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Digital Source and HDD Help

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Guest jakeyb77
Posted (edited)

I’m currently running a Bluesound Node 2i into a DIY AKM 4497EQ DAC (No USB). 

I’m not unhappy with this setup for streaming but I want to add a sizeable HDD of music. >3TB

My understanding is that the BS will have issue with a storage of this capacity and a NAS is better. 
I currently have an iMac but have been wondering if I should just run a Mac Mini onto the TV and I don’t need a desktop to write essays etc. 

I’m assuming I need a computer of some sort to run the NAS anyway. 
 

I’m not savvy with NAS and Network storage etc. 
Would it be better just to run a Mac mini with Audirvarna hdmi into TV and sound into DAC and lose the BS altogether? 
Or should I keep the BS and get my savvy son to set up a NAS for me? 
Storage will have Hi-Res and DSD tracks etc. Streaming will remain Tidal Hifi 

Happy for any suggestions. Keep the info simple for me if you can. 😁
 

Edited by jakeyb77

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A great question, which no doubt reflects the continual change in technology and how we listen to stuff. I am in the exact opposite situation. I have been using a Mac Mini with Audirvana feeding a DAC in my 2ch system and that sounds great. I happen to use a NAS for hires audio file storage and Audirvana accesses that fine. I believe the Bluesound would as well.

 

I am unsure of the Bluesound's ability to access directly connected large drives, but one solution would be to go the NAS route as a storage device, In your case I would suggest a a 2 bay unit with 2 x 3/4TB HDD, Synology and Qnap are good brands, but there are others. You could load your music files there and the Bluesound would stream them. Bear in mind that the NAS is not normally connected to your computer, it is connected directly to your home network, eg could be hard wired to your router. A NAS would also give you the ability too store video, depends on what you do with your TV.

 

The other solution is as you suggest, you could have an external HDD attached to a Mac Mini and use Audirvana to send audio to a DAC. In this case, the BS would be not needed.

 

In my case I am looking at getting a streamer to enable greater access to digital sources such as Tidal (which I can do through the Mac Mini and Audirvana, but a streamer would just seem simpler. The Bluesound Node 2i is one I'm looking at, the Cambridge CXN V2 is another, either could also stream audio off the NAS, then do I keep the Mac Mini in play etc?? LOL

 

I also point out that I pretty much use Audirvana exclusively on the Mac for digital music files. I have not explored ROON which is another platform altogether.

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Perhaps you should restate clearly what problem you are trying to solve?  

 

e.g. want to manage 200,000 songs to feed a non-usb DAC without a computer? Am not technology savvy but comfortable using an application on a phone etc..

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Guest jakeyb77
Just now, Snoopy8 said:

Perhaps you should restate clearly what problem you are trying to solve?  

 

e.g. want to manage 200,000 songs to feed a non-usb DAC without a computer? Am not technology savvy but comfortable using an application on a phone etc..

I think I did? 
I want to add a large storage of music files to my current system. The BS does not like a large storage connected directly. 
I am technologically savvy but have no experience specifically with setting up NAS. 

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Guest jakeyb77
5 minutes ago, mjs said:

A great question, which no doubt reflects the continual change in technology and how we listen to stuff. I am in the exact opposite situation. I have been using a Mac Mini with Audirvana feeding a DAC in my 2ch system and that sounds great. I happen to use a NAS for hires audio file storage and Audirvana accesses that fine. I believe the Bluesound would as well.

 

I am unsure of the Bluesound's ability to access directly connected large drives, but one solution would be to go the NAS route as a storage device, In your case I would suggest a a 2 bay unit with 2 x 3/4TB HDD, Synology and Qnap are good brands, but there are others. You could load your music files there and the Bluesound would stream them. Bear in mind that the NAS is not normally connected to your computer, it is connected directly to your home network, eg could be hard wired to your router. A NAS would also give you the ability too store video, depends on what you do with your TV.

 

The other solution is as you suggest, you could have an external HDD attached to a Mac Mini and use Audirvana to send audio to a DAC. In this case, the BS would be not needed.

 

In my case I am looking at getting a streamer to enable greater access to digital sources such as Tidal (which I can do through the Mac Mini and Audirvana, but a streamer would just seem simpler. The Bluesound Node 2i is one I'm looking at, the Cambridge CXN V2 is another, either could also stream audio off the NAS, then do I keep the Mac Mini in play etc?? LOL

 

I also point out that I pretty much use Audirvana exclusively on the Mac for digital music files. I have not explored ROON which is another platform altogether.

Looks like you got it 😉

I think the easiest (and cheapest) option is to buy the NAS as you say and see how I like the integration with the BS. 
 

The app control of the BS is handy but on the phone it shuts down and has to re-connect. I currently get around it by having an iPad controller on 100% of the time while listening. Thought I could just use the Mac on the TV while I listen to music. 

 

Then maybe I buy a Mac Mini and say I’m replacing the iMac to keep the house happy and A/B them 😂😂

 


 

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Guest jakeyb77

@naggots I think I read that you had both? 
 

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Posted (edited)

I don’t like the idea of dedicated steamers, you’re forever restricted by the slow hardware and to the confines of what they were designed to do. With a general purpose computer you can deal with anything that might come along in the future or tickle your fancy.

 

I went down the Mac mini route. It has my iTunes library on SSD (all my ripped CDs as ALACs, plus a few AACs I bought), and I also have Synology NAS that contains my DSDs, FLACs and anything iTunes doesn’t like. It simply mounts as a network drive (SMB share). Audirvana pulls it all together and presents it as one library. It also streams Tidal (previously) and Qobuz (now) for me.

 

I don’t have a screen connected to the Mac mini, I control it via the Screens app or the Audirvana Remote app from my iPad.

 

The 2012 mini handles this with ease, driving a 768kHz DAC via USB, all Audirvana optimisations turned on. It also does room EQ (via AU plugin in Audirvana) without blinking.

Edited by Steffen

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1 hour ago, jakeyb77 said:

I’m currently running a Bluesound Node 2i into a DIY AKM 4497EQ DAC (No USB). 

I’m not unhappy with this setup for streaming but I want to add a sizeable HDD of music. >3TB

My understanding is that the BS will have issue with a storage of this capacity and a NAS is better. 
I currently have an iMac but have been wondering if I should just run a Mac Mini onto the TV and I don’t need a desktop to write essays etc. 

I’m assuming I need a computer of some sort to run the NAS anyway. 
 

I’m not savvy with NAS and Network storage etc. 
Would it be better just to run a Mac mini with Audirvarna hdmi into TV and sound into DAC and lose the BS altogether? 
Or should I keep the BS and get my savvy son to set up a NAS for me? 
Storage will have Hi-Res and DSD tracks etc. Streaming will remain Tidal Hifi 

Happy for any suggestions. Keep the info simple for me if you can. 😁
 

No you don't need a computer to run the NAS. A NAS has a processor and it's own operating system. You will need to be able to access the NAS setup, however, but any device that has a web browser can do this.

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Guest jakeyb77
3 minutes ago, bob_m_54 said:

No you don't need a computer to run the NAS. A NAS has a processor and it's own operating system. You will need to be able to access the NAS setup, however, but any device that has a web browser can do this.

This is what I needed to learn today. 
 

@Steffen does Audirvana stop the video output if I wanted to use the Mac Mini as my pc through the TV also? 
I forgot Audirvana had an app so that’s another tick also. 

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If you do go down the NAS path, do some research on the capabilities of different NAS devices. Some can transcode video on the fly, and some are better at it than others. But they are usually more expensive. I don't do this, so my basic Synology DS218j does what I need.

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Just now, jakeyb77 said:

 

@Steffen does Audirvana stop the video output if I wanted to use the Mac Mini as my pc through the TV also? 
I forgot Audirvana had an app so that’s another tick also. 

No, Audirvana does not interfere with the screen, after all it displays its own UI window on the screen :)

 

Or are you referring to separate video playback? That may be affected (performance wise), depending on how aggressively you allow Audirvana to hog system resources.

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Guest jakeyb77

Will playing Tidal through the Mac Mini also allow MQA unfolding? 
My DAC won’t unfold MQA 

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Guest jakeyb77
Just now, Steffen said:

No, Audirvana does not interfere with the screen, after all it displays its own UI window on the screen :)

 

Or are you referring to separate video playback? That may be affected (performance wise), depending on how aggressively you allow Audirvana to hog system resources.

No that’s what I meant. I meant using the TV like a huge tablet to view the library while playing etc. 

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1 minute ago, jakeyb77 said:

Will playing Tidal through the Mac Mini also allow MQA unfolding? 
My DAC won’t unfold MQA 

No, you need an MQA DAC for that.

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Guest jakeyb77
1 minute ago, Steffen said:

No, you need an MQA DAC for that.

Hmmm that sucks! I was hoping using the desktop Tidal that MQA would be ok. 

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7 minutes ago, jakeyb77 said:

Will playing Tidal through the Mac Mini also allow MQA unfolding? 
My DAC won’t unfold MQA 

You sure? https://www.bluesound.com/products/node/

 

The NODE 2i has enhanced dual band Wi-Fi which provides best-in-class performance even in crowded airspace. With state-of-the-art Bluetooth® aptX® HD, the NODE 2i can easily support 24-bit streaming directly from your phone or tablet, as well as transmit studio-quality music to Bluetooth headphones and speakers. High-end DAC technology built into every Bluesound Player allows the NODE 2i to decode and stream MQA files in all their lossless glory.

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55 minutes ago, jakeyb77 said:

I think I did? 
I want to add a large storage of music files to my current system. The BS does not like a large storage connected directly. 
I am technologically savvy but have no experience specifically with setting up NAS. 

Sorry, I was the confused one.  Here are some steps to get into the NAS world, using Synology as an example:

  1. Select a NAS using NAS selector, likely case for you is file server and synchronisation
  2. Decide how much redundancy you want in case of a disk failure; for many people,  2 bay with RAID1 is enough
  3. Purchase NAS and disk drives
  4. Install disk drives into NAS and follow instructions on how to install DSM;  you will need access to a browser
  5. Copy music files to NAS
  6. You need to enable SMB on NAS and BlueSound will then see the music on the NAS.
     

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Posted (edited)

@jakeyb77 yes Tidal on your laptop/mac mini/imac will unfold MQA and send audio signal to your DAC (regardless if your DAC is MQA capable or not). and yes, you can use your tv as the laptop's monitor. I doubt Audirvana will stop video. Audirvana allows you to try for free so you don't have to pay to find out. All you need is a wireless keyboard and mouse and the laptop connected to both TV & DAC and you're all set to drive it from where you sit.

Edited by jgunner

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43 minutes ago, Steffen said:

No, you need an MQA DAC for that.

No you don’t, MQA is a software compression solution.  It requires ZERO hardware, once the app does the first unfold all music related information is present.  It’s in the spec and on the MQA UK website.

Mytek etc didn’t add anything to their hardware etc to enable MQA, they added a new firmware ie software.   

QezoaBhl.jpg

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Guest jakeyb77
42 minutes ago, ChupaChups said:

You sure? https://www.bluesound.com/products/node/

 

The NODE 2i has enhanced dual band Wi-Fi which provides best-in-class performance even in crowded airspace. With state-of-the-art Bluetooth® aptX® HD, the NODE 2i can easily support 24-bit streaming directly from your phone or tablet, as well as transmit studio-quality music to Bluetooth headphones and speakers. High-end DAC technology built into every Bluesound Player allows the NODE 2i to decode and stream MQA files in all their lossless glory.

My Bluesound unfolds MQA but my DAC does not. 
In that scenario you quoted the Bluesound would have been replaced with a Mac Mini. 

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Guest jakeyb77
1 minute ago, idiomatically said:

No you don’t, MQA is a software compression solution.  It requires ZERO hardware, once the app does the first unfold all music related information is present.  It’s in the spec and on the MQA UK website.

Mytek etc didn’t add anything to their hardware etc to enable MQA, they added a new firmware ie software.   

QezoaBhl.jpg

Nice album!! 

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Guest jakeyb77
Posted (edited)

Thanks @Snoopy8 and @jgunner!! 
So it seems that both solutions will work to a similar degree with positives in both camps. I could go either way now with this info. 
I guess now the debate or whether BS app or Audirvana are the better library/player user interfaces? 
Anyone used both and can comment on the BS using a large library (NAS) or Audivarna and which is more friendly? 

Edited by jakeyb77

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Guest jakeyb77
Posted (edited)

I’m not married to the BS. I’ve been using a Raspberry Pi/Hifiberrry I built for my bedroom system with Volumio but I’d rather something more retail for my main system. 

Edited by jakeyb77

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8 minutes ago, jakeyb77 said:

I’m not married to the BS. I’ve been using a Raspberry Pi/Hifiberrry I built for my bedroom system with Volumio but I’d rather something more retail for my main system. 

Sorry if I missed where you said this but do you actually want to get rid of the iMac? NASs are expensive but external hard drives are cheap. If you plug a hard drive into your iMac you can run server software that will make it act like a NAS and/or you could run Audirvana on the iMac direct to the dac. You can also use the iMac display for album art/info instead of the tv, which you might want to use for something else. 

 

i don’t think a Mac mini or a NAS get you any further functionality, unless losing the iMac is the point?

 

i have a synology NAS which is great and I use a lot but I think if I was starting again, it would be with a desktop Mac (iMac or mini) and one or two large external drives. 

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Guest jakeyb77
Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, RankStranger said:

Sorry if I missed where you said this but do you actually want to get rid of the iMac? NASs are expensive but external hard drives are cheap. If you plug a hard drive into your iMac you can run server software that will make it act like a NAS and/or you could run Audirvana on the iMac direct to the dac. You can also use the iMac display for album art/info instead of the tv, which you might want to use for something else. 

 

i don’t think a Mac mini or a NAS get you any further functionality, unless losing the iMac is the point?

 

i have a synology NAS which is great and I use a lot but I think if I was starting again, it would be with a desktop Mac (iMac or mini) and one or two large external drives. 

I have the iMac with an external drive. 
To be honest a desktop is just not warranted. I don’t use it for anything other than to manage storage. It takes up way too much space. So a Mac mini would mean I can still use a desktop when necessary but not have that big 27inch screen around. Also the pc is nowhere near my Hifi. 
If I’m listening to music then my main TV won’t be playing anything else. 
I was thinking the mini may also be fun if I want to watch a concert on YouTube or similar but play it through my 2 channel system.

 

But everything is an option. 😳

I have a bit to think about 

Edited by jakeyb77

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