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

Ron Texas

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As with any audio component there are products on the market which are, as the OP describes, useless, overpriced bling. Many members here use inexpensive DIY Raspberry Pi computers for streaming. My preference is a repurposed laptop which also allows for video playback and transcoding. There is a small market for wildly expensive audio components and entrepreneurs to happily fill it.
 

popej

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Try the remote app for iPad.
Would be expensive to buy iPad to control $40 streamer ;)
I tried Kore, which didn't see .flac nor .ac3 and Yatse, which found audio files, but crashed Coreelec.

I'm looking for a streamer, which supports multichannel audio files. Coreelec looks promising, but still not good.
 

teched58

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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.

I do. I run a patch cord from the output of my sound card, directly over to my ̶p̶r̶e̶a̶m̶p̶ ̶ source selector/eq and then into the amp.

Why would I need to purchase an external DAC when I have a perfectly good one in my computer's sound card?

Is there some secret music that's only revealed if one buys an external DAC? I have no ground loops and minimal noise.

This "I need an external DAC" seems like it's just a standard audiophile practice that's cultural. There's NO technical reason for it if you don't have a noise problem.

What am I missing?
 
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popej

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Check out Nvidia Shield.
For multichannel audio? I wasn't precise enough. I look for solution, which works without TV.

Just have updated Coreelec to recent 20.3 64bit version, configured it again and now it works. Maybe problem was with with my config for remote control?
 

Chr1

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I do. I run a patch cord from the output of my sound card, directly over to my ̶p̶r̶e̶a̶m̶p̶ ̶ source selector/eq and then into the amp.

Why would I need to purchase an external DAC when I have a perfectly good one in my computer's sound card?

Is there some secret music that's only revealed if one buys an external DAC? I have no ground loops and minimal noise.

This "I need an external DAC" seems like it's just a standard audiophile practice that's cultural. There's NO technical reason for it if you don't have a noise problem.

What am I missing?
The analogue side of some computer DACs are quite noisy. Not all however.
 

MaxwellsEq

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Is there some secret music that's only revealed if one buys an external DAC? I have no ground loops and minimal noise
There's no secret music that an external DAC reveals. If the analogue output from the motherboard has noise below -90, has low distortion (including IMD) and is decently "linear" from 0 down to -90 then an external DAC adds very little audio benefit. Quite a lot of motherboards don't meet these requirements in real world settings, which is when a DAC can be beneficial.
 

StigErik

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For multichannel audio? I wasn't precise enough. I look for solution, which works without TV.
Yes. HDMI supports eight discrete audio channels. A TV is no requirement, but a computer screen is if course.
 

BDWoody

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For multichannel audio? I wasn't precise enough. I look for solution, which works without TV.

Yes. HDMI supports eight discrete audio channels. A TV is no requirement, but a computer screen is if course.

It also supports 5.1 through USB.
 

mhardy6647

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I tried Kore, which didn't see .flac nor .ac3 and Yatse, which found audio files, but crashed Coreelec.
This is the kind of thing that leaves me just shaking my head -- drives me nuts!
Imagine having a record player -- "then" or now -- and having to say: "well it works and sounds great, but any time I try to play a Columbia record, the needle just skitters across the surface of the record. I got another cartridge, and it plays the Columbias great, but won't play records from RCA."

:facepalm:
 

jooc

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This is the kind of thing that leaves me just shaking my head -- drives me nuts!
Imagine having a record player -- "then" or now -- and having to say: "well it works and sounds great, but any time I try to play a Columbia record, the needle just skitters across the surface of the record. I got another cartridge, and it plays the Columbias great, but won't play records from RCA."

:facepalm:

Should be noted that all records from every manufacturer were in exactly the same 'format' - grooves in vinyl meant to be rotated at the same exact speed ;)

Makes it easier to 'read' when the format never changes. SW developers do need to decide how many formats to support in their product, and it's not a costless decision.

But overall, agreed - it doesn't take that much overhead to extend functionality to other major input formats, especially since libraries exist in most languages to deal with those formats.

As for why all those different formats exist in the first place, that's a tougher one ;)

1705515746315.png
 
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mhardy6647

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... and there were incompatibilities even in Columbia's "1948 LP standard". E.g., the recording/playback EQ curves (there was one for "Columbia LP" that I don't think is identical to RIAA). Until stereo was very well established mono LPs were cut on mono lathes and their grooves had zero vertical modulation, so the "true" mono cartridges (until fairly recent times) that were used to play them had limited or no vertical compliance. Stereo LPs played on such a cartridge -- don't fare well. ;)
 

Ron Texas

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I do. I run a patch cord from the output of my sound card, directly over to my ̶p̶r̶e̶a̶m̶p̶ ̶ source selector/eq and then into the amp.

Why would I need to purchase an external DAC when I have a perfectly good one in my computer's sound card?

Is there some secret music that's only revealed if one buys an external DAC? I have no ground loops and minimal noise.

This "I need an external DAC" seems like it's just a standard audiophile practice that's cultural. There's NO technical reason for it if you don't have a noise problem.

What am I missing?
Low output and motherboard noise is a problem with many motherboard sound chips. However, some of the more recent Realtek audio chips go into expensive AVR's and measure well. Honestly, nobody needs a DAC with a 120 Db SINAD. Around here it's funny because many are running that output into active speakers where the electronics have a SINAD in the 70's Db.
 

Nutul

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Would be expensive to buy iPad to control $40 streamer ;)
I tried Kore, which didn't see .flac nor .ac3 and Yatse, which found audio files, but crashed Coreelec.

I'm looking for a streamer, which supports multichannel audio files. Coreelec looks promising, but still not good.
Isn't it possible to control it via its web-interface with a normal browser? I do it this way since 4 years now...
 

Nutul

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Makes it easier to 'read' when the format never changes. SW developers do need to decide how many formats to support in their product, and it's not a costless decision.
TTYTT any format other than FLAC I might came across, I give ffmpeg an option to convert it to FLAC, and voilà, I'm done. Lossless container migration is no headache, and doesn't lose qiality. One format. And not one, but the format.

ETA
Of course, we're talking always about lossless formats... doesn't make much sense to convert an AAC to FLAC, let alone an MP3 128k...
 

jooc

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I do. I run a patch cord from the output of my sound card, directly over to my ̶p̶r̶e̶a̶m̶p̶ ̶ source selector/eq and then into the amp.

Why would I need to purchase an external DAC when I have a perfectly good one in my computer's sound card?

Is there some secret music that's only revealed if one buys an external DAC? I have no ground loops and minimal noise.

This "I need an external DAC" seems like it's just a standard audiophile practice that's cultural. There's NO technical reason for it if you don't have a noise problem.

What am I missing?
You can look at measurements right on this sight that show you how different DACs perform.

Anecdotally, the only DACs I've encountered that were consistently audibly sub-par were on-board PC DACs (not MAC though - every Apple device seems to have good built in DAC stage, even their dongle 'adapters' measure pretty well.)

Curious, when you can have a state-of-art external DAC for under $100 with multiple inputs, why wouldn't you do that if it objectively measures so much better than that onboard PC DAC?
 

StigErik

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Isn't it possible to control it via its web-interface with a normal browser? I do it this way since 4 years now...
If we're talking about KODI, the web interfaces available are terrible. iPad app (KORE) is really good I think. I use this combo for my entire music collection, which spans from low rez mp3 to SACD and hi rez multichannel.
 

popej

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Isn't it possible to control it via its web-interface with a normal browser? I do it this way since 4 years now...
Kore app is working, except no volume control. Can't connect to web interface, maybe I have to tune configuration.
I wonder if Tidal multichannel would work?
 

popej

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Kore does indeed have a volume control.
Ok it does control volume by HDMI-CEC, but doesn't shows changes, in Kore it is always 100% volume.
I can open web interface, HAX version seems to be usable.
 
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