Sunday, December 19th 2021

An "Audiophile Grade" SSD—Yes, You Heard That Right

A company dealing with niche audiophile-grade electronics on Audiophile Style, a popular site and marketplace for the community, conjured up an SSD that it feels offers the best possible audio. Put simply, this is an M.2-2280 NVMe SSD with a fully-independent power delivery mechanism (one that's isolated from the motherboard's power delivery), and an over-the-top discrete clock-source for its controller. The drive has its own 5 V 2-pin DC input and switching hardware onboard, including [get this] a pair of Audionote Kaisei audio-grade electrolytic capacitors in place of what should have been simple solid-state SMD capacitors that are hard to even notice on any other drive. It doesn't end there.

Most NVMe SSDs have a tiny 2 mm x 2 mm SMD oscillator that's used by the controller for clock-generation. This drive features a Crystek CCHD-957 high-grade Femto oscillator. These oscillators are found in some very high-grade production or scientific equipment, such as data-loggers. For the drive itself, you get a Realtek DRAM-less controller, and a single 1 TB TLC NAND flash chip that's forced to operate in SLC mode (333 GB). On a scale of absurdity, this drive is right up there with $10,000 HDMI cables. Digital audio is stored in ones and zeroes, and nothing is accomplished through an isolated power delivery or clock generation on the storage media. It's nice of the designers to include jumpers that let you switch between the discrete power source and motherboard power; so listeners can see the snake-oil for themselves.
Sources: Audiophile Style, HotHardware
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68 Comments on An "Audiophile Grade" SSD—Yes, You Heard That Right

#1
thesmokingman
In for one to go with those wire world $10K hdmi cables!
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#3
Tigger
I'm the only one
I bet loads of Fidiots will buy this ugly thing though.

Isn't the external supply dependant on the quality of it though? one from a pound shop aint gonna be better than using the MB supplied 5v is it.
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#4
Maenad
S.T.A.R.S.
thesmokingmanIn for one to go with those wire world $10K hdmi cables!
I remember reading about 200EUR SATA cables for audio usage. Must be some amazing technology to improve the quality of those bits on the drive.
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#5
johnspack
Here For Good!
Oh c'mon.... monster cables. Just silly.
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#7
Thorsthimble
Do they use oxygen-free copper in the PCB? FFS, lmao....
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#8
weekendgeek
PepamamiNo vacuum tubes? Lame
^^ This ^^

Single-ended Triode or GTFO.
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#9
noel_fs
audiophile here this is fucking retarded
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#11
RealKGB
C to disappointment, no vacuum tubes, they haven't even made an audiophile-grade filesystem yet
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#12
Steevo
Do they come with acoustic rocks?
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#13
fluxc0d3r
I actually built an audiophile grade PC back then with the Gigabyte H81 Amp-up motherboard that featured a gold plated USB that isolated the motherboard from the USB power. I did notice a difference in sound quality when paired with my DAC using a quality USB cable, compared to a conventional USB port. It was simply clearer sounding with less hash. Point is that it did not cost an arm and a leg. The motherboard was only $80 cdn back then.

Even using tantalum capacitors on motherboards improves the onboard audio sound quality. Too bad companies ignore stuff like this and try to charge an arm and an leg for USB type-C ESS Sabre DAC add-on in high-end motherboards.

What's the difference in getting a cheap motherboard that has USB typ-C and buying your own separate add-on DAC. Might as well, incorporate USB isolators or better quality capacitors into the board without huge markups.
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#14
Mistral
So, you plug your headphones into that SSD?
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#15
Post Nut Clairvoyance
fluxc0d3rI actually built an audiophile grade PC back then with the Gigabyte H81 Amp-up motherboard that featured a gold plated USB that isolated the motherboard from the USB power. I did notice a difference in sound quality when paired with my DAC using a quality USB cable, compared to a conventional USB port. It was simply clearer sounding with less hash. Point is that it did not cost an arm and a leg. The motherboard was only $80 cdn back then.

Even using tantalum capacitors on motherboards improves the onboard audio sound quality. Too bad companies ignore stuff like this and try to charge an arm and an leg for USB type-C ESS Sabre DAC add-on in high-end motherboards.

What's the difference in getting a cheap motherboard that has USB typ-C and buying your own separate add-on DAC. Might as well, incorporate USB isolators or better quality capacitors into the board without huge markups.
that is alot of marketing nonsense in the H81 Amp-up page. Gold plating a USB socket does absolutely NOTHING, since one of the 4 USB 2.0 pins IS the ground, the socket/cover is not used for anything electrical.
I am guessing that they (the motherboard) takes 5V from the power supply ad pass it through additional filtering circuits before outputting to that one USB port.
Other than that, if you are using your own USB DAC/Amp, there is no gains to be had because a motherboard can only offer so much for audio, there are only two changes(compare to any other mobo) on the Amp-up, the additional 5V filtering for that one specific USB port, and possibly more filtering for the onboard DAC/Amp. If you want this ""isolated USB"" just buy a USB power/data splitter cable and use any good usb power adapter like a apple 5w that almost everyone have, or even an analog supply, or batteries...
Buying a ""audiophile"" motherboard has always been misleading, since any self-respecting audiophile will have their own DAC/Amp, the products are more just for people who wants to/thinks they are buy a board knowing it will not have problem with their basic music needs. The newest sabre/USB realtek boards from a bunch of flagship motherboards have audio problems with implementation anyways, so buying separate good DACAMP that will last you lifespan of multiple PC upgrades is a much better idea.
Nowadays all but the cheapest most cut-down boards have decent, functional audio section, and if anything the high ends have problem with messing up the implementation.
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#16
Selaya
i guess u could call this an idiot tax.
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#17
the54thvoid
It ought to come with one of those ionising hologram bracelets. You know, to purify the air to allow more consistent sound amplification through equally spaced air molecules.
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#18
Octopuss
Fuck me or what...
First thing I read after waking up is this, and I'm like hello, what dimension is this?
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#20
Fouquin
Wow it took 17 days for this to get into the news cycle. Man I thought people would have picked this story up earlier, it's so absurd.
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#22
Maenad
S.T.A.R.S.
OctopussFuck me or what...
First thing I read after waking up is this, and I'm like hello, what dimension is this?
I bet you checked the calendar to make sure it's not April Fool's day..
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#23
ipo3nk
well.... 333GB 'forced SLC' in 1TB 3D TLC flash is much more interesting..... waiting for techpowerup review.
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#24
INSTG8R
Vanguard Beta Tester
ipo3nkwell.... 333GB 'forced SLC' in 1TB 3D TLC flash is much more interesting..... waiting for techpowerup review.
That would mean someone might actually have to buy one…
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#25
Athlonite
this is designed to go right along with the Audioidiot network switch that's cost $2500
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