Roon endpoints - microRendu vs Bridge II


#1

Hi all

I’ve just joined the forum as I’m considering a serious upgrade in DAC & power amp, to the DS Snr and BHK Stereo Power amp. My current system hopefully shows in my signature.

Just a question on Roon endpoints. Has anyone compared the following: microRendu vs Bridge II , on either the DS Snr or Jr ?

I already have the microRendu + LPS-1 so if I get the DS Snr I will be able to compare for myself of course.

In the mean time I would love to hear if anyone else has compared, just out of interest.

From a technical standpoint (perhaps a question for @adminpaul or @tedsmith) what are some of the features of the DS+Bridge II’s ethernet input that enable it to perform as well or better than the microRendu’s USB input? The microRendu’s USB output is very low noise, low latency, re-clocked, regenerated etc. Does the DS+Bridge II combination (ethernet input in this case) cover all these features and more? If so, could you explain.

Of course I will end up letting my ears do the deciding but I find this stuff interesting, even the technical stuff (at a high level).

Looking forward to getting into the DS world and thanks in advance :slight_smile:

Cheers, Sean.


#2

In my opinion USB is a flawed communications path - the best we can hope for with the aid of LANrovers, Regens and cables alike, is pretty good performance. A much better input sonically is I2S and that is what the Bridge communicates over.


#3

I agree with Paul that USB is a flawed technology, but some devices can help it. I run a Mivera Superstream into the USB input of my MSB Select II, precisely so that I can use Roon on my MSB [its Network Renderer, while sonically excellent and capable of QuadDSD, is still not Roon-capable]. I think MSB gets USB about as right as possible, and that combo is nice, but if it wasn’t about Roon, I wouldn’t be touching USB. I looked hard at the microRendu before settling on the Mivera, and one reason was its fiber interface. The micro is a very nice device. I have an original Rendu, and have always been impressed with Jesus’s work and dedication to improvement and enhancement. I also tried the LANRover, but on my network, it had more dropouts than I expected.

But if you’re going to get a DS, get the Bridge, skip the USB. When I first moved to the DS, I tried several of the inputs, using a variety of streamers/servers, etc. Still came back to the Bridge, even before PSA made it Roon capable. Paul is right; I2S sounds better.


#4
Paul McGowan said In my opinion USB is a flawed communications path - the best we can hope for with the aid of LANrovers, Regens and cables alike, is pretty good performance. A much better input sonically is I2S and that is what the Bridge communicates over.

Thanks for breaking this down Paul - I should have recognised my question was essentially about “USB vs I2S” at the core, in which case I have read quite a bit about I2S being favoured.

Does adding the LPS-1 to power the microRendu (to block leakage currents along that pathway) change the argument that USB is flawed? Or the arguments (and all these flaws) remain the same?

By the way, I just ordered a PWD Mk2 (ex-demo) + Bridge II + DSD Upgrade Kit at the most incredible packaged price.

Moving from an Integrated amp though means I now need to find a power amp to pair it with but I’ll post about that elsewhere.

Even though my ears will get to hear it within the next week I’m still interested in the above technical query though, because I really enjoy knowing more about the gear I have in my system.

Cheers, Sean.


#5

Congrats on the new DAC. I’ll bet you’ll enjoy it.

Anything you can do to help USB is a good thing, though all the tweaks and jitter reducers in the world can’t help the fact that it takes far more processing and challenges to get USB into a usable form - where I2S is where you want it in the first place. The folks that make the microRendu support our I2S format as well and for the same reasons.


#6

I don’t think that the Uptone LPS-1 (which I own by the way, together with the üR) will help a lot because the üRendu USB don’t ‘power’ the DS over USB, except for signalling that a source is connected. So in this respect the +5V VBUS via USB is required.


#7

Thanks Frode.

So do you mean the DSD’s powering of the USB port is more of the issue, more than the microRendu’s signalling power output over USB?

In other words, so it’s not necessarily the microRendu’s USB output (which is very clean when powered by the LPS-1?) that’s the issue, it’s the USB input port on the DSD itself (or any USB input DAC) that’s more the issue?

Apologies if my understanding is off.

Cheers, Sean.


#8
Paul McGowan said Congrats on the new DAC. I'll bet you'll enjoy it.

Anything you can do to help USB is a good thing, though all the tweaks and jitter reducers in the world can’t help the fact that it takes far more processing and challenges to get USB into a usable form - where I2S is where you want it in the first place. The folks that make the microRendu support our I2S format as well and for the same reasons.

Thanks Paul. The dealer is putting the whole thing together for me (Bridge II + DSD Upgrade Kit) - not that it looks difficult to do but it means I can just get straight to listening when it arrives - can't wait :-)

#9
Paul McGowan said Congrats on the new DAC. I'll bet you'll enjoy it.

Anything you can do to help USB is a good thing, though all the tweaks and jitter reducers in the world can’t help the fact that it takes far more processing and challenges to get USB into a usable form - where I2S is where you want it in the first place. The folks that make the microRendu support our I2S format as well and for the same reasons.


But just to be clear, the microRendu itself does not have an I2S output, does it? I think the Sonore Rendu has an I2S output (I have one in a box somewhere), but based on the Sonore website, it doesn’t look like there is a current offering with an I2S output. And I don’t think the Rendu is Roon-capable. I know Mivera is working on a product with a PSA-compliant I2S port. But I think for now, the Bridge II is the best Ethernet product with I2S capability, though limited to single DSD. Maybe there are others; anyone know?

#10
Em2016 said Thanks Frode.

So do you mean the DSD’s powering of the USB port is more of the issue, more than the microRendu’s signalling power output over USB?

In other words, so it’s not necessarily the microRendu’s USB output (which is very clean when powered by the LPS-1?) that’s the issue, it’s the USB input port on the DSD itself (or any USB input DAC) that’s more the issue?

Apologies if my understanding is off.

Cheers, Sean.


The rationale in my thinking was that DAC’s that draws a higher current from the VBUS would gain a higher risk of being contaminated by a noisy 5V provided by the streamer. But in this case the DS should be quite resilient even if it has to stay connected for the handshake reason mentioned. Using the LPS-1 to power the üR would not harm, of course.

I guess the right person for commenting on this would be Ted.


#11
palerider said But just to be clear, the microRendu itself does not have an I2S output, does it?
The microRendu has Ethernet in and USB out - no I2s like the Signature.

The microRendu is a Roon Endpoint (RAAT certified).


#12
Frode said
Em2016 said ... So do you mean the DSD's powering of the USB port is more of the issue, more than the microRendu's signalling power output over USB?

In other words, so it’s not necessarily the microRendu’s USB output (which is very clean when powered by the LPS-1?) that’s the issue, it’s the USB input port on the DSD itself (or any USB input DAC) that’s more the issue?


The rationale in my thinking was that DAC’s that draws a higher current from the VBUS would gain a higher risk of being contaminated by a noisy 5V provided by the streamer. But in this case the DS should be quite resilient even if it has to stay connected for the handshake reason mentioned. Using the LPS-1 to power the üR would not harm, of course.

The DS powers it’s own USB receiver so the VBUS line is simply the signaling between the DS’s USB and the rest of the USB bus.

This said, the issue isn’t really whether or how much current is flowing on the VBUS line but instead that the mere presence of the VBUS line inside the DS’s case allows high frequency crap to flow into (or out of) the DS’s case. I.e. even if the VBUS line wasn’t connected inside the DS’s case, it would still be a conduit for some hi frequency noise via radiation.

So the issue comes down to whether there’s enough noise coming in to bother the DS and/or whether there’s enough noise going out to bother the rest of the user’s system. The answer to that is quite system specific.


#13

[multiple nested quotes deleted - please use “add reply” on the top and bottom of every page.]

Thanks Ted. I’m guessing you’re also of the opinion (like Paul) that the Bridge II’s I2S input still trumps the DS’s USB input regardless of whether the VBUS line was inside the DS case or outside?

Of course I may not be able to hear any difference myself with a high quality USB output like the microRendu+LPS-1 combination but it’s just out of interest / curiosity about what’s happening inside the unit.


#14

Actually Paul and I don’t agree on everything :slight_smile:

I think people can make the input that they like the best work the best. I suspect that most people will have an easier time optimizing the Bridge input. But people have had good luck making each sound great. Personally I like the user interface so much better for the software I can use with USB than the software I can use for the Bridge that I have no interest in using the Bridge at all. There are plenty of people that feel just the opposite…


#15

Very true. The quality of the DS inputs would be of such quality that the personal preference may not come down to any sound difference at all - it might be UI as it is for you and others.

Thanks for the open honesty.

I’m new to this forum, but it’s incredible being able to communicate directly with the Guru’s themselves these days thanks to these forums, like Paul and yourself and John Swenson over on Computer Audiophile, for example.

Greatly appreciated.


#16
Frode said

The microRendu has Ethernet in and USB out - no I2s like the Signature.

The microRendu is a Roon Endpoint (RAAT certified).


Right, but I think “Signature Series” is just a primo moniker that Sonore applies to certain products that have “added juice.” The Signature is not a product, I don’t think. So, there is a Rendu Signature Series, a Power Supply Signature Series, etc. The Rendu and Rendu Signature have an I2S output [at least, I think they both do], but are not Roon endpoints. The microRendu is a Roon endpoint [among other capabilities], but has no I2S output. And I don’t think there is, as yet, a microRendu Signature.

#17
palerider said
Frode said

The microRendu has Ethernet in and USB out - no I2s like the Signature.

The microRendu is a Roon Endpoint (RAAT certified).

Right, but I think “Signature Series” is just a primo moniker that Sonore applies to certain products that have “added juice.” The Signature is not a product, I don’t think. So, there is a Rendu Signature Series, a Power Supply Signature Series, etc. The Rendu and Rendu Signature have an I2S output [at least, I think they both do], but are not Roon endpoints. The microRendu is a Roon endpoint [among other capabilities], but has no I2S output. And I don’t think there is, as yet, a microRendu Signature.


Yep you’re right. The Sonore Rendu supports I2S - still for sale here ? http://www.rendu.sonore.us/rendu.html

But the newer Sonore microRendu only has USB output.


#18
Ted Smith said Actually Paul and I don't agree on everything :)

I think people can make the input that they like the best work the best. I suspect that most people will have an easier time optimizing the Bridge input. But people have had good luck making each sound great. Personally I like the user interface so much better for the software I can use with USB than the software I can use for the Bridge that I have no interest in using the Bridge at all. There are plenty of people that feel just the opposite…


We do agree on this. While I find the sound quality of the Bridge the best, I rarely ever use it and for the same reason Ted sites here. The user interface is so much better on USB. It’s my go to choice for listening.

#19
Paul McGowan said
We do agree on this. While I find the sound quality of the Bridge the best, I rarely ever use it and for the same reason Ted sites here. The user interface is so much better on USB. It's my go to choice for listening.
I am curious what interface y'all are using on USB that makes that experience sufficiently superior to overcome USB's disadvantages, especially, gasp, sound quality. My Bridge does occasionally disappear from my Roon audio zones (as it did for a moment this morning), but are you back to JRiver or something else?

#20

Thanks for that link @em2016. Doesn’t show up on their mobile site I guess. Good to see it still there.