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Caps vs Simaudio Mind vs Sonos between my Synology NAS and my Dac - will there be differnce in sound?


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I started reading about the CAPS and thinking how fun nice they seem and that it would be fun to build. I'm pretty sure I read that Chris feeds his from a NAS. So here is my question - would one of the following be likely to sound better

 

Synology NAS -> CAPS Carbon -> DAC (thinking of picking up a Bifrost uber with USB) vs

 

Synology NAS -> Simaudio MIND 180 -> DAC (still Bifrost uber with USB)

 

and for lower res files those would either of those be likely to top my current set up...

 

Synology NAS -> W4S modified Sonos -> DAC (thinking of picking up a Bifrost uber with USB)

 

It seems like the CAPS/MIND/Sonos is mostly in charge of giving a good interface for moving the digital music from the NAS to the DAC, so my hunch is given a fixed resolution, it would really be more about taste than sound, but I'd love to be corrected if I'm under false assumptions.

 

thanks for any wisdom

 

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Background in case you want my specific equipment since responses often ask about that but not necessary for the answer...

 

I have a Synology 711, which I hard wire to a Sonos bridge and then stream to a Sonos connect (upgraded by W4S) which then currently feeds a peachtree Dacit and then to a Simaudio i-1 and onto Dynaudio X16's. Cables are mostly Nordost for what that is worth (although I'm not totally sold on good cables really sounding different from each other but that is another thread another time). The sound is already quite good for my ears, which admittedly probably aren't pitch perfect etc. I'm streaming lossless recordings of CD's. I'd love to be able to play with high rez, and see if it sounds even better, but Sonos can't do it thus my thoughts of CAPS or the Mind.

 

One last tangential note, geography of the room makes hardwiring the NAS to the Sonos connect a no go for now, but I can probably get around that in the future.

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Steve,

 

I can't comment on the Simaudio sequence, but I have a Sonos system (have had it since 2007, it's great!), and I have a CAPSv2, so not the v3 version, but I suspect that it overall is at about the same level of performance.

 

The CAPS is clearly a better solution. Even for 44.1/16 it is the better solution. Plus, you can go high bit rate and higher bit depth, which is impossible with the Sonos.

 

In my system, the soundstage is clearly deeper and more broad, imaging is more distinct, and tonal balance is more to my liking as well. There is a lower level of digital "hash", for want of a better description, and the music feels more smooth, less fatiguing. As in, I can listen comfortably much longer.

 

However, the price difference is not insignificant, and I do love the Sonos system for a lot of things. I listen to it much, much more than my full system, but I almost never listen to it through my full system, because if I want to listen seriously, I want the good stuff.

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

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Cool, that is the exact kind of hands on info I was hoping for. I'd love to hear from more people on their impressions. I certainly understand that not many people will have actually used all three: a CAPS, the MIND and the Sonos as the Mind doesn't seem to be mainstream yet, but CAPS vs Sonos is of great interest in and of itself.

 

(As fun as building it would be, it is hard to justify the cost if it isn't better given that I already have the Sonos. The cost of Sonos plus the W4S mod would make the cost much closer if I were choosing between the two and hadn't already bought the Sonos, but Michael, you are laying the foundation for building the Caps and feeling justified in the expense .).

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Synology NAS -> W4S modified Sonos -> DAC (thinking of picking up a Bifrost uber with USB)

 

It seems like the CAPS/MIND/Sonos is mostly in charge of giving a good interface for moving the digital music from the NAS to the DAC, so my hunch is given a fixed resolution, it would really be more about taste than sound, but I'd love to be corrected if I'm under false assumptions.

 

I've been looking into the Sonos modifications. It seems that the mod upsamples to higher bit rate and depth but does not provide support to play native high rez files.

Can you confirm this? Thanks!

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I can confirm that it does not play native high rez files. I don't think it is supposed to, but even if it is mine doesn't. I got it because my local hi-fi guy who sells Sonos told me that I should buy it from w4s instead of from him because he thought it was such a dramatic improvement on cd quality files. He lost the sale by pushing me to it and I decided to go for it. He is a great guy and one thing I love about him is he'll give his opinion even if it costs him money and he's done that more than once to me.

 

The people at w4s are great and will explain in detail what their products do if you call them (I'd asked them about other products before although ironically not the one I bought from them). I also think they are quite honest about their opinions from my admittedly smaller experience with them.

 

I confess that I am a really bad computer audiophile in that I have one modded one and one that isn't and have never AB'd them to make sure the mod is worth it to my ears. (They are currently parts of different systems and I'm pleased with both, but the modded one is in a much better system/room). I'll try to remedy that within the weak if I can get a break.

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