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Is the CA Stream Magic 6 a significant upgrade to the SBT?

pp

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Jul 4, 2012
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Hi

Am looking at the CA Stream Magic 6 and was wondering how it compares in terms of sound quality to the logitech Squeezebox Touch.

I have the option of buying an ex-display version, but I don't think I will be able to return it if I don't think it is a much of a step up from the SBT.

I can't find any direct comparisons on the web, so would appreciate any thoughts from the learned members WHF forum members.

Thanks!
 

arcamae109

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Jun 3, 2013
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my view is that it would not be much, if any, of an upgrade from a SBT. The SBT is an excellent piece of kit with a pretty good DAC. if you wanted to upgrade then get a separate DAC but youd need to spend at least £500 plus in order to improve upon the SBT DAC.
 

Singslinger

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Jul 31, 2010
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I have the opposite view. I used the SBT for several months before switching to the CA SM6 and found it a significant step up in sound quality.

However the SBT is a great bit of kit and my positive experience could be system-dependent. At the time, I was using a Jeff Rowland Continuum 500 amp and ProAc K6 speakers.
 

bluedroog

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Mar 4, 2010
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I think what is key is in each case whether you’ll be using the on board DAC or digital output? I’ve not tried the CA but considering I use the Touch with a DAC (particularly with the EDO USB out mod) and love the usability of the Touch I wouldn’t consider changing any time soon. What puts me off the likes of the CA is they don’t seem to have a good colour display that shows cover art and big text.

I wonder how they stack up in a direct comparison using the on-board DACs and also as transports to the same external DAC in the same system? Would be interesting.
 

pp

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Jul 4, 2012
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Thanks all - very helpful

So no consensus yet.

I should have made clear that I don't want to use a seperate DAC with either the SBT or the CA SM6 - so more a question about how they sound relative to each other using their own inbuilt DACs.

I generally control the SBT using my Nexus 7, so the built in display is no big deal either way for me.
 

bluedroog

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Mar 4, 2010
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I’d say in that case assuming there is nothing wrong with you SBT pairing it with a DAC is another option, is that something you’d consider? How do you find the usability of it? A quick Google suggests the rrp of the CA 6 isn’t cheap, even with ex-dem can’t be that much cheaper than something like the popular Audiolab M-DAC which people report great results using the EDO USB output from the Touch to.

That way you’ve got the flexibility the DAC offers, a step up in performance and then later down the line you could always look at changing your streamer as it is still a technology in its mainstream infancy, I’d imagine the price performance ratio and choice will rapidly improve over the next couple of years.

It will be interesting too to see if the market develops with stream transports of fully fledge analogue out devices, I suspect the latter as implementing a half decent DAC doesn’t cost the manufactures too much these days and would appeal to more potential customers.
 

pp

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Jul 4, 2012
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Fair point bluedroog, and probably the sensible route. However, the better half won't be happy if the hi fi boxes start multiplying... :)

Also, although I love the SBT I am hoping to repurpose it at some point for my second system. Am wondering if the CA SM6 would be step up in quality, and a suitable one-box solution.

If I had to guess, I would think at the high end manufacturers will favour seperate streamers and dacs - get two dips in the customer's pocket! Maybe I am just cynical...
 

matt49

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Apr 7, 2013
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pp said:
If I had to guess, I would think at the high end manufacturers will favour seperate streamers and dacs - get two dips in the customer's pocket! Maybe I am just cynical...
I see your point about selling multiple boxes, but companies like Linn and Naim have gone the one-box route for several years now. Linn do a range of streamer+Dac boxes. I've used the Majik DS in a couple of demos, and it's a fine piece of kit. CnoEvil is a big fan:

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/the-linn-ds-dsm-thread

There are also combined streamer+DAC boxes from Musical Fidelity and Cyrus. OK, so maybe not exactly 'high end', but I suspect the differences in SQ are pretty small once you get up to this level.

Matt
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
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Functionally no, in fact it would be a bit of a retrograde step, since you would lose Spotify integration (which I would kill for). Sonically only you could decide, but even if you did you could achieve more or less the same by plugging the SBT into a DACMagic Plus, which is pretty much the same from a DAC/Output stage point of view.

Can you borrow a DM+ for a weekend? This would give you a good idea of what to expect...
 

DIB

Well-known member
May 21, 2009
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pp said:
I generally control the SBT using my Nexus 7, so the built in display is no big deal either way for me.
Slightly off topic, but I have recently receieved a Nexus 7 for a birthday present, and as such I downloaded the Logitech app to control my SBT.

It works fine with internet radio. However on the Nexus 7 the SBT home page doesn't show the My Music option, so I am unable to control/play my stored music on the PC through the SBT with the Nexus 7. I'm wondering if I'm doing something fundamentally wrong?

PS. I can't access Spotify through my SBT via the Nexus 7 either.
 

frank.custers

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Sep 6, 2012
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If you are after better SQ maybe upgrade the PSU the SBT. I heard good stories about it. Never heard one myself btw.
 

pp

New member
Jul 4, 2012
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[/quote]

Slightly off topic, but I have recently receieved a Nexus 7 for a birthday present, and as such I downloaded the Logitech app to control my SBT.

It works fine with internet radio. However on the Nexus 7 the SBT home page doesn't show the My Music option, so I am unable to control/play my stored music on the PC through the SBT with the Nexus 7. I'm wondering if I'm doing something fundamentally wrong?

PS. I can't access Spotify through my SBT via the Nexus 7 either.

[/quote]

Hmm - have not had any trouble with my Nexus as a controller. I use both the logitech app and SqueezeCommander, both with no problems. Have also played around with a few free DLNA controllers (try bubbleUPnP free version for example), and they were fine too (but may be worth a go).

You don't say what your SB server is running on, but assuming it's a PC or a local storage (eg NAS), might want to check that the SBT library is pointing at the place where your music is.

Sorry - not much help!
 

pp

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Jul 4, 2012
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John Duncan said:
you could achieve more or less the same by plugging the SBT into a DACMagic Plus, which is pretty much the same from a DAC/Output stage point of view. Can you borrow a DM+ for a weekend? This would give you a good idea of what to expect...
Thanks John - this is what I find puzzling.

The DacMagic Plus didn't get the resounding reviews for sound quality that the SM6 got, but I have heard that the DAC stage of the two is pretty much the same. Don't understand how this can be.

Anyone any views?
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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Nothing much wrong with the DAC in the SBT. At one point I had a V-DAC and a DacMagic and I tried all three possibilities - analogue out from the SBT, digital out into the V-DAC, and digital out into the DacMagic - and the differences really were negligible.
 

bluedroog

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Mar 4, 2010
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This is in line with my experience too between the Touch and Beresford Caiman. Perhaps more revealing speakers would highlight more of a difference but there was very little in it which is impressive of the Touch given it was about the same price as the stand alone DAC. The Caiman possibly edged it over longer periods of listening but switching between the two A/B it was very hard to tell.

I think you’d need to be looking at the £500+ DACs as a minimum to make it a worth while upgrade unless you are using other inputs and feature sets and even then there is no guarantees. I think using the EDO mod over asynchronous USB to something like the M-DAC is quite appealing though and something I will consider trying when I have the funds.
 

bluedroog

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Mar 4, 2010
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This is in line with my experience too between the Touch and Beresford Caiman. Perhaps more revealing speakers would highlight more of a difference but there was very little in it which is impressive of the Touch given it was about the same price as the stand alone DAC. The Caiman possibly edged it over longer periods of listening but switching between the two A/B it was very hard to tell.

I think you’d need to be looking at the £500+ DACs as a minimum to make it a worth while upgrade unless you are using other inputs and feature sets and even then there is no guarantees. I think using the EDO mod over asynchronous USB to something like the M-DAC is quite appealing though and something I will consider trying when I have the funds.
 

pp

New member
Jul 4, 2012
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Thanks all - seems like I will need to rethink my SM6 purchase....!

All part of the fun of the never-ending hifi upgrades :)
 

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