• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

Going CDless: Brennan B2, Innuos Zen Mini, Cocktail Audio X12…?

alessio_m

New member
Oct 10, 2016
4
0
0
I've dedided to go CDless, so i'm trying to figure out which are all the available options, and which are the advantages/disadvanatge among them (if any)

The various options i'm already aware of (in the same price range) are the Brennan B2, the Innuos Zen Mini and the Cocktail Audio X12

Any other items to consider? (always in the same price range)

Which one would you choose and why?

Thanks in advance for any insight on the subject
 

cse

Well-known member
Mar 3, 2008
97
5
18,545
I have google chromecast audio. This is generally excellent and only costs around £20. If you have an amp already with a suitable auxiliary, i would suggest you buy and try. Or you could buy an amp of your choice and google chromecast. I use it with my Arcam and would say the sound quality is better than Bluetooth. When I stream at 320 Kbps, it sounds to me equal to CD and therefore extremely fine.
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
3
0
alessio_m said:
I've dedided to go CDless, so i'm trying to figure out which are all the available options, and which are the advantages/disadvanatge among them (if any)
As above, along with the options you mention, consider also the possibility of using Chromecast Audio, a Bluetooth receiver or an Airport Express to receive music from your chosen mobile device and send it to your existing hifi.
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
3
0
I picked up on the bit that said 'i'm trying to figure out which are all the available options', and using a mobile device to stream his ripped collection to his hifi is one of the options.

alessio_m said:
Which one would you choose and why?
My signature probably makes my choices clear, but to help you more, we need to know what your prefereces are. Do you want an all in one ripper/player? Would you consider using a computer to do either/both? What about using a mobile as a streaming device?
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
Well my understanding from the OP's post (which is the only meaning I took from it) was that he wanted a physical alternative to having CDs sitting on shelves.

To the OP: I cant speak for the two alternatives you've mentioned, but the Innuos route is probably about the simplest and best alternative out there if you want to retain the CD quality of your existing collection. All you have to do is get it out of the box, plug it in, and start feeding it CDs, and you're well on the way to a digital FLAC based music collection that can be enjoyed anywhere in the house. Any missing or incorrect metadata can be corrected using a web browser via a phone or tablet (others rely on bottling up a laptop or PC). It also supports the MQA sound format, and allows TIDAL streaming too, the main music streaming service for high quality music (as well as Qobuz, Deezer and internet radio). I've been using an Innuos device for over a year and a half now, and it has been excellent in every respect.

One alternative, depending on budget, would be the Bluesound Vault 2. A stand alone CD storage device that will not only allow streaming to systems around the house, but will also plug directly into a system via a number of different connections (the Innuos is limited to USB output). This too supports the MQA format, and also allows TIDAL, Qobuz, and Deezer, but also allows Spotify, Napster, Wimp, amongst many more.

Both of these manufacturers offer excellent back up service and regular, simple software updates to stay on top of things. These two options are just so simple that no disadvantages come to mind. I suppose if you really had to push to find one, the Innuos is cabled ethernet only, but there's ways around that if the need is great.
 

alessio_m

New member
Oct 10, 2016
4
0
0
Yeah guys, you're right, apart from mentioning similar products, my OP was quite vague…

I'm mostly referring to all those little boxes which will:

• Help you rip your entire CD collection on FLACs (i take audio quality into high condiseration, so loseless seems the only viable file choice).

• Play the resulting FLACs on your hi-fi system. Sound quality wise, whatever the box, it's gonna be connected via optical/coaxial cable to an already exsisting external DAC (or DAC/pre, if you prefer).

I'm also not interested in streaming its data by using bluetooth/wi-fi or any cableless way (so no Chromecast, i guess), since that would degrade sound quality, afaik.
davidf said:
the Innuos route is probably about the simplest and best alternative out there if you want to retain the CD quality of your existing collection
davidf said:
One alternative, depending on budget, would be the Bluesound Vault 2.
Ok, that Bluesound Vault 2 seems to fit among the ones i already mentioned, apart from being a little more expensive.

So, especially in regard to 'sound quality' (think also 'ripping quality', if that makes sense), any reason to choose one against the other boxes?
 

tino

Well-known member
Sep 29, 2011
135
10
18,595
Depending on what the rest of your hifi is, you might want to think about replacing it all with something like a Sony HAP-S1, so you only have the one box that both stores and plays your music collection. You would need a separate way to rip the CDs, but that's very easily done with a cheap laptop or PC. The Sony only has a 500GB drive which depending on the size of your CD collection may be a limitation. The Sony has inputs for other sources so say you did want to add streaming as an option, then just connect a £20 Chromecast to it.

Another option could be an Auralic Aries Mini with internal Solid State Drive to store your music collection. This could connect to your exsting hifi. You could choose to use its internal DAC or use your own. Again you would separately need to rip you CDs.
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
3
0
tino said:
The Sony only has a 500GB drive which depending on the size of your CD collection may be a limitation.
...but to help manage the OP's expectations and put that into context, I've got 700 CDs ripped losslessly to a 3TB NAS and they barely take up 300GB
 

tino

Well-known member
Sep 29, 2011
135
10
18,595
MajorFubar said:
tino said:
The Sony only has a 500GB drive which depending on the size of your CD collection may be a limitation.
...but to help manage the OP's expectations and put that into context, I've got 700 CDs ripped losslessly to a 3TB NAS and they barely take up 300GB
Yup ... I normally allow 1/2 GB per CD.
 

muljao

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2016
321
81
4,970
Another option is to rip your cds to your laptop (if you have one) and plug it into your dac. This may not be desireable but there are plenty of softwares available that can make this an enjoyable enough experience.

Even another option that works for me is the Raumfeld Connector. It does all the streaming stuff over wifi etc, but you can also physically plug a usb or hard drive into the back of this unit and use the app to play flac quality files through your hifi (assuming you have wifi and an android or ios device). I find the sound quality fabulous using rca cables, but it also has an optical out if you have an even better dac
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
alessio_m said:
Ok, that Bluesound Vault 2 seems to fit among the ones i already mentioned, apart from being a little more expensive.

So, especially in regard to 'sound quality' (think also 'ripping quality', if that makes sense), any reason to choose one against the other boxes?
From a ripping point of view, nothing between them - it would come down to the DAC you plug the Innuos into versus the DAC in the Bluesound (although, if you already have a top quality off board DAC, this is a non issue).
 

alessio_m

New member
Oct 10, 2016
4
0
0
davidf said:
alessio_m said:
So, especially in regard to 'sound quality' (think also 'ripping quality', if that makes sense), any reason to choose one against the other boxes?
From a ripping point of view, nothing between them
I'm especially concerned about the 'ripping point of view' because i read around that the software used in the process, and maybe something else, does affect the final result of the ripping process

Please correct me if i'm wrong

If that's not the case (which means a FLAC ripped by the Brennan, or the Innuos, or by whatever model will always contain exactly the same data) AND you're using an external DAC, there should be no difference at all between one box to another, sound wise

Only their 'specs' will make the difference, i mean, HD capacity, connections and the likes… is that correct?
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
3
0
alessio_m said:
I'm especially concerned about the 'ripping point of view' because i read around that the software used in the process, and maybe something else, does affect the final result of the ripping process

Please correct me if i'm wrong

If that's not the case (which means a FLAC ripped by the Brennan, or the Innuos, or by whatever model will always contain exactly the same data) AND you're using an external DAC, there should be no difference at all between one box to another, sound wise

Only their 'specs' will make the difference, i mean, HD capacity, connections and the likes… is that correct?
Some of the most expensive rippers/streamers money can buy have a £15 CD ROM drive inside. DavidF has given wise advice, and you are therefore also correct, that if you play the rips all through the same DAC no matter what playing device you use be it a streamer or a PC there's going to be next to no difference between the sound.

Course the people who've dropped £5k on a ripper/player don't want to be told that it's going to sound the same as a cheap streamer or an optimized £250 PC when playing the same files through the same DAC, and more commonly than not, surprise surprise, they'll be the ones arguing the contrary. But sometimes the truth hurts.
 

ellisdj

New member
Dec 11, 2008
377
1
0
I ripped the same track 3 times on my office pc.

Originally when it was a gaming pc and all water-cooled tons of fans dual graphics cards etc pure noise.

Then i ripped it with all that out.

Then i ripped it with optimisations made to the computer for audio.

I sent all 3 files to my cousin who listened back on his pc asus xonar essence stx soundcard and £100 ish senn headphones and i asked could he hear a difference and what sounded best.

The tracks were labelled a b and c.

He chose the best sounding as the file with all the optimisations for music playback. It could well be a pure chance coincidence however i think its worth paying some attention to the process and the machine that does it.

Yes it will be using a £15 dvd rom but maybe your money has gone into better power for that drive etc - hence why a look under the hood tells a big story in regards to this.

More expensive is not always better sometimes it is though
 

tino

Well-known member
Sep 29, 2011
135
10
18,595
ellisdj said:
I ripped the same track 3 times on my office pc. ... The tracks were labelled a b and c. ...

He chose the best sounding as the file with all the optimisations for music playback. It could well be a pure chance coincidence however i think its worth paying some attention to the process and the machine that does it.
If the files a,b and c were binary equivalent (in other words identical) then I would suggest that the outcome was pure chance.
 

ellisdj

New member
Dec 11, 2008
377
1
0
Quite possibly as i said but he picked optimised one because it sounded cleaner so i think its still worth paying some attention to the ripping stage
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
1,018
511
6,070
ellisdj said:
Quite possibly as i said but he picked optimised one because it sounded cleaner so i think its still worth paying some attention to the ripping stage
Could it be that the optimisation was just a slight increase in volume?

At no point in your pc the signal was analogue so would be hard to believe that noise could've been introduced.
 

alessio_m

New member
Oct 10, 2016
4
0
0
ellisdj said:
Yes it will be using a £15 dvd rom but maybe your money has gone into better power for that drive etc - hence why a look under the hood tells a big story in regards to this.
This is exactly what i'd like to understand

Is there anything going on under the hood (being it software of hardware related, or both) which will cause one box to produce a better ripping that the others?

And, if that's the case, which box is better at ripping? Or, which specs should one keep an eye on in regard to 'better ripping'?
 

ellisdj

New member
Dec 11, 2008
377
1
0
Sure the softwares will all be similar to dbpower amp using eac checking

for hardware I would pay attention to the power within the unit or to the unit - for example linear power supply to as much as possible inside, including the dvd rom drive

Then stay away from mechancial hard drives better to use ssd and fanless design which is most of them
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts