REVIEW: Comparison of 5 High End Digital Music Servers - Aurender N10, CAD CAT server, TotalDac d1-Server, Auralic Aries, Audiophile Vortex Box
Apr 27, 2017 at 12:37 PM Post #842 of 1,483

DocSkeekmo

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Arctic Noise - never said anyone needed SOTA gear to be moved. People who are here can be moved by music emotionally. But there are many who can't. I feel bad for them is all I'm saying. My wife is one of them; she can listen for hours and just doesn't get it.....

And yes, I use audiophile speak. It's the best way to communicate and express our opinions. I was just saying Ray-Dude spoke from the heart and it said SO much.

I like the new look!!
 
Apr 29, 2017 at 10:31 PM Post #843 of 1,483

birdlandbill

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This thread was recommended to me by TheAttorney. It has been a fire-hose beverage. An amazing time to enjoy music. I attend live performance whenever possible, but backwoods MN has few offerings that stir the sap. Looking forward more than ever to auditioning the Blu Mk2 with Dave. Have learned an immense amount here, particularly from Romaz, but all have helped me in this wonderful endeavor to capture the musician's execution and intent, when unable to hear live. Sounds like Blu Mk2, Dave and SOtM SMS-200 ultra lie in my near future. The incredible generosity of the folks on this thread is both mind-boggling and inspiring. Thank you.
 
May 3, 2017 at 7:47 PM Post #844 of 1,483

marcus1

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Hi Romaz

The options on what equipment to buy are slightly overwhelming and since my budget is imited I may wait awhile before deciding.
Your post below concerning the new piece of equipment (the 'monkey wrench') you will be auditioning has me intrigued. Can you give us some general hints as to what it does and when you may get it.

Thanks


The digital climate is changing rapidly and those who have taken their time to upgrade are looking wiser by the day.

I hope to answer as many of these questions for myself soon but then some new "monkey wrench" invariably gets thrown into the works that forces you to pause. A company is sending me a product that could be a game changer. I am not at liberty to talk about it at this time but if they are open to having me modify its clock and replacing its regulators with much better Hynes regulators, it's conceivable this product could outperform anything I have yet heard and for less money. My thinking, however, is that this solution will work best if you also build a server with no bad clocks in the path since I still don't believe a single good clock

Then there is the matter of SQ improvement with respect to value and absolute SQ improvement that comes at any cost For the money spent, the SQ improvements I am hearing with improving your clocks (or getting rid of bad clocks) has been tremendous. I can think of many things I have spent much more money on with far less return. Even with the inadequacies of the motherboards you can buy today, there are some decent options out there that combined with the right PSU and a well-implemented lightweight endpoint easily outperforms any commercial megabuck music server I have yet heard.

Regarding M-scaler + DAVE, if fidelity to the original recording is the greatest priority, I have not heard anything yet that comes close to bringing me there better than this combination but the price tag is indeed high. I do feel, however, that these improvements are mutually beneficial. Regardless of what has been believed in the past, DAVE is definitely not immune to upstream components and to improve your server will improve your return on DAVE and on M-scaler. It is my conviction that anyone with a good DAC will never fully know just how good their DAC is unless proper attention is paid to the server.
 
May 6, 2017 at 6:12 PM Post #845 of 1,483

DocSkeekmo

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Hi guys. I'm SO sorry to ask here but I trust your judgement. Feel free to PM me to keep this from hijacking the thread.

I need a suggestion for a $185-225 pair of on ear headphones as a gift. I'm looking for an audiophile grade alternative to Beats crap.
 
May 7, 2017 at 4:57 AM Post #846 of 1,483

Malcyg

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It really feels like the next 3 months will settle many questions for me regarding end-game server-based audio, where 3 threads will hopefully all come together. Decisions on any one of these threads could impact the importance of the other 2 threads:

1. Server End Points and USB conditioners: My choices are:

  1. Keep my mR/LPS-1 and add the SOtM TX Ultra with a supa power supply (probably PH SR7)
  2. Replace mR with SOtM SMS 200 Ultra with a supa power supply (probably PH SR7) - preferred option so far to minimize the number of little boxes
  3. Get both Tx and SMS Ultras
  4. Wait for Sonore to come out with their own mR Ultra equivalent

2. Server to replace my Windows laptop. Current top 3 contenders at increasing price points:

  1. Sonic Transporter; SOtM 1000 EU thingy (why do they make their product names so hard to remember) with super clock; Antipodes DX 2
  2. The first two could be powered by one of the rails of a PH SR7, which should give them a power supply advantage over the built-in Antipodes p/s
  3. The chosen Server MUST be able to run Roon in direct connection (no intervening router) to Roon Ready on the above server end point
    1. Either by Ethernet/Ethernet or Ethernet/WiFI bridge, or by a DHCP server app running in Server

3, Chord Blu 2

  1. Will the m-scaler in conjunction with DAVE be such an advance that it will conclusively blow all other DACs out the water? Including Doc's ODSX :wink:
  2. Does the SQ improvement of the m-scaler justify doubling the price of DAVE?
  3. Will the m-scaler completely change the importance/priority of threads 1 and 2?
  4. Should I wait (possibly a long time) for Chord to come out with a standalone m-scaler?

Hopefully romaz will be able to give his verdict on some of above before he disappears from all forum activity - soon apparently

I think I am at a similar point as the Attorney. The best sound that I have had in my system was when it was fed directly into the Dave by my Melco NAS via USB. I then adopted Roon for various reasons and the one and only downside is that, if I understand things correctly, the Roon core pulls the data from the Melco through the router into the PC and then replays it back through the router to my mRendu and on into the Dave. This is quite a long and unnecessary journey for the data by comparison to a USB cable from Melco to Dave and involves 4 devices instead of just one, 5 if you include passing through the router twice. The difference is not huge, but it is there nonetheless. I do wonder whether it offends my logic more than it does affect sound quality sometimes!

I have a Blu II on order and look forward to that as being, hopefully, final closure on the digital front end. The final piece of the jigsaw for me must be a server like the Melco that sits in my rack, runs Roon and plays direct from the hard drive into the Chord front end via a relatively short USB cable. I have arrived at the same conclusion as Attorney with the Antipodes DX, but it seems very expensive and is not widely available for audition here in the U.K. It would be helpful to know what other Roon servers are out there built to a similar quality and ethos as the Melco.
 
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May 8, 2017 at 9:05 AM Post #847 of 1,483

TheAttorney

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The best sound that I have had in my system was when it was fed directly into the Dave by my Melco NAS via USB. I then adopted Roon for various reasons and the one and only downside is that, if I understand things correctly, the Roon core pulls the data from the Melco through the router into the PC and then replays it back through the router to my mRendu and on into the Dave. This is quite a long and unnecessary journey for the data by comparison to a USB cable from Melco to Dave .

You can use romaz's direct bridge method for Roon core to send direct to Roon Ready on the mR (described at length earlier in this thread and at CA, and may require quite a bit of faffing around). I don't know the Melco, but can't you run Roon core directly on that and forget about the PC?

Regarding SOtM super clocks, one new variant of my previously listed options is to take 2 spare clock outputs from a TX USB Ultra and connect them to a basic SMS-200 (non-Ultra). This means that both TX and SMS can fully benefit from super clocks but save on costs whereby only one of them has to be Ultra. I think in this situation the both units would need to be modified by SOtM to accept the two clock cables. This as far I understood from latest posts at CA. Getting quite complicated huh?

Apart from that, I've found a nearby UK dealer who will be able to home loan me these various SOtM products, so I'll be able to try some of these combinations (TX ultra/SMS Ultra/mR) out for myself - once the SMS 200 Ultra becomes available.
 
May 8, 2017 at 12:22 PM Post #848 of 1,483

Malcyg

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You can use romaz's direct bridge method for Roon core to send direct to Roon Ready on the mR (described at length earlier in this thread and at CA, and may require quite a bit of faffing around). I don't know the Melco, but can't you run Roon core directly on that and forget about the PC?

Regarding SOtM super clocks, one new variant of my previously listed options is to take 2 spare clock outputs from a TX USB Ultra and connect them to a basic SMS-200 (non-Ultra). This means that both TX and SMS can fully benefit from super clocks but save on costs whereby only one of them has to be Ultra. I think in this situation the both units would need to be modified by SOtM to accept the two clock cables. This as far I understood from latest posts at CA. Getting quite complicated huh?

Apart from that, I've found a nearby UK dealer who will be able to home loan me these various SOtM products, so I'll be able to try some of these combinations (TX ultra/SMS Ultra/mR) out for myself - once the SMS 200 Ultra becomes available.

Thanks for that info Attorney. I didn't realise, but I am in a different thread to the one that I thought I was in - I think I clicked a link then forgot to go back. Anyway, I am wading my way through this one now and there is a lot of useful information to take in and digest.

I was an early adopter of the Melco, despite the hostile reaction that it received initially from the 'bits is bits' brigade. The logic seemed right to me and so it has been proved as I have been delighted with it and operationally, it has been flawless despite running 24/7 since I got it. It hasn't dropped or missed a beat in 2.5 years.

If it could run Roon, I would be delighted but I don't know whether it would be powerful enough and I read that the operating system is not compatible. Roon aside, I can only speak very highly of the Melco servers.

One option for me may be to get a device in my rack to run Roon taking the data directly from the Melco and pumping it out either direct to DAC or via the mRendu. It seems that there are pro's and cons to both methods, but it would be a lot cheaper than the Antipodes DX. Has anyone tried one of those? Any comments on sound quality? I am always nervous about spending a lot of money on anything that is just a souped up PC since they are superceded so quickly.
 
May 11, 2017 at 9:02 PM Post #849 of 1,483

DocSkeekmo

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Romaz - I read this whole thread and don't think I have seen anything on the SMS-1000SQ.

Do you have any experience with it? In its "Ultra" form it appears to be a purpose built PC, internal hard drive, built in directly wired SMS-200ultra AND a TX-USBultra. For $3500- it sounds like it would kill almost everything at any price....

I'm REALLY curious to hear your opinion.

And would you consider the Windows or Linux version? I have seen over and over that the Windows OS seams to be the best sounding as an audiophile source.
 
May 11, 2017 at 11:49 PM Post #851 of 1,483

DocSkeekmo

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I share the question about SMS-1000SQ. It's also great that it handles ROON. But $3500? NOT. Configuring it with Ultraclock, even without SSD's, is closer to 5k!
Even at $7,500- with Hynes Power Supplies it's STILL cheaper then my Antipodes DX or the Aurender N10 I'm borrowing, or the CAD CAT I'm seriously considering.

I'd love to hear Romaz's opinion on the 1000SQ with Ultra upgrades and Hynes power supply vs a purpose built computer with an sMS-200ultra and a TX-USBultra since he's SO familiar with the sotm gear and all the other servers I am looking at.
 
May 12, 2017 at 5:10 AM Post #852 of 1,483

TheAttorney

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Romaz - I read this whole thread and don't think I have seen anything on the SMS-1000SQ.

Do you have any experience with it? In its "Ultra" form it appears to be a purpose built PC, internal hard drive, built in directly wired SMS-200ultra AND a TX-USBultra. For $3500- it sounds like it would kill almost everything at any price....

And would you consider the Windows or Linux version? I have seen over and over that the Windows OS seams to be the best sounding as an audiophile source.

Yes, the SMS-1000SQ is also on my wish list - particularly after so many comments at CA that more SOtM super clocks in the chain keep increasing sound quality. But their server has had very few reviews in general and none I could find that included the super clock option.

@doc, I don't think the 1000SQ includes either a 200-Ultra or a TXUSB-Ultra (or at least not in their full form), but it does have the super clock card (with 4 outputs) as an option. which should give the server the best start possible at whatever 4 points in the server a clock is appropriate - including the USB output. But no one has yet confirmed whether this takes the 1000SQ "to another level", although romaz has reported that the super clock card was very effective in his home made server.

In the meantime, I've ordered a 3-rail Paul Hynes SR7 (ETA in July), which hopefully will give me an end-game power supply for 1 server and 2 little boxes. And I'm hoping to decide in a few weeks what those little boxes will be: I'm waiting for my local UK dealer to take delivery of the not-quite-yet-released SMS-200 Ultra, so that I can the home demo that against/with the TX-USB Ultra and against my microRendu.
 
May 12, 2017 at 8:02 AM Post #853 of 1,483

lojay

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I am probably one of the very few people who have an SoTM SMS-1000SQ Ultra (with clocks etc). I am using a standard switching power supply (with the USB powered by the Uptone LPS-1) and am waiting for a Paul Hynes SR7.

It is more detailed and resolving than my Mac Mini - Microrendu (powered by Keces LPS and Uptone LPS-1) set up but loses some weight and sounds slightly leaner. It is still very satisfying and I look to improve it even more with the SR7.

I shared my views with Roy and he doubts the SMS-1000SQ will sound better than a separate computer server and SMS-200 Ultra. This might be the case due to the superiority of a direct connection and a quieter low impedance SMS-200.

For my specific circumstances, I have two rigs so the SMS-1000SQ works very well as a "one box" solution for my smaller rig should I go for the multi-box SMS-200 solution on my bigger rig.
 
May 12, 2017 at 8:15 AM Post #854 of 1,483

DocSkeekmo

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TheAttorney - I am in discussion with Sotr now about an order and trying to clarify everything. Romaz' input would, I think, be helpful as well.

I'm waiting on a final clarification. But I have confirmed that the SMS-1000sq DOES have an optional output choice of a TX-USBexp and that, waiting on clarification, it can be upgraded internally to a Tx-USBultra.

It also appears that the SMS-1000sq does not use an exact SMS-200 internally but something VERY similar (no idea better, same or worse). But THAT can be upgraded internally to have the same clock as the new SMS-200ultra by adding the sclk-ex card.

What I am having a hard time elucidating is if getting a fully "Ultra" upgraded SMs-1000sq is the exact same as building a purpose built PC and adding an SMS-Ultra and a TX-USBultra. But everything is housed in a single chassis and hard wired so no need for any tricks to bypass a switch with double bridged Ethernet, or additional very costly Ethernet and USB interconnects. And I can STILL use a Hynes SR7 to power it. If it is that, then it sounds like an absolute win.

I'm waiting on an answer from sotm. But I'd LOVE to get romaz's take on this!

I also would opt for the Windows version of the 1000sq since my experience has been that a purpose built Windows server has the potential to sound better then using Linux. Although that's subjective, hearsay and rumor. Lol.
 
May 12, 2017 at 10:27 AM Post #855 of 1,483

yellowblue

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I have to order the TX-USBultra within two weeks to get a 10% Early Bird discount. I own a MicroRendu (with LPS-1). Somebody here who has heard the MicroRendu with the TX-USBultra? Or would it be better to sell the MicroRendu and buy an SMS (Ultra)?
 

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