Jump to content

Stevehifi

Streaming query, thoughts

Recommended Posts

Opinions and thoughts....

I have a streaming dilemna. I find myself using internet services (Spotify, tried tidal but that’s another story) as my main source these days despite having a good CD player and turntable set up with heaps of music. I find the ease of access to a server with millions of songs is making my other sources redundant.

My streaming setup is this: ADSL (rural limitations so no fibre), 6 year old MacBook Pro with wireless internet connection connected to a Musical Fidelity M1 dac via USB. DAC connected to a Plinius 9200. Focal Electra 1028 be speakers. I control Spotify through an iPad. The streaming sound is good and very similar to my cd when I do AB switch tests on the same music.

The DAC tells me the MacBook is sending at 96 kHz and upsampling it to 192 kHz.

I’m very happy with the M1 dac so want to keep using it. 

Since I already have a dac I’m happy with I don’t want to spend thousands on a streamer with an expensive inbuilt dac.

So I was looking at something like a Yamaha wxc50 or bluesound 2i. Both have Dacs which are by bypassable.

My query is this, is there anything to be gained in sound quality by replacing the MacBook with a dedicated streamer?

What other options are out there? 

Thanks

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

STEVEHIFI

Towards the end of the CD-PLAYER reign, manufacturers realised that there is a distinct advantage to having the player read the entire disc (or track) into memory before playing; thus removing any spinning playback artifacts and timing anomalies (effectively minimising jitter) and permitting a greater degree of error correction.

I assume your MacBook is solid state hard drive - no spinning hard disk - and thereby should deliver a similar outcome.

 

I achieve a similar result using my Apple iPad which flows into the excellent iStreamer by HRT.  Simply wonderful sonics.

I should mention though, that even the best ripping software tends to compress audio files.  Typically, none of them maintain the size of file found on (Red Book) CD.  For this reason, I think we can expect top end CD-players to still offer slightly superior playback results; provided they do not compress the file further, before playback.

This is true in our home.  In fact, we believe that most people have no idea just how good Red Book standard CDs can sound in the right set-up.

 

Obviously, the benchmark moves for hi-rez files - greater than the Red Book CD standard - but this is of less interest to us.

 

If we want hi-rez, we flip an LP into heavy rotation.

😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply sondek, 😊 yes I do spin a bit of vinyl and love the sound.

(Pro-Ject rpm 6 sb, grado prestige gold MM into the Plinius  phonostage) I enjoy the “ritual” of vinyl and the new pressings available are great. TBH though the convenience, cost and catalogue of streamed music is a major factor and would now account for 80% of my listening.

Agree with what you say about CD, I have a bel canto cd2 which as I mentioned sounds wonderful.

The iStreamer sounds a similar product to my Wadia idoc which I use with a 160 gig iPod which holds about 3000 songs at high res. The Wadia by passes the iPod dac and also goes into my MF dac. Sounds pretty good as well. The iStreamer looks a good product and a great price with an on board dac. I would  like an option that allows for preferably optical digital output to my dac and I think the istreamer has analogue only which is totally expected at the price.

Again thanks for your thoughts and I will do a bit of research into the dac in the  iStreamer as it does look a cost effective option, but as you say maybe similar to the macboook as a wifi transport. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can hear the difference between the Yamaha and Bluestream using Spotify Connect and a digital output, I believe you'll be doing well.

The DAC will be doing the heavy lifting in your case, so I'd also debate whether you'd get much benefit from moving away from the Mac laptop.

If you want to free up the laptop for other things, of course it's worth it, if not... I'd put my money elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Dunnersfella said:

If you can hear the difference between the Yamaha and Bluestream using Spotify Connect and a digital output, I believe you'll be doing well.

The DAC will be doing the heavy lifting in your case, so I'd also debate whether you'd get much benefit from moving away from the Mac laptop.

If you want to free up the laptop for other things, of course it's worth it, if not... I'd put my money elsewhere.

Thanks, that is tentavely where I was at with my thinking. The mac is not needed elsewhere and streaming into my system is all it does.

 

A couple of other points which may be of interest to others, the streaming sound of the Mac is significantly better than I was getting with a decent Toshiba laptop with windows using the exact same USB connection.

 

I also tried full resolution Tidal for a while but found the constant drop offs of stream very frustrating. I’m not sure what point of my system is causing this , wifi, ADSL, or elsewhere up the chain. I found it strange because my internet copes with Spotify premium and the wife running Netflix off a smart tv in the other room at the same time with no issues at all. Tidal was the only thing connected but it still stopped and started. Further wondering about tidal were caused as I was in a hifi shop in Auckland a few weeks ago that was demoing a very high end dac streamer, Ethernet cable connection and it was having the exact same drop offs during tidal demo. I assume the shop had way better internet connection than I can get out in the boondocks.

i know there are plenty of happy tidal users out there but for me it is about squeezing the best I can get out of Spotify premium.

Thanks for your reply.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tidal has never nailed its reliability or search functionality...

Sadly it promised a lot, but instead of throwing money into lavish parties / MQA* and other such frivolities - more money should have been piled into getting their service as good as possible.

 

 

*ooooh controversial.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


13 hours ago, Dunnersfella said:

Tidal has never nailed its reliability or search functionality...

Sadly it promised a lot, but instead of throwing money into lavish parties / MQA* and other such frivolities - more money should have been piled into getting their service as good as possible.

 

 

*ooooh controversial.

Had to look up what MQA meant 😂 . Agree with what you say. There is a problem offering (and hyping) something which you are not able to deliver reliably and conisistently to the average punter and after reading about their service on the net I’m thinking the issue may lie beyond my front gate.

This might be a bit controversial but there appears to be a bit of audiofile prejudice against Spotify possibly because it has mass use. TBH I think the digital rate of the input is only one of many many factors which can be looked at in the delivery chain.  For instance one of the biggest gains I found in the digital input area was when I upgraded the DAC. Is high res. tidal into a $100 DAC going to sound better than medium res. Spotify into a $1000 DAC?🤔

For me the SQ difference between tidal and Spotify was not enough to justify wanting to chuck the iPad with frustration every time I listened to it🤪 I also try to keep in mind the audiofile upgrade balancing act between what sounds better and whether that “betterness” is just because the upgrade / improvement sounds different to what you are used to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks bigjim, very interesting and I think I need to read the article again to get my head around the different concepts he explains. 👍

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



  • Popular Contributors

  • Posts

    • Indeed!   Its all about balance.   Personally, I think that an Ortofon Blue is out of balance with what you propose.
    • I don't *have* to spend 9K, spending less is still an attractive proposition! And as you say, it leaves $$$ for elsewhere. I've been round and about with TTs, I'm not that interested in going down the rabbit hole again. I think cart options might expand in future, but i'm not convinced I need to chase that bunny either in the near term. meanwhile the whole thinking was a beautiful amp/pre set-up at the heart and then long term the speakers will no doubt become a consideration.    I've been looking seriously at the rotel 1581 monoblocks over the last couple of days, hard to find much on them but on paper they look good, and gobs of power, so they open up options for speakers in future. and if they're good SS, they'll be clean and clear, and the pre will be the star of the show.   If this was easy there wouldn't be a multi-billion dollar industry with myriad choices and confusinations!
    • Looks like a sweet system as is.   Bet it sounds sweet too!   What don't you like about it, that could be improved @Oliver_Persol?
    • I sort of agree with this.   While the 740A (which I've owned) won't be getting the most out of the 414's, which are VERY capable speakers, my gut feeling is that if I had 9k to spend it wouldn't be solely on an amp.    If you are keen on keeping the 414s, then I'd get something along the lines of the Rotel and upgrade the front end. Leaves plenty of money for something much better than the Blue. Or even a new TT....
    • I'm sorry, but I think you're already way beyond the limitations of Image 414 speakers with the hardware you're looking into.  You simply won't get the full benefit with such a mid-level speaker.
×