I see the bulk of dispute revolves around functionality and ease of use. but what about actual audio performance? can any steamer supporter tell me how can a networked streamer offer a more reliable link to music data, since they rely on the network throughput, than a PC running RAM playback supporting software (like JPlay or JRiver) through an ASIO or KS driver all fed from an SSD internal drive, or at the very least a Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 enabled external one? I really can't see what sonic advantages a dedicated streamer might have over a dedicated music playback PC.
Giro, InTheGroove, Digit, ClassicOne, MG12
Not sure if I replied here already (the memory's the first thing to go I hear...), however, I use the Onkyo as the point by which everything is routed. Music storage is on a 1TB Western Digital external HDD, a 2TB one would be my next purchase as a backup. The cost of that is now cheaper than the 1TB one was a couple of years ago! WD also do the MyBook NAS which is pretty much the same thing just attached to the network. The hard drive connects to the rear USB port on the 818 and the contents are displayed on the TV if I want to see the full listing more easily, or I can scroll through on the Onkyo's front panel readout.
Anything else - the ATV3, or the PS3 - goes through the TV and thereon to the 818 afterwards. Connectivity to the network is via Devolo Homeplugs which are an excellent solution.
Most of my music playback however is via CD. I occasionally use the HDD, but sound quality off the Arcam player works a treat.
Onkyo TX-NR818 / Tannoy DC4 speakers / Marantz UD-7007
AVI Lab Series CD player / various cables
It can't basically. Like I've said, a pc and streamer are bascially the same thing. It's all down to how you want to use it and what you want to use it for that would make you chose one over the other.
In properly configured wired network, data stream reliability is a non-issue. And since it is dedicated hardware there is no other processes competing for hard drive access. (Which is the (potential) problem RAM playback software on a PC is trying to solve.)
In short, both PCs and streamers are more than adequately equipped to feed a stable data stream to the DAC. If configured properly, both should be feeding exactly the same bit-stream to the DAC, and there is basically no difference in SQ.
I bought a Cyrus XPQX streamer which is connected to a NAS drive by an ethernet cable.
I was blown away by the quality of the sound.
One month later I sold my CD player - Arcam CD FMJ37 and am in the process of copying CDs to the NAS drive.
The sound from the copied cd files is much better than from the CD player and purchased Flac files are very impressive.
Internet radio is also great with thousands of stations to choose from.
This also gives me the ability to record music from internet radio to flac files (Using Total Recorder Professional) and I often set this up to record various programs whislt I am at work.
My Cyrus is hooked up to Spendor D7's and a Musical Fidelity M6i.
What is your streamer, the_lhc?
Formerly known as al7478...
HC: Panasonic PXP 42 V20; Panasonic DMP BD35; Humax Foxsat-HDR
Music: Optical out from Asus P7H55-M Motherboard into AVI ADM 9.1 speakers.
"Music will provide the light you cannot resist"
i'm using netbook as mine pc streamer, and as far as space is considered, you cant get much smaller and you have 10" screen just in case...just look at the prices of dedicated streamers with such screen real estate...i still dont get it why netbooks met with such hatred...at least for audio purposes...and it can works on battery, which is a big thing for many audio freaks on paper, it looks like almost ideal solution for pc audio...
p.s. and it can run linux too...
You still have to build it and configure it all yourself.
cmon...i dont have to build anything, it comes with operating system, and all i should do is to choose usb dac in sound properties...and asio in foobar...5 minutes tops...if someone has a problem with such a simple operation chances are they belong in the group 'how to set up mine vcr for recording', and they will certainly have problems with anything, be it microwave or dedicated network player...
How massively patronising of you. Also too much of a generalisation, I spent so long trying to get my laptop to reliably play music without stuttering every ten seconds (including foobar with ASIO as it happens) that I gave up and I've been working in IT for 20 years, I know my way around a PC (although it's not my primary role) and any number of UNIX variants, if I can't get it working the average Joe or Joanne isn't going to be able to fix that sort of thing.
The other point is I spend all day staring at computers, when I go home and want to listen to some music to relax the last thing I want to do is stare at another computer in order to do it.
Fact is, a PC will not output a bit-perfect stream without EDITED about with it, with a streamer you just switch it on and it's ready to go.
No signature worth mentioning...
Sonos, I thought everybody knew that? It's the only technical thing I ever talk about!
i remember the thread, wasn't it that you had a faulty sony viao laptop?
Also, just because you had such serious issues doesn't mean that everybody else does, so please stop touting it as some kind of fact, it's not. The only fact is that *you* had issues. There's plenty of people who experience miminal set ups just as tacty said, (load up, select the output device and away you go) and if it were such a problem then people wouldn't sell things like vortexboxes....
Also, you say you don't like to stare at computers when you get home, but how do you control your sonos.... ;p (tongue in cheek btw)....
On the other hand, it is simply ridiculous to suggest that anyone who had trouble with a computer would also have trouble with a VCR.
unless you are a teacher :D Lost count the amount of times in my youth we had to sort out the vcr for the teachers
Wireless streaming issues are a common problem via a router. Whether this is the fault of the router, the network provider, the ISP, whatever, is neither here nor there, it's a problem and it puts people off waiting for the stream to buffer, or it's halted for some other reason. Spotify is fine for the most part for me, but it's nothing like perfect and there hasn't been a session yet where I've gone all night without an interruption of some sort. This can either be fairly quick (within ten seconds) or longer (several minutes).
So while streaming as a concept is a good one, there are competing variables that can make the end result hit and miss for a lot of users. And yes, that is a fact which seems to be an issue for some of the proponents of wireless streaming to accept.
i remember the thread, wasn't it that you had a faulty sony viao laptop?
No it's a Dell and there's nothing (apparently) wrong with it, certainly no faults being reported.
I bet they don't sell very many of them, comparatively speaking. Point is if I had issues, other people will have issues (or are you trying to suggest that mine is the only PC ever to go wrong?), there are plenty of people who wouldn't be able to even begin doing what Tacty suggested but that doesn't make them to sort of drooling idiots he seems to think they are.
Without using a PC (thought I made that clear enough...).
Although, as has been pointed out before, this is a problem with wi-fi not with streaming as such. You can stream music via ethernet ...
In any case, the OP's question was about dedicated streamers vs computers. Routers can be (and often are) used with both.
What classical music are you listening to?
© 2014 Haymarket Publishing