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Receiver and setup advice for 5.1 hi-res music downloads

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Hi everyone.

 

I am wanting to move from stereo to 5.1 purely for the music side of things. I am wanting to download files from sites like 2L, Channel Classics etc.

The files I am wanting to play are generally FLAC 96/24.

 

What do I need to be looking for in terms of a receiver to achieve this? The simpler the better.

Obviously the computer needs to be connected. What programs are you guys using?

 

Any info would be wonderful. Thank you.

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Hi everyone.

 

I am wanting to move from stereo to 5.1 purely for the music side of things. I am wanting to download files from sites like 2L, Channel Classics etc.

The files I am wanting to play are generally FLAC 96/24.

 

What do I need to be looking for in terms of a receiver to achieve this? The simpler the better.

Obviously the computer needs to be connected. What programs are you guys using?

 

Any info would be wonderful. Thank you.

 

These days I'm not sure that a computer needs to be connected, the latest receivers can play FLAC files over wired or wireless network and some may be able to play straight form an external HDD (not sure).

I use a HTPC for my stereo setup with JRiver Media Center as the main program. There are some good free alternatives (Foobar, XBMC).

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Most AV Receivers (Marantz, NAD, Denon etc) will be ok for what you want. The main issue seems to be how you stream the music. Squeezebox Touch, Oppo players, Olive and many high performance streamers will be able to do the job without a computer involved. The latest and most expensive receivers will stream music "gapless" so that might be an option for you if you can spend the $4k or more required.

 

Worth noting that most of the 5.1 source material is on SACD or DVD-A physical disks so perhaps the most flexible option for you would be Oppo 103/5 with a receiver that has good amplification rather than streaming capability. I have not yet been satisfied with the streaming ability of AV receivers - nor the ease of use.

 

If you want to stream music stored on a PC then run JRiver or even the windows standard media centre to allow your audio streaming device to see the music on the disk. Alternatively, you can store the music on a NAS and stream without a PC. You can control the player and select music from a wide range of proprietary products or ones that come with streaming devices.

 

There are a lot of choices to make and you will probably need to choose some starting points to help narrow down the options. It can do your head in.

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I recently ventured into this area, but then I turned around and went back to stereo CD quality audio. For simplicity and ease of use, and to my surprise CD sounded better than hi-rez download of same album.

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So i now have a Cambridge Audio 551r receiver. My laptop (Macbook Pro) is plugged directly into that with an optical cable.

I have a 5.1 FLAC file downloaded; https://shop.klicktrack.com/2l/411252

 

I can't get it to play multichannel.

 

I've tried Jriver with no luck. How do you guys make this work?

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So i now have a Cambridge Audio 551r receiver. My laptop (Macbook Pro) is plugged directly into that with an optical cable.

I have a 5.1 FLAC file downloaded; https://shop.klicktrack.com/2l/411252

 

I can't get it to play multichannel.

 

I've tried Jriver with no luck. How do you guys make this work?

 

did you read somewhere that the cambridge 551r is so capable ? if you are using a computer, have you checked what format it is outputting ? will need to make sure in a format the 551r can handle

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So i now have a Cambridge Audio 551r receiver. My laptop (Macbook Pro) is plugged directly into that with an optical cable.

I have a 5.1 FLAC file downloaded; https://shop.klicktrack.com/2l/411252

I can't get it to play multichannel.

I've tried Jriver with no luck. How do you guys make this work?

Your mistake is using an optical cable. That's limited to stereo 24/192 or lossy bitstream surround.

If your Mac is recent enough (2011 would be better tho some 2010 would work) you can try HDMI using a display port adaptor to the AVR. The new retinas have a direct HDMI port.

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Thanks for your responses everyone.

The other option with all of this was that the laptop feeding it is an old 2006 Macbook Pro. There is DVI output though.

So if was to get a DVI to HDMI cable, such as this; http://www.amazon.com/DVI-HDMI-Cable-6ft-Male-Male/dp/B0002CZHN6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1363820878&sr=8-3&keywords=dvi+hdmi

 

This might work?

 

The 551r can deal with FLAC files as it's playing them in stereo. It just doesn't seem to be receiving multichannel. If the cable was the issue that would be great.

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Most DVI output of that era are video only connections. Off the top of my head, the only options are: Oppo 10x to the AVR or an exasound via USB if you want to use yr computer and use the analog multi channel input on the AVR (if there's one)

 

http://www.exasound.com/e28DAC/e28DAC.aspx

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Thanks for your responses everyone.

The other option with all of this was that the laptop feeding it is an old 2006 Macbook Pro. There is DVI output though.

So if was to get a DVI to HDMI cable, such as this; http://www.amazon.com/DVI-HDMI-Cable-6ft-Male-Male/dp/B0002CZHN6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1363820878&sr=8-3&keywords=dvi+hdmi

 

This might work?

 

The 551r can deal with FLAC files as it's playing them in stereo. It just doesn't seem to be receiving multichannel. If the cable was the issue that would be great.

 

yes dvi is video only not digital audio. using dvi will not help you with regard digital audio.

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Hey guys.

Just a follow up to this. 

I picked up a Pioneer BDP-160 for $138 from Harvey Norman. It is working out perfectly.
I can play all the new Pure Audio Blu Ray's and SACD multichannel stuff. But more importantly it plays 5.1 FLAC files through it's USB port on the front.
So it can play my downloaded files. It can't play multichannel WAV though, but I can get around that.

And all the decoding is done by my Cambridge Audio, sounds great. The poor mans Oppo!

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Enjoy your journey :)

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