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General home streaming recommendations 2023

dmoss74

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Hi,

First off, if this is the wrong forum, or in some way isn't a topic that is discussed here, then my apologies.

I want to get a home streaming setup going. My current setup is a laptop with a usb out to either a modi 2 (might be considering a modi 3) or ifi zen 2 dac, then rca outs to my Yamaha AVR, then to Kef Q350 speakers, with a JBL 12"sub.

Not exactly audiophile quality, but it works for me. I will eventually want to add an integrated amp for audio only.

I had tried using my LG G8 to feed the dacs, or straight from the 3.5mm jack to the receiver, using the internal quad dac. This is just a placeholder until I decide what I end up with.

To this point, I have narrowed it down to these options.

1. WIIM pro plus, continuing to feed my dacs. It sounds like the easiest to get going.

2. Build a raspberry pi4 streamer. It sounds interesting, but maybe too thick in the weeds for me.

3. There is a bluesound node 2i that I can get for a reasonable price, lightly used.

One thing I really like about the yamaha is that it has bass management. it really helps clean up the low end in my system, in my "less-tan-ideal" listening environment.

The bluesound has it, which is a plus for my setup. My best guess is that while the AVR is still powering the system, it would be best to have it still do the bass management until I get another power amp.

The other benefits to the node 2i are that it has the music services I use (Tidal/Qobuz) in its native app. I know that I could configure the other 2 options to get them, but I'm just mentioning it.

If any of my reasoning isn't sound, then please let me know what I am missing. At this point, I'd do any of them, with the Pi4 thing being the last option, due to the fabrication/setup time involved.

I'm trying to keep the budget under $400.00, which I know is going to reduce my options.

thanks for any help.
 

Matias

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WiiM Pro and the future PEQ should work for you, as it should for me too.
 

Barrelhouse Solly

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Because I have a strong (some might say pathological) interest in the Raspberry Pi, I'm inclined to that solution. It does involve a little DIY but it's cheap and effective and occupies a small amount of space. One thing that is very simple to do is, if your AVR has an available HDMI connection, is to connect a Pi directly thus avoiding the cost and setup necessary with a DAC HAT. Using software will require some setup and probably the use of a phone or tablet to control it. If you're looking for an appliance solution the Pi is probably not the answer. There is nothing unreasonable in wanting plug and play. I like the Pi because I was a programmer for a long time and enjoy fooling around with hardware and software. I have an Allo Boss 2 setup that I love. I also have other Pis using LMS.

One appliance solution, as others have pointed out, could be the AVR. Almost all of them support at least DLNA and internet radio. Quite a few support streaming services.
 

navin

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Hi,

then rca outs to my Yamaha AVR, then to Kef Q350 speakers

Not exactly audiophile quality, but it works for me. I will eventually want to add an integrated amp for audio only.
Not related to the streamer question, but if you get an integrated amplifier, get one with power amp inputs (usually, this would be supplemented by a switch on the front panel)

Connect all your video sources, as well as your centre surround speakers, to the AVR.
Connect all your audio sources to the AMP and your AMP to the front speakers.
Connect the front L & R preamp out from the AVR to the Power amp in on the AMP.
If you listen to 2 channel audio, you don't need to use the AVR.

I hope this helps.

Regarding your streaming needs, the WiiM Pro meets or beats anything under $500 (Songbird HR, NAD CS1, Cambridge AXN10, Arylic S50Pro+, Yamaha WXC-50 etc). If you can get hold of a 5V DC 1A Linear Power supply, it will help.
 

LuvTheMusic

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As usual with these kinds of decisions, a lot depends on the relative value to you of convenience and simplicity. The Node (disclaimer: that's what I use) is drop-dead simple, a long history of ongoing support/updates, and is completely stable (at least in my experience); also, as you noted, it has native support for all of the major (and some minor) streaming services as well as basic support for a local library plus things like TuneIn radio, Radio Paradise, and so on. I believe that the WiiM is similar, although I have no experience with that.

The R Pi solution requires some effort. My career was in IT and I built most of my PCs over the years, so I'm not exactly a novice, but when it came to a streaming device I had no interest in fiddling around: I just wanted to plug in something and listen to music. Many others either are more interested in saving some money (at this point in my life, I guess I have more money than time!) and/or enjoy the process (challenge?) of configuring a device, thus are happy with the Pi.

BTW, one of the major criticisms of the Node (aside from relatively high cost of a new unit) is that the performance of the internal DAC is mediocre relatively to a good external DAC. But it sounds as though you have the external DAC already in place.

Good luck and enjoy whatever system you put together!
 

navin

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The R Pi solution requires some effort. My career was in IT and I built most of my PCs over the years, so I'm not exactly a novice, but when it came to a streaming device I had no interest in fiddling around: I just wanted to plug in something and listen to music. Many others either are more interested in saving some money (at this point in my life, I guess I have more money than time!) and/or enjoy the process (challenge?) of configuring a device, thus are happy with the Pi.
I built 2 streamers each using an Allo USB Signature along with a Pi2AES HAT (so that I could have SPDIF and I2S outputs) as a learning experience. One had Volumio and the other had Max2Play. They are now collecting dust (the aluminium boxes I built for them came out nicer than I expected).
 
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Ron Texas

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I use an old notebook computer to stream. It can also play back videos on my TV.
 

Rednaxela

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1. WIIM pro plus, continuing to feed my dacs. It sounds like the easiest to get going.
Even easier when you’d plug it straight into the AVR.

One thing I really like about the yamaha is that it has bass management. it really helps clean up the low end in my system, in my "less-tan-ideal" listening environment.
This is incredibly important. Much more than (presumed) DAC differences.

Which is why I’d object against:

Not exactly audiophile quality, but it works for me.
Your system may actually be a lot better than you imagine. Did you know that your speakers are remarkably EQ-able for instance?

I will eventually want to add an integrated amp for audio only.
Really not sure what that would solve. What Yamaha amp would it replace if I may ask?
 

Jack Harrison

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I‘ve used an RPi with Moode for a few years now. You don’t have to be a programmmer to be able to set it up, just able to follow simple instructions. Some very expensive streamers rely on a built in RPi and charge the money they do because an RPi is such an excellent solution and people want the difficult stuff done for them, but it’s not difficult and it doesn’t need to be a costly or complicated. It takes 15-30 minutes maybe to set up from scratch if you have everything you need to hand: RPi, power supply, case, micro sd, usb hd or ssd, and laptop or pc. I use usb out from an RPi4 into my DAC. I also have a Wiim Mini which I’m not using much because I prefer the RPi. With Moode I have Spotify Connect and Airplay 2 from my iPad or IPhone which I use to control it. I stream Spotify, Amazon HD, and my library of ripped CDs on the ssd.
You can pay a lot more for a dedicated streamer but your results won’t be any better maybe not even as good. Moode has built in graphic and parametric equalisers and Camilladsp if you want to go the whole hog on room and system equalisation.
 

Lukikabuki

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I wondered if one of the Lumin units (such as the Lumin D3 or Lumin U2 mini) would perform well enough to be an valid option as a streamer. Just think about listening to both in my system connected to the RME DAC. And I'm curious already if I could hear any diffrence to my Pi4 Moode player.
 
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