SonicTransporter i7 HQ Player - DSD512


#1

I don’t normally post on forums but I just wanted to say how delighted I am with my new sonicTransporter i7. It’s the Windows 10 version with i7700 and 32GB of RAM for HQ Player. I purchased it for my dedicated headphone system.

Upsampling to DSD512 on my Holo Spring DAC KTE Lv3 via HQ Player is no problem (even without CUDA offload).

I’m currently using the poly sinc mp -2s filter. CPU usage upsampling from 44.1 kHZ 24 bit to DSD512 is less than 25% and its silent (with no fans). Will try some of the more power intensive filters in due course.

The bridged Ethernet also works very well with my microRendu connected directly to the ST (and with the 2.5 firmware release there are no pops/issues with DSD512). I’ve used HQ Player for a couple of years now on my other system and had a fair amount of network based issues - not now.

All my music is on a fast Samsung SSD connected directly via USB to the ST (so no network issues to worry about - I can’t connect to my NAS from the headphone system as there is no wired Ethernet nearby). If I’ve learnt anything over the past year or so it’s that network based issues have been the cause of the vast majority of my problems.

The system is connected to my network (via a Wireless Bridge) but only so that I can control it via Roon on my iPad and occassionaly to listen to Tidal.

I know Windows can be a bit tricky but I do feel as though upsampling to DSD512 is now easier than ever (and I am no IT expert by any stretch of the imagination).

Power is via the HD Plex 200w LPS (for the ST) and Uptone LPS1 for the microRendu.

Other components - Hifman He1000 v2 (amp is currently my old Burson Conductor - just waiting for my new Alo Audio Studio 6 to arrive in the next day or so).


#2

Hi,

Did you notice any SQ improvements when replacing the power supply on the sonicTransporter with a linear power supply? I know for a fact there is a (subtle) improvement when powering uRendu with a LPS-1, but never crossed my mind to power my sT i5 with a linear power supply.


#3

Haven’t tried it with the supplied power supply sorry (as I already had the HD Plex LPS which conveniently also powers the LPS 1).

I’m just impressed by how neat and tidy a package the STi7 & microrendu (with 2.5 OS) is for upsampling to DSD512 in HQ Player

Interestingly the “full version” of the polysinc filters appear to work as well (even poly sinc xtr - although the CPU usage does increase to 60 percent plus).

I had previously thought I would need a high end graphics card with Cuda off load if I wanted to use the more power intensive filters plus DSD512 at the same time. Surprised how powerful the STi7 is - is it down to the Kaby Lake processor?


(Rob) #4

I’m also considering something similar. How did you connect the ST wirelessly to your network? I’d also connect a SSD directly via USB, but like you, would also want to control the ST via another networked computer.


#5

With a wifi range extender - Netgear AC1200 - set to wireless bridge mode. I connected the Netgear via an Ethernet cable to one of the two ports on the back of the SonicTransporter. The other Ethernet port on the SonicTransporter is connected directly to my MicroRendu. The two ports are bridged so no need for an ethernet switch.

It seems to work well and enables me to control the SonicTransporter via the Remote Desktop app on my iPad. It’s also fine for streaming music from Tidal with no drop outs. I wouldn’t be confident streaming hi-Rez files from my NAS drive though (hence the SSD).

For this particular system the only alternative was Ethernet over power (which I didn’t like the idea of).


(Jaspal Kallar) #6

How does it sound with the bridged ethernet ports, better than not bridged?


(Rob) #7

That’s a good idea. Thanks.


(Tim Sto) #8

@Mark_Nicholson:
I’m potentially interested in the SonicTransporter i7 also, but I wondered if you could answer a question. What is the CPU model? Is it a i7700HQ (mobile variant), or is it a desktop-class CPU (i7700K)?


#9

It’s the Desktop version - it’s reasonably powerful as it can upsample from PCM to DSD512 in HQPlayer at about 28-35 percent load on the CPU (using the -2 polysinc filters)

Although recently I find I prefer upsampling PCM to DXD instead with the extreme filter and the load on the CPU is only 5-6 percent

I set the Power management settings to high which helps with the upsampling to DSD (which doesn’t create any noise as it is silent)

To be honest if you knew what you were doing I’m sure you could build something similar yourself for less money - but I don’t!


(Tim Sto) #10

Thanks for the response. Do you have a link to where you purchased it? I found this: https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/products/sonictransporter-roon-server-hqplayer?variant=21739021508

One feature I really like is that machine is fanless, and only uses 30 watts on average. It would be interesting to see how cheaply one could build their own equivalent machine. I’m interested in upsampling PCM to DSD512 with the polysync xtr filters.


#11

That’s the right link

My own experience- it’s not powerful enough to run DSD512 and the full noise extreme filters in HQP - I tried

I suspect you would need a powerful GPU with Cuda offload for that to run smoothly


(Tim Sto) #12

That’s good to know. When you say full noise filters, do you mean the poly-sync-xtr filters?


#13

Yes that’s correct. However I’m still v happy with the purchase. I can upsample red book PCM to DSD512 (using one of the -2s filters like poly sinc short mp -2s and AMSDM7 512+fs as the modulator). However with my system (Sonore ultrarendu to Singxer SU1 (with the firmaware uograde to pass DSD512) and Holo Spring KTE3 feeding an Alo Audio Studio 6 headphone amp and Hi-Fi Man He1000 v2 headphones) I find there is not a huge difference between DSD512 and PCM384k with poly sinc Xtr). Individual components have made a bigger difference (even switching to an utpone audio LPS1 to power my old microrendu made a bigger difference).

I love HQPlayer though - I’m starting to think the real magic is with the filters and running a NAA as opposed to DSD v PCM.

Whilst I don’t like an overly bright sound I find I tend to prefer PCM384k to DSD512 when upsampling from PCM. I get zero stutter (which I do get from time to time with DSD512) and the sound has a bit more bite and air to it. I wouldn’t want to overplay the difference as it’s marginal (to my ears) but in comparison DSD512 sounds a little lifeless (it’s still amazing though - I don’t want to get into a PCM v DSD debate).

However, I do though think that with hindsight I got a bit obsessed about building a system purely for DSD512 thinking that was some holy grail when (at least in my system) it is not. There has to be a reason why the likes of dCS and TotalDac (both of which are out of my price range) don’t yet bother with DSD512

I should also add that I only got a sonic transporter because my Headphone rig doesn’t have wired Ethernet available. And so I needed a silent PC to run HQ Player. For my main speaker system I do have wired Ethernet and HQ Player runs on a big noisy powerful PC (with a 1080 NVidia GPU for Cuda offload) that is located in another room. I tried locating that PC in the same room as my speaker system and had all sorts of problems with my 400w power amp picking up electrical noise from the PC even after investing in a Ground Zero ground loop eliminator.

Sorry about the rambling response - just wanted to explain the reason why I ended up with th SonicTransporter i7. The bridged Ethernet output is also a neat solution and with Windows 10 I can run Audiophile Optimizer (which improved the performance even if it didn’t necessarily improve the sound quality)


(Jeff Friedman) #14

I currently have a SonicTransporter I5 and I’m considering moving up to the SonicTransporter I7. The I5 is great but I have one issue. The I5 has six USB ports but only one can be used for a USB hard drive. I use several USB portable hard drives so one is not enough. How many portable USB hard drives can be attached and used by the I7?


#15

I don’t know the answer sorry. Can’t see why you couldn’t connect multiple USB drives to any of the rear USB ports but suggest you email Andrew at SGC to confirm. There is a contact form on their website which I used for queries about upsampling to DSD512. Andrew responded very quickly.


(Sean) #16

Only one USB drive sadly.

I saw that Andrew said on the Computer Audiophile forum that it’s because you might run into issues with different file formats with different drives.

ROCK doesn’t have this issue so I’m not sure why it can’t be done.

Let’s tag Andrew @agillis

He’s certainly talented enough to make it happen and plenty people have been requesting it for a while.


(Andrew Gillis) #17

ROCK also has issues with some drive formats.

Having a lot of drives is a good was to cause extra noise and problems. We chose to only support one drive for several reasons.

  1. Support - more drives means more chances for problems. Once a problem is detected it takes a lot more work to determine what drive causes the problem.

  2. Now that large USB drives are available at low cost these is no reason to use many smaller drives.

  3. For users with massive collections a NAS is the best way to go.

Our goal with sonicTransporter is to give customs a Roon solution that “just works” and sounds great. Having many USB drives is counter to both those goals.


(john ) #18

Tried in the meantime an upgrade for your SonicTransporter linear power supply? If yes, I am interested in your experiences.