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Advice on new system - general options and set up for Hifi/Streaming

micky777

Standard Member
Hi

It's my first post following lots of information gathering that has been very helpful. I seem to be raising as many questions as answers and therefore hoped for some advice.

I am putting together a new system after a long time without a proper music set-up (I'm avoiding use of "Hi-fi" as that may not apply). I have a budget of around £500-£600 and wish to achieve some basic multi-room solution. I get most of my music on Spotify through a premium subscription or downloads to my laptop.

I wish to achieve a good main set up with an aesthetically pleasing hifi/speakers. I like the more traditional look for this. I would also like a add an option of having this fed to a different room (Kitchen) or garden to either play a different source or the same (if I'm having a party!)

I have looked at the following options:
  • Sonos: Looks great, but to have two systems would be at the top of the budget and it doesn't have that traditional look I'm going for.
  • Jongo: Cheaper, but as above with looks and doesn't support spotify (not sure about Pure Music).
  • Sony Homeshare/Party Streaming: This looks pretty decent, but budget wise is pushing it again and there doesn't seem to be much use of this.
  • Other bluetooth speakers/systems: Bluetooth doesn't seem to be good for multi-room.
  • Onkyo TX-8050 or CRN-755: I really like the look of these systems with the more traditional design, and they're both networked with native Spotify support, but I'm not sure how to create the multi-room with this.
The Onkyo system is appealing and I've thought about using the "Pre-out"/"Zone 2" set up to create a multi-room system using wireless speaker transmitters, either to some active speakers in the kitchen or a cheap amplifier.

I am wondering if this kind of set-up is achievable or recommended and whether anyone else has done this and if so what's it like?

Also, is there anything you think I may have missed based on the above?

Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions.

Michael
 

micky777

Standard Member
Thanks for the reply Sam. I hadn't looked at those before.

However, they seem to offer less functionality than Sonos and are in the same price-range. I'm also not sure if they would work as a multi-room set up since bluetooth (as far as i know) only allows for the connection of one speaker to a source at a time.

Also, I am likely to use an Android phone/tablet as the primary controller for the system, so Airplay wouldn't really work for me.

Thanks. I would be grateful for any other suggestions or comments on my ideas.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
For multi room, you really ought to be looking at networking ( wired or wireless) rather than bluetooth) If you don't mind second-hand you could source 2 squeezboxes Touch's or Classic V3 off that well known auction site. A couple of classics should set you back less than £200, 2x SBTouch may double that.

You could have a Yamaha AS500 for £280 or if you live anywhere near Lincoln - £224 and there also its smaller bro AS300 for £200.
Yamaha

There are other offerings from Marantz, Denon, etc that may also fit the bill.

Which kind of speakers Floorstanders or Bookshelf?
 

micky777

Standard Member
Hi Don Dadda,

Thanks for the tip. I don't mind second hand at all and had looked at Sonos on that site (although there seems to be very depreciation on those!).

I had actually discounted the Squeezebox set-up because I thought it was being phased out by Logitech and it might not be the best time to take up that offering. Do you know if the Squeezebox classic supports Spotify? If so, and its got a few years left in the platform, that's a great idea.

I really like the look of the Yamaha amps so pairing up with a Squeezebox could be the way to go thanks.

Speakers-wise, I think it will be bookshelf in the main room and probably the same in the Kitchen (although an all in one unit there could work).

It sounds like my idea of using the Onkyo and "Zone 2" is a bit fanciful??

Thanks again for the tips.

Michael
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Hi Micky

The amp suggested is just that, a suggestion, You may like it and you may not, so best demo with the speakers you like if at all possible.
Since you don't mind second hand, there are others that could be more suitable with more bang for buck, though the AS500 does offer a lot for new money

But first, can I clarify something? Is the budget for 1 setup including a streamer with a view for that to be part of a multi-room setup eventually? Or are you hoping to get more than 1 setup out of that budget? There's not a lot to play with if you are.

Also, what is the budget break down, how much are you looking to spend on each part - amp, speaker and MP?
Does the budget include speaker cable and interconnects?
With regards to multi-room, are you looking to have all rooms in sync or just able to access the same services?
Is it just the main room and kitchen that will form the muitl room setup?
Once known, suitable suggestions can be made.

With the help of Google, it turns out that the Squeezebox Classic (SB3) or Boom, Duet and older SB's, cannot officially use Spotify, but the Squeezebox Touch (SBT) can.

Spotify and Squeezebox Classic player

However, there is or was a unofficial third party SBS plugin by Triode that can be added to use Spotify on SB3. I say 'was' because the links are over 2 years old and the plugin is older still, so I do not know if it is still available.

People on the squeezebox forum here are discussing it but don't see where you to download it so you may need to register to get it. The thread is still being updated so it looks like it still available.

Still, it be easier to get the Touch and have the official Spotify support.

Onkyo 8050 does look impressive and can see it being ideal for some cases, but I haven't seen anything regarding its streaming abilities and how it holds up, so best do some research on that. Also, if you have compilations downloads or ripped cd's that are gapless, you may want to know if it can handle that as well as not all do.
With regards to the 8050 zone 2, it will feed another setup, but if you are streaming to another room via zone 2, you will have to go back to the 8050 to control the streaming functions. I can see that getting tedious. And then there is the trail of cable :(.

If you have a I-thing, there is this
Denon DNP-720AE for £185

Can utilise apple airplay to play tracks on Spotify from the I-thing and more Hi-Fi looking than sonos or SB's ;).
Drawback - Gapless only on Flac and hi-rez formats and not sure if it can do multi-room. Still pretty good for the price.

For more info on which streamers can use Spotify the Streamers & Network Music Players section may have more answers for you
 
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micky777

Standard Member
Hi Don Dadda

Thanks again for the comprehensive response. That's helped a lot and given me plenty to consdier.

My budget was originally planned to provide both the main setup and the secondary room for mutli-room. However, as you say, it doesn't leave much to play with and, having read more, I may be better spending more on the main system with an option to add more later.

I was trying to avoid i-things (as if Google is the plucky underdog!!), but the more I read the more I think it would make it easier to take a bite of that apple.

Thanks again for your help. I'm now going to do some more calculating and browsing!!

Cheer

Michael
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
No probs :smashin:
And I agree, with the budget at hand, concentrate on a getting the main setup sorted but no harm keeping a 2nd in mind for when funds allow.

If only a small setup is required for the 2nd room and if in the kitchen then something like a tripath amp , bookshelfs and media player might be enough for little outlay. Homeplugs can also be used if wireless is an issue or you rather be wired to the network

As an example:

MUSE M20 EX2 TA2020 £35 +pp
WHARFEDALE DIAMOND 9.1 SPEAKERS (PAIR) £100
Media player

Tripaths amps are small, low powered amplifiers with 1 line input, 2 at best but are regarded well. They don't like being pushed beyond their limited capability so do not expect party level performance. However, for moderate listening or for background noise at small gatherings and dinner parties, they can do a fine job.

One more thing, where will the music be stored for it to be accessed by the media players, NAS, PC, etc?
 
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micky777

Standard Member
Hi Don Dadda

Thanks again for the extra information.

On the storage front, most of the music won't actually be stored at all, but streamed through Spotify. The music I actually have is currently ripped to my laptop and will probably stay there. If I significantly increase the volume, I may one day go NAS, but it's not worth it for me at the moment and if I'm honest, I can't tell the difference between that and high-quality streamed from Spotify (that may of course change with decent Amp and speakers!)

Cheers

Michael
 

LostIn

Active Member
Hi Michael,

For the second system, don't discount the Squeezebox Radio. It supports the official Spotify plugin and comes in a very neat package. It also sounds good for the size.

If you enjoy tinkering and you're tech-savvie, then a slightly left-field solution for multi-room and Spotify is a couple of Raspberry Pi's ($25 each) running SqueezePlug (free) and the logitech media server which supports Spotify. You'll probably want to add a cheap USB sound card to each device, but one of these can easily be put together for under £50.

LostIn
 

juggler

Active Member
Hi Michael,

For the second system, don't discount the Squeezebox Radio. It supports the official Spotify plugin and comes in a very neat package. It also sounds good for the size.

If you enjoy tinkering and you're tech-savvie, then a slightly left-field solution for multi-room and Spotify is a couple of Raspberry Pi's ($25 each) running SqueezePlug (free) and the logitech media server which supports Spotify. You'll probably want to add a cheap USB sound card to each device, but one of these can easily be put together for under £50.

LostIn

Regulars here are probably getting bored of me saying this - an O2 joggler running SqueezePlay OS gives a very similar but more polished result than a RasPi for not much money on eBay. Not sure how well multi-room synchronisation works - but it should be ok.
 

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