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Thread: Servers at 3 price points.

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Believe High Fidelity View Post
    Joshua, many thanks for the link to the review of the Sotm sMS 200 Ultra. That's really helpful, a great review.

    Marc... Hans seems pretty cool and his comments in the video on the sound and his unbound enthusiasm for the experience of music making through the SOTM is almost exactly reflective of my own experience with it both in terms of it's sound and also how it ultimately makes music. For me the Sotm does have question marks hanging over it in terms of the ease of setup but that may well just be because I am only barely mid level in my geekdom.

    It has been many years since I sat up through an entire night playing music just because of a new component going in to the system. It has only really happened twice in the last decade or so... once with the arrival of the Maggie 20.7s and then again just recently when I put the SOTM ultra200 in the system. Music making is absolutely addictive through this little beastie when all is playing tunes and working well.

    In particular Hans' comments on the coherent quality of the bass and it's agility and expressiveness is the area that for me really separated the SOTM from the other players, servers and transports that I have heard. I agree also with Hans' read on the level of resolution with the sMS-200 Ultra... it is quite remarkable but yet not at all out of balance with all the other qualities of it's sound. It is the coherence and the balance in the nature and capability of the SOTM sMS-200 that is it's core strength. With visceral, lively and full bodied speakers like Harbeth (and probably your Zu's I would imagine) it provides just an ideal amount of both body and resolution. The soundstage is certainly amongst the deepest and widest and for me seems to be almost ideally formed.

    Hans was clearly taken by the sense of attack and perceived responsiveness in speed of ebb and flow of the music and I'd agree absolutely with that and as very much alive as the sense of attack is still also the rate of decay (for me) is in largely perfect order and relationship to the attack. The music carries you through time effortlessly. It's portrayal of musical energy seems to honestly reflect the spirit of the music and the range of expressing vitality from the most pensive moments of calm right through to thrilling, explosively alive and vibrant is wide and absolutely convincing and deeply expressive. It is for me the first affordable front end digital solution that I have heard that doesn't leave me wanting anything more in it connecting me to the music or any aspect of sound or purely the essential nature of the sound itself. I do believe that putting it up on exceptional resonance control is critical with the SOTM as apparently digital clocks are super sensitive to vibration. Perhaps your fantastic Stacore fetish will come into play in a very positive way with your digital setup.

    So sonically and in terms of making music there are absolutely no hesitations from me with this lil' beastie.

    CAVEAT; Well Yes... so where are my reservations?
    1. The unit instruction manuals and support need to be much, much, err much better... the video that Han's did for review is just so many times better an explanation of the SOTM and how it works. It is so much clearer communication than anything I have seen elsewhere, including on the SOTM website. Don't get me wrong, I love the SOTM gear but the written and video support needs to be more in depth and detailed.

    2. The setup may not really be quite as easy as suggested in Han's review. Sync delay and buffer settings are not necessarily default and these are critical to trouble free replay and also I found managing the analysis speeds and sync delay also in Roons settings ended up being important and an issue that led me to suffer some long seemingly random bouts of stuttering replay and an ensuing deep and dark depression known as computer nightmare syndrome. Resetting all the settings in the unit after a power loss was just one of my early bad experiences of the SOTM made even more stressful because when it is working properly it is so joyful and addictive. Even just the choice of player strategy... Roon or HQplayer, minim, uPnp etc. could do with a better explanation on the wisdom in choice of these... this needs to be explored more for sure. Also some of the random replay reliability issues with dropouts that I have experienced may well prove to just be my ageing 2011 mac air processor that I'm using just as a controller for accessing the system player and roon... I'll know more if that is the issue once I've picked up a new Macbook pro to run Roon from.

    So sonically and musically I am absolutely 100% happy to give this a very clear and enthusiastic recommendation for you to demo (I'd also go 12 Volt and run with a purely linear external supply rather than a hybrid SOTM SMPS unit however.)

    But there is a big qualifying question mark Marc on ease of setup with this and in computer audio in general... especially if you are at all computer challenged. At least have the Eera plus your analogue on call as plan B and C for music as backup for those inevitable bad computer days... tho everyone's computer experience will likely be variable and also therefore the connected amount of moments of music and joy and also the attendant occasions of pure IT torture. YMMV... hope this in some way helps.
    Last edited by the sound of Tao; 09-30-2017 at 04:26 PM.
    Magnepan 20.7 - Shindo - Sanders - Sotm Ultra - Chord - Shunyata Cyclops & Z Anaconda and Python PCs - Wireworld Platinum Eclipse SCs, ICs, USB, jumpers - Stillpoint Ultra 5s throughout the system.

  2. #22
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    Tao, the stuff is ticking all my analog sensibilities, but it's getting a black mark for all the nightmare stuff.
    From what I can see, the world of streamers/servers is a kind of Wild West, with on the one hand a handful of big hitters like Aurender and Auralic, individual highly bespoke complete packages like SGM, and at the other end a whole raft of companies w fascinating engineering at great prices but compromised practicality like SOtM.
    Tao, I'd love to trust them, but your highly truthful review means I really can't.

  3. #23
    Marc,
    The kind of excitement that enthusiastic reviews engender are fine but it's important not to neglect reality. The key is to have a plan that allows for the constraints as well.

    Not just for you but for most of us computer audio can be at times rocky however the payback with streaming via Roon it is in the end very much worth it.

    Just have a stategy. If you can genuinely afford SGM from what I understand it is a no brainer choice.

    If you are like me and have real world limits accept those and work with them. The SOtM SMS-200 is for me the ideal musical and sonic choice and I am working through the challenges of a not fully supported model of service.

    I'd just suggest two things... unless you have something like SGM or MSB where technical support is exceptional have the option of accessing a computer wizard for phone technical support, and as I tell my students when they are learning computer drafting... when the computer says no just don't argue, find a way around it, like just whack on a record instead lol.

    Computer audio reminds me of that Danny Kaye classic movie The Court Jester from 1956 where the pellet with the poison is in the vessel with the pestle but the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true, or was it the flagon with the dragon...

    Anyway, truth be told most addictions can also be poisons... including most of our choices in our chasing the ultimate that is beloved in our music and audio passions. It's just the drug of choice that is the question.
    Magnepan 20.7 - Shindo - Sanders - Sotm Ultra - Chord - Shunyata Cyclops & Z Anaconda and Python PCs - Wireworld Platinum Eclipse SCs, ICs, USB, jumpers - Stillpoint Ultra 5s throughout the system.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by spiritofmusic View Post
    BlueFox, you have to do better than that LOL.
    Why?
    My Lumin is three years old now, and I love it. It is a file player, DAC, and streamer single box solution. While expensive, it is cheaper than having to buy a DAC, and its associated cost of a power cable and digital interconnect. Sonically, I have no complaints, and I listen to it for hours at a time with zero fatigue. It plays all file sizes, DSD, and MQA. While it supports NAS, I use a direct attached USB drive to eliminate any network issues, and don't have to worry whether my Ethernet cable is affecting the sound.

    Of course, you do need to rip CDs, or download files, but that is the only computer work that needs to be done. It is controlled via an app on the iPad or iPhone. Not sure if Android is supported.

    http://www.luminmusic.com/
    Bud

    Lumin S1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon for source, Denali 2000 (2) for amps
    Shunyata Z Anaconda XLR analog ICs, Z Anaconda speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.

  5. #25
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    After a lot of thought, I think I'm going to settle on a streamer that
    1- has good engineering provenance ie one from a corporation that has resources behind it, not a small, specialist, hobbyist type enterprise.
    That's going to exclude SOtM, Antipodes, Pink Faun, CAT. No criticism implied, I'm sure these are fine products, but together w some perceived lack of UK user support, I think I need a streamer w UK wide support and user backup.
    2- have a highly user friendly interface, plug and go, and Roon Ready. This precludes Aurender and one or two others.
    3- a streamer that has the kind of sound I'm looking for ie mids tonal density and upper bass texture, ie more energy presentation than "Hifi" detail and imaging.
    ---
    This is getting me down to a choice of three, Auralic Aries or Innuos Zenith Std/SE.
    My money's on the Zenith, I've gleaned from reports and Blue58's feedback from a recent show that the Zenith seems to have my preferred presentation ie 3, and both Innuos and Auralic seem to tick 1 and 2 as well more than other alternatives.

  6. #26
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    Auralic has none of that, strong digititis, it's great only as a value play
    Audition recordings: Zero Distortion Link; Reference Components: Zero Distortion Link; Own: Lampi GG One-day-to-get: Apogee Scintilla, or a horn (with Tenor 75 OTL ), Preamp to be fit in to suit the gain and drive the power amp. Analog: TBD

  7. #27
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    Thanks Ked, another useful data point.
    I'm not to get into streaming with a minimum 6-8k ticket, and immediately be presented with a sound out of the 80s dog days of digital.
    Innuos Zenith Std/SE more and more the shoe in.

  8. #28
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    Spirit- Asiufy sells all of those + Aurender. He can tell you the scoop. You might also consider Linn but I'm not sure on Roon with them. Obviously they are anti-MQA.

  9. #29
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    Keith,

    I've already advised Marc We haven't discussed the Linn, and it would be a good choice indeed, but they're still working on Roon support, and it'll cost him 20k pounds for the top level streamer. That might be too much...
    So I suggested the combo of Aqua and Innuos, which I have tested and played often. It does have that midrange-heavy character that he likes, and it's extremely simple and straightforward to use. And Innuos, being in the UK, would be able to provide support, in case he ever needs it.
    Disclosure:
    Alma Music and Audio - San Diego, CA
    Aqua Hi-Fi - Audio Research - Audioquest - Audionet - Audiopax - Auralic - Aurender - Bergmann - Brodmann - D'Agostino - darTZeel - Devialet - DEQX - ELAC - Evolution Acoustics - Hegel - iFi - Innuos - IsoTek - Kii Audio - Koetsu - Kronos - Kubala Sosna - Kuzma - Larsen - Linn - MSB Technology - Music Hall - Ortofon - Roon - Solid Steel - Sound Galleries Music Server - Technics - Wharfedale - Wilson Audio - YG Acoustics
    [ http://almaaudio.com ]

  10. #30
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    Keith, Alex kindly given me lots of perspective on Innuos, all v positive.
    Btw you have a standing invite over here to reacquaint y'self with the Def4s.
    They're really singing.

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