Audiophile Optimiser (AO) and the Directstream

Anyone using AO with Windows Server 2012 and the Directstream?

Is there a significant lift in SQ compared with just using Server 2012? Most of the advantages claimed for it relate to eliminating a number of processes and services not required for music playback thereby reducing jitter.

Since the DS is not sensitive to input jitter I would have thought there would not be much of a difference with AO.

Having your computer hooked to your audio system (whether thru a DAC or any other route) is a big chance for noise from the computer to infiltrate your audio system. Some of the obvious paths are digital interconnects can be EMI receivers and/or transmitters, computers have switching power supplies that add all sort of noise to the mains (in addition to the computer power cord itself being a receiver/transmitter of EMI generated by the big current spikes from the computer’s power supply), groudloops, having more routes to ground in the system adds more groundloops which are receivers and transmitters of EMI.

Jitter is one path for noise to creep into an audio system thru the DAC, but just having a DAC, even a “perfect DAC”, will still involve making more groundloops (digital interconnects, analog interconnects, power cord.)

Unlike most audio gear designers a computer design only cares about EMI enough to meet the FCC, etc. restrictions which are much too high for most audio systems.

Tho I standby my claims about the jitter rejection of the DS and am reasonably proud of that work, it’s too easy to forget about all kinds of other interference having anything digital in a system can cause. The DS is a good citizen with EMI radiation, but it’s obvious that work remains to be done noise rejection for, say USB, etc.

Ted … Would reducing the number of processes and services in the OS reduce some of these other sources of noise?

Yep, In general fewer processes/services will help. I haven’t tried it lately but doing a safe boot in Windows used to be an easy way to load a lot less junk and to make a cleaner environment for playing audio.

Still some other things like trying different outlets for the computer, trying audiophile power cords on the computer, moving it a little farther away form the audio system, etc. can make similar differences and may be less intrusive to your other uses of the computer.

Re power supply, I have the NUC powered from the 12V output of the HDPlex LPS and the LPS itself plugged into an isolation transformer.

I have the Regen between the NUC and the DS , plugged into the USB input of the DS using the solid connector provided. Regen powered from the 9V outlet of the LPS.

So I guess I’ve taken that side of things as far as I can.

Time to give AO a try. Will report back.



AO is something I use and I also use JPLAY6.2 in a control PC and audio PC arrangement. The control PC is a high spec windows 10 PC with process lasso, process lasso allows for easy configuration of optimised pc for chosen audio programs to run almost descreatly and not be bothered to much by other windows processors. A dedicated network is available on the control PC to connect to the Audio PC.

the audio PC has server 2012r2 and AO including jplay 6.2.

The best SQ audio is obtained by using minimserver on the control PC and using kazzoo as the control point to direct audio to the audio PC. In this configuration the audio PC uses very little processing power. It was interesting to hear Paul recently talk in his post about a new product being developed by the PS Audio engendering team and he was impressed with the sound of this new USB product being developed. Apparently the sound stage was very good pined and wide.

After changing the Yale final and with the addition of minimserver along with JPLAYStreamer mode I received - hear what Paul talks about right now as far as imaging goes. So you ask about AO I think it is very good and contributes well to improving SQ however there is more to do and is only part of the solution

my audio PC is optimised as far as I can with the level of expertise I have and that is having a Paul Pang USB version 4 card connecting to the pice mini interface in the Intel NUC, the USB card is located in another box sitting on top of the NUC. The NUC is powered by an HDPlex supply and teddy pardo regulator to power the USB card. The HDPlex also powers the SSD directly and the NUC.

Would a laptop running on batteries eliminate much of the external electronic crosstalk and isolate the computer component of the system?

I seriously depends on the laptop - getting rid of a power connection is good, cramming everything into a smaller space and in particular CPUs, graphics processors and/or fans next to, say USB ports isn’t always good. Going from one model year of Toshiba Tecra to another made a 20dB difference in the spurs on some of the USB lines here (that’s on a scope on the analog out of the DAC with no digital input signal, by ear I didn’t hear the difference, tho I’m sure it would matter at times.) There is also a huge difference between the USB ports on the left and those on the right for my current Tecra. People are also more likely to have WiFi connections on a laptop and that radiation is audible in many systems (here it just adds the slightest haze to the top end.)

All of that said I almost always do demos here (and most of my work and relaxed listening) with my laptop plugged in, and only some of my guests hear (or care about) the difference when I unplug it or turn off the WiFi, etc.

I use the combo with a few servers I have built

using various combos. Up to my ref server that all out.

A very worth while investment for digital audio.

Just going from the main board of the server to its PCI exp audio card is a simple way to hear improvement.

You know how Paul says the image is not layered that means it’s holographic to me. And that’s how it’s been since the first time I put the server in the loop

I think it’s why I hear different then some here.

The changes Ted goes through hell to make are extremely obvious to me.

Now using speakers too. It’s yet again different.

With a server there is no need to roll tubes in your amp. The digital settings in AO or j play allow you to lick the sound you want. It ranges as an example from far away to up close.

From soft to fragile or brittle

like from 121 to yake beta.

Hope this helps

Johno. Nice setup.

My ref is all batteries and regulated after that

three sets.

one for the main board

mine for sub audio card I like Paul’s ver 2. 3 was too Brite for me.

And one for the ss drive for OS and same One for the music

both solid state. Fanless. The improvement over the Hdplex can be heard

main board is MSI with a pentium quad core I7

3.5 speed chip and his ram only 8 gig bites.

Man example is how I dislike the MyTek dac but with a server you would be surprised d how good it sounds and how close it is to Yale beta

Yale final is much more relaxed


+1 on servers making a big contribution to the sound and man, am I way behind you guys. I’ve got mine up to sounding as good as the Digibit Aria without a huge expense, but I am accumulating parts for a go at dual PCs and JPLAY/AO. I’ll probably need some help…4_gif Al, would you say that the move to batteries was a big step or more of a minor improvement?

I would not call it big , but it’s part of getting to the top of the mountain . It increases the level,of imaging details to a point that the music is more calming and has more individuality of each note and or instrument .

An example is Yale beta to final . As much as I do not like final over beta an obvious personnel choice its what happens as the server build increases . A while back Paul posted about how much there is in red book and how what seemed to screech is no longer screeching it’s actually music . What ever it does and ted s knows far more , makes the sound More like music . Last night even with these cheap infinty speakers , that I hate for music by the way, shows me the more than subtle change from the main board to audio USB card . The batteries over linear and then regulated is simaler to,that . Each step in add on devices is an improvment . And it’s obvious if removed . Of course these speskers show it , but my headphones give far more details of change . But the rs1B and of course the IRS v give the change Ina much diffrent way , as headphones lack the staging detail of width and depth and surrounding that good speakers have .


Geez Al.

What were you on when you wrote that? A great and amazingly understandable post.
A different pasta sauce this week? hehehe