Answered Streamer advice needed for Musical Fidelity A5/ beolab 9 speakers

Discussion in 'Music Streamers' started by Velocitybeats, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. Velocitybeats

    Velocitybeats
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    Hi,
    New to the forum and hoping for some input on a choice of streamer.
    I've got quite an unusual set up, with a Musical Fidelity A5 dual mono preamp, driving a pair of active Bang and Olufsen Beolab 9 speakers. Currently front end is a laptop with a Meridian Explorer usb dac which im using to stream with tidal. I'm wanting to upgrade to a dedicated streamer , for both better sound quality and also convenience as dont like having to boot the laptop up all the time.
    I've been considering the Yamaha WXA 10D, or possibly the Arcam rplay. Not sure if either unit offers soind quality on par with the rest of my setup? Would I be better off looking at a more high end unit or would either of the mentioned streamers be adequate?
    Any help much appreciated
     
  2. Best Answer:
    Post #5 by BlueWizard, Sep 7, 2018 (1 points)
  3. larkone

    larkone
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    Quality of the digital stream will be exactly the same up to the DAC regardless of the streamer, it is the kit from the DAC onwards that can affect quality.
     
  4. Velocitybeats

    Velocitybeats
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    Thanks larkone,
    What I really wanted input on, was in terms of the dacs built into the streamers, would either of the two units mentioned sound better than my meridian explorer usb dac, and would they be a match for the rest of my system, or would I be selling it short by using those source components?
    Thanks
     
  5. larkone

    larkone
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    DACs over quite a range of price points vary very little in my experience - the only to be sure you are not wasting money on an upgrade that does not deliver is to get these devices on a 'try or buy' basis and trust your ears.
     
  6. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Best Answer
    Just as a reference, the Yamaha WXAD-10 uses Burr-Brown DACs (24b/192k) -

    MusicCast WXAD-10 - Overview - Accessories - Audio & Visual - Products - Yamaha - Other European Countries

    Yamaha WXAD-10 (MusicCast Add) | TechRadar

    "The WXAD-10 will play uncompressed WAV, FLAC and AIFF in 192kHz 24-bit resolution, as well as ALAC at 96 kHz 24-bit. However the WXAD-10 is unable to play DSD files of any description."


    Realistically, not that many people are actually using DSD, so the absents of that feature is no real loss. DSD is ...more or less... the file format for SACDs.

    The quality of the DAC in the Network Streaming Device you buy will be proportional to the quality of the Streamer you buy.

    Do we have any sense of the BUDGET range you are in? The working range is between £30 and just under £2000, though if you have the cash, prices incrementally rise from this range up about £15,000.

    The SONOS:Connect (£350) are an old popular and proven company, but ...as of yet.... you are limited to CD quality sound, no Hi-Res support.

    Sonos CONNECT

    The BlueSound Node-2 is about £500, has a fast processor and will support High-Res files.

    Bluesound NODE2 (Black)

    The Cambridge CXN (£799) is not cheap, but Cambridge has been making Network Player for quite a few years now, ahead of everyone else, and their products are well regarded.

    Cambridge Audio CXN V2 (Silver)

    Cambridge Audio - CXN (V2) Network Player

    Next up the Cambridge 851N (£1399) and others are pretty solid. You just need to determine how much money you want to spend.

    Cambridge Audio AZUR 851N (Black)

    Cambridge Audio - Azur 851N Premium Network Player

    I should mention that both the Cambridge CXN and the 851N have Pre-Amp capability, and have external access to the internal DACs via Optical, Coaxial, and USB. So they are also pretty versatile. In theory, they could eliminate the need for both your existing Pre-Amp and your USB DAC. You could have it all in one box.

    The Yamaha WXAD-10 is very reasonably priced at £123 from this particular source, but do shop around -

    Yamaha WXAD10 (Dark Grey)

    MusicCast WXAD-10 - Overview - Accessories - Audio & Visual - Products - Yamaha - Other European Countries

    In a similarly economical blend, the Yamaha WXC-50 (£249) -

    Yamaha WXC50 Network Pre-Amp

    MusicCast WXC-50 - Overview - Yamaha - Other European Countries

    The Yamaha system aren't prefect, but they offer very high value for the money.

    So, the starting point is your working BUDGET. All things stem from there.

    You have pretty nice equipment, so one assumes you can spend a fair bit on a Network Streamer. I would guess the Cambridge CXN (£800) would hit a pretty high standard without breaking the bank. Again, how far you want to take it is up to you, as I mentioned or implied, I've seen Network Streamers are high as US$18,000, though I personally think you would be crazy to pay that.

    At a lower cost, the BlueSound NODE-2 (£500) is modestly price, and a very fast processor, and is extremely popular around the world.

    BLUESOUND - NODE 2 Network Streaming

    There is also the Bluesound Vault-2 (£1100) which has a built in CD Drive for Ripping CDs, and it has 2Tb if internal storage and acts as a media server for THOUSANDS of Albums.

    Bluesound VAULT2 (Black)

    BLUESOUND - VAULT 2 Network Streaming w/CD w/2Tb

    At a reasonable price, the Bluesound are pretty desirable products.

    What really makes or breaks a Network Player is not so much the hardware but the associated software. Your daily interaction with the device will be through the Smart Phone/Pad/Tablet App. That is also the hardest aspect to get information on.

    Of course, what is presented here is really just a cross section of available products. But they do nicely illustrate the range of possibilities.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  7. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    This company has ceased production, but there are still a few rare products available. This are generally regarded as very high quality products, but they are limited to available stock, so when inventory is gone, they are gone forever.

    OPPO Sonica DAC/Streamer -£699 (£799 retail) -

    Oppo Sonica DAC

    These products are so desirable and rare that in the USA, they are selling for about Twice their suggested retail price.

    Whether this is for you is a judgement call you will have to make. But quality products, and heartbreaking that the company is no longer producing products.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  8. Velocitybeats

    Velocitybeats
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    Thanks Steve, that's a comprehensive answer!

    As potentially a temporary measure I picked up the Yamaha WXAD 10, and I've got to admit, it seems strange plugging in such a cheap device to an expensive hifi, however, withTidal streams it sounds absolutely great. I did also try some high res tracks at 24bit /96kz, and couldn't believe how good it sounds.

    With a desire to keep the Musical fidelity a5 preamp as its such a solid unit, I think I'll stick with the Yamaha for a while.

    Budget wise I guess I was thinking upto about £1000-£1500 so as to roughly match the price of the preamp, but I was open to what would work best with my current system. Will probably try out some more expensive products in future on a loan basis to see if there are significant improvements in sound quality.
    Thanks again
     
  9. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Cambridge Audio has actually been making streaming units for quite a while, and all were generally well received.

    The Cambridge CXN Network Player has a lot of positive reviews, and come in just under your budget. Also a lot of video reviews on YouTube -

    youtube.com/results?search_query=Cambridge+Audio+CXN

    There are also videos on the Cambridge Software Connect App from Cambridge and others, though this is not an area where I have a lot of expertise, the software seems pretty good -

    youtube.com/results?search_query=cambridge+audio+Connect+app

    For even the very best Hardware, it is the Software that makes or breaks the Network Streaming experience. None are prefect, but some are certainly better than others.


    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018

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