Help me choose a streamer


#1

Background – I have a PWD Mark II, upgraded from an original. I had been feeding it with a Squeezebox Duet, then got the Bridge when it was introduced. I was in fact a Bridge beta tester, so have been suffering with no gapless playback and control point issues for years. My music library (mostly ripped CDs along with downloads from HDTracks (96/24) are on an external hard drive attached to our main home computer – a MAC mini. I’m using Twonky or Logitech Media Server (and recently loaded Minimserver on it) and Plug Player as a control point on an iPad. I like to stream a lot of Internet radio stations to learn about new (to me) music.

So I need to replace the Bridge. I thought about a Mojo MAC Mini or something similar, but am leaning strongly toward a streamer. The Auralic Aries seemed promising, but now that it’s out the jury is mixed. I don’t want to deal with more control point software problems. I read the CA reviews of various products and like what I’m reading about the Sonore/SOtM products.

I plan on getting a Synology NAS to serve my music from, figuring it can run LMS, a DLNA server, JRMC(will it?) I will be streaming over WiFi from the NAS (upstairs) to the streamer (basement) and I do have a wireless bridge at the audio rack, so the streamer will be fed from an Ethernet cable

At a low cost point, the SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server will do what I need, but Chris’s review indicates you need a USB-xxx converter to make it sing. The Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB is pretty pricey. The Sonore Rendu seems like it would sound better by itself and I could live with SPDIF into my DAC. The Sonore Sonic Orbiter seems even more attractive in that its USB output can feed my DAC directly (the PWD does have an asynchronous DAC input) and I can add a USB-xxx converter down the road if it will improve sonics.

I don’t have a particular budget in mind (well, the sMS-100 Mini Server plus a Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB is more than I want to spend right now.) So my question is, what is the best bang for the buck, a SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server at $450 with a USB-xxx converter and possibly the battery power supply; a Sonic Orbiter at $900; a Rendu at $1400; an Aries or Aries LE at their cost; something I haven’t mentioned?

Looking forward to your suggestions and recommendations,

MikeB


#2

Welcome, mrbodnar

Other great options are the Bryston BDP-1 and BDP-2. The CAPS music servers are excellent as well.

Part of the calculation is the degree to which you want turnkey or are willing to address setup.


#3

Although I don’t have one and just getting this from reading the CA thread, It’s probably too early to dismiss the Aries. A few users report very good SQ, seems the app is the main issue and it’s still early although it probably was released too soon.


#4

On a Synology NAS you can run Media Server and Audio Station as a Server task. Deafout Applications.

Sonology supllies a App for Android and iOs called DS Audio as a controlpoint.


#5
mrbodnar said Background – I have a PWD Mark II, upgraded from an original. I had been feeding it with a Squeezebox Duet, then got the Bridge when it was introduced. I was in fact a Bridge beta tester, so have been suffering with no gapless playback and control point issues for years. My music library (mostly ripped CDs along with downloads from HDTracks (96/24) are on an external hard drive attached to our main home computer – a MAC mini. I’m using Twonky or Logitech Media Server (and recently loaded Minimserver on it) and Plug Player as a control point on an iPad. I like to stream a lot of Internet radio stations to learn about new (to me) music.

So I need to replace the Bridge. I thought about a Mojo MAC Mini or something similar, but am leaning strongly toward a streamer. The Auralic Aries seemed promising, but now that it’s out the jury is mixed. I don’t want to deal with more control point software problems. I read the CA reviews of various products and like what I’m reading about the Sonore/SOtM products.

I plan on getting a Synology NAS to serve my music from, figuring it can run LMS, a DLNA server, JRMC(will it?) I will be streaming over WiFi from the NAS (upstairs) to the streamer (basement) and I do have a wireless bridge at the audio rack, so the streamer will be fed from an Ethernet cable

At a low cost point, the SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server will do what I need, but Chris’s review indicates you need a USB-xxx converter to make it sing. The Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB is pretty pricey. The Sonore Rendu seems like it would sound better by itself and I could live with SPDIF into my DAC. The Sonore Sonic Orbiter seems even more attractive in that its USB output can feed my DAC directly (the PWD does have an asynchronous DAC input) and I can add a USB-xxx converter down the road if it will improve sonics.

I don’t have a particular budget in mind (well, the sMS-100 Mini Server plus a Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB is more than I want to spend right now.) So my question is, what is the best bang for the buck, a SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server at $450 with a USB-xxx converter and possibly the battery power supply; a Sonic Orbiter at $900; a Rendu at $1400; an Aries or Aries LE at their cost; something I haven’t mentioned?

Looking forward to your suggestions and recommendations,

MikeB


Mike, some USB devices utilize the 5V USB power from the unit to subsequently drive noise sensitive audio circuits. Driving the oscillators on the device from dirty power is not a good approach. That said…some devices will handle the dirty power better than others. If you have one of those devices that don’t handle dirty power well then your best bet is to improve the unit’s power supply. SOtM provides a scaled approach to the issue by offering a matching battery power supply. Sonore includes a linear supply built into the unit for good measure. I don’t think that you will need to worry about this issue with PS Audio gear because they have well implemented USB inputs. If anything the power supply upgrade on the unit would be more of final stage tweaking and that is something that you can try over time.

Jesus R


#6

Hi, Jesus, great to see you back!

Your posts are always interesting and informative. And, as a sideline, you offer some great products. :)


#7

The Sonore products work very well since you can use Logitech Media Server which is rock stable. The Aries is super slick… the hardware is killer and SQ is supposed to be excellent but the software is a bit young but I believe that Auralic has the skills to get things ironed out, and of course there’s always a Mac Mini…


#8

Thank you all for your suggestions and comments. I just ordered a Sonic Orbiter (then came to see updates on this forum.) I was debating between it and the SOtM Mini Server, but I figured I’d go with the better power supply right from the start. So now I read Jesus’s reply saying with the PSA PWD MKII “noisy” power should be less of a problem.surprised Well, I’m not changing my mind now!

OK Jesus, build my unit fast - I can’t wait to use it. laugh

Mike


#9

I don’t think you will regret the better power supply:)

Jesus R


#10
erikm said The Sonore products work very well since you can use Logitech Media Server which is rock stable. The Aries is super slick.. the hardware is killer and SQ is supposed to be excellent but the software is a bit young but I believe that Auralic has the skills to get things ironed out, and of course there's always a Mac Mini..
I want to be clear that the Rendu is a UPNP renderer that needs UPNP servers and controllers to operate. It can use various combinations of servers and controllers reliably. You can use Logitech Media Server as a UPNP server, but this is different than it's typical role with devices that are directly compatible with it.

Jesus R


#11

I have the Sonic Orbiter. Several months ago I was going to sell the unit, but two updates within months of each other, took place giving the Orbiter amazing flexibility and SQ improvements. So I held onto the unit and haven’t looked back. I’m anxious to hear your comments on the unit after you receive it. I’m sure you will be very happy…


#12

Yeah I saw your posts on various forums. Too bad you decided to keep it; I would have bought it and saved a few bucks and some time. Can’t wait to get mine! 101_gif


#13

OK Orbiter and Synology DS214play w/2 3TB Red drives are on their way. Now to open the can of worms (after having done some searching.)

What USB cables do you all like between the source and the PWD or DS? (I can see the worms now… itwasntme_gif )

Oh, I don’t want to spend ridiculous (>$60?) money on one.

Thanks,

  Mike

#14

See, e.g., here.


#15

Thanks Elk, that is the thread to watch.