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Anton90125's picture
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Music Streaming
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Has anyone done any music streaming (Feeding music from the internet (Internet radio) ,computer or NAS drive) into their Hifi?

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Re: Music Streaming

Certainly have - plenty at work, obviously, but here at home we use an AirPort Express to wirelessly stream from iTunes to the hi-fi stack. Quality (if you use Apple Lossless/high bit-rate files) is surprisingly good.

Having said that, i'm currently listening to vinyl, which I'm enjoying far more than any convenience streaming can offer! 

Group Marketing & PR Manager, Computers Unlimited.

Brands represented include Astell&Kern, Audioengine, B&O Play, Canton, Flexson for SONOS and SONOS

TWITTER: @ClareNewsome

Anonymous
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Re: Music Streaming

user="Clare Newsome" wrote:
Having said that, i'm currently listening to vinyl, which I'm enjoying far more than any convenience streaming can offer! 

Yes,way to goooo.Getting back,I use the simple but effective Sonneteer bard system,just plus the USB into your pc,the receiver into your hifi,no loss of quality,simple and effective.

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Re: Music Streaming

I am using a Roku M2000 via an ethernet/home network/ NAS drive. All my files are FLAC files which is lossless. The Roku is connected to my hifi through a Cyrus DAC X. I find this set up most convenient except when I want to play SACD. It took ages to store my CDs on to the NAS. I am ó finished but need to do a massive excercise in renaming some of the tracks that have funny characters like Celtic/French etc. These characters cause the server (firefly) I am running on the NAS to crash! I chose to use a NAS to run the server, as I don't like the idea that I need the PC on every time I want to play a stored CD. The Internet radio is OK but is limited by the use of MP3, which I find poor when the music gets complicated (even at the highest bit rate!). The one good thing about Internet radio is you get to hear music you never heard before. I like prog rock a lot and have been introduced to a lot of new/old and obscure groups I hadn't heard before.

On a one to one comparison between vinyl and CD (and even SACD), I do prefer the sound of vinyl despites the clicks and things. There is so much more depth and none of that treble glare you always get with CD (less so with SACD). One of my friends swears by vinyl (gets all his classical records from car boot sales 2000-3000 of the so far!) keeps saying, "How were we conned back then?" in the early eighties. Got my first CD player (Philips CD303) back in late 1983 or early 1984. I was stunned by the sound and believed the hype "Pure, Perfect Sound Forever." I did read an interesting article:
http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue20/rocketscience.htm .

To put CD in to context. CD is convenient and a lot more resilient then LP. The sound though not as good as LP is still pretty good especially with the latest CD/Dacs. The quality of the actual mastering of the CD is probably the biggest let down. The free CD that came with my CD303 was incredibly crisp but most (Not All) of the CDs I purchased subsequently were found wanting in some way.

The next question I need to solve is the connection between my Roku and the DAC, optical or coax. So far with my listening test I cannot tell the difference. I may opt for coax simply because of the cabling aspect of trying to tread a wire through the cabinet, which houses my hifi. Optical cable can easily be damaged by bending it too much while coax is more forgiving.

Anonymous
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Re: Music Streaming

Hi Anton90125,

I am planning on building a network music player, HOw do you compare Roku to SLim device's Squeeze Box and Bard audio's sonneteer.

I assume you connect your roku sound bridge to the Cyrux DAC X using s/pdif, what is the available brand in the market and which to choose?

What;s your other hifi spec

thanks

Anonymous
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Re: Music Streaming

user="silly" wrote:
user="Clare Newsome" wrote:
Having said that, i'm currently listening to vinyl, which I'm enjoying far more than any convenience streaming can offer! 

 

Yes,way to goooo.Getting back,I use the simple but effective Sonneteer bard system,just plus the USB into your pc,the receiver into your hifi,no loss of quality,simple and effective.

 

What connection do you use to connect the receiver to your Hifi (To you DAC or directly to your amp).

How good is Bardthree's performance,  is it good enough for a B&W 805s?

Does anyone here ever heard Italian speaker Zingali prelude 2's performance? anyone.. Clare, or Andrew maybe

Anonymous
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Re: Music Streaming

For the TX transmitter,you just use any line out on your amplifier.For the bard 3 you just place it any room,connect the cables to it for the speakers.It allows up to six or seven sources,making it very versatile.The sound is superb,but may be a bit low powered for the B&W 805,you would need to try it in your room,depending on whether it was a big or small room,for a small room it would probably be ok.

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Re: Music Streaming

user="gwnzen" wrote:

Does anyone here ever heard Italian speaker Zingali prelude 2's performance? anyone.. Clare, or Andrew maybe

I know Zingali from shows - who can miss those distinctive looks! - and we may have featured them a few years back, but the Buyer's Guide is drawing a blank. Maybe Andrew's tested them for Gramo...?

Group Marketing & PR Manager, Computers Unlimited.

Brands represented include Astell&Kern, Audioengine, B&O Play, Canton, Flexson for SONOS and SONOS

TWITTER: @ClareNewsome

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Re: Music Streaming

user="gwnzen" wrote:

Hi Anton90125,

I am planning on building a network music player, HOw do you compare Roku to SLim device's Squeeze Box and Bard audio's sonneteer.

Hi Gwnzen, I did a lot of reading in various forums about various "Streaming systems" (But I am NOT an expert!). But I can't comment on the Bard audio's sonneteer, as I didn't look at this too closely.

What you first need to consider is exactly what you are after not necessarily in this order:

1. Are you going for music file compression, if so what type: Lossy like MP3 etc..Or Lossless like Flac etc. or uncompressed like .wav files?

2. Are you going for a 'Wired' or 'wireless' connection? This will depend on the file size that need be transferred. Wireless cannot cope with very large files, whereas smaller files like MP3 can be.

3. Are you going to use a PC as your file server or a NAS (with a suitable file server running on it)?

4. Are you going to stream to one room are many?

5. Are you going to use an external DAC?

The good/bad points of the Roku and why I chose it.

The Good points: It is compact and has multiple type connections like phono, optical, Ethernet and wireless. It is fairly intelligent in that a lot of processing is done at its end with regards to file sorting/searching, decoding (WMA, MP3, AAC, AIFF, ALAC). It can also take .WAV files, which require no decoding. It also fully supports UPnP, which makes it compatible with all commercial UPnP music servers.

The Bad points: The latest M1001 (Pinnacle SoundBridge) version has a serious design problem. In an attempt to cut costs the Roku designers have redesigned various elements in the core of the player. Internal processing is all done at 48K. So any digital inputs that are 44.1K (cd sample rates) are internally upsampled to 48K before they can be processed. People who bought this latter unit complained of constant low-level noise (quite audible in quite pieces of music). This was reported to Roku through their forum and the standard fault reporting procedures. Roku at first denied that this happened, then took software (music) examples from users to test, again denied that it happened, then got the consultant who designed the algorithm which did the upsampling who said such noise would be totally inaudible. The last I heard was Roku was still investigating (1 -1.5 years so far!)

An analysis was done by the Stereophile mag in the USA: http://www.stereophile.com/budgetcomponents/507roku/index.html

They concluded that there was noise present at low levels not consistent with normal analogue and digital processes but was the direct result of digital upsampling.
That is to say that digital by products are created which translate into noise.
I have since read that upsampling which is done in the digital domain is very difficult/costly when the two samples are not rationally related (like one being a multiple of the other etc..). It is consensus of most experts is that to do real time upsampling you need a huge amount of processing power or convert the signal to analogue before resampling at the higher level.

The internal DAC is not brilliant and is not to a standard a serious audiophile would like, so the use of external DAC is mandatory (at least for audiophiles).

If you want to get a Roku then you can go for a M1000 (only available second hand). M1000B (reconditioned) or a M2000 (again only available second hand I got mine on EBay). The newer version (with upsampling problems) can be recognized as having all the connections coming from the back. The older versions have connections from the side.

The main reasons I went for this was the price, there is a lot of knowledge on the internet (in Roku/ Firefly forums) and it fits in with my system quite nicely. I use ethernet cables after abandoning wifi. Since I use Flac which are quite large files, found
the wifi could not handle it without causing rebuffering in the Roku. MP3 files worked fine though.

The Squeeze box is less sophisticated in that most of it relies on the intelligent part being at the source end at the server (Slimserver). I believe that because of its total reliance on slimserver it does not fully support UPnP. Slimserver is a much bigger piece of software which runs well on the PCs but can only be run on certain NAS with large processing capabilities. See: https://www.ripcaster.co.uk/node/62.

It has a larger display then the Roku. It is also more costlier then the Roku.
It has all the same connection as the Roku. It also has a very good internal DAC in the same league as budget/mid priced CD players.

Both the Roku and the Squeezebox has firmware, which is regularly updated. I am not sure how easy it is to do the with Squeezebox but is very easy with the Roku needing only an Internet link. Both also can use internet radio.

I use a maxtor NAS MSS+. Work had been done by others (sanctioned my Maxtor) to modify the NAS OS to allow telenet access which made it possible to install a good UPnP file server which could also transcode Flac on the fly see:http://www.fireflymediaserver.org/ Most NAS are "sealed units" with regards to their OS and must be hacked (not recommended unless you know what you are doing! and dont mind invalidating your warrentty) to install a suitable UPnP music server like Flyfire or twonkyvision.Not all NAS have powerful enough processors to run Music servers (and do real time transcoding). Some NAS boxes can be purchased with UPnP's pre installed but these can vary in capibilities.

One System I quite like is the Sonus system: http://www.sonos-uk.co.uk/page/product_control_overview.asp

I would have gone for this if I could have afforded it!

My System is detailed in my Bio. Why don't other people (including the editors) detail their equipment??

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Re: Music Streaming

Hi Silly,

I notice from your bio that you have a class D amplification. I know nothing about class D. How do you describe its charactor as compared to class A or B amplifiers in general?

Anonymous
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Re: Music Streaming

Hi Anton,

Personally,I love it,why?because it has first rate bass.It's not a presentation to suit everyone,it not pipe and slippers,relaxing,warm,etc,but it's very snappy,rhythmic,fast and quite full on,great attack,and speed,that about describes it's sound,but its strength is bass control and definition,I just love it.

Mine was cheap as I know the designer,so I will change them for some mono blocks soon,which will give outstanding bass control.

I do like class A,it's more refined in the treble,graceful sound,you just have to play to each amplifiers strength,match them well,and you will find some truly superb sounds.

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Re: Music Streaming

Mmm...I am intrigued by this. My Last 3 amps have been valve based (well not quite my current is a mosfet/valve hybrid). I do like the valve sound. My SR1 has more attack then a pure valve which is good. I am tempted to take a listen to a class D!

Anonymous
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Re: Music Streaming

user="silly" wrote:
For the TX transmitter,you just use any line out on your amplifier.For the bard 3 you just place it any room,connect the cables to it for the speakers.It allows up to six or seven sources,making it very versatile.The sound is superb,but may be a bit low powered for the B&W 805,you would need to try it in your room,depending on whether it was a big or small room,for a small room it would probably be ok.

using bard1 / USBBard and a PC can it provide different request FLAC files from different room?

Anonymous
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Re: Music Streaming

Thanks anton90125 for your detailed explaination. I think I am going for FLAC using NAS in wireless network, (how long is the rebuffering anyway? does it happens with Squeezebox?)  streaming different music request to  external DACs.

what exactly is the good point in using NAS?

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Re: Music Streaming

user="gwnzen" wrote:

Thanks anton90125 for your detailed explaination. I think I am going for FLAC using NAS in wireless network, (how long is the rebuffering anyway? does it happens with Squeezebox?)  streaming different music request to  external DACs.

what exactly is the good point in using NAS?

The rebuffering happened every 10-15 seconds which made playing music impossible. I believe it also happens on the squeezebox. The simple reason is wifi (g) cannot handle the volume of data required for uncompressed streaming. My UPnP server -firefly takes the FLAC file (compressed) -trancodes it to a .wav file then sends it. The .wav file is just to big for wifi but is fine for ethernet. One solution would be to recode the FLAC files as ALAC. Then get Firefly (or what ever UPnP) to send the compressed file as is (with out transcoding it to .wav) over the wifi to the Roku. The latest firmware allows the Roku to do the ALAC transcoding at it's end thus putting less strain on the wifi network. I have not tried this and it may be that the size might still be too great for wifi. We in the Roku community are pushing for FLAC decoding on the Roku- we live in hope.

I use a NAS simply so I don't have to use the PC every time I want to play music.

The Roku has a digital output capability as optical/phono which feeds a standard (like CD) digital signal which can be read by any hifi DAC. The Roku then smply acts like a very high quality CD transport. I chose the cyrus DACX as its an excellent dac and it has multiply digital inputs.

you might want to look at https://www.ripcaster.co.uk/node/12 as they offer a complete squeezebox solution without the need to hack/install slimserver. Its not cheep though. The Roku route is more complicated and requires some computer knowledge. Hacking NAS drives is not easy (Linux experience is useful). There is however a lot of help and experience in the Roku / Firefly forums as well as other forums.

Anonymous
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Re: Music Streaming

I read that I can manage playlists through the pc used by the slim server. It seems helpful, If it;s true what is the application. Can I do this if iam using a NAS?

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