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Sonos with external DAC - sound quality compared to older Meridian kit?

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Hi everyone. Very new to all of this so apologies if some of this has been covered elsewhere. Have built up decent hi fi over the years mostly comprising older top of the range Meridian components - 588 CD player, 502 pre-amp and 557 power amp feeding B&W 805s. Generally very pleased with the sound - nice and organic with standard CDs. However, since kids growing up and been 'borrowing' CDs, smashing cases, losing them and this coupled with my hectic lifestyle has resulted in me dedicating less time listening to music. So I hear good things about NAS servers, wireless streaming etc... I like the look of the Sonos for ease of use (wife would love this!). Question is: How close would the Sonos quality be to my Meridian (assuming that I'd always use uncompressed files and feed an external DAC - eg Cambridge DacMagic or Beresford 7520, directly to my power amp and speakers)? I don't mind taking a slight hit here given the ease of convenience, but not too much. My ears are still pretty good. Ease of use must be top priority (and I can't afford the new Meridian Sooloos). Any suggestions of whether it's worth pursuing the Sonos route?


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  • 1 month later...

Hi Bialykot.


It just so happens that I have a setup very similar to the one you're describing. I have a Meridian 502 pre, 507.24 CD and 518 digital processor. I also have been using Sonos with an external DAC for several years now. I can definitely recommend the Sonos for convenience, and good sound quality. In my "serious" system I use a Sonos ZP90, SPDIF (coax) digital out into the 518 then AES/EBU out of the 518 into a Lucid DA9624 DAC, balanced out of the DAC into the 502.


It sounds very good. I have compared the ripped CD on the Sonos rig to the same CD played on the 507. It's close but I'd still give the nod to the 507 for a bit more natural, organic character. We're talking subtle differences here.


I love the Sonos, and their customer service is GREAT! And, unlike some other digital "transport systems", Sonos just plain works. Very well thought out and executed.






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Thanks Dan - actually just sold all my Meridian gear and purchased some AVI active speakers with inbuilt 24/96 24/192 DACs fed from Sonos.


Sound is very good on uncompressed songs and any differences in sound quality are more to do with the speakers (I used B&W Nautilus before which i also sold).


The AVIs are superb with good quality material but brutal with poorly recorded stuff (their origins lie from studio-developed monitors). But since most the stuff I listen to is well-recorded I am generally very pleased with the setup. And the convenience is what I was looking for - no more hunting around for missing CDs (well, once I transfer everything to my NAS!).






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