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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:43 am 
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New to this absolutely ignorant technologically, currently streaming Spotify Premium from laptop through Schiit Modi 2U sounds pretty good will I see much improvement through a network player/server any suggestions in the $1-2k range thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:34 am 
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Lose the Laptop as a music service streamer imo.

The convenience of a Dac/Streamer with Spotify/Tidal built in and controllable with a Smartphone/Tablet App is not to be underestimated.

You will listen to more & more variety of music than ever before imo.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:49 am 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
ScanSpeak wrote:
Lose the Laptop as a music service streamer imo.

The convenience of a Dac/Streamer with Spotify/Tidal built in and controllable with a Smartphone/Tablet App is not to be underestimated.

You will listen to more & more variety of music than ever before imo.

You can control Spotify streaming on your laptop via a smartphone, that's not the main difference. Laptops are inherently "noisy" and not optimized for music streaming. Some devices, like Audioquest Jitterbug, can help but dedicated purpose built streamer will sound better. Also, you remove at least one set of cables.
Having said that, properly set up mid range laptop, like MacBook Pro for example will sound very decent. Don't expect night and day difference.
V

-- 21 Feb 2018 11:51 --

Moose27 wrote:
New to this absolutely ignorant technologically, currently streaming Spotify Premium from laptop through Schiit Modi 2U sounds pretty good will I see much improvement through a network player/server any suggestions in the $1-2k range thanks.

I just moved from laptop/dac combo to Naim UnitiQute 2 all-in-one and it's an improvement in all aspects. Incremental though, not order of magnitude.
V


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:02 am 
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Moose, purpose built players are just computers themselves but, in the better implementations, they will have had considerable R&D when it comes to low jitter clocking, proper ground plane and analog/digital circuitry work and in terms of power supply design. Such design aspects aren’t typically found in your average, off the shelf, laptop/computer and should give you a superior signal feed to the DAC being used.

Whether that superior feed is important or not is largely dependent upon the DAC employed. Specifically, some DAC’s are negatively influenced when fed with a poor signal so it is imperative to keep the signal of high quality to realize the best sonics. With such a DAC you may want to use a quality, purpose built player to keep the datastream as clean as possible. I am not certain of how the Schitt functions here but, keep in mind that these days most any well designed DAC will not be significantly impacted by ugly analog nasties being talked about. So, if you employ such a DAC then the purpose built player isn’t needed ….. at least from a sonic perspective. You may have other reasons (esthetics, functionality) to want it however.

Another reason many choose to employ a laptop/computer is this affords them ultimate flexibility in choosing various instances of software (operating system as well as application) for their needs and wants.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:12 am 
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I think it depends on your purpose. If streaming is going to be your main or only source for music it might make sense. I use laptops in two of my systems and do notice a slight (very slight) drop in "quality" compared to the cd players. However, not enough to bother me. Also I typically use the laptops to load large libraries and play music throughout the day. For more serious sit down listening I fire up the cd player or the vinyl.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:01 am 
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Location: Calgary, AB, CA
ScanSpeak wrote:
Lose the Laptop as a music service streamer imo.

The convenience of a Dac/Streamer with Spotify/Tidal built in and controllable with a Smartphone/Tablet App is not to be underestimated.

You will listen to more & more variety of music than ever before imo.


Agreed!...Unless the laptop is loaded with all the goodies which cost a lot. I'm using a laptop loaded with all the goodies using the JRiver to encode and decode my music while streaming either from TIDAL or from 4TB HD. My laptop is connected via SPDIF and USB to my Genesis Digital Lens to minimized the jitter and then the process signal is being sent to my DAC then to my pre amp. By the time the signal arrived at my speakers all I heard is music devoid of grunge and what not. I'm using my Ipad and or tablet to remotely control my laptop.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:17 am 
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Location: Duncan, BC, CA
I was using my laptop with JRiver and had tried several DAC's. I decided to go to a streaming solution and bought a used Linn Sneaky. This little unit is stunning value for the price and the software is very good on both Mac and Android.

I think the difference in sound quality is because this is a purpose built machine and there are few connections, cables and cords and, of course, no fans whirring away either.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:18 am 
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I'm also quite interested in this question... I'm currently using a laptop w/ airplay, but I'm interested in dedicated options.

I'd love it if someone would make a short list of DAC/Streaming boxes to check out. I'm happy to do my research, but it'd be great to start by knowing some of the makes & models that folks around here have grown to like & trust.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:30 am 
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Location: Rockwood, ON, CA
Having been through a few streamers from Auralic and Sonore, I finally settled on a Naim Unit Atom for my main listening system. It really is a Swiss army knife with virtually every option for playback currently available. However, for my background listening system, I plugged an Audioquest Dragonfly Red into an apple ipad and fed it into an amplifier. Very good indeed for Spotify, Tidal and NAS files using the Jriver IOS app Jremote. Limited to 16/44 but still sounds pretty damn musical. I keep several downloaded playlists on the ipad, and if my internet is too slow in the evening for regular streaming, I Airplay them to the Atom. Even have a small remote that lets my control the ipad via bluetooth, for skipping and volume.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:00 pm 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
two2the8 wrote:
I'm also quite interested in this question... I'm currently using a laptop w/ airplay, but I'm interested in dedicated options.

I'd love it if someone would make a short list of DAC/Streaming boxes to check out. I'm happy to do my research, but it'd be great to start by knowing some of the makes & models that folks around here have grown to like & trust.


I just got a Naim Unitiqute 2 and can highly recommend it, if you're into big, bold, dynamic Naim sound.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:03 pm 
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Give Sonore MicroRendu a try. You'll see one less than $500 available often on CAM. I configured JRIVER streaming to the MicroRendu via DLNA. It is directly connected to the laptop via a CAT7 cable. Result is very positive. I liked enough therefore decided to upgrade to UltraRendu.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:08 pm 
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Either a dedicated streamer and DAC or an all in one. They are plug and play without all the endless tweaking. Computer to DAC gets pretty complicated when you get into advanced setup beyond stock setup and software. Computer hardware, software, settings, power, and cables can be tweaked. There is almost no settings to fiddle with on these streamers/all in ones. Just connected it to a network and NAS and feed it with FLAC's, DSD's, Spotify and Tidal. No messing around with usb cables, software, or settings.

Blue Sound Node 2, Cambridge CXN/Stream Magic 6 V2, or AURALiC Aries MINI are good entry level all in ones to try.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:54 pm 
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Wow thanks for replies, all very useful, interesting!

-- 21 Feb 2018 14:03 --

Looking at the Yamaha NP-S303 @ $500 seems pretty decent (except no USB out), any opinions/experience?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:13 pm 
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Location: Vancouver, BC, CA
Yes, thanks!

During a move a few years ago I (regrettably) digitized all my CDs and got rid of the hard copies to save space. I was on a desktop then, and it worked OK to play music from there. I'm on a laptop now, and plugging into my EHD to stream music to my amp is pretty clunky, so I end up streaming from Tidal most of the time... It's not bad, but something like the Node 2 looks like a solution that would allow streaming + playback of my local library in the same space. I love that idea.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:14 pm 
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Location: Calgary, AB, CA
+1 for Auralic Aries Mini


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