GJM-SWL

Streaming / Digital Advice

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I am happy with my current equipment but to say it is dated is an understatement - but I am very happy with the listening experience.    Contemplating 'modernising' by having my CD collection ripped and integrate streaming services such as TIDAL or Qobuz.

Current set up:

- Systemdek+Linn Basik plus+Ortofon
- Meridian 596 CD 
- Levinson NO.36 (only supports 44.1khz)
- Audiosynthesis Passion 8M (passive pre-amp)
- Chord SPM1200C - power
- ProoAc Response 1SC speakers
Decent cables throughout

Presently can't see a clear way forward that would preserve a sound I like whilst adding the greater convenience, potential of hi-def recordings and expanded library provided by streaming.  I am sure moving forward will involve replacing one or several units, but obviously keen to maintain a sound which to my ears is quite natural. The tyranny of options!

I am not a box-twitcher and when I like something I stick with it, but I feel I have fallen somewhat behind the curve (dinosaur?).    Some advice on a way forward would be appreciated.

Cheers

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Super Dealer

Just plug a laptop into the Levinson, 44.1 is all you need, and then trial one of the lossless streaming services, Tidal or Quboz.

Keith

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Or Raspberry pi with volumio, then usb to your dac. If it doesn't have usb in, a hifi berry Digi board will supply coax and optical digits out.

This will cost about £35 for the pi, same again for the digit board if needed. Volumio is free, and controlled by your phone or tablet.

Consumption is about 4watts tops, so you can leave it plugged in without feeling too guilty.

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Super Dealer

Yes as good as anything available.

Keith

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Super Wammer

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A cheap Chromecast can do everything you are looking for. Or one could go very deep down the rabbit hole. 

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Another vote for Chromecast Audio plugged in to the Levinson. I struggle to think of anything else that is recommendable because it can get frustrating when it all goes wrong. Use one of the streaming services then see if that’s the route you really want to go.  All of the big streaming services do free trials.

Importantly, don’t throw away your CDs. 

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Super Wammer
8 minutes ago, HectorHughMunro said:

Another vote for Chromecast Audio plugged in to the Levinson. I struggle to think of anything else that is recommendable because it can get frustrating when it all goes wrong. Use one of the streaming services then see if that’s the route you really want to go.  All of the big streaming services do free trials.

Importantly, don’t throw away your CDs. 

This . I would reccomend a Raspberry Pi with LMS loaded and a Digi Board that give you an SPDIF phono out and Toslink Optical Out . Total cost including case should not be over £70 . If you are happy to make a little effort and work on set up then use Picore . If you are happy to pay to take the complication away then try Max2play . If you know how to read a drop down then you can set the unit up easily .

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, GJM-SWL said:

Presently can't see a clear way forward that would preserve a sound I like whilst adding the greater convenience, potential of hi-def recordings and expanded library provided by streaming. 

There are a range of options open to you, with offerings to suit any budget and level of tech savvyness.  To listen to ripped CDs you will need to save all the ripped files somewhere to be able to play them, and if you want to listen to hi def files at hi def, you will need to replace your DAC with something that plays above 44.1khz.

I have been through most of the options listed below, and have ended up with an iMac and DAC combo, but I am quite happy tinkering with computers and you might not be.

The most convenient, least tech savvy option (but very good sounding apparently) would be to go for an all-in-one music server/streamer/DAC such as those by Aurender.  You'd save your CD rips on its internal hard drive and then access your entire ripped CD library and Tidal/Qobuz via a tablet or smartphone app.

If you're quite happy with computers,  I would agree with Keith's suggestion of a PC/Mac/laptop/Mac Mini, but plugged into a new high res DAC.  You could save all your ripped CDs onto the computer's hard drive (or an external USB hard drive if your collection is too big) and play them back using iTunes, or for better sound quality, bitperfect music software such as Audirvana, HQPlayer or JRiver.   This would of course also allow you to stream music from the internet, and many of the bitperfect software players integrate Tidal and Qobuz.  DAC-wise, looking at your other kit, you'd probably want something quite good from brands such as Chord, RME, Metrum, Mytech or Audio Note.  You could achieve very high sound quality this way, without spending half as much as an Aurender.

You could also, as others have suggested, buy a basic streamer (such as a Chromecast Audio, Raspberry Pi, Sonos, Bluesound etc) and plug that into a good hi res DAC, but you'd still need to store your CD rips somewhere, so you'd need to get a NAS drive (or use a computer running server software) to save your music and then point the streamer at it.

Another option would be a streamer/dac, such as from Linn, Naim or Cambridge Audio with a USB hard drive plugged in (or a NAS) for your CD rips.

Edited by jas0_0
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Posted (edited)

Also, this for ripping your CDs https://www.dbpoweramp.com/

EAC is a free alternative but DBPoweramp reduces stress and both do multiple pass rips which retain quality. 

Edited by HectorHughMunro

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22 hours ago, PuritéAudio said:

Just plug a laptop into the Levinson, 44.1 is all you need, and then trial one of the lossless streaming services, Tidal or Quboz.

Keith

I must admit to being underwhelmed by the higher res titles on the streaming services so this may a decent option in the short to medium term

Thank you.

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13 hours ago, HectorHughMunro said:

Another vote for Chromecast Audio plugged in to the Levinson. I struggle to think of anything else that is recommendable because it can get frustrating when it all goes wrong. Use one of the streaming services then see if that’s the route you really want to go.  All of the big streaming services do free trials.

Importantly, don’t throw away your CDs. 

I am clearly over complicating things in my research, just need an appropriate connector cable!

Thanks

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Super Wammer

"You could also, as others have suggested, buy a basic streamer (such as a Chromecast Audio, Raspberry Pi, Sonos, Bluesound etc) and plug that into a good hi res DAC, but you'd still need to store your CD rips somewhere, so you'd need to get a NAS drive (or use a computer running server software) to save your music and then point the streamer at it. "

While this may be true for the Chrome Cast and Sonos , both a Raspberry Pi and Bluesound can have a large (2TB) USB HD connected to them and this can store all your music and be streamed both through the Pi and to other network connected players. 

In my own view Hi Res files are nice to have but nothing like essential standard 44.1 files sent a digital bit perfect folders are very good and there is little difference I have found on playback . I do not use any streaming service so unable to comment.

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