MicroRendu, UltraRendu or Other

I am considering a MicroRendu or UltraRendu to connect my iMac (running Roon core) to my Chord Hugo TT2 DAC via Ethernet. I use Roon to access music on my iMac and through Qobuz. Eventually I will be adding a Chord M-Scaler

Presently, I am streaming wirelessly to an iPad Pro or MacBook Air connected to Hugo via USB.

My goals are as follows:

  1. Replace the wireless connection with a wired connection to improve audio quality; of course other sonic benefits are welcome too
  2. Eliminate the local tether between my iPad Pro or MacBook Air and the Hugo for convenience
  3. A solution that provides good ROI

I am not familiar with the either Sonore product. Given the above is the Ultra Rendu worth the additional cost?

Is their a different solution I should be considering for roughly the same cost?

Thank you

Allo USBridge Sig + Shanti PSU. Don’t let the cheaper price fool you.

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Absolutely! That could possibly give room for an etherRegen too :slightly_smiling_face:

Or, if the goal is to galvanically isolate the audio chain from everything else in a way that’s scientifically indisputable, a Corning optical USB cable :innocent: .

I’ve heard that the Corning is a little unreliable and can break easily, but that may have been an earlier model.

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Yeah, that’d make sense. They probably don’t have the bend radius of a normal cable, and there’s a minimum of 30ft to hide (and thus, bend…). I don’t use one, but given how most of us would use those, which is pretty much set and forget, I don’t see it as being as much of an issue than if they’re used as normal USB extension cords and moved around all the time.

There is still copper conductors in the cable yo carry power and ground noise…so it is a waste of money to use.

It’s also important to note that such a cable is of dubious use with something that’s as clean as a USBridge + shanti. I’m personally unconvinced by the whole EtherRegen thing, and am waiting, with baited breath, for its promoters to prove their claims at dac output (or at preamp output if they prefer) in a way that’s independently verifiable and doesn’t involve “stellar customer feedback” (I have no doubt their support is fantastic). This isn’t unique to them.

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The ultraRendu and microRendu are still quieter than the any of the RPi based products.

Well… that’s not what @Archimago’s measurements say.

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From that link:

" Objective measurements of analogue output from my DAC using the optical USB cable shows no difference compared to a shielded 10’ USB 2 wire cable.** **Likewise, no difference in the J-Test FFT to suggest audible jitter anomaly at 16-bit/44kHz or 24-bit/48kHz"

Two paragraphs higher: “Indeed, the analogue noise can be transmitted down cables like the USB cable and cause audible interference. I demonstrated how the Corning Optical USB cable can be used to minimize the noise originating from the computer. It’s logical. It can be measured. No magic.”

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[Moderated]

The ultraRendu has far less circuitry than the RPi units. The RPi is a scaled down general purpose computer that makes lots of electrical noise. The components are so close together that EMI is an issue so even with all the cleanup that Also does, there is still more noise than with the ultraRendu. I’ve tried all this stuff as I wanted a cheaper endpoint…it’s just putting lipstick on a pig. It’s better but it is still a pig.

Now, the USBridge Sig falls precisely in the category you describe, and from the looks of it, there’s at least as much custom, audiophile-targeted engineering work that went into that than into any Rendu. Have a look at it.

It’s chock-full of low-dropout regulators (not a sign that it’s inherently any better than the switching regulation on the Rendus), and it’s powered by something that, on paper, makes a fraction the noise of a Nagra HD DAC-X.

Now, let’s have the same cursory look at the UltraRendu. Let’s take the board.
That looks quite a bit like a certain SolidRun device, don’t you think ?
Only the marketing there touts exactly the opposite of what you’re putting forward as a way to fight EMI, which is its “small size” (I’d add “rightfully so”, because it’s half the size of the compute module on the USBridge, but that’d be petty so let’s skip over that). Anyway, I’d wager we can safely assume that the brains of the UltraRendu are not some purposed-built device, which’d naturally be extraordinarily difficult to achieve for a company the size of Sonore (or any audiophile-market company, though IIRC SoTM does their own grounds-up, audiophile-targeted designs). It’s more likely they, just like Allo, took the smarter approach, which is to figure out something that you can use as the brains to a really nice, really clean design (which the UltraRendu certainly is), and use your ressources and energy to focus on that.

The one huge difference ? One retails for a grand with a linear PSU of unspecified capabilities or measurements (this isn’t shade, it’s that I think these should be published), and is backed by apparently fantastic customer support, and clearly fantastic customer engagement. The other retails for less than half that, PSU included, with published graphs that back up superlative claims.

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Both the Sonore and Allo products referred to above are excellent. I use a microRendu in my main rig and a DigiOne in a second system at my partner’s house.

Unfortunately I haven’t done a direct comparison in a way that would enable me to sensibly recommend one over the other and I haven’t had any experience with an ultraRendu.

One bit of gear that did make a difference in my microRendu system was the UltraCap LPS-1.2. This definitely increased the dynamics in my system. Would another less expensive LPS have done the same ? I can’t say.

Edit: One thing I would say about the price differential between a second hand microRendu and a new ultraRendu is that spending that money on a room treatment wav to convolve in Roon is likely to make a bigger impact.

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This should be everyone’s take-home. There are no bad choices here. Plus, in all likelihood (and this coming from someone who’s happy to use such devices rather than a Pi), a bit is a bit, anyway.

and that, too… 3… 2… 1… “Dirac, or better yet, Trinnov, add-on for Roon !!!” :wink:

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I’ve had an ultraRendu in my system for nearly a year, feeding the DAC in a Hegel H190, with Roon core running on a Mac mini. It cost me about 1,000 Canadian pesos (with sBooster PS). It works flawlessly. It sounds great. I’m very happy with it, especially having faffed around with DNLA, UpNP etc., as all I have to do is switch to Roon on my MacBook Pro where the controller is and turn the amp on. Haven’t had a chance to A/B with a similar product like Allo’s offerings, which by all accounts are also excellent, but it definitely sounds better than the Mac mini directly feeding the Hegel. In fact, the Roon Ready implementation from Hegel (whenever it arrives) is going to have to be pretty darned good to make me switch. You’d be happy with either Allo or Sonore offerings I’m sure.

Thanks for everyone’s input. I am curious if anyone has experience with the Bluesound Node 2 or 2i and should I consider as a possible solution.

Thank you

Am I right in thinking that Daniel has used these @Rugby ?