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NAS - Squeezebox - dac setup compared to NAS - USB/Spdif - dac setup

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Stereo set: Metrum Quad Dac, Sonneteer Alabaster Amp and PenAudio Rebel Speakers.


For several years I have been streaming wireless: laptop (itunes) - airport express - dac.


Being tired of using the laptop als music server I changed my setup to wired.


First try: USB-harddisk - Geniatech ATV1200 Androidbox (Coax output) - dac.

Result: Okay. It works without needing the TV to often. No changes in soundquality.


Second try: PC- Squeezebox Classic - dac.

Result: Much better soundstage! I had not expected this. The Android box is for sale.


Using my phone as remote is great. However the using the PC as server is a hassle.


Third try: Synology NAS - Squeezebox Classic - dac.

Result: The soundstage is still there. Usability much better.


Why is there a big difference between the Androidbox and the Squeezebox?

That must have something to do with conversion to Spdif.

What if I skip the Squeezebox and use the NAS running Audiostation as mediaserver? The NAS USB out

does not fit my Metrum DAC. I could try the Dragonfly that I use for my headphones.


Fourth try: NAS (running Audiostation) - Dragonfly 1.2

Result: This also sounds well. I expected the Metrum Dac to sound better than the Dragonfly.


I could go for an USB to Spdif update:

NAS - M2Tech Hiface - Metrum Dac or NAS - Audiophilleo - Metrum Dac


Or I could consider buying a music streamer between NAS and Metrum Dac?

f.e. Marantz NA7004, Sonos Connect, Pioneer N-50-S etc.



Can I expect an combination of a NAS, USB/Spdif converter and dac to perform as well as a setup with a music streamer between NAS and dac?



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Perhaps I should refrase my question. I own a Synology NAS and a Metrum Quad dac. I have a Squeezebox Classic with an option to buy. It sounds certainly better than the previous setup. But is there a better option to upgrade I should consider? Be it a Marantz NA7004, USB to Spdif converter or something else?

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