JCat cards - Network Femto and USB Femto cards for Audiophile PC

Hi audiophile fans.
I am going to use Audiophile PC, fanless, with SSD disks (System, Music) with both network output JCat Femto and JCat USB Femto cards. With connection to DS DAC.

Does anybody here have an experience with it? I mean sound quality improvements, if you compare it with using of “common” network and USB outputs, which are present on a common mother board?

Thanks for your answers.
Milan

There is no comparison, really. I have used both cards and currently have the JCAT USB in my music server. I have also used standard, board-mounted USB computer outputs but again, no comparison. The JCAT, on both the NET and USB cards deal with noise far better than standard cards. The design of the card is purpose-built for audio and the parts used in the assembly is superior to standard data computer cards. JCATs are well reviewed and discussed online and in various forums. They are certainly not cheap but they are also not expensive considering the improvement they will bring - at least that has been my experience.

At the recommendation of my 432 EVO music server manufacturer, I will be moving to the SoTM tx-USBexp with the separate sCLK-XXXX superclock board. That combo is $1100. Is it worth the extra $650 over the JCAT Femto USB? 432 EVO seems to think so. Time will certainly tell once I receive the two cards and install them. Just another option to consider.

But back to JCAT, it is of my opinion you would not be disappointed with that purchase. What is the total price of the system you are considering building? The reason I ask is there may be dedicated, pre-built music server appliances that are better options.

I am also thinking of a JCAT Net. But in my setup, my PC links to the router, that is connected by fiber to a SoTM switch (powered by a LPS), and from there to the streamer. My belief is that the fiber offers the noise isolation I need from my PC and router, keeping the dedicated switch “clean”. What is your experience?

Dear Jeff,

thank you very much for your answer. right now, I am streaming only from my local DTB.

From Synology 415 Play, to small Lenovo PC. Via network or JCat USB cable. The PC has SSD disc for system. In NAS, I have got one 2 TB and one 4 TB Samsung SSD discs.
No special insulations.

The new Audiophile PC should have:

  • one SSD disc for a Win 10
  • 8 GB RAM
  • these two SSD discs for data
    -advanced cabling
    -external linear power supply
    -we are able to build such a PC for a price 1200,- €. Without RAM, SSD discs, Windows, advanced cabling and external linear source. this will only serve as a streamer with Foobar or JRiver. To the Bridge II or USB port on DS DAC.
    Now, I am thinking about further enhancement with JCat cards. I think, I f I will have JCat Net Femto card, I will not need any optical insulation. Because one cable will go directly to the Bridge. And the second output to the Internet. And it will not influent each other.
    Is it correct?

Which input to DS DAC do you prefer? The Bridge II or USB?

Milan

I think you are on the right track and while I have not used the SoTM switch, I have read positive reviews. And, based on the quality of their products I have used, I don’t doubt it is a quality switch. I use the AQVOX-SE.

As far as using an optical gap to stop noise in its tracks, I use the GigaFOILv4 with an SBooster 5V LPS and AQVOX LAN cabling. So, yes, I am in agreement with you and the choice to insert a similar type device into your chain. My GigaFOIL is positioned right before my 432 EVO music server, and there it will always remain! It passed the “Ear Test” by more than a margin.

I preferred USB over Bridge in my setup. I currently use the JCAT USB with a Mad Scientist “Data Only” USB cable and an AQVOX USB-B LPS at the DS Sr. USB input (Supplies the +5V signal the DS DAC needs to function). No power is traveling through my USB cable. In this configuration, playing music into my DS Sr. via USB rivals my i2S port. I still give the edge to the i2S input.

That said, if I only chose one port, and only one port, at the DS DAC, it would be the i2S via the Matrix SPDIF-2. This could change once I get my SoTM USB Card and SoTM superclock card installed in my 432 EVO, still utilizing the data only USB cable and AQVOX LPS at the DAC USB-B input. Maybe that will minimize the slight difference I notice between the i2S input and my current USB input configuration, or maybe not.

And yet you hear better sound using the jCat?

I certainly do.

You are going to make me a poor man. But with better sound!

So… a rich man! :wink:

I look forward to your comments on the SOTM vs the JCAT.

magicknow

I just received both JCAT cards and while I am able to run the USB, I am having hard time connecting the Bridge II with the Ethernet Femto. I followed the tuning guide, but I can’t see the Bridge II in the network. I tried also bridging one adapter with the one from the Mobo with the same result. Really grateful for some help!

Guess asking here in the forrum doesn’t work. Will reach out to ps audio directly.

It’s not that it doesn’t work, per se. Those are rather niche-y components. I know because I once owned JCAT cards. It is likely nobody has had the experience you need in order to provide usable feedback. I think reaching out to PS Audio at this point is a good next step.

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Will do, thank you for reaching out

A good friend helped me out: it was an odd setting in one of the two ports that didn’t allowed bridging.

Now the USB card doesn’t work using ASIO via Jriver or HQP. Let’s see if the manufacturer is more resourceful this time. The driver is from 2006!

Hello Rikirk,

I have both JCat cards in my HiFi fanless PC with Samsung SSD discs and JRiver SW on Win 10 platform.

I am able to use both of them.

USB card was very easy to install, I play via ASIO drive, no problém. The result is much more better than with standard USB output on a PC mother board.

Even better result you will obtain with NET JCat card – directly connected with a high end cable for 900,- € without any router or switch to the Bridge II. But you must do a hard, direct addressing on a card and on a Bridge II. All not necessary and not needed functions on a card are switched off.

But the result is worth it! The best sound, which I have ever get. I Use Direct Stream DAC with Bridge II. And preamplifier Audia Flight Strumento No. 1. The proffessional sound!!! Outstanding excellent sound! Soft, full sound, with all musical details. Much more better than any vinyl!!!

My „high end“ friends are visiting me and some of them are crying, some of them are praying….

BR

Milan

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All good, the jumpers were not setup for external PS as default. My fault here for not double checking before closing the box. Nice sound indeed out of the box, USB/HQ Player for DSD/Redbook, Bridge II for hires.

Hi,

Glad to hear, that you have managet to run both cards! Yes, jumpers must be setup properly.

Enjoy the music now!

BR

Milan