Have you seen the Sonore SonicOrbiter SE, as an endpoint?

Andybob - This is actually a complicated question to answer. Once the Orbiter SE is RoonReady, AND assuming the Aries Mini is also made RoonReady, then it would be time to do a sonic comparison.

As it stands now, since the Orbiter SE supports Squeezebox emulation, that means it can stream DSD DoP. The Aries Mini, having to emulate AirPlay, does not support that. So IF you want to play DSDs NOW (not waiting for them both to be RoonReady), I’d be picking up an Orbiter SE now. But that ignores the possible sonic differences.

I’ll have to spend some time comparing my Cubox-i (not playing DSD, just PCM 16/44) to the Aries Mini. But having been listening to my Cubox-i for a couple of years (not Roon/Squeezelite, but LMS/Squeezelite), I’m used to how it sounds. And listening to the Aries Mini sounds excellent. But I cannot say it sounds better than what I was used to before. So short of detail comparison, I’d guess they are on par. But that also is a comparison of MY Cubox-i vs. my Aries Mini. Your question was about the Sonic Orbiter SE specifically.

My Cubox-i is the Cubox-i4 Pro model. The Orbiter SE appears to be a Cubox-i2 or Cubox-i2eX. I conclude that because it does not support WiFi and has “multiple cores” per Sonic’s marketing info. And that means Orbiter has dual core vs. my quad core, and 1 GB RAM vs. my 2 GB RAM, and possibly memory running 20% slower. Does that matter? I would not know, but I kind of doubt it.

Sorry I cannot provide anything more definitive, other than to say that I’ve spent a lot of time on the Cubox forum, and have not seen any evidence of people moaning because they bought a Cubox-i2 model vs. a Cubox-i4 model. I’ve suspected for a while that my model is overkill, for this particular use.

Wi-Fi is a point of distinction I hadn’t picked up on. That can be important for people looking at a multi-zone solution.

Yeah. I agree. I brought that up to the developer in this forum. He does not seem inclined to change that, but at least offered some hardware suggestions to fill that gap.

But thank you for bringing that up. No “out of the box” WiFi support will make this less desirable for a lot of people in this community. That said, my Cubox-4Pro offers that out of the box, but then you have to get involved with all sorts of Linux configuration/setup stuff, and have no linear power supply.

Linking a nice teaser shot from Andrew Gillis.

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The Sonicorbiter SE is based on a box we had customized by SolidRun. We are running a custom hardware and software solution so comparing it to an off the shelf Cubox with the free Volumio is not really an apples to apples comparison.

Also the Sonicorbiter CE has completed RoonReady certification so again this is very different from a free solution.

As for the Aries Mini I’m sure they will get RoonRady certified at some point but the Sonicorbiter CE has a lot more features

  • DLNA renderer for use with jRiver and others
  • RoonReady RAAT certified
  • AirPlay
  • NAA player from HQplayer
  • Squeezelite

I like to call it the Swiss army knife of audio players since it supports all the most common audio playback protocols.

You can even load Squeezebox Server on it if you want.

Swiss army knife is an appropriate description.

I’d love to see Auralic incorporate an NAA into the Aries and Lightning DS. I raised it with Mr. Wang when it became clear that HQP would control distribution in the Roon integration. I think it’s fair to say he wasn’t attracted to the idea but indicated it might be considered at some time in the future. I can understand that RoonReady and MQA may have a greater priority.

I think that as well as WiFi, MQA software decoding could become a point of distinction between the Aries Mini and the Sonicorbiter SE. It may be that the Sonicorbiter SE could include an MQA decoder. I don’t know enough about the required hardware to guess.

MQA needs to be decoded by the DAC itself. As far as I know we already support MQA. It’s supposed to be transparent to the devices transporting it. It just looks like FLAC, WAV etc.

If you play MQA on a device that doesn’t support it you just get standard quality sound.

As far as Wi-Fi is concerned I’m not a big fan of having a radio transmitter that close to a DAC and amp combo. The chance of interference is high. I don’t put Wi-Fi on any products that I sell.

Also most consumer Wi-Fi networks are crap. I spent a lot of time on the Squeezebox forum and there were thousands of users complaining about music drops, clicks, and playback stops. In almost every case once they went to a hard network the problems disappeared.

I’m a huge fan of HomePlug. This allows you to put a network device like Sonicorbiter in any room of the house with the reliability of a wired network. It’s very easy to set up and very secure.

You can get a pair for $30 and never have to worry about problems again


You could also get a Wi-Fi access point that you can place away from your audio equipment. But HomePlug is more reliable.

Hi Andrew,

MQA can be decoded by a DAC, but The Absolute Sound article with Bob Stuart said the decoder can be implemented in many ways, including as a bit of software. In that case I expect the resulting 192KHz PCM stream can be sent to a non-MQA DAC. Both Tidal and Roon intend to implement MQA decoding in software.

It seems to be a live issue for debate whether an MQA DAC will have some advantage over a software decoder. Time will tell.

I thought on of the advantages of MQA is it matches your DAC to the ADC that was used to record the music. That could only be done in the DAC. I’m not sure what you can do in software.

Anyway the Sonicorbiter SE supports Roon so if Roon does this type of decoding we will support it.

Yes, that could well be a point of distinction. If the software knows what DAC it is attached to, then it might download what it needs to know about that DAC in order to best handle the decoding but it may not have the same access to control surfaces in the DAC as a hardware implementation.


i buy your roonleady
l want to know possble play dsd dsf ?

roon is not scan dsd dsf file yet(in nas or nerwork)

l want how to play or scan dsd dsf file
(ex. minmimsever)


If you use the SonicOrbiter SE as a Squeezelite device (one option), Roon will absolutely send DSD DSF files as DoP to the SonicOrbiter. I’m sure because I run a different Squeezelite device, and Roon sends DSD DSF files to it as DoP. Sounds great.

However, I don’t know if it will do that as a RoonReady device. Though I’d be shocked if it doesn’t since it does for Squeezelite endpoints.


thanks fast answer
i use the SonicOrbiter SE only roonleady (5 option),
possible. dsd dsf file in network?

i want know different one option vs five option


I’m sorry, I don’t have a SonicOrbiter SE. So I am familiar with their options.

But I do know that one option is supposed to run Squeezelite emulation. If you find that option, AND if you go into Roon and find the network setup gear icon for it, Roon will let you set up DSD (DSF) playback over DoP.

As I mentioned before, I’m surprised that it does not work under RoonReady. But I know it works for Squeezelite. So it should work for Squeezelite on SonicOrbiter SE.

This does sound like a very interesting solution.

roon is not scan dsd dsf file yet(in nas or nerwork)

We have supported DSF files for 8 months. I have SonicOrbiter SE here, and I play DSD files often.

Maybe the files are not recognized by Roon for another reason? @vova or @mike might be able to help troubleshoot. Roon’s file handling is independent from playback. If the files are not showing up, it is probably not related to Sonicorbiter SE.

looking forward to reading more about the SE - seems like a nice solution to getting my laptop away from the USB connection to my DAC. I am thinking sound quality would be big jump up from my ordinary multi-function laptop. Just wondering where the Microrendu fits in and whether I would be regretting going Sonicorbiter when the uRendu happens.

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My understanding is that the microRendu will be hardware that is all original and optimized for its purpose, whereas the Sonic Orbiter SE is pretty much off-the-shelf hardware.

Also, Jesus at Sonore had this to say when I asked him a similar question over on Computer Audiophile:

“Dave, the hardware on the microRendu is different in that it’s optimized for USB output:) The Sonicorbiter SE is a nice renderer and a great value. The software on the microRendu is similar in functionality, but void of the optical output configuration in the GUI.”

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With build 94 you can now use RoonReady endpoints such as the Sonicorbiter SE to their full potential.

Sorry, but I’ve got to post this…

I ordered a SonicOrbiter SE, arrived this afternoon. And I’m taking a few moment’s to pass along early impressions from my first listening session, which is still in progress. And I won’t be long, because I can’t wait to get back to the music!

I’ve been playing “From the Mountaintop” by the New Appalachians (24/196) and Anonymous 4 “American Angels” DSD, and it is staggering, it sounds so good! It is the best sound that I have heard from my system EVER. And I’m no audio spring chicken.

Granted, I’m using a new USB cable that cost about as much as the SonicOrbiter SE. And I’m playing the music from the SonicOrbiter SE in “RoonReady” mode. So maybe the wondrous sound I’m hearing is all about RAAT. Fine. It could be either. Or both. But I’m posting because if RAAT were the bee’s knees, and my new USB cable was 'da bomb, it would not make ANY difference if the SonicOrbiter SE could not pass along those benefits to my ears. And it does! Wow.

So, I’m going to conclude, if only because I’m dying to get back to listening to the tunes. But I thought it was worth passing along a first impression…

Happy listening.