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lbafsaj's picture
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Streamer Advice

Having used my ipod as my main music source, I am now looking to invest in a streamer.   As the rest of my system is Cyrus ( PreXpdQx, 2 x Mono200's),  I have been looking at the Cyrus X2.

 

I have 2 questions. 

1. If I buy a streamer,  does my PC have to be switched on all the time to access the files in my Itunes library.

2.  Is there much difference in sound quality from streamer to streamer.  I see a streamer as a transport device and the sound quality depending on the type of files ( mine are all apple lossless) and the DAC, Amplification and speakers.  So, do I need to spend a grand on a piece of Cyrus kit to match the rest of my units,  or can a few hundered quid work on a cheaper streamer ?????

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RE: Streamer Advice

1.  Yes you'll need to leave it on, or invest in a seperate NAS drive. Of course services like Spotify make a personal library less important. I guess I listen to 90% Spotify at home. 

 

2. It's really up to you, there's so much choice. Personally I think Sonos is excellent, as it has Spotify, Internet radio and can now access your iPhone, iPad directly. An Apple TV, or Airport Express are viable options too. Have you investigated iTunes Match (it will cope you're library into the cloud to be accessed as you wish. 

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RE: Streamer Advice

+1 for the Sonos.

Like Richard says sign up to spotify or Rdio and you probably wouldn't need to use a NAS.

They have the best user interface out there full stop.

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RE: Streamer Advice

-1 on Sonos.

I've never been impressed at all with the SQ of Sonos, as ultra convenient and user-friendly as it is. I've got one (see sig. below) but I only use it for radio. Very bad match with both my Cyrus DAC XP and Metrum Acoustics DAC imo. On your set up I think you'd really notice its deficiencies.

The streaming function on my Synology NAS drive, however, works superbly well, provided you don't mind the lack of gapless playback and limited radio choice. There's no Spotify attachment on it yet either.

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RE: Streamer Advice

Sonos and Nas drive would be my choice and in fact is my main front end at the moment. Given you have a decent dac, I wouldn't worry about the SQ from the Sonos!

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RE: Streamer Advice

As you use iTunes and already have a good DAC I agree with Richardw42 - don't overlook using an Apple TV (if you want video as well) or Airport extreme if just sound.  Even if you have to buy an iPad/Touch/iPhone to act as a remote you'll still spend far less than a grand and still have a fine system.

Roger

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RE: Streamer Advice

Your better off getting a NAS they are really cheap and you will be able to store loads of music.

The cyrus units are really good and will work well with rest of your kit

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RE: Streamer Advice

p_m_brown wrote:

Sonos and Nas drive would be my choice and in fact is my main front end at the moment. Given you have a decent dac, I wouldn't worry about the SQ from the Sonos!

I have to agree, Sonos is a great choice but I found it can be been caught short if your amp and speakers are higher up the food chain which is why I still occasionally use a CD player. A good external DAC should sort this out though......sounds like an excuse for a home demo Wink

lbafsaj's picture
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RE: Streamer Advice

My main concern is sound quality.    I do see a streamer as mainly a transport device.  Therefore,  will I see any real sound quality difference in buying a Sonos controller for approx  £ 300,  or a Cyrus streamer for a grand ?  Certainly the Dac in my Cyrus preamp is top notch,  so no concerns here. 

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RE: Streamer Advice RE: Streamer Advice

lbafsaj wrote:

My main concern is sound quality.    I do see a streamer as mainly a transport device.  Therefore,  will I see any real sound quality difference in buying a Sonos controller for approx  £ 300,  or a Cyrus streamer for a grand ?  Certainly the Dac in my Cyrus preamp is top notch,  so no concerns here. 

Personally I would say a definite Yes, you will notice a difference. My experience with Sonos + Cyrus has not been at all good, as I've already outlined. Contrary to what (many) others say, it's a good external DAC that can, in some cases, show up its deficiencies. It's not a question of it 'just' being a transport unfortunatley, there are issues of jitter and other stuff that I quite honestly don't understand, but I do know what my ears are telling me. Have a demo to be sure, but if it's really SQ that you're concerned with, with a system like yours I think you're better off with either a Cyrus Streamer (simple and effective solution) or a decent laptop + iTunes, with a bolted on piece of software like BitPerfect or Pure (more fiddly but possibly cheaper) or the streaming app in the Synology NAS (being free the cheapest of the lot, as long as you don't mind lack of gapless playback, no Spotify app and limited radio). Remember the second hand route via Ebay for Cyrus is always worth considering. Also Sonos won't handle 24 bit downloads, if that's a concern.

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RE: Streamer Advice

lbafsaj wrote:

My main concern is sound quality.    I do see a streamer as mainly a transport device.  Therefore,  will I see any real sound quality difference in buying a Sonos controller for approx  £ 300,  or a Cyrus streamer for a grand ?  Certainly the Dac in my Cyrus preamp is top notch,  so no concerns here. 

The August 2013 issue of HFN+RR carried a group test of streamers, including a Cyrus model. (I'm afraid I don't have a copy of the mag to hand. Back copies are available via the HFN website.) The Cyrus didn't do well in terms of SQ, though make of that what you will. My own view, FWIW, is that £1K for a Cyrus streamer would not be money well spent.

I know you say SQ is your main concern, but have you also considered the user interface? In this respect Sonos is most excellent. 

To answer your question, I do think Sonos has limitations in terms of SQ. So the Sonos boxes I use in decent systems (see my sig) have been modded e.g. to replace the cheapo PSU. The SQ of these modded boxes is, IMO, extremely good.

Good luck.

Matt

The screen door slams, Mary's dress waves ...

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RE: Streamer Advice RE: Streamer Advice

ngibbs wrote:

lbafsaj wrote:

My main concern is sound quality.    I do see a streamer as mainly a transport device.  Therefore,  will I see any real sound quality difference in buying a Sonos controller for approx  £ 300,  or a Cyrus streamer for a grand ?  Certainly the Dac in my Cyrus preamp is top notch,  so no concerns here. 

Personally I would say a definite Yes, you will notice a difference. My experience with Sonos + Cyrus has not been at all good, as I've already outlined. Contrary to what (many) others say, it's a good external DAC that can, in some cases, show up its deficiencies. It's not a question of it 'just' being a transport unfortunatley, there are issues of jitter and other stuff that I quite honestly don't understand, but I do know what my ears are telling me. Have a demo to be sure, but if it's really SQ that you're concerned with, with a system like yours I think you're better off with either a Cyrus Streamer (simple and effective solution) or a decent laptop + iTunes, with a bolted on piece of software like BitPerfect or Pure (more fiddly but possibly cheaper) or the streaming app in the Synology NAS (being free the cheapest of the lot, as long as you don't mind lack of gapless playback, no Spotify app and limited radio). Remember the second hand route via Ebay for Cyrus is always worth considering. Also Sonos won't handle 24 bit downloads, if that's a concern.

It's worth adding that I bought my Sonos to replace my CD player (Cyrus CD6SE) while it was being repaired. I was very disapointed with it (as I've already mentioned) and delighted when my CD player finally came back. The CD player has now been superceded by a Macbook Air and the Synology Streaming App (see sig.), both of which sound better than the CD player

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