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A novel way to massively improve the SQ of computer audio streaming

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I couldn't get wifi and ethernet to bridge in Mac OSX. In fact, after repeatedly failing, I did some reading and OSX expressly states this isn't possible. It might be possible in other OS's. Give it a try.

 

Hi romaz:

Any chance you or someone else here can write me a dummies guide to making this work in OSX using the Manage Virtual Interfaces GUI window of the Networks Prefs Panel?

 

My goal is to use my microRendu in NAA mode via a single Ethernet cable from my iMac (where both HQ Player Desktop and my music files reside).

 

On the iMac I have an Apple Thunderbolt>Ethernet dongle (EN1 I think) for connection of the computer to my Cisco switch. From the built-in Ethernet port (EN0), I always have a 25-ft. BJC/Belden Cat6a cable running to my tweaked Mac mini, and that is the cable I want to instead put into the microRendu.

I don't use wifi at all. It is turned off.

 

So I need to know both what settings (IP, etc.) to alter for the built-in network, and then what to set in the Manage Virtual Interfaces window as far as bridging. And then is there anything I need to change in the microRendu? (Of course I know to tell HQP to use NAA as Back-end once it is set up.)

To date with the microRendu, I've only been able to use it as NAA when running it through my switch, with my DSL modem/router providing DHCP service.

 

Many thanks to anyone that can walk me through this. I just don't have the time to do my own trial and error these days---and John is coming for a visit next week so I'd like to have this working so we do other fun things.

 

Best,

--Alex C.

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Hi romaz:

Any chance you or someone else here can write me a dummies guide to making this work in OSX using the Manage Virtual Interfaces GUI window of the Networks Prefs Panel?

 

My goal is to use my microRendu in NAA mode via a single Ethernet cable from my iMac (where both HQ Player Desktop and my music files reside).

 

On the iMac I have an Apple Thunderbolt>Ethernet dongle (EN1 I think) for connection of the computer to my Cisco switch. From the built-in Ethernet port (EN0), I always have a 25-ft. BJC/Belden Cat6a cable running to my tweaked Mac mini, and that is the cable I want to instead put into the microRendu.

I don't use wifi at all. It is turned off.

 

So I need to know both what settings (IP, etc.) to alter for the built-in network, and then what to set in the Manage Virtual Interfaces window as far as bridging. And then is there anything I need to change in the microRendu? (Of course I know to tell HQP to use NAA as Back-end once it is set up.)

To date with the microRendu, I've only been able to use it as NAA when running it through my switch, with my DSL modem/router providing DHCP service.

 

Many thanks to anyone that can walk me through this. I just don't have the time to do my own trial and error these days---and John is coming for a visit next week so I'd like to have this working so we do other fun things.

 

Best,

--Alex C.

Sure, Alex.

 

System Preferences > Network > Manage Virtual Interfaces

 

Once in Manage Virtual Interfaces, click the "+" sign at the bottom left of the screen and select "New Bridge".

 

Give this new bridge whatever name you'd like. You should have a selection of interfaces listed for you in the box to include in this bridge. Specifically, you should see your native ethernet port called "Ethernet". You should also see listed your other ethernet port that belongs to your Thunderbolt device. In my instance, this is called "Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet Controller" although yours may be called something else. Regardless, check the two ethernet ports you want included in this bridge and click "Done."

 

This should take you back to the previous screen. In the left window pane, you should see this new bridge you've created and its status. If it states "Connected", you may already be good to go. Regardless, make sure this new bridge is highlighted. Then look at the right window pane to see the specifics of this bridge. In the Configure IPv4 line, feel free to keep the "Using DHCP" option. This works just fine for me although if you feel compelled to create a static IP, you can do so. If you decide to use the "Using DHCP" option, then you don't have to bother hitting the "Advanced" tab, just hit "Apply" if you're not already connected.

 

You should be good to go. On my Mac Mini, it was that simple although you may require a reboot.

 

To verify that your microRendu is online, open up Safari and type in "www.sonicorbiter.com" and the control screen should come up. From there, make sure the HQPlayer NAA option is selected and you should be ready to play music. Let me know if this doesn't work.

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Thanks Romaz.

Have been following this thread since first post.

Just took 3 minutes to set this up on my MacMini.

 

Will report later on SQ.

Yes, please do!

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Sure, Alex.

 

System Preferences > Network > Manage Virtual Interfaces

 

Once in Manage Virtual Interfaces, click the "+" sign at the bottom left of the screen and select "New Bridge".

 

Give this new bridge whatever name you'd like. You should have a selection of interfaces listed for you in the box to include in this bridge. Specifically, you should see your native ethernet port called "Ethernet". You should also see listed your other ethernet port that belongs to your Thunderbolt device. In my instance, this is called "Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet Controller" although yours may be called something else. Regardless, check the two ethernet ports you want included in this bridge and click "Done."

 

This should take you back to the previous screen. In the left window pane, you should see this new bridge you've created and its status. If it states "Connected", you may already be good to go. Regardless, make sure this new bridge is highlighted. Then look at the right window pane to see the specifics of this bridge. In the Configure IPv4 line, feel free to keep the "Using DHCP" option. This works just fine for me although if you feel compelled to create a static IP, you can do so. If you decide to use the "Using DHCP" option, then you don't have to bother hitting the "Advanced" tab, just hit "Apply" if you're not already connected.

 

You should be good to go. On my Mac Mini, it was that simple although you may require a reboot.

 

To verify that your microRendu is online, open up Safari and type in "www.sonicorbiter.com" and the control screen should come up. From there, make sure the HQPlayer NAA option is selected and you should be ready to play music. Let me know if this doesn't work.

 

Perfect romaz! A million thanks! Works almost exactly as you said.

 

Just one note of caution to anyone else doing this on a Mac with an Apple Thunderbolt>Ethernet adapter (as the standard switch/DHCP router connection and the internal port--definitely better--as the one going to the NAA):

When you open Manage Virtual Interfaces, you will see that there is already one called "Thunderbolt Bridge" and its BSD name will be "bridge0". Do not delete this one! Just create a new one--I called it "NAA Bridge" and that will end up being "bridge1"--and as romaz said, edit it to have Thunderbolt Ethernet and Ethernet (the internal one) checked.

 

While I did not make the mistake of deleting "bridge0" (though wondered if I needed too), something did happen that others may or may not need to do:

1) SonicOrbiter.com found the directly connected microRendu (with an IP address auto assigned), but initially when clicking Manage (to actually logon to the mR's web control interface) it did not connect.

2) Thinking that maybe that "bridge0" was preventing it, I edited that (in Manage Virtual Interfaces) and unchecked Thunderbolt 1 and Thunderbolt 2.

That did it! The mR suddenly got assigned a different IP address and I was able to log on.

 

However, going back into "bridge0" (to check info to write this post), I see that Thunderbolt 1 and 2 are checked again; and then even SonicOrbiter.com could not find the microRendu. I opened then closed the edit window for "bridge0" (again, this is NOT the new "NAA Bridge" created--that's "bridge1") and then it refreshed and works fine.

So I think one has to keep a bit of an eye on it. Maybe it will stay stable, we'll see.

 

The other thing that is important before doing any of the above is to turn off Internet Sharing in the Sharing prefs panel. Otherwise it won't work. With my other usual set up--direct line to my tweaked, DAC-connected i7 mini--I often turned on Internet sharing between the Thunderbolt>Ethernet adapter connecting to the switch/web and the direct line. Only do that so if I can stream YouTube, Tiny Desk Concert, or other web audio to my DAC on rare occasion.

 

------

 

Anyway, the best part is that, as you promised, HQ Player/NAA--for the first time ever for me--works with a direct machine to machine (mR in this case) connection. I think this will sound fabulous (too busy this morning to actually listen).

 

Once again, it seems that OS X (okay, its officially called macOS these days) makes complex networking configuration easy for the lay person--once some very kind person explains it! ;)

 

So many thanks to all!

 

--Alex C.

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Gents,

Chris briefly posted a description of the upcoming Roon 1.3, then pulled it.

I remember seeing something to the effect that an "improved RAA" (my words) was in the pipe.

That will be another interesting development to follow, plus all the other improvements, especially the built-in HQP-type capabilities.

Did they partner with Jussi? I dont see them replicating all the work....

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Gents,

Chris briefly posted a description of the upcoming Roon 1.3, then pulled it.

I remember seeing something to the effect that an "improved RAA" (my words) was in the pipe.

That will be another interesting development to follow, plus all the other improvements, especially the built-in HQP-type capabilities.

Did they partner with Jussi? I dont see them replicating all the work....

Yes, I think 1.3 will be big for many of us. I'm sure you've seen John Darko's piece already:

 

Coming over the hill: the monstrous Roon 1.3 | DAR__KO

 

Hopefully, this improved RAA sounds just as good with this direct connection.

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After much fiddling I got it to work. My set up is a bit different. I use a Surface Pro. It doesn't have any Ethernet ports. I used 2 USB ethernet converters. I can't really tell if it's much better or not. It "seems" slower. I'll need more time.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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Reading all these great posts reminds me of the period (about 1,5 years ago) where computers were tryed to be optimised for audiophiles like me by guys like you. The whole proces eventually led to products like the microrendu or sms200. This whole discussion gives me the feeling you're on another wave of optimisation. I read these posts with great interest and respect, but it makes me feel like observing from a bunker (again). Soldier on comrades!!! Blood, sweat and tears.

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I set it up in Linux, with an Intel board running RoonServer and a RaspberryPi running RoonBridge. Took me two minutes.

 

Both have fixed IP addresses set on my router.

 

On the Intel board (Ubuntu in my case):

apt-get install bridge-utils

 

then in /etc/network/interfaces:

auto lo br0

iface lo inet loopback

iface br0 inet dhcp

bridge_ports eth0 eth1

 

Done ! Works, but have not spend time listening yet :(

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I couldn't get wifi and ethernet to bridge in Mac OSX. In fact, after repeatedly failing, I did some reading and OSX expressly states this isn't possible. It might be possible in other OS's. Give it a try.

 

If both server and NAA have static IPs and are on the same subnet, you could be good to go. Whether you would need a crossover ethernet cable, I'm not sure. As you've stated, you'd be forced to control your NAA only from the computer your NAA is directly attached to and it may not be what you would want to do long term but at least you could hear how this direct connection sounds in your system.

 

Romaz,

 

Thanks for the response. I just tried bridging the wifi and ethernet adapters on my Win7 laptop... easy-peasee. So if needed, that can be done on the Win7 Zotac LMS Srvr.

 

Also thanks for the reminder about possibly needing a crossover cable. I'll need to hunt for them, but I vaguely remember having serveral from my early high-ish speed internet DSL modem days. But I bet Zotac LMS Srvr <-> FMC <-> FMC <-> R-Pi will wor ok with regular cables.

 

I'm currently doing some DIY projects, will report back when I get the chance to try this.

 

And it could be interesting... ALL of my networking gear including my switch is powered by good DIY linear supplies (though not as good as your SR7, Paul's stuff is GREAT!). So I'm really interested in seeing if direct-connect with better my somewhat tweaked HW.

 

Greg in Mississippi

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Romaz,

 

Thanks for the response. I just tried bridging the wifi and ethernet adapters on my Win7 laptop... easy-peasee. So if needed, that can be done on the Win7 Zotac LMS Srvr.

 

Also thanks for the reminder about possibly needing a crossover cable. I'll need to hunt for them, but I vaguely remember having serveral from my early high-ish speed internet DSL modem days. But I bet Zotac LMS Srvr <-> FMC <-> FMC <-> R-Pi will wor ok with regular cables.

 

I'm currently doing some DIY projects, will report back when I get the chance to try this.

 

And it could be interesting... ALL of my networking gear including my switch is powered by good DIY linear supplies (though not as good as your SR7, Paul's stuff is GREAT!). So I'm really interested in seeing if direct-connect with better my somewhat tweaked HW.

 

Greg in Mississippi

You shouldn't need a cross over cable. Most NICs do this automatically with a feature called Auto MDIX, including motherboard NICs.

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Quite the elaborate thread (skipped through it) - interesting read.

 

Has anyone compared the "bridged LAN-connection" to the recent, just updated wifi-feature through the sMS-200? Wouldn't a succesful wifi-connection here potentially "deflate" some of the efforts sought on the LAN-connectivity?

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Quite the elaborate thread (skipped through it) - interesting read.

 

Has anyone compared the "bridged LAN-connection" to the recent, just updated wifi-feature through the sMS-200? Wouldn't a succesful wifi-connection here potentially "deflate" some of the efforts sought on the LAN-connectivity?

 

That would be much too simple.

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After much fiddling I got it to work. My set up is a bit different. I use a Surface Pro. It doesn't have any Ethernet ports. I used 2 USB ethernet converters. I can't really tell if it's much better or not. It "seems" slower. I'll need more time.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

 

Turns out I made a mistake. When I plugged in the USB ethernet adapter I accidentally unseated the docking station so the Surface Pro was running out of battery. No wonder it sounded slow. After charging for a few hours, I have to admit it does sound better.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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Quite the elaborate thread (skipped through it) - interesting read.

 

Has anyone compared the "bridged LAN-connection" to the recent, just updated wifi-feature through the sMS-200? Wouldn't a succesful wifi-connection here potentially "deflate" some of the efforts sought on the LAN-connectivity?

It could sound better and I'm open to anything that sounds better. Based on what May Park of SOtM has said, however, this wifi connectivity with the sMS-200 sounds no better than the standard connection, it is supposed to be more of a convenience option. When I connected a USB drive directly to the SOtM's USB port, it still didn't sound as good as this direct connection between my Mac Mini and the sMS-200.

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It could sound better and I'm open to anything that sounds better. Based on what May Park of SOtM has said, however, this wifi connectivity with the sMS-200 sounds no better than the standard connection, it is supposed to be more of a convenience option. When I connected a USB drive directly to the SOtM's USB port, it still didn't sound as good as this direct connection between my Mac Mini and the sMS-200.

 

In another thread here Fujak reported on SQ for the SOTM200 with Wifi connection and I also did some SQ comparisons with Wifi.

 

 

A wifi connection can sound better according to us compared to a LAN connection. But in my setup I compared the Wifi-SQ with the SOTM connected via a cheap LAN-switch. When I connect my SOTM directly to my router the SQ improves quite a lot and is bit better (after more extended listening) than the Wifi-SQ. I have not yet tested the LAN-bridge setup discussed in this thread.

 

 

May from SOTM sent me an email about the Wifi connection. She prefers her LAN connection, improved by an IsoCat-6 and a dCBL-CAT7 cable. I do not know if she uses a LAN-switch.

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That would be much too simple.

 

Why? Seriously, isn't it a rather typical tendency of the "audiophile-inflicted," as a mere mind-outset, to expect the more complicated as that which is more preferable? I'm not trying to be rude, but simply to put into question why the wifi-route would necessarily be "much too simple."

 

It could sound better and I'm open to anything that sounds better. Based on what May Park of SOtM has said, however, this wifi connectivity with the sMS-200 sounds no better than the standard connection, it is supposed to be more of a convenience option. When I connected a USB drive directly to the SOtM's USB port, it still didn't sound as good as this direct connection between my Mac Mini and the sMS-200.

 

It'll be interesting to see the sonic findings on this once tested by many.

 

In another thread here Fujak reported on SQ for the SOTM200 with Wifi connection and I also did some SQ comparisons with Wifi.

 

 

A wifi connection can sound better according to us compared to a LAN connection. But in my setup I compared the Wifi-SQ with the SOTM connected via a cheap LAN-switch. When I connect my SOTM directly to my router the SQ improves quite a lot and is bit better (after more extended listening) than the Wifi-SQ. I have not yet tested the LAN-bridge setup discussed in this thread.

 

 

May from SOTM sent me an email about the Wifi connection. She prefers her LAN connection, improved by an IsoCat-6 and a dCBL-CAT7 cable. I do not know if she uses a LAN-switch.

 

Strictly speaking May only mentions wifi-speed, not sound quality, so I don't see anything here that would indicate her preference sound-wise:

 

"[...] I like the wired one since WiFi is a bit slower than wired one and I’m using the iSO-CAT6 & dCBL-CAT7 for my Ethernet, so it seems okay for me. Best regards, MAy."

 

Being a rather cheap investment I've ordered the Edimax EW-7811UAC wifi-dongle to see how it pans out..

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Why? Seriously, isn't it a rather typical tendency of the "audiophile-inflicted," as a mere mind-outset, to expect the more complicated as that which is more preferable? I'm not trying to be rude, but simply to put into question why the wifi-route would necessarily be "much too simple."

 

I was being sarcastic. I meant exactly that, as audiophiles, we're always looking for sophisticated and/or expensive ways to improve the sound when sometimes the simple and/or inexpensive route that yields similar or possibly better results is automatically ruled out or overlooked.

 

I enjoy tweaking and experimenting even if sometimes the end result is a wet firecracker - it's part of the game.

As long as I'm not led on a wild goose chase that ends up costing me money and contributing to my collection of useless parts and gadgets. That's why I've learned to take the time to analyze what I'm hearing (or what I think I'm hearing) before spreading the word.

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romaz, we have been directly connecting devices for some time now. I have a how to guide for OS X where WiFi is used for internet and the Mac is used for playback directly connected to a microRendu. If you develop a similar guide for Windows (including how to undo it) that would be great. This "should" avoid having to use two ports on one motherboard which hardly anyone has.

 

Have you loaded at this thread:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f26-sonore-sponsored/sonicorbiter-direct-connection-mac-pc-beta-28606/

Edited by vortecjr

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romaz, we have been directly connecting devices for some time now. I have a how to guide for OS X where WiFi is used for internet and the Mac is used for playback directly connected to a microRendu. If you develop a similar guide for Windows (including how to undo it) that would be great. This "should" avoid having to use two ports on one motherboard which hardly anyone has.

 

Have you loaded at this thread:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f26-sonore-sponsored/sonicorbiter-direct-connection-mac-pc-beta-28606/

 

Thank you for this link, Jesus! I was not aware of it and so it appears you've blazed this trail already with your Sonicorbiter. Interestingly, it appears the intent was for convenience and no one really made any comments on whether they thought this connection resulted in sonic superiority (perhaps no one considered it might sound better this way and so no one did any critical comparisons although to my ears, the improvement isn't subtle).

 

On my Mac Mini (El Capitan), I've succeeded in making a connection with a single ethernet port (obviously no bridging involved) but this was only useful for playback of music from local storage. For those who wish to stream from a NAS or from Tidal, then you're stuck.

 

I will be testing Windows for myself soon but it appears this direct connection is a bit trickier with Windows for many who have tried it thus far. Perhaps the best person to develop a guide for Windows would be Andrew Gillis. As he is the developer of the microRendu's OS, I would think he would be in the best position to develop a "no fuss" direct path to the microRendu. He has already suggested he can configure a sonicTransporter that could be used for direct connection straight out of the box and so this could represent a convenient option for many.

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Thank you for this link, Jesus! I was not aware of it and so it appears you've blazed this trail already with your Sonicorbiter. Interestingly, it appears the intent was for convenience and no one really made any comments on whether they thought this connection resulted in sonic superiority (perhaps no one considered it might sound better this way and so no one did any critical comparisons although to my ears, the improvement isn't subtle).

 

On my Mac Mini (El Capitan), I've succeeded in making a connection with a single ethernet port (obviously no bridging involved) but this was only useful for playback of music from local storage. For those who wish to stream from a NAS or from Tidal, then you're stuck.

 

I will be testing Windows for myself soon but it appears this direct connection is a bit trickier with Windows for many who have tried it thus far. Perhaps the best person to develop a guide for Windows would be Andrew Gillis. As he is the developer of the microRendu's OS, I would think he would be in the best position to develop a "no fuss" direct path to the microRendu. He has already suggested he can configure a sonicTransporter that could be used for direct connection straight out of the box and so this could represent a convenient option for many.

 

There's many different versions of Windows and infinite hardware configurations. That will be the challenge but i think it works ok as long as you get the static IP DHCP settings before bridging the Ethernet ports.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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Thank you for this link, Jesus! I was not aware of it and so it appears you've blazed this trail already with your Sonicorbiter. Interestingly, it appears the intent was for convenience and no one really made any comments on whether they thought this connection resulted in sonic superiority (perhaps no one considered it might sound better this way and so no one did any critical comparisons although to my ears, the improvement isn't subtle).

It was developed for demanding customers who want to explore everything:) As for sound quality comments...I'll leave that up to you and the customers.

 

On my Mac Mini (El Capitan), I've succeeded in making a connection with a single ethernet port (obviously no bridging involved) but this was only useful for playback of music from local storage. For those who wish to stream from a NAS or from Tidal, then you're stuck.

The setup in the link I provided uses of WiFi at the same time allowing for Tidal and network playback.

 

I will be testing Windows for myself soon but it appears this direct connection is a bit trickier with Windows for many who have tried it thus far. Perhaps the best person to develop a guide for Windows would be Andrew Gillis. As he is the developer of the microRendu's OS, I would think he would be in the best position to develop a "no fuss" direct path to the microRendu. He has already suggested he can configure a sonicTransporter that could be used for direct connection straight out of the box and so this could represent a convenient option for many.

I disagree, this is a complex server side / network based solution that can work with the microRendu. The threads in my sponsored section are provided for the most popular solutions to help people get started. These specific solutions are best sorted out by the interested parties.

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romaz, we have been directly connecting devices for some time now. I have a how to guide for OS X where WiFi is used for internet and the Mac is used for playback directly connected to a microRendu. If you develop a similar guide for Windows (including how to undo it) that would be great. This "should" avoid having to use two ports on one motherboard which hardly anyone has.

 

Have you loaded at this thread:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f26-sonore-sponsored/sonicorbiter-direct-connection-mac-pc-beta-28606/

 

Right, except in that thread you explicitly state that direct connection does not work for microRendu as HQP NAA. As I reported yesterday, with the Manage Virtual Interfaces bridging technique, I got it to work with NAA.

 

But now I have a different problem--which I will either post in another thread or phone you about:

 

This morning I decided to update the OrbiterOS on my microRendu from 2.2 to 2.3. Now after updating, the mR is still seen, but in the App Switcher HQP NAA shows "Unknown" and grey instead of "Active" and green. No amount of restarting NAA, uninstalling/reinstalling NAA, rebooting or power cycling of mR will solve it.

 

And of course during this I switched back to a standard Ethernet switch/router connection (including deleting the virtual bridges, etc.). Again, the mR is seen and other modes can show "Active" and green. It is just that since upgrading OrbiterOS to 2.3 I can not get NAA to work at all. Very frustrating as my short listening last night with the direct connection (and mR powered by UltraCap LPS-1 of course) sounded fabulous!

 

Hope there is an easy answer to this.

 

Thanks,

 

--Alex C.

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