Audio – Review Jcat Optimo S-ATX – Next Level computing power

Introduction

Your writer has several hobbies. Too much actually. To name a few: video/photo equipment, cars, games, computers and of course hi-fi and listening to music. And yes, all hobbies are expensive if you take them seriously. A small lens costs around €2000. If you’re going for a Zeiss cinema lens, you can simply use a ‘0’ behind it. An Arri model sometimes goes behind a ‘0’. A serious racing sim set-up also quickly costs 20,000 Euro. We don’t really need to mention cars and hi-fi, we reckon. The sky is the limit. And PC sound? Well… a decent linear ATX power supply can also be saved for 5250 Euro. We take a look at the Jcat Optimo S ATX linear power supply.

Jcat is a Polish manufacturer of ultra-advanced computer audio products. There are different opinions about using a PC for audio applications. And partly we agree with people who don’t like it. After all, a computer is complex, can explode unpredictably, and has countless sources of noise and misery.

But realize that every streamer is basically a computer. And that software runs on every streamer that also receives updates and therefore can crash. Also the high-end models from all well-known brands. We’ve also seen a 20,000 euro streamer simply break down and practically have to be revived.

However, the biggest source of problems with a regular PC is not so much the software – Windows can sound great too, believe us – but the power supply. A regular ATX power supply works great. But it throws a gigantic amount of waste back onto the grid. We show that in the measurements. That crap goes into your system; by the. Filters help there of course. But it is better to tackle the source. And that is the purpose of the luxurious Jcat Optimo S ATX.

More complex than you think

In principle, building an ATX power supply is not very difficult. Enough parties that do. However, you can build a completely linear ATX power supply, Jcat reports. In particular, the connection speed and the sequence of the power lines proved to be very challenging. Especially since this power supply is completely linear. So what Jcat has had to do is make a certain load already available so that the peak can be delivered as soon as the microcontroller indicates that a certain power line should open. We’re talking about microseconds here.

Speaking of technology, there are three custom toroidal power supplies under the hood. A toroid is for 12 volts, a toroid is for 5 and 3.3 volts. And the third is for other voltages, think -12 volts and standby. All power lines are insulated. Like the earth connection to the power lines. All in all, 400 watts are available, which is more than enough for a (very) powerful system.

To keep the noise to a minimum, the transformers are shielded and a large number of capacitors are incorporated to reduce the noise. Both internally and externally. We can also see that in the measurements.

(Note: There was a warranty seal on the hood and our unit had to go to someone else so we decided not to open this unit).

to install

Installation of the Jcat Optimo S ATX is not particularly complicated. However, we see a problem with our PC. We use a Streacom cabinet for the Alpha Audio PC. It does not have a standard ATX power supply. It contains a kind of pico model, which makes the back plate different. And we don’t find it (yet) in the box. Anyway: we estimate that Jcat can customize a sleeve. Neat back plates are available for normal cabinets, so that all cables can be neatly looped through.

The cables are nicely sleeved, shielded and fit perfectly. All outputs are labeled on the back of the Jcat power supply so you can see which cable goes where on the motherboard. Just take your time and you’ll be fine.

The good thing is that Jcat automatically turns on the power the moment the PC turns on. And it automatically goes into standby mode when the PC switches off. Very nicely done.

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