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Music Server And Streaming Help

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terrible

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I am now a very proud and satisfied owner of Cambridge CXR200 and Focal 726V(s). But obviously, guidance does not end there. I connected WDTV Live Hub to the amp and played the stored music in it. The sound was okay for me till I played exactly the same music by directly inserting the external HDD to the amp thru USB port. The sound was a lot better through the USB connect.

Would you recommend that I buy servers cum streamers or just a streamer and which one at that. I am not familiar with this concept so would be grateful if someone can explain why this would be required at all. On the net I came across certain streamers and servers like Cambridge CXN, Cocktail Audio X12 and X30 as well as Brennan b2. Is there anything else you would recommend?

The other question that popped in my head was if WDTV was downgrading the quality of my music files would that be the case with video files (mkv) too? If so what should I be using for video?
 

raghupb

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How is the MP connected to AMP?
If analog out, suspect the MP's DAC. CA has better DAC technology.
If digital out, suspect the MP's SPDIF setting.

Streaming is still in its infancy. You really need a good streamer to preserve fidelity.
With a CA/Focal combo, you do not want the source to be doing anything other than reading and transporting to amp.

Cheers,
Raghu
 
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ujjwaana

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How did you connect the WDTV to your AVR ? RCA ? So all the D to A conversion happened in the al Cheapo DAC of your WDTV. The DAC and MP3 decoder of your CXR200 is far superior than your WDTV.

I feel embarrassed to say that I have no knowledge of NAS capabilities of WDTV , but instead of running a media server on WDTV, it would be better to run File share on it and mount the File System on your AVR.
Playing the Media off the AVR would give you best result. If your WDTV does not support NAS , I would rather suggest you to plug it into USB port of AVR. In that case I will suggest you invest in a decent Multi drive NAS Like the Synology 215j as you have already invested well on your setup. With most media going digital , considering your are not going Vinyl, having 3-10TB of Raid in bare minimal these days
 
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regeHA

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Seeing the Cambridge Audio supports both Wi-Fi and ethernet, it will be as simple as plugging in a hard drive to the USB port on your router. In the router settings enable DLNA, UPnP and you will be able to control music playback with the use of an app like BubbleUPnP on any Android device. I'm pretty certain Cambridge Audio will have their own app with similar functionality, and it should work just as well.

If you don't have a smart router, then dedicate an old PC or laptop to streaming duties. Again as simple as sharing a folder and connecting the PC or laptop to the Wi-Fi network at home. Or you can go the extra step and set up a streaming server like MinimServer (the best and believe me I've tested them all).

Or you can simply go the route of an external NAS that will have media server/media streaming capabilities inbuilt, but will be more expensive. Of course the good thing about them is they are easy to setup and you can be up and running in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. Pretty much every major manufacturer from Netgear to the likes of Seagate and Western Digital are having their own version of NAS. You can also consider Drobo, QNAP, Synology, etc. All comes down to how much is your budget, and how much you are willing to tinker about.

PS: Don't have anything against media streamers, but they are exorbitantly priced for the little they do. The other day I saw something costing as much as $18,000 and people were even buying it. You can rig up something that does the same thing for less than $100.
 
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krishnamurthy

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Denon X3200W AVR WIFI is horrible, it does not even connect. I have no idea how they can be releasing without even testing them properly.

Anyway, if an external hard drive containing movie files is to be streamed through an AVR, what do i do?
 
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raghupb

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Cable down guys. Each manufacturer has their own way of doing streaming. Expect incompatibility.
 
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terrible

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How is the MP connected to AMP?
If analog out, suspect the MP's DAC. CA has better DAC technology.
If digital out, suspect the MP's SPDIF setting.

Streaming is still in its infancy. You really need a good streamer to preserve fidelity.
With a CA/Focal combo, you do not want the source to be doing anything other than reading and transporting to amp.

Cheers,
Raghu

The WDTV Live Hub is connected thru HDMI. I have tried the options of HDMI Digital Pass-Thru as well as Stereo. Both sound a little muted in comparison to connecting the external HDD directly thru the USB port of the amp.


I feel embarrassed to say that I have no knowledge of NAS capabilities of WDTV , but instead of running a media server on WDTV, it would be better to run File share on it and mount the File System on your AVR. Playing the Media off the AVR would give you best result. If your WDTV does not support NAS , I would rather suggest you to plug it into USB port of AVR. In that case I will suggest you invest in a decent Multi drive NAS Like the Synology 215j as you have already invested well on your setup. With most media going digital , considering your are not going Vinyl, having 3-10TB of Raid in bare minimal these days

Okay let me get a clearer picture on this. What you mean in basic terms is to use a combo of PC, external HDD and softwares to play and store media? If so, that's what I do currently. I have about 7 external HDDs ranging between 1 to 2 TB. I have a MacBook Pro 15" with Windows 10 Bootcamp. I connect the HDD to the MacBook and use the Mac OS for music and Windows to play movie files through a combination of MPC-HC and madVR. Though must admit it can get better but for NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M which starts to lag under certain combinations on madVR. I would imagine this usage would be called a crude HTPC and an unconsolidated one. My only reason for asking about music servers and streamers and bluray players like Oppo BD103 was because I imagined that they would process the files way better than my laptop or some PC.

If you don't have a smart router, then dedicate an old PC or laptop to streaming duties. Again as simple as sharing a folder and connecting the PC or laptop to the Wi-Fi network at home. Or you can go the extra step and set up a streaming server like MinimServer (the best and believe me I've tested them all).

Can you explain this a little elaborately. How do you set something like this up. I have two very good wireless routers in Apple Extreme and Netgear AC3200 Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router.

Or you can simply go the route of an external NAS that will have media server/media streaming capabilities inbuilt, but will be more expensive. Of course the good thing about them is they are easy to setup and you can be up and running in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. Pretty much every major manufacturer from Netgear to the likes of Seagate and Western Digital are having their own version of NAS. You can also consider Drobo, QNAP, Synology, etc. All comes down to how much is your budget, and how much you are willing to tinker about.

PS: Don't have anything against media streamers, but they are exorbitantly priced for the little they do. The other day I saw something costing as much as $18,000 and people were even buying it. You can rig up something that does the same thing for less than $100.

I would imagine, what I explained above is pretty much like what you have explained here. Except what you explain is a much much better organised setup. Would like to know from you if the HTPC system processes exactly the same as any other professional unit like Oppo, Brennan, Cocktail or Cambridge CXN. If it does, I would be saving a huge bundle, since I pretty much already have it.
 
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regeHA

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@terrible - Before I get into the nitty-gritty details, let me clarify if you're looking for music streaming (and if so what is the primary format), or if you are looking for both music and movie streaming, in which case it will get a lot more technical and something I don't advise.

I use madVR myself, and it maxes out my GTX 970 and transcoding on-the-fly from an external NAS doesn't really cut it, unless you are limited to 720p content and only upscaling to 1080p.

Anyways, my initial comments were specific to audio streaming and with zero transcoding and your latter comments suggest there might be more than meets the eye with the inclusion of video streaming along with the use of madVR, so can you please clarify?

Would like to know from you if the HTPC system processes exactly the same as any other professional unit like Oppo, Brennan, Cocktail or Cambridge CXN. If it does, I would be saving a huge bundle, since I pretty much already have it.

Yes, for the most part. In fact quite a few "expensive" media streamers/servers are actually built on MPD, a Linux distro that's actually free.

I can share more information based on your requirement, just so I don't add to the confusion.

PS: I love and have used Oppo in the past, even as a CDP, its got an excellent DAC. Yes, to the Cambridge CXN, one can achieve the same functionality for $70 ($35 for the Raspberry Pi, $35 for the Chromecast Audio), but the Cambridge also has an inbuilt DAC and in addition does DSD. Check the DAC in the CXR200 and how it compares to the CXN.

I've no idea about the Brennan and the Cocktail, but from I see they are glorified CD rippers and music streamers, something you can achieve for free with about - VortexBox user forum.

I'm not dissing them, and I'm sure they have a market, but not for everyone.
 
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saikatbiswas82

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I am now a very proud and satisfied owner of Cambridge CXR200 and Focal 726V(s). But obviously, guidance does not end there. I connected WDTV Live Hub to the amp and played the stored music in it. The sound was okay for me till I played exactly the same music by directly inserting the external HDD to the amp thru USB port. The sound was a lot better through the USB connect.

Would you recommend that I buy servers cum streamers or just a streamer and which one at that. I am not familiar with this concept so would be grateful if someone can explain why this would be required at all. On the net I came across certain streamers and servers like Cambridge CXN, Cocktail Audio X12 and X30 as well as Brennan b2. Is there anything else you would recommend?

The other question that popped in my head was if WDTV was downgrading the quality of my music files would that be the case with video files (mkv) too? If so what should I be using for video?

Request you to follow the thread started by FM gcr:

http://www.hifivision.com/home-theater-pc-htpc-media-pc/58353-raspberry-pi-2-media-player.html

This might give you some idea how to setup an audiophile streamer :)
BTW, this thread is aimed for music streaming solution (mainly).
 
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sam9s

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I am now a very proud and satisfied owner of Cambridge CXR200 and Focal 726V(s). But obviously, guidance does not end there. I connected WDTV Live Hub to the amp and played the stored music in it. The sound was okay for me till I played exactly the same music by directly inserting the external HDD to the amp thru USB port. The sound was a lot better through the USB connect.

Would you recommend that I buy servers cum streamers or just a streamer and which one at that. I am not familiar with this concept so would be grateful if someone can explain why this would be required at all. On the net I came across certain streamers and servers like Cambridge CXN, Cocktail Audio X12 and X30 as well as Brennan b2. Is there anything else you would recommend?

The other question that popped in my head was if WDTV was downgrading the quality of my music files would that be the case with video files (mkv) too? If so what should I be using for video?

There are a lot of ways a streaming solution can be achieved, and what sounds better can only be determined, by actually trying it out with the combination of AMP and speakers you have. Some of the methods I can outline below.

1. Get a 2bay cheapest Synology nas ::: Add 2x4TB HDD to it. Synology natively supports USB Audio out and also can act a very decent DLNA/UPnP server. Get a USB DAC (Your choice as to how audiophile grade it should be) and connect it to. Your AVR should be set to pass through (or DIRECT mode). This setup will act as your storage, music server and streamer all in one.

2. Assemble an Audiophile PC ::: Now this can be done in various ways, you can invest and assemble on an audiophile grade PC with specific attention to fanless ITX design, with an audiograde usb card as PAUL PANG. Plus You can add mSATA, Liner power supply ....etc etc ...the list can go on. On the software front you can go with windows 10 with Audiophile optimizer, install jriver or FOOBAR with WASAPI, ASIO, Direct Sound or Kernal Streaming ....etc etc.

3. Assemble a Simple PC ::: YOu can also go with a much lesser version of the above, with simple ITX based PC, no audiophile hardware. Just the basic SATA drive and USB 3.0 (or a mobo with Audiograde USB out). On the software front you can have Windows 8.1 and customize it yourself to run only few basic services and processes (for a cleaner audio out). Install FooBar (if Jriver seems expensive) and get WASAPI.

4. Another option is RaspberryPi ::: Get a RaspPi, get HiFiBerry DAC, install MoOde on it, plug in a 1TB HDD (or to your Home LAN if you have a basic NAS running) connect it to your AVR and start streaming music.

Hope that made some sense ...:)

Regards
Sammy
 
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terrible

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@terrible - Before I get into the nitty-gritty details, let me clarify if you're looking for music streaming (and if so what is the primary format), or if you are looking for both music and movie streaming, in which case it will get a lot more technical and something I don't advise.

So yeah, let me apologise for going a little, all over. My opening thread was surely about audio streaming. I was planning on buying an Oppo BD103 from Amazon US for playing video files and CDs. So getting back to audio, the primary format I use is flac.

Anyways, my initial comments were specific to audio streaming and with zero transcoding and your latter comments suggest there might be more than meets the eye with the inclusion of video streaming along with the use of madVR, so can you please clarify?

I brought in madVR and the fact that I play music through Mac OS to suggest that I was already using an HTPC kind of setup, albeit a lot unorganised. So it had no other purpose.

Check the DAC in the CXR200 and how it compares to the CXN.

CXR200 DAC: Cirrus Logic DACs for the Centre and Surround channels and Texas Instruments for the Front L/R channels

CXN: Two high-quality Wolfson WM8740 chips handle digital-to-analogue conversion.

Request you to follow the thread started by FM gcr:

http://www.hifivision.com/home-theater-pc-htpc-media-pc/58353-raspberry-pi-2-media-player.html

This might give you some idea how to setup an audiophile streamer :)
BTW, this thread is aimed for music streaming solution (mainly).

Thank you.
 
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JayaRaa

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Since you are having dual purpose requirements, Oppo seems to be your best bet. Go for 105 since you are sourcing from outside of India.
 
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terrible

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There are a lot of ways a streaming solution can be achieved, and what sounds better can only be determined, by actually trying it out with the combination of AMP and speakers you have. Some of the methods I can outline below.

Thank you for this comprehensive choice list. I have a few questions which arise more from my being a first timer into this.


1. Get a 2bay cheapest Synology nas ::: Add 2x4TB HDD to it. Synology natively supports USB Audio out and also can act a very decent DLNA/UPnP server. Get a USB DAC (Your choice as to how audiophile grade it should be) and connect it to. Your AVR should be set to pass through (or DIRECT mode). This setup will act as your storage, music server and streamer all in one.

Will this render the Cambridge CXR merely as a pass-through to the speakers not utilising any of its own abilities? I'll be using the USB DAC instead? I was also going through some costs on this and realised that Synology DS215j (recommended here) 2x6TB WDRed and say a Cambridge DAC would cost close to a lakh. Considering I already have almost 10TB of external HDD.


4. Another option is RaspberryPi ::: Get a RaspPi, get HiFiBerry DAC, install MoOde on it, plug in a 1TB HDD (or to your Home LAN if you have a basic NAS running) connect it to your AVR and start streaming music.

This sounds good considering I have around 9.5 TB of movies and 500GB of music.

Thank you so much for the effort.
 
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Bharathram

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The WDTV Live Hub is connected thru HDMI. I have tried the options of HDMI Digital Pass-Thru as well as Stereo. Both sound a little muted in comparison to connecting the external HDD directly thru the USB port of the amp.

What does your receiver LCD indicate when you play the audio from you WDTV . Does it say "PCM" always (both stereo and Pass through?)...
 
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Bharathram

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If it shows PCM in both the modes (Passthrough and Stereo) , it means that the decoding of the audio file (WAV,FLAC,MP3 etc.) to unpacked PCM stream is done in WDTV only.

But when you play through USB by connecting as external HDD this decoding process happens in your receiver itself.

The difference in quality of sound when you play in WDTV is because of some additional/unwanted artifacts that your WDTV player/decoder has added in the process of decoding to PCM.
 
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terrible

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Request you to follow the thread started by FM gcr:

http://www.hifivision.com/home-theater-pc-htpc-media-pc/58353-raspberry-pi-2-media-player.html

This might give you some idea how to setup an audiophile streamer :)
BTW, this thread is aimed for music streaming solution (mainly).

Is this installation and in my case description of this(Raspberry Pi), available somewhere in a more coherent easy to understand way? Its so spread out that a noob like me looses the logical flow and understanding. The only thing I understood vaguely is that its pretty much like WDTV Live Hub with a bit more independence. I could be totally wrong.

Merry christmas and thanx for all your help!
 
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