1-box DIY Music Streamer

This build is using Streacom FC10 Alpha computer case, a very expensive case.

Furutech FI-09 NCF is my favorite IEC inlet

The first step is to prepare the AC inlet and rocker switch. Unfortunately, there is no prepared hole for AC rocker switch. Drilling is not an easy job due to the vents. Too bad there was a scratch mark while cutting.

Cutting vents to prepare opening for AC rocker switch (ouch, scratch mark)
Arcolectric (Bulgin Limited) R13 DPST rocker switch rated for 10A at 250V
AC rocker switch installed. Scratch can still be seen
Inside view of the AC rocker switch

Due to the vertical vent holes, drilling a small hole for fuse holder is not possible. Hence, I use inline fuse inside the case. The picture below shows the toroidal transformer and LPSU boards already installed.

FC10 with toroidal transformer and LPSU boards

The bigger LPSU board has 5 rails: 5V standby, 12V, 5V, 3.3V (all 3A per rail) and -12V (very small amperage). The reason I included -12V is based on email I received from ASRock technical support that -12V supply is required for this motherboard. I have tested without -12V and it works fine, but just to be on the safe side, I include -12V.

ATX LPSU, 3A per rail

First stage regulation is done by LM1084. Second stage regulation is done by LT1764A. Kemet 22uF tantalum capacitors are used between the two regulators and also at the output of LT1764A (as recommended by datasheet). The tiny size of tantalum capacitor enables company LPSU boards.

SSD power, 5V 3A x 2

ASRock J5040-ITX motherboard installed. The Littlefuse inline fuse holders can be seen in the picture below.

Mini-ITX motherboard added

To improve USB Audio output with little expense, Elfidelity USB filter is used. I removed the external DC input jack and soldered wires for internal connection to the SSD LPSU. I tried using the SATA power connector, but motherboard power is still used. I am getting better sound quality this way since the relay switched off 5V from motherboard and it only uses the 5V from SSD LPSU.

Elfidelity USB filter added

The SSD tray is installed. If optical drive is installed, up to 3 SSD can be installed. The power supply cable from ATX LPSU to the motherboard is also installed.

SSD tray installed, view from rear
SSD tray installed, view from front

Now the SSD tray is secured using 2 M3 screws. The unit is now ready to be covered by its top cover.

SSD tray secured
Completed prototype – outside view
Completed prototype – top cover removed

Network cable and USB Audio cable connected to the motherboard. The USB Audio cable can also be connected to the Elfidelity USB filter for a cleaner 5V.

Rear view focusing on motherboard I/O
Rear view focusing on AC inlet (Furutech ncf) and rocker switch
Motherboard powers up. It’s a whopping 32GB of SODIMM!
Voltage readings

I compared sound quality using USB Audio from motherboard versus from Elfidelity USB filter. It’s no brainer. From this point onward, using Elfidelity USB filter is my preferred setup.

For the first time since owning Marantz SA-10, using this streamer with Euphony Stylus (Linux-based paid audio playback software) and USB Audio out through Elfidelity USB filter gives better sound compared to playing CD, SACD or music files inside thumb drive connected behind SA-10. The sound is more open and fluid. SA-10 rendering sounds a bit compressed.

By Anwar

Dr. Anwar Ali is a consultant in the area of Operations Research / Decision Science. During his free time and as a side business, he builds high-performance and moderate-cost music streamer.