I recently picked up a Marantz ND8006 to use as a streamer for Tidal… The internal streamer sounds absolutely amazing, but the HEOS app is an unusable mess.
To re-incorporate Roon into my system I picked up an ultraRendu and an UpTone Audio 1.2 LPS.
However I have found that the uR/Roon/USB DAC combo is sonically inferior to the native streaming on the Marantz. I am positive I have all the Roon endpoint settings correct for the ultraRendu… it just doesn’t sound as good as streaming from the Marantz.
I am wondering if there’s something I am missing that can get me the same level of SQ from the uR/Roon into the Marantz’s USB DAC? I have tried Airplaying to the Marantz and bypassing the uR but I am being asked to enter an Airplay password which doesn’t make any sense.
If there’s just something inherently inferior to the USB DAC vs native streaming on the Marantz, is there any indication on how far along we are to getting Marantz ND8006 certified as a Roon endpoint? This HEOS app is driving me nuts.
I didn’t really come here to debate the reality of what I am hearing with my own ears, I was just looking for some help with Roon. Let alone the concept that a USB DAC may sound inferior to an internal streamer (it’s not that outrageous of a concept actually). Guess I’m in the wrong place.
Here’s an inexpensive idea above for USB to SPDIF coax RCA. There are several dfferent types of these available. I have the one linked below since I use I2s and SPDIF (with my microrendu). I hope this information is helpful to you.
You are not in the wrong place. If Roon is working with your DAC and Roon path shows Lossless, and as ultraRendu powered by a great linear PS you have is as good as it can get, then it’s simple: the built in Bridge in your DAC is better than its USB input. As simple as that.
Not all DACs have great USB inputs. On the contrary
Thanks Sean - I hope I didn’t come across by making the ultraRendu sound bad… it doesn’t. It’s just that I have found there is definitely a sonic improvement by bypassing the Marantz’s USB DAC and using it as an internal streamer. The USB DAC does appear to be the Marantz’s weakest link but it’s not poor quality by far.
The best I can describe… The uRendu -> USB DAC sounds detailed and has an excellent soundstage. However, in listening to the same content streaming from the Marantz, I notice small things that are definitely more detailed and defined in the mix. Particular in soundstage, presence of bass, and overall dimensionality.
A good example is the song “Piano Sonata” on Chick Corea Trio’s Trilogy Disc 3. About the 6:20 minute mark, there is a steady build of complex piano and drum interaction that culminates in a drum/piano rhythmic “ba ba, ba, ba ba, ba BAH…” and then there’s a rest and McBride does a quick “zing” down the neck of the bass.
This sounds great on the uRendu…
When listening to the internal streamer, however, the rhythmic interaction between the piano and drums has more physicality and presence. It is also forward in the soundstage, almost like a dimensional imaging from front to back. Then when McBride hits that bass slide, it “pops” with more dynamics and as he runs down the neck of the bass, the sound seems to shoot from left front in the soundstage to far back right in the soundstage.
The physicality, dynamics, and dimensional imaging of that passage is much better represented on the Marantz streamer than from the USB DAC/Roon.
And there are little things like that in just about every song on my playlist that make me prefer listening to the internal streamer, if it weren’t for the horrible HEOS app.
That’s why I was hoping there was maybe some settings in Roon or something that could better optimized the performance of the ultraRendu into the USB DAC.
I have all of the above (Lossless, great LPS, etc). The Marantz USB DAC implementation is definitely the weak point of the system. I just wouldn’t call it “terrible” by any stretch. It’s just better through ethernet…
I am crossing my fingers and hoping that Roon comes to Marantz in the very near future.
Some different terms being used on this thread which may lead to confusion. When you say “USB DAC”, I assume what you really mean in the USB input to your Marantz streamer, correct? If so, what you are saying is that the Ethernet input to the DAC in your Marantz streamer sounds better than the USB input to your Marantz streamer. In both cases the DAC is the same. The variable seems to be whether you are streaming via Ethernet direct or Ethernet to a uR which converts to USB. If so, this is not unusual. I would say in many cases where there are options for USB, AES, I2S, or Ethernet, USB often is the least preferred input. This could be for a variety of reasons that aren’t worth going into on this thread but it is quite common. So if you want Roon but don’t like the sound of the USB input you can try two options that I can think of. 1) there are a number of USB “cleaners” that are supposed to clean up the sound of the USB. AQ makes one but there are many others. Or 2) you can do as has been suggested already and get a USB converter. SPDIF is one option but there are others depending on what kind of digital inputs you have on the Marantz. The Hydra Z will convert USB to AES, SPDIF, optical, or I2S, for example. Again, there are many options at various price points.
Hey there Karl! The ND8006 has Digital Coax in and Optical In. So it sounds like the USB to SPDIF converter can be used to send the a signal in via coax cable to the ND8006 and the sound quality will likely be more on par with the ethernet?
And sorry to mix terms up in this thread. By USB DAC I meant to specify the USB-B input but I do understand that both the USB-B and ethernet and all other digital inputs are using the same internal DAC.
I agree with @ksalno . It is not unusual for different inputs in a DAC to sound different. Generally I do expect Ethernet input to be better than USB (this is one of the reasons why we design network players).
Note that if you get a USB to SPDIF converter, I suggest using coaxial instead of optical. However, note that you will lose the capability of playing DSD without conversion.
You may also try having Roon AirPlay to ND8006 Ethernet for 16/44.1 music.
You have good equipment. I think the USB to SPDIF converter would be an easy fix. USB is a quirky thing, and that’s why there is a market for things like the Schiit Wyrd, and Uptone Audio’s Regen. Schiit makes a “wiz-bang” USB to SPDIF converter called the Eitr. It has had favorable reviews. I provided a link for it below. It’s on the more expensive side of USB to SPDIF converters, but you have good quality equipment, and at under $200, it wouldn’t break the bank.
The Sonore Ultradigital converter does a solid job converting USB from my microrendu to I2s to my Direct Stream Jr. Jeremey doesn’t need I2s, but there are some very good USB to SPDIF CA coax converters at fair prices. It’s a workable solution. I haven’t tried the USB Regen, only the basic Regen. Have the Wyrd in place for my USB Headphone setup (Meridian Prime).
It should sound better or certainly no worse.
What are the parameters passed to the uRendu by the DAC for the USB interface, see ‘DAC Diagnostics’ under Apps in the web interface for the uRendu?
This is for the Roon Ready app in SonicorbiterOS.
Also can the Marantz take a UPnP input? If you so, you use the UPnP Bridge so Roon can feed the Marantz via the Ethernet based input.