DSD Streaming

Scooby22

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Nov 1, 2023
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Hi everyone, I'm a newbie here and just getting into streaming properly but I don't fully understand how to achieve what I want. I hope what I am about to write makes sense.

I have a Primare Pre60 preamp and streamer and it samples up to 192khz. I use a pc to stream qobuz using WASAPI exclusive mode and it sounds great. My question is that I want to start streaming DSD files but the Primare does not support this, can I hook up a DSD capable DAC, like the Chord Hugo 2, to the Primare and if so by which method? It would need to bypass the internal DAC one assumes. I haven't been able to find any information on the net about how to do this and I've had no luck from Primare either. I'm connecting to a Primare A60 power amp which does have RCA inputs and XLR.

I'm thinking that I could also buy a dedicated streamer without a DAC and stop using my PC as I have read that a dedicated streamer would sound better and I am looking for the best I can get.

So my current set up to summarise:
PC using Qobuz WASAPI exclusive mode connected to my preamp by USB.
Primare Pre60 preamp
Primare A60 power amp
Qualio IQ open baffle speakers
WD NAS drive in RAID configuration

Any advice and guidance would be gratefully received. Thanks all.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Don't bother, CD quality is all you'll ever need. It's more to do with the recording than the bit rate.
I would certainly agree.

The quality of the mastering, with dynamic range taken into account, is just as important as bit rate and the format used.

In an ideal world, the studio master would be transferred to CD/SACD with all the information and recording levels just as they were recorded.

This rarely happens with CDs now.
 

Scooby22

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Thanks for the info, it's come as a surprise if I'm honest, maybe I'll save my money and buy a CD player again like the Primare CD35 which can also stream for convenience. The question is will the Primare sound better than my PC?
 

Scooby22

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Thanks, I'm already using the DAC in the Primare but using a PC as the source. I've set it up in WASAPI exclusive mode. Sorry I should have been clearer in my question. I was really getting at whether a dedicated streamer without a DAC inbuilt will be better transport and therefore better sound?
 

WayneKerr

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Thanks, I'm already using the DAC in the Primare but using a PC as the source. I've set it up in WASAPI exclusive mode. Sorry I should have been clearer in my question. I was really getting at whether a dedicated streamer without a DAC inbuilt will be better transport and therefore better sound?
You have some really nice kit there Scooby (y)

Don't be put off trying the DSD route by three grumpy old men :) It's just that we all agree it is more to do with the original recording quality which dictates how good it will sound, higher resolution won't necessarily make it sound any better than standard red book CD playback, so I firmly believe CD quality is all we need. New formats just appear to be a way of trying to get us to purchase the same music multiple times, I bought into the hi-res revolution a few years ago and discovered they sound no different to their standard counterparts.

I only stream my ripped CD collection and don't subscribe to any streaming services so I'm uncertain if I can assist you any further. Only to say that you probably have the most versatile streamer already - your PC.
 

Scooby22

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Thank you Wayne, I appreciate your knowledge and views, I think the best course of action is to home demo some kit and do the comparison. Hopefully that will satisfy my cravings! This hifi thing is crazy, I know I have a great system and I'm very happy with it and yet I still look for something better, it's bonkers really. Much appreciated.
 
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WayneKerr

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Thank you Wayne, I appreciate your knowledge and views, I think the best course of action is to home demo some kit and do the comparison. Hopefully that will satisfy my cravings! This hifi thing is crazy, I know I have a great system and I'm very happy with it and yet I still look for something better, it's bonkers really. Much appreciated.
Be careful of cravings as you already own a very good system. This hifi game is indeed bonkers, it's all about reaching a position of contentment. Thankfully I reached this point about two years ago, but that was after suffering ten years of the dreaded upgraditis bug :)

Please let us know how you get on (y)
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Thanks, I'm already using the DAC in the Primare but using a PC as the source. I've set it up in WASAPI exclusive mode. Sorry I should have been clearer in my question. I was really getting at whether a dedicated streamer without a DAC inbuilt will be better transport and therefore better sound?
Generally, the benefit of a dedicated streamer is that all the noisy gubbins inside a PC isn’t present. That’s both mechanical noise - fans, hard drives etc - and electrical noise - power supplies not rated for audio, unnecessary processing and updates running etc.

Primare do make an external small-form streamer without a DAC called the NP5 mark 2, but do check with them first that it can work using the DAC in your Pre60. I recall from a few years ago it was launched to upgrade the builtin streaming in your Pre, which was fairly rudimentary by 2023 standards, and couldn’t be updated.

Alternatively, there are many other brands of streamers - with or without DAC - that act as a source and outputting an analogue or digital signal. (I used a Linn streamer with my Primare I32, for example)
 
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Scooby22

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Yes, I had an NP5 MK2 very briefly and didn't like it, nor did it allow for dsd, I think! But, like all these things I'm not techy enough to understand all the foibles of the products available. I love the sound of my Pre60 DAC and have compared it to Chord products, which are regarded in many circles, as the best that that kind of money can buy. In my opinion the Primare is in a different league and much more refined. I couldn't get the NP5 to work with qobuz Hi-res or otherwise and didn't like having to use chromecast. Have I missed something but using the primare app required chromecast and therefore prone to the compressed audio. I wanted it to stream over ethernet or USB from my NAS but alas I couldn't make it work! Maybe I'm missing something?
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Yes, I had an NP5 MK2 very briefly and didn't like it, nor did it allow for dsd, I think! But, like all these things I'm not techy enough to understand all the foibles of the products available. I love the sound of my Pre60 DAC and have compared it to Chord products, which are regarded in many circles, as the best that that kind of money can buy. In my opinion the Primare is in a different league and much more refined. I couldn't get the NP5 to work with qobuz Hi-res or otherwise and didn't like having to use chromecast. Have I missed something but using the primare app required chromecast and therefore prone to the compressed audio. I wanted it to stream over ethernet or USB from my NAS but alas I couldn't make it work! Maybe I'm missing something?
I can’t answer that, as unlike you I’ve never used one. But that’s why I recommended checking with Primare because I’d heard not everyone gets on with them.

Linn, Lumin, Auralic are three brands with a good variety of streamers, and at a more modest price Bluesound NODE and Cambridge CXN v2 have numerous fans. Most have a DAC but this can be bypassed so you can choose between processing in your Pre or not.

Both NODE and CXN v2 are being discounted at the moment, by £150 and £200 respectively. I can’t speak for their capability with a NAS as I think of them as mainly for streaming from a service like Tidal or Qobuz, which is how I use my Linn.
 

skinnypuppy71

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Hi there Scooby....if you want to stream from your nas drive, a server such as minim, bubble upnp which are free to download and use....I never really got on with the free servers, although I quite liked using plex, These days I'm streaming through a novafidelity n15d as a roon endpoint with my pc used as a roon core....or if the pc isn't running (it's in a different room) I listen to the novafidelity with tidal or music via it's local 2tb ssd, it's interface isn't the best but is functual, I've used a few different servers now and nothing can really come close to the roon interface, but it ain't free, and unless spending big money, I doubt you will notice any difference between your pc and a dedicated streamer especially through a lan connection.
There's a little streamer around at the moment kicking up a storm, the wiim pro plus and the wiim pro that will stream just about anything and I hear it's going to get a update to be able to be used as a roon endpoint....should be a good option for using with your external dac in the primare.
 
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