Question Digital bridge/streamer transport

indus

Distinguished Member
Hi
Last year I bought a Simaudio Moon Neo 380D streaming dac (it's the non DSD version). The streamer is called MiND and has it's own app. I must say that the app is pretty pants. There is a new streaming module available now called MiND 2 which is meant to be much better and is Roon Ready.
I can upgrade my unit to MiND 2 but its a hardware upgrade and even on an introductory limited time offer the cost was £800! I really don't want to spend that kind of money upgrading it.

Anyway, I'd like to keep my dac as I like everything else it does. I also have a preamp that I am very fond of. So what I'm after is a very high quality streamer, I don't need it to have a high quality dac inside it. I would like it to have a good quality app/user interface and though I've never used Roon for it to be Roon Ready. I stream Tidal but my wife and kids use Apple Music

Does such a thing exist?

The rest of my kit (if it matters) is Simaudio Moon Neo 260 CDT, Audio Research LS17 preamp, Bel Canto Ref600M monoblocs, Monitor Audio PL300 speakers.

Thanks
 

RugbyAl

Well-known Member
The Bluesound Node 2i would fit the bill, digital out and Roon ready for £500 (new).
The App is excellent I have found, the Tidal integration is pretty good but not perfect - check out the review on this site. :thumbsup:.
Also, I only have the £10 Tidal subscription and my Bluesound Node lets me stream Hi res/MQA albums no problem!
 

indus

Distinguished Member
The Bluesound Node 2i would fit the bill, digital out and Roon ready for £500 (new).
The App is excellent I have found, the Tidal integration is pretty good but not perfect - check out the review on this site. :thumbsup:.
Also, I only have the £10 Tidal subscription and my Bluesound Node lets me stream Hi res/MQA albums no problem!

Thank you. I'll search for the review.
Btw, how are you getting hi res for £10 per month with Tidal?? I'm paying £20 iirc.

Cheers
 

RugbyAl

Well-known Member
... how are you getting hi res for £10 per month with Tidal?? I'm paying £20 iirc.

Cheers
Not sure TBH, there is a line on the Bluesound site which states "As long as you have a valid TIDAL subscription it will automatically stream HiFi, lossless FLAC". I'm just not sure on the definition of "valid", maybe the plain £10 premium account is sufficiently valid if Bluesound have reached a deal with Tidal.

I can select all of the CD/ MQA/Hi res albums and my Node 2 plays them no problem, although I can't see the sample rate of the song as it's being played so I can't guarantee it's not down sampled...
 

dkinric

Active Member
https://www.allo.com/index.html

Check out Allo. Basically, sounds like what you are looking for is a streaming transport. Allo makes well engineered, well measuring untis that feed your DAC/Amp a high quality stream. They are Roon endpoint ready and reviews that I have read have been very positive. There are several options, depending on your input type (USB/SPDIF, etc) of your DAC.
Engineered specifically for this purpose with audio fidelity in mind for a very reasonable cost ($200 ish). I'm looking at the Digione Player myself to feed my Dig Coax input.
 

indus

Distinguished Member
Not sure TBH, there is a line on the Bluesound site which states "As long as you have a valid TIDAL subscription it will automatically stream HiFi, lossless FLAC". I'm just not sure on the definition of "valid", maybe the plain £10 premium account is sufficiently valid if Bluesound have reached a deal with Tidal.

I can select all of the CD/ MQA/Hi res albums and my Node 2 plays them no problem, although I can't see the sample rate of the song as it's being played so I can't guarantee it's not down sampled...

Thanks. The Bluenote gets excellent reviews but I still wonder whether a significant part of the purchase cost is the included dac. I'm happy to pay for the best quality sound quality and interface but would rather not pay for a dac that I don't need.
Does nobody make a high quality streamer without an onboard dac?

Thank you
 

dollag

Well-known Member
A better streamer is not going to give you better sq, only a better interface etc

most streamers generally have their own dacs so you may want to reconsider getting a replacement/.
 

indus

Distinguished Member
Auralic do, but they're not cheap...
Thanks. The cheaper of the two Auralic streaming transports is £1800, as you say not cheap!
This doesn't make sense. You can buy well reviewed streaming dacs (ie Aries mini, arcam rplay, bluenote) for under £500. But the cheapest streaming transport is £1800?? The only other streaming transport I can find is a Cyrus one and that's similar money.

Isn't there a streaming transport in the circa £500 bracket?

Thanks
 

indus

Distinguished Member
I've changed the title as I now realise what the device I'm after is actually called!

I've come across the Metrum Ambre Baby for £500. Does anybody have any experience of this product?

Thanks
 

RugbyAl

Well-known Member
Update,

So it appears i was wrong, you do not get the Tidal HiFi service through the Bluesound node cheap. Even though I could select the MQA albums, what was actually playing were the lossy versions (I've only had the player a couple of weeks). This was confirmed when i upgraded my account this morning and a MQA symbol is now shown next to the album when playing.

As stated above, the player interface and file compatability are most important when selecting a streamer Eg the Bluesound doesn't do DSD, the Arcam above cant do gapless (which is shocking nowadays).

I wanted a player with a great useable app and also some physical controls such as pause, track skip and volume control so i didnt have to look for my tablet if for example the doorbell rings - my Node does all that as well as gapless, essential for Pink Floyd's DSOTM!

Not quite sure what the concern about an internal DAC is tbh. They add little to build cost, are easily bypassed and will limit your choice massively.

Never heard of Metrum before though that Streamer looks interesting, and with Roon could be just what you want (Roon isnt cheap in itself but something i have my eye on for the future).
 
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indus

Distinguished Member
Update,

So it appears i was wrong, you do not get the Tidal HiFi service through the Bluesound node cheap. Even though I could select the MQA albums, what was actually playing were the lossy versions (I've only had the player a couple of weeks). This was confirmed when i upgraded my account this morning and a MQA symbol is now shown next to the album when playing.

As stated above, the player interface and file compatability are most important when selecting a streamer Eg the Bluesound doesn't do DSD, the Arcam above cant do gapless (which is shocking nowadays).

I wanted a player with a great useable app and also some physical controls such as pause, track skip and volume control so i didnt have to look for my tablet if for example the doorbell rings - my Node does all that as well as gapless, essential for Pink Floyd's DSOTM!

Not quite sure what the concern about an internal DAC is tbh. They add little to build cost, are easily bypassed and will limit your choice massively.

Never heard of Metrum before though that Streamer looks interesting, and with Roon could be just what you want (Roon isnt cheap in itself but something i have my eye on for the future).

Thanks. My only concern re: the dac is about paying for something that I don't need. In other words if I'm spending £500 on a pure bridge/transport it might be 'better' than a device where the manufacturer has had to pay to implement a dac as well.

But I take your point.
 

arisholm

Well-known Member
First, the Moon 380D apparently performs very well (best?) with USB input. So then you have a few more options. I have a Sonore microRendu, which has gotten superb reviews. It is ethernet->USB. Roon Ready. Works and sounds great!
Sonore - microRendu
You will eventually want to combine it with a better power supply. I use the Ultracap 1.2 with a proper DC power cord: UpTone Audio — Expertly engineered audio upgrades that deliver results
This combo will sound very good and is not so expensive, in total about £800 with the Ultracap (the power supply costs about the same as the streamer...). There is also an "ultraRendu" of course ;-)
Another streamer with equally good reviews is the SoTM sMS-200 and sMS 200 ultra. Outputs USB. It also needs a proper power supply to work optimally so will end up costing about twice of the microRendu. But at that price point you should probably upgrade your 380D instead (I would, a bit more money but less boxes, less cables, less jitter, less fuzz;-)

But the microRendu is definitely a good alternative. Personally I would think this is a better choice (with Asynch USB) into your Moon 380D since the 380D then will controll the clock, unlike the Ambre which does not have USB. I know, opinions vary on this but with a good DAC it should be a good bet to go with USB ;-)
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
I’ve been using a Raspberry PI as a Roon End point with USB into my DAC. Before that I used the Auralic Aries (the dearer one) . I then discovered Roon and setup my Roon core on a i5 pc build in the playroom where I have two three Tb drives with expansion for 3 more. TBH spending £30 or whatever it is on RPI for an endpoint , I can’t tell the difference . Feed a good quality dac a clean usb signal and bingo problem solved. Sold the Auralic , sold the NAS and I’m now trying my Oppo which has become Roon ready until my new dac is built. A quality DAC with good isolation is the way in my honest opinion.
 

sanderweb

Active Member
A better streamer is not going to give you better sq, only a better interface etc

most streamers generally have their own dacs so you may want to reconsider getting a replacement/.
Not true. There is a lot of distinction between streamers if it comes down to SQ. You get what you pay for, grosso modo.

@indus, you want to make sure the streamer digitally outputs your DAC's best input, if you know what I mean. And you want to avoid streamers with build in Wifi if this feature cannot be disabled hardware-wise. Wifi (and bluetooth) modules inject a lot of noise into the digital circuit.

My experience with streamers (from medium to excellent performance):

- BlueSound Node 2i
- Sonore microRendu / Uptone audio LPS-1
- Metrum Ambre (no wifi)
- Auralic Aries Femto (external and upgraded power supply)
- Aurender N100C (no wifi)
- dCS Network Bridge (no wifi)

By memory, it was more or less a tie SQ-wise between Ambre and (modded) Aries. The Ambre is very plain feature wise but a good performer. If USB is you best route you could also look at the Sonore ultraRendu and their new product, the opticalRendu. The latter avoids digital noise injected via ethernet cabling via use of a fiber optic transceiver. Just came on the market so no reviews yet.

Lastly, once you go Roon you will never go back...
 
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anjan

Active Member
The Metrum Ambre and Ambre Baby are specifically configured as Roon endpoints. Out of the box, I don't think you can stream Spotify to them as they are exclusively Roon. I think it is possible to open them up and add other services but that seems like a fiddle.
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
All the work is done by the DAC if you use usb interface. Sure a good source can ensure that the interface is clean as it can , by the use quality grade components which are not noisy by nature or are isolating as much as it can... But a well designed DAC with galvanic isolation is where it matters. A clock locked source to DAC also helps. But honestly I don't understand why so much money is spent on a streaming source . And using their generally crappy apps are a waste of time , even the good one such as Auralic lightening app, is so poor compared to Roon.

If I had £1000 to spend on a streaming source and £2000 on a DAC I'd spend £3000 on a DAC and use an RPI
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
@Sandersweb are you the person with a Chord Dave ?
 

arisholm

Well-known Member
@indus, you want to make sure the streamer digitally outputs your DAC's best input, if you know what I mean.
Agreed, but the "best input" depends on both the quality of the source and the quality of the DAC. Of course it is hard to generalize too much, and experiences will differ, but if you have a very good DAC, USB should in most cases sound fine even with a medium priced streamer (as long as it is not injecting a lot of noise etc - it should be galvanically isolated) since the DAC is in control and is streaming asynchronously over USB (e.g., the microRendu). With SPDIF (e.g., the Metrum) you are relying more on synchronising clocks between source and DAC with PLL, which is not optimal unless you have a very good source (which I assume the Metrum, dCS bridge etc are). So it depends... but my guess is that both alternatives would work fine with your high quality DAC. I also have a Node 2 but it is not very good with the MP-50 but works "better" with my NAD DAC... microRendu beats it on both systems.

Lastly, once you go Roon you will never go back...
That is for sure! It is an amazing piece of SW. I think I told you already but for my (non-Lyngdorf) stereo system I use the convolution filter plugin in Roon for room correction and it works extremely well ;-)
 

sanderweb

Active Member

indus

Distinguished Member
Thank you.
That's a lot of very helpful info. A micro rendue with PS will be £800 so I wonder if @arisholm is correct and I should just have my DAC upgraded by Moon. I'll then have the new MiND app and it'll be a Roon endpoint.
£800 was the upgrade cost as an introductory deal last year, if I'm lucky it may have been extended. I'll check.
I would really like to try Roon...which brings me to my next question. I'm a complete newbie with Roon, never seen it etc.
I've done some reading and I'll need a 'core' which needs to be powered up all the time for convenience. Is it true that this 'core' will have no impact on SQ? What is the most cost effective device that I could purchase to act as a core?; I don't want my laptop powered on all the time.

Thanks again

Edited to say I've just checked and the upgrade was £400 up until Aug 2018 and then £800 after that.
 
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PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
Everything you need to know is here
Roon Labs Community

You can use a barebones NUC a Mac mini or a simple i5 pc build. I think I did mine for around £500. It needs processing power to do all the database crunching and indexing.

It’s wirelssly connected to end points so it has no effect on sound quality.

I use my pc for NAS duties and leave it on all the time. I use a large tower with plenty of room for expansion
 

dkinric

Active Member
https://www.allo.com/sparky/digione-player.html

This is everything you need. Rasberry Pi for the Roon bridge, designed to be ultra low noise and jitter. Feeds right into your DAC (SPDIF Dig input). It's designed for exactly this sort of thing to deliver the cleanest signal to your DAC.

Darko's review comparing it to much more expensive brands:
Allo's DigiOne pulls a five star sound from the Raspberry Pi

Amir's test results from audiosciencereview:
Review and Measurements of Allo DigiOne RPI S/PDIF
 

AndrewH13

Distinguished Member
Thanks. The cheaper of the two Auralic streaming transports is £1800, as you say not cheap!
This doesn't make sense. You can buy well reviewed streaming dacs (ie Aries mini, arcam rplay, bluenote) for under £500. But the cheapest streaming transport is £1800?? The only other streaming transport I can find is a Cyrus one and that's similar money.

Isn't there a streaming transport in the circa £500 bracket?

Thanks
The SOtM SMS-200 network audio bridge has been highly recommended by a few Chord DAC users.


Would like a listen for myself to see if this front-end improves on DAPs with iPad control im using with my current DAC / hifi. Like you, I had considered a streamer, Aurelic Aries Mini, but an unused inferior DAC included doesn’t sit well.
 

PhilCTTE

Well-known Member
Or if you want the next step up RPI development kit
Pi DAC stack ...
Quoted from Pink fish media forum...

It's a Rasberry Pi based streamer, with a FIFO (First in First Out) solution,built in isolator and clock board. It has a dual mono ESS 9038 DAC board with options to use Lundahl transformers or OP/amps
for the output stage.
The power supply is LifePO4 battery pack supplying 4 rails of the cleanest DC, mounted onto a smart battery management system.

Apart from soldering the batteries it is basically plug and play, all in for around £ 550.
(ignoring the case :))
Ian has spent some 7 years developing this in his spare time.
Group Buy is open now but will soon sell out.
Ian asynchronous I2S and S/PDIF FIFO KIT group buy - Page 243 - diyAudio

RpiLifePO4_1
 

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