Yearly Archives: 2017

JCAT NET Card FEMTO

by admin
June 26, 2017
0

1st ever audiophile network interface

With streaming services becoming the primary way of listening to music and with the shift from standalone computer audio setups to network renderers, the quality of network-related components becomes crucial if one wants to enjoy high resolution music at the highest sound quality.

Ethernet adapter for high-end network audio

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Setting up a media server on a PC or using a computer as a network audio renderer (endpoint) is easy nowadays. But the problem with computers is that they were never designed with audio in mind. While there are improvements for USB-based playback available (such as our JCAT USB Card FEMTO or JCAT USB Isolator), the network controller part of a PC remains noisy. JCAT delivers the solution with the NET Card FEMTO – the ultimate network interface designed specifically for transferring high-quality audio over LAN.

The most accurate components

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By using ultra-low noise linear power supplies and FEMTO Clock Technology combined with high-end Ethernet controller from Intel, the JCAT NET Card FEMTO ensures maximum network transmission quality. Connect a network audio player, a media server (NAS) or a broadband router to any of the two 1Gbit LAN ports on the JCAT NET Card FEMTO and experience great sound quality improvement when streaming audio data.

Exceptional audio quality

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The sound image becomes crystal-clear: transparent, quiet, smooth and yet full of fine details you have never heard before. It will allow you to experience music at much deeper level.

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You can use the JCAT NET Card FEMTO to improve sound quality of any network audio player (renderer/endpoint/streamer) when streaming audio data from NAS (media server), from music services such as TIDAL, Qobuz, Spotify etc. or directly from PC music server.

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JCAT NET Card FEMTO will also enhance playback when installed in an Audio PC – a computer that acts as a USB Audio transport and connects to a USB DAC – as long as audio data is sent over network from other PC / NAS / media server or from Streaming services.

Best upgrade for JPLAY dual PC mode

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For JPLAY users looking to elevate performance of their dual PC setups, installing JCAT NET Card FEMTO in both Control PC & Audio PC is most likely the biggest sound quality improvement currently possible. Connect both PCs (JCAT NET Cards FEMTO) directly with a high quality LAN cable such as our JCAT LAN or JCAT Reference LAN Cables and enjoy vast sound quality improvement.

JCAT NET Card FEMTO not only improves sound quality, but also provides increased stability particularly desired with most extreme 700Hz/0.01s DAC Link/PC Buffer setting in JPLAY.

External PSU option

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Even though there are ultra-low linear power supplies exclusively on the JCAT NET Card FEMTO, for best performance it is recommended to connect external linear 5V PSU (such as our 200W or 400W linear PSUs) as the source of power instead of using computer PSU.

Specification:

• Audiophile PCI Express GbE LAN adapter
• Ultra-low noise linear regulators and filters eliminate noise interferences from PC
• No switching power supplies anywhere
• FEMTO Clock Technology (Crystek CCHD-957) lowers jitter below measurable levels
• Industrial grade components with operating temperature range from -400 to +850
• Enterprise level Intel i350 Ethernet controller
• Gold plated high durability EMI shielded RJ-45 connectors
• Two LAN ports supporting up to 1Gbit connection speeds
• LED-off feature to counteract noise
• Requirements for optional PSU: 5V/1.5A min
• PSU can be supplied from computer PSU via LP4 connector or from an external PSU via 2.1/5.5mm center positive DC jack connector
• Low-profile & full-height laser cut PCIe brackets included
• All x1-x16 lane PCI Express 2.0 slots supported
• Supported operating systems: Windows (all editions) and Linux

The JCAT NET Card FEMTO is available now for 422EUR at JCAT online shop. Ships 2nd half of July. Do not miss it, only 100 cards available in the first batch! Reserve one now: ►http://jplay.eu/jcat/

For customers who would like to purchase x2 NET Cards FEMTO (for Dual PC mode), the price is 800EUR (instead of 844EUR). Ask for the discount via email!

Getting the most out of JPLAY

by admin
March 1, 2017
0

Start with the right operating system

If you are getting a new PC or upgrading the one that you already have, make sure to load it with Windows 8 OS or any newer release either consumer or server: Windows 10, Windows 2012 Server or Windows 2016 Server. All are fine. My personal favourite is W2012 Server as it sounds better than its consumer equivalent, Windows 8, and allows for some serious optimization which elevates performance even further.

Windows 7 or Vista are still OK, but will not work with JPLAYStreamer and UltraStream Engine – both elements crucial in extracting the best from JPLAY.

The installer + a nice bonus that comes with the full version

If you are not planning to use the ‘dual PC setup’ – a system with two PCs connected via LAN with dedicated Audio PC fully optimised for music transport – it is best to tick ‘optimize for single PC’ option in the installer.

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Also the full (paid) version of JPLAY comes with a bonus: the alternative build. It is the same JPLAY, but optimized for intel CPUs. So, if your PC is equipped with intel CPU, it is a good idea to select the alternative build as it will sound better!

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Adjustments in JPLAY settings panel

This is where you can select your output device (Playing via field) and adjust parameters that have direct impact on sound with Engine and DAC Link having the most profound effects. KS (Kernel Streaming) and UltraStream Engine offer the highest performance.

For best sound quality, I recommend setting DAC Link to 1Hz and PC Buffer to 10s (2s if you mind the delay) – this is also the combination with lowest CPU utilization. It may not work with all systems though. Some people prefer higher DAC Link and lower PC Buffer values. Feel free to experiment!

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As you can see, I’m running a Dual PC setup with Hibernate mode.

JPLAYStreamer – JPLAY’s latest incarnation

Although JPLAY first became famous for its ability to transparently integrate with 3rd party players and to act as their sound engine, providing enhanced audio playback, there is a better mode available now. It’s called JPLAYStreamer. And it is the next-gen JPLAY. It offers the best sound quality of all JPLAY modes, and, once configured, is easy to use.

You can run it directly on a PC with JPLAY and a USB DAC connected. You can run it headless and control playback from an app on another PC/smartphone/tablet. You can have music library directly on a PC with JPLAY or anywhere else in your home network. JPLAYStreamer converts your PC into a music server/streamer and it’s the best sounding JPLAY up to date.

My favourite control point apps (remotes) for JPLAYStreamer are Kinsky, which you can use on Windows / MacOS / iOS, and BubbleDS for Android. With the latter you can additionally enjoy TIDAL HIFI and Qobuz HIFI lossless streaming services – improved by JPLAYStreamer’s superior playback techniques.

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The simple way with JPLAYmini

If all you care about is playing your favourite tracks as quick as possible and focusing on music only. Without remote control. Without cover art. You may find JPLAYmini appealing, even though it provides the most basic text interface. Correct – there are no buttons to click on available in JPLAYmini.

But who cares! The sound it produces almost matches JPLAYStreamer.

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Going extreme with the Dual PC setup and the Hibernate mode

It doesn’t matter whether you’re using JPLAY on top of other player (JPLAY Driver), JPLAYmini or JPLAYStreamer, going Dual PC will get you better performance. Period. This feature is for most discerning audiophiles who want the best regardless of costs or level of complication.

It requires from a user some basic knowledge about TCP/IP networking, but if you’re obsessed with sound quality, it’s worth the trouble. Enabling the Hibernate mode, which shuts down hundreds of processes and threads, leaving only those vital for audio playback on a computer, will maximize the effect. This is as far as computer audio can go in terms of playback optimization.

For more details on how to use and configure JPLAY, please check our manual here: ►http://jplay.eu/manual/

About the author

abouttheauthor
Marcin Ostapowicz is a recognized high-end audio consultant. Computer audio pioneer. Co-creator of the award-winning software, JPLAY. Manufacturer, curator and distributor of high quality audio products. Constantly strives for perfection of sound. Foundations for his breakthroughs finds in areas that others ignore.