Adding MicroRendu between Mac Mini and amp

(Tom Keenan) #1

My Roon Core is on a 2014 Mac Mini. The Mini connects via USB to a physically adjacent Peachtree Nova 150 integrated amp. I usually control from my MacBook Pro.

I’m thinking of moving the Mini to another room. In that case, I’ll need a way to get ethernet/Wifi from the Roon Core (Mini) to the amp (the Nova 150 has USB but not ethernet). The Micro Rendu seems to meet that need.

Any advantages/disadvantages to this change (other than having the Mac Mini in a more convenient physical location)? I wouldn’t expect to notice any significant change in sound quality by putting the Micro Rendu in between. Should I?

(Jared) #2

This discussion might be helpful, where the benefits of having and endpoint, vs using the core as an endpoint, are explored:

I moved my MacBook core out of the listening room to get rid of the fan noise and the whir of the external hard drives and have not looked back. Not sure about the pure sonic benefits, but the background noise was eliminated without any loss of quality going to a RPi with a Hifiberry Hat.


Sonore recommended powerline adapters if ethernet net cable wasn’t an option.I’m not sure which model.

(Tom Keenan) #4

In terms of sound quality or ease-of-use, I don’t seem to be experiencing significant problems with my current set-up: Roon Core on Mac Mini, connected directly to Peachtree Nova 150 by USB and to router by ethernet jumper cable (or by WiFi), all about 8 feet from my listening position. Let’s say I move the Mini to another room, then attach a device (such as the MicroRendu) to my Peachtree amp, making it a separate endpoint (no longer directly connected to the Core). The jury seems to be out on whether I can expect a difference in sound quality (or overall user experience) from this change.

Currently, I don’t hear any fan noise from the computer (certainly not while listening to music). If there is electrical “noise” from the Mini (from its switching power supply, or whatever), I don’t seem to hear it. No static, no drop-outs. Nothing (as far as I can tell) analogous to the effects of a loose turntable belt. I’ve experienced what I think others have called “treble glare”, but I don’t know that it’s due to the Mini (vice room reflections) or that it can’t be managed through the Roon equalizer. The Mini isn’t doing much other than serving up music, so it’s not as though Roon is competing hard for system resources.

One option would be to leave my music set-up alone and just buy another Mini (or something) to use in the 2nd room. Cost would be comparable to buying the MicroRendu and moving the existing Mini. So the question remains, am I likely to experience any improvement (or degradation) in the listening experience from the MicroRendu (or something else like it)? From what I’m reading, I’d just have to try it and trust my own ears.


I think getting an endpoint is definitely the way to go. Getting something similar to mRendu is one of the most convenient ways of doing so. Getting another Mini seems like a waste since it wouldn’t be as easy to maintain and also wouldn’t be a cheaper option.

As always with perception is you get used to anything, so it’s always hard to notice flaws in the things your mind is used to. This works both ways so any change can be exaggerated by the brain, so always stay curious with a healthy bit of skepticism :slight_smile:

From my experience, depending on equipment, you can definitely get a perceived increase in sound quality from using a well built endpoint. This could be something like Sonore, Aurelic or if you’re slightly more adventurous getting a Raspberry Pi. I’m going to put together that kind for a friend later this month probably with using ALLO USBRIDGE. I will do some exploring since it was some time ago I read up on these things.

Any way you go you will not have any “degradation” of sound. Unless there is some issues with your network setup – but, again from my experience, the network part is exaggerated in the “audiophile world”. As long as it’s not something seriously wrong with your network you are home safe. Maybe there is another percentage to gain from doing the network setup by the audiophile book … but it’s a lot of work for possibly no reward :upside_down_face:

(Daniel Beyer) #6

I just wanted to note that this solution is what some of the Peachtree team was using when I called them to talk about their amps leading up to my purchase of the Nova 300. I had questions about the 2nd USB port and had mentioned I used Roon. They told me they were using the setup you are contemplating and loved it.

(Tom Keenan) #7

(I’ve found the Peachtree support to be pretty good, by the way).

(Tim Chapman) #8

Using a NAA, like the rendu, will possibly improve your sound quality. My own experience has definitely been positive - either down the Allo DigiOne route or more expensive routes (such as Pro-Ject Audios Stream Box S2 Ultra).
It’s always a difficult thing to recommend changes to other people - you have your own unique setup and preferences. What I can say is that using a decent NAA reduces jitter and time smearing: the sound becomes more analogue if you like.

(Daniel Beyer) #9

I’ve found that while the literature states a limit of DSD 128 via USB, the DAC in the Nova can really do DSD256 if you are running the ASIO driver on a Windows computer. When I asked them about this, support kind of side stepped with remarks about not confusing end users. So, I suspect that they just state DSD128 as a limit so that no matter what OS you use the user will get that rate. And if your OS is Windows, Bonus, you get DSD256.

(Anders Vinberg) #10

Most would say that a MicroRendu would improve the sound, compared to a direct USB connection to a computer. And RoonLabs recommends it. Of course the MicroRendu is a computer too, but it’s optimized for audio.

In my experience I have noticed improvement, or at worst no difference compared to a Nucleus which is also audio-optimized.

And btw, I use WiFi to several rooms without problems.

(Jesus Rodriguez) #11

In some cases we stream native DSD at higher rates, buy it depends on the DAC. Post the output of Apps / DAC Diagnostics and let’s see what is possible.

(Andrew Cox) #12

3 posts were split to a new topic: Node 2 vs direct USB