Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu

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Peter J

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Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« on: 19 Jan 2017, 07:44 pm »
Looking at the computer audio logical next steps as it applies to my system is a little befuddling to me and I'd appreciate others' thoughts.

Currently running a CAPS Carbon which was facilitated my intro into computer Audio. I purposely followed the path described in a couple of articles on Computer Audiophile because that seemed to make the most sense given my near total lack of knowledge. JRiver was chosen as player for the same reasons. This was a good introduction and opened my eyes to a new realm of audio. It has mostly served me well, although the computer itself seems to require tending more than I'd like. Also while it has it's strong points Jriver seems to offer more utility than I'll ever want or need (read too many choices) and all that potential sort of conflicts with my desire to employ the KISS principle to the whole morass.

I have a portable hard drive that contains my library which is connected to the CAPs. I have an absolute clone to that drive that acts as a backup and is only used when ripping discs. USB output is sent to a Wyred 4 Sound DAC2 with an iFi iUSB and split cable in between the two.

The microRendu looks like a useful device, but if I'm understanding its installation right, it adds yet another link to the chain, which contradicts my desire to KISS. Perhaps I'm looking at it wrong...advice here appreciated.

Roon also looks intriguing to me, as does Tidal, but it's yet more expense and, well, I'm conscious of the whole rabbit hole that computer audio (and audio in general) seems to be and that makes me shy away.

Should I purchase the Rendu, it seems to me I would have a music server that's redundant and just adds another layer of potential problems and frustration. Although, I've gotta have a computer to install a player on, right? I'm fuzzy on this aspect, as well.

I'm guessing there are some here who've trampled the same path and have found something closer to audio (equipment) bliss. I'd love to hear those stories along with suggestions. Is KISS a worthy goal? Am I pipe dreaming to think I can have greatness and simplicity in the same system?



 




Tubeburner

Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #1 on: 19 Jan 2017, 08:14 pm »
The Rendu is as simple as it gets IMO. You still use your Carbon computer and drives. Sell your usb cable and use your home network. Buy the mR and power supply (I like the LPS-1) and you can be up and running in about 20 minutes. No major changes except the sound for the.better. It sets up very easy. So LAN cable from Carbon to router or network switch and LAN line to mR to router or network switch. Operate as before. Enjoy!

Peter J

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Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #2 on: 19 Jan 2017, 10:21 pm »
The Rendu is as simple as it gets IMO. You still use your Carbon computer and drives. Sell your usb cable and use your home network. Buy the mR and power supply (I like the LPS-1) and you can be up and running in about 20 minutes. No major changes except the sound for the.better. It sets up very easy. So LAN cable from Carbon to router or network switch and LAN line to mR to router or network switch. Operate as before. Enjoy!

Thanks for the input, it eases my mind some.

Because the server itself hasn't been all that rock solid or predictable, I've considered changing it to something that gets closer to "forget about it" and perhaps occupies less space.  Seems there are many small format computers to choose from, but that's another arena I'm just not too familiar with. Any recommendations on what to look for or even specific products?

glynnw

Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #3 on: 20 Jan 2017, 12:12 am »
I am using a NUC w/my microRendu.

slefley

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Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #4 on: 20 Jan 2017, 01:53 am »
I also use a CAPS carbon with JRiver and a USB drive for the music files. I had a very nice system using a PS Audio DAC driving a Shindo amplifier.  This system was very transparent and detailed. But inserting the mR between CAPS and the DAC has made a noticeable and dramatic improvement in transparency, clarity and soundstage. It's a very small addition in complexity for a very significant improvement in musicality - at least for my system and musical tastes.

Tubeburner

Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #5 on: 20 Jan 2017, 02:55 am »
Quote
But inserting the mR between CAPS and the DAC has made a noticeable and dramatic improvement in transparency, clarity and soundstage. It's a very small addition in complexity for a very significant improvement in musicality - at least for my system and musical tastes.

I agree. It's like a deeper look into the music. :D

Peter J

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Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #6 on: 22 Jan 2017, 03:31 pm »
Thanks for the insights all.

Been doing lots of reading, both here and Computer Audiophile...

Am I right in assuming that if using microRendu, the server is less of a concern? In the past, much effort has been lavished on how to quiet down electrical noise within the server. USB cards and cleaners, low noise power supplies, etc.

It would seem that most, if not all, those efforts would be largely unneeded by simply bypassing the box, which the microRendu does...correct?

ebag4

Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #7 on: 22 Jan 2017, 04:49 pm »
Thanks for the input, it eases my mind some.

Because the server itself hasn't been all that rock solid or predictable, I've considered changing it to something that gets closer to "forget about it" and perhaps occupies less space.  Seems there are many small format computers to choose from, but that's another arena I'm just not too familiar with. Any recommendations on what to look for or even specific products?
Hi Peter,
I am running a Sonic Transporter with a microRendu powered by a LPS-1, this is as close to set it and forget it I have come since starting in computer audio about 15 years ago when I built my first HTPC, and is probably the best sound I have had with a battery powered Mac Mini running Audirvana coming in second.  My first Sonic Transporter had an issue but the replacement has been rock solid.  I am running Roon and Tidal as well (and have a Synology NAS full of music in flac and DSD), I really enjoy both programs and they work together seamlessly ( with the exception of not being able to build Tidal playlist through Roon).

I have considered trying HQ player , however the basic Sonic Transporter does not have enough horse power to do this, so if that is something you may want to try be certain to weigh your options carefully prior to purchasing the ST.

Best,
Ed

Peter J

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Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #8 on: 22 Jan 2017, 05:12 pm »
Hi Peter,
I am running a Sonic Transporter with a microRendu powered by a LPS-1, this is as close to set it and forget it I have come since starting in computer audio about 15 years ago when I built my first HTPC, and is probably the best sound I have had with a battery powered Mac Mini running Audirvana coming in second.  My first Sonic Transporter had an issue but the replacement has been rock solid.  I am running Roon and Tidal as well (and have a Synology NAS full of music in flac and DSD), I really enjoy both programs and they work together seamlessly ( with the exception of not being able to build Tidal playlist through Roon).

I have considered trying HQ player , however the basic Sonic Transporter does not have enough horse power to do this, so if that is something you may want to try be certain to weigh your options carefully prior to purchasing the ST.

Best,
Ed

Thanks Ed. It looks like two STs are offered at Small Green Computer. One with a (presumably) higher power processor. Which unit do you have?

Spending my whole morning feasting on various threads on CA....I tend to research the shit out of stuff prior to purchase, but I think it pays off in the long run.

Speaking of Schiit, that's another area of interest I'm been reading up on, they have some interesting new gear.

Nick77

Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #9 on: 22 Jan 2017, 05:48 pm »
Quote
        The microRendu looks like a useful device, but if I'm understanding its installation right, it adds yet another link to the chain, which contradicts my desire to KISS. Perhaps I'm looking at it wrong...advice here appreciated.

Roon also looks intriguing to me, as does Tidal, but it's yet more expense and, well, I'm conscious of the whole rabbit hole that computer audio (and audio in general) seems to be and that makes me shy away.

Should I purchase the Rendu, it seems to me I would have a music server that's redundant and just adds another layer of potential problems and frustration. Although, I've gotta have a computer to install a player on, right? I'm fuzzy on this aspect, as well.                                                                           

Boy! I almost posted these exact questions.  I was also seeing this as adding yet another box to the chain. I still wonder for those that have taken CAPS a little further with specific audio USB cards and powering the hard drive and USB separately, how much would I gain with mR?

In my quandary I recently stumbled onto  Fidelizer and it made a nice bump in performance and currently content again.  :scratch:
And what about SMS200 that some prefer??

Tubeburner

Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #10 on: 22 Jan 2017, 07:16 pm »
Quote
In my quandary I recently stumbled onto  Fidelizer and it made a nice bump in performance and currently content again.  :scratch:
And what about SMS200 that some prefer??

I use Fedelizer Pro and I have not changed a thing to my system except putting the server on the network, selling an expensive usb cable and adding the microRendu and LPS-1 power supply. This was a total upgrade and I too was skeptical. I have had three different music servers before, one with usb card powered by it's own power supply and the server powered by another and the microrendu is better. In all my reading, one thing kept me wanting the microRendu: Chris Connaker could afford any front end he desires. This is his conclusion on reviewing the microRendu on Computer Audiophile:

Quote
The Sonore microRendu is the hottest piece of hardware in HiFi. It's versatile while avoiding the jack of all trades moniker. The mR was custom designed and built to deliver USB audio in the most pristine way possible, and it accomplishes this goal magnificently. Versatile software with uncompromising inflexible hardware is a great combination. There is one way in and one way out, Ethernet to USB. Don't like it, move on. Those willing to try the microRendu will likely be as impressed as I am. With the mR in my system, I'm getting the best sound I've ever heard in my house. That said, it may not be the best "source" available because all components are user and system dependent. Users seeking local storage, network-less audio, and a software/hardware solution from a single vendor must look elsewhere. Everyone else should seek out the microRendu without apprehension. The ultra low noise bespoke design of this unit, a micro computer designed for audio only, has lead to some amazing listening experiences for me over the last several weeks. From the beautiful distortion of Hendrix to the simplistic vocals and whisper soft trumpet of Chet Baker, the microRendu enabled all the music to shine in its best light. I don't believe I've had a sonically better source connected to my system at any time.

I like to make one change at a time so I truly know if a change is for the better or for the worse. I wouldn't worry about your music server right now. Try the mR first and see if this is what you like or dislike. Where can you buy a high end piece of gear with excellent support for under $700? That being said, I have an old school friend who loves his vinyl and cdp. He wants to hold something physical in his hand and has no desire to try computer audio. He enjoys his music as much as anyone.

I hope this helps. Enjoy!


MttBsh

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Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #11 on: 22 Jan 2017, 08:59 pm »
I simply use my existing HP desktop (running JRiver Media Center 22) as my server. My Microrendu and LPS power supply are in the next room feeding my Schiit Yggdrasil DAC. I didn't need to run Ethernet cable between the rooms, I just plugged a Panasonic BL-PA100 into an outlet by my stereo and run Ethernet to the Microrendu to connect it to my network. Couldn't be more simple and it sounds stunning.

I'm not sure if having a dedicated server would make an audible difference, using my everyday HP seems to do the job just fine.

ebag4

Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #12 on: 23 Jan 2017, 01:10 am »
Thanks Ed. It looks like two STs are offered at Small Green Computer. One with a (presumably) higher power processor. Which unit do you have?
I have the basic unit, not the i5.  When they originally came out, Andrew's recommendation was based on catalog size, I don't recall the exact number of albums that would require the i5, but it was a large number.  I was not aware of HQ at the time, had I been I might have chosen differently to and purchased something powerful enough to run both Roon and HQ.  Truthfully, I am incredibly happy with the sound I am getting, it is more curiosity regarding HQ player and how much better it can get.

Best,
Ed

Peter J

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Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #13 on: 23 Jan 2017, 04:17 pm »
I spent much time yesterday reading....and reading...and reading. Many would say I suffer from paralysis of the analysis and, well, maybe I do.

 My overriding thinking  about "getting it right" is borne from a owning a quantity of obsolete but still functional equipment. That coupled with the fact that I really don't have the $$ to just try every option and decide what works and shelve the rest. And, truth be told, I don't think it would sit right with me even if I could do that. Maybe someday I'll get the chance to test that line of thought...

 My thinking is to get the equipment and plan a trajectory that would see me through perhaps the next 5 years of evolution, because that seems to be about the max anyone could really plan in the world of computer audio. I did discover one thing I hadn't considered. I've enjoyed the JRemote app for JRiver on an iPad...far better interface than the program itself. I assumed that that functionality would be the similar if and when I adopted Roon...not true it seems. Here's the rub: iPad's too old. Only iPad air and later works. The one I have is the generation just prior. Yet another piece of gear to add to the equation.

Peter J

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Re: Plotting an Upgrade Path with microRendu
« Reply #14 on: 10 Feb 2017, 03:36 pm »
To sum this thread up.

I kept my CAPS server for now, installed Fidelizer Pro, Uptone audio LPS-1, and the microRendu. Wow, just wow! The microRendu does indeed deliver on its promise.  It is everything that people describe and I'm not easily swayed by hyperbole.

Thanks to all who egged me on.