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andy_holl's picture
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Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!
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Well not as simple as that but that's where we'll start!

 

I like spotify a lot and have put a fair amount of time into setting up play lists but one problem I've always had is what's the best way of listening to it through my primary kit.

 

I was initially a Napster user, at the time I had a Squeezebox Duet and I was pretty happy with the combination (when the SB worked!!!) but at the time Napster didn't do offline listening on smart phones and they had become Rhapsody so I decided to jump ship and go to Spotify.

 

Great I thought, I can listent to stuff offline on my phone, ah what do you mean the squeezebox duet doesn't officially have a spotify plugin!?!? ARGGHHH!

 

I cut my losses with the SB in the end and sold it on ebay (after logitech's decision to scrap them - was all for buying a touch) - when it worked it was great, but it never worked first time which defeated the object as usually I just wanted to listen to some music for 30mins and instead I ended up fixing it for 30 mins first!

 

That left me with only two options to listen to spotify through my main setup in the living room - directly connected iPad or Phone (currently Samsung Galaxy SII) or plug a cheap bluetooth dongle into my AV Receiver and stream from either device.  Or through a laptop connected via HDMI, standard cable or bluetooth.

 

Everything seems to have a compromise - bluetooth quality isn't as good, directly connected is ok but I had to get up to control the device and I can use spotify apps on smartphone or tablet.  Laptop is best quality sound but I need to be near the laptop to control it.

 

So here's what I've toyed with:

 

1. Good bluetooth streaming like the rBlink - BUT phone, ipad and laptop don't do Aptx and I won't get full spotify functionality.

2. DAC - seems to be the best option for quality but still would like a more elegant method to control spotify then having to use the laptop

3. Network streaming device like the Pioneer N50 or Marantz NA7004 - N50 looks the better option. Disadvantage is the outlay and is it worth it to play through my exisitng kit.

4. Bit left field - build a Media PC which can deliver a lot more functionality for slightly cheaper/similar sort of price to option3 with some compromises on music quality and remote control ability.

5. Sonos - looks great - limited spotify functionality and pricey for performance based on the demo's I've had.

Budget £400 max unless I wait and get something that can do this and stereo amp duties.

Current Setup:

Onkyo TX-SR608 and Kef 2005.3's

As an aside I have a NAS and plan to rip my CD collection to FLAC - currently ripped to MP3 in various bit rates.

Long term I'm planning to add better surround speakers with a proper set of fronts (probably floor standers) for music and possibly get a stereo amp so feel free to take that into consideration when making recomendations.

 

So what's everyone else doing - I can't be the only one who's considered these scenarios yet I can't find anything on the internet and the mags never seem to compare all the options - would make a good featre WHF ;-)!?!

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

I use Chord chordette gem(aptx) via usb or bluetooth from laptop, iphone and ipad with good results:)

Main system: Musical Fidelity AMS 35i / Focal 1028be / Electrocompaniet EMC 1UP / MIT AVt MA / Matrix 12 xlr cables

Bedroom: Laptop(Qobuz) / Chord gem / Rega Brio-r / KEF LS50 / TQ black

 

 

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

Apple Airport Express (£79) or Apple TV (£99) would both allow for Airplay from Spotify.

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

Splashtop 2?

Install the free server s/w on your PC and the app on your phone/tablet (its free on Android, so assume it is on iOS) and you wouldn't need to get up to control it.

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

I'd get an airport express and plug it into your Onkyo's DAC and stream from the iPad.  What do you mean you wouldn't get full Spotify functionality?  What's missing?

As an aside, I am finding my Google Nexus tethered with the BT100 adapter in the StreamMagic rather good (it also works with the DACMagic and NP30), though the spotify app on Android is rubbish.

Moderator: john.duncan.whf at gmail dot com
Kit in state of flux

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

andy_holl wrote:

4. Bit left field - build a Media PC which can deliver a lot more functionality for slightly cheaper/similar sort of price to option3 with some compromises on music quality and remote control ability.

Not amazingly left-field, there are loads of people using computers as media servers which also have the ability to play Spotify through HiFis, self included (as per my signature). I use Remoteless on my iPhone to remotely control Spotify on my Mac Mini.  Bizarrely there isn't an official Spotify remote control app.

Oh and just to get one thing straight, irrespective of what you may have been told, using a computer does NOT compromise on sound quality. There's absolutely no reason why it should. This and other voodoo mumbo jumbo self-perpetuated by some sectors of the HiFi community makes us all a laughing-stock.

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

I have spotify on my pc and it is connected via coaxial cable to an amp and then output via speakers.... it sounds fab.      :clap:

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

Thanks guys - appreciate the responses!

I have considered picking up an Apple Airport Express from Ebay but ruled it out, my trusty iPad 2 will probably be my last Apple device.  Don't get me wrong I like the products but I don't like the price premiums or the proprietary connectors (which they don't worry about changing).

 

For wireless streaming Bluetooth ties me less to one manufacturer or device type.  Speaking of Bluetooth I have no Aptx capable device so I've started to go off the idea of that too.

 

I've had a play with Splashtop (not tried  2) and was quite impressed - I'll also give remoteless a look.

 

John - the only thing missing from the IOS and Andriod Spotify apps is the Spotify Apps if that makes sense?  I find them pretty good for finding new music (NME, Rolling Stone etc).  Although it's a feature I could live without as long as playlists and radio work.

 

Don't worry MajorFubar  - nothing to do with what I've been told (computers are my bread and butter), I let my ears make my decisions, my Squeezebox blew my computer sound out of the water to my ears and that's why I perceive it to be a trade off although this would probably be remedied by a DAC rather than using the onboard sound for music.  Interested to see you've got a HRT Streamer - what other DACs did you consider and why did you go for the HRT?

 

Interested to see there's no votes for the N50 or NA7004.....

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

andy_holl wrote:

Don't worry MajorFubar  - nothing to do with what I've been told (computers are my bread and butter), I let my ears make my decisions, my Squeezebox blew my computer sound out of the water to my ears and that's why I perceive it to be a trade off although this would probably be remedied by a DAC rather than using the onboard sound for music.  Interested to see you've got a HRT Streamer - what other DACs did you consider and why did you go for the HRT?

 

Ah yes I can well imagine your Squeezebox will blow away a normal PC soundcard.  A few things sent me in the direction of the HRT.  First  was the universally great reviews it seemed to be getting from everywhere.  Many reviewers praised the fact it is an asynchronous DAC - very unusual at the price, apparently -  which reduces jitter by bypassing the computer's clock. Secondly I liked the fact it is a USB-powered device which doesn't take-up another mains socket.  I also liked that it was a dedicated USB streamer with no (for me) spurious optical or coax inputs, which hinted that the £300 I was paying was only buying what I needed and not features or electronics I wouldn't use.  

To be honest I didn't demo it against any other models. I took a risk and bought it from the money I got as a long-service award at work, figuring if I really didn't like it I could swap it or sell it quickly at not much loss.  But I loved it and it's probably the only stand-alone DAC I will ever buy or need, as probably my next move someday will be towards active digital speakers (digital = built-in DACs) as I love the simplicity that potentially brings.

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

Andy:-

How about sharing your Spotty playlist with us please?? - Always looking for a chance for new music discovery!!

Major:-

I'm concidering getting a mac mini as a music server. Any hints or tips please??

Regards: Fred

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

Fred_Barker wrote:

Major:-

I'm concidering getting a mac mini as a music server. Any hints or tips please??

Regards: Fred

A few come to mind. First consider that the Mac platform ties you to Apple-friendly audio-formats like AAC, MP3 and Apple Lossless aka ALAC. iTunes doesn't 'do' FLAC on a Mac without third-party plug-ins or bolt-ons. But looking at your sigature, that doesn't look to be an issue.

As for what machine to buy, stick to the mid-2010 or newer.  Mid-2010 models are still highly sought-after because they were the last models to be sold with a built-in optical drive. If you don't mind the lack of an optical drive, the 2011/2012 models can be a good buy, particularly if you can find one which has been upgraded with more RAM, an SSD drive for the system-files and apps and a 1TB (or greater) HDD for your data (films/music etc).

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

MajorFubar wrote:

Fred_Barker wrote:

Major:-

I'm concidering getting a mac mini as a music server. Any hints or tips please??

Regards: Fred

A few come to mind. First consider that the Mac platform ties you to Apple-friendly audio-formats like AAC, MP3 and Apple Lossless aka ALAC. iTunes doesn't 'do' FLAC on a Mac without third-party plug-ins or bolt-ons. But looking at your sigature, that doesn't look to be an issue.

Much oblidged for the information! - I've read various Forums suggesting that mac mini would be a good source for music files, but not so many where someone ACTUALLY uses and would recommend such a system.

My current set-up suits me ok as far as ease of use and quality of sound, but means I have iTunes streaming from old Windows laptop, hence the enquiry into 'upgrade'.

Thanks again...

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

Shame you ditched your Squeezebox. I have 2 duet receivers and listen to Spotify. I also use an old Android phone as a 3rd Squeezebox connected to a Denon mini... Smile

 

 

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

Fr0g

how did you get the Duet to play Spotify?  I have it on my Touch, but assumed I couldn't through the Duet!  Thanks!

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

Fred_Barker wrote:

MajorFubar wrote:

Fred_Barker wrote:

Major:-

I'm concidering getting a mac mini as a music server. Any hints or tips please??

Regards: Fred

A few come to mind. First consider that the Mac platform ties you to Apple-friendly audio-formats like AAC, MP3 and Apple Lossless aka ALAC. iTunes doesn't 'do' FLAC on a Mac without third-party plug-ins or bolt-ons. But looking at your sigature, that doesn't look to be an issue.

Much oblidged for the information! - I've read various Forums suggesting that mac mini would be a good source for music files, but not so many where someone ACTUALLY uses and would recommend such a system.

My current set-up suits me ok as far as ease of use and quality of sound, but means I have iTunes streaming from old Windows laptop, hence the enquiry into 'upgrade'.

Thanks again...

No problem Fred. It certainly works for me (most of the time), I love it and I recomended it as a solution. Though obviously other solutions are available

Any problems I do have can usually be traced back to the fact my Mini is connected to my LAN via homeplugs. Homeplugs are immeasurably more reliable than WiFi was in my house, but still now and again the Mini 'drops off'. Probably interference from the fridge, boiler, any number of things. This 'temporarily interrupts my enjoyment' (as the BBC continuity-announcer used to say when they fell off air for a few seconds) because it accesses my music across the LAN. But it's no great shakes unless it corrupts my iTunes library which has only happened once. Then I throw a tantrum.

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RE: Best way to Listen to Spotify!?!

MajorFubar wrote:
Fred_Barker wrote:

MajorFubar wrote:

A few come to mind. First consider that the Mac platform ties you to Apple-friendly audio-formats like AAC, MP3 and Apple Lossless aka ALAC. iTunes doesn't 'do' FLAC on a Mac without third-party plug-ins or bolt-ons. But looking at your sigature, that doesn't look to be an issue.

Much oblidged for the information! - I've read various Forums suggesting that mac mini would be a good source for music files, but not so many where someone ACTUALLY uses and would recommend such a system.

My current set-up suits me ok as far as ease of use and quality of sound, but means I have iTunes streaming from old Windows laptop, hence the enquiry into 'upgrade'.

Thanks again...

Though obviously other solutions are available Any problems I do have can usually be traced back to the fact my Mini is connected to my LAN via homeplugs. Homeplugs are immeasurably more reliable than WiFi was in my house, but still now and again the Mini 'drops off'. Probably interference from the fridge, boiler, any number of things. This 'temporarily interrupts my enjoyment' (as the BBC continuity-announcer used to say when they fell off air for a few seconds) because it accesses my music across the LAN. But it's no great shakes unless it corrupts my iTunes library which has only happened once. Then I throw a tantrum.

Major

No probs with Apple stuff on my part (other than prices!) my files are all iTunes Matched 256 AAC. Any device I end up with to serve up the music will be only two meters from the Router and the Apple TV, no Homeplug and thankfully, no drop-outs even when the vacuum cleaner is on, although that makes so much noise I may not notice Smile

I know there are a plethora of suitable solutions, I even concidered Sonos as everyone (including Seveanoaks) sing their praises, but i'm happy with 90% of the kit, only using the Win 7 laptop is somewhat inconvenient at times....

Regards: Fred

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