All there is to know about Hi Res music streaming!

Doc Jimbo

Standard Member
I am struggling to get my head around all the terminology relating to music streaming, the devices required and the separate names and functions of the various distinct components elements/components of a streaming system. Is there a reference resource anywhere that explains this? Obviously I realise that I could buy an all in one streaming amplifier to which I can just add speakers. In fact I have one already - a Denon AVC X3700H - which is primarily an AV amp but which also provides the functionality to stream music too. I currently subscribe to an Apple family membership. I have the Denon connected to the AV input of a Naim amplifier (It's a Naim Nait 5 that is de-coupled and used as a pre-amp with a Naim NAP 200 as a power amp). The playback quality of the music and sound when using this arrangement to stream from Apple Music is ok but doesn't blow my socks off. I have listened to Hi Res music, by which I mean better than CD quality including DSD (as used for SACDs I believe) through high quality equipment and it was amazing. I appreciate that probably the most important component in this is a DAC but unfortunately, I don't think there is a digital output (USB?) on the Denon that will enable me to connect it to a DAC (such as Chord Qutest) between the AV amp and the HiFi system to help improve the quality of the sound reproduced. I understand that I might need to be able to access a different streaming service or other source of Hi Res music to be able to listen to the best quality available.
Initially I was planning to upgrade by adding a separate Naim Streamer or even possibly an Auralic but I want to consider other ways to achieve what I want. Apparently, if I'm unable to take a digital output from my AV amp to feed a DAC then I'll need some kind of music "renderer". What on earth is that? What is a streaming deck, a streaming player and a streaming transport? Is there a difference between these two and are they different from a stand alone streamer such as the Naim or Auralic? What is an upsampling processor?
I suppose I might be best advised to buy a streaming pre-amp which could potentially remove what is possibly currently the weakest part of my hifi music set-up i.e. the Naim integrated amp being used as a pre-amp, but I think I would be better informed and more likely to come to the correct decision for me if I better understood the various components and related functions of a Hi Res music system and I actually like the idea of getting a separate DAC, especially the Chord Qutest, at least in the first instance even if ultimately change to a stand alone streamer or streaming pre-amp.
 

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
Morning - why not separate the Naim kit which should provide excellent Hifi sound from the Denon AV kit and add something like the Blusound Node or Ifi Zen Blue 2?
 
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gava

Well-known Member
Apple music doesn't support high Res, so you'd have to change your music service.
 

Doc Jimbo

Standard Member
Morning - why not separate the Naim kit should provides excellent Hifi sound from the Denon AV kit and something like. blue puns Node or Ifi Zen Blue 2?
The Naim is effectively separate as it drives the front left & right speakers & for music/Hi-Fi (CD & turntable) the Denon is not required. For AV/home cinema use I have connected the front left and right pre-outputs to the A/V input on the Naim so that the Naim powers the front left & right channel whilst the Denon prides centre, rear, rear surrounds, ceiling speakers & subwoofer.
 

nomore landings

Active Member
Hi, I agree with ascotbilly, a blue sound Node is a very capable streamer/ DAC with an excellent operating system. Qobuz would be my choice having dabbled with Tidal and Amazon. I would start by RCA into your Naim pre and see what you think. It also has RadioParadise lossless and uniquely, MQA stream, inbuilt. Excellent SQ to my ears. I output to my TEAC DAC via coax, but has usb option if you add a higher quality DAC later. I suspect that your analogue pre is better than the digital ones common on streamer/DACs, but have not tried the one on my TEAC So might be wrong. I like my amps analogue! I have an older Denon 6200W and it’s streaming capabilities are probably there to fill the spec sheet. A Node is an excellent intro to streaming at reasonable cost, imho, without disrupting the rest of your setup.
 

gava

Well-known Member
You could consider the iFi Zen Stream as a pure streaming device.
 

Flobs

Active Member
@Doc Jimbo I'm in a boat even further from understanding than you. So following this tthread with interest.
I always used my computer but at the moment it's too far from my kit, that will change but even so I'd like a more modern approach and possibly better restitution.
Since satrting reading this thread I have done some more searching and thanks to WhatHiFi found these.
Bluesound Node (2021) 600€ and from what I can gather the sound is in that price range so not an option for me except at a push.
NAD C658 1750€ Great compatibility and seems a good performer.
TECHNICS SL-G700E 2500€ This is getting expensive but includes a CD SA-CD compatible player which is more than interesting to me. Compatible Chromecast so Amazon Music is 'included' and appears to be an exceptional performer.

I'm also looking to upgrade my CD player (so I can hand my only working one to my daughter. I'm hesitating as I would also like a 4K Bluray player, which appears to be the Panasonic DP-UB9000 EG1 at 1000€ and covers most of what I'm looking for apparently except SA-CD player and appears to be a good audio option. As it can down scale DTS to 2 channel bitsteam it is of extra interest to me.
 

Doc Jimbo

Standard Member
Apple music doesn't support high Res, so you'd have to change your music service.
I also noticed that Apple Music has upgraded to lossless but have to say that I am struggling to really tell the difference between the previous resolution and the new hi res versions (when available) when listening through my system set up as it is. I think that's possibly because when I was able to demo hi res music at my local retailer the quality of the equipment was high and some tracks were DSD which I understand is even higher quality. I don't think Apple Music offer DSD but I'd need to check.
 

Doc Jimbo

Standard Member
@Doc Jimbo I'm in a boat even further from understanding than you. So following this tthread with interest.
I always used my computer but at the moment it's too far from my kit, that will change but even so I'd like a more modern approach and possibly better restitution.
Since satrting reading this thread I have done some more searching and thanks to WhatHiFi found these.
Bluesound Node (2021) 600€ and from what I can gather the sound is in that price range so not an option for me except at a push.
NAD C658 1750€ Great compatibility and seems a good performer.
TECHNICS SL-G700E 2500€ This is getting expensive but includes a CD SA-CD compatible player which is more than interesting to me. Compatible Chromecast so Amazon Music is 'included' and appears to be an exceptional performer.

I'm also looking to upgrade my CD player (so I can hand my only working one to my daughter. I'm hesitating as I would also like a 4K Bluray player, which appears to be the Panasonic DP-UB9000 EG1 at 1000€ and covers most of what I'm looking for apparently except SA-CD player and appears to be a good audio option. As it can down scale DTS to 2 channel bitsteam it is of extra interest to me.
I think we're in a very similar position. I was considering purchasing a Pioneer "universal" player but they seem to be unavailable currently and so have been considering the Panasonic. I could alternatively buy a cheaper Panasonic 4K disc player and buy a separate CD player with combined music streamer or even one with a pre-amp. The many and various ways in which it is possible to achieve the same ends is mind boggling and kind of paralyses me into taking no action - at least until something clicks and pushes me in a specific direction
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I was considering purchasing a Pioneer "universal" player
You'll not find a new one. I have the LX500 and it's a very fine multi channel SACD player but doesn't have streaming abilities. It look increasingly unlikely they will return to the market.

Hi-Res audio to me personally is stereo SACD. Not heard anything to beat it. I don't use the Pioneer for stereo work but have a Denon DCD 2500 player.
 

Flobs

Active Member
I think we're in a very similar position. I was considering purchasing a Pioneer "universal" player but they seem to be unavailable currently and so have been considering the Panasonic. I could alternatively buy a cheaper Panasonic 4K disc player and buy a separate CD player with combined music streamer or even one with a pre-amp. The many and various ways in which it is possible to achieve the same ends is mind boggling and kind of paralyses me into taking no action - at least until something clicks and pushes me in a specific direction
I'm getting close to just using my computer to stream (just have to move it and it's desk across the room once I've sorted out space for it, easier said than done)). Send that through my cheapo DAC (about 30€).
Still I'd still like something that plays BluRay 4k (computers too old for that) that downgrades DTS most solutions the DTS Down grade to stereo is to bitstream so still need a DAC (this is what I understand the 999€ Panasonic does even though it has stereo RCA phono outs) There's just not an all in one solution.
The Technics SA-CD player would be interesting if I had SA-CD's as it has preouts and DIRAC giving the option of nicely incorporating a sub if I ever have the urge. (I mean I have got a system worth investing in).
I really need to understand more for example my TV can do a lot of streaming stuff, just can't read DTS input.
I'm probably just too 'old fashioned' liking RCA phono connections, I find them reassuring as you can see the pathway, all these radio, bluetooth solutions just ring of low quality as I have never lived in a house with good radio signals and still love hard copies. So much now is modulated 'rubbish' even amps. ;)
 

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
I’ve trialed pretty much every streaming service bar Qubuz plus bbc sounds Radio paradise and Tunein although the latter is rarely used now as many stations have dropped off.
I find all of them to be of good sound quality even the supposed low definition broadcasts. With that in mind I’ve hit a wall with “streaming” as I can’t hear much of a difference in the various formats so for me the cost of a high spec “streamer” would be wasted.
 

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