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Why do streaming audio players seem to be useless and overpriced bling to me?

jooc

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I would like to see a cheaper WiiM streamer without the DAC as part of their product line too. Some people obviously would prefer to use their own. HDMI out too for AVRs...

I second this ^ , and I don't really see the need for a WiiM Pro with the same DAC that's currently in the WiiM Mini. Here's their new product line according to us:

WiiM Micro: Current hockey puck but with no DAC, only spdif-out: $60
WiiM Pro 2: Current pro plus keeping AKM 4493SEQ based DAC and some minor updates and possibly display (WiiM Pro and Pro Plus are replaced by this one model)
WiiM Amp: Same DAC as WiiM Pro 2, keeping TPA3255, make it fully bridgeable with a second WiiM Amp
 

Axo1989

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My playback system IS a computer. There are no other visible components because all my amps are next to the speakers, none of which are near the main playback "center" for our home. The source is the computer. The preamp is the computer. There is a CD player but it is inside a closed cabinet and never used. The computer itself is also inside the cabinet and I used a wireless keyboard and mouse. All you see is the cabinetry, a countertop with a keyboard, and a display above that.

Yes, me also—my main source is Music.app on the smallest MacBook Pro which can sit on the sofa/armrest/side table, and connects to a dock and DAC/pre via Apple's nice long fabric sheathed Thunderbolt cable. so wired for full res but flexible and unobtrusive. Casual—and wireless—use from phone or iPad with the Mac as AirPlay target suits me sometimes and is easy for visitors.

I've never liked the hi-fi gear altar front and centre so I've avoided that. And apropos the thread there's no need for a dedicated streamer. I do have an AppleTV which qualifies and that inputs (via the TV and optical out) to the same DAC. So choice of hand-held, laptop and TV screens with corresponding interfaces. I'd have to change things a bit for multi-channel if I ever go there (works from the Mac as is, not from the ATV box limited by TV optical out routing to DAC) but future me can figure that out.

Apart from the recent pre-Sonoma period when the Apple Silicon Mac required memory parsimony to avoid stutters, it's worked pretty well overall.
 
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Platypus20

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Really old school, apparently

dining room - speakers, 2 amps, preamp, DAC, cd transport

music room - speakers, 2 amps, preamp, DAC, cd transport, turntable and just recently a Cambridge CXN v2 streamer, with an iPad to control the streamer

the computers are at the other end of the house, hopefully never to intermix
 

Kal Rubinson

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Because I don't want to disconnect my computer and relocate it to my listening room every time I want to stream music through my hifi system.
The idea is not to use "my computer" to do double-duty but to have a conveniently configured dedicated PC for the musice (for many reasons).
 

mhardy6647

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Because I don't want to disconnect my computer and relocate it to my listening room every time I want to stream music through my hifi system.
I've got some spares if you need one...
 

JustJones

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I suppose I could ask, " Why do computers, monitors, keyboards and mice seem to me to be superfluous clutter when I can run everything with a tablet and small box hidden in a cabinet ? "
Edit: Toss in Kef LS60s or Dutch and Dutch 8c and you can ditch the box.
 

dguillor

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Basic streamer device is an Amazon 4k stick.
It does not cost $xxxx
It is able to send 24 bits/192khz or Dolby Atmos music stream through HDMI.

Everybody is free to buy a more expensive streamer but it is a personal choice ("audiophile").
I don’t think that a Fire stick supports Airplay, but a Roku Express does.
 

Axo1989

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I suppose I could ask, " Why do computers, monitors, keyboards and mice seem to me to be superfluous clutter when I can run everything with a tablet and small box hidden in a cabinet ? "
Edit: Toss in Kef LS60s or Dutch and Dutch 8c and you can ditch the box.

Fair question of course, and good solutions.

In my case the computer is a small/tidy/elegant laptop, so no superfluous clutter really, and I don't actually want a cabinet (unless you count a lowboy). It doesn't have to be in the listeners eye-line and can be controlled by above-mentioned phone/tablet. It also runs the DSP and any other software needed/desired so no need for any extra boxen for those things. And I can generally avoid data gathering services implicit with some of those offerings.
 

Haskil

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Fair question of course, and good solutions.

In my case the computer is a small/tidy/elegant laptop, so no superfluous clutter really, and I don't actually want a cabinet (unless you count a lowboy). It doesn't have to be in the listeners eye-line and can be controlled by above-mentioned phone/tablet. It also runs the DSP and any other software needed/desired so no need for any extra boxen for those things. And I can generally avoid data gathering services implicit with some of those offerings.
Absolutely agree... but what if the computer had to be seen :

How would a small laptop with a 13-inch screen be more bulky than a hi-fi streamer with its HDD, like Eversolo or Lumin or others, when placed next to an amplifier?

How would a mini PC or a Macmini with a small remote screen, a keyboard and a wireless mouse be more bulky than the same hifi streamer...in standard format displaying a small screen that is unreadable from 1 m away.. .

In all three cases, the quality is potentially equal, but the scalability and ease of use are in favor of the computer dedicated to music...
 

JustJones

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How would a small laptop with a 13-inch screen be more bulky than a hi-fi streamer with its HDD, like Eversolo or Lumin or others, when placed next to an amplifier?
You run a computer straight to an amp? No dac or preamp between? There are Streamers as small or smaller than some dacs. I use a screen, it's on my tablet to access a headless computer running in my office upstairs. Compare the laptop to a raspberry pi4 or WiiM pro not another huge box with a screen not really needed. I don't get the notion of big screens on Streamers either just give me the volume, I can see what's playing on my tablet.
 

MaxBuck

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I've got some spares if you need one...
I've got spare computers, too. Any of them would be an enormous PITA to use for streaming compared to my Node. It's actually a purpose-built computer designed specifically for streaming.
 

Haskil

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You run a computer straight to an amp? No dac or preamp between? There are Streamers as small or smaller than some dacs. I use a screen, it's on my tablet to access a headless computer running in my office upstairs. Compare the laptop to a raspberry pi4 or WiiM pro not another huge box with a screen not really needed. I don't get the notion of big screens on Streamers either just give me the volume, I can see what's playing on my tablet.
“Placed next to an amp” I wrote: many of them have a digital input to connect the computer to: via USB or HDMI…

And if you are a music lover who loves classical music, the search tools of the hifi streamer applications are insufficient to search and find many records on streaming platforms due to the fact that the metadata provided by the publishers is notoriously insufficient and that the applications do not also use all the APIs of the platforms. Keyboard and mouse become necessary
 

JustJones

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Placed next to an amp” I wrote: many of them have a digital input to connect the computer to: via USB or HDMI…
Sorry, I was thinking power amplifier not integrated amp , receiver or AVR.
 

Haskil

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Sorry, I was thinking power amplifier not integrated amp , receiver or AVR.
No problem !

it wouldn't change anything, you would just have to add a DAC with volume control between the mini PC, the Mac Mini or the small laptop and the power unit... it still wouldn't be any more cumbersome, since for example, a Topping DX3 pro is tiny... and can also be controlled remotely.
 

StigErik

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I use an old Lenovo laptop for streaming from my local file server using KODI software on the laptop. Everything remote controlled from an iPad.

And as you can see - it's the smallest device in my equipment rack....

20240115_182039_resized.jpg
 

Nutul

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I use an old Lenovo laptop for streaming from my local file server using KODI software on the laptop. Everything remote controlled from an iPad.

And as you can see - it's the smallest device in my equipment rack....

View attachment 342267
KODI is indeed a nice toy from this point of view.
 

popej

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I have Kodi (Coreelec) on a cheap TV box. It plays all I need, but remote app doesn't see audio files like flac. Which is disappointing.
 

StigErik

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Try the remote app for iPad. That one can browse folders and play any audio file that KODI supports.
 
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