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Gary.D.Olson

microRendu (Quest for the All-In-One Killer)

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Music listening used to be simple. You had your music on vinyl and used a turn table connected to an amp & speakers to play it. Bamm. Dark Side of the Moon in all of three seconds. Okay, maybe five.

 

I've gone from one possible configuration to another, finding significant flaws in each of them before finally landing on the Cambridge CXN all-in-one solution. But I'm convinced there must be a much better solution, and in fact, I'm beginning to believe we can largely get back what we had in paragraph 1 while enjoying instant access to our entire music libraries, and without spending a fortune. I MAY have found a way.

 

The purpose of this thread is finding confirmation, correction, redirection, etc. regarding one possible configuration using the ever popular microRendu. Please forgive the over simplifications. You are the most sophisticated group in the universe, and I love that about you, but I'm getting older and don't grasp some of these concepts as quickly. My current understanding as well as where I'm headed is the following:

 

1. Best case scenario, a music library is stored, as well as managed and played, on a network-connected PC, Mac, or NAS located somewhere else in the house (I believe the reason for this is a significant reduction in noise is made possible by keeping each electrical component in the audio chain separated into its own electrical circuit). In my case, the Windows 10 PC is a home theater computer (HTPC) with JRiver Media Center (JRMC) as music player, manager, & server software. An iPad Air with JRemote is used as a remote control.

 

2. The still-digitized music is sent (streamed) over the network and must be received in the music-listening room by a "renderer" (in my case, the microRendu) which converts the "data stream" into digital music. It is then sent to a directly connected digital-to-analog converter (a.k.a. DAC - in my case, the Emotiva Stealth DC-1) which is then connected to your amp & speakers.

 

In short: Win10/JRMC HTPC with internal flac library > ethernet cable > router > ethernet cable > microRendu > USB cable > DC-1 DAC > RCA or Balanced cable > amp & speakers; controlled by iPad Air/JRemote.

 

Is this a configuration you could live with? If not, why; and what would you do differently?

 

Thank you.


Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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Music listening used to be simple. You had your music on vinyl and used a turn table connected to an amp & speakers to play it. Bamm. Dark Side of the Moon in all of three seconds. Okay, maybe five.

 

I've gone from one possible configuration to another, finding significant flaws in each of them before finally landing on the Cambridge CXN all-in-one solution. But I'm convinced there must be a much better solution, and in fact, I'm beginning to believe we can largely get back what we had in paragraph 1 while enjoying instant access to our entire music libraries, and without spending a fortune. I MAY have found a way.

 

The purpose of this thread is finding confirmation, correction, redirection, etc. regarding one possible configuration using the ever popular microRendu. Please forgive the over simplifications. You are the most sophisticated group in the universe, and I love that about you, but I'm getting older and don't grasp some of these concepts as quickly. My current understanding as well as where I'm headed is the following:

 

1. Best case scenario, a music library is stored, as well as managed and played, on a network-connected PC, Mac, or NAS located somewhere else in the house (I believe the reason for this is a significant reduction in noise is made possible by keeping each electrical component in the audio chain separated into its own electrical circuit). In my case, the Windows 10 PC is a home theater computer (HTPC) with JRiver Media Center (JRMC) as music player, manager, & server software. An iPad Air with JRemote is used as a remote control.

 

2. The still-digitized music is sent (streamed) over the network and must be received in the music-listening room by a "renderer" (in my case, the microRendu) which converts the "data stream" into digital music. It is then sent to a directly connected digital-to-analog converter (a.k.a. DAC - in my case, the Emotiva Stealth DC-1) which is then connected to your amp & speakers.

 

In short: Win10/JRMC HTPC with internal flac library > ethernet cable > router > ethernet cable > microRendu > USB cable > DC-1 DAC > RCA or Balanced cable > amp & speakers; controlled by iPad Air/JRemote.

 

Is this a configuration you could live with? If not, why; and what would you do differently?

 

Thank you.

.

 

The Windows 10 / JRMC and the Micro Rendu seem to be redundant as they are the same class of product. That is they are both 'rendering endpoints'.

 

The Mrendu is remote controlled directly. I would go with a NAS (I use Netgear) and either the Win10 / JRMC (Which is what I use) or the MicroRendu.

 

This setup is what I'm currently using in my WireWorld thread where I'm swapping out a 12 foot $330 cable with a 315 foot $90 cable I terminated myself with great results either way. I fed another machine with and ADC and the output is posted as a download. Same could be done with the Mrendu. Using the Emotiva DC-1 also.

 

I think either way you will be happy with the results. I would let what you think the best UI experience drive the purchase decision.

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In short: Win10/JRMC HTPC with internal flac library > ethernet cable > router > ethernet cable > microRendu > USB cable > DC-1 DAC > RCA or Balanced cable > amp & speakers; controlled by iPad Air/JRemote.

 

Is this a configuration you could live with? If not, why; and what would you do differently?

 

Thank you.

I have been using the network approach to digital to analog for about 8 months and have never regretted the system changes. I use a NAS, microRendu, and Android tablet based BubbleUPnP control app. In details of the data path there is room for improving the sound quality by paying attention to power for the microRendu (and perhaps DAC if externally powered) and, my experience and others, optical isolation of the microRendu with fibre media converters, again with attention to power.

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@plissken, you're usually right on but I don't understand your advice above. His configuration is fine. He has a server (PC/JRMC) and a renderer (mRendu). He's controlling with a tablet running JRemote. He needs no more/no less. How are the "Windows 10 / JRMC and the Micro Rendu ... redundant"? One is a server, the other a renderer.

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@plissken, you're usually right on but I don't understand your advice above. His configuration is fine. He has a server (PC/JRMC) and a renderer (mRendu). He's controlling with a tablet running JRemote. He needs no more/no less. How are the "Windows 10 / JRMC and the Micro Rendu ... redundant"? One is a server, the other a renderer.

 

It's because decent NAS units now days have back end services like Twonky, SMB, etc... built in. So, potentially, the JRiver PC could be omitted.

 

If the JRiver PC going to also be the server offering UPnP/DNLA/Twonky/SMB etc then the setup is fine.

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@plissken, you're usually right on but I don't understand your advice above. His configuration is fine. He has a server (PC/JRMC) and a renderer (mRendu). He's controlling with a tablet running JRemote. He needs no more/no less. How are the "Windows 10 / JRMC and the Micro Rendu ... redundant"? One is a server, the other a renderer.

 

I thank you both for your replies.

 

I don't get this either. Isn't it true the music library needs to be streamed to the microR from a computer or NAS? In fact, I don't even think a portable USB drive with music files can be connected to the microR, as is the case with the Cambridge CXN. And second: the HTPC is already in place but in a separate room, and the music library is already stored within, so this isn't something I have to go out and buy.

 

What am I missing?


Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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It's because decent NAS units now days have back end services like Twonky, SMB, etc... built in. So, potentially, the JRiver PC could be omitted.

 

If the JRiver PC going to also be the server offering UPnP/DNLA/Twonky/SMB etc then the setup is fine.

Ahhh. This is the case. JRiver is acting as server. It's DNLA compliant, certified, or whatever the term.

 

Thank you!


Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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It's because decent NAS units now days have back end services like Twonky, SMB, etc... built in. So, potentially, the JRiver PC could be omitted.

 

If the JRiver PC going to also be the server offering UPnP/DNLA/Twonky/SMB etc then the setup is fine.

 

So if this is all good, and one already owns the router/amp/speakers/iPad/cables, the total cost is $1200 (microRendu $700, DC-1 $500). Note: this particular DAC is unusual in that it omits the need for one piece of hardware necessary in most other configurations: a re-clocker such as W4S's $250.00 model. Correct?


Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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So if this is all good, and one already owns the router/amp/speakers/iPad/cables, the total cost is $1200 (microRendu $700, DC-1 $500). Note: this particular DAC is unusual in that it omits the need for one piece of hardware necessary in most other configurations: a re-clocker such as W4S's $250.00 model. Correct?

 

According to Emotiva you won't need a doohicky with their DAC.

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. The Windows 10 / JRMC and the Micro Rendu seem to be redundant as they are the same class of product. That is they are both 'rendering endpoints'.

The Mrendu is remote controlled directly. I would go with a NAS (I use Netgear) and either the Win10 / JRMC (Which is what I use) or the MicroRendu.

This setup is what I'm currently using in my WireWorld thread where I'm swapping out a 12 foot $330 cable with a 315 foot $90 cable I terminated myself with great results either way. I fed another machine with and ADC and the output is posted as a download. Same could be done with the Mrendu. Using the Emotiva DC-1 also.

I think either way you will be happy with the results. I would let what you think the best UI experience drive the purchase decision.

 

Here's where inexperience is getting the better of me.

 

I thought my iDevice would be controlling the JRMC server, but that's incorrect from your bolded statement above, and that does make sense. To clarify; will my iPad be controlling the microRendu which in turn will control the server? If so, this forces me to trade JRemote for Sonore's user interface app. If this is correct, do you know how Sonore's UI compares with JRiver's?


Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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Here's where inexperience is getting the better of me.

 

I thought my iDevice would be controlling the JRMC server, but that's incorrect from your bolded statement above, and that does make sense. To clarify; will my iPad be controlling the microRendu which in turn will control the server? If so, this forces me to trade JRemote for Sonore's user interface app. If this is correct, do you know how Sonore's UI compares with JRiver's?

 

You can setup DNLA on JRiver with the MRendu as an end point/zone. That's a workable solution.

 

Are you attempting multi-zone?

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You can setup DNLA on JRiver with the MRendu as an end point/zone. That's a workable solution.

Are you attempting multi-zone?

 

Negative, though I may want to do that later. I just read Chris Connaker's in-depth review of the microRendu followed by several pages of comments. I think I made it to page 4. Somewhere in between, Chris mentioned he'd used JRiver to drive the microRendu during his assessment. Between Chris' stellar review and the many happy buyers, I'm quite sold.

 

Thanks for the help.


Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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Negative, though I may want to do that later. I just read Chris Connaker's in-depth review of the microRendu followed by several pages of comments. I think I made it to page 4. Somewhere in between, Chris mentioned he'd used JRiver to drive the microRendu during his assessment. Between Chris' stellar review and the many happy buyers, I'm quite sold.

 

Thanks for the help.

 

I thought in your other thread you were a bit down on JRMC UI...

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My goal was simplicity as well. ARAULiC Altair with an internal SSD connected to an amplifier and controlled with Lightning DS via iPad. I have the Altair on my network so I can transfer downloaded and ripped music and also stream Tidal.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile

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I thought in your other thread you were a bit down on JRMC UI...

 

On the contrary. Jriver has always been a joy to use. I'm looking to escape the pitfalls of the pc. It seems like half the time I wake the pc up to play music, I find it must first be restarted before it can work properly. Very frustrating, and it kills the mood. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile


Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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My goal was simplicity as well. ARAULiC Altair with an internal SSD connected to an amplifier and controlled with Lightning DS via iPad. I have the Altair on my network so I can transfer downloaded and ripped music and also stream Tidal.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile

 

The Altair looks like an excellent solution as does the Lumin D1. I wish it were possible to hear them side by side with the Rendu/DC-1 combo.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile


Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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On the contrary. Jriver has always been a joy to use. I'm looking to escape the pitfalls of the pc. It seems like half the time I wake the pc up to play music, I find it must first be restarted before it can work properly. Very frustrating, and it kills the mood. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile

 

I use low wattage systems and kill power saving. I'm about to proactively replace my 2.0 PC. I built it in 2009 and it's been running 24X7 almost non stop.

 

You don't necessarily have a PC problem. You have an implementation issue.

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I'm looking to escape the pitfalls of the pc. It seems like half the time I wake the pc up to play music, I find it must first be restarted before it can work properly. Very frustrating, and it kills the mood.

 

If this is the "real" problem, let's focus on solving it. You already have a capable network player in the CXN but I understand you just want the music to play. There are two ways of achieving this:

 

1. Leave your HTPC powered on all the time. Disable any power management. Leave JRMC running with its UPnP server component active. This can be done right now and should greatly improve your experience.

2. Purchase a low-power NAS, such as the Synology DS216play, wire it to your router, and copy your music library to it. It has a UPnP server built-in. You can continue to rip/download as you do today and easily copy new content over to the NAS via your network.

 

Either of these options will give you "always on" response. You can use any UPnP remote controller you like, such as the Cambridge Connect app.

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You don't even need a PC, let alone an HTPC to run JRiver Media Center, especially if all you are doing is using it as a 'plain' UPnP/DLNA media file server and controller (ie, you're not using JRiver's playback engine), for the microRendu that will actually playing the audio files in its UPnP/DLNA renderer mode. A version of JRiver Media Center exists for the tiny Raspberry Pi and you can run it headless, can't get much more efficient, & low powered than that - just attach a USB drive containing your audio files:

https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=95578.0


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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I use low wattage systems and kill power saving. I'm about to proactively replace my 2.0 PC. I built it in 2009 and it's been running 24X7 almost non stop.

You don't necessarily have a PC problem. You have an implementation issue.

I'm sure your correct. The problem in my case is that my renderer is an under-powered and long-in-the-tooth netBook in need of replacement. I hate changing audio configurations and thus decided to take this opportunity to replace it with something designed exclusively for audio playback. Only time will tell, but I believe research (much of it here) has proven very fruitful.

 

First, I found the Aurelic Aries Mini renderer with built-in dac, a bargain at $500. Then I learned a relatively expensive PSU upgrade would be a huge improvement. I soon concluded it would be smarter to replace the PSU upgrade with a Stealth DC-1 for its better dac, hardware volume, analog inputs, and balanced output. The highly regarded Cambridge CXN offers all of this in a single box, however, further research brought me back to the Aries Mini+DC-1 combo. And, finally (?), discovery of the microRendu; a stellar match to the DC-1 at a combined cost of $1190.

 

This is now a quest for proper, as you say, "implementation" of the microRendo and DC-1.

 

Thanks All!


Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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I'm sure your correct. The problem in my case is that my renderer is an under-powered and long-in-the-tooth netBook.

 

Thanks All!

 

 

I don't know if you mentioned an old netbook in the other thread. Those were never really reliable kit even when brand new. It's just tough helping sometimes because the goal, the setup in real terms, the real root issues come out of the woodwork bit by bit instead of right away. At least it's all leading to what is going to be a really stream lined setup.

 

I keep everything as simple as possible and it seems you like to do the same. Buy hardware designed competently from the get go and you want have to add usb and power supply doohickeys.

 

I think you will be happy with the DC-1 DAC.

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I don't know if you mentioned an old netbook in the other thread... ...It's just tough helping sometimes because the goal, the setup in real terms, the real root issues come out of the woodwork bit by bit instead of right away.

 

Sorry about that. I did fail to mention the limping netBook.


Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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I can't see any thing wrong with this setup apart from JRMC on the PC, requiring it to be on all the time, albeit it's located away from the listening room.

 

As other have suggested I'd go for a NAS. Use the PC and JRMC to rip, tag etc the files, but host them on the NAS.

 

When it comes to playback, the Synology like most of them has DNLA capability. Use that or ROON or JRMC on a headless NUC or Pi, and an IOS app into the microRendu and on to the DAC.

 

I rarely use JRMC for playback, as I also have Sonos and their IOS app brings together my music , Spotify and Qubos, though Critically not my hi res stuff. For critical listening though, I use the Synology app directly into my DNLA receiver. I'm contemplating a MR to take the receiver out of the loop directly into my TEAC DAC.

 

Just can't work out whether the mR or the SonicOrbiter would be enough .

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