Network Players - Streamers Impressions and Reviews

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by drgumbybrain, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I haven't installed anything yet but I plan to go with Ropieee as a barebones Roon endpoint. Picked upup Apple TV gen 3 for other streaming stuff since it has optical out and I care less about optimal SQ from Spotify, Apple music etc. My better half likes it since she also has Apple. Roon found it as an endpoint, surprisingly.
     
  2. StageOne

    StageOne Friend

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    Ropieee is dead simple to setup, I have 3 connected to Roon as well as 3 Airplay endpoints and they all work well. I'd even say the raspberry pis are more stable and have less drop outs.
     
  3. MisterRogers

    MisterRogers Ethernet Nervosa

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    I have an Ambre feeding one chain, a DigiOne Sig feeding the other. I can't give you an A / B of their respective coax outputs, as I've only used Ambre feeding a Pavane via I2S.

    For the Sig, I started off feeding the Pi with a wallwart, and the HAT with an LPS 1.2. The Sig sounded pretty damn good - not quite up to Ambre (again, feeding a Pavane via I2S), but very good.

    In a fit of stupid extravagance (as I'm prone to), I wondered what if any sonic benefit I'd hear by feeding both the Pi and the input to the LPS 1.2 with clean, dynamic power. I'd recently picked up a Mojo Audio Illuminate v3 with dual, selectable rails, so I configured one side for the Pi, the other for the LPS 1.2 input.

    This massive overkill PS configuration (~$1,800 for the Illuminate, ~$435 for the LPS 1.2) elevates the Sig using BNC above Ambre. Black, clean, dynamic with excellent separation. Very tight bass. Is it worth it? Hell if I know. Like I said, I'm prone to extreme, expensive configurations to see what's achievable through better power. It's better than Ambre / I2S, but probably only 5%-10% better, for twice the cost all in.

    I'll leave Sig in my main system as it's performing well as powered, but the Ambre's much simpler, cheaper, and nearly as competent.

    Roon wise, I haven't noticed any difference functionality wise, but I'm fairly new to Roon.
     
  4. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Thanks for that @MisterRogers . I think what's really interesting and important to keep in mind for anyone looking for a TL;DR is just how damn good the DigiOne Sig really is, for a relatively modest cost of digital transports in an otherwise overpriced world (looking at you, Auralic, you porkers). It's also nice to know that Metrum dacs don't necessary require I2S to sound very, very good, though for someone looking at a plug n' play easy combo solution, it does make sense to order an Ambre as well if Roon is your playback software.

    I got DigiOne Sig and ordered an LPS from Aliexpress a bit before then (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/ZER...03.html?spm=a2g0s.12269583.0.0.6f2b417aBR2H46). Somehow this arrived a couple days before the DigiOne Sig board, which I didn't expect as I ordered two Allo SMPS with my board, case and Pi3 to get myself up and running. In any event, I haven't even used the stock Allo supplies so anyone looking for what this LPS can improve upon will be, for now, disappointed. The price difference here is about x4 for the LPS vs. Allo SMPS. However I would argue that to get an R-core LPS with dual outputs, you're in JS-2 territory (x8-9 the Aliexpress LPS), so in that regard it's good value. @atomicbob has done measurements on ZeroZone gear before, so I have no doubt this is a quality unit as well (https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...echnical-measurements.6119/page-2#post-204671). Be very cognizant of who you're ordering ZeroZone stuff from on Aliexpress as there are many sellers.

    I've been meaning to open up the Aliexpress LPS to verify its contents but I'm not too concerned about it. It works and damn well. I'm using BNC -> Gungnir A1 via Wireworld Starlight 8. IMO it reminds me a lot of using AES from my Lynx setup (awhile ago however, so salt etc.) in that the background is quite black, and details come across relaxed yet not rolled or lacking. The entire setup has been running for a few days straight now and neither the LPS nor DigiOne Sig get hot, only slightly lukewarm.

    When I sold my DSJr. I resorted back to my Squeezebox Touch -> Gungnir and I'm beginning to wonder if that was the source of my 'incisive edges' comments and initial dislike. I still have SBT around, plus the Allo stock supplies so I may do some comparisons later as time permits. Needless to say, I'm still waiting on my replacement Metrum dac to arrive but my current setup is scratching the itch.

    Oh and RoPieee wasn't too bad to setup. It took a bit of effort to get the web interface working properly (which involved getting an IP device scanner app on my phone b/c the URL provided by RoPieee didn't work for me) but after that it's been rock solid.
     
  5. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    I got my Digione signature player this week.Its breeze to set it up. Running DietPi and connected Qutest and Gungnir Multibit via BNC-BNC and RCA- BNC respectively. It works flawlessly as Roon end point and airplay streamer. No dropouts. I have removed Ethernet and have enabled WiFi as I don’t have access to Router in my Room. However I have got a WiFi extender with Ethernet port which I will use and will switch off the WiFi adapter. it’s running 24/7 for past 3 days and haven’t recharged the LIFEPO4 batteries so far.
     
  6. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    There's not much talk about Lumin streamers/DACs on this forum. I'm curious if anyone's had a chance to listen to both, say, the Lumin U1 Mini and a Pi2AES set-up. I recently played around with a U1 Mini (a loaner) and compared it to the Bluesound Node 2i I already have, both running into a Matrix X-Sabre. The differences were fairly subtle, but I *think* I heard slightly finer grain detail and better tone and spatial cues from the Mini. And I *think* the Bluesound occasionally sounded a touch smeared or round, in places, maybe a bit warmer on the whole. Again, pretty subtle. I find digital components really hard to compare.

    The Lumin app and Bluesound app are just about a wash. I prefer the Bluesound, but the Lumin has some cool features. I've not messed around with Volumio. I've done free trials of Roon, but have held back on shelling out $700 for just software. I really only stream--Qubuz mostly--no local files.

    I know a lot of folks have gone the Pi2AES route here, and I'm tempted to just throw down a few hundred and build one. But, for now, curious if anyone has comparisons with the Lumin. Thanks for any thoughts.
     
  7. kray

    kray New

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    i’m wondering the same. I have a Lumin U1 mini and looking to try a pi2aes. Looking for comparisons.
     
  8. Mindbender

    Mindbender Acquaintance

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    I had no idea that the Lumin U1 Mini retails for USD $2100 or so, and haven't had the opportunity to audition one. I'm very happy with the PI2AES I already have.

    But at that investment price for the Lumin unit that you already have, the PI2AES would be pocket change to audition. I think Michael Kelly designed a phenomenal streamer for the price, and would be a great comparison to document.

    Please consider the PI2AES and let us know your findings. Thanks!
     
  9. kray

    kray New

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    Yep. I’m gonna buy one to compare. Could put that extra dough somewhere else. I’ll def report back
     
  10. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Came across a used (well not really, the guy had never used it) Sonore OpticalRendu streamer with optional fibre Ethernet converter bundle. It’s a streamer that hooks up to your Ethernet router via a fibre converter box and then USB out to your DAC. Just tried hooking it up to my 2-channel system over my lunch break and doing a quick comparison it to my SOTM SMS-200Ultra Neo streamer which is also USB (both into Yggdrasil A2 Unison by swapping the same USB cable).

    Initial impressions: Hoooooooolllyyyysheeeeeeeeeeeettt...
     
  11. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Friend

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    I'm down to hear more about this...

    I'm honestly gobsmacked at the level of detail and transparency I'm getting out of a simple Pi4 running HQPlayer NAA image, fed by an HQPlayer dedicated PC, with a printer USB cable out to my Denafrips DAC.

    I'm sitting here listening to a piano and violin concerto by Busoni and, man. I was a HUGE critic of USB and basically have to eat all my words now. I've seen the Optical stuff from Sonore but just thought it was maybe better in a different application or something. But if you're saying that comparing it to SOTM gear, that says something IMO.
     
  12. Gazny

    Gazny MOT: ETA Audio

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    Perplexing more streamers are not fiber connection especially in the high end. The wonder how much is attributed to the optical connection. Still hoping for the PI compute board with fiber option.

    I can see myself buying a Mikrotik switch just for streamer, just to cure my nervosa of my home networking being all ground to each other.
     
  13. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    Interesting. I'm about to try out an ultraRendu and am patching together an isolation chain with two fiber to ether converter boxes. I'm curious to see how it compares to my microRendu, Lumin U1 Mini, and Bluesound Node 2i. Yes, I have too many streamers right now.
     
  14. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    I had the microRendu (1.3) a while back. The OpticalRendu is by far another level entirely (at least on Yggdrasil). I’m shocked though by how much the power supply affects it. The Small Green Computer 7v LPS that it came with sounds very dynamic and punchy but not nearly as clean and open as my 2 Sboosters. I have a MkII Sbooster that goes up to 6.5V and a MkI that goes as low as 9V and you can actually use a supply that goes from 6-9V with the opticalRendu, so I’ve been trying both. The difference is clear with all the supplies, I’m assuming because most of the noise from the network seems to be completely eliminated via the fibre connection, and all you’re left with is the noise from the supply that feeds the oR itself.

    I would be careful of a regular fibre repeaters on your network because they can apparently introduce a lot of jitter. The ones in the OR are a bit different because you’re not going back to Ethernet of course, you’re just going directly from fibre into a chip on the unit (which is optimized) and then on from there.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021
  15. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    Hmm, that's interesting about the potential for jitter with the FMC repeater boxes. I got the idea from reading some posts by one of the product developers at Lumin, who suggests it's a cheap, reasonably effective way of isolating from any electrical noise (I think) coming down the ether line.

    I'll do some more research.

    I can say that the ultraRendu, with and without the FMC boxes, sounds quite good so far.

    But, ugh, computer audio stuff makes my head spin a bit. I find the differences pretty subtle between streamers, usually.
     
  16. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    Also, agree about the benefits of using better PSUs.
     
  17. kray

    kray New

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    Got my pi2AES today after patiently waiting. Took me all of 20 min to build and ready to go with ropieee. My DAC accepts i2s PSA so looking forward to trying out the HDMI output. I currently have the Lumin U1 mini, so will try to compare them after a week of usage.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. kray

    kray New

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    After using the pi2AES for a couple weeks now, I’ve finally been able to compare it to my Lumin U1 Mini. Great thing about the comparison is I was able to compare them all using AES with same DH Labs AES cable.

    my reference is using my CD transport, Sonic Frontiers SFT-1 with upgraded clock. And Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE DAC. With the Lumin I always felt it was equal to my transport. I use Lumin and pi2AES as Roon endpoint. I swapped the pi2AES in for a week. First couple of days it was hard to tell the difference between lumin and pi, so I swapped the Lumin back in. Compared entire album on Lumin vs transport again. I’ll say they were pretty equal. So after more time with the Lumin I switched back to pi. After long listening sessions I finally felt there was just something missing on the pi compared to Lumin.

    it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is, but I felt I got a little listener fatigue from the pi after long sessions, which I never experienced with the lumin.

    I like the pi2AES and for the price it creates tremendous value. Basically you’re paying around 6x more for the Lumin to get that last 10% of sound quality. But since I already had the Lumin it’s staying and I’ll either sell the pi2AES or keep it to build a secondary system.
     
  19. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    What power supply for the Pi2AES? Stock? I hear this as well compared to my Sotm streamer. Better power supply(s) can address this almost to the point of equality for me. However then you’re adding a fair amount of extra cost over the basic unit, depending how far down the power supply rathole you want to go.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
  20. kray

    kray New

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    yep. Stock power supply. I thought I had read here a LPS didn’t do much the pi2AES. Which one are you using? I’m using one of the newer pi2AES with stock 24v meanwell
     

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