Streaming beginner

My current long serving and long satisfying setup is both analogue (Roksan X Artemiz ATOC9) and digital (CDX) sourced. They sound different, but both very good.

Amplification is NAC72/HICAP/NAXO/HICAP/NAP250+NAP250 actively driving a pair of Credos.

I am currently contemplating the daunting prospect of making the move to audio streaming, so far my only dabbling into this arena is via an apple airport feeding an input on the 72. The quality of replay from this has been frankly underwhelming…

There is a secondary system in th study with a NAT02 and Arcam Delta 170 transport + Arcam Delta DAC feeding a NAC42.5/SNAPS/NAP160 Epos ES11s

Music is on around 500 LPs and around 1000 CDs.

If I get a Uniti Core (which I believe would allow me to rip my CDs onto a hard drive in a lossless format) what would be the recommended way to feed my existing setup with streamed music?

 

Original Post

Assuming you have a computer (PC or Mac), then a Uniti Core is unnecessary a simple NAS drive (Synology or QNAP: £180) will work just as well.

Then add an ND5 XS (or even better as you're no longer having to shell out for the Core, you can probably afford to upgrade to an NDX) and connect this via a switch to play the music from the NAS.

The performance from this will vastly exceed that from an AE and (especially in the case of the NDX) even be an improvement over the CDX.

Another option is to replace the 72 with a 272.  This one box includes both a very good steaming solution and DAC and a very good preamp that is actually better than the 72 (I've heard both in the same system); it will happily drive your NAXO.

+1 for Huge post:   I would just clarify that a PC or Mac means anything called a computer with a DVD read/write drive.   

The Core is very attractive for ease of use,  but a 'pooter + DVD drive is not at all difficult & once set up does have more user flexibility.  Also keep in mind other CD rippers are available,  & also that once the CD's are ripped a lot of the Core becomes semi-redundant unless you want to continue to buy new music as CD (16-bit 44kHz) & not venture into downloads in HD (24-bit 44 up to 192kHz & DSD)  

100% for 272 for all Huge says,  plus it does not add box count,  then when all the rippings done,  the CDP sale reduces box count.

You need to think about how you will hook it all up,  best by far is all ethernet wired.  Wireless can be made to work OK but can have issues depending in distance & internal walls etc,  & can struggle with HD streams.    The same for ethernet over power (adaptors),  they're an easy workaround for a quick install, but are not ideal for various reasons.     In very basic form you will need a connection from NAS (or Core) to your broadband hub (router) and another from the router to the streamer.     iPad'Phone or equ Android (wireless) has the Naim control point app.

If you only want to play your ripped CDs into a single system, and are not bothered about web streaming services like iRadio and Tidal, then the Core does have a very good SPDIF output which you could use to play directly into a DAC. But as you have two systems, I'm guessing you would like to play your ripped CDs on both of them. That means that you need a streaming solution, and for your main system, you should probably look at an NDX, or something which performs at that level. Add another streamer to your second system, and they will both be able to play your ripped CDs. With that solution, the cost of a Core might be harder to justify compared to a regular NAS for about £250 and CD ripping software on your computer.

Dacs of PC's, rasberries, phones and the Airport Express are cheap, not well integrated and noisy things. That is possibly what you hear.

As an alternative to the given suggestions, you can also go the cheap route, and use the optical out of the AE into a Chord Mojo. All you need is the Chord Mojo and a mini-toslink to toslink optical cable besides a NAS.

I write this because I can imagine that you don't want to distort the beautiful harmony of your current system.

Huge posted:

In respect of a CD drive, if you use a PC / Mac laptop without one, you can always use an external one connects via USB.

When I posted on this re "clarify that a PC or Mac means anything called a computer with a DVD read/write drive"    I meant "with" as internal or external.      I had in mind that Mac's in particular don't have DVD drives these days,  the ultra slim profiles prevent it.     When I ripped all my CD's I had a Dell (Windows) internal drive but used a much faster & robust desktop USB connected drive.    My current Dell is external USB drive.

Originally my NDX was running into a 82,Supercap,250 music tired on a NAS it was a very enjoyable set up ,three years later streaming only no CD player but buying more CDs than ever.

Just take your time and enjoy which ever route you take.

Thanks for you advice.

A distillation of my thoughts:

 

...Forget "S" word and get some SL2 speakers - little would please me more, but my wife might use words like "bigger bloody speakers?" and I'll be remaining in the 20th century...(comfortable and nice as that is...) but...

I have a PC with DVD drive so can rip to FLAC etc.  As an amateur musician I also have an M-audio firewire analogue to digital box that I use as an occasional home recording device (this will allow me to create files from the Roksan via the pre-amp).

So to the numbers: NAS looks to be about £500 for Synology 2 bay with 4TB drives (RAID)

Then temporary use of Chromecast Audio until....

Replace 72 with 272- this appears to be the way to go, streaming capability + remote control convenience. But expensive (offset by selling the 72 and CDX). Also in box terms 72/HICAP/CDX represents the same space on the tripod as 272 +XPS

The Chromecast could then be moved to the study as an input to the Arcam DAC (via optical input), giving streaming option for both systems.

Does that seem sensible?

 

 

MrH posted:

So to the numbers: NAS looks to be about £500 for Synology 2 bay with 4TB drives (RAID)

My approach is to use a single drive NAS, as long as it has sufficient storage capacity. A single 4TB drive will be be enough for your 1000 CDs with plenty of spare for future purposes, I imagine - especially if you store in FLAC. Of course, you should have a second drive as a backup, but if it's in the same enclosure, it's hardly an effective backup, especially if you use RAID. 

MrH posted:

Amplification is NAC72/HICAP/NAXO/HICAP/NAP250+NAP250 actively driving a pair of Credos.

 

Swap SBLs for Credos and that's been my main setup for years until I had to stick most of it in storage.

I tried an Atom (faulty), moved to a Nova after testing agaisnt good Atom and am mainly steaming to that from a naff WD NAS, speakers are old EPOS ES14's that were rears in my AV room before this.

I'm really not sure where to go as I got the Atom/Nova really as a secondary system but they are very nice, but I think had I waited I might have gone for a NAC-N 272 to replace the NAC 72 or even an NDX or NDS.

Chromecast audio device works well as I had one conneted via optical to a Pioneer AV amp and is effectively disposable at the cost.

 

I really need to get my LP12/Ekos/(Arkiv/OC9) and SBLs back home to see how analogue with SBLs compares to digital (which I've always disliked) but I must say the Atom/Nova present digital very musically but no real upgrade path.

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