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Simple home streaming setup recommendations?

jonokimber

Standard Member
I have an existing NAS with DLNA server and a good wifi setup around my house. I'd like to get a handheld touch device (apple iPod or an android tablet) that I can use as my music selector and then stream either from the DLNA server to the hifi or play stored music direct from the tablet or iPod to the hifi.

I need to by the hifi and the handheld device hence my request here.
I am pretty technical so can handle some hardcore comments and am happy to do some more research
I care quite a bit about the quality of the music, maybe not so much for the kids music but for the adult stuff more so

I don't want full blown separates and budget is £400 pounds max all in. I'm looking at a mini hifi style setup.

I have seen several devices that are all in one CD players, dab radio and have Bluetooth and DLNA which is nice but the I had the bright idea of using a tablet or iPod for controlling the playlists etc.

What can anyone advise in terms of the quality of the music playback if I stream from the tablet or iPod to a device like this, or stream from the DLNA server! via the device? Where does any DAC get done, always in the hifi? Or for any of the scenarios mentioned would the hifi just be like a pair of wireless speakers and the quality be determined by the tablet?

I know I've got lots of questions and maybe this post isn't structured right to get a decent set of answers, apologies.

I would like a handheld device as it could be used on holidays and also with a smaller more simple Bluetooth speaker for my girls bedroom.

So do I go for a device that has it al or a standard hifi with a Bluetooth adaptor, or a wifi hifi that has an app to control it, like a Yamaha RN301?

Help, I am confused and there's so many options and choices and I'm a bit out of my comfort zone having not looked at this stuff for soooo long.

Thanks


Jono
 

Cebolla

Prominent Member
What's the NAS and the UPnP/DLNA media server you are currently using?
The majority of UPnP/DLNA streaming devices are entirely dependent on how the music file library is arranged and therefore presented to them. So a UPnP media server that's buggy and/or poorly supported and/or one poorly developed for music would likely make an unfriendly playback experience, regardless of the sound quality of the playback chain. Certainly try to avoid using stock 'all' media servers usually, derived from an old version of Twonky. Instead, if possible, use a music file dedicated UPnP media server like MinimServer or Asset UPnP.

UPnP/DLNA music file streaming is as it says, ie, digital music file data is what gets transfered over the network, from the UPnP/DLNA media server to the streamer. So the DAC is always at the UPnP/DLNA streamer (aka player aka renderer) end, as the audio file data is yet to be decoded into the digital audio signal format (ie played) acceptable by the DAC.

A controlling tablet device, via the UPnP/DLNA controller (aka control point) app, has absolutely no bearing on sound quality as all it does is instruct the UPnP/DLNA streamer what music file tracks to stream from the UPnP/DLNA media server (from the playlist constructed by the user) and provide the user with streamer controlling playback functions (eg stop, pause, play, skip, etc).
 

jonokimber

Standard Member
Hi Cebolla - Thanks for your reply.

My DLNA server is probably a stock jobber. It's on a Western Digital 2 TB NAS drive that I use for Videos, Files and Music currently.
Here's a bit of info from the status screen, it may help diagnose?
Version 7.2.9_7.5.0-43
Media Music Tracks: 5727 Pictures: 22803 Videos: 449

It seems ok on my WiFi connected Flow and i've had no stuttering or streaming issues.

I don't have any problems with a USB stick in the back of the hifi unit, or actually having a tablet full of music either. Maybe I could get an android tablet with a 32gb card and keep it fully updated / synced with my collection and bluetooth it all the time to the hifi?

What is considered a better solution? Bluetooth or DLNA? Or is it dependent on the application?

Jono
 

Cebolla

Prominent Member
Ok, the default UPnP/DLNA media servers used by WD NASs are normally Twonky ones. However, a quick search on the net for version 2.3.9-7.5.0-43 of the media server appears to be quite a recent version of Twonky for WD My Cloud NASs. So you may be ok using this media server.

If not, the usual replacement is the MiniDLNA media server, which is quite a tricky procedure as you'll likely be using the current v4 of the NAS's firmware, eg,
see for v4 firmware:
[APP] MiniDLNA original/patched for firmware V4+ (10/2015)
as opposed to older instructions for v3 firmware:
[GUIDE] Install MiniDLNA on WD My Cloud (firmware series 3)

You're unlikely to be able to install my usual recommended music file media server, MinimServer, as that requires the Java Runtime to be installed and I don't think that's possible on WD My Cloud v4 firmware.

Unlike UPnP/DLNA, using bluetooth for streaming does have an impact on sound quality. This is because the bluetooth transmitter actually captures the digital audio signal produced by the source device playing a sound, using a lossy codec, which is what is then streamed and played back by the bluetooth receiving device. The SBC codec is used as standard in Bluetooth audio and the higher quality (but still lossy) aptX codec is also used by some newer Bluetooth audio devices.

If you were for some reason opt to keep a fully updated / synced copy of your music collection on storage directly accessible to an Android tablet, you'd still be able to use the UPnP/DLNA option, with an Android app that can function as a UPnP/DLNA media server, eg BubbleUPnP.

The main issue with UPnP/DLNA streaming devices is ease of use and supported features when controlling playback (and not sound quality) when compared to using Bluetooth. So things like track selection from the music file library & playlist building, playback navigation functions (play, pause, skip, track slider, etc), volume control, album art display, etc.

This is because with Bluetooth you'll be using the same familiar software on the source device, eg your normal music playing app's playback control features. With UPnP/DLNA you are relying on the playback control features of the UPnP/DLNA controller software AND the support of those features by the UPnP/DLNA streamer connected to/ built into the hifi.
 
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mike7

Distinguished Member
I don't have any problems with a USB stick in the back of the hifi unit, or actually having a tablet full of music either. Maybe I could get an android tablet with a 32gb card and keep it fully updated / synced with my collection and bluetooth it all the time to the hifi?

What is considered a better solution? Bluetooth or DLNA? Or is it dependent on the application?

I'm getting good results from using a Chromecast Audio and my record collection stored on my Android mobile. Links through your home network which is much more reliable than Bluetooth. Google promise a multiroom set-up with a later upgrade. Only £30 and its linked by an optical cable to my Hi-fi Amp. Currently using Allcast App but experimenting with BubbleUPnP. Streams Deezer and Spotify as well.
 
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jonokimber

Standard Member
Thanks again to Cebolla and mike7. The situation is becoming clearer yet more open, I suppose that's what research does for you?

The upgrade to my DLNA server is something to consider should my existing setup not provide what i'm after.

As for the hifi hardware i'm angling towards something like this Sony SBT300, after all it even has aptX so as long as my source device does too then I should be able to get some great streaming quality. I can of course also use my DLNA server or a USB stick too. 100w is probably fairly meaningless but in my old fashioned sense it seems to be a decent power.

Does anyone have anything to say about this range of Sony systems and the features and functions?

Thanks all again.

jono
 

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