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Looking for suggestions / improvements for the uRendu


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Recently just changed and upgraded gear in my main listening room, actually a dual purpose 5.1 / 2ch living room. On my old system i was streaming Tidal to a Chromecast Audio using BubbleUPnP on an Android tablet, or Sonos Connect as well, either through the Tidal app or Bubble. I found the Chromecast to be slightly better sounding than the Sonos actually. All sources were running through a Marantz AVR.

Still not satisfied however, I decided for my 2 channel listening I wanted to get an integrated amp to implement within the main system using the same speakers, so I grabbed a good deal on a used Peachtree Audio Nova (the original version) that has an HT Bypass feature so i can hook up all my music sources to it while still using the AVR for movies and TV. The Peachtree sounds great with my Tekton Lore Reference speakers, very happy so far (the Lore's are still in the break in period)

I decided to then try the MicroRendu and Roon thinking this would be the 'next step' in audio bliss, however, i'm not convinced yet that it is any better than just streaming Tidal directly over Wifi to the Sonos or Chromecast. I thought I would hear an immediate improvement or difference but i really have not yet. So at this point i'm looking for suggestions on how i can maximize this device within my system. I'm not sure i can run HQPlayer because this is an all purpose computer that wifey uses mainly, but would like to try it if possible.

 

Here is how the uRendu is set up:

 

2015 MacMini>Roon>Airport Extreme>BJC Cat6a (about 40-50')>MicroRendu (w/iFi Power)>WireWorld Starlight 7 USB>Peachtree Audio Nova>BJC 10awg>Tekton Lore Reference

 

I mainly use Tidal but also have a bunch of ALAC files in iTunes on an external drive connected to the MacMini. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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You've actually got a direct comparison with the microRendu and the way Chromecast Audio streams and plays Tidal music files using the BubbleUPnP Android app. The microRendu can be used as a UPnP/DLNA renderer, so can also be controlled by the UPnP/DLNA supporting BubbleUPnP app and be used to play Tidal files in exactly the same way as you've done with the CCA.

 

Have you tried the microRendu in DLNA Output (#3a) mode and compared how your system sounds with the microRendu in that mode, not only with the CCA, but with the microRendu in RoonReady Output (#5) mode?

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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You've actually got a direct comparison with the microRendu and the way Chromecast Audio streams and plays Tidal music files using the BubbleUPnP Android app. The microRendu can be used as a UPnP/DLNA renderer, so can also be controlled by the UPnP/DLNA supporting BubbleUPnP app and be used to play Tidal files in exactly the same way as you've done with the CCA.

 

Have you tried the microRendu in DLNA Output (#3a) mode and compared how your system sounds with the microRendu in that mode, not only with the CCA, but with the microRendu in RoonReady Output (#5) mode?

 

I think if i only use the Bubble app and switch the 'renderer' within the app, i.e. from the MicroRendu to the CCA, i would think the music would stop, making it slightly more difficult to compare the two. However, if i open the Tidal app and the Bubble app at the same time, stream to the CCA using Tidal app and stream to the microrendu using Tidal within the Bubble app and then use the Peachtree remote to switch inputs on the fly, the music is continuous and i should be able to compare apples to apples so to speak.

 

Should there be any difference at all whether streaming from the Tidal app or the Bubble app if both are using the same renderer? I would tend to think not. Having said that, Roon is basically just doing the same thing as Bubble or Tidal and sending the audio directly from the Tidal servers to the endpoint correct? So why then is Roon being touted as a better option for streaming, is more to do with HQPlayer integration or simply the design and interface of the software?

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Should there be any difference at all whether streaming from the Tidal app or the Bubble app if both are using the same renderer? I would tend to think not.
Most likely, not. I would certainly be inclined to trust the BubbleUPnP Android app to be providing the UPnP & Chromecast renderers with the FLAC files unaltered from the the Tidal servers, simply because its developer makes no secret of it. Not quite so sure about the Tidal app with the Chromecast, as I've never seen it officially confirmed. A big clue, ironically perhaps, is the lack of gapless support. The CCA doesn't support gapless playback natively, so when it streams separate file tracks one after the other, you will get the tell tale sign of a pause in the music when it's not supposed to be there (eg Dark Side of the Moon, etc). If the Chromecast supporting app 'fixes' the Chromecast's gapless support, then it will be manipulating the music files to 'stitch' them together, before they are actually streamed to the CCA and who knows what else it's doing to the original files.

 

 

Having said that, Roon is basically just doing the same thing as Bubble or Tidal and sending the audio directly from the Tidal servers to the endpoint correct?
The UPnP/DLNA renderers & the Chromecast audio devices, will be decoding and playing the music files streamed from the Tidal servers, when controlled with the BubbleUPnP. Simlarly, Roon may well be obtaining the music files from the Tidal servers.

 

However, Roon is certainly not getting the microRendu to stream and play the music files when you are using it in RoonReady Output mode, ie, as a Roon EndPoint. It is the RoonServer itself that'll streaming and playing the FLAC files from Tidal, with the resulting PCM digital audio signal being sent over the network, via its proprietary RAAT (Roon Advanced Audio Transport) protocol, to the Roon Endpoint.

 

The microRendu as a Roon EndPoint is the receiving end of the network being used as a conduit for the 'live' digital audio signal (produced by RoonServer playing a music file) before it gets passed to the DAC. So the microRendu in RoonReady Output mode won't be handling any actual music files being streamed from the Tidal servers, unlike when it's in DLNA Output mode.

 

Question: is the sound produced by your system 'better' when RoonServer is playing the Tidal files (ie, with microRendu in RoonReady output mode), or when the microRendu is playing them (ie, in DLNA output mode)?

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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Question: is the sound produced by your system 'better' when RoonServer is playing the Tidal files (ie, with microRendu in RoonReady output mode), or when the microRendu is playing them (ie, in DLNA output mode)?

 

I have not tested it this way extensively yet, again I would imagine that the music might stop while switching from one mode to another so one would have to rely more on memory, unless the difference is night and day, which I don't think it is

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Recently just changed and upgraded gear in my main listening room, actually a dual purpose 5.1 / 2ch living room. On my old system iReference

 

I mainly use Tidal but also have a bunch of ALAC files in iTunes on an external drive connected to the MacMini. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Hi,

i've only heard Peachtree stuff a couple of times & not under the best circumstances.

 

And, I am entirely unfamiliar with your speakers. Given my experience with the Peachtree, I would suggest that some of it could be due to downstream components. But as far as the microRendu; the first thing I would recommend is ditching that iFi PSU in favor of a good PSU. And, if you're using the USB input on the PeachTree, I suggest trying an USB to SPDIF converter like Singxer F-1, or DIYINC pro4a. IMO, hardware is still very, very, important.

 

cheers

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Hi,

i've only heard Peachtree stuff a couple of times & not under the best circumstances.

 

And, I am entirely unfamiliar with your speakers. Given my experience with the Peachtree, I would suggest that some of it could be due to downstream components. But as far as the microRendu; the first thing I would recommend is ditching that iFi PSU in favor of a good PSU. And, if you're using the USB input on the PeachTree, I suggest trying an USB to SPDIF converter like Singxer F-1, or DIYINC pro4a. IMO, hardware is still very, very, important.

 

cheers

 

 

Yeah i suspected the iFi PSU may not be what it is cracked up to be unfortunately, can you recommend another PSU? I've read people using 'Lab' grade PSU's but i don't really want or have room for lab equipment in my living room.

I think the USB to SPDIF might be a good idea, i did see someone on this forum using one, i'll look into it.

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Yeah i suspected the iFi PSU may not be what it is cracked up to be unfortunately, can you recommend another PSU? I've read people using 'Lab' grade PSU's but i don't really want or have room for lab equipment in my living room.

I think the USB to SPDIF might be a good idea, i did see someone on this forum using one, i'll look into it.

Hi

 

i am using a $120 9v Teradak LPS, that sounds awesome. It has a pretty small footprint, & will make a good feeder supply for the Uptone LPS-1.

 

i have tried a number of USB to SPDIF converters, & the F-1 is one of best, & also 1 of the cheapest.

 

Singxer F 1 Xmos USB Digital Interface Module XU208 U8 with CNC Shell All in One | eBay

 

TeraDak 30W DC9V2.5A SOtM dX USB HD dedicated linear power supply

 

cheers

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Hi

 

i am using a $120 9v Teradak LPS, that sounds awesome. It has a pretty small footprint, & will make a good feeder supply for the Uptone LPS-1.

 

i have tried a number of USB to SPDIF converters, & the F-1 is one of best, & also 1 of the cheapest.

 

Singxer F 1 Xmos USB Digital Interface Module XU208 U8 with CNC Shell All in One | eBay

 

TeraDak 30W DC9V2.5A SOtM dX USB HD dedicated linear power supply

 

cheers

 

Thanks for rec's...but please excuse my ignorance, that TeraDak is not to use on it's own with the MicroRendu, it feeds another power supply?

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Thanks for rec's...but please excuse my ignorance, that TeraDak is not to use on it's own with the MicroRendu, it feeds another power supply?

 

 

hi,

No, the Teradak stands on its own as a much better power supply than the the iFi: (in my opinion of course).

 

The new LPS-1 (that is not out yet), needs a "feeder" power supply. It will be a two box unit.

 

Cheers,

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I think you will find that some of the early Peachtree gear used adaptive USB type interfaces as opposed to asynchronous USB type interfaces. If this is the case you really are better off going with a good asynchronous USB to SPDIF converter. I would venture to say that you will also be surprised how good that can sound into your Marantz. Anyway, I would consider this first before looking at power supply options. You can check if the Nova used an adaptive USB interfaces in Apps / DAC Diagnostics.

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I think you will find that some of the early Peachtree gear used adaptive USB type interfaces as opposed to asynchronous USB type interfaces. If this is the case you really are better off going with a good asynchronous USB to SPDIF converter. I would venture to say that you will also be surprised how good that can sound into your Marantz. Anyway, I would consider this first before looking at power supply options. You can check if the Nova used an adaptive USB interfaces in Apps / DAC Diagnostics.

 

Looks like you're correct...Interesting also because i thought this model had a Sabre DAC not Burr-Brown

 

Burr-Brown from TI USB Audio DAC at usb-ci_hdrc.1-1.1, full speed : USB Audio

 

Playback:

Status: Running

Interface = 1

Altset = 1

Packet Size = 192

Momentary freq = 44100 Hz (0x2c.199a)

Interface 1

Altset 1

Format: S16_LE

Channels: 2

Endpoint: 2 OUT (ADAPTIVE)

Rates: 32000, 44100, 48000

Interface 1

Altset 2

Format: S16_LE

Channels: 1

Endpoint: 2 OUT (ADAPTIVE)

Rates: 32000, 44100, 48000access: RW_INTERLEAVED

format: S16_LE

subformat: STD

channels: 2

rate: 44100 (44100/1)

period_size: 1103

buffer_size: 4412

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Looks like you're correct...Interesting also because i thought this model had a Sabre DAC not Burr-Brown

 

Burr-Brown from TI USB Audio DAC at usb-ci_hdrc.1-1.1, full speed : USB Audio

 

Playback:

Status: Running

Interface = 1

Altset = 1

Packet Size = 192

Momentary freq = 44100 Hz (0x2c.199a)

Interface 1

Altset 1

Format: S16_LE

Channels: 2

Endpoint: 2 OUT (ADAPTIVE)

Rates: 32000, 44100, 48000

Interface 1

Altset 2

Format: S16_LE

Channels: 1

Endpoint: 2 OUT (ADAPTIVE)

Rates: 32000, 44100, 48000access: RW_INTERLEAVED

format: S16_LE

subformat: STD

channels: 2

rate: 44100 (44100/1)

period_size: 1103

buffer_size: 4412

 

The information here is about the USB receiver only and not the DAC chip itself.

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The simplest low cost improvements are

 

1) a quality PSU; I feed mine using an HDPlex supply (~$400)

2) fiber optic 100m or 1000m Ethernet between switch and mRendu ($160 for 2 - media converters, 1-optic cable and 2 -0.75m Audioquest Pearl Ethernet cables)

 

other improvements get messier and more costly. The fiber optic Ethernet will surprise you with how it cleans up the signal

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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The simplest low cost improvements are

 

1) a quality PSU; I feed mine using an HDPlex supply (~$400)

2) fiber optic 100m or 1000m Ethernet between switch and mRendu ($160 for 2 - media converters, 1-optic cable and 2 -0.75m Audioquest Pearl Ethernet cables)

 

other improvements get messier and more costly. The fiber optic Ethernet will surprise you with how it cleans up the signal

 

Thanks, if i follow your 2nd example, would it look something like this?...

 

Airport Extreme > ethernet (Audioquest .75m) > media converter (TP-LINK MC200CM)> fiber optic > media converter > ethernet > MicroRendu

 

Are these the recommended products?

 

https://www.amazon.com/MC200CM-Converter-1000Mbps-multi-mode-mountable/dp/B003AVRLZI/ref=pd_bxgy_147_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=WQ30T7N20NAN1T48493K

 

https://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-Duplex-Multimode-N306-006/dp/B000M5SL7C/ref=pd_sim_147_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=9RJR92JBFGN80BVKT6BJ

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Thanks, if i follow your 2nd example, would it look something like this?...

 

Airport Extreme > ethernet (Audioquest .75m) > media converter (TP-LINK MC200CM)> fiber optic > media converter > ethernet > MicroRendu

 

Are these the recommended products?

 

https://www.amazon.com/MC200CM-Converter-1000Mbps-multi-mode-mountable/dp/B003AVRLZI/ref=pd_bxgy_147_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=WQ30T7N20NAN1T48493K

 

https://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-Duplex-Multimode-N306-006/dp/B000M5SL7C/ref=pd_sim_147_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=9RJR92JBFGN80BVKT6BJ

 

Heres the article that I used as a reference... you can spend more on the AQ Forest if you want vs Pearl. Media converters come in multi mode and single mode but for home use multi mode is fine ( no 500m+ runs) you just need both ends to be same. You also need to make sure whether your switch/ router has FE or GigE ports and order the appropriate speed media converter. The mRendu supports Gige/Fe so should work with either speed converter

 

Electrically Isolate Your Networked Audio | AudioStream

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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Heres the article that I used as a reference... you can spend more on the AQ Forest if you want vs Pearl. Media converters come in multi mode and single mode but for home use multi mode is fine ( no 500m+ runs) you just need both ends to be same. You also need to make sure whether your switch/ router has FE or GigE ports and order the appropriate speed media converter. The mRendu supports Gige/Fe so should work with either speed converter

 

Electrically Isolate Your Networked Audio | AudioStream

 

Just ordered the media converters and 50' of fiber, CAT6a ethernet cables i get from Blue Jeans Cable, no need to waste money on Audioquest.

 

I'll see what difference this makes first, then I'll decide to either upgrade the PSU or go with an SPDIF converter. I see a guy on Audiogon is selling some new Bel Canto units, I may try one of those or the Singxer F1 units mentioned above.

 

Also not mentioned so far, this is what i'm using for power conditioning, the Furman PST-8D SMP, it is plugged into a dedicated 20A circuit.

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Ok, i've got the TeraDak power supply on order, I still need to install the media converters and fiber optic but will be doing so soon. I will post my impressions after I get some good listening time in.

 

Btw, I also have a Micromega MyDAC not being used so i may try that out with the Rendu and run RCA's to the Peachtree to bypass it's internal DAC and see if that changes things for better or worse.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just thought i'd give an update with the changes that i made to my system.

 

1) I am now using the Teradak power supply rather than the iFi

2) Swapped out the long ethernet run for two FMC's and fiber patch cable as noted above

3) Running the Microrendu into a Micromega MyDac rather than the internal DAC of the Peachtree Nova

4) Between the Microrendu and DAC i am testing the combination of an Audioquest Jitterbug and supplied USB hard adapter versus the Wireworld Starlight 7 cable

 

At the moment with all of the changes implemented above I am pleased to say that i am very happy to say the least. Not sure what was the bigger difference, the fiber network or switching DAC's, but either way the sound is very clean, detailed etc etc, i could go on.

 

Thanks for all the advice everyone.

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