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Streamer or DAC ?

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#1
Wanted to listen/stream 24 bit/ high resolution flacs or stream music from say you tube etc. Am thinking of either buying a DAC and connect with digital source or go for a good streamer like Cambridge Audio CXN.. I do not want to have a laptop near my system for playing the files.

What are ways to stream music thru DAC preferably thru wifi... How can music stored on NAS drive etc be played using DAC
Should I look for a streamer rather than DAC.
Any feedback on Cambridge CXN?
 
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Kannan

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#2
Yes, CXN is a convenient all-in-one solution with in-built DAC and playback from USB hard disks, streaming facility, NAS support, bluetooth, aswell as with multiple digital inputs and outputs.

If you invest in an exclusive DAC, then you will need some kind of a transport to play from your USB drives or-and stream from other sources in your NAS.
 

haisaikat

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#4
Wanted to listen/stream 24 bit/ high resolution flacs or stream music from say you tube etc. Am thinking of either buying a DAC and connect with digital source or go for a good streamer like Cambridge Audio CXN.. I do not want to have a laptop near my system for playing the files.

What are ways to stream music thru DAC preferably thru wifi... How can music stored on NAS drive etc be played using DAC
Should I look for a streamer rather than DAC.
Any feedback on Cambridge CXN?
I am assuming that you have the following
1. Home WiFi on internet
2. Laptop having FLAC/ lossless audio files as your primary content
3. You occassionally want to play streaming audio content including YouTube
4. Presently you are playing stereo through the CDP and AVR combo mainly

Please confirm.

Also do you prefer to control playback from a physical remote looking at folder navigation or playback on a screen like inbuilt on streamer or on a monitor or TV from a distance or you are fine doing the same for a mobile phone on same WiFi or a tab?

Have you also shortlisted any DAC or want to build slowly? Your cd 6004 does not accept digital inputs and hence will not allow using its dac to external digital sources. But you AVR does allow for now so you do have a dac to start with which you can upgrade later on including dedicated stereo amp addition.
 

saikatbiswas82

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#5
Wanted to listen/stream 24 bit/ high resolution flacs or stream music from say you tube etc. Am thinking of either buying a DAC and connect with digital source or go for a good streamer like Cambridge Audio CXN.. I do not want to have a laptop near my system for playing the files.

What are ways to stream music thru DAC preferably thru wifi... How can music stored on NAS drive etc be played using DAC
Should I look for a streamer rather than DAC.
Any feedback on Cambridge CXN?
One hypothetical scenario:

A dac which has optical and coax digital inputs.

For YouTube - Smart tv > optical cable > dac

For nas music - Nas > Raspberry pi > allo digione (or something like that) > digital coax > dac
 
Joined
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#6
I am assuming that you have the following
1. Home WiFi on internet
2. Laptop having FLAC/ lossless audio files as your primary content
3. You occassionally want to play streaming audio content including YouTube
4. Presently you are playing stereo through the CDP and AVR combo mainly

Please confirm.

Also do you prefer to control playback from a physical remote looking at folder navigation or playback on a screen like inbuilt on streamer or on a monitor or TV from a distance or you are fine doing the same for a mobile phone on same WiFi or a tab?

Have you also shortlisted any DAC or want to build slowly? Your cd 6004 does not accept digital inputs and hence will not allow using its dac to external digital sources. But you AVR does allow for now so you do have a dac to start with which you can upgrade later on including dedicated stereo amp addition.
Hi
absolutely right.. would like to play HQ flac or stream audio content from You tube. I do use chromecast hooked to AVR through HDMI to stream you tube audio occasionally... but my Amp then remains unused. Would prefer selection from mobile or ipad rather than navigating from a distance. Understand streamers like CXN have an app which allows us to do..
 

newlash09

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#7
Here are some options to consider :

1. Google chromecast audio, not the video one. Connect to a dac via mini optical link.
2. Yamaha wxc50- there is one for sale in our for sale section. This can do, everything. Is a streamer, cum dac , cum pre amp. But does not have Google chrome cast built in. And does not support mqa on tidal , normal hifi tidal is okay. Comes with a very good musicast app for both android and apple.
3. Bluesound node 2 - this is a streamer and dac inbuilt. And can also stream to an external dac of your choice. Comes with a nice bluesound control app for both android and apple.
4. Cambridge audio CXN - is a streamer, cum dac, cum pre amp. Never tried it though. But this one has chromecast built in. So if you are a gaana or saavan user, then this will be most ideal.

The above 4 are only a small portion of the huge streaming eco system. There are equivalents from marantz as well . But as saikatbiswas rightly mentioned, if you have some computing chops, a raspberry pi or allo bridge with a good external dac, will give you comparable performance if not better ( depends on your dac then ) , than the above pricier streamers that I mentioned. All the best
 

haisaikat

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#8
Hi
absolutely right.. would like to play HQ flac or stream audio content from You tube. I do use chromecast hooked to AVR through HDMI to stream you tube audio occasionally... but my Amp then remains unused. Would prefer selection from mobile or ipad rather than navigating from a distance. Understand streamers like CXN have an app which allows us to do..
In your signature I did not find any amplifier. What amp do you have? Assuming it's an integrated amp and you want to utilise that for streaming audio you need an external dac or a streamer having dac built in. For that you already received suggestions here. However among your devices the CDP does not accept digital inputs but your AVR does. Then again if you want to utilise your AVR dac that you are already doing as of date by the Chromecast. Unless you have a limitation that you want overcome (including stereo amp using) you are at best already.

The Allo suggestion you received is indeed very cost effective and indeed support YouTube streaming and FLAC from network playback very easily.

Let me know if you also need to buy a DAC / network streamer having combo dac or have something to reuse in the system as of date.

If you want to try volumio for any Chromecast limitation then putting it on Raspberry pi and hooking it on AVR through HDMI is cheapest without any Allo device like Digione/Digione Signature
 
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#9
Thanks .. Have PM7004 as my integrated amp. Would ideally like to utilise that for music. Am not very familiar with Raspberry Pi / Allo Digione ecosystem.. Saw the Raspberry pi board is available at Amazon for ~Rs3.5K. I guess would need to buy casing etc and program it for it to stream music - or do we get some thing similar readymade and how would the quality compare to a good streamer

For CA CXN costs 2x MF Mx DAC..Assuming MF Mx DAC has better DAC vs CA (which I was told), may be cost effective if I could stream /play files to the DAC,
 

haisaikat

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#10
Thanks .. Have PM7004 as my integrated amp. Would ideally like to utilise that for music. Am not very familiar with Raspberry Pi / Allo Digione ecosystem.. Saw the Raspberry pi board is available at Amazon for ~Rs3.5K. I guess would need to buy casing etc and program it for it to stream music - or do we get some thing similar readymade and how would the quality compare to a good streamer

For CA CXN costs 2x MF Mx DAC..Assuming MF Mx DAC has better DAC vs CA (which I was told), may be cost effective if I could stream /play files to the DAC,
You are on the right track as the better approach is to get the best dac in your budget and then add streaming capabilities after all we are all into separates approach, for good.

MF MX dac support standard digital inputs like optical, digital and usb so you need some streamer that can get you one if these digital outs. But interesting aspect is only the UDB support DSD native playback. Even if you do not have any DSD for now does not mean you would not be tempted to test them in your system be it exclaiming at the end "no difference" in the worst scenario. So my suggestion go for streamer that accept USB output not that source cannot convert DSD to PCM but it's not generally recommended.

Now coming to streamers, if you prefer a dedicated streamer box nite that it is expected to come with following feature based options
1. A good power supply
2. USB implementation to guard from noises and jitters
3. Album art display on a screen
4. Screen based navigation control
5. Remote with play, pause, next
6. Optional built in dac and preamp
7. Multiple output mechanisms
8. Brand and looks
9. Upgradable firmware for future updates
10. Obvious network and connectivity like ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth.

I have been using RPI based streamer for past 5-6 years and can tell you this

Except 7,8 and 5 (to some extent) you can ache the rest on DIY options. Even these can be achieved except 8 may be to an extent but requires more effort and alternative mechanism available.

In my mind for DIY in streamer, upgrades are much cheaper be it case / power supply / or softwares and hence preferred with ever changing market. Caution: never owned a branded streamer as of date, so cannot give you a A-B comparison.

So be it an RPI or any other single board computer there are multiple options. You can even start with your PC and then upgrade to a usb streamer and feel difference. A streamer is a hardware / software which is not a general purpose device rather dedicated and optimised for streaming. There is on Allo usbbridge on sales on hfv now, btw

Look at Allo USB bridge that is clubbed with a single board computer called sparky and comes everything pre-installed, just ready out of the box. You don't need to do anything else than connect to its webui and start streaming. I even recommend you do this from PC upgrade so you understand what improvement it brings on.
 
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saikatbiswas82

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#11
Thanks .. Have PM7004 as my integrated amp. Would ideally like to utilise that for music. Am not very familiar with Raspberry Pi / Allo Digione ecosystem.. Saw the Raspberry pi board is available at Amazon for ~Rs3.5K. I guess would need to buy casing etc and program it for it to stream music - or do we get some thing similar readymade and how would the quality compare to a good streamer

For CA CXN costs 2x MF Mx DAC..Assuming MF Mx DAC has better DAC vs CA (which I was told), may be cost effective if I could stream /play files to the DAC,
You may get this along with a digital coax:

https://diyaudiocart.com/Allo-Digione-Player

Everything in in a nice box and some says rpi based transports are one of the best transports available at a price point of 5-6 times of it's price.

As of now you can use PM7004's digital input and at later point of time you may upgrade your DAC as per budget/taste.

*** I have no affiliation with RPI, Diyaudiocart or Allo.
 
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#12
Thanks for this
PM7004 doesn't have digital input.So between buying a dac or a streamer.. it makes sense to buy a dac plus Allo..just the last bit.. can we stream from Nas thru Allo and play.. and any suggestions for good dac.. will read up more on net.
 

haisaikat

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#13
Thanks for this
PM7004 doesn't have digital input.So between buying a dac or a streamer.. it makes sense to buy a dac plus Allo..just the last bit.. can we stream from Nas thru Allo and play.. and any suggestions for good dac.. will read up more on net.
Indeed dac plus Allo is better route, regarding dac I admire your choice of MF MX dac. Schiit yggdrasil, chord Hugo 2, chord qutest, audio lab mdac +, benchmark dac 3 are also very well reviewed ones.
 

Kannan

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#14
ALLO USBridge is very good and I am using it now. But as it runs on Sparky instead of RPI, you will be restricted on OS support limited to Volumio and Dietpi.

With RPI mated with digione or digione siganture, you have a wide option of using Volumio, dietpi or any Kodi based distros like OSMC to stream both music and movies.

Yes NAS is supported via UPNP, aswell as DLNA is supported.
There are many more options to stream from PC with support for bubblepnp, Plex server, Tubeblade and more.

All these distros have number of plugins aswell to play content from online audio and video sources like netflix, youtube and so on.
Sky is the limit.

I am at present using USBridge for audio playback through my DAC via USB and PS3 for video content via the optical input on my DAC.
 

haisaikat

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#16
Thanks..where do I get RPI mated with digione? Approx cost.. thanks for all the suggestions.. is a bit unfamiliar territory for me..
https://www.allo.com/sparky/digione-player.html#specs although it's in 175 USD, it ships from Bangalore worldwide. Higher version named digione signature player is also there but costlier. Not sure if the supplied RPI is 2 or 3 but with 3 you would have got inbuilt WiFi and Bluetooth.

But remember one thing, the native DSD playback option is available in mostly usb interfaces of DAC die to higher bandwidth being supported than spdif. So a Allo usb bridge would have been better suited, if DSD playback is not a priority then of course digione would be way to go
 

Kannan

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#18
But remember one thing, the native DSD playback option is available in mostly usb interfaces of DAC die to higher bandwidth being supported than spdif. So a Allo usb bridge would have been better suited, if DSD playback is not a priority then of course digione would be way to go
Even in USB, due to certain bug in Linux, some DACs and XMOS based USB DAC interfaces are not supported natively.
Volumio is working on it, till then the way to make it work is complicated for now.
I am facing the issue with my TEAC Dac.
It stutters when I use DSD over PCM, and there is no volume in DSD Direct, though the file plays in MPD.

ALLO products can be purchased online in India from diyaudiocart.com and fabtolab.com
 
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#19
Thanks again.. just another very basic question. (am still somewhat confused and am trying to read up). what would be the connections like.. where are are the source files kept and how does allo digione/ RPI pick it up (understand it has wifi capabilities).. from Allo to DAC is clear thru SPDIF.. And how does the user interface work like selecting songs/ etc..
 

haisaikat

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#20
Thanks again.. just another very basic question. (am still somewhat confused and am trying to read up). what would be the connections like.. where are are the source files kept and how does allo digione/ RPI pick it up (understand it has wifi capabilities).. from Allo to DAC is clear thru SPDIF.. And how does the user interface work like selecting songs/ etc..
Connect Allo to LAN port via cable to router or to your home WiFi. So Allo is now on you home network and has a IP address. From mobile browser which is also on same WiFi you can type in http://volumio.local and it will open the volumio UI. On first start it will also open a wizard for setting up which can be invoked later on to select output device, etc and also the ip address/ path of the shared folder on LAN (from your laptop) that has the music files stored. It scans abd create database (index) for faster access available from library. That's it. Start playing.

See UI navigation here
 
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