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Confused and Need Help With Streamers, Servers, Etc.

wacomme

Senior Member
Joined
May 11, 2022
Messages
427
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96
My head is spinning with many options, and I'm not sure if any option will work.

What does work is my desktop setup - Macbook Air - Topping L50 amp - SMSL DO100 dac - connect to headphones or Adam T5V monitors (L50 bypass and volume controlled via dac). What also works is a lossless portable solution - iPhone 14 Pro - Apple camera adapter - Qudelex 5K - headphones or iems. However, the long wired solution is unwieldy. I do not want bluetooth play. I mostly use Apple Music, but I do have a Tidal subscription, and have been experimenting with Audirvana. For EQ (essential, as is lossless or close to it) I use the Qudelix 5K for portable use, and Blackhole to HLConvolver on my MacBook Air.

Problems:

1) I have a pair of Audioengine A5 powered speakers downstairs in the living room that is connected via bluetooth and Alexa. However, with bluetooth and no eq, I'm not happy with the sound and the speakers are rarely played. What's the most economical way to get better sound (other than replacing the speakers - needed sometime)? Can I connect them to Audirvana? How? Do I need the Wiim streamer? If so, can I get lossless and how? Should I buy a cheap PC laptop along with a dac and create a separate setup with that system? Can I connect to these speakers via Audirvana? What's needed to do so? Is there a better solution? Roon? If so, how?

2) I would also like to free my iPhone at work from wires. My work PC is heavily regulated (though I can stream Tidal and Audirvana - so far), so it would be best to have a separate system than my work PC. Again, should I buy a cheap PC (what are minimum requirements - I'm a Mac guy) and dac/amp and create a separate setup devoid of my work PC (I'm a bit concerned about restrictions to the work internet, but worse case is I can use my iPhone as a wifi hotspot)? Are there better or cheaper solutions?
 

Mal

Active Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2022
Messages
157
Likes
49
As your A5s are wireless what about the WiiM mini streamer? It's wireless *only*, it's cheaper, you don't get the ethernet connection found on the WiiM, but you don't want that. Darko just discussed the WiiMs in a useful video.

But given you have the Apple ecosystem - what about getting the cheapest Apple box that can do the job? Apple TV maybe? Given Apple quality would you really need a separate DAC for a secondary system?

I managed to get a good optical stream out of my amazon firestick so don't dismiss cheap sticks/boxes out of hand - they only need to transfer bits and that doesn't need much power or audiophile polishing...

Is Tidal essential? I've decided to settle for Spotify after a short struggle trying to get anything else to work smoothly with my systems. Maybe deciding to settle for Apple Music would solve a lot of your problems? Watching Darko helped me here as well! Reconciled me to spotify being an adequate solution, and making other points I subsequently validated, somewhat, with my own ears (like bluetooth isn't good enough... a good DAC like the Topping 10s will improve matters...)
 
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