd have to notice :
One of the key features of the licensed version is "Minimized OS Mode". We all know in here what that does to SQ and without trying you again won't know. BUT, in your case this is far more about the inherent speed of the PC. So, being in that mode will show you easily how super fast your PC suddenly is. And now again about those possibilities for tuning and limits which thus ... are farther away (more headroom).

So to keep in mind : Your PC will always be able to play stutter free - if all is right you will perceive the better SQ a sort of right out of the box (when not, leran more / tune more) but the real thing happens when in Minimized OS Mode and that needs a license. Not that I want to talk you into that ...
Happy

Let us know you you fare ...
Regards,
Peter

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For the Stealth III LPS PC :
W10-14393.0 - July 17, 2021 (2.11)
XXHighEnd Mach III Stealth LPS PC -> Xeon Scalable 14/28 core with Hyperthreading On (set to 14/28 cores in BIOS and set to 10/20 cores via Boot Menu) @~660MHz, 48GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/0/0/*1*/ Q1Factor = *4* / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = *10ms* / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = *10.13*  (max 10.13) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD Off (!) / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *62* / Nervous Rate = *1* / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / Custom Filtering *Low* (16x) / Always Clear Proxy before Playback = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> Lush^3
A: W-Y-R-G, B: *W-G* USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (16ms) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> Blaxius*^2.5* A:B-G, B:B-G Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers. ET^2 Ethernet from Mach III to Music Server PC (RDC Control).
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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Sonic Defender
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2014, 12:33:58 am »

Thank you all, and of course you Peter for having posted. I will have no issues with a paid version, I just like to practice first with the GUI mind you. I wonder if in blind listening tests the differences between using bit-perfect output from JRiver or using US output from XXHE are actually detectable? It seems some good ears feel that way and I look forward to trying my ears out. Essentially I have read that it is good for sound quality to upsample in software before the NOS dac. That is one of the reasons I feel XXHE may sound better for me than JRiver as I think the upsampling engine used in XXHE is superior.
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AlainGr
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2014, 02:30:18 am »

Hi Sonic,

It will be interesting to read your results as you test XXHE. What I like here is that even if a report is not positive, it is always taken as a creative step from the unexpected and as a community, we can just grow from all the inputs that each one of us adds.

Ottawa - I have a few cousins over there and from Gatineau. I am in the Laurentians (north of Montreal). "Go Sens Go" and "Go Habs Go" ! Happy 

Alain
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Desktop with ASUS Sabertooth X79 motherboard,Intel 3930k 6 cores (+ 6) at 1.2 GHZ,32GB ram 1333Mhz,Win 10 pro build 14386 64 bit with no updates,OS + XXHE on external Sata III SSD (Esata), music (WAV) on external 5200 rpm drive through network, OS MInimized, XX with engine 4 adaptive,4096 (buffer size), CPU with scheme 3,Player = Low,Thread = RealTime, Q1 = 14,Q345 = 1,1,1,Q1x=1,Clock res = (variable),Stop Desktop Services,Stop Remaining Services,Stop Wasapi,,LAN on,persist = on,all OSD off,SFS = 2,PE off,PA off, Arc Prediction,x16 Upsample, Straight Contiguous,Lush USB  cable,Phasure NOS1a DAC,Meitner PA-6 preamp, Spectral Audio DMA-180  Power Amp, Tannoy System 15 DMT II, Tannoy St-100 supertweeters, Tannoy TS2.12 subwoofers (2). * On hiatus for a while...
CoenP
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2014, 07:55:58 am »

Thank you all, and of course you Peter for having posted. I will have no issues with a paid version, I just like to practice first with the GUI mind you.

Good thinking. There is a learning curve, but in the end all makes very much sense.

Quote
I wonder if in blind listening tests the differences between using bit-perfect output from JRiver or using US output from XXHE are actually detectable? It seems some good ears feel that way and I look forward to trying my ears out.

You bet! This is what started xx and what many settings like the Qs and SFS are all about.

Quote
Essentially I have read that it is good for sound quality to upsample in software before the NOS dac. That is one of the reasons I feel XXHE may sound better for me than JRiver as I think the upsampling engine used in XXHE is superior.

The "upsampling" is actually an unavoidable part of the difital filtering that is needed to reconstruct the waveform. There are some fantastic sounding filters (see ' new filter requests' thread) that retain the direct and uncluttered sound of nos dacs. Still you will notice differences in sound when only experimenting with the pc/os tweak dials.

Regards, Coen
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Settings: Qn: , SFS: , timeres: XT tweaks: , buf: 4096, driver: 8 ms,

Audio PC (jan 19): XXHE PC v1 with RAMdisk w.o. videocard and 1 of 2 cpu fans + BRIX/USB3 storage musicserver. ETN to Fibre converters (linear supplies), 500m SFP modules & 5m OM4 cable. Power cable PE not connected, together with nos1 and poweramp in separate "audio" powerstrip.

Clarixa set + Intona (or Lush 1m), Phasure NOS1a-75B G3 USB (buf 16 ms)-> Blaxius ->SE EL95 (0,8W triode) + cheap link to Abaqus 300W plateamps> Bastanis cable-> Bastanis Sagarmatha Duo ("DIY").

[other sources: TD124/3009SII-i/Grace F9/lounge LCR phono; Rega Planet 1997 vintage]
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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2014, 09:05:01 am »

I wonder if in blind listening tests the differences between using bit-perfect output from JRiver or using US output from XXHE are actually detectable?

With AB(X) discussions all over the place (and how to perform them) "we" in here are not much like that. Not because it shouldn't be done or is wrong or whatever, but I guess that we learned to do without because, well, within XXHighEnd we are doing this comparing all the time. So, a bit daft to say perhaps, but with all those "dials" it is a continuous tuning for the better and with "years" of experience you will know the properties of a certain dial and hear it mixed into the other(s).
Notice that I tough this subject because it just never is or has been. So a bit for fun.

If you wouldn't be new and you would download a new version, you would see that any new possibility has its own merit. But of course operates in the midst of everything. Still it wouldn't take you very long to set all dials in completely different directions just because of this one new.
But this is when you're experienced.

What we see today is that almost all of us landed on the same combination of settings just because a. there is a good base from all the experience and b. nobody is really desiring copying from others because it is a hobby in itself (always improve) and c. there just *is* consensus in it all.

Ad c.
What works for one works everywhere (no matter how impossible that seems to be).

Ad b.
Part of the hobby as a, say, community is that you yourself found something for the better and you can share it because c. will usually apply (works out the same for others).

Ad a.
Lately it actually has become quiet because the last official version (1.186a) has a super strict setting combination which works for everybody as long as the PC can cope. Notice that we can look at everybody's sigs.

Having said the above (which thus was for my own fun) an answer could be this, were it about A-B-Etc. working or not :

Chances exist that as a newbie you might even come up with no real result. You may hear a difference but can't qualify it. What you will be in lack of most is the test material to use for what comparison. So, I see people use 3 tracks (or 10, whatever) for official blind tests, while I need a week to judge a change. Say 200 tracks from 100 different albums and all sorts of music types. And all I do during that week is grabbing material of which I know where it was good at the previous time or where it was explictly bad at including worse than a time before.
This is before some change goes out or when personal me coincidentally comes up with a new settings combination.
Maybe not all do it so extensively (but some sure yes) bu anyway it is related to the rejudgement of all those merits of the various individual settings.

While I called it a virtue hence hobby, this is not so for everybody. It could make you crazy. This is how the latest version is actually quite comfortable because it is quite clear what the settings need to be for the best overall SQ.

But with that settled we now start with that other dimension not much explored - the upsampling filters. But here too, right away you hear the difference between two different ones. Still you first need to know the sound from it as how it always has been. Say 5 years. *Then* you hear the difference within even a fraction of a second. Possibly you don't hear a difference at all if your mind isn't used to either one. Still though, one will annoy over the other after longer listening. And mind you, without the other the one possibly never annoys. Really so and all is about our (distortion) reference.

bye
Peter
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For the Stealth III LPS PC :
W10-14393.0 - July 17, 2021 (2.11)
XXHighEnd Mach III Stealth LPS PC -> Xeon Scalable 14/28 core with Hyperthreading On (set to 14/28 cores in BIOS and set to 10/20 cores via Boot Menu) @~660MHz, 48GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/0/0/*1*/ Q1Factor = *4* / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = *10ms* / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = *10.13*  (max 10.13) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD Off (!) / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *62* / Nervous Rate = *1* / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / Custom Filtering *Low* (16x) / Always Clear Proxy before Playback = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> Lush^3
A: W-Y-R-G, B: *W-G* USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (16ms) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> Blaxius*^2.5* A:B-G, B:B-G Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers. ET^2 Ethernet from Mach III to Music Server PC (RDC Control).
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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