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I am still in the process of setting up a new hi fi system and  as I will mostly listen to music via streaming I was hoping to  go into  a few hi shops and compare different media streamers.               I am finding that there are not many to listen to ,mostly are purchased buy ordering them.As  I am prepared to spend a considerable amount of money I would like to hear them first,I would like to know if members here buy just on what they read about or like speakers you would like to hear the difference between theses streamers.If anyone knows of a store with a range of streamers I would be greatful.I live in Queensland on the Gold Coast.

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Couple of questions. Do you want a streamer that is just a digital transport, ie only digital out and no inbuilt DAC, or do you want a streamer with an in built DAC? What is your budget? There are good options from $1k up to $10k.

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Yes first thing to narrow down is the DAC, this is the cornerstone.  Do you need a streamer/DAC or just a streamer? I have tried these three in my system; Moon Mind network streamer,  Sonore MicroRendu and PS Audio Direct Stream Junior.  They are all good, the DSJ is a DAC with a streamer. My preference is the Moon Mind streamer. Bang for buck the Sonore MicroRendu is hard to beat, haven't heard their Ultra Rendu but I'm sure it is good. Happy hunting!

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1 hour ago, Ian Lyons said:

I am finding that there are not many to listen to ,mostly are purchased buy ordering them.As  I am prepared to spend a considerable amount of money I would like to hear them first,I would like to know if members here buy just on what they read about or like speakers you would like to hear the difference between theses streamers.

 

I think they are mostly purchased by ordering according to their capabilities (Roon, Spotify, Tidal, MQA etc).  I think this especially true when using a separate DAC, as then the streamer does not contribute much at all to the sound, because it's the DAC that matters.

 

Also, there is the DIY option.  Raspberry Pi etc.

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Just my 2 cents worth, ....

if a unit is rated on it’s listenable capacity, ie it’s not fatigue inducing , and makes you stop and listen to every track, I have something that is quite left of field, and declaring it comes with a big chance I might get scoffed at.....

But here is my take on what I listen to, ...I spent near enough to six hours today listening to Spotify (non high bit rate) on my streamer, which I’ve had in my system for maybe six months or more.

 

Its output signal is fed to a Rega DAC, to a Quad 34 pre to Quad II80 mono blocks into Quad 57’s. The music it produces is totally involving and I can’t see any need or desire to upgrade it. As previous inmates have said, a good DAC is a major contributor to the end result.

 

Drum roll.....get your darts ready....

It’s a $50 Chromecast Audio

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I thank you for your replies and anticipated replying back earlier but the state of origin got in the way. I was originally going to ask a more in depth  question but decided to keep in simple.I was interested to know if there was a most important part to a streamer and I had in my mind the dac could be mentioned.As you can see I am very new at this .Very, very new.The amount I spend on a streamer will depend on the speakers and the amp.I originally wanted to spend about $10000 on the lot but I have now doubled that.I  cannot believe the complexities that exist in this hobby and to understand  everything to really to get the perfect  outcome ,for any given budget.I will now digest your replies.Thank you again

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Gee where to start .. if you want simple why not look at an 2nd hand digital/analogue integrated platform like the Devialet Expert 200 and maybe use use Roon ?  If I was starting from afresh I would assess this option, just add speakers.

 

DAC's  is a big game in itself ... I now have many, including integrated into pre amps ..  but back to Streamers ..

 

My experience is with only 3 Streamers:

1. Yamaha Musicast series - cheap and do the job though a nightmare when you have multiple, well at least for me ..

2. Bluesound Node 2i - great bang for buck, plenty come up here in classifieds and I have a couple sharing which is really cool on my secondary systems scattered around the house,  as i work around the house the systems are in sync. I use the inbuilt DAC for Tidal MQA

3. Lumin U1 mini - arrived this week, this a big step up from my others, running it in at the moment but already has a beautifully detailed sound, but this is purely a Streamer and requires a good DAC.   Now there are MQA certified DACS ... more confusing than ever ... mine isn't ...

 

Others have tried to convince me to go ROON but haven't had the patience or inclination .. yet 

 

cheers

Edited by Rosco8
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51 minutes ago, Rosco8 said:

Gee where to start .. if you want simple why not look at an 2nd hand digital/analogue integrated platform like the Devialet Expert 200 and maybe use use Roon ?  If I was starting from afresh I would assess this option, just add speakers.

 

I like many audio masochists here, went the complex route, a lot of upgrading and then matching components, sometimes even successfully, don't recommend it looking back but hey learnt a few things on the journey, and it kept me occupied   😄😄

 

DAC's  is a big game in itself ... I now have many, including integrated into pre amps ..  but back to Streamers ..

 

My experience is with only 3 Streamers:

1. Yamaha Musicast series - cheap and do the job though a nightmare when you have multiple, well at least for me ..

2. Bluesound Node 2i - great bang for buck, plenty come up here in classifieds and I have a couple sharing which is really cool on my secondary systems scattered around the house,  as i work around the house the systems are in sync. I use the inbuilt DAC for Tidal MQA

3. Lumin U1 mini - arrived this week, this a big step up from my others, running it in at the moment but already has a beautifully detailed sound, but this is purely a Streamer and requires a good DAC. 

 

Others have tried to convince me to go ROON but haven't had the patience or inclination .. yet 

 

cheers

I’m thinking of getting the Lumin u1 mini, is there any good deals around on it. 
cheers Jim 

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1 hour ago, jeromelang said:

I'm looking for a streamer (transport only, no dac) that fully unfold MQA, and has the usual outputs like USB, AES-EBU, SPDIF coaxial and optical. 

 

Whats out there...?

Lumin U1 mini is an option because thats how I am using it ...

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2 hours ago, Rosco8 said:

 

3. Lumin U1 mini - arrived this week, this a big step up from my others, running it in at the moment but already has a beautifully detailed sound, but this is purely a Streamer and requires a good DAC. 

 

cheers

@Rosco8

Can I ask what DAC you are using with the Lumin?

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1 hour ago, jeromelang said:

 

I was told the both the u1 and u1 mini don't fully unfold MQA. 

I am showing 24-bit/96kHz which is the first pass and shows on the DC37 screen ...  I assume that this is a limitation of the DC37 which is neither MQA certified or a partner.  It is capable of 32/384 PCM.  So don't believe I can improve MQA with my combo ...  I am fine with the sound.  I am still fairly new to this game .. Lol ..  Explains why Wolster asked what DAC ...

 

According to Lumin, LUMIN network music players can automatically perform Core Decoding and Hardware Rendering of MQA-encoded streams to get the maximum available Hi-Res music data (up to 24-bit 384kHz).    http://www.luminmusic.com/streaming-services.html

 

Specs say the Bluesound node 2i using its internal DAC will output at 24/192 , now is this MQA ?

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24 minutes ago, Ian Lyons said:

when using an external dac  does both the streamer and the dac need to be MQA  enabled to play MQA

 

Serious question, why bother?  Search the internet for "MQA dead" and have a read.   

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With  a $20K budget, you should be able to buy the NAD M33 and spend the rest on some superb speakers.

There are links and reviews in that thread.

 

A simple setup that delivers on excellent sound quality. BluOS is easy to use and all you need are speakers and speaker cables. No need to hunt for separate streamer, DAC, amplifier plus cables and the extra work to setup.

 

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There is no stand alone transport can do full MQA decoding. Full MQA always involves an MQA capable DAC.

 

For those who are using Lumin, the Lumin Engineer has given a good explanation in the below link.

 

You have not mentioned if you would be streaming from cloud sources like Tidal/Qobuz or if you have local files. The software is the most important part of streaming in my opinion because if you are stuck with a terrible UI, then you won't be listening to music but rather trying to fix the experience. Quite honestly, there is really not a single software out there including BluOS and Roon that can give an experience that is as close to using a native Spotify app via something like Spotify connect. Tidal Connect that has launched recently works like Spotify connect. And if you want to use Qobuz then Google Cast supports 24/96 . Ideally if your streamer has support for Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect, Google Cast and Airplay - Pretty much you will be able to stream most things that are available today. And if you use the above 4 options, you do not need to worry about what OS your streamer comes with. You will never have to use it. I am pretty sure that a Qobuz connect is getting ready as well.

 

Devices that support Tidal Connect and those working on it can be found below. I have reached out to most of the streamer companies to know about their plans on Tidal Connect.

 

 

Now if you have local files that need to be streamed, then I believe Roon is the best software out there. That opens up a lot more options for you but along with that comes more boxes since Roon will need a server to be setup and a separate license for Roon as well. Roon has come a long way and it is far from perfect and having used Roon for almost 4 years, I can confidently say that is no where close to the experience I get from a Spotify Connect but when I tried to use the Arcam SA30s app, I found Roon to be 100 times better so it is all a perspective. 

 

So first figure out what your source of listening is going to be and then you can figure out which way you want a 1 box streamer/dac or a 2 box streamer and a dac or an integrated amp which has built in streaming. 
 

Cheers

 

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BrownMagic  I will be streaming from cloud sources.At this stage I would like ann external dac.I believe that I can then upgrade different components down the track. think I have found a dac that hes come highly recommended.Its a Gieseler Kompakt.                                                    

Spotify is mp3 so am I right thinking mp3 is good enough or have I missed the point

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57 minutes ago, Ian Lyons said:

have found a dac that hes come highly recommended.Its a Gieseler Kompakt.   

 

The Kompakt is awesome. You won't regret getting one.

MP3s Sound great, FLAC files slightly better. But there's really not that much difference.

Edited by Herbs
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4 hours ago, Herbs said:

 

MP3s Sound great, FLAC files slightly better. But there's really not that much difference.

 

Ouch! 

 

HMM, YES... Good Joke that was. - YODA HOVER | Meme Generator

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9 hours ago, Ian Lyons said:

I have found a dac that hes come highly recommended.Its a Gieseler Kompakt. 

 

How do you plan to feed a stream into this DAC? As in how do you plan to connect to this DAC? Will there be other devices that would connect into this DAC? 

At the price point of the Gieseler, you could also consider the Denafrips Ares II. It is ridiculously good DAC for the money. 

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BrownMagic I liked the Idea of  an Auralic g1  ,and I can get one at a discounted price.Unfortunately they do not support Android.I have never really been an Apple type person so  I am hearing good things around Lumin,but still open to suggestions.Equally in your earlier comments to me, i.e. Spotify connect, Tidal connect,Qobuz,are you saying mp3 is good enough,or am I reading you wrong

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On 19/11/2020 at 4:07 PM, jeromelang said:

I was told the both the u1 and u1 mini don't fully unfold MQA. 

They don’t.

 

@Ian Lyons out of $20k I’d spend maybe $3k of it on the streamer. Lumin, Auralic, Innuous, mytek, naim popular around here.

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3 hours ago, Ian Lyons said:

BrownMagic I liked the Idea of  an Auralic g1  ,and I can get one at a discounted price.Unfortunately they do not support Android.I have never really been an Apple type person

Yep .. exactly where I was 3 months ago, had even arranged to listen to a 2nd hand auralic g1 but just before i left played a youtube on it and realised it was Apple UI only.  Apologised and ordered  a lumin U1 mini.

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3 hours ago, Ian Lyons said:

BrownMagic I liked the Idea of  an Auralic g1  ,and I can get one at a discounted price.Unfortunately they do not support Android.

I am in both camps, that is Apple and Android.  For my Auralic Aries streamer I just use an old Iphone 6. I leave it with the streamer and when I want to listen I grab it and move on. You can do same with old ipad's. AFAIK any device that runs IOS 11 or later will do.

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@Ian Lyons

I tried sending you a PM, but you cannot receive messages yet.

 

A few tips:

  • buy used
  • try to listen before you buy
  • synergy is important some combinations of dac/amp and speakers work better than others
  • go and visit Mike Lenehan on the Gold Coast if you have not done so yet 
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12 hours ago, ajk_mkm said:

What Rega DAC are you using? Are you happy with it?

The Rega I have is the first model they released, not their R version.

Very happy with it, I run my Cambridge Blu ray, Foxtel audio, and the Chromecast into it. To me, a very easy listen.

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On 22/11/2020 at 10:39 AM, Ian Lyons said:

Equally in your earlier comments to me, i.e. Spotify connect, Tidal connect,Qobuz,are you saying mp3 is good enough,or am I reading you wrong

 

Tidal and Qobuz are High Resolution streaming (16/44 to 24/196). I suggest you first finalise on your speaker and then you should get to the electronics because each of them add to the sound. There are more than 1 way to get into streaming. 

 

You can read the below article which should give you a good understanding the streaming game.

 

https://darko.audio/2020/05/digital-music-streaming-101/

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You could either buy a streamer commercially or roll your own such as a raspberry Pi4, I own a Bel Canto Stream which retails for about $2700 but also have a number of Raspberry Pi4 based streamers that either emulate a Squeezebox Touch or Roon Endpoint, two of my favourite DYI streamers are shown in the photos, ie.. basic Pi4 in simple case (about $150) with usb out to a decent DAC and another called a Raspberry Touch that Audiophonics in France sell as either a kit or ready to go for about $700 to $900 depending on the configuration. Also consider a bluesound Node 2i etc.

 

JDH

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The Bluesound node 2i is very capable streamer in terms of overall features and sound quality for the price, never tried the analog outputs but did try the digital out to my Bel Canto  C5i integrated DAC and Bel canto DAC 2.5 with no complaints, never bothered to do a detailed side by side comparison, The streamer I use the most is my Bel canto stream followed by my Raspberry Pi4 Touch using the DAC hat on the Pi4.  I ended up selling off my two bluesound Node 2i streamers but kept the Bluesound powernode 2i for its built in amplification and hdmi input.

 

Nothing wrong with the node 2i, however I had no need for the added features as I was only using it as a Roon endpoint and the Raspberry Pi4’s suited my needs better.

 

In terms of a commercially available network streamer if it wasn’t that I had very positive ownership over various Bel Canto components I’d probably purchased a Luman D2 streamer over the Bel Canto Stream, either way I am. currently  content with my various network streaming choices, well until the next best thing, step change comes along that warrants an upgrade :)

 

JDH 

Edited by jdh500
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  • 4 weeks later...

im thinking also to get the Lumin U1 Mini as the full U1 is imo a rip even though it provides better fidelity.

 

however about a cd transport with a  streamer capability?  such the Marantz offerings? but aint sure if they offer support for MQA, Tidal, Roon and the like.

 

im currently using Oppo 105 now but would like more streaming features in the future.

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