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  1. #1
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    Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    This is my first post. Thanks for letting me join the community.

    Looking for opinions/advices before upgrading my music server. I use JRiver to feed flac files to the DAC inside my Hegel H360. JRiver runs on a Windows10 microPC connected via USB to the H360. I control it with the JRemote2 Android app. I like JRiver. The issue is I am tired of the regular Windows update. I too often find the PC in a state that requires a reboot. I just want something stable that works 24/7 without having to connect to it to ensure it is up and running.

    All I need is something to play my flac files which I extracted from my CD collection. For now, I am not interested in a streaming service like Tidal, Spotify, etc... I have a Synology NAS, but I prefer to host my files on a local drive. A good Android app is also a must.

    One option is to purchase the JRiver Id: an Intel NUC PC running Linux and preloaded with JRiver. With Linux, no more operating system upgrade. I can live with JRiver updates. It is getting more and more stable. Cost: $400 (nice!)

    Another option could be to purchase a music server such as the Lumin U1 Mini ($2,000) or the Aurender N100H ($2,700). They do more than what I need, but they would completely eliminate the instability due to the software updates (and look good in my living room!). Although all these products feed the DAC with 1s and 0s via a bit-perfect output, a lot of people say they have an impact on the quality of the sound produced by the DAC. I have an IT background, so I find that hard to believe, but I remain open.

    Given the extra costs of the Lumin U1 / Aurender N100H option, are there other advantages of buying products like these instead of the JRiver Id?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Welcome to Audioshark!


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  3. #3
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    IdNUC seems to release an update every several months, which is good because Linux machines need regular updates too. Since the IdNUC is likely to be running a minimal set of software, the frequency and urgency of any updates will be reduced. But I probably wouldn't put it as far down the scale as a specialized OS or system, which is where Lumin would sit.

    The second question would be how much interruption an update will cause. Reading through the JRiver IdNUC forum is probably the best way to get some insight into that. Lumin firmware updates are very much like traditional CE updates, manually initiated and skippable. So when you see the prompt to update you can click yes and then just wait a minute before it is back up and running like it was before.

    It does sound like you want to avoid running a general purpose computer to access your music files. In which case utilizing your Synology NAS or the built-in hard disk of the Aurender sounds attractive. Synology releases OS and package updates regularly, but is very good at scheduling those at night and having everything restart automatically to minimize any possible interruption of service.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    hi - welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere View Post
    ...Although all these products feed the DAC with 1s and 0s via a bit-perfect output, a lot of people say they have an impact on the quality of the sound produced by the DAC. I have an IT background, so I find that hard to believe, but I remain open.
    in addition to the 0s and 1s, accumulated upstream electrical noise is also fed into the DAC which greatly affects sound quality. thus, anything you can do to minimize this noise is additive to SQ. that is why products such as lumin and aurender significantly outperform general purpose computers. these products are highly designed and engineered to remove this noise -- and, they all run a purpose built OS running only the minimum processes necessary which also reduces electrical noise.

    if you are not specifically wanting jRiver, then it might be useful to look at roon for the software. it can be run on a variety of platforms... consumer computers, the roon nucleus server, purpose built servers, and others. it is reliable and rock solid. updates are infrequent and i have never had an issue with them.

    since you have a background in IT, then if you are inclined the DIY route is something to explore. this provides the flexibility to design and build an upstream digital infrastructure that exactly meets your requirements and preferences. IMO and IME, it is possible to build a higher performing transport for 50% or less of the cost of something similar from an audio brand. after a lot of research and learning, this is the direction i ended up going. if interested, you can read a bout it here.

    final thought here -- optical isolation (fiber networking) is dispositive on eliminating 100% of the electrical noise from an ethernet digital stream.
    kanjiroba yak + roon rock > t+a dac8 dsd > almarro a318b > viking acoustics berlin r mk2 | alp-tone audio analog cables

  5. #5
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Hi and welcome. Sorry, I'm a plug & play kind of guy.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    I would suggest the Lumin X1. This allows you to get rid the DAC, the cables between the DAC and amp, and the DAC power cord.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by NekoAudio View Post
    IdNUC seems to release an update every several months, which is good because Linux machines need regular updates too. Since the IdNUC is likely to be running a minimal set of software, the frequency and urgency of any updates will be reduced. But I probably wouldn't put it as far down the scale as a specialized OS or system, which is where Lumin would sit.

    The second question would be how much interruption an update will cause. Reading through the JRiver IdNUC forum is probably the best way to get some insight into that. Lumin firmware updates are very much like traditional CE updates, manually initiated and skippable. So when you see the prompt to update you can click yes and then just wait a minute before it is back up and running like it was before.

    It does sound like you want to avoid running a general purpose computer to access your music files. In which case utilizing your Synology NAS or the built-in hard disk of the Aurender sounds attractive. Synology releases OS and package updates regularly, but is very good at scheduling those at night and having everything restart automatically to minimize any possible interruption of service.
    Quarterly updates is not a big deal. I can live with that. Good point on the NAS. Given I don't need to buy anything to test the NAS approach, I should give it a try. Thanks,

  8. #8
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Many thanks aKnyght for your input and your post on your “trip up the digital stream”. Your contribution is very valuable to me.

    This is the first time in 3-4 years I read a credible explanation of why noise on the digital side can affect the performance of a DAC. Essentially, you are saying noise produced upstream and carried along with the digital data, will impact the DAC, even if the 1s and 0s are delivered to the DAC without errors. So, most DACs do not isolate the digital stage electrically from the analog stage and let this noise pollute the analog output.

    Therefore, removing this noise input will allow the DAC to deliver an analog sound to the best of its capacity. In this case, should I not simply focus on converting the electrical signal out of the streamer to optical before feeding the DAC? All I would need to add to any streamer I select (JRiver Id, Roon Nucleus, Lumin U1 Mini, Aurender, etc…) is a box to convert the output to optical? Anything upstream of this box would be a matter of whether I like the functionality and the user friendliness. Thoughts?

  9. #9
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    I would suggest the Lumin X1. This allows you to get rid the DAC, the cables between the DAC and amp, and the DAC power cord.
    Thanks but I prefer to keep using the H360 integrated DAC and then potentially upgrade to a stand alone DAC in a few years. The X1 looks like a nice piece of gear, but it costs way more than my H360.

  10. #10
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Highly recommend Lumin U1 or Aurender N10. You can then upgrade the Hegel DAC later.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere View Post
    ...Therefore, removing this noise input will allow the DAC to deliver an analog sound to the best of its capacity. In this case, should I not simply focus on converting the electrical signal out of the streamer to optical before feeding the DAC? All I would need to add to any streamer I select (JRiver Id, Roon Nucleus, Lumin U1 Mini, Aurender, etc…) is a box to convert the output to optical? Anything upstream of this box would be a matter of whether I like the functionality and the user friendliness. Thoughts?
    the simple answer is yes...

    in terms of electrical noise, the definitive solution is to run ethernet optical fiber directly into the DAC; thereby, eliminating ALL upstream electrical noise. however, there is only one DAC/streamer that i am aware of having this capability: the lumin x1 which has an SFP I/O port ...imo, this is a state-of-the-art component which anyone should be happy with but it comes at a commensurate price.

    as you suggest, the next best thing would be to get fiber as close to the DAC as possible by using some type of fiber media converter (FMC). here the FMC is the last link in the upstream chain but is connected to the DAC by a copper ethernet cable. here all electrical noise upstream to the FMC is eliminated; however, one is left with any noise generated from the FMC and connecting copper ethernet cable.

    an "audiophile" solution would be to use a quality consumer grade FMC such one from fs.com to make the conversion to light and then use the sonore opticalModule just before the DAC to make the conversion back to electrical. alternatively, one can simply use 2 consumer grade FMCs and, perhaps, use a linear power supply (LPS) for the DAC side FMC. LPSs are a whole other can of worms but i would start with a simple one from jameco before moving on to the expensive audiophile LPSs if necessary.

    if your DAC has a USB but no ethernet input, as mine does, then something like the sonore opticalRendu might be something to look at in terms of getting fiber networking closer to the DAC.

    if interested, i had started two other threads - here and here - on digital networking which might also be helpful.

    enjoy !!!

    ______________________________

    note: MSB also has an optical input capability. however, it is proprietary and based on USB rather than ethernet
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  12. #12
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Many DACs in recent years will isolate and reject/mitigate noise coming in on digital inputs, and some have shielding around the USB circuit. For example, while getting the Neko Audio D100 DAC ready for production, we tested with a computer sound card that was not grounded and therefore sending out huge amounts of noise. With transformer isolation and proper grounding we ensured that noise did not carry into the internal circuits.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by aKnyght View Post
    the simple answer is yes...

    in terms of electrical noise, the definitive solution is to run ethernet optical fiber directly into the DAC; thereby, eliminating ALL upstream electrical noise. however, there is only one DAC/streamer that i am aware of having this capability: the lumin x1 which has an SFP I/O port ...imo, this is a state-of-the-art component which anyone should be happy with but it comes at a commensurate price.

    as you suggest, the next best thing would be to get fiber as close to the DAC as possible by using some type of fiber media converter (FMC). here the FMC is the last link in the upstream chain but is connected to the DAC by a copper ethernet cable. here all electrical noise upstream to the FMC is eliminated; however, one is left with any noise generated from the FMC and connecting copper ethernet cable.

    an "audiophile" solution would be to use a quality consumer grade FMC such one from fs.com to make the conversion to light and then use the sonore opticalModule just before the DAC to make the conversion back to electrical. alternatively, one can simply use 2 consumer grade FMCs and, perhaps, use a linear power supply (LPS) for the DAC side FMC. LPSs are a whole other can of worms but i would start with a simple one from jameco before moving on to the expensive audiophile LPSs if necessary.

    if your DAC has a USB but no ethernet input, as mine does, then something like the sonore opticalRendu might be something to look at in terms of getting fiber networking closer to the DAC.

    if interested, i had started two other threads - here and here - on digital networking which might also be helpful.

    enjoy !!!

    ______________________________

    note: MSB also has an optical input capability. however, it is proprietary and based on USB rather than ethernet
    Nicely written and to note there is in line GigaFoil V4 optical filter - you do need a second cable, and cables do matterAdvices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?


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  14. #14
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ritmo View Post
    Highly recommend Lumin U1 or Aurender N10. You can then upgrade the Hegel DAC later.
    Interesting. I see the U1 Mini has a TOSLINK interface. The Aurender N100H in the same price range does not. The N10 is very expensive for me. Thanks!

  15. #15
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Thanks for the detailed explanations. You do stand out in the crowd as a teacher of digital audio. Most people I have come across hear differences in sound and try to explain it as best they can, but definitely do not master the digital space at all. I am often left with the feeling vendors want to sell extremely expensive equipment to very gullible people. Billions of digital files are transferred from usb flash drives to computers and between computers across the world, every day, without a single bit missing (multiple re-transmits take place when required without anyone noticing), and audiophile people make it sound as if any small vibration in a cable (half joking here) will cause bits to drop out. It makes you wonder where the truth is and how you can find it. I understand better now.

    I will go listen to a couple of different products in my price range that are equipped with a selection of interfaces, like the Lumin U1 Mini or the Innuos ZEN Mini, or ZEN Mk3. Once I have picked one, I will see if I want to further improve the connection to the DAC with some adaptors. I am not a very sophisticated audiophile, so I suspect I will not hear some of the subtleties that irritate many people. In the end, the value of a piece of gear is unique for every listener.

    Many thanks!

  16. #16
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere View Post
    Thanks but I prefer to keep using the H360 integrated DAC and then potentially upgrade to a stand alone DAC in a few years. The X1 looks like a nice piece of gear, but it costs way more than my H360.
    I do recommend using our Lumin analog output products (e.g. T2) instead of U1 MINI for connection to Hegel. You get DSD512 support and Tidal MQA full decoding this way, instead of being limited to DSD128.

    I have several confirmed reports from Hegel users this way they get improved SQ over the internal DAC of even newer Hegel, however good it is.

    With the Lumin T2, you can do A/B comparison of our analog output vs the internal DAC of your H360 using the T2 USB audio output. If you get an even better USB DAC in the future, T2 can still act as a streamer front end for Tidal MQA Core decoding, Qobuz Hi-Res, Spotify Connect and AirPlay function.

    Lumin can be controlled by JRiver, also supports JRiver gapless UPnP playback.

    By the way, if you pick the competitor, MQA Core decoding is an extra purchase but it is built into Lumin for free. And the competitor does not support UPnP, so I don't think JRiver UPnP will work.
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  17. #17
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    One other thing that many seem to down play in these discussions is that if you use optical you are now sending your signal through two additional converters. One to convert the signal to optical to be sent over the fiber and then another to convert it back. Basically converting the electrical signal into light and then converting it back into electrical signal on the receiving end. I would think these convertors are at least as important if not more so then the cable itself. In the past optical was discourage because of this and the coax connector was recommended for SPDIF connections.

    I also find that a well designed USB does the trick for me??? If you have to go through these convertor stages are you really gaining anything? Especially when you can not use the highest resolution available with SPDIF versus USB. But again, my perspective is with locally stored files and feeding the signal straight from the server into the DAC.

    I certainly understand that sending the signal on longer runs optical could be advantages, but for shorter runs like going from your spinner to your DAC I would think the coax connection would be preferred.. I would simply suggest to be very concerned on how these signals are being converted to light and then back again.
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  18. #18
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by wklie View Post
    I do recommend using our Lumin analog output products (e.g. T2) instead of U1 MINI for connection to Hegel. You get DSD512 support and Tidal MQA full decoding this way, instead of being limited to DSD128.

    I have several confirmed reports from Hegel users this way they get improved SQ over the internal DAC of even newer Hegel, however good it is.

    With the Lumin T2, you can do A/B comparison of our analog output vs the internal DAC of your H360 using the T2 USB audio output. If you get an even better USB DAC in the future, T2 can still act as a streamer front end for Tidal MQA Core decoding, Qobuz Hi-Res, Spotify Connect and AirPlay function.

    Lumin can be controlled by JRiver, also supports JRiver gapless UPnP playback.

    By the way, if you pick the competitor, MQA Core decoding is an extra purchase but it is built into Lumin for free. And the competitor does not support UPnP, so I don't think JRiver UPnP will work.
    Excellent point about MQA. Thanks! As for the T2, the price is outside of my comfort zone these days. I read only good things about Lumin though. You might be right. This Friday morning, I will be at a local dealer to compare JRiver/PC vs Lumin U1 Mini. Depending on what I hear, I might let myself be tempted and see if there is a way to compare the T2 with my Hegel DAC.

  19. #19
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    With the T2 you only get DSD512 through USB. This is not unusual. It uses the ESS 9028 chip. Certainly not bad but certainly not as good as the 9038 (I have compared the two). Some people prefer the AKM DAC chip in your Hegel, certainly personal preference.

    The U1 Mini supports up to DSD256, not 512 according to Lumin's own info. Again DSD256 is only through USB.

    Also, while JRiver is solid playback software, many people, me included consider Roon in a completely different league. The Lumin states that it supports Roon also.

    Don't think you are getting MQA for free, the cost is certainly included in the price. Personal preference about MQA. It is certainly good for streaming but I, along with many others consider DSD vastly better if you are talking about locally stored files. A PC will allow you to actually achieve DSD512, and even consider running HQ Player and play all your digital at DSD512, including what you stream from Tidal through Roon.

    Just some other true information to think about. Of course the other consideration is that a well built more than enough powered PC will cost 1/3 the price or less. Also keep in mind that a dealer has a vested interest in making sure his machine, in this case the Lumin U1 Mini sounds better than a PC. Remember all of these machines are in fact computers, in sheep clothing so to speak.

    I would gladly put my computer/software against any "server" that you could buy at twice the price.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    With the T2 you only get DSD512 through USB. Certainly not bad but certainly not as good as the 9038 (I have compared the two). Some people prefer the AKM DAC chip in your Hegel, certainly personal preference.

    The U1 Mini supports up to DSD256, not 512 according to Lumin's own info.

    Don't think you are getting MQA for free, the cost is certainly included in the price.
    None of the current Lumin supports USB input. T2 supports DSD512 from network.

    As I stated we have Hegel users using different Lumin (D2 and T2) confirmed improved SQ from Lumin analog output, there are also reviews confirming that. It's not just a DAC chip problem - the DAC chip is only a really small part of the SQ. In fact if you put any decent DAC (even if not a Lumin) before an integrated amp DAC, they are usually better.

    Lumin MQA is really free, and we have proof. From pre-MQA firmware to Lumin MQA firmware, we did not charge Lumin users anything. They all got free MQA upgrade.
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  21. #21
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere View Post
    Excellent point about MQA. Thanks! As for the T2, the price is outside of my comfort zone these days. I read only good things about Lumin though. You might be right. This Friday morning, I will be at a local dealer to compare JRiver/PC vs Lumin U1 Mini. Depending on what I hear, I might let myself be tempted and see if there is a way to compare the T2 with my Hegel DAC.
    I just suddenly remember this - A warning for Lumin USB output to Hegel H360. The Hegel H360 USB DAC is an old generation and does not support Linux DSD. Therefore, DSD will not work from Lumin USB output to Hegel H360.

    This is a Hegel limitation, not a Lumin limitation. You'll run into this DSD incompatibility with any Linux based streamer, including Roon ROCK.

    Considering this, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using analog output for connection to Hegel H360.

    If the T2 is outside your budget, please check out the D2. (Unlike T2) D2 does not have USB audio output, however. D2 only has analog outputs and BNC output.
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  22. #22
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    No worries, get what you prefer. Lumin is a solid product.

    A purpose built PC running Roon and HQPlayer can take on "music servers" and will do a wonderful job. The information I reported came straight from Lumin. They don't list the level of computer parts being used because in almost every case these "music servers" are using inferior lower performance CPUs, hard drives, RAM, etc., etc. And please don't tell me that the power in the computer behind the "server" makes no difference because as a compute engineer I assure you it does.

    Using the analog outputs to the Hegel is basically using the DAC in the Lumin instead of the one in the Hegel. I don't disagree with this but stand by my statement that it is a personal preference on using a ESS chip versus an AKM chip. I have had many DACs with ESS chips and thought they did a fine job, but definitely prefer custom built DAC convertors versus off the shelf chips (ala what all the best DACs use; MSB, Lampi, dCS, PS Audio, T+A, etc.). And the Lumin is not using ESS's top chip that has been out for a number of years now. There is a big difference between the 9028 and the 9038 chips.

    My view comes from using many different DAC products and really comparing them, and also comparing my customize server versus built servers. I do not represent a particular company, just lending my views based on using different products to help another forum member.
    Hattor The BIG - AMRG Trans | T+A AMP 8 | AudioQuest Niagara 1000 | Rega RP8 | Rega Ania Pro | MOON (by SimAudio) Neo 310LP | Record Doctor V & VI | T+A DAC 8 DSD | Falcon NW PC | Roon & HQPlayer | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | KEF R700 | Elac Debut Sub 3010 | Abyss Diana Phi | Bryston ​BHA-1 | Astell&Kern AK240 | McIntosh MR7083 | Oppo BDP105

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  23. #23
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Cost no object Roon Ready network bridge - Audio Products - Roon Labs Community

    6moons audioreviews: Lumin D1

    Both the ES9028PRO and ES9038PRO are announced at the same time. They are both latest technology.
    ESS Technology :: ESS Technology Introduces the SABRE PRO Series of DACs Setting a New Performance Bar with Unprecedented 140 dB Dynamic Range

    I respect your (or anyone's) preferences for DAC chips or DAC not using these chips.

    I'm not saying one brand of DAC chip is better than another brand. DAC chip alone does not determine the SQ. My point is, any decent external DAC (not necessarily a Lumin) with whatever DAC chip or technology is going to be better than the internal DAC of an amp, no matter what DAC chip it uses. In case of AV receivers, I am confident that is always true. In case of integrated amp, I believe that is usually true as well. In case of the specific amp mentioned by the OP, I have user confirmations.
    Peter Lie
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  24. #24
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    Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Lumin made their name on the Wolfson DAC chip. This love fest with Sabre chips for future Luminís should be re-examined or at least evaluated carefully against the rest of the chips out there and even a ladder DAC or what Esoteric is doing lately with their own Master Sound Discrete DAC chip. I would like to see more AKM or other non-saber DAC chips investigated and a digital input added to future Luminís for those that still want to use a transport.

    A CD ripper/storage solution would be nice too.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

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  25. #25
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Lumin made their name on the Wolfson DAC chip. This love fest with Sabre chips for future Luminís should be re-examined or at least evaluated carefully against the rest of the chips out there and even a ladder DAC or what Esoteric is doing lately with their own Master Sound Discrete DAC chip. I would like to see more AKM or other non-saber DAC chips investigated and a digital input added to future Luminís for those that still want to use a transport.

    A CD ripper/storage solution would be nice too.
    Agree 100%
    Chris

    (2 Chl): Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE Lumin D1, VPI Classic 1, Manley Chinook, Dynavector DV20x2L.exaSound e32 mk11, Marantz SA11S2. ( computer) Win7, Synology DS413 NAS ,Vincent SP-331MKII , Quicksilver LS,Vapor Audio Breeze, Rythmik F12se. Cables: Acoustic Zen, DL Labs, Blue Jean.. ,Bryston BCD-1,Timbernation Rack,

  26. #26
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    I am well aware that the 9028 and 9038 chips (along with the 9026) came out at the same time. I have had DACs using both of these. And I am also very aware that the chip in and of itself does not make or break a DAC. I have compared DACs from the same company using the 9028 and 9038 chips and the 9038 is far superior, however I agree with Mike in that Lumin would be wise to explore other DAC options. Many company chose to use the 9026 or 9028 because they were pin compatible with ESS previous generation chips, while the 9038 is not and would require more work redesigning.

    Higher end digital companies (you know the names) use custom built DAC decoders because in every case they are superior to the off the shelf chips no matter which one is used. Certain DACs tend to lean towards certain duties better than others in my view. T+A for example uses total separate signal paths depending on if a PCM or a DSD file is being decoded. I would also add that I believe T+A is a DSD specialist which definitely is a reason that I gravitated towards their products.

    The bottom line is that Lumin is a good product but I believe it is important that Shark members receive good accurate info so that they can decide for themselves on which merits in a particular product is right for them. I know how difficult this can be especially when discovering (or rediscovering which is what my situation was) this whole new world of audio enthusiast equipment. I know first hand how difficult it is especially when many manufactures put out misleading or at best half truths about their products.
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    "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know when when you are wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

  27. #27

    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    i've found that server changes make a huge impact on the sound. i moved up from an mbpro to a metrum ambre to a rockna wavedream net. each change revealed more and in in the case of the rockna NET, it was not even remotely subtle. it's cliche, but yes, the non-audio gf noticed and asked why the sound was better. given my experience, i feel like - especially for streaming - the dac+server budget should be split evenly. there are no hard rules in audio, so as always, experiment if you can and determine if that split makes sense for you. you're on the right path though - lumin makes great stuff though i haven't had a chance to hear their uber offerings.

    i've decided to take my experiment to an extreme...the taiko extreme . it's on its way and after i get to spend some time with it, i will happily post my impressions here

  28. #28
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    +4!

    As a repeat customer of Lumin and, as I look to upgrade from my X1 in a few years, I would want the following features:

    - Completely balanced design
    - Better chip set (Quad Balanced) - agree with above comments
    - Digital inputs (AES, Coax, USB, maybe fiber for a potential transport)
    - Next gen clock
    - Screen to display album art
    - Dual power supplies

    Also, Lumin should add a CD/SACD and ripper transport
    - digital outputs
    - ability to rip and transfer files to L1 or NAS

    All of this in the traditionally beautiful design and finish of the Lumin products. And, with the ease of use and excellent tech support from Peter and team.
    _______________

    Mike

  29. #29
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    The Aurender N10 was a favorite for years (along with their W20). I love the new Innuos servers too, but the best I've ever heard is the one I bought, The Memory Player by Laufer Teknik, Laufer Teknik I have a prototype of his newest. He also installed a DAC in mine and will install a special analog volume control so I can run direct to amp and not worry about impedance issues or lose dynamics as you do when you run direct.
    System:
    Vandersteen Quatro CT
    Ayre AX5/20
    The Memory Player with built in DAC and headphone amp built in on order
    AQ Niagara 1000 power device
    Audioquest William Tell bi wire speaker cable
    Wireworld 8 optical cable into the Empirical Audio Synchro Mesh from the TV and Blueray to reclock
    Wireworld Platnium 8 ethernet cables into the EMO 70e ethernet filter into The Memory Player from Eero mesh router
    All routers, cable box and synchro mesh powered by the Wyred4sound LPS box with separate supplies for each
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  30. #30
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Get rid of JRiver. It sounds mifi at best. Give Audirvana a try. It has a simple user interface and a library like JR. They have a 30 day free trial and then it is $75. It sounds way better than JR. HQplayer with Roon would be the way to go if you want to spend the money. Or just go with HQplayer for $150 but your computer needs to be up to snuff with a decent processor and at least 8gb of ram.

    I use a custom computer that I built for my music server and use Bug Head Infinity Blade as my player which is a pain to use but sonically it is fabulous, better than HQplayer. When I don't want to be bothered I use Audirvana. I use JRiver to rip music. I have 14tb of storage on my music computer with about 9tb full of music.
    My Gear- Mains System-Pass X250 amp, BAT VK-51se preamp, Luxman DA-06 DAC, Magnepan 1.6's, Thorens TD-145 TT, Dual Martin Logan Subs, Vintage Luxman T-110 Tuner, Other systems- Parasound A21 amp,Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid tube DAC and Preamp, Magnepan MMG's, Monitor Audio S1's, PSB B6's, Def Tech Pro Monitor 1000's, Velodyne sub, Adcom GFR-700 AVR, Music Hall 25.2 modified CDP, Cables by Cardas Parsec, AQ Columbia DBS 72v, Wire World.

  31. #31
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    I get annoyed with Windows update as well. This may help with turning updates off and setting a particular day for the updates.

    How to stop automatic updates on Windows 10 | Windows Central

    3 Best Ways to Disable Automatic Update on Windows 10
    My Gear- Mains System-Pass X250 amp, BAT VK-51se preamp, Luxman DA-06 DAC, Magnepan 1.6's, Thorens TD-145 TT, Dual Martin Logan Subs, Vintage Luxman T-110 Tuner, Other systems- Parasound A21 amp,Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid tube DAC and Preamp, Magnepan MMG's, Monitor Audio S1's, PSB B6's, Def Tech Pro Monitor 1000's, Velodyne sub, Adcom GFR-700 AVR, Music Hall 25.2 modified CDP, Cables by Cardas Parsec, AQ Columbia DBS 72v, Wire World.

  32. #32
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    double post
    My Gear- Mains System-Pass X250 amp, BAT VK-51se preamp, Luxman DA-06 DAC, Magnepan 1.6's, Thorens TD-145 TT, Dual Martin Logan Subs, Vintage Luxman T-110 Tuner, Other systems- Parasound A21 amp,Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid tube DAC and Preamp, Magnepan MMG's, Monitor Audio S1's, PSB B6's, Def Tech Pro Monitor 1000's, Velodyne sub, Adcom GFR-700 AVR, Music Hall 25.2 modified CDP, Cables by Cardas Parsec, AQ Columbia DBS 72v, Wire World.

  33. #33
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechnutt View Post
    I get annoyed with Windows update as well. This may help with turning updates off and setting a particular day for the updates.
    Yes. Good point. One part of me wants to always upgrade as soon as possible and another part of me says nothing will break down if I postpone them and I would get more stability.

  34. #34
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    I just obtained a Sonore UltraRendu and am really pleased with the sound. I bought it because of the positive reviews, got this streamer for "just" 900 euro and hooked it on my USB DAC.

    In my opinion those other streamers have alot of functions that are not needed. This Sonore does only one thing, streaming and sending to just a single USB output. Thats it. No other things to pay for, no DAC, no display, no harddiscs, a power supply need to be bought yourself, what it does have, only a streamer, a low jitter Femto oscillator and 6 low noice regulators.

    Hooked it on my Roon Server.

    Now the question how it sounds. In comparison to other streamers I don't know. Reviews are great, and with the absence of all unneeded luxury I have trust that it can reach the high standards of those far more expensive streamers, but sadly I am not able to compare.

  35. #35
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    As I stated I have been an IT professional for quite some time. When I first started researching digital I also felt it is just 1's and 0's. How could there be much difference. Was I surprised! Everything makes a difference right down to the USB cable (two USB cables in my case).

    As was shown earlier, you can choose how to handle everything with Windows, right down to when/if you run updates. Having frequent updates is a good thing, not bad. There is a lot of bad people out there.

    I most worry about open source OS's because there is almost no protection, and spreading bad stuff is very easy. The more popular an OS gets the more it becomes a target. Nothing that connects to the Internet is immune.
    Hattor The BIG - AMRG Trans | T+A AMP 8 | AudioQuest Niagara 1000 | Rega RP8 | Rega Ania Pro | MOON (by SimAudio) Neo 310LP | Record Doctor V & VI | T+A DAC 8 DSD | Falcon NW PC | Roon & HQPlayer | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | KEF R700 | Elac Debut Sub 3010 | Abyss Diana Phi | Bryston ​BHA-1 | Astell&Kern AK240 | McIntosh MR7083 | Oppo BDP105

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  36. #36
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    I agree about exposure to threats due to a lack of upgrades. It all depends on the probabilities of a threat materializing and how much damage it can cause. Upgrading my laptops is not a big deal. I just don't want to worry about the microPC sitting behind my TV. I want it to be up and running 24/7 so I can play music any time I want to, just like when I was using a CD player. I want reliability and stability.

    It turns out I took my Hegel H360 and my microPC/JRiver set up to a local Lumin dealer. We were about to run the U1 Mini and JRiver in parallel, playing the same songs at the same time. It was easy to switch back and forth between the two as often as I wanted. Well... the Lumin made the sound better. It was not a huge difference, but it was better. So, I can only conclude that the source of the digital data impacts the performance of the DAC. It is not just 1s and 0s. I heard it.

    Given the promise of a more stable platform, and the possibility of using a music streaming service in the future, I decided to order a U1 Mini. I might keep my JRiver set up for videos and photos (I ripped a bunch of DVDs to files). I might also use JRiver to clean up the metadata in my flac files. I keep noticing problems with cover art, artists, etc... once in a while and JRiver is really good at this (To be honest, it's the only one I know... :-) ).

  37. #37
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Cool, and glad you found a product that fits your needs! That is excellent. I have no doubt at all that the Lumin totally out performed your microPC (not sure what kind of microPC you have). A PC needs to have enough power and to get the best performance requires being somewhat customized; certainly depending on software being ran on the machine. At its best a customized PC can perform with or in my view much better. For someone wanting more plug and play or not interested in working with a computer to get its best a machine such as the Lumin is an excellent choice!

    I have my custom PC in my audio rack. I have had a smaller case but I like having a bit more air inside (and easier to work on if I ever want to) so I now use a mid size case. I do not worry about doing updates and certainly is not an issue being in my rack. I never hook up a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. I simply use remote desktop from my tablet computer (which is also my Roon controller) to do whatever maintenance and file copies that I want to do. Easy as pie ...

    I also own JRiver and use it for doing occasional (now very occasional) CD rips. Over all the interface was not bad, but after I got used to Roon I could never again use it in my audio system. Comparing JRiver to Roon would be like comparing a Ford Pinto to a Rolls Royce .
    Hattor The BIG - AMRG Trans | T+A AMP 8 | AudioQuest Niagara 1000 | Rega RP8 | Rega Ania Pro | MOON (by SimAudio) Neo 310LP | Record Doctor V & VI | T+A DAC 8 DSD | Falcon NW PC | Roon & HQPlayer | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | KEF R700 | Elac Debut Sub 3010 | Abyss Diana Phi | Bryston ​BHA-1 | Astell&Kern AK240 | McIntosh MR7083 | Oppo BDP105

    "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know when when you are wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

  38. #38
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    I also own JRiver and use it for doing occasional (now very occasional) CD rips. Over all the interface was not bad, but after I got used to Roon I could never again use it in my audio system. Comparing JRiver to Roon would be like comparing a Ford Pinto to a Rolls Royce .
    Maybe, one day, I will try Roon. It is expensive and I am already indulging with Lumin. I could have bought the $400 JRiver Id Linux-based microPC and might have been happy with it. With Lumin, I feel like I will be driving a BMW.

    For ripping CDs, I don't use JRiver. I use dBpoweramp. It is very good. You can also buy their PerfectTUNES software to scan your collection and find ripping errors. Just a thought. Thanks!

  39. #39
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    That really is the down side of both Roon and HQPlayer. They are expensive for sure. I was lucky and got a lifetime subscription to Roon prior to their price increase.

    I have never tried any other software for ripping since CD ripping is not primary source for me. I only purchase a CD of something that I really want and no other alternative (vinyl / SACD / digital download) are available. JRivers seems to work fine to rip and Roon is spectacular as far as the meta data goes. HQPlayer upconverts all digital to DSD512 for me, but I feel the better in the better out so I look for the highest resolution that I can obtain on a digital file.
    Hattor The BIG - AMRG Trans | T+A AMP 8 | AudioQuest Niagara 1000 | Rega RP8 | Rega Ania Pro | MOON (by SimAudio) Neo 310LP | Record Doctor V & VI | T+A DAC 8 DSD | Falcon NW PC | Roon & HQPlayer | Wyred 4 Sound Recovery | KEF R700 | Elac Debut Sub 3010 | Abyss Diana Phi | Bryston ​BHA-1 | Astell&Kern AK240 | McIntosh MR7083 | Oppo BDP105

    "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know when when you are wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

  40. #40
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Hello,

    There is some excellent information in this thread.

    I have Mac Mini going into my processor.

    Looking into upgrading to a server like the Lumin.

    Not looking for one with a DAC.

    I did not get Roon because I did not want to get stuck using their SW even though I think it still might be the best.

    Am using Audirvana and have a subscription the JRiver that I never use.
    Think I might use that later for Video.



    My question is can I run Audirvana on a Lumin or Innous Etc?

    I do think it might be good idea to get dedicated streaming device.

    Most appreciated

  41. #41
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Panda View Post
    My question is can I run Audirvana on a Lumin or Innous Etc?

    I do think it might be good idea to get dedicated streaming device.
    I don't think you can run Audirvana or JRiver on a Lumin or Innuous. If you could, you would see Lumin and-or Innuous as a supported platform (like Win10 and iOS) on their Web site or see Audirvana -JRiver mentioned on the Lumin or Innuous Web sites. The Lumin U1 Mini uses the mobile app as its only interface. It is not 100% stable, but I find it more stable than JRiver's . When it is stuck, it is simple to get it back on track and it will likely improve as time goes on.

    The platform's upgrades are simple and under Lumin's full control, with no superfluous features that could cause problems. Besides the small issues with the app, I love the U1 Mini. The app is intuitive and easy to use. The resulting sound is better than with the previous JRiver setup. All you need is power the U1 and your mobile device and pick your songs or playlists. I only use my own flac files, but if I decide to subscribe to Tidal, Spotify, etc... the U1 will handle it as is.

    When looking for a music server, I found the U1 Mini to be a full-featured product, with a wide choice of interfaces, no DAC, great reviews, and a nice price. That's what I needed. I might have missed a better product out there, but I am happy with my purchase so far. That's all that matters...

    I also think keeping the JRiver-Win10 platform is useful for playing my videos.

    Hope this helps,

  42. #42
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Panda View Post
    My question is can I run Audirvana on a Lumin or Innous Etc?
    For Lumin, yes you can use JRiver UPnP and latest Audirvana Plus UPnP to control it.

    Lumin supports the widest range of control point software. You may also use Linn Kazoo app, Bubble DS Next, Roon, etc. if you don't like Lumin app for any reason.
    Peter Lie
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  43. #43
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Wow!

    This is great information.

    There really does not seem to be any other or very few devices that can do this.

    I really have no interest in JRiver for audio.
    But yes,
    it can do video.
    Since I already have subscription,
    I might as well use it for something.

    But my audio person said he does not know if I can use both.
    They might confuse each other.
    Any thoughts?

    Would adding a Lumin and taking out my Mac Mini be and improvement in SQ?

    What are the differences between the U1 and the Mini?

    The Innuous seems to have a lot of things I do not need.

    I have been told the Linn Kazoo is also an excellent piece of software and am very pleased it can work with a Lumin.

    Most appreciated

  44. #44
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    great... nice
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  45. #45
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Panda View Post
    Wow!
    I really have no interest in JRiver for audio.

    But my audio person said he does not know if I can use both.
    They might confuse each other.
    Any thoughts?

    Would adding a Lumin and taking out my Mac Mini be and improvement in SQ?

    What are the differences between the U1 and the Mini?
    You can have multiple audio control point computer software installed, but they must not be running at the same time. To use one, please close the others.

    I have multiple confirmations of SQ increase from Lumin customers, who migrated from a Mac -> USB DAC configuration to a Lumin -> USB DAC configuration.

    The differences between the U1 and U1 MINI are: LPS vs SMPS, heavy aluminium chassis, and DSD512 (for Linux native DSD DAC only) vs DSD256 (for Linux native DSD DAC or DoP).

    You may also consider a Lumin T2 - you can select between analog, USB or BNC output.
    Peter Lie
    LUMIN Firmware Lead

  46. #46
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Panda View Post
    My question is can I run Audirvana on a Lumin or Innous Etc?
    As I think it may not have been answered exactly as you asked, you need two things: a hardware component that provides the music to your processor, and a software component with a user interface that you use to control the hardware.

    Your Mac mini, or a Lumin or Innous device, is the hardware. So you can swap a Lumin in for the Mac mini, for what is connected to your processor.

    But you still need the software and its user interface. You could run Audirvana on your Mac mini (using a connected monitor, keyboard, and mouse) to control what music is played via the Lumin. Or you could use the Lumin iOS/Android app on an iOS or Android device to control what music is played via the Lumin. There are many other choices like Peter has mentioned: JRiver BubbleUPnP, Roon, Linn Kazoo, Glider, etc. But these are all installed onto and used via something like a laptop/desktop computer or phone/tablet.
    Neko Audio
    Authorized Dealer: AC Infinity, Acoustic Zen, APC, Audeze, Bryston, Devialet, Dirac, Elite HTS, Fortress Seating, JVC, LG, LUMIN, Magico, Ortofon, Prism Sound, RME, Samsung, STAX, Trinnov, & more.

  47. #47
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    One again,

    More excellent information.

    I probably should have listed my components in my signature but I would have never listed a remote control there or I pad. Etc.

    Am interested in pulling out my Mac Mini from the system.

    Yes,
    I use an I pad.

    The Lumin does seem to be one if not the only device that can do what I am looking for.

    I am not interested in the T2 because I do not want a Dac.

    Most appreciated

  48. #48
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    I am well aware that the 9028 and 9038 chips (along with the 9026) came out at the same time. I have had DACs using both of these. And I am also very aware that the chip in and of itself does not make or break a DAC. I have compared DACs from the same company using the 9028 and 9038 chips and the 9038 is far superior, however I agree with Mike in that Lumin would be wise to explore other DAC options. Many company chose to use the 9026 or 9028 because they were pin compatible with ESS previous generation chips, while the 9038 is not and would require more work redesigning.

    Higher end digital companies (you know the names) use custom built DAC decoders because in every case they are superior to the off the shelf chips no matter which one is used. Certain DACs tend to lean towards certain duties better than others in my view. T+A for example uses total separate signal paths depending on if a PCM or a DSD file is being decoded. I would also add that I believe T+A is a DSD specialist which definitely is a reason that I gravitated towards their products.

    The bottom line is that Lumin is a good product but I believe it is important that Shark members receive good accurate info so that they can decide for themselves on which merits in a particular product is right for them. I know how difficult this can be especially when discovering (or rediscovering which is what my situation was) this whole new world of audio enthusiast equipment. I know first hand how difficult it is especially when many manufactures put out misleading or at best half truths about their products.
    If I might ask, what inaccurate information and/or half-truths are you referring to?

    And correct me if I'm wrong, but Lumin uses the 9038 chips in the flagship X-1. You say that:

    "And the Lumin is not using ESS's top chip that has been out for a number of years now."

    This proclamation doesn't include a quote from a specific post mentioning a Lumin model number.

    Maybe quoting directly when debating specific points would lead to less confusion and misinterpretation for other readers. For example, I had to go back through the thread to discern that you were most likely referring to the T2 not using the 9038 chips (but not completely sure).

    What drew my attention, and why I wish to get clarification, was that it seemed that you may have possibly suggested that Peter and/or Lumin showed a lack of design expertise and/or honesty in their assertions. I don't see any evidence of either.

    Thanks for your valuable input. You are light years ahead of me when it comes to IT and digital audio, thats for sure.

  49. #49
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Hello,

    I dd not mean to bring up a can of worms here.

    Again,
    I was not asking about DAC's just looking for device that did not have one.

    I would assume the Lumin DAC's are very good but that is not the route I want to take.

    From what I have learned,
    I think the Lumin may be the only or one of the few devices that can do what I am looking for with no DAC.

    They also seem to be quite good products as well.

    Most appreciated

  50. #50
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    Re: Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Panda View Post
    Am interested in pulling out my Mac Mini from the system.
    If you mean merely replacing the Mac with a streamer as the source to your USB DAC, that is fine. You can use Lumin app on iPad to control the Lumin streamer to play music stored in your Mac via network, if you install the free MinimServer on the Mac.

    If you mean removing the Mac from the network, then you cannot use Audirvana on Mac - I assume it's your intention to use Audirvana as a control point on Mac to control a streamer such as Lumin. Edit: If you want to use Audirvana Remote on iPad, you still need Audirvana running on Mac.
    Peter Lie
    LUMIN Firmware Lead

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Advices on Upgrading my Music Server/Streamer?

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