Originally Posted by ralpheburns
Can you help me with a purchasing choice based upon your experience? Since 2014, I've been using a Small Green Computer micro-Zuma CAPS v.3 with a SOtM USB out for my two-channel audiophile system, but the micro-Zuma motherboard had died. Until then, all was happy. My choice is repair or replace.
Here's my system. I don't care about multi-channel audio for movies!
You may notice that I have a top-notch MSB "Analog DAC". It does femto re-clocking, R2R output and a buffered volume control to replace a preamp. Only have to turn off the re-clocking goodness when streaming movies because of the sync delay. No biggie.
I already sent the micro-Zuma in to Andrew at Small Green Computer. He can rebuild it, although with a newer motherboard and processor type, but keeping the SOtm USB PCi card.
Andrew suggests upgrading to the Sonic Transporter i7 and prefers Linux for lower temperal latency, but I'm hesitant and here's why:
- I'm not a computer hack and want to keep it simple. My life is already overloaded.
- the old one served me fine. The MSB Analog DAC comes with test files to test for bit-perfect, and the v3 CAPS always passed. One school of thought might be that passing perfect is as good as it gets!
- I use JRiver because I have thousands of DSD DFF files (Roon can't play those), and don't have the time or inclination to try to convert them to something Roon can use. The SonicTransporter i7 embedded Linux can't run JRiver, because the the Linux version that JRiver needs must be the "desktop" version.
- plenty of audio folks prefer JRiver over Roon. I could try in the future, but don't want to be forced into one.
- I have 13TB of hi-rez audio files on my NAS. My NAS is located in my home office one floor below the stereo living room. For the TV and CAPS, I've run two ethernet cables, which go outside the wall, up into the attic and drop down the living room wall to a wall plate. Do I need two ethernet cables for SonicTransporter i7 plus the UltraRendu? If I need another ethernet cable run, then I'll puke and just stay with the rebuilt CAPS.
If I get the CAPS v3 rebuilt (making it maybe v4+?) then don't I have the choice to use both JRiver and Roon? And maybe I could make it dual-boot, adding Linux in addition to Win10 as a second OS. Maybe then Linux will give those lower-latency results on the rebuilt CAPS that Andrew talks about. But given my DAC does re-clocking, doesn't that resolve any PC latency (time-goofiness) issues?
I think you can see that I'm preferring to rebuild the Zuma and live with less changes.
Thanks! - Ralph
You have a great two channel system. Don't get the CAPsV3 repaired, get something more state of the art for your system.
Keep in mind my audio/theatre system, until recently, has been based on a Theta Casablanca IVA SSP, processing at 96-24. So I used JRiver, then moved to ROON about 3.5 years ago, and as necessary downsampled to 96/88-24. Used a Berkeley Audio Alpha USB to AES/EBU converter. And for my USB player, I have moved since 2011 as follows: Bryston BDP-1 (coaxial digital out, not USB); modded CAPSv3 Zuma (both USB for 2 channel and AMD Sapphire HDMI out for multi-channel);
CAPSv4 (USB for 2 channel); then ROON software upgrade permitted using separate ROON Core and ROON Bridge/Ready devices, so while I continued using CAPSv3 for multi-channel HDMI, I also used CAPSv3 as ROON Core with CAPSv4 as ROON Bridge/Ready output; Sonore Microrendu with external Sonore Signature Power Supply (USB for 2 channel); Sonore Signature Rendu SE (with even better power supply built in); and more recently, upgraded Sonore Signature Rendu SE with SystemOptique (optical/fiber conversion/isolation). Each step of the way I noticed improved sonics. And I like ROON way more than JRiver MC. True ROON will not play ISO files. I actually used JRiver MC to convert all of my ripped ISOs (about 800) to DSF files playable by ROON. Its easy to do in JRiver. Not all that time consuming at all. And ROON is so much better as far as I am concerned! And when ROON updated their software to allow the processing in the ROON Core device, and the "playing" USB out in the ROON Bridge/Ready device, the sonics improved remarkably!
However, I recently after years and years (since 1997) changed from Theta Casablanca platform SSP (still not ROON Ready) to Trinnov Altitude 32 SSP (ROON Ready). I have found in my current SSP setup that ROON Ready via ethernet sounds about the same as the Sonore Signature Rendu SE with SystemOptique upgrade/Berkeley Alpha USB digital converter combo.
If you ask me, with your excellent stereo system, you should do the following, if its affordable:
1. Sonic Transporter i5 or i7. If you have ISO files that are higher than DSD, the i7 might be more likely to process without any hiccups. Andrew at Small Green Computer can tell you for sure. Advantage of the i7 also is that it has 2 ethernet ports - connect one to your network switcher, one to your USB player (this is what I did with the Sonore Signature Rendu SE, now I do this by connecting one ethernet port if the i7 direct to my Trinnov Altitude 32 SSP). This will be your ROON Core device.
2. Go for the best. Sonore Signature Rendu SE SystemOptique upgrade, whether you buy new, or buy my used before its gone (Sonore is extending my original owner upgrade warranty as well). This will be your ROON Ready USB two channel out device. (If you want to buy my used unit, AVS Private Message me with your phone and email)
3. Use JRiver MC to scan your ISO files and convert, in the same file folders, to DSF files, playable by ROON. Kal Robinson of Stereophile fame did this several years ago, on my advise, and is very pleased as well.
I want to add that my theatre system, although sounds great, has essentially been limited to 96-24 (although with Trinnov SSP I can play to 192-24, I use Auro 3D expanding two channel to use all my speakers and Auro 3D only works up to 96-24). Your MSB DAC I assume processes at DSD or higher. The Sonore Signature Rendu with SystemOptique upgrade should really shine for you!
"I have 13TB of hi-rez audio files on my NAS. My NAS is located in my home office one floor below the stereo living room. For the TV and CAPS, I've run two ethernet cables, which go outside the wall, up into the attic and drop down the living room wall to a wall plate. Do I need two ethernet cables for SonicTransporter i7 plus the UltraRendu? If I need another ethernet cable run, then I'll puke and just stay with the rebuilt CAPS." No, will work fine if just connect i7 to network switcher." But you don't need to drop another long ethernet line. You simply place the i7 within a meter of the
Ultrarendu (or as I recommend, Sonore Signature Rendu SE with SystemOptique upgrade) and connect ethernet from i7 to Rendu.
"If I get the CAPS v3 rebuilt (making it maybe v4+?) then don't I have the choice to use both JRiver and Roon? And maybe I could make it dual-boot, adding Linux in addition to Win10 as a second OS. Maybe then Linux will give those lower-latency results on the rebuilt CAPS that Andrew talks about. But given my DAC does re-clocking, doesn't that resolve any PC latency (time-goofiness) issues?" I used JRiver and then ROON with my CAPSv3, so yes this can be done.
Seriously Andrew Gillis at Small Green Computer did the software for the Sonic Transporters and Sonore, I have talked with him extensively, he is honest and knows his stuff.