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ideal combination of multiroom audio and HiFi

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Dear all,


I'm lurking around for quite some time and been trying to read tons of literature but I still find all of this quite confusing. Therefore, I became a member of this forum to ask for your help.


The setup I was thinking of is as follows:


In the living room I would like to install a HiFi stereo system. At the moment I really like the Cambridge Audio CX system (CXN and CXA80) to drive a set of Nubert speakers. Aural Aries sounds fine as well.

In the dining room and in the kitchen, possibly also in the bathroom or on the terrace I'm looking for a multiform system.

In the home office I use a Macbook Pro with JRiver Mediacenter 20.


All my music (FLAC, ripped with dbPoweramp) is stored on a Synology NAS.


What I don't understand: Is there a chance that I can combine all of this? Specifically:

1. Can I control all of this via one app?

2. Can all parts of the setup access the same data (do I have to copy the music data to different locations for HiFi and multiroom?).

3. How can I connect the hifi system (e.g. Cambridge CNX) with the multiroom system?

4. Would be hifi system and multi-room system be synchronous (living room and dining room are connected)?


5. Are the CXN or Aries capable of this setup? And what multi-room system would you prefer? (Blue sound? Heco?)

6. I like the JRiver software. So do I need an ID box or CAPS to run a JRiver server (since it doesn't run on the Synology NAS)?


Sorry - a lot of questions but since I am willing to spend a couple of bucks I just would like to make it right and I'm afraid nearby there is no store that could answer all of this sufficiently :(


Thank you very much in advance.



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The first question is what kind of multi-room system are you looking for?


Do you want the same music in different rooms or different music, or a combination?


What quality of music do you want in the separate rooms?


My own thinking would be to combine a Sonos (or maybe BluSound) with the CXN or other system for the "HiFi" system. This will mean two separate control applications for the Sonos and the CXN, but will allow synchronised playback as well as individual zone selection.



...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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Hello Audio_Elf,


Thank you for your quick reply.


Basically it would be nice to hear music in every room separately as well as in combination (i.e. the same music synchronized in the living and dining room).


For the living room I would like to achieve the best quality (therefore I thought about the CXN/Aries). In all other rooms the sound quality can be less than that, since optimal positioning won't be possible. It should still sound good though.


Thank you for your advice regarding the setup. But what about the music data - can both systems access the same data or do they need separate Servers etc.? And would you recommend a CAPS or JRover ID for the media center or would be the audio station be of sufficient quality? Where is the meta data of the music controlled? In the server software (e.g. JRiver) or in the contl software of either Sonos or Cambridge?

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i suggest you use Sonos for your multi room audio and Jriver/Jremote for your main system. in such a setup you would have two sources hooked up to the DAC in your main room: a computer running Jriver for your critical listening, and a Sonos connect for when you want to use multiple zones. Sonos can index the same music library as Jriver, whether it be on the computer or on a NAS. Metadata is in the tracks themselves and can be read by both applications, JRiver and Sonos. You can use JRiver to make edits to your data, as it has that capabilty (along with many others.) You could choose different Sonos components for each room based on what audio functionality was needed, i.e. streamer, streamer+amp, or streamer+amp+speaker.


Sonos has a great user interface, integrates all streaming services, and perfectly syncs all zones. There is really nothing else that does these things as well. The only catch is that Redbook CD is the highest resolution supported. If you want, you can upgrade the digital output of the Sonos Box (mostly by reducing jitter, I believe) with modifications or outboard dongles from a vendor like Wyred4Sound.


This is basically how my system is set up today, and I am very happy with it.

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Hello Tim,


Thank you for your help. Sounds great. I just have one more question (which might be inappropriate in this forum). When I first found this incredible webpage, I found the page explaining four different setups with a central CAPS connected to a NAS and to a streamer (renderer?). This setup seems to fit nicely for us, especialy since I like the JRiver software (which is not a musthave). So, since I only need something to act as a UPNP server for Sonos and Cambridge (or something equivalent) - is the JRiver ID enough?

Oh, and I've got one more question (which makes me feel like in "life of Brian") - would a CAPS or mac mini connected to a dac/amp sound way better than a JRiver server in the basement connected to something like a CXN?

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A Sonos setup acts as both server and renderer. Sonos is all you need. JRiver installed on a computer would be a second server and renderer, which could stream to your Cambridge amp via USB cable, (or even wirelessly to your Sonos boxes, which will show up in JRiver as UPNP renderers.) So you could use the Jriver interface in your main room, and the Sonos for multizone streaming.

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