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Looking for a streamer to play local flac files via foobar2000 + CD transport + bluetooth. Asking too much?

tokyo_blues

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Hello everyone,

First post here (please MODs move my thread elsewhere if chosen section not appropriate) So I'm trying to reorganise my hi-fi listening setup around the sources we most often use around the house. Like for many people, my old setup can play CDs and records but it's blind to the increasingly large amounts of digital music we've amassed in the house.

  • I have ~1500CDs ripped to FLAC, properly tagged with artist/album/disc/title/composer etc, and kept on (backed up) hard drives. I mostly listen to this music when at the computer, via headphones and a headphone amp. I use Foobar2000+Wasapi.
  • My wife listens to music via her Android phone, mostly ripped mp3s/ogg vorbis. She plays it using the foobar2000 phone app
  • Both of us still have a large CD collection. We play this using an old CD player

We would both like to seamlessly play the above content on my home standmount living room speakers, which are active speakers. I do have an old-ish DAC preamp already: a Benchmark DAC with volume control.

I DID try to have a go at playing my FLAC files on my speakers: I put together a Raspberry Pie 3 with an Allo SPDIF board feeding digital signal into my Benchmark Dac and then into the speakers. Library management via Volumio. Awesome sound, but in general not impressed with usability. The little brick would overheat, sometimes it wouldn't boot, sometimes you needed lengthy updates, and importantly there was no bluetooth and my CD collection sat dead. WAF also super low. So no Raspberry.

So yes, any thoughts on how to harmonise all this with a relatively plug-and-play, wife-friendly solution? Just to be clear, by 'plug and play' I mean 'plug and play when all set up and in operation. I'm happy to tinker and setup a bit initially, but once the initial stuff is done, it should be as easy as popping a CD in the tray and pressing play.

To summarise, music will come from tagged FLACs on a hard drive, CDs, phone files via bluetooth, into active speakers. I don't need tidal, anything apple, radios, internet streaming etc. It won't necessarily need to be a one-box thing, but one box would be nice.

I'm thinking some sort of network streamer able to browse my FLAC files and able to be controlled via the Foobar2000 app on our phones. It if had an integrated CD player and a bluetooth module it would be perfect. Otherwise how about a CD transport feeding digital into a streamer/preamp solution. The preamp would have volume control and allow me to switch between CD/HD flac library/bluetooth and output 2x RCA into my active speakers.

Anything like the above on the market or am I asking too much? Many thanks in advance.
 
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tokyo_blues

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Quick follow up- Just found out about Roon as an alternative to Foobar2000:


Any streamers as above able to browse FLAC files via Roon?
 

Kal Rubinson

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Quick follow up- Just found out about Roon as an alternative to Foobar2000:


Any streamers as above able to browse FLAC files via Roon?
Almost any PC.
 
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tokyo_blues

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Thank you Kal. I'm trying to understand if there's a way to send FLAC files to my DAC or speakers without using a PC or Raspberry Pi at all. I guess I'm just unsure whether say something like this


would be able to scan and index all my flac files (sitting on a HD connected to it) and recognise the tags. I wonder if I'm asking the wrong question.

Any suggestions appreciated.
 

Kal Rubinson

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Thank you Kal. I'm trying to understand if there's a way to send FLAC files to my DAC or speakers without using a PC or Raspberry Pi at all. I guess I'm just unsure whether say something like this

would be able to scan and index all my flac files (sitting on a HD connected to it) and recognise the tags. I wonder if I'm asking the wrong question.
I connect my PC directly to my DACs by USB. I scan, index and tag my files (sitting on a NAS or an HDD) the same way.
 

monkeyboy

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It seems like a PC (small form factor like an intel NUC would work) running Linux and MPD, with and MPD client on the phone/tablet would work. Are you looking to have different music streamed to several endpoints?
 

MarcosCh

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Wiim mini?

 
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tokyo_blues

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I connect my PC directly to my DACs by USB. I scan, index and tag my files (sitting on a NAS or an HDD) the same way.

Yeah. I used to do this for many years. A small netbook running foobar2000 with a USB DAC and two RCA inputs into my preamp. Worked fine.

However, I am looking for a one box solution. Needs to have a higher WAF than a netbook in my living room and plenty of tiny boxes. Hence I was wondering if a streamer capable of decoding FLAC files, read CDs and act as a preamp exists. Bonus feature: bluetooth connection.
 
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tokyo_blues

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Wiim mini?


Looks good. This could go into an external DAC/preamp via SPDIF, correct? I could do

Wiiim -> spdif -> Benchmark DAC
Any CD transport -> optical > Benchmark DAC
 

Kal Rubinson

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Yeah. I used to do this for many years. A small netbook running foobar2000 with a USB DAC and two RCA inputs into my preamp. Worked fine.
Then a Nuc or Nucleus would do even better.
However, I am looking for a one box solution. Needs to have a higher WAF than a netbook in my living room and plenty of tiny boxes. Hence I was wondering if a streamer capable of decoding FLAC files, read CDs and act as a preamp exists. Bonus feature: bluetooth connection.
1. WAF is something I cannot help with as my wife has no interest in my system and plays music on her own.
2. One box? My PC plays directly to any of the devices on my LAN as well as to the USB-wired DACs and can be controlled by mobile apps.
 

ZolaIII

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Check if something from Yamaha Musiccast lineups fit your needs. Recently disconnected R-N803 is hell of an amplifier and streamer for the money (closest you will get to one box concept) but you have active speakers already.
I use JRiver as DLNA server (on old Pentium J laptop) for DSP chain it has.

For a simplicity as WiFi streaming only I really liked this old one:
If you still can find one.
 
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tokyo_blues

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If anyone else is interested in this - seems like a new generation of CD players are out that do something close to what I need


Sadly, the USB HDD flac playing capability appears to be limited: the device seems to only be able to browse the music files by folder.
 
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sarumbear

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Thank you Kal. I'm trying to understand if there's a way to send FLAC files to my DAC or speakers without using a PC or Raspberry Pi at all. I guess I'm just unsure whether say something like this


would be able to scan and index all my flac files (sitting on a HD connected to it) and recognise the tags. I wonder if I'm asking the wrong question.

Any suggestions appreciated.
Apple TV or iPad running the Plex app.
 

Prana Ferox

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There have been lots of CD/DVD/BR players over the years with a USB port to play files off a thumb drive. They're generally fairly crippled devices with cruddy user interfaces. I certainly wouldn't spend $550 on a new Denon just to get that functionality. And it doesn't even do Bluetooth.

A vaguely recent Playstation (and I assume XBox) has a better interface for playing networked or local music and CDs. Not sure how to make it a BT sink.

I understand your "I don't want a PC or RPi" and understand ignoring OP's limits is kind of an ASR bad habit, but PC/RPi really are the logical answers here. You could take a 1-liter PC and a DAC and just, uh, stick them in a nice one-box if you really need looks. Or buy a nice HTPC case from the start. Or the minimalist path of a Raspberry Nano and a USB dongle DAC hidden behind your TV, controlled by your phone. Adding a CD drive is trivial and can be placed where you want / hidden / dressed up however.
 
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tokyo_blues

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I understand your "I don't want a PC or RPi" and understand ignoring OP's limits is kind of an ASR bad habit, but PC/RPi really are the logical answers here. You could take a 1-liter PC and a DAC and just, uh, stick them in a nice one-box if you really need looks. Or buy a nice HTPC case from the start. Or the minimalist path of a Raspberry Nano and a USB dongle DAC hidden behind your TV, controlled by your phone. Adding a CD drive is trivial and can be placed where you want / hidden / dressed up however.

Thanks. I'll look into these options. I'm tempted to go back to what I used to do. I might just get any old used CD transport and retrieve my old Raspberry PI3+Allo Digione SPDIF from the loft. Then I'll go

CD: CD transport -> optical -> Benchmark DAC
Flac files: RPi3->Allo-> coax -> Benchmark DAC
Benchmark DAC -> analog RCA into active speakers.

This means I'll have to use Volumio on the phone/tablet to play the FLAC library and the CD player's remote to play the CDs. Will work but I was hoping to simplify somewhat.

The above leaves me without bluetooth however. I might twist things around and replace the Benchmark DAC with a newer DAC with remote and bluetooth input.
 

MarcosCh

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I find you solution pretty neat.

However if you feel like tinkering a bit down the line, the raspberry pi have Bluetooth and i don't know volumio, but with moodeaudio i am sure you can use it to play your music.
I even think there are players with the option to play CDs with a cd-rom drive plugged to a pi. But i don't know which or how.
 

rochambeaux

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Maybe a dumb question but if you have your CD library ripped to FLAC then why/when would you want/need to play the same content back from the physical disc?
 
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tokyo_blues

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Maybe a dumb question but if you have your CD library ripped to FLAC then why/when would you want/need to play the same content back from the physical disc?

Many times we just like to play a CD, perhaps from beginning to end, perhaps a few songs. It's liberating. No apps, no phones, no waiting time, you can browse some liner notes. We like it.
 
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