Block Diagrams, System Topologies, and Bears, Oh my! - Members' Systems Deep Dive

This is essentially a more in-depth sharing of our “System” compared to the “System Photos” thread.

My very good hombre @cardri has inspired me to get off my A$$ and diagram my system in some capacity. While my feeble attempt at this is in no way comparable to the engineering level of work @cardri is capable of, I figured it is a good conversation starter. @Cardri, your next! I know you have posted your block diagrams elsewhere, but let’s get this thread going.

I have to say, the other motivating factor to start this thread was the post from audio enthusiast/reviewer @austinpop. He posted his system topology which prompted an active, and fruitful discussion. Much of the equipment discussion that takes place here in the forum centers around individual components. But we all know how the “System” is defined by a seemingly overwhelming number of variables that collectively create our individual sound signatures. It is both entertaining and thought provoking to look at how each of us makes decisions with regard to equipment selection and layout.

Here it goes… (P.S. Click on the diagram so it presents larger and can be expanded)




You are correct on two counts:
A system is more than the sum of its parts
@cardri is an inspiration


I’m a neophyte around here at best, but hot damn I must agree this is a great idea for a thread. So much to learn from y’all with so much more experience and this is where the rubber meets the road. I can’t wait to dig in to what you all do.

I’ll get around to posting my relatively modest setup eventually as well I suppose :stuck_out_tongue:

@JeffofArabica: What software or tool did you use to sketch your system? I find it to be the most decipherable rendition posted on these pages, to date. Great job. (No offense @Cardri :slight_smile: …)

@JeffofArabica & @stevensegal - great job and @austinpop is inspiring. I’m new to this hobby so I like to think about the whole system and not just in individual components. I have been talking w/ Jeff about his system and never really understood his complete system until now. Same w/ Steven. Thanks! Now to digest.

@JeffofArabica - OK, my friend; here is my Block Diagram. Like yours, I have the click to zoom feature…

@JeffofArabica - here is my new scaled rack configuration

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@JeffofArabica - here are a few things I have been working on… I just figured out how to get all the power cords off the floor from tangled mess.


@Narbooty - In seconds looking at a BD you can learn days worth of what information. What power, what ICs, why did you chose and why. Was the choice of RCA in your set up better than going balanced. There are so many great power supplies for streaming and Ethernet… in seconds you have access to these PS in configuration. Those that have been doing this for decades, the BDs might not be useful. For me, I get a wealth of information you don’t see in any magazine. Reviewers usually list components with no configuration. There are hundreds of different ways to put a system together. Where was the budget focused; was there a budget; what was the evolution. After just over a year, I have 28 block diagrams with the evolution of the system. Sometimes I ask myself why did I do that and go back a few BDs’ ago… Below is BD#1 so you can see the evolution to BD#28 above. You can see I had (3) CAT7 Ethernet runs from router in great room to DMP, P20, and BII in music room. unplugged the DMP after going Roon and the DMP cover info was 25% so you had to add it to the PSA cover art bank. Not spending a career wasting my time. The P20 data is not dynamic and I can get this data looking at the screen. OK, so your THD in is 7%, you going to move, no… to me, the information is useless snapshots and the website has not worked in almost a year. I do not control my P20, all my equipment is on stby so that part of the Ethernet link is wasted on me… Why add another Ethernet run so I ripped it out. Some find the data useful, I find it amusing at best. Like the DMP cover art… really, really… this is where the engineering time went… a track # will due… I get 1,000X more data and cute pics from Roon that I can actual see in my listening chair… in addition, I added a switch, and Giga FOIL and routed the Ethernet into my Nucleus+ after I went Matrix…

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I used a free online tool called ( Despite being free and web-based, it is very well developed. I found it pretty easy and intuitive to use. You can easily export your drawing to JPG or a variety of other formats.


And man, your system has come a long way since BD#1 my friend! It was certainly the effort that you have put into mapping things out in your system that demonstrated to me the value in having these snapshots. It was interesting as I was drawing mine up… even though I knew my system, the drawing really assisted me in identifying places to target next for improvement.

@cardri I think it was around when we first starting discussing the GigaFOILv4 that I saw your first BD. We discussed idea placement of the GF in the system and each of us had a slightly different streaming topology so the graphic helped.

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@JeffofArabica - these BDs really help me sort out all the equipment. In addition when I first sent them to you, you questioned approaches and man that was insightful and helped me focus on weaker areas. I view these as collaborative. Since I have been only doing this for a year, I really appreciated your help. Also, all the help I got from forum members…

I like the way you created your BD, @scotte1 is right, it is very clean and easy to follow. I may redo mine and concentrate on the block diagrams and leave pics off… very good input Scott.

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See, I already discovered something very interesting to me in your drawing, your use of the mBPS-d2S. I just picked up two units to power my two internal SoTM cards in my music server. I also have SBooster MKII power supplies and am curious how these BPSs will perform in comparison.

How has it performed for you?

Ha! Could’ve fooled me :wink:

Your diagrams definitely have more detailed information. I can see value in having both versions.


Cool. Yeah, I picked up two at a great price. I ordered two new battery packs from SoTM so they are now like new. It’s nice to see another one in the wild being used with satisfactory results.

Was that addressed to me? Images copied and pasted into Excel and lines drawn with my finger. Very low tech.

@JeffofArabica, I’ve used for some years now. It can be much simpler to use when Visio can be too much. Thanks for reminding me about it.

This system has evolved over the past 18 months since moving into my smaller retirement home, hence the small stand-mount speakers. The only pieces visible in my system are the speakers, stands and a few feet of Iconoclast.

Pink Faun runs Roon and sometimes HQPe and sources my garage and backyard systems as well. The I2S cable is made by Pink Faun too, negotiated including it in the purchase, and yes, it sounds much more ‘complete’ than an equal spec Monoprice HDMI cable. I also tried a new 2.1 spec cable, no comparison to the PF.