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Article: Sonore microRendu Review, Part 2


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Great review as always, Chris. The microRendu is a game changer for USB performance.

 

BTW, the keyboardist for the George Harrison benefit concert (While My Guitar Gently Weeps Prince solo, etc) was the legendary Steve Winwood (Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Fiath, solo work, etc).

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The Undertaker- great album, especially if you like Prince as a Rocker/guitar player.

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 for the great review Chris! (again). Have you tried the mR without other digital to usb converters in the chain (like the Alpha or similar: Mutec MC3+USB, Acousence Afi-USB, ..). I would like to hear your impression and thoughs.

 

Kind regards, Fred

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Great review as always, Chris. The microRendu is a game changer for USB performance.

 

Ted (or Chris),

In what way a game-changer? Other than that I'd have to change a lot of other kit and software to use it? You mean Sound Quality? But would that have an advantage over my present system only if I was feeding DSD512 to something like the T+A DSD 8 DAC?

 

(Music Library on NAS; Roon/HQP/El Capitan on Mac Pro > fibre converters > exasound Playpoint as HQP NAA > e22)

 

Craig

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Craig,

You and I are both Playpoint fans. For the exaSound users the mRendu is a no go due to lack of Linux drivers. But your Playpoint does a great job. My "game changer" comment was specifically about how building a USB interface from the ground up has made USB (IMHO) as good a computer interface as I've experienced; i.e they removed the major obstacles that had made the ubiquitous USB handshake less than optimal in most cases. I'm sure others will follow. But currently, yes, the mRendu relies on dacs being Linux friendly either via DoP or in the slow-but-steady increasingly available direct/raw/native Linux pool.

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I am using my microRendu with a CIAudio 9V linear power supply outputting into a 5 inch JCAT USB cable into a Bel Canto U-Link USB to SPDIF converter which is plugged into my ML390s DAC/Processor. The mRendu runs warm as expected but not hot.

 

As Chris did not try the Squeezelite output mode, I will say that I do use it and it works flawlessly and the sound quality is amazing. I use LMS 7.9 on a sonicTransporter from SGC to feed the mRendu. I use this combo to stream FLAC from various sources with the ickStream platform plugin in LMS. This is the only way that I know of to stream from a FLAC source other than Tidal.

 

As Chris said, the sound quality is nothing short of a revelation. I cannot believe the sound that this unit produces, it just draws you in.

 

As to the power supply question, I did compare the iFi to the CIAudio and I prefer the CIAudio. I do plan to use the CIAudio as an energizer unit for the new Uptone supercap power supply as soon as it is available.

 

This is a new day and a brighter day in computer audio. I have tried for years to get this kind of performance from Windows platforms but I never reached this level no matter how many tweaks, patches or crutches I used. I am very happy to leave all that behind to just listen to great music.

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Hey Chris,

 

Thanks for the mention about The Undertaker. That was very nice of you to print. To others, if you can find it, the album is amazing. Remarkably (and fortunately), I bought it on Ebay only two days before Prince passed away. It was the first Prince album I had ever purchased as I didn't get Prince before that. I certainly get him a lot better now. Needless to say, the price of the CD is sky-high now (currently $300 on Ebay).

 

FredM, I have the used the Berkeley, Mutec, and now the Acousense AFI-USB in my system. The magic that the mR does is only bettered by excellent USB converters and DAC's. So the good news is, as good as the mR is, excellent down-stream devices can take the mR's output to yet another level.

 

Joel

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Hi Chris, are you implying that it sounds better than an Aurender? If so that's very cool (and what a wonderful product if it does), just some clarification on why it appears to best (in your system) everything else you have tried would be very helpful.

Source:

*Aurender N100 (no internal disk : LAN optically isolated via FMC with *LPS) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch - split for *LPS) > Intona Industrial (injected *LPS / internally shielded with copper tape) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > W4S Recovery (*LPS) > DIY 2cm USB adaptor (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > *Auralic VEGA (EXACT : balanced)

 

Control:

*Jeff Rowland CAPRI S2 (balanced)

 

Playback:

2 x Revel B15a subs (balanced) > ATC SCM 50 ASL (balanced - 80Hz HPF from subs)

 

Misc:

*Via Power Inspired AG1500 AC Regenerator

LPS: 3 x Swagman Lab Audiophile Signature Edition (W4S, Intona & FMC)

Storage: QNAP TS-253Pro 2x 3Tb, 8Gb RAM

Cables: DIY heavy gauge solid silver (balanced)

Mains: dedicated distribution board with 5 x 2 socket ring mains, all mains cables: Mark Grant Black Series DSP 2.5 Dual Screen

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rendu.jpgI think the Jplaystreamer does an heroic job of taming the Windows OS to be a first class DLNA renderer. But I agree that the MR, after just 3 days of burn in, ups the game significantly in that context. For grins, I've attached the pic of my MR, as plugged into the back of the Yggy, sitting on a pile of Mapleshade brass disks.
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Hi Chris, are you implying that it sounds better than an Aurender? If so that's very cool (and what a wonderful product if it does), just some clarification on why it appears to best (in your system) everything else you have tried would be very helpful.

 

I would be curious on this clarification as well.

 

Looking at what Chris wrote and the associated equipment listed for the microRendu review (which included the Aurender N10), it would appear that at least in terms of sonics, Chris does believe the microRendu is superior to the Aurender N10 (in his particular system, to his ears and personal preferences). Of course, in 2014 Chris also reviewed the $17,000 Aurender W20, but I suspect Chris didn't have the W20 on hand for the microRendu review or he would have listed it. But take a look at the last sentence of the review, so who knows.

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

Home Office: IsoRegen+LPS1.2 | Denafrips Iris | Denafrips Venus 2 | Blue Circle Audio SBT preamp|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12

Office:  Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE w/preamp module | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Raidho X-1 | REL T/5x sub

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Looks like the second round is sold out already too.

[Home Digital] Bricasti M12 > DIY M2x Monoblocks > Daedalus Audio Muse Studio Speakers

[Home Analog] Technics SL-1200G > Boulder 508 (Zu DL-103/Hana ML/Denon DL-301 II)

[Office] Laptop > Kitsune R2R lvl3 > Violectric V281 > Focal Utopia Headphones (balanced)

[beach/Travel] Laptop > DragonFly Red > Ether Headphones

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I'm glad I got in on the first batch. The Roon integration is spectacular, but adding HQP to the mix can be a little tricky. The good news is that once it is setup, it just works and hasn't required any fiddling to keep it working. The sonic improvements that stick in my mind so far have been greater ambience and dimensionality of both the music and the venue. I'm getting those "I haven't heard that before" moments from my standard rotation of music on a regular basis now. I'm also glad I started with the IFI power supply. It's so good now that I'm skeptical that it can get much better, but I look forward to trying other power supplies and finding out when I'm ready.

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I've been following only casually (sorry) but if someone could indulge with a sentence, what does this do that an Auralic Aries doesn't? (I asked in the part 1 review) i.e. apart from SQ, why is it the hottest thing? I'm worried I've missed something basic.

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I The sonic improvements that stick in my mind so far have been greater ambience and dimensionality of both the music and the venue. I'm getting those "I haven't heard that before" moments from my standard rotation of music on a regular basis now.

 

+1

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I've been following only casually (sorry) but if someone could indulge with a sentence, what does this do that an Auralic Aries doesn't? (I asked in the part 1 review) i.e. apart from SQ, why is it the hottest thing? I'm worried I've missed something basic.

 

SQ for the price is what makes it the hottest thing.

 

The Aries has more features (wifi, ir remote, spdif and aes outputs).

 

The microRendu supports NAA though, which the Aries does not.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

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

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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FredM, I have the used the Berkeley, Mutec, and now the Acousense AFI-USB in my system. The magic that the mR does is only bettered by excellent USB converters and DAC's. So the good news is, as good as the mR is, excellent down-stream devices can take the mR's output to yet another level.

 

Joel

 

Thanks Joel for helping out, do you know if it also works the other way around? Is a chain -with ie an AFI-USB already included- bettered when a mR is added?

 

I'm wondering how beneficial it is having 2 usb-detoxification-devices, as I prefer just one in the following shortlisted setup: PC/Roon usb out > AFI-USB aes out> Yggy > amp (where the PC is already in place). I'm very interessed in your thoughts, having experienced the AFI-USB already. I hope you can share your views.

 

Kind regards, Fred

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Thanks Joel for helping out, do you know if it also works the other way around? Is a chain -with ie an AFI-USB already included- bettered when a mR is added?

 

I'm wondering how beneficial it is having 2 usb-detoxification-devices, as I prefer just one in the following shortlisted setup: PC/Roon usb out > AFI-USB aes out> Yggy > amp (where the PC is already in place). I'm very interessed in your thoughts, having experienced the AFI-USB already. I hope you can share your views.

 

Kind regards, Fred

 

Happy to try to help here, Fred.

 

Like you, I prefer to keep my system as simple as I can.

 

But to your specific question, yes, the mR absolutely and clearly improves upon the sound of the Acousense device alone. I wish it weren't the case, but it is.

 

I hope that helps.

 

Joel

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Thank you for this insight Joel, much appreciated!And indeed, unfortunately an one detoxifier solution apparently is too much wishful thinking..

 

I guess I'll build up the chain further starting with a DAC, and later add detox devices.. Hopefully with some progress made over time an one box solution comes to market, or even better: are available as a DAC upgrade <wishful-thinking OFF> :-)

 

Thanks again for helping out

 

Cheers, Fred

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Before I purchased the microRendu my source chain was: MBP (Audirvana) > Curious Cable > Industrial Intona > Curious Cable > W4S RUR > Curious Cable > Berkeley Alpha USB. Now, it is MBP > wireless > Airport Express > BJC Cat 6a > microRendu > hard adapter > Berkeley Alpha USB.

 

I am a big fan of the Intona, Curious Cables and W4S RUR and they all provided great bang for the buck. However, my new microRendu source chain is unquestionably superior. It really isn't even close. I really was not expecting this level of improvement. Given the sonic improvement from the microRendu, the price is ridiculously cheap. I would have paid much, much more.

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

Home Office: IsoRegen+LPS1.2 | Denafrips Iris | Denafrips Venus 2 | Blue Circle Audio SBT preamp|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12

Office:  Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE w/preamp module | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Raidho X-1 | REL T/5x sub

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Before I purchased the microRendu my source chain was: MBP (Audirvana) > Curious Cable > Industrial Intona > Curious Cable > W4S RUR > Curious Cable > Berkeley Alpha USB. Now, it is MBP > wireless > Airport Express > BJC Cat 6a > microRendu > hard adapter > Berkeley Alpha USB.

 

I am a big fan of the Intona, Curious Cables and W4S RUR and they all provided great bang for the buck. However, my new microRendu source chain is unquestionably superior. It really isn't even close. I really was not expecting this level of improvement. Given the sonic improvement from the microRendu, the price is ridiculously cheap. I would have paid much, much more.

 

Blake, instead of the hard adaptor did you try a Curious USB in the chain? I know many went for the short "Regen" length and said it was superior to the adaptor when used with Regen. I'm assuming it is the same hard adaptor.

 

And what power source are you using for the microRendu?

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Before I purchased the microRendu my source chain was: MBP (Audirvana) > Curious Cable > Industrial Intona > Curious Cable > W4S RUR > Curious Cable > Berkeley Alpha USB. Now, it is MBP > wireless > Airport Express > BJC Cat 6a > microRendu > hard adapter > Berkeley Alpha USB.

 

I am a big fan of the Intona, Curious Cables and W4S RUR and they all provided great bang for the buck. However, my new microRendu source chain is unquestionably superior. It really isn't even close. I really was not expecting this level of improvement. Given the sonic improvement from the microRendu, the price is ridiculously cheap. I would have paid much, much more.

 

Blake, which playback software are you using in the new configuration?

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@jjraffin: I still have 3 Curious Links and need to do more comparisons to the hard adapter before deciding which I prefer. Very early thoughts- Curious Links seem smoother, hard adapter perhaps more revealing/open. I am using the El Cheap-O to power the microRendu. This will be replaced for sure with: New Uptone supply, Sonore Signature, or Vinnie Rossi upcoming power supply. I may not have enough patience to wait for Vinnie's upcoming supply which he says will definitely be over $1,000 and will be more versatile and able to power more than just the microRendu, but no clear date on when it will be ready (perhaps late this year).

 

@Madra: Roon

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

Home Office: IsoRegen+LPS1.2 | Denafrips Iris | Denafrips Venus 2 | Blue Circle Audio SBT preamp|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12

Office:  Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE w/preamp module | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Raidho X-1 | REL T/5x sub

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