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Sounds Great - inexpensive, no fancy computer or power supplies


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1 hour ago, beerandmusic said:

Thanks for sharing...have you actually tried enet->usb streamers? 

I haven't, but i have used much less expensive streamer solutions.

I believe that if you are using a general use non-optimized windows pc to a good dac, that you will likely get better SQ using a streamer.  I haven't tried enet->usb streamers, but realize these are mostly mom/pop type retailers, and am skeptical that they will sound "much better" (esp for the $) than other much less expensive enet solutions that don't claim you need a high dollar PS for better performance.

  1. SBTouch
  2. SMS-100
  3. mRendu
  4. Fanless Nuc running standard Windows 10.
  5. Raspberry Pi
  6. Bricasti-M5
  7. embedded streamer in Matrix DAC

Various power supplies, including some pretty pricey ones,  several different USB "cleaners-regenerators" between streamer and DAC, etc.

I think it's a pretty good cross section of the market over the the past decade plus.

 

Again, IME, the most significant factor is the quality of the USB input on the DAC. The streamers, regenerators, and power supplies made a small difference or not one I could consistently notice with a well engineered USB input. I am presently using a Pi4 fed cleaned up power.  Without comparing or blind testing, it sounds fine. Maybe if I directly compare it to an "audiophile" unit I will hear a difference, maybe not. Without that I'm not conscious of anything lacking. Based on impression, my system sounds no less "audiophile" than it did with a front end costing about 25-30 times the price of the Pi. 

 

I will probably upgrade to a Sonore Optical streamer at some point, or an updated Kii Controller/preamp/streamer if they come out with the rumored device -  even though I'm not 100% certain either will improve SQ . There are, of course, reasons besides SQ to change or upgrade a streamer. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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1 hour ago, beerandmusic said:

 

Archimago doesn't host his own music forums does he?  I know he has his blog that i visit at least monthly and see his most recent blog is about this NC252 amp you speak of....I am not a DIY'er...is that available pre-built?  Looks nice!

Hypex%2BNC252MP%2BAssembled%2B-%2BGold.jpg

There are lots of people building them prebuilt: Nord, Apollon, March, etc. Hypex is a great SQ return on the dollar... and will have resell value when you decide to sell it as part of your hobby. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Streaming is the way to go.   A low cost Bluesound Power Node 2i, and some modest speakers are a great starter kit.

It all depends on how your room interacts with your speaker selection.

 

I honestly believe you would have to pay a lot more money to achieve audible sound quality improvement.

 

 

 

 

 

In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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5 hours ago, beerandmusic said:

 

Archimago doesn't host his own music forums does he?  I know he has his blog that i visit at least monthly and see his most recent blog is about this NC252 amp you speak of....I am not a DIY'er...is that available pre-built?  Looks nice!

Hypex%2BNC252MP%2BAssembled%2B-%2BGold.jpg

Hi Beer,

 

I have not heard any other streamers besides the Auralic Mini & Chrome-cast, however, I share the views of Firedog and Archimago (he doesn't host a forum just a blog) in that if you can guarantee bit perfect into a well engineered DAC (such as a Benchmark) then little else is required except for DSP.

 

Check out Archimago's review of the inexpensive Chrome-cast Audio - his main argument is that it is irrelevant what jitter etc is produced by the streamer (as long as it is bit perfect), with the final result from the DAC being what is important, which makes a lot of sense to me. 

 

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2016/02/measurements-google-chromecast-audio_27.html#more

 

Another product that looks very interesting is the relatively new SHD series from Minidsp as it it provides several different combinations (all with built in Dirac DSP) so you can set up your system properly allowing for room acoustics. There are 3 types of units depending on how much flexibility you want. If you are looking for a one box solution you can have the DAC & power built in.... refer to the bottom of this link.

 

https://www.minidsp.com/products/streaming-hd-series/shd-series

 

Check out Amirm's review here:

 

https://www.audio “science” review/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-minidsp-shd-dac-dsp-and-streamer.4286/

 

Finally, there are several sources of assembled Hypex amps - Nord Acoustics in the UK. Audiophonics in France, March Audio in Aus and Apollon in Austria. I have the Nord NC 500 in a stereo format and it drives my ATC SCM 40s without issue. Audiophonics is the least expensive - about US$600. Here is link to the same hypex module that Archimago reviewed, which in his opinion was "good enough: and is now his reference.. For another US4100 you can get the 502 with a lot more power. I don't know about quality as have only dealt with Colin from Nord, who is a good fellow, and I can vouch forays gear. You can find reviews for all this gear below - the March looks really good (reviewed by Amirm) but expensive relative to Audiophonics' offering.

 

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/power-amplifier/audiophonics-mpa-s250nc-xlr-class-d-stereo-amplifier-ncore-2x250w-4-ohm-p-14185.html

 

https://www.nordacoustics.co.uk/nord-one-hypex-ncore-mpxxx-stereo-p

 

https://www.marchaudio.net.au/p252

 

https://www.apollonaudio.com/apollon-ncmp400-hypex-based-class-d-amplifier/

 

I'm happy to purchase streamers, DACs and amplifiers on line without being heard based on measurements however, speakers are such a personal part of the chain (I really like the the look of the KEF LS50 and you obviously don't) and you definitely must listen prior to purchase preferably in your own home.

 

I have just retired and bought a property in the country, 15mins outside Byron Bay in Australia (check it out), and for fun I'm going to embark on a DIY project and build the Linkwitz designed LXmini by the late great Seigfried Linkwitz. I have absolutely no carpentry skills but it looks like such an interesting project and I have heard the LX minis in a garage with brick walls and concrete floors (hostile environment) and they sounded superb.

 

Anyway lots of ways to skin the cat and I have only touched the surface

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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4 hours ago, firedog said:
  1. SBTouch
  2. SMS-100
  3. mRendu
  4. Fanless Nuc running standard Windows 10.
  5. Raspberry Pi
  6. Bricasti-M5
  7. embedded streamer in Matrix DAC

Various power supplies, including some pretty pricey ones,  several different USB "cleaners-regenerators" between streamer and DAC, etc.

I think it's a pretty good cross section of the market over the the past decade plus.

 

Again, IME, the most significant factor is the quality of the USB input on the DAC. The streamers, regenerators, and power supplies made a small difference or not one I could consistently notice with a well engineered USB input. I am presently using a Pi4 fed cleaned up power.  Without comparing or blind testing, it sounds fine. Maybe if I directly compare it to an "audiophile" unit I will hear a difference, maybe not. Without that I'm not conscious of anything lacking. Based on impression, my system sounds no less "audiophile" than it did with a front end costing about 25-30 times the price of the Pi. 

 

I will probably upgrade to a Sonore Optical streamer at some point, or an updated Kii Controller/preamp/streamer if they come out with the rumored device -  even though I'm not 100% certain either will improve SQ . There are, of course, reasons besides SQ to change or upgrade a streamer. 

 

wow you have tried quite a few streamers...

so the pi is connected directly to a usb dac, and where is the storage and how do you control it? there is no enet streaming in your current solution?

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11 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Hi Beer,

 

I have not heard any other streamers besides the Auralic Mini & Chrome-cast, however, I share the views of Firedog and Archimago (he doesn't host a forum just a blog) in that if you can guarantee bit perfect into a well engineered DAC (such as a Benchmark) then little else is required except for DSP.

 

Check out Archimago's review of the inexpensive Chrome-cast Audio - his main argument is that it is irrelevant what jitter etc is produced by the streamer (as long as it is bit perfect), with the final result from the DAC being what is important, which makes a lot of sense to me. 

 

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2016/02/measurements-google-chromecast-audio_27.html#more

 

Another product that looks very interesting is the relatively new SHD series from Minidsp as it it provides several different combinations (all with built in Dirac DSP) so you can set up your system properly allowing for room acoustics. There are 3 types of units depending on how much flexibility you want. If you are looking for a one box solution you can have the DAC & power built in.... refer to the bottom of this link.

 

https://www.minidsp.com/products/streaming-hd-series/shd-series

 

Check out Amirm's review here:

 

https://www.audio “science” review/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-minidsp-shd-dac-dsp-and-streamer.4286/

 

Finally, there are several sources of assembled Hypex amps - Nord Acoustics in the UK. Audiophonics in France, March Audio in Aus and Apollon in Austria. I have the Nord NC 500 in a stereo format and it drives my ATC SCM 40s without issue. Audiophonics is the least expensive - about US$600. Here is link to the same hypex module that Archimago reviewed, which in his opinion was "good enough: and is now his reference.. For another US4100 you can get the 502 with a lot more power. I don't know about quality as have only dealt with Colin from Nord, who is a good fellow, and I can vouch forays gear. You can find reviews for all this gear below - the March looks really good (reviewed by Amirm) but expensive relative to Audiophonics' offering.

 

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/power-amplifier/audiophonics-mpa-s250nc-xlr-class-d-stereo-amplifier-ncore-2x250w-4-ohm-p-14185.html

 

https://www.nordacoustics.co.uk/nord-one-hypex-ncore-mpxxx-stereo-p

 

https://www.marchaudio.net.au/p252

 

https://www.apollonaudio.com/apollon-ncmp400-hypex-based-class-d-amplifier/

 

I'm happy to purchase streamers, DACs and amplifiers on line without being heard based on measurements however, speakers are such a personal part of the chain (I really like the the look of the KEF LS50 and you obviously don't) and you definitely must listen prior to purchase preferably in your own home.

 

I have just retired and bought a property in the country, 15mins outside Byron Bay in Australia (check it out), and for fun I'm going to embark on a DIY project and build the Linkwitz designed LXmini by the late great Seigfried Linkwitz. I have absolutely no carpentry skills but it looks like such an interesting project and I have heard the LX minis in a garage with brick walls and concrete floors (hostile environment) and they sounded superb.

 

Anyway lots of ways to skin the cat and I have only touched the surface

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

thanks for sharing will read through it later tonite...just got home from outing to fallbrook...always a fun drive...found a lot of unique cd's to go through...

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6 minutes ago, beerandmusic said:

 

wow you have tried quite a few streamers...

so the pi is connected directly to a usb dac, and where is the storage and how do you control it? there is no enet streaming in your current solution?

the storage is a pc acting as a NAS. it streams to the Pi over ethernet, the Pi to the DAC via USB. I use Roon. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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4 minutes ago, firedog said:

the storage is a pc acting as a NAS. it streams to the Pi, the Pi to the DAC via USB. I use Roon. 

ok, that makes sense then...it's always been my experience that i get best results when streaming...

 

does raat allow you to fast forward and rewind?  or is it kind of quirky like DLNA?

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1 minute ago, beerandmusic said:

ok, that makes sense then...it's always been my experience that i get best results when streaming...

 

does raat allow you to fast forward and rewind?  or is it kind of quirky like DLNA?

RAAT works really well. You can do whatever you want with it. Not quirky at all - that's the point.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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22 hours ago, beerandmusic said:

Of course, everything is relative, and in most cases you will get the best sound with a higher budget,

but i am curious if anyone is content with the way their relatively low cost system sounds and

without a fancy computer and power supplies?

 

If you think you have a decent sounding solution for under $3K excluding speakers and amp, please share it.

 

I personally would prefer something you can buy (vs DIY), but would consider DIY if could be done in a day with little skill and knowledge...but of course anyone is free to share.

 

3B + with Case, 32GB Samsung SD, Case, and PoE 802.11af splitter for $59

image.png.8950cccd67a208c42d0e7a25b0356da1.png

 

Behringer UM204HD for $79 (now $129 😞 )

 

image.thumb.png.be3866d06ddbcddbb97f52dc337d97c9.png

 

JBL 308p MKII for $149 each ($300 total) 

image.png.913a1f551af0b32c6a0d4eb1c11d6840.png

 

JBL LSR310S 10" subwoofer for $270 per ($540 total)

image.png.d48af49d97099dddf80f9a5cc321d0de.png

 

TRS and XLR cables for $40 to connect everything.

 

$1020 for everything and they are active monitors and subs. Sound is phenomenal. Considering they it's $510 a channel is just crazy.  

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3 minutes ago, plissken said:

 

3B + with Case, 32GB Samsung SD, Case, and PoE 802.11af splitter for $59

image.png.8950cccd67a208c42d0e7a25b0356da1.png

 

Behringer UM204HD for $79 (now $129 😞 )

 

image.thumb.png.be3866d06ddbcddbb97f52dc337d97c9.png

 

JBL 308p MKII for $149 each ($300 total) 

image.png.913a1f551af0b32c6a0d4eb1c11d6840.png

 

JBL LSR310S 10" subwoofer for $270 per ($540 total)

image.png.d48af49d97099dddf80f9a5cc321d0de.png

 

TRS and XLR cables for $40 to connect everything.

 

$1020 for everything and they are active monitors and subs. Sound is phenomenal. Considering they it's $510 a channel is just crazy.  

do you also stream to the pi and use dlna?

I know jriver has a downloadable image "id" which i believe is for a pi, which i contemplated trying at one time.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, firedog said:

RAAT works really well. You can do whatever you want with it. Not quirky at all - that's the point.

 

Does hardware have to support RAAT to work with it?  I guess I am asking will it work with my marantz reciever or would i have to use roon with dlna instead of raat for it to work?  Not sure if that even makes sense??

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16 minutes ago, beerandmusic said:

do you also stream to the pi and use dlna?

I know jriver has a downloadable image "id" which i believe is for a pi, which i contemplated trying at one time.

 

 

 

I use JRiver and Ropiee

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6 minutes ago, beerandmusic said:

Ok thanks...i googled and find many references to ropiee with roon but not jriver...can you share a link if one exists on how to create this solution?

Ropiee is just a DNLA client. You download the image and use etcher to create the bootable SD card. About 10 minutes start to finish. 

 

When you boot the Pi you'll need to check your DHCP server for it's ip address. 

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1 minute ago, plissken said:

Ropiee is just a DNLA client. You download the image and use etcher to create the bootable SD card. About 10 minutes start to finish. 

 

When you boot the Pi you'll need to check your DHCP server for it's ip address. 

ok that sounds like something worth trying. 

With that solution are you able to ff and rew in jriver by using the slidebar?

 

I don't know if it's an issue with using dlna on my marantz or a dlna shortcoming where I am not able to use the slidebar to change position of the song?

 

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1 hour ago, beerandmusic said:

 

Does hardware have to support RAAT to work with it?  I guess I am asking will it work with my marantz reciever or would i have to use roon with dlna instead of raat for it to work?  Not sure if that even makes sense??

 

Roon have made a point of not supporting UPnP/DLNA. Roon supports AirPlay, Squeezebox, Chromecast & even HQPlayer (out to a NAA), if you can't use RAAT with it.

 

If you are running the Roon Core server on a Windows machine you can use the iFi Bridge helper software to get your AVR's UPnP/DLNA renderer appear as a Squeezebox and thus be supported by Roon.

 

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

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32 minutes ago, plissken said:

Ropiee is just a DNLA client.

 

 

Presumably you're referring to extra network audio streaming technologies provided by RoPieeeXL (which includes a UPnP/DLNA renderer), as opposed to the original RoPieee which is only a (RAAT supporting) Roon Endpoint.

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

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2 hours ago, beerandmusic said:

 

Does hardware have to support RAAT to work with it?  I guess I am asking will it work with my marantz reciever or would i have to use roon with dlna instead of raat for it to work?  Not sure if that even makes sense??

Are you asking about Roon or a Pi? To get the full functionality of Roon you need a Roon server and Roon endpoint. That is, RAAT.

Roon can also work with a SB endpoint or a Chromecast  or HQP and an HQP NAA, and Airplay. Ropieee is mainly designed to work as a Roon endpoint, but the XL version will also work with LMS or as an NAA.

With a Pi, depending on the OS you install, you can use just about any server software there is. You pick an OS that has the player available that you want and UI you prefer. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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On 6/11/2020 at 6:25 PM, beerandmusic said:

Of course, everything is relative, and in most cases you will get the best sound with a higher budget,

but i am curious if anyone is content with the way their relatively low cost system sounds and

without a fancy computer and power supplies?

 

If you think you have a decent sounding solution for under $3K excluding speakers and amp, please share it.

 

I personally would prefer something you can buy (vs DIY), but would consider DIY if could be done in a day with little skill and knowledge...but of course anyone is free to share.

Wait a minute.  I think we're mixing our metaphors.  You don't need fancy computers or fancy power supplies to have a sound system that you can be content with!

 

Jimminy Crickets, where did that come from? 

 

Sometimes you have to go back to basics.  Start with a library of music that you enjoy.  It doesn't matter what it is, as long as it's what you want to listen to; something that strikes a chord with you and resonates in a meaningful way.

 

I started with a portable Sony cassette player back in 1974.  I would walk through the bush trails in Northern Manitoba with Micah, my Golden Retriever companion listening to Led Zeppelin II and Johnny Winter's Still Alive and Well.  It sounded good to us, I don't remember anyone complaining.

 

What matters isn't how fancy your system is, but if you're happy with it. 

 

That's it.  It doesn't have to be any more complicated than that.  

 

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On 6/11/2020 at 6:25 PM, beerandmusic said:

If you think you have a decent sounding solution for under $3K excluding speakers and amp, please share it.

Auralic Altair G1 

 

“The best sounding audio product is the one that exhibits the least audible flaws.”

 Dr. Floyd Toole

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35 minutes ago, audiobomber said:

I have two Chromecast streamers, a Raspberry Pi 3B+ and SOtM sMS-200. The sms is clearly in another price range but sounds best. The Pi sounds better than Chromecast, with any of my DAC's. I believe this is an opinion you will see on any audiophile site that has compared them. Of course if you just look at measurements and don't listen, you may come to a different conclusion.

do you have the sms-200 and the altair??

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