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Streamers and sound quality

hiesteem

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No mention of it yet but they have been stringing the Azur range out for a few years now.
Be assured tho, the 851n will continue to get updates to firmware for years to come.
Yes updates are an important point. I will ask that question tomorrow when I give Richer a ring.
 

TheFlash

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It would be interesting to compare the 851’s with one of those Pimped Noddy things. You would have spent more on the pimped node and still have no preamp, DAC for a transport with six digital inputs, balanced and line out connections and excellent build quality. I think the 851 wins hands down tbh.
Well, if you want your streamer to also be a preamp then perhaps so.
No-one I know uses a pimped Nodey thing with its internal DAC, so you’d be comparing a pure streamer with the 851 purely as a streamer; not sure anyone has done this but maybe I need to read the whole thread again.
Inputs only matter if you’re using it as a pre.
The Node has excellent build quality and an excellent user interface.
And finally, neither of us has heard (well I haven’t, correct me if you have) an 851 as a pure streamer vs a pimped Nodey thing into any DAC of your/my choice, so we can’t really comment on comparative sound quality.
Apart from that, you make a good point! 😊
 
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Rockchild

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Well, if you want your streamer to also be a preamp then perhaps so.
No-one I know uses a pimped Nodey thing with its internal DAC, so you’d be comparing a pure streamer with the 851 purely as a streamer; not sure anyone has done this but maybe I need to read the whole thread again.
Inputs only matter if you’re using it as a pre.
The Node has excellent build quality and an excellent user interface.
And finally, neither of us has heard (well I haven’t, correct me if you have) an 851 as a pure streamer vs a pimped Nodey thing into any DAC of your/my choice, so we can’t really comment on comparative sound quality.
Apart from that, you make a good point! 😊
The 851 is a digital hub Nigel. You can plug in your CD transport, Minidisc or whatever. It would be interesting tho to compare a the 851’s DAC to peoples noddy and DAC 😊
Like I said, it took a £2200 DAC to improve on it but was I was happy to run the Cambridge with the DAC because of its interface and usability.
 
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hiesteem

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One other item I want to mention used in the Cambridge cxn demo is the Q Acoustics 500.
First time I have listened to them and I was impressed with their openness in the mid-band and their high frequency.
I had to read the speaker a bit though as the set-up was less than inspiring. They are very tall and deep in their stature.
Unfortunately, they had them pushed up into the corner of their small, oblong room.
Consequently, they broke up on very deep bass notes, whilst listening to the textures of Nils Frahm's deep box piano and what I think is a synthesized bass that he integrates into his music sometimes.

I was intrigued by the speaker's openness so I would like to give them a listen in my own room, which is long and oblong and favours soundstage.
This is a strength of my Ruark Equinox, a speaker which has these qualities and I have yet to hear something preferable, in terms of integration in mid-band and soundstage and full bass. The 500 did have a lovely full-sounding high frequency which was detailed and rich, with more sparkle than my Equinox. I liked the 500's and I know some of us to have a preferred speaker for what it gives us, myself included, but these Q acoustics are a seriously decent speaker.
 
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StingRay

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Well, if you want your streamer to also be a preamp then perhaps so.
No-one I know uses a pimped Nodey thing with its internal DAC, so you’d be comparing a pure streamer with the 851 purely as a streamer; not sure anyone has done this but maybe I need to read the whole thread again.
Inputs only matter if you’re using it as a pre.
The Node has excellent build quality and an excellent user interface.
And finally, neither of us has heard (well I haven’t, correct me if you have) an 851 as a pure streamer vs a pimped Nodey thing into any DAC of your/my choice, so we can’t really comment on comparative sound quality.
Apart from that, you make a good point! 😊
You can pimp a Node from about £200. The 851 was about £1,000 new. Also have read some pretty negative comments about the StreamMagic software on the Cambridge, several users describe it as awful. I don't see the point of a preamp.
 

Lurch

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Whilst the Node is limited on its inputs it can act in a limited way as a Preamp. It has a USB in for iPods/memory sticks and an either/or 3.5mm Optical/analogue in + BT & headphone socket, with App based volume and tone controls. So tt/CDP to the 3.5mm jack + iPod to usb and NAS via wifi/RJ45 does make it flexible for a small starter system, though I doubt many would use it this way.
 
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DomT

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Phew, so many different ways to go. I did like the simplicity of the Cambridge. The chap in the shop showed me how to use the Spotify app and favoured this as opposed to using the Cambridge DAC.
And different wammers have their favourite routes. But is the same with turntables. Belt vs direct drive, suspended vs non-suspended, SUT etc. same differences.

If you like your DAC then it seems strange to buy a streamer with a DAC in it. £1000 will buy you a very good streamer that many people use in pretty decent systems.
 

DomT

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Are you talking about the Bluesound Vault? That has built in ripper and HD: "Featuring an ultra-quiet, low power consumption 2TB hard drive, the VAULT 2i lets you easily rip all your CDs"
That’s the one.
 

TheFlash

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If you like your DAC then it seems strange to buy a streamer with a DAC in it. £1000 will buy you a very good streamer that many people use in pretty decent systems.
of course I’m one of the Node fanboy/pimpers who started off using the internal DAC but quickly realised it was less than it could be… hence much DAC experimentation and I’m now delighted to “waste” the internal DAC and still delight in it purely as a streamer. For which I’d quite happily pay £500.
 
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Cable Monkey

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There are a number of ‘pure’ streamers that have been out and at least one that has very recently come to market that will do a decent and competent job into a favoured DAC. They share a number of common themes (probably because they share a designer). They are based on the CM3 compute module (the object a Raspberry Pi3 was designed as an evaluation tool for). They connect via USB. They can often give you a choice of operating systems. They are all compatible with Roon so the operating system becomes irrelevant for anything other than stability. They all have some mitigation for the use of switched mode PSU’s. They cost between £600 and £1000 but you are not painting yourself into a corner if you choose this route. They are:

Stack Audio Link II (sold new with a fancy PSU).
Project Stream Box S2 Ultra.
Musical Fidelity MX Stream.

There may be a few others out there, some based on the actual Pi3 or Pi4 platforms but they mostly share the same characteristics and can be identified by the rear shot that clearly shows a Pi presenting its rear end. I’m thinking of the Silent Angel Munich M1 here. These often have alternative digital outputs like SPDIF, AES and even i2S LVDS.

In short, the richly supported environment that the Raspberry Pi community engenders guarantees these devices longevity that might even approach that of the Logitech Squeeze community. It might be nice to have that sort of security. And that even opens the door to the possibility of simply buying a Pi4, an enclosure, possible even a screen and doing this yourself!
 

Amormusic

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The CA edge would be a blind buy in my books.
This.

Based upon my experience with the CXN, now my current 851N if/when the stars align and I see one at a reasonable cost I am highly tempted to do this.

Particularly as I have an all digital system and stream 90% of the time.
 

Cool Dude Ted

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And that even opens the door to the possibility of simply buying a Pi4, an enclosure, possible even a screen and doing this yourself!
In terms of experience, ability and (lack of) ability to differentiate the mediocre from the mind-blowingly good, I’m probably at the bottom of the pile when compared to most on here.
That said, this is the way I’ve decided to go for now.
I’m now on my fourth Rpi4.
One in my main system (with a co-ax HAT into a Rega DAC)
One in my second system where I‘ve paired it with a class D amp HAT, so I have something not a lot bigger than a couple of packs of playing cards. Draws only 5 watts from the mains.
Number three - my step father has this; USB into a Topping E30 DAC. He’s overjoyed.
Number four - my brother. Ditto on the overjoyment front. Here we’ve gone HDMI out to his BOSE soundbar. Not ideal, but he’s happy.
My aim - to get to listen to a streamer/s which puts mine to shame, is within budget and would give me such a lift in overall SQ that I would have little option but to buy one.
Sadly, I can’t be at the WAM show this weekend to have a look at what others are running.
Hope all going to Stoke have a wonderful time.
 

DomT

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of course I’m one of the Node fanboy/pimpers who started off using the internal DAC but quickly realised it was less than it could be… hence much DAC experimentation and I’m now delighted to “waste” the internal DAC and still delight in it purely as a streamer. For which I’d quite happily pay £500.
My Auralic and Innuos also have a DAC included. But my point was more about buying a streamer that has a ‘great sounding DAC’ if you already have a ‘great sounding’ DAC. There is no problem buying a streamer that has a ‘good enough’ DAC as most streamers have one bundles that can pretty easily be bettered if required.
 
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Chumpchops

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Does anyone have experience of the Sonore ultrarendu stand alone streamer?
ticks all the boxes for me (LMS supported) and am looking to replace and retire my aging SBT in my main system.

So LMS>network>Sonore usb to Platin Wisa Hub> wireless to Buchardts (three dacs integrated into each speakers)

Thoughts? It’s not broken and I love the sound quality, but the SBT is very old. Am not itching to spend £800, but thinking ahead. Pi based streamers also in consideratio, but a fully integrated neat and small out of the box LMS streamer appeals.
 

hiesteem

peacebro
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And different wammers have their favourite routes. But is the same with turntables. Belt vs direct drive, suspended vs non-suspended, SUT etc. same differences.

If you like your DAC then it seems strange to buy a streamer with a DAC in it. £1000 will buy you a very good streamer that many people use in pretty decent systems.
Very good point you make Dom. It's my first exploration into streaming, (always late to the party) and am not aware of which streamers come without Dacs. I assumed they all had an in built dac ......... 😁
 

tuga

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Does anyone have experience of the Sonore ultrarendu stand alone streamer?
ticks all the boxes for me (LMS supported) and am looking to replace and retire my aging SBT in my main system.

So LMS>network>Sonore usb to Platin Wisa Hub> wireless to Buchardts (three dacs integrated into each speakers)

Thoughts? It’s not broken and I love the sound quality, but the SBT is very old. Am not itching to spend £800, but thinking ahead. Pi based streamers also in consideratio, but a fully integrated neat and small out of the box LMS streamer appeals.
For what it's worth, I have been using a microRendu endpoint/bridge for some time now and find it a worthy addition (though I must say that I bought it used). It puts my mind at rest about the Mac mini pushing noise into the DAC.
I would expect the ultraRendu streamer to be a worthy performer but what's the GUI like?
 

ziggy

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Does anyone have experience of the Sonore ultrarendu stand alone streamer?
ticks all the boxes for me (LMS supported) and am looking to replace and retire my aging SBT in my main system.

So LMS>network>Sonore usb to Platin Wisa Hub> wireless to Buchardts (three dacs integrated into each speakers)

Thoughts? It’s not broken and I love the sound quality, but the SBT is very old. Am not itching to spend £800, but thinking ahead. Pi based streamers also in consideratio, but a fully integrated neat and small out of the box LMS streamer appeals.
I have the UltraRendu and think it is excellent and would recommend it. The optical connection is via a Cisco switch and the PS is a Sbooster. Stream QoBuz and ripped CDs through the BubbleUp app.
 

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