The streamer 2.16x is the result of more than three years of development. It is designed with only one goal in mind; to give you the best music experience in both sound quality and manage your music library. The streamer 2.16x is built around computer architecture. This is a well-considered choice. The powerful system can handle heavy tasks and playing your music is easy and natural, without high latency and buffers to keep the system stable. This results in a very fluent, organic sounding machine that lets you forget you’re listening to a digital device. The streamer 2.16x will exceed your expectations as it transfers the essence of music: the emotion. The Pink Faun streamer 2.16x has the same power supply as in all the Pink Faun streamers but differentiate itself on some key elements.
One of the biggest improvements are the OCXO clock that are used in the streamer 2.16x. At least three OCXO clocks are installed to push the performance even further. The reason to install OCXO clocks is to lower the noise in the streamer 2.16x, noise is one of the major issues we need to control in digital audio. The oversized linear PSU plays a major role in the low noise floor, but in the steamer 2.16x we take the next step by adding OCXO clocks on important parts. The result is a more black, dynamic 3-D soundstage and stronger bass while the high frequencies are playing with more air around.
Cables plays a major role in today’s high end audio. Not only cables between components are of great importance, the internal cables are as important as well. In the streamer 2.16x all internal wiring is made from our inhouse non-inductive, extruded tin-plated copper conductors in Teflon isolation. All the internal wiring is made by hand and the shielding to connected to the star grounding in the streamer. The result is more bodied and wider soundstage with more fundament.
Like cables, fuses are needed in electronic devices and also play a big role in todays high end audio. The streamer 2.16x features three of Pink Faun’s 10mm Rhodium fuses and Rhodium fuse holders. Expect more clarity and crispier high frequencies with the Rhodium fuses.
The AC-inlet is one the best available at the market today matching the high quality connectors that are used on todays power cables. It’s a shame to pay so much for high end power cables and use a standard AC inlet. The streamer 2.16x has the Furutech FI-09 Rhodium AC-inlet to overcome this issue.
The streamer 2.16x can roughly be classified into three categories:
1) The linear PSU
2) The computer components
3) The software
1) 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. For example, the ATX to the motherboard contains 5 different voltage levels all having their own linear regulation, each SSD has its own linear regulation etc. etc. even peripherals like the polarity checker has its own linear regulator to avoid interference with the rest of the system.
There are two reasons to use three smaller transformers instead of one big transformer. First, Smaller transformers are more stable under high current swings and have less chance of humming during high current peaks. Second, yet 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, the interaction is less which will improve the final sound quality.
Due to its intrinsic properties, a capacitor buffered power supply does not draw a continuous, but a highly peaked current. Each 100Hz capacitor is 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 pi-filtering to keep the peaks at a minimum and thus Hf noise. The less rubbish in, the less we have to filter later.
Multiple power rails
All loads, in the end, come together in the source of power. In this source, they interact which results in harmonics and intermodulation noise. The earlier all separated loads are split in the device, the less they interact rendering 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 for each load. We take extreme care in adding these power supplies all together in one-star ground. In addition, we diligently source the ingoing voltage from star outputs in the power supply resulting in minimal interference and minimal Hf noise and harmonics.
Low noise power supply
Even the best regulators have very poor Hf-characteristics. Regulator noise itself is a factor in the final supply’s output noise, but even of more importance are the noises of the main 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 to let the regulator perform optimally. Therefore, we focus on special low inductance transformers, Schottky diodes, low ESR-capacitors and plenty of common and differential mode Hf-filtering, separated rails, 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 directly from the main input of the power supply to the connector of the motherboard.
2) 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 that 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 a headless mode which means there’s no video driver loaded, even better: there’s no physical hardware inside the streamer 2.16 for graphics. This approach results in an even lower noise floor in whole the system.
Playback software and DSD
The default playback software is ROON. ROON offers the best music library management system on the market today. With the streamer 2.16 Pink Faun offers a smooth well integrated experience managing your music library and discovering new music. With fully integrated Tidal and Qobuz streaming services into the ROON library system ROON has raised the bar even further. For those who want to up-sample all music files to DSD (maximum DSD rate depends on the DAC’s USB receiver) HQPlayer-embedded is installed as well and can be activated at all times. HQPlayer features several selectable high quality up sampling and down sampling algorithms as well as selectable dither, noise shaping and modulator algorithms.
Arch Linux operating system
We have chosen for the Arch Linux OS for several reasons, Linux is a very stable and reliable OS which can be modified substantially, and HQPlayer-embedded is Linux only. Also, and most important, 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 achieve the really smooth and natural musicality; the lower the latency, the better and more liquid the music gets. That’s why buffer-size is always turned off, or chosen at the lowest option possible in the playback software. Because the latency is so low in the streamer 2.16x we need a solid stable processor and therefore we have chosen the AMD Ryzen 8-core processor.
3) The computer components are chosen for their stability and excellent performance. The streamer 2.16 can easily handle all PCM/DSD streams and DSD up-sampling up to DSD512. Because of the stable and powerful processor, the streamer 2.16 can be configured with the minimum buffer-size in both ROON and HQPlayer. The processor is passively cooled with an 8-pipes cooling system and can handle the high DSD up-sampling easily. The streamer standard has a Samsung Pro SSD for the Linux OS and there’s room for 2 more SSDs for music storage.
The AMD 8-core processor is a class on its own. The processor handle heavy tasks like up-sampling very well and still remains very efficient on heat dissipation. The processor runs on 8 real cores and with has also 8 virtual cores so the total of threads is 16. In the default configuration the virtual cores are disabled but in case the streamer 2.16 is used for extreme tasks the 16 threads can be enabled from the streamers configuration menu, no need to into the BIOS the streamer. Simple configure the streamer from the menu.
In default configuration the 8 core processor is split in half (4/4). This means the first 4 cores are used for Linux and ROON and the other 4 cores are completely isolated for audio only.
It is all about implementation
The power supply, the hardware, the OCXO clocks and the Operating System are all components that need to work smoothly with each other and strengthen each other. For example: to reach the extremely low latency we need a very stable and good configured OS, but also the power supply and clocks are part of the low latency. The power supply is low-noise, the clocks too, this results in less mistakes made by the processor because there’s less noise. So the power supply and OCXO clocks makes sure the latency is even lower than with the standard clocks on the motherboard. It’s even measurable when the streamer is equipped with OCXOs or not.