The Hugo of streaming?

Long story short: it's the best digital source I ever had. It eats my aurender, auralic,macmini and this after 30min playing...holy s..t!

my wife said: this box is great-will you keep it? She never ever says that to me.

In Upnp mode, it sounds  slightly better than roon, but still over the top. I don't have hqplayer. Folks, if you listen to this small thing you may ask yourself: why do I need all those big boxes? It's really that good, recommended!

ralf

I ordered one a couple of days ago.

I’ve long held the view that until the streaming landscape; both locally and over the internet, settles down it doesn’t make sense to make a significant investment in dedicated streaming hardware.

If I’d spent GBP 3K on a streamer in the last 24 months I’d be disappointed having tried Roon if I realised I couldn’t run it.

Things are changing fast. The increasing role of computing in audio has led to an influx of new engineers and designers with fresh ideas. Some better, others not. It’s a very interesting time for the industry.

Roon is a good example imo. It runs on many platforms including most recently NAS devices. It’s actively maintained and supported by an increasing number of players/DACs. Roon support means that if I like your hardware but not your software I might still be interested.

The SmR appeals because it can be used with propitiatory solutions like HQPlayer and Roon as well as Airplay and open source servers. It doesn’t lock me in to one vendor. It may; pending how well Roon works on a NAS, render my Mac Mini Music server unnecessary. When/If Roon support Deezer I may even be able to retire my Sonos Connect, further simplifying my setup.

Sonore’s microRendu and Roon are two examples of potentially disruptive ideas, that demonstrate the speed with which the industry is moving.

GregW posted:

I ordered one a couple of days ago.

I’ve long held the view that until the streaming landscape; both locally and over the internet, settles down it doesn’t make sense to make a significant investment in dedicated streaming hardware.

If I’d spent GBP 3K on a streamer in the last 24 months I’d be disappointed having tried Roon if I realised I couldn’t run it.

Things are changing fast. The increasing role of computing in audio has led to an influx of new engineers and designers with fresh ideas. Some better, others not. It’s a very interesting time for the industry.

Roon is a good example imo. It runs on many platforms including most recently NAS devices. It’s actively maintained and supported by an increasing number of players/DACs. Roon support means that if I like your hardware but not your software I might still be interested.

The SmR appeals because it can be used with propitiatory solutions like HQPlayer and Roon as well as Airplay and open source servers. It doesn’t lock me in to one vendor. It may; pending how well Roon works on a NAS, render my Mac Mini Music server unnecessary. When/If Roon support Deezer I may even be able to retire my Sonos Connect, further simplifying my setup.

Sonore’s microRendu and Roon are two examples of potentially disruptive ideas, that demonstrate the speed with which the industry is moving.

I agree with your observations and I think that the SmR is a very interesting device. But it still needs a NAS and a wired connection to the LAN. A device with user upgradeable local storage and wireless card would be a more flexible solution. It could offer the same functionalities of the SmR with the additional possibility of replaying from local storage and wireless control. It does not take rocket science to build such devices.

GregW posted:

I ordered one a couple of days ago.

I’ve long held the view that until the streaming landscape; both locally and over the internet, settles down it doesn’t make sense to make a significant investment in dedicated streaming hardware.

If I’d spent GBP 3K on a streamer in the last 24 months I’d be disappointed having tried Roon if I realised I couldn’t run it.

Things are changing fast. The increasing role of computing in audio has led to an influx of new engineers and designers with fresh ideas. Some better, others not. It’s a very interesting time for the industry.

 

Greg, I have been streaming since the late 90s and seen the space evolve. I would say streaming has become rather mature and established now with various families of streaming having evolved and has probably 'settled down' severeal years ago and is clearly here to stay for a while unlike minidisc or DCC. There will always continue to be innovation, but the big architectural evolutions and rapid changes from the early 2000s have probably largely gone now. It's more a case innovation in usability, tweakery  and differing platforms, such as streaming over 3G and 4G in cars and mobiles.

nbpf posted:
GregW posted:

I ordered one a couple of days ago.

I’ve long held the view that until the streaming landscape; both locally and over the internet, settles down it doesn’t make sense to make a significant investment in dedicated streaming hardware.

If I’d spent GBP 3K on a streamer in the last 24 months I’d be disappointed having tried Roon if I realised I couldn’t run it.

Things are changing fast. The increasing role of computing in audio has led to an influx of new engineers and designers with fresh ideas. Some better, others not. It’s a very interesting time for the industry.

Roon is a good example imo. It runs on many platforms including most recently NAS devices. It’s actively maintained and supported by an increasing number of players/DACs. Roon support means that if I like your hardware but not your software I might still be interested.

The SmR appeals because it can be used with propitiatory solutions like HQPlayer and Roon as well as Airplay and open source servers. It doesn’t lock me in to one vendor. It may; pending how well Roon works on a NAS, render my Mac Mini Music server unnecessary. When/If Roon support Deezer I may even be able to retire my Sonos Connect, further simplifying my setup.

Sonore’s microRendu and Roon are two examples of potentially disruptive ideas, that demonstrate the speed with which the industry is moving.

I agree with your observations and I think that the SmR is a very interesting device. But it still needs a NAS and a wired connection to the LAN. A device with user upgradeable local storage and wireless card would be a more flexible solution. It could offer the same functionalities of the SmR with the additional possibility of replaying from local storage and wireless control. It does not take rocket science to build such devices.

There is another model from SmR with the possibility to add USB drives locally! No NAS needed....

T38.45 posted:
nbpf posted:

I agree with your observations and I think that the SmR is a very interesting device. But it still needs a NAS and a wired connection to the LAN. A device with user upgradeable local storage and wireless card would be a more flexible solution. It could offer the same functionalities of the SmR with the additional possibility of replaying from local storage and wireless control. It does not take rocket science to build such devices.

There is another model from SmR with the possibility to add USB drives locally! No NAS needed....

T38.45, could you name this "USB drive" model , I don't seem to be able to find it? It would be a most interesting solution particularly if its in a similar price range to the microRendu.

Its the SonicOrbiter SE , which is their OS loaded on a CuBox. I think that it will not sound as good as the MicroRendu.

Another option seems to be a SOTM SMS-200, although the Operating System does not appear as advanced, it claims to be a dedicated audio device with a dedicated /filtered audio port. 

Thanks to the OP for starting this thread. 

So, if I understand correctly, the Microrend, plus power supply to enable operation, is essentially a renderer,  that takes an SD card for some [interchangeable] storage?

So, in effect it replaces the rendering part of, say, an ND5XS, or in respect of a Mac Mini / Audirvana system it replaces Audirvana (but not the MM as that can be a huge music store). 

Has anyone compared SQ of MicroRendu into, say, a Hugo or other comparable or better DAC,  against Mac Mini/Audirvana (including an isolator/convertor such as Gustard U12 if using with a DAC without galvanic isolation and full rf filtering such as Hugo), played through high quality amp and high quality full range speakers?

>>Has anyone compared SQ of MicroRendu into, say, a Hugo or other comparable or better DAC,  against Mac Mini/Audirvana (including an isolator/convertor such as Gustard U12 if using with a DAC without galvanic isolation and full rf filtering such as Hugo), played through high quality amp and high quality full range speakers<<

>> Yes, I run a macmini + audirvana (jitterbug plugs), an aurender and an aries. MicroRendu beats them all. Before that, I run NDS and Linn Klimax DS.

First time that digital sounds like analog imho: smooth, floating, fast, enough PRaT. They must have put some magic dust in this gear. So if somebody tries tells you all digital sources are the same simple ignore it....

Ralf

Innocent Bystander posted:

So, if I understand correctly, the Microrend, plus power supply to enable operation, is essentially a renderer,  that takes an SD card for some [interchangeable] storage?

So, in effect it replaces the rendering part of, say, an ND5XS, or in respect of a Mac Mini / Audirvana system it replaces Audirvana (but not the MM as that can be a huge music store). 

Has anyone compared SQ of MicroRendu into, say, a Hugo or other comparable or better DAC,  against Mac Mini/Audirvana (including an isolator/convertor such as Gustard U12 if using with a DAC without galvanic isolation and full rf filtering such as Hugo), played through high quality amp and high quality full range speakers?

I think that the SD card of the microRendu is mainly meant to host the OS, just as for the Raspberry Pi. If the OS is a minimal Linux distribution (perhaps optimized for audio playback, like for instance Volumio, Rune Audio, etc.), it might come with an ssh client (or even rsync) and one might be able to transfer data to the SD card while the microRendu is running.

I think that it would be very interesting to compare MM+Audirvana(+Isolator) to NAS+LAN+micro Rendu upstream of a good DAC. I can imagine that the microRendu relies on MPD and perhaps upmpdcli to interact with a control point. In this case, the sonic qualities would be dictated by MPD and I think that MPD (Bryston) is considered to have different sonic qualities than Audirvana. At least, I seem to remember a thread about the differences between MPD and Audirvana and the fact that some users prefer the one and some the other. I might be mistaken, of course, and perhaps the comparison was between MPD and JRiver rather than MPD and Audirvana.

I am happy to see that small, low power, dedicated devices based on open OSs are making their way into high quality replay chains and I very much hope that Naim will have something to say in this area as well.

T38.45 posted:

>>Has anyone compared SQ of MicroRendu into, say, a Hugo or other comparable or better DAC,  against Mac Mini/Audirvana (including an isolator/convertor such as Gustard U12 if using with a DAC without galvanic isolation and full rf filtering such as Hugo), played through high quality amp and high quality full range speakers<<

>> Yes, I run a macmini + audirvana (jitterbug plugs), an aurender and an aries. MicroRendu beats them all. Before that, I run NDS and Linn Klimax DS.

First time that digital sounds like analog imho: smooth, floating, fast, enough PRaT. They must have put some magic dust in this gear. So if somebody tries tells you all digital sources are the same simple ignore it....

Ralf

Thanks, Ralf.

what DAC did you use with MM/Audirvana? I note you used Jitterbug - was the DAC not asynchronous? (And does Jitterbug isolate in other ways, i.e galvanic and rf?)

And you're saying microRendu is better than NDS? (Is that both using same DAC, or mR with some other DAC against NDS with it's built-in DAC?

T38.45 posted:

Sorry, Sonicorbiter...guess a link is not forum compliant...

 

Thanks T38.45. The sonic orbiter is indeed a very interesting device. With a good USB to SPDIF interface or isolator, it should provide a ready-to-use solution for those who do not want to setup a dedicated audio server themselves.

I am still hoping for a company offering a device with high quality power supply and customizable, high quality outputs (USB, SPDIF Coaxial and BNC, Toslink, AES/EBU, I2S, etc.) as options. Customers could order according to  their needs and budgets and still be able to upgrade later.

I have a MSB Analog DAC with addtl. powersupply. The DAC is only as good as its sources, and yes- in that combination I prefer it over NDS or LKDS...but that's personal taste of course! :-) I use the jitterbug because of the keyboard and mouse isolation. The MSB Analog gives me two addtl. feature I was looking for: An analog input (connects to my LP12) and volume control. With that, I skipped the pre-amp and connect it directly to the NAP250DR.

An excellent USB/SPDIF converter is the Hydra  Z. I run it with my aurender (I have only 1 USB port and 2 SPDIF Coax) The Micro is shipped without powersupply- I just ordered the Sboost powersuppy now. Sonore recommends some other powersupplies on their websites... US folks are better served- more choices ;-))

T38.45 posted:

...

An excellent USB/SPDIF converter is the Hydra  Z. I run it with my aurender (I have only 1 USB port and 2 SPDIF Coax) The Micro is shipped without powersupply- I just ordered the Sboost powersuppy now. Sonore recommends some other powersupplies on their websites... US folks are better served- more choices ;-))

I have been considering replacing my M2Tech hiFace Evo (with TP power supply) with an Hydra Z but, so far, I have not managed to demo the Hydra. If you have compared the Hydra Z with other USB to SPDIF interfaces, I would be grateful if you could share your findings. I am particularly interested in the BNC output of the Hydra. Thanks, nbpf

T38.45 posted:

NBPF , I have only SPDIF and USB, no AES...so I can't give you feedback here. I had big problems with M2Tech and Mac OS (latest release), so I had to backlevel OS again...

 

Thanks T38.45, I am also using SPDIF and USB. The SPDIF output of my M2Tech hiFace Evo is connected to a Naim DAC via a Naim DC1 (BNC-BNC) connector. I have heard of the troubles with OS X and M2Tech, that's a pity. Luckily I am feeding the M2Tech via the USB output of a dedicated Debian / GNU Linux server. It's a small, fanless device and I had no problems so far with Linux and M2Tech. I am actually very happy with the M2Tech hiFace Evo but, as you point out, current DACs are quite sensitive to their inputs and the Hydra Z is a more recent design than the M2Tech hiFace Evo. Have you used the Hydra Z with its Hydra ZPM power supply or bare? Best, nbpf

Hi,

Sorry to have gone dark but having left the mR to run in overnight the sound did NOT improve. In fact, after two weeks of troubleshooting, it had nothing directly to do with the mR; it was a product of the Oppo 105D having a very high output voltage, NOT having properly balanced XLRs AND me introducing a possible extra route for some signal to travel - really obscure!

Having got my system singing again I will be re-introducing the mR, however of plugging in the USB if I hear a degradation in sound quality I will have to NOT use the Oppo with the mR.

I have bought a couple of extra bits, in addition to the IFI 9v 2A PSU I have on order an SBOOSTER 6v PSU, and in anticipation of problems with the Oppo a Gustard U12 XMOS USB/SPDIF converter to feed my Bel Canto DAC 3.5vb.

The only upside of this experience is my faith in my hearing AND how unbelievably good the Oppo 105D can be! And how easy it is to ruin it.

M

I've had my microRendu runnng less than an hour. It really is an incredible little device. All the cliches that have been heaped on it are true. I have not had this moving a musical experience since I heard a CDX2.  It is clear, but not hard.  I am actually a little surprised to,learn how compromised my sound was before.  I'm am talking about having a moving transformative experience and all I am doing is Tidal Streaming.

thanks to Charles who really got me leaning this way.   It is so much better than the Qute as a source it isn't even funny.  $700 for this and the PSU. Wow!  And people say its gets better over a couple of days! And with a better PSU. 

Hi Brubacca,

I remember when more mainstream hifi companies were making moves into streaming and I had a chat with my Naim dealer, he asked me what I would like to see them produce and I said a stand-alone unit to accept a network stream and produce a spdif output running a web interface. I then stated that I would HATE them to go down the Meridian route where they packaged up disparate bits of functionality so that you ended up re-buying 'bits' you already owned; which is what they have done: HDX; NS01; NDX; Qute etc.

I love the theory behind the mR. They have taken the central idea a few steps further by allowing the user to select the type of controller that they want to use, they even asked the community whether they should package in a PSU or leave it to the purchaser; a huge well done to Jesus et al.

Out of interest: What PSU are you currently using; How are you controlling it; Any plans to try variations; What DAC are you using?

M

Right now I am still tweaking.  For the PSU I went with the iFi.  Honestly I don't know why I actually ordered the unit.  I firmly beleived that ethernet somehow corrupted the music because streaming locally never sounded good.  I am glad that I did.  

I have some AQ Pearl ethernet cables inbound to replace the standard ones.  I had built a mini PC that was to be my player, I am in the middle of reloading it to just be my uPnp server.  I will probably get the HD Plex PSU for this PC and drive the Rendu from it. (In a couple months).

My DAC is a Schiit Gungnir Mulitibit. I am beyond thrilled at this point and know that I can squeeze even a bit more out of the setup.  Linn Kazoo is my control point and I am running in Upnp mode.

My HiFi is the furthest away from my router in the house.  I utilize a wireless bridge with integrated switch in this room.  When the uPnp server is done I'll move it to the hifi.  Currently I am streaming over the wifi, regular ripped CDs sound great, but 24/96 sounds a bit off.  That should be solved when I get the server in.

 

 

The Gungnir is supposed to have an excellent USB input. In order to compare my Bel Canto 3.5vb to the Oppo 105D I have bought a Gustard U12, this is reportedly in the same ballpark as the Gungnir - fingers crossed.

I am just using bog standard patch cables. My experience is that cables do make a difference, but whether that is an improvement is another matter - and I find there is no consistency, that is I can use a cable to fine tune my system but it won't work in the same way in another system with different components. That said I DID buy a HiFi USB cable, bowed to peer pressure! But nothing too expensive.

Like you I am currently using the IFI but I have an SBOOSTER on order from Mark Grant - good guy, got a number of his cables. I will stick with the IFI for another month to get things fully bedded in before I try the uprated PSU.

I will be trying all the mR modes in due course. I am currently using LMS as I can stream Quboz. I am interested in hearing what effect streaming the PCM files as DSD will have.

I was getting very good results with my Oppo 105D as the streamer and DAC. With the microRendu even less than fully worn in I find that it adds texture to what the Oppo was doing by itself.

Look forward to hearing how things progress for you, and what you try.

M

Brubacca: re the HDplex, if it's the 100 stand alone model you are thinking, it may or may not be underpowered to run both a rendu and mini pc for you. I felt mine was - it ran too hot and the sound sounded constricted. But worth a try. I also decided I preferred my Voretxbox away from the hifi, esp for maintenance purposes.

I did receive a Chinese linear power supply for the Voretxbox today. Aside from the horrible toxic stench of it (whats up with that??) it's sturdy build similar to the HD. Took off the last bit of digital glare. Better edges to the instruments, and more detail and less fatigue in the treble. If it continues to stink though I may have to look elsewhere, or a second HDPlex. Not worth cancer. 

I had a definite set back on day 2 and it completely relates to my music server being put back into the audio rack.  I spent the evening before and morning reloading my music server with Windows 7, doing ALL the updates and playing with uPnp servers.  ( and free fedilizer). Sound quality definitely took a hit when I put this mini pc back into the rack.  I think my next step is to remove the server and put it back at the switch.

My HiFi is an island onto itself being connected to the rest of the network by a wireless bridge.  My Router and Bridge almost can't be further apart.  Worst case I am only getting about 115MBps throughput although that should be plenty for 24/96 music based on my research.  

I am a bit tapped out so HD Plex is not an option right now.  I have a couple of options I believe.  I have 2 runs on Coax in that room.  One is old and of dubious spec/quality.  The other is across the room ( no place to hide a wire) , but is something that I ran about 6 years ago.  i don't know the spec on the cable, but I have a spool that I can check.  So, my plan is to get a MoCa adapter.  Ideally it would work at the HiFi and better the throughput of the wireless.  Worst case I could utilize the "good coax" and add an access point to boost the signal in that room.  Not sure what way I am going to go because I'd really like to be done spending money right now. 

Lastly I read a really interesting article about using Fiber Optic adapters to isolate your hifi network from the regular network.  Not sure how I could utilize this, but it was an interesting concept

Hi, I really would not ideally recommend the MoCa type system unless you really snookered.. It is essentially a better implementation of Ethernet over the mains with out all the RFI going on the mains .. But the modulated RF is routed within the coax.

However these are essentially from a network perspective half duplex devices .. that is only one device or end/host can use the network at a time.. this is not ideal for many modern TCP and UDP based systems such as ourUPnP media server system where we use small buffers for max SQ. Best use at least Cat5e and have full duplex Ethernet. Our media network app seem to work better with end to full duplex ethernet

Fibre is an alternate to  twisted copper at the physical level. Effectively two fibre runs replace the 8 copper twisted pairs in the Ethernet cable. Fibre obviously doesn't isolate at a network level.. it works the same as twisted pair, but is better for long runs and is not prone to generating or receiving electrical interference... BUT it is prone to being modulated at audio frequencies and other physical vibration. This normally is not an issue for genereal used.. and I have yet to hear of an issue within a hifi setup.

However our Naim equipment currently does not support fibre transceiver adapters, and so needs to be converted to twisted copper, thereby undoing much of the potential benefit of using fibre to remove common mode electrical noise.

Simon

Just dragged a friend home after 'fixing the world' over coffee. I wanted to play him a couple of tracks comparing Oppo vs mR/Oppo. In the end I forgot to do a couple of adjustments on the Oppo so we ended up comparing:

1. Oppo in 5.1 mode playing stereo;
2. Oppo set up for just stereo; and3. mR/Oppo as DAC.

His observations:

1 > 2: Sharper, more detailed;
2 > 3: Retains the advantage of (2) but also warmer.

Funnily enough when I made my observation above I thought about saying 'warmer' but that, for me, carries extra connotations so I switched to 'textured'. I discussed this with Rob and he agreed with me. For instance the Barbarolli/Du Pre Elgar Cello Concerto: Through the mR it retains the dynamics (I think) but you are far more aware of the inner detail, i.e. the bowing.

I find that once I hear an audio cue that previously passed me by I will notice it through the 'old' system. For instance, yesterday I was listening to Shostakovitch No 5 (Ashkenazy)  via the Oppo. When I switched to the mR/Oppo I was immediately aware of how the performers in the opening of the 1st movement were leaning into their bows, and the movement both ways. Now if I go back to the Oppo I 'hear' it because I am listening for it.

Got home at 11:30am and just spent two hours going through a selection of music from Handel to Mary Black and Elgar to ZZ Top, the latter via Quboz.

Rob's final comment was that while he thinks (2) and (3) are clearly better he could easily live with any of these solutions. This probably demonstrates where a normal person separates from us obsessives!

Yet again I am gob-smacked by the quality of the Oppo 105D. I am looking forward to getting my repaired NS01 back and doing some comparisons using various combinations of the NS01/mR/Oppo/Bel Canto 3.5vb.

I am thoroughly enjoying the mR. With the IFI it is already giving me excellent results, be interested in what happens when I try the SBOOSTER, not to mention the Gustard U12.

Currently I am using LMS on my Synology, which provides a direct web interface and works well. The Quboz implementation is not as slick as the Sonos app but it works, and it is good to be able to easily mix and match between all my music sources. I do think the Sonos Connect is very good for the money but it is a bit frustrating that you are limited to 16/44.1, which rules out a large part of my regular music diet.

M

I am running DLNA and Bubble Server with Linn Kazoo App.  I noticed in the setup of Bubble Server that I could assign my Qute V1 as an Open Home renderer.  If I did this I should be able to send Tidal or Qubuz to the Qute via the Linn App.  I like the linn interface, it is simple.  I really wanted to use like the lumin app, but i just took to Kazoo and it just works.

Still stressing on how to hardwire connect my hifi.  

As a general question rather than mR specific, what the issue is with 'gapless play' that seems to get much mention? I'm puzzled because with the systems I've used, music that is meant to run together, e.g albums with no gaps between tracks, always have played seemlessly, and that includes With my current renderer that loads each individual track into memory before starting play - does that mean it is not the case with all music store/renderer combinations? Or is gapless play something different, removing gaps such as any run-out time on a track?

(My experience has been ND5XS by wired network from NSA 325 NAS running Twonky, then running Logitech Media Server (changed because Twonky often took ages for the streamer to find it after switch on or rebooting), then changed NSA to Mac Mini running Serviio, then changed from ND5XS to Audirvana renderer on the MM itself).

 

Thx B,

I'll try it a bit later. Currently running through my 'review' playlist. Amazed at how good Buckley track Grace is, never heard it better. However, not always completely positive, Phil Collins Tarzan is a great soundtrack but Collins spits through his vocals. The mR/Oppo resolves lots more detail but what was barely bearable tips over the edge for me. Everything else is coming up roses! Even Motown.

Currently listening to The Wall, but as this is an LP rip which I haven't broken in tracks it is perfectly gapless. Hearing all sorts of detail that has never resolved before - but in a musical undistracting way. By this I mean that the Oppo sans mR edges towards HiFi, the Bel Canto definitely avoids this but I feel isn't as dynamic or detailed. The mR adds the advantages of the Bel Canto to the Oppo, a great synergy.

Happy bunny, and more tweaking to come.

M

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