REVIEW: Comparison of 5 High End Digital Music Servers - Aurender N10, CAD CAT server, TotalDac d1-Server, Auralic Aries, Audiophile Vortex Box
Oct 4, 2016 at 5:31 PM Post #632 of 1,483

adamaley

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  My battery powered laptop is connected to the router via wifi, so is already isolated in a different way.
Would you say that optical isolation would nevertheless help in my situation?

The general consensus is that anything cable betters Wi-Fi, and I have found that to be the case. Many attribue it to the susceptibility of EMI/RFI getting into the signal. I discovered this in three stages, all using a NAS. 
1. Wifi - decent sound
2. EOP (ethernet over powerline) - an improvement
3. 50 foot cable from router to a switch that connects to the Mircrorendu - even more improvement
 
This was all before implementing network optical isolation.
 
Oct 5, 2016 at 12:02 AM Post #633 of 1,483

kennyb123

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My battery powered laptop is connected to the router via wifi, so is already isolated in a different way.
Would you say that optical isolation would nevertheless help in my situation?


I previously owned an Auralic Aries. I didn't find much difference in sound quality from connecting it via WiFi or wired copper Ethernet. Replacing the copper with optical fiber brought a noticeable upgrade in sound quality over both.

The microRendu benefits from optical fiber too - though it's a more subtle improvement than with the Aries. I consider the investment in optical fiber worth the money in either case.
 
Oct 5, 2016 at 12:24 AM Post #634 of 1,483

lojay

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I am connecting my music server (via Roon on a work computer) through an optical ethernet connection to a standard router and via optical to my microrendu. Does upgrading the (a) workplace computer to dedicated NAS, (b) optical ethernet cables (c) the router and (d) the power supplies to the above to audiophile grade components make a difference? 
 
Oct 5, 2016 at 4:53 AM Post #635 of 1,483

TheAttorney

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  The general consensus is that anything cable betters Wi-Fi, and I have found that to be the case. Many attribue it to the susceptibility of EMI/RFI getting into the signal. I discovered this in three stages, all using a NAS. 
1. Wifi - decent sound
2. EOP (ethernet over powerline) - an improvement
3. 50 foot cable from router to a switch that connects to the Mircrorendu - even more improvement
 
This was all before implementing network optical isolation.

Interesting. It was also my understanding that in general wifi and hifi don't go well together.
However, I'm using wifi in this particular case with the microRendu because romaz had previously posted that he heard no difference between wifi and Ethernet connections from his laptop when the mR was in place. And the wifi link happens to be very convenient for me, so I'm happy to unquestioningly follow romaz's advice.
 
But I think you are saying that, even with the mR in place, that Ethernet is better than wifi, and that an optical link in between the Ethernet is better still. Is that right? And presumably that better power supplies on each of these extra boxes is better still? If so that is good for having an upgrade path, and bad for the ever increasing number of little boxes cluttering up the hifi chain.
  
Edit: I take it the optical link goes between laptop and router? What about an optical link between router and mR? 
 
Oct 5, 2016 at 12:33 PM Post #636 of 1,483

adamaley

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It is worth noting that if I wasn't living in an apartment complex, Wi-Fi may not differ from ethernet in terms of quality. Another benefit is less dropouts due to a more stable signal over cable for me. These may all vary in your case.
 
Unfortunately, it appears that as an audiophile in this day and age, ridding ourselves of these little boxes is impossible as long as we insist on using PCs to source our music. My optical isolation chain sits between my switch and mR. My switch and NAS are connected to my router by RJ-45 cabling. Another key thing is to get rid of switching power supplies (such as those that come with your router/switch etc.), or at least ensure they are not on the same circuit as your DAC/amp/preamp etc. This is where the LPS comes in for someone like me who lives in an apartment and can't control my grid. Switching power supplies tend to inject noise into your circuitry. Isolation transformers are also helpful for this situation.
 
Oct 5, 2016 at 4:57 PM Post #637 of 1,483

paul79

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At my place, the Aries is clearly better over wifi... So maybe there is something going on there. I must also mention, that the Aries with the latest firmware release is a MONSTER! I knew it was one of the most potential sources, and it is finally realized with the latest update. Yes, I prefer it to the microRendu, but it does cost triple!
 
Oct 6, 2016 at 5:25 AM Post #638 of 1,483

TheAttorney

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Do tell us more about your updated Aries sounding better than mR.
 
The Aries does have more flexibility than the mR, but they don't seem to be doing the same job. Can the Aries be used as endpoint for Roon and HQ Player?  
 
Oct 6, 2016 at 6:27 AM Post #639 of 1,483

STR-1

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At my place, the Aries is clearly better over wifi... So maybe there is something going on there. I must also mention, that the Aries with the latest firmware release is a MONSTER! I knew it was one of the most potential sources, and it is finally realized with the latest update. Yes, I prefer it to the microRendu, but it does cost triple!

I did have the Aries on loan for a few days recently to use between my router/nas and Chord Dave. I initially connected the Aries to router via ethernet but then read in the Auralic blurb that they recommend wifi connection as the best option. So I tried that and if anything it was better than ethernet, certainly no worse. Anyway, the Aries went back and I now have a microRendu, albeit with a basic switching piwer supply until my LPS-1 arrives sometime in November. The optical isolation option sounds interesting.
 
Oct 6, 2016 at 10:15 AM Post #640 of 1,483

paul79

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No, the Aries uses Auralics firmware, so they do their own coding. It is basically, a Music Server with no storage. If you dongle a USB Hard drive off of it, it becomes a full on Music Server.
 
The Aries is better at black around the images, making them more present and more real. More dimensional and more energetic, with a bit less glare.
 
Now some claim using microRendu with HQ Player is a different story, and I have not tried this. I just ran MPD and used a Paul Hynes supply to feed the microRendu.
 
Oct 6, 2016 at 1:50 PM Post #641 of 1,483

kennyb123

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Auralic has said that the new Aries firmware provides no benefit when using Roon. Their updated playback engine, which now caches data, is bypassed when using Roon. The microRendu should still be the better sounding solution for Roon - particularly if integrated with HQPlayer. I'm a former Aries owner, and with the former firmware there was no contest - the microRendu did a better job of getting out of the way of the music.
 
Oct 6, 2016 at 2:27 PM Post #642 of 1,483

adamaley

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  No, the Aries uses Auralics firmware, so they do their own coding. It is basically, a Music Server with no storage. If you dongle a USB Hard drive off of it, it becomes a full on Music Server.
 
The Aries is better at black around the images, making them more present and more real. More dimensional and more energetic, with a bit less glare.
 
Now some claim using microRendu with HQ Player is a different story, and I have not tried this. I just ran MPD and used a Paul Hynes supply to feed the microRendu.

What were you using to power the microRendu? It responds dramatically to good power. I wish it was the dogs bollocks out of the box, but, unfortunately, it can be improved, which can be a negative or a positive.
 
Oct 8, 2016 at 2:47 AM Post #644 of 1,483

bmichels

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  No, the Aries uses Auralics firmware, so they do their own coding. It is basically, a Music Server with no storage. If you dongle a USB Hard drive off of it, it becomes a full on Music Server.

 
has someone compared the SQ with using a USB HD or an Ethernet NAS ? (if possible with firmware 4.0) 
 
For ease of set-up; I only use a USB SSD, and I hope I do not lose SQ compared to storing my music on the network .
 
Oct 8, 2016 at 4:11 AM Post #645 of 1,483

Articnoise

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I have done some tests and IMO the mR is quite sensitive to the quality of the power, but I would say that in my limited tests it’s more sensitive to the quality of the LAN cable. So far I have only tested some cheap LAN cables as I have the mR 10 meter from the router. 1+1=2 in this regard, so changing both PSU and LAN cable sounds better than only changing one of those.

 

The Blue Jeans Cat 6 is the one I liked the least. It sound very dull and with it in my system I even prefer the JCAT USB board to the mR (seriously).

 

The Deltaco Patch-cable CAT 6 which I already own then I got the mR sounds more alive, musical and less compressed.

 

As I thought the difference in SQ was big between the BJC and the Deltaco I bought a Supra CAT 8 and I must say that I like it even better than the Deltaco. The Supra is more transparent, musical, has more plankton and sound more holographic and open than the other two I have tried.

 

In the past I have tested both LAN and HDMI cables between my Offramp 5 and Master. In that configuration (with short cables) the AQ Coffee HDMI and AQ Vodka LAN sounded clearly better than the cables from Supra, so maybe a better AQ LAN cable will trump the Supra CAT 8. To be clear the difference between the AQ Coffee HDMI and the Supra HDMI was not so much in tech as it was in tone and refinement. 

 

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