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Good Internet Radio Setup (Hardware, Software, Services)


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Hey All,

 

So I like the randomness of Internet Radio for certain genres of music and do a significant portion of my listening on Internet Radio streams, so I'm looking towards a setup that would get the best out of it. So I'm looking for any advice on this, including for the following:

 

Would getting a dedicated Internet Radio Tuner like the Grace Digital GDI-IRDT200 make a significant difference in sound quality? Something that turns me off about it though is the lack of a UI for easy browsing of channels. Apparently there's an iPhone app but I don't use an iPhone.

 

Mac users have Amarra SQ+ which can upsample, etc. streaming audio sources and supposedly improves sq. However I won't be using a Mac. What would the best or similar alternatives be for Windows? I've tried to do some research on this but couldn't really find anything conclusive.

 

I'm also considering the possibility of a single board computer? Would this be a good alternative, and what would I use it with?

 

Any other info that may be useful is welcome.

 

Thank you.

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Hi @Thisisaline .. I haven't used Windows for years so I can't help you there (Mac fanboy) and now I use a Bluesound Node 2 for streaming. In my experience with Internet radio regardless of OS, it benefits greatly with reclocking. I use the Wryed 4 Sound bLINK, which is the Bluetooth version of their Remedy Reclocker. The Remedy has been widely praised for a couple of years now. Another is the Empirical Audio Synchro-Mesh. Highly recommended.

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I'm using a Bluesound Node 2 streamer that has a ton of Internet radio. Sounds awesome. Controlled by an app on Samsung tablet and phone.

 

Sent from my SM-T810 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

 

Hi @Thisisaline .. I haven't used Windows for years so I can't help you there (Mac fanboy) and now I use a Bluesound Node 2 for streaming. In my experience with Internet radio regardless of OS, it benefits greatly with reclocking. I use the Wryed 4 Sound bLINK, which is the Bluetooth version of their Remedy Reclocker. The Remedy has been widely praised for a couple of years now. Another is the Empirical Audio Synchro-Mesh. Highly recommended.

 

This is a situation ready made for Sonos. That also gives you Apple Music (with a subscription) as well as Tidal, Spotify, and that stuff. Tons and tons of internet radio stations too.

 

-Paul

 

Thanks guys.

 

Yea, looks like a streamer is the way to go.

 

The impression I get about Sonos from what I've read is that it's not bad but not particularly good, it tends to cost a lot for what you get, and that you pay just as much for the name as anything else. I'm sure it will still sound great, but i'm on a budget and looking for value, so I'm disinclined to go for a Sonos Connect.

 

I wasn't aware of Bluesound before but they seem to have some highly regarded products. I've realised that the Node N100 is on sale locally at a decent price that can be considered for my budget, so that's peaked my interest.

 

The Remedy Rocker is a really interesting piece of kit. Due to budget constraints though, I'll probably still lean toward something like the Node N100 with the source and DAC in one, straight out to active monitors. Something to keep in mind for the future though, either as an add-on or for a new setup.

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Network Audio Player with AirPlay This was my choice.

 

It's a dated, but stable design. No PC needed. Streaming will depend on router resources available.

 

I set preferences to give streamed media priority.

 

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

 

Nice bit of kit, but it's the same functionality that been in Top 3 Denon AVR for the past few years. It's what I listen to daily in my AVR-3313. Currently in:

  • AVR-X7200WA
  • AVR-X6200W
  • AVR-X4200W

AV Receiver

 

Source media are hosted by local Denon servers and are quite stable.

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Source media are hosted by local Denon servers and are quite stable.
Presumably that's hosting web links to the actual internet radio stations, rather than hosting the stations themselves.

 

BTW, isn't the Radiodenon internet radio service used by the Denon streamers just a rebranding of the vTuner service that provides a similar internet radio aggregation service for the streamers of many other mainstream HiFi brands, eg Arcam, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sony, Yamaha, etc?

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

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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...

 

BTW, isn't the Radiodenon internet radio service used by the Denon streamers just a rebranding of the vTuner service that provides a similar internet radio aggregation service for the streamers of many other mainstream HiFi brands, eg Arcam, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sony, Yamaha, etc?

 

Denon have several options to select media, of which "Radiodenon" are but one. I use the "Location" option exclusively, which allows selection of specific countries and specific cities within those countries. The streams I find worthwhile, go into my favourites window.

 

Not sure, but I believe that vTuner no longer exists. It was an app on my Sony BDP-S790 when I first purchased it, but went away about 1-2 years ago. Not a great loss, as it had a terrible interface.

 

BTW, I would rather have Netflix, than that dodgy app.

 

I use it to stream WBGO, mostly.

 

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

I stream these mainly:

 

 

... and a few streams from Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Achtung: Diese Seite ist in akuter Bedarf an Redesign!

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So at this point, options include the Node N100, Pioneer n-30/50, Marantz NA6005 and the Denon DNP-730AE.

 

So how do different brand internet radio services differ from each other? Published info is ambiguous.

 

 

I set preferences to give streamed media priority.

 

 

How do you do this?

 

 

Edit: Just saw Iain's post above.

Edit: Second question.

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Check out Chromecast Audio, has Tidal, Spotify, and tons of radio/streaming stations.

 

Raspberry Pi with Moode will also give you unlimited streams and the ability to add any custom stations/streams.

 

I've used PC and AVRs and Network Players for radio and streaming for a long time, but now with CCA + Pi, it offers a ton more + functionality for less than $100. The good thing is the rest of the equipment stays the same... so no need to settle for crappy Sonos or Bose speakers... simply plug into your DAC, amp or receiver and they are good to go.

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world - Martin Luther

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Check out Chromecast Audio, has Tidal, Spotify, and tons of radio/streaming stations.

 

Raspberry Pi with Moode will also give you unlimited streams and the ability to add any custom stations/streams.

 

I've used PC and AVRs and Network Players for radio and streaming for a long time, but now with CCA + Pi, it offers a ton more + functionality for less than $100. The good thing is the rest of the equipment stays the same... so no need to settle for crappy Sonos or Bose speakers... simply plug into your DAC, amp or receiver and they are good to go.

 

Yea, I've come across the Chromecast and as mentioned above, have also considered a SBC like the Pi.

 

In your experience, seeing that you have quite a bit, what kind of setup did you get the most out of in terms of SQ?

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Check out Chromecast Audio, has Tidal, Spotify, and tons of radio/streaming stations.

 

Raspberry Pi with Moode will also give you unlimited streams and the ability to add any custom stations/streams.

+1

 

RPi / Moode, Chromecast & others with possibly (very simple) DIY also give you the ability to access the current best audio resolution internet radio streams available on the web - Ogg FLAC, eg:

 

Český Rozhlas D-Dur

http://radio.cesnet.cz/

 

Jukebox Radio

https://jbradio.eu/options

 

A.i.radio

AI-Radio - streams - actual detailed list

 

L'Eko Live

L'Eko des Garrigues - Radio associative non-commerciale - 88.5 FM - Montpellier

 

 

@Thisisaline, the quality of the actual internet radio streams themselves and what devices you can use to receive the better quality streams is possibly where you should be concentrating your efforts, if SQ is what's important to you.

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

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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Yea, I've come across the Chromecast and as mentioned above, have also considered a SBC like the Pi.

 

In your experience, seeing that you have quite a bit, what kind of setup did you get the most out of in terms of SQ?

 

For SQ I use DLNA/UPnP (wireless streaming) and Toslink output to an external DAC. In other words you get the exact same audio quality that your setup delivers for local content like FLAC/WAV rips, audio CDs, and radio. Of course the caveat being the source content quality itself... Tidal being lossless is the same as audio CDs, most internet and radio streams have variable quality, but some stream at 320 kbps, that's the quality as Spotify Premium, most others at 192 kbps.

 

I use CCA for Tidal, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Slacker Radio. Pretty much covers all genres of music and with the randomness you seek based on the station and the curated playlists. First two are streaming services and latter two are radio streaming services. You can also access millions of stations and podcasts with TuneIn. With the Pi and Moode you get a ton of radio streams and you can also add your own streams.

 

I use both devices as well as a Synology NAS (Audio Station) to stream a lot of online content. SQ is the same as any PC, laptop, network player or AVR. The cost is a huge winner at less than $100 for both + cables. I've 4 CCAs and 2 Pis and stream to 6 locations around the home including the garden and the patio. I've a couple of AVRs, Onkyo and Yamaha, as well as stereo receivers with FM, but none of them have the range or the variety that CCA and Pi offer me. In addition using Chrome browser you can cast any radio station or stream... extremely useful when you want to listen to a station but with better SQ than PC/laptop speakers, and the service is not available in any app store. Radio Paradise is a good example here... good curated music, but they didn't have a native Android or iOS app back in the day, now they do... but you can stream anything you can play on your browser even if they don't have an app.

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world - Martin Luther

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Denon have several options to select media, of which "Radiodenon" are but one. I use the "Location" option exclusively, which allows selection of specific countries and specific cities within those countries. The streams I find worthwhile, go into my favourites window.

 

...

 

Just a minor correction; it's "Search -> Location" option.

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Ah, I see now what you were referring to.

 

That radio station Search facility is still part of the service provided by vTuner for the Denon devices and sure it's likely vTuner have customised its service to allow the data to be presented as required by the Denon firmware. However, the internet radio stations being presented at the end of the search with links to the radio streams for access by the Denon devices will all have come from the vTuner database.

We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

-- Boris Johnson

 

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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@Cebolla @master

 

Thanks guys for clarifying the added versatility of SBCs over streamers.

 

So it's a trade off between a Node or a SBC + DAC. Is that to say both would be fairly similar in terms of SQ?

 

Are there any SBC's in particular that would be preferable. Opinion of the Pi seems to be mixed, and Beaglebone and Banana Pi also seem to be popular. In terms of software, Volumio seems to be quite popular. What would be the ideal combo if internet radio and SQ are the priorities?

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So at this point, options include the Node N100, Pioneer n-30/50, Marantz NA6005 and the Denon DNP-730AE.

 

So how do different brand internet radio services differ from each other? Published .

 

Add Denon Heos and Naim Mu-So as well. For sound quality and design, the Naim out does the Sonos, Bluenode and Heos.

 

In terms internet radio, the two main players are Tune-in and vTuner. The latter licenses its technology, while the former also has its own app. The playback quality really depends on the station, as they decide the broadcast quality. Both list tens of thousands of stations and have the usual selection and filter methods. I slightly prefer Tune-in because i use their app and i only need one account.

 

Some manufacturers (Naim Audio) do the log in for you, which means you don't need to subscribe yourself.

Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu / SOtM SMS-200 --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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Add Denon Heos and Naim Mu-So as well. For sound quality and design, the Naim out does the Sonos, Bluenode and Heos.

 

In terms internet radio, the two main players are Tune-in and vTuner. The latter licenses its technology, while the former also has its own app. The playback quality really depends on the station, as they decide the broadcast quality. Both list tens of thousands of stations and have the usual selection and filter methods. I slightly prefer Tune-in because i use their app and i only need one account.

 

Some manufacturers (Naim Audio) do the log in for you, which means you don't need to subscribe yourself.

 

Thanks.

 

Unfortunately both the Heos and Naim are either out of my budget or don't really fit the profile of my requirement for a stand alone player without speakers as far as I can tell.

 

I currently use Tune-In on my PC as my main source of internet radio.

 

Any other tips you might have on getting the best out of it is welcome.

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One of the features I like Internet Radio software to have: the ability to add streams for URL's on your own, and not just work from curated lists. That way if you find a stream you like that isn't in the built in list, you can add it.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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One of the features I like Internet Radio software to have: the ability to add streams for URL's on your own, and not just work from curated lists. That way if you find a stream you like that isn't in the built in list, you can add it.

 

That would certainly be useful.

 

Which softwares allow this?

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@Cebolla @master

 

Thanks guys for clarifying the added versatility of SBCs over streamers.

 

So it's a trade off between a Node or a SBC + DAC. Is that to say both would be fairly similar in terms of SQ?

 

Are there any SBC's in particular that would be preferable. Opinion of the Pi seems to be mixed, and Beaglebone and Banana Pi also seem to be popular. In terms of software, Volumio seems to be quite popular. What would be the ideal combo if internet radio and SQ are the priorities?

 

Pi has the most support and software. The h/w is powerful enough to stream audio... I've been streaming FLAC and WAV for nearly a year now. I know folks even streaming video on the Pi with Kodi.

 

The advantage with Pi + CCA combo is better SQ. Even a budget DAC from Schiit will outperform any of the integrated streamers. I have Sonos, Bose, Sony, and a few more such boomboxes that I use with iPad and iPod. They are good in that there are no wires, both amp and speaker are in a single package and you only need a smartphone or tablet to connect and play.

 

However, the SQ is nothing to write about... you can do a lot better with an external DAC, powered speakers and/or separates for the same budget or less.

 

Naim Mu-So

 

+1 to the Naim. If it was cheaper I'd buy multiples for a multiroom setup. Dynaudio Xeo series are also good. I've seen a setup with only Dynaudio and Chromecast Audio... all content from Tidal, Spotify, etc. Simple and extremely effective... that's probably where the future is headed... unlike some setups where you need to turn on 5 or more gadgets before the sound comes out.

 

One of the features I like Internet Radio software to have: the ability to add streams for URL's on your own, and not just work from curated lists. That way if you find a stream you like that isn't in the built in list, you can add it.

 

That would certainly be useful.

 

Which softwares allow this?

 

Moode Audio does, it runs on Raspberry Pi. CCA unfortunately does not... but you can always play on a smartphone, tablet, or PC browser (Chrome) and cast via the CCA.

 

You will not get this with media players and streamers though. FM radio is an option, but you cannot add custom streaming sources.

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world - Martin Luther

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