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microRendu & HQPlayer


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I haven't come across a thread focused specifically on feeding a microRendu with a signal from HQPlayer, so thought I'd start one (please let me know if there is one already - did a search, couldn't find one).

 

I've run into a problem that I'm hoping someone can help me with. As I've mentioned in another thread, I’ve been playing around with the following setup:

 

Roon -> HQPlayer -> microRendu -> iFi Nano DSD

 

Most of my early listening was without using HQP’s filters or modulators and sending out ‘raw’ 16/44.1, just to get everything working properly. I had absolutely no problems, and everything worked perfectly.

 

 

I then started applying some PCM to DSD conversion:

 

 

  1. I started with poly-sinc-2s and ASDM7 outputting 11.2896 MHz. This worked perfectly.
  2. I then changed ASDM7 to DSD7 256+fs. This sounded a bit better to me. Again, everything worked perfectly.
  3. I then changed poly-sinc-2s to poly-sinc. It took about 30 secs for playback to begin (my music server just has a lowly i3 CPU), but when it did, the SQ was transformed. Now it was very, very good!

 

And this is where things started to go wrong. At the end of the track, the playback simply stopped. And I've not been able to get anything to work since:

 

 

  • I closed Roon and tried to play directly from HQP – nothing worked.
  • I closed HQP and restarted. I got the 'Failed to open audio device' error message.
  • I started Roon and selected RoonReady in the Audio App Switcher in microRendu. RoonReady worked fine.
  • I uninstalled and reinstalled HQP, and reselected NAA in the Audio App Switcher in microRendu. I still get the 'Failed to open audio device' error message.

 

I have a feeling that the audio device (in my case, the iFi) is being hogged somewhere, but have no idea where or by what.

 

Any ideas or thoughts would be most welcome.

 

Cheers,

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima speakers + 2x Rotel RB-1590 stereo amps -> 4x subs
Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers
Vinyl: Thöress Phono Enhancer -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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Thanks bibo01.

 

I've tried that many times. No, I think there's something quite seriously wrong that only Jussi and/or Jesus will be able to help me figure out. Using poly-sinc, DSD7 256+fs and outputting 11.2896 MHz in my i3-6100T music server (as opposed to my dedicated audio PC) has caused something to go wrong.

 

I'll continue trying a few things here, but I really need their help I think.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima speakers + 2x Rotel RB-1590 stereo amps -> 4x subs
Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers
Vinyl: Thöress Phono Enhancer -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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On my setup I also "lose"the NAA at times. It has to do with the order things are turned on and boot up. I'd turn everything off and then turn on DAC, Roon Server PC, and the leave the mR unattached. When everything else is working, attach the mR by USB when it is off, and then apply power to it. The order may vary a bit depending on your setup and how each device works, but I'm guessing the order of devices is what is messing you up.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Thanks. Will give this a go...

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima speakers + 2x Rotel RB-1590 stereo amps -> 4x subs
Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers
Vinyl: Thöress Phono Enhancer -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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SOLVED... sort of...

 

I spent a fair bit of the morning liaising with Jussi (via email) and Jesus (via email/Teamview). All three of us were totally stumped as to why HQPlayer was no longer recognizing the microRendu NAA. But it became increasingly clear that there was nothing amiss with either the microRendu itself (Jesus ran a diagnostic via TeamViewer), or with HQPlayer. Jussi felt that it must be a network issue.

 

Eventually, by shutting things down, messing around with various networking configs, and then rebooting everything, I managed to get everything to work just like before. But in all honesty, I'm not really sure what exactly was the fix. The only thing that I can really point a finger to is that once I'd reconnected everything, the microRendu was assigned a different IP address than before (same ethernet port in PC though), and it seems to be this that did the trick. Not sure though.

 

Whilst things are working, I'm hoping to be able to do some extensive comparisons between the microRendu and my tricked-out audio PC. The audio PC consists of the following:

 

- Win10 OS running totally from RAM (absolutely no SSD/HDD connected to MB)

- Win10 running in XXHighEnd's 'MinOS mode', killing virtually all OS processes

- i7 3960X (hyperthreading on)

- hardware optimized in BIOS

- 3x Neutron Star clocks with linear PSUs (replacing MB clocks and PCIe USB clock)

- Teradak linear ATX PSU for PC

- totally passive/fanless design (with water cooling)

- Intona USB isolator (with true 90 Ohm USB cables before and after) providing true galvanic isolation between PC and DAC

- totally isolated AC mains circuits for computers and hifi (the former fed by a PurePower 2000 regenerator, the latter by a PS Audio P10 regenerator)

- all music on music server, connected via ethernet to audio PC

 

 

Unfortunately my preferred DAC, the Phasure NOS1a, isn't recognized by the microRendu so I'll stick with the iFi Nano DSD.

 

My hope is to capture the output of the iFi with my Tascam DA-3000 and link some audio files for anyone who's interested in hearing the difference between the microRendu and the audio PC for themselves (bearing in mind the obvious limitations to this approach).

 

More later...

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima speakers + 2x Rotel RB-1590 stereo amps -> 4x subs
Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers
Vinyl: Thöress Phono Enhancer -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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Would assigning a permanent IP to the mR MAC address help? It seems to add stability for me.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Ah, nomenclature!

 

This is how I tend to describe things:

 

Music Server

- machine with music stored on it

- NAS

- my machine has a similar philosophy to Chris's CAPS v4 Cortes

 

Audio PC

- machine with audio engine

- fully tricked-out for lowest noise possible

- (my machine's specs above)

 

NAA

- ultra-low noise endpoint

- can only be used with HQPlayer (AFAIK)

- requires being fed by a high-spec audio PC to deliver best performance (if lots of DSP required, e.g. PCM-to-DSD)

- in my case, this is the microRendu

- (I also have another NAA Atom-based machine, but this won't be part of the comparison... for now at least)

 

So the comparison will be this:

 

1) Music server -> Audio PC (with HQPlayer) -> iFi Nano

 

vs.

 

2) Music server (with HQPlayer) -> microRendu -> iFi Nano

 

In both cases, I'm going to use HQPlayer in its simplest config, i.e. no DSP whatsoever. This is because the music server has a i3-6100T CPU which I don't want to tax too much. And also, I happen to think the iFi's built-in filter is rather good!

 

So the focus of the comparison will be whether the microRendu acting as a NAA can match or surpass a fully tricked out audio PC. FWIW, I wouldn't recommend using a high-powered PC as a NAA - it kind of defeats the object of using an ultra-low noise endpoint IMO.

 

HTH. But happy to hear any thoughts on whether I could do things in a better or more useful way.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima speakers + 2x Rotel RB-1590 stereo amps -> 4x subs
Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers
Vinyl: Thöress Phono Enhancer -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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I understand that your music server has only an i3-6100T CPU and your audio PC has an i7-3960X, and I agree with you that "I wouldn't recommend using a high-powered PC as a NAA," but I would still try to use your lowest noise PC as NAA (which unfortunately in your case is also the most powered PC, but for the test you can underclock). In my view that is the real comparison with a microRendu and it might help you for future reference.

Therefore, I would also try:

 

3) Music server (with HQPlayer) -> Audio PC (as NAA) -> iFi Nano

 

Furthermore, I would put music server in a different room with router switch.

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Agree with bibo01; if you could compare NAAs that would be a nice test. I have reported several times that I am impressed with the uRendu vs my Atom-based WS2012 AO NAA with JCAT card (both being served by my massive new HQP build), but the comparison is not a great one cuz the Windows ASIO driver on the Windows NAA is clearly at an advantage being able to do DSD512 while my uRendu can only do DSD128 to my dac. Your iFi is more Linux friendly, I think.

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Ah, nomenclature!

 

So the comparison will be this:

 

1) Music server -> Audio PC (with HQPlayer) -> iFi Nano

 

vs.

 

2) Music server (with HQPlayer) -> microRendu -> iFi Nano

 

In both cases, I'm going to use HQPlayer in its simplest config, i.e. no DSP whatsoever. This is because the music server has a i3-6100T CPU which I don't want to tax too much. And also, I happen to think the iFi's built-in filter is rather good!

 

So the focus of the comparison will be whether the microRendu acting as a NAA can match or surpass a fully tricked out audio PC. FWIW, I wouldn't recommend using a high-powered PC as a NAA - it kind of defeats the object of using an ultra-low noise endpoint IMO.

 

 

Mani.

It would be helpfull if you could better describe your original connection between HQPlayer output and DAC input before the advent of mrendu. Were you using a direct USB link between the PC running HQPlayer and the DAC? Or were you running NAA on a 2nd PC connected with the DAC by USB ?

 

A SQ comparison with/without the mrendu would be more meaningful if an NAA setup is used in the "without mrendu" case.

 

Regards

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For those that don't know, micro = µ not u

 

How do you make "µ" using a keyboard?

Mac - option key + m

Windows - alt + 0181

 

Doesn't matter, as the name was changed by Sonore to microRendu before the device hit the market. So using the "micro" symbol is technically incorrect as the device name, and a waste of time and effort at this point. And if one wants to use a shortcut, "mRendu" or "mR" makes more sense now.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Doesn't matter, as the name was changed by Sonore to microRendu before the device hit the market. So using the "micro" symbol is technically incorrect as the device name, and a waste of time and effort at this point. And if one wants to use a shortcut, "mRendu" or "mR" makes more sense now.

 

Well, for some, we have shortcuts for µ since we use them daily. I didn't know that it was changed as I never saw that press release.

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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Well, for some, we have shortcuts for µ since we use them daily. I didn't know that it was changed as I never saw that press release.

 

Don't need a press release. Just look at what Sonore has called it for the past few weeks on their sponsored forum here, in the OS interface of the device itself, and on the Sonore web site. No micro symbol.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Were you using a direct USB link between the PC running HQPlayer and the DAC?

 

Yes, for the past few years I've tended to use a direct USB connection between my audio PC and the DAC. But for 99.9% of the time I use XXHighEnd and not HQPlayer, simply because the former is better suited to my DAC (created by the same developer).

 

 

Or were you running NAA on a 2nd PC connected with the DAC by USB ?

 

I've done this too, but not for a while now. My preferred DAC, the Phasure NOS1a, doesn't have a Linux driver and is therefore not compatible with an NAA. I felt slightly aggrieved about this at the time because I always loved the NAA concept, but as my audio PC has gotten better and better, it's become less of an issue for me over time. I've never done any detailed comparisons, but I suspect my current audio PC would better my Atom-based NAA quite easily.

 

A SQ comparison with/without the mrendu would be more meaningful if an NAA setup is used in the "without mrendu" case.

 

I understand that people might want to know if the microRendu acting as an NAA is better than another NAA, such as my Atom-based NAA. But I'm not really interested in such a comparison, because it's kind of obvious to me that the microRendu would win handily. I might do it anyway if time permits, just for completeness' sake. But personally I'd really like to know if a small $640 device could beat the audio PC that has taken me, and a number of other way cleaver people, an inordinate amount of time, money and effort to put together - I think we're talking around $4k for parts alone in my audio PC.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima speakers + 2x Rotel RB-1590 stereo amps -> 4x subs
Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers
Vinyl: Thöress Phono Enhancer -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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Don't need a press release. Just look at what Sonore has called it for the past few weeks on their sponsored forum here, and on the Sonore web site. No micro symbol.

 

OK, Barrows still calls it the µRendu as seen below and Everything Matters according to him. Further, I thought he did that as most people do not know what µ means so saying micro is just easier.

 

EVERYTHING MATTERS

 

Sonore µRendu with Sonore Signature Power Supply--Buffalo IIIse/Legato 3/Sonore Async USB, or Buffalo II w CCHD-575 XO/NTD1 v.4/Engineered USB interface-DIY Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888 cap mod-DIY Parallel AC Filter-Cardas Clear power cables-Cardas Clear audio cables-Curious USB Link-Synergistic Black Fuses

 

Design/Build Consultant with Simple Design/Sonore

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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I understand that people might want to know if the microRendu acting as an NAA is better than another NAA, such as my Atom-based NAA. But I'm not really interested in such a comparison, because it's kind of obvious to me that the microRendu would win handily. I might do it anyway if time permits, just for completeness' sake. But personally I'd really like to know if a small $640 device could beat the audio PC that has taken me, and a number of other way cleaver people, an inordinate amount of time, money and effort to put together - I think we're talking around $4k for parts alone in my audio PC.

 

Mani.

Thanks for those clarifications. I am not a heavy user of HQPlayer as of now, and my impression was that the main (only?) advantage of the mrendu in relation with HQPlayer was to serve as a ready made "hosting" machine for the NAA (as with your Atom-based setup). I now feel that the mrendu adds more to the equation than just NAA hosting, and may improve on the SQ of the NAA output because of its really good USB handshake. And since going from HQPlayer to NAA is now done through ethernet, this allows moving the PC out of the listening room, and get rid of USB cable and other assorted gadgets. Am I following you right ?
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Does anyone truly believe that when, in a message board/audio forum we refer to the device as uRendu we are confused that maybe we are NOT talking about the microRendu and instead some other Rendu device?? Or when we say Dvorak as the classical composer it means someone other than Antonin Dvořák?

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And since going from HQPlayer to NAA is now done through ethernet, this allows moving the PC out of the listening room, and get rid of USB cable and other assorted gadgets. Am I following you right ?

 

André, going from HQPlayer to NAA was always done via ethernet. And yes, I think Miska's prime motive in creating the NAA was to allow multi-zone setups. In my setup, I had the Atom-based NAA [in a beautiful CAPS v1 Origen case] in my office, connected via USB to my DAC (I was using a Mytek in my office at the time). The [very large] audio PC with HQPlayer sat in the basement.

 

I'm not sure (you'll have to ask him yourself), but I don't think Miska's prime motive in creating the NAA was to improve SQ. However, I think this was exactly John, Andrew, and Jesus's prime motive in creating the microRendu.

 

Mani.

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima speakers + 2x Rotel RB-1590 stereo amps -> 4x subs
Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers
Vinyl: Thöress Phono Enhancer -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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Yes, for the past few years I've tended to use a direct USB connection between my audio PC and the DAC. But for 99.9% of the time I use XXHighEnd and not HQPlayer, simply because the former is better suited to my DAC (created by the same developer).

 

 

 

 

I've done this too, but not for a while now. My preferred DAC, the Phasure NOS1a, doesn't have a Linux driver and is therefore not compatible with an NAA. I felt slightly aggrieved about this at the time because I always loved the NAA concept, but as my audio PC has gotten better and better, it's become less of an issue for me over time. I've never done any detailed comparisons, but I suspect my current audio PC would better my Atom-based NAA quite easily.

 

 

 

I understand that people might want to know if the microRendu acting as an NAA is better than another NAA, such as my Atom-based NAA. But I'm not really interested in such a comparison, because it's kind of obvious to me that the microRendu would win handily. I might do it anyway if time permits, just for completeness' sake. But personally I'd really like to know if a small $640 device could beat the audio PC that has taken me, and a number of other way cleaver people, an inordinate amount of time, money and effort to put together - I think we're talking around $4k for parts alone in my audio PC.

 

Mani.

 

When the Phasure NOS1a update came out, I remember Peter claiming that his DAC would be totally insensitive to PC, showing measurements and so on. Then people discovered that it was still susceptible to USB cable changes - you among them.

Later Peter introduced running OS from RAM, has he changed his mind about NOS1a being unaffected by PC?

You also further upgraded your audio PC with different clocks.

Is that claim no longer true? At least regarding his DAC...

 

From this point of view it makes sense to test if your audio PC is unaffected by Music Server working as Windows NAA.

Along the same lines you can have this configuration

Music server -> Audio PC (with HQPlayer) -> microRendu -> iFi Nano

to test if microRendu is unaffected by your audio PC.

 

BTW, are you going to use an external LPS with microRendu?

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