Jump to content
IGNORED

Auralic Aries Mini vs. Sonore microRendu vs. SOtM SMS-200 Listening Impressions


Recommended Posts

So with the introductions out of the way, this is the first set of results.

Now stay tuned for future installments once the SMS-200 gets here, and once I've had a chance to play with HQPlayer and Roon.

 

Very good work austinpop. Looking forward to what comes next.

 

At the risk of complicating things, as an owner of an Aries (femto), it would be interesting to hear if you are isolating your Aries mini physically, e.g. what does it sit on?

 

The reason I ask is that last year I bit the bullet and dived into Barry Diament's long-recommended rollerball vibration isolation technique with my Aries. The result was like a really major hardware upgrade - music was better defined, smoother top to bottom, more open and easy on the ears, overall much more enjoyable.

 

Maybe an experiment for the future.

Source: Intel i3 NUC/fanless/Euphony/Ext SSD) JS-2;

DAC: Mojo Mystique V2/Regen /LPS1.2;Curious USB

Preamp: Music First Audio passive V2/ Morrow cables

Amp: Sanders Electrostatic; Mapleshade power cable

Speakers: Magneplanar 1.7/Hsu vTF2 sub/Room 27x15'  

Misc: eR; extensive anti-vibration; 1.7's on Herbie's footers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very good work austinpop. Looking forward to what comes next.

 

At the risk of complicating things, as an owner of an Aries (femto), it would be interesting to hear if you are isolating your Aries mini physically, e.g. what does it sit on?

 

The reason I ask is that last year I bit the bullet and dived into Barry Diament's long-recommended rollerball vibration isolation technique with my Aries. The result was like a really major hardware upgrade - music was better defined, smoother top to bottom, more open and easy on the ears, overall much more enjoyable.

 

Maybe an experiment for the future.

 

Thank you for your remarks.

 

As we know, system optimization is a multidimensional space that we intrepid CA'ers explore. In my case, on the physical isolation dimension, I am probably still near the origin!

 

My only foray so far has to be to get some Herbie products. My results are described here.

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f22-networking-networked-audio-and-streaming/overall-isolation-network-universal-serial-bus-industry-standard-cables-connectors-and-communications-protocols-between-computers-and-electronic-devices-and-power-29916/index35.html#post627790

 

I'm sure there is more to explore!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your remarks.

 

As we know, system optimization is a multidimensional space that we intrepid CA'ers explore. In my case, on the physical isolation dimension, I am probably still near the origin!

My only foray so far has to be to get some Herbie products. My results are described here. http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f22-networking-networked-audio-and-streaming/overall-isolation-network-universal-serial-bus-industry-standard-cables-connectors-and-communications-protocols-between-computers-and-electronic-devices-and-power-29916/index35.html#post627790

 

I'm sure there is more to explore!

I took a look at your post and have to say kudos to you for recognizing the value of some form of vibration isolation. I have found that not enough of us audiophiles have paid attention to this area of the hobby. I also tried some of Herbie's feet (and a bunch of other stuff), but decided last year to go Barry's way without spending too much and it was worth it.

 

I had a small bicycle inner tube lying around from a previous experiment. I then bought three stainless steel teaspoons from a local hardware store, used a hacksaw to remove the handles, carefully attached (glued) a 1 1/2 inch block of wood to the bottom of each of the three remaining shallow stainless steel "dishes" ensuring they were level. Into each of these bases I placed a stainless steel ball bearing from a local machine shop.

 

 

I had lying around a piece of aluminum sheeting about twice the area of the Aries. To make a long story short I set out the inner tube, the sheeting and the rollers as Barry suggested and voila! The sonic improvement was simply unbelievable. Excellent bass resolution among the other attributes.

 

 

One caveat: it is vital to ensure that the power and related cables at the back of the Aries are properly "dressed" so that the Aries just seems to float unhindered and of course ensure that the whole shelf is level.

 

 

If anybody tries this I would very much like to hear your impressions.

Source: Intel i3 NUC/fanless/Euphony/Ext SSD) JS-2;

DAC: Mojo Mystique V2/Regen /LPS1.2;Curious USB

Preamp: Music First Audio passive V2/ Morrow cables

Amp: Sanders Electrostatic; Mapleshade power cable

Speakers: Magneplanar 1.7/Hsu vTF2 sub/Room 27x15'  

Misc: eR; extensive anti-vibration; 1.7's on Herbie's footers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Austinpop,

 

I agree with your findings concerning the microRendu. It is very accurate, clean, and precise. Romantic colorations need not apply for sure! but it is a great piece of equipment. I use many of your tweaks for MicroRendu as well. (Curious USB, TP Link MC200CMS, Herbie's Tenderfeet, Baby Booties, Supersonic Stabilizers, LPS-1, and a couple that you don't, Aurios and most importantly, the PS Audio LAN Rover. ) They all have their place

and duties.

It's the LanRover that has really helped the microRendu shine. I have it connected after the microRendu and powered by the HDPLEX linear power supply. And what does the LAN Rover do for the microRendu? The microRendu hands off all the dynamics, clarity, bass articulation, pacing, and blackness and the LAN Rover adds depth, imaging, wide soundstage, and a touch of musicality. The LAN Rover has two boxes about the size of a TP link module. The first unit accepts USB in from the microRendu, converts it to Ethernet which connects to the second module, which then converts Ethernet back to USB and connects from USB into the DAC.

I'm curious to find what benefit if any the RUR or the Intona would bring to the party.

Today my LPS1 shipped which I'll use to power the LAN Rover and I have a battery setup that will arrive this week to power the TPLink MC200cms. I'm hoping for even better sound quality.

I'll report back this weekend.

SteVe's V's

 

Speakers- Legacy Audio Vs & 2 Legacy LF Extreme Subwoofers, Amplifiers- 2 Coda 15.5 Amplifiers Biamped, Preamp- TRL Dude, DAC- Lampizator Golden Gate Legacy Audio WaveletPC Software-ROON, HQplayer, jPlay, Fidelizer, AudiophileOptimizer 2.10, jRiver, WSY2K12V2 Roon Server PC- , HqPlayer PC- Turntable- SOTA Sapphire, Sumiko FT3 Arm, Audioquest Cartridge, CODA Phono stage, Accessories- HAL Footers, PS Audio Powerbases, Aurios, HiFi Tuning Supreme Fuses, Power- PurePower+ 2000 & 3000, PS Audio: Powerbases, LAN Rover, Noise Harvester, Quintet, Ultimate Outlets HC, Welborne Labs & HdPlex LPSUs,

Cables- Clarus Crimson USB, Lampizator Silver Ghost USB, Clarus Crimson PC, Western Electric 10 gauge DIY Speaker Cables and Best-Tronics Belden 8402 Balanced Interconnects Equipment Racks- SolidSteel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Austinpop,

 

I agree with your findings concerning the microRendu. It is very accurate, clean, and precise. Romantic colorations need not apply for sure! but it is a great piece of equipment. I use many of your tweaks for MicroRendu as well. (Curious USB, TP Link MC200CMS, Herbie's Tenderfeet, Baby Booties, Supersonic Stabilizers, LPS-1, and a couple that you don't, Aurios and most importantly, the PS Audio LAN Rover. ) They all have their place

and duties.

It's the LanRover that has really helped the microRendu shine. I have it connected after the microRendu and powered by the HDPLEX linear power supply. And what does the LAN Rover do for the microRendu? The microRendu hands off all the dynamics, clarity, bass articulation, pacing, and blackness and the LAN Rover adds depth, imaging, wide soundstage, and a touch of musicality. The LAN Rover has two boxes about the size of a TP link module. The first unit accepts USB in from the microRendu, converts it to Ethernet which connects to the second module, which then converts Ethernet back to USB and connects from USB into the DAC.

I'm curious to find what benefit if any the RUR or the Intona would bring to the party.

Today my LPS1 shipped which I'll use to power the LAN Rover and I have a battery setup that will arrive this week to power the TPLink MC200cms. I'm hoping for even better sound quality.

I'll report back this weekend.

 

Yes, I have my eye on the LANRover. It's good to hear your positive experience with it.

 

One thing that makes my head hurt is - so once you convert USB to Ethernet on the LEX, do you now have another Ethernet segment that needs FMCs or isolators?

 

[emoji848]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Rajiv,

 

I skim read this when you posted it, and I am now reading it in a more leisurely way.

 

This is a great piece of information, and so rarely included:

 

About 80% of my music listening is to classical music on DSD64. The rest is a mix of progressive and classic rock, acoustic jazz, and assorted, also either on DSD or high-res PCM. I listen to almost no 16/44.1 music unless I have to.

The HD800 and the Elear are complementary. The HD800 is unparalleled for classical, but can sound thin and harsh with brighter, less pristine recordings.

 

If I only listened to classical music I would have been satisfied with my system long since, it is the playing of those less pristine recordings which I find frustrating, but they are ones I love. In trying to get the best from these recordings my system has improved, but I find there is a fine balance where I can get more detail but lose tonal texture & increase digital edge.

 

I am glad you are undertaking this comparison. The issue with reading other opinions is that I am less than convinced that they have put in the required effort to ensure that the system has been properly optimised.

 

I will be following your efforts with interest. Thank you for your hard work.

 

M

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Rajiv,

 

I skim read this when you posted it, and I am now reading it in a more leisurely way.

 

This is a great piece of information, and so rarely included:

 

About 80% of my music listening is to classical music on DSD64. The rest is a mix of progressive and classic rock, acoustic jazz, and assorted, also either on DSD or high-res PCM. I listen to almost no 16/44.1 music unless I have to.

The HD800 and the Elear are complementary. The HD800 is unparalleled for classical, but can sound thin and harsh with brighter, less pristine recordings.

 

If I only listened to classical music I would have been satisfied with my system long since, it is the playing of those less pristine recordings which I find frustrating, but they are ones I love. In trying to get the best from these recordings my system has improved, but I find there is a fine balance where I can get more detail but lose tonal texture & increase digital edge.

 

I am glad you are undertaking this comparison. The issue with reading other opinions is that I am less than convinced that they have put in the required effort to ensure that the system has been properly optimised.

 

I will be following your efforts with interest. Thank you for your hard work.

 

M

 

Hi M,

 

Thanks for your kind words.

 

Yes, I felt it important to share that information about my musical and tonal preferences, because it is very necessary context! I realize some of my findings here on CA are contrarian, but perhaps this is one of the reasons.

 

Either way, I try to be scrupulous and unbiased, and don't jump to conclusions.

 

I'll have more to say about less than pristine recordings when I report on my experiences with HQPlayer. I have been familiarizing myself with it, and Roon, since these are modes that are enabled my the mR and the sms-200 that the Aries Mini does not do. It behooves me to look at these as areas of potentially further SQ advancement.

 

The SMS-200 should be in the house by the end of day, if FedEx is to be trusted! Can't wait.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@austinpop, thanks for your detailed disclosures and reports!

 

I just remembered that last year, while my Aries Mini was being auditioned at a friend's place, one of my audio pals took out a Shun Mook LP clamp and placed it on the Mini, and there was an immediate SQ improvement!

 

Shun Mook Audio, Inc.

 

I remember being completely dumbfounded, as the sonic change was not subtle. This pal also has a collection of Shun Mook MPINGO discs (they look like hockey pucks) that were placed on top of speakers, tube amplifiers and pre-amps for similar sonic improvement. The discs have an orientation to them so they were carefully rotated into position. It was quite an ear-opener to hear how something completely non-electronic can have such a profound impact on the SQ of a system.

 

I guess I've been overly focused on electronic tweaks lately. There is another world of acoustic/physical treatments I have yet to explore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some interesting insights @autinpop, thanks for posting. Are you planning a head to head between the mR and the SMS-200? This one's a little inconclusive currently!

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The listening sessions with the mR, SMS-200, and Aries Mini continue apace. Thanks to the generosity of my loaner, I have ample time to evaluate these, which is really appreciated, as I strongly believe it takes

The advice I'd gotten on HQPlayer from various CA'ers, on and off this thread, was the following:

  • Yeah the UI is clumsy, but most people use it with Roon

As I've mentioned before, a bulk of my music listening is to high-resolution music (primarily DSD64, and the rest 24/96 or 24/192).

Bottom line: for the purposes of this evaluation, given my music choices, my continued use of MinimServer, and the MPD/DLNA mode, in no way disadvantages the mR or the SMS-200 relative to the DLNA-only Aries Mini. At least in SQ terms. Certainly, functionally, having the NAA and Roon modes is a big win on features.

Roon

 

The premise of Roon for this eval was completely unrelated to features. Here again, I had been advised that: even without upsampling or any DSP, Roon Server sending to the mR running as a Roon endpoint, using RAAT, had superior SQ to MinimServer sending to the mR in MPD/DLNA mode.

I played the same tracks - first, using the mR in MPD/DLNA mode, controlled by Lumin - and then - using the mR in Roon Endpoint mode, controlled by the Roon app.

Roon was configured as straight pass through, i.e. with none of the new DSP or upsampling features.

Conclusions

r whether their use, instead of MinimServer, provides a further boost in SQ with the mR and SMS-200.

Having completed this segue, I have reverted to using MinimServer/MPD/DLNA mode, and have instead renewed my focus on listening to the HW differences between the 3 endpoints!

 

Next installment in a few days.

Hi AustinPop!

Thank you so much for doing all this testing and reporting your results. I am sure that I'm not the only one finding your testing extremely helpful...

I just loaded up Roon on my NAS as a trial, & do have MiniMServer up on it too, as well as LMS from a super new, amazingly fast, iMAC in the basement. I have only fired up miniMserver once, just to make sure that it works.

Your post was super helpful, - so Thanks again!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi AustinPop!

Thank you so much for doing all this testing and reporting your results. I am sure that I'm not the only one finding your testing extremely helpful...

I just loaded up Roon on my NAS as a trial, & do have MiniMServer up on it too, as well as LMS from a super new, amazingly fast, iMAC in the basement. I have only fired up miniMserver once, just to make sure that it works.

Your post was super helpful, - so Thanks again!!

 

You're welcome.

 

Careful running Roon on your NAS. It's a resource hog, so needs careful setup. See https://kb.roonlabs.com/Roon_Server_on_NAS

 

I was hoping to live happily ever after, running Minim on my NAS, but with my findings, I am reluctantly moving to a PC.

 

It's a slippery slope now. Next, I've been advised to try AO -Audiophile Optimizer, and then who knows. It never ends!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was this a waste of time? No! Knowing that something does not provide a further SQ benefit in your system - i.e. a negative finding - is still very useful, because it answers a question that would otherwise linger and create doubts.

 

LOL, I see a DSD512 capable DAC and a i7-6700k in your near future.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOL, I see a DSD512 capable DAC and a i7-6700k in your near future.

 

[emoji23]

 

A nice DAC that does DSD512 and MQA decoding would certainly get my attention. Especially in the 2k price range.

 

Oh wait, I forgot the i7-6700k box. And I'll need a high-end LPS for that.

 

Ooh look, more shiny toys!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Conclusions

 

This entire post could be summarized as follows:

 

I've explored Roon and HQPlayer in my system to discover whether their use, instead of MinimServer, provides a further boost in SQ with the mR and SMS-200.

 

For me, on my system, with my DAC, with my music tastes, the answer is no, they do not.

 

Thanks for setting me at ease with not trying HQplayer. I stick to Minimstreamer on my new Synology ds116 and not using a pc in my setup.

 

ps.

Upgrading from ds112 to ds116 proved a big step up in SQ. The ds112 must have been to busy with transcoding.

 

Synology NAS, LPS-1, microRendu, Job INTegrated, Penaudio Cenya.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for setting me at ease with not trying HQplayer. I stick to Minimstreamer on my new Synology ds116 and not using a pc in my setup.

Upgrading from ds112 to ds116 proved a big step up in SQ. The ds112 must have been to busy with transcoding.

 

Synology NAS, LPS-1, microRendu, Job INTegrated, Penaudio Cenya.

 

I hope you registered the caveats - in my system, with my DAC, with my music tastes! The answer may be different for you. Or not.

 

Just wanted to make sure people don't treat my findings as generally applicable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope you registered the caveats - in my system, with my DAC, with my music tastes! The answer may be different for you. Or not.

 

Just wanted to make sure people don't treat my findings as generally applicable.

Off course you said so loud and clear.

 

Thanks!

 

Synology NAS, LPS-1, microRendu, Job INTegrated, Penaudio Cenya.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share



×
×
  • Create New...