The Hugo of streaming?

A network can quickly get complicated. Can a simpler setup help SQ? It might, it might not. That CA (Romaz) 'direct' connection of the rendu to the  server/player is an example that did help in my setup:- PC-->rendu-->DAC-V1.

If you are clever at IT (which I am not), you might be able to get this rendu 'direct' connection some other way. The rendu uses the Sonore web GUI for configuration so either way it will need to connect to the internet for that, at least initially.

The method as described at CA is what I (cleverly) followed. It requires my PC to have a second ethernet port for the rendu and a 'bridge' via the OS to connect it to my existing LAN (with the DHCP server/router). That thread now has pointers on the first page for a few different OSs. 

I only have one network interface port so I use a USB/Ethernet adapter to provide the second port (in place of a second NIC). I have one adapter by Anker (on the Win 7 64 bit PC) and another by Apple (on a Win 10 64 bit laptop). The Apple one needs  a Win 10 64bit driver which I downloaded from the asix website (AX88772A) after a little google search.

The effort was worthwhile for me and I am grateful to the OP.

B.

Mr Underhill posted:

Hi Charles,

Yes, it looks complex, as would yours, but I hope it is easier to follow than writing it out?

Have you tried the HD-Plex straight into your mR - how would you describe the difference?

I tried stripping out the FMC media bridge yesterday - after all, you never know. I put it straight back in!.

M

The LPS-1 is better, the HDPLEX better than the iFi. The new model HDPLEX looks even better. A great supply if you need to run several things but really nothing special like the LPS-1. 

Hi Charles,

I asked as I found my cheap R-Core LPSU less transparent than the LPS-1, but had more body. I put this down to having a potential 2.5A on tap. I trplaced the LPS-1 with a slightly more expensive Chinese R-Core LPSU + 2 x LT3045 (7.1 A 1A), which I found combined the transparency of the LPS-1 and the body of the R-Core - for half the price of a LPS-1.

M

 

CP,  You have a nice system. V1/110 must be a foot tapper! I ran the 110 for a little while in the 80s and loved it.

The uR has me a bit buffled regarding PSs. It sounds different yet good with every one, but the LPS-1 appears to be transparent to it, except for a little more detail. With the LPS-1 it takes on the 'tone' of the feeding PS much more so than the mR did (from memory).

1. TP PS ~  2. TP PS+LPS-1: smooth, rounded, fatter bottom, forgiving, musical!

3. ZeroZone (ZZ) ~ 4. ZZ +LPS-1: sharper, detailed, top to bottom balance, revealing, musical!

I have the JSG shunt at the uR DC input. I am not sure I hear anything on A/B testing, but will evaluate its effect over the long term.

The power supplies 'sound can be fine tuned' by using different AC & DC cables (so we have not got rid of all the 'leakage' yet)!

Soundwise - I could live with any combo 1 through 4. The only problem with 4 is that the ZZ cuts out at some point during the booting of the LPS-1/uR probably due to transient current demand it can't handle.

 

Edited

Mr Underhill posted:

Hi Charles,

I asked as I found my cheap R-Core LPSU less transparent than the LPS-1, but had more body. I put this down to having a potential 2.5A on tap. I trplaced the LPS-1 with a slightly more expensive Chinese R-Core LPSU + 2 x LT3045 (7.1 A 1A), which I found combined the transparency of the LPS-1 and the body of the R-Core - for half the price of a LPS-1.

M

Hi M,

Which one is that then?

B.

Hi Brilliant,

I followed the thread when it first surfaced, and was looking at bridging the network ports on my NAS. A couple of things moved me away from this:

1. Using the RPi3 with the LPS-1 was just SO much better than the NAS, also reducing me to 1 RJ45; and
2. The RPi3 is a simple device generating less noise than a full blown PC or NUC, I suspect that it could be a trade off to further improve on the feed into the uR.

Still on the radar though.

M

Brilliant posted:

 

CP,  You have a nice system. V1/110 must be a foot tapper! I ran the 110 for a little while in the 80s and loved it.

 

Well thank you. I keep thinking I want/need a bigger amp but then I listen to my CB110 and it’s always nah... it was rebuilt about 6 years ago and no can no longer power a pre so the V1 is perfect for it. Sounds esp lovely with jazz; not really a stadium rocker per se. The room is very “live” after a recent rebuild - new sub flooring and oak floors and rock wall insulation, 11x17 feet. Perfect boost for the 110. 

This is the DAC-V1 PC setup updated with the Sonore ultraRendu and the UpTone Audio components.

I have compared the playback of some tracks I know and believe to be of the same mastering on the formats: CD  (CD-rip wav), Vinyl, and SACD.

For reference:

TT = Vinyl  played on the Alphason TT/HR100S arm/DV-20X2 cart/ and Belles phono. (I have a Denon DL-304 which might be better for low level detail retrieval but do not want to change current setups)

SACD = Sony XA5400ES player.

Summary (to my ears):

TT gives the fullest tone/timbre and  scores higher mostly for that reason. The uR/DAC-V1 is pretty even with the Sony IME but perhaps a tad thinner sounding on some tracks. The Sony player adds warmth and seems 'sweeter' in tone  which I like especially when playing the SACD layers. In 'musicality' they are all pretty close and in this order (TT>SACD>uR/DAC-V1). I am thinking: they all stop you in your tracks, to listen or to dance! As usual YMMV.

The Tracks used for the comparisons (all subjective, score out of 10= imaginary reference, no format weighting!):

1.Et misericordia (Arnesen 2L 106 SACD, 384.4/24 wav).  This track was recorded in DXD and is offered by 2L for format comparisons. It is available in different formats for free on their website (hires test bench). I also have their SACD. The DSD file was not used as in IMO, DAC-V1 shines better with PCM.

uR/DAC-V1 8.5 (more spatial detail), Sony/SACD 8.5 (more warmth, inviting tones)

2. I am Old Fashioned (John Coltrane -Blue Train AP45 rpm LP, AP SACD, CD-rip wav). The same mastering  transferred to all three and was done  by Kevin Gray & Steve Hoffman from the original Blue Note master tapes!

TT: 9.0 (fuller tone/timbre), uR/DAC-V1: 8.0  (CD Rip , thinner tone), Sony: 8.0 (CD layer) & 8.5 (SACD, warmer, sweet).

3. You Are Too Beautiful - (Oliver Jones - Live At Biddles 1983 LP, CD, CD-rip wav) I believe the CD to be a straight transfer of the  LP- master (but could be wrong). This is a club live recording with background noise from the crowd.

TT: 9/10) (fuller tone/timbre than CD, nice flow), uR/DAC-V1: 8.5, Sony: 8.5 CD layer ( both reveal more low level detail than TT ,  the DV cart is suspect here). This is a nice CD transfer.

It's all good.

ATB

B.

 

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Bowers posted:

Talking about "Hugo of streaming"; After moving from ND5X  to microrendu; Had to have my Hugo DAC repaired (warranty) to feed my Naim NAC 282 and using as source the microrendu (+LPS-1 +DC4 + CuriousUSB);  Just watched an enthusiastic review of the Sms 200 ultra. Might be the top of network streaming devices at this moment or it might be very individual ?!  Anyone with experience/opinion and preference concerning these sources ?   any feedback appreciated. Best Peter

 

There is a Nov. review of the SOtM sMS-200ultra Network Audio Player and sPS-500 Power at audiobacon dot net. It has a comparisons paragraph where comments vs uR are included.

In short (roughly quoting from sections in the para.):

sMS strengths - Macrodynamics, deeper and punchy bass, full bodied richer tone and timbre, layered holographic soundstage. Humanistic!

uR strengths - Microdynamics, tight clean bass, transparent, more detail resolving, quieter, more focused soundstaged but less depth. Insightful!

Note: Some problems (skips) are mentioned when playing DSD files on Chord Dave with the sMS but none with the uR- something to do with the unix incompatibility?

B.

Hi M

Thank you. I like what I am hearing. I think the uR could still benefit from a different ps. I will experiment with the LPS-1/LPS supply in the future. I will get that LT3045 3A pcb (diyAudio) and a 50VA r-core tranny from the far east and put together another experimental ps. I also understand Paul Hynes has the SR4  now in production (£330 - 2A cont./20A transient = a smaller version of the SR7). Another tailored affordable option perhaps!  There should be some feedback at CA in the days to come.

ATB

B.

Hi B,

3A LT3045, I'll take a look!

For info:
Last week I did the full ropund of removing the FMCs & other audio route devices and then replacing them - having managed to simplify the 'chain' with the Uptone USPCB = everything stays!

Small incremental gains, but worth having.

M

I could be wrong, but the thread I am using is advising chaining devices. From what I have read I believe there are two types of LT3045, fixed and variable; these seems to be variable - which apparently are not as good.

From my POV I have set up:

ultraRendu: 2 x LT3045 7v1 1A - giving an available 2A to a device which functions on 1A; and

RPi3: 2 x LT3045 5v 1A - Giving 2A to a device that can function with up to 2.5A.

As it happens I now have two unused 0.5A 5v boxes hanging around, Think I may add an additional box for the RPi3 .....thing is, things are sounding really very good and I'd rather just listen to music.

I was thinking through my system over the last couple of days, as I have sold some gear and have some available funds for frivolous upgrades. I could:

Change my AV centre speaker from Audio Physic to a Focal Be II, to match my mains absolutely; or
Upgrade my LP12 with a Tangerine widget; or
Save up to get a 2nd hand EAR912; or .......

Bottom line is - I am actually pretty damn happy where I am and this feels like profligate waste. Think I may just by some CDs and give some money to charity for Christmas.

M

That is great to hear!! I want the ability to charge the LPS-1, and since it is on constantly I would need heat sinks on the regulators. He has catered for that. My last little project for the year.

The thread is in the Vendor's Bazaar forums. He is using LT3045 not the LT3045-1, even though his schematic shows LT3042 and is missing a connection at the output. His built up board is a bit expensive.

Click the image to open in full size.

 

....things are sounding really very good and I'd rather just listen to music.

Fatal words of course!

A felloe Wammer popped over with his Chord Hugo, as he was thinking of the Border Patrol SE DAC, which I own, for his own system. I then visited him taking the BP with me.

The two systems:

Me: Files > RPi3 (LPSU) > ultraRendu (LPSU + LT3045x2) > AQ JB > Uptone USPCB > Singxer F1 > BP DAC > EAR868PL > EAR534 > Focal 1008be II
Him: NAS > Bespoke PC > dCS Bridge > Chord Hugo > Modwright 36.5 > Pass X250 > Bowers & Wilkins speakers.

We heard the same issues/highlights through both systems when swapping the DACs.

 

Example test tracks:

War of the Worlds – Thunder Child
War of the Worlds – Spirit of Man
ACDC – Thunderstruck
Meatloaf – Bat Out of Hell

 

Hugo
Greater resolution and finesse with high frequencies.
Mid band anaemic.

BP DAC
Propels you into the music
Real meat and heft to the music

......certain sharpness with rock and pop in the mid/high frequencies.

 

Observations

If you play either of the War of the Worlds tracks and listen to Richard Burton ‘S’es you hear an over-emphasis.

Bat Out of Hell has a souring guitar wail early on left field, through the BP it screeches.

 

Oppo 105D

When I got home I put in my Oppo 105D via its coax input – sabre ESS DAC.

All the problem files were STILL problems, perhaps even worse. This was also my experience when listening to the Schitt Yggdrasil (slightly less) and the Lampizator L4G5.

 

As a result of this I bought an IFI iDefender 3.0, and then did some listening tests. As soon as I plugged it in ALL the edge issues vanished, but so did some resolution. As the widget settled down over the next couple of hours the detail returned, as did some of the edge. This made me bite a bullet I have been avoiding:

My SingXer F1 was powered from the ultraRendu (uR), it has built in tech to clean the DC.
I made up a couple of cables, blocked the DC from the uR, and supplied the power from an LT3045 (0.5A 5v).

I then played with combinations of adapters, settling for the moment on:

IFI iDefender 3.0
SBooster VBus2 (Blocks the DC)
USB A > B adapter (This is the Sonore one, which in this arrangement I preferred slightly to the USPCB)

Result?
More body and detail.
Edge mainly gone - the Richard Burton hard 'S'es are still there, but there impact is reduced. Played a couple of other tracks which I know can be a bit hot in places, same result.

Yesterday I returned to my Wammer friends house where with another Wammer we did a four way DAC comparison:

Metatron supplied the venue, the base system & the Chord Hugo;
George the Audio Note 2.1 DAC and Esoteric D-03 DAC; and
I supplied the Border Patrol DAC.

Bottom Line: I am very happy.

The tracks included problems (War if the Worlds & Simon & Garfunkel - The Dangling Conversation), Difficult (Nina Simone) & tests (Bela Fleck).

My opinion:

All four DACs are good and will shine in different systems and your preference will be based on your tastes, for me:

Chord Hugo:
As above, mids just don't grab you, sounds to me a bit academic - doesn't communicate the joy.

Border Patrol:
Now this was more like it. The fun came back. Emotional communication. Perhaps a touch rolled off.

Audio Note 2.1:
Oh! The emotional connection of the BP, but greater transparency.

Esoteric D-03:
Initially AWFUL, this was connected via the AES dual leads from the dCS Bridge. Changed to the spdif, yes - this was more like it. Chord on steroids? But, for me, lacked the magical middle.

My order:

AN 2.1 > BP > Esoteric > Hugo.

Even better, the problem files were problems via all the DACs (apart from the Hugo - see above).

I think the essential DNA of the AN & BP are the same, but the BP is 1/3rd of the cost and is no way shamed by the comparison. For me this reconfirms the superb quality and VFM of the BP; but, I now have an idea of where I would be looking at going if I was willing to spend more.

M

Brilliant posted:

That is great to hear!! I want the ability to charge the LPS-1, and since it is on constantly I would need heat sinks on the regulators. He has catered for that. My last little project for the year.

The thread is in the Vendor's Bazaar forums. He is using LT3045 not the LT3045-1, even though his schematic shows LT3042 and is missing a connection at the output. His built up board is a bit expensive.

Click the image to open in full size.

 

I built a simple 7.5 VDC LPS with this board using a Zero Zone 50W R-Core from the far east. I am getting excellent results feeding the Sonore ultraRendu. Music is 'fuller and sweeter' sounding (than with the Uptone Audio LPS-1). Lots of dynamics with great resolution. Very happy with it.

Grounding - Yet Again

As a result of a post elsewhere  I have revisited my grounding. The post included:

As John Swenson reported on post n*1,306, of the CA thread about DC earth:
"As I have said probably the best system looks like this:
no SMPS, just LPS, all outputs not grounded. ONE place in the system where the connected shields (signal shields, negatives of LPS outputs etc) are earthed. AC mains connections of the PS's are plugged into a single strip which does not have any form of filtering or "power conditioning" between outlets."

I think I included a link to JS's original post above, where he was recommending grounding an SMPS/LPSU from the neutral to the earth using a home made widget. BARE IN MIND HE IS BASED IN THE US. I am in the UK and so do NOT consider this to be safe.



I think the vocabulary that we use for the effects of this sort of electrical pollution are too broad; certainly mine has been, where I tend to use the word 'edge' - a LOT.

In my system I think I have noticed three effects:

1) Hard Sibilants
Hard 's'es. Example tracks:

War of the Worlds – Thunder Child (CD rip & Qobuz)
- Richard Burton has very hard 'S'es.
- Some singing vocals have same issue.
War of the Worlds – Spirit of Man (CD rip & Qobuz)
- Richard Burton has very hard 'S'es.
- Some singing vocals have same issue, Phil Lynott esp.
The Dangling Question - Simon & Garfunkle (CD rip & Q)
- Very hard 'S'es.

These are in the tracks themselves but have been further emphasised in my system.

I also here the effect in hard higher frequencies, such as cymbals. This can sound like increased detail, and on some tracks is positive; making it more difficult to identify as an issue.

2) Noise Floor
This has been effected in my system by both improving the grounding AND improving the quality of the source electricity, e.g. LT3045.

3) Hard Vocals
This is a new one I have noticed, due to the post referenced above.


In terms of grounding in my system I have tried:

a) The John Swenson Widgets (JS);
b) My system, of running a wire from all the cases of items in my digital chain back to my pre-amp (MS); and now
c) BOTH.

In the case of (a) and (b) the wires are fed back to an earthing block that is then connected to my pre-amp.

The effects of changing the grounding take a while to surface, like water finding a level.

With BOTH in place schemes in place I became aware of a hardness in vocals that was unpleasant. Try almost any Tori Amos track, where she really leans on a note it is not nice.

Running either (a) or (b) this effect ALMOST disappeared.

So, (a) = (b)?  NO.

This is all really subtle, but, in my system:
Scheme (a) - Hard vocals were minimised;
Scheme (b) - A touch more hard vocals, BUT also a bit more detail - slightly more transparent, able to follow detail in the music a bit more easily.

Again,as I am in the UK and I am NOT convinced that (a) is entirely safe, I am running happily with (b).

I am now sensitised to type (3) effects, and so I know I will now spend some time trying to remove it. If I find anything I will report back.

Next step:
A second DAC bake off, Border Patrol vs Audio Note 2.1 and 4.1 - in my system.

M

It has been reported by a user over on CA that the German brand of FMC’s, Delock, sound much better than the TP LINK (I can’t recall the reason but I’ll search for it). Shipping for one (I would only need the one before the renderer) to the US would be as much as the unit itself, but we visit Germany once a year so maybe pick up one then, or have my wife’s sister bring one over this summer. Will report back if/when that happens. 

Brilliant posted:

I bet someone somewhere thought life would get a lot simpler with 0s and 1s!

If only, down at the physical levels we are talking here there is no such thing as 0s and 1s, just Manchester encoded analogue signals (on twisted pair Ethernet) ... the 0 and 1s happens later after a fair amount of processing.

WRT

Edge
In a review of some DACs, and in a post above, I wrote about edge - yet again. Having thought I had put this to bed in my system. I found the reason for this. I had changed what I had under the spikes of my Focal 1008 be 2s. In some ways I preferred what this provided, in one way I very definitely did NOT. I wouldn't say nothing to do with the electronics, as I believe that tones in the signal were being emphasised; but changing back got rid of 95% of the issue I was hearing - but re-introduced others.

At least i know what is happening.

M
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Brilliant posted:

I bet someone somewhere thought life would get a lot simpler with 0s and 1s!

If only, down at the physical levels we are talking here there is no such thing as 0s and 1s, just Manchester encoded analogue signals (on twisted pair Ethernet) ... the 0 and 1s happens later after a fair amount of processing.

And even in these processes there are no such things as 0s and 1s.

There will only be (static) storage and (dynamic) transportation of EM charges.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

To a point.. binary bit strings are indeed digital values of True/False or 1/0s, but perhaps we are making the same point, these are abstractions.

Hi Simon, and yes,

The point I try to make is that the common used mathematical models in computer-science are all based on the discretization of "analogue" values in our "quantum mechanical" world. While the interpretation of an EM charge/transport in computing models makes a clear distinction between 0 and 1, in the real world all EM charges are subject of quantum mechanics and so the EM charges/transports are subject to coincidence and will vary. Although this variation will NOT lead to a 0/1 transition (information wise), these charge/transport variation might lead to audible noise. Anno 2018 we are far from this theory.

In current state of (computer) chip technology the variance of charge (f.e. in electron units) per computing switching unit will vary far beyond the theoretical quantum uncertainty so let's wait for the quantum computer: Then we will get a real "bit perfect" computer. How to regenerate the perfect analogue music/signal reproduction out of this processing will remain the (IMO never ending) challenge.     

Hi indeed, however digital reconstruction of a continuous analogue from a discrete series of values is quite a separate challenge to the one of bit strings... in essence analogue reconstruction requires the mathematical Dirac delta function... ie an infinitely narrow spike of infinite energy to a precise point of time.. which of course can never be realised.. that is the conversion of ∑ to ∫ 

As this thread has been unloved for a while thought I would do an update. My system is singing very nicely but I have been continuing to tinker. The ultraRendu is performing very nicely but I have made a few changes of the following chain:

1. Replaced the Uptone PCUSB with an IFI Mercury 3.0 USB Cable
I bought this lat week with a 30 day return policy. Unfortunately it is definitely better, more detailed, beret sound staging - although a tad brighter lit; although I have had to change the powering slightly to accommodate the cable so the last may be a facet of that.

2. Replaced my SingXer F1 with a Matrix SPDIF2
Rather more expensive but an obvious upgrade. More detailed and warmer sound.

A thread I follow elsewhere that recommended the Mercury is also saying good things about the Uptone Iso Regen, so I have bought one 2nd hand to have a listen - I will report back.

Sonore have decided NOT to bring in the MQA first unfold, and on the whole I am content with that decision.

 

Edge
My ongoing battle to get detail and body, and exclude edge. This has proved to be a multi-facetted opponent. More recently I read a glowing review of the Focal Sopra 1 by Jerry of 10audio. In it he gave some very practical setup advice which was to block the ports and set your sub cross over at 65-70Hz. I went and got the bungs from my attic and followed his advice, although spending more time of the crossover point. I have my Focal II 1008be as far from my rear wall as I can manage in my room, in the event it was obviously still too close and that was poisoning my mid-range subtly, including edge. VERY happy with following the advice and another nice step forward.

M

Introduction
When I went to bed last night I was going to start this with: Well, the Mercury is going back - I just can't get it to work in my system in a balanced way.

What I loved about the Mercury was the insight and the detail. Listening to tracks I could hear into the production process as methods were laid bare, but it did this without making the music a by-product. The downside was the bright lift and sibilance/fricatives. Over the last few days I have run through a LOT of chains to try and come up with a balanced sound.

The chain which I have currently landed on, with which I am very happy, is:
uR (ag wiring in [LT3045 1A x 2] cu out) > iDef > PCUSB > IR (LT3045 5v 0.5A) > Mercury > Matrix


This may not be the end as I have one more card to play by adding the iPur back in, but I have got to the stage where I just want to listen to music for a few days.

The chain widgets tested:
R-Core LPSU 8.2v 6A
LPS-1 - not finally used
ultraRendu (uR)
Silver DC wires (ag)
Copper DC wires (cu)
IFI iDefender 3.0 (iDef)
Uptone PCUSB (PCUSB)
Uptone Iso Regen (IR)
LT3045
IFI Mercury USB 3.0 (Mercury)
IFI iPurifier 2 (iPur)
Matrix SPDIF2 (Matrix)


Conclusion
Very happy with this chain. Sound not quiet as forensic, but enjoyable and detailed. Going to live with this for a while!

N.B.
I set the LPS-1 to one side as it was causing my R-Core LPSU to get rather hotter than I wanted, and added nothing when the IR was powered via an LT3045 (0.5A 5v).

Uptone Audio has improved on the LPS-1 with the LPS-1.2 power supply. When using the supplied smps charger with it and powering the uRendu, there is even more detail/timbre resolution perceived especially in the lower frequencies. Musically very engaging but again that  'thinness' of sound is still apparent when compared to the naked DAC-V1! Nonetheless - a keeper.

I also have tried the Paul Hynes SR4 with the uR. A high performer as well, especially in the sound stage focus dept! I do find it somewhat less captivating with the uR however (note:-perhaps needs more break-in as it only has been a couple of weeks). The magic happens though when it powers/charges the LPS-1 (not LPS-1.2, which needs 36W)!. The LPS-1 obviously has noise coupling through it and benefits from a 'quiet' charger! With the SR4 as its (rather expensive) charger, the LPS-1/uR results in  a captivating more 'fleshed out/smoother' sound albeit not as detailed as the LPS-1.2/smps. It begs the query whether the LPS-1.2 could be farther improved in a similar way (i.e. more body) with a better charger? A 2018 winter project perhaps!

 

Hi Brilliant,

I find my Chinese Zero Zone R-Core 6A 8v LPSU > LT3045 better than the LPS-1, and has the BODY. I believe the LPS-1.2 now incorporates LT3045s.

I lied above, I used the chain for a day then tried slotting the IFI iPurifier 2 back in. It acts like a concentrator, focuses what is fed into it to great effect.

One thing I have noticed is that making more current available to a widget adds body/dynamics .....but, is this necessarily a good thing? So I am currently (sic) running my ultraRendu with just one 1A 7V2 LT3045, rather than 2. I'll report back in due course.

M

Brilliant,

If you can borrow them with a return policy I would have a go with the IFI Mercury USB 3.0 followed by the IFI iPurifier 2.0 between the uR and the DAC-v1.

Yes, the LT3045s are a good move, drop the noise floor waaaaaaaay down.

<tangent warning>
Those Celestions are classic speakers, if I remember were reviewed as painting an excellent sound field, but rather inefficient - and can lack dynamics ......and, needs GOOD amplification. Are you using these or your own jobbies?
</tangent warning>

M

Well since this thread has been resurrected I might as well make my first post!

I have followed this thread since inception and would like to know people's opinions of the MicroRendu vs. UltraRendu.  I have spent the past year playing with a stand alone headphone system - completely separate from my Naim 500 kit.  I have purchased a few TOTL headphones and currently run them from a new Sony Signature Series stand alone DAC/Headphone amp (completely separate from my 2 channel system) and also from a Moon headphone amp plugged into my Naim preamp and using my Linn Klimax DS as a source.

I am familiar with the Sonore products as I own their "intro" model SonicOrbiter SE which was discovered via the Linn forum last year as a way to bring ROON integration to our DS's.  I am currently using it with the Sony DAC/Amp for headphone use as my files are stored on an external hard drive connected to an iMac in the kitchen.  The SonicOrbiter SE acts as a ROON endpoint and brings the files to the DAC/Amp.

A few PM's with the Sonore boys have indicated that my SonicOrbiter is a "toy" made for a specific purpose and that the MicroRendu is leagues better.  This weekend (Easter) they are running a flash sale on the MicroRendu at $499 (vs. $640) and at that price it is tempting to upgrade.  I just want to make sure I am not making a mistake by not simply going with the UltraRendu ($900).  How much of a difference is there between the two?  Reading online, and even in some PM conversations with Sonore, it seems that the UltraRendu provides that famous last 10% of usual audio goodness - not always the best money for value quotient that we all are familiar with.  It is also strictly to use with the headphone system as the serious listening is done with the Naim/KDS system.

One additional thing they were rather adamant about - using a dedicated LPS power supply regardless of which model Rendu I go with.  They seem to be fond of the Channel Islands version (I am in the States).

So - holiday promo deal on the MicroRendu or UltraRendu?

PS the upgrade program for the MicroRendu is now over as there are no more boards left.  For a new purchase it never made sense anyways as one should go instead direct to the UltraRendu

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