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Article: Sonore microRendu Review, Part 1

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Typical and short sited.

 

I kind of think multi-channel hi-res could get flakey from a bandwidth point of view, especially over wi-fi. Hopefully, this stuff gets more robust into the future.

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I've ordered a MicroRendu but am uncertain as to the best way to connect it via Ethernet.

I have a 3 TB LaCie Drive connected by Thunderbolt cable to my Macbook Pro (with Roon installed) which connects via USB to my Berkeley Alpha then Reference. A simple system with 2 Lacie backups that works very well, but I want the better sound quality of the MicroRendu.

What is the best way for me to install the ethernet connection for the MicroRendu?

Do I simply install a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter (which may degrade sound quality), switch to a hard drive with ethernet output or bite the bullet and install a NAS?

I do not anticipate ever needing more than 2-3 TBs. IF NAS is the best way to go, any recommendations as to a NAS that would sound best?

Thanks, Merek

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How many channels does this handle?

 

The microRendu HARDWARE could care less about how many channels are in use, that is purely an issue of software.

 

I'm pretty sure that MPD can handle multi-cahannel. You will need a multi-channel USB DAC of course AND ALSA (the Linux sound system) will have to see it as a multi-channel device. You can use the DAC Diagnostics page on the microRendu web page to see if the DAC plugged into the microRendu has more than two channels.

 

I don't think anybody has actually tried this yet, but it should work.

 

John S.

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I kind of think multi-channel hi-res could get flakey from a bandwidth point of view, especially over wi-fi. Hopefully, this stuff gets more robust into the future.

 

 

I don't know about your network, but mine is solid. I would use Ethernet, but even wifi should work fine as 8 channel 192khz flac is under 20Mbps.

 

I am currently recommending an ExaSound Playpoint and ExaSound e28 mkII. This is the only combo that I found that is fully capable of multichannel Hi-Res PCM and DSD. I was hoping to find a competing solution to recommend to my customers.

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The microRendu HARDWARE could care less about how many channels are in use, that is purely an issue of software.

 

I'm pretty sure that MPD can handle multi-cahannel. You will need a multi-channel USB DAC of course AND ALSA (the Linux sound system) will have to see it as a multi-channel device. You can use the DAC Diagnostics page on the microRendu web page to see if the DAC plugged into the microRendu has more than two channels.

 

I don't think anybody has actually tried this yet, but it should work.

 

John S.

 

Yes, John I play large file DSD multichannel (into exaSound e28) just fine with MpD or even UPnP (Kazoo), as well as NAA mode, using exaSound's Playpoint, and reported on it in my review. Good to know you think this should be no different from a functional standpoint.

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@mlknez

 

I have a home network running a lot of components. 20Mbps is about what I can count on reliability to any remote point in my network. I am probably a tad overloaded, but it meets my needs. I hope home network performance gets more robust in the future. The Exasounds look very nice though.....I looked at those prior to focusing on the microRendu.

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Chris, when it comes on to Part 2, my primary interest (beyond SQ), is what power supply was used in relation to your closing comment of:

 

"I can unequivocally say that with the microRendu in place, my audio system has never sounded better than right now."

 

Having followed the microRendu thread, it seems like the device is on one hand claimed to be somewhat agnostic of external factors, but on the other hand will definitely benefit from (paraphrasing) 'the very best power supplies costing up to $2K+'. As consumers this leaves us slightly confused as to where it's pitched - i.e. should it be considered a $650 device or a $2,500 device?

 

It would be great if you could use a range of power supplies from the ifi upwards, and give some sort of indication of the improvement better supplies bring - assuming it is a factor of course.

 

I've ordered one anyway, with the ifi to start. :)

 

Look at this way: the µRendu is a $650 dollar device that offers excellent performance with a decent power supply. If one wants the absolute best performance it is capable of, then the best possible power supply is in order. Note that the µRendu, with a really excellent power supply (such as the Sonore Signature Supply designed specifically for it) still retails at around $2K total, and will beat out most (if not all) custom music servers, including ones at much higher price points (I am talking about $10K devices here). With the µRendu you can scale performance to your budget, it will perform quite well with more affordable supplies, but when you are ready to step up to top level performance, you can then add a top level supply to achieve that.


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Cardas Clear AC, Iconoclast XLR, Nordost Frey speaker, cables, Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                                                                  SONORE computer audio

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Note that the µRendu, with a really excellent power supply (such as the Sonore Signature Supply designed specifically for it) still retails at around $2K total, and will beat out most (if not all) custom music servers, including ones at much higher price points (I am talking about $10K devices here). With the µRendu you can scale performance to your budget, it will perform quite well with more affordable supplies, but when you are ready to step up to top level performance, you can then add a top level supply to achieve that.

 

How does the bump in performance compare to putting that $2k into a better DAC or maybe better cabling? I know that's not the easiest question to answer, just trying to get a sense of the relative importance of a better supply. And maybe a sense too as to where diminishing returns will set in.

 

Is there any way you can provide a sense of the magnitude of difference between using the iFi supply vs the $2k supply?


Digital:  Innuos Zenith Std Mk2 > Shunyata Alpha USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha power cords, Shunyata Anaconda interconnect, MIT Oracle speaker cables, GIK bass traps

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I've ordered a MicroRendu but am uncertain as to the best way to connect it via Ethernet.

I have a 3 TB LaCie Drive connected by Thunderbolt cable to my Macbook Pro (with Roon installed) which connects via USB to my Berkeley Alpha then Reference. A simple system with 2 Lacie backups that works very well, but I want the better sound quality of the MicroRendu.

What is the best way for me to install the ethernet connection for the MicroRendu?

Do I simply install a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter (which may degrade sound quality), switch to a hard drive with ethernet output or bite the bullet and install a NAS?

I do not anticipate ever needing more than 2-3 TBs. IF NAS is the best way to go, any recommendations as to a NAS that would sound best?

Thanks, Merek

Hi Merek - Not totally sure what your question is, but I've use a MacBook Pro with Thinderbolt Ethernet adapter to send audio from Roon to the microRendu to Alpha USB to RS.

 

Can an you just connect the microRendu to Ethernet and use the adapter for your computer? There's no reduction on sound quality with that thunderbolt adapter.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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How does the bump in performance compare to putting that $2k into a better DAC or maybe better cabling? I know that's not the easiest question to answer, just trying to get a sense of the relative importance of a better supply. And maybe a sense too as to where diminishing returns will set in.

 

Is there any way you can provide a sense of the magnitude of difference between using the iFi supply vs the $2k supply?

There's no way to answer that question to make it relevant to you and your system.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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How does the bump in performance compare to putting that $2k into a better DAC or maybe better cabling? I know that's not the easiest question to answer, just trying to get a sense of the relative importance of a better supply. And maybe a sense too as to where diminishing returns will set in.

 

Is there any way you can provide a sense of the magnitude of difference between using the iFi supply vs the $2k supply?

 

There is no way to quantify these kinds of differences. Even if there was a way to quantify them, the level of the difference will be system dependent as well: the better one's system is overall, the bigger the difference will be.

I will say though, that I am constantly astonished by how small changes in power supply design can affect performance of digital components like this.


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Cardas Clear AC, Iconoclast XLR, Nordost Frey speaker, cables, Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                                                                  SONORE computer audio

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There's no way to answer that question to make it relevant to you and your system.

 

Hearing how much a better supply matters in other systems can certainly be instructive.

 

A good example is that Curious REGEN link vs the hard adapter. The folks who compared these largely came away with the same impression about benefits and value as did I. Likewise the REGEN itself and powering it with a better supply.


Digital:  Innuos Zenith Std Mk2 > Shunyata Alpha USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha power cords, Shunyata Anaconda interconnect, MIT Oracle speaker cables, GIK bass traps

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It was available when I posted....

 

No it wasn't. If you clicked on the PayPal link and tried to order you would not have been able to.


2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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Hi Merek - Not totally sure what your question is, but I've use a MacBook Pro with Thinderbolt Ethernet adapter to send audio from Roon to the microRendu to Alpha USB to RS.

 

Can an you just connect the microRendu to Ethernet and use the adapter for your computer? There's no reduction on sound quality with that thunderbolt adapter.

Thanks Chris. Very helpful.

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Ordered!!

 

I am looking forward to getting it. I will be using the Squeezelite output mode in conjunction with LMS 7.9 and the ickstream plugin to stream Tidal. I will report back when I get it up and running.

 

As to the power supply question, I will be using the CIAudio 9V supply as I had one left over from my SB Duet days. I will also report back on that as well.

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Maybe, when I originally checked the link, it said something like coming soon. You to select the item, then, when you went to buy Paypal wouldn't let you, as you stated. When I made my post, the link no longer said coming soon, but options, so I assumed the order would go through. They must have been in the process of updating the site when I noticed the change.

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Look at this way: the µRendu is a $650 dollar device that offers excellent performance with a decent power supply. If one wants the absolute best performance it is capable of, then the best possible power supply is in order. Note that the µRendu, with a really excellent power supply (such as the Sonore Signature Supply designed specifically for it) still retails at around $2K total, and will beat out most (if not all) custom music servers, including ones at much higher price points (I am talking about $10K devices here). With the µRendu you can scale performance to your budget, it will perform quite well with more affordable supplies, but when you are ready to step up to top level performance, you can then add a top level supply to achieve that.

 

Thanks barrows.

 

I do get that, but since Chris had made the comment about it in his system, and I'd read some of his other reviews, I was curious whether he was using it as a $650 unit (ie with an ifi or whatever) or a more expensive unit (ie with a high end power supply) in order to say it was the best he'd heard in his system.

 

I know these things are subjective but 'Performing quite well' with affordable supplies doesn't appear to me to be enough to better all other streamers that have been tested in Chris' setup, so I'm guessing a much higher end PSU was used.....


Roon lifetime > Mac Mini > ethernet > microRendu (RAAT) w/ Paul Hynes SR3 > Intona > Curious USB link > Devialet 250 Pro > PMC fact 8.

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I wonder if Chris' teaser regarding SQ includes an implicit comparison to some of the recent Aurender units and the dCS Vivaldi Upsampler (I understand that the 2.0 Upsampler streams Tidal and has Roon compatibility). But at its price, I'm trying a microRendu.


- Mark

 

Synology DS916+ > SoTM dCBL-CAT7 > Netgear switch > SoTM dCBL-CAT7 > dCS Vivaldi Upsampler (Nordost Valhalla 2 power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 Dual 110 Ohm AES/EBU > dCS Vivaldi DAC (David Elrod Statement Gold power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 xlr > Absolare Passion preamp (Nordost Valhalla 2 power cord) > Nordost Valhalla 2 xlr > VTL MB-450 III (Shunyata King Cobra CX power cords) > Nordost Valhalla 2 speaker > Kaiser Kaewero Classic /JL Audio F110 (Wireworld Platinum power cord).

 

Power Conditioning: Entreq Olympus Tellus grounding (AC, preamp and dac) / Shunyata Hydra Triton + Typhoon (Shunyata Anaconda ZiTron umbilical/Shunyata King Cobra CX power cord) > Furutec GTX D-Rhodium AC outlet.

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There are a lot of questions about the sonicTransporter. The point of the sonicTransporter is that paired with the microRendu it provides a complete solution to turn a USB hard drive filled with music into a music playback system. All that is required is a network and a iPad or tablet for control.

 

You can run Roon Server on your computer or laptop but. if your laptop goes to sleep, virus scanners are running, somebody takes your laptop out of WiFi range. etc. Roon will stop working. Also unless your laptop has an SSD drive you won't get the best performance out of Roon.

 

The sonicTransporter provides a simple way to get the best performance out of Roon with no hassle.

 

It can also run other servers like Squeezebox, DLNA, or SMB (for Sonos) so it provides access to your music from any music player in your home.


agillis

Small Green Computer

http://www.smallgreencomputer.com/

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Sorry for the newbie question, but is there a way to use the Micro Rendu without a router? Mine is 50 feet away from my stereo, and there's no way to run ethernet that far. I'd love to simply connect a hard drive with my music on it.

 

HomePlug adapters work great for this and are very inexpensive.


agillis

Small Green Computer

http://www.smallgreencomputer.com/

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There are a lot of questions about the sonicTransporter. The point of the sonicTransporter is that paired with the microRendu it provides a complete solution to turn a USB hard drive filled with music into a music playback system. All that is required is a network and a iPad or tablet for control....

.

My Sonic Transporter and microRendu were delivered today. They're running in overnight.

Bought the "bundle" with the iFi PSU from Small Green Computer - great deal and lightning delivery.

sonicTransporter microRendu iFi bundle – Small Green Computer

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My Sonic Transporter and microRendu were delivered today. They're running in overnight.

Bought the "bundle" with the iFi PSU from Small Green Computer - great deal and lightning delivery.

sonicTransporter microRendu iFi bundle – Small Green Computer

 

I am jealous btw!! Have fun and enjoy them!!! I think this combo is great for people who don't upsample to DSD (well the transporter obviously, since the mR doesn't care about upsampling)...

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