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Article: Keeping It Simple - Finding Great Values In Great Sound

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John J, drop a Sonos Connect into your system. It would extend the Sonos universe to your system and you could run something else for quality listening. Or buy a modded Connect by Wyred 4 Sound and maybe it would be good enough.

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1 hour ago, ednaz said:

Are you running both JRiver and Roon on the NUC? I looked at House Band and it doesn't say it works with Roon. (I've never had any luck with both Roon and JRiver live at the same time... they get into arguments about controlling output to my main system.) I see on Roon that several people have built their own Alexa voice control for Roon, including turning their entire system on and off, while Roon officially claims it's too hard to do.

 

No. The NUC is a dedicated Roon server and my main source for listening at home. I have JRMC on multiple Pis and a Win10 PC, so I can stream externally for travel. Roon is still LAN-only as far as I know.

 

I hoped that my wife would use Alexa to play music on JR, but that hope was dashed on the rocks like a skiff in a nor’easter. So I showed her how to ask Al to play music through her own speaker from Amazon Music.  Hasn’t happened yet.

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1 hour ago, bluesman said:

 

No. The NUC is a dedicated Roon server and my main source for listening at home. I have JRMC on multiple Pis and a Win10 PC, so I can stream externally for travel. Roon is still LAN-only as far as I know.

 

I hoped that my wife would use Alexa to play music on JR, but that hope was dashed on the rocks like a skiff in a nor’easter. So I showed her how to ask Al to play music through her own speaker from Amazon Music.  Hasn’t happened yet.

 

OK, we're a pretty solid match. We use Roon on the dedicated music server - isn't a NUC, because I've got four 6tb disks inside... one holds our main music library, three are linked mirrors of the library. The only things it does other than that is rip CDs, look up support info for Roon or JRMC, and back up the music library to cloud. I use JRMC on my laptops... and am still on the fence about whether I will keep Roon, since my musical tastes significantly outpace their metadata. Roon integrates Qobuz and Tidal, JRMC doesn't. But JRMC's streaming capability for Radio Paradise, 440khz, and other high definition streaming stations is far superior.

I've figured out where my wife's "can't do this" comes from. She LOVES using Roon on her home office desktop to listen to streaming, or opera or jazz from our library. It's big on her screen, very graphic, point and click, doesn't feel crowded and small. The small devices (phones or iPads)  used to control Roon or JRMC on the large systems are where she throws her hands up. I understand completely. Their control device interfaces are afterthoughts.

 

I set up the Tidal skill on Alexa so she could ask for music from Tidal for our grandson, who is a dancing fool (at 20 months, if you put music on he'll dance for an hour, eyes half shut.) She can't get the hang of adding "Tidal" to the Alexa ask.

 

I used to lead teams that re-designed user interfaces to motivate usage and interest. I'd charge Roon or JRMC half my usual billing rate to lead a team to design a control UI that non-technical people would love to use.

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8 hours ago, ednaz said:

But JRMC's streaming capability for Radio Paradise, 440khz, and other high definition streaming stations is far superior.

What do you mean? All you need for Roon is to add the station URL.

8 hours ago, ednaz said:

Their control device interfaces are afterthoughts.

Not really. Acc'd to them, they put a lot of time and thought into preparing the phone interfaces so you could do every thing on a phone you can do on other devices, and have a similar user experience. 

 But Roon is really designed to be on at least a 9 inch  high resolution screen.  I think they've stated that they recommend at least an  8 inch screen and 1200 X 800 resolution, but that  isn't optimal. And it works better on a larger screen.  A small phone sized device screen with very high resolution is going to make the various elements hard to see. Not trivial at all to make such a UI for a phone.  I do occasionally use my 5.5 inch android device set at FHD resolution as a control. I think it works fine, but I much prefer a larger screen, and that's really how Roon is meant to be used. 

I have RoonServer setup as my core. For control devices I've used various devices: 9,7 inch ipad, 13 inch Android tablet, and 12 inch Windows tablet (Surface pro with a wimpy "mobile" CPU) and a 14 inch high end Windows laptop They all give an identical and very good user experience, so it seems to me that the  control interfaces aren't afterthoughts at all. 


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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BTW-

Meant to add that JRMC is a lousy experience on android phones and android tablets - and apparently they don't care. They told me they have no interest in even optimizing the android app for non phone applications.  So on an android tablet it looks like the the phone app sitting in the middle of the screen.  So yes, it is an afterthought. 


On iPads with the  JRemote app (which JRMC bought from the original app developer, they ddn't develop it  themselves) the experience is pretty good.  Otherwise, with JRMC you are pretty much left with a crappy experience if not using the main interface on a full sized computer screen. 


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Amazing @bluesman. I

i build my setup from old second hand components and, well, after a lot of mods in acoustic treatment and AC and DC clean power (all DIY, all from Audiophilestyle topics), Nucs running Linux and a old pair of Apogee Centaur Minor, makes to everyones shake heads and think about the performance of mid high end components from 90's (pre and power from Proceed). Just sounds far way above the total system cost. i will take a lot of attention at your post ! Cheers from Argentina.

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3 hours ago, elpampeano said:

Cheers from Argentina.

 

Many thanks!  We love Argentina - we were in Buenos Aires three years ago and Mendoza last November.  As long as my wife can sit and sip a Fernet Branca & Coca Lite, she'll listen to music for hours with me!

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17 hours ago, firedog said:

What do you mean? All you need for Roon is to add the station URL.

Not really. Acc'd to them, they put a lot of time and thought into preparing the phone interfaces so you could do every thing on a phone you can do on other devices, and have a similar user experience. 

 But Roon is really designed to be on at least a 9 inch  high resolution screen.  I think they've stated that they recommend at least an  8 inch screen and 1200 X 800 resolution, but that  isn't optimal. And it works better on a larger screen.  A small phone sized device screen with very high resolution is going to make the various elements hard to see. Not trivial at all to make such a UI for a phone.  I do occasionally use my 5.5 inch android device set at FHD resolution as a control. I think it works fine, but I much prefer a larger screen, and that's really how Roon is meant to be used. 

I have RoonServer setup as my core. For control devices I've used various devices: 9,7 inch ipad, 13 inch Android tablet, and 12 inch Windows tablet (Surface pro with a wimpy "mobile" CPU) and a 14 inch high end Windows laptop They all give an identical and very good user experience, so it seems to me that the  control interfaces aren't afterthoughts at all. 

 

You can add the station URL to Roon. But... no metadata. You don't get the artist, album cover, song info. All of which JRMC handles effortlessly. So on Roon, I can get the HD streams... but I can't see the info on what I"m listening to. Interesting because Roon handles the low-res streams with full metadata support. OK, not full. They show artist and album, but it's not like listening to Tidal or Qobuz on Roon. That kind of inconsistency is what makes Sonos users love their systems, whatever the weaknesses.

HIgh res streams on Roon are also glitchy. Lose connections a lot. Doesn't reconnect smoothly. (The internet is still a mean and ugly place.) JRMC handles the glitches effortlessly. 

 

According to Roon they worked hard on the UI. But, having worked on a lot of UIs, from intermediate range missile launch systems used on the battle field under fire, to cars, to web sites designed for people in their 70s, they've fallen so short. On my phone, for example, Roon is vertical. On my tablet - OOPS. No vertical. They do behave just slightly differently. That's what causes unsophisticated users to abandon interfaces. Sonos is always Sonos.

I'm using Roon on an iPad Pro 9.7 inch and iPhone 6; my wife on an iPad Pro 10 inch and iPhone 6. The first time she held her iPad vertically, as she had her iiPhone 6, and it continued to display in landscape aspect... abandoned. I've seen this soooooo many times. The device interfaces don't look and behave exactly like the online ones. They're not adaptive to how you hold your device. Developers get annoyed about this - why can't users just learn. End users shouldn't have to learn. (and by and large won't.)

I interact with a couple dozen sites every day where the sites behave on my tablets and phones like they do on my laptop, where they adapt presentation to the screens' orientation, without changing how interaction happens. It's not easy. But it's not that hard.

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Hey Bluesman,

 

Greetings from Sydney (Australia).

 

Congratulations on selecting such a worthwhile topic. I have been purchasing used high quality audio gear for many years now.

 

Today my son turned 20 and he received a Rega Planar 3 TT, which only cost me US$500 + Project preamp. 

 

I also bought myself a Benchmark Media DAC2 DX (made in the US but bought from a gentleman in Vienna) for my office system. Using Tidal as the source it will act as a pre-amp to a pair of Adam A7X active speakers. $2k complete system (second hand) - we are NOT talking budget here but great HIFI at a very affordable price.

 

Like previous members I would also like to see you include some emphasis on usability as we all live in the real world, with kids and wives or partners. On this front nothing in my experience nothing competes with the Auralic Mini - for $US350 you can stream Spotify Connect and Tidal and for another $US200 install an internal SSD drive for your local tunes. It simply shows up under "devices as "living room" so nil tech knowledge required.

 

I'm looking forward to the second edition of your blog after such an excellent start.

 

All the best,

 

Ajax

 

 

 

 


LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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My wife preferred the Logitech Touch to Roon until I started to make it easier for her to access her favorite music and showed her how to search for more of the same kind of music.  With Quobuz via Roon, there is a very wide universe of music for her (and I also do searches and try out new music with her).  

 

She doesn't care about gear at all (as long as it stays the same for a while :) ) but she loves her music presented with better fidelity.  The Touch is still connected to the DAC, but I noticed she hasn't used it in a few weeks.  I think it only practical to embrace both kinds of interfaces.  A part-time musician friend at work uses Alexa.  He has good ears, but enjoys the convenience.  And he also has his sax and piano standing by for the kind of live sound that IMHO cannot be reproduced, regardless of cost (but I haven't hear the system that cost more than the average U.S. home).  

 

If it is music that matters, then it doesn't matter how you enjoy it.  Who hasn't rocked to a song on their car radio?

 

It is great to have so many choices and falling prices for excellent sound.  This is a great thread.


Roon / Mola Mola Tambaqui / Kubala-Sosna XLR / Mola Mola Kaluga / KS biwire / B&W 803 D3

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23 hours ago, bluesman said:

 

Many thanks!  We love Argentina - we were in Buenos Aires three years ago and Mendoza last November.  As long as my wife can sit and sip a Fernet Branca & Coca Lite, she'll listen to music for hours with me!

Is the national drink !!!

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