Core Upgrade Recommendations (for Roon and HQP)

You might try the old mini with its stock power instead of the Uptone.

Yes, I will do that since I plan to re-purpose it as a desktop.
I’ve got to dig out the SMPS from where ever I put it - then the Mini has to get stripped back to the bare case to re-install. Not difficult, just have to get around to it.
That will be interesting. I initially had a 2011 i5 mini with the Uptone LPS conversion but installed into the 2012 i7 Mini when that disappointed compared to the i5/LPS. But who knows.

Apologies in advance for my ignorance, as I’m very new to all of this. But couldn’t the second M1 Mini (Roon GUI/HQP) serve as an endpoint? If so, what’s the purpose of the UltraRendu?

Yes it could.
In which case I’d connect my dac to usb on the 2nd Mini running HQP.
However I’ve found the uRendu to sound better as a network>usb endpoint - its lightweight OS is designed specifically for this task.
In my setup I also have the uRendu on the ‘B’ side of an EtherRegen network switch, with both M1 Minis on the ‘A’ side.
As already pointed out I could run all these functions from a single M1 Mini (or other computer) - as I have done in the past - but I’ve found separating the functions to sound better.
As always YMMV (in fact I’ve found it to vary myself depending on the usb implementation on the dac - i.e. some dacs benefit more, some less).

Thanks for the informative response.

And remember most of this stuff is audiophile tomfoolery - messing around to find what the individual perceives to give the ‘best’ sound. It’s worth is up to the ears of the listener. :wink:
A single computer > dac setup without all the other paraphernalia gives more than acceptable results.

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Understood. I’m currently using a single dedicated Mac Mini that runs RoonServer and HQPlayer and is connected via USB to my DAC. I control it from a laptop or my phone. I like the sound but have nothing to compare it to and can’t help but wonder about the SQ benefits of the recommended setup where the core and endpoint(s) are separated. I’m sure I’ll experiment someday, so I appreciate the information and advice.

Just to add another data point about the variability of these things - I have contradictory findings with my recently added Holo May dac.
The May has a very good, well isolated usb input.
Tonight I stripped things back and ran the May dac off my M1 Core usb in the May’s NOS mode - then compared the same mode/music with the uRendu network setup.
I preferred the former!
So maybe I will simplify my setup! (No HQP in this comparison though)

Nothing against the Mac Mini I have not used it in my system.
I am using and would suggest you try the SonicTransporter i9. Yes it may be more money, but, it’s a Linux system that ONLY has what you need to run the Roon and HQPlayer that is already installed. You need to activate it with your account.
Andrew has a return policy so you can try both. That is if you can return the Mac Mini.


It makes zero sense for a M1 Mac Mini feeding the May to sound better than the ultraRendu. Different? Maybe. But better? Hard to imagine. Why? The ultraRendu is feeding the same data to the May yet it is electrically much quieter.

Every time I hook my M1 Mac Mini Roon server running HQPlayer Desktop directly to my Holo Audio May KTE, I immediately regret it and go back to using my ultraRendu running @jussi_laako’s NAA image for it. I tried several different USB cables in the process…none of them made any difference either.

Yeah, that may have been an artefact of all the swapping around I was doing while experimenting with different setups - swapping a different LPS for the uRendu.
For the record I went a step further in simplifying things, removed the etherRegen and connected the M1 directly to my $30 network switch (that precedes the ER) - that really messed up the SQ, particularly imaging. Interesting.

I will say that the May sounded better than fine connected to the M1 Mini (with ER) - no doubt due to the superior usb implementation (full galvanic isolation) on the May reducing the advantage of the uRendu. For the record I always found my DAC3 to sound better off the uRendu endpoint.
Previously I did some listening to a demo May directly off the the M1 while the DAC3 was on the uRendu. The May still sounded definitively better than the DAC3 - in the way the May does with regards to space reproduction, focus, tone/timbre and sense of refinement.

Anyway, at the moment I have the etherRegen and uRendu both powered off the Uptone JS2 LPS and superiority is restored to the uRendu > May setup.

Edit: I’ve moved the May dac back to the headless M1 RoonServer with an iFi iUSB3 hub (powered off the JS2 LPS). At present I prefer this setup to M1 > EtherRegen > uRendu(JS2 LPS) > May.