As promised, here are the next tests of the OPTIMO S ATX:
Now that the break-in of the OPTIMO S ATX and its dedicated cables is over, session session 2 was an opportunity to compare the OPTIMO S ATX with the one fitted to my personal "CARUSO" server, completed at the end of 2019.
The aim at the time was to go significantly further than with any linear power supply available on the market. In order to enlighten the reader of this comparison, here is the description:
Caruso is a "Single PC" but in 2 chassis.
The first includes transformers and regulation, the second the filter cells and the purely IT part.
On the IT side, and taking advantage of the feedback from the most enthusiastic members of this forum, I am now moving to dedicated server hardware:
- SuperMicro X11SSM-F motherboard
- Xéon E3-1225v6 processor
- 32 GB of RAM ECC Unbuffered Hynix
- NVMe SSD connected in PCI Express (SATA disabled) 2 x 2 TB.
- And of course, JCAT USB and Ethernet XE cards
Each JCAT card has its own regulated 5v power supply (common transformer for both)
The Processor benefits from a dedicated 12v power supply (transformer included).
The Motherboard is powered via the TAIKO AUDIO DC / ATX converter, itself powered by a dedicated 19v power supply (transformer included).
This choice, which may seem surprising, is dictated by reasons of bulk associated with the sizing of the discrete components implemented by my technician, who works in an old school style.
An implementation of this card in conditions upstream of identical philosophy (although less advanced than here) has already given excellent results.
The AC internal wiring is carried out by Absolue Créations (with whom I have very privileged relationships).
The internal IT cabling is provided by FIS AUDIO.
The connection between the two chassis is of the "military aviation" type and will only be removable on the server side. A common ground cable is added between the two chassis.
Considering the inherent limits (in my opinion) of the connections and wiring of an external LPSU, one of the aims of this project is to get rid of this type of limit.
The 4 large filter cells benefit from a Polypropylene decoupling which is located "underground", the cards being double-sided.
For each power supply, a first filtering (silver capacitors) and the regulation are placed in the box containing the transformers.
The computer unit only includes the second level of filtering to limit the risk of pollution.
The copper shields are rather there to prevent computer components from polluting these filter cells.
I specify that the adjustment of all the regulators has been made "on load" in order to take into account the losses linked to the resistivity of the wiring of the internal links.
The different levels, the dimensioning and the speed of the capacitors are provided to cope with the speed of the pulses of current draws so that the quality thereof is always optimal.
We must not forget that these capacitors are not on the path of the musical signal, so it is not necessarily necessary to stick Duelund everywhere
The two JCAT cards having different current needs, it was chosen to supply one for each.
This also allows you to still have a good margin on these 5v power supplies (at least 2 amps each) in order to be able to eventually power additional SSDs.
Softwares are: WS 2022 Data Center, JPLAY Femto, Minimserver 2.1, Process Lasso, Fidelizer 8.7, MajorityClean 262, LemonadeElitest 26.
In order to best evaluate the OPTIMO S ATX, the scope of the comparisons was limited to the power supply of the motherboard and the CPU. The JCAT NET XE board was powered by an external power supply of the same quality as the OPTIMO DUO. The link to the LUCIA (target Diretta) is done in SFP.
The volume of the amplifier remained the same throughout all the listening session.
Listening system :
- DAC W4S DAC2 v2se 10th Anniversary
- Integrated Amp: Mimetism AL-432D
- Loudspeakers: Audio Phisic Cardeas v4
- Wiring: hi-end DYI, AC Absolue Creations Tim Signature for CARUSO and the OPTIMO S ATX
- Ravel : Alborada del gracioso, Emmanuel Krivine, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg
- Liszt: 12 études d’éxécution transcendantes, tracks #1 & 2, Daniil Trifonov
- Shostakovich : String quartet #9, allegretto, Pacifica quartet
- Saint Saëns: "le carnaval des animaux", tracks # 5 to 10, Gennady Rojdestvenski
- Rain Tree Crow : track: Big wheels in Shanty Town
- Brian Eno: Apollo, Atmospheres & soundtracks, Track: the secret place
- Joji Hirota: Japanese Drums, Track: Kannabi [Oh Daiko Solo]
- Stanley Clarke Band: the Message, Track: And Ya Know We're Missing You
Auditor #1: "LeDom" (a.k.a DC on this forum)
So I was with Mellowman to do a listening of its CARUSO server, first powered by its own very high level power supply and then powered by the JCAT OPTIMO S ATX LPSU.
The first listening was done with the already very elaborate power supply that usually powers this CARUSO server.
I might as well say it already, the sound reproduction is top notch. Everything is there, the sound image is both very ample and in relief with depth, it is correctly focused. The details and micro details are there. The attacks are frank, the timbres are beautiful and realistic. We can also note an excellent dynamic. We are captivated by the different pieces played.
It is clear that it will be difficult to do better. The OPTIMO S ATX will have to deliver.
We then fed CARUSO with the OPTIMO S ATX:
From the very first notes of the Alborada del gracioso we felt that something was happening, with an additional retreat of the soundstage, an increased silence, even more beautiful, subtle and realistic timbres. The woodiness of the string instruments' sounding boards, for example, is better heard.
As the playlist unfolds, we can only note that everything goes even further, even if it seemed difficult during the first listening session with the CARUSO power supply.
The attacks are even more pronounced, the dynamic differences even greater. One can have the impression that the system plays less loudly in the pianissimos although the volume is strictly the same for the two listening sessions. On the other hand, the rise in sound power towards the fortissimos is astonishing. We gain in speed and fluidity. We are really involved in the music.
It was a very high level listening experience.
Bravo Marcin, this OPTIMO S ATX power supply is simply exceptional.
Auditor #2: Mellowman
It didn't take long for the superiority of the OPTIMO S ATX to become apparent.
On orchestral music, the perception of the size of the concert hall is better, especially in terms of precision and airiness. The timbres are exceptional, especially on the solo bassoon. The pizzicati of the violins, the precision of the double basses in their placement and modulation make the music more alive.
On Trifonov's piano, the left hand is a little less heavy, but more realistic thanks to the extra air around the instrument.
The same impression can be gained from the double bass in "L'éléphant" (Saint-Saëns): the coherence of the whole register of the instrument is better, with a slightly lower register (by comparison). The timbres and attacks of the violins are more realistic.
The better legibility of the low register is even more evident in the modern music of Rain Tree Crow. All the effects of the mix are exacerbated, the weight of the notes is better perceived.
Brian Eno's electronic and spatial music again takes the spatialization and differentiation of the artificial timbres of these synthetic sounds to a new level, revealing many subtleties.
The traditional Japanese drums provide a fantastic impact, never before heard. The larger ones do not mask the smaller ones, the placement is diabolical. The impact of the mallets on the skin is even more noticeable, as are the resonances. Total absence of drag.
We have one last pleasure with Stanley Clarke's basses. The speed is confounding. The different bass lines are perfectly in place: no risk of confusion between them. The intermittent buzzing of the amp head (?) is perfectly perceived, without any loupe effect.
Like DC, I find that the overall decrease in background noise gives the impression that the volume is lower. As a result, one can listen slightly louder than usual, without causing hearing fatigue
The considerable time and effort Marcin put into developing the OPTIMO S ATX has paid off handsomely!
To date, I am convinced that no manufacturer has gone so far in the realization of power supplies dedicated to "computer" music, taking into account so many technical parameters to ensure so much coherence between the various sub-assemblies concerned (wiring, separation of the various voltages, grounding...).
I found again the rarely heard qualities of very good power supplies whose regulation stages are based on MOSFET transistors and not on regulators (however good they may be).
For our market of DIY enthusiasts & power users, the OPTIMO S ATX represents the last (?) link that will bring them closer to the grail.
One of the last weak points of the commercial solutions available to us has just fallen, and in a big way!
Having a small professional experience in the field of Hifi, I am moreover persuaded that in view of the technical means implemented, the price of the OPTIMO S ATX is very largely justified. A more traditional marketing (retailers, third party websites...)would lead to a very significant increase in the selling price!
You must have this element in mind before making a purchase decision and when comparing it with competing products.