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Windows/MAC to Wireless Speakers in LOSSLESS mode with no delay [2023-05-29]

metasharp

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Oct 21, 2022
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Hello,

after reading different topics, I was wondering how to transmit a PC/MAC sound to Wireless or LAN-connected Speakers.
My speakers used for tests : DynAudio Focus 50 (Wifi, RJ45, Wisa, chromecast, airplay, bluetooth, roon ready).
I'm on Windows 10 actually, so I won't discuss Mac computers but I can include your feedbacks.

Basic view of architecture :
PC (WINDOWS/MAC)_______________________________________ACTIVE SPEAKERS (includes DAC+AMP)

+- RJ45 LAN I/O ----------------- RJ45 LAN ----------------- RJ45 LAN I/O -+
__________________________(LAN protocols: DLNA, RAAT, ...)
+- WIFI I/O ------------------- WIFI NETWORK -------------------- WIFI I/O -+
_____________(WiFi protocols: ChromeCast, AirPlay, DLNA, RAAT, ...)
+- BT I/O ---------------------- BT NETWORK ----------------------- BT I/O -+
___________________(BT protocols: LDAC*, APTX*, AAC, SBC, ...)
+- WISA I/O ---------------- WISA NETWORK ------------------- WISA I/O -+
____________________________ __(Wisa protocol)

Bluetooth :
- Uses Bluetooth various protocols
- compressed sound up to 24bits/96KHz with LDAC 96KHz and Apt-X HD Adaptive protocols in very good transmission conditions (very few compliant devices)
- lossless sound reasonably attained in 16bits/48KHz at best
- works pretty well by connecting the computer (that has a bluetooth emitter of course, in my case on my motherboard)

ChromeCast :
- Uses WiFi
- lossless sound up to 24bits/96KHz
- ChromeCast-Desktop-Audio-Streamer 5.1 (FREE) : 2s to 4s delay
- Squirrels AirParrot 3.1.7 (20,56€ for lifetime) : maybe 0,05s to 0,1s delay => BEST SOLUTION SO FAR

AirPlay 1
:
- Uses WiFi
- lossless sound up to 16bits/44KHz
- AirMyPC 5.3 (19,95$ for lifetime) : 1s delay
- Squirrels AirParrot 3.1.7 (20,56€ for lifetime) : unknown delay, sound has a lot of crackling on top of it => not usable at all

AirPlay 2 :
- Uses WiFi
- lossless sound up to 16bits/44KHz
- AirMyPC 5.3 (19,95$ for lifetime) : 1s delay

Roon Ready (not tested) :
- Uses WiFi with RAAT, Chromecast (1s delay), Airplay (3s delay), Sonos, ... protocols
- lossless sound up to 24bits/96KHz... to confirm (RAAT protocol limits in wireless isn't displayed)
- 2ms delay advertised (probably in eternet and higher in WiFi)
- Roon software ("FREE", but subscription is required for various features including sharing 12,99$/month or 10$/month annually or 699$ for lifetime) => SUPER EXPENSIVE
- Require to index your whole music files library
- Doesn't transmit all your source computer sounds

Wisa (not tested) :
- lossless sound up to 24bits/96KHz simultaneously to a hord of speakers (16 or more)
- 2,6ms to 5,2ms delay advertised
- Requires a physical emitter device such as "wisatechnologies SoundSend" (~180€)

Inputs are welcome. For now I'm using AirParrot 3.1.7 until I find a better solution.
 
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Can't you do this with Plex using the Plex app on a phone?
 
2 things come to my mind :
- Plex app on phone means : Android or IOS emitter, not Windows or Mac => not really the topic, but could be included if there's data to share
- If Plex client app communicates with the wireless speakers, I guess you have to choose a transmitter (wifi, bt, ...) and a protocol (chromecast, airplay, ...) which falls into existing categories listed above
 
How about Minimserver on the PC and BubbleUPnP app on an Android tablet or phone? That's what I have, except the wifi receiving device is a Denon LinkHS2 (which is doorway into a DAC-amplifier-speaker setup) rather than a wifi-capable active speaker. It is lossless. If by no delay you mean no gap between streamed files, sorry, it takes a few seconds. Within a file or stream, it just flows and flows as it should.
 
The point of this topic is how to transmit sound to wireless active speakers with no sound quality loss and smallest delay between the play and the restitution.

If you think going through wifi means unlimited lossless quality you might be surprised but there seems to be limits.

No delay means for example sync between what you see on the screen and the restitution on speakers (ex: video/sound sync with 0 adjustment or realtime video game sound).

Some wireless speakers offers wired connection through RJ45 for example. No need to say if it can be used for sound it's possibly better than wireless. But how?

Roon might be able to use the RJ45... but from what I see, only within its app.

The best would be a sound output driver for windows/mac that transmits all the sound played by anything.
This is what air parrot does, but it can't use wired connection from what i can tell.
 
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Added a textual schema in the original post
 
Schema updated. Like all active speakers: in the speakers themselves.
 
Came across Scream a while ago. It's open source software that adds a virtual sound card to Windows, through which you can stream sound to different devices over WiFi as PCM multicast. I used it to stream to a SBC running Linux/CamillaDSP for a while as an EQ/Streamer solution. It worked fine but I used it for music only and did not test the delay.

 
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Good find! Would need to test it as well and see the results.
 
The focus spec says ethernet and upnp. So if you are lucky you plug them to your network and use them as upnp renderers. Their site is a bit vague and i can't find what formats support, but on one place they say "anything stored on network drive" so probably can play flacs.
 
There is no player inside. But aside from my specific case, I'm trying to build a general information topic that could serve anyone.
 
I mean this, from their user manual:

Streaming via UPnP or DLNA
Your Focus speakers can play audio streams from any UPnP or DLNA compatible network source and playback
app.
To play a UPnP or DLNA stream on your Focus speakers:
1. Open the playback app’s output settings menu
2. Select your Focus speakers.
When audio is subsequently selected within the playback app, it will play via your Focus speakers.

UPnP/DLND can be cumbersome and sometimes just can refuse to work, but it is an option that you can try. If you are lucky and everything works - you would be able to play loseless flacs without transcoding
 
1- I tried to add a component in foobar, wasn't able to make it to work
2- UPNP is very unsecure and in fact should be disabled everywhere
3- Even if it worked and was secure, it wouldn't forward all the sounds from the computer, just the app. So, no youtube for example etc.
 
1. Yes, foobar is an old product in the chronology of the network world. Minimserver (basic version free) is easier to use on a PC, for lossless audio.

2. UPnP is secure in practice – confined to your home network – unless you open certain ports used by Minimserver and BubbleUPnP to the Internet. These are ports to control the setup from afar, if you need to start music in Detroit while you are in Hong Kong.

3. BubbleUPnP can play any stream for which you have a URL (for the stream, not the website around it). It reads the simple, standard .m3u file format. I play a dozen or so Internet radio streams from .m3u files that I built with a plain text editor, like Notepad.
 
1. Foobar is a mature and stable music player that doesn't require what I consider being an unbearable indexing of files into a library. All good from my point of view. Minimserver is a classical music dedicated client/server streamer (you said simpler? Meh....).
2. It is, sorry, I won't debate. There are so many flaws in the UPNP design itself... Well one link out of so many : https://www.upguard.com/blog/what-is-upnp
3. Tried BubbleUPnP.... Talk about user friendlyness and simplicity... Meh.

Seems we don't understand each other. Probably my fault. I'll try to explain again :
- Source Machine : a computer or a phone
- Sound to forward to speakers : what is played on the computer or the phone, independantly from the app used. Could be system notifications.
- Goal : transmit whatever is played in the highest quality (lossless bitperfect) through the best connection available : wire, wireless

Therefore apps like Roon, Minimserver or BubbleUPnP are not answers.
 
1. Yes foobar is old/mature. Except recently version 2.0 came out, and it breaks various "components" that one must add in to make it functional. Until the volunteer writers of those components or new volunteers step in, no dice. Or stick with the latest ver. 1.x.x of foobar and wrestle with it. That works if your PC is where you listen. Unfortunately, running foobar on the PC and controlling it from an Android tablet is a mess, part of what steered me to Minimserver and BubbleUPnP.

2. No doubt UPnP has its technical flaws, especially if you're profligate with wifi-enabled Ring setups, refrigerators, etc.. But where are the horror stories of audio enthusiasts hit by ransomware hijackers of their computer because of BubbleUPnP? Haven't seen them.

3. BubbleUPnP is as friendly as most highly capable apps. That might be a low bar, to be sure. I got over the hump of the learning curve without too much cursing, and now it is a familiar friend.

Minimserver and BubbleUPnP give me lossless play of all the music I find or that comes my way. If that is not equivalent to your goal, my apologies.
 
Pro market. I think you can add Dante in your list. You need this:
and/or this (on speaker side):

Virtual soundcard claims 4ms delay, not sure about hardware items, some of them claim 1ms

Commercial solutions. there is Play-Fi:
But you must have Play-Fi enabled speakers then !

Simple and free solution:
 
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