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Author Topic: CAPS Servers  (Read 6338 times)

AndyU

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CAPS Servers
« on: December 20, 2014, 10:17:17 am »

^ So ... if what you and the o/p say is true, then it follows that once your pc delivers a bit perfect stream to your (competently designed) DAC, then the job is done, and there is nothing to be gained by "optimising" the pc or operating system for audio. That being the case, why has JRiver financed computeraudiophile to the tune of $10,000 to design a variety of "audiophile" servers/pcs with the stated intention of improving sound quality by spending more money? Chris Connaker has stated many times that his more expensive servers "sound better" than the cheaper ones, yet they all run MC and deliver bit-accurate data to a DAC.

Does JRiver believe that the various C.A.P.S servers designed by computeraudiophile sound different or not?


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JimH

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Re: CAPS Servers
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2014, 01:42:59 pm »

^ So ... if what you and the o/p say is true, then it follows that once your pc delivers a bit perfect stream to your (competently designed) DAC, then the job is done, and there is nothing to be gained by "optimising" the pc or operating system for audio.
That's correct.
Quote
That being the case, why has JRiver financed computeraudiophile to the tune of $10,000 to design a variety of "audiophile" servers/pcs with the stated intention of improving sound quality by spending more money?
We support Chris's work and the site.  Sorry if you find that conflicts somehow.
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AndyU

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Re: CAPS Servers
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2014, 01:49:35 pm »

That's correct.We support Chris's work and the site.  Sorry if you find that conflicts somehow.

Chris Connaker makes many claims that his more expensive server designs sound better than the cheaper ones. Yet all run MC and deliver bit-accurate data. Do you share his belief that his servers sound different, or disagree with it?

In his latest (JRiver sponsored) build for example he advocates spending $350 on an "audiophile" PCI to USB card. In your view would this improve sound quality over standard USB circuitry or not?
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JimH

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Re: CAPS Servers
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2014, 02:44:33 pm »

Andy,
I don't want to debate you.  Sorry.
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AndyU

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Re: CAPS Servers
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2014, 02:53:21 pm »

Andy,
I don't want to debate you.  Sorry.

I'm not asking or expecting to debate you, nor do I need an apology. I'm just asking for you to state your opinion. To put my question another way, do you believe Chris Connaker's C.A.P.S V4 Pipeline sounds better or the same as your own JRiver ID?
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gvanbrunt

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Re: CAPS Servers
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2014, 04:04:10 pm »

Chris Connaker makes many claims that his more expensive server designs sound better than the cheaper ones. Yet all run MC and deliver bit-accurate data. Do you share his belief that his servers sound different, or disagree with it?

Sounds better how? Less external EMF injected into external equipment? Less fan noise? Could be a lot of things. He is probably correct with a very general statement like that. I haven't read a lot but so far the only claims I've seen from Chris is that he carefully selected components to deliver an optimal audio experience. There are plenty of variables that would affect that and that doesn't change the fact that bit perfect is bit perfect. Chris took the time and expense of carefully selecting components that work well together, have long lifespans, and are designed to be housed in close proximity to audio amplifiers etc. I haven't seen any "magical" claims from him about C.A.P.S. etc.

In his latest (JRiver sponsored) build for example he advocates spending $350 on an "audiophile" PCI to USB card. In your view would this improve sound quality over standard USB circuitry or not?

Improve how? You are making vague statements. Is he suggesting it "prevents bits from flipping" as we are discussing here, or something else? Is he possibly suggesting that that it may prevent noise injection into external devices, or possibly that there are less driver issues? I have no idea. Without an exact statement it is meaningless. Also, perhaps he is going the "spare no expense" route. Like taking the time on classic car rebuild to get the paint color just right. Will it make a difference? Not really in a technical sense. But from a personal satisfaction point that you did everything possible to get it "just right", it does.
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dtc

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Re: CAPS Servers
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2014, 04:45:30 pm »

Chris tries to minimize electrical and RF noise in his systems. From the description of the C.A.P.S. v4 Pipeline Server on Computer Audiophile

"Expansion via PCIe is also very easy with the X10SLH-F motherboard. Pipeline features 1x PCI-E 3.0 x8 (in x16), 1x PCI-E 3.0 x8, and 1x PCI-E 2.0 x4 (in x8) slot. In the single PCIe 2.0 slot I have the SOtM tX-PCIexp card ($350) for increased USB audio performance over the standard built-in USB ports. Powering this card I also recommend the HDPlex Power Supply, described below, because itís critical to supply the cleanest power signal possible. Given the serverís direct connection to a DAC or other audio component, a dirty power signal will have negative effects on audio performance unless the audio component used features 100% isolation from the server (I.e. Are QB-9 DSD). The number of slots in the Pipeline server also allow for AES/EBU cards from companies such as Lynx or RME and for S/PDIF cards from companies such as ASUS and ESi. I searched for a way to add Thunderbolt to this server through a PCIe card, but was unable to find a card that didnít require an on-board Thunderbolt header on the motherboard. Users that arenít afraid of wireless interference (RFI) can use both an SOtM tX-PCIexp and an ASUS PCE-AC68 802.11ac card connect to the motherboard at the same time."

"The power supply Iím using for the CAPS v4 Pipeline server is an HDPlex Linear Power Supply ($358) in combination with the HDPlex 250W Internal DC-ATX PSU ($85). Once the power hits the motherboard there isnít much any of us can do to clean it up. However, using a linear supply for the main power and the USB card power we can effectively create a barrier of clean power around the server. The linear supply wonít feed the typical switching noise back into the power line and on to the audio components and the same linear supply feeding the USB card will make sure the direct connection to the audio system is as clean as possible. In other words, itís like a moat of clean power surrounding the dirty PC power.  "

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mschneid

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Re: CAPS Servers
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2014, 06:14:15 pm »

I'm not asking or expecting to debate you, nor do I need an apology. I'm just asking for you to state your opinion. To put my question another way, do you believe Chris Connaker's C.A.P.S V4 Pipeline sounds better or the same as your own JRiver ID?

This is about high end audio.... the variables are almost infinite... unless you substitute one piece of gear into your carefully set up rig... good enough to resolve subtle differences ... in a room you know inside and out.... and have a way to do A B testing ... you won't know.....  much less id the feature that you perceive has improved.  The differences, (if any) are small and the value of the difference depends on the listener's perception   (a particularly unreliable and sometimes not even repeatable measurement device)...  So... I doubt anyone at JRiver has A B tested one of these CAPS servers...  
  
Does minimizing electrical and RF noise make sense to you?
Can you measure a difference in XXX due to minimized electrical and RF noise???  Is it the proper measurement to make?
Can you perceive a difference in the music listening experience??
It is almost impossible to get agreement on these questions.
So,  What you do...  is listen to the story... if you believe the package of gear on offer  makes sense to you at the price...   You can buy it.
In high end audio.... you determine the value.... What you can resell it for is not the point.

Best advice i have been given..... get the best speakers that you afford first.... then each upgrade you make will give you a new sound and make your speakers... new to you again....thus you can justify the upgrade you just made ... and allowing you to declare its value.
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gvanbrunt

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Re: CAPS Servers
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2014, 11:16:57 am »

One thing that I see Chris doing in his design: Minimizing Noise. He goes with low noise components such as power supply etc. A very wise thing to do. While this will have no effect in the digital domain, it could be injected in the analog one after conversion. The server could very well emit noise that is picked up in the amp etc. Noise has a cumulative effect with each source possibly stacking up to make a much louder one. So reducing it in the server is a good thing.

That would include using a high end USB interface. It is possible that some noise could get transferred to the DAC and end up in the analog signal at some point. A good DAC would minimize this beyond the range of human hearing. But why take the chance? If you building a no holds barred audio experience, then you should take every opportunity to eliminate noise.

And just so we are clear: All of this noise will have 0% effect on the digital signal. It will not appear in it in any way, "flip any bits" in the computer or DAC, or otherwise affect things. None. In the analog domain, it may appear as noise. And it will sound exactly like any other analog noise: AC hum, "modem" sounding computer noise, hiss, etc. There is nothing magical about it. It is just plain old noise. It doesn't make it "less resolving" or "less open" or any other non technical mumbo jumbo. If it is below the range of human hearing, it has no effect that you can hear. And if you measure or graph it, it just gets added to the signal and ends up sounding like: the exact same thing. It doesn't magically modulate the signal or somehow or take away from the audio signal in a subtle way.  It just adds the wave of the noise to the signal and that sounds the same to the human ear as if the music wasn't there.

The point is that in digital audio you are only dealing with the same things that you do with analog. Nothing special. You don't have to worry about some magical effect on the digital signal, clock timing etc with the exception of the DAC. A garbage DAC may in fact have some audible problems. A cheap DAC will likely reproduce the signal without any difference from an expensive one. An expensive DAC will spare no expense in protecting the analog signal from noise etc. It will also go the extra mile as far as clock timing etc. Not audible, but why "take the chance" if you are an audiophile and appreciate the best. That is what you are paying for. Their marketing may say things that appeal to the "magical types" but why not? Marketing is mostly lies anyway. Do you believe every commercial on television? Have you ever read the fine print? Spend the money if you wish, but understand the actual benefits you receive.

What I find hard to understand is the amount of time some people spend reading pseudoscience. They spend hours and hours listening to and believing the "experts". Keep in mind that the "Weekly World News" has plenty of scientists and doctors to write about with magical claims too. Just because someone has a title, doesn't make them correct. They are in that magazine because they made the same claims to their peers and they rejected their "science" because it was flawed. If it were in any way valid it would be in a scientific journal. And to give you some idea of what kind of information can appear in legitimate journals: Things written by grade 8 students for science fairs. Things written by enthusiasts with no degrees or titles whatsoever. If it is something new, relevant and backs up claims with actual science it usually gets published. So why aren't the audiophile "experts" having their work published in one?

If you love audio so much, why are you not spending some of that time understanding the conventional science as well? That way you can make an educated decision as to whether they are full of it or not. Most likely you will also know how to spend your money wisely and create an ultimate listening experience by putting the money where it is most likely to be heard.
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fitbrit

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Re: CAPS Servers
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2014, 02:17:14 pm »

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