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How do you eliminate lag when changing song x which streamer should I buy?

Sillysilly

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I’m looking to spend up to $2500 on a streamer / DAC.

I want to eliminate the lag when changing songs. There is always a few milliseconds, even after perfecting wifi with fibre and ubiquiti setup on the networking front.

I’m actually happy with the sound of my current DAC, a humble Khadas Toneboard which doesn’t embarrass itself into Vivid Audio speakers.

If I’m streaming hi-res on Qobuz I want it to be near instant as if I’m playing directly from
laptop to headphones.

I just went to a shop using DCS x Roon and they say they still get lag, impossible to solve even spending way more than 2k.

Is the answer just to purchase and store my music locally? Have any of you managed to crack this?
 

Vincent Kars

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I want to eliminate the lag when changing songs.
That isn't lag, it is called gapless playback. It can be done using streaming as it is part of UPnP protocol but often not well implemented or not implemented at all.
Perhaps stating the obvious, this has nothing to do with the price of the streamer but very much with the interaction between streamer and server. If the server is not able to "glue" two tracks together, there will be some white space. Also obvious, this has nothing to do with network performance. A CD is 1411 kbs (kilo bits per second). A LAN most of the time runs a 100 Mbits, far in excess of what is needed for audio.

Personally I prefer local playback, much easier than streaming. Media players like Musicbee or Foobar do support gapless playback.
 

AnalogSteph

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Please clarify what exactly it is that you want.

Scenario A: Playback progresses from the end of track 1 to track 2. Gapless playback means that, well, playback will transition seamlessly without any gaps.

Scenario B: You are playing some track and manually select another random track to be played.

You are always going to have some delay when using a streaming service in scenario B. Some big-ass server somewhere on the interwebs needs to be rummaging through its vast library to find what you need (possibly to be retrieved from a moderately busy HDD array to boot), and the client is likely to include a good bit of buffering to ensure stable playback even under adverse conditions. Having some local(ish) storage is definitely a good idea if you are in a hurry.

For kicks, I just requisitioned my bedside-fi laptop's drive share as a makeshift NAS and imported a bunch of FLAC tracks into a new Foobar2000 playlist, and I'm not sure I can tell that from local playback in terms of responsiveness. Mind you, the thing does have a 1 TB SSD, has been upgraded with an 11ac capable Intel 7260 and is about the only thing on my WiFi (if over in the bedroom), but still... From this I'll deduce that you can pretty much throw your local files onto the most janky excuse for a NAS and it'll be fine, and an old laptop is no means the worst choice. Some people will take a little SBC that can accept an NVMe SSD and turn it into a power-saving "micro NAS" (2-3 W with careful selection of components). 1-2 TB of storage will go a long way in terms of a music collection. If you have some proper fast internet, the NAS could even be at some other location connected via VPN, though I would generally stick to the same continent.

Those with more experience with Roon performance will hopefully chip in. (The streamer subforum may have been the better place to ask.) There is this:
That's for the system with the Roon server (i.e. the database and such), not the actual storage which I presume could very well be as indicated above. Note how the recommendation is for "libraries that contain fewer than 100,000 tracks, with moderate DSP and multiroom usage". If you were to operate a proper streaming service, there'd be millions upon millions of tracks to contend with. Mind you, I suspect Roon may not be as efficient as they claim. Rockbox for one can manage tens of thousands of tracks on players with 32 megs of total system RAM, and my local Foobar2000 instance only takes up a bit over 100 megs either.
 
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Sillysilly

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It’s scenario B.

Would love to hear from Roon users.

For music discovery I like to skip through recommended albums very quickly, play the 1st few seconds, then skip into say 30 seconds and save anything that has potential to listen to properly at a later point.

I think the answer is going to be to do this using a low res service like Spotify, then make playlists and listen with Qobuz for quality.

Potentially one of those problems new hardware doesn’t fix.
 

sergeauckland

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Logitek Media Server (LMS) is free and offers gapless playback. You can still buy Squeezebox players, albeit used, or use again free players for Windows, iOS or Android with any 'phone, tablet or PC.
There's no need to pay thousands to get gapless playback.

S
 

antcollinet

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Lag in that sense is a combination of the delay for a server to start streming your newly selected song, and then all the bufferes between it and you.

Bearing in mind there are buffers in most networking devices, all of which add a small delay, then it is not possible to eliminate lag.

Even if you store the files locally there will be buffers in whatever player software you are using, as well as in your DAC - hopefully short enough to not be intrusive.

I currently have my turntable connected in via bluetooth. There is a significant lag in this - so that is just the bluetooth transmitter/receiver/DAC, and then AVR that add up a significant delay from the needle hitting the vinyl to the click hitting the speakers.
 
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Sillysilly

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I get it the requirement to buffer and that I am reliant of third party servers and my own internal network.

What I looking ti understand is if anyone has made significant improvement by spending more money and how.

With all the audiophile bull around premium Ethernet cable, custom $2k cones for DAC to sit on and $3k power cables I’m surprised no one is tacking this.

Qobuz Hi-Res can take over a second to start a song.

I’d love to know if anyone has anyone tracked improvement at each point:

E.g
Fibre to the door: x ms improvement
X Router upgrade: x ms improvement
Ethernet over WiFi: x ms improvement
Replace Wiim with x: X ms improvement
Replace x connection to DAC with x connection: c ms improvement
 

tc2007

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I think the lag when changing tracks non-sequentially comes from the Qobuz itself and there is nothing you can do. When playing sequential tracks, most streamers are smart enough to cache the next track so to achieve "gapless" effect. However the streamer cannot tell which track you want to choose from the playlist next, so unless Qobuz streaming API allows the streamer to cache multiple songs from the playlist, you will always have a lag.

In my experience with several streamers, BlueSound and Sonos have offered the best response times. The worst was Wiim but that was few months ago and I don't know if they have improved or not.

I would not spend $2500 on a streamer. Better to get a BlueSound with USB support like N130 and hook it up to a nice DAC with USB input. Invest the savings in speakers / amps etc.

Another good option is to get a MiniPC with JRiver media server installed and use something like BubbleUPnP via mobile to playback Qobuz and MiniPC as your UPnP renderer. Connect the MinPC via USB to your DAC. I found JRiver to be an excellent responsive UPnP renderer. It can do Native DSD streaming from your PC's hard drive if the DAC supports it.
 

Mnyb

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Many servers has gapless playback with the rigth format for example Logitech Media Sever aka LMS .

Works perfectly with FLAC and MP3 done with a good encoder loke LAME .

However due the nature of things the players in such systems have buffers . So skipping very quickly migth be a bit haphazard .

What helps is a good wired network for both players and servers ( just dont spend years thinking, but wifi should work … it has limitations )

Otherwise switching to a service like spotify for quick browsing seems good and its high quality settings with volume normalisation turned off should sound good enough anyway.
 

Mnyb

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Btw WiiM players can also be used in LMS .

But your probably out of luck with any solution no streaming service I know of pre cashes whole playlists locally in the player just in case the user wants to press skip 20 times in a row ?

However it would be interesting to know when some players cache the next track ? Is it right before the current track is about to end for example ? And if soo how long before the end .

I’m out travelling I’ll experiment with my LMS server later . It may act differently using the Spotify plugin if I cue up some playlist ?
 
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Sillysilly

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If Blusound is noticibly quicker than WIIM then sounds like it's worth a go. I'll
report back.

The dream would be to have everything in one box when it comes to digital.

It seems like a key part of streamer functionality that is overlooked in reviews. How big is the cache and how fast / reactive is the app.

To me the DAC pet is mostly solved. I'm amazed what the toneboard can do for $100.
 
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