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Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

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QUIKSTER's picture
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Thinking about subscribing to Spotify Premium. Looking to connect IPad wirelessly to stereo amp (Leema Pulse) via Apple Airport Express. Just wanted to get people's thoughts on if you think an external DAC is essential. Would something like the Rega DAC improve the quality of the Spotify premium tracks or will the internal DAC of Apple AE be sufficient. System consits of : Leema Pulse Amp Rega Saturn CD player Monitor Audio RS6 speakers.

relocated's picture
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RE: Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

I am taking it that you already have the AEX so just plug it together and see how it sounds.  For many people the AEX is just fine and no other dac is needed.

Suck it and see.

beauty, eh

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RE: Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

It's not the DAC of an Airport Express that's the problem, it's the grungy audio output.  Stick a pair of headphones into that headphone socket and tell me how clean you think it is?  And then go and buy a DAC...*

(* this applies to the original wall-wart style airport express that I have, don't know whether they've cleaned it up for the hockey-puck style one)

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RE: Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

I go back and forth between Spotify premium played through iPad/Apple TV or through my Squeezebox Touch connected to a DAC--honestly I can't tell much of difference.  Most of the time, both are excellent (any problems I have are generally with individual recordings on Spotify) and  ipad/ATV is much more convenient.  

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RE: Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

Does it have to be wireless? Just use a line-out cable from the iPad to the amp (ie dont use the headphone socket). Cheap solution, less than £10, so perhaps worth trying to see what sort of quality you get. I know it's not comparable but that's how I use my iPhone and iPad with my Meridian F80, and it's great. I have hooked it up that way to my stereo before now (Ayre/Harbeth) and from memory it was pretty good.

. If you do go Spotify subscription don't forget to specify high quality streaming by the way. I sync'd 600 tracks the other day only to realise it as on the lowest quality - doh....

QUIKSTER's picture
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RE: Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

 

 I've yet to purchase the AE, the reason I mentioned the Rega DAC is because I maybe able to pick up a second hand one for £300.

 I dont really want to go ahead with it if there's no improvement is sound quality compared to the AEX.

 

busb's picture
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RE: Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

QUIKSTER wrote:

 

 I've yet to purchase the AE, the reason I mentioned the Rega DAC is because I maybe able to pick up a second hand one for £300.

 I dont really want to go ahead with it if there's no improvement is sound quality compared to the AEX.

 

Looking at your list of equipment, I'd speculate that you will get a big enough dfference for spending at least £300 on a DAC. The Rega one has a very good reputation.

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RE: Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

Personally, I don't think spending £300 on a DAC is ever going to be a worthwhile investment. You can get perfectly adequate ones for much less.

I would just get the AEX and try it. If the line-out is rubbish, just buy a £100 (or cheaper) DAC.

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RE: Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

I stream via an Airport Express through an Arcam rLink DAC into a Naim Nait 5i. I auditioned a few DACs and in the end settled on the Arcam rLink. In the demo, felt it out performed the Arcam rDac.  Well worth the £149 IMO and definitely a marked improvement over the AEX.

 

 

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QUIKSTER's picture
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RE: Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

 

 Will see how it goes with the AEX first then if needed the Arcam rLink seems like a safer bet.

 

relocated's picture
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RE: Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

QUIKSTER wrote:

 

 Will see how it goes with the AEX first then if needed the Arcam rLink seems like a safer bet.

 

 

Excellent let us know how you get on.

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Overdose's picture
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RE: Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

QUIKSTER wrote:

Thinking about subscribing to Spotify Premium. Looking to connect IPad wirelessly to stereo amp (Leema Pulse) via Apple Airport Express. Just wanted to get people's thoughts on if you think an external DAC is essential. Would something like the Rega DAC improve the quality of the Spotify premium tracks or will the internal DAC of Apple AE be sufficient. System consits of : Leema Pulse Amp Rega Saturn CD player Monitor Audio RS6 speakers.

Absolutely not essential, but you could try a few DACs at home to see if there were any benefit.

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RE: Is a DAC essential for Spotify Premium

I am a Spotify premium user and use my iPad mainly.

The iPad is connected via jack to RCA on a Marantz PM 6004 out to a pair of Q Acoustics 2020i.

I have to say that I am very happy with the sound using the Spotify premium highest bitrate.

Since I am a bit lazy I installed Spot Queue (http://goo.gl/Lu0zSl) on both my iPhone and iPad so I don't even have to get up to change track, controlling the iPad from the iPhone.

I was thinking of getting a DAC too but after a little bit of research I am not sure that it would make a noticeable difference to the ear.

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