Dedicated streamer or will Android TV + DAC suffice?

Jan 23, 2022
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I was on the verge of getting a Cambridge Audio AXR100 and their CXN V2 streamer, when I realized my Sony Bravia (Android TV) — which I would feed into the streamer for its DAC — is essentially a streamer itself. Now I'm curious whether it makes more sense to just go for a CA DacMagic 200 and save about € 400.

Are there any downsides to using the TV as a streamer, other than the lack of gapless playback?
 

shadders

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Nov 19, 2009
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I was on the verge of getting a Cambridge Audio AXR100 and their CXN V2 streamer, when I realized my Sony Bravia (Android TV) — which I would feed into the streamer for its DAC — is essentially a streamer itself. Now I'm curious whether it makes more sense to just go for a CA DacMagic 200 and save about € 400.

Are there any downsides to using the TV as a streamer, other than the lack of gapless playback?
Hi,
I do not use the TV as a streamer, but if the TV offers the functionality you want, then a TV is ok for a streamer.

I assume you will use the Optical/TOSLINK output of the TV to connect to the DAC ?

The only aspect i would consider, is that a TV may use more power than a dedicated streamer. In the UK the electricity prices are going up by 50% etc., so i would consider the power consumption of either solution. Does the reduced energy of the streamer mean over 2 years, you save the cost of the electricity that will have paid for the streamer ? It does depend on usage.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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shipworm-archaism-recede

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Nov 29, 2021
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Are there any downsides to using the TV as a streamer, other than the lack of gapless playback?
I'd say go for the TV unless there is some feature in the dedicated streamer that you really want.

I think TVs make better playback control devices than any streamer separate because of the large screen that is easily seen from your listening position (assuming the TV is sited opposite that). I use Apple Music on an Apple TV instead of the Android TV software built into my Sony Bravia TV. That gives you gapless playback, but isn't the main reason I choose to use it.

I use a separate DAC before my analogue amplifier too, but you may not notice a significant difference by introducing another DAC before the AXR100.

It might be the settings on my Sony, but the only drawback I see is that everything on the optical out gets transcoded to 48kHz. Probably not an issue for me because I don't think my ears and system are good enough to notice the difference, but there is something unsatisfactory about Apple Music saying it is playing 16-bit/44.1kHz, 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/192kHz when my DAC says it is getting 48kHz from the TV regardless.

I'd consider whether or not the saved money would get you a better receiver/amplifier. I'm not suggesting there is anything wrong with the AXR100, but the money might bring options into range that are more to your liking.
 
Jan 23, 2022
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Thanks both!

Sounds like something worth trying then :) I'd be inclined to spend the money saved on a better amp, like the CX81, but then I would have to sacrifice the phono stage and get a separate for that... It all just adds up too quickly haha.

Re: the maximum output quality from your TV, I just found this Reddit thread that suggests the apps may be the limiting factor, and a Fire TV stick would yield higher quality output for Amazon Music. Not sure if that's only over eARC however.
 

shipworm-archaism-recede

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Nov 29, 2021
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Whilst the fire stick might transmit higher res streams over HDMI into the TV, I think you will still bump into the TVs transcoding and get 16-bit/48 kHz from the digital out. I don’t know what it would do with any analogue outputs from the TV if you connected it to the amp that way. In any case, it would be a low cost/risk experiment.

It’s easy to get seduced into thinking that stream resolution is the biggest determinant of sound quality. Your speakers, amp and DAC have more effect in that order.

Update: whilst researching another issue with my TV, I came across this article on Sony's support site that confirms they can pass through up to 16-bit /48 KHz from HDMI. I think they don't pass it through and transcode everything to that based on what I can see from my DAC.
 
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