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Article: Audiophile Style Products of the Decade

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2 minutes ago, sdolezalek said:

Chris: I believe you are missing one final piece of the package that makes the other three even better -- HQ Player. Using the Sonore products as network appliances, Roon as the user interface, Qobuz to feed content, and HQ Player to fine tune it is I believe the best available combination today (it does require some computing power 😉 )

I don't disagree that this is a very compelling solution for many.


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The Sonore products did popularize the use of SBCs for audio, which had been around for quite some time. Witness this article by John Swenson in 2008: https://db.audioasylum.com/mhtml/m.html?forum=pcaudio&n=42367&highlight=nycparamedic&search_url=%2Fcgi%2Fsearch.mpl%3Fforum%3Dpcaudio%26searchtext%3Dalix

 

There had been many variants around for quite some time, including the Logitech Squeezebox as early as 2003. Perhaps some recognition of this would have been appropriate ? I would not describe the sonore products, even back in 2016, as "ground braking". They are certainly well engineered, well packaged and marketed, but hardly "ground breaking".

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I'm in Canada, and unofficially enjoy Qobuz via VPN :-).  For me it's Roon's single pain of glass view on Tidal, Qobuz and my local collection, as well as the integration of Metadata.  Nothing else like it, it has changed the way we listen to digital music.  Roon Radio on its own should deserve product of the decade, only for the sheer amount of new music we discovered with that feature.  If it wasn't for roon radio, there is allot of music I would not have met.  

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Roon as software choice makes sense to me.  For the music choice I might have gone with Tidal for bringing 16/44 in a large multi-genre catalog to us here in America first, even if the decision to champion MQA later was a bad one.  I don't get the hardware choice, but perhaps that's because I have a computer background and don't need or get "audiophile" computers/networks and dislike the no small amount of voodoo associated with them.


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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20 minutes ago, crenca said:

Roon as software choice makes sense to me.  For the music choice I might have gone with Tidal for bringing 16/44 in a large multi-genre catalog to us here in America first, even if the decision to champion MQA later was a bad one.  I don't get the hardware choice, but perhaps that's because I have a computer background and don't need or get "audiophile" computers/networks and dislike the no small amount of voodoo associated with them.

How else are you going to get Ethernet audio to a USB DAC? How else are you going to get all the features of a Rendu?


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7 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

How else are you going to get Ethernet audio to a USB DAC? How else are you going to get all the features of a Rendu?

 

I personally do it with computers and networks.  My solutions are not 'audiophile' in any way...

 

edit:  for me, in the hardware space the explosion of excellent HP equipment, or the real availability of value yet HiFi in the last decade is what I notice


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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2 minutes ago, crenca said:

 

I personally do it with computers and networks.  My solutions are not 'audiophile' in any way...

Many people would rather use an appliance type device that isn't a pain like a traditional computer. Plus, the features of the Rendu aren't all available on another platform. 


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I've been a Qobuz subscriber for several years (in France) thanks to Geoffrey Armstrong of Sound Galleries Monaco who turned me on to it.  I have to credit Computer Audiophile for a lot of valuable contacts I've made over the years.

 

I've moved on from the Sonore Rendu products.  A new decade is about to begin.


NUC7PJYH/AL --> Berkeley Alpha USB --> Jeff Rowland Aeris --> Jeff Rowland 625 S2 --> Focal Utopia 3 Diablos with 2 x Focal Electra SW 1000 BE subs

 

i7-6700K/Windows 10 Version 1903/HDPLEX 200W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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20 hours ago, sdolezalek said:

Chris: I believe you are missing one final piece of the package that makes the other three even better -- HQ Player. Using the Sonore products as network appliances, Roon as the user interface, Qobuz to feed content, and HQ Player to fine tune it is I believe the best available combination today (it does require some computing power 😉 )

We do have a lot of customers doing exactly this.

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10 hours ago, hopkins said:

The Sonore products did popularize the use of SBCs for audio, which had been around for quite some time. Witness this article by John Swenson in 2008: https://db.audioasylum.com/mhtml/m.html?forum=pcaudio&n=42367&highlight=nycparamedic&search_url=%2Fcgi%2Fsearch.mpl%3Fforum%3Dpcaudio%26searchtext%3Dalix

 

There had been many variants around for quite some time, including the Logitech Squeezebox as early as 2003. Perhaps some recognition of this would have been appropriate ? I would not describe the sonore products, even back in 2016, as "ground braking". They are certainly well engineered, well packaged and marketed, but hardly "ground breaking".

That is a great post. The Squeezebox guys were definitely awesome. The software side of it lives on in the Rendu series with LMS and SqueezelLite running on our gear. At least consider that the Rendu series is USB audio and supports PCM and DSD output at very high sample rates. If that still doesn't pass the mustard test...no worries.    

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9 hours ago, DavidL said:

While I agree with your selection of Sonore for the hardware accolade you do them an injustice. They were well ahead of the curve. I bought a Sonore Rendu ethernet-to-SPDIF converter in 2013 to convert my Bel Canto DAC to a streamer - excellent sound quality. Sonore followed up this product with a Signature version which (so I understand) gave outstanding sound quality. I guess Sonore chose this type of renderer because it had the potential to give the best SQ.

Unfortunately this ethernet-to-SPDIF/I2S/AES renderer product line was terminated in 2015(?) and replaced by the current series of ethernet-to-USB renderers, presumably because most computer audiophiles wanted to connect their computers to a DAC by USB. My personal opinion is that this is an inferior concept, requiring a high quality USB interface and associated power supply upstream of the digital to analogue conversion, but the line has certainly sold well. It will be interesting to see whether Sonore will revisit their original idea and implement an ethernet-to-SPDIF renderer taking advantage of subsequent technology advances. I enquired if this might happen when I wanted to upgrade my renderer this year - no such luck yet, so I opted for a dCS Network Bridge instead.

I hear you load and clear on wanting a network-to-SPDIF/I2S/AES renderer product;) Saying the USB solution is inferior is a bit misleading though. From my perspective it's just trading one protocol for another and each has it's pros and cons.   

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Congrats to the all the people who made the decade a digital music wonderland!    Chris, your article brings back fond (and frustrating) memories of finding the digital audio experience.  Thanks!

 

Looking forward to a new decade!!!  What new wonders await!

 

Cheers


Mac Mini 2007: 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, 3 Gig RAM, 500 Gig 5400 RPM HD[br]OSX 10.6.6, TimeMachine Off, Airport Off, Dedicated to Music[br]HAGUSB USB-->S/PDIF[br]Players: Audirvana, ITunes[br]Music Library: RedBook 16/44 WAV[br]Bryston BP26DA Preamp/DAC[br]Bryston 3BSST Amp[br]B&W 804s Loudspeakers[br]

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On 12/19/2019 at 5:12 PM, Matias said:

I agree: a single box with SFP input (optical or ethernet) with outputs to I2S, AES/EBU and BNC SPDIF would be awesome.

Why not consequently have ethernet or optical input and optical output as you can see below and here in order to best possible isolate the digital data stream before it enters the DAC?

I have already moved on...

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Best Regards, Raimund

 

Living Room

Apple Mac mini Mid 2011 (MacOS Sierra 10.12.6, 64 GB OWC SSD, 16 GB OWC RAM, iTunes 12.9, Pure Music 3.09c) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> artistic fidelity External USB-Module -> 3 Fibre Optical Cables -> artistic fidelity afis / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity RJ45 cable -> artistic fidelity arfi-dac2 / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity XLR-to-BNC cable -> Bakoon HPA-21 Headamp + Sennheiser HD 800

Home Office

Apple Mac mini End 2018 (MacOS Mojave 10.14.6, 128 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, Audirvana 3.5.19) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital / Pro-Ject Accu Box S2 USB PSU -> Abacus C-Box 2 Active Speakers

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