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Bilbo

Laptop Replacement - SOtM SMS-200 Impressions

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I have recently purchased the SOtM SMS-200 mini network player from Crux Audio as a solution for my digital audio system. 

https://www.cruxaudio.com/sotm-sms-200-mini-network-player-107.html


For the past couple of years I have used an ASUS laptop with an external USB hard drive connected to my DAC via USB.  With the laptop running JRiver and using JRemote on an iPad I was reasonably happy with the sound though I was aware of many other alternatives to get my files from the hard drive to my DAC.  I have read with great interest the thread on "Building the Ideal(ish) Music Server" (a brilliant thread by the way) and other pertinent threads on Mini Macs etc, but my primary objective was to replace the laptop with something better AND keep the system as simple as possible all for a reasonable price.  Due to the rapid development in digital audio I sat on the sidelines in the belief that whatever I bought would be bettered/obsolete within a short time frame but on the release of the SOtm SMS-200 I bit the bullet and purchased one.

 

My setup now consists of the same (self powered) external 3Tb USB hard drive connected to the SMS-200 which outputs via USB to my Auralic Vega DAC.  The SMS-200 connects to my router via ethernet (Cat6) to allow access to the "Eunhasu" operating system on the SMS-200 using any web browser.  ("Eunhasu" is an operating system developed in house by SOtM Audio based on a stripped down Linux core).  The big difference to the Micro Rendu (which was also on my short list) is that the SMS-200 can operate without any other server on the network.  This appealed to me as I didn't want to run any server based system, in line with my preference for simplicity.  The lower price of the SMS-200 was also appealing as all the other alternatives appeared to be more expensive especially when you add in the required software.

 

The SMS-200 can provide a Roon endpoint as well as a HQPlayer renderer, however these both require a separate server to function as well as more software/subscription costs.  The other options are to use it as a Squeezebox/LMS player or MPD/DLNA player.  These two options only require a app loaded on your iPad to control the selected player on the SMS-200 and access the library on the hard drive.  I am using the MPD option with "Soundirok" as the controller/player.  I tried MPaD and Linns' Kinsky but find Soundirok a better interface for my purposes.  I have also tried iPeng using the Squeezebox/LMS option which gives access to Tidal and Spotify etc but I don't use these services so I continue to use Soundirok and MPD.  (I also use a 12V Optima 75AHr AGM battery as the power supply for the SMS-200, external hard drive and Tortuga preamp which sounds better than any LPS I have yet tried).

 

So how does it sound?  Absolutely fantastic!

I could not believe the improvement this little $650 box has brought to my system.  It completely destroys the laptops performance and I have spent far too many nights listening into the wee hours, as I just can't stop listening.  Every facet of the sound has markedly improved including (but not limited to) clarity, detail, dynamics, image, soundstage, timbre and sheer involvement.  Now I was so thoroughly impressed with it that I invited a friend over who uses a highly modified CAPS type PC (with SOtM PCI card) on what anyone would consider a reference quality system.  He was so impressed that he bought one himself.  He reports that it sounds better than his (expensive) CAPS unit and is mightily impressed. 

 

So for those looking for superb sound with simplicity in a digital front end take a very close look at the SOtM SMS-200.  Bang for buck you would be hard pressed to do better.

http://www.sotm-audio.com/sotmwp/english/portfolio-item/sms-200/

 

System Setup: SOtM SMS-200 (+ external hard drive + iPad),  Auralic Vega DAC,  Tortuga LDR Preamp,  Sanders Magtech Power Amp,  Magneplanar 1.7 Speakers,  Rythmik Audio F12SE subwoofers.

 

 

SMS200.JPG

Edited by Bilbo
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Has anyone else got one yet?

If so, what are your impressions?

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hey there @Bilbo yes i recently got the sms-200 with the battery power option as a package deal from Crux, have to say i have the same impressions as you

firstly i just want to say that Kamal @Crux Audio was fantastic, he went above and beyond to get it to me prior to Xmas and has been on hand to help me get it set up exactly how i want it

i have taken the roon ready route through Eunhasu, i subscribe to Tidal so it made sense plus all my own music is now in the roon software, a neat solution for me

as for the sound, agreed, fantastic, a definite upgrade from the Macbook i was using, improved clarity, detail etc etc but i guess what im noticing the most is what seems to be not there, its like there was background distortion that i never noticed was there, is now gone with the sms-200

very impressed so far!!

 

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@muznuts

I thought I was the only one there for a moment.

 

What do you mean when you say "taken the room ready route through Eunhasu"?  I assume you have selected the Roon mode but could you describe your signal path to the DAC in this mode please?

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Have been eyeing these off for a while and now that I have Roon it may be the next purchase.

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1 hour ago, Bilbo said:

@muznuts

I thought I was the only one there for a moment.

 

What do you mean when you say "taken the room ready route through Eunhasu"?  I assume you have selected the Roon mode but could you describe your signal path to the DAC in this mode please?

 

yeah sure, i use the roon ready tab in Eunhasu, then use roon installed on the same device (Macbook), goes WiFi from there through the router/modem which is connected to the sms-200 via ethernet cable, then to my dac

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So the Macbook is running Roon  - got it.

 

When I first got the SMS-200 I ran JRiver on the Laptop and played through the SOtM "Zone".

Minimising the setup to just the external hard drive, the SOtM in MPD, controlled by Soundirok on the iPad gives a better sound to my ears.

I found that less is more when you leave out the Laptop entirely.

Cheers

Edited by Bilbo

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the macbook is now effectively just the controller, my external hard drive with all my music is plugged into the sms-200 combined with Tidal in Roon, everything all in one place

 

i reckon it sounds better every listen i have

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Hi Guys,

Just so I'm clear, could help me understand the advantages of this over something like the Aurelic Aries Mini apart from being Roon ready?

& could you connect this to a PS Audio bridge via Ethernet or is USB the only audio output option? I'm also assuming you use a monitor to access the settings or can you do everything via iPhone, iPad etc?

Cheers
Matthew


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Matty

There is a lot of info and comparisons on Computer Audiophile forums.

People compare it to the full Aries and seem to be pretty close in SQ.

USB is the only output but if you have the bridge then you are better off using that.

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