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  1. #1

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    Default opinions wanted on digital file based 2 channel music

    Alright between now and January, I want to put together a Lossless Digitial file based 2 channel system.

    I've pretty much figure there are 4 basic Ideas I looking at on how to do this.
    For awhile I was completely sold on going Squeezebox touch and never looking back, however the issues with the onboard server pretty much will require that I run SBS on a separate computer, which I'm not sure I want to do, b/c I would pretty much have to buy the Touch and a new computer. Anyway here are my thoughts and would appreciate yours.

    in all options the source/player will be hardwired via gigbit connection to wireless router.

    1. Squeezebox touch with or without a separate DAC, Run Squeezebox server on my Current laptop which both the wife and I use with an External HDD attached via USB to the router i'm planning on getting

    2. Squeezebox touch with or with out a DAC, run Squeezebox server on a nettop or all in one PC(which I would have to purchase in addition to the squeezebox) in our office space and add an external HDD via usb to router or PC.

    3. purchase a new Netop or All in one PC digitially out to a DAC or DAC/pre(ie HRT Streamer or peachtree Decco) via spdif or USB. with external HDD connected to either router or PC via USB

    4. New apple tv or other Media Streamer (roku, boxee, etc) connected to a DAC with HDMI or composite to a display. External HDD connected to router via USB.

    In all honesty, option 1. is not one I really want to consider unless funds become less available than I think they will be b/c both me and the wife use the laptop and I would like to still be able to listen to music w/o possible interuption while she is on it.

    The reason I like squeezebox is the reviews of it state that its analog is already pretty good as is and that its digital out is fairly good as well, but would I notice much of a difference if I digital out from a PC or media streamer to a DAC as opposed to the Squeezebox.

    anyways thoughts?
    Last edited by coolsax; 10-27-2010 at 01:59 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Get the touch with an NAS. No computer needed once you're done ripping your music.
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    Along the idea #4.
    I use a cheap solution with prety good results. The Western Didital media server with an external hard drive plugged into it for ripping audio files onto.
    Seagate also makes a similar unit.

    The server gives me the contents on the hard drive plus anything I want to stream to it via PC and pandora internet radio. Not bad for less than a two hundie investment. Sounds excellent.

  4. #4

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    Take a look at this as well, just another option:

    http://www.olive.us/

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    Buy a turntable.

    :D

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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ESavinon View Post
    Get the touch with an NAS. No computer needed once you're done ripping your music.


    true however an NAS with SBS required specs is going to cost almost as much as a new computer anyway. and then I'd almost rather have the extra capability of the computer. Unless you know of an NAS that will run SBS under $250.




    Quote Originally Posted by Amherst View Post
    Along the idea #4.
    I use a cheap solution with prety good results. The Western Didital media server with an external hard drive plugged into it for ripping audio files onto.
    Seagate also makes a similar unit.

    The server gives me the contents on the hard drive plus anything I want to stream to it via PC and pandora internet radio. Not bad for less than a two hundie investment. Sounds excellent.
    I've thought about Western Digital as well.. they are releasing a new one soon if it hasn't already been released that includes an internal 1terrabyte HD.
    HT - game room
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  7. #7

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    I have an external usb 1TB plugged into it, just drop files on it through the network, great.

    The optical out and into my dac sounds teriffic.

    The unit is also tiny... about the size of a small bedroom alarm clock. The pandora is a bonus and I find myself using it quite a bit. Works for me on the cheap.

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    I use an Apple TV as my server and love it. Squeeze box is also suppose to be very cool , I Installed one but didn't get a chance to really dig into it. It got a really good stereophile mag review you might want to check out.

    I think in todays offering with hard drive lossless music , there is no need to have to get up and change disks anymore. Forget 400 disc mega changers and all that stupid crap. I have a Pioneer Elite 400 disc sitting in my basement and I have had no desire to even take it out of it's box.

    Whats cool about Squeeze box and Apple Tv is you can control them with a Iphone , Ipad or Itouch. This makes it incredibly powerful. I also have a house music system with 7 zones (Masterbed , Masterbath , Hall Bath , Dinning room , Deck , Basement , Garage) and Apple TV is one of the sources. What was very fun we had a party last week and we passed around the Ipad and everyone was picking songs and having a blast. Being out on the deck controlling any song I or we wanted is very powerful and you can do it anywhere in my house. If you go to the bathroom and the game is one , you can still hear it in there , the things I use my music system for is endless and fun for my family and friends.

    As fas as 2 channel music , I use the Apple TV in the same way but Sit in my sweet spot and listen to anything I want of my entire CD library. Quality wise is Identical to a dedicated CD player. I have many times sat and tried to tell the difference between the original cd and the Lossless track.

    I'm curious on what you are building your 2 channel system around , what speakers , amps , etc you plan on using.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  9. #9

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    SQB Touch with a NAS is the best way to go and if done correctly like with a QNAP, which allows you to run the SQB without a computer, is the most expensive. Plan on spending $1K plus. But it's the best!

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    Right now I'm building it around my parasound 2125 as my amp..right now my choice of speaker is dynaudio excite 12, but before I make that decision I want to try and get my hands on a pair of ascend acoustics sierra 1. Still trying to figure out pre as well..thinking about parasound 2100, peachtree decco, but I'm open to other suggestions...right now I'm working on cash by selling off another hobby of mine.
    Its going to be fairly nearfield with the room I've got hence looking at stand mounters.
    Last edited by coolsax; 10-27-2010 at 07:46 PM.

  11. #11

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    As a cheap solution, I use a Roku Soundbridge 1001 (TOSLINK digital out into my DAC), but Roku no longer makes (or supports?) it.

    If using a wireless connection, I would look at where the various lossless music files are expanded - at your music server or on the device since expanded files occupy more bandwidth.

    Another consideration is, depending where you get your files (Rips, purchase from ITunes, etc.), is how well DRM is handled - Apple does not always play well with others since Steve Jobs wants as many $'s he can get out of our wallets ;-)
    Last edited by MLZ; 10-28-2010 at 11:03 AM.

  12. #12

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    Another inexpensive solution is using a full size iPod (lossless files) and the Audioengine AW2 wireless. If you're not dealing with a DAC, it's a super convenient way to go.

    Another possibility if using a DAC, is getting an inexpensive laptop, loading up iTunes, and picking up a refurbished iPod Touch (if you don't have an iPhone). You'll have a wireless remote with a color display. This was quite popular at RMAF.
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    Quote Originally Posted by markmarc View Post
    Another inexpensive solution is using a full size iPod (lossless files) and the Audioengine AW2 wireless. If you're not dealing with a DAC, it's a super convenient way to go.
    To fully utilize an iPod as a audiophile grade music server you need a dock that will extract the digital lossless files from the iPod. This bypasses the $1.69 DAC chip used in the iPod. You need a dock that can extract the digital files. The Wadia iTransport at $379 will do this task. Then you send the music file to the DAC of your choice, and depending on the DAC used, you will have great sounding music. Assuming all the other pieces in the chain are up to par.

    For example, I am using the iPod Classic (260GB), a Wadia Dock, MIT Magnum digital IC, and a Bryston BDA-1 DAC for my music server, and it works great.

    However, as another poster mentioned above, I will be ordering an Olive 4HD music server for even more disk space, and the ability to control it via either the web, or an iTouch or iPad.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    To fully utilize an iPod as a audiophile grade music server you need a dock that will extract the digital lossless files from the iPod. This bypasses the $1.69 DAC chip used in the iPod. You need a dock that can extract the digital files. The Wadia iTransport at $379 will do this task. Then you send the music file to the DAC of your choice, and depending on the DAC used, you will have great sounding music. Assuming all the other pieces in the chain are up to par.

    For example, I am using the iPod Classic (260GB), a Wadia Dock, MIT Magnum digital IC, and a Bryston BDA-1 DAC for my music server, and it works great.

    However, as another poster mentioned above, I will be ordering an Olive 4HD music server for even more disk space, and the ability to control it via either the web, or an iTouch or iPad.

    Blue, you are correct for Audiofile quality. I have a Wadia for just such a purpose. My suggestion was for a cheap starting point, for those without a DAC.

    The Olive 4D looks quite interesting, they were very wise to develop an iPhone app.
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    Thanks all for your input,

    I do like the idea of the Olive entry level player,and have seen it before, but for $1000 I would think to expect a bigger HDD. However if that USB port it has allows for External HDD expansion, that could add it as a 5th possibility. Unfortunately I couldn't find on the site what functions the USB port has. options 2 and 4 are probably my top bets right now. with maybe doing H9's as a possibility as well.. depends on how much i'm going to be willing to spend.. which I'm not fully sure of yet.

    There are so many choices its difficult to figure out which way to go. I think i've eliminated option 1 completely. I'd rather incur the expense of an extra computer rather than have the main computer for the two of us also running SBS.

    so the question of sound quality in general.. If i were to compare the digital outs of say the squeezebox touch, the apple TV, a WD media player, a Roku media player, or a normal CD player as a Transport into a DAC, i'm using the same DAC for comparison of all players should they all sound the same since it is a digital signal, so it would not matter what I wanted to use for a transport as long as it worked the way I wanted it to?

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolsax View Post
    so the question of sound quality in general.. If i were to compare the digital outs of say the squeezebox touch, the apple TV, a WD media player, a Roku media player, or a normal CD player as a Transport into a DAC, i'm using the same DAC for comparison of all players should they all sound the same since it is a digital signal, so it would not matter what I wanted to use for a transport as long as it worked the way I wanted it to?
    Assuming the transport is not introducing any errors/jitter, etc. then any sound difference should be negligible with the same DAC. However, I have read reviews where the reviewer is stating a transport can make an audible difference.

    As with everything else, any sound difference will be highly dependant on the rest of the gear being able to resolve those differences.

  17. #17

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    Seeing the Amazon lightning deal for the sonos player and controller got me to thinking today.. does anyone here use Sonos? you used to not be able to enter the Sonos system at anything below $1,000 , but with Ipod touch app capability, you can now just buy the addon player and be ready to go at $349. anyone know how it would compare to the Squeezebox?

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    Wouldn't a DAC with USB directly also be a viable option. That's the direction I am headed. I am looking at a Benchmark DAC1 connected via usb to a dedicated PC and running vlc remote from my iPhone. At least that's my preliminary plan.
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  19. #19

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    I am using Windows 7 computer and Logitech Squeezbox Touch and pretty happy about it. Will buy a NAS in near future.

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    I just set-up my PS3 to use Media Player on a Windows 7 PC and stream it to my Wyred DAC-2. Sounds great. A/B-ing the streaming with my CD player/DAC combo indicates slightly better performance with the CD/DAC but I am impressed with the sound quality of the streaming. I do not like the fan noise of the PS3 and will probably look at a squeezebox. I tried it with the PS3 and Windows 7 just to see if I would be interested in going 100% digital. I think I'm still on the fence.

  21. #21

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    Polkitup, why not take advantage of the unit's asynchronous USB? ;)
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    My PC is in another room in the house so no direct USB connection. Am I missing something here? Can I somehow use the PS3's USB ports?

  23. #23

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    Nope, you would need an USB connection from your PC. I believe up to 12' cable would work.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Bummer, my office where my PC resides is on a different floor of the house. Might be time for a new laptop

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    I store my flac media on a Dlink DNS323 NAS, which runs Firefly native, so I do not need a computer to be on. The power savings on this are substantial.
    For the players, I run Roku M500's. If you are going with Roku's, the M500 is the only one to get. The M1000 resamples even when you use the digital out, and you are not getting the original bitstream.
    I only use the digital out of the M500, one of them streams to a Peachtree Decco, and the other to a Parasound 2000 DAC.
    The Roku's do have built in wireless cards, but those are B only, so I plug them into ethernet adapters to work with my G network.
    Overall, I'm very pleased with the sound quality. The choice of radio stations is also phenomenal.

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    I want a lossless player with a digital out and a remote. The kicker is that I want to use SD cards as my media.
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

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    Squeezebox touch with a separate controller should do that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amherst View Post
    Along the idea #4.
    I use a cheap solution with prety good results. The Western Didital media server with an external hard drive plugged into it for ripping audio files onto.
    Seagate also makes a similar unit.

    The server gives me the contents on the hard drive plus anything I want to stream to it via PC and pandora internet radio. Not bad for less than a two hundie investment. Sounds excellent.
    Western Digital just released a 1 TB TV Hub with web options at $200. I'm thinking about matching it up with a Musical Fidelity V-DAC. The V-DAC has two digital inputs, allowing for a DVD or Blu-Ray backup. 1 TB of lossless digital storage is pretty good. Not vast, but good. The Hub is available at Best Buy.
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    It does everything, but does not have digital outs :(
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

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    Last edited by Polkitup2; 11-13-2010 at 08:07 PM.

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