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Currently I have a SoTM SMS200 (not Ultra or Neo) Powered by an iFI $50 wall wart. I feed this into a Chord Qutest (I've been inserting a Schiit Eitr in between to convert USB from the SMS200 to S/PDIF). I like the sound A LOT. Nothing, that I know of, is really missing. I just think if it's this good at this level that I bet it could be even better with some changes.

 

I know I could try many things - but I'm considering one of these 4 options (at the moment):

1. Buy a Sbooster or similar PS for the SMS200 and probably another one for the Qutest - cost about $800

2. Buy a SMS200 Ultra Neo AND the aforementioned Sbooster PSs - cost about $2000

3. Buy a Sonore OpticalRendu Package and PSs. And change to Optical Networking to feed the Qutest - cost about $2,200

4. Buy any manor of streamer - but the AURALiC ARIES G1 appeals to me at present - cost about $2,600

 

I was 100% all set on No. 4, but started thinking of No. 3 instead.

 

I don't see a lot of reviews for the OpticalRendu nor the Aries G1. The few that are out there are glowing. But it's not really a chorus just a smattering.

 

Anyone here have real world experience with these options that would kindly add their $.02?

 

PS. Please don't ask... what's missing or say that DAC sucks, etc. Thanks

 

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3 hours ago, ArthurOtt said:

I think the sound quality would be significantly better if you go with Option 4 instead of Option 3.

 

And you've reached that conclusion by direct comparison? 

 

If you do go with three, be sure to get the better power supply for the Rendu - the Sonore Power Supply - it made a huge difference on my microRendu 1.4. Better fuse even better. And keep in mind with the Rendu's you can stream Roon to a non-Roon ready endpoint using the Bridge App in Sonicorbiter. Nice two for one, for me at least. 


SERVER CLOSET (in office directly below living room stereo):NUC 7i5BNH with Roon ROCK and OWC external 2.5" HD (ZeroZone 12V on the NUC)>Cisco 2690L-16PS switch>Sonore opticalModule (HDPLEX 100)>LIVING ROOM:>Sonore opticalModule (Sonore Power Supply w/ SR Black fuse))>Ghent Audio JSSG Cat 6a cable>Sonore microRendu 1.4> (Uptone ) Uptone USPCB>Naim DAC V1>Witchhat DIN>Naim NAP 110>Chord Rumor 2>Audio Physic Compact Classics.

OFFICE:Naim Unitiqute V1>NACA5>KEF Ls50's, Cisco 2960PD. BJC cabling for ethernet aside from the Ghent and Naim stock AC cables with Wattgate or HifiKing Plugs. 

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Yes, I have compared both. To get the same SQ from a Sonore product as the Auralic Aries G1 you'd have to go to the Signature Rendu SE. 

 

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6 hours ago, ArthurOtt said:

Yes, I have compared both. To get the same SQ from a Sonore product as the Auralic Aries G1 you'd have to go to the Signature Rendu SE. 

 

 

Good to know. I'm admittedly a Sonore (and Uptone) fanboy, but there are plenty of great options out there. That Auralic is a nice looking piece of gear I have to say. Personally, I've never had the financial means/wherewithal to plunk down that much $ on any one piece of HiFi gear so the Sonore/Uptone stuff has been nice to build upon over time. Cameras are a different matter, but those at least I can write off for biz...


SERVER CLOSET (in office directly below living room stereo):NUC 7i5BNH with Roon ROCK and OWC external 2.5" HD (ZeroZone 12V on the NUC)>Cisco 2690L-16PS switch>Sonore opticalModule (HDPLEX 100)>LIVING ROOM:>Sonore opticalModule (Sonore Power Supply w/ SR Black fuse))>Ghent Audio JSSG Cat 6a cable>Sonore microRendu 1.4> (Uptone ) Uptone USPCB>Naim DAC V1>Witchhat DIN>Naim NAP 110>Chord Rumor 2>Audio Physic Compact Classics.

OFFICE:Naim Unitiqute V1>NACA5>KEF Ls50's, Cisco 2960PD. BJC cabling for ethernet aside from the Ghent and Naim stock AC cables with Wattgate or HifiKing Plugs. 

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Thanks for the responses. I'm in the process of selling a few things to stock up my gear buying budget. As I mentioned the Auralic has been on my list recently. So my budget goal reflects that.

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Have you considered just adding the Hugo M Scaler? It’s a far bigger impact than upgrading the streamer to the latest and greatest.

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Yes, but it's much more expensive than I wish to invest at this time. I'm pretty thrilled by the SQ I'm getting now and hopping that without spending another $5,000 I can take it up a notch even further.

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I would start by getting a better power supply and DC cable for the SMS200. Not sure what the specs are for that unit, but either the Sonore Power Supply or the Uptone LPS-1.2 will be night and day from the iFi plus won't feed crap back into the mains like the iFi's do. I have all three (and actually three iFi's kicking around now waiting to be sold) so have compared.  


SERVER CLOSET (in office directly below living room stereo):NUC 7i5BNH with Roon ROCK and OWC external 2.5" HD (ZeroZone 12V on the NUC)>Cisco 2690L-16PS switch>Sonore opticalModule (HDPLEX 100)>LIVING ROOM:>Sonore opticalModule (Sonore Power Supply w/ SR Black fuse))>Ghent Audio JSSG Cat 6a cable>Sonore microRendu 1.4> (Uptone ) Uptone USPCB>Naim DAC V1>Witchhat DIN>Naim NAP 110>Chord Rumor 2>Audio Physic Compact Classics.

OFFICE:Naim Unitiqute V1>NACA5>KEF Ls50's, Cisco 2960PD. BJC cabling for ethernet aside from the Ghent and Naim stock AC cables with Wattgate or HifiKing Plugs. 

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I realize that better power supplies to the items I currently have would be an improvement. That's the No. 1 option in my original post. But I don't want to take that step and then have to turn around and take another step to get better still with a better streamer.

 

I guess I just answered my own question.  I was looking for first hand experience and I've received it. That's all I was looking for.

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Just now, ArthurOtt said:

That's another plus for the Auralic G1, they've built a quality LPS right into the unit. 

That's one of the things that attracted me to it. But I guess I'll still need one for my Qutest.

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Circling back. I was all set to go for the Auralic G1 and in the process of saving up for it. Then I found a listing on Ebay for a SoTM SMS200 Ultra with the sPS500 power supply at a low price I couldn't pass up. So, I ended up with option #2 from the original post.  It's not a "Neo" version and I may send it in to have it updated OR simply change out the power capacitor myself to apply the upgrade.

 

I did also buy an SBooster power supply for my Chord Qutest, DAC, as well and feel that has been a SQ improvement now as well.

 

The SoTM equipment is due to arrive tomorrow, so, I can't comment on that yet. But will try to give an impression of the setup when it's all here and integrated into my system.

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All done for now.

I went from:

SoTM sMS-200 > iFi 9v power supply > Chord Qutest, with stock SMPS

to the following:

Netgear GS105 Switch > SoTM sMS-200 Ultra > SoTM sPS-500 power supply > Chord Qutest > SBooster Power Supply

 

I play all this through a Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II (all tube integrated running EL-34s) and into Harbeth P3SER speakers.

 

For Analog, i have a Rega Planar 8 (new version) with Dynavector 20XL cartridge and an EAR P834 tube phono stage.

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