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Streamer, DAC, Bluetooth (high-end)

Streaming DAC advice

  • Buying an equipment

    Votes: 2 66.7%
  • Building something

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Changing my setup

    Votes: 1 33.3%

  • Total voters
    3

nickmas0n29

Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2020
Messages
26
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14
Location
USA
Hi all, I am looking for a bit of advice to buy/build a DAC/streamer or combination.
Here is what I have.
I have 3 pairs of studio monitors connected by XLR to the following equipment soup.
1st input (either USB, RCA, or XLR) Schiit Jotunheim 1st gen with DAC module, then Schiit connects to
Topping A90 with XLRs, and it connects to Monoprice 31 band Pro Audio series equalizer which is always off and I use it as XLR hub to distribute the signal to 3 studio monitors. Then the EQ connects to DBX Drive Rack PA2 and I use it as a cross-over to separate the signals and send the low signal to my Velodyne 1000RMS sub.
My sources are a laptop with win 10 with fidelizer and Jriver Media Center and DSD, FLAC, and some MQA files.
They all go to 3 pairs of Denon, JBL, and Behringer Truth monitors.
So far I like the sound. I already have FIIO M15 DAP, Hiby R5, R3, FIIO X7, Sony NW-M1A, AR-M200, Cowon Plenue D (the first generation), iFi xCAN, Senn HD800s, HD650 Massdrop version, A-T m50x, Hifi-Man HE560, Massdrop THX AAA 789, Loxjie P20 tube and a cat.
With all this equipment, I am looking for a DAC/streamer which will keep my ass on the couch without dealing with the cables to send the music to a DAC wirelessly and enjoy the music in my living room without my cat jumping on my laptop keyboard. Getting rid of the cat is out of the question.
I have this much equipment because I did not ask for advice from anyone and tried every piece of equipment to my unsatisfying ears.
I recently bought and returned the RME AD 2 DAC FSR, just because I couldn't stream and I didn't notice that much different than the DAC in Schiit with my setup.
I can provide some pictures if anyone wants to help this hopeless audiophile (that's what I feel but you may not agree and I will respect that)
If anyone feels like I made myself lost by not knowing what I am doing and I will agree to that too.
By the way, I am an IT and I may attempt of building something for this purpose.
Thank you in advance and I am open to comments.
Nick.
 
Since you like the existing sound get a simple streamer to connect to the existing DAC. Exactly what is essentially down to personal preference on interface, and required capabilities. I'd suggest getting a low end Pi 4 and trying the available streaming distros until you find one you like - my preference is piCorePlayer, using Squeezer or the Material Skin plugin to remote control it with a phone. It's a cheapish route in that lets you try different takes on how things should work, and avoids vendor lockin. Volumio or daphile on a used thin client (cheap, fanless pc-based hardware) is another option but needs a bit more self reliance and research. If you don't get on with computers enough to face those then look at any of the streamers with an apropriate digital output and the capabilities you need, but check their forums to see what bugs or oddities they may have.
 
Thank you for your time and suggestions. I have HP thin-clients, like over 15 of them. I am a refurbisher. Then I have HP Z series and Dell Precision series desktops and mobile workstations. I can spare some $ if I will get better-refined sound. I couldn't use the MacBook pro because the players (VLC, Foobar) don't have nice GUI like Jriver, and Jriver crashed on the MacBook Pro laptop. I may try to solve the jriver issue on the MacBook.
Both Volomio and Daphile look awesome. I will try both on two separate thin clients.
I will post my experience and questions here.
 
Here's what I would do:
1. Get rid of the cat. (My speakers are allergic to cat)
2. Get the RME ADI-2 DAC FS back
3. Take 15 min. to setup a RPi4 with Moode connected vis USB to the ADI-2 DAC
4. Use Roon or Audirvana to stream to the RPi4
5. If I have multiple setups in the house I can use multiple RPi4 units to stream to each one while never leaving the couch and never feeding the furball. :D
 
Both Volumio and Daphile are amazing. I used 2 thin clients one for each. Thank you again.
I may think about getting the RME back. The one I got had ESS DAC chip on it. I wanted the one AKM DAC chip.
I can't get rid of the cat, my wife and daughter are too attached, they will go with her too.
I already have over 15 HP thin clients ready to rock n roll and a USB external drive that is full of FLACS and DSDs.
Thank you for the suggestion though.
 
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Quote : « I am looking for a DAC/streamer which will keep my ass on the couch »

Not sure if I really understand your setup/needs.

I replaced my mac mini & mouse & keyboard & mousepad & Audirvana & even Dirac with a Node 3/RME Adi Dac

I kept my RME ADI Dac and placed the Node on the RME and my ass on the couch.

So convenient, so tidy.
Your cat will love it, probably your wife too.

Regards
 
Quote : « I am looking for a DAC/streamer which will keep my ass on the couch »

Not sure if I really understand your setup/needs.

I replaced my mac mini & mouse & keyboard & mousepad & Audirvana & even Dirac with a Node 3/RME Adi Dac

I kept my RME ADI Dac and placed the Node on the RME and my ass on the couch.

So convenient, so tidy.
Your cat will love it, probably your wife too.

Regards
My question was to play music without connecting my laptop to the USB port of the Schiit Jotunheim and staying on my couch.
Cable dependence, my cat jumping on the laptop and laptop hesitates when playing the Jriver app even an 8th gen I7 CPU.
But the OS is not a freshly installed one.
Volomio on a HP thinclient was the answer and I don't have to use my laptop to play.
Now, I use my smartphone and control the Volomio, play and enjoy the music.
But as of in human's nature, I keep looking for something better and better, no %100 satisfaction.
I will look at the specs and capabilities of Dirac and the Node, thanks for the suggestion.
Above solution was free and I appreciate the gentleman (somebodyelse) for it.
And another question, I just looked to Gustard DAC-x16 on Amazon. I would like to improve the sound as much as I can.
Which one will make more difference between the RME and the Gustard instead of the Jotunheim's DAC?
I listen, rock, metal, punk, grunge, alternative, some pop and some classical music.
Any thoughts?
 
You've already tried the RME and not heard much difference. Presumably you've already checked the reviews here and compared measurements - the RME and Gustard are around the provably transparent level, while neither of the DAC modules tested in the Jotunheim were great - but one of them was still transparent for 16 bit. Given the difficulty people have trying to ABX the original HD source and the same recording downconverted to 16/48 the lack of a clear difference is understandable. An upgrade might get you some peace of mind, but I wouldn't bet on hearing more of a difference than you did last time. It would get you some headroom if you start doing DSP in Volumio though...

If you want an audible difference start looking at EQ options. There's a plugin being worked on for Volumio 3 to integrate CamillaDSP and provide easy access to headphone presets from AutoEQ. With a measurement mic and REW you can use it for room EQ and speaker corrections too. It looks like it should be easy to switch between profiles depending on the headphones or speakers you're using.
 
My recommendation? Get Roon and a Roon Ready end point. Since I got Roon, music became my priority and I'm enjoying music like never before. In my living room system I have an ARCAM ST60 Streamer which is Roon Ready. In my bedroom I have a Bluesound NODE (2021) also Roon Ready and in my office I have a Matrix Audio mini-i Pro 3 and Matrix Audio X-SABRE 3, both streamers/DACs and Roon Ready.
 
My files are on a PC, too. The Minimserver program on the PC sends the file stream to our home-network router and thence over wi-fi to a wi-fi-receiving box. First that box was an Audioengine B-Fi, then a Denon Link HS2. The control point for this is BubbleUPnP on an Android tablet, which is what I have on the couch. The two boxes mentioned have DACs but they also have Toslink outputs that I direct into a separate DAC and on to the amplifier.
The BubbleUPnP can also launch streams from the Internet.
 
My files are on a PC, too. The Minimserver program on the PC sends the file stream to our home-network router and thence over wi-fi to a wi-fi-receiving box. First that box was an Audioengine B-Fi, then a Denon Link HS2. The control point for this is BubbleUPnP on an Android tablet, which is what I have on the couch. The two boxes mentioned have DACs but they also have Toslink outputs that I direct into a separate DAC and on to the amplifier.
The BubbleUPnP can also launch streams from the Internet.
Where do you get your music files? I would like to get/purchase/stream MQA without breaking the bank. I am enjoying a lot with my Volumio.
All my files were downloaded from different sources. That is another problem.
The word transparent is the key for my frustration. The gentleman "somebodyelse" mentioned this word for the DACs that I asked about and he is right. I have some MQA sample files downloaded and they sound amazing with the Volumio.
Highresaudio.com seems a good streaming source as like as ROON and Tidal. Which one has more in their library with less cost.
DSP may give me more enjoyment though. I didn't try yet.
Thank you for your time friends.
 
My recommendation? Get Roon and a Roon Ready end point. Since I got Roon, music became my priority and I'm enjoying music like never before. In my living room system I have an ARCAM ST60 Streamer which is Roon Ready. In my bedroom I have a Bluesound NODE (2021) also Roon Ready and in my office I have a Matrix Audio mini-i Pro 3 and Matrix Audio X-SABRE 3, both streamers/DACs and Roon Ready.
I will try ROON, I just installed into my Qnap NAS. I subscribed to highresaudio.com but I did not try any of them yet other than Amazon music in my car and Pandora free on my home stereo. Pandora sounds better in Volumio too.
 
Where do you get your music files? ...
I buy some of them, for example from prestomusic.com. And I scrounge around the Web to find URLS for Internet radio streams. Although I have not subscribed to Tidal or other streaming services, 1) BubbleUPnP can almost surely launch a subscribed service, and 2) the HEOS Android app that comes with the Denon box is clearly set up to do the same for a number of streaming services.
 
The gentleman "somebodyelse" mentioned this word for the DACs that I asked about and he is right. I have some MQA sample files downloaded and they sound amazing with the Volumio.
Interesting...unless you've paid a MyVolumio subscription to get the closed source Tidal Connect part you don't have anything that decodes/unfolds the MQA so you're getting the version with a raised noise floor and aliasing. It may also be a different mix, just as the standard and HiDef recordings are sometimes a different mix. One of the frustrations with MQA is that they've gone out of their way to make it difficult to do a proper apples to apples ABX to see if it's even audible, hence the long discussions/arguments and threads getting closed whenever the subject comes up.
 
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You may be right. If it wasn't Volumio, that means I was hearing the flac only.
My DBX Drive Rack PA2 might be coloring the outcome. It has been a while since I installed and configured.
That's why I didn't notice much difference between the RME (that I returned) and the Jotenheim's regular DAC module.
Bummer! It sounded good though.
When I listened the music in the Sennheiser Orpheus in Las Vegas CES show for a while ago, I was amazed. It was like having a private concert from Elvis and Donald Fagen, r.i.p. SInce then, I am comparing everything I hear to Orpheous.
I read the argument between the MQA founder and the GoldenSound and Neil Young. It's a shame. MQA is not and open source codec. The worst part will be the monopoly danger if MQA wins in the example of the Betamax and the VHS war. Shame on Tidal too by not staying neutral. Transparency is important and if you believe that you are right you should not afraid of every chance of proving that, unless you are hiding something.
FIIO released the new K9 pro DAC, recently released with AKM 4499 and the THX combination. Any personal thoughts other than the scientific measures?
Any comment about the ESS and AKM DAC chips quality/sound difference other than the personal preference?
I really like my FIIO M15 and the Sony NW-M1A's sound.
Thanks to all for taking time and improving my knowledge.
 
My question was to play music without connecting my laptop to the USB port of the Schiit Jotunheim and staying on my couch.
Cable dependence, my cat jumping on the laptop and laptop hesitates when playing the Jriver app even an 8th gen I7 CPU.
But the OS is not a freshly installed one.
Volomio on a HP thinclient was the answer and I don't have to use my laptop to play.
Now, I use my smartphone and control the Volomio, play and enjoy the music.
But as of in human's nature, I keep looking for something better and better, no %100 satisfaction.
I will look at the specs and capabilities of Dirac and the Node, thanks for the suggestion.
Above solution was free and I appreciate the gentleman (somebodyelse) for it.
And another question, I just looked to Gustard DAC-x16 on Amazon. I would like to improve the sound as much as I can.
Which one will make more difference between the RME and the Gustard instead of the Jotunheim's DAC?
I listen, rock, metal, punk, grunge, alternative, some pop and some classical music.
Any thoughts?

There was a post on audiogon, the gentleman prefers Gustard over RME. In my limited opinion, i tried the ESS chip in both Khadas and Meizu dongle, the bass in these 2 are lacking when comparing with RME's. But that's not fair IMO as the RME has more capabilities than both of these but the point is the chipset comparing, I guess, between AKM and ESS.

I bought USB Player Pro and the Tone Booster like $7 for both then I could raise the bass a bit when using ESS chip based DAC. But with this solution, you will stuck with playing from the mobile device and no remote control.
 
Which DAC has balanced analog amp/preamp output instead of digital?
Gustard x16 amp section is digital as far as I know.
Is it no brainer to chose RME ADI-2 DAC v2 over Gustard x16 as far as the wide soundstage, clarity and detail or it will be just a preference?
Built-in DSP in RME seems like a plus.
By the way, does anyone know if the amp section of RME analog or digital?
 
Is it no brainer to chose RME ADI-2 DAC v2 over Gustard x16 as far as the wide soundstage, clarity and detail or it will be just a preference?
It will be a no-brainer, but not in the way that you're asking. Take a look at the measurements of both devices:
Both DACs are incredibly well-engineered and produce transparent output such that you would not be able to hear a difference between them. Excellent measurements for SINAD, jitter, IMD, linearity, etc.

So it does come down to your personal preference but those preferences will be things like price, features, build quality / warranty, aesthetics, etc. It will not be about audible differences (or audible issues like distortion) given the level of performance of both devices.
 
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It will be a no-brainer, but not in the way that you're asking. Take a look at the measurements of both devices:
Both DACs are incredibly well-engineered and produce transparent output such that you would not be able to hear a difference between them. Excellent measurements for SINAD, jitter, IMD, linearity, etc.

So it does come down to your personal preference but those preferences will be things like price, features, build quality / warranty, aesthetics, etc. It will not be about audible differences (or audible issues like distortion) given the level of performance of both devices.
Thank you. I bought a brand-new RME ADI-2 DAC V2, delivered and I am enjoying it with Daphile.
I ordered Denafrips Ares II and Topping D50s. Waiting for them to be delivered. RME sounds awesome.
Thank you all.
 
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Here's what I would do:
1. Get rid of the cat. (My speakers are allergic to cat)
2. Get the RME ADI-2 DAC FS back
3. Take 15 min. to setup a RPi4 with Moode connected vis USB to the ADI-2 DAC
4. Use Roon or Audirvana to stream to the RPi4
5. If I have multiple setups in the house I can use multiple RPi4 units to stream to each one while never leaving the couch and never feeding the furball. :D
I listened to you. I got the RME back as brand new.
She is Audiophile, I can't get rid of her, no not the wife, the cat.
She always lays down on my JBLs, and feels the vibe with her belly.
And she scrathes anyone comes close to JBLs.
 
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