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  1. #1

    Sonore I2S Music Server

    I have "Lurked" on this site for many months before jumping into using a computer as my main source for storing and providing my music. I have read most of the forum entries as well as all of Chris' posts as well as his articles. Chris, you have an enjoyable site with great content and folks who are happy to discuss their hobby without all of the snobbery that I have found elsewhere.

    At first I was interested in Chris’ CAPS Server but felt that my limited computer knowledge would just frustrate me and most probably, defeat my goal of easy, high quality music playback. Many on this site use and recommend MAC products and I looked into a modded MAC Mini. I was thinking of using Pure Music as well. Upon reading your posts I realized that I would have to ask a younger, more computer savvy friend to help me. That is not what I want. So, I began looking into Appliances as Chris calls them.

    There are a few mega-bucks units out there and I dismissed them as beyond my means but there are a few that are in my budget. I have considered the Olive, the Auraliti, PS Audio DAC with it’s network Bridge and the Sonore. I have found a few too many negative comments from Olive owners on the web. The same is true for PS Audio. The Auraliti is a file reader with no internal hard drive and can not rip direct. I would prefer not ripping from my laptop to an external hard drive and then connecting it to the player.

    The Sonore seems to fit my requirements and a quick check of my archived emails shows me that Jesus of Simple Design the manufacturer of Sonore Music Servers has answered every question that I have asked since December 31,2010. If anyone ever earned a sale it is him. I have worn him out with questions about lynx cards, USB, etc.

    About 3 weeks ago I asked him if we could speak in real time and he graciously called me. I also had many questions about DACs. I was on his site and noticed that he could build a server with an I2S output. I thought that the PS DAC would work with it and he told me no, the Wyred for Sound DAC 2 is the only DAC that knew of that could use this connection. I ordered the new server and the W4S DAC on the spot.

    Jesus has everything working in his studio and will be sending it to me later this week. I can’t wait to set it up and listen. If any of you show interest, I’ll be happy to report on the sound as it “breaks in”. Thanks to all of you for helping me to first jump into using a server as my main source and generously offering your knowledge to this website. I would not have made this choice without all of your help.

    Also, if any of you are computer limited as I am, please do not hesitate to email Jesus for help. He has been patient, knowledgeable and generous with his time and insights.


    Sonore I2S Server, W4S DAC 2, Anthony Gallo 3.5\'s, ModWright KWA 100 SE, Gallo Reference SA

  2. #2

    Phil,

    Phil, thanks for your comments and it's no problem....

    I'm really excited about this project and I appreciate your willing to work with us and be patient at the same time.

    Adrian is going to complete his audition today and I'll post the final results when he finishes his write up. In the mean time, you can find his preliminary write up with this link
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1PzwgRoKsiJEHnLBRP2WgCdbdS8nQW3khWumUhckwK4 s&pli=1

    We have been working on the i2s output for about 8 months, but yours will be the first to ship out. There are actually two officially supported products at the moment. K&K Audio makes a very very nice DAC called the Extreme RAKK DAC Mk III with an active tube output stage. Some of my existing customers have K&K's products and Kevin and Dave are really cool guys. The Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2 is also supported as you know and EJ's products are fantastic. The PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC is not supported, but we are working on it. The PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC has a similar input and requires an extra piece missing from our interface. We plan to add the missing link and start testing soon.


    Jesus R
    www.sonore.us
    Featured Products:
    Sonore Rendu - Ethernet to SPDIF/i2s Output
    SOtM Mini Server - Ethernet to USB Output
    http://www.sonore.us

  3. #3
    Sophomore Member
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    Sonore

    I've been discussing use of the Sonore server/PWD via I2S with Jesus for several weeks now, as I've pretty much given up on the PSA Bridge.

    Jesus is awesome to work with. I hope he can iron out the details with PSA's I2S implementation.
    BPT 3.5 Ultra/Daedalus Ulysses/Atma-Sphere MA-1 Mk 3.2 Silver Edition/Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk 3.2//VALabs NOS DAC/Custom Sonore Classic with Upsampling/Artisan Fidelity Technics SP10 MK II/Kuzma 4Point/VDH Frog Gold/BMC MCCI

  4. #4

    catastrofe,

    the design for the interface to work with the PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC is being made this week. We added the missing link to the output so the project is moving pretty quick now. Tesing with the W4S dac-2 via i2s has gone very well and I'm trying to get a PWD in here to do our own in house testing....

    Update: Paul was kind enough to send a PWD for testing and I should have it soon.

    Jesus R
    www.sonore.us
    Featured Products:
    Sonore Rendu - Ethernet to SPDIF/i2s Output
    SOtM Mini Server - Ethernet to USB Output
    http://www.sonore.us

  5. #5
    Sophomore Member Bones13's Avatar
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    I2S for the W4S DAC2

    I have been watching the server wars with the usual choice going back to a Mac Mini (which still might be my choice).

    The Sonore server with I2S which specifically works with my DAC is a welcome site. I had considered this too expensive with the AES option, which would be the other option for me.

    Will see how some reviews go. The current machine has a SSD for system and 2TB HD space for music storage.
    DIY PC > Stello U3 > AudioNoteKits Dac 4.1 SE > W4S STP-SE > AudioNote Kits L4 (EL34) > Zu Essence (or Bottlehead Crack > HD650)
    MacBookPro 17 > W4S Dac2se > HeadRoom Balanced Ultra Desktop Amp > HD800/W5000 (balanced)

  6. #6

    Bones13,

    I might have something you would be interested in If you like send me an e-mail at sonorejr@gmail.com

    Jesus R
    www.sonore.us
    Featured Products:
    Sonore Rendu - Ethernet to SPDIF/i2s Output
    SOtM Mini Server - Ethernet to USB Output
    http://www.sonore.us

  7. #7

    The Sonore in Operation

    I began this post by explaining why I wanted to purchase a server that was more of an “appliance” than computer that I would have to tweak to gain sonic benefits. I chose to purchase a Sonore from Simple Design primarily for two reasons. The first was the favorable review here on CA and the second was the great experience that I have had with Jesus. As mentioned previously, he has answered all of my questions and has helped me through the set up of my new server.

    Jesus and I decided on him building a server with an I2S output to a W4S DAC 2. This unit is the first that he has sold and I couldn’t be more pleased with the ease of use and the sonic performance. I can access this unit from my Ipad as well as from my laptop. It is all handled wirelessly and once I make a selection the music begins playing immediately. Wow, there is no waiting for the files to boot up. I click and I have sound. Not just OK sound but music that is better than anything I have heard on my system before.

    I have compared this I2S connection to a Quad CDP-2 unit that sounds wonderful in its own right and an Oppo 93 universal player. The quad is connected to the W4S through Toslink and the Oppo through SPDIF. I also compared them directly into my system, bypassing the W4S DAC. While comparisons are difficult as the sound level has to be spot on to effectively discern a quality difference, I have gotten pretty good at adjusting levels and the Sonore sings in comparison with the other units. The sound is more pure, more live sounding and most certainly, way less fatiguing. There is a wonderful synergy between the Sonore and the DAC. I have not downloaded Hi Res music yet although the Sonore came with a few pre-loaded tracks from ITRAX. I will begin to purchase some and compare them to my CD versions.

    The Sonore is dead quiet in operation. You would never know it is producing this beautiful music. If I couldn’t see the little blue led showing the unit is on I’d have no idea it was doing anything. The unit also multitasks. I have dropped 4 or 5 music files that I have ripped on EAC into the Sonore and simultaneously ripped a CD while listening to already stored music. I am amazed by this. The only noise I hear is when the unit is ripping a CD. Once the ripping process is completed there is complete silence from the machine.

    I have one last point. I know that my system is resolving enough to hear differences in some components. In the past, I have tried to hear a difference with phase. I couldn’t reliably tell when the phase was inverted and I can’t hear a difference with the optical or digital inputs on the W4S either. With the I2S connection there is an obvious change in sound that everyone who has listened to my system can hear. Each who has listed has a preference though we do not always agree on the setting.

    Sonore I2S Server, W4S DAC 2, Anthony Gallo 3.5\'s, ModWright KWA 100 SE, Gallo Reference SA

  8. #8

    Phil,

    thanks for posting your thoughts. This was a fun project for me because I have been interested in an i2s server for sometime. I'm sure EJ at Wyred 4 Sound will be thrilled with your comments on the DAC For the record EJ was very supportive of the project.

    I also have an update on support for the PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC (PWD). I have the PWD here and have confirmed that our version one circuit board changes the sample rate of the PWD based on the content played. The version two circuit has been printed and the components have been installed to enable the master clock output required. I'm expecting the version two board any day now and will continue testing when it arrives.

    Jesus R
    www.sonore.us
    Featured Products:
    Sonore Rendu - Ethernet to SPDIF/i2s Output
    SOtM Mini Server - Ethernet to USB Output
    http://www.sonore.us

  9. #9
    Tone Junkie AudioDoctor's Avatar
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    Jesus...

    I see on your website that you now claim the PSAudio PWD is compatible via I2S from the Sonore. Can you compare the sound to some other high end DACs via USB?
    The idiocracy is now...

  10. #10

    AudioDoctor,

    On support: I'm happy to say that it is working! This solution provides full 24/192 support, auto sample rate switching and works with just about every audio format around (except those with drm). Someone asked me about gapless playback and the mobile apps support gapless playback just fine. The unit can also output via usb if needed. BTW this is not a BETA release...

    On the sound: The PWT into the PWD is going to be pretty hard to beat. That does not mean we will not try to match it or better it However, My idea with this product has not been to replace the PWT. The PWD has two external i2s inputs and my idea is to provide additional expandability via the second external i2s input with a full blown music server.

    It seems that the native mode of pwd will use the master clock that is provided via the i2s signal. In upsampling mode of the pwd will recondition the master clock that is provided via the i2s signal. I'm not an expert on this dac, but that is my understanding. So the sound depends on the mode you use and the quality of the master clock provided by the source. Right now the unit sounds great and I will continue to try to make it better with some simple tweaks this week How all this compares to other solutions is for others to decide...

    Please note: None of this applies to the K&K Audio and W4S DACs because they always use there own high quality internal master clock.

    Jesus R
    www.sonore.us
    Featured Products:
    Sonore Rendu - Ethernet to SPDIF/i2s Output
    SOtM Mini Server - Ethernet to USB Output
    http://www.sonore.us

  11. #11

    PS Audio I2S

    So how is the master clock in your music server, which is the source for the PS Audio DAC in the 'native' mode?

    When listening this DAC, it seems that the 'native' mode almost always sounds better than any of the up-sampling modes.

  12. #12
    Tone Junkie AudioDoctor's Avatar
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    I am very interested to hear the results...

    I have heard that the PWD sounds wonderful via I2S from the PWT, I am curious to know how it sounds from the Sonore.

    I am going to send you another email, been coming up with more questions since your last email.

    thanks

    AD
    The idiocracy is now...

  13. #13

    team,

    this is only phase one of this project and each phase will build on the next one. It's sounds great, but I have a planned tweak that involves a better power supply. The power supply is external so its easy to swap out. The end user will always have the oportunity to utilize any tweaks so no worries there. All I want to say about the master clock is that its comming from a well known source.

    Jesus R
    www.sonore.us
    Featured Products:
    Sonore Rendu - Ethernet to SPDIF/i2s Output
    SOtM Mini Server - Ethernet to USB Output
    http://www.sonore.us

  14. #14

    Sonore I2S Server

    I just wanted to comment on my experience with one variant of the Sonore I2S implementation. A few months ago I was enjoying my MSB Dac IV with my Mac Mini with Amarra via USB but lamenting the fact that I could not utilize the I2S input with any known music server out there (there was a MSB transport based off the oppo, but no music server). I had contacted a few companies before and was told it would not be possible to add the I2S output in the music server. Without much optimism I contacted Jesus at Sonore and to my surprise, he said, I'll look into and see if I can make it work.

    To cut a long story short, after a lot of research, correspondence back and forth (I always got a reply within a few hours) and work on Jesus part, a Sonore music server arrived at my door step with a custom I2S output which works perfectly with my MSB dac. Before it was shipped, I asked Jesus if the USB would work. I was previously told the MSB does not support linux but he said, let's see if it can work. Lo and behold, somehow Jesus got it to work and it operates perfectly with the MSB!

    I can't state how happy I am with the unit. The small details are all there like the custom back plate that was made just so the I2S output would match the aesthetics of the rest of the unit (which looks incredible) and a excellent packing job. Mostly I am just thrilled with how it works seamlessly. Stick in CD and it rips it, tags all the info, and I can access it via my IPAD. I can play standard res or high res without any hiccups or add on programs and everything is very fast and responsive. No crashes like I had intermittently before. With Mac Mini and Amarra and Pure Music I was generally happy but felt like I was dealing with a beta product, but with the Sonore, it just works so intuitively. Oh, and it sounds amazing to boot.

    I'd be lying if I didn't say I was little apprehensive. When you ask for such a custom product and you're told it can be done, I had some serious doubts it would work and even if it did I thought it would be extremely difficult to get it to work perfectly. But so far, it's been just about perfect.

    The service was exemplary, probably the best I've had in any audio purchase. I also want to thank Chris C for reviewing the Sonore. I would have never known about it had it not been for CA.
    Sonore Music Server>MSB Platinum Signature DAC IV>MSB M202>Eficion F300 Speakers

  15. #15
    Tone Junkie AudioDoctor's Avatar
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    That is encouraging to hear

    thanks for sharing, it helps a great deal to hear things like that when deciding to purchase something such as the Sonore.
    The idiocracy is now...

  16. #16

    the prefect storm

    Did I forget to mention the MSB output Anyone who has followed i2s over the years know that there are a few variations on the output format. It's annoying, but at the same time it keeps things interesting. FYI the MSB Network output is a no holds bar output! I'll let Hiro100 comment on what he prefers between the MSB Network and the USB output, but I think I know the answer.

    BTW I put up my first YouTube video! This is a live test of a Sonore Music server with i2s output via HDMI cable into a PS Audio PWD. The connections are power, HDMI cable to PWD and network cable. The PS Audio PWD is set to Native Mode and to i2s input #1. Playback control is via iPod app called MPoD. I play 16/44.1 then another 16/44.1 then 24/48 then 24/88.2 then 24/176.4 then 24/192.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PLuDzkUSJc

    Jesus R
    www.sonore.us
    Featured Products:
    Sonore Rendu - Ethernet to SPDIF/i2s Output
    SOtM Mini Server - Ethernet to USB Output
    http://www.sonore.us

  17. #17

    USB vs I2S

    My W4S DAC doesn't support USB from a Linux based server. Can you compare the two inputs? I would like to know if there is any noticeable difference between the two.


    Sonore I2S Server, W4S DAC 2, Anthony Gallo 3.5\'s, ModWright KWA 100 SE, Gallo Reference SA

  18. #18

    I've only compared briefly

    I've only compared briefly but after some comparison, the I2S has a slight but distinct advantage. I would describe it as a "cleaner" sound although the USB output is very very good and I could live happily with it.
    Sonore Music Server>MSB Platinum Signature DAC IV>MSB M202>Eficion F300 Speakers

  19. #19

    PWD with Sonore server via I2S

    Jesus,

    Would love to hear more - I think many of us are very interested in this combination. Any remaining glitches or handshake issues? Dropouts at hi-res?

  20. #20

    Trevor,

    welcome to CA and thanks for posting your question!

    I'm enjoying the dac at this very moment. It's in my system and I have been using it with my I2S server 100% of the time. Not once has it glitched or had an issue switching between sample rates with I2S. I like to play DJ and I flip back and forth so it's getting a good test run. There is a slight tap from one sample rate to another in native mode, but it's minor and does not occur in up sample mode or between titles of the sample rate. No handshake issues...it just works! You can see the video above of the unit in action. I have a few I2S boards and last week I ordered more.

    Understand that the playback software is not new and that it's the foundation of all our servers. Only the interface is new and it does not care about the playback software.

    I plan to offer two versions. One with the signature series power supply (available now) and one with our new sonore power supply upgrade. The new sonore power supply upgrade is the result of a two year research project and it was unrelated to the I2S output project. However, the combination of the sonore I2S output with the new upgrade power supply into the PWD is a WOW factor. The prototype of the new sonore power supply upgrade is finished and has been tested. I have ordered a few final cases and parts to kick off the production...

    Jesus R
    www.sonore.us
    Featured Products:
    Sonore Rendu - Ethernet to SPDIF/i2s Output
    SOtM Mini Server - Ethernet to USB Output
    http://www.sonore.us

  21. #21
    Tone Junkie AudioDoctor's Avatar
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    Will this new power supply...

    be retro-fittable to previous Sonore devices?

    edit: The unit with I2S and USB output, are those two separate outputs, the SOtM USB card and an I2S card?
    The idiocracy is now...

  22. #22

    AudioDoctor,

    the new sonore power supply upgrade will work on every unit we have ever made to date Not only that, but after sonore server customers have had a chance to order one we will open sales to everyone!

    The sonore I2S unit will also output via USB. In this configuration it's not possible to also have a sotm PCI to USB card. However, no need to worry I have something else in the oven....lol

    Jesus R
    www.sonore.us
    Featured Products:
    Sonore Rendu - Ethernet to SPDIF/i2s Output
    SOtM Mini Server - Ethernet to USB Output
    http://www.sonore.us

  23. #23
    Sophomore Member
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    Jesus,Any updates? You

    Jesus,

    Any updates? You mention that the I2S unit will output via USB. Do mean it will convert USB to I2S or that it has both USB and I2S outputs?

    Thanks!

    Bob
    BPT 3.5 Ultra/Daedalus Ulysses/Atma-Sphere MA-1 Mk 3.2 Silver Edition/Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk 3.2//VALabs NOS DAC/Custom Sonore Classic with Upsampling/Artisan Fidelity Technics SP10 MK II/Kuzma 4Point/VDH Frog Gold/BMC MCCI

  24. #24

    Bob,

    the Sonore unit with i2s output will also output via one of the usb ports. Basically, you can swap between i2s and usb by booting up the unit with a usb dac connected.

    I also have a solution working in prototype form that will allow playback from a laptop (MAC or PC) into the PWD

    Jesus R
    www.sonore.us
    Featured Products:
    Sonore Rendu - Ethernet to SPDIF/i2s Output
    SOtM Mini Server - Ethernet to USB Output
    http://www.sonore.us

  25. #25
    Sophomore Member
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    Thanks Jesus. How does the

    Thanks Jesus. How does the laptop solution integrate with your server? Or is it a separate solution?
    BPT 3.5 Ultra/Daedalus Ulysses/Atma-Sphere MA-1 Mk 3.2 Silver Edition/Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk 3.2//VALabs NOS DAC/Custom Sonore Classic with Upsampling/Artisan Fidelity Technics SP10 MK II/Kuzma 4Point/VDH Frog Gold/BMC MCCI

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