Streamer/DAC/Amplifier recommendations please

mcdonja

Standard Member
A couple of years ago I bought a Home Cinema set up:

Sony AV receiver & BluRay, Tannoy Floorstanders, rear and centre speaker and a BK Subwoofer. Very happy with it, DVD's sound great as do Blu Rays.

However, playing CD's through it was fairly average, not as good as my old (now defunct) hifi system which is 33 years old!

I bought a Squeezebox classic at the same time and have played a few MP3 tracks thru it but they didnt sound any better.

SO, have decided I would like to listen to music properly.

I'm going to rip my CD collection as FLAC files to my Buffalo Linkstation 1TB NAS. (using EAC)

I have a laptop, not sure if I want to use it OR use an alternative method of playing tracks

I also have a Toshiba external Hard Drive 1TB

I dont want to play CD's

I dont want/need multi room.

I have a long living room/dining room and would really like to be able to fill it with a quality sound, sometimes loud.

At the moment am happy to use the Tannoy Floorstanders

I'd like to be able to access Internet Radio, Spotify, lastfm, not at all bothererd about AirPlay

Dont really like itunes, find it all too automatic, prefer more manual process to store tracks, copy/paste etc, prefer my own filing system

Most important priority = Sound Quality

QUESTION 1: Should I continue using AV Amp? How much better would the sound quality be from a Hi FI Amp? I'm always happy to look at What HiFi's 5 * products and was interested in the Rega Brio R, Naim Nait 5i or the Roksan Kandy K2. The Marantz PM6004 gets a good write up too, but would it be as good as the more expensive ones?

QUESTION 2: Assuming I buy say one of the Amps around £800, what is the best way to 'supply' the music? Laptop-NAS-Squeezebox-Amp ? OR would I be better buying a streamer? On balance I like the idea of NOT having to use a laptop.

QUESTION 3: Should I buy a separate DAC ? The Squeezebox Classic has a DAC, but the write ups for the Arcam rDac, Rega DAC and the Audiolab M-DAC are very good too

QUESTION 4:FUTUREPROOFING- The squeezebox classic will(I believe) be able to process FLAC files, but no higher resolution files. I could start off using the SB Classic, then maybe replace it with a better streamer later on, when more HD tracks are readily available, or should I just buy a better streamer now with/without DAC

Apologies for the long winded thread, but advice/suggestions would be most appreciated as I'm hoping to go and visit some dealers in 4 days time and I'd like to have an idea in my mind before I arrange the demos

Thanks very much
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
QUESTION 1: Should I continue using AV Amp? How much better would the sound quality be from a Hi FI Amp? I'm always happy to look at What HiFi's 5 * products and was interested in the Rega Brio R, Naim Nait 5i or the Roksan Kandy K2. The Marantz PM6004 gets a good write up too, but would it be as good as the more expensive ones?
You don't actually say what receiver you currently own? OK a dedicated amp is a dedicated amp and generally speaking you have to spend more for the equivalent music playback SQ from a receiver, but you never know you might be pleasantly surprised by your receiver's SQ. Or alternatively the difference is such you are willing to overlook. Of course that does not account for a large budget difference which you seemingly infer
QUESTION 2: Assuming I buy say one of the Amps around £800, what is the best way to 'supply' the music? Laptop-NAS-Squeezebox-Amp ? OR would I be better buying a streamer? On balance I like the idea of NOT having to use a laptop.
QUESTION 3: Should I buy a separate DAC ? The Squeezebox Classic has a DAC, but the write ups for the Arcam rDac, Rega DAC and the Audiolab M-DAC are very good too
These questions should not be separated. If you are willing to consider a dedicated dac for a streamer, then why not for a laptop :confused: You can always upgrade the DAC down the line for when you save up if you adopt the thinking the streamer or system will not really change much

Do you ever envisage yourself truly using multi-room functionality? For the sake of avoiding getting up from the sofa, there are alternatives to buying a streamer. Not least of all every second iPod/iPhone dock add-on for said ubiquitous device allows for remote control. You don't appear committed to streaming nearly as much as you are sure in swapping your CD separate for a digital solution via a PC + dac and/or streamer. Quite a distinction.
QUESTION 4:FUTUREPROOFING- The squeezebox classic will(I believe) be able to process FLAC files, but no higher resolution files. I could start off using the SB Classic, then maybe replace it with a better streamer later on, when more HD tracks are readily available, or should I just buy a better streamer now with/without DAC
You could be waiting the best part of a decade if you are looking at HD digital downloads. You have to wait for the high speed broadband infrastructure to take sufficiently worldwide, before the studios even go back and reconsider. Just stick with CD lossless rips for now
 

nunovi

Active Member
I have found my old Pioneer AX5i provided much better sound quality than I ever though if you just feed it with a bit-perfect, low jitter source. If you can get your hands on a Musical Fidelity V-Link USB to SPDIF converter, just install foobar2000 on your laptop, use the WASAPI plugin, connect the V-Link to the laptop via USB and then via optical cable to your receiver. The sound quality was so much better than either a squeezebox or a media player that I just gave up on upgrading to a separate DAC/amp.
I now use a *******-based system such as [ url removed] to store and play my music, using the V-Link to connect to the amp.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mcdonja

Standard Member
Thanks for the replies.

My receiver is a Sony DA-2400ES.

I would prefer not to use my laptop if I can avoid it as I use it for working.

My primary aim is to have better SQ, then I would rather 'do away' with playing CD's. I like the thought of being able to create playlists, random tracks, even playing mp3 tracks.

Having said that , I've seen a few posts where people have bought another cheap laptop, just to play music, which is also a possibility.

However, I'm assuming(possibly wrongly), that a dedicated HiFi Amp, will yield the greatest increase in Sound quality and then maybe a DAC will also?
 

formbypc

Active Member
You could try a Squeezebox Touch, fed from your second 1Tb drive, using FLACs ripped from your CDs..... keep master copies on one drive, copy to the other to connect to the SB.

The SB T will be around £200, leaving you £600 or so for a stereo amp if you stick strictly to an £800 budget.
 
try one of stan beresfords DACs from your Squeezebox via coax or optical, the caiman's the best but he has a new one out in the new year, think its beta name is bushmaster
 

mcdonja

Standard Member
Thanks for the replies everyone, most appreciated.

Have been listening to a few demos of Amps and streamers so far, may well start with a new amp and then add a few more bits and pieces
 

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