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Music Servers? - Page 5

post #61 of 85
Nice -- I have a fairly recent Onkyo from before the wireless features came available. In the basement I have an old, old Yamaha integrated amplifier (A-500) which was, and remains, bulletproof. smile.gif
post #62 of 85
^ Funny...my new Yamaha replaced my old A-500...a workhorse indeed...it still cranks but it was just time to upgrade the inputs and step into the 21st century...HDMI is pretty much a necessity and it just makes sense that a receiver should be able to connect to a network...

I do not have an iPod- ripped my entire music collection (1500+ Cds) into FLAC stored on a PC...For several years, I could only listen to most of my music on my PC...and was waiting for SqueezeBox to finally be able to play at 24/96 (which it apparently does now)- But as mentioned, the new AVR eliminates the need for SQB ...and now I put it on random play and hear music I haven't heard in years...

Well worth the $$
post #63 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post

I'm a guy with what you might call light audiophilic tendencies - I used to be sort of into the scene but I haven't dabbled in it for years but I have some decent gear. Probably the kind of stuff the serious audiophiles around here will deride as shit but oh well, I'm not interested in replacing it, so there. Just for the giggles, I have:

Meridian G07 CD
Plinius 8100 Integrated Amp
B&W Nautilus 805 Speakers
Transparent interconnects and speaker cable

Anyways, that's sort of besides the point, but I note it for your reference, as I am interested in some kind of music server system, but I have no idea how/where to start looking, or even whether it's a search worth undertaking. I thought some of the folks on here might have some good advice.

I'm liking the idea of a big music server that I could access with some kind of remote (or iPad or something?) and use to play back over my existing audiophile-lite grade system, with better fidelity than an iPod. There must be something that can kick out a CD-quality digital signal that I can run through a decent d/a and then through my amp and speakers. Presto! Playlists, no more changing disks, etc.

Multi-room functionality would be nice, too... what's the best way to wire something like this? Cat-5?

I presume I could contact an expensive expert to do this for me, but I'm wondering if it's possible to do something like this on a DIY basis.

 

Sound like you have some great gear. The B&W 805 series is absolutely outstanding. I have the 805 Matrix edition from the 90s and love it. Wonderful speakers. I don't currently run a music server but have researched them a great deal. Check out http://www.computeraudiophile.com

They have some great information over there for DIY servers as well as a server that you would be able to purchase.

 

Hope this helps.

post #64 of 85
Thread Starter 
I'm bumping this thread to see if the state of the art has changed at all.

I ended up going with a cheap solution before - I simply stream through AirPlay to an AirPort Express that is hooked into my hifi with a Musical Fidelity VDAC Mk. 2. All my media is played through iTunes and the library is hosted directly on my iMac.

95% of my music is still on CD. The iMac is very buggy and slow and I don't love it. The thing frequently fails to pair with the iMac, I'm not sure why. The sound quality is pretty meh; it doesn't touch the sound quality I get out of my Meridian G07 with a CD source. I'm not sure what the weak link is.

I'd like to up the ante a bit now. I have been thinking about another zone, maybe even 2, and I can't support that with what I have. I could go the NAS route - but I have absolutely no idea how to set that up. I'd sort of like to do that at some point anyway, for all my media (photos, files, etc) so that is appealing, but I'd need to know how to get a truly audiophile quality stream playing. And I'm pretty nervous that I'm not going to know how to do that anyway. Is Squeezebox still a good source?

A simpler solution looks like the BlueSound system, or Sonos. How do these two compare?

In a perfect world, I'd get a Meridian Sooloos, but I ain't got that kind of splash.
post #65 of 85
Sonos kind of seems like the Bose of the streaming world.

Their software seems solid though...so maybe using the device that connects to an existing stereo is a good option. But for the integrated-speaker devices that 95% of their customers are buying, it really seems like the modern version of a bose wave radio.
post #66 of 85
I have not gone to actually listen to a Sonos system yet but the interface, the number of speakers you can have, and the stand alone nature of each speaker installation is attractive. I was tempted to just buy one speaker and test it out but that would just be money wasted as my final interior work is probably 18-24 months away, i.e. at least one generation of equipment.

I know someone that is a fairly discerning person and says Sonos delivers for him. He just spent a crap ton of money renovating a place into his dream home and has Sonos speakers everywhere. His one beef is no equipment rated for outdoor exposure. That's going to be an issue for me too if they don't come out with one as I plan to have several speakers outside.
post #67 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post

I have not gone to actually listen to a Sonos system yet but the interface, the number of speakers you can have, and the stand alone nature of each speaker installation is attractive. I was tempted to just buy one speaker and test it out but that would just be money wasted as my final interior work is probably 18-24 months away, i.e. at least one generation of equipment.

I know someone that is a fairly discerning person and says Sonos delivers for him. He just spent a crap ton of money renovating a place into his dream home and has Sonos speakers everywhere. His one beef is no equipment rated for outdoor exposure. That's going to be an issue for me too if they don't come out with one as I plan to have several speakers outside.

Could always put one of the non speaker units somewhere protected and have it connected to outdoor rated speakers.
post #68 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

Could always put one of the non speaker units somewhere protected and have it connected to outdoor rated speakers.

Probably will end up doing something like that. With the free standing speakers there's still the need for AC power so some kind of wire has to be there. Powering that Sonos amp somewhere sheltered outside is probably how I'll go...if I go Sonos and we don't have some new technology by the time comes.
post #69 of 85

Get a Synology NAS, a usb wifi dongle and an HRT Music Streamer series DAC (good USB compatibility).

 

The Synology NAS has remote access, either in the form of a dedicated music app for your phone, remote desktop for your pc or a dedicated Synology remote.

 

One of these would be ideal: http://www.synology.com/en-uk/products/overview/DS214play

 

And: http://highresolutiontechnologies.com/music-streamer-ii

 

 

Demo for the remote desktop function here: http://www.synology.com/en-uk/products/dsm_livedemo

 

Phone app: http://www.synology.com/en-uk/dsm/home_mobile_support_ds_audio

post #70 of 85
Still think those Sonos units are just Bose in a fancy new package (I know. I know, bose has released their own sonos competitor)

standalone wireless speakers in small packages...

wireless is fine now since you can send it all digitally (not some crappy 900mhz feed like old wireless stuff), but you've still got to come up against the laws of physics. Those sonos boxes are small and plastic. They put nice speakers in them, but drivers that small just can't replicate sounds like dedicated speakers. They will push the mids and warm them up like bose did...so someone who doesn't know what they are missing will think it sounds 10x better than their old boombox.
post #71 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

Still think those Sonos units are just Bose in a fancy new package (I know. I know, bose has released their own sonos competitor)

standalone wireless speakers in small packages...

wireless is fine now since you can send it all digitally (not some crappy 900mhz feed like old wireless stuff), but you've still got to come up against the laws of physics. Those sonos boxes are small and plastic. They put nice speakers in them, but drivers that small just can't replicate sounds like dedicated speakers. They will push the mids and warm them up like bose did...so someone who doesn't know what they are missing will think it sounds 10x better than their old boombox.

I don't disagree with this but the thing is sometimes that's just fine. I mean if you're outside in your spa with the jets going it's not a situation that lends itself to dedicated listening.
post #72 of 85
Thread Starter 
I'm really starting to think that the BlueSound Vault is looking like a pretty solid option for me.

http://www.bluesound.com/products/vault

Looks like it's a Sonos competitor, but with some salient differentiators that play into my particular needs. For someone who a) has some more audiophile leanings (I want to stream music to my existing hifi) and b) doesn't have a NAS setup yet, it's a pretty idiotproof solution. The Vault is like the base station, you can rip your CDs directly into it and it holds 1TB of storage. It's like a NAS and ripper and player in one, which is an advantage over Sonos if you're more interested in your own collection than internet radio or music services. And the digital output supported is much better - up to 24/192. Like Sonos, it does have an internal DAC but with the higher bit depth and sampling rates I'd imagine it's a better analog output signal than the Sonos. But with that digital output, I can hook up whatever DAC I want and run everything through my existing hifi.

So I save myself having to set up a NAS, the sky is the limit in terms of sound quality, and then I can expand the system, as other components in their line can stream to other rooms (with or without built-in speakers, or amps) from the Vault base station. I can go as audiophile or not in other rooms in the house after setting up the library, which is pretty idiotproof given that all I have to do is spend a few days feeding CDs into the slot.

I'm not sure how the software will stack up to other organizers, but it looks competent.

The small lineup of compatible music services is a drawback for some, but not for me.

Given its NAD heritage (it's made by NAD and designed by NAD's parent company) and the decent price point when weighed against the fact that I'd have to buy a NAS and go through the effort of setting it up, plus a streaming device, the $1000 price point is also attractive.

And if I want to add a NAS later, the Vault can interface with it.

I'm a little confused by exactly what the Olive One is - it looks like something very competitive with the BlueSound lineup, but I'm also unclear if it's available, or ever will be.
post #73 of 85
Doug, that looks like a pretty slick all in one solution there. I like the fact it has a USB port too as I'd go spend the $75 or so bucks on one of those external TB drives and back up your files. Speaking of which, if that internal drive fails, can you swap it out? Looks like a pretty good solution there all in all.
post #74 of 85
Thread Starter 
Yeah, backing it up looks like a very straightforward deal. I would hope the drives would be swappable, can't imagine how they wouldn't be, but I haven't seen anything explicitly mentioned.
post #75 of 85
Thread Starter 
So, I bought the Vault on Crutchfield. Could have bought it locally but would have paid sales tax. With the free next-day shipping it will be here just as fast as I could have gotten to the store anyways.

I'll post my thoughts on here when it arrives and I've had some time to play with it.

One downside is the relatively high cost of the other components. Just a Node alone (streamer without amp or speaker) is $450 - $100 more than a Sonos connect. And the Bluesound speaker is $700, vs. much cheaper options from Sonos. This will be much more expensive to expand.
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