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Bridging my NAS to a NAD D3020? Optical options?


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Hello!

 

It's been some years that I read your generous information on this forum, today I am daring to ask for advice. I've been researching for some months now, with no suitable solution in mind.

 

I have a sinology NAS 213J, and a NAD D3020. Althought I have an old 2007 macbook connected to it with A+, I would like to explore a better solution (smaller), that wouldn't involve a full computer.

 

The internal DAC on the D3020 is based on the Cirrus Logic CS4398 which is a good DAC, that can go up to 192/24, but the connection via USB is handled by a XMOS and limited to 96/24. So, my idea is going through the optical (or coax), handled by AKM4118, and in my tests sound way better than the USB.

 

Althought I would love to get an Aries Auralic, I can't justify paying a lot more than my integrated amp. I know my KEF LS50's deserve better, but in the future, I will go for a separate DAC and amplifier.

 

Is there a solution that would be on the lower budget side that could help me? I am completely open to suggestions.

 

On the options I explored:

 

1) USB Synology -> NAD directly. It is sounding better through AudioStation since I updated the firmware, but it still sounds thin and I get ocasional drops and artefacts. Also, DS Audio is not a great control point. Could I use a converter from USB to optical, hence going full 192/24? Would that fix the dropouts?

2) Buying something like Cubox and trying that as a renderer? Installing maybe Arch or Volumio etc?

3) Thought about the SOtM sMS-100 but it's USB only (worse input for the NAD) and is quite expensive.

4) Anything else?

 

Thanks a lot for any advice given. I am starting on my sound setup but it's been years figuring out a good system but I am really just scratching the surface of such an amazing field.

 

Ed.

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Thanks Woodford for you kind answer. But as far as I see, it does not have an optical out, does it?

It doesn't state it on the website spec chart but the manual / setup guide confirms the BlueSound Node has an optical connection.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Just out of interest how long have you had the D3020? Is there a possibility of returning it for the D7050 which has a UPnP renderer (amongst other network functionality) built in. It's more expensive but less than the D3020 plus a renderer "box".

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Oh... It's been almost 10 months, so I guess that's out of the table.

And to be honest, I listened to the 7050 and it sounds different really.

And for this kind of money i would go for a arcam amp.

 

This bluesound solution seems interesting but how does it sound? It does include a DAC and I must confess I always had a thing against Sonos. I don't really have any need for a network sound system. I listen to music only through the KEFs LS50.

 

What about a reclocker USB-Toslink adapter? Would that fix my Synology hiccups?

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Oh... It's been almost 10 months, so I guess that's out of the table.

And to be honest, I listened to the 7050 and it sounds different really.

And for this kind of money i would go for a arcam amp.

 

This bluesound solution seems interesting but how does it sound? It does include a DAC and I must confess I always had a thing against Sonos. I don't really have any need for a network sound system. I listen to music only through the KEFs LS50.

 

What about a reclocker USB-Toslink adapter? Would that fix my Synology hiccups?

 

Bluesound has nothing to do with Sonos, and it does have optical out, so you can bypass its dac.

 

"reclocker" will not fix what most likely the underpowered CPU in your Synology and in what scenario do you get Synology hiccups?

lost in that music library

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I have Sonos connected to my D3020 via Toslink and it sounds very good. I have also found the USB input on the D3020 to be disappointing.

 

What Sonos does well is interfacing with nearly every streaming service. My LaCie NAS is very old and slow but when it's plugged in to the Sonos Connect, it works fine. You can pick up a used ZP80, play around with it, and if you do not like it, sell it again.

 

The miniDSp room correction is very impressive between the Sonos and the D3020, 5 times any SQ difference you will ever hear between 16/44 and 24/192. Room correction addresses/improves the key critical issue in playback.

 

I hope Bluesound will support Rhapsody soon, then I will give it a spin !

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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Thanks Eurodriver for chiming in. It's good to hear about Sonos and the NAD are working well together. Since I'm a film editor, I got some treatment in my edit suite ant it makes wonders to SQ. I wish I could bring my rockwool panels to my living room but I guess my wife would kill me! :)

 

"reclocker" will not fix what most likely the underpowered CPU in your Synology and in what scenario do you get Synology hiccups?

 

Thanks Biku for your help. You are probably right that it might be a misdiagnose from my part. It's hard to define what I am listening right now coming from the NAD, but it sounds like a "crackling", high pitched noise, very short.

 

I hope the following measurements can make it clearer.

 

[TABLE=class: grid, width: 500, align: left]

[TR]

[TD]Format[/TD]

[TD]Crackling frequency (sec)[/TD]

[TD]Processor Usage[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]FLAC 192/24[/TD]

[TD]09s (loud)[/TD]

[TD]40%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]FLAC 96/24[/TD]

[TD]06s (loud)[/TD]

[TD]55%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]FLAC 44/16[/TD]

[TD]60s (discrete)[/TD]

[TD]50%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]ALAC 96/24[/TD]

[TD]07s (loud)[/TD]

[TD]30%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]ALAC 44/16[/TD]

[TD]90s (discrete)[/TD]

[TD]28%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]AAC 250k[/TD]

[TD]80s (discrete)[/TD]

[TD]28%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]AAC 160k[/TD]

[TD]40s (discrete)[/TD]

[TD]25%[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]MP3 128k[/TD]

[TD]70s (discrete)[/TD]

[TD]27%[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

 

 

 

 

 

So, as you can see, it seems the processor is still holding strong. Nothing north of 75%. Obviously, FLAC seems to be taxing it a lot more than any of the other formats. I also have the DS Audio sound volume at the highest, ( I read this influences on the bitrate). I'm not sure what is causing it. From my laptop running A+ via USB, it plays without hitches.

 

The sound quality from the Synology is a bit thinner, but has a tad more resolution, so I guess it can only get better using a optical input. SOtM has a solution for USB>Optical but it's also an DAC and it seems it's the same chipset as the NAD, costing almost the same price, so I guess it's more than I need. Couldn't a reclock fix those "cracklings"?

 

Thanks for any input you can give. I am fairly new to this hifi thing, even tho I've been to more film mixing sessions than I can count. Cheers!

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