Jump to content
IGNORED

Network Audio Player Advice


Gary.D.Olson
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm hoping to put a new audio system together with 4 pieces of hardware:

 

1. Multi-Terabyte Desktop or Portable USB hdd (with FLAC library)

2. Network Audio Player/DAC/Pre ($1000 budget)

3. Powered Monitors (namely, JBL LSR308's)

4. iPad Air as remote control

 

Of course, the only difficult piece is the second one. I was about to settled on Auralic's Aries Mini with upgraded power supply, but what I really hope for is a solution that can: a. do away with the need for a computer, b. play music files exclusively from a directly attached desktop USB hdd, c. has a decent DAC, d. control volume competently, and e. has Balanced outputs. Gapless is a must, and by gapless I don't mean "almost gapless". The Aries Mini + PS seemed to have all but volume control and balanced out. After ruling that out, I became convinced Teac's UD-503 fit the bill perfectly, but then I read a long thread here which made me uncertain about its sound quality as well as gapless capabilities.

 

Does such a device exist within this budget?

Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Edit: When I was considering the Aries Mini, I'd planned on pairing it with an Emotiva Stealth DC-1 DAC/Pre with balanced outputs. Then I learned the added ps for the Aries Mini made its own DAC pretty damn good, and that got me wondering if a single-box solution within my budget might exist after all.

Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm hoping to put a new audio system together with 4 pieces of hardware:

 

1. Multi-Terabyte Desktop or Portable USB hdd (with FLAC library)

2. Network Audio Player/DAC/Pre ($1000 budget)

3. Powered Monitors (namely, JBL LSR308's)

4. iPad Air as remote control

 

Of course, the only difficult piece is the second one. I was about to settled on Auralic's Aries Mini with upgraded power supply, but what I really hope for is a solution that can: a. do away with the need for a computer, b. play music files exclusively from a directly attached desktop USB hdd, c. has a decent DAC, d. control volume competently, and e. has Balanced outputs. Gapless is a must, and by gapless I don't mean "almost gapless". The Aries Mini + PS seemed to have all but volume control and balanced out. After ruling that out, I became convinced Teac's UD-503 fit the bill perfectly, but then I read a long thread here which made me uncertain about its sound quality as well as gapless capabilities.

 

Does such a device exist within this budget?

 

YES IT DOES !!!

 

I just built this beauty

 

AUDIOPHONICS RaspDAC HE Network player Raspberry Pi 3 & DAC Sabre V3 - Audiophonics

 

Client app is android only but the web app works perfectly on Apple's Safari - I have a directly attached a 4 TB passport HD and it works wonderfully... up to 192/24 and I am pretty sure that the next version of the Sabre will move with technology. If you believe power audibly affects sound, as you can see Audiophonics offers a nice external PSU - I seem to remember is linear, but not sure - will double check and confirm... I say dare to build and save some money for music or for components that have an effect on the sound! Maybe even better speakers? :D

 

( Double checked on the power supply - the one pictured is not available, but I think this one will work - linear:

 

AUDIOPHONICS Linear Regulated Power Supply EMI RFI Filter 6V 3.5A 25VA - Audiophonics

 

)

 

I forgot - I am an Opera fan and that is the ultimate test for gapless reproduction - so far so good - currently listening to Karajan's Salzburg Rosenkavalier (Guede- Jurinac - della Casa) - well, no gaps!

 

 

Thnx! Hope you find this useful

 

v

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm hoping to put a new audio system together with 4 pieces of hardware:

 

1. Multi-Terabyte Desktop or Portable USB hdd (with FLAC library)

2. Network Audio Player/DAC/Pre ($1000 budget)

3. Powered Monitors (namely, JBL LSR308's)

4. iPad Air as remote control

 

Of course, the only difficult piece is the second one. I was about to settled on Auralic's Aries Mini with upgraded power supply, but what I really hope for is a solution that can: a. do away with the need for a computer, b. play music files exclusively from a directly attached desktop USB hdd, c. has a decent DAC, d. control volume competently, and e. has Balanced outputs. Gapless is a must, and by gapless I don't mean "almost gapless". The Aries Mini + PS seemed to have all but volume control and balanced out. After ruling that out, I became convinced Teac's UD-503 fit the bill perfectly, but then I read a long thread here which made me uncertain about its sound quality as well as gapless capabilities.

 

Does such a device exist within this budget?

Does it have to be one box? You can do what you want with any-old-piece-of-computer-hardware running LMS plus squeezelite plus a usb dac of arbitrary quality. It doesn't have to look like a computer. Something like a vortexbox would cover item1 and first part of item 2 then just connect any usb dac of your choice.

LMS cracked gapless about 100 years ago.

You are not a sound quality measurement device

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm hoping to put a new audio system together with 4 pieces of hardware:

 

1. Multi-Terabyte Desktop or Portable USB hdd (with FLAC library)

2. Network Audio Player/DAC/Pre ($1000 budget)

3. Powered Monitors (namely, JBL LSR308's)

4. iPad Air as remote control

 

Of course, the only difficult piece is the second one. I was about to settled on Auralic's Aries Mini with upgraded power supply, but what I really hope for is a solution that can: a. do away with the need for a computer, b. play music files exclusively from a directly attached desktop USB hdd, c. has a decent DAC, d. control volume competently, and e. has Balanced outputs. Gapless is a must, and by gapless I don't mean "almost gapless". The Aries Mini + PS seemed to have all but volume control and balanced out. After ruling that out, I became convinced Teac's UD-503 fit the bill perfectly, but then I read a long thread here which made me uncertain about its sound quality as well as gapless capabilities.

 

Does such a device exist within this budget?

How does a device playing audio files exclusively from a directly attached USB HDD make it a network audio player?

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe if its a used Mac laptop... otherwise the Aries mini will sound better

 

That truly depends on the JBL's capability of revealing the better sound. My point was that I would spend my money on better speakers before worrying about a fancy network player with a $500 remote. Especially when the remote (an ipad) is in itself a "network player".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My choice would be to consider an Aries Mini. You can put a HDD in the mini, or use a NAS/server. Their app is pretty good, supports gapless, and has a software volume control. You can add a linear PSU and/or better DAC later, but its not a requirement from the onset. Good luck.

This is the idea that started me down this road. At first, I was only going to replace the PC with an Aries Mini/internal hdd to simply the user experience. I would upgrade the DAC later to an Emotive DC-1. Then it struck me: the DC-1 features hardware volume control and balanced outs - perfect for active speakers. Ideal speaker/amplification pairing, less boxes, and the volume knob could be placed anywhere.

 

But then I asked myself the following question which started this thread: “Does a product such as the Airies Mini exist that also features a better DAC, volume control, and balanced out?”

If not, someone on this forum should make an appointment with a venture capitalist.

 

 

YESIT DOES !!!

I just built this beauty...

 

 

I’m hoping for a more elegant solution with customer support. If it can’t be found, your solution will be a possibility.

 

Lumin D1? Maybe a stretch for the budget, but worth it IMO.

 

 

It is a stretch but I imagine it will be looking pretty great if nothing else in my budget exists.

Does it have to be one box? You can do what you want with any-old-piece-of-computer-hardware running LMS plus squeezelite plus a usb dac of arbitrary quality. It doesn't have to look like a computer. Something like a vortexbox would cover item1 and first part of item 2 then just connect any usb dac of your choice. LMS cracked gapless about 100 years ago.

If a one-box solution exists within my budget, that would be my first choice. If not, all bets are off.

How does a device playing audio files exclusively from a directly attached USB HDD make it a network audio player?

 

 

The only devices that appear to offer the solution I seek seem to be Network Players. No other reason.

 

Keeping the file server and renderer network separated pays off in audio quality for even the least expensive solutions

This may or may not be a deal breaking limitation. I hope to find a solution that adequately solves this issue.

 

 

A $1000 network player with a $500 remote (Ipad) to go with $400 amplified speakers? I'd skip the fancy network player for now and find a used $100 laptop to pair with a DAC.

 

 

That’s my current system. I’m looking to get out of that boat for reasons previously explained.

Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi I have Marantz NA6005 I hate Marantz app, crushes all the time I like Bubble UPnP . works no problem with my NA6005. When I first installed it I could use volume control slider to control NA6005 volume. That function stop working. What happen? I can still control volume from hated Marantz app.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi I have Marantz NA6005 I hate Marantz app, crushes all the time I like Bubble UPnP . works no problem with my NA6005. When I first installed it I could use volume control slider to control NA6005 volume. That function stop working. What happen? I can still control volume from hated Marantz app.

 

I considered the Marantz NA6005 and maybe the 8005 but neither offers balanced out. Further, I read enough negative reviews about gapless playback issues and problematic remote application to give me pause. Otherwise, this could have been a good solution.

Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like sound quality from NA6005 using analog out. Problem I have is Marantz App. It is slow and crushes. I start using Bubble UPnP which is ok no problem playing gapless. Only thing I am missing is volume control on Bubble UPnP (there is a slider which doesn't change anything). Volume is not changing on NA6005 when I move the slider on Bubble UPnP app. It used to work when I first installed it. Now something happened and it doesn't work. Volume changes only when I use Marantz App.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m hoping for a more elegant solution with customer support. If it can’t be found, your solution will be a possibility.

 

Ouch! Not elegant!!!??? - I think the Raspdac is plenty elegant! You should see it in operation all purty playing 192/24 stuff :D

 

Running RuneAudio with some tweaks for my taste. Also, fixed some bugs that won't be fixed until the next version - ahh the beauty of open source - you cannot say the same for the Aries, the TEAC or the Lumin D1 - you have to wait for them to fix anything, if ever. I keep my tweaks on github. I also added a Wi Fi access point - no need for network configuration, connect to the access point provided by the Raspdac and you will have point to point control of the device. Oh, also added an http based cover art server for those mpd clients that can use it.

 

I missed the part re: balanced outputs - yeah, there are cards available that would to the trick, but it would be hard. Would have to changed the chassis.

 

 

The Raspdac is better spec-ed than the Aries - more RAM, faster processor, more USB ports, HDMI to attach a screen.

 

The Aries wins in:

 

- Digital out - the Raspdac has a great DAC, but it would be nice to have that flexibility - not possible with the current chassis. I did find some cards that would fit the bill - it would be a matter of changing the housing. Of course, may USB DACs will work.

 

- App. The official App for the Aries looks better than the official Android app for Runeaudio, which is a front-end to the web app, which does the job but is not like super fantastic but it does the job. However, for playback control only, MPDroid is a better app for library display and playback control and even things out - except, of course on Apple support - but that's Apple's fault - they make it really hard for an open source project. You can reserve the default app to change config, which should not happen that often...

 

The TEAC is another league. For your budget and specs, it would be hard to find a better choice. In order, TEAC, Aries and Raspdac for flexibility and pride - now that I build my stuff, fell like much more of an expert in these matters! :D .

 

 

 

v

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How does a device playing audio files exclusively from a directly attached USB HDD make it a network audio player?

 

Well, it is what it is. How you use it does not change the nature of the thing! :D

The Raspdac has the capability to mount network volumes using SMB, NFS and OS X, plus the ability to stream - so it is a NAP and a Streamer - I use as a DAP, because my NAS infrastructure is still not there - and I got a bunch of 4 TB Passports really cheap... so there you go... Gary may have different reasons to not do network right now.. but maybe he wants that flexibility for the future...

 

I know I do - whether I build up my NAS or get lazy ( or cheap ) The Raspdac will continue to be NAP :D

 

 

v

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A $1000 network player with a $500 remote (Ipad) to go with $400 amplified speakers? I'd skip the fancy network player for now and find a used $100 laptop to pair with a DAC.

 

 

Don't knock it! - it's about good, not price! :D

 

Pro-audio stuff has always been the secret weapon of the reasonable and/or poor audiophile... I haven't heard or even checked the specs of those speakers - well think of them as an amp/speakers combo, but don't be surprised if they run rings around some audiophile sacred cows... Pro audio has many of the same objectives without many of the audiophile trappings...

 

V

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How much Pre needs to be in the Network Audio Player/DAC/Pre for $1k?

i.e what control functionality do you need? balance or just volume etc.

 

 

Just decent volume control of the knob variety.

Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ouch! Not elegant!!!??? - I think the Raspdac is plenty elegant! You should see it in operation all purty playing 192/24 stuff :D

 

Running RuneAudio with some tweaks for my taste. Also, fixed some bugs that won't be fixed until the next version - ahh the beauty of open source - you cannot say the same for the Aries, the TEAC or the Lumin D1 - you have to wait for them to fix anything, if ever. I keep my tweaks on github. I also added a Wi Fi access point - no need for network configuration, connect to the access point provided by the Raspdac and you will have point to point control of the device. Oh, also added an http based cover art server for those mpd clients that can use it.

 

I missed the part re: balanced outputs - yeah, there are cards available that would to the trick, but it would be hard. Would have to changed the chassis.

 

 

The Raspdac is better spec-ed than the Aries - more RAM, faster processor, more USB ports, HDMI to attach a screen.

 

The Aries wins in:

 

- Digital out - the Raspdac has a great DAC, but it would be nice to have that flexibility - not possible with the current chassis. I did find some cards that would fit the bill - it would be a matter of changing the housing. Of course, may USB DACs will work.

 

- App. The official App for the Aries looks better than the official Android app for Runeaudio, which is a front-end to the web app, which does the job but is not like super fantastic but it does the job. However, for playback control only, MPDroid is a better app for library display and playback control and even things out - except, of course on Apple support - but that's Apple's fault - they make it really hard for an open source project. You can reserve the default app to change config, which should not happen that often...

 

The TEAC is another league. For your budget and specs, it would be hard to find a better choice. In order, TEAC, Aries and Raspdac for flexibility and pride - now that I build my stuff, fell like much more of an expert in these matters! :D .

 

 

 

v

 

 

Sorry. I didn't mean to offend.

 

I'm not looking for a replacement of the Aries Mini. I'm looking for a one-box replacement of the Aries Mini PLUS Emotiva DC-1.

Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share



×
×
  • Create New...