Optical vs Ultra Rendu.

Is it worth the $696 more to go with the optical Rendu:


Over the standard (ethernet connected) ultra Rendu:


Has anybody compared these units, is there a notable difference in sound quality between these two?  Both still connect to the DAC via USB. 


One needs to think holistically when setting up streaming system. Network should be set up to take advantage of best input on dac. While some dismiss usb, usb is often best input on dac, many dac manufacturers have taken great pains to maximize usb format.

So, assuming usb superior input on dac, streamers such as optical and ultra rendu become viable and/or optimal streaming solution. The problem with usb in many streaming setups is using the common motherboard usb out on most servers, this is far from optimal. One must use one of the various usb renderers/improvers like Uptone usbRegen, Innuos Phoenix usb or any number of others to take advantage of full capability of dac usb input. OpticalRendu will eliminate any need for further usb rendering.


One must use FMC, optical out server or optical out switch in front of OpticalRendu, also must use LC format for optical module, this to make sure optical cable will be compatible with OpticalRendu. My present solution uses Bidi Gigabit Multi mode SFP LC FMC (purchased from Amazon) with 5v Teradak LPS, eventually will go to Sonore OpticalModule with LPS when chips become available for unit.


@high-amp I presume the LPS sold with Sonore bundle is fine, but assuming one gets full value with more expensive LPS, may not be optimum lps for OpticalRendu. As I mentioned previously, I use Uptone JS-2, aprox. $1k lps, I haven't tried another lps with my unit so can't ascertain for certain value of this lps in sound quality of my setup. I can only say major upgrade over SOtm, SMS200Neo which I also powered with the JS-2.


sns - thank you for your detailed response, but I'm starting to find this a little bit overwhelming. Would it be possible for you to send me a simple drawing via PM or attach it here, so I can get a better handle on what you have done with your system so I can possibly duplicate it?

The easiest way to get what you need if going with OpticalRendu, as mentioned above get the FMC bundle from smallgreencomputer. Your setup would be:

modem>router via ethernet cable> server via ethernet cable> optional switch via ethernet cable>FMC (included in bundle) via ethernet cable>OpticalRendu via optical cable included in bundle>dac via usb cable. If you get the bundle no need to worry about getting proper FMC, can be confusing as there are different type optical connectors. Don't worry about lps for everything but the OpticalRendu, the lps sold by smallgreen computer is fine, you could always try other lps at later date.

Great to see more people getting into optical. I recently tried optical after coming across Tom Gibbs’ article. There he invites the reader to try a $100 optical experiment to see how it affects their system. Because my streamer (iFi Zen Stream) doesn’t have optical-in, I converted the line from ethernet to optical and back immediately before the line enters the streamer. The difference with the optical line in place was very big, and I have a modest system. I went with a pair of media converters and transceivers from TPLink, and I went with a 1M optical cable from Monoprice. I big layer of grunge was removed from the sound.

I was recently chatting with an iFi rep, and the rep told me iFi was working on something optical. I think it’s just a matter of time before other streamer manufacturers figure out what Sonore’s already found.

@sns I didn’t realize that slowing down the signal to 100Mbps might be a good way to reduce noise further. That’s interesting. I’ve seen someone suggest that noise created by the extra energy required for SPF+ and single-mode are reasons that the lower standards of SPF and multi-mode might make them better for audio. Like you, I’m waiting for a company to put out a purpose built media converter for audio/video. I also want to see whether optical affects the HT picture.