Discussion in 'Computer Audiophile: Software, Configs, Tools' started by chopstix, Feb 4, 2017.
Anything with ALTMANN will cost 10x more than competing products.
So what exactly is it?
Can anyone opine about the Aurender N100H (network streamer)? Any experience with a comparable device from another company, e.g., Auralic? An alternative to both that you can suggest? Thank you in advance!
@Torq or anyone else. Did the Aries Mini ever get updated to be a Roon endpoint?
The beta build of firmware 5.0 has Roon Ready support on the Aries Mini currently.
Don't know when that'll be RTM though.
Thanks. It's cheap enough that I'd love to use it for background music in a random room.
I've recently decided to go with an auralic altair. When I bought it I hoped it would perform double duty as a dac and a streamer. I had the unrealistic expectation it could be an end game kind of dac. Its not but it is one hell of a streamer. I have a large flac library. The unit inventoried my library quickly and wirelessly. It was a little hard to get set up and I'm a computer guy but once set up, has worked flawlessly. I did upgrade the dac to the vega which i got used. The vega is an end game dac to me. I wouldn't spend 3k+ on one but for the price I got it it really made a huge difference in sound. The altair is edgy and while it smoothed out tremendously once it burned in, it remained edgy. None of that applies to the vega. Vega is smooth and has a really broad sound stage. The highs simply are not the same and I mean that in a good way. Will post more after I've had some time with the vega. I also run a simaudio moon mind 180 at work. The altair and lightning ds software are much better than the simaudio solution. I like having a dedicated streamer and may eventually upgrade my home as well.
Seems like this might be the thread to ask some advice on a streamer. My current chain looks like this
Tidal - - Mirage MMS-2A - - (coax) - - Schiit Yggdrasil - - (XLR) - - Schiit Ragnarok - - (balanced) - - Hifiman HE-1000
Now, there is one big thing and a couple of small things in this chain that I would like to fix.
1. Crestron / Mirage apps are awful for library and playback control, so it’d be nice to have a Spotify Connect device, meaning that I can control music directly using the actual music app. Since Spotify is going lossless, it could compare to Tidal sound quality wise.
2. Mirage MMS-2A maxes at 96khz. Not sure if I could tell the difference to 192khz.
3. Our Crestron rack is far away, and the connection is coax. I’ve understood AES/EBU is optimal for Yggdrasil.
So I’ve been looking for a Spotify Connect streamer that would have an AES/EBU that bypasses the streamer DAC. I’ve so far only come across Cambridge Audio Azur 851N that does this.
So my new chain could look like this
Spotify - - Cambridge Audio Azur 851N - - (AES/EBU) - - Schiit Yggdrasil - - (XLR) - - Schiit Ragnarok - - (balanced) - - Hifiman HE-1000
Does this look like a meaningful upgrade? Any other suggestions?
@Chittagong I was also looking for a network streaming with AES/EBU output but that would upsample as well. I confirmed with Cambridge Audio that the 851N will only upsample for analog output, in case that matters to you as you mentioned sample rate in your post. The Lumin streamer also has an AES/EBU output and I think it will upsample before digital output.
Another option, which is more the direction I went, is to get a converter. Mutec makes a few products that can convert to AES/EBU. This would let you use your streamer of choice and then have the Mutec convert to AES/EBU for final connection to the Yggdrasil. Some of the Mutec devices can also reclock in case that matters to you.
My Mind 180 has aes so its more current siblings probably would too. My altair has aes as well. I really enjoy my altair and the ds lightning software is better than simaudios software. These also hit a reasonable price point as well (1-2k) compared to some of the other gear.
Auralic Aries>AES>Yggdrasil works great in my Roon network. But I don't now if it does Spotify.
Aurender continues to violate the GPL by distributing closed source binaries containing mpd source and only distributing mpd itself on their site.
Some mpd devs are starting to call out the bullshit more openly now:
That is helpful, I was actually going to email CA and ask whether using AES/EBU would completely bypass their DAC, optimally I would want Yggdrasil to do all he work, so the streamer should optimally just pass over the Spotify stream at a maximum of 24/192, which is the most Yggdrasil can take. Given that Spotify has been exploring lossless already, the quality should soon be there.
Oh yes, I have been looking at Aries as well. They recently announced a much higher end Aries G2, but both boxes seem to be mostly designed for streaming locally stored music.
Spotify has a real edge with Spotify Connect I believe, as Apple Music and Tidal don’t seem to offer anything similar. People who have used hardware companies’ own, mostly clunky control apps will appreciate how great it is to use your regular desktop or tablet Spotify app to initiate music at any end point.
The essential point is that this is not streaming from the tablet or computer - rather the end point will fetch the song itself, to much better quality. My mind was blown when I first saw our office Devialet Phantom do it.
The old Aries is an excellent device, and can be had for a good price used, but I only use mine with Roon, streaming from a local music server. It apparently supports Tidal and Qobuz, but not Spotify AFAIK.
With Gen 5 available in Yggdrasil now, I wouldn't really fear USB source in case that opens up options for you. Also, in addition to the Mutec if you absolutely must go AES, the Eitr may be a good option coupled with an S/PDIF to AES transformer, which is what @baldr recommended for going AES from USB...apparently this is what is done internally anyhow within an audio device to go from S/PDIF to AES according to Mike as far as I understood. If you prefer to have USB to AES in a single device, there is also the Singxer SU-1.
Edit: As far as USB sources go, of course there are many options, however the MicroRendu and UltraRendu are two good ones. I own both currently and they are both excellent sounding and both support Spotify connect. Although I have never used it with Spotify, only Tidal, I may try it out at some point soon. It also supports a lot of other playback modes including Roon.
Friend of mine has been playing around with Pi-based streamers for a while. He popped in earlier this week with a (small) box of toys. A couple of take aways:
- Allo DigiOne is a very good transport with RCA SPDIF clearly preferred over USB out. Especially impressive as a wireless streaming transport.
- Allo Boss is a brilliant little DAC / streamer. As a streamer it is virtually indistinguishable from the Squeezebox Touch. As a DAC it competes very very well with my Wadia 121. The Wadia is the more accomplished and coherent performer but not by much.
I would recommend both devices in their intended applications to anyone with a working knowledge (or appetite to acquire such knowledge) of computers and networks.
It also looks like an excellent solution for the lazy, like me; thanks for making my choice easier!
This is very important! Max Kellerman is THE dev for MPD! There are numerous companies who are using his software and not adhering to the GPLv2. He is not even asking them for royalties. They just need to commit any changes they make back to the open source project. http://mailman.blarg.de/pipermail/mpd-devel/ I've been following this for months and it's really frustrating. Aurender is using Ubuntu 13.10 which has been deprecated since 2014, and worse yet they are using a pre-development release of MPD 0.17 which is 6 years old.
This is all a massive shame because I really love the Aurender hardware. It's really great stuff. But the core of their product uses MPD, and they can't even keep it updated. Aurender is not even the only offender. SOtM, Euphony Audio, Moode Audio, and I'm sure plenty of others. They all respond to Max's inquiries as though they've never heard of the software, the licenses, and even Max himself. A marketing person from Aurender responded to him with "May I ask who you are?"
I might go back through those posts and make a summary of it. It's all very sad.
The USBridge was mentioned elsewhere which led me to www.allo.com. I've been considering an RPi-type source to stream from my NAS via Wi-Fi. So, to build a low-budget source with a reasonably clean* USB output to feed Eitr, I think all I would need are a Sparky SBC, Wi-Fi Dongle, acrylic case, and a microUSB 5V power supply (ie. a phone charger), correct? I could then run Volumio and stream from my DLNA/UPnP NAS, and use my Android phone as the GUI.
Just doing a reality check to confirm I've properly digested everything I've read.
*According to ALLO, Sparky is supposed to have about 27mV noise on the USB bus, better than 60mV on RPis?
@gixxerwimp https://www.allo.com/sparky-eu/usbridge.html to consider too.
Not because of usb noise, which Eitr doesn't really give a damn about because it wears a leather jacket and is 100% rebel, but because that connects to the second usb on the board, leaving the first solely for wifi.
If you can run ethernet yeah the base sparky should be fine, unless you want to be prepared for possible WiFi need in the future.
You can buy an iFi iPower from the Volumio store if you want a better power supply ... in my experience powering a fulla 2, phone chargers tend to cut out for a fraction when something like old fridge compressors and powered window blinds and stuff like that turn on/off and aren't any better at that than the base Pi wall wart, something to consider depending on where you are.
The specs say:
USB 2.0 2 Port Host
USB 3.0 1 Port USB (OTG) Host
So I have to use the two USB 2.0 ports for Wi-Fi and Eitr? The USB 3.0 port only allows the Sparky to be an OTG device?
As long as there's no latency, I don't think I'll mind. Seeing @earnmyturns's post mentioning the USBridge is what led me down this path. I'm trying to go budget, and would rather not spend that much (or rather, the wife would rather).
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