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Help me choose a streamer


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Background – My DAC is a PS Audio Perfect Wave Mark II, upgraded from an original. I had been feeding it with a Squeezebox Duet, then got the Bridge when it was introduced. I was in fact a Bridge beta tester, so have been suffering with no gapless playback and control point issues for years. My music library (mostly ripped CDs along with downloads from HDTracks (96/24) are on an external hard drive attached to our main home computer – a MAC mini. I’m using Twonky or Logitech Media Server (and recently loaded Minimserver on it) and Plug Player as a control point on an iPad. I like to stream a lot of Internet radio stations to learn about new (to me) music.

 

So I need to replace the Bridge. I thought about a Mojo MAC Mini or something similar, but am leaning strongly toward a streamer. The Auralic Aries seemed promising, but now that it’s out the jury is mixed. I don’t want to deal with more control point software problems. I read the CA reviews of various products and like what I’m reading about the Sonore/SOtM products.

I plan on getting a Synology NAS to serve my music from, figuring it can run LMS, a DLNA server, JRMC(will it?) I will be streaming over WiFi from the NAS (upstairs) to the streamer (basement) and I do have a wireless bridge at the audio rack, so the streamer will be fed from an Ethernet cable.

 

At a low cost point, the SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server will do what I need, but Chris’s review indicates you need a USB-xxx converter to make it sing. The Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB is pretty pricey. The Sonore Rendu seems like it would sound better by itself and I could live with SPDIF into my DAC. The Sonore Sonic Orbiter seems even more attractive in that its USB output can feed my DAC directly (the PWD does have an asynchronous DAC input) and I can add a USB-xxx converter down the road if it will improve sonics.

 

I don’t have a particular budget in mind (well, the sMS-100 Mini Server plus a Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB is more than I want to spend right now.) So my question is, what is the best bang for the buck, a SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server at $450 with a USB-xxx converter and possibly the battery power supply; a Sonic Orbiter at $900; a Rendu at $1400; an Aries or Aries LE at their cost; something I haven’t mentioned?

 

Looking forward to your suggestions and recommendations,

 

MikeB

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I bought a pioneer AVR to use strictly as a streaming device. It works well as a DNLA receiver, Spotify, airplay, and Internet radio streamer. I find its DAC quite good as well. I mostly use the Spotify app and JRemote on my iPad. I use Spotify to listen to and find new music and JRiver to play my mostly ripped CDs, iTunes music, and now hi rez stuff. Also starting to download DSD files as well. A very capable machine.

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Do you want to stream or just pass files over your internal network?

Streamers for me are hi-fi devises created by hi-fi manufactures who don't build computer based devises so they still rely on you having a network capable devise to store content and provide a media server that the streamer can connect to. This provides all the added cost of hardware, ripping and backup routines and expansion as your library grows.

 

As you already have a mac mini it serves your needs, if req'd max the ram and add an ssd drive.

 

My option for you is -

Qobuz Hi-Fi account - Desktop application on the mac mini.

You can have the mobile app on three mobile devises so that covers the family for streaming and local content on phones/ipads in FLAC.

 

Buy an Apple TV connected via optical to your DAC.

Stream via the Mini or the method I now use is airplay to the Apple TV or airplay speakers in the house from iPhone/ipad.

The other benefit its easy and non technical for the wife to use rather than her saying can you play this for me.

 

Minimal cost providing an extensive library across the household in a good quality.

At the minute my Mini is turned off, no drives spinning or backups running, I just pick up my iPhone/ipad select the music and airplay to the ATV, if I then go out simple transfer the feed to the phone and walk out the door.

 

True music streaming or network connected media?

 

This is a good read if you've not seen it..

Computer Audiophile - The Future Of HiFi

 

 

Cheers Phil

Setup:

Lumin D2> Roksan Blak> Focal 806

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The Auralic Aries seemed promising, but now that it’s out the jury is mixed. I don’t want to deal with more control point software problems.
Mike,

 

I wouldn't let the teething problems with the supplied controller app put you off the Aries. Since Aries supports both standard UPnP/DLNA and OpenHome Media (ohMedia), aka UPnP with Linn extensions, there are any number of non-Auralic control points that can be used with it, such as Kinsky, Lumin, BubbleUPnP and even JRMC.

 

John

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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The PWD2 has a pretty good USB input, I would think the mini-server should do a pretty good job. If it takes power from the USB port a device like the schiit wyred or the ifi iUSB should make the difference.

 

If you want a really good server with good control software take a look at the NAD M50. It is $2500 so about the same price as Berkeley + SOtM, but the control point software is supposed to be really good. Sonically the M50 is really good transport over the AES output. Main weaknesses I see with it is no USB output and no DSD.

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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