Help with a streamer

I've recently subscribed to Apple Lossless streaming, purely to explore new music and to expand my tastes. I am using my iPad connected via the USB port to my Marantz CD6006. The sound quality I am getting is Pretty good but am wondering if I can do better.

I have a budget of between £400 - £500 for a streamer. If the DAC in the streamer is significantly better than the one in my Marantz, I will be able to run the Marantz through it.

My question is: For my budget, am I going to get anything which will offer a significant sonic upgrade over what I am using at the moment. I know the DAC in the Marantz is pretty good, and is a highly regarded CD player.

I don't really want to go above this budget.

Any Help appreciated.
 

andycc72

Active Member
Prior to getting the Node2I I used to stream the same way as you via my Yamaha CDS300 and to my untrained ear the streaming from the Node2i is far superior sound wise.

BUT I must caveat that with the fact that I upgraded pretty much the whole system at the same time so it wasn't a like for like comparison. Be interested to hear other people's opinions on this.
 

TB Rich

Active Member
Apple Lossless is a bit of a funny one at the moment with respect to streamers like the 2i, as you would need to use Airplay to send the music to them - and Airplay is capped at 24/48. Personally I think that's fine and consider CD quality to be the benchmark (16/44.1), however if you send anything higher than 24/48 it is going to be resampled by your iPad before transmitting. You can likely mitigate this by using the Lossless setting rather than the High-Quality Lossless setting (settings/music) as that should avoid pulling down the HQ Lossless material and resampling for Airplay transmission, which I think is best avoided.

If you absolutely want HQ Lossless Apple Music (i.e 24/96+) then you can't use Airplay and therefore need to use USB as you are doing. - Therefore just use the money to invest in a new DAC - though you'll probably want to up the budget to warrant the upgrade over your Marantz mind.

Using an iPad and USB to a DAC with HQ Lossless, will be better than using a streamer and Airplay basically, especially as USB uses the DAC's clock so as long as it's a decent one then you don't need to worry about the iPad as a source causing jitter etc.

The only caveat to this, I believe the Sonos Port is the only device to have some sort of native Apple Music integration that doesn't rely on Airplay? - just something I think I've read before so you'll need to do your own investigating in to it, and into how good it's own DAC is vs using it's (coax only) SPDIF output is, etc etc!
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I doubt very much that a £500 or better streamer will improve much, if at all, on your current setup. The dac, doing the work, in the Marantz is a good one.

£500 would be much better spent on better speakers (depending on your current ones).

That’s where real sound quality improvements come from.

EDIT.

BX5s I see.

Probably need more to spend to greatly improve them without going used.

(for reference).


A surprisingly inexpensive pair. But a fair old drive.


Closer but more than your budget.

And, getting a bit carried away...



But both your preamp and power amps are crying out for better speakers to boogie with.

So I’d save your cash.

Any ‘improvement’ with a different streamer would be tiny, at best.
 
Last edited:
I doubt very much that a £500 or better streamer will improve much, if at all, on your current setup. The dac, doing the work, in the Marantz is a good one.

£500 would be much better spent on better speakers (depending on your current ones).

That’s where real sound quality improvements come from.

EDIT.

BX5s I see.

Probably need more to spend to greatly improve them without going used.

(for reference).


A surprisingly inexpensive pair. But a fair old drive.


Closer but more than your budget.


But both your preamp and power amps are crying out for better speakers to boogie with.

So I’d save your cash.

Any ‘improvement’ with a different streamer would be tiny, at best.
Hi Paul. The BX5's sound great in my setup and room, as you say, I think I would have to spend greatly to improve the sound.
 

dollag

Well-known Member
Hi Paul. The BX5's sound great in my setup and room, as you say, I think I would have to spend greatly to improve the sound.

I thought that when i had my kef q500's, until i got my r500's.

Depending on the size of your room and the placement of your speakers, the MA platinum's listed above would totally outclass the bx5's. They will likely reach as low though.

I totally agree with @Paul7777x and would focus on speakers. The obvious route would be the MA silvers or golds. Ive seen some silvers on the market for just above your budget.

A dac upgrade in a good streamer would yield minimum gains imo.

@TB Rich stated, apple music is a weird one right now from a streaming stand point. If your happy with lossless quality, airplay is fine.

Getting an airport express mitigates the need for a streamer and can be connected directly to your marantz dac via an optical cable. I personally use roon and have multiple airport expresses around the house which i use for multi room music.
 
I think my question is pretty much answered. I will stick with what I have now with regard to streaming. My main sources for listening are vinyl and CD, in that order. I'm aware of the limitations of the BX5's and have spent a great deal of time setting them up to get the best out of them.

When I do get round to upgrading my speakers I will probably look towards Klipsch or Dali.
 

dollag

Well-known Member
I think my question is pretty much answered. I will stick with what I have now with regard to streaming. My main sources for listening are vinyl and CD, in that order. I'm aware of the limitations of the BX5's and have spent a great deal of time setting them up to get the best out of them.

When I do get round to upgrading my speakers I will probably look towards Klipsch or Dali.

My advice regarding speakers is of course try to demo them, and ideally, try and get a loan pair in your place.

I personally dislike klipsch but others love em.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Klipsch or Dali
I think both are on the bright side but the Klipsch are more at home with home theatre than music, especially with the horn design which is going to emphasis the treble maybe a bit too much. Klipsch wouldn't suit me personally nor my amp.

Try before you buy absolutely essential.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I think both are on the bright side but the Klipsch are more at home with home theatre than music, especially with the horn design which is going to emphasis the treble maybe a bit too much. Klipsch wouldn't suit me personally nor my amp.

Try before you buy absolutely essential.

Yup. I think they’re rather shouty in a brash American sort of way.
 

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