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Linear vs ATX


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#1
Hi,

Not really an expert on this subject, But have read many articles online, Everybody seems to have a different opinion.

My question is:
Does a linear power supply make difference to sound quality?
I have a Paul Pang v2 USB card, This is powered by a ATX PSU, would moving to a 5v linear make a difference?

Answers please on a postcard, Or alternatively to this thread.

Thanks for reading, And hopefully replying.
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#2
(26-Nov-2017, 04:43 AM) Steely Wrote: Does a linear power supply make difference to sound quality?
I have a Paul Pang v2 USB card, This is powered by a ATX PSU, would moving to a 5v linear make a difference?

In general yes, however, it all depends on what a person's idea of 'difference' is, and if that 'difference' actually means something is better to youo.

Because you're powering your motherboard with a ATX PSU, chances are, you will get a benefit. However that's really masking a problem - that you're powering the board with a ATX PSU. To get ATX PSU to work, your system can only be grounded via the PC. If you have any equipment with a earth pin, chances are you'd be hearing a low level (but high frequency) noise. The source of that noise is either in the graphics card or the PSU. Not connecting a keyboard or mouse to the Snakeoil OS machine will minimise the noise, but it may still be there. Once you hear this noise you cannot unhear it.

Floating the earth of the PC is out of the question. If you have this noise, the only way I know of is break the group loop via a ground loop isolater (Those USB dongles). Adding these may affect the sound quality (So far I think it does), but it's something for you to decide to know what bothers you more. I 'fixed' this problem by spending a bucket load of money on a UpTone JS-2 power supply. The DC ground don't appear to be grounded to the unit's earth, so if I connect this PC to my already earthed audio system, there is no ground loop, and no ground loop = no noise.

Now once that problem is fixed, it comes to the question of whether it's worth it to power the PP v2 with a linear power supply, or not. I have tested some configurations on my DC-37 when it's USB is still working:
  1. Power from USB battery
  2. Power from motherboard
  3. Power from JS-2
Not entirely sure why, but #1 is easily the worst. Probably because of the quality of the battery I'm using?

Comparing 2 and 3. I find with #3 (5V direct from JS-2) there is more 'weight' and 'energy' in the bass department. For me it tends to upset the balance a bit - it keeps drawing me to the bass parts which is not something I like. So there's no winner here - there are times with certain music I find the music to be better powered off the motherboard, and other music I prefer it off the JS-2. Then the USB port blew up and I can't test this any more - as the USB device I'm using don't use the 5V power and so far I can't tell any difference between #2 and #3.
Snakeoil Operating System - Music, your way!
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#3
Hi,

Thanks for a very interesting read, Has made me think a bit more about my setup.

Do you think that a Thin Mini ITX board with integrated power would or could be a way of moving away from ATX power supply, or is that still switching, I could then power it using a linear supply.
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#4
(27-Nov-2017, 04:59 AM) Steely Wrote: Do you think that a Thin Mini ITX board with integrated power would or could be a way of moving away from ATX power supply, or is that still switching, I could then power it using a linear supply.

Havn't done enough experimentation to know for search. At the end of the day, there's no way to get around switching as the motherboard itself probably already has SMPS in it.

What seems to be more important may well be the ground loop issue. See if you have that problem first, once confirmed you don't, then experiment with 5V power to your USB card.
Snakeoil Operating System - Music, your way!
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