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Moving on from Squeezebox Touch


paulr
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All, I've searched around to try and find an answer to a question I have, but cannot seem to find anything specific.

 

I currently have a Synology NAS storing my flac music, LMS (Logitech Music Server) is running on the NAS and serves a Squeezebox Touch via wired network, which is in turn connected to an Arcam IR Dac via QED P75 coax cable.

 

My gut instinct is that this set up can be improved as most likely hardware and software have improved over the years.

 

I have no plans to replace either the NAS or the dac.

 

My question is, would I get significant sound improvements by removing the Touch and getting a unit like an Azulle Quantum Byte PC (Windows 10), with a USB Regen connected to the dac?. I'd use something Jriver or HQplayer to control playback.

 

I understand that variants around cables, power supplies etc will have an impact, but I'm asking the general question about replacing the Touch with a PC/Regen.

 

Many thanks in advance, and Happy New Year.

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All, I've searched around to try and find an answer to a question I have, but cannot seem to find anything specific.

 

I currently have a Synology NAS storing my flac music, LMS (Logitech Music Server) is running on the NAS and serves a Squeezebox Touch via wired network, which is in turn connected to an Arcam IR Dac via QED P75 coax cable.

 

My gut instinct is that this set up can be improved as most likely hardware and software have improved over the years.

 

I have no plans to replace either the NAS or the dac.

 

My question is, would I get significant sound improvements by removing the Touch and getting a unit like an Azulle Quantum Byte PC (Windows 10), with a USB Regen connected to the dac?. I'd use something Jriver or HQplayer to control playback.

 

I understand that variants around cables, power supplies etc will have an impact, but I'm asking the general question about replacing the Touch with a PC/Regen.

 

Many thanks in advance, and Happy New Year.

 

I wouldn't doubt that you would gain increases in SQ by going the route you mention but you would certainly want a bit more horsepower under the hood of the PC you intend to be the center piece, especially if you will be using a Windows OS.

 

From a resource standpoint you could easily get away with much less horsepower if you went the Voyage Linux /MPD route. The hardware cost would be well under $100 and the whole setup could be controlled via phone/tablet. Of course this all sounds great if you are at least partially efficient with Linux commands and no GUI.

 

There a prebuilt Linux type systems on the market that do what I mention above for about the same price it would cost you to outfit the linked PC with enough horsepower to run Windows and then some other Library mgmt software on top of that.

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Hi Paul, I think that what you may get would be different and might (?) be better (you seem to have decided so, already).

But why not try a little tweak first and install EDO on the SBTouch and connect to the dac with a USB cable, see if that is better/different/the same.

If you are in the UK I can let you borrow a Regen to try with the aforementioned SBT/Dac arrangement, again, see if you can hear any real differences/improvements.

Really loving the forward slash tonight!

 

The LMS software is still well supported and has even improved with functionality over the last year or so.

 

If you only want to stream your local files there are many alternatives (even raspberry pi based ones) which range from cheap to expensive (a mac mini headless still presents a viable alternative in IMHO).

 

Beste Wense

 

Ronnie

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I think your SBT will sound better than a pc, by the way. You might want to use the LPS-1 or a BOTWS eco to improve the sound of the SBT first. You can use those for a Regen or microRendu too, eventually.

 

Sent from my D6633 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

 

My experience has been just the opposite. I have a couple SBTs with the Bolder digital mods and CI Audio PS and while it sounds very good, my PC running Windows Server 2012RS and other power and USB upgrades sound much better. And it should given the price difference.

Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7s, 4 M&K ST-150Ts, 1 VCC-5; Amplification: 2 Vandersteen M7-HPAs, CI Audio D200 MKII, Ayre V-6xe; Preamp: Doshi Audio Line Stage v3.0; Phono Pre: Doshi Audio Phono Pre; Analog: Wave Kinetics NVS with Durand Telos composite arm; SME 3012R arm, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2; Reel to Reel:  Technics RS-1500; Doshi Tape Pre-Amp; Studer A810, Studer A812, Tascam BR-20; Multi-channel: Bryston SP-3; Digital: Custom PC (Sean Jacobs DC4/Euphony/Stylus)> Lampizator Pacific

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Apologies for not chiming in to my own thread, I've had a bit of a family issue to deal with over the last couple of weeks. I'll try and jump in later today, in the meantime, thank you all for your replies.

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All, I've searched around to try and find an answer to a question I have, but cannot seem to find anything specific.

 

I currently have a Synology NAS storing my flac music, LMS (Logitech Music Server) is running on the NAS and serves a Squeezebox Touch via wired network, which is in turn connected to an Arcam IR Dac via QED P75 coax cable.

 

My gut instinct is that this set up can be improved as most likely hardware and software have improved over the years.

 

I have no plans to replace either the NAS or the dac.

 

My question is, would I get significant sound improvements by removing the Touch and getting a unit like an Azulle Quantum Byte PC (Windows 10), with a USB Regen connected to the dac?. I'd use something Jriver or HQplayer to control playback.

 

I understand that variants around cables, power supplies etc will have an impact, but I'm asking the general question about replacing the Touch with a PC/Regen.

 

Many thanks in advance, and Happy New Year.

 

The real answer is maybe. I had a SBT years ago and loved the interface but couldn't get it to better a PC as a transport. The PC was one of the CAPS servers and later I was able to replace that with a MBP. I also believe that the improvements in DACS and devices such as the Ifi USB 3.0 helped make this possible. The MBP and CAPS were both significantly more expensive than the SBT. I know you don't want to replace your DAC but I would venture to say that spending money on a DAC would yield a better result than upgrading the SBT. This type of logic goes back to the days of CD transports where I never found that huge of a difference between them until you spent lots of money. DACs on the other hand nearly always changed the sound (sometime for the worse.)

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All, I've searched around to try and find an answer to a question I have, but cannot seem to find anything specific.

 

I currently have a Synology NAS storing my flac music, LMS (Logitech Music Server) is running on the NAS and serves a Squeezebox Touch via wired network, which is in turn connected to an Arcam IR Dac via QED P75 coax cable.

 

My gut instinct is that this set up can be improved as most likely hardware and software have improved over the years.

 

I have no plans to replace either the NAS or the dac.

 

My question is, would I get significant sound improvements by removing the Touch and getting a unit like an Azulle Quantum Byte PC (Windows 10), with a USB Regen connected to the dac?. I'd use something Jriver or HQplayer to control playback.

 

I understand that variants around cables, power supplies etc will have an impact, but I'm asking the general question about replacing the Touch with a PC/Regen.

 

Many thanks in advance, and Happy New Year.

 

The Azulle Byte Plus is a nice little machine. Install Daphile and you'll get the benefits of Squeezelite plus a lot of extras. You can always re-install W10, since the license is embedded in the machine. I too have the irDAC and it's a nice combination. But you'll need to switch to USB.

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The real answer is maybe. I had a SBT years ago and loved the interface but couldn't get it to better a PC as a transport. The PC was one of the CAPS servers and later I was able to replace that with a MBP. I also believe that the improvements in DACS and devices such as the Ifi USB 3.0 helped make this possible. The MBP and CAPS were both significantly more expensive than the SBT. I know you don't want to replace your DAC but I would venture to say that spending money on a DAC would yield a better result than upgrading the SBT. This type of logic goes back to the days of CD transports where I never found that huge of a difference between them until you spent lots of money. DACs on the other hand nearly always changed the sound (sometime for the worse.)

 

I agree in some respects, but I just want to add that the irDAC is a tremendously musical and versatile piece for the price. I for one would hesitate to replace with anything other than a vastly more expensive DAC.

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Hi Paul, I think that what you may get would be different and might (?) be better (you seem to have decided so, already).

But why not try a little tweak first and install EDO on the SBTouch and connect to the dac with a USB cable, see if that is better/different/the same.

If you are in the UK I can let you borrow a Regen to try with the aforementioned SBT/Dac arrangement, again, see if you can hear any real differences/improvements.

Really loving the forward slash tonight!

 

The LMS software is still well supported and has even improved with functionality over the last year or so.

 

If you only want to stream your local files there are many alternatives (even raspberry pi based ones) which range from cheap to expensive (a mac mini headless still presents a viable alternative in IMHO).

 

Beste Wense

 

Ronnie

 

Thank you Ronnie, incredibly kind offer! I have'nt made any decisions (yet!) - so may explore some of the tweaks suggested as they are either quick, cheap, future proof etc.

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I agree in some respects, but I just want to add that the irDAC is a tremendously musical and versatile piece for the price. I for one would hesitate to replace with anything other than a vastly more expensive DAC.

 

My instinct is that to get a better sound from the DAC I will need to spend big (for me).

 

One other thing that is important for me is being able to easily and quickly compile playlists, LMS is not my friend here. This is one of the reasons for looking at alternative methods of transporting my music to the DAC. I know that moving to a PC based system will improve the friendlyness of use, I'm just wondering too if making such a change will also bring sound improvements.

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My instinct is that to get a better sound from the DAC I will need to spend big (for me).

 

One other thing that is important for me is being able to easily and quickly compile playlists, LMS is not my friend here. This is one of the reasons for looking at alternative methods of transporting my music to the DAC. I know that moving to a PC based system will improve the friendlyness of use, I'm just wondering too if making such a change will also bring sound improvements.

 

So far I've found that a minimal Linux install (really minimal) with MPD or Squeezelite sounds better than a full OS, either Mac or Windows. I believe Daphile allows for playlists but I don't use them so I'm not sure. Check their feature set. It also has a nice feature called RAM Play, which converts the files to WAV and loads them to memory for playback.

 

For MPD I use Snakeoil-OS, which allows you to switch between the two. However the author hasn't yet incorporated UEFI install so it will NOT install on the Quantum Byte or Byte Plus, but he's working on it. Both the Bytes use Cherry Trail processors, which require 32-bit installers. I use Snakeoil-OS on one of these:

 

https://www.amazon.com/XCY-Computer-Intel-Celeron-USB3-0/dp/B01IHWHOZQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1483819624&sr=1-1&keywords=xcy+mini+pc

 

This is basically the same unit Small Green Computer offers, minus their server software.

 

Of all the ARM-based servers I've tried, Rune Audio is so far the most stable. I'd suggest an Odroid or one of the beefier ARM gadgets as opposed to an RPi. Look at their supported gadget list.

 

I could probably stop fooling around and buy a SOTM-200, which amounts to the same thing minus all the hassle. :-)

 

To make a long story short, I think a minimal device with a minimal OS sounds best.

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Check out all the information on here about the Sonore MicroRendu. I have personal experience replacing the SBT. First I built a dedicated silent pc. I used Win 7 and J river. Added a pro digital output card. Then went to usb. Then added Schiit Wyred. Then changed to linux and used Daphile. Then I added a Naim Unitiqute and used the PC as just a server.

 

Trust me. Forget all this junk. Get a Sonore Microrendu with the standard power supply. It is way better than anything I had before. Also reports of the Sotm SMS-200 are also good and worth consideration.

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Check out all the information on here about the Sonore MicroRendu. I have personal experience replacing the SBT. First I built a dedicated silent pc. I used Win 7 and J river. Added a pro digital output card. Then went to usb. Then added Schiit Wyred. Then changed to linux and used Daphile. Then I added a Naim Unitiqute and used the PC as just a server.

 

Trust me. Forget all this junk. Get a Sonore Microrendu with the standard power supply. It is way better than anything I had before. Also reports of the Sotm SMS-200 are also good and worth consideration.

 

Excellent post!

Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7s, 4 M&K ST-150Ts, 1 VCC-5; Amplification: 2 Vandersteen M7-HPAs, CI Audio D200 MKII, Ayre V-6xe; Preamp: Doshi Audio Line Stage v3.0; Phono Pre: Doshi Audio Phono Pre; Analog: Wave Kinetics NVS with Durand Telos composite arm; SME 3012R arm, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2; Reel to Reel:  Technics RS-1500; Doshi Tape Pre-Amp; Studer A810, Studer A812, Tascam BR-20; Multi-channel: Bryston SP-3; Digital: Custom PC (Sean Jacobs DC4/Euphony/Stylus)> Lampizator Pacific

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Check out all the information on here about the Sonore MicroRendu. I have personal experience replacing the SBT. First I built a dedicated silent pc. I used Win 7 and J river. Added a pro digital output card. Then went to usb. Then added Schiit Wyred. Then changed to linux and used Daphile. Then I added a Naim Unitiqute and used the PC as just a server.

 

Trust me. Forget all this junk. Get a Sonore Microrendu with the standard power supply. It is way better than anything I had before. Also reports of the Sotm SMS-200 are also good and worth consideration.

 

Thank you for sharing your journey - must admit the Microrendu is certainly an option I'm looking at too.....

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I understand that variants around cables, power supplies etc will have an impact, but I'm asking the general question about replacing the Touch with a PC/Regen.

I'm open to just about anything but why would you expect this to make a difference? In your configuration the Touch is doing one very specific job: converting the network packets into something your DAC can understand. If it were failing at this task, don't you think this would be obvious?

 

In terms of different sound, you'd get much more impact by changing your DAC. I'm not criticizing your current unit; it's just that's where the most potential exists to change the sound. It's the DAC that converts digital data into analog signal after all.

 

Anyway, if you buy a microRendu please report back with your experience. BTW, you don't have to "replace the Touch with a PC/Regen"; the microRendu runs Squeezelite so to your LMS server it just looks like another Squeezebox. Just take out the Touch and insert the microRendu. You'll need a USB cable to run to your DAC as the mR does not have S/PDIF output.

 

P.S. Someone above mentioned the "Enhanced Digital Output" component for your Touch. This allows the Touch to play 24/192 over USB or coax which is the max your DAC can handle. Shouldn't change the sound but for fun you might want to try it out:

Announce: Enhanced Digital Output app - USB Dac and 192k Digital Ouput

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Check out all the information on here about the Sonore MicroRendu. I have personal experience replacing the SBT. First I built a dedicated silent pc. I used Win 7 and J river. Added a pro digital output card. Then went to usb. Then added Schiit Wyred. Then changed to linux and used Daphile. Then I added a Naim Unitiqute and used the PC as just a server.

 

Trust me. Forget all this junk. Get a Sonore Microrendu with the standard power supply. It is way better than anything I had before. Also reports of the Sotm SMS-200 are also good and worth consideration.

 

I'd have to agree after spending about as much on a couple of different small NUCs. But then I like to experiment. :-)

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Check out all the information on here about the Sonore MicroRendu. I have personal experience replacing the SBT. First I built a dedicated silent pc. I used Win 7 and J river. Added a pro digital output card. Then went to usb. Then added Schiit Wyred. Then changed to linux and used Daphile. Then I added a Naim Unitiqute and used the PC as just a server.

 

Trust me. Forget all this junk. Get a Sonore Microrendu with the standard power supply. It is way better than anything I had before. Also reports of the Sotm SMS-200 are also good and worth consideration.

+1

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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For MPD I use Snakeoil-OS... on one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/XCY-Computer-Intel-Celeron-USB3-0/dp/B01IHWHOZQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1483819624&sr=1-1&keywords=xcy+mini+pc

Of all the ARM-based servers I've tried, Rune Audio is so far the most stable.

I thought that Snakeoil was created for ARM-based machines, yet you're using it on an Intel board and advocating Rune for ARMs. What have I missed?

 

Are there qualitative differences between your MPD/Snakeoil/Intel setup and your Rune/ARM system? SQ? Other?

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I thought that Snakeoil was created for ARM-based machines, yet you're using it on an Intel board and advocating Rune for ARMs. What have I missed?

 

Are there qualitative differences between your MPD/Snakeoil/Intel setup and your Rune/ARM system? SQ? Other?

 

Snakeoil-OS is for x86 machines--there's both a 32-bit and a 64-bit version. I used the MPD player. I feel it sounds better than an Odriod with Rune Audio, a little cleaner and crisper. The web GUI is also easier to use than the Rune interface.

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