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Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Slimwhit, Oct 18, 2018.
I'll do that tonight. I have a cat with a wire fetish and that might be the problem.
I checked all wires and it hasn’t happened again, so not sure what was going on. Maybe I played it too loud/too long. I left it on all day at a low volume on Saturday and it wasn’t even that warm.
I was disappointed in the Hifiberry DAC when I first set it up with just a basic pi installation with raspotify. Once I tweaked it, it did work really well. I just didn’t like having to have a monitor kB/mouse to do anything. I think I could set it up for ssh, but that’s a project for another day.
I loaded Volumio onto a second SD card and that is a much more plug and play experience. I did have to test with the different plugins to get it to do what I wanted. You can set it up as an AirPlay connection which is nice. I prefer just Spotify connect. I don’t like that my phone is required for it. Airplay sends all phone sounds.
I changed the rca cable to a blue jean rca cable and it sounds really good. I tried Tidal, but for the expense, it’s not really worth it for me. I wanted it to work natively and that requires a myolumio subscription. There might be other ways that I didn’t research.
So overall a cool project. Especially if you like to tinker and want to learn a bit about linux, etc.
Volumio has a plug-in for Spotify Connect built into it, it just needs setting up. If you go into the plugins menu you will see it. Install it. Once that’s done activate it. I think it needs rebooting and then it will then appear in the Spotify connect devices. Still needs a controller but the pi will be streaming and you can switch between your control devices.
Yes. That’s what I did. If you have both the Spotify and Spotify connect plugins installed then the Spotify connect one never has sound. At least that was my experience. I tried it six ways to Sunday but had to ultimately uninstall the native Spotify support. It doesn’t work so great anyways because they’ve stopped supporting libspotify. I’m happy with just the Spotify connect. It is the most flexible anyways.
Now to get it to work in conjunction with the echo for voice commands...seems like the Linux kernel hasn’t caught up yet. I’ve tried the instructions on hifiberry’s site but haven’t found the right hack yet.
Ah right sorry, I never enabled the normal Spotify plugin because I don’t like any player’s own (from expensive sonos to these freeware pi) app/interface for using Spotify, would always rather use their own interface.
My next project is to get an echo spot and see if I can at an IFTTT protocol to make the Volumio through Spotify connect be the default music playback method. Probably not but I’ll try anyway lol.
I have the Hifiberry DAC connected to my Yamaha A-S701 integrated and it works perfectly and sounds great. Never had an issue. I bought the Yamaha from accessories4 less online as a refurbished unit. If your NAD is returnable, this could be an option for you.
I feel like we've given a good amount of light to the $500 and under category here, but have we touched on the $1000 price point at all? Worth the extra cost (it's a lot closer when looking at used too).
I'm thinking Auralic Aries regular or LE, Cambridge CXN, any others that might stand out?
Originally I was thinking the iOS only factor of the Aries was a big downside, but when I really think about it I could just get a used iPad mini to serve as a remote if I needed to. Not a big deal as they are on craigslist constantly. Might even do the same with an android tablet if I do end up getting one of these at some point.
Funny enough I’m looking at a possible upgrade from my Aries Mini. My thoughts are to get a NAD C 658 and using it as a streamer/DAC/Pre and replacing my Parasound Halo Integrated and Mytek Liberty. I’m thinking of using two Schiit Vidar’s in mono for the power. The big draw is Dirac, but I am concerned about the pre and DAC sections.
As for streaming I have Room and the update today brought a lot to it.
If I go this route I can share a bit more on Auralic vs NAD.
Network streaming lives or dies on the interface. Spending more doesn't correlate to this improving. A few companies have really cracked this part of the software;
Bluesound (and Blu OS compatible product)
Mark Levinson (technically, this is the Harman Luxury Audio platform and should appear on more affordable stuff too)
Moon (I personally don't like this one but I can't argue it is bulletproof)
After that, it's degrees of less good down to outright dreadful. Many streamers that sound great are saddled with terrible software and ultimately, they aren't enjoyable to use. The vinyl equivalent is a turntable that sounds amazing but needs to be completely re-checked for settings every morning.
My gut feeling for people spending their own money in 2019 is to either choose from that list to suit your budget or split so you choose a streaming front end with an interface from the above (or Roon/Roon Nucleus) and then attach it to a DAC that gives the sound you want. The best all round device for me to do this at the moment is the Aries G1 but a Bluesound Node 2i would get very close with a library with no DSD in it.
Hit me up if you decide to split with that Aries Mini
Thanks Ed! Very insightful as always.
Now let me ask you this, older used Aries LE vs Node 2i? Obviously the Aries needs an external DAC too, so let's pretend that's taken care of.
That’s kind of the reason I went to the Stellar gain cell as the pre for my tube power amps. The dac section will allow me to plug my Pi (switching the DAC+ Pro hat for the DIGI+ Pro hat) and old CD player into it to make use of its far superior dac to their own ones. Will still have to have the CD player done through analogue too given it’s an old SACD player that doesn’t do DOP and I’ve still a few of those discs knocking around in my digital collection!
If you have an iOS device to control it, the Aries is seriously good. The Bluesound is storming value though. You won't feel shortchanged with either.
After some careful thought and consideration, I came home today with a new Cambridge CXN v2. I liked this unit because it was said to have a fairly quality DAC, I loved the form factor, and it checked all the boxes to not only work as a streamer, but also a digital hub. The Bluesound was a close contender, but this unit kept calling to me.
The dealer had my unit hooked up to his reference rig and had completed all the firmware updates before I arrived so we could play with it on his system before I brought it home. We did probably 2.5 hours of listening at his place, which was a ton of fun.
We tried a few different amp/speaker/dac combos, at one point we had the CXN using the internal DAC/analog outs paired with a $3000 Norma amp driving $25,000 speakers. A $4000 front end probably has no business driving those speakers, but it was really not a problem with this combo. The CXN's DAC was bested by a higher end external DAC, but not by as much as I was expecting it to be. This little unit really seems to hold it's own. And more importantly, this test showed that it can appropriately scale up if I ever wanted to upgrade the DAC and keep this as the streamer.
I'm only a few hours in at home, but I can easily say this stands MILES above my previous method of using Bluetooth (obviously). I'm currently only using Spotify Connect, but I'll be looking into Tidal in the near future. I have only done limited testing, but the internal DAC of the CXN also stands above the internal DAC in HK integrated. The CD player is now running into the CXN and this will be serving as my digital hub moving forward. I also love that it has a USB port on the front panel. I only use this once or twice a year, but it does get use, and it certainly will continue to get that with the easy access.
Lastly, set up and use with the app and from the computer via Spotify Connect is way easier than I was expecting. I don't know what I was expecting really, but I just assumed this would take longer or be clunkier. But set up was such a breeze!
This certainly won't be replacing my analog front end. But now I can listen to digital without feeling bored after 4 or 5 tracks.
Glad you like it! I have the V1 and have been happy with it for the last couple of years (the iOS app on the other hand...Ugh). It is my digital hub when not spinning rekkids, with files from my NAS, my iMac via digital out, connected external hard disk, airplay/BT via phone sometimes. I don't use the streaming that much but did have the built in Tidal HD streaming for a while via the CXN and it definitely sounded good.
I've heard a few people having issues with NAS streaming, more so with v1. Luckily for I'm only using the streaming services, so it's not a major issue in my uses.
This is weirdly counter intuitive but the 'big' HiFi streamers have a lot of processing power to render a library. If you in turn have a smart NAS drive with powerful server software, the two can frequently work at cross purposes. Ironically, you really need a big, dumb NAS for best results with these things. I have a Melco which actually uses pretty rudimentary software but works brilliantly.