Jump to content
sockpit

micro/ultraRendu - support thread

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

I'm a relative newcomer to computer audio, and I thought a thread for other newbies making the transition to microRendu, NAS, etc. might be helpful. We'll see.

 

I've purchased a microRendu to try and have been reading threads here at CA for months about it, but now I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the task that lies before me. I imagine it will arrive late this week, if I'm lucky.

 

The purpose of such a thread is to provide relatively non-technical advice for those transitioning from computer (Macbook Pro in my case) based playback (via A+) to integrating microRendu into their systems. In my case, I'd like solutions that are elegant and simple but not shortsighted. I'd like to begin with what I have on hand and wade slowly into a NAS based solution. My end goal is to have something I'll want to live with for a few years. I'm not a compulsive tweaker--yet.

 

Here is my chain: 2013 Powerbook Pro using Audirvana+ 2.5--> USB --> --> RUR -->Exogal Comet DAC --> power amp --> speakers. Simple.

 

I only have about 200MB of music on the SSD of the Powerbook. System sounds great; A+ is a snap to use. As long as Tidal is in business, I probably won't be purchasing much more music, so my storage needs are modest and not likely to balloon.

 

I think it best if I pose one question or related cluster of questions at a time, and my hope is that others in my position might benefit by the answers. Please keep the above and my newbie status in mind. I'd rather the answers not get into sectarian battles, and prefer that I receive sound information and advice by those far more competent than I am so that I can successfully wade into the world of servers, renderers, streamers, NAS, etc.

 

So here is my first question (and I realize it has been covered here in there in the major microRendu thread, but I'd like to gather the sensible answers here):

 

My listening room has no ethernet cabling running into it (other rooms do). There seem to be three options I've read about. I'm biased the third right now.

 

1) get an electrician to run a Cat 5 or 6 cable into that room. Possible but difficult.

2) use a powerline adaptor kit to extend ethernet into the listening room

3) buy an Airport Extreme

 

1) and 2) don't thrill me given the layout of my place (regarding 1) and the potential noise issues 2) might introduce.

 

The Airport Extreme is attractive because it would strengthen my wifi coverage throughout the house, and, I hope, give me a place to connect the microRendu into the network. But will it work without (significant) compromise to SQ (assuming the network is otherwise strong)?

 

I'm lucky to live in a place with Google Fiber 1 Gig service, and so far I've been able to stream Tidal just fine as my kid watches Netflix, my wife surfs internet, etc.

 

So the question: Does 3) seem like a fine choice? My assumption is that I'd run an ethernet cable between it and the microRendu, which would connect it to the same network my computer or an eventual NAS is on. Do I have this correct?

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you get an AirPort Extreme (which is a nice piece of kit—I have one at the office) and connect your MBP and the microRendu to it, you'll be set and you'll still have a spare LAN port on the Extreme. If you need more Ethernet ports, you can attach a Gigabit Ethernet switch to the Extreme and plug everything into that. (Note that there are cheaper 802.11ac routers available.)

 

If you have a 200MB music library (or even a 200GB one), I don't think you need a NAS, not for your music, anyway.

 

I don't think there's a way to use Audirvana with the microRendu, so you'll need to take a different approach for playback. I use Roon + HQPlayer, but if a really simple setup is what you're after, that's probably not a good way you to go.

 

HTH.

 

--David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you David. Very helpful to get confirmation on this. I don't anticipate needing more LAN ports.

 

I did mean GB not MB on my collection size.

 

So here is the next question for anyone willing to nurse me along: I believe I'm going to have to install some software on the MacBook (other than Audirvana) to make it "serve" the music to the microRendu over the network. Is this where Minimserver comes in by chance? And, if so, does it allow you to control song selection, etc. from my iPad?

Again: sorry for beginning at the beginning, but I suspect there are a few more newbies out there who could benefit from such an elementary thread.

A second software question is/will be: Since I've tried Roon, and am not at this time interested in subscribing, what are my most simple and effective routes to getting Tidal running through the microRendu? With as few SQ compromises as possible ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This isn't my area, so I'll have to yield to someone who knows more about this than I do, but it does say the following on the microRendu product page:

 

"Supports Tidal and Qobuz lossless streaming in Squeezelite output mode and DLNA output mode."

 

--David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Couple of comments - 1st do you already have a router to serve up Wi FI in your home, if yes which router? Depending on other or not you already have an existing router and the brand, will determine whether the Apple Extreme is the best solution.

 

As to the other questions. Yes would could install Minimserver on the Macbook to serve up your music library. Check the systems supported on the Minimserver site to ensure you Macbook is supported.

 

 

You have the option to use a variety of control points for playback. You have the option to configure these to perform Tidal playback as well, especially by leveraging BubbleUPnp Server on your Macbook as well ( this is whether your have a Macbook suitable to run both those packages concurrently will come into play. Some examples include Linn Kazoo.

 

I re-read your message - I see you already have wireless and thus a router, so what brand of router is it?

 

Other threads that are similar to your question.

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f22-networking-networked-audio-and-streaming/basic-synology-universal-plug-dplay-digital-living-network-alliance-questions-28075/

 

#13 - Follow from there - lots of discussion on this very topic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your reply, baddog.

 

My router is a Google Fiber "network box" designed, I believe, to work optimally with their 1 Gig fiber feed to my house. That box feeds a wired cat 5 network in my condo. At the end of one of those wires upstairs and out of sight is a Time Capsule (fourth generation). So its hardwired to the Google router and is set up to broadcast dual-band wi-fi through my home, which it does very well. For this reason the Airport Extreme seemed like an easy add on to give me the connectivity in my listening room (downstairs) I need for the microRendu.

 

My largest concern now is not so much setting up a NAS (since my Macbook holds my little collection just fine). It's learning how to stream Tidal through the microRendu without having the benefit of A+ that I'm loving. I do not want to subscribe to Roon, which appears to be the easiest way for the microRendu to be Tidal ready.

 

What caught my eye about the microRendu was its promise of SQ and isolation of computer noise from my DAC. But now I see this could get complicated ;)

 

Thanks again. Will study the thread you referenced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for your reply, baddog.

 

My router is a Google Fiber "network box" designed, I believe, to work optimally with their 1 Gig fiber feed to my house. That box feeds a wired cat 5 network in my condo. At the end of one of those wires upstairs and out of sight is a Time Capsule (fourth generation). So its hardwired to the Google router and is set up to broadcast dual-band wi-fi through my home, which it does very well. For this reason the Airport Extreme seemed like an easy add on to give me the connectivity in my listening room (downstairs) I need for the microRendu.

 

My largest concern now is not so much setting up a NAS (since my Macbook holds my little collection just fine). It's learning how to stream Tidal through the microRendu without having the benefit of A+ that I'm loving. I do not want to subscribe to Roon, which appears to be the easiest way for the microRendu to be Tidal ready.

 

What caught my eye about the microRendu was its promise of SQ and isolation of computer noise from my DAC. But now I see this could get complicated ;)

 

 

Thanks again. Will study the thread you referenced.

 

I'm not a Mac user so I don't know much about A+, but I did a quick perusal of the A+ FAQ and it says you can output to airplay, the microRendu can be setup as an airplay device so you should be able to use it directly with A+. I have no idea if there are any limitations to this, others that are more Mac knowledgeable than me will have to answer that.

 

John S.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So if you already have Wifi with an Apple router, then you have two options. You can go with an Apple Extreme ( firth generation ) and use it to extend the network established by your Time Capsule. This will be at the cost of overall network bandwidth ( impact of now having the Time Capsule and Extreme communicating to each other via wireless connection - if you could connect them via ethernet you would not face this issue). The upsides are it can in theory extend the range of your WiFi in your home and will allow you to have a few extra ethernet ports.

 

Alternatively if you really are only looking at a manner to connect your micorRendu to your network than an Apple Express is a far better solution. It is both more cost effective and can be configured to not have the overall bandwidth impact to your wireless network by setting it to client mode. In client mode it will NOT extend your wireless network, no other clients will be able to access it other than the device you plug into it via ethernet.

 

I do believe that if you set up the microRendu in the following mode that you should be able to both stream music from your Macbook as well as Tidal using a combination of Miminserver, and BubbleUPnP on your Macbook, Linn Kazoo on your iPad to control playback.

 

This is the mode I am referring to, note I do not yet have a microRendu, so this is theoretical at the moment, however I don't see any reason it would not work:

 

Mode #3a - DLNA Output - This output utilizes streams from UPNP/DLNA servers and controllers. This output can be configured as an OpenHome renderer. This output supports true gapless playback of PCM, DSD/DoP, and native DSD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@john - Airplay playback is usually constrained to just redbook quality files ( in fact devices such as the Apple TV play all audio at 16/48 ). FWIW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
@john - Airplay playback is usually constrained to just redbook quality files ( in fact devices such as the Apple TV play all audio at 16/48 ). FWIW.

 

Yes, I think this is correct. So John's suggestion was to select the Shareport Output on the microRendu and send the music wirelessly to it from my MacBook Pro using A+.

 

Does this mean the microRendu doesn't require an wired ethernet connection coming in? Again, apologies for my ignorance.

 

What John suggests would be a good way for a newbie like me who enjoy's A+ with Tidal to get started with minimal fussing and complications. Will I get the microRendu's full benefit (or most of it) this way?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So if you already have Wifi with an Apple router, then you have two options. You can go with an Apple Extreme ( firth generation ) and use it to extend the network established by your Time Capsule. This will be at the cost of overall network bandwidth ( impact of now having the Time Capsule and Extreme communicating to each other via wireless connection - if you could connect them via ethernet you would not face this issue). The upsides are it can in theory extend the range of your WiFi in your home and will allow you to have a few extra ethernet ports.

 

Alternatively if you really are only looking at a manner to connect your micorRendu to your network than an Apple Express is a far better solution. It is both more cost effective and can be configured to not have the overall bandwidth impact to your wireless network by setting it to client mode. In client mode it will NOT extend your wireless network, no other clients will be able to access it other than the device you plug into it via ethernet.

 

I do believe that if you set up the microRendu in the following mode that you should be able to both stream music from your Macbook as well as Tidal using a combination of Miminserver, and BubbleUPnP on your Macbook, Linn Kazoo on your iPad to control playback.

 

This is the mode I am referring to, note I do not yet have a microRendu, so this is theoretical at the moment, however I don't see any reason it would not work:

 

Mode #3a - DLNA Output - This output utilizes streams from UPNP/DLNA servers and controllers. This output can be configured as an OpenHome renderer. This output supports true gapless playback of PCM, DSD/DoP, and native DSD.

 

Thanks for further advise. I do own a first generation Airport Express (802.11n). It has a single ethernet out jack. It is currently in "join a wireless network" mode, which sounds like your "client" mode. Might it be all I need? Only the microrendu would be plugged in then. Is that fine?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So there are one or two threads running here in regards to using the microRendu without connection to the Internet. That being said it does require an initial connection to the Internet to configure it properly and you would have to then configure our Macbook to share its ethernet connection with the microRendu, and connect the two of them via ethernet. You would have to have your Macbook use both its ethernet connection and Wifi connection so you could control playback from the iPad, and you have veered wild into at what I would guess to be an unsupported configuration from Sonore.

 

Far easier to invest $99 for an Apple Airport Express, set it as I specified above and use Minimserver et al.

 

I assume you are using A+ without any up sampling of your content, and you only have standard redbook files, no high resolution files ( 24/96, 24/192, DSD64). Is that correct?

 

So to summarize, if you use the microRendu in Sharepoint mode, you still need to connect it via ethernet to your Mac. And you need to put together ("hack") a manner to have the Macbook and microRendu communicate properly.

 

Or you can purchase the Express ( or Extreme ) and run an ethernet connection to the microRendu and use Sharepoint mode.

 

Or you can purchase the Express ( or Extreme )and run an ethernet connection to the microRendu and use Mode#3a with Minimsever et al.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"and you have veered wild into at what I would guess to be an unsupported configure from Sonore."

 

This is the last thing I want to do . . . ! Will study the above before asking more questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you tell me the model number of your Express? The first version only supported 802.11g and wont work properly in client mode, as it will disable the ethernet port.

 

Later revisions have support for 802.11n and will work properly. And you should be able to set them up for client mode ( link )

 

You can test it via the link I provided above, and connect a device with ethernet only turned on ( WIFI off ) and see if it works (i.e. you can try with your Macbook if you turn off WiFi on it ). Configure the Express to client mode, turn Wifi off on Macbook, confirm you have no internet access on Macbook, then plug in ethernet cable from Express to Macbook and see if you have internet access.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"and you have veered wild into at what I would guess to be an unsupported configure from Sonore."

 

This is the last thing I want to do . . . ! Will study the above before asking more questions.

 

Hi see my prior post #14. You may have the hardware you need. If you can locate the model number I can verify.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's pretty old. Airport utility says its first generation 802.11n, i.e., this one: https://support.apple.com/kb/SP1?locale=en_US

 

I currently have it Toslink cabled to my DAC, so when I want to use my MBP out of reach of my USB I can send it via Airport output setting in A+. It works, but I occasionally heart small clicks or hiccups that annoy.

 

In it setup settings you can choose between "joining", "creating," and "extending" a network. I picked "join" which is, I think what you call "client."

 

Will try your suggested experiment after dinner. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, let me know how you fair, it should work. Meaning that it wont extend your network, but will provide connectivity to the network via the ethernet port.

 

If it works, you can certainly start by using Sharepoint mode, and then eventually when you feel ready try the other options above.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
@john - Airplay playback is usually constrained to just redbook quality files ( in fact devices such as the Apple TV play all audio at 16/48 ). FWIW.

 

I did a quick perusal of this on the net and I wasn't sure where the limitation comes from. Everything I ran across was using iTunes to send out over airplay, I'm not sure if the limitation is in the protocol or something put in by iTunes.

 

Has anybody ever tried using the A+ airplay output specifically with Shairport? Since this would not be using iTunes nor Apple hardware on the receiving side it might just support higher rates, but probably not.

 

John S.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John - as you have found, documentation seems "light" on Airplay. From what I have gathered further it would appear that the Airplay protocol is not contained to particular sample sizes and rates. You suggestion would be the most expedient course to an answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Baddog,

 

Experiment successful. Old AE --> ethernet cable --> Apple usb/ethernet converter dongle (since apple phased out ethernet port on my MBP) --> MBP gives me a good internet connection.

 

I did a speed test at a site hosted by google fiber and got about 20 mbps download and upload speeds. I don't know enough about these things to know if that's any good. Clearly its just a fraction of the 1 gb Google Fiber promises, but it's over wifi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@sockit - excellent so this is a possibility. I believe this should work fine for your music files & Tidal. Worst case there is an issue and other options are explored. This one at least has no cost associated with it and may turn out to be all you need right now.

 

Question. If you use the same Macbook in the same location with WIFI instead of ethernet what are the results of your speed test? Similar? I would recommend running the speed test three times to allow for variances.

 

Barr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Barr,

 

Dramatically better by a factor of 10. About 200 mbps up and down.

 

Keep in mind this is wi-fi created by a much newer Time Capsule (w/dual band wifi). It's a fourth generation 802.11n model with 2TB of backup storage. It upstairs from my MBP and stereo room about 25 ft away if a crow could fly through walls.

 

The TC upstairs has plenty of ethernet out jacks, and I thought that might be a place to put a future simple NAS. But you might see other possibilities. (See my first post that describes my equipment and situation.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, I wonder if a newer model Express would provide better performance numbers? I would start your microRendu adventure with your existing Express.

 

Given you have only 200MB of music and plan to leverage Tidal that seems to be overkill to invest in a NAS.

 

Perhaps the best plan of attack is to start with A+, Macbook, Express and microRendu first in ShairPort output mode. Determine how you like the sound and then go from there. If you find it annoying to always have your Macbook on to play music then there are other options available.

 

Barr

 

p.s. if you are already getting 200 mbps in that room I would not invest in an Apple Extreme. If anything I might try a newer Express, see if the performance was better and if not return to Apple during their return period.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have 200GB (I misspoke above) of music, the highest res being 24/48 from B &W club. The rest is ripped Redbook.

 

So the idea to try is, just to be clear: Run an ethernet cable between the AE (set up in client mode) and the microRendu. The MBP will be connected to the network via wi-fi (since AE has only one ethernet output). Follow microRendu set up instructions and select SharePort output. Then see if I can't use Airport feature of A+ to stream the music to the microRendu.

 

Looks like this might be a first ;) --if it's also what John S. meant when he said: "Has anybody ever tried using the A+ airplay output specifically with Shairport? Since this would not be using iTunes nor Apple hardware on the receiving side it might just support higher rates, but probably not."

 

Thanks for all the help. I'm sure I'll have more questions and things develop!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, 200 GB, probably still not enough to land you in NAS land, unless you want to cut the tether from the Macbook.

 

Yes you have outlined the plan well.

 

BTW - in your path you indicate an RUR, what is that?

 

Here is my chain: 2013 Powerbook Pro using Audirvana+ 2.5--> USB --> --> RUR -->Exogal Comet DAC --> power amp --> speakers. Simple.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×