Weekend with sonicTransporter i5

My journey started with a search for a replacement of a slow and noisy 2010 circa Synology NAS DS110j (CPU Clock Rate: 800MHz, 16bit@DDR800). I researched and considered different options and strategies; however, the solution had to complement the Roon ecosystem. I considered the Bluesound Vault 2i ($1299) which would serve as a node and storage for music. My strategy then shifted to a Roon Nucleus ($1398) with an attached USB SSD drive ($300) for storing music. As I read on community boards and learned more on various set-ups, I landed on an SGC sonicTransporter i5 with a 2TB SSD ($1245) to store music files. Many objectives were achieved: elimination of an aging and noisy NAS, a dedication of a purpose-built computer as the Roon core, and liberation of my main iMac that previously served as the core via Wi-Fi. Impressions after a weekend of operation:

ST is truly plug and play. Set-up required disconnecting the existing iMac core and then assigning that role to the sonicTansporter. Wow, installation does not get any simpler than this.

Performance is excellent. Dead quiet and fast. Library update, playing music and playlists, moving within the Roon software was quick. Audio quality is the same if slightly improved (hint of improved dynamics).

Simple and elegant one box solution avoiding clutter with more boxes, cables, power cords, etc.

Price was the least relative to the other solutions.

One dislike so far. Rear ethernet network light on the i5 is bright and flashes constantly.

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I bought the same thing. It sounded significantly better than Roon Core on my iMac Pro. But I did have to put a piece of black electrical tape over the bright led. :wink:

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I’ll get the audiophile tape that will enhance soundstage and highs.

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Glommed on to SGC sonicTransport about a year ago. I had a question and Andrew Gillis got back to me asap. Could have upsold me and I would have been happy. Was straight up and said the i5 would be good for my needs. He was right; problem free, silent and seemless. Kudos the Gillis and SGC.

Glad to hear you had this for a year. It has been only the weekend and my hope that it will be out-of-sight and out-of-mind for years to come. My philosophy is KISS which leaves more time to enjoy the music.

Yep, mine flashes constantly. Otherwise perfect so far for 6 months.

Very happy with mine. Very happy. J

Had my ST cdr since it came out perfect, did have a couple of questions and wow Andrew was answering them within 24 hours usually. Do no know what tape improves the highs i use a pink Faun lan Isolator on the output.
Great machine very easy to set up and use i am 68 and quite non technical

An SGC i5 and MicroRendu combo started my Roon jouney in January 2017. That’s over 170 weekends plus the weekdays in between pretty much hazzle free all the way. Not for tinkerers, ideal for forgetting that there is any hardware involved. The one ‘improvement’ I made after half a year was to copy all my music from a NAS to a directly attached usb drive, eliminating much of the need for network fine-tuning and makes Roon discovery of additions / changes / removals near instant.

One thing to keep in mind is that (at least my version) needs to be switched on physically after it has powered down, e.g. due to a power outage, unlike most of my other networked equipment. This caught me out once or twice, but is easily sorted with some form of battery supply or UPS if it is of any concern.

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Just received an email saying Small Green Computer is doing a free shipping deal this weekend.

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sonicTransporter has been solid over a week. It is not scientific and perhaps my imagination, but there seems to be a-lot of babysitting and issues with the other solutions? Nuc etc?

Don’t do that. The ST’s are a solid bit of kit and a great solution for many but don’t start pitting them against the NUC and Nucleus crowd. Especially here. My NUC has been up for 46 days, 14 hours and 22 minutes so far. It has done its job fantastically in that time and there are many more of us in that position. There is a huge silent majority who like me just use the Roon solutions without complaint. Let them remain silent.

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Good advice. Glad to hear that Nuc is also maintenance free.