BillShatnersToupee

Wifi Hifi - a user's thoughts after 2 years

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Posted (edited)

Having bought the AVI DM10’s in November 2016, the first thing I did was rig them up to a new 2nd generation Airport Express which I bought for a very good price of £29.99 sealed. I didn’t realise at the time how much this was destined to revolutionize how I listened to music.

Before buying the AVIs, I had been using a Mac Mini to stream my lossless iTunes library to an external DAC then on to a separate amp and speakers. This was a step forward in terms of convenience from having to rifle through my collection of then-near 600 CDs and use a CD player, but introducing the AEX has taken that to the next level. Listening to an album typically now entails just sitting in my chair and using Stratospheric’s MusicStreamer app on my phone to wirelessly stream the lossless rips from my NAS to my AEX. So not even the need to faff around firing up iTunes on the Mac Mini along with the matching remote app on my phone.

My 16 y/o twin boys are both BTEC music students. They too can instantly stream their creations and recordings to the speakers. I can also stream Apple Music or Tune-In Radio to the speakers when I only want background music.

Listening to the hifi before was still very much a formal experience, like a ceremonial event, even though I was using iTunes. But now, having a lossless wireless receiver permanently connected to it has turned my hifi into an incredibly high quality ‘bluetooth speaker’ which any one of us can just connect to and play at any time.

If you’re at all fence-sitting over this ‘wifi hifi’ lark, I can only say “just go for it”. Apple users tempted by the idea might instead fancy going for the Neet Airstream, which is cheaper than the normal RRP of an AEX (I was lucky to get my AEX for £29.99) and offers the same music-streaming functionality. If you’re not an Apple user, you can instead buy a Bluetooth receiver or a Google Chromecast Audio. The AEX, Neet Airstream and the Chromecast Audio can also transmit audio optically to your own DAC, making them acoustically transparent. This how I have my AEX connected.

It's like unchaining your hifi for the 21st century.

Edited by BillShatnersToupee
correction, thanks BigJK156
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Just a minor point, but the Chromecast Audio does have a digital out. It's 3.5mm socket doubles as an analogue out and as an optical out (via mini tos-link).

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17 minutes ago, BigJK156 said:

Just a minor point, but the Chromecast Audio does have a digital out. It's 3.5mm socket doubles as an analogue out and as an optical out (via mini tos-link).

Thanks for the clarification...I really wasn't sure.

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Super Wammer

Thank you for at least one positive response to the freedom that streaming can give you . In some cases streaming music is looked on as being inferior and not proper but for me at least it has enabled me to listen to my music in very high quality in almost every room in the house. it has also helped my Wife to take her beloved Radio 4 and Radio 4 extra in to most of the rooms as well .

I would very much agree that there was a feeling of going in to listen to your system in the past of it being special and in some cases (especially Vinyl) an element of ceremony . If am brutally honest then I have to admit that many times after putting on the LP /CD etc and going back t my seat I would read a magazine or book while listening  which shows how shallow I am . I now listen to a much wider selection of my music through the use of random Play which picks from my whole library and throws up strange combinations and reminds me of long forgotten albums.

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2 hours ago, bencat said:

Thank you for at least one positive response to the freedom that streaming can give you . In some cases streaming music is looked on as being inferior and not proper but for me at least it has enabled me to listen to my music in very high quality in almost every room in the house. it has also helped my Wife to take her beloved Radio 4 and Radio 4 extra in to most of the rooms as well .

I'm surprised, at least by what you wrote, that more people don't love streaming.  I have Tidal as pretty much my only source for music and I used to be hooked directly into my laptop computer.  The world's largest pain in the rear end.  I bought the Bluesound Node2 and it changed our lives.  Any one can play music from any of our devices to the one system we have.  It may be the best 500 bucks I ever spent.  It sounds at least as good as my CD player, and given monthly subscription to Tidal costs about the price of a new CD I can't imagine everyone NOT doing it.  :D . And if someone pops around with some of their music on a phone, they can simply connect to the Node via Bluetooth.  A bit less in sound quality, but in terms of convenience -- priceless.

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2 minutes ago, ChemMan said:

I'm surprised, at least by what you wrote, that more people don't love streaming.  I have Tidal as pretty much my only source for music and I used to be hooked directly into my laptop computer.  The world's largest pain in the rear end.  I bought the Bluesound Node2 and it changed our lives.  Any one can play music from any of our devices to the one system we have.  It may be the best 500 bucks I ever spent.  It sounds at least as good as my CD player, and given monthly subscription to Tidal costs about the price of a new CD I can't imagine everyone NOT doing it.  :D . And if someone pops around with some of their music on a phone, they can simply connect to the Node via Bluetooth.  A bit less in sound quality, but in terms of convenience -- priceless.

Many people love streaming, it's just a few diehards that would rather put on a record or a cd. I love it, now I have so much choice, I never listen to the radio there is no need to I can choose what I want to play and when. It's great for discovering new music and playing music others are playing. Tidal is as good as my cd player, I could not tell the difference. 

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Posted (edited)

My streaming setup is basic (Chromecast straight to amp, no DAC) and using Spotify premium. 

However, it’s 99% of quality compared to a CD and dead easy. I’ve streamed for years. For the £30 for a Chromecast Audio everyone should do it. Peanuts for ease and a decent sound. 

I’m about to shell out on a new streamer or DAC so hopefully this will then match my CD quality. 

Edited by Amormusic
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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, paparoacho said:

Shame Tidal wasn't lossless though.

My understanding is that Tidal's "HiFi" is CD quality FLAC.  Tidal Master's uses MQA which has been shown, by some, to be some form of compression depending on whose research you read. I can certainly say TIDAL is as good or possibly better than my CD player.  Comparing Tidal MQA vs. CD Player vs. Tidal CD quality I hear slight differences.  Could I classify one as better?  Probably not.  And I feel it varies considerably depending on the recording. Hence, I'm not all that worried about it.

Edited by ChemMan

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6 minutes ago, ChemMan said:

No worries.  If I run Dark Side OTM through Tidal, but using the BlueOs app it is gapless.

I stand corrected! 

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I've now switched to a full streaming setup too. Currently running a Naim Supernait into Kef LS50s which are being fed via the digital out of a MacMini. It has been optimised for use as a transport only. No monitor or keyboard etc. I run Audivarna + as the music player, which has settings that switch off all extraneous features when you hit play. You can control it via an app on your iPhone or iPad. I can also use my MacBook Pro to connect directly to the Mini should I need to adjust anything in the OS. Sound quality wise, it's very impressive. I tested it against a Naim ND5 XS2 dedicated streamer and to be frank, the MacMini was just as good, maybe even slightly better? (that test saved me a good chunk of cash!). I also signed up to a 3 month free trial of Tidal and I must say I'm mighty impressed with not only the quality, but also the selection available. 

I first dipped my toe into the streaming life with a pair of AVi ADM9.1 Rss and an AEX, which I enjoyed a lot, but got ultimately frustrated with issues of drop out from the AEX and audible "clicks" every now and then. The current setup is faultless in this respect. The sound quality is also far superior when compared to the AEX (which can only do 16bit-48khz). 

All in all, I'm very pleased with the setup I now have and I have no urge to go back to a full rack of boxes and shelling out hundreds of pounds a year on vinyl and CDs!

Edited by Tristan

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16 hours ago, BeeRay said:

I never listen to the radio there is no need to I can choose what I want to play and when.

I do, but I use the BBC iPlayer Radio app to play only the programmes I want, when I want.

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34 minutes ago, chebby said:

I do, but I use the BBC iPlayer Radio app to play only the programmes I want, when I want.

But BBC play the same stuff over and over again. Radio Paradise was the closest but they are just prerecorded, once you start getting them repeated it's time to leave. 

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