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An possible experiment: Mac Mini with Brigde vs Sonic Transporter i5 without the bridg


bobfa
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I am about to run an experiment. I would like others thoughts before I make this happen.

 

I have a “spare” Mac Mini that was my music server and my current music server which is the last generation Sonic Transporter i5.  I have been reading the threads about using a bridged network to improve sound quality.  So I am am thinking about the new ST i7 DSP but before I spend $$$$ I want to experiment.  My current NAA is a microrendu with 1.3 hardware and 2.5 software.  I am running Ethernet to it.  The music servers are in the network rack in the basement.

 

1. Move Roon Core back over to the Mac Mini and put the music either on my Synology NAS or on a drive attached to the Mac.  

2. Test the Mac Mini as the server without bridging for a few days.

3. Setup bridging on the Mac Mini and see what happens.

3.5. Try some software optimization’s?  

4. Move back to the sonic transporter  to close the loop.

 

I really like the Sonic Transporter for the simplicity in that I do not have to worry about software updates or OS Managment. .  There are a lot of ways to spend say $2000 on just the server.  

 

—RJF

 

I have a SoTM-200 ultra and their power supply on order to try.

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should be interesting

 

if you hear a difference or think you do, try a blind test - do 20 reps., see how many you guess right

 

wives and gfs love to play tricks on people that pay too much attention to the stereo so that can be used to create a happy helper

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I'm interested in seeing what you think. I currently use an old 2011 mac mini connected to my ultraRendu in bridge connection using Roon 1.4 on the mac and ipad. I never used to think upsampling to dsd did much for sound quality but the latest updates with Roon have me upsampling everything to dsd 128. My dac can handle dsd 256 but my mac seems to be slowing it down as I get the static pops but I can still get the sense that 256 is quite a bit better so I'd like to upgrade the mac mini to either a sonic transporter or get a cheap NUC with i7 for $400 and load Roon ROCK. The NUC can still be bridged as far as I know but for the sonic transporter I think you have to get the i7 version which is around $1500 to do the bridge thing. 

 

One would think the sT is superior to the mac mini for sound quality straight up so it would be interesting to see how much bridging the mac narrows the gap.

Sonore microRendu>Lampi L4G5>Herron VTSP 3a r03>Herron M1a monos>Vapor Cirrus Blacks

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I am still working out the issues with starting the test.  I would like to have a second roon core license to work with so I want to address that.  I actually have to move my existing sonic transporter and the network cable from the stereo to a separate rack I have setup where the Mac Mini and the NAS are.  I need to eliminate any other variables that I can.  I also have make sure I have the hardware to bridge the Mac.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i am sort of re-thinking this so I am going  do the following.  I have a Intel i7 NUC and I am going to do a windows 10 install, bridge the network and fire up Roon on it first.  I have to figure out the audio optimization stuff for windows which will be a good learning experience.

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

I thought I would follow up on this.  I have been running the Mac Mini with the UpTone conversion and the JS-2 for a while.  I never did mess enough with the NUC as it now is my wife’s work PC..  But this week I tried something.  

 

I was going to sell my i5 Sonic Transporter but I thought it would be interesting to try something.  I put the ST in the system turned on the Roon setup to allow local USB to work.  I have the Mytek DAC+ hooked up via an ISOREGEN and a Transparent HP USB cable.  I have some more listening to do but it appears that it actually sounds better than the MacMini.  (I never did any software optimization’s on the MacMini.  It will take a few days of listening to see if more pops out.

 

Note that the computer is on the JS-2 as well as the DAC and the ISOREGEN is on an LPS 1.2

 

RJF

 

NOTE I have been playing with a couple of other DACs (CODEX and Merging NADAC) along with an Antipodes DX that belong to one of my customers.  My Mytek fills a lot of needs but the other two sound better.  The Antipodes DX is interesting and the difference there is a bit smaller but things seem tighter.  

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2 hours ago, bobfa said:

 

NOTE I have been playing with a couple of other DACs (CODEX and Merging NADAC) along with an Antipodes DX that belong to one of my customers.  My Mytek fills a lot of needs but the other two sound better.  The Antipodes DX is interesting and the difference there is a bit smaller but things seem tighter

 

This is comparing the DX with the SonicTransporter i5? Which generation is the DX?

"Its the REF clock that makes it all so good..."

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I do not know how to tell the generation. I was told it was current???

 

I have my ST I5 (first version???  older case anyway)  hooked up to an UpTone JS-2 power supply.  I am listening to it for a few days before I go back to the Antipodes.  I am thinking the Antipodes is a bit better but I cannot make any conclusions yet. 

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A bit more on the ST I5 testing.  

 

With the STi5 in the system the bass performance is tighter and a bit deeper.  There is more clarity in piano tracks and there is greater clarity in bells, symbols and other "struck" instruments.  I am thinking that the MacMini is now going up for sale!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been testing the ST i5 both locally with USB to the DAC+ and a Codex.  I also have been testing with the SM-200 Ultra and that beats the local USB.  I have the SMS-200 powered by the JS-2. I still want to test running the ST i5 with a better power supply when it is not in the RAC.  It is very hard to go back and forth between the computers because I have to move power supplies and the roon license.  I am sure that if I tweak the MacMini it would improve the performance, but I am of the mind to just not do that.  Managing the MacMini is more work than the STi5.   So I am going narrow the testing to running the ST i5 in the computer room and have a render in stereo.

 

There is more hardware in the “barn” to start testing with.  I will be selling some of my spare gear!

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Thanks for sharing. It’s a lot of work. 

Interested in your conclusions. 

Mac Mini Late 2014 (16G/SSD) w Uptone JS-2 w OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini RAID (JS-2) / Roon

Aqua LinQ w EtherCon cable (Ghent) w Uptone EtherRegen w Uptone JS-2

Aqua Formula xHD w Ocellia RCA Interconnect & Shunyata Delta NR

Kora TB 200 Integrated Amplifier w Audio Art Power Cable

Magico V2 w Ocellia speaker cables w Shunyata Dark Field Elevator & JL Audio E-Sub e110 X 2

All equipment, including subwoofer on Modulum platforms (modulumaudio.com)

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