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. 


You can insert optical into your system much cheaper — about $80 — using this from Audiogon.  


soix - Thanks, but inserting what for $80?

This SGC i5 bundle includes a music server that has a Roon core built in saving me from purchasing a Roon Nucleus at $1,459. Then it comes with the optical Rendu, a LPS and all the cables for $2,695.

If you have a cost saving alternative, I’m all ears!!!

Honestly, in the past, I just ran a Roon Nucleus, via USB directly into my DAC and I thought it just sounded fine, but everyone seems to say USB to DAC isn’t so great. It’s also stated it's better to have a dedicated music server , then use  ethernet to DAC (better than USB) with optical being better yet.



I run the SMG/Sonore setup and just added optical units purchased from Amazon for $150.

Basically the TX/RX come in pairs, for about $60/pair. I used two pairs and have them between the switch and i5 and the switch and UltraRendu.

I can't say how it compares with the Optical Rendu because I've never used one. SGA was going the send out an OR for review, but so far that hasn't happened.

I ran the optical stuff to hopefully treat frequent crashes requiring resetting of the UR, i5 and Roon server. I don't have enough time on the clock to know if the crash problem has improved. I can say that installing the fiber system was a breeze, it's plug-and-play. It also keeps the UltraRendu well away from wifi, which was SMG's recommendation.

I like the SMG/Sonore stuff but it hasn't been trouble free. There's a review here

rooze - Interesting read, thanks. Could I trouble you for a link to the optical units you purchased from Amazon? Also, what are you using for a music server?

Do you have any idea what the alternative "one box solution" is, as mentioned at the end of the review?

FWIW, last fall I upgraded my digital chain from a VBA to Sonic transporter i5, UR, and SGC LPS.  I use the switch SGC recommended, a $22 Trendnet.  My system always seemed quiet, before and after upgrade.  I did not try OR.  My DAC lacked USB, which I was happy living without until the UR arrived, requiring a USB DAC.  Long story short, none of DACs I tried (4 DACs priced from $500 to $1300) sounded as good as my old  DAC.  The solution was the SGC USB to S/PDIF adapter.  Pricey at $500, but everything sounds pretty good now.  I will say that this digital chain is more revealing and less euphonic than the old set up, so I can now differentiate between really good recordings and not so good ones.  Honestly, I miss the euphony a bit.  I might try that iFi power supply for the switch.