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Sonore microRendu Listening Impressions


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I've been an LMS user for a while, first through a Squeezebox Touch, then via Squeezelite and the USB output of my Vortexbox Appliance.

 

As new USB tweaks became available, the Uptone Audio REGEN and the Intona Isolator each offered significant enhancements to the clarity, detail, and 'air' of the musical presentation. Finally, substituting a Supra Cat 8 Ethernet cable for the Audioquest Cat 7 I had been using provided another, unexpected, jump in all these qualities.

 

The Sonore microRendu arrived preceded by a fair amount of enthusiastic appraisals, and the expectation that it was a special product was further enhanced by its being John Swenson's brainchild--given the brilliant results of the REGEN.

 

As promised, installation of the microRendu was simplicity itself. In about five minutes it was ready to play (it took longer to move the Vortexbox from my listening room to my upstairs office and plug it into the router).

 

From the very first notes, it was apparent that the new arrival offered a still better SQ than the already superb one I had achieved via the earlier tweaks. So I let it play uninterruptedly for a week (though with amp off when not listening) . Then I turned it off, by switching off the power supply, and let it rest for 16 hours.

 

I was not prepared for what I heard when I turned the microRendu back on. In fact, given that the REGEN develops a hint of hardness when turned off for a while, I was expecting a similar effect with the uR. Instead, I was now greeted by a quality of effortless refinement, enhanced accuracy of timbres, greater separation between voices and instruments, and easier clarity of lyrics, all of which had the net effect of making the musical presentation much more realistic--and indeed much closer to the sound of unamplified musicians in a real space than I have ever heard in my system. (This is especially important to me since I listen mostly to classical music and jazz).

 

Unlike what I had earlier experienced with the Audioquest Jitterbug and the Wyred4Sound Recovery, the microRendu does not appear to in any way change frequency balances, roll of the highs, or boost the midbass. But all this newly found clarity does reveal (even more than the REGEN already did) both virtues and vices of a recording. The lifelike presentation is so intoxicating, however, that I find I'm enjoying listening even to poor recordings, provided, of course, that the performances are worth a listen.

 

To my ears, this is indeed an exceptional product. Congratulations to John S., Jesus R., et al for a brilliant realization!

 

(I'm powering the microRendu with an SOtM "Intelligent" battery PS. Ethernet cables are Supra cat 8. USB cable is Curious)

For my system details, please see my profile. Thank you.

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It would be interesting to see how this compares to the Aries which a number of users here have moved on from. Although the Aries also does Wi Fi (which I am running it on due to neglecting to have ethernet outlets in my listening room).

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Did you try to use the Intona on top of it ?

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, Jcat Femto USB card, UpTone Audio JS-2 + 2x LPS-1.2 combo, Jcat SSD battery PSU, Jcat SATA cable, TotalDAC D1 USB cable, SOtM sMS-200, W4S Recovery USB, Jcat USB Isolator, Win 2012, AO v2.10

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

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Hi Guidof

 

Being a Logitech Media Server user, presumably you are using the microRendu in its SqueezeLite/Squeezebox emulator mode of operation, ie, from your sig:

Archer TP-LinkRouter>Vortexbox Audiophile Appliance/LMS>D-Link WiFi Bridge>microRendu/Squeezelite+SOtM Battery PS>...

It would be certainly interesting to know how the sound quality of the microRendu in Squeezelite mode compares with its other network audio file player mode of operation, mpd (both with and without UPnP).

 

Also, of equal if not greater interest perhaps, is how the SQ of the microRendu's two network audio player 'master' modes (ie, Squeezelite and mpd/UPnP) compare with its two (assumed) 'simpler' network audio adapter/endpoint 'slave' modes (ie, using the microRendu as an HQPlayer NAA and as a Roon/RAAT Endpoint), where the audio file player is on another network device rather than on the microRendu itself.

 

John

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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It would be interesting to see how this compares to the Aries which a number of users here have moved on from. Although the Aries also does Wi Fi (which I am running it on due to neglecting to have ethernet outlets in my listening room).

Please describe what you mean by "running it on WiFi".

How is your storage connected to the Aries?

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Hi Guidof

 

Being a Logitech Media Server user, presumably you are using the microRendu in its SqueezeLite/Squeezebox emulator mode of operation, ie, from your sig:

Archer TP-LinkRouter>Vortexbox Audiophile Appliance/LMS>D-Link WiFi Bridge>microRendu/Squeezelite+SOtM Battery PS>...

It would be certainly interesting to know how the sound quality of the microRendu in Squeezelite mode compares with its other network audio file player mode of operation, mpd (both with and without UPnP).

 

Also, of equal if not greater interest perhaps, is how the SQ of the microRendu's two network audio player 'master' modes (ie, Squeezelite and mpd/UPnP) compare with its two (assumed) 'simpler' network audio adapter/endpoint 'slave' modes (ie, using the microRendu as an HQPlayer NAA and as a Roon/RAAT Endpoint), where the audio file player is on another network device rather than on the microRendu itself.

 

John

 

Hi John:

 

I must confess that the SQ in Squeezelite mode is so outstanding that I feel no incentive to try other modes at this time. Perhaps someone else will try the comparisons you mention.

 

Best regards,

 

Guido F.

For my system details, please see my profile. Thank you.

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Please describe what you mean by "running it on WiFi".

How is your storage connected to the Aries?

 

The storage is not physically connected to the Aries. It is connected via WiFi. Specifically, I have hard drives connected to a MacBook via USB in another room. LDS picks up the library via WiFi. That was what Auralic recommended over ethernet which I cannot do anyway as my listening room does not have any ethernet outlets - an oversight on my part when it was set up a long time ago before the advent of computer audio. Unfortunately, this means that ethernet only streamers like the microRendu or Aurender are not feasible.

 

I have wondered about the additional noise that WiFi may inject into the system vis-a-vis ethernet and why Auralic recommends WiFi operation. Or whether USB recovery helps (not tried any of these tweaks) since the only USB connection is from Aries with Femto clocks to DAC also with reclocking. Prior to the Aries, I used a Squeezebox Touch also in a similar manner.

 

The other thing I found interesting about the microRendu was as an NAA to HQPlayer's DSD upsampling. The Aries doesn't accomodate that (I know they keep saying upsampling and DSP are in the works) and it seems from these boards that it is where the latest thoughts on sound quality gains are to be had.

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Mikey, you might want to read up on using powerline adapters in lieu of wifi. Many have reported good results that way.

Digital Source: Synology DS415+ NAS  and Small Green Computer SonicTransporter i5 Running Roon Core > Blue Jean Cable Cat6a >TP optical converter > Sonore OpticalRendu with Sonore LPS> Curious USB > Denafrips Pontus DAC

Analog Source: Dynavector XX2 mk2> Audiomods Series 5 silver arm > Sota Nova Series VI turntable w/Condor & Roadrunner motor controller/tachometer > Nagra BPS battery powered phono stage>

Both: BAT VK51SE preamp> Krell FPB300 power amp > Sound Lab A3 ESLs > > Custom room treatment > 50 yr. old ears(left-handed)

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Mikey, you might want to read up on using powerline adapters in lieu of wifi. Many have reported good results that way.

 

I have used a D-Link WiFi bridge for more than three years, and have had zero problems with it. Totally solid with a static IP address.

For my system details, please see my profile. Thank you.

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The storage is not physically connected to the Aries. It is connected via WiFi. Specifically, I have hard drives connected to a MacBook via USB in another room. LDS picks up the library via WiFi. That was what Auralic recommended over ethernet which I cannot do anyway as my listening room does not have any ethernet outlets - an oversight on my part when it was set up a long time ago before the advent of computer audio. Unfortunately, this means that ethernet only streamers like the microRendu or Aurender are not feasible.

 

I have wondered about the additional noise that WiFi may inject into the system vis-a-vis ethernet and why Auralic recommends WiFi operation. Or whether USB recovery helps (not tried any of these tweaks) since the only USB connection is from Aries with Femto clocks to DAC also with reclocking. Prior to the Aries, I used a Squeezebox Touch also in a similar manner.

 

The other thing I found interesting about the microRendu was as an NAA to HQPlayer's DSD upsampling. The Aries doesn't accomodate that (I know they keep saying upsampling and DSP are in the works) and it seems from these boards that it is where the latest thoughts on sound quality gains are to be had.

Ok... maybe we should walk through this.

Why not connect your USB drive directly to the Aries?

That way no data is being transmitted via WiFi, just control commands.

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Ok... maybe we should walk through this.

Why not connect your USB drive directly to the Aries?

That way no data is being transmitted via WiFi, just control commands.

 

Yes, that is doable too. What I have is a follow through from my Squeezebox Touch days so I just plugged the Aries in and used LDS (vs SBT and LMS).

 

Will try this to see if there is a difference in sound although if I put the WD HD wall plug into the mix that may introduce switching power supply noise.

 

With regards to the Powerline and Wi Fi bridge suggestions, I considered these initially more for strengthening the signal during SBT days but was told on other fora (maybe here too) that since now I no longer have switching power supplies in my hi fi setup at all, to add either would be detrimental. I ended up getting a better router. I was also told that Powerline would introduce more noise into my set up which was not worthwhile.

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Yes, that is doable too.

 

With regards to the Powerline and Wi Fi bridge suggestions, I considered these initially more for strengthening the signal during SBT days but was told on other fora (maybe here too) that since now I no longer have switching power supplies in my hi fi setup at all, to add either would be detrimental. I ended up getting a better router. I was also told that Powerline would introduce more noise into my set up which was not worthwhile.

 

Dont believe everything you are told ;-) , including this post.

 

However, Powerline is potentially less benign than WiFi bridges.

For my system details, please see my profile. Thank you.

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Dont believe everything you are told ;-) , including this post.

 

However, Powerline is potentially less benign than WiFi bridges.

 

i have compared the the upend with an airport express as router with Wifi enabled or disabled and hear no difference at all .

 

i may be wrong too :)

PC audio /Roon + HQPLAYER / HOLO Spring 2 / / DIY AD1 SET tube amp  /  DIY Altec 2 way horn Speaker

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Yes, that is doable too. What I have is a follow through from my Squeezebox Touch days so I just plugged the Aries in and used LDS (vs SBT and LMS).

 

Will try this to see if there is a difference in sound although if I put the WD HD wall plug into the mix that may introduce switching power supply noise.

 

I use my Aries this way with a 4TB WD HD. The Aries, Regen and WD HD are all fed by and HDPlex 100w LPSU. Sound, IMO, is splendid.

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I've never heard deeper bass from my Focal CMS50 monitors than with the micro rendu, and these monitors are only rated down to 55 Hz. It's going to be thrilling to move it to my main system which has dual Focal subs (Electra SW 1000 BE).

NUC7PJYH/AL --> Berkeley Alpha USB --> Jeff Rowland Aeris --> Jeff Rowland 625 S2 --> Focal Utopia 3 Diablos with 2 x Focal Electra SW 1000 BE subs

 

i7-6700K/Windows 10 Version 2004/HDPLEX 300W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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Might I suggest that folks please list what they were using prior to the installation of the mRendu to help put some context around their sonic impressions of the mRendu?

 

I've had my mRendu running for about 3 Days now. Prior to the mRendu I was using an ALIX based Voyage Linux MPD server powered via an Agilent Lab grade DC power supply. I also was using a Schitt Wyrd inline before my DAC which was connected via a Wire World Platinum Starlight USB cable.

 

Now with all that said I'm still trying to decide if the mRendu sounds any better or not. Other than the mRendu itself I have also changed to using ROON instead of MPD. So for me the new setup is ROON Server Core running on a powerful desktop and ROON remote handled via an iPAD. All music is on my Synology NAS as it was before. mRendu is powered via the same Agilent power supply which has been dialed back to feed 7v into the mRendu.

 

I don't think mRendu sounds worse but thus far I'm struggling to notice any note worthy differences from what I had before other than maybe now having a slight "thinning" of bass in general but not to the extent of being detrimental to the sound.

 

So my impression thus far after 3 days or so of using the mRendu is Neutral. No real losses, no real gains. With that said, it's staying in my system and I think the coolness of ROON is helping with that decision.

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Impressions at around 50h of continuous play from initial installation, powered by Teddy Pardo 9V 2A PS. FLAC Redbook from Synology NAS + Minimserver over 1Gb Cat 6 Ethernet routed by Ubiquiti Edgerouter and Netgear Prosafe Plus switch into Schitt Bifrost Multibit > Schiit Asgard 2 > MrSpeakers Alpha Prime headphones. I lack space behind the Bifrost to use the hard connector provided, so I'm using the Schiit USB cable that I had in my previous setup, an SOtM sMS-100 with same Teddy Pardo PS > Bel Canto mLink > Nordost Blue Haven S/PDIF coax > Bifrost. The uRendu @ 50h is better than the sMS-100 doing direct USB into the Bifrost in upper midrange clarity, instrument separation, and transients (attack/decay). Jazz piano, cymbals, and bass coming out very well, with realistic timbre. With respect to the sMS-100 + mLink, the difference is not as definitive, but it seems to be emerging as the burn-in period proceeds. Note that the USB and coax paths into the Bifrost are different, so this is not a strict apples-to-apples comparison. The uRendu is just lukewarm to the touch even though the 9V PS is at the upper end of its acceptable voltage range, suggesting that the Bifrost Multibit USB receiver doesn't draw much current.

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Follow-up to #20: the uRendu really upped its game in the last few hours. Listening to Midori playing BWV 1003 (Bach Partitas & Sonatas for Solo Violin on Onyx, 48/24) like I never heard it before: the presence, the depth of her violin's timbre, even the bow and handling, give me shivers. It feels like a veil was lifted from the previous rendering.

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Follow-up to #20: the uRendu really upped its game in the last few hours.
And it keeps getting better overall, but jazz drums, especially cymbals, is where the gains are most obvious. The Bifrost Multibit with my previous setup was already pretty good in that department, but now the transients are delineated even more clearly in time and space, the decays are uncanny, you can almost see the cymbal or drum slowly stop vibrating, and when the drummer stops the vibration with their hand, the stop is very realistic. I never imagined that there was so much untapped headroom in the Bifrost Multibit's ability to bring a record to life.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally put 250 hours on my microRendu/Sonic Transporter, for the absolutely finest sound ever in my system.

 

Just now, I was in the basement room where the ST/mR and associated power supplies, conditioners and grounding components are set up next to my modem/router. Loud music was playing in the listening room directly above, but there was silence in the basement, and a thought occurred.

 

Could some part of the improvements I was hearing be due to the fact that these components are now completely isolated from the airborn and mechanical vibration that is normally inevitable when electronics and speakers are in the same room?

 

I'm definitely not trying to take anything away from Sonore and SGC, but is it likely/possible that effective isolation of the source makes a noticeable contribution to the end result?

Al J.

Modem/router + Keces DC-116 12V LPS - SGC Sonic Transporter + Sonore 12V LPS/Edwards Audio ISO-1 mains isolation transformer - Meicord Opal LAN cables - Aqvox Switch + Sbooster 9V LPS/Uptone LPS-1 - Etalon Isolator - Sonore Signature Rendu Special Edition + Mad Scientist Heretical USB data-only cable - Sonore Ultradigital + Uptone LPS-1 - PS Audio I2S-12 cable - HQ Player - Holo Spring Level 3 DAC -  iPeng on iPad 2 - MK Sound 300 monitors - Mad Audio Scientist Tungsten Carbide footers - Niels Larsen NLE speaker cables - Walker Audio Reference Plus HIGH Definition Links - 2 MK Sound MX350 subs - Shakti Stones - Herbie's Super Sonic Stabilizers - Herbie's Tenderfeet - Stillpoints ERS EMI/RFI sheets - Gutwire Ultimate Ground + Entreq Minimus + Silver Minimus grounding boxes - Symposium Rollerblocks - Symposium Ultra platform - Akiko Tuning Sticks

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In earlier posts I forgot to mention that in my experience the microRendu, as the REGEN before it, sounds best (more refined, more detailed, cleaner) when fed signals uninterruptedly. Of course, I turn my amp off when not listening, but leave "repeat playlist" on and the uR power supply on uninterruptedly.

 

This may not do good things to my battery PS, but it needs only last until the forthcoming Uptone Ultra capacitors PS is released (which I plan to energize either with the original REGEN PS or my "El Cheapo" LPS dialed down to 7.5V).

For my system details, please see my profile. Thank you.

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