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Please help me find my missing link

Joris881

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Feb 8, 2024
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Hello everyone, just joined the forum after reading on here for quite some time !
I’m in the proces of building a completely new system.

This is the system:
Sources: Nokia 8010 android box + Xbox One S + Telenet TV Box + NAS with flac music library + Spotify (considering adding Tidal or Qobuz )
TV: Philips 58PUS8505 (will get replaced by a Samsung Frame)
Amp: Marantz DC 170
Speakers: Kef Reference 203 + Kef KC62 with Kef KW1 wireless module

The device would need to play nice with the tv (therefore HDMI ARC is a must), provide a subwoofer out (the KW1 accepts normal line out), some bass management would be nice, allow high res streaming and have a good built-in DAC to go to the Marantz. 12V trigger out is also preferred because I’d like to power on the Marantz trough the preamp (could be dealt with using a master/slave power strip).
I would like to add room correction (Dirac), we’re moving to a new house and I can’t put get perfect acoustics in the listening room (which is the livingroom).

I first tried the Wiim Pro Plus.
+ affordable
+ good streamer
+ decent dac
-+plex support for my local library
- audio delay (no hdmi-arc)
- auto-switching between inputs takes up to 10 seconds (my wife hated this)

Then tried the Bluesound Node.
+ subwoofer out with some bass management
+ instant switching when auto-sensing sources
+ HDMI
- No Plex, Jriver, Audirvana support (Im testing Roon but it’s pretty expensive)
- DAC subpar

My local hifi-store advised the NAD C658 but that wouldn’t solve the Plex problem and I’d still not have HDMI. I’ve also read that the DAC leaves a lot to be desired.

At first I considered adding the MiniDSP Flex HT, it seems to have a great dac, HDMI, Dirac Live but you’d still have to add a decent streamer.
If you add the cost of say a Wiim Pro and the Dirac Live license you’re well over 1000 euros.

Are there any decent alternatives. I don’t mind spending the money if that’s what it takes to get a nice coherent polished setup but I feel like every product has such steep downsides it’s pretty hard to make the right choice.

Looking forward to the opinions !! Thanks !
 

ZolaIII

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You can pass with WiiM Mini Toslink to MiniDSP Flex HT and probably live without Dirac if you give it some effort (PEQ room mode and generally up to 1 KHz, convolver from there and slope highs with wide PEQ or self filter in the afterwards if needed) that's 250€ less.
There are other ways to get there but they are less out of the box and more IT poking with probably better scalability in the end but with regular upkeep work and not much cheaper in the end. Full Dirac licence (multi sub and all) is priced way too much for what it is, disreging of platform if you ask me.
 

JeremyFife

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Wait for the WiiM Ultra that's due out soon? There are obvious risks with any new product, but it's an option. MiniDSP gives you more control and is established.

 
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J

Joris881

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Wait for the WiiM Ultra that's due out soon? There are obvious risks with any new product, but it's an option. MiniDSP gives you more control and is established.

Oh wow that looks like a great option. Let’s hope it‘s at least as good as the Wiim Pro Plus.
I just added Tidal and Roon (with an old spare laptop) to my setup, streaming to the Bluesound Node and while I don’t like admitting it (mainly because the cost of Roon), the user experience and sound quality is really nice (Listening on my Kef LS50W gen 1 with KC62).

I could also just keep the Node and add a DAC.
The only thing I’d miss out on is the Dirac Live…
 

JeremyFife

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Nothing at all wrong with the Node as a streamer.

You don't say which version of the Node you have but the DAC in one reviewed here didn't come out too well. Normally I'd say that issues affecting some DACs might measure badly but they are still inaudible (i.e. you won't hear any problems so don't worry). That measured SINAD on 87db is right on the conventional audibility threshold though so it might actually affect the sound. Worth an honest appraisal though as it might be OK in spite of the poor measurement.

You can add DSP via Roon so this may indeed be everything you need
 
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Joris881

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Nothing at all wrong with the Node as a streamer.

You don't say which version of the Node you have but the DAC in one reviewed here didn't come out too well. Normally I'd say that issues affecting some DACs might measure badly but they are still inaudible (i.e. you won't hear any problems so don't worry). That measured SINAD on 87db is right on the conventional audibility threshold though so it might actually affect the sound. Worth an honest appraisal though as it might be OK in spite of the poor measurement.

You can add DSP via Roon so this may indeed be everything you need
It’s the latest version, the one reviewed by Amirm. It’s connected trough Toslink to the ls50 wireless and that sounds great.
I guess the search for the best affordable DAC starts ;-)
 

JeremyFife

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It’s the latest version, the one reviewed by Amirm. It’s connected trough Toslink to the ls50 wireless and that sounds great.
I guess the search for the best affordable DAC starts ;-)
If it's connected via toslink then you are bypassing the Node's DAC anyway.

Genuinely, I'd say that the DAC in your LS50 is plenty good enough - no need for an external one.
Find a review to disprove that before you go shopping.
DSP (realistically, room EQ below 300 Hz) will make the biggest difference now.
Do you have any measurement equipment? Standard kit is a umic microphone (£100) and REW software (free). Principle is that you can't know what needs to change until you measure.

Alternatively, if it sounds good now: you have good kit so just enjoy the music :)
 

bluefuzz

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My local hifi-store advised the NAD C658 but that wouldn’t solve the Plex problem and I’d still not have HDMI. I’ve also read that the DAC leaves a lot to be desired.

+1 for the NAD C658. The DAC may not be SOTA but it's perfectly fine for real world usage especially if using Dirac. Not sure what you mean by 'the Plex problem' – if you have your music on a NAS then just point BluOS at it and it will index the server. No need for Plex. There is an additional HDMI module for the C658 but I just use a HDMI splitter with SPDIF out.
 

Roland68

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Hello everyone, just joined the forum after reading on here for quite some time !
I’m in the proces of building a completely new system.

This is the system:
Sources: Nokia 8010 android box + Xbox One S + Telenet TV Box + NAS with flac music library + Spotify (considering adding Tidal or Qobuz )
TV: Philips 58PUS8505 (will get replaced by a Samsung Frame)
Amp: Marantz DC 170
Speakers: Kef Reference 203 + Kef KC62 with Kef KW1 wireless module

The device would need to play nice with the tv (therefore HDMI ARC is a must), provide a subwoofer out (the KW1 accepts normal line out), some bass management would be nice, allow high res streaming and have a good built-in DAC to go to the Marantz. 12V trigger out is also preferred because I’d like to power on the Marantz trough the preamp (could be dealt with using a master/slave power strip).
I would like to add room correction (Dirac), we’re moving to a new house and I can’t put get perfect acoustics in the listening room (which is the livingroom).

I first tried the Wiim Pro Plus.
+ affordable
+ good streamer
+ decent dac
-+plex support for my local library
- audio delay (no hdmi-arc)
- auto-switching between inputs takes up to 10 seconds (my wife hated this)

Then tried the Bluesound Node.
+ subwoofer out with some bass management
+ instant switching when auto-sensing sources
+ HDMI
- No Plex, Jriver, Audirvana support (Im testing Roon but it’s pretty expensive)
- DAC subpar

My local hifi-store advised the NAD C658 but that wouldn’t solve the Plex problem and I’d still not have HDMI. I’ve also read that the DAC leaves a lot to be desired.

At first I considered adding the MiniDSP Flex HT, it seems to have a great dac, HDMI, Dirac Live but you’d still have to add a decent streamer.
If you add the cost of say a Wiim Pro and the Dirac Live license you’re well over 1000 euros.

Are there any decent alternatives. I don’t mind spending the money if that’s what it takes to get a nice coherent polished setup but I feel like every product has such steep downsides it’s pretty hard to make the right choice.

Looking forward to the opinions !! Thanks !
Just get an AVR with preamp outputs or AV preamp and don't worry about the fact that you don't actually need an AV device.
All or almost all requirements are met, including streaming, speaker and subwoofer management, full HDMI and eARC support, etc.
For used devices with these functions you pay 200-500 $/€, for high-end devices 500-1000 $/€.
I recently saw that Marantz AV7705 11.2-channel AV processors were being sold used for €500-800.
What more do you need....
 
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J

Joris881

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Joined
Feb 8, 2024
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If it's connected via toslink then you are bypassing the Node's DAC anyway.

Genuinely, I'd say that the DAC in your LS50 is plenty good enough - no need for an external one.
Find a review to disprove that before you go shopping.
DSP (realistically, room EQ below 300 Hz) will make the biggest difference now.
Do you have any measurement equipment? Standard kit is a umic microphone (£100) and REW software (free). Principle is that you can't know what needs to change until you measure.

Alternatively, if it sounds good now: you have good kit so just enjoy the music :)

Oh yes I know I’m bypassing the DAC in the Node. The Kef LS50W will be replaced by the new setup (Marantz with Kef 203) when I move to the new house so for now I’m totally fine ! What I meant was that I would probably buy a decent DAC by the time I start using the Marantz.

I currently don’t have a decent measuring mic. I use a chinese Fifine mic for voice chat on my pc but since that’s not calibrated in any way I assume it would give wonky measurements in REW. I’ll see if I can get my hands on something like a UMIC and play with REW.
 
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J

Joris881

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Feb 8, 2024
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+1 for the NAD C658. The DAC may not be SOTA but it's perfectly fine for real world usage especially if using Dirac. Not sure what you mean by 'the Plex problem' – if you have your music on a NAS then just point BluOS at it and it will index the server. No need for Plex. There is an additional HDMI module for the C658 but I just use a HDMI splitter with SPDIF out.
Thank you for your reply.
What I meant by the Plex problem is that I don’t like the way the BluOs app handles the FLAC library. Plex has a much nicer interface with cover art, playlists but Roon is even better still. I started using Tidal and Roon yesterday and this combination makes my offline library so much better (completely integrated the library with Tidal seamlessly).
Maybe I can find a used C658 all though for now the Node covers all needs except for Dirac.
 

bluefuzz

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Jan 17, 2020
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What I meant by the Plex problem is that I don’t like the way the BluOs app handles the FLAC library. Plex has a much nicer interface with cover art,

I organize all my cover art and metadata with Bliss so it's all in place before pointiing any streamer at it. Hence no need for Plex or Roon. While BluOS is not the be-all and end-all of interfaces I find it servicable.
 

srrxr71

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Hello everyone, just joined the forum after reading on here for quite some time !
I’m in the proces of building a completely new system.

This is the system:
Sources: Nokia 8010 android box + Xbox One S + Telenet TV Box + NAS with flac music library + Spotify (considering adding Tidal or Qobuz )
TV: Philips 58PUS8505 (will get replaced by a Samsung Frame)
Amp: Marantz DC 170
Speakers: Kef Reference 203 + Kef KC62 with Kef KW1 wireless module

The device would need to play nice with the tv (therefore HDMI ARC is a must), provide a subwoofer out (the KW1 accepts normal line out), some bass management would be nice, allow high res streaming and have a good built-in DAC to go to the Marantz. 12V trigger out is also preferred because I’d like to power on the Marantz trough the preamp (could be dealt with using a master/slave power strip).
I would like to add room correction (Dirac), we’re moving to a new house and I can’t put get perfect acoustics in the listening room (which is the livingroom).

I first tried the Wiim Pro Plus.
+ affordable
+ good streamer
+ decent dac
-+plex support for my local library
- audio delay (no hdmi-arc)
- auto-switching between inputs takes up to 10 seconds (my wife hated this)

Then tried the Bluesound Node.
+ subwoofer out with some bass management
+ instant switching when auto-sensing sources
+ HDMI
- No Plex, Jriver, Audirvana support (Im testing Roon but it’s pretty expensive)
- DAC subpar

My local hifi-store advised the NAD C658 but that wouldn’t solve the Plex problem and I’d still not have HDMI. I’ve also read that the DAC leaves a lot to be desired.

At first I considered adding the MiniDSP Flex HT, it seems to have a great dac, HDMI, Dirac Live but you’d still have to add a decent streamer.
If you add the cost of say a Wiim Pro and the Dirac Live license you’re well over 1000 euros.

Are there any decent alternatives. I don’t mind spending the money if that’s what it takes to get a nice coherent polished setup but I feel like every product has such steep downsides it’s pretty hard to make the right choice.

Looking forward to the opinions !! Thanks !
To fix the Blusound DAC issue I just USB to a cheap topping.
 

srrxr71

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Just get an AVR with preamp outputs or AV preamp and don't worry about the fact that you don't actually need an AV device.
All or almost all requirements are met, including streaming, speaker and subwoofer management, full HDMI and eARC support, etc.
For used devices with these functions you pay 200-500 $/€, for high-end devices 500-1000 $/€.
I recently saw that Marantz AV7705 11.2-channel AV processors were being sold used for €500-800.
What more do you need....
Even better if it has digital out for 2 channel at least.
 
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