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Considering SonicTransporter


t_ram
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I've been using my old 2011 Mac Mini to run Roon server that feeds into an ultraRendu and now thinking of going with a sonicTransporter. My dac is currently capable of doing dsd256 but when I upsample everything in Roon's dsp I get the static pops so I can only do 128 for now. 128 sounds great but I can get the sense of 256 despite the static and it sounds marvelous. I'm thinking of eventually sending my dac (Lampi Atlantic) to get the dsd512 engine so I'm wondering which sonicTransporter is the best option. 

 

My first thought is the i7 for Roon dsp as it can also allow for direct connection like I'm doing now with the Mini but I've read Andrew at Green Computer say just the i5 is enough if all your doing is upsampling. 

 

Anybody have either the i5 or i7 sonicTransporter that can share some thoughts on performance with Roon and it's dsp engine?

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

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Yes I've had both the i5 and i7. The sonicT i5 can do up-sampling to DSD512 to one zone at a time, no problems.

 

If you want to do up-sampling and other DSP (convolution for example) to 2 or more zones at the same time (party mode !) , then you will probably need the i7.

 

But also note that Roon's DSP may need more grunt in future - so just because the i5 is fine for now, it may not be so fine in 2 years. But that's crystal ball stuff of course and impossible to predict.

 

I would recommend the cheaper i5 unless you're doing grouped playback with serious DSP.

 

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Thanks for the insight Em2016.

 

Just so I know how it would work, the usb connection between the sT i5 and my Mac Mini would allow Roon server to access any music files I may have on the Mini? I mostly use Tidal any more and upsample through Roon but do have some flac and other type files on the Mini.

 

And would you know if there's the option or possibility to go the direct connection route by using a usb to ethernet adapter on the sT i5?

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

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14 minutes ago, t_ram said:

Just so I know how it would work, the usb connection between the sT i5 and my Mac Mini

 

Hi, no there's no USB connection between the sT i5 and Mac.

 

Actually the sT i5 would replace your Mac Mini as Roon Core. The Mac would just be used as a Roon Remote but an iPad (or any big fast tablet) is a better experience for Roon Remote.

 

Both the sT and Mac need to be connected to the same router via ethernet. They can of course be connected to network switches, but all tie back to the same router.

 

The only USB cable involved is from the microRendu I see in your signature, to your USB DAC.

 

So microRendu, sT i5 and Mac all talk to each other via ethernet, back to the same router.

 

14 minutes ago, t_ram said:

And would you know if there's the option or possibility to go the direct connection route by using a usb to ethernet adapter on the sT i5?

 

I'm not sure about this. I know the sT i7 has two bridged ethernet ports. To be honest this is no difference to just having a network switch like a NetGear GS105.

 

If you really need and want both the microRendu and sonicT i5 in the same room, I would just get a NetGear GS105 switch and plug both the microRendu and sonicT i5 into the GS105. Again, the switch needs to tie back to wherever your router is.

 

The best setup depends on where your sonicT i5 and router are - are they both inside the listening room or can both be outside the listening room? The latter is ideal - with just your microRendu connected via ethernet inside your listening room.

 

I hope this helps a little.

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14 minutes ago, Em2016 said:

 

Hi, no there's no USB connection between the sT i5 and Mac.

 

Actually the sT i5 would replace your Mac Mini as Roon Core. The Mac would just be used as a Roon Remote but an iPad (or any big fast tablet) is a better experience for Roon Remote.

 

Both the sT and Mac need to be connected to the same router via ethernet. They can of course be connected to network switches, but all tie back to the same router.

 

The only USB cable involved is from the microRendu I see in your signature, to your USB DAC.

 

So microRendu, sT i5 and Mac all talk to each other via ethernet, back to the same router.

 

 

I'm not sure about this. I know the sT i7 has two bridged ethernet ports. To be honest this is no difference to just having a network switch like a NetGear GS105.

 

If you really need and want both the microRendu and sonicT i5 in the same room, I would just get a NetGear GS105 switch and plug both the microRendu and sonicT i5 into the GS105. Again, the switch needs to tie back to wherever your router is.

 

The best setup depends on where your sonicT i5 and router are - are they both inside the listening room or can both be outside the listening room? The latter is ideal - with just your microRendu connected via ethernet inside your listening room.

 

I hope this helps a little.

 

Thanks for the help!

 

I guess when I saw the USB ports on the back of the sT for storage devices I thought for me that would be the Mini but like you said they would all connect via the network.  I do have a switch I would use so everything should connect just fine. I'm currently using the Mini in bridge mode to go direct from router to Mini to switch to rendu and while I think it's a bit better soundwise that way I'm sure the sT replacing the Mini would have its own increase in sound quality. The price of the i7 sT is double that of the i5 and I'm not sure how much the i7's ability to bridge allowing for direct connection would make the price increase worth it. 

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

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21 minutes ago, t_ram said:

The price of the i7 sT is double that of the i5 and I'm not sure how much the i7's ability to bridge allowing for direct connection would make the price increase worth it. 

 

The bridged ethernet ports of the i7 are a 'nice to have' feature but no major difference to a normal unmanaged switch like the NetGear GS105 . Whether you need the i7 should be mostly about your DSP needs, especially simultaneous playback in multi zones.

 

Also note that while the sT i5 has multiple USB ports, only one (unfortunately) can be used at a time for storage.

 

The cool thing about the sT i5 is if you're really lazy like me and want to get music playing quickly, you just press the power button and by the time you sit down on your listening chair with your tablet, your library is fully loaded and ready to play music. Compared with turning on a Mac, sitting and waiting for it to boot, logging in, loading up Roon. It's a much quicker experience since the sT is headless (no keyboard or mouse or monitor required). Shutting down can be done from your tablet or just pressing the power button once again.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Em2016 said:

 

The bridged ethernet ports of the i7 are a 'nice to have' feature but no major difference to a normal unmanaged switch like the NetGear GS105 . Whether you need the i7 should be mostly about your DSP needs, especially simultaneous playback in multi zones.

 

Also note that while the sT i5 has multiple USB ports, only one (unfortunately) can be used at a time for storage.

 

The cool thing about the sT i5 is if you're really lazy like me and want to get music playing quickly, you just press the power button and by the time you sit down on your listening chair with your tablet, your library is fully loaded and ready to play music. Compared with turning on a Mac, sitting and waiting for it to boot, logging in, loading up Roon. It's a much quicker experience since the sT is headless (no keyboard or mouse or monitor required). Shutting down can be done from your tablet or just pressing the power button once again.

 

 

 

Thanks again for the feedback. 

 

I guess the the only thing that would kinda stink is I'd have to get another Roon liscense for the sT. At least that's what I think I have read somewhere, I can't just use what I already have on the Mini. I like that I can have all the upsampling capability with just the i5 and save some money versus getting the i7. Definitely thinking hard about this...

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

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6 minutes ago, t_ram said:

I guess the the only thing that would kinda stink is I'd have to get another Roon liscense for the sT. At least that's what I think I have read somewhere, I can't just use what I already have on the Mini.

 

The Roon app makes it easy to disconnect from your Mac Mini Core and use your sT Core. You just can't use both at the same time.

 

If you need 2 Cores (2 separate libraries) running at the same time, only then would you need a 2nd license.

 

Hope that helps!

 

As earlier, unless you are doing serious DSP with two zones at the same time (I call that party mode), go for the i5

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17 minutes ago, Em2016 said:

 

The Roon app makes it easy to disconnect from your Mac Mini Core and use your sT Core. You just can't use both at the same time.

 

If you need 2 Cores (2 separate libraries) running at the same time, only then would you need a 2nd license.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Well that makes it easy then. Thanks for taking the time and helping me understand this!

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

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11 minutes ago, t_ram said:

 

Well that makes it easy then. Thanks for taking the time and helping me understand this!

 

Happy to help! It was quite the learning curve for me too (not that I'm an expert now). I'm sure someone will bump into this thread in future and it may help them too.

 

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Is the sound quality the same, using ST vs a Mac (Mini or Pro) for your Roon core?  I'm looking for real world experiences rather than theoretical.

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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6 minutes ago, OldBigEars said:

Is the sound quality the same, using ST vs a Mac (Mini or Pro) for your Roon core?  I'm looking for real world experiences rather than theoretical.

 

In my observations in my system, no differences in SQ when both the sonicT and iMac were 'serving'  over the network.

 

When either was connected direct to a USB DAC via USB cable, then the sT is a little better. It gets a little better again when the sT is powered with a 12Vdc linear PSU (probably a leakage current thing, if you follow John S's posts).

 

But I preferred to have the powerful Roon Core (and WiFi router) far away from the listening room. And just have a low powered networked (ethernet) endpoint feeding the DAC. In this networked setup,  I personally couldn't hear any obvious difference between the linear PSU powered sT and the iMac.

 

Just personal observations. I'm definitely no expert of any kind.

 

 

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@Em2016 thanks for your reply - very helpful.  I'm getting excellent results with my MBP connected to the network - hard to imagine it would be much improved with the ST and you've confirmed my thoughts about that.  The main issue is that it's slightly inconvenient having to turn on the computer to listen to music, but personally I'm not 'there' yet in terms of investing in a dedicated server if my SQ would be practically identical.

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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27 minutes ago, OldBigEars said:

@Em2016 thanks for your reply - very helpful.  I'm getting excellent results with my MBP connected to the network - hard to imagine it would be much improved with the ST and you've confirmed my thoughts about that.  The main issue is that it's slightly inconvenient having to turn on the computer to listen to music, but personally I'm not 'there' yet in terms of investing in a dedicated server if my SQ would be practically identical.

Why not leave your MBP on 24/7?  All my “computer audio” equipment is continually powered. 

BPT 3.5 Ultra/Reference 3A Reflectors/MSB Technology S201 Amplifier/MSB Technology Analog DAC/MSB Technology Network Renderer/Audirvana +

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