Aurender N100h vs. SOtM sms-200 Ultra

In your opinions, which is a better sounding file player, the Aurender N100h or the SOtM sms-200 Ultra? I realize the Aurender is over twice as much, but the fancy Conductor app is not really a big deal to me. I'm just interested in the best USB output to my DAC from an attached SSD.

Thank you.
Sometimes that ‘fancy’ app can be the next biggest differentiator (after SQ) in the overall user experience. Aurender N100H is a fabulous sounding streamer with over the top build quality. Their Conductor app is one of best. 

Your experience or preferences with either of these streamers may vary on how well your DAC handles incoming USB signal. Synergy between these two components are going to be critical. With this level of investment, I would recommend a decent USB cable like Curious, Purist or Wireworld Platinum. 

What DAC you’re using?
I have not heard them side by side, but am personally won over by the SOtM/MicroRendu construct of a client Ethernet-to-USB endpoint, networked via ethernet to a generic computer-grade NAS mass storage server. The SOtM/MicroRendu paradigm is a building-block approach, as compared to a audiophile-vetted standalone purpose-build CPU like Aurender. You need to decide if you want to DIY vs. a packaged one-box solution. I started with a Rendu, networked over Ethernet to a QNAP TVS-882 i5 NAS hosting Roon, then upgraded to a SOtM SMS-200 Ultra with tx-USBultra and a SOtM-modified D-Link EN hub, all synchronized to an SRS PERF-10 10Mhz master clock. I’m done.
Lalitk > “…With this level of investment, I would recommend a decent USB cable… “

Blindjim > I second that emotion. To a point.

= = = = =

@Koestner > I'm just interested in the best USB output to my DAC from an attached SSD.

Blindjim > did you mean ‘network’ attached?

In all, I feel you might be missing something here.

Synergy is key in the signal chain. No doubt. However I feel the DAC than the link to it, is more important.

It seems this last note is in flux and wel argued.

The interface your DAC will or must use is instrumental as I’m noticing not every DAC has the same level of file management or support that every one of its various interfaces possesss. Ala, USB does DSD but BNC or AES does not. Optical supports up to 24/96 only, SPDIF however supports 24/192, etc.

Consequently, how the files are gonna get shoved into the converter could now really matter a bunch!! USB is getting a ton of play of late. Although, USB of all the interfaces has the most electrical and signal integrity issues, respectively speaking.

It appears curious to me trying to aboid these USB negative traits via CAT connectivity is superfluous, if you then utilize USB as the sole or predominate interface into a DAC thereafter.

Might then you simply go USB from the jump, and use PC & mobile apps for file management and playback and avoid the whole aspect of adding in or on, these new fairly pricey whiz bang Holy Cow server/renderers.

Aurender tech says as I read it, has addressed USB anomalies quite well.

Not only do we now have to look at which DAC, but which DAC does its best with which interface?

I’m not inclined to really throw down on any DAC which as well forces me to use SPDIF for PCM, another for DSD, another for MQA, this rate or that, , and so on. I’d prefer what ever file server/renderer send everything off of Ethernet via AES, BNC, or Sony Phillips digital interface, TOS, THEN USB and in that order specifically.

I know Aurender has models which as said have elevated the integrity of USB, and will transmit the packets via an interface other than USB. Dunno about the SOTM gizmo.

Also, thus far, and this is too from someone who has yet to hear what an Aurender or SMS Ultra box can do. This seems true as it is being very well received by an awful lot of people who have an awful lot of different audio rigs, and preffs.

I’ve gotten excellent results from PC attached interfaces directly connected to a DAC, avoiding USB completely.

But who knows? Everybody’s trying to make a better mousetrap. Perhaps the SOTM SMS done as much as Aurender on its USB protocol. Again, dunno.

Getting any consensus might be tuff given not too many people try each and every mousetrap being built. Far fewer can afford to, fewer still want to.

If you can somehow arrange a demo, I’d say do that asap! It is your ears which must be satisfied, isn’t it?

This hobby just gets better and better?! Sheesh… lol

Blindjim... you asked if my SSD was a network drive?

It is a 1TB SSD with WAV and FLAC files on it that plugs directly into my Auraliti PK90 file player by USB connection in the rear. It would be used in the same way on the Aurender, or SOtM.

Also my DAC is a Schiit Yggy which has all sorts of inputs, but I just upgraded the USB to Gen 5 input.


Look at this thread:

Romaz has already compared the SOtM gear to the top end Aurender and found it to be better.
USB is not the best chosen protocol in audio. In fact people who create dacs for manufacturers told me that it never should have been chosen.

The biggest problem in 2017 these days are the facts that most digital sources are not able to create diversity in sound.

One of the biggest limitations of USB is the loss of diversity in the middle freq. Even with the Aurender W20, DCS dac and upsampler it was easy to hear the lack in diversity in sound.

Only people who have less knowledge and insight in both sound and music are those who could buy them.

Compare products with an inbuild dac and you will hear how important diversity is in sound. Diversity (layering) in sound is the most important part to create emotion during listening to music.
I went the SMS-200 route based on research on CA, including the above link to Romaz's post. I have the non-ultra SMS-200, and have been very pleased using it with my Gen 5 Yggy. I am sure the Ultra SMS-200 would sound incredible. 
The Ultra does sound a lot better, especially if you add in the switch mod, tX-USB Ultra, and a master reference clock such as the Mutec Ref10/CyberShaft/SOtM.
Actually there is a very good reason to try a pro so called Dante Interfaces, like Focusrite Rednet 3 or D16 or a Merging Hapi. Rednet is Dante, Hapi is Ravenna, both are using real-time optimized audio protocols, developed as very low latency live music, concert halls, very large audio systems supporting and distribution devices. They do not need a USB mambo jumbo, to sound really good as the best USB connection or better right out of the box as Ethernet - AES/SPDIF devices. 
ferenc - Is there a consumer product that will read from an SS drive that will be controlable through an itype device and output to a DAC that uses this type of interface? Please provide more specific actual products as I don't know what you are talking about.
In 2016, I decided to replace my MAC Book Pro Computer and purchase a single music server that does everything in one box.   After months of research, I selected the Aurender N10 Music Server and like it very much.  All my CD’s are stored on the N10 and it streams Tidal (and QuBuz).   The Aurender does not support Audirvana Plus, ROOM and does NOT require a connection to my MAC Computer.  The N10 provides both USB (Audience Au24 SE USB Cable, uses 2 wires) and AES/EBU digital outputs and I use both but the AES/EBU digital connection is my favorite (Snake River Audio Boomslang AES/EBU XLR digital cable).   All my album selection is done using the Aurender Conductor App that runs on my iPad.  The same Aurender Conductor App runs on the Aurender N100h and is very easy to use.

ROON requires a connection to a MAC Computer and so does Audirvana Plus if you use it on the ultraRendu.  This rules out the the ultraRendu for me since I require everything in one box and will NOT connect a box to my MAC Computer (for any reason).

My friend purchased the ultraRendu and likes it very much.  He reports the sound quality is excellent and it is very easy to use.  He uses ROON that requires a connection to his Computer.  I have another friend that purchased the microRendu and loves it for its excellent sound quality and ease of using ROON.  

I agree with dgarretson's post above that the "SOtM/MicroRendu paradigm is a building-block approach, as compared to a standalone purpose-build CPU like the Aurender". You need to decide if you want to DIY vs. a packaged one-box solution AND if you want to connect the ultraRendu to your computer. 

If possible, I suggest you demo both units to help you decide.  If a demo is not possible, I suggest you do more research before you make your decision.   Please confirm the ultraRendu return policy is 30 days.   Are you able to demo the Aurender N100h at your retailers store?    I hope this helps.  

It seems the SOtM sms200 ultra and the Aurender N100h are essentially the same thing except the SOtM has no internal hard drive or power supply, but is less than half the cost of the Aurender. I already have a 1TB SSD and external power supply so I'm really leaning toward the SOtM box. The only thing holding me back is the suspicion that the SOtM will sound only as good as my Auraliti PK90 and not much better. That is why I'm seeking opinions, but the Auraliti has only a small following so not too many people have heard it.

Thank you all for your input and opinions. I was hoping this thread would help others as well, since I'm not really too close to purchasing either right now. Two things I would love to try in my system are the SOtM sms 200 Ultra and a PS Audio P10 Regenerator. Since there is no way to do either without making a purchase, I will just have to resign myself to keep reading about them.


My N100h arrives tomorrow, hoping it pairs nicely with my Gumby. Did a lot of research comparing the Aurender to the Auralic Aries and it seems to be a significant upgrade. Koestner...good luck with whatever you choose.
koestner - actually any Dante or Ravenna protocol using device will appear as virtual sound card for the player software. Dante runs on Win or Mac OS X, Ravenna runs on Linux as well. So you can use any computer practically. 
2 hours in on my new N100h and I couldn’t be more impressed. This is by far the biggest upgrade of any system I’ve had. Totally blow the MacBook/Audirvana out of the water!!!
Which DAC are you using with your N100h.
I am also considering replacing my Mac/Audirvana combo feeding a Weiss DAC2 via FireWire.
I would likely have to use a N100c since my DAC does not have a USB input but has an S/Pdif input. 

Also, where I live the internet signal (cellular based) is very unstable so I would likely not be able to use the streaming option of an Aurender but I could still (I suppose) connect my HDD to it (or load up its internal drive) and play music with the Conductor app using my iPad could I not? Or must it be connected to a network via Ethernet?

koestner:  " ...Two things I would love to try in my system are the SOtM sms 200 Ultra and a PS Audio P10 Regenerator".

Find, beg, borrow, steal a PS Regenerator (PS Audio P-5 provides ample current for source/digital components. The P-5 is sometimes available factory new, or look for a clean second-hand one.

The P5/10 can and will provide you exceptional performance from digital sources (DAC's CDP's, Streamer's) while also benefitting other source components.
Although the higher power models are capable of powering smaller complete systems, don't bother; "loading" such a device (as with a Balanced/Symmetrical AC power supply/conditioner) wreaks havoc within the conditoner itself (Regen./Bal) resulting in impaired sound).

Additionally, the PS or Bal. (Equitech) units will remain relevant, useable and not go out of style like current digita devices/sources will.
Get the PS Audio P-5/10 and finally discover what digital can sound like -which is to say, incredible. You can thank me later. (lol)

Then, consider the Allo USBridge SBC/Streamer as a temporary (or permanent) source/streamer.

peter jasz