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Looking Into Putting Together A Wireless Music System For MY Home....Newbie questions....


soundhd
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Hi..I am an older Audiophile. Still listen to vinyl (still have all my vinyl LP's since I started buying them in the early 60's but also listen to Redbook CD's and SACD's. Have a nice 2 channel system in my main listening room (Bryston preamp, crossover & amps running into a pair of JBL 4350's, with VPI Scoutmaster turntable, Sony SACD 1 along with a FM tuner and a IPOD dock). 3 other smaller stereo systems around the house with smaller JBL monitors and 2 Surround sound systems for video. I have 4 IPOD classics that I use for playing music in my vehicles. I use two I-Tunes (one for my favorite albums and the other for my favorite tracks) are used just for the IPODs (whenever I get a new LP or CD I "import" the tracks I like the best into my I-Tunes for playback on the Ipods). I use WAV files for the IPODs (think they sound the best).....so far disc space has not been a problem...have just under 2600 tracks on the one IPOD with about 15GB left to use.

Currently have 1153 CD's/SACD's and 518 LP's (not huge collection but I like it). Also have never downloaded any music off the internet...guess I like the "feel" of the "hardware" in my hand......old school.......LOL

Very interested in putting together a home wireless music system. Really do not know much about them. Would be nice to be able to access any track or album/CD title remotely. Have some questions hopefully someone can answer.

 

1. What are the components needed for a home music server/wireless system?

2. What is a media player used for?

3. Can a system play tracks in a “shuffle” mode? All tracks, genres, etc..

4. What track information is needed for the system to work correctly?

5. Can the system play albums in their entirety?

6. How are the tracks loaded into the system?

7. Can the size & style of fonts be picked for the information displayed?

8. If the server is located in a remote part of the house can it be turned on and shut off remotely?

9. Can tracks be inputted/downloaded into the server from a remote location in the house (laptop or desktop

computer)?

10. How much disc space does a Redbook CD take up when downloaded in whatever format is best to use but still

get good playback quality..(.do not like MP3's in any form).

11. How large of a storage unit (think that's what they are called) would I need for my collection as it stands today?

12. Can the system be turned on and off remotely?

 

I guess I can replace the receivers with a wireless amp for each set of speakers (except for my main system).

I am also concerned about when using whatever one uses to control the system (IPAD, phone, laptop, etc...) how the "font" looks.....my eyes are not what they used to be ...I use all "caps" when inputting track information into my I-Tunes....easier for me to read.

Sorry for all the questions but thought I would use this forum first before going to one of the local Hi-Fi shops so I can at least have some idea of what I am talking about.........

 

 

Thanks

Old guy from Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Question for you...Why do you want a wireless system? What are you hoping to gain? How much of your current music do you want to digitize? I assume your cds are done. SACD? Vinyl? For example...my wife wanted me to clean up the clutter and save the space of cd's..cds now in suitcases and all music on a NAS.

 

So

1) Way too many components and methods to list or suggest. What equipment do you have in PCs? NAS? Router? Do you already have a wifi system at home? Here is what I would do to start. Map out what you want to do, i.e., draw a network diagram. Then take that to your Bryston dealer (you seem to like their equipment) and talk to them about what you can do to fill in the blanks.

 

Working through this forum you will get dozens of different recommendations on equipment (audio, networking, etc.) and all valid for different scenarios. I personally do not think there is a "best" method (Actually I might but I find it daunting and too time-consuming and I would have to learn Linux...not happening). Only come to the forums for specific questions.

 

The rest of your questions will become trivial to determine once you work #1 out.

 

Just my $0.02.

 

Chris

QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBT->iFi xDSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: Squeeze Commander (DroidX) & iPeng (iPad Air); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: Sony NWZ_ZX1 & ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  Wish List: New DAC,  SBT replacement; Dream system: Linn EXACT or ATC Active or Big Tubes (KR or Nagra or Shindo or ...)

 

My goal is to use appliances and take home PC out of the chain...

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As you can imagine there are many options to choose from to get to your end goal but at first glance of the list you provided the one key element I see missing that IS required is a DAC (Digital Audio Converter).

 

You can basicly consider the DAC as the Heart of any Computer based audio system be it wired or wireless.

 

Do you have, ideally, a Standalone DAC or at least a built-in DAC on your PreAmp/Integrated Amp/Reciever?

 

Basicly you need either a USB Input, SPDIF Input or Ethernet Input on said DAC to get started with SPDIF being the more complicated choice of the three.

 

Let's start here

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Do you have, ideally, a Standalone DAC or at least a built-in DAC on your PreAmp/Integrated Amp/Reciever?

 

Basicly you need either a USB Input, SPDIF Input or Ethernet Input on said DAC to get started with SPDIF being the more complicated choice of the three.

 

Let's start here

The other option is not to get a standalone DAC, but instead get a network audio file player, aka streamer, with a built-in DAC - the network equivalent (& direct box for box replacement if required) of the CD player.

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Hello Old Guy (I’m another old guy):

 

Having been through the wars with wireless music systems I thought I’d share various bits of advice and thoughts – which are my own and which no doubt may be contrary to further replies you receive in this forum. I too have a good vinyl collection, like the feel in my hand, and have not digitized my records (nor do I plan to.) I judge a good digital experience by several factors, one being how well the system liberates my digital music and repatriates it into a physical-world-like experience – hence, the quality and capabilities of the control system are very important to me.

 

Here are the basic parts in my system and some of the considerations you should ponder as you put together your own configuration.

 

A PLACE TO STORE THINGS

This is probably one of the initial considerations. You need a place to keep your digital music. Ideally, it should: 1) have enough storage for your current collection; 2) be expandable as you add more (you will); 3) have some redundancy to protect your music files so you don’t lose your collection; 4) have the capability to run 24x7 quietly & cool and have enough power to run some type of music server (more on that later). For this purpose, I use a NAS from Synology, QNAP is the other good company in the space but I prefer the Synology.

 

A WIRELESS MUSIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM

You will need a high performance wireless router (or similar) – the higher the better if you want to avoid dropouts. You will also need a wireless endpoint system of some kind. I’ve played with many but used only two for any length of time. The first was Sonos which I used since almost the inception of the company. I have many good things to say about Sonos and it’s not a bad starter system. It supports Redbook level FLACs, WAVs, etc. and has a reasonable control system. It’s easy to setup and easy to use.

 

One thing you will have to decide is at the wireless endpoint, do you want digital, line, or amplified speaker terminals out? I think of my system as having two types of endpoints: those that are to a nice audiophile system and those that are to smaller room/ambiance systems. To my primary listening room, I use digital out into a DAC. This makes a huge difference as the DACs built into the two wireless endpoint systems I will mention here are okay but not on par with an audiophile’s typical expectations for a DAC. For the smaller room systems, for some of them I run line out to powered speakers and others I run out the amplified speaker terminals into unpowered bookshelf speakers.

 

I mentioned starting with Sonos, but I have since moved to Bluesound. I made this switch for several reasons: 1) As my digital music collection grew, I was hitting the limit of how many tracks Sonos would support; 2) I started buying digital music at resolutions above CD (from places like HDTRACKS) and Sonos does not support these higher resolutions; 3) Sonos chose a business strategy which was aimed more at the music streamer than the music collector – I prefer to play music from my own collection.

 

In the switch to Bluesound, while I gained much improvement in the hardware, the software and therefore the control experience took a giant leap backward. The Bluesound control system is still very touchy and I would not wish it on anyone. However, there is a bright future here in the form of Roon.

 

ONE SYSTEM TO CONTROL THEM ALL

When it comes to the system to control and manage my digital library of music, I have found nothing that comes anywhere close to Roon. Furthermore, it is the closest to an analog record experience I’ve ever had with a digital system. This is the old Sooloos system redesigned for a software-only offering. I can’t say how much this has changed and improved my listening experience. Furthermore, Bluesound and Roon are partners and within the next few weeks Roon should be able to control Bluesound endpoints directly which will completely eliminate the need for the Bluesound control app.

 

REMOTE ACCESS

I can access my full library remotely, but as of today this is done with a separate application as none of the control systems I’ve mentioned have yet to offer a remote access feature. To access my music remotely, I use DS Audio which is an application that comes free with my Synology NAS. It works well to my remote Apple devices as well as my remote desktops.

 

TO YOUR SPECIFIC QUESTIONS:

 

1. What are the components needed for a home music server/wireless system? SEE ABOVE

 

 

2. What is a media player used for? – TYPICALLY THE DEVICE THAT ULTIMATELY TURNS THE DIGITAL FILE INTO A ANALOG SIGNAL FOR PLAYBACK. THE SPECIFIC FEATURES OF A “MEDIA PLAYER” VARY ACROSS THE MARKET AND CAN BE SOMEWHAT CONTEXT SENSITIVE SO I WOULD BE CAUTIOUS OF THIS TERM.

 

3. Can a system play tracks in a “shuffle” mode? All tracks, genres, etc.. YES

 

4. What track information is needed for the system to work correctly? TYPICALLY DIGITAL FILES NEED TO BE TAGGED WITH BASIC INFO, ARTIST/ALBUM/GENRE/etc. Roon DOES A GOOD JOB OF DOING THIS FOR YOU.

 

5. Can the system play albums in their entirety? YES

 

6. How are the tracks loaded into the system? ONCE STORED ON A NAS, THE WIRELESS DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM TAKES CARE OF THIS.

 

7. Can the size & style of fonts be picked for the information displayed? I TOO HAD BETTER EYE SIGHT IN MY YOUTH, I PREFER TO CONTROL MY SYSTEM WITH AN IPAD AND MY IPHONE. I FOUND BOTH SONOS AND ROON TO BE GREAT ON THESE DEVICES AND EASY TO SEE, BLUESOUND NOT-SO-MUCH.

 

8. If the server is located in a remote part of the house can it be turned on and shut off remotely? YES, BUT SETTING THAT UP CAN BE TROUBLESOME. I RECOMMEND LOOKING FOR AN ALWAYS-ON STYLE DEVICE LIKE A NAS. LOW POWER USE, DISK SPIN-UP OR WAKE ON DEMAND, ETC.

 

9. Can tracks be inputted/downloaded into the server from a remote location in the house (laptop or desktop

computer)? YES

 

10. How much disc space does a Redbook CD take up when downloaded in whatever format is best to use but still get good playback quality..(.do not like MP3's in any form). I STRONGLY RECOMMEND LOSSLESS FORMAT. I USE FLAC. THE TYPICAL CD STORED IN FLAC IS ABOUT 200-300MB. WITH A NAS, STORAGE WILL NOT BE AN ISSUE. “TOO CHEAP TO METER” AS THEY SAY.

 

11. How large of a storage unit (think that's what they are called) would I need for my collection as it stands today? 500GB SHOULD BE ENOUGH, BUT I WOULD CONSIDER DOUBLING THAT.

 

12. Can the system be turned on and off remotely? A GOOD NAS WILL ADDRESS THIS CONCERN.

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First thanks for all the quick replies. I will try to answer the question as best I can.

 

1. (Why do I want to do this?): I will still be doing my "serious" listening in the basement listening room, LP's, CD's (there is till nothing like listening to great LP)...but it would be nice to be able to access anything in my collection from anywhere else in the home like when I am doing other "stuph" around the house. My music collection is stored in the basement and getting up and down the stairs these days is getting harder (I am in my late 60's), so wanting to listen to a certain CD can be a hassle and right now I can only listen to my LP's downstairs so digitizing the LP's would be really nice option (I forgot to mention that I have HBB 850 professional CD recorder/player in my system downstairs that I use to convert LP's to CD so I can add LP tracks to my I-Tunes).

 

1a: Would also give me something to do during the Michigan winter months mostly, I am involved in the classic car hobby during the summer months but I don't "do" winter anymore so I have a lot of spare time during the winter.

 

2. Computer equipment: My wife and I both have our own desktop computers (her's is a couple years old mine is about 5 years old I guess). We also have a 10 year old laptop so she can access the internet from the back deck. Don't do any gaming. Computers are used for mainly communicating with friends & family, getting information about any of the hobbies I am involved with, shopping (hate to shop at department stores...we both do most of our shopping on the net). Have an older wireless router in the home (for the laptop)....will probably need a get a more updated one once this wireless system project starts. Own a "smart" phone (I-Phone 5s..a smart phone with a dumb user...LOL) use it mainly to check on the weather when I am out with my classic cars during the summer months and make phone calls.....it's only turned on when I am away from the home. So as for computer equipment I guess it is pretty basic.

 

3. What brand(s) home wireless gear I purchase brand does not come into a factor at this time. The Bryston name came up.....I am very happy so far with their products that I own but not limited to whatever they have for the wireless system...just basically interested in how the music sounds when it all said and done...CD quality is fine...my ears are not what they used to be.....Ease of downloading the music into the system and accessing it is very important to me and I do understand I would need to convert "all" of the rest of my LP's to a CD format in order to download those.. I don't have a lot of money to spend but I guess mid pricing will work.......better then the "cheapest" but cannot afford to "best" I guess is the best way to put it. Seperate components will work I guess just so I do not need to take a computer class to be able to make it all work together correctly. If I can get a player/storage unit that can handle the whole collection that would be perfect and aagin the ease of downloading and ease of access to the collection is important to me.

 

4. As for the systems in different parts of the home I guess a wireless receiver (or whatever they are called) with the amp built in would work in those rooms...like I stated in my posting I have 4 rooms with JBL studio monitors in them and would like to keep the use of those so being able to replace the older stereo receivers powering those will free up shelf space.....you can pretty much listen to "any" radio station now over the net so do not need a tuner anymore.....

 

Anyway hope this answers any of the questions.

 

thanks again

 

Question for you...Why do you want a wireless system? What are you hoping to gain? How much of your current music do you want to digitize? I assume your cds are done. SACD? Vinyl? For example...my wife wanted me to clean up the clutter and save the space of cd's..cds now in suitcases and all music on a NAS.

 

So

1) Way too many components and methods to list or suggest. What equipment do you have in PCs? NAS? Router? Do you already have a wifi system at home? Here is what I would do to start. Map out what you want to do, i.e., draw a network diagram. Then take that to your Bryston dealer (you seem to like their equipment) and talk to them about what you can do to fill in the blanks.

 

Working through this forum you will get dozens of different recommendations on equipment (audio, networking, etc.) and all valid for different scenarios. I personally do not think there is a "best" method (Actually I might but I find it daunting and too time-consuming and I would have to learn Linux...not happening). Only come to the forums for specific questions.

 

The rest of your questions will become trivial to determine once you work #1 out.

 

Just my $0.02.

 

Chris

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Hi..I am an older Audiophile. Still listen to vinyl (still have all my vinyl LP's since I started buying them in the early 60's but also listen to Redbook CD's and SACD's. Have a nice 2 channel system in my main listening room (Bryston preamp, crossover & amps running into a pair of JBL 4350's, with VPI Scoutmaster turntable, Sony SACD 1 along with a FM tuner and a IPOD dock). 3 other smaller stereo systems around the house with smaller JBL monitors and 2 Surround sound systems for video. I have 4 IPOD classics that I use for playing music in my vehicles. I use two I-Tunes (one for my favorite albums and the other for my favorite tracks) are used just for the IPODs (whenever I get a new LP or CD I "import" the tracks I like the best into my I-Tunes for playback on the Ipods). I use WAV files for the IPODs (think they sound the best).....so far disc space has not been a problem...have just under 2600 tracks on the one IPOD with about 15GB left to use.

Currently have 1153 CD's/SACD's and 518 LP's (not huge collection but I like it). Also have never downloaded any music off the internet...guess I like the "feel" of the "hardware" in my hand......old school.......LOL

Very interested in putting together a home wireless music system. Really do not know much about them. Would be nice to be able to access any track or album/CD title remotely. Have some questions hopefully someone can answer.

 

1. What are the components needed for a home music server/wireless system?

2. What is a media player used for?

3. Can a system play tracks in a “shuffle” mode? All tracks, genres, etc..

4. What track information is needed for the system to work correctly?

5. Can the system play albums in their entirety?

6. How are the tracks loaded into the system?

7. Can the size & style of fonts be picked for the information displayed?

8. If the server is located in a remote part of the house can it be turned on and shut off remotely?

9. Can tracks be inputted/downloaded into the server from a remote location in the house (laptop or desktop

computer)?

10. How much disc space does a Redbook CD take up when downloaded in whatever format is best to use but still

get good playback quality..(.do not like MP3's in any form).

11. How large of a storage unit (think that's what they are called) would I need for my collection as it stands today?

12. Can the system be turned on and off remotely?

 

I guess I can replace the receivers with a wireless amp for each set of speakers (except for my main system).

I am also concerned about when using whatever one uses to control the system (IPAD, phone, laptop, etc...) how the "font" looks.....my eyes are not what they used to be ...I use all "caps" when inputting track information into my I-Tunes....easier for me to read.

Sorry for all the questions but thought I would use this forum first before going to one of the local Hi-Fi shops so I can at least have some idea of what I am talking about.........

 

 

Thanks

Old guy from Ann Arbor, Michigan

 

If you are putting together a wireless system you have great timing. Check out the Denon Heos system. Most of the components from the first generation are marked down like 60% off at Accessories4less: High End Audio at Low End Prices!. This is like a Sonos system with better sound quality at a 50% or more discount. If you wait too long they will sell out-

 

Denon HEOS Wireless Multiroom Sound System | Sound & Vision

 

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soundhd,

 

I'm an old guy from Ann Arbor, too. I have an idea what you're up to, and captfidel has firehosed you with some good-looking wisdom and recommendations. My system is rooted in the 70s with digital updating like yours. Due to the hit-or-miss application of software or program-driven components today, I would highly recommend you swing into a local higher-end store and plead your case. I believe you can get set-up out the door with some key components, and a local dealer will stand behind his recommendations or help you through confusing or cantankerous communication with new equipment, especially with regard to Roon, NAS instl, and remote control thereof. I speak from experience: last year I was sold on an equipment & software solution that nobody could get working satisfactorily, so I returned it and temporarily scaled back my goals. Successful, consistent communication among digital components - especially wirelessly - will likely result from careful selection of components and guidance in setup. Just sayin'.

 

I apologize all over the place if you've already tried some local shops and struck out.

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you could do what I do:

 

I have a mac mini with CDs ripped into iTunes in my home office; I send that from there to an Apple TV-3 ($40 refurbed from Apple) in my living room via WiFi; it is plugged into a Cambridge Audio DacMagic (~$200 from a guy who reps Cambridge I know from mutual sports car interest, but the newer Dacmagic 100 is not expensive) which then feeds a pre-amp/amp/Magneplanar 1.5QR speakers via analog cables.

 

This is a very simple setup which will cost you very little to setup. It also allows use of YouTube or other things on the TV via an HDMI cable from the Apple TV-3 to my TV screen.

 

I have not tried it but I think I could shoot (stream?) music from my iPhone to this system and you could likely use your ipads too.

 

To get my voluminous CDs onto iTunes, I just stuck them in an attached Apple disc reader and tell it to rip. I did set the thing up to use Apple Lossless (tho it is unclear if people can hear the difference in blind tests, it costs me nothing to use this larger file size). This is very simple and easy to do tho will get tedious with a wall full of CDs (there is an article here on a safer but more time consuming way to rip CDs).

 

There are many DACs ranging in price from $100 or less to $30,000 (Nagra). Some claim there is no difference in sound; others say there is, but I have not seen any blind listening tests showing differences. If you want to upgrade later, the $$ spent on the initial system is low (and Bryston makes a DAC, which I assume bears their generous warranty).

 

IIRC, the new Apple TV lacks some digital output that I use.

 

You could very easily and cheaply do what I do (or the PC equiv.; or get a mac mini for $300 to $400 used or refurbed). I plug my Dacmagic into a Sonic frontiers pre-amp; you just plug your Dac into your Bryston system.

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soundhd,

 

I'm an old guy from Ann Arbor, too. I have an idea what you're up to, and captfidel has firehosed you with some good-looking wisdom and recommendations. My system is rooted in the 70s with digital updating like yours. Due to the hit-or-miss application of software or program-driven components today, I would highly recommend you swing into a local higher-end store and plead your case. I believe you can get set-up out the door with some key components, and a local dealer will stand behind his recommendations or help you through confusing or cantankerous communication with new equipment, especially with regard to Roon, NAS instl, and remote control thereof. I speak from experience: last year I was sold on an equipment & software solution that nobody could get working satisfactorily, so I returned it and temporarily scaled back my goals. Successful, consistent communication among digital components - especially wirelessly - will likely result from careful selection of components and guidance in setup. Just sayin'.

 

I apologize all over the place if you've already tried some local shops and struck out.

 

+1

In Ann Arbor you have one of the best resources in the country, never mind Michigan.

Go down to Overture Audio and ask for TJ, he will set you up in any price range you choose.

David

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Thanks to sixchannel and realhifi for the local info...and yes Overture Audio is going to be my first stop.....hope they handle other lines besides Linn.....good gear but very pricey..........thanks again.

 

They carry many other less costly options and were computer savvy long before many dealers were. Great shop.

David

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