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Any good media streamers coming out, or just released lately?

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wink

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But here is the crux of the decision. Why are you looking at expensive streamers when you can buy a cheap streamer and a great DAC? Or as Spike says above - use your UDP205 as a streamer.

That will give you far more flexibility in the future as you upgrade one without being dependent on the other.

Unless you're looking for streaming functionality that you don't currently have, there is little point upgrading that part of the system - it is just a pipe to get data to a DAC.
I run the Synology through the Oppo when listening to two channel and it is extremely good, no doubt. I will continue to use the Oppo for two channel, probably till it dies and/or can’t receive the support to fix it. It’s really that good. However, the majority of the listening we do is whole house audio or audio by the pool, controlled by iPads or iPhones. The Oppo udp-205 does not have Tidal or Pandora etc. compatibility. My Onkyo Pr-rz5100 processor does everything really, really well in the controller realm, but internet stability sucks. Onkyo fixed the HDMI bugs, but dropped the ball on streaming. Lol!
So, I would like a good, high quality streamer that we can control while listening in whole-house or by the pool, and can be easily switched between our NAS, Tidal, Pandora, etc..via iPad apps.
I know the easy fix would be to buy a new processor that has a good renderer. I’ve looked at the Marantz av8805 and the Mac Mx122, because i need zone 3 capabilities and that is getting really hard to come by these days. Trying to stay away from laying out $4k or $5k if I don’t have to.
So now, here I am..haha!
 

amey01

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I run the Synology through the Oppo when listening to two channel and it is extremely good, no doubt. I will continue to use the Oppo for two channel, probably till it dies and/or can’t receive the support to fix it. It’s really that good. However, the majority of the listening we do is whole house audio or audio by the pool, controlled by iPads or iPhones. The Oppo udp-205 does not have Tidal or Pandora etc. compatibility. My Onkyo Pr-rz5100 processor does everything really, really well in the controller realm, but internet stability sucks. Onkyo fixed the HDMI bugs, but dropped the ball on streaming. Lol!
These are exactly the sorts of issues one faces with an old streamer, and why I am loathed to drop big money into one.

Next year, Spotify will experience a shock collapse, and Tidal will go out of vogue, and there'll be this awesome new service that everybody wants [maybe]; and you'll be in exactly the same position as you are now, but with $3,000 down the gurgler on this "awesome streamer".

Solutions like the Mac Mini or the Raspberry Pi are eminently upgradable. Just install new software (in the case of the Mac Mini), or burn a new SD Card (in the case of the Raspberry Pi) and you've got yourself a brand new, bang-up-to-date streamer.

If you want something more plug'n'play, I wouldn't spend much more than something like the Yamaha MusicCast or the awesome Bluesound Node2.

You'll get as much or as little sound quality you desire by spending what your budget will allow on a modern DAC.
 

Spike

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My Onkyo Pr-rz5100 processor does everything really, really well in the controller realm, but internet stability sucks.
Internet stability sucks in what ways? Are you using it hard-wired or via WiFI. If the problem is with WiFi stability, couldn't you solve it by adding an WiFi extender?
 

wink

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Internet stability sucks in what ways? Are you using it hard-wired or via WiFI. If the problem is with WiFi stability, couldn't you solve it by adding an WiFi extender?
I have to use an extender due to having my components in an in-wall rack. I have stable internet through all other components except the Onkyo RZ.... this model is known for this issue. However, it does everything else a controller needs to do very well.
 

MHzTweaker

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I am also looking to upgrade my DAC.
These are the 2 DACs I am looking at:

Denafrips Terminator
Price is in Singapore dollars....

HOLO Audio May DAC

These are Ladder DACs (uses ladder of resisters to create the waveform)

Both companies have a whole series of RtR DACs at various price points.
You owe it to yourself to research these, watch and read what others have to say about them.
 

JLasher22443

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Anybody have any experience with iFi DAC's?

I've narrowed my DAC selection down to 3. One of these will be paired with a New Mac Mini.
  1. The Chord Qutest with SBooster BOTW P&P ECO MKII Power Supply
  2. iFi Pro iDSD DAC
  3. ExaSound’s e32 Mark II DAC with a Teddy Pardo Power Supply.
 

Spike

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At the level of these 3 DACs mentioned, and given the reputations of these companies, all are excellent choices. It will come down to which one is the best fit with your preference. Some might nit-pick about the underlying DAC (chip) technology, or the analogue circuitry, but in the end, it boils down to how they perform as a whole system. I strongly urge you to audition them in order to pick out the one best suited for your needs. Good Luck.
 

JLasher22443

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So I got the Mac Mini and Chord Qutest into the system and everything connected. I've been messing around with the settings in Audio Midi and for some reason I cannot get the format to stay at 768khz at 32 bit. Now I know that probably doesn't matter because I won't be listening to any downloads at that rate but I'm wondering if I missed something?

Spike or Amey do you have any advice? See settings below.



 

RAH

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Jason what purpose do the four separate cables attached behind Mac mini serve?

On the extreme left the coiled blue one I guess is the usb digital cable.

On the extreme right the black cable is the power cable.

What are the two middle cables?

I request this information from you. Because like you I am interested in acquiring a Mac mini.
 

amey01

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So I got the Mac Mini and Chord Qutest into the system and everything connected. I've been messing around with the settings in Audio Midi and for some reason I cannot get the format to stay at 768khz at 32 bit.

What do you mean "you can't get it to stay"?

Firstly, why do you want it to stay on that - ideally, you want it to use the native format of the music you are playing (or whatever your audiophile software is transcoding to). So if you're playing a 16/44.1 (CD) file, you want that to be the output.

So.....does it have some option like "no change" or "unmodified" or "matches input"......words to that effect?

Further / deeper: I'll say up front that I'm not familiar with the Mac, but it looks like you are using the settings in the Mac's audio subsystem.

I am however, familiar with both Windows and Linux - and for both those systems, the only way to properly configure is to bypass the audio subsystem (eg. Pulseaudio on Linux) and output direct to the DAC using ASIO/WASAPI (Windows) or ALSA (Linux). I'm sure the Mac has something similar.

So check the Qutest manual - but it should cover some config in your audio software to ensure the output is direct/bitperfect to the DAC, bypassing any audio subsystem, and yes - bypassing any form of transcoding that this "convenience centric" audio subsystem might add. It looks like you're using Roon, and it is already bypassing all this - but you need to confirm. You can also check the coloured lights on the QUtest to ensure what the DAC is receiving is what you are playing. Eg. If you're playing a 24/96 file, does the 24/96 colour light up? If you're playing DSD, does the DSD colour light up?

The 1s and 0s that are on the disk should be spat out to the DAC verbatim - not a single 1 or 0 more, not a single 1 or 0 less.

See my config for my portable system SurfacePro, which is configured in the same way (direct to DAC).

1596605690758.png


Same theory with Linux for my main system, which sends data direct (not to a DAC in this case, but to an I2S digital out card) (Below):

1596606020650.png



These configs won't match yours of course - but I hope it will give you a pointer to something similar.

Here is generic DAC config for JRiver which may help:

Otherwise, search for something like "bitperfect output to dac from XXXXX" (whatever music software you are using).
 
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JLasher22443

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Jason what purpose do the four separate cables attached behind Mac mini serve?

On the extreme left the coiled blue one I guess is the usb digital cable.

On the extreme right the black cable is the power cable.

What are the two middle cables?

I request this information from you. Because like you I am interested in acquiring a Mac mini.
Rah from right to left in the photo I have Power, Data, HDMI, and last USB.
 

JLasher22443

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What do you mean "you can't get it to stay"?

Firstly, why do you want it to stay on that - ideally, you want it to use the native format of the music you are playing (or whatever your audiophile software is transcoding to). So if you're playing a 16/44.1 (CD) file, you want that to be the output.

So.....does it have some option like "no change" or "unmodified" or "matches input"......words to that effect?

Further / deeper: I'll say up front that I'm not familiar with the Mac, but it looks like you are using the settings in the Mac's audio subsystem.

I am however, familiar with both Windows and Linux - and for both those systems, the only way to properly configure is to bypass the audio subsystem (eg. Pulseaudio on Linux) and output direct to the DAC using ASIO/WASAPI (Windows) or ALSA (Linux). I'm sure the Mac has something similar.

So check the Qutest manual - but it should cover some config in your audio software to ensure the output is direct/bitperfect to the DAC, bypassing any audio subsystem, and yes - bypassing any form of transcoding that this "convenience centric" audio subsystem might add. It looks like you're using Roon, and it is already bypassing all this - but you need to confirm. You can also check the coloured lights on the QUtest to ensure what the DAC is receiving is what you are playing. Eg. If you're playing a 24/96 file, does the 24/96 colour light up? If you're playing DSD, does the DSD colour light up?

The 1s and 0s that are on the disk should be spat out to the DAC verbatim - not a single 1 or 0 more, not a single 1 or 0 less.

See my config for my portable system SurfacePro, which is configured in the same way (direct to DAC).

View attachment 20783

Same theory with Linux for my main system, which sends data direct (not to a DAC in this case, but to an I2S digital out card) (Below):

View attachment 20786


These configs won't match yours of course - but I hope it will give you a pointer to something similar.

Here is generic DAC config for JRiver which may help:

Otherwise, search for something like "bitperfect output to dac from XXXXX" (whatever music software you are using).

Sorry I figured out what it was doing. Since I did not have both windows up front so I could see both while listening; I could not see the auto change. Audio Midi changed automatically to the different Format per song. So when I played CD quality next it changed to 44.1khz. Also I am getting the Chord to light up according to the Format being sent like you stated.

One thing I did notice was the volume level needed to be turned up for the DSD256 Downloads I purchased from Acoustic Sound. Why is that? I mean we are talking 10 volume levels I needed to turn the PreAmp Up to listen. I'm going to keep messing around with it to make sure the Mac isn't doing anything weird to the playback. Thanks for the info.
 

Spike

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One thing I did notice was the volume level needed to be turned up for the DSD256 Downloads I purchased from Acoustic Sound. Why is that?
Sorry, I am not familiar with Mac, but I see that you've already sorted out the Audio Midi issue. With regards to the volume level needed to be turned up, it could be that you're experiencing the effect of "The Loudness War". There has been lots of write-ups on this topic and google will give you a ton of information. Here's a little blurb on Wikipedia as a starting point:
Loudness War Wiki

It could be that the DSD256 downloaded track are mastered to preserve the intended dynamic range where there are big (amplitude) differences between the soft vs loud passages.
 

amey01

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One thing I did notice was the volume level needed to be turned up for the DSD256 Downloads I purchased from Acoustic Sound. Why is that?
What Spike said. As long as you are sending pure, unadulterated DSD to the DAC (and the DAC confirms it) then you should be fine in terms of config.

Roon should be pretty well "plug 'n' play" for this.......it costs enough.
 

RAH

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Rah from right to left in the photo I have Power, Data, HDMI, and last USB.
Jason thanks for information. Data cable signal goes to computer monitor or printer. And HDMI signal goes where? To the monitor or TV?
 
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JLasher22443

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Jason thanks for information. Data cable signal goes to computer monitor or printer. And HDMI signal goes where? To the monitor or TV?
Data Cable goes to the Netgear Switch in the bottom of the rack for Network connectivity.

HDMI is being sent over to the Marantz and out to my projector for viewing of Roon while it plays. Or if I want to use Spotify or YouTube Music. Also helped tremendously when I did the ARC Setup on the 15a's yesterday. But that is it. Its not sending Dolby Atmos yet and won't unless Apple makes a change in software. So for now its just sending a simple 1080p image for me to keep everything legible. If I bump it up to 4K the Text gets extremely small and you can't read it. Would be nice to be able to swap out the Apple 4k TV with the Mac Mini since the new macOS Catalina added Apple TV.

Also I got in my Luna Display today so I'm going to be messing with it to make my iPad Pro a second monitor for at my seat. Going to see if I like it or just keep using the Roon App already on the iPad.

Luna Display
 
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RAH

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Jason thanks for your time and effort in formulating a detailed reply.

Many thanks once again.
 
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