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Living room source streaming advice

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Mar 16, 2019
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#1
Hello Guys,

this is my first post on a forum, so let me use this opportunity to say Hi!.
For last years I rather was constructing audio equipment as a hobbyist - few Pass projects, some tube amps, and so on.
Recently, I moved 11000 km away from my workshop leaving everything behind and now I'm trying to collect leaving room audio just to enjoy music.

I decided to go with B&W 684, Crown D-45 (with optional bridging and bi-amping later on).

Now I'm trying to figure out how to get rid of interconnect between macbook and amp. I used to use Chromecast Audio before, and really liked the freedom of wireless audio.

I went through many reviews on this forum, and they are very helpful, but I was not able to figure out which DAC would pair well with my equipment. Why is that? I have few requirements:
- toslink input for chromecast audio
- Balanced output, as Crown only accept balanced inputs and I would prefer to not use RCA to XLR cable.
- I'd like to squeeze it into tight budget - level of $100 would be perfect!

Any suggestions guys?
Or maybe you have some other recommendations, I really like Behringer U-Phoria 204HD which was reviewed on this forum, but it only supports USB input, which is rather problematic when trying to get rid of around-the-living-room cables.
 

dc655321

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#2
Hello and welcome.

As measured on this site, the SMSL SU-8 (v2!) ticks two of your three requirements.
Price is ~$250 USD though.
I can't think of any other DAC with balanced outputs near your price range, but that is not to say that there aren't any!
 

suttondesign

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#3
use a mac mini where the amp is. then use roon or apple remote from your laptop to control the mac mini. i have 2 separate mac mini servers, headless. i can access either from my ipad. i can also control either using splashtop.

i use dacs after the minis. rme and emotiva.
 
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kryss
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Thread Starter #4
@dc655321 Thank you, I read a review of this DAC, and looks like a perfect match, besides the price, as you said. Maybe I'll just break this requirement and get it :)

@suttondesign I'm afraid that even used mac mini will not fit into the budget, nor provide balanced output, but I appreciate a suggestion!

I'm also open to hunt for used devices, so I'll be looking for SMSL SU-8 v2.
 
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kryss
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Thread Starter #6
Got you! I actually plan to use SPDI/F output of chromecast audio, but if I would be able to buy cheap mac mini, than it make sense with Behringer for example, thanks.
 
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kryss
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Thread Starter #8
I have to admit, that bass is awful. It is not going deep enough, exactly as shown on the response curve which you linked. It is also boomy above 100Hz.
Midrange and higher frequencies are good enough however.

The thing is, that I can't stand too long without any music experience, so I was rushing a little bit, plus, I bought them for extremely low price. I had very good experience from listening some bigger b&w in the past, so I just took them a little bit blindly.
I can't actually review them 100% yet, as all the equipment, including temporary Nakamichi receiver (still waiting for Crown delivery) and new apartment (with hell too much echo) is new to me, so I don't have good benchmark yet. I need to "calibrate" myself a little first :)
 

MZKM

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#9
I have to admit, that bass is awful. It is not going deep enough, exactly as shown on the response curve which you linked. It is also boomy above 100Hz.
Midrange and higher frequencies are good enough however.

The thing is, that I can't stand too long without any music experience, so I was rushing a little bit, plus, I bought them for extremely low price. I had very good experience from listening some bigger b&w in the past, so I just took them a little bit blindly.
I can't actually review them 100% yet, as all the equipment, including temporary Nakamichi receiver (still waiting for Crown delivery) and new apartment (with hell too much echo) is new to me, so I don't have good benchmark yet. I need to "calibrate" myself a little first :)
Yeah, I was surprised by the specs stating only 72Hz, and then checking the measurements to see it’s true (it also has non-stellar off-axis performance, which isn’t unexpected for B&W’s non-flagship models), that’s less bass than even the $80 Micca MB42X (super popular entry-level bookshelf speaker).
 
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kryss
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Thread Starter #10
@MZKM I bought older model - 684 (without S2), I believe that S2 has a smaller cabinet, can't find measurements for them, but anyway, I believe that they would measure more or less the same, at least for my ear.
 
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