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Grimm Audio MU1 server


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3 hours ago, nevillekapadia said:

I have had the Grimm for close to half a year and am floored by its performance, and am extremely satisfied with what it does. It sounds good straight out of the box, but over the months of listening it has just kept on improving.  

 

The noise floor is amazing low and hence the sound staging, transparency and detail that it pulls out 'consistently' from streaming Tidal and Qobuz is ever so pleasing as you hear all the notes. Even with changes occurring in Roon software, the presentation does not waver. It certainly surpasses my Playback Designs CD transport. 

 

The flow of it is close to an analog non-fatiguing style with all the micro and macro dynamics present. I would place it on par with some of the top servers that are out there. 

 

Most of all, it does NOT have the need for switches, re-clockers, platforms, etc. to deal with to improve the sound or change its presentation. The AES/EBU output with a Grimm digital cable is all one needs to go to the DAC. 

 

There is just no fatigue in listening to it on end for hours. It certainly for me is the last stop for the first step as a digital feed into a DAC. 

 

This is a must listen audition for anyone out there looking for the top performance player. 

 

Out of curiosity what is your previous Server and current CD transport?

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On 7/30/2020 at 2:19 PM, nevillekapadia said:

 The AES/EBU output with a Grimm digital cable is all one needs to go to the DAC. 

 

 

Did this cable come bundled with the server?

 

As far as I can tell, there's no USB or optical outputs, which seems rather restrictive.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice Grimm Audio company overview by Alpha Audio. In this extended interview (1h50!) various topics are covered, like company history, background of Eelco Grimm and Guido Tent (both lecturers), what’s drives them, design philosophy, network company, new products, ..

 

On the MU1 the power supply, clock circuitry, jitter treatment, importance of up scaling via the FPGA board and the in-house software development are mentioned. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=6YPznUzSRB0&feature=emb_logo

 

The interview is in English (after ~30 seconds), for quick access you can use the timestamps in the description on Youtube.

 

707EA97E-641D-4F19-A6EB-1CF8B8E7D179.jpeg

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/18/2020 at 7:24 AM, FredM said:

Nice Grimm Audio company overview by Alpha Audio. In this extended interview (1h50!) various topics are covered, like company history, background of Eelco Grimm and Guido Tent (both lecturers), what’s drives them, design philosophy, network company, new products, ..

 

On the MU1 the power supply, clock circuitry, jitter treatment, importance of up scaling via the FPGA board and the in-house software development are mentioned. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=6YPznUzSRB0&feature=emb_logo

 

The interview is in English (after ~30 seconds), for quick access you can use the timestamps in the description on Youtube.

 

707EA97E-641D-4F19-A6EB-1CF8B8E7D179.jpeg

 

A really great video and so much of a learning curve as they cover so many topics. 

 

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  • 3 months later...

I still have the MU1 in my sights as a potential upgrade to my existing tweaked NUC with Euphony Stylus server,

But Covid restrictions has meant that my intended 3-way comparison of MU1, Innuos Statement and Taiko Mini Extreme have been pushed into the new year.

 

And as the Mini has taken a priority back-step in Taiko's pipeline, the comparison will probably be with the Extreme itself. I have no intention of buying the Extreme because of excessive size, weight and cost, but I am nevertheless curious how the MU1 will compare.

 

One of the features I like about the MU1 is that volume can controlled from the roon app, but the actual volume change is made by the MU1 (maybe in the fpga?). Which is important because roon's internal volume control significantly impacts SQ IMO.

 

Whilst waiting for this comparison, can anyone allay a couple of nagging concerns:

 

1. How does the MU1 perform with an m-scaler/DAVE DAC? Which has it's own fpga-based upscaler that upscales to a greater extent than MU1's. To reduce box count, I'd quite like to drop the m-scaler if the MU1 makes it largely redundant. But the details of the upscaling process are very different and I don't know how this multi-way synergy would work.

 

2. Bearing in mind that roon's internal volume control sounds poor IMO, has anyone tried other roon DSP functions such as PEQ or cross-feed? It would be a big bonus if the MU1's magic somehow managed to minimise any loss of transparency in roon's DSP.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, TheAttorney said:

I still have the MU1 in my sights as a potential upgrade to my existing tweaked NUC with Euphony Stylus server,

But Covid restrictions has meant that my intended 3-way comparison of MU1, Innuos Statement and Taiko Mini Extreme have been pushed into the new year.

 

And as the Mini has taken a priority back-step in Taiko's pipeline, the comparison will probably be with the Extreme itself. I have no intention of buying the Extreme because of excessive size, weight and cost, but I am nevertheless curious how the MU1 will compare.

 

One of the features I like about the MU1 is that volume can controlled from the roon app, but the actual volume change is made by the MU1 (maybe in the fpga?). Which is important because roon's internal volume control significantly impacts SQ IMO.

 

Whilst waiting for this comparison, can anyone allay a couple of nagging concerns:

 

1. How does the MU1 perform with an m-scaler/DAVE DAC? Which has it's own fpga-based upscaler that upscales to a greater extent than MU1's. To reduce box count, I'd quite like to drop the m-scaler if the MU1 makes it largely redundant. But the details of the upscaling process are very different and I don't know how this multi-way synergy would work.

 

2. Bearing in mind that roon's internal volume control sounds poor IMO, has anyone tried other roon DSP functions such as PEQ or cross-feed? It would be a big bonus if the MU1's magic somehow managed to minimise any loss of transparency in roon's DSP.

 

 

 

You want to try removing all filters in the Roon DSP section. There are claims that this improves SQ.

 

I have done the same here, and there may indeed be a slight SQ increase.

Pareto Audio aka nuckleheadaudio

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On 12/3/2020 at 1:39 PM, TheAttorney said:

But Covid restrictions has meant that my intended 3-way comparison of MU1, Innuos Statement and Taiko Mini Extreme have been pushed into the new year.

 

Interesting to include in your comparison would be a source with a good USB output into a Chord Hugo M Scaler.

Basically the MU1 is an Intel NUC with a Grimm reclocking/up-/downsampling board and AES/SPDIF output.

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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On 12/4/2020 at 4:00 PM, matthias said:

Interesting to include in your comparison would be a source with a good USB output into a Chord Hugo M Scaler.

Basically the MU1 is an Intel NUC with a Grimm reclocking/up-/downsampling board and AES/SPDIF output.

I've already demonstrated to myself that the M-Scaler's USB input is very susceptible to upstream differences.

At the dealer's, the MU1's AES output will be compared to the Statement's and Extreme's USB outputs (both top notch apparently and not needing additional re-clockers etc).

 

If the MU1 does well in this comparison, I'm aiming to to take it for a home trial against my tweaked NUC with ISORegen and Sablon 2020 USB cables. Actually, I'm very pleased with my NUC source - Euphony Stylus seems to get the best out of it. I'm only considering an upgrade because... it's what audiophiles do 🙂. And to reduce spaghetti.

 

If the MU1 doesn't do well, then I'm back to square one, as the Extreme and (to a lesser extent) the Statement are too big and heavy for my downsizing aspirations.

 

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34 minutes ago, TheAttorney said:

At the dealer's, the MU1's AES output will be compared to the Statement's and Extreme's USB outputs (both top notch apparently and not needing additional re-clockers etc).

 

Which software player(s) and DAC(s) will you use for the comparisons?

Will you play from Qobuz and/or local files?

Certainly you know from WBF that the Extreme sounds much better with its own player(TAS, which is in Beta) than with Roon.

 

Thanks

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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34 minutes ago, TheAttorney said:

as the Extreme and (to a lesser extent) the Statement are too big and heavy for my downsizing aspirations.

Hi, given your size / decluttering preference, have you considered other options? (Antipodes, Pinkfaun,..?) If not, a straightforward route is to ask for a home audition directly. At home you can also better experience the effortlessness play of the MU1.

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For the comparisons at the dealer, I'll be using whatever the dealer has set up. Which most likely will be Roon on Extreme and whatever default Innuos use for their servers. I'll bring along my own music files on a thumb drive in case I can't find what I want from the dealer's selection. The fact that TAS sounds better Roon is immaterial for this comparison. If Extreme+Roon doesn't easily win this comparison then something is seriously wrong.

 

I'll bring my own M-scaler/DAVE and HEK SE headphones as the downstream components. But while I'm there, I may as well try out the new T+A DAC/Headphone amp that the dealer is raving about.

 

I've looked at all the recommended alternatives from Antipodes, Pink Faun etc. Most of them (or at least their top models) are bigger and more expensive than the MU1. But the main issue is getting them all together for a comparison. And getting home trials from several different dealers is a major hassle in time, effort and negotiation - and certainly not free in terms of shipping and travel.

 

So I have to draw a short list to keep me sane. And from everything I've read, the MU1 has a good chance of doing the giant killer act. So although the Extreme should win in absolute terms, the MU1 will hopefully display it's own unique charms and musical enjoyment that hold its own against even the most expensive competition (which is what the dealer has already hinted at). If it doesn't work out like that, then I'll have to regroup and think again - but with lots of newly gained experience of top class servers.

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1 hour ago, matthias said:

What I absolutely dislike about the MU1 is that it is more or less bound to Roon.

 

Well, as Roon has the best UI bar far, that's a good thing - AS LONG AS the MU1 with Roon can beat competing servers with competing apps. I happen to have a lifetime Roon license, but currently only using for background listening.

 

There's some speculation that the Grimm team are considering writing their own app (as well as an internal DAC module and probably all sorts of other goodies). But I can't rely on speculation and good intentions, so my comparison will assume that the SQ I hear now will not necessarily be improved in the future.

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, TheAttorney said:

Well, as Roon has the best UI bar far, that's a good thing - AS LONG AS the MU1 with Roon can beat competing servers with competing apps. I happen to have a lifetime Roon license, but currently only using for background listening.

 

There's some speculation that the Grimm team are considering writing their own app (as well as an internal DAC module and probably all sorts of other goodies). But I can't rely on speculation and good intentions, so my comparison will assume that the SQ I hear now will not necessarily be improved in the future.

 

I followed the discussion about the subpar Roon SQ after a certain release on the Roon community forum and the Taiko Audio thread on WBF and must say the Roon people are quite arrogant, I dislike Roon.

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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4 hours ago, matthias said:

 

I followed the discussion about the subpar Roon SQ after a certain release on the Roon community forum and the Taiko Audio thread on WBF and must say the Roon people are quite arrogant, I dislike Roon.

 

Matt


Personally I just love Roon, great experience and easy to have everything at the touch of my finger: Discovering new music with Roon radio, easy volume control, etc.. If Roon would impact SQ a bit (which I haven’t noticed with the MU1), I guess it would be okay given all benefits of Roon. Earlier you mentioned that you don’t fancy a product that is bound to Roon. Well, perhaps this approach is an advantage to create an optimised package.

 

Off topic: I’m actually kinda surprised that on the WBF thread Taiko owners report such an apparently big decrease in SQ with Roon (two recent: “Roon is barely listenable..” and “absolutely horrible..”). There could be a degradation using Roon, but I haven’t seen such extreme comments elsewhere. So perhaps it’s related for a specific combination of used hard- and software. Nice to read the users are happy with TAS btw, so all good.

 

@TheAttorneyWith the recent firmware update up- and down sampling to 2FS is now supported, this matches the AES input of your DAC (also both AES outputs are volume controlled since the last firmware)

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12 hours ago, FredM said:

If Roon would impact SQ a bit (which I haven’t noticed with the MU1), I guess it would be okay given all benefits of Roon. 

 

Not for me, I appreciate the efforts of Taiko Audio to get rid of Roon and to get the best sounding SW.

SW has a similar or even greater impact on SQ as HW.

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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19 minutes ago, matthias said:

 

Not for me, I appreciate the efforts of Taiko Audio to get rid of Roon and to get the best sounding SW.

SW has a similar or even greater impact on SQ as HW.

 

Matt


Everybody has their own preferences, all good

 

34 minutes ago, beautiful music said:

 

Is this firmware related to MU1 or to Roon?


Ah sorry, I was talking about the MU1 firmware

https://www.grimmaudio.com/news/new-firmware-for-mu1/

 

 

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17 hours ago, FredM said:

With the recent firmware update up- and down sampling to 2FS is now supported, this matches the AES input of your DAC (also both AES outputs are volume controlled since the last firmware)

I've only just realised the significance of this.

My DAVE AES input's limit is 96kHz. And I've just checked that my M-Scaler doesn't even have an AES input!

Which severely restricts the options I have with MU1's AES output.

 

The proof of the pudding will be in the hearing, but these limitations (not particularly MU1's fault) mean that I may not get the full potential of the MU1 with my Chord equipment, so may need a Plan B sooner than I had expected ☹️.

 

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