Jump to content

Art Watson

Advice on streaming device

Recommended Posts

Hi all

 

Sorry if this has been asked before - feel free to point me to relevant threads...

 

Have moved from a small apartment where my MacMini did triple duty as media server for TV, Tidal & Spotify controller, and music server running directly by USB into DAC and amp.

 

But since I've moved to a bigger place with seperate TV and living rooms the MacMini has remained with the TV and – for the stereo in the living room –I've been making do with running Spotify through an iPhone (just with the 3.5mm headphone jack direct to amp) or plugging a laptop into the DAC.

 

Basically, I just need some kind of loseless digital device to feed the DAC in main stereo set-up - either files over wireless from MacMini or local. Haven't been following the digital conversation for a while so keen to get some pointers. Focus is on a budget solution, I guess - once upon a time Squeezebox Touch would have been the thing but what's good now?

Ideally, I would like it to have Spotify capability (having tried and ditched TIDAL because I had problems with drop outs - though I would consider going back, so if it can do TIDAL that's a bonus). And if I can use iPhone as a remote that would be nice but not essential - so long as there's someway to see what's playing without resorting to MacMini+TV

 

Thanks!

Art / Dylan

Edited by Art Watson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Art Watson said:

Focus is on a budget solution, I guess - once upon a time Squeezebox Touch would have been the thing but what's good now?

What is budget?  Used Squeezebox is still an option if budget is really tight.  Or a Pi server if you want to take a DYI approach.  Or a used  Blusound Node.  All of the above options have iPhone Apps that allow you to manage and control the devices.  

 

Have a look at this for even more ideas...

 

Edited by Snoopy8
Added thread

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Snoopy! 

 

I'll have a good look at the New Streamer thread, with that and your tips here it looks like a great start

 

Hard to say for budget - I would say the $650 for Aries Mini would be the upper limit. if I can spend less then great!

 

quick question though - IF I went DIY with the Rasberry Pi can you run that headless without a screen? And are they easy enough to set up? I'm not so techy...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Art Watson said:

Thanks Snoopy! 

 

I'll have a good look at the New Streamer thread, with that and your tips here it looks like a great start

 

Hard to say for budget - I would say the $650 for Aries Mini would be the upper limit. if I can spend less then great!

 

quick question though - IF I went DIY with the Rasberry Pi can you run that headless without a screen? And are they easy enough to set up? I'm not so techy...

 

 

Aries Mini was half that price at a time....and still can be had for about the same when secondhand.

 

If you're an Apple user, Areis Mini makes sense. However, I've noticed that their app is not catching up with the all-too-frequent iOS updates lately. I still use it because it sounds good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Art Watson said:

quick question though - IF I went DIY with the Rasberry Pi can you run that headless without a screen? And are they easy enough to set up? I'm not so techy...

They are meant to run headless and can be accessed via the iPhone.  But you will need to some setups and best avoided if you are not tech inclined (Raspberry Pi runs Linux)

 

There are many options out there for streaming.  If you are familiar with Squeezebox, then get a used Touch, or one of the streamers with a Squeezelite Server e.g. SOtM SMS-200 (I know the SMS-200, do a search for other streamers to see whether they include Squeezelite).  A SMS-200 does require setup.  Simpler to setup and use is Bluesound Node, but audio quality (AQ) is not as good as SMS-200.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks - I used to own an SB Touch but sold it (here on SNA) when I no longer needed networking. I was under the impression its somewhat grey-area life after manufacturing ceased could cause problems for running apps such as Spotify?

 

One other option is actually just to yoink the MacMini out of the TV setup and run that headless - the only thing I would be losing is US Netflix via the VPN (there's a perfectly good Apple TV already connected to TV). And even geo-unblocking's not a dealbreaker if I chucked the laptop into TV when I needed ... 

 

Thanks again for the options you've suggested Snoopy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Getting a laptop or another Mac mini is certainly an option. The reason for going down the network streamer path is to get better audio quality due to dedicated hardware and quieter power supplies.

 

Suggest keeping an eye on the classifieds. You can experiment with various used network streamers, many of them under your budget.  And if they do not work out, you can resell for minimal loss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

As long as you don't want hi-res playback, can't go past Sonos for ease of use. Does Tidal, Spotify, Roon end point plus more. You can also use a W4S Remedy reclocker to improve sound or get a modified Sonos connect, but that would be over budget.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2nd hand Bluesound Node 2 would be my choice. Easy to set up, simple apps. Does tidal, Roon, Spotify. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just read up on Bluesound Node 2 and it seems great with Tidal. Says it can also do MQA.

 

If I played MQA through Tidal wireless to Node 2 and then connected to external DAC via coaxial, would I still end up with MQA sound? The DAC is via the Pioneer PD-70AE which I am also considering purchasing. 

 

Sorry for probably stupid questions, but all this tech is like a foreign language to me!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, rodders3 said:

I just read up on Bluesound Node 2 and it seems great with Tidal. Says it can also do MQA.

 

If I played MQA through Tidal wireless to Node 2 and then connected to external DAC via coaxial, would I still end up with MQA sound? The DAC is via the Pioneer PD-70AE which I am also considering purchasing. 

 

Sorry for probably stupid questions, but all this tech is like a foreign language to me!

 

 

You won't get real MQA sound unless the DAC is compatible, however even if not you'll get (as I understand it) an "unpacked" version your dac can deal with. Personally I wouldn't worry about MQA regardless. I also personally think Hi-res digital is a smoke and mirrors deal as well. Redbook (cd quality) is plenty good enough if the mastering/production is good.

 

EDIT: J Darko says

Quote

The Node 2 outputs decoded and rendered MQA content through its analogue outputs only: namely, its RCA sockets and headphone jack. No MQA pass-through presents for TOSLINK or S/PDIF out.

 

I've owned a few Sonos devices, hence my recommendation, as when using Bluesound devices I've found the UI frustratingly counter intuitive but I'd guess you get used to it eventually.

 

I've been hanging on to my Cullen modded Sonos Connect for nearly a year now even though I'm not using it (my new integrated amp has an inbuilt streamer), and an ex moderator has been getting great results with the SQ of it whilst trialling in his hi-end system. He has a massive music library of over 3TB of flac files which exceeds the limit Sonos can handle (65000 tracks) which is the only reason he isn't buying it... I've just been too lazy to go and pick it up.

 

https://darko.audio/2015/12/next-level-sonos-from-wyred4sounds-modded-connect/

 

 

Edited by blybo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
4 hours ago, rodders3 said:

I just read up on Bluesound Node 2 and it seems great with Tidal. Says it can also do MQA.

 

If I played MQA through Tidal wireless to Node 2 and then connected to external DAC via coaxial, would I still end up with MQA sound? The DAC is via the Pioneer PD-70AE which I am also considering purchasing. 

 

Sorry for probably stupid questions, but all this tech is like a foreign language to me!

 

 

@rodders3 

I would also recommend a Bluesound Node 2.  My coax output goes to my DAC for most music and my RCA outputs go to my amp (different input) for when I want to play MQA on Tidal - which I actually think is well worthwhile. - but that's another topic well covered elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


3 minutes ago, wolster said:

@rodders3 

I would also recommend a Bluesound Node 2.  My coax output goes to my DAC for most music and my RCA outputs go to my amp (different input) for when I want to play MQA on Tidal - which I actually think is well worthwhile. - but that's another topic well covered elsewhere.

His budget is $650 or less preferably, a Node 2 is $1k new. There might be a 2nd hand one somewhere, but not here currently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, blybo said:

His budget is $650 or less preferably, a Node 2 is $1k new. There might be a 2nd hand one somewhere, but not here currently.

Thanks guys for your input.

 

BTW, I see Klapp AV has the Node 2 brand new for $764.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
1 hour ago, rodders3 said:

Thanks guys for your input.

 

BTW, I see Klapp AV has the Node 2 brand new for $764.

Bargain 👍  

 

..and BTW, I find the Bluesound app really easy to use ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, blybo said:

I've owned a few Sonos devices, hence my recommendation, as when using Bluesound devices I've found the UI frustratingly counter intuitive but I'd guess you get used to it eventually.

That’s odd. I think it’s the easiest one I’ve tried. Even more intuitive than Roon (well, simpler). 

 

I think the Bluesound Node 2 will do MQA if you use it without another DAC. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apple Airport Express and Airplay would be an option. You could use the optical output to your DAC or even the internal DAC in the Airport Express is very good IMO. Cheaper than the other options mentioned here. I do love my Bluesound Node 2 though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Mike13 said:

That’s odd. I think it’s the easiest one I’ve tried. Even more intuitive than Roon (well, simpler). 

 

I think the Bluesound Node 2 will do MQA if you use it without another DAC. 

Sonos is the gold standard user interface which all streaming devices compare themselves too. It is also much easier than Roon to use. The reason I like Roon (apart from the extra info on albums etc) is the ability to control multiple branded devices with 1 app.

 

And yes a Bluesound Node 2 will do MQA out of it's analogue outputs only, not the digital ones. A standard Bluesound Node 2 will out perform a standard Sonos Connect, but not a W4S modified one.

Edited by blybo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Just went to Klapp. None in store but more on the way. Be interesting as I saw one. No reason cannot run both coaxial to external DAC for "better" quality chip and RCA to amp for MQA although running off Node DAC. Be a good way to see if much difference at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
1 hour ago, rodders3 said:

Just went to Klapp. None in store but more on the way. Be interesting as I saw one. No reason cannot run both coaxial to external DAC for "better" quality chip and RCA to amp for MQA although running off Node DAC. Be a good way to see if much difference at all.

Exactly my setup, @rodders3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×