Silent Angel Rhein Z1 user experiences & upgrades

Dear reader,

I have been using a Silent Angel Rhein Z1 for some time as a Roon core/server (2TB SSD inside avoids a NAS). The VitOS system also provides streaming functionality.

This way I never have to buy any expensive streaming hardware (that becomes obsolete overnight) any more. My setup is now restricted to Analog: vinyl one the one side & Digital: ROON on the other. My 1200 odd ripped CD’s are now on the SSD of the Rhein. CD’s => Thrift shop.

All you need extra is a DAC of your choice. Please remember that that technology is like Moore’s law (more specs every year while the price goes down in the same pace). My ZEN Dac Signature (office equipment) outperforms a 10K+ unit from some 5-10 years ago.

Now for upgrades. I recently purchased an external upgrade linear power supply for the Rhein Z1. It is the FARAD super 3.

The result is amazing indeed. My whole digital chain is now much quieter and has lost its last ‘digital edges’. Mind you, some (at least) simple power conditioning is necessary for other devices in the chain. Here you can use , for example, iFi simple iPower units.

Music needs to trigger emotions, and this does the trick…

Happy listening hours,
Hans

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I am thinking to the Rhein Z1 as a server only for Roon, can I ask, if you know, how it performs as a Roon Core in terms of processing speed when using upsampling PMC & DSD? The alternatives, Innuos Zen is too expensive for server only (my need) and lacks the power for effective Roon but sounds great. The Nucleus is also too expensive and seems to have very little impact on sound.
I am not finding too much reviews and/or forum talk about the Rhein Z1. A lot of talk about streamers not so much on servers.
Thanks.

Hi Mark,

First a disclaimer from Roon, the organization and hardcore roonies…(I was told in the past that) Rhein Z1 is not officially Roon ready and ot supported…

  • strange because various other Silent Angel products are indeed on the Roon partner list…However, not surprising since it is a real competitor to Roon’s own Nucleus.

Now my reasons to buy the Rhein Z1

  • much better build than Nucleus
  • Good & fast processor
  • Uses extremely little power
  • Good price/quality balance
  • Seperate OS based on Tiny linux named Vitos makes Roon updates and OS updates save because of the separation. Vitos has its own app.
    PERFORMANCE
  • first be aware of the fact that you need a separate USB-DAC (USB, because coaxial digital & toslink cannot play large HiRes formats) depending on your requirements. I use the TEAC UD 505 (DAC + balanced headphone amplifier). Not cheap, but it will happily play DSD 512 from the Rhein (is delivered bit-perfect to the DAC by RAAT). Also DXD and PCM up to 32 bit 384 (+double, but I have seen nu music files in that format.
    So the Rhein is NOT the limiting factor. The DAC is.
  • the iFi ZEN DAC signature is very much cheaper and will process up to PCM 384 32 bit and DSD 256. Also an MQA renderer if you use TIDAL. Also comes with a nice power supply)
  • in between (pricewise) the Cambridge Audio 200M is another option. It will process the same formats as the TEAC. + for TIDAL fans it has complete MQA unfolding + renderiing.
    EMBELLISHMENTS
  • For my TEAC I use a linear power supply (FARAD super 3) whis is a pricy way to make the complete system (music streaming from source to Roon to DAC to speakers) more quiet.
    For the Cambridge you can do the same much cheaper with an MCRU linear power supply custom made for this unit.
    So there are many choices…start with the necessities and embellish later if you wish.

The cheapest Roon core setup is still the Rapberry PI with Roon Rock software. Add an iFI DAC and you are in business. The PI can also be pimped with a silent power supply, extra storage, a masterclock etc. please check Audiophonics - Hi-Fi Audio, Electronic and DIY Products - Audiophonics for that

Good luck,
Hans

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Thanks Hans for your helpful and detailed response. Your logic around price/quality/performance is what I was thinking.

My current Roon core is a 2018 I7 Mac Mini out, via switch & audiophile ether cable, into SOTM sms200 ultra streamer (S Booster PSU plus enter iso regen with PSU & curious usb cables) into Denafrips Pontus II with a Denafrips Hermes DDC (coming) between streamer (usb, then I2S out) & DAC. I am assuming I will keeper the Rhein in the same room as the current Mac which is away from the hifi.

I am very happy with my front end set up & sound for now and what to improve my source. Not sure how much the sound will improve.

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I think you mean roon end point, you can’t sensibly use a pi as a core.

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The improvement in SQ by changing things like servers and streamers is mostly a function of how good your imagination is. Roon, for example, has never advertised an improvement in SQ by using Nucleus.

Why would you contemplate this overkill? Dunno, maybe you just like gear.

BTW - Looking at the website, the ‘ultra low power’ CPU in the machine is probably below Roon specs, so be aware of that. At $2200, uber overpriced for what it is, ‘audio grade’ SSDs and all.

Not quite accurate, there is a version of Roon Core very stripped down that runs on Diet Pi.

Never heard of anyone using it but in theory if your Pi is powerfull enough it can work.

However kind of off topic from the main thread so enough on that one.

xxxForm is Emptiness - Emptiness is Form

Generally speaking, this isn’t the place to criticize someone’s setup.

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All this gear in your chain. Wow.

Yes, but that’s for the x86 architecture - NOT the Raspberry Pi architecture…

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Thanks for this information. I have been using a HP Z2 workstation as my ROON core but my buddy/stereo salesman, talked me into buying a Rhein Z1. I haven’t set it up yet. I am a little apprehensive because I did the whole Silent Angel setup with the BON switch and some fancy network cables. I expect this will take several hours of rearranging my system and then doing all the updates and moving my library to the local drive on the Z1.
Speaking of copying my library. Anyone have any suggestions? Should I attach my external drive to the Z1 and copy from there, or will it be okay to transfer it via the network?

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I’m using the Rhein myself and am very pleased with it. Very stable Roon core. You can use an external drive to put your music on it. It’s not possible to move your music back and forth with a computer (explorer). Your computer won’t recognise the drive. You have to unplug it from the Rhein and directly plug it to your computer to add music files. I have had contact with Rhein and they told me that maybe a coming firmware update will make that possible. Now it’s not stable enough. The SSD drive inside the Rhein (if you have one) will show up in windows explorer. No problem So far my experiences. Btw I plugged my external disk into my Auralic streamer. That works fine.

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@Marc_Plaum Thanks for the suggestion. I will think about moving the drive. In the meantime, I have given myself another task. I bought a new Pioneer BDR-X13U-S burner. It has all this new “quiet” tech built into it. I now have to re-rip my entire 1200+ CD collection.

I have been using the Z1 Rhein for a few years now. In the beginning the Rhein could not find the attached USB-DAC after updates, but that is no longer the case. I believe that the producer is now ‘friends’ with Roon.
Their updated product, the Rhein Z1 plus, is now officially Roon Ready + Roon Bridge. A bit more expensive, but it can compete with likewise apparatus much more expensive.

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Is there any confirmation regarding Z1 Plus? Not listed under Silent Angel on the Partner page.

3rd party Roon Cores are not part of the partner programme and haven’t been for some time only endpoints are part of the programme as Roon Ready network devices.

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Ah yes. But this unit is also a Bridge.

Bridge is not Roon Ready, very different and they were in violation of Roons T/C on previous servers as they are not allowed to distribute the bridge with hardware it all it has to be downloaded as a choice by the user from Roons servers.

Aware of this - exactly why I asked the question in response to Hans’s assertion.

Hi Hans. It cost 2.999 EURO - where do you see the benefits in such a product compared to a NUC?

Torben