I’m new to this hobby and would like some advice about how to introduce linear power supplies into my headphone systems.
I have separate amp and dac stacks and a couple combo systems ranging in price: Naim, Topping, FiiO and Schiit. What equipment (streamer, network bridge, amp or DAC) should I apply a linear PS to? Do I need separate PSs for each component?
Personally, save your money, use the power supplies that came with your equipment. They are all pretty decent manufacturers so doubt you will have any issues with what came with the equipment.
It’s a shame that the first response to your question was no help at all. I completely disagree that changing the power supply to a component will make no difference. I have an Auralic Aries G1. I upgraded the PS in that unit and found positive results. I use a linear PS on the microRendu in my office system and it works better than the ifi power supply many people use. If I was doing this I would probably start with the DAC. If you do this one at a time you can assess the value of the change. I also plug everything into a PS Audio Power Station. That made the biggest difference in my system. Good luck.
I disagree it’s no help if it’s the right thing to do. Let it be noted that the third response also advises the OP to invest somewhere else.
I’d say, none of them. Why don’t you trust the PS the manufacturer already provided?
More generally, what is it you think “this hobby” consists of? Buying more gear? You’ve got some great stuff, play some music and enjoy it.
Why would you? I’d say, probably not.
You will encounter two leagues of users in any audio forum, those who believe in the merrit and benefits of certain audiophile equipment such as LPS, switches, ethernet cables etc. - and those who don‘t. You will not get any conclusive answer here or any other forum, in the end you need to find your own subjective truth and decide whether you want to invest in it and test it out or not.
That‘s f.e. what I did during Corona, not being able to travel, test out all the audio ¨voodoo“ plus speakers, room correction, amps, pre-amps, DACs and streamers to find my own truth so I can settle with the curiosity, form my own opinion and move on.
The question is on why you ask about LPS - are you unhappy with sth ? I also understand you have pure headphone setups - hence no speaker or room that usually offer the biggest improvement potential in any system - correct ?
@John_Aiello how on earth did you conclude from my response that I said it would make no difference?
The opinion I expressed merely indicated to save money and acknowledge that the listed manufacturers were quality and provided decent equipment that would likely cause no problems.
Good luck indeed!
Enjoy the music.
Two issues here from my perspective:
The “noise” on the power line that many talk about is not a sound you hear like traditional tape hiss, but interference elements carried in the cables that obscure fine details in the music. So people try to isolate audio equipment from other home appliances, motors etc. on a separate circuit, or buy conditioners that not only protect against surges, but provide quieter and more dynamic power delivery.
The typical switch mode “wall wart” power adapter that comes with most audio gear itself introduces noise, not just for the unit it powers but for everything else on the circuit, which is one reason why the music gains greater clarity when they are replaced by less destructive linear ones. Unfortunately for my wallet, I’ve found that, with my system and listening habits, better lps power makes a difference even with network gear. Best to start with DACs and other items at that end of the chain, though.
As far as recommendations go, I’m very happy with the Chinese “SENGTERBELLE” branded 50 Watt lps with R-CORE transformer and Nichicon capacitors which I bought most recently for less than $100. I am also a big fan of Shunyata products even though they can get crazy expensive.
Thanks for your input about investing or not investing in a LPS. I wouldn’t trust the conversation if it was too one sided.
@Protyreus I haven’t ventured into loudspeakers yet.
Unfortunately, my Bluesound Node 2021 edition produces crackling when playing music through Roon. I run the Node through a Schiit Modius/Magnius stack. Tidal and Qubuz played directly from the Node sound great in each of my sets of headphones.Any advice?
If this is your original motivation for looking into LPSs, I’m skeptical one would help. The fact that your setup works correctly with the streaming services but not with Roon, and that you get glitches when playing through Roon, suggests that the data path from your Roon Core to the Node is somewhat deficient. It could be a bunch of different things:
- Your Roon Core is not receiving a steady data stream from wherever your music is coming from. For instance, if the Core is on WiFi rather than wired to your internet router and the music comes from a remote server, brief breaks due to transmission collision are possible.
- Your Roon Core is underpowered, and other compute tasks in it interfere with music stream processing.
- The connection from the Core to the Note is insufficient. The same issues with WiFi I noted in 1 above apply. Note that RAAT, the network protocol that Roon uses between Core and endpoints, it’s a lot more sensitive to brief interruptions than the protocols used by Tidal or Qobuz, where a good chunk of each track is buffered before play starts. The reason for this is that RAAT is designed to play synchronously on multiple endpoints, which precludes that kind of buffering.
Anyway, none of the above would be alleviated by an LPS.
PS: I use LPSs (Sbooster) for my Pi2AES-based Roon endpoints, but their sound improvement over the medical-grade Meanwell SMPS that is standard with the Pi2AES is only very slightly audible, with some DACs but not others.
@Fernando_Pereira, thanks for the actionable response. I agree with you the Node’s power supply is most likely not the culprit of the poor sound quality.
I have a second Bluesound Node (2021) connected by Audioquest USB cable to a RME ADI-2 DAC, and hear the same crackling when playing music over ROON. The poor sound happens when the Node is connect by Ethernet or WIFI. These two setups are on different floors in my house.
Roon plays well on my other setups after I connect a Nucleus by wire to my router. I even setup a Raspberry Pi 3B as a Roon bridge using Ropieee. The Pi’s output connected to my FiiO K9 Pro amp/DAC over WIFI sounds much better than the Nodes.
It seems other Bluesound Node users had the same experience with crackling noises playing through Roon, however did not experience this when using the Bluesound App. Is it the same for you ?
For most of those users experiencing crackling with Roon, a factory reset of the Node solved the issue, without ever figuring out what the root cause was.
Maybe give it a try with one Node to see if it cures the crackling.
@Protyreus is right, you won’t get any conclusive answers on any audio forums, but I disagree with the claim that “you need to find your own subjective truth”. Either linear power supplies make a difference, or they don’t. This isn’t a question of subjective opinion, it’s a matter of objective fact.
You’ll find that there are a ton of people who claim that they make a difference–these are people who have probably bought them–but you won’t find any who can provide any plausible evidence beyond their own (imagined) experience.
I’m with @AA_Parky, @Marian and @Bill_Janssen … save your money.
If you read the full thread (and my second reply) - This user has an actual issue with crackling noise with Roon and Bluesound Node.
Hence neither demon recommendations for an LPS nor counter-exorcism will help him.
Thanks. I’ll try a factory reset.
Thanks guys on the advice about the LPS. Any experiments that I may do with a LPS or any other gear would just be for fun and to fulfill my love of learning. I’m blessed to be able to experiment, but don’t want to waste a lot of money.
I work in an audio dealership and we have 3 or 4 Bluesound Nodes on several displays as well as an NAD integrated, an Arcam integrated and 2 Gold Note Streaming components. We control all of them with Roon and have no problems whatsoever.
The problem occurs with some nice quality headphones: Focal Stellia, HD800s, LCD-X 2021 and Hifiman Arya Stealth. These headphones sound great when fed by music sources other than the Bluesound Node.
I did a factory reset of the Node, and still experienced the same crackling problem when playing Roon. I find it very confusing that I get crackling from 2 Bluesound Nodes purchased a few weeks apart from Bluesound.com. Any suggestions?
- Please power down your players and any other network-attached devices. (Laptops, tablets and smartphones you can simply put in Airplane Mode).
- Unplug your router for 30 seconds then plug it back in
- Wait 5 minutes
- Start powering up all your Players and network devices.
- Reconnect your tablets and laptops
- Relaunch the BluOS app to test that everything is back up and operational
- Test with ROON
(PS - this is a copy / paste of a post describing a solution of a crackling Node via Roon. Using the search function of the forum will give you further options to look into)