Balanced Streaming Setup

Wharfedale EVO4.1 Bookshelf Speakers
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Active Member
Oct 4, 2018
  • Aim/Objective: Create Audio Streaming setup which plays from-
    • files stored locally on a NAS(Raspberry Pi 4 + 2TB HDD)
    • Spotify
    • Ganaa/Wynk (Optional)
  • Stipulation
    • Has to be Balanced; Source/DAC output to Amplifier input
    • Easy to Use; as close to "Power ON and Play" as possible
    • Deliver SQ on a budget (under 70K), doesn't has to be "very high-grade Audiophile" kind of thing
  • Parts in place:
    • Crown XLS 1502 for L-R channel
    • Crown XLS 2502 for Subwoofer
    • 2 x12inch JBL Subwoofers
  • Parts to procure:
    • Audio Source (this thread)
    • Bookshelf Speakers (Will create a separate thread for this)
  • Options considered:
    1. Cambridge Audio CXN V1/V2 [most expensive option, probably easiest to use]
    2. Rpi Streamer + SMSL M200 [sourcing the DAC from Hifigo would be an issue]
    3. RPi Streamer + Soncoz LA-QXD 1 [2nd cheapest solution but Volume Control would be an issue]
    4. Rpi Streamer + Hifiberry DAC + Pro XLR [might end up being the cheapest solution but won't be so high on "ease of use" parameter]
    5. Yamaha WXC-50 + Soncoz LA-QXD 1 [not exactly cheap solution, allows upgrade of DAC in future but AFAIK volume control would be an issue]
Hi, as mentioned above I want to create a balanced audio streaming setup. So far in my search, I have come across only CXN as the only AIO solution for my need but it's expensive and I want to research a bit more, discuss my options before committing to anything.
This setup would be used by me and my Mother whose primary method of engaging with Audio system is through Spotify on her phone, connected to playback device via Bluetooth. So in case of Option 2 and 5, the Bluetooth in the device itself would suffice. For rest, there will have to be bit of learning of apps and environment, which I want to keep to a minimum.
With budgetary constraints, for Option 1, Pre-owned is the route I'm willing to take and prefer. For rest also, I have no issues with going for pre-owned unit(s).
As for RPi based systems, in such limited usage scenario, would RPi Zero suffice or a proper 4B would be better, not an overkill?
Hifiberry hat isn't available locally and would have to be imported. In this option, while the equipment footprint would be minimal, what would be the probable and best way to control volume ?
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