MickyP

Streamer advice

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Super Wammer

I've had a Squeezebox Touch for many years, and it does what I want perfectly. I listen mostly to my own ripped CDs, with perhaps 25% of the time to BBC iPlayer and other internet radio.

As the SBT has long been discontinued, and any used examples are also likely to be fairly old, is there any of the current streamers that would provide any benefit over the SBT?   Leaving aside questions about sound quality, which I'm not interested in, what would a new streamer do better than my old SBT.

S

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Super Wammer
7 minutes ago, SergeAuckland said:

I've had a Squeezebox Touch for many years, and it does what I want perfectly. I listen mostly to my own ripped CDs, with perhaps 25% of the time to BBC iPlayer and other internet radio.

As the SBT has long been discontinued, and any used examples are also likely to be fairly old, is there any of the current streamers that would provide any benefit over the SBT?   Leaving aside questions about sound quality, which I'm not interested in, what would a new streamer do better than my old SBT.

S

Other than you unexpectedly and surprisingly having the urge to use Bluetooth, in your specific case I can't think of a thing.

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Using a Raspberry Pi with LMS on it (Max2Play), the advantages are that it’s a bit faster, the sound quality is a bit better and you can plug a large disc in to it which is not viable with the SBT. 

The downside is that it’s quite a geeky task to build and maintain with, I suspect, a dwindling user base. 

I probably wouldn’t recommend an upgrade to anyone who isn’t looking for a ‘project’. 

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MickyP, what do you want to do? You won't get better sound from Spotify and internet radio, just a nicer box. If you want to rip your CDs you might benefit from something better but otherwise I'd stick.

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Super Wammer

@MickyP there isn't really any reason to change your streamer.  I used to fiddle with the things; I have had Naim, Pro-ject, SBTs, Marantz, etc and they all sound the same through my system.

Now adding an external DAC may change what you hear, it depends on what pleases your ears.  I use an Audio Note NOS valve output DAC, and the sound that is produced pleases my ears and brain.  YMMV

@SergeAuckland I still use a SBT in my "office" system, I love the large display that tells me what I am listening to.  There isnt really a comparable device on the market now.  Most don't have a display and rely on a smart phone app to control.  I had one of these once http://www.box-designs.com/main.php?prod=streamboxdsnet&cat=source&lang=en  which did everything I needed, but it is more expensive than an SBT (even a used one) would be.  I also found it lost the server connection (when it was asleep) way more frequently than an SBT ever did.  Nevertheless it was a nice streamer. 

In the end it was replaced by an Intel NUC, whose USB output goes to my external DAC.  The NUC is plugged into our TV, which gives me the display and we use the default music software that comes with Win10.  The NUC is also used as a browsing device, etc with the big screen.  It all works rather well.  But as per the Pro-ject streamer it is all more expensive than an SBT for essentially the same functionality and no difference in sound as far as my ears are concerned.  There are numerous devices from Sonos, Bluesound etc..... that do a similar job, but most don't have a display......personally I am not aware of the device similar to an SBT (with a display) that does a similar job so well.

Edited by gintonic
correct a cruscial type "is" to "isn't"
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Well, I've probably been a bad man. Was chasing a secondhand 851N on fleabay but the bloke sold it an hour after I'd transferred the money (to my current account, not to him), so on the rebound I bought a secondhand CXN, figuring that the 851N features would never be fully exploited by me. I convinced myself of that anyway. As for the CXN, it's a bit light (in weight) compared to the Pioneer which was a shock but sounds very competent. Bit more ballsy in bass and has slightly more finesse on vocal and detail - my wife will testify to this and she hates testifying. NOT a massive difference which, as you guys say, is predicted. The CXN has a Tidal update and I may explore that, although I'm currently ripping CDs to see how it fares then.

Whatever way I go down the line, I figure I can sell the Pioneer or CXN for a reasonable amount, so not a great risk in the scheme of things.

Thanks everyone who posted.

Edited by MickyP
typo

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Pleased you’re sorted. I prefer the sound of the CXN to the rather bland Pioneer and definitely prefer Cambridge Audio’s day to day operation over the clunky and constantly needing factory resets that plagued my time with the Pioneer. To be fair, the new owner of the Pioneer uses Ethernet and hasn’t had any of the issues.

I find the 851N a step up in both build and sound quality over the two above but it’s three times the price. I also use streamers with a Synology NAS running minimserver for flac playback and this runs fast and seemlessly compared to usb HDD or sticks. Try the preamp option into a power amp if you have the option - a revelation for me with the 851N. Warning - be careful when setting it back to line level. Ask me how I know...

Final recommendation - as decent as the latest CA connect app is compared to earlier efforts, invest a little in a used android tablet and install BubbleUPNP - it really does transform everyday use.

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Ta for advice. I liked the idea of the 851N's build and potential sound but couldn't justify the cost. I have to say, the Pioneer's build eclipses the CXN, but the latter seems to sound more together. If I'd paid full price on a new CXN I'd be a bit twitchy.

I have a MF M6 integrated amp (bizarrely going from separates) so don't think there's a pre-amp in option, which is an irritation. :-(

Always fed the Pioneer on an ethernet cable and it was mostly fine but the app was a bit poo. :-(

Any views on TIDAL and how it compares to Spotify, as the software was installed on the CXN?

Mike

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Super Wammer
1 hour ago, MickyP said:

Ta for advice. I liked the idea of the 851N's build and potential sound but couldn't justify the cost. I have to say, the Pioneer's build eclipses the CXN, but the latter seems to sound more together. If I'd paid full price on a new CXN I'd be a bit twitchy.

I have a MF M6 integrated amp (bizarrely going from separates) so don't think there's a pre-amp in option, which is an irritation. 😞

Always fed the Pioneer on an ethernet cable and it was mostly fine but the app was a bit poo. 😞

Any views on TIDAL and how it compares to Spotify, as the software was installed on the CXN?

Mike

It has home theatre bypass which is basically the same thing.

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I prefer Spotify’s approach but probably because I’m used to it but a top rate of 320 MP3 doesn’t make it a serious option other than background listening for me. Tidal at 44.1 is a serious alternative for ‘proper’ listening equalling my cds ripped to flac played through the 851N. Fingers crossed Spotify move to CD quality soon at a reasonable price - when they do I’ll jump straight back.

Ive never tried the hi-res options from Tidal yet as using a laptop for listening to music was one of the reasons I went to a NAS and streamer in the first place - I really should give it a go.

CA implementation needs work - I keep getting ‘there seems to be a problem’ when using the app as intended. However, search,playlists etc work fine and it appears as a separate library where you can pick tracks, albu,S or playlists and add them to the playlist currently playing whether that’s from your own library on NAS, usb drive or stick. Not too bad once you’re used to it.

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Update on this. Have tried the CXN's pre-amp option and untried it again as didn't think there was much in it sonically. Maybe a bit more detail but it seemed a bit, er, dunno, unengaging. The other thing was it was a faff having to lower the volume prior to changing a track, whereas my MF remote works one and the CA remote the other, so I'm a bit like a gunslinger in the living room at the moment. :-)

Ripped CDs sound very good and I took legzr1's advice about purchasing a cheapie tablet to use instead of the phone - not arrived yet, though. My phone, is a cheapie, small and always begging for more space, so this should help both of those issues.

Thanks all. Still learning but feel I've made a tiny step forward. Will sell the old Pioneer after a longer settling period.

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