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Modern streamer pre-amp help

bruitblanc

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I took out of the old stuff cupboard a Nakamichi 620 + 630, and I had the same problem, I didn't know what to associate with it to stream music, or to listen Qoobus in my living room. I chose a Cockail audio X40, it is possible to find it used around $ 600,700. Of course I will not buy without listening, but I am very happy with the preamps, and to be able to listen to Qoobus or Spotify without going through Bluetooth (Tidal is also installed in the device). very practical with spotify, you can control it from your phone. it has an ethernet socket, and can receive wifi with a key. It is also a CD player and allows you to rip your CDs with the addition of a hard disk. I wait for a small Bluetooth decoder to watch a movie on my laptop when I want to watch a movie without going upstairs and to stay in front of the fireplace ... it will be connected in coaxial.
the 630 only serves me to listen to the radio in a vintage way. I cannot part with it, it is too beautiful.
The X40 audio cocktail may not be the best in its class, but on occasion it deserves to be in the race.
NAKACOCKTAIL.jpg
 

Mauiboy

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I thought I'd take a few minutes to add to this thread, though it is a bit old now. Apologies if there are better ways to post reviews.

I own the Cambridge Audio CXN(V2) and have had no difficulties with the older 2.4G WiFi band with this device. When it streams from my music server, from Qobuz, and from Tidal, it works flawlessly, with no dropouts or disconnects. 192/24 samples from a Qobuz direct stream at a sustained 6.3Mbps (as reported by my router activity monitor) without dropouts of any kind. 96/24 is, well, half that rate. Apple AirPlay 2 works also without problems. I have not tried the in-built Chromecast.

Here is the StreamMagic app showing a Qobuz hi-res album streaming direct from the service:

IMG_0EB2EEB55A5B-1-1.jpeg


I would not let the WiFi band choice stop you from evaluating this excellent unit.

It may be possible to replace the WiFi dongle with a 5GHz compatible one that you source separately, if your specific application demands it. And in future, CA may offer a different dongle so owners might upgrade.

One of advantage of the 2.4GHz band is that there is now much less traffic on it, as most newer high-performance devices have moved up to the 5GHz band. But 2.4G is still a fully supported WiFi band and it's becoming progressively easier to find empty channels.

IMG_5011-1.jpg



All of the other devices on my home WLAN are using the 5GHz band, including the "bedroom-airport-express" which sits literally right next to the CXN and was used exclusively for Apple AirPlay (now redundant as the CXN supports AirPlay directly).

The retailer I bought the CXN from in the US offers 60-day returns. I'm just 2-weeks into this purchase and I'm pressing the limits to be confident it will work into the future. So far, so good.

Hope this is somewhat helpful.
 

Mansinthe86

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I want to recommend the Cxn V2 as well. Works absolutely flawlessly with Qobuz , AirPlay (I use it for my apple TV). And Flac files from usb .

Tidal , Spotify and other services work as well but I'm not using them.

I used to have a Yamaha wxa 50 before and musiccast was crap. Same for audirvana ..
 

Timcognito

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For simplicity go with the Node. It is so versatile; great UI that is upgraded routinely, ID, streaming, with a NAS a music server, internet radio, multi-room solution with central control and not a Pi-ject. If you want better sound you can add a $100 Dac. When I added the Topping E30 the improvement was there but barely noticeable over the internal dac to my ear. Playlists can be maintained from multiple sources streaming and stored. Lenbrook has several companies and platforms that use BluOS so integration, upgrading, and expanding is simple. I also have Roon, which is great for finding new music and has EQ functions.
For setting the volume I use my tablets as a remote. With amp set low, set the Node to full volume and turn the amp to loudest you like and forget it.
 

amper42

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I would never go with a BluOS node or Cxn V2. My computer with Audirvana plays wirelessly via UPnP through RPi4-> RME ADI-2 FS DAC and sounds amazing. Qobuz is supported for all the music I can imagine. In addition, I can rip any CD's I want to the MacBook Pro. Audirvana easily switches between CD or Qobuz music - all on the same page. I can't imagine anything simpler. I use the money I would waste on BluOS node or Cxn V2 for a HIGH quality DAC/Preamp like the RME ADI-2 FS DAC and avoid lower quality components. I'll have a computer anyway, and I like being able to keep all my music with me, in an easy access backed-up format that can play at my home or office. Hardware eventually fails but a backup keeps me running.
 
OP
A

AllDigital

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Here are a few quality streamer/DAC/Preamp ideas:

1. RPi4 (Moode) -> RME ADI-2 DAC -> your amp ( I use this setup with a Purifi amp and it sounds great)
Moode works well for UPnP, Airplay and Bluetooth. RME is a nice DAC/preamp option.

2. RPi4 (Moode) ->Topping D90SE -> your amp (If Bluetooth is enough you won't need RPi4)

3. Boss2 -> Topping PRE90 Preamplifier -> your amp

With these examples I stream Qobuz from my computer via UPnP to the RPi4. Obviously, you could use Bluetooth with your phone as well.
Thanks very much.

The options I have for streaming are Tidal connect or Chromecast (or a dedicated app like HEOS, BlueOS, MusicCast or SONOS, that integrates with Tidal).

I am interested in the Raspberry if it supports any of the two! You seem to know these well.
 
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AllDigital

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The HEOS Link HS2 is just like connecting to HEOS with a Denon AVR. HEOS app is limited and rarely updated. If you are going to use the app I would recommend placing your music on a USB drive and plugging it into the HS2. Otherwise, HEOS won't support HighRes music with the HEOS app from a phone/tablet (Bluetooth/Airplay).

A better way is to use UPnP with HS2 and a good player like Audirvana, JRiver or Roon. This way music is supported up to 24-bit/192kHz while streaming FLAC/PCM/ALAC files wirelessly. UPnP also allows you to stream Qobuz music even though HEOS app doesn't support Qobuz. Lots of fun tricks to get around the limitations of HEOS app. :D
You are not the first one that tells me bad (or at least not so good) things about HEOS... Is this more or less general consensus?
 

amper42

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Thanks very much.

The options I have for streaming are Tidal connect and Chromecast.
I am interested in the Raspberry if it supports any of the two! You seem to know these well.

The RPi4 is just a tiny computer that supports free streaming software via a 32GB SD card. I use Moode but there are several other options. You can buy it separately or as part of a kit. This allows any DAC, integrated amp or other audio device to support wifi streaming. Below is one example of a kit:
https://www.amazon.com/CanaKit-Raspberry-4GB-Starter-Kit/dp/B07V5JTMV9

All the device does is setup wireless networking (UPnP, Bluetooth or Airplay) for your DAC. It then accepts music that you send to it from a phone, tablet or computer to play on your speakers. You can use the Moode software web playback app or the interface offered by your phone, tablet or computer music player. You can buy a RPi4 that includes a DAC (HAT) if you want to avoid buying a separate DAC. The Boss2 is a great example of all the pieces in one box:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/allo-boss2-review-stereo-streamer.22916/

The $100 RPi4 setup is not magical, it just lets you stream your music from your favorite device. There are many software player options available. It's so inexpensive that you won't see it in a big ad and you'll actually find it's hardware in several of the commercially available streamers at several times the cost.

Some have it in their head that it's too hard to setup but if you can setup a printer or a router and go through a basic web configuration it's really pretty easy. It's not for everyone. If you don't want to use a phone, tablet or computer to stream the music to the RPi4 then you may like a CD player better? But just about every streamer requires an app to start music playback.Your app will need to support the services you want. JRiver and Audirvana support Tidal and Qobuz. I settled on Qobuz after trying both. Qobuz Hi-Res music is $10.99 a month.

I love the ability to stream anything on Qobuz or my CDs with the push of a button using Audirvana/UPnP from my seat. Setup a play list or just play individual songs? Switch tunes in a second or just play a long playlist. It's all at your fingertips on your favorite device. I'm hooked. :D
 
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AllDigital

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The RPi4 is just a tiny computer that supports free streaming software via a 32GB SD card. I use Moode but there are several other options. You can buy it separately or as part of a kit. This allows any DAC, integrated amp or other audio device to support wifi streaming. Below is one example of a kit:
https://www.amazon.com/CanaKit-Raspberry-4GB-Starter-Kit/dp/B07V5JTMV9

All the device does is setup wireless networking (UPnP, Bluetooth or Airplay) for your DAC. It then accepts music that you send to it from a phone, tablet or computer to play on your speakers. You can use the Moode software web playback app or the interface offered by your phone, tablet or computer music player. You can buy a RPi4 that includes a DAC (HAT) if you want to avoid buying a separate DAC. The Boss2 is a great example of all the pieces in one box:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/allo-boss2-review-stereo-streamer.22916/

The $100 RPi4 setup is not magical, it just lets you stream your music from your favorite device. There are many software player options available. It's so inexpensive that you won't see it in a big ad and you'll actually find it's hardware in several of the commercially available streamers at several times the cost.

Some have it in their head that it's too hard to setup but if you can setup a printer or a router and go through a basic web configuration it's really pretty easy. It's not for everyone. If you don't want to use a phone, tablet or computer to stream the music to the RPi4 then you may like a CD player better? But just about every streamer requires an app to start music playback.Your app will need to support the services you want. JRiver and Audirvana support Tidal and Qobuz. I settled on Qobuz after Trying both and their Hi-Res music is $10.99 a month.

I love the ability to stream anything on Qobuz or my CDs with the push of a button using Audirvana/UPnP from my seat. Setup a play list or just play individual songs? Switch tunes in a second or just play a long playlist. It's all at your fingertips on your favorite device. I'm hooked. :D
I like your setup too just from reading about it!

I doubt I will have any problems setting up a pi. However I am super happy with Tidal and we all use it home so anything that I can use Tidal with would be nice. In fact, I am now preferring Chromecast simply because (Not being really open) it is more open than HEOS, BlueOS and the like.

I just bought a Topping D50s. I will try my home made - old android phone - streamer setup. If it is not good enough I have the time to change it at no extra expense.

Can't wait to get the new DAC home!

AD.
 

Mansinthe86

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I hated audirvana. I had my laptop connected to my Cxa81 for a while and the remote app constantly lost the connection or the ability to connect to my laptop.

It might be better with a never laptop or maybe the Mac edition is just better but I prefer a standalone streamer.

I would only go the laptop + Dac route if I where to use it for a headphone setup on a desk.
 

amper42

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I hated audirvana. I had my laptop connected to my Cxa81 for a while and the remote app constantly lost the connection or the ability to connect to my laptop.

It might be better with a never laptop or maybe the Mac edition is just better but I prefer a standalone streamer.

I would only go the laptop + Dac route if I where to use it for a headphone setup on a desk.
Maybe the Cxa81 has a network issue? I never had a connection issue with Audirvana. In fact, it caches the Qobuz playlist to the computer so even if the internet goes down it keeps playing. Here's an example of how I tested this feature.

The MacBook Pro running Audirvana 3.5 is connected to a Hegel H90 via USB input (it has an internal DAC in this integrated amp) then I started playing Brahms: Cello Sonatas by Marie-Elisabeth Hecker from Qobuz. After playing Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op.38 for 3 minutes I turned off the router to simulate an outage. The music continued to play for another 20 minutes. I have not found another streamer that keeps playing even during an internet outage. It's pretty wild.
 

Mansinthe86

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Maybe the Cxa81 has a network issue? I never had a connection issue with Audirvana. In fact, it caches the Qobuz playlist to the computer so even if the internet goes down it keeps playing. Here's an example of how I tested this feature.

Nope. No network on the Cxa81. Laptop next to the amp. Connected with usb. Lan cable for the laptop.

I have zero issues with the Cxn V2..

Never again audirvana. Maybe roon
 

topside3

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Hello forum!

I'm finishing up my new project for a stereo system for my living room and I'm going crazy with the last piece of the puzzle: the streamer/DAC/pre-amp.

I have an amplifier and a pair of speakers and I am delighted with the set. I need a source to act as a streamer, DAC, and preamp.

In general I need:

- WiFi and Bluetooth. Double bluetooth would be a plus.
- Integration with TIdal, preferably with Tidal connect.
- Preamplifier.
- RJ Ethernet input.
- A good DAC.
- RCA + Digital optical outputs.
- Solid headphones would be a plus, but not essential.
- A software that works well.

I've heard good things about BluOS, which is why my list is topped by the BlueSound node N130 (2021). The truth is that it has practically everything I need.

https://www.bluesound.com/products/node/
DAC: Texas Instruments PCM5242

The review of the previous model has not been very good in this forum: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...surements-of-bluesound-node-2i-streamer.6631/

My questions for the Forum:

Speaking of Software: What do you think of BluOS? How do you see it compared to HEOS? And Yamaha MusicCast?

How would you rate the BlueSound node N130 against the Yamaha WXC-50

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/wireless_streaming_amplifiers/wxc-50/
DAC (two): ESS Sabre ESS9006 and PCM Burr Brown PCM5101A.

In this forum the brother of the WXC-50 has been valued positively: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...urements-of-yamaha-wxa-50-streaming-amp.7964/

What do you think of the Denon or Marantz streamers compared to the BlueSound Node N130 or the Yamaha ? (I mean the Denon DNP-800NE and Marantz NA6006. I can get these at a very competitive price.

https://www.marantz.com/nl-nl/product/network-audio-players/na6006
DAC: ESS Saber ESS9016

https://www.denon.com/nl-nl/product/network-audio-players/dnp-800ne
DAC: Texas Instruments PCM1795

Thank you very much in advance for the help,
AD.
Check out the Auralic products. Some are DAC/Pre/Streamer
 
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