The Hugo of streaming?

Ha, knew that would get your attention!

I was using my UQ1 for streaming only purposes to the DAC V1 via a good s/pdif cable, but was never entirely happy with the set up, esp as the UQ was mostly going to waste. My budget wasn't much, and I didn't want to just move over to another streamer, esp as the asynch USB on the V1 is one of its main features, and supposedly better sounding than coax. I considered a Mac Mini, but then started reading over on the Computer Audiophile forum raves about the forthcoming Sonore microRendu. So last week I got in on the second batch and have had one up and running since Friday with an iFi power supply until I get a proper linear power supply for it (probably the upcoming Uptone LPS based on charging ultracapacitors). 

For those not in the know, the microRendu is about the size of a small flip phone, only connects ethernet in and USB out, and runs a small custom linux OS on an sd card that is accessed headless with a really simple and easy GUI. It was built with low noise hardware and the best sound throughput as the top priority. Took all of under five minutes to set up. It has several modes: Squeezelite, DLNA (regular and open home), NAA Roon/HQ player mode, airshare and I think maybe one other. I have mine running in upnp mode from my Vortexbox using the Lumin app as a controller. Currently also running Roon as a trial, but for what it costs and the hardware requirements its not for me at the moment. Cool app though, esp if you have a big collection.

From the moment I plugged the microRendu in I knew that it was game over. And it just keeps getting better as it burns in; I also added an Atlas Element USB cable that sounds really nice for the price. I think the likes of already fringe companies like Aurender and Auralic have got to be more than bit worried about what these even more fringe upstarts are doing. I'm not really the best person to be doing comparisons because I've never had the $ to change out gear like some do, or work my way up a heirarchy like Naim. But it really is extraordinarily impressive, made my old set up sound "broken" even (and I thought it sounded pretty damn good). I never thought I would have a hifi this good due to $. Lots of talk in hifi about "inky blackness" which I've never really experienced until now. Reverb esp - its like it just floats out into an empty void. A bit disconcerting at first actually! Also the balance is perfect - voices are right where they should be, piano sounds totally natural (the true test imo), nothing recesses or comes forward in any strange way. I was experiencing some fatigue before and now that's history. The only fatigue now is from staying up to late listening to music nonstop!! 

So, if you're looking at streaming options and have a dac (or plan on getting one), then you should check out the mR. Imo its' this years Hugo - a serious game changer, at least as far as where USB audio is at. For me it's all I'll ever need in that regard. And the UQ is now happy and wonderful sounding where it should be, in my basement office, utilizing all of its functions.   

Original Post

No you can't, and funny I was just thinking about that on my walk now - how to rid myself of the Vortexbox and how great that would be to just have a small SSD drive next to the microrendu, both sharing a power supply. Definitely a next generation product for them I think. But it's so good otherwise (and quite possibly because they didn't add anything else to it) I wouldn't hesitate if it fits the bill. Like I said, it's the balance that really gets me. Just about everything sounds good, stuff that I really couldn't tolerate before, though it's even now more detailed. My amp isn't up to some genres (face melting stadium rock for one) but absolutely sublime with jazz and vocals, etc. One can hear the reverb and sustain like I never had before with my system, the instruments all really well delineated without sounding forced. I'm giddy at the thought of what a proper lps will do for it. 

As I argued in other threads, I think that having a dedicated, low power microserver directly connected to a dac or streamer is a very sensible approach. I hope that we will see more devices like the microRendu (and the Bryston Pi, aries mini, etc.) in the near future. They could easily run a UPnP server and a renderer (Linn has recently made their DS software open source), implement replay from memory of LAN data and, via user upgradeable SSD drives, make NAS devices and streaming through LAN effectively obsolete.     

This is definitely one on my radar, nearly pressed the pre-order button on it but said I'd hold off in case the hype machine was creating the rumpus rather than the microRendu. 

The software is nifty, I had a Sonic Orbiter SE for a while which runs the same operating system for want of a better description. 

The main attraction for me is of course Roon and the NAA for HQPLAYER. The beauty of this as I see it is that it stands the chance of being current much longer than any other digital front end device as all the changes/ enhancements will happen to the Roon Core or HQPLAYER running on my Intel i5 NUC. 

SJB

Honestly I wouldn't hesitate (though I think they're sold out now until sometime in July). Had a listening session last night and blown away by some old favorites, esp revealing was Augustus Pablo's East of the River Nile. A lot more going on there than I ever realized. Also Eno's Music for Airports sounded brand new despite having heard it dozens of time. Only one thing didn't work for me, Portishead's Dummy. Probably the quality of the mix just didn't gel (could very well be my speakers/amp too). But most everything I've thrown at it sounds fresh and newly revealing. And this is all just Redbook rips transcoded to WAV24; I don't own any hi-res (yet). 

charlesphoto posted:

Honestly I wouldn't hesitate (though I think they're sold out now until sometime in July). Had a listening session last night and blown away by some old favorites, esp revealing was Augustus Pablo's East of the River Nile. A lot more going on there than I ever realized. Also Eno's Music for Airports sounded brand new despite having heard it dozens of time. Only one thing didn't work for me, Portishead's Dummy. Probably the quality of the mix just didn't gel (could very well be my speakers/amp too). But most everything I've thrown at it sounds fresh and newly revealing. And this is all just Redbook rips transcoded to WAV24; I don't own any hi-res (yet). 

My thinking is to wait until they are in situ in systems for 3 or so months, what one hears initially is not always what one can live with long term.

I fully expect to be an owner but as my Hugo TT  itself is only 3 months old I'll wait a bit until I nab it's streaming equivalent.

 

SJB

Amirm has published some measurements of the microRendu on audiosciencereview. According to his measurements the mR boosts output level by around 8dB and has significant amounts of low frequency noise and distortion that are surprisingly sensitive to the connector used. Not a happy set of results imo!

spurrier sucks posted:

I have thought about upgrading my Uniti 2 and getting a higher level Naim streamer but this devise has me wondering if I'm better off saving some cash and going with something like this. 

You'll need a usb dac though, correct?  (or usb -> spdif converter I suppose).

Bart posted:
spurrier sucks posted:

I have thought about upgrading my Uniti 2 and getting a higher level Naim streamer but this devise has me wondering if I'm better off saving some cash and going with something like this. 

You'll need a usb dac though, correct?  (or usb -> spdif converter I suppose).

Yes I believe so. 

Yes, that is correct. This essentially becomes the missing link in order to stream to your dac of choice without utilizing hardware that includes other unnecessary functions., such as the dac, amp, tuner, etc that wasn't being utilized on my UQ streaming digital out to my DAC V1. 

A week in and I can report that the sq of the microRendu just keeps getting better. I have really high pitched, sometimes roaring tinnitus and the addition of the rendu has allowed me to turn things down and still enjoy the same dynamics, depth, and fullness of sound. The separation of sounds can be nothing short of revelatory on music I've heard many times. The only con: it shows that I need a bigger better amp

nbpf posted:
T38.45 posted:

Is this small box really better than Auralic Aries or Aurender or CAPS or pimped MAC?

I do not know what you mean by "better" but the microRendu is certainly a very different device than a CAPS or Mini Mac based server.

better means sound quality wise....

T38.45 posted:

Is this small box really better than Auralic Aries or Aurender or CAPS or pimped MAC?

I have no idea, except that it beat the pants off my UQ which was used for streaming only (everything else disabled) to my V1 via Atlas Opus spdif. There are reports by users that say it bests their previous mac mini setups and others who say its better than the CAPS, N100H or Aries they had. But of course all hifi is anecdotal so ymmv. All I know is that for $640 I didn't have to keep going up the Naim chain in increments of   thousands to experience the same stunning replay - and would be still wasting the dac built into all of their streamers going to the V1 (which I love). 

My NS01 died on Sunday. I placed an order for a microRendu on Monday. Should be arriving late this week or early next.

I have also bought an ifi PSU as a stop gap while I consider the options.

My inital tests will be done using:
USB/SPDIF converter >> Bel Canto DAC3.5vb; and
USB >> Oppo 105D

I have loaded Bubbleupnp server on my Synology NAS in the hope of streaming Qobuz, as well as my local music. My initial trials will be using DLNA and the Linn control point.

M

Brubacca posted:

I use my Qute V1 the same way. My concern is being forced to do App control all the time. I very much enjoy just picking up the remote and using it. 

 

Has this been a problem or concern for you?  

Yes and no. I find the Lumina app quite puzzling, but it might just be me. My wife has pretty much all but given up! Anyway, the tremendous bump in sound quality was worth it to me, but then this system is pretty much for album play off of the NAS. For radio etc we have a muso in the adjacent room dining room and kitchen, but I now find myself playing the main so much because the sound is so great. The UQ is now residing happily in the office, all of its bits being utilized. 

 

I have loaded Bubbleupnp server on my Synology NAS in the hope of streaming Qobuz, as well as my local music. My initial trials will be using DLNA and the Linn control point.

M

The rendu has a bubble upnp server mode on it so it can be what's called an open home renderer. 

Hi Charles,

That will be my first experiment. I am also looking at Jriver.

Looking forward to converting some PCM to DSD and seeing if I can hear a difference!

Just bought an Atlas Element on your recommendation.

If anyone is interested take a look at the review on YouTube, Hans seems like a genuine down to earth enthusiast; he even has an HDX on one of his digital audio overviews.

M

charlesphoto posted:
 

I have loaded Bubbleupnp server on my Synology NAS in the hope of streaming Qobuz, as well as my local music. My initial trials will be using DLNA and the Linn control point.

M

The rendu has a bubble upnp server mode on it so it can be what's called an open home renderer. 

why bubble? you could run minimserver on synology as a pre-installed download providing upnp. I run this with my auralic and controlling it with lumin. or is bubble different than minimserver?

tx!

ralf

T38.45 posted:
charlesphoto posted:
 

I have loaded Bubbleupnp server on my Synology NAS in the hope of streaming Qobuz, as well as my local music. My initial trials will be using DLNA and the Linn control point.

M

The rendu has a bubble upnp server mode on it so it can be what's called an open home renderer. 

why bubble? you could run minimserver on synology as a pre-installed download providing upnp. I run this with my auralic and controlling it with lumin. or is bubble different than minimserver?

tx!

ralf

Names can sometimes be quite misleading: BubbleUPnP Server is not an UPnP server!

BubbleUPnP is a UPnP and OpenHome control point and renderer running on Android, see  https://play.google.com/store/...bubbleupnp&hl=en

BubbleUPnP Server is a program that provides new services running on the top of UPnP devices. Among others, it makes UPnP renderers (for instance, Naim streamers or Chromecast Audio streamers) available as OpenHome renderers. This allows one to use control points like Linn Kinsky, Linn Kazoo, Lumin App or, indeed, BubbleUPnP to control non-OpenHome renderers. BubbleUPnP Server runs, among others, on Linux, OS X, Android, Windows. Please, see http://www.bubblesoftapps.com/...s_bubble_upnp_server

You can run Minimserver on your Synology NAS and BubbleUPnP Server on another machine in your LAN to make non-OpenHome renderers controllable via OpenHome control points.

For example, I am running Minimserver and upmpdcli (a MPD-based, OpenHome renderer) on a low power fit-PC3 connected to a Naim DAC via a USB to SPDIF interface. I have a copy of my music collection on an external SSD drive connected to the fit-PC3 via USB. This is my dedicated system for music replay.

Additionally, I am also running Minimserver and BubbleUPnP Server on a Raspberry Pi plugged into my router. The Pi is also connected to a 4TB external drive on which I keep the data that I want to make available on my LAN. The BubbleUPnP Server on the Pi has the only function of making a Chromecast Audio device (attached to an old radio in the kitchen) visible as an OpenHome renderer on the LAN.

I use Linn Kazoo as a control point. By selecting the Minimserver running on the fit-PC3 and upmpdcli as server and renderer (my default configuration) I can stream directly to the Naim DAC with virtually no data transfer over the (wireless) LAN. By selecting the Minimserver running on the Pi as a server and the Chromecast Audio as a renderer, I can stream over the wireless to the kitchen for occasional listening. This works fine even at 192/24. I do not have any NAS devices or Naim streamers in my LAN.

Hi Ralf,

Quboz = yes. BUT, I wouldn't expect the microRendu to have native support for Quboz or Tidal. In my mind it sits in the middle between your media server and  the DAC, it is operated via the control point software you choose to use.

Like NBFP I have loaded up Linn Kazoo, when the box arrives I will be able to have a play.

I will be looking at, for instance, JRiver in order to try PCM > DSD256 > Oppo.

Hi NBFP,

I also looked at the Raspberry and almost bought a Mac Mini. I had been looking at the reviews of the microRendu on Computer Audiophile.

M

I wish to he MicroRendu would slow for local storage. I may try the Sonicorbiter because I can attach my files locally as I really detest the streaming part of streaming. 

In my system actually streaming over Ethernet takes something away from the music. 

Brubacca posted:

I wish to he MicroRendu would slow for local storage. I may try the Sonicorbiter because I can attach my files locally as I really detest the streaming part of streaming. 

May be worth looking at the new SotM SMS-200 for this functionality.  Has a dedicated USB out for your DAC as well as a generic USB connection for a local drive.  I believe it's also using a custom SBC (single board computer) like the microRendu.

My microRendu (mR) arrived this morning. It is a very neat little grey metal box with the very minimum of documentation.

When you buy it it comes sans PSU, leaving the choice to the purchaser. I had decided to by the ifi 9V wall plug, although i was aware that this had been subject to a poor review in terms of noise; however, it is relatively cheap and will be replaced ....should the mR prove to be a keeper.

I had anticipated a fast install, but this proved to be wrong. There are various modes you can choose from and I had already decided to start with DLNA. My SYnology 1813+ has the Media Server installed, but I also installed Minimserver and Bubbleupnp. In terms of control software I had also loaded Foobar2000 and JRiver on to my laptop.

Getting Foobar2000 up and running proved a bit of a learning curve, but and hour or so later I had music, well ....I had notes.

Since my NS01 died I have been using my Oppo 105D as my network player and DAC, and boy have I been impressed by how capable it is. How does it compare to the NS01/BelCanto? I would say it is more detailed with maybe even more dynamics. However, I feel it verges in favour of HiFi detail, where the NS01/BC played music.

For my initial listening I attached the mR to the Oppo via USB and started with Signe from Eric Clapton Unplugged. Although some elements sounded good mid/high frequencies sounded like a cartridge was mistracking; my heart sank. I switched to the coaxial input via my HiFace I, which was recognised. Same result.

Feeling a bit despondent I switched to JRiver, and repeated the result.

I unloaded the DLNA/Upnp servers and switched to Logitech Music Server, also loading up the Quboz plugin. This was the easiest install, and I like the GUI. Streaming music in the background for a while I suspected that things were improving, and so did some searches. Sure enough the mR takes some extended running in, 100 hours apparently.

Currently I am listening to The Nightfly, many elements are very good, but I can still here the roughness in places.

Plan: Run in. Listen. Use JRiver to convert PCM > DSD. IF things have continued to move as I hope buy and SBooster PSU.

I'll report back later in the week.

M

Mr Underhill posted:

My microRendu (mR) arrived this morning. It is a very neat little grey metal box with the very minimum of documentation.

When you buy it it comes sans PSU, leaving the choice to the purchaser. I had decided to by the ifi 9V wall plug, although i was aware that this had been subject to a poor review in terms of noise; however, it is relatively cheap and will be replaced ....should the mR prove to be a keeper.

I had anticipated a fast install, but this proved to be wrong. There are various modes you can choose from and I had already decided to start with DLNA. My SYnology 1813+ has the Media Server installed, but I also installed Minimserver and Bubbleupnp. In terms of control software I had also loaded Foobar2000 and JRiver on to my laptop.

Getting Foobar2000 up and running proved a bit of a learning curve, but and hour or so later I had music, well ....I had notes.

Since my NS01 died I have been using my Oppo 105D as my network player and DAC, and boy have I been impressed by how capable it is. How does it compare to the NS01/BelCanto? I would say it is more detailed with maybe even more dynamics. However, I feel it verges in favour of HiFi detail, where the NS01/BC played music.

For my initial listening I attached the mR to the Oppo via USB and started with Signe from Eric Clapton Unplugged. Although some elements sounded good mid/high frequencies sounded like a cartridge was mistracking; my heart sank. I switched to the coaxial input via my HiFace I, which was recognised. Same result.

Feeling a bit despondent I switched to JRiver, and repeated the result.

I unloaded the DLNA/Upnp servers and switched to Logitech Music Server, also loading up the Quboz plugin. This was the easiest install, and I like the GUI. Streaming music in the background for a while I suspected that things were improving, and so did some searches. Sure enough the mR takes some extended running in, 100 hours apparently.

Currently I am listening to The Nightfly, many elements are very good, but I can still here the roughness in places.

Plan: Run in. Listen. Use JRiver to convert PCM > DSD. IF things have continued to move as I hope buy and SBooster PSU.

I'll report back later in the week.

M

Thanks for a first impression, hope things will improve! Please keep informing us about progression!

ralf

I will give a review in some a couple of weeks. I received my microRendu today and plugged it in directly into my DAC-V1 and chose RoonReady mode. It worked straight away and I find the first result truly  incredible. I quickly tried some tracks (Yellowman, Mark Knopfler, Talking Heads) and did some listening to Radio Paradise (320kbps stream - which always amazes me how pleasant it sounds) and this microRendu left me speechless. I will try tonight if I can get the HQPlayer NAA Output to work (will need to understand how to set this up and implement) - quality should even more improve. My setup is merely a DAC V1 into a NAP200 DR with a Mac Mini as a source.

 

I'll pipe in and say I continue to be thrilled anew with my record collection thanks to the rendu. I just added over the weekend a used HDPLEX power supply. It has four rails and I was hoping to power my Vortexbox, switch and the rendu off of it, but the HDPLEX seemed to run uncomfortably hot. The sound was a lot less noisy but robbed of some dynamics as I think it was pushing the ups to the limit. Scaled it back to the HD powering just the rendu and the switch, and reverted to a supposedly lo noise Chinese hifi wall wart I've always powered the VB with. Some noise was back and treble not as good, but also the dynamics and PRAT returned (had to plug into same circuit as HD). The HD runs a lot cooler now. Going to get a separate lps for the VB; can't decide if I should just do an el cheapo from HK or move the HD over and get something better for the rendu. 

It's really that good. Hard to explain, and no idea where it might land on the Naim hierarchy of streamers. But for $640 bucks I knew I wasn't going much farther up the Naim chain, used or otherwise. Powering it with the HDPLEX (and the VB nas as well at the time) I suddenly had a funny feeling, a nice one, about the sound. It was like I was listening to vinyl again (and I haven't had a turntable in a long long time). A much better turntable than I ever owned before (that's not saying much). But with that same smooth, neutral, lush, fun sound of the real deal coming through. It's really that good. 

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