USB streamers...aurender, auralic, sonore etc...anyone getting into this area?

Discussion in 'Computer Audiophile: Software, Configs, Tools' started by chopstix, Feb 4, 2017.

?

i am exploring this area and plan to within next 6mo (or already am) investing money

Poll closed Feb 4, 2018.
  1. yes

    22 vote(s)
    73.3%
  2. no

    8 vote(s)
    26.7%
  1. chopstix

    chopstix Canali at HF (keeping him close)

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    it was so much simpler only a few yrs back, wasn't it?
    ...for those of us using our computers as a source (tidal hifi, flac, ripped cds, high res files)
    the solution to better sound was to just get a good DAC and an equally competent set of cans/iems.

    but now not so much, due to the USB being a source of noise pollution...now it's spend US$1200-1500+
    and look into a USB streamer (aurender, auralic aries/mini, or sonore micro rendu, with a linear power source).

    Darko on the micro rendu
    http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2017/01/classy-sonores-microrendu-takes-digital-audio-higher/

    Hans and his helpful channel


    then you head over to computeraudiophile.com and this area can suddenly get can very technical and somewhat overwhelming.


    anyone else investigating this area and also trying to navigate thru the nebulai?

    my friend feels the auralic aries is the best bang for buck..but who knows.
     
  2. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
  3. chopstix

    chopstix Canali at HF (keeping him close)

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    nope..but do now...thank you for the link, Kattefjaes.

    nonetheless I still hope people will kick in here with their ops on this growing area.
    'tis not cheap, that is for sure, but hopefully prices will drop (and tech increases) as the field matures.
     
  4. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    To be honest, "bang for buck" isn't what springs to mind with that box, either. quite the opposite. Bang for buck is sticking a decent digital hat and a copy of Volumio (or similar) on a raspberry pi, and maybe throwing either a linear power supply or at a pinch, an iPower into the mix, then using decent but sensibly-priced cables to and from your DAC.

    It's not particularly hard, even if you're not used to Linux- can be done in half an hour or less, without really needing to know much. It would leave stuff like the Microrendu in the dust for sheer SQ, too.

    The Aries is an expensive option, not a bang for buck option. There are plenty of those expensive options out there, too. Some are good, some less so.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
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  5. chopstix

    chopstix Canali at HF (keeping him close)

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    thanks again....someone raised a similar point in one of the (many) related threads on computeraudiophile.com
    just gets technical...and i'm not a techie...but nonetheless i'll explore it further (home made solution vs a more pricey off the shelf solution)
     
  6. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    I looked into the cheaper side of these here
    I think the general consensus around these parts is that USB is inferior to SPDIF and AES. I decided to not purchase a Microrendu or similar device because it is USB only.

    I actually have back tracked and got an old school Denon CD player to feed ModiB and it sounds MUCH better than my RPi setup. Although, I defer to @Vastx and @Scott Kramer because they have a ton more experience in this arena. They both recommend using a separate power supply but I am still trying to find the how-to-do-this instructional video that Hans Beekhuyzen referred to from Scott.

    Good luck!
     
  7. chopstix

    chopstix Canali at HF (keeping him close)

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    thanks guys...feel free to share any other threads/video links/youtube etc.
    i can see that this area is new, hence technical for many, so is easy for manufacturers to charge the $$$ that they do. i'm a total beginner...in the end, i just might go down the 'off the shelf' route, but at least i want to better explore the details and other options.
     
  8. Dr. Higgs

    Dr. Higgs Boson - Member

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    I went the rather uncommon route of going for an Nvidia Shield TV to act as my streamer with Plex, and plan on getting a USB -> SPDIF converter in the future to feed my Yggy in a media center setup. Seems much more future-proof and fully featured than a lot of dedicated streamers that cost 5x more and use proprietary software that might be obsolete in a few years.
     
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  9. chopstix

    chopstix Canali at HF (keeping him close)

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    Went into headfi to also ask about this.
    Thanks...There is a microrendu thread on headfi and I asked this question , using your reply...To see if there are also others in my boat and/or have successfully done their own setup.

    Reply from one member:
    "Ihave made this direct comparison. I have built the ODROID C2, various Raspberry Pi 3b incarnations, including one with the HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro I2S "HAT" DAC, and other RPi3s for use with various USB DACs.

    While the RPi3 and ODROID C2 do represent bang for the buck, and are better sounding than you might expect at their low cost of entry, they absolutely DO NOT in any way "leave stuff like the microRendu in the dust for sheer SQ, too". That statement ...sounds like it is coming from someone who has never actually heard the microRendu in real life, simple as that."

    The truth is quite the opposite, the microRendu leaves the ODROID C2 and RPi3 based solutions in the dust quite frankly.

    Again, if cheap is what you are after, the ODROID C2 and the RPI3 offer excellent value, however my personal favorite for the local Linux based OS would be Moode Player, and not Volumio.

    The best actual value, assuming $690 doesn't break the bank, is the microRendu coupled with the iPower 9v. Best sound quality, best network stability, best flexibility, best hardware/OS combo for the money right now, bar none.

    Again, I own the microRendu, and I also own an ODROID C2, and two RPi3s one with I2S "HAT" DAC, and the other with a USB DAC.

    As always, your mileage could vary, and everyone's wallet is different. But the microRendu/iPower combo at $690 plays with the big boys in the thousands of $ price points, and especially if you up the ante with a good linear PS or best yet, the UpTone LPS-1 UltraCap supply, offers the very best bang for the buck, even if not the lowest available cost of entry"
     
  10. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    The Microrendu only has USB output and will always sound worse than a clean SPDIF or AES source into a sane DAC. Please don't solicit HeadFi idiocy and then crosspost it, you're reducing the mean IQ. There's a reason why many people have given up trying to argue with the fuckwits on HF.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
  11. chopstix

    chopstix Canali at HF (keeping him close)

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    I'm merely trying to accrue various viewpoints, to both guide me as well as hopefully facilitate my decision making..And I'm on that site, too..Sorry but I don't find many of their members any different sounding than on here .... decent and exerienced people in both forums, as well as not so much, I'm sure.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
  12. beemerphile

    beemerphile Friend

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    I have been very happy with Auralic Mini. Seems pretty bangy for the buck to me. Glad to not have computer BS to deal with any more. I bought both of mine with a year of free Tidal HiFi. Subtracting that out, it was stupid cheap. The Tidal deal is kaput now unless you find some old stock out there with the attached Tidal offer. Ciamara had some left the last time I checked.
     
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  13. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    So @Kattefjaes appropriately laid into you for the cross-posting nonsense. However, I think your issue is you need to figure out how all of this stuff works.

    The point both the K-man and I are making is that using the R-Pi (with good PS) with a I2S HAT that has SPDIF out going to a high quality DAC should likely have better SQ than anything with USB out. Now Microrendu has the UpTone USB defuckification built in and I am sure it sounds great, however the the poster from Head-Fi notes all of his DACs are USB. If you go and read further you will find most people here end up moving away from USB as the input into the DAC because it sounds inferior.

    The point is why spend all that money on a microrendu or SOtM SMS-200 when the thing only outputs USB. I would spend your money on a better DAC.

    If I were you, I would spend more time reading and figuring out how all of this stuff works and fits together and less time posting for advice from people you don't know yet. If you read a lot here, you will get a feel for what the different Friends like and then pay attention to the people with similar tastes in gear and music.

    You shouldn't stress about putting together a Raspberry Pi based system. There are many recipes that are simple to follow, all you need is a basic familiarity with typing which I can see you already have. If you decide to go this route, I can help if you need, just PM me :)
     
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  14. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Friend

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    Not always, at least in my admittedly limited experience. A microRendu with a decent LPS (Teddy Pardo) sounded better than lesser streamers (various software stacks on CuBox-i or SoTM sMS-100) through Bel Canto mLink (well-reviewed but now discontinued USB>S/PDIF converter) into Schiit DACs. And even better with the ultracap UpTone LPS-1 PS, which is what I use now into both Bimby (headphone system) and Yggy (2-channel system). Yes, USB audio is harder to get to a decent quality level, mainly because computers and their interconnects put out all kinds of electrical crap, but it can be done.
     
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  15. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    When considering RPi hats from Hifiberry, it is important to go down the Digi+ Pro route. It is their only model that comes with separate hardware clocks for 44.1 and 48 kHz multiples, which improves jitter performance.

    @chopstix Whatever you decide to do, it is exceedingly hard to argue about the value proposition of the RPi & Digi+ Pro at ~70 bucks. Now you haven't told us what DAC you plan to use with this. If it's a Mimby or in the whereabouts price-wise, anything more expensive than RPi & Digi+ Pro would be hard to justify... And if it's something like Yggdrasil, anything that costs 500+ and STILL outputs USB would be suspicious as well; in that case you'd rather use something that outputs AES.

    And when it comes to DDCs these days, all good things to those who wait.
     
  16. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    The most important thing to remember, @chopstix - while you're trying to start proxy rows with HF, is that you're doing all of this out of order. Stop trying to spend money until you know where you're going, seriously :)

    As memory serves, you're still using a Mojo and/or a small iFi thingy as a DAC. Source nervosa is a "last N%" thing. You need wait until you have settled on a DAC before trying to improve how you feed it. Do some research, work out where you're going with your whole chain. get it sounding decent. Once you're in a good place with that, maybe start exploring nervosa, in a better-informed manner. Spaffing money on random USB tat right now will just waste time and money, as you'll likely replace it- especially if your choice of DAC is not stable.

    That said, I'm not sure it's a good idea to buy an expensive DAC or digital source immediately. There's something on the horizon that we absolutely don't know about. If you can get a good deal on a Mimby or Bimby, that's a pretty safe option, but I would think twice about spending more in the next few months.

    As a rule of thumb, the biggest upgrade is the transducers. Next is the amp. Next is your DAC. Then comes the digital source. Once you have nowhere left to go, then might come boutique cables at a fanciful price, if you're into that.

    When you're ready to think about nervosa and know what you're doing, read some of the stuff that @Torq has posted about it. While I have fiddled with Rednet AES67 stuff and similar at work, he seems to have the patience to write about it, and other options besides.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
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  17. chopstix

    chopstix Canali at HF (keeping him close)

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    thanks guys for your concerted patience and courtesy...
    i'm not trying to stir anything up...it's just natural you'll move around to get different opinions.

    but yes at least we can agree on one thing: my confusion
    (hence my thread and feeling i'm not an isolated case)

    i am planning on holding off buying anything as this whole area is still new and fast growing so i agree to just take a chill pill
    and hold off spending for now
    (even uptone owner had said to me there some new 'updates and terrific enhancements' to the micro and lps1 caps supply)
    so we'll see what happens on a number of fronts.

    my equipment is all midfi:
    focal alpha 50 powered near field speakers (for desktop, just bought)
    transducers:
    ..crazy prices out there going up up up
    my current cans are sony 7520, senn 650s, iems are FLC 8S
    despite my whining I do have my eye on the new sony z1r but its pricey (esp being a canuck: we pay 30% more on any US prices..sucks big time)
    and also the audeze lcd-x for a 'cheaper' option/upgrade @ cdn$1300 used...
    but there is SO much divisiveness on audeze cans (lcd 3 for example)
    plan to visit my local shop in next few weeks which stocks alot of audeze and senn, some grado, too

    DAC:
    ifi micro idsd
    (might put up for sale with mercury cable and ipurifer 2) as well as
    the chord mojo which is supposedly a decent DAC for its price
    (using it with dragonfly red for on the go)
    .a friend suggest staying put with my DAC for now (but sell iFi micro idsd) as it's decent and to join him in buying
    the auralic aries..but i'm holding off, as i'm not dishing out $2k cdn until i better understand the tech, the market, the various alternatives etc
    esp with this whole area being so new and will undoubtedly change yet again pretty soon.

    .DACS..but i'm open to others from schiit or even the new chord hugo 2 (but wow $$$)
    (he is a huge Wadia fan...just got the newly released $1500 Wadia 122 DAC http://www.wadia.com/en-us/products/di122)

    amp: mapletree ear plus+ hd (hp amp)

    so yes, i do plan on sitting tight for a bit....and for senn 650s, despite having a huge following,
    i'm just open to exploring somthing else more refined, dynamic and punchy (elear is pretty divisive, too, in ops...many on sale on hifishark, for eg)...
    music: tidal hifi, ripped cds, 24/192 files.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  18. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    It's pretty pants, especially for the price, sadly. Certainly not good enough for desktop use- most reasonably resolving desktop amps will be held back by it. Good enough for light mobile use in a pinch if you can tolerate the clumsy form factor and short battery life. You shouldn't feed it over USB on the desktop if you can help it, either.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
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  19. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    As far as DACs are concerned, you may wish to read this thread:
    http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/marveys-dac-chart-of-awesomeness.63/

    In these quarters of the internets Schiit's MB line-up is very well regarded, so if you have two grant to spare then you can get a Modi MB or a Gungnir MB and pocket the change. You may be surprised.
     
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  20. chopstix

    chopstix Canali at HF (keeping him close)

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    i agree on the footprint....which is why i oft swap out to my unobtrusive dragonly red...if only that had the sound of the mojo
    i'd gladly pay
    thanks, guys...yeah the schiit lineup looks nice.... Yggdrasil is out of my reach...but the gungnir multibit not too bad if i can source used.
     
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