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CD / DAC / streamer combinations


p2an
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I have put off (avoided) streaming so far. I also have been without a CD player for about 10 years, when the last one died I didnt replace it as I was playing alot more vinyl. Now due to less finances to upgrade my vinyl source I thought about dipping my toes into digital again. I have a few hundred CDs so it would be nice to play them again, especially as I'm not buying many new LPs atm.
Starting to look around I realise that most streamers (eg Audiolab 6000N) have a DAC in them, so if i could buy a CD transport plus streamer and use the streamer as also the DAC. However the Audiolab 6000N doesnt seem to have a digital in ??

Do some streamers that include a DAC also have a digital input? 

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Hi

Yes but you could make it easier and rip all your discs to a sad and lose the mechanical transport. Once you do this there is no going back.

Some streamers like innous (mk3zen excluding) don't have DACs but most like the node2 do some the choice is endless and yours.

If you want to save money you can use a laptop for your files and send straight to a dac and see how you get on. It doesn't have to cost a fortune.

I'm building a custom pc just for this purpose

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yes, maybe I'm being sentimental about the physicality of the old silver disc. What is a SAD? I must be getting old :)

Edited by p2an
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Since getting a streamer I rarely play my cds. Yes you can rip them and the stream. You can put quite a few cds on a USB stick and plug that in to the streamer. I use a Bluesound Node 2. The 2i version is on sale now for £399 new. Having gone away from a PC for music, I found a streamer far better.

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2 minutes ago, p2an said:

yes, maybe I'm being sentimental about the old silver disc. What is a SAD? I must be getting old :)

Sorry it's the mobile spelling correction 

I meant a hard drive or ssd

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There are streamer DACs. Streamers with digital inputs. I used the Oppo Sonica (no longer in production), the Cambridge Audio CXN v2 and now am running the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge. They all have digital inputs.

Have a look at the Cambridge Audio CXN v2. It is able to stream, has digital inputs, will accept an external drive like say a SSD, got internet radio ... slightly more expensive than the 6000n. It’s a nice piece of kit.

Edited by tIANcI
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My Marantz CD transport sounds a bit better through my Auralic streamer DAC than the internal drive on my Auralic that holds all of my CDs in FLAC. Since I loaded the ripped CDs I have never played an actual CD and can’t think why I would bother. As you don’t have a large number of CDs get them ripped to a drive and buy a streamer/dac that will play these back. 

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i have 250 CDs, so at 700MB per CD that is 178GB. Can I just put them all on a USB stick and use a streamer/dac that has a USB input?

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9 minutes ago, p2an said:

i have 250 CDs, so at 700MB per CD that is 178GB. Can I just put them all on a USB stick and use a streamer/dac that has a USB input?

Encode them to flac and it'll be a third of that.  It depends if the device supports usb mass storage 

Edited by kernow
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5 minutes ago, p2an said:

i have 250 CDs, so at 700MB per CD that is 178GB. Can I just put them all on a USB stick and use a streamer/dac that has a USB input?

No sir :(

sadly that is not recommended for streamers . Most of us usually host our libraries on a NAS. I use a WD my cloud drive . 

If using a usb drive, every time we switch on the streamer. It will spend quite sometime indexing the usb stick, but it won't be a problem if you can leave your streamer on all the time.

But the above said, there are  quite a few all in one CD player, cum streamer cum dac's.  There is a newer arcam I can't remebr the model name at the moment 

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These days I wouldn't bother with a NAS unless you want to use it for something else as well such as backups or file sharing. Get a streamer that you can fit a HDD inside. It does essentially the same thing and is more practical to add files over the network than faff around with external storage. A used Aries Mini is a good buy. As mentioned, you can also get some that do the ripping for you, like Innuos.

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I went the streaming route and started off with a Naim ND5 XS2 which was very nice but not cheap and just used the native app.  Then, wanting a common music library including all my favourited albums on Qobuz and Tidal as well as all my ripped CD's I tried Roon and really liked it.

From there, as I did not need to rely on the Naim app I thought I would try a cheaper option and pushed a Raspberry Pi into service as a Roon endpoint and feeding a Topping D50s DAC.  To be honest it sounds every but as good as the Naim and for a fraction of the cost.  Finally I added HQPlayer into the mix which just lifts the SQ up enough to justify the cost of a licence.  It is not a prerequisite though.

My CD collection is ripped to a NAS as a NAS can hold so much more than just music so having a big hard drive built into the streamer would make no sense for me.

Having dabbled in the expensive I would go the Roon, Pi, ChiFi special DAC of your choice over an expensive 'mainstream' choice any day.

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3 hours ago, p2an said:

i have 250 CDs, so at 700MB per CD that is 178GB. Can I just put them all on a USB stick and use a streamer/dac that has a USB input?

Depends on the unit in question but mostly yes it would seem. An internal hard drive or external SSD is better

Edited by DomT
To add SSD
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