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Im sure its been asked before but....

keelby1

Established Member
Looking at playing mp3s through an arcam AVR 350

What are my best options for sound quality:

Ps3 either streaming wirelessly or stored on hard drive using an external DAC

A mini mac using hdmi cable using iTunes

Arcam rdock using iPod classic

Or any other reasonably cheap method

I realise I'll never recreate the sound from the original cd!!!

Thanks in advance
 

HeweyBoy101

Established Member
Hi Keelby1,

I have an AVR300 and a Squeezebox Classic. When I got the Squeezebox I was not expecting much - it was cheap and I had the cash at the time!
I was wrong. The squeezebox was a revelation. Sounded Superb on MP3's and almost perfect for lossless CD rip's. I am currently thinking of upgrading to the Squeezebox Touch to get 96/24.

Genuinely, in my case, the Squeezebox is way better sounding than any CD or DVD player I had owned previously. All of my CD collection is ripped now in FLAC lossless format. I am connected to the AVR300 by coaxial digital - the Arcam DAC is very musical. Control via ipad or iphone or ipod is available for the cost of an app. I use iPeng. Finally, as a Spotify subscriber, I am able to stream at full 320 bitrate - sounds superb. Also, BBC iplayer radio plugin gives better than DAB quality.

Best £150 I ever spent - since getting Squeezebox I have rediscovered my music - so much so that music rather than movies is my main focus now.

I think you can get the Squeezebox Touch for £165'ish if you shop around. Plenty of reviews online as well. One thing - you do need a PC (or Mac) running a server application, with music stored locally (I use a laptop / external hard drive - backed up twice!). You can set wake on LAN to wake the PC when the Squeezebox is switched on. Works a treat. I think the new SB Touch can have an external HDD plugged in directly via USB, so no need for a PC.

All the best,
Mark
 
Last edited:

nacmacfeegle

Distinguished Member
As above recommendation, I have 5 Squeezebox zones with 3 classics, a Touch and a Boom.
"I think the new SB Touch can have an external HDD plugged in directly via USB, so no need for a PC."
Yes it can, and does it quite well, as long as you choose your USB drive carefully, you'll be fine.
Don't forget that SBs can be controlled from your Iphone/Pad, Android smartphone etc.
Control, is important for music use as you tend top chop and change the media you are streaming more than if you were watching video files.People also tend to have more music than videos (in my case about 50,000 songs vs about 250 films) so browsing experience is also very important.

Finally a Squeezebox Touch playing lossless FLAC is about on a par sonically with a decent CD player such as a £750 Cyrus 6, plus it will play High resolution files, so yes, you can recreate that CD quality sound, and better it with high resolution music downloads. Hi Res choice is pretty limited at the moment though.
 

amcluesent

Distinguished Member
Yep, but if you're content to use the AVR 350's DAC and have any existing investment in Apple stuff (iMac, iTunes etc), then the Airport Express would be an option.

If you really are taking about mp3 files, then there's no point in anything more fancy than an Express, Touch or a Sonos ZP90.
 

keelby1

Established Member
Thanks for the comments and advice. Looks like a squeezebox then.

Is it pure snobbery all the bitching about playing compressed music files?

Seems daft to spend £750 on a cd player when there's a cheaper and far more convenient way to listen to your music
 

nacmacfeegle

Distinguished Member
"Is it pure snobbery all the bitching about playing compressed music files?"

From Audiophiles? Pretty much. My opinion is that they just don't know what they are missing.
CDs are, after all, compressed audio.........

Each to their own though, plenty room in the world for differing opinions.
 

GW43

Prominent Member
Thanks for the comments and advice. Looks like a squeezebox then.

Is it pure snobbery all the bitching about playing compressed music files?

Storage is so cheap that there's little reason not to have lossless files as well as compressed files for portable devices.

320kbps are generally considered to be indistinguishable from lossless, but refer to point above!

MP3 is also considered by some to be inferior to other codecs at similar bitrates.
 

keelby1

Established Member
nacmacfeegle said:
As above recommendation, I have 5 Squeezebox zones with 3 classics, a Touch and a Boom.
"I think the new SB Touch can have an external HDD plugged in directly via USB, so no need for a PC."
Yes it can, and does it quite well, as long as you choose your USB drive carefully, you'll be fine.
Don't forget that SBs can be controlled from your Iphone/Pad, Android smartphone etc.
Control, is important for music use as you tend top chop and change the media you are streaming more than if you were watching video files.People also tend to have more music than videos (in my case about 50,000 songs vs about 250 films) so browsing experience is also very important.

Finally a Squeezebox Touch playing lossless FLAC is about on a par sonically with a decent CD player such as a £750 Cyrus 6, plus it will play High resolution files, so yes, you can recreate that CD quality sound, and better it with high resolution music downloads. Hi Res choice is pretty limited at the moment though.


Still haven't really sussed how these things work. I'm assuming the squeezebox doesn't have it's own hard drive and just streams from a pc. It would be a easier to have the flexibility to use a ps3 which also plays divx files without having to have a pc turned on all the time

Is there a difference in sound quality between say Sqeezebox and a ps3?
 

amcluesent

Distinguished Member
>Is there a difference in sound quality between say Sqeezebox and a ps3<

I should hope so! The PS3 analogue 2-channel out is really only for games/mixed-down movies.

If you used S/PDIF to an external DAC, then maybe not so much.
 

gavan

Prominent Member
>Is there a difference in sound quality between say Sqeezebox and a ps3<

I should hope so! The PS3 analogue 2-channel out is really only for games/mixed-down movies.

If you used S/PDIF to an external DAC, then maybe not so much.


Actually, the PS3 has superb sound quality if you hook it up to a suitable amp via HDMI as it will upsample the audio output to 176kHz and do some nifty digital processing on that upsampled signal.

It sounds noticeably better to my ears than my SB3 hooked up via optical to the same amp, playing the same mp3 off the same NAS, but the fan noise plus the need to have the TV switched on (for selecting music) are two major downsides to using it for music streaming. And of course it doesn't have anything like the flexibility & codec support overall of the Squeezebox system.
 

amcluesent

Distinguished Member
Personally I would't buy a Receiver as without a Controller they are tricky to setup and are now obsolete technology. Get a Touch.
 

gavan

Prominent Member
Personally I would't buy a Receiver as without a Controller they are tricky to setup and are now obsolete technology. Get a Touch.

You can do it - helped a mate set one up using net:UDAP and he uses iPeng to control it - but they are definitely a lot better teamed with the controller.

I picked up a Duet last weekend for £120 on offer at PCWorld and am pretty impressed having played around with it a bit. For the time being I'm sticking with my SB3 on my main stereo though.

Quite tempted by an additional receiver ... they would be awesome for discreet multiroom sound setups.
 

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