Sonore opticalRendu vs Waiting for Octave Server

Has anyone tried the Sonore opticalRendu. I am currently running a microRendu -> USB -> Sonore UltraDigital -> Stellar Gain Cell Dac.

I saw this review over the weekend, on [The Hans Beekhuyzen Channel]
He says it sounds 4 times better than the microRendu

It’s about 2k, for the Optical Adapters, etc that you need. I wonder if it’s better to wait for the new Server from PS Audio?

I have a Sonore UltraRendu which has performed very well in my system for the past year. I am interested in the OpticalRendu as an upgrade, but the cost is a little high for me. Also, I have been unable to find any sound review comparisons. In Hans B’s review he compares the Optical to the Micro; but he gives no comparison to the Ultra (unless I missed it during the video play). Hans does say his setup, SotM sM-200, sounds better than the micro and the Optical sounds better than his SotM. (Please correct me if I am wrong). So, I am left wondering about its direct benefit over the Ultra. I will have to wait for some specific reviews of the Optical to the Ultra.

Regarding the Octave, I have the impression of a 6k to 10k cost, but I may be wrong.

cc @aangen

All that, just to end up with a USB output? We need a better digital interface. Why not AES/EBU XLR? Is that burdened by the weaknesses of SPDIF? I wish manufacturers had rallied around HDMI.

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That is a slightly odd observation given that most digital audio since it started has been done off computers, iPods, iPads and phones, so it’s going to be usb. HDMI is a video format and I feel sorry for those poor souls who use it for audio.

Ethernet is the format for streaming. My first streamer in 2009 was a Linn AKurate DS and the ONLY input was ethernet. They’ve been making streamers since 2007, extremely successfully, they offer a range of inputs but NEVER usb.

They also decided at the start that there is no sensible reason not to have the streamer and DAC in the same box and they have never separated them, so no cable issues.

If you do have to have a usb input, then by all accounts the Innuos Phoenix is a killer product. This is one of many excellent reviews.

I have no idea why PS Audio have decided to commission a 2-box streamer from Ted Smith to connect to the DSD DAC rather than first add streaming to the DSD DAC in one box. It just seems so obvious. Maybe there will be a surprise one day, like the Stellar Amplifier all-in-one unit.

For my part, I did use a PSA DAC for a couple of years, but have an Innuos Roon server about 25m from my streamer and they are connected by ethernet. I have parallel copper ethernet and fibre optic, I’ve tried both and they sound exactly the same.

SotM products are generally very well received and popular in the UK for those still tied to computer audio.

Ted Smith is only responsible for the DS Senior, DS Junior, and the upcoming TSS DAC, he has nothing to do with a PS Audio streamer or the upcoming Octave software or server. And to be clear (for the umpteenth time), Ted is not a PS Audio employee and has very limited involvement with PS Audio products.

The DS does offer streaming via the Bridge, but that device is made by Converse Digital. PS Audio (once again, not Ted Smith) is working on an in-house design for a Bridge replacement. With recent events no telling when we will see that. A replacement for the DS will certainly come along sometime in the future, and may very well include built-in streaming, but I wouldn’t count on it.


I just transitioned from the uR with eR to the oR with oM.
If you want to stay all Ethernet, go with the uR eR combo.
To my ears in my system, the oR oM optical combination edges out the uR eR Ethernet combo.
And that is using a plain jane NetGear ProSafe GS105 switch.
And yes I have tried every possible combination of uR, eR, oR and oM ( have a pair of oMs)
This is with a STi7 running HQPlayer.
No guarantees you will experience the same results.

I fully appreciate that Ted Smith is not employed by PSA. I’m aware of other leading brands who use external design engineers.

The DSD DAC is a remarkable product for it’s longevity and it is considered a reference product by a number of people in the audio ins try that actual and potential customers listen to. I mentioned Linn because it is remarkable for producing streamers that have been software and hardware upgradeable for over a decade, with the concept and cases remaining unchanged since 2007.

Irrespective of the specification of the Octave, and what I think is of no consequence, it just seemed obvious to me to build on the DSD DAC with a streaming DSD DAC. You could easily fit the electronics of the dCS Bridge into the DSD DAC case, which is full of air, and about 10 of the Devialet streaming cards. Then no connectivity issues and PSA Bridge II issues, because the Bridge II will not work with Octave anyway.

It just seems odd to me that when connectivity issues are meant to be a thing of the past, there are such issues with connecting current and future devices.

Even when I had a PSA DAC I did not consider the Bridge up to the mark, so went for an external streamer with a Femto clock and usb. Was very good for several years.

To be honest the products that interest me are in the Stellar range anyway.

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Yeah, computers are unavoidable when playing digital files. It’s funny, because that realization piqued my interest in two categories of streamer/bridge product: 1) devices that output a digital audio signal accessible to a DAC using custom, minimalist hardware (avoiding the noisy things that come with computers, such as USB); and 2) custom-built computers that go to great effort to minimize electronic noise, such as the Pink Faun products.

I am no engineer or expert in any way, so I can only speak from what I’ve read and heard. It is my understanding that digital audio in its native format is processed in the I2S context/format/whatever. It is also my understanding that, in order for USB to carry the digital signal, the signal has to be converted in some way (fit into) the USB “format.” According to most of the talk about digital audio one finds online, the USB format is an inherently compromised, electronically noisy thing.

The HDMI interface, as I understand it, is an effort to keep the signal in its native I2S format, thus avoiding (or at least minimizing) the electronic noise that comes from converting the signal into something that can be transmitted via USB.

Also, most of the folks in these here PS Audio forums (fora?) who claim to have compared the inputs of the DS Sr. (the DAC I’m rocking) report that the I2S interface (via HDMI) sounds better in general than the USB interface.

Given the low price of that Matrix device people here seem to like (including Ted, no?), I should just try it out. Thanks a ton, COVID-19.

In my own comparisons, the USB output from an i3 NUC (running Audiolinux and Roon) sounded better than ethernet feeding a Bridge II. I despaired at that observation, because it opened up the world of products that purport to clean up the sound of USB. I keep asking myself, why go down that route, if I’m probably going to end up spending about as much as the highly-regarded dCS Network Bridge ($4250), once you include the endless linear power supplies required to power all those USB bandaids. As I recall, dCS itself points to the XLR out of the Network Bridge as the preferred output?

It’s an endless cycle, friends…

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I completely agree with you and went that route, and very strongly recommend it.

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Matrix or Network Bridge?

DCS Network Bridge. In my system it sounds better than the Aurrender N100H.

Agree 100%.
I found using the dCS Network Bridge (XLR output) to feed the PS Audio DirectStream DAC gave a large improvement in sound quality over the PS Bridge II.

In 11 years I have never had a standard computer in my system. I’ve had a Linn DS streaming DAC that only accepted an ethernet input, an Auralic Aries streamer with Femto reclocking and now an Innuos Zen Mk3 that has a high quality power filter, a very low power chip (less than i3) that can run Roon and dedicated linear power to the output options - ethernet or usb. The Aries usb output was very good and there are many users here with the more expensive Auralic G1 that has taken usb to a very high level. The Innuos Zen usb output is superb and I paid quite a lot of money for something I don’t use, partly because the server is 25m from the streamer. There have been numerous devices to clean up usb, but the Innuos Phoenix completely reconstructs it, with reportedly superb results, which should be attractive because that’s what PSA regenerators do with power.

Some systems are very simple. Dutch & Dutch 8c you can just plug an ethernet cable into the back of it and that’s it. My system is a little more complicated with three cables, ethernet from modem to server, ethernet from server to streamer and then speaker cables.

The issue I have with I2S is that if it was that good, why do so few people use it? It just means more boxes to handle it. The Bridge 2? Just showing it’s age. If I had a DSD DAC I would use usb with a quality streamer like the Auralic G1.

An i3 NUC is fine and great value, but it’s power supply is not optimised.

I also have fibre optic with battery-powered TPLink and I can’t say it beats a 25m Audioquest Pearl CAT 6a cable.

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I moved from mRendu +lps1 to oRendu + optical module with their power supplies. A big step up in SQ, I was very happy with the move.


I didn’t realize the dCS bridge was so capable. Just reading the information and capabilities/sound quality on it. I have been researching Lumin, the new Bridge III when it ever comes out and now the dCS.

The dCS Bridge has been a huge hit and pretty near unbeatable since its release 3 years ago. Chap I know, even with the superb Devialet Core Infinity streaming card, has one and connects by AES/EBU output. Needless to say, no usb output and no Toslink/optical output either because dCS don’t consider that up to scratch either.

It seems like such a no-brainer at that price, no? It’s dCS, so probably really unlikely to disappoint. At that price, it competes well with just about anything out there. I vaguely recall reading about their rejection of the USB output - it was all about noise, I think. I don’t really understand what all boxes one would need to implement the opticalRendu, so I can’t do the math. I suspect all those linear power supplies (critical, no?) would bring us very close to the $4250 asking price for the Network Bridge. Maybe not. That Matrix box, though: 10% of the price of the Network Bridge, and it scratches the itch of curiosity about the DS Sr.'s I2S input. I still have my old Monolithic Sound P-3b power supply, so I wouldn’t have to buy a new linear PSU for the Matrix. Ugh! Then again, I’d probably have to buy a nice power supply for the NUC connected to the Matrix…