Review SOtM audio pc – digital wonder box

Pros

  • Sounds very good
  • Very versatile
  • Upgradable / downgradable

Cons

  • Maintenance takes knowledge
  • Upgrade urge!
  • Prijs: € 4000

    Build quality
    Usability
    Sound
    Price
    SOtM Audio PC

    Intro

    We know SOtM – which stands for Soul of the Music – mostly for their good and mostly reasonably priced accessories. Think of power supplies, a switch, usb cards and even streamers. The design is often a bit silly, but that makes them stand out. When colleague Hans Beekhuyzen asked if he could send us the SOtM audio pc, we were interested. What has SOtM build this time?

    Observant readers and viewers will have noticed that there has been a second PC in the audio rack for a while now. So that’s the SOtM Audio pc. We’ve had a few reviews to compare the Alpha Audio pc to the SOtM. Frankly, it’s not a battle at all, because the SOtM is just better. How that came about, we’ll get to in a moment. First, let’s take a look at what’s included in this audio pc.

    SOtM didn’t take the easy route in building this particular computer. Basically, although it’s just an Intel Q370 motherboard with – in this case – a Core i7 9700, 16GB of DDR4-3200 memory and a 1TB nvme ssd from Samsung… they modified a lot.

    Custom motherboard

    First of all, we see a completely modified motherboard. This is not just an Intel motherboard with some extra capacitors. No. These modifications go further. Of course, some nicer – and extra – capacitors have been placed. However, we see that SOtM has also made sure that an external clock can be used at two points on the motherboard. This is to realize a perfect syncronization with the USB and network card.

    The synchronization is done with a special clock card: the sCLK-EX. This can also be powered by an external masterclock. In this PC four points are clocked: two points on the motherboard, the USB card (tX-USBexp) and the network card (sNI-1G). Does that synchronous and clean clocking matter? Well… we will discover that pretty soon.

    We also received an external power supply from SOtM: the SPS-500. This powers the clock card, usb card and network card. A Y-cable makes sure that’s possbile. The usb- and network card are internally connected, so we only need to power the clock card and one of the other cards. It is very important that we first turn on the power supply and then the PC. If you don’t do that, the PC will go into a boot-loop, because there is no clock signal. This is logical: it is controlled by the SOtM card that is not switched on.

    Now it’s not very clear whether the power supply is on or not, so it was a bit of a fumble at first. But we finally figured it out.

    Other hardware

    Besides the SOtM hardware, we see another 1TB Samsung nvme-ssd, 16GB DDR4-3200 RAM and a power supply from Seasonic. Everything is in a neat, but somewhat boring PC case from Silverstone. The reason the case is so big is because of the passive cooler that SOtM placed on the Core i7 9700. On the side is a 12cm fan that provides some airflow at low rpm. It is generally inaudible. If you want an (even) quieter fan, we can recommend models from BeQuiet or Noctua. All in all, we are at surprised at how complete and well thought out this PC from SOtM is.

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