Best option for streaming to my Chord DAC

Discussion in 'Music Streamers' started by BigtimP, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. BigtimP

    BigtimP
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    Hello all,

    Just wanted to get some expert advice on which direction to go in terms of streaming music via my Chord QBD76.

    Currently I use a small ASUS netbook with a musical fidelity v-link usb-spdif convertor into the optical input of the Chord DAC.

    Mostly I use foobar2000 (to get at files on my NAS drive) or Tidal to stream from the internet.

    The Chord DAC sounds awesome, but is limited to 24/96 (unless anyone knows of a device other than the Chord Blu CD transport with a dual coax spdif output?)

    From a sonic point of view is there any advantage in me replacing the Netbook and v-link with a dedicated music streamer (I was looking at the Arcam rPlay or Bluesound node2) given I would almost certainly use the digital out from such a device? or is this a waste of time (given I'm only changing digital stuff?) I know that from a convenience point of view these streamers are easier than the netbook solution but that is not a major concern.

    The only other option would be to bypass the chord DAC and get a streamer that will play at 24/192, but this feels like a much more expensive option given the quality of the QBD76?

    Thanks in advance for any opinions :)

    Tim
     
  2. muljao

    muljao
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    Sonically there should be no real advantages with a streamer over the computer, convenience is a different matter though

    Edit- personally I think those high bitrates advertised are just market numbers
     
  3. BigtimP

    BigtimP
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    Thanks for the input muljao, you are certainly helping me hang onto my savings (or at least direct them into buying a new guitar :) ) I hear what you are saying about the numbers game thing. That said I was playing around with Tidal on another system (my Focal studio monitors hooked up to a focusrite audio interface and my main PC) and I do think I could hear a benefit of 24/192 vs 24/96 on that system. Could be a placebo effect but it did sound different. Still very little content on tidal though so I'm not overly stressed as the 24/96 on my main system does sound great.

    You are right about the convenience side of things. I was playing around with Audivana plus yesterday (again on the studio system.) Big plus is it connects to Tidal and they seem to have a remote app for ios phones. Sadly I'm the netbook is windows 7 and my phone is Android but who knows maybe one day there will be an Android app and I won't have to move the 15 feet to switch a playlist :)
     
  4. muljao

    muljao
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    I use a Raumfeld connector, maybe now called a teufal connector, that does up to 24/192 afaik, they are less than 150 quid and have an optical out, so it could do the full Res you want but whether it's built in Cyrus DAC is as good as your chord would need to be tested, they do however have an eight weeks no quibble return, I have 2 of these units, I like them that much
     
  5. BigtimP

    BigtimP
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    For that price and with the returns policy might be worth a listen :)
     
  6. Lord Essex

    Lord Essex
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    I’ve got a chord 2qute and have tried lots of different options via the usb input, pc & streamers and have found them to all sound the same.
     
  7. Khazul

    Khazul
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    The advantage of a streamer is just simply not having to tie up your computer. I really do not like having to use a computer for streaming - likely lack of remote, lack of AV/Hifi system integration, it is annoying when I want to move it, say to use on sofa, but the damn thing it connected to something via USB and Ill loose my sound when I disconnect etc.

    If looking for a streamer - I might suggest a look at a bluesound node 2 maybe. Otherwise my personal preference is the Roon system (which is what I use) if you happen to have or want suitable hardware to host it, but that is not going to be a great fit for your DAC and would need something to host it on (for eg, QNAP or Synology NAS, or perhaps an intel NUC) and then you still need some hardware to feed the DAC.

    It can run on a PC/Mac laptop, but that wont give you anything new other than a means to see if you like the system (its UI and especially basic features and tidal etc). It comes into its own when you don't run it on a normal computer and instead run it on a dedicate box or a NAS and use something like a raspberry pi (bare minimum kit or a touchscreen kit and ropieee OS image) to drive a good DAC of choice either via USB or via one of the various SPDIF adapters, but then it becomes a bit of a DIY project (even if the end result does not look like one) :)

    However, the end result is one that yields an excellent extensible streaming system like no other. You would probably want to be a tidal subscriber as well to get the most out of Roon :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  8. Jamie

    Jamie
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    Regarding bit rates and higher numbers, I'd agree it's a marketing TBH.

    Slightly OT but a few years ago myself and a mate did some listening and experimentation using various different versions of Pink Floyd's DSOTM album. The 24/192 version we had was noticeably better than the original CD or ripped FLAC we tried. However down converting the high res files produced the exact same better sounding results even when converted to 16/44.1. so in this particular scenario I can only conclude it wasn't the higher resolution but the better production and mastering that yeilded the improvements.
     
  9. 3rdignis

    3rdignis
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    I run an Apple 4ktv for tidal and find it very useable.
     
  10. BigtimP

    BigtimP
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    Roon looks interesting.

    I don't mind having the netbook tied up, its a bit old and I got it for this purpose and it performs ok. What would be great would be remotely controlling a player like roon via a phone app. Plus it will run on my windows 7 machine (unlike Audivana)

    What tempted me with Audivana was its able to decode the tidal mqa files. Wonder if roon does this?
     
  11. BigtimP

    BigtimP
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    Tidal has a 24/96 mqa version of the division bell which sounds great. sadly no HD version of DSOTM :(
     
  12. BigtimP

    BigtimP
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    One question I still can't get my head around. If I had say the bluesound node 2 mqa enabled player, and I used its digital out to my DAC, would I be getting the benefit of fully unpackaged mqa?

    edit: it seems that the digital out of devices like the node2 are not fully unpacked (whatever that means) so would be limited to 24/96 which is what I'm getting from the tidal desktop app. So again no reason to spend money unless the dac in the node 2 is awesome (it doesn't seem to get great reviews) and full mqa blows away the chord.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
  13. Khazul

    Khazul
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    Yes - Roon can do the first level decode of MQA from Tidal in software and only needs an MQA DAC for rendering stage. In fact I have a DAC that can do decode and render, but I still use Roon software decode. It also has installer for x86 based QNAP and Synology NAS.
     

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