sooloos music server sound quality


I have a Sooloos 10 going through Berkeley Audio Alpha DAC. I also have a Krell 505 CD player. It seems like I am missing something on the Sooloos. It does not have the same sound quality as the Krell CD player. My question is, is there something I can do improve the sound of my Sooloos?

Thanks for your feedback!
Duanea
duanea
I would try to diagnose the "problem." First, have you tried playing the digital output from the Krell CDP through the Berkley DAC to determine if the DAC is the source of the problem?

Second, I believe the Sooloos rips CDs to FLAC, but can play WAV files as well. Try finding a way to get your favorite "test" CD burned to FLAC and WAV for a comparison. I heard such a comparison and preferred WAV files myself. If you end up preferring WAV, you probably have to contact Meridian about that issue. They probably much prefer FLAC because it is much better for compiling and associating a lot of data about a CD for music searching (WAV files are less friendly for "tagging" data).

I know there is a lot of popular sentiment that, properly implemented, computer/server sound is superior to CD playback from a conventional player. I am personally NOT convinced of that--the best sound I have heard comes from conventional players. I currently run a Naim NDS server/555PS power supply (Naim's top of the line) and it does NOT sound as good as my Naim CD555 player. I like the server for convenience and accessibility of my collection, but, there is a sacrifice in sound.
Most servers have a variety of deficiencies IME, particularly and unfortunately the most advertised ones from large companies:

1) relatively high jitter
2) non-optimal ripping software
3) non-optimal playback software
4) format and track limitations

If you are keeping the server, then you can only address #1 and #2, you are stuck with #3 and #4.

#1 can be improved with a reclocker like the Synchro-Mesh.

#2 can be improved by ripping all tracks to .wav using dbpoweramp on a PC or XLD on a Mac.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I am not familiar with C10 and/or Berkeley DAC. Below comments are based on C15 via Bryston SP3.

1. The best forum (in my opinion) for Sooloos info is www.meridianunplugged.com. See the "Media Systems" section and "Duncan's Meridian Info". People in this forum are very knowledgable and helpful.

2. On C15, Sooloos, by default, upsamples to 24/96. My SP3 was further upsampling it too. The sound markedly improved by turning off upsampling on C15. The way to do this is download "Sooloos Configuration" program (PC only) and turn it off.

3. Further improvment to the sound is by using "speaker link" to AES - if your DAC supports AES/EBU. Problem is that it is a DIY project - well worth it. You have to solder Ethernet to XLR. You can find the details in the above website.

Hope this helps.
Hi Duanea,
To get the best from Meridian Streaming the most important step is to ensure you are using the best audio streaming endpoint available.

The best streaming audio endpoints are the IC based ones, namely:

818v2
808.5
861v8
MS600
MS200

If you for example would add an MS600 you would get much lower jitter than the PC based servers are able to provide.

The current PC based servers with built in audio endpoints are:
MC600
MC200
C15

Hope this helps clarifying what you are seeing. The audioquality difference between these two types of streaming endpoints is substantial.
I got a huge improvement from my Meridian MS600 endpoint/dac by putting it on an HRS isolation platform.

Also, I noticed that it was IMPOSSIBLE to make my Sooloos system (MD600 + MS600) sound like my Simaudio 650D transport/dac because both Simaudio and Meridin Sooloos both have their own "house sound", and this house sound is imposed in the transport/streamer before it ever gets to the dac. The Meridian Sooloos system sounded very different through the Simudio 650D dac than the Simaaudio 180 MInD streamer or the built in transport in he 650D. It took me many months to realize that the manufacturers "flavour" the sound pre-dac.
" I know there is a lot of popular sentiment that, properly implemented, computer/server sound is superior to CD playback from a conventional player. I am personally NOT convinced of that--the best sound I have heard comes from conventional players."

For your statistics. My DAC is the the part of well broken Esoteric K-01 SACD Player/USB DAC. My server is Musica Pristina Virtuoso.

WhenI compare the same CD (or very few SACD) played using best in the world Esoteric Transport with its ripped content (in WAV): both using obvilusly the same DAC the clear winner is server playback. No if and or buts.

I believe that Meridian SOOLOOS is GROSSLY overestimated but its my personal opinion based on a few auditions only.

I feel that in Computer PC, people do not understand what they are hearing, don't trust their ears (ot have none) and respond largely on marketing , particularly brand names like Meridian. Anyone remember Meridian child DVD-A? SACD still well and alive (see www.sa-cd.net)
Problem is the Sooloos library management software is still by far the best in the market. I just put an HRS isolation platform under my Meridian Sooloos MS600 endpoint/dac and the improvement in sound was significant. Finally I'm getting sound out of Meridian Sooloos that is audiophile quality! But I had to spend over a grand on an isolation platform (about half again the price of the MS600) to get the sound where it should have been in the first place! Meridian really has to get their act in gear in terms of build quality, particularly at the price point they sell at!
Camb - you would have gotten a bigger improvement by reclocking and a reclocker costs a lot less than a grand.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I'm using the dac in the MS600 Steve, so there's nothing to reclock.
The problem with my Ms600 that I resolved was likely:

1). It was on the shelf right above my amp so the EMI from the amp was an issue

2). It is sensitive to placement (vibration and the resononance frequency of the material of the surface it is sitting on).
"Problem is the Sooloos library management software is still by far the best in the market. "

Hello Camb,

Have you tried Musica Pristina? I love their software (not to mention sound). I can find and load music in playlist in about 5-10 seconds. EASY!

" had to spend over a grand on an isolation platform .."

I am with you. I use Still Points ULTRA-5 for vibration control but I feel this money were very well spent as sound improved dramatically and I am in heaven....
Hi Dob,

No, I never tried the Musica Prestina line. Interesting, though! They appear to have a partnership with the very well respected Weiss Engineering company for their dac.

Check out the Meridian Sooloos iPad app demo using the link below. It's amazing all the ways it lets you interface with your music library. Pretty much all the functionality of the C15 is now on the app!

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=A4T-UM_Xvvw&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DA4T-UM_Xvvw

I've got Stillpoints under my other equipment. They've got a fantastic performance to price ratio! I highly recommend them too!