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jtrelin

MicroRendu vs. Aurender N100H

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I decided I was going to upgrade my Aurender N100H. I only had the N100H for three months, but loved it and knew I wanted more. I couldn't decide between the N10 or to go the microRendu route, which, from the posts, seemed very promising. I put the Aurender up for sale (figuring it would take a while to sell) and sprung for a microRendu + iFi iPower in order to test. I assumed the demand for the microRendu would be strong enough for me to sell it at only a small loss if I decided on the N10.

 

My system is a Bricasti M1 DAC connected to the N100H and USB Regen with a Curious cable and adapter, an ATC CA2 preamp (a very good preamp and great bargain that is hard to get in the States. I needed to import it; it's the manufacturer's suggested match for the powered ATC speakers) and ATC SCM ASL 20 MK II powered studio monitors. In general, the ATC preamp speaker combo is highly accurate, very, very revealing, and perhaps a little cold. I'm using Harmonic Tech Pro Silway II for the connection from the DAC to the preamp, and Nordost Heimdall XLRs for the connection from preamp to powered speakers. I'm also using Audio Art power cords. (Rob Fritz was very helpful and is a really good guy, by the way.) My music library is both on the N100H and a Synology disk station running Minimserver.

 

It took me a few months and a lot of trial and error (and expense in buying and selling cables and components at a loss) to make this a system I enjoyed. But I did. Then the microRendu came.

 

I removed the USB Regen and N100H from the system and connected the microRendu. On first listen, it was clear that the microRendu is more open and considerably brighter than the N100H, and probably more musical. On the other hand, the N100H seemed to have more depth and gravitas. I've also noticed the N100H is sensitive to power cords, a good one makes a big difference.

 

After repeated listening to a large number of recordings in varied genres, I noticed that the microRendu's brightness sometimes got in the way of the listening experience. There was a harshness to the vocals that I didn't hear with the Aurender and some upper midrange and harmonic distortion that I fought months to remove in setting up the system. However, the microRendu's sound might have been a function of the components. I do think the microRendu, in general, is a more musical listen, as vague as a term that is.

 

Perhaps the best way to describe the difference between the two is that on casual listening the microRendu made it easier to tap my foot. But on critical listening, the gravitas and fullness of the Aurender enabled a deeper emotional connection.

 

But one needs to consider that I am using the microRendu's least expensive recommended power supply. I am presuming that there will be a great improvement, including a reduction in the vocal harshness and distortion, and an increase in fullness and gravitas, as one goes up the PSU line. Whether it will exceed the Aurender I don't know, but I won't be surprised if it does.

 

I think the hype around the microRendu is warranted. But it is probably amplified by the low initial price point. When one considers the investment in a top of the line PSU, Roon server, and Roon license in order to get a complete musical experience, including Tidal integration, the microRendu is probably the same price if not higher than the N100H, especially if one needs to invest in a NAS. The question of value comes from comparing the microRendu package to the N10.

 

From a sound quality and music browsing perspective, the N100H and microRendu are probably much closer in price than one would initially think. I think one will need a really good PSU and to invest in a Roon server to get a similar experience from the microRendu as the N100H. (Although the investment in Roon, while expensive, is likely more fulfilling than the very, very good Aurender app.)

 

In my opinion, the difference between the microRendu and the N100H is that the N100H is probably a lot more convenient out of the box. It will get you to audiophile sound quality and an engaging music control interface much more predictably and faster and easier than the microRendu.

 

However, the microRendu has much more potential. After adding a great PSU, a Roon server and paying for a Roon license, the microRendu might be a little more expensive than the N100H but it is possible that it could be on par with or exceed the N10. If the latter turns out to be true, then it's a real bargain.

 

I haven't made up my mind on which way I'll go. But I will be investing in that high-end PSU, once again ready to take a loss if disappointed. The possibility also exists that if the N100H doesn't sell I'll keep that too. Sometimes I fell as if I need a 12 step program.

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I'm an ATC fan as well. Currently, I'm using the passive ATC SCM40 v 2. I'm curious to hear the active ATC SCM20 ASL Mk. 2.

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I'm an ATC fan as well. Currently, I'm using the passive ATC SCM40 v 2. I'm curious to hear the active ATC SCM20 ASL Mk. 2.

Wish I'd heard the two to give you a comparison. What are you using to drive the 40s?

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Perhaps the best way to describe the difference between the two is that on casual listening the microRendu made it easier to tap my foot. But on critical listening, the gravitas and fullness of the Aurender enabled a deeper emotional connection.

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I haven't made up my mind on which way I'll go. But I will be investing in that high-end PSU, once again ready to take a loss if disappointed. The possibility also exists that if the N100H doesn't sell I'll keep that too. Sometimes I fell as if I need a 12 step program.

 

Jtrelin, that's a great post. I s'pose I'm positively prejudiced, since I'm in the middle of some similar things, comparing the Aurender N10 with the microRendu. I'm also comparing the Berkeley Ref DAC with the Bricasti M1 DAC, which complicates matters and highlights my Audio Anonymous needs.

 

I've had a similar perspective to you, in that I'd call the microRendu's sound more detailed but paler than the N10's, which is definitely more full and rich. And yes, a "deeper emotional connection" for me, too. For now, here are my most-used sound chains in this current comparison mode:

 

microRendu (MinimServer and Lumin app) & Teddy Pardo 7-volt LPS > Curious Cable USB Link > Berkeley USB Converter > Audience Au24 SE AES/EBU digital cable > Berkeley Ref DAC

 

or

 

microRendu (MinimServer and Lumin app) & Teddy Pardo 7-volt LPS > Curious Cable USB Link > Berkeley USB Converter > Black Cat Silverstar coax digital cable > Berkeley Ref DAC

 

vs.

 

Aurender N10 > Audience Au24 SE AES/EBU digital cable > Bricasti M1 DAC

 

or

 

Aurender N10 > Black Cat Silverstar coax digital cable > Berkeley Ref DAC

 

Not time for all the details of my main music system, but I'm using a Luxman L-505uX integrated amplifier and DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 88 speakers.

 

Dave, who sold his N100H to get the N10 instead and this was before the microRendu came out and that small gizmo will likely wind up in his secondary bedroom music system

 

 


++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Thanks for the kind words. Seems we have some system overlap. I haven't heard the Berkeley but really like the Bricasti. I was using a Chord 2Qute for a while and frankly the Bricasti is better, but I'm not sure 5K better. Have you thought about upgrading the Teddy Pardo to the Sonore PSU to see if that pushes the microRendu over the top? Also I'm curious why you use the Curious only with the microRendu and not the Aurender?

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Thanks for the kind words. Seems we have some system overlap. I haven't heard the Berkeley but really like the Bricasti. I was using a Chord 2Qute for a while and frankly the Bricasti is better, but I'm not sure 5K better. Have you thought about upgrading the Teddy Pardo to the Sonore PSU to see if that pushes the microRendu over the top? Also I'm curious why you use the Curious only with the microRendu and not the Aurender?

 

A few thoughts:

 

(1) Nothing is 5K, or any other K, better. It's all incremental improvement, at best, as the dollars/euros rise.

 

(2) No, the Teddy Pardo is enough for me. This gizmo (which I've named Rendy in MinimServer) is, as mentioned, intended for my secondary system.

 

(3) Why not the Curious with the Aurender? Well, the N10 has five different outputs, remember, so I don't need to use the USB output. Furthermore, I've found with the N10 that the most direct path tends to sound best, direct from the N10 to the DAC, whichever DAC I've tried.

 

(4) And when I've tried direct from the N10's USB output to the Bricasti's USB input, I've used an Audience Au24 SE USB cable.

 

Dave, whose ears are partial to Audience cables


++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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@jtrelin,

 

Get your N100 optimised (similar to my sig) and you may be surprised with the result.


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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After repeated listening to a large number of recordings in varied genres, I noticed that the microRendu's brightness sometimes got in the way of the listening experience. There was a harshness to the vocals that I didn't hear with the Aurender and some upper midrange and harmonic distortion that I fought months to remove in setting up the system. However, the microRendu's sound might have been a function of the components. I do think the microRendu, in general, is a more musical listen, as vague as a term that is.

 

I bet the iFi supply is the cause of the hardness you are hearing. I hear no hardness with the microRendu (of course it is all relative, and I don't have an N100H, but see this.).

 

I'm using an El Cheapo (here) to power my microRendu. I will buy the Uptone LPS-1 when it's available.


Digital:  Innuos Zenith Mk3 > Shunyata Sigma USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Wireworld Gold Startlight > OPTO DX > 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 Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps

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Wish I'd heard the two to give you a comparison. What are you using to drive the 40s?

I'm using Melco N1A as transport Chord Hugo TT as preamp/dac and Musical Fidelity as power amp.

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So coming back to the sound of the MicroRendu, the harshness and occasional distortion in vocals has subsided. Perhaps some sort of break in. This is a very musical and enjoyable renderer with a $50 PSU. I look forward to the upgrade.

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So coming back to the sound of the MicroRendu, the harshness and occasional distortion in vocals has subsided. Perhaps some sort of break in. This is a very musical and enjoyable renderer with a $50 PSU. I look forward to the upgrade.

My experience with a microRendu + Teddy Pardo 9V PS is that you need at least 50 hours of continuous play to get over the harshness, and another 50 hours to smooth out the remaining edges. After those 100 hours, I've had some of the most compelling experiences with both voices and instruments this side of live unamplified performances, and that's with a relatively economical setup (Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC>Schiit Asgard 2 headphone amp>MrSpeakers Alpha Prime headphones). My living room system is still using a lesser source for technical reasons (Sonicorbiter SE>Bel Canto mLink), and it shows, even though the amp (Bel Canto C7R) and speakers (KEF Reference 1s) are several times the cost of the headphone setup.

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So coming back to the sound of the MicroRendu, the harshness and occasional distortion in vocals has subsided. Perhaps some sort of break in. This is a very musical and enjoyable renderer with a $50 PSU. I look forward to the upgrade.

 

Actually, it took my microRendu about a week of uninterrupted playing (with amp off when not listening) to reach its best sound, which is superb. And, as with the REGEN that preceded it, it sounds smoother after it's been running for several hours, so for best sound quality you may want to run it all the time.


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

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Thank you, both. I have to agree. I've left it running non-stop for the past day or so and it has gotten better. Definitely a smoothing of the vocals and occasional spikes with greater balance. I am truly enjoying this. Amazing with a $50 power supply. This is a great piece of technology.

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So coming back to the sound of the MicroRendu, the harshness and occasional distortion in vocals has subsided. Perhaps some sort of break in. This is a very musical and enjoyable renderer with a $50 PSU. I look forward to the upgrade.

 

I have the Teradak 30w 9v LPS with my microRendu & it is working out nicely at $140.

 

Admittedly, - will be buying the $395 uptone DC to DC LPS as soon as it's available.

 

I only heard Aurender once, & not back to back with the microRendu.

 

Cheers,

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@jtrelin,

 

Get your N100 optimised (similar to my sig) and you may be surprised with the result.

 

Can you say more about how to optimize it?

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Can you say more about how to optimize it?

 

Aurender N100 : LAN optically isolated (via FMC with LPS) > DIY 5cm USB link (split for LPS) > Intona Industrial (injected LPS) > Curious short USB link > W4S Recovery (LPS) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed) > DAC

 

FMC = fibre media converter (power the server end with an LPS)

 

LPS = linear power supply

 

You need a split USB lead so that you can inject clean power (LPS) into the Intona

 

There is a thread on CA about LAN isolation, many people use cheap TP Link FMCs.


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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Yeah, it's been a common theme that new microRendu owners who post before ~100 hours play time report big improvement after a few days. Keep 'em playing!


Digital Source: Synology DS415+ > Blue Jean Cable Cat6a > Sonore microRendu with hard USB adapter & Ecco Audio Custom LPS> Schiit Audio Gungnir Multibit

Analog Source: van den Hul Colibri XGP > VPI 12.7 arm > VPI TNT6HR turntable > Walker Audio Motor Controller >

Both: BAT VK51SE > Lamm M2.1 monoblocks > Sound Lab A3 ESLs > 50 yr. old ears(left-handed)

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Man, I'm glad I found this thread, because after getting the mRendu today, with iFi supply, I was shocked at how bright it is with my Chord DAVE & HD800s.

 

So, that's how much the Uptone PSU is, huh? $400 bones.

 

I'm starting to think that I have an averse sensitivity to the iPower. Don't get me wrong; IFi makes some great products (the iDSD Micro packs a huge punch in SQ for the price), but every time I put some iFi in-line with some Chord stuff, they don't play well together like they do with native iFi gear


SonicTransporter i5 -> Linn KDS/3 -> M3a-800S -> EgglestonWorks Andra II

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