The streamer 2.16 is available in two versions: the standard 2.16 and the 2.16 X and they use the same PSU and computer components. The difference between the two is that the 2.16 X has three low-noise OCXO clocks, all internal wiring upgraded to high-end, all rhodium fuses and a Furutech FI09-Rhodium-NCF AC-inlet.
Both streamers can be roughly classified into three categories:
- The linear PSU
- The computer components
- The software
Linear Power Supply Unit
The linear PSU is designed in-house and contains three transformers providing four main power rails from which all separate voltages for each part of the streamer are regulated. Every part of the streamer has its own dedicated regulation from the corresponding power rail. It depends on the configuration of the streamer how many linear regulations are used. For example, the ATX to the motherboard contains 5 different voltage levels, all have their own linear regulation. Also, each SSD has its own linear regulation, the processor has its own, every OCXO clock has its own, etc. The maximum amount of linear regulations depends on the configuration of the server. The more SSD’s the more regulations, the more OCXO clocks the more regulations. The streamer 2.16 X (top model) can go up to 20 linear regulations.
The most-asked questions about the linear PSU of the Pink Faun streamer 2.16 are gathered in the following Q&A:
- A) Why do you use three smaller separated and not one big mains transformer? There are two reasons for this, first smaller transformers are more stable under high current swings and have less chance of humming during high current peaks. Secondly, and most important, each transformer is used for its dedicated area of operation. One for the processor, one for the motherboard and one for the peripherals. A streamer supply has a highly peaking current load and all currents add up in the transformer core and interact with each other. By separating the main areas of a streamer in each transformer interaction is less and will improve the final sound quality.
- B) Why do you use chokes in your power supplies? Due to its intrinsic properties, a capacitor buffered power supply does not draw a continuous, but a highly peaked current. Each 100Hz capacitors are filled up for the full cycle in only microseconds, depending on the duty cycle of the power supply. The higher the capacitance and the lower the inductance (and Rdc) of the transformer, the lower the duty cycle and the higher these peaks are. These peaks introduce large Hf-noise in power supplies. In Pink Faun power supplies we use high inductance power transformers (low field saturation in the core) and we use pi-filtering to keep the peaks at a minimum and thus Hf noise. The less rubbish in, the less we have to filter later.
- C) Why do you use separated power rails and not one single mains supply? All loads, in the end, come together in the source of power. In this source, they interact resulting in harmonics and intermodulation noise. The earlier all separated loads are split in the device, the less they interact, resulting in the lowest initial noise in power supplies. Also by using a lot of smaller separated and regulated supplies, we can keep current loops very minimal and local, which also will reduce the spread of EMC inside the device. This is why Pink Faun streamers use separated rails for dedicated areas and a separated regulator each for each load. Great care is taken in adding these power supplies all together in a single star-configured ground and also to source all ingoing voltage from star outputs in the power supply resulting in minimal interference and minimal Hf noise and harmonics.
- D) What can we do to get the lowest noise possible in the streamer power supply? Even the best regulators have very poor Hf characteristics. The noise of the regulator itself is a factor in the final supply’s output noise, but even more important is the noise of the mains power, EMC noise (from outside and the device itself) and noise generated by the rectifying and current peaks of the capacitors. All these noise sources have to be minimized in order to let the regulator get to its optimal performance. This means special low inductance transformers, Schottky diodes, low ESR capacitors and a lot of common and differential mode Hf filtering, separated rails, lots of regulators with localized current loops, star sources, and ground, shielded power planes on the PCBs, cable setup, etc. In the end, the final result is the addition of all efforts taken right from the mains input of the power supply to the connector of the motherboard.
The computer components are chosen for their stability and good performance. The streamer 2.16 can easily handle all PCM streams and DSD up to DSD512. Because of the stable, powerful processor, the streamer 2.16 can be configured with the minimum buffer-size in both ROON and HQPlayer. The processor is passively cooled using an 8-pipe cooling system and can handle the high DSD sampling easily. Playing normal Redbook audio the load on the processor is between 0 and 1 %, upsampling Redbook to DSD512x48 (HQPlayer / Poly-Sinc-XTR-2 filter) the load is between 12 and 16%. The streamer standard has a Samsung Pro SSD for the Linux OS and there’s room for two more SSD’s for music storage.
– For even better performance, the motherboard of the streamer 2.16 X is equipped with two OCXO clocks, the system clock (chipset) and the processor clock. The system clock (chipset) is needed to synchronize all components/clocks on the motherboard. This clock also synchronizes the clock for the CPU, but the CPU clock is only used on the chip (PROCESSOR) itself. Because the CPU needs to perform more operations per time than the motherboard the clock frequency will be multiplied in the CPU. The CPU clock runs on 25Mhz and is multiplied 136 times. Therefore the processor runs at a fixed frequency of 3,4 GHz. The advantage of using an OCXO clock on well-chosen key areas in the streamer 2.16 is not the better stability but the low phase noise. Both OCXO clocks on the streamers 2.16 motherboard have their own low-noise linear regulation, this results in a lower noise floor in the whole system which increases the listening experience dramatically.
The used OS on the streamer 2.16 is a heavily modified version of Arch Linux (Low Latency / Real-time kernel / Headless). The advantage of using Linux is you start with nothing and only configure what you really need for audio playback. The Pink Faun streamer 2.16 can work standalone and is fully controllable from a tablet and/or smartphone. The streamer 2.16 runs in headless mode which means there’s no video driver loaded which result in an even lower noise floor in whole the system. The default playback software is Roonserver, for those who want to up-sample all music files to DSD (maximum DSD rate depends on the DAC) HQPlayer-embedded is installed as well and can be activated at all times. We have chosen for the Arch Linux OS for several reasons. One of the main reasons is HQPlayer-embedded is Linux only. Linux is a very stable and reliable OS which can be modified heavily. Also, and most important is, with Linux, we can reach an incredibly low latency (audio latency and processor latency). During the process of developing the streamer 2.16, we found out that latency is one of the key elements to get the really smooth and natural sound, the lower the latency the better. That’s why buffer-size is always turn off or chosen at the lowest option possible in the playback software. Because the latency is so low in the streamer 2.16 (Audio latency at 192 kHz < 2,67 ms on AMD Ryzen processor and high-quality digital audio interface. Audio latency at 44.1 kHz < 1 ms depending on hardware configuration. Incredibly low processor latency average 4-6 microseconds on AMD Ryzen processor ) we need a solid stable processor and therefore we have chosen the AMD Ryzen 8-core processor.
Streamer 2.16 X hardware
- Custom-made aluminum rigid frame.
- Fully passively cooled, no moving parts.
- Three Low-B, internal- and external shielded power transformers.
- Up to 20 linear regulated supplies (depending on hardware configuration).
- Separate linear supply for the processor, motherboard, SSD’s, OCXO clocks and the digital output
- Schottky rectifier diodes, crystalline core choke Pi-filters.
- Low ESR, 105 degree Nichicon capacitors, the total buffer capacity is more than 800.000uF.
- Star-grounding- and star-power supply design.
- Separate powered OCXO clock for the system clock.
- Separate powered OCXO clock for the processor.
- Separate powered OCXO clock for every digital output card.
- Hardware designed and hand-built in The Netherlands.
- Full-size ATX motherboard with optimized BIOS settings.
- 8-core processor, passively cooled with eight heat pipes cooling system, no moving parts inside.
- Low-latency DDR4 memory.
- Samsung Pro SSD for the operating system and playback software, additional music storage up to 8TB SSD.
- Custom Arch Linux ultra-low latency real-time kernel operating system.
- Roon Core server.
- HQPlayer high quality bit-perfect multichannel audio player (PCM en DSD).
- Tidal high-res streaming (Tidal subscription not included).
- Qobuz high-res streaming (Qobuz subscription not included).
- Extremely low processor- and audio Latency.
- Including professional remote support.