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emm Labs DAC: adding either a Sonore Signature Rendu or Auralic Aries G2


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I am torn between adding one of these streamers/transports
- Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical
- Auralic ARIES G2

 

I will use the USB input of my emm Labs DA2 V2 DAC. I own already an EtherREGEN with a good power supply.
My Roon server (ROCK) has a 4TB SSD which contains the music files. It is connected to the home LAN via Ethernet and a Cisco switch

 

I would use the Sonore like this:
Cisco switch -> Ethernet (CAT6a) -> EtherREGEN (B Side) -> EtherREGEN (A Side, optical port) -> Sonore Signature Rendu optical port -> emm Labs DAC (USB input)  

 

I would use the Auralic ARIES G2 like this:
Cisco switch -> Ethernet (CAT6a) -> EtherREGEN (A Side) -> EtherREGEN (B Side) -> Auralic ARIES G2 -> emm Labs DAC (USB input) 

 

I am aware that the Auralic device offers more digital outputs (mainly the XLR output could also be useful for me).

What I would like to avoid, are discussions about the EtherREGEN. I like it and I believe it brings a benefit to my system.

 

Apart from that, what would you choose and why? (my system is described in my pofile)

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Thank you, firedog. Your thoughts are very welcome and reasonable. I don't expect that I would be able to hear a significant (reproducable) difference with regard to sound quality. Therefore it's indeed more about features, build quality and how it fits into my system. From what I see and read, build quality is on the same level. The Auralic is more versatile, but I am not yet sure about my gut feeling. 🙂

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I haven’t tested any of them. What I want to say is don’t believe all streamers/transports/servers sounds the same, they don’t. It’s like saying that all quality amps or DACs would sound the same.

 

My 2 cents  

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19 hours ago, vortecjr said:

One additional thing to consider is the operating system...we spend a lot of effort on it to keep it updated. 

That is true. It's part of their very good service and support. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/23/2020 at 2:05 PM, Urs said:

Thank you, firedog. Your thoughts are very welcome and reasonable. I don't expect that I would be able to hear a significant (reproducable) difference with regard to sound quality. Therefore it's indeed more about features, build quality and how it fits into my system. From what I see and read, build quality is on the same level. The Auralic is more versatile, but I am not yet sure about my gut feeling. 🙂

Hi,

Sounds like you have a great system that I'd love to hear......

 

I disagree that the Aries is equal in sound quality. IMO, - and it's somewhat clear from the mainboards, - that Aurilic uses off the shelf computer mainboards that as one knows, are significantly inferior. Aurilic has spent millions developing their software, to the detriment of not paying good attention to hardware: which is by far the most important part of any of this.

 

Something like the Sonore, with it's SonicOrbiter OS Swiss Army knife allows you to flip between several different server software in literally seconds. Yes, Aurilic runs Roon, and you can get LMS to go on the Aries via LMS plugins... etc. But it's not nearly as elegant as SonicOrbiter. 

WIth your EMMLabs gear, - I sure would want to be able make clear comparisons between different methodologies.

 

Of course, - with your system, - my strident recommendation is to do a home eval. And at the price points, - I definitely would add the DCS Network Bridge as another test case.

 

The Aurilic build quality IS questionable IMO, - AND, - there IS an appreciable difference in SQ, - AND, - the Aurilic is LESS Versatile....  Cheers,

 

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@Albrecht many thanks for your input, really appreciated!


Though I have not yet ordered it, for the time being, I think I will go with the Sonore Signature Rendu. These are my reasons:

  • I did own the first microRendu and still own the ultraRendu, my experience with both devices was excellent.
  • The build quality of the G2 could apparently be improved a bit. There's a small German company which offers a modification with an improved power supply. This is in line with your remark about the build quality of the G2.
  • Chris' review of the EMM Labs DAC and his embedded comments about the Sonore Signature

As a live in Europe, I won't be able to test the Sonore Signature in my own system. But at least the ultraRendu gives me an idea.

 

With regard to the dCS network bridge: I considered it, but dropped it as a candidate because the preferred digital input on the EMM Labs DAC is either USB or EMM Optilink. If the DAC would have a dual AES input, then the DCS would surely be a good choice. The dCS does not provide an USB output.

 

There's also a similar device from EMM Labs, the NS1. Comparing the features vs those from Sonore, the NS1 offers "only":
Up to 24bit,192kHz and DSD support on all outputs
while the Sonore has:
Supports the following PCM sample rates up to: 768kHz
Supports the following DSD sample rates up to: DSD512

 

Current bottom line is:
Not the G2. Probably the Sonore but I haven't ruled out the NS1.
 

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Unless I’m wrong, only the G2 will allow multiple input methods at the same time.  Roon can be active and ready to use at the same time as airplay and upnp.  No complete reconfiguration and reboot to use different input sources.

 

 That was a priority in my decision.

Roon Rock->Auralic Aria G2->Schiit Yggdrasil A2->McIntosh C47->McIntosh MC301 Monos->Wilson Audio Sabrinas

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14 minutes ago, Dr Tone said:

Unless I’m wrong, only the G2 will allow multiple input methods at the same time.  Roon can be active and ready to use at the same time as airplay and upnp.  No complete reconfiguration and reboot to use different input sources.

 

 That was a priority in my decision.

AFAIR, the Sonore devices only require a couple of clicks on the web interface to switch input methods. No reboot needed. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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First, I work with Sonore and personally build all the Signature Rendu SEoptical components, so I am biased.

 

Does made in the USA matter to you, by an audiophile company run by audiophiles, where you can actually correspond directly with the person who built your product and who also uses it everyday in their system?  We also source as many components as possible for the Signature that are made in the USA, such as our custom transformer and chassis.

 

While it is true the G2 has more outputs, there is a reason for that as well.  By keeping the Signature USB output only, we concentrate on making that single output as good as it possibly can be.  If we were to add SPDIF/AES to the Signature, the price would have to go up by around $2K, and we would have to add another entire power supply to do it right, and all the extra internal noise associated with that.  We choose USB output because we firmly believe that USB is the best interface for a DAC (best technically for sound quality), and because USB allows for the most sample rates, up to at least DSD 512 and PCM 768, perhaps higher, but I have never had other gear to try which can do it!

 

I will not comment again here as I do not want to appear to be "advertising" in your thread, but if you have any questions on the Signature, please feel free to send me a PM.  And of course read Chris' review of the EMM DV-2 DAC where he used it with the Signature Rendu SEoptical extensively. 

ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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On 4/23/2020 at 8:21 PM, Urs said:

Ethernet (CAT6a) -> EtherREGEN (B Side) -> EtherREGEN (A Side, optical port) -> Sonore Signature Rendu optical port -

I understand the physical connections but doesn't EtherREGEN (B Side) [output] -> EtherREGEN (A Side, optical port) defeat the potential benefit of the ER ?? Thanks

Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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8 hours ago, barrows said:

First, I work with Sonore and personally build all the Signature Rendu SEoptical components, so I am biased.

Hi @barrows 

thank you for your answer. Yes, as a long time reader/member of the forum, I know that you work for Sonore. No problem, I don't consider your post as advertising. I really appreciate your input.

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28 minutes ago, Urs said:

 

No, this does NOT defeat the potential benefit.
You used the word "output" for the B side. It's better to consider the EtherREGEN as a moat, which separates what you have downstream (DAC or streamer (e.g. G2/NS1/ultraRendu/opticalRendu) + DAC) from what you have upstream (basically all other devices of your home LAN, including Roon server, NAS, other switches).
As long as you only use one port from the A side, it does not matter which side you use to connect the DAC or the streamer which is attached to the DAC. The effect of the moat remains the same.
If the streamer has an optical connection only, you will connect it to the optical port on the A side of the EtherREGEN.

 

Good to know, thanks. I must say to @Superdad if it's marked "output" one assumes the moat is directional.My error.

Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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7 hours ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

Good to know, thanks. I must say to @Superdad if it's marked "output" one assumes the moat is directional.My error.

 

Yes, we went to extra trouble and expense to make the EtherREGEN symmetrical about its moat (i.e. differential clocking and reclocking and all super voltage regulation is the same both sides) just so that B>A performance would be equal to A>B. Main reason we did it was for optical endpoint users (opticalRendu), but there are other uses for B>A orientation.

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On 5/11/2020 at 10:45 AM, Albrecht said:

I disagree that the Aries is equal in sound quality. IMO, - and it's somewhat clear from the mainboards, - that Aurilic uses off the shelf computer mainboards that as one knows, are significantly inferior. Aurilic has spent millions developing their software, to the detriment of not paying good attention to hardware: which is by far the most important part of any of this. ...

The Aurilic build quality IS questionable IMO...

 

Don't get me wrong--I am obviously a Sonore fan--but what you state is factually quite incorrect.  Auralic does not use any off-the-shelf computer designs in their products. And having examined some of their boards rather closely I can say that their engineers are more innovative than many of the other music server firms (I'll not name names).  Look closely at the Aries G2 for evidence.

 

318216056_AuralicAriesG2.thumb.jpg.4cde9d2f0bd008cf95d2c038de19ba4b.jpg

 

Interestingly, they are the close to the only streamer & DAC manufacturer to utilize the Silanna ICE08USB galvanic isolation chip (at USB output of Aries G2 and USB input of Vega G2). [Full disclosure, this is the chip we use at the input of our ISO REGEN; the Silanna admittedly can be a bit problematic, and the chip is now discontinued, though I know that Auralic has many thousands of them.]

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1 hour ago, Superdad said:

 

Don't get me wrong--I am obviously a Sonore fan--but what you state is factually quite incorrect.  Auralic does not use any off-the-shelf computer designs in their products. And having examined some of their boards rather closely I can say that their engineers are more innovative than many of the other music server firms (I'll not name names).  Look closely at the Aries G2 for evidence.

 

318216056_AuralicAriesG2.thumb.jpg.4cde9d2f0bd008cf95d2c038de19ba4b.jpg

 

Interestingly, they are the close to the only streamer & DAC manufacturer to utilize the Silanna ICE08USB galvanic isolation chip (at USB output of Aries G2 and USB input of Vega G2). [Full disclosure, this is the chip we use at the input of our ISO REGEN; the Silanna admittedly can be a bit problematic, and the chip is now discontinued, though I know that Auralic has many thousands of them.]

 

Hi Superdad.

thanks for the correction.....

EEeek. - the world has moved on since i last looked at the Aries (earlier version)? Which was essentially a typical Intel mainboard...

The G2 is decidedly NOT an off the shelf PC mainboard. Thanks for the pic and correction...

Cheers,

 

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  • 1 month later...

i use for some months the ns1 as roon endpoint with a da2 version 1.

before i played with an auralic aries femto with a sbooster power supply and an aes cable from hb cable design.

aes sounded better in comparison to the usb interface from my pov.

and i tried many usb cables from wireworld, synergistic research and audioquest and many others.

but the ns1 with the optical link (thats packed with the ns1) to the da2 sounds far better than all other configurations i have heard at home.

if you can to try the ns1 give it chance.

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3 minutes ago, Guenter Strubreiter said:

i use for some months the ns1 as roon endpoint with a da2 version 1.

before i played with an auralic aries femto with a sbooster power supply and an aes cable from hb cable design.

aes sounded better in comparison to the usb interface from my pov.

and i tried many usb cables from wireworld, synergistic research and audioquest and many others.

but the ns1 with the optical link (thats packed with the ns1) to the da2 sounds far better than all other configurations i have heard at home.

if you can to try the ns1 give it chance.

Hi Guenter, I also have an NS1 here, as well as the DA2 and DV2. Do you connect the serial RS-232 in addition to the EMM Optilink cable?

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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1 minute ago, Guenter Strubreiter said:

without that it does not work.

i expect you know this 😉

 

:~)

 

That's one of my issues with the optilink. It requires an electrical connection for the optical connection to work. 

 

I asked because I wasn't sure if this was still a requirement :~)

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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