Audiophile in training, will you check my plan?

wjfox24

Active member
Jun 12, 2021
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Hi,

I've taken a decade off of caring about quality audio but I'm looking at jumping back in. This is my plan for an initial system. Any thoughts or things I'm missing? I don't have a reasonable way to listen to all of this before buying.

Use case - I'm going to start with 2 channel to primarily play lossless off of Apple Music and also play off of a turntable. Later on I plan to add in a surround pre-amp and use Atmos for movies and music (as they grow available music for that over time).
Room - My room is reasonably big, probably 35x35 feet with vaulted ceilings. I have an issue for both width and depth of speakers though without getting too close to backwall or making my wife more angry than usual.

My plan right now:
Speakers - Dali Opticon 6 (8's are too wide and deep)
Amp - NAD C 275 BEE https://www.crutchfield.com/p_745C275BEE/NAD-C-275BEE.html?tp=48757
PreAmp - NAD C 658 https://www.crutchfield.com/p_745C658/NAD-C-658.html?tp=75886

I'm open to any feedback and have some specific things I'm wondering.
1) Should I just buy the surround preamp now (like Marantz AV7706)? It's more expensive but I'll need to buy one later so if i save on the stereo preamp it would be worth it. Do I lose something on audio quality for music by not having a 2 channel DAC / pre amp just for audio?
2) Does anyone know the best way to play Lossless off of apple for this preamp or others if recommended? Bluetooth won't work obviously and I'm not 100% sure how these digital pre-amps would connect to that.

Thanks for any advice!
Bill
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
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Hi there!
Nothing wrong with your choice of equipment 🙂 all excellent bits of kit.
The C658 will play Apple lossless over Airplay but only CD quality not hi-res. That may or may not be important to you…
The Marantz multi channel pre-amp is just that…a pre amp only. So you will need to add several power amp channels to get true Atmos…that will be costly.
Personally I have kept my two channel stereo system completely separate from multi channel for Home Cinema. 👍
 
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Tinman1952

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May 19, 2021
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Well you can plug a laptop or Mac into the USB input but you have to keep changing the output for diffent bit and sampling rates which is a minor pain….An iPad or iPhone will play hi-res no problem via USB input but you need the Apple CCK adaptor.
Bluesound on the NAD plays Tidal and Amazon Music HD ok as it’s built in to the system but no Apple yet.
 

abacus

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Sep 24, 2008
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The most important thing is to listen to the combination in comparison to other combinations to see if it suits your ears, (There is no one size fits all) so get to a dealer to try some out before splashing the cash.

Bill
 
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Florestander

Well-known member
May 8, 2021
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I have nothing to add to this really ( and I would echo the thoughts of tinman in relation to keeping 2 channel audio separate from the home cinema kit, as far as possible), but I just wanted to wish you all the best in your search. I am also a newbie, but have found that there is nothing better than actually listening to kit. Each listener is different and, unfortunately as we age, we find that our hearing isn't what it once was. This can lead to an expensive pursuit of 'better' kit, just to try and capture what we had heard in our youth, but which now proves elusive, sadly. Nevertheless, there is much reward to be had in discovering new technologies and advances - have fun!
 
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nopiano

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Feb 15, 2009
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I haven’t the first idea about Apple lossless, and based on a fair bit of reading it seems to me that at this stage neither has Apple. Sure, you can output a PC to a DAC but that’s decade old technology to me. Where are the Hifi streamers that have native Apple applications?
 
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manicm

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May 1, 2008
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Thank you. That is very helpful. Any suggestions on how to play high res lossless?
The best ways to play high res:

1. Through Tidal‘s MQA albums - your C658 is MQA compatible.
2. Through Qobuz.
3. Through Amazon HD (may have usability issues)
4. By purchasing your own high res files and playing them through a NAS/ USB stick.

Those are the best and easiest ways - no PC required. I hate PCs for hifi duty.
 

manicm

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May 1, 2008
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I haven’t the first idea about Apple lossless, and based on a fair bit of reading it seems to me that at this stage neither has Apple. Sure, you can output a PC to a DAC but that’s decade old technology to me. Where are the Hifi streamers that have native Apple applications?
None that I know of, but I‘m sure Apple will develop a ‘connect‘ app. Right now Apple high res is pretty much useless.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Hi Bill, talking from experience go with the setup you want/need now. This hobby is an everlasting ride so no point in you trying to predict what will be in the future.
 
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Gonepostal

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Apr 26, 2014
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Buy a quad Vena original version and a second hand iPhone se or equivalent from e bay, connect the iPhone by usb type A and you're good to go. I think you can play Apple lossless this way. I could be wrong though 😃
 
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wjfox24

Active member
Jun 12, 2021
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All of these replies are very helpful! Thanks everyone. Looks like I'm going to start looking into the Tidal app!

I'm excited to get this ordered and setup.
 
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Tinman1952

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May 19, 2021
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All of these replies are very helpful! Thanks everyone. Looks like I'm going to start looking into the Tidal app!

I'm excited to get this ordered and setup.
I wouldn’t neglect Qobuz (25% cheaper) or Amazon Music (half the price)…
try them all for free and then decide…..👍
Good luck!
 
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jjbomber

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Dec 22, 2006
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Hi,
Bluetooth won't work obviously and I'm not 100% sure how these digital pre-amps would connect to that.

Bill
Bluetooth 5.0 and above will play up to 24/48, as long as both the sender and receiver are at that standard.

Now the interesting bit. The University Of Salford did blind listening tests on 24 volunteers of 24/48 bluetooth against 24/96 wired. Guess what? Yep, no consistent differences in standard were detected. I would like the ''University Of Life'' to do a similar test with professional musicians. The ''Department Of Guesswork'' suggests they might tell the difference. However, for the other 99.9% of the general public; no difference.

So you can get Hi-Res over Bluetooth these days.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Bluetooth 5.0 and above will play up to 24/48, as long as both the sender and receiver are at that standard.

Now the interesting bit. The University Of Salford did blind listening tests on 24 volunteers of 24/48 bluetooth against 24/96 wired. Guess what? Yep, no consistent differences in standard were detected. I would like the ''University Of Life'' to do a similar test with professional musicians. The ''Department Of Guesswork'' suggests they might tell the difference. However, for the other 99.9% of the general public; no difference.

So you can get Hi-Res over Bluetooth these days.
Fascinating! I didn't know that.

Regarding pros, if you mean audio professionals then I'd agree. Many gigging pro musicians have hearing loss from enjoying themselves too much in their youth. Not that the first group has perfect hearing but it's more likely theirs isn't as damaged.
 
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Though interesting, hardly a massive pool of people. But as i a say interesting indeed
 

jjbomber

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Dec 22, 2006
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Regarding pros, if you mean audio professionals then I'd agree. Many gigging pro musicians have hearing loss from enjoying themselves too much in their youth. Not that the first group has perfect hearing but it's more likely theirs isn't as damaged.
Every gigging professional musician I have met has been a fan of vinyl. They seem to know exactly what they are listening for, and they always mention warmth to the sound. I'm not a fan of vinyl, but I have to respect their knowledge. So, I'd like a test done with, say, a symphony orchestra members. As you say, a test done with the Abbey Road staff would be great. Would they notice the difference in the upper and lower ranges? The bottom line remains though, for us mere mortals, we wouldn't tell the difference.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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Every gigging professional musician I have met has been a fan of vinyl. They seem to know exactly what they are listening for, and they always mention warmth to the sound. I'm not a fan of vinyl, but I have to respect their knowledge. So, I'd like a test done with, say, a symphony orchestra members. As you say, a test done with the Abbey Road staff would be great. Would they notice the difference in the upper and lower ranges? The bottom line remains though, for us mere mortals, we wouldn't tell the difference.
I think you're being too modest but I get your point.
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
573
288
770
Bluetooth 5.0 and above will play up to 24/48, as long as both the sender and receiver are at that standard.

Now the interesting bit. The University Of Salford did blind listening tests on 24 volunteers of 24/48 bluetooth against 24/96 wired. Guess what? Yep, no consistent differences in standard were detected. I would like the ''University Of Life'' to do a similar test with professional musicians. The ''Department Of Guesswork'' suggests they might tell the difference. However, for the other 99.9% of the general public; no difference.

So you can get Hi-Res over Bluetooth these days.
Well it‘s not about the bit rate and sample rate but the bandwidth.
24/48 at 330 Kbps? It’s lossy! Not even a third of CD quality…..
As for a test with a few volunteers…not impressed or even surprised.
Ask a dozen people to tell the difference between a 4 cylinder , 6 cylinder and a V 8 engine and I doubt many could tell them apart….but a mechanic would! 🙂
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
573
288
770
Every gigging professional musician I have met has been a fan of vinyl. They seem to know exactly what they are listening for, and they always mention warmth to the sound. I'm not a fan of vinyl, but I have to respect their knowledge. So, I'd like a test done with, say, a symphony orchestra members. As you say, a test done with the Abbey Road staff would be great. Would they notice the difference in the upper and lower ranges? The bottom line remains though, for us mere mortals, we wouldn't tell the difference.
Well as a mere mortal I trust my own ears…not someone else’s. Just like I trust my own taste buds for food……🙂
 

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